Straw Bale House
Construction Pictures

- Part 4 -


Stuccoing the Interior Walls: a pure lime stucco (stabilized with cement) was shot professionally on all interior wall surfaces of our straw bale house. Ferrous sulfate, a common garden fertilizer/additive, was added to the mixture for coloring (turning the plaster a light tan instead of the original brilliant white color).

- For a detailed page on lime stucco plastering including the formulas we used, click HERE.
To learn more about staining with ferrous sulfate click HERE.

Hot Water Radiant Heating System: "PEX" hot water tubing (1200 feet in four 300 foot loops) was stretched out down our drive way and then installed in the floor to get all the kinks out. It is attached to 6" x 6" wire remesh (also called "weld wire") to hold it in place. Below the tubing we installed 1" polystyrene (EPS) sheets to keep heat in the tubing from being lost down into the ground.

See our detailed page on the Solar Hot Water and Radiant Heating Systems.


Adobe Block Floor: since the adobe plant where we first obtained our high-clay content soil to make earthen plaster and the adobe floor mixture closed up shop, we substituted pre-manufactured adobe blocks to make the floor from another company. This was faster although a little more expensive. Pouring a concrete slab was certainly an option but was three times more expensive and not earth friendly.

See our Radiant Heating Installations page for a detailed description (including pictures) of how the PEX tubing and adobe block floor was installed...

To complete the
WATER SYSTEM, trenches were dug with connections between the storage tank, filter, jet pump, and pressure tank, three outside hose bibs, and the new straw bale house...
A large hand-me-down swimming pool filter was incorporated into the system to filter the rain water before it reaches the 1/2 horse power jet pump, pressure tank, and domestic hot and cold water system...

(see a large water system diagram showing how all of the above connects together and
interfaces with the solar hot water system and radiant heating system)

Our first wall partition
was built with the usual 2' x 4' wood frame, but the usual fiberglass insulation and sheetrock were not used. Rather the wall cavity was filled with a mixture of clay and chopped straw (called COB)...
see our special page How to Make Wall Partitions with Clay and Straw

And then covered and sealed with hand applied lime plaster
(ferrous sulfate was added for coloring)...


Sadly Jim's declining health and financial pressures necessitated a move to a more temperate climate in Southern Mexico before the straw bale house could be finished. What remained and thus not shown here were building more internal partitions, installing the kitchen and bathrooms, and the final electrical connections. These tasks are, however, not unique to what is required to build a straw bale house...

Previous Page of Construction Pictures - Part 3/ New Straw Bale House Page

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