Building StrawBale Houses

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Strawbale houses are cheap, easy to build and can be put up in a relatively short period of time. Strawbale houses are usually made by stacking rows of straw bales with a moisture barrier between the bales and the supporting platform.

Building with bales of straw has become very popular and can be seen in many areas of the Southwestern United States.  Straw is a renewable building material and is a great insulator from the elements.

Strawbale Homes

strawbale home under construction

straw house with outer walls

another straw bale house

Straw Bale Home in the snow

Strawbale Resources:


Responses to " Building StrawBale Houses " Please share your thoughts...

  1. mat says:

    What about rot or fungi doesnt the straw deterirate and need to be replaced?

    • ela says:

      Only if it gets wet, as with nearly any non-concrete building material (wood, dry-wall, etc.) But if you keep the straw dry during construction the building can last for centuries.
      The bales also make a natural fire retardant, as opposed to traditional building materials and methods. Because the straw is packed to tightly the oxygen necessary for fire can’t get in and it smolders and goes out. Ever try and burn a full phonebook in a fireplace? ;)

  2. Robert says:

    I thought this might be a problem when I first started looking into strawbale homes, but as long as the straw stays dry, you will not have a problem with mold.

    People who have used it say that it is actually a better option than most conventional insulation because water vapor can move in and out of straw bale. That helps to reduce the chance of mold growing in the walls.

    If a straw bale gets wet or rained on I would not use it!

    As far as how long it lasts, there are some houses that are over 100 years old with the same straw bale construction.

    • ron says:

      i watched a show on cob house building which is a mixture of clay ,sand and straw and it showed a building that had been built in the 1700’s that are still standing and they said the key is that they have good shoes and a good hat meaning a good foundation and roof this building was over in england

    • CanadianGrider says:

      There was a company in Manitoba Canada that was actually making construction material out of straw. Guess what happened?? Government shut them down sating that the material were hazardous and would internally com bust. Believable? No. The problem was it was extremely inexpensive to buy and heat/cool them home.
      Now there are acres of rotting bales close to the city.

      • John says:

        I live near the old straw board plant. They were not shut down by anyone. There were problems with their manufacturing process and they went bankrupt despite the government contributing millions to get them up and running.

  3. kurlos says:

    I’m assuming this wouldn’t be a good choice for the Pacific Northwest?

    • ian says:

      depends. i live out in Spokompton and we have fairly dry weather during the summer and occassionally mild winters. it really doesn’t rain here as much as it does in Seattle or Tacoma. I would think that as long as the straw itself doesnt get wet/damp during construction you should be fine – by the time it’s all sealed with clay/lime it should be fairly waterproof.

  4. Robert says:

    Although I have heard of people building them up there, I probably wouldn’t build one in a place with a lot of moisture, I would worry about mold.

  5. I like these houses but I am building a tiny house on wheels. It is good to be able to move the house when needed. It doesn´t need a lot of energy, you can make it your self.

  6. Wow, some of those look more like “real” houses. I think they would be warm.

  7. Cindy says:

    Strawbale houses are perfect everywhere. Once the walls are sealed no moisture gets in. There is one in downtown Seattle.The roof needs to extend 3 or 4 feet out from the walls. Do some research the houses are amazing.

  8. Eddy says:

    I’ve seen them built badly in Florida. 80% humidity, I’m guessing, isn’t great for them.

  9. TabWyo says:

    My “neighbor” down the road built a straw bail home. His heating/cooling cost are incredibly low. He treated his bails with a fungicide and a fire retarding chemical as well. A very very nice home. Considering doing this on our property up in the mountains!!!!!!

    • Deanna says:

      Does anyone know what fungicide and fire retardant you would use to spray on this type home? Also – what about insuring them? Thanks!

  10. Richard says:

    They do not need fire retardant they can not get oxygen to burn since they are coated with a concrete or clay material. Also has anyone ever This is for those that fear the construction. But to be honest there have been alot of test done for structure stability and fire and etc. It shows that is not a problem if they are biult properly.

  11. sally says:

    I just purchased a piece of property. It has a strawbale building on the site. One end has not been covered or sealed. It is about 10 years old. My question would be this…the wall has been open to the elements. Can I cover that end and seal it? I don’t know if I should trust it or not. The wall looks good so far. Invest in what is already there or not…?

  12. Concrete Cutting says:

    I wonder if this blog survives to occur so neatly in the network. Good luck, which you wish.

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