Straw Bale ? Kicking it around for rebuilding barn
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Thread: Straw Bale ? Kicking it around for rebuilding barn

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    Straw Bale ? Kicking it around for rebuilding barn

    I lost my stick built (2"x 6"s and plywood) barn last May to fire. It was build in 1986 and was terribly eaten by termites, which boosted the flammability with all that swiss-cheesing of the material. In 25 minutes, (my guess) it was fully engulfed and I was looking at the underside backlit by the flames of a mushroom cloud. Those Monitor Barns are perfect iron-forging chimneys once they get going. No animals or humans hurt.. just tools, cars and worldly possessions destroyed... starting from scratch.

    The original footings are 43' wide x 40' deep with 12 1/2' extensions (shed overhangs for outside stalls) on either side. I'd rather not incur the expense of jack-hammering up and removing all that concrete, so want to re-use if I can. Spalling is limited to the slab and is fairly easy to repair. I had to scrape the sill plates (treated lumber) off the footings, so that tells me that they got no hotter than 451F. Likely are in good shape. A Structural Engineer will make the call as required by County.

    I was looking at metal buildings, but don't care for the look, noise inside, and the heat cycling. I had a decent wood shop and metal shop (inherited my Machinist Dads Mill and Lathe), so humidity swings from un-insulated buildings are bad news because of the condensate. Long and short is I want wood again, but don't want to worry about fire again. I ran across straw bale construction and am interested in the fire resistance, and insulating qualities. It seems like you basically build a post and beam structure, but don't side it. A special footing is needed to get the bales up away from moisture on the surface, and to allow draining if they ever get wet. The bales are stacked brick-style, and spiked together with re-bar. A metal lath/welded wire is stapled on the inside and outside surfaces, then you apply some type of plaster, gunite, adobe etc. As long as the roofing system gives you good overhangs, these are supposed to last forever. Rodent intrusion is supposed to be prevented by the plaster.

    Anybody try this?

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    If woodpeckers,, and carpenter bees tear apart cedar sided homes,,
    ants tear up CCA treated log homes,
    and on,, and on,, I would never build with organic material, again.

    Yes, people have used organic materials,, in the past,,
    BUT,, all of the GREAT insecticides have been outlawed.
    You can not protect the structure as previous builders have done.

    Steel, with 6 inches of insulation in the ceiling makes me happy.

    I have a minimal amount of wood over 8 feet off the ground
    that creates a second floor in some small areas of my shop.

    I see sawdust piles where some "bug" is boring the wood.
    I have sprayed with several insecticides,, they keep boring.

    I am so happy 95% of my building is steel.

    Straw?? You KNOW something wants to consume the straw,,,

    My steel building looks like it did the day it went under roof in 1999,,,
    other than the wood,,,
    Some of the tractors include JD 4105, JD 855, JD 650,,,, and,,, the IH 584 4WD
    My favorite attachment is the homemade landplane,,, EVERYONE needs one of those!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CADplans View Post
    Steel, with 6 inches of insulation in the ceiling makes me happy.

    .......

    I am so happy 95% of my building is steel.

    Straw?? You KNOW something wants to consume the straw,,,

    My steel building looks like it did the day it went under roof in 1999,,,
    other than the wood,,,
    I've not been impressed with the steel building kits I've seen so far. The steel gauge is ridiculously thin. Who makes a thick gauge quality building?

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    Herminator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMifsud View Post
    I've not been impressed with the steel building kits I've seen so far. The steel gauge is ridiculously thin. Who makes a thick gauge quality building?
    Look at Morton. The arguments go both ways on steel. Most builders use a thinner gauge hardened steel. Morton rolls their own steel panels and it is thicker but not hardened. I believe the advantage of this is if it flexes repeatedly it will not crack or break. The other builders sheets weight less but seem flimsier to me. Besides its steel, I don't care how soft it is, it is harder than drywall. For the inside but they also have perforated sheets that go down from the top a couple feet that helps eliminate some of the echoing. Of course it still echoes when it is empty. But once you have things in it you don't even notice you're in a steel building. It has 6 inches of insulation and mine is about 10 years old. Never an issue. I have airlines in the wall and what I liked when I was doing that was I could pull the panel off because it is screwed on, do what I needed to behind it and then replace it. Since the top panel comes down a couple feet that means the bottom 8' tall panel doesn't find against the ceiling when you're trying to put it up or down because it just overlaps the other one and you have 2 feet of clearance.

    I cannot imagine all the mold or critter problems straw could cause. I like the fact that I can weld or grind and yes I could catch something else on fire in there but it will not be the walls. If you use their insulation and interior kit there is no heat cycling. It is crazy how well insulated it is. I have 6 inches in the wall in about 24 inches in the ceiling. If you look at other builders you have to make sure you let them know you want to finish the inside. It will change their price because posts get closer and trusses will change.
    Last edited by Herminator; 09-23-2017 at 12:36 AM.
    Welcome to Intermission.

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    On rodents... my barn came with a 3 bedroom (illegal) apartment somebody built into it. They had up to 5 people renting there. Floorjoists were placed over pads on top of the slab. The ceiling, walls and floor spaces were all stuffed with fiberglass insulation. When i tore all of it out, there were mice nests on all six sides of the apartment. All the insulation was shredded and filled with rodent urine and feces. There is of course ZERO food value in fiberglass, so the idea of using stray/hay in a system that might let rodents enter is pretty much a non-starter with me.

    On the insulated steel buildings, is this the pour-foam, sprayed in place, or is it fiberglass batte?


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