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International Straw Bale Building Registry, created and hosted by Sustainable Sources

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Contact Name:Tim Piper
Mailing address: 22353 County Highway 10
 Fergus Falls, MN 56537-7902
 United States
Structure Location: 22353 County Highway 10
 Fergus Falls, MN 56537-7902
 United States

Type of Structure: Hybrid loadbearing/nonloadbearing 60'X40' Shed & 46'x30' Garage
interior size: 2100 sq ft
unconditioned space size: 2400 sq ft
Built primarily by: Owner Built
Building Code Jurisdiction: Electrical Only
County: Otter Tail

Open to visitors by appointment.

Construction Methods Used

Foundations and Floor: The building described is a 60'x40' "pole barn" type of shed. We augered 8"x8" green treated poles to a depth of about 5' (ie. below the frost line) and set the poles on top of a concrete pads. To the inside of the building we augered in 4"x4" green treated posts to a depth of 5'. To these posts we then bolted green treated 2"x12" plank and covered this "foundation" with treated plywood. The plywood top is approximately 20" above grade level. In the cavity between the 2"x"12 plank, prior to screwing down the plywood we lined the bottom and two sides of the cavity with 3 mill plastic then flipped a bale on it's side and put bales into this cavity for insulation. The top of the bale was not covered with plastic to allow any moisture the possibility of evaporating.
Exterior Finish:
    Cement Plaster
Interior Finish:
    Cement Plaster
Plaster was applied:
    Over chicken wire/expanded metal lath
Plaster application method:
    Parastolic Stucco Pump purchased from QuickSpray
Were the bales pinned?:
    internal pinning, rebar
    Threaded Steel Bar
Bale type:
Bale dimensions: 16 inches X 19 inches X 42 inches
Number of bales used: 600
Straw type(s) used:
Bale Orientation:
    Strings up (flat)

Insured?: yes
Mortgaged?: yes

Unique features: The foundation is unique in that we designed the system ourselves. The first course of bales is approximately 20" above grade.

Problems encountered: Because the bales were only available after harvest we got caught by the fall/winter weather and had to cover the bales with heavy plastic for the winter. The weather and mice took a bit of a toll on the bales as far as some moisture getting in, and the mice burrowing and creating some areas in the walls where it took more stucco than it would have without their damaging ways. We used poles to support the roof structure and put expansion joints on every other pole, thinking this would allow for enough expansion. We needed to use expansion joints on every pole as every pole without a vertical expansion joint developed a crack - not a huge problem as this is a storage shed and caulking the crack and painting the wall is "good enough", but for people building houses this is an important issue.

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