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RE: GBlist: Strawbale not good

Fred writes:

1. "The building code would be the least of your problems if you were to
construct strawbale houses in NC. The big problem is the "face sealed
stucco" exterior finish systems. There is currently over $9,000,000,000
worth of moisture damage in new homes in your area that employed this
siding. They were all built to code and failed instantly. These houses
can be saved with $30,000 worth of repairs each because of their
conventional framing. There would be no saving a straw house with this
type of failure."

2. "Clearly this is not sustainable building and I encourage you to find
other alternatives that have stood the test of time. Perhaps an
autoclaved concrete block or cellulose dense packed wood framing would
better fit your requirements."

Regards, Fred"

Fred, Woah, careful here!  let me respectfully disagree, strongly, with
both statements.

1.  The EIFS debacle in NC centers mostly around Wilmington where
several factors combined to create the failures which occured mainly
around window sills.  These include the inability of trapped incidental
moisture to weep out of the area below windows, poor flashing around the
windows and the non-breathable acrylic finish coat.
(See Nov 1996 #105 Fine Homebuilding page 69 where the illustration
clearly shows that it is moisture backing up that caused the rot). 
Straw bale construction does not have these problems if detailed

I think you may also exaggerate the damage amount in N.C. by three
zeros. Please state you sources.

2. Moisture in SB construction in humid climates is a concern that
recieves alot of attention in the SB community, but it is not a major
concern. Most of the anectotal evidence indicates that SB walls maintain
a moisture content of 15% or lower.  Kiln dried lumber arrives on site
at 19% m.c..

I would be interested to know what experience and observations you have
to make the above assertions.  There are documented Straw bale dwellings
that have been around since the turn of the century.  This isn't

I think you stand corrected unless you have some evidence I am not aware


Thomas A. Fisher
Architectural Design &
Environmental Design Collaborative
http:// www.cstone.net/edc/index1.htm
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