Ask Our Experts

Answers to your questions about gardening, energy, homesteading and other sustainable living topics.

Add to My MSN

When Building Post and Beam in Straw Bale, Can I Substitute Concrete Block Columns for the Wooden Posts?

6/27/2009 12:00:00 AM

Tags: straw bale, concrete

When building post and beam in straw bale, what if I substitute concrete block columns for the wooden posts? Will they draw moisture into the straw? 

They could. However, the usual practice is to wrap any structural member (wood, concrete block, steel) with felt or roofing paper to keep any moisture from condensation on steel — or moisture that might be drawn out of the plaster or stucco or concrete — away from the straw. A moisture barrier such as plastic probably isn't the best solution for wrapping the structural members because moisture also tends to condense and collect on it.

Straw bale construction is based on the age-old practice of building with what you have at hand. Concrete-block columns have been used as structural elements in straw bale buildings. They’re often chosen because the blocks can be readily found or salvaged, or can be purchased at an affordable cost.

 Joyce Coppinger, managing editor and publisher of The Last Straw, the 40-page quarterly international journal on straw bale and natural building

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.