That’s too hard to do without knowing the design and local material costs and permit costs, etc. The structure is roughly 570 SF plus a 200SF sleeping loft. The designer will likely have a set of those plans that we could get a hold of. Stay on target by remembering what your goals are and what’s most important to you. They will surely know about where to get bales. VERY cool Jamar. Our homes have been designed around the standard straw bale size of approximately 370mm wide, 450mm high and 850mm long (add 35mm to each side of the wall for the render if we do it, more if you’re owner building). Straw burning causes air pollution through smoke and particulate emission. He’s a great guy and is fun to work with. Hi Andrew For example, every 1 million tons of straw burned releases 56,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The problem is that answering this question is not easy. I don’t have any barn plans on the site. A year later, we both attended a straw bale workshop to learn the ins and outs of this type of construction and fell in love with the process. Was that the workshop at the ranch near Joplin I mentioned earlier, or did you host another one? Little Pig Building Company, more than just a builder. How much does it cost to build a straw bale house? Maybe not. However, there are also pitfalls to using straw bales for construction. Alongside the aesthetics and unique feel of a straw-bale home, two major benefits are: Straw works on the principal of thermal retention and straw bales provide insulation of between R7 & R10, traditional wall batts provide R2.2. Owner built, simple structures can cost very little, and there have been homes built for well above $1million. As a result, Straw-bale walls allow greater efficiency in heating and cooling. The thickness of our finished render is around 30mm to 50mm thick. want to go straw! Straw, when encased in earth plaster has a very high R-value. The houses that come in that price range were built almost entirely with owner labor. Can I generally assume that a 25" x 25" load-bearing structure would be less costly than a post & beam of the same size? They would normally read around 8 - 12%. Soon, I’ll be doing doll houses! Amazon Nails. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. I want to build a 40’X60′ storage shed with 16′ walls. The moisture meters allow early warning of any issues and help give the consenting authority confidence. The energy-saving performance is high among these. Q. Remember that if you are not able to work at your regular job during the build, you are not earning your regular income. My question is are you familiar or have you experienced the process of getting permits, building codes, etc. I am needing to expand my dog boarding business. You can find them here. John was the host for the workshop I held in El Dorado, MO. We were spoiled living in rural Arizona for the last 12 1/2 years. I love your vision. It’s an investment to gain a passive stream of income…(hehe…if the economy doesn’t completely tank & costs on everything skyrocket!) It includes all amenities of a normal home. In our area (KY), there is more rain & humidity, so I expect this will affect the ultimate cost. The plaster with welded wire mesh will do very well, especially because the walls are so thick; however, at some point the height to wall thickness ratio will come into play and additional support will be required. One aspect I would be interested in is how climate affects cost. Following are some pros and cons of building a straw bale house. Hi Mila. They also get contractor discounts on materials which can be hard to get as an owner builder. We really have had a great time building with bales since the early 1990’s. A Straw bale, straw bale house, straw bale construction, Also wondering if you could possible give me an estimate cost for a 500sq ft straw bale home to be built in my area. Thanks, Andrew! Straw bales result in super insulated walls that offer between R-43 to R-48 (twice to three times) the insulation of typical frame wall systems. Now I think we could build this house for $150K because the cost of a lot of things have come way down and we’ve learned from a few of our mistakes one of which cost us $15K! and straw bale homes site. feet house which is good for the Northern part of Canada? After all, if one doesn’t know exactly what is being built and where, there is no way to give an accurate price. The Applegate is not load bearing. If you are not pushing limits too far, then I think you can get a structure up for around $30/SF since it’s just a large storage building. A straw bale wall is basically a Passive House wall on its own, providing insulation, the plaster substrate and load-bearing to some extent,” says Jessica. He is another great guy and would love to help you (I assume). Let me know…. A much more sustainable material. The advantages of using straw-bale for construction are increasingly well documented. John first went to a natural building workshop and learned more about straw bale as well as a few other construction methods. When it comes to dealing with building officials, I’d think that would be a good reference, though it’s in a different county. Straw bale construction has extremely low measures of embodied energy when compared with conventional building materials. I would also like to build the largest, least inexpensive shed I could as a ‘receiving dept.’ for my home-based business materials, which are bulky. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are as essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. What is the avg cost per SF for a well finished (wall finish internal/external) with good quality windows/doors, passive solar with propane back up excluding water/septic, in southern CO? This home build is within the ability of people with some basic building experience. That’s a great place to build with bales. At any rate, I’m paying more attention to the differences in cost and realizing we’ll be largely building as we go. Owner built or contractor built? Some of the construction details of our home are listed on the International Straw Bale Registry. A typical straw bale home, built by a contractor, will cost about 10-12% more than a conventional home of the same square footage. Several folks who have built the home themselves in recent years (Washington state, Oklahoma, Colorado, and New York) have reported back that they spent closer to $60,000 by the time they finished. A straw bale building revival started almost 100 years later, led by modern day pioneers in sustainable building. Just can’t remember the name of it, but it’s in southwest MO, too. There are many variables that go into building a house such as: the size and complexity of the building Like the cottage but would like the home to be on an elevated concrete foundation with a covered porch around the entire home. Building a home yourself, although difficult, can save you a lot of money. Hi Ann. Folks like Matts Myhrman and Judy Knox, Bill and Athena Steen, and David Eisenberg revived this uniquely American building system and moved it forward. Even then, construction costs can add up quickly if you choose pricey finishes throughout the home. Whew! It’s my understanding that the Riceland Corp. is there in northwest AR – a huge rice supplier with many acres of rice fields. Congratulations. For example, a straw bale home built in Southern Oregon may cost about $180/SF while that same house in the California Bay Area might cost $350/SF and the same house, yet again, in rural Iowa could be no more than $100/SF. Later, I can turn it into a monthly rental for regular tenants. For example, consider that a light fixture at a big box store might cost $12, while a similar looking fixture made to much higher standards of quality could cost upwards of $250. Andrew Morrison: Hi Bruce. I’m from Rochester, NY which is Upstate. Estimating is certainly a hard task, especially for someone who has not built several houses before. It could come in the form of internal walls placed perpendicular to the exterior walls at particular intervals. On one side of the equation, there are those who say a straw bale house only costs nine cents to build and can be heated with a candle and some flatulence (caution: do not mix the two!). A typical straw bale home, built by a contractor, will cost about 10-12% more than a conventional home of the same square footage. Investigate average building costs in your area. Amazon Nails, Todmorden, UK. If you’d like to discuss the possibilities of straw-bale building don’t hesitate to get in touch. No electrical or plumbing; just for storage. We wish to have our volunteer team complete each home with the guidance of a professional so we aim for no labor cost. Even if there are no straw bale homes in your immediate, area you can still get a sense of what building one will cost by looking at conventional construction values. In fact, it’s not even really possible without a lot of information about the specific job and its location. I’m still in the ‘dreaming’ stage & as long as need to care for my elderly mother, I’ll remain there. You may lower the cost if you put … Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Straw is non-processed, and we sourced ours locally. On average construction cost range from $150 per square foot to $200 and up depending on the aforementioned factors. The planning department can help you connect with the zoning issues that will be in play and the building department can tell you about code restrictions that may be of issue for your project. Here are a couple examples of how far your money can go when building yourself with straw bales. The estimated cost to build the Applegate is $40,000 which includes the cost of the foundation, walls, bales, mesh, plaster, roof, interior walls, so everything that makes up the structure. Very cool stuff. I worked on a house in Thrall a couple years ago that was owner built. Maybe their story will help you to feel more comfortable about building your home yourself too – plus, if you can do it yourself, you’ll save a good bit of money :D. Best of luck to you! I would talk to the building department and the planning department. Specialists in energy efficient lifestyle homes. Rather it is true about all types of construction. Niki, Thanks so much for your input. Absolutely. Straw houses the way of the future? Straw Bale House Construction Why build a straw bale house? It’s a great community of people there. The same is done with a straw-bale house. Prepare the foundation footings to be below the frost line in cold climates, and floor to be level, on … Doing a powerpoint on the advantages of a straw bale home. Straw can be grown in less than half a year in contrast to timber which can take up to 20 years to grow timber for a house. In the desert, for instance, where the temp/humidity cycles are perfect for SB, you can make design choices which leverage that advantage, and possibly save $ too. The best thing is to either get actual quotes from professionals or calculate the materials you will use and come up with a factor for your own labor (if you plan to do the work yourself). Cost will depend on how much you push the limits. If you are wondering whether … Read More Read More I am very sensitive to mold and can’t have wet straw. thanks. Keep in mind everything you have just read and then start dreaming of building your own beautiful straw bale cabin, home, or getaway. If you prefer new and higher end finishes, the cost will go up from there. - Your Resource for Hands-On Workshops, How-To Videos & Plans, Delicious, Aged Lime Putty Still Available,,, Vapor Barries in Straw Bale Houses –, Build A Gorgeous, Affordable Straw Bale Home, Retrofit: Using Straw Bales to Insulate a House, Straw Bale Workshops in the Time of COVID, Engineer in New York State for Straw Bale Builds, Dream Straw Bale Home For Sale on Whidbey Island, WA. I j... Bruce Braley: Firefox gives me a severe warning when I attempt t... Andrew Morrison: Hi Karina. This is not something special to straw bale construction. Copyright © 2020 The Little Pig Building Company Ltd. listed on ECOFIND.CO.NZ Privacy Policy Terms and Conditions  Website by Lifeform Labs, increase the efficiency of a solar-passive construction thus reducing the need for heating and cooling equipment. The difference between the two is definitely noticeable. “It doesn’t add any cost—it could even be cheaper [compared to conventional materials]—and it has other advantages. The appeals of straw bale building are many and varied. This cost does not include any labor, permits and fees. Specific advice should be sought before embarking on any risky undertakings such as construction of a building. I mean even getting settled in cost an arm and a leg. For those who prefer using natural materials, building a straw bale house may seem like a great option. construction loans, Costs, Overcoming Roadblocks, straw bale, straw bale home, straw bale house, strawbale, strawbale home, strawbale house, Andrew, I don’t think you put a live (click ‘here’) link to this article in the e-mail you sent out. The duplex idea only came up more recently & I’ve done a plan for that, too – & always taking into consideration furniture placement. Do I need to limit my wall height. He can surely help you. Lots of good reasons. Costing depends so much on local labor and material. Here is our listing This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. A simple rectangular structure would be all we would need. Thanks, Andrew. Glad you found it helpful. I think that’s the one you were referring to. The cost was based on material prices in our region (Southern Oregon) and there are large market differences in materials prices depending on where you live. If not, you can start one or create a conversation on the main page asking for guidance. Things like auto registration at DMV, large increase in monthly utilities, basic household items and food, etc. ... A straw Bale house looking remarkably like an attractive regular home! You might be surprised to see how much a project cost varies based on its location. When kept dry, straw (and wood) can last hundreds if not thousands of years. We have to leave our home and land (red zonend/land can not be rebuild on)no later then Jan.2014. If you want to translate a price from another area to your own, consider purchasing a book on estimating tables that offers location variables. Anyway, I hope this info can help some people. You probably know the name since they did a workshop there. That translates to me as the nearest ‘go-to’ company for bales. Straw bale houses were developed in America and are rising in popularity. 2011. This may be a better question for the Colorado Straw Builders Association (COSBA) as they will know the average costs in the local market better that I do. Straw bale buildings have employed a wide range of techniques, construction details and finishes around the world. I guess I’m asking where would you start or who would you speak to if you were me? We started planning to build our own house not long after. In our experience, it is possible to find these items at very low cost or salvaged, depending on how motivated you are to find the best deals on those items. I'm thinking I didn't scroll down far enough the first time. Most contractors don’t do a lot of load bearing construction, so if you hire it out, it may be more expensive in the end. Mudgee, NSW. If I could buy those prefab roofing frames, how big could I make it? I also wonder about the flammability of them simply from the fact that pine needles are explosive when thrown into a fire, not just flammable. PS – ‘normal’ building costs here are approx. But who is John in MO? My daughter and I just moved out here this year for work related reasons as well as to make a change and build a straw bale home. Learn how your comment data is processed. . Straw needs only one season to grow and needs little energy to produce. I believe there is a NZ group there. Sounds like you have a bead on your dream! It was a lot more fun building a straw bale home than a regular house. Here is a web link of an awesome couple in their early 60’s who are owner builders and whose story is motivation for me to continue to go for it: Post and beam straw bale would be super too! Keep in mind that if you compare a straw bale home with a conventional home built the same R-value as a straw bale, the straw bale home will actually be less expensive by about 15% or more. That said, there is a straw bale national code in the 2015 IRC, so ask the building department if they are using the 2015 version of the IRC or if they will recognize the document if they’re not. niki, great article and great content. The things that aren’t mentioned in the registry listing is that it is a simple rectangular foot print, has a covered front porch and a metal roof. We are new to Ontario and looking for a piece of land to build a straw house. We have an extensive range of house plans that can be used as is, or as a starting point for your new home design. You can check out the plans on this website. Straw can be grown in less than half a year in contrast to timber which can take up to 20 years to grow timber for a house. If we had the time to hunt for salvage and/or I had been willing to settle for more “vanilla” fixtures and finishes I think we could have very easily built this home for much, much less. Information guide to straw bale building: for self builders and the construction industry. Copyright © 2004-2015 StrawBale Innovations, LLC - All Rights Reserved. You can get this price even lower if you spend more time making your own lime plaster. I know that was a HUGE concern for us when we built our straw bale home and we really had no idea how to estimate it. This 15-20% is the contractor’s overhead and profit margin that is charged on all labor and materials in a typical construction contract. I confess – I haven’t been keeping close tabs on you…lol. Straw Bale is historically proven all over the world, like a well-built piece of furniture that becomes an antique – a well-built straw bale home is timeless, ageless, healthy and wonderful to live in. The overall point here is to make sure you have a sense of how the project will be completed so you can factor that in to the cost as well. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. I want to build a straw bail barn is that possible? . Straw is generally a waste product and is often burnt by farmers. See more ideas about Cob house, House, Natural building. I suggest you contact Chris Keefe at Organicforms Design ( to see if he can create a plan for you. Location, location, location. nice to read this article. The bale appears as though it could have been installed a year ago. Just a head’s up. We are looking into building a straw bale home on our new section.