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Month: October 2019

Gail’s Tale – Straw Bale Owner Builder

1) What did you want to achieve? We wanted an escape to the country, our ‘green pill’ to get away from it all. It had to be the greenest natural and healthy home, that was also the smartest in building. 2) What did you do to prepare yourselves? It took us 5 years to find the ideal land. We researched the best options, we weren’t stuck on any one material, we wanted the best performing. We looked at rammed earth, mudbrick but didn’t like the energy performance of them. We loved a yurt but being in a suburban area, council warned us that our neighbours may take ‘offence’ to one. Hebel, but we didn’t like the materials.Then we researched Huff n Puff’s situps, then did 3 Viva workshops and Sam’s course to see what they were like. They were very welcoming and they just felt ‘right’. It was a good system that worked for them. Sam finally said to me after 1.5 years and 4 events: “Gail, you’re ready, just do it”. At some point you have to take the leap of faith and just do it. By learning everything, it gave me the confidence to say to the builder and architect, this is what I want. I want LVLs (the architect wanted posts where we’d have to notch 90 bales). We followed the Viva system so that I...

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How to Protect Your Windows & Timbers

Here’s a quick 1 minute video on how to protect your windows. It’s easy. Our joiner allows for a 2% timber shrinkage after it’s been installed. Old or recycled timbers can shrink even more if they haven’t been kiln dried. We’ve seen 10% or more which can leave cracks or warping of timber. Factors such as ensuring the wood has dried evenly and slowly is the key. That’s why kiln dried timber is more stable than timber left out in the weather. Timber drying out unevenly and quickly will tend to warp and split (the cells need to all shrink at the same time to keep it’s shape). You can reduce shrinkage and warping by: 1. Drying timber professionally – slowly and evenly Dry timbers in a kiln or… allowing at least 1 year for every 25mm of thickness of the timber (depends on type of tree) 2. Maintain your external timbers (decks, posts) and windows. Ensuring that the wood continues to dry slowly and evenly for years to come It’s vital to protect your external windows from UV sun, the weather and rainfall with shading or cover. Ensure it’s sealed well by: – For oil-based sealers apply a UV clear protection coat (we recommend 2 coats of Sikkens Cetol Filter 7 or as per manufacturer’s specs) It also puts a satin finish on, protects it from UV and...

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Insurance for Straw Bale & Natural Homes

Insuring a straw bale home or natural home that’s been built Insuring your natural home that has been made of mudbricks, rammed earth, hempcrete, cob, light clay straw should be like insuring a conventional home – if it’s been built to the building codes. At this time in writing, try using using an insurance broker or go direct to some insurers like: Bendigo Bank, NRMA and GIO. NRMA do allegedly payout which is what you want should you ever need to make a claim. We recommend being vigilant in getting your home inspected internally and externally for termites and...

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