Moisture in Strawbale Walls


There are often concerns expressed about moisture problems with Strawbale  construction. 


Here is a little informal test data that was posted on a discussion group:

Whenever I come across these threads, I like to check my bale wall moisture meter. My house is now over 8 years old, and I have moisture sensors placed in each of the four directions at about 4 inches above the floor. This is the end of a wet November here in a wet county of the wet part of the state:

"The 12.92 inches of rain recorded at the Bremerton weather station along Kitsap Way in the first 12 days of the month exceeds the previous wettest start of November, the first really wet month of winter, by more than 5 1/2 inches.

The 12-day record holder until now was in 1999, when 7.29 inches through Nov. 12 launched a month that ended with 14.13 inches for the 30 days.

Not even the wettest November on record, 18.29 inches in 1983, began so relentlessly. It had only 7.05 inches through its 12th day."

My moisture meter tonight lights up at 10-11% moisture in my north wall, a wall which has never seen sunlight. You don't even need to think about moisture problems until it reads over 14%, which it never has.

My house is a post-n-beam (not load bearing) structure, approved by the county, and happily insured by a perfectly normal insurance company. Although we do have rain here and one must be mindful of leaks, I feel very safe in my quiet, solid, earthquake-steady and fire resistant home. Do be sure to have 2ft eaves and invest in a 50 year steel roof.


This seems like a pretty good indication that if you build the Strawbale home correctly it will do fine even in damp climates.  I'd be glad to hear from anyone with more data.


Gary 11/28/06