Getting Started & FAQs

Basic Guidelines: How To Build Your Home

strawbale construction, design, build, stucco

– Build Your Custom Dream Home –

We can assist you in one of two different capacities in the construction of your project, depending on what best suits your needs, experience, schedule and budget.

However, our experience clearly speaks for itself and we look forward to developing an outcome that you have dreamt about.

We can assist you in one of two different capacities in the construction of your project, depending on what best suits your needs, experience, schedule and budget. We do not act as a General Contractor because of the differences in licensing and insuring in all states, counties and municipalities that we conduct business in.


In this scenario YOU are the General Contractor and are responsible for securing bids for the various sub-contractors, materials and laborers while making sure that the work is completed and paid for. You would also be responsible for obtaining all potential permits and inspections. If you are obtaining a construction loan, you will be responsible for presenting plans, cost breakdown and any other information requested by your financier. Acting as the Owner-Contractor is a cost saving method, as you can usually save the cost of the Builder’s profit which is often 15% or more.


An Owner’s Agent or Owner’s Representative to oversee the project, contracts and handle the logistics. An Architect may provide a Field Representative at the job site to assist in the coordination of the requirements under a contract.  We can work as a sub-contractor and Consultant for any of these parties and share our expertise of the straw bale building process with them to ensure that the project runs smoothly.

In either event, our experience and knowledge ensures that we are your best choice for erecting and stuccoing the finished straw bale project!


If you decide to hire a local General Contractor and/or Owner’s Representative to oversee your project, be sure to get the details of your agreement in writing! A written and signed contract between you and the General Contractor is a must. Contracts should clearly state who is responsible for various duties and when they will be done.



What are the advantages of using straw bales?

““Green building” is an ecological way of building by using an annually renewable product. This creates affordability when designed right. The insulation and sound suppression (ie: wind, traffic) provides a peaceful and quiet atmosphere. The aesthetics and massive solid sensation are noticed with the curved, deep and plastered window sills similar to Old World living. Bale buildings have a proven history that dates back to the early 1900’s. The National Research Council of Canada tested plastered straw bale walls and showed they withstood temperatures of up to 1,800* F for two hours before a crack appeared in the 1 ½” thick plaster. That equates to almost three times more fire resistance than an average house!

What about the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs?

I know what our staff and our eager crew would say to that Big Bad Wolf… “Bring it!”  These building kits are built to last. They will meet or exceed all local and state building codes and regulations.  These buildings are sealed from the floor to the ceiling with a thick coat of plaster over the straw, which also keeps rodents and insects outside where they belong.

Are floor plans available?

What is nice about this system is that you can create your own ideas and/or use any type of floor plan to meet your personal needs, or get help from your local architect.  The Colorado engineer we use can work with you on your floorplan ideas too.

What about electrical?

All wiring within or on bale walls shall meet all provisions of the local Electrical Code.  The electrical raceways and installation of the electrical boxes in the wall system can be attached to the framing system, which can help make the boxes square and plumb to the base trim.

Is plumbing run inside straw bale walls?

No, as with conventional framing, running plumbing in exterior walls is not recommended.  Water pipes set in exterior walls are at a much higher risk of freezing.  Piping is run through interior walls or the floor to their required locations.

What kind of foundation is required?

The foundation can consist of a concrete slab, or continuous concrete stem wall with a crawl space, or a full basement with I-Joist and decking… depending on your site specifications just like a conventional home. The straw bale wall system will be secured and mounted to the wood floor decking and/or concrete. 

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  The Wall Section Details are just one part of your blueprints which are one or two pages. This provides the straw bale drawings details for your draft person, so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. 

Can we build it? Frame and stack the straw ourselves?

Yes, you can the framing is just like conventional framing and with some guidance on how to apply the lath accessories and plaster it could be done.

Do you do remodels or repairs to existing older straw bale homes?

Yes, we have been helping clients who are selling or are buying older straw bale homes. Upgrading older and failing plaster systems with our durable stucco system does add value to the home.  It is important to address the issues before it create more problems later.

What about local zoning codes for urban areas, or Home Owner? Associations that require certain covenants?

The buildings can meet the needs and expectations of the exterior look or color that maybe required. The exterior of the home can use any type of siding, hardy board, rock/stone, corrugated metal, barn wood, stucco etc… Talk to us about your specific needs and we can help you make it work!

What if we want different sized windows or doors than any of your examples?

We can make custom sizes bales or another type of insulation to fill an odd size void or cavity.

How do you keep the straw bales from getting wet?

It is all about prevention. Having the bales protected before they are placed into the walls and before they are plastered is paramount. By building a conventional house with a breathable house wrap. Once the roof is on then the bales can go in and get attached to framing system. This saves in labor costs so you don’t have to protect the bales from the bales from weather using tarps and tenting during the building process. Which also can be stressful worrying that the tarps may blow off a some point.

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Where do you stay during the building process?

A small crew (2-3) can be local laborers or I can bring in sub contractor’s who may need to put up somewhere depending on the weather. I’m self contained and usual stay on site to tend to the slow curing plaster and keep an eye on the equipment and tools.

What is the lead-time how long does it take?

Shoot us a call or e-mail us for current lead times. Creating blueprints and getting reviwed by the your county may take 2-3 months before pouring concrete. Once we have a contract for our services you’ll be on our schedule. To stack the bales, install lath accessories and plaster usually takes three weeks. That’s depending on the size of the crew and the schedule of the electrician and other sub contractor’s

Do you supply the bales and plaster?

We will bring the lath accessories. The stucco and/or plaster we may bring or get locally or have it delivered to the jobsite. The straw we try and source locally. Otherwise we use a supplier out of Alamosa, Colorado who has quality bales and delivers thoughtout the country.

Breathable walls?

For the best results using the same material on both sides of the walls such as Natural Hydraulic Lime will let the walls breathe at the same rate. Straw bales provide an air space cavity that creates airflow through the walls allowing them to breathe. Walls may breathe through the top plate that is covered with Tyvek, a water resistant and breathable material, into the attic space and out the roof vents and soffit vents. Exterior Stucco is considered to be a drainable cladding, and is vapor permeable and breathable, with a rating as high as 30 to 60 perms.

Building codes in certain areas of the country require that the interior walls be sealed with an air/vapor material.  A sealer or wax can be used over a clay earthen and lime plaster material to help seal the walls. A primer can be used over the stucco base coats for the finish coat whether you choose a limestone or gypsum product.

Will this house be too air tight?

The way our straw bale buildings are built  and stuccoed makes them tight by nature.  The best way to get some ventilation is by a mechanical form.  Using an exhaust bathroom fan is a cost effective method to provide ventilation as they are quiet and highly efficient way to diffuse air to the outside. Our homes are supplied with a necessary form of ventilation.  All stove or range hoods, bathroom fans  and clothes dryers should be vented to the outside of the building.  To provide fresh air into the home, “smart holes” are installed in exterior walls.  Smart holes are devices that can be dampered to allow a metered amount of exterior air iinto the home.  Opening a door or window for a few minutes is sufficient as well.

Feel free to CONTACT US with any additional questions you may have and we would be glad to get in touch with you as soon as possible.

Financing Your Project

If you are looking to finance your project, you should talk to a lender about a construction loan (and land financing as well, if needed).  Lenders can determine how much money you qualify for.  Once you figure out your budget, you can better determine the size, features and options in a home that you can afford.


Suggestion When Talking To Your Lender

Be sure to tell your lender and insurance agent that you are building a Conventional house on a concrete foundation with superior cellulose insulation, exterior siding/stucco/rock and a high end interior plaster. You might make a poor impression if you told a lender that you want to build “one ‘a them” straw bale houses.  The lender may have an odd image of a 3 Little Pigs style house with a thatch roof and a dirt floor. You may have to educate your lender or agent some point during the process.  Feel free to send them to our website for any questions they may have.