Chartreuse Blog


Bruns Construction Begins Sill Plates/ Schoeneman’s Donates Lumber

Bruns Construction, of Sioux Falls, is donating their time this week to build the structure for the straw bale shed at Summit House, and Schoeneman’s Building Materials has donated all of the lumber.  A huge thanks goes out to our co-sponsors!

The sill plates , or toe-ups (as they are often called in straw bale construction), are used to raise the bales above grade to protect them from water damage and infiltration.  At Summit House, a double 2 x 4 was used for the interior sill and a double 2 x 6 was used for the exterior sill.  All the lumber on the project is pressure treated to prevent decay.

First, the sills are measured on the foundation.  A moisture barrier is laid above the foundation and below the sills.  A second layer is added above the inside sill and below the exterior sill to direct any moisture out of the wall.  A third layer will be added above the exterior sill to separate the bales from the wood.  The second layer of sills is notched to allow the box columns to sit between.

After marking anchor bolt locations on the plates, holes were drilled for the 7″ x 1/2″ anchor bolts at 3′ o.c.  The bolts were then hammered into the plates and foundation.

Weep holes are cut into the exterior sill plate at 2′ o.c. to allow any moisture to escape the wall.

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Amert Construction Pours Straw Bale Shed Foundation

Amert Construction, of Madison, SD, donated materials and their time to pour the foundation for the Summit House Straw Bale Shed.

The foundation is a four inch slab-on-grade with thickened edge.  Below the slab is 6″ x 6″ #10 reinforcing mesh, 6 mil vapor barrier, and 4 inches of washed gravel.  A 1.5″ ledge was formed into the foundation edge to support the exterior plaster coating that will eventually cover the straw bale walls.  1/2″ rebar is embedded in the concrete to impale the bottom two courses of bales (two per bale).

Huge thanks to Amert Construction!