Hanging from a Straw Bale Wall: Shelves, Electric Outlets, and Porches

| 5/4/2011 5:06:15 PM

Tags: straw bale wall, straw bale building, attaching shelves, electric outlets, Dave Larson,

Dave L HeadshotA straw bale building is wonderful for us. It provides us with a super-insulated house. The buildings went up quickly and were easy on the budget.  Building a house out of natural material that is a by-product of food production gives us a good feeling in terms of environmental kindness. All good stuff.

However, no matter how tight the bales,  those golden grass stems don’t offer much in the way of purchase and strength for hanging a shelf for a row of heavy plates, glasses, and bowls. Even sheet rock expansion fasteners punched through the plaster aren’t strong enough to guarantee that you won’t wake up to the sound of crashing crockery some night.

Kitchen Shelves 480


Here are some tips on securing shelving, electrical outlet boxes, and even attaching additions and porches to a straw bale building. We used these techniques for both our straw utility building and our straw bale home.  Our cabinets and shelves are rock solid, our electrical boxes don’t wiggle when you pull out a plug, and neither the front porch nor my workshop have blown away.

There are essentially three techniques we incorporated in building for these attaching needs. One is for shelves and cabinets, another for electrical outlets, and another for attaching rafters for a porch or addition. Each of these is our adaptation of procedures used in a variety of natural building books.

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