Although it may look like the home of a fairy tale character, strawbale houses are more resistant and efficient than children’s stories make them out to be.
It is true that it is not yet common to see houses made of straw in big cities; however, their construction has been increasing over the last few years, especially in countries such as Holland, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.
It is mainly due to the fact that this material has an incredible resistance, and it is also a fundamental element within sustainable architecture, to help reduce the carbon footprint.
At Withfor, your luxury real estate agency in Barcelona, our pillar is sustainability, and we believe in alternative constructions to the traditional ones that are aligned with this objective. So, let’s see what strawbale houses are and more information about prices and construction.
What type of housing are they?
As the name suggests, a strawbale house is made from straw, or from the reeds of wheat, barley, rye or other grasses.
Although they are usually associated with the rural world, strawbale houses are very successful in urban sustainable architecture because of their strength, versatility and energy efficiency.
This is why, over the last few years, mud and straw houses have been used in high-design, avant-garde passive house constructions.
What is used to make a strawbale house?
The natural fibres go through a process of separation and drying of the grain for commercial use. Although they do not have much strength on their own, when they are interwoven and mixed with clay or mud, their strength and resistance increase dramatically, making them a super ally in the construction of structures such as walls, roofs or strawbale cladding.
They are also a favourite of bio-architectural specialists because of the grasses’ ability to maintain energy efficiency within the home.
Straw walls and how they are made
The method used to create them is through panels made with specific measurements, which end up as perfectly compressed solid blocks.
These blocks are usually sealed with plywood to ensure the compression of the material and prevent air from entering.
This way they can be used to create the structure of the house and ensure its strength and safety, as they are well pressed, there is minimal air entry which does not pose a fire risk.
Five reasons to choose a strawbale house
- It is a 100% sustainable material
Fibres are natural, renewable, and low-cost materials. They are usually obtained from the remains of agricultural and livestock activities, which means that obtaining and transporting them does not require the use of industrial machinery, which tends to be highly polluting.
- They are more economical
If we compare them with traditional constructions, straw houses are much cheaper due to the ease of obtaining the raw material. This undoubtedly reduces manufacturing costs.
- They save energy
This type of construction usually follows the parameters of passive houses or bio-construction that avoids thermal bridges, which achieves a thermal insulation that saves from 75% to 90% of the home’s energy.
- They are strong, safe and resistant
The houses made with straw, as we have already mentioned, usually have an enormous resistance, since the fibres are very compressed, or are added to the mixture with other elements such as clay or mud in its creation. In addition, they are flexible and light elements, making them especially useful in seismic terrain.
- Acoustic insulation
The construction elements are usually straw panels, which have a considerable thickness that is perfect for dissipating external sound, and the internal sound of the house.
How long do they usually last?
A strawbale house can last well over 100 years standing upright. What must be taken into account is that, as it is a 100% natural material, it is more exposed to rapid decomposition and special care must be taken.
For example, the base of the construction must be kept away from water. For this purpose, plaster or eaves are usually added to the construction to protect it from the weather.
Prices of strawbale houses
To give you an idea, here is a table of approximate prices from the Habitissimo portal:
Type of construction Price
Straw house 60sqm 20.000€
Straw and wood house 80sqm 45.000€
Two-storey strawbale house 120sqm 40.000€
If you are interested in sustainable housing, it is the perfect time to inform yourself and make your investment, as there are many interesting proposals that will undoubtedly make a difference to your life and the environment.
Remember that in Withfor we advise you at all times on the sale of luxury homes in Barcelona and also on the rental of luxury homes in Barcelona. Contact us whenever you want. We are at your disposal.