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This is the story of the construction of the Mundaring Ecostay strawbale guesthouses. Click on an image for a slideshow and for image descriptions. Please be patient while the photos load.
Slab concrete leveled and screeded.
Bricklayer course at bottom. Strawbales were to be raised of the concrete slab in case of flooding.
Coarse river sand was screened for termite control.
Sloped concrete layer towards outer brick course, with weep holes every few metres.
Screened sand 1-3mm prevents termite entry.
On the second building we used a commercial screened stone, Graniteguard, for termite control.
Door frames with plasterer’s mesh fixed. This is how bales were held to the window and door frames.
Two workshops were held, one for each building.
About two dozen people helped to erect the walls of building one in a weekend.
Getting corners square is crucial.
Bales were impaled over rods fixed to slab.
Door frames were recycled timber.
Lintels were placed over windows.
Slowly the walls went up. It was about 40ºC that day!!
Bracing frames important to keep everything square.
Wall plate raised on top of bales.
Wall plate pulled down (nuts on threaded rod) over a couple of weeks to compress bales.
Bamboo pins (from property) inserted to hold plate in position and secure bales from movement.
Straightening wall takes time and effort.
Bales whipper-snipped to obtain flat finish.
Render was put on by machine and then hand-troweled to cover bales.
Black plastic covered walls in case of rain.
A pug mill machine mixed sand, lime, lime putty and a little cement and then pumped this mixture.
First coat of render. Each building takes three coats to obtain final finish.
Building two, a little smaller, was easier to build. Again, a weekend or so to put all walls up.
A small second layer of bales was required to extend walls for the ‘west wing’.
Window frame for the leadlight.
The whole of the second course was hand-troweled.
All electrical wiring needs to be cut in and then rendered over.
All power points, light fixtures and so on were fixed by inserting wooden stakes into the bales.
Internal timber-framed stud walls were built and fixed with steel rods into the bales at ends. Roof beams were built.
Roof panels were installed. These are insulated panels that are essentially the ceiling, roof and insulation all-in-one - from Austral Insulation in Malaga.
Foam insulation, the packing material of the roof panels, was used to insulate all internal walls and roof spaces.
A second-hand leadlight window was used for additional natural lighting in the main bedroom.
Slowly the buildings were taking shape.
Grease trap for the kitchen greywater. Both buildings have a combined greywater system that is used to irrigate gardens and trees surrounding the buildings.
Solar HWS and 1 kW solar array that is grid connected. Hot water system is evacuated tube, with active pumping from tank on the ground and LPG boosted. A second pump circulates hot water in a loop so that hot water supply is almost instantaneous at any tap.
Front and rear doors were stained with a tea solution (yes, black tea), then sealed with varnish, while internal doors were coated with bees wax in a pure turpentine solution. Recycled doors and widows were dipped in caustic soda solution (performed on property) to remove all paint.
Verandahs were prepared for concreting.
Gravel stone was sprinkled into concrete surface.
Stone screeded in.
When concrete nearly set, it is gently washed to remove surface sand and cement to expose the aggregate below.
Finished exposed aggregate finish.
All timber was stained and sealed.
Stormwater pipework installed to carry rainwater to tank.
Much of stormwater supply to tank is a ‘wet’ system. Brushwood fencing installed.
Rainwater supplies both buildings, with mains water back-up.
Greywater irrigates plants around buildings.
Rear courtyard. The large bamboo grove was already on the property, and makes a cooling screen.
Finished – main building.
Second bedroom is mainly a room to relax in – TV, DVD, CD player and writer’s desk.
Bathroom and laundry.
Kitchen. Benchtop made from recycled bowling alley timber.
Wicking garden bed at the front – effective, but low water usage.
Rammed earth retaining wall being constructed in front of second building.
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4110 Phillips Road Mundaring WA 6073 | 0448081793 | (08) 9295 1933 |
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