Natural building is a wonderful construction method which leaves a small carbon footprint, works in harmony with nature and utilises local materials in their raw form. It is a fun and creative way to build and creates a porous building with good air quality. Common materials used are wood, clay, hemp and lime.
As a business we are passionate about Natural Building. We have used our frames in combination with both straw bale and hemp walls. Our frames and these lightweight, highly-efficient wall materials have made perfect partners. This combination utilises the strength of a frame and its ability to fully support the roof. Natural building is increasing in its popularity in Ireland and is now becoming a mainstream construction option.
Straw is warm, tactile and forgiving in use. Straw walls are quick to construct and require no adhesive material to form a bond, instead relying on pins to tie the structure together. Straw bales are relatively cheap, can be found locally and are easy to handle. The structural strength of wood combines perfectly with the high-insulation qualities of straw bale walls. Aesthetically the strong smooth beams contrast wonderfully with the soft textured finish of a naturally plastered straw wall. Whatever waste is left over can be gathered up and used again, burned, or safely discarded.
Hemp-insulating hemp fibres are mixed with lime to create walls which are shuttered into position around a frame before being rendered inside and out. It is possible to blanket an entire frame with hemp under the floor, in the walls and in the roof, leaving a building with very few thermal breaks.
Lime-Lime binders and renders protect natural materials by allowing moisture to pass through their layers towards the exterior of the building. This has great importance because it means that moisture does not become trapped inside the fabric of the building where it can lead to decay and mould growth.
Clay-clay can be used as a binder to build walls and as a render. There are several ways to build using clay such as cob, clay slip and rammed earth. If the local soil has suitable levels of clay it can make for a cost-effective building material.
If you are considering an eco-build or self-build, we urge you to consider incorporating a Traditional Frame. In addition to all the usual advantages, a traditional timber frame brings immediate benefits to the construction site by providing cover for storing and constructing the wall panels, particularly important for natural materials. Feel free to contact us about your project or idea. We can provide consultancy throughout the design and build process.
We have also compiled a list of helpful resources and suppliers which is linked below. All our suppliers are those with whom we have experience are happy to recommend to our own customers.