I think this page on that web site is particularly informative. Very few buildings have no design maintenance issues that develop over time. Either from aging of the construction material, from the effects of weather or a combination of poor design and poor construction techniques. Will straw bale buildings last? http://thesustainablehome.net/?cat=9
From this article it would seen that wall stability is a problem and creates a maintenance issue sealing and painting cracks in the exterior stucco. “Cracks must be filled. I’ve seen a house that went maybe 8 years without crack filling and painting, and it was fine! But I’ve also seen disastrous results from unfilled cracks. Again, the site seems to make all the difference, but there’s no sense pushing your luck. Fill your cracks within a few months, or if you plaster in the fall, wait until the following spring or early summer – but not years.”
Rail Road style buildings with large overhangs on each wall to protect the building from rain sounds like the way to go. “Driving rain is the enemy of straw bale houses, and gable ends are particularly susceptible. If you’re thinking of building a straw bale house on an exposed site – a hill or a lakeshore, or any site where you might consider using a wind turbine – your design must be impeccable. You might want to consider a bungalow with good overhangs all the way around, you should certainly avoid a large gable end on a windward side of the house. Gable ends in general should have some kind of skirt roof, and you may want to consider siding the upper part if it’s large or particularly exposed.”
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