Archive for the ‘Construction’ Category

Flooring

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

Which flooring to choose?
I personally would recommend marble or granite, on big jobs I order the granite or marble fron Salabury, marble starts at 350baht for one sq met, thats 30 by 60cm slabs and granite 550baht per sq met, thats 40 by 80 cm slabs, obviously the larger the slabs the more expensive the stuff is, the swimming pool pictured earlier was made using 10 by 20cm pieces, these cost 100baht per sq met, we had to use small slabs as the swimming pool has curves in it, these small pieces do not look very good in a room as they are too little and look bitty.
Also using granite or marble helps to keep rooms cooler which is a main consideration when living here.

Ceramic tiles, now these seem to be the mainstay for most houses, although with them costing around 170baht upwards, I would personally spend the little bit more on marble.

Carpet, dont be ridiculous….

Wooden floors and parquat, yep these look great, parquat starts from around 450baht laid, WARNING, do not use grade “B” parquat, in the end you will hate the finished job and probably have it redone.
The main problem with parquat though is that it tends to lift outside of bathrooms and other areas where it may get damp, also it is quite high maintenance.

wooden flooring

Parquet is easy to do, yep even the novice can do this, this stuff in the picture is triple a grade, ie the best, it still has slight size differences but these will be hidden after the sanding down, so what to do first?

Now this is only suitable for aircon places as wood always feels warm and who wants to feel warm here?

Well first you need to fit 10mm ply wood down on the original floor, this has to be screwed down so there is no movement or flexing, depending on how uneven the floor is depends on how many fixings you need, this floor here was allover the place and we had to do fixings every 30cms, at your doors you have to use a solid length of wood of 10 cm wide as this is where most damage will occur from normal everyday use.

Here we can see the pieces of parquet being glued into place using ordinary wood glue, now this was the most expensive wood, yep even more expensive than teak, the teak was 700baht per sq met to buy and this stuff 900baht per sq met, “mai malaka”? well something like that.

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Electric Points

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

Electric outlets, many people spend way too much time trying to figure out where to put sockets, well as most houses here have beams every 4 meters just stick them every side of every beam and also in every corner in each room, the only ones you actually have to worry about are the ones in the kitchen and the ones that are for tvs as tvs are generally stuck in between posts, yes, some of these sockets you may never use, but as they probably only cost about 10 quid per run you may aswell have them fitted during the construction phase so the cables can be hidden rather than having it done afterwards where they have to angle grind into your freshly painted wall, then rerender it, this rerender you will see everyday that you are in that house as it will not match the original render and you will hate it.

Also while your at this stage, remember to run tv cable to each room, yes you may never have tvs in each room, but for the extra 800baht it costs for 100 meters of tv cable you might as well do it.

unfinished kitchen

As you can see by the above picture this nearly finished kitchen uses a lot of electric, just in that area alone there are 2 ovens, 1 microwave convection oven, an electric hob, 2 deep fat fryers, and a 3 phase extractor fan, for this kitchen we ran 5 sets of mains cable to it, 2 runs are kept as spare if ever a cable burns out or something like that happened.

How to run your electric cables. And what cables to use…..
1.5 is lighting cable
2.5 is mains cable for general plugs
4 is for high usage stuff, shower heaters and small aircons.
6 for the big stuff.
So you have decided where the mains from the street will run into your house, this you will connect up to a breaker box, sqaure “D” is very good, now for a 3 bedroom bungalow run from the breaker box two runs of cable 6 to each room just inside, and a seperate run for aircon, now one cable 6 run you will not use, this is your spare, make sure each run to the room is a continuos run and not made with bits of cable or joins, the box inside the room can just be covered with a facia plate, now from the cable six run spur off it for your lighting and plugs etc, yes it will probably cost an extra 2000baht per room for the spare run which isnt being used, but how much would it cost to put in later?

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Paint Or Wallpaper?

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

Wallpaper, Now this does look nice and hides all those imperfections in the walls, trouble is it is quite expensive here and after a few years due to the humidity tends to lift, wallpaper starts from about 200baht per meter length fitted, the shops selling wallpaper actually include the fitting in the price.

Paint, now Thailand is renowned for its low quality paints, also the Thais for some reason have a tendancy to mix in black paint with the white paint which then turns it grey, I have absolutely no idea why they do this.

A good quality Thai paint is TOA, a 5 gallon tub of it costs about 1,400baht, this is the exterior stuff, a lot of Thai contractors will take the tubs of paint home and then refill them using a cheaper paint, ie sefco or temco which costs about 500baht for 5 gallons, so explain to them that until the painting is finished all empty tubs stay on site, The Thais all want these empty tubs for some reason so when the job is finished let them have them.

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Insulation

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

Before even thinking about insulation make sure your roof area has a lot of height and is well vented, at midday your roof tiles will be damn hot and this heat is transferred into the loft space, the smaller the loft area the more heat build up.

Foam insualation, this is actually very good although its quite expensive at 400 baht plus per sq met, it also makes it extremely difficult for burgulars to break in through the roof, this is sprayed onto the inside of your roof tiles.

Fiberglass wrapped in foil, extremely good and very cheap and quick and easy to use.

Plaster board with a foil liner, this you should have anyway, the cost is miminal and it is reasonably good.

Insulation blocks, these are 25 baht each and are used instead of bricks, they are very good but I think cost wise they really shouldnt be used to build the whole house, if you have a main wall that has a lot of sun on it during the day then it maybe worth using on that side of the house, although you could always plant some trees on that side of the house to stop the sun hitting it.

insulation

And here is a picture of a wall being built with insulation blocks.

Double block wall

Cutting QCon blocks is easy.

qcon

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The Guest House

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

Well here we have a picture of one I made earlier, now obviously a guest house does not need to be made as luxurious as this one, this was originally going to be the maids room, but as the jacuzzi and granite floors were fitted it was realised that this was way too nice for a maids room, also the 250,000baht kitchenette was probably a bit much for a maid when all she would need would be a table and an electric wok.

Those lovely big red bricks come from Salabury, there they cost 19 baht each, here they cost 35baht each, makes quite a differance when you need a few thousand, the mortar we used between the bricks we colored with red dye and left a rough finish.

the wood for the balconey was taken from the old shack that used to be on this land, it was probably about 20 years old and was as hard as rock,I must remember to speak to the owner about compensating me for burnt out circular saws, still at least it was his router we used.

To the left of the picture is the new maids room, yep with the vegetable garden in front of it.

The ground floor of the main guest house is just a garage for parking the car, underneath that is the resovoir for the swimming pool.

But do you really need a guest house? its all more expense, especially if done to this standard.

Red Block Guest House

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Thai Scaffolding

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

Yep, it looks real dangerous, probably because it is.
Normally its done using bamboo, this house we used proper wood as we had it spare, yep wood and nails, tomorrow I shall take some pictures of our lovely scaffolding at the new job.

Scaffolding

Ok, heres a picture of the job we are doing now,(im sorry Issan Alex, i did give it a good shake but he held on)

Bamboo scaffolding

Here is a picture of what in Thailand is considered a secure fixing, amazing what you can do with some old rope and a twig.

scaffolding

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Your House

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

Now the most important rooms are the living room, the kitchen, your bedroom and your bathroom, the kids and that can live in 4 meter by 4 meter rooms and can share a bathroom, also you can buy crappy old furniture for them as the nasty little brats destroy everything.
Now obviously in your own bedroom you will want fitted cupboards etc so allow space for them, sixty cm deep is the standard depth, but that really isnt enough.
Now your bathroom is the most important room, now I personally would recommend a seperate shower area away from the bath or jacuzzi, I hate having a shower in the bath and you only need an extra 3 sq met of space.
Also twin sinks, yep splash out that extra 200 quid and make it look classy.
Anyway when you are doing your plans concentrate first on the areas that are most important, ie the areas that you use the most.
Anyway heres a few pics .

A nearly finished kitchen

Quality living at it's best

Toilet with built in bum washer

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Cess Pits

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

Yep, the bane of Thailand, you get to keep your own shite, Although there was a case last year when a Doctor chopped up his wife and put her in his cess pit, I will be the first to admit that some women nag too much but this is quite an extreme way to make use of your cess pit.

Anyway the best cess pits are the soakaway types, basically a big hole with concrete rings in, these do need a breather pipe for gases to escape, was it in Turkey a couple of years ago that a load of sewage pipes exploded?

Also you do need to flush down the toilet everynow and again some yeast to help break up the solids.

Here is a picture of the main secondry set of cess pits, Now this house was built on a high water table and the main house has seven bathrooms, there is no road drainage there so all water has to be fed into the cess pits, and this guy does not want city hall round every week to empty his cess pits or have problems with toilets backing up, so as you can see it is quite large.

Extremely large cesspit.

Above is the before picture and below is the after picture.

Now a bueatiful garden.

The averadge cess pit here in Thailand is normally one meter fifty cms deep and one meter diameter, the local council charges about 200baht to empty it, But beware of the conmen that come round offering to do it, they charge several thousand baht to empty it.

To break down the solids you can also use this stuff which is available here in Thailand, at 60 baht a bottle it seems worth it.

yeast.

yeast.

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The Land

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

So now your all ready to build, well almost, most land is to low, ie the road maybe higher or as high as your land, this is really not a good thing during the rainy season unless you like boating, now the odds are that the road you are buying your land on will be redone about 3 times over the next 10 years, now here when the redo a road they just lay on top of the original lay, so over the next 10 years the road may have rised as much as a foot, that could mean that rain water will be rushing into your land as opposed to rushing out of your land and onto the road. not good huh, so in answer to that you will need to infill your land, now here in Pattaya its 650baht for 6 cubic meter of infill, although out in the sticks its as low as 350baht per lorry load, i might add here that a Thai cubic meter for some reason is a lot smaller than an English cubic meter, yes, i do realise that metric measurements are used worldwide but you try telling the Thais what a cubic meter of anything is.
Also now is the time to decide whether or not to have that swimming pool as the dirt from there can be used as infill.

This pool turned out really nice.

Well now you are ready to rock and roll and get that house started, this is generally a period of tension between the builder and the owner, the owner will be spending his time trying to tell the builder where he wants plugs fitted and about earthing wires, while the builder is actually wondering whether to get a digger in to dig the footings, on a large house the wiring is like 3 months away, I find that it is mainly Americans that are fixated by this, I really do not understand why as I have not seen that many Thai products with a 3 pin plug.

OK, now I reckon some of you lot want some prices, now this is actually quite hard to do on a single home, I remember one place which was quite basic and a bungalow, it was 6,000baht per square meter to build, it was quite a nice farang style bungalow, but he wanted the 60,000baht toilets and not the 3,000baht ones, I mean you only use toilets for 2 things, so things like that will make your dream home cost more money.

Here is a nice picture of some land that is 5km away from Lotus in Pattaya, this prime porky worky land is selling for 1 million baht per rai.

Looks like good farming land.

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