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  1. #1
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    Thai adobe/cob style of home

    Has anyone ever constructed a cob style of home thai style.?

    My wifes father built the rice storage shed with bamboo and mud, cow shit and rice hay, its pretty cool inside considering its size and its been standing for over thirty years.

    I have looked at some of you guys alternative builds and been very impressed, i hate concrete with a passion, and looking for eco friendly builds, not because i am a eco warrior or anything just i am more impressed with the older style of home building.

    if you built a mud brick home is there a way of treating for termites ?

  2. #2
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    Though rarely used these days, because of the preperation method and general shortage of material, I've known some eccentric Thais that have applied a building scheme with termite mud. Largely appreciated for it's outstanding long-lasting properities as well as considered stronger then cements/mortars at any density.

    Pure rice powders can be incorporated into the mix to gather density for use in masonry and other applications.

    Traditionally used for kiln building or solid brick work, it's become rather a lost art.

    The chemical substance which derives from the termites that mixes with earth creates a amazingly granite like substance.....again, the preperation and gathering is labour intensive, but worth the effort if one knows what they're doing with it.

  3. #3
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    TY RS

    I have noted up north around chang mai area there seems to be a lot of cob style housing, thres was a workshop up there that used to have courses on the art though that was back in 2004, not sure if its still happning.

    my wife thinks i am mad about looking at it, though i am trying to convince her of the benfits of a possible project, unfortunately as you say its a lost art now, all the older generation have moved on and the younger generation are to intersted in the western style of housing.
    theres a bit of info on the web though not detailed enough

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    ^ could be of interest to you cockend

    http://teakdoor.com/building-in-thai...use-build.html (Bamboo Eco House Build)


    im pretty sure there was a thread somewhere about wattle and daub styles homes here in thailand, buggered if i can find it though

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yasojack
    if you built a mud brick home is there a way of treating for termites ?
    I don't think termites eat mud

    but if you are worried about any wood you may use, just pump the anti-termite stuff into the foundation area every couple of years

    any pest control company will do it

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    TY Fek ed.

    I seen the the bamboo home, do not think i could live in such a open home, could do for a holiday.

    Quote Originally Posted by sunsetter View Post
    ^ could be of interest to you cockend

    http://teakdoor.com/building-in-thai...use-build.html (Bamboo Eco House Build)


    im pretty sure there was a thread somewhere about wattle and daub styles homes here in thailand, buggered if i can find it though

  7. #7
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    Dr that was my thoughts thinking the mud would be a haven for the termites, Anyway mywife has told me to go fek myself, she ain;t living in a mud hut, so have to find a home to show her LOL

    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Yasojack
    if you built a mud brick home is there a way of treating for termites ?
    I don't think termites eat mud

    but if you are worried about any wood you may use, just pump the anti-termite stuff into the foundation area every couple of years

    any pest control company will do it

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    well, don't call it a mud hut, use another name like "eco-friendly" and "cost cutting", "energy saving" etc

    make it positive, show her a nice example, she won't be able to tell the difference between concrete and mud, dome well

  9. #9
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    her words not mine LOL.

    she said something similiar about a log cabin until i showed her one.

  10. #10
    Dan
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    I'm building an adobe house at the moment. Here's a pic of the hut I built as a tester/to teach myself how to build with adobe.



    Termites haven't been a major problem (with the walls at least - I put in a mud floor which they demolished so I had to replace that with concrete). Since you can't put abodes (or cob) directly on the ground, you need to build some kind of stem wall or plinth to build from. If that's solid & sealed, then the only way up for the termites is on the outside and you can deal with that easily enough.

    I built this two years ago and it's doing OK. The thatch didn't last and problems with that fucked up the paint (limewash) a bit and in a few places the plaster (straightforward mud) has been washed away but other than that it's OK.

    Pun pun do training courses north of Chiang Mai. There are also other people around Chiang Mai (and probably elsewhere) offering courses but to be honest, there's not a lot to learn. Get a couple of books, watch a few videos and build something small yourself; you'll discover everything you need to know pretty quickly.

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    Hi Dan

    looks interesting you got any photos of the home your building at present, would like to see, if possible.

    The hut you made how long it take you to finish, you working alone or have help?


    what thickness are the walls?
    Does the adobe stop the heat?
    what type soil you use?

    hope you not mind the questions.

    If you are building your home now, why not start a thread and share your experiences>?

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    Passed by this place under construction on way to small town north of Korat early last year.





    Last edited by BallBreaker; 04-03-2012 at 05:31 PM.

  13. #13
    Dan
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    The hut you made how long it take you to finish, you working alone or have help?
    I worked/work alone. Difficult to say how long it took because I usually work in the mornings only (dawn to lunch to avoid the heat) and whether or not I do anything depends on a variety of factors (whether I have paid work to do, what the weather's like, how lazy I'm feeling, how injured I am, etc.) but I would guess something like 2 months. It'll depend to quite a large degree on how fit and hard working you are. When I started, I wasn't used to working in the heat so I was really slow. And it is hard work - making the bricks for the house, for example, was fucking horrific so if you haven't been doing a lot of exercise recently, it won't be fun, at least to begin with.
    what thickness are the walls?
    The adobes are 40cm long x 20cm wide x 10cm high, plus another centimeter or two for mud plaster. I had a look at the New Mexico building codes which specify that the walls shouldn't be more than ten times higher than they are wide. These are close to that. In the house, I've broken this rule but they're not carrying much weight so I'm not too worried about it.
    Does the adobe stop the heat?
    To a certain extent, yes but without mechanical cooling, in the long run you can't be any cooler than the average temperature outside. And, unless you're living in shipping container or a greenhouse, I would guess that design (shading, orientation, etc) is going to be more important than what you build from.
    what type soil you use?
    Stuff in the ground. Our soil has a fairly low clay content - it's mainly sandy/silty but it's fine for making adobes. When I started I made loads of different mixes with extra straw, rice husk, clay, sand, and cement. Apart from the cement, it seemed to make absolutely no difference whatsoever to how strong they were. The adobes with added cement were stronger but the mud plaster wouldn't adhere very well so unless you've got some need for extra-strong bricks, I don't think it's necessary.
    If you are building your home now, why not start a thread and share your experiences
    I can't really be arsed and it's so on-off that it would be more effort that it's worth. I haven't really been bothering to take pictures either but if you have any specific questions, PM me and I'll do my best to answer. Here are two pictures of work in progress that I found but they don't show a lot:



    And some time later:


  14. #14
    ENT
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    Head West along Ratawithi Rd (it has the UN Irish pub halfway along on the right)from Moon Maung, the road running along the moat on the East side of the old city Chiangmai.

    On the left corner (at the traffic lights) of Ratawithi Rd and Ratpakinai Rd , you'll see a large white wooden building set in a large garden area.
    To the left of it is a smaller single storey structure.
    This is a CM uni construction in adobe block, using all sorts of alternative ideas.

    I watched it being built from scratch and learned a lot off that project.
    Looks really nice, it's as strong as anything else around.
    The uni has written a small book on it, for sale.

    Worth taking a look.
    Good luck.

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    Thailand Expat ossierob's Avatar
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    good luck....I am going to build another place but I want it constructed of timber...I am thinking about some form of traditional Thai style place...

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    I think that it is great that you are building a house named after the baseball great Ty Cobb

    Ty Cobb - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    He was always one of my favorite players..

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy View Post
    yes, and UB40 were a great band
    No they where shit and that is not a comparison...

  18. #18
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    thanks guys for the input and pics.

    will contact dan, we are still deciding which way to go.

    i would like to possibly make the home with Adobe (cob) though have the interior/exterior with lumber.but as usual its convincing the missus.

    I am getting there shes happy with concrete.Argh

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    Chiangmai life construction are a company that will build a cob house with western building practises of cob, thick walls, mixed rice husk and finishing. Not the thai version of thin walls, badly mixed lumps and terrible finishing.

    They are just off canal road on the way to hang dong, they have a school that they built also. They also do rammed earth, and bamboo structures like roofs.

    They have a cob showroom, which is a single story place about 75m2 for 1 million badt. They are happy to just do the cob however, and i suspect this will bring the cost down, if you get the other work done yourself. There are a few people building in Chiangmai.

    I would love to use cob, and we are thinking now that we have done wood that cob will be next. you just need clay (alot in chiangmai) and a harworking crew. There are many good books, about the subject, but i wouldnt undertake unless you had some experience like Dan, as you would need to help instruct the builders, in some key differences in building.

    I have worked for cob builders companies in Devon, uk and learnt about building with old and new buildings. Im sure you will find help here if you need it. All the best!
    im hot its so hot today.......milk was a bad choice!

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    If you use concrete for the base, say AAC doubled up and then make this the plinth. Then you can use lifts of cob/adobe on to this. Using wooden joists and wood interior walls, or again AAC block. This would be a nice compromise and is done in Devon more so now for regulation and to bridge the gap of frozen land and cob.
    You can also use metal caps if you are worried about termites, rammed earth would elimanate all these problems and looks very nice.

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    Thanks Ben much appreciated, just been looking at the website and it looks impressive.

    anyone interested heres there address

    Chiang Mai Life Construction - Building with Bamboo and Earth - Thailand

    this stuff really helps.

    we have 6 rai of a land thats got a good clay content, that we have been thinking of converting into a fish/fresh water prawn farm, could well be the way to go.
    Last edited by Yasojack; 04-03-2012 at 06:06 PM.

  22. #22
    Dan
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    They have a cob showroom, which is a single story place about 75m2 for 1 million badt.
    I think I might go into business. That's a lot of money to pay for someone to move mud from here to there.

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    I think if you have your own clay for them to mix this could reduce the price as they normally mix offsite and bring it in. Digging out a lake.pond is a good way to get the clay, there is a simple way of seeing what composition you have.

    i think its, put 1/2 into a glass jar, and fill with water 3/4, shake and let settle it should then settle into aggregate, clay and water and give you a percentage of its composition. Normally its aggregate/sand 50-70% , clay 20-50% for good composition. Another is to mix your clay with some rice husk and water into a ball by rolling in your hand, then drop from hand held out straight height. If it splats too much clay, it falls apart too much sand/agg it should just stay as a ball.
    Im sure you can find lots of information. most Thai people use too much clay and get shrinkage and cracking. They also make the walls very thin, i would say that a 35cm-40 cm wall thickness is best with a 25cm minimum.
    You need to put a lime coat and render to finish to let it breathe, hydraulic lime comes in a bag and you mix it with water and sand as a 3:1, 4:1 mix.
    There are special techniques to rendering with lime not impossible but to get a nice finish. Anyway, good luck on your adventure sounds fun!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    They have a cob showroom, which is a single story place about 75m2 for 1 million badt.
    I think I might go into business. That's a lot of money to pay for someone to move mud from here to there.
    Yes, it had an amazing architectural bamboo roof, and was finished very well to a western finish, that ive not seen in a lot of these builds. But very expensive. Like i say this might be for the soil if your soil is not right for making on the land, labour etc etc. I am sure with your own soil and competent work force you could halve this number, or get it down to silly numbers. The more experience and planning the better and cheaper the outcome! I like your little hut, im thinking of building somewhere near Phitsanulok in cob, but give me 5 years to get over this wood build first.

  25. #25
    Dan
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    i think its, put 1/2 into a glass jar, and fill with water 3/4, shake and let settle it should then settle into aggregate, clay and water and give you a percentage of its composition. Normally its aggregate/sand 50-70% , clay 20-50% for good composition.
    Yes, you can do that but (I did) but it's wildly inaccurate and for making adobes it doesn't seem to make much difference what proportions of clay/sand the soil has. Jon at Punpun has made adobes all over Thailand and he says he's never found soil which couldn't be used as it is. I can believe that. I think it's easy to get too carried away with this stuff; it's peasant technology after all.

    Im sure you can find lots of information. most Thai people use too much clay and get shrinkage and cracking. They also make the walls very thin, i would say that a 35cm-40 cm wall thickness is best with a 25cm minimum.
    Is that for cob or adobe? For abobe, unless it's got a vaulted roof or more than one floor, 40 cm is serious over-kill.

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