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  1. #1
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    Brick or blocks?

    I have absolutely no knowledge of these things, so what may be a dumb question....

    I'm planning to re-build a house we own up in Issan sometime in the future, and wondered whether brick or breeze block is best. I'm a little wary of the tiny bricks used in Thailand after being used to the larger and more solid-looking ones in the UK. Are breeze blocks just as strong? I'd guess they are cheaper.

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    The standard bricks and blocks here are not load bearing, red bricks make a stronger wall.

  3. #3
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    consider using these for rooms that have afternoon sun on the walls.

    Q-CON aerated concrete :

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    I'm going to add to that.

    Pretty much all the houses here are built on the concrete frame and column principle with various materials used to fill in the gaps between the columns, so load bearing is not an issue.

    There are basically three types of building material used to fill the gaps.

    Small red bricks: which are machine extruded or mould cast. These are air dried and pretty crappy. You will usually see that the mortar joint used has a lot more cement component than you will see in Europe and is about as thick as the brick itself.

    Cinder blocks (this is probably what you are calling 'breeze blocks'): which vary in both size and quality. The majority of houses (and certainly the cheaper ones) seem to be built with 4" block. All these blocks have some sort of hollow core and builders frequently tip excess mortar into the core.

    Thermal insulating block: They can be recognised by usually being white and always solid. Again they come in various thicknesses up to 20cm.

    Of the three types, the last ones, sold as Q Con or Superblock are the most expensive but have far better insulating properties.

    Thai builders will often tell you that the red bricks have the best insulation - that is bollocks, anything except the insulating block are crap at keeping heat out. If you want to cut down on your A/C usage go for the thermal blocks.
    Lord, deliver us from e-mail.

  5. #5
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal
    Small red bricks: which are machine extruded or mould cast. These are air dried and pretty crappy.
    Are you sure about that, Dougal ?

    In Phrae they are always fired in a kiln

  6. #6
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    I have seen them fired here as well, so maybe just in some places..

  7. #7
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    Pattaya they are sun baked, on my way one time from Cambodia to Ayutthaya I saw rice husk baked ones.

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    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    ^ All the bricks here are done with rice husks

  9. #9
    The Pikey Hunter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal
    Thai builders will often tell you that the red bricks have the best insulation - that is bollocks, anything except the insulating block are crap at keeping heat out.
    I find most things builders tell me here are bollocks.

  10. #10
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    in brisbane they have just started to make walls out of plastic hollow blocks which clip together and use cement to hold them ( great the bricks actually interlock together instead of sitting on top of eacher other thai style)
    the bricks have interlocking spouts one on the top and one on the bottom so when they lock together you can fill them with water from the roof drains/ hey presto a cool wall to drop the temp in the house and an extra water source,they have only started to trail these . but you never know. Cheaper to design something in thailand and make there.
    have fun building

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    I rather like the idea of having an outer wall of red brick, an air gap and an inner wall of Q-Block.

    But unlike in European designs where the air gap traps stationary air, use design to encourage air flow to remove heat from the outer wall.

    But it requires some thought on how to creat that air flow while keeping bugs out of the airgap.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itchy
    But it requires some thought on how to creat that air flow while keeping bugs out of the airgap.
    ...and there you have the answer to why it isn't done.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal View Post

    There are basically three types of building material used to fill the gaps.

    Small red bricks: which are machine extruded or mould cast. These are air dried and pretty crappy. You will usually see that the mortar joint used has a lot more cement component than you will see in Europe and is about as thick as the brick itself.

    Cinder blocks

    Thermal insulating block: .
    there is a fourth type, which I have just used. These are hand made small red-brown bricks; they are about the same size as the red ones with holes but are solid. They are fired properly and are very hard and can be load bearing. They also look much better. They cost about B1.5 each, more expensive but worth it
    I have reported your post

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy
    They cost about B1.5 each, more expensive but worth it
    If you are referring to the brick on the right you were robbed, I only paid 80 satang.



    I'm not sure that I would trust them to carry any substantial load, certainly not a roof. But you are right they look much nicer than the machine extruded ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Itchy
    I rather like the idea of having an outer wall of red brick, an air gap and an inner wall of Q-Block.
    This is the only house that I have seen that uses true cavity wall insulation.



    The builder is filling the void with rock wool slabs. Personally I would have used a double skin of 6cm thermal block and left the air gap.

    Note that the builder is using long thermal blocks instead of concrete to create a lintel over the doors and windows.

  16. #16
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by corvettelover
    in brisbane they have just started to make walls out of plastic hollow blocks which clip together
    Interesting.
    A few years back someone in Oz came up with what I thought was a really good idea. They were recycling old plastic to form fence posts, that last longer than wood or metal and are lighter than concrete.
    Are these bricks made from recycled plastic ?
    Do they suffer from UV degradation or can you render over then ?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal View Post
    I'm going to add to that.

    Pretty much all the houses here are built on the concrete frame and column principle with various materials used to fill in the gaps between the columns, so load bearing is not an issue.

    There are basically three types of building material used to fill the gaps.

    Small red bricks: which are machine extruded or mould cast. These are air dried and pretty crappy. You will usually see that the mortar joint used has a lot more cement component than you will see in Europe and is about as thick as the brick itself.

    Cinder blocks (this is probably what you are calling 'breeze blocks'): which vary in both size and quality. The majority of houses (and certainly the cheaper ones) seem to be built with 4" block. All these blocks have some sort of hollow core and builders frequently tip excess mortar into the core.

    Thermal insulating block: They can be recognised by usually being white and always solid. Again they come in various thicknesses up to 20cm.

    Of the three types, the last ones, sold as Q Con or Superblock are the most expensive but have far better insulating properties.

    Thai builders will often tell you that the red bricks have the best insulation - that is bollocks, anything except the insulating block are crap at keeping heat out. If you want to cut down on your A/C usage go for the thermal blocks.
    Totally agree with you Dougal, the best insultation blocks are Q-con or superblock, the down side to them is they are a little brittle.
    There is NO insualtion whatsoever in the red bricks even if your double them up top make double walls they are still crap, on the plus side though is there cheap & very very hard, the main reasons the Thai builders use them is there cheap.
    Any Thai builder who says there insultation blocks are talking SHIT

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Itchy
    I rather like the idea of having an outer wall of red brick, an air gap and an inner wall of Q-Block.
    This is the only house that I have seen that uses true cavity wall insulation.



    The builder is filling the void with rock wool slabs. Personally I would have used a double skin of 6cm thermal block and left the air gap.

    Note that the builder is using long thermal blocks instead of concrete to create a lintel over the doors and windows.
    Not keen on the empty air gap between cavity walls, bredding ground for geckos etc, the cavity is not a bad idea but fill it will foam or rock wool

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dickie
    Not keen on the empty air gap between cavity walls, bredding ground for geckos etc
    There is a fairly massive void in the roof. I don't think the extra bit between the walls is really going to make a lot of difference to the breeding habits of the various bits of wildlife that a house collects.

  20. #20
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    ^Plus there tends to be that whole outdoor area known as "nature" where all sorts of creatures seem to breed at will.

  21. #21
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    Thanks for your help and advice. There's some useful info there, but I can't help feeling a little nervous about Thai construction materials and methods.

  22. #22
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    Its the same as European standards, so what are you worried about when I say Euro I do mean places like East Germany and places like that

  23. #23
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    All joking aside. It is not something to undertake lightly if you have no experience in that area. Any reliable and honest builder who can show you examples of other houses he has built should be able to either build from scratch or remodel an existing house, but - and it's a big but - you need to have a very clear idea in your head as to what you want, right down to the minutest details.

    The words "it's not quite what I had in mind" coming from a customer after something is complete are ones that every builder from Khon Kaen to Kensington are familiar with.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal View Post
    The words "it's not quite what I had in mind" coming from a customer after something is complete are ones that every builder from Khon Kaen to Kensington are familiar with.
    Agreed. It is all about you knowing exactly what you want, and making sure you have communicated it

    I have had several conversations with builders and architects, and they seemed to understand what I wanted. Later I have thought about a remark they made and realised they were completely off-track, so I had to go over the thing again.

    A typical problem is that most Thai builders and architects find it difficult to grasp any new idea or method. They usually like to do it in "the way it is done in Thailand". Any new method needs a lot of explanation, but once they have grasped it, then they do a good job.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrAndy
    A typical problem is that most Thai builders and architects find it difficult to grasp any new idea or method. They usually like to do it in "the way it is done in Thailand". Any new method needs a lot of explanation, but once they have grasped it, then they do a good job.
    Case in point: We're having a house built in a moo baan. I wanted lots of outdoor electrical outlets. The electricians installed the conduit and boxes for each one that we specified. The guys doing the plastering (rendering) figured that so many outlets must be a mistake so the plastered over all but the ones that were in the original spec. We just got done talking to the architect about this but he was ahead of us, had noticed the problem and told the electricians to find and expose the covered boxes.

    You have to go and look almost every day....

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