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Damian Murray

Building a western style house compared to Thai build

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5 minutes ago, Muhendis said:

1875662067_BuriRamAdayout2006059.thumb.jpg.c8bce866624e7aa75e822eb8c549251f.jpgYup. They certainly have.

Some temples yes.. houses no..

 

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We are currently building a house. Having done the calculations much of the heat comes via the roof rather than the walls. We have a large roof area and effective solar chimney at the ridge and air intakes at the soffit. The roof has a minimum 1 metre overhang. The roof ventillation works using natural ventillation to create a draft using the roof solar energy. The result is a very cool house.

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1 hour ago, themerg said:

I personally like the Thai style. I think it is for the climate and the culture.

Yes, there is a lot of bricks, then concrete over the bricks. There is also a lot of rebar.

There are  (3) two-story houses being built on the property where I rent.

I have watched the building of one house that is 3 meters from my front door.

I will move into that  rental house on September 1, 2018.

Yes, the Thai building way and style is different from the USA, but this is Thailand, not the USA.

Many hundreds of thousands of Thai buildings have been around for 700 years ?

My question is : Do you plan on living 700 years ?

Go with the Thai style, otherwise, you look like and outcast.

Thai style is nice to look at.. and I used elements of Thai architecture in my place..  Unfortunately many houses are being built with no regards to the climate.  They continue to build with one layer of small brick or cement block, no insulation and what they produce is an oven.  And a very energy hungry oven it is!  My neighbor built a large house next to me.. he went for the biggest place he could build for his money. Now he complains that it gets very hot and he has had to install a number of air-con units. They are strapped for cash paying for their build and now they have large electricity bills..  Our place is smaller but stays cool (cavity walls & insulation).. there is one air-con in our daughter's bedroom that gets used a bit 2 or 3 months of the year.. our electricity bill is normally 700 Bt a month when the daughter is using her air-con it goes up to 1,000  .... the neighbor..  2,500 a month often more.. 

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25 minutes ago, Laza 45 said:

Some temples yes.. houses no..

 

Agreed.  I suspect there is not one Thai normal house even 200 years old let alone 700. The traditional teak house would have the greatest longevity and even that requires maintenance to last for such a period,  not something the Thais are keen on.

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29 minutes ago, Esso49 said:

Agreed.  I suspect there is not one Thai normal house even 200 years old let alone 700. The traditional teak house would have the greatest longevity and even that requires maintenance to last for such a period,  not something the Thais are keen on.

It is an interesting point.. Temples built of stone were built for the Gods to reside in.. mere mortals lived in houses of wood.  No one lived in Angkor Wat or the other temples of the Khmer period.  It would be interesting to see the homes of the elite of that period.. I'm sure they were grande.  The homes of the poor workers were probably not much different to wood and bamboo structures that you see in rural Thailand and Cambodia today.. 

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Minimum 15 cm fiberglass insulation in the ceilings.  Vent the attic and don't forget to make air inlets in the eaves.  Aerated block outside, red brick inside double walls.

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45 minutes ago, Laza 45 said:

It is an interesting point.. Temples built of stone were built for the Gods to reside in.. mere mortals lived in houses of wood.  No one lived in Angkor Wat or the other temples of the Khmer period.  It would be interesting to see the homes of the elite of that period.. I'm sure they were grande.  The homes of the poor workers were probably not much different to wood and bamboo structures that you see in rural Thailand and Cambodia today.. 


Indeed.
I've visited many temple sites in Thailand and Cambodia over the last couple of years and the one thing that stands out (besides the temples themselves) is that there are no other buildings (shops, homes, restaurants, etc). At the height of the Khmer Empire, Angkor is thought to have been the largest city in the world, larger than Rome or London or any city in China at the time. (That would apply in terms of population as well as the total area the city occupied at it's greatest point.)

Most of the homes and businesses, if not all of them, would have been built of bamboo, reed and grass (thatch) mats with dirt floors. I've seen a couple "buildings" that were nothing but a small rectangle of stone (laterite usually) maybe 2-3 feet high and that was it. The plaques (if there are any) would note that the structure was "probably" where the monks lived. The upper portion of the walls and roof would have been made of bamboo and thatch most likely.

The "elite" probably lived in grand palaces made of the finest teak, but likely with roofs similar to everyone else's (i.e. made of thatch and bamboo). I read something awhile back about how the Khmer never mastered the art of roof building (using beams and trusses) and that is why so many structures that have survived to this day, have no roofs as they too were originally constructed of thatch and bamboo.

The larger temples used bricks (and in some cases tiles) but had to make them in the "step" pattern, with each layer slightly further in until they met at the top. This helped give them their distinctive shapes and allowed them to survive until now.

However, in these days we tend to have better (?) quality building materials and better (?) building expertise and the ability (?) to construct homes that are more weather resistant. I'm sure if we come back in a thousand years from now, Walking Street will still have a mass of go-go bars along it's length and there will still be evidence of many (non-religious) buildings that future archaeologists will be able to identify.
I've been in war zones where almost every house you see had been damaged by bombs, artillery, tank shells, rockets and bullets. In many cases the roofs were gone (often made of wood and burned or collapsed) but a lot of the time the walls were still standing (just with a few new holes in them) and the foundations were still sound (more or less). I spent 5 months living in the remains of an old warehouse that was missing it's roof entirely but the walls and floor were still OK so the engineers cleaned it up and slapped a roof on it and we were good to go.

I suspect that a lot of current homes made of brick and cement will also survive for centuries, assuming they aren't torn down by future generations for whatever reason.

I also suspect that those future archaeologists will look at many of the surviving structures of "our" time and wonder "what the hell" were these used for and why do so many of them have raised platforms in the middle of them with stainless steel poles sticking out of them !?!?

 

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17 hours ago, Muhendis said:

Outside the house there is bright sunshine which can be devastatingly hot and, even though the air is moving it feels hot. Inside the house the internal walls never heat up to external ambient which in turn keeps the air cooler. This is simple, basic physics. It is not a revolutionary discovery although I suspect you think otherwise? Don't forget that the bricks and mortar store cool as well as heat. This can be a problem in the night time when the temperature stored in the walls is higher than the cooler air outside. 

Ok so you live in a very quiet area that gets "quite cold" every night....you leave windows open all night

and the inside of the house "gets cold"  then at sunrise you close all windows..to keep the cold in..

during the day eventually the inside and outside ambient temperature  becomes equal ?

 

Quote

the second law of thermodynamics boils down to the following fact: heat flows from hot to cold until everything is at the same temperature.

 

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21 hours ago, Damian Murray said:

Thank you so much guys for all your tips and hints, I think my main issues were about tying the blocks into the colums which my Thai wife said doesn't happen too much, her parents house has major cracks in the corners where it hasn't been tied in, I do understand that you will have settling cracks no problem but looks like I'll just have to insist on colums ties during the build, also with the cavity wall, I'm trying to keep the heat out, I don't mind going overkill on the insulation if it will def work, another quick question, has anyone ever used block and beem for the sub floor? Is it cheaper than a solid concrete floor as my wife wants the house raised a few mts of the ground

 

Have not used that style. There are two main type of floor, one is fill with sand/earth and pour a slab on top, The other, which sounds like what you want, is long slabs laid on top of the footing-beam-thingys. These slabs are a bit flexible, so they support them with Eucalyptus during construction. On top of the beams they then lay wire-mesh and pour concrete, another 5cm or thereabouts.

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19 hours ago, HHTel said:

After initially living in a rented house with single block walls, I went for double skin (cavity) walls.  The heat transferred from a single wall that has the sun stays hot on the inside just like a storage heater.  I have an insulated roof, cavity walls with foam insulation and even without aircon, the house remains cool inside.

I agree about the sun on the walls. I made sure we had sufficient roof overhang that I never have the sun on the walls. It makes a big difference and I think is worth considering. An added benefit is the covered outdoor space (terrace/patio/verandah) which is very useful.

2016-06-02_02.jpg

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1 hour ago, johng said:

Ok so you live in a very quiet area that gets "quite cold" every night....you leave windows open all night

and the inside of the house "gets cold"  then at sunrise you close all windows..to keep the cold in..

during the day eventually the inside and outside ambient temperature  becomes equal ?

 

Quote

the second law of thermodynamics boils down to the following fact: heat flows from hot to cold until everything is at the same temperature.

Absolutely spot on johng. The only factor not included is time and it is the insulating materials which affect that. (By the way you're not keeping the cold in so much as keeping the heat out).

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6 hours ago, fredge45 said:

Minimum 15 cm fiberglass insulation in the ceilings.  Vent the attic and don't forget to make air inlets in the eaves.  Aerated block outside, red brick inside double walls.

You're absolute right, but it merely sound like a house for a utterly cold Northern country with 15 cm mineral wool over ceilings...⛄

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1 hour ago, phibunmike said:

I agree about the sun on the walls. I made sure we had sufficient roof overhang that I never have the sun on the walls. It makes a big difference and I think is worth considering. An added benefit is the covered outdoor space (terrace/patio/verandah) which is very useful.

2016-06-02_02.jpg

Mine's a two story house so a roof overhang doesn't work for shade.  Talking of cavity walls, every wall in the house both upstairs and down are double skin.  Not quite sure how that happened but it does mean there are no visible pillars.

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54 minutes ago, Muhendis said:

. (By the way you're not keeping the cold in so much as keeping the heat out).

Which fundamentally is the same? In the summertime we rarely have any windows open which keeps the heat from outside coming in, the "insulation" keeps the inside cool, if it gets too warm or humid (more of an issue than heat a lot of times!) we put AC on at 28c which keeps the inside cool & dry with minimal losses to the outside! ? 

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I designed my own home and went for the cavity wall construction and it does work. There is no dispute that if things are left long enough they will equalise  but the cavity wall slows down the heat penetration and keeps the interior cool from having the AC on one evening through to the next. Prior to the house being built I lived in my wife's family home just a few yards away and certainly saw the benefit. 

I sourced units and built my own western style kitchen. The builder couldn't understand why I wanted the kitchen windowsill at 1m, Thai standard is 800mm but when he saw it finished with my UK washing machine under the worktop it sunk in.

As someone has mentioned, it is essential the foundations are more than adequate otherwise wall cracks are almost inevitable. Mine has been up 9 years now and the only cracks came from concrete shrinkage. Our builder was in a bit of a hurry to finish off and tiled the bathrooms before the concrete had fullly cured, some of the tiles that had been cut to shape developed a crack from the cut corner.

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