Cement Block House

Discussion in 'General Homesteading & Building' started by horology, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. horology

    horology Active Member

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    We have just begun construction on a concrete and steel reinforced cement block house. It's 20' by 24' with a 12' by 24' covered deck (for more living space). We are building this way because it will withstand extremely high winds.

    Anything we should know about construction before we get too far into it?

    Thanks.
    Sheila
     
  2. Turtle

    Turtle Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if you have ever heard of this company before, but it might be worth your time to check out their website. It's actually for castle construction, but it may give you some ideas, as the concepts are similar.
    http://www.castlemagic.com/color.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011

  3. horology

    horology Active Member

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    Cool site! Thanks!
     
  4. Meerkat

    Meerkat Seeking The Truth

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    A house is as good as the foundation it is built on.The most important step is the first one.A good architech s worth his fees.We used a commercial one on our block house.Our contractors,called it 'OVERKILL".i SAID "GOOD THATS WHAT I WANT'.
    Do your homework before you build.
     
  5. horology

    horology Active Member

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    Thanks for the input!
     
  6. SageAdvicefarmgirl

    SageAdvicefarmgirl Well-Known Member

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    Pie Towns a cool place, have visited many times...tried to buy land in Quemado once, couldn't work it out. Too bad, I had a general contracotr lic in NM at the time! I'd love to design/build your place! Good foundation is key, dig below the frost line, always go wider and deeper with a foundation than they recommend. If possible, slush blocks every 4 foot on center with rebar and concrete for strength.

    My kids still joke with me about the fact I was so bummed that the locals call Datil "dattle" instead of da-TIL The joke is "dattle be the day" if I ever get to buy land around there! Its beautiful, tho!
     
  7. Calebra

    Calebra Well-Known Member

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    Insulation . How are you getting that done?
     
  8. Dropy

    Dropy Member

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    I have seen in some block houses a foam type of insulation they blow into the tops of the walls once all the block is set and done. it fills the blocks with the foam and increases the insulation factor a great deal. this also increases the strength of the walls and security they provovide.

    just a thought
     
  9. Calebra

    Calebra Well-Known Member

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    THe walls of the blocks will become a bridging point for cold.Not the best idea.
    I am seriously considering a 3/4 underground house with berm-ed difference.
    I do timberframe for a living but for an isolated house I am seriously looking for a structure that can provide a better defensive position. So far bermed/underground block house with hardfoamon the outside seems one of the best ways to go. I wish there was a more natural approach to insulation on those but being mostly underground I don't see much else.
     
  10. Turtle

    Turtle Well-Known Member

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    Only thing I can think of would be to build the walls of three or four-foot thick stone, like old castles, but that would take a while and get expensive.

    What do you mean by a "bridging point"? Do you mean the differences in temperature transfer due to the thickness of the block's structure and the foam in between? I wouldn't have thought of that, but it's a good point.
     
  11. VUnder

    VUnder Well-Known Member

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    What about ICF instead of cinder blocks? They are much stronger and much more insulated than cinder. When you insulate cinder blocks, you lose the strength of putting in concrete. If you pour cinder blocks full of concrete, you lose the insulation. If you are already started on this, be sure to put some durawall in between the courses of blocks. Most only put them every other layer at most. I have torn down some block buildings with heavy equipment, and the durawall makes a drastic difference, and it is easy to get and use.
     
  12. MichaelK

    MichaelK I'm an O- ISTJ Aries rat!

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    The cabin on our land is a lot like what you are describing. When we first bought the land for our retreat it had a partially finished 2 room concrete block building with a foundation, doors and windows, but no roof. When you walked in the door you could look up at the sky.

    Our first major project was to roof the cabin. I decided on a simple gable rafter roof so we could have living space on the second floor. First I used a hammer drill to make holes for the sill bolts. Used 1/2 inch redheads. After mounting 2X8 on top of the blocks I build the second floor; first laying joists, then 1/2 plywood. After the floor was complete I prepared a 24 foot long ridgepole by splicing two 2X12's with plywood. Once the ridgepole was propped 9 feet above the second floor, I started cutting the rafters with a 9 over 12 slope. Plywood over the rafters, then felt, then metal sheathing. The whole project took a whole summer of weekends.

    In your case, plan ahead as to where you will want openings and fixtures. Imbed bolts and places to insert screws before you start finishing. I would not put insulation in the blocks. If you want a really strong block structure, fill the blocks with rebar and concrete. Then insulate the outsides of the blocks.

    In my case I am anchoring 2X4's with a nail gun to the walls, then laying foam insulation. This will be covered with standard sheetrock. Around the woodstoves, I replaced the sheetrock with cement board. It was a pain to work with, but now the perimeter of my stoves are totally non-flammable.

    Later, if I want, I can do a second layer of insulation on the outside walls of the cabin. I'll powder nail 2X4's again and lay insulation, but will cover it with metal sheathing instead of sheetrock.

    Good luck to you,
    Michael
     
  13. partdeux

    partdeux Senior Member

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    remember, water always wins... make sure you have ground water and rain water handled.
     
  14. ducksnjeeps

    ducksnjeeps Member

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    Another option would be to lay a veneer (brick or 4" solid block or architectual 4" block) as well. If you did, it would allow you to apply dampproofing as well as install 2" syrofoam insulation board between the cmu & veneer. You will have to use extended masonry wall ties, but they sell them everyday.
     
  15. Conscious

    Conscious New Member

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    I don't mean to be a negative nancy here, but I know a wee bit of construction, and especially green building. one of the points of green building is "preparing" or "planning"... i.e. knowing what you want to do before you do it.

    If you're already (as of 2 months ago) breaking ground, you're a half step behind. I don't know waht your specific goals are, but you should always consider those first. any amount of a sustainable design (and by this i mean the the green building i'm familiar with) requires fore-thought.

    You want water independence: requires forethought.
    Adequate food storage: requires forethought.
    defensible position : requires forethought.

    I'd answer some questions if i can that might be able to get you back on your track. again, apologies for being a negative nancy here, but i'll help however i can.
     
  16. VUnder

    VUnder Well-Known Member

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    You know, really, most structures have a weakness in the roof area. I have thought about doing a concrete top also, because even a large hail storm could go through your roof to the floor. We had some softball size hail here, and it went inside peoples' homes. Killed deer and cattle. I patched a lot of hail holes around here. One guy just stood in his carport with his wife and looked at the storm shelter, but there was not a way they could get to it. He now has a covered walkway to the storm shelter. Weather can get bad also, with all the turmoil going on.
     
  17. turkeydog

    turkeydog Member

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    Poured vs. block

    I would have liked to talked to you prior to start of constructions. Poured 8 inch concrete walls are much superior to concrete/cinder block. especially with the "fiber" concrete. once you factor in labor, they are not that much more expensive. stronger, more durable, less cracking, and definitely more resistant to bullets. large caliber rounds (if gun violence is your fear) will easily bust holes in blocks, allowing next rounds to follow them in. 8 inch oured fiber cement walls takes .50 cal or better to blow through. if you've ever tried to drill a hole through it, you'll know what I mean. you can pour inside the blocks with concrete, but if you can just put up a poured wall, why would you?
     
  18. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    This all makes my dream of owing a castle seem like I'm not crazy.