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Adventures in Timberland


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I too am enjoying following your journey. We have one simialrly ahead of us. Thanks for updating especially considering how busy you must be... more pics if possible also welcome!

 

Ron

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Davaoeno

Markham- you asked me to get you the name of the well driller that we used- but given your latest post I assume that you no longer need me to get you the info?

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Markham- you asked me to get you the name of the well driller that we used- but given your latest post I assume that you no longer need me to get you the info?

No, I think we'll be alright, thanks. I'd still greatly appreciate the contact details for the water testing lab, though.

 

 

Mark

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Our well-drillers have made good progress. They've gone through the volcanic ash layer, which they say was twenty feet thick, and are now drilling through what was once top soil. However this layer is almost rock-like having been heavily compressed by the lava; they've reached 34 feet and have run out of extensions to their drilling tube - but several more lengths are due to be delivered first thing tomorrow morning.

 

As we will be living in a rural area, I really didn't want high concrete boundary walls, with or without steel spikes, broken glass or coiled barbed-wire. Instead our boundaries will be marked by dense hedging and we found some plants at a local garden centre. These small-leafed plants will grow outwards and upwards and form dense hedging similar to Box hedging found in the UK and elsewhere. We're going to let the hedging grow into the current barbed-wire fence and allow it to grow to around 8 feet in height and 3 feet in girth. I'm having a field gate made for the entrance.

 

 

 

 

We've also planted some trees - currently 6 Mango and 2 Calamansi to which we'll be adding 6 Papayas and a few Lazomes, Rambustine and Orange (Mandarin) as and when we acquire the seedlings.

 

Randall, an American expat, who has been building houses for the last 30 years in Alabama and now lives in Toril, is going to be joining Mike and help with the build. I met him at Mike's place yesterday and, working together, they reckon they can frame the house in less than half the time of Mike working alone. Randal brings other strengths including considerable brick-laying experience - so my quest for a brick-layer is over!

 

Talking of bricks, we found a brick manufacturer in Valencia, near Bukidnon, who can supply all we need at less than half the price of those from Manila - 8.5 pesos for a 4x4x8 brick as against 18 pesos for a 2x4x8, both prices include delivery. Their bricks are made from a mix including rice hulls and alluvial silt and I reckon that the rice hulls will add to the insulation properties and thus a better proposition than using bricks made from clay alone.

 

We also met with the pest control company yesterday and I'm pleased to say that the cost of treating the property against termites and other borers - including pre-treating the house footprint, injecting the soil surrounding the house and spraying all the timbers - is less than half their original estimate and includes a ten-year guarantee.

 

 

 

 

Mark

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Our well drillers have hit another volcanic ash layer some six feet below the bottom of the previous layer which is a bit of a surprise. There are no historical records for Mount Apo's eruptions, all we know is that the last one was more than five hundred years ago, so this second ash layer seems to indicate the volcano has erupted twice in the last one thousand years or so.

 

This photo does not do it justice, however this is Mount Apo which is about twenty miles away:

 

 

This is some of the volcanic ash we excavated from the septic tank:

 

 

and the tank itself, almost ready for block-work:

 

 

On Thursday, the pest control company will spray the foundations and the whole area beneath the house once the remaining soil has been removed:

 

 

 

 

Mark

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  • 3 weeks later...
arkitek toeknee

wow, i have truly enjoyed reading this thread, and i am learning a lot too; and with the pictures showing the progress. can't wait to see more...

 

This is one ambitious project you have Mark, knowing that locals tend to do more with conventional PH construction method. Good to know that you have managed to find the right people to help you with the build. wishing you all the luck until it commence.

 

oh, would you paint the bricks or leave it in it's natural color?

 

toe-knee

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oh, would you paint the bricks or leave it in it's natural color?

The bricks we've chosen are made by a company in Valencia, Bukidnon, just to the north of us. If they were "Common English Flettons", the cheapest brick in the UK, coloured yellow and commonly used for "social housing", then yes I probably would paint them. However "my" bricks are basically rust-red in colour and with some slight variations which will add to the interest factor.

 

 

 

Mark

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During a trembler where there is sideways movement, the structure (wood frame) tends to move with the ground (provided you have a proper foundation tied solidly to the ground) while the brick tends to remain stationary. The result is that the heavy brick veneer goes smashing through the structural wood framing, collapsing the house.

I mentioned this to Mike our builder today since he is giving us a warranty. The brick veneer is built on the same foundation as the timber framing so will move with it. He doesn't believe the bricks will cause an implosion, if anything they will collapse away from the structure. Being very hard - therefore difficult to break - it's entirely possible that we can scrape off the old mortar and re-use them to repair any earthquake damage. We'll cross that bridge if and when we come to it.

 

However, I will say this: I would prefer to be in a timber house than one quickly thrown together using CHB with cement render hiding all the "nasties" should we have an earthquake!

 

Mark

I agree completely with you on the CHB construction normally found here. It is garbage.

 

However, Mike is wrong on the brick veneer. Which direction the brick veneer goes...in relation to the rest of the house...is wholly dependent on the direction of travel for the seismic waves. Because the brick has much more mass than the wood frame construction, it will NOT move along with the rest of the house, but rather will tend to remain stationary as the house moves (look up the law of inertia). This is regardless of the foundation, since the first failure in horizontal acceleration will be between the foundation and the brick veneer. You basically have a 50/50 chance the brick will fall away from the frame wall...or go right through it...bringing the wall and your house down. If that is an acceptible risk, then go for it. I haven't tried, but I would imagine that earthquake insurance is pretty much nonexistent here. Back in Utah, where I lived before, earthquake insurance for homes with any masonry veneer was 4 to 5 times more expensive than for homes without it.

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However you build here, you run the risk of earthquake damage. I guess if I were to choose the "safest" option, I'd simply erect a bouncy castle on my land. However, Davao City has many old buildings, several of which are constructed of brick and none of them seem to be adversely affected and there are at least one or two earthquakes a year here.

 

You originate from a country that tends to be very risk-adverse so that may affect your opinion, mine is less so but becoming that way. And I like brick, it looks so much nicer than aluminium or vinyl siding - and it's cheaper and a better insulator than either!

 

 

 

 

Mark

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broden

build your brick house Markham. i have a brick house , love my brick house and the big bad wolf can't do a damn thing about it

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  • 3 weeks later...
Markham

It's been a while since I updated this thread however work on the site has proceeded.

 

On February 18th Mike and his gang poured the footings which stand 8 inches high and have four rows of rebar arranged horizontally. We used coco lumber for the forms.

 

 

 

 

Mae placed small purses containing a few coins in each of the four corners and these were covered in concrete. This tradition is often followed in SE Asian countries and is supposed to bring good luck to those who live there.

 

 

 

Mark

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Markham

Once the footings had set, work started on creating the forms for the foundation. Mike used marine ply and 4x2 lumber to create the 39 inch high, 4 inch wide wall - again four rows of rebar were used but this time spaced one above the other.

 

 

 

 

As the foundation wall has considerably more concrete, it took two full days to pour. The finished result is this:

 

 

 

 

The ten larger oblong "holes" are for ventilation and will eventually be covered with fine steel gauze mesh. The smaller "holes" towards the bottom of the foundation are for services and there's a four-inch pipe at ground level as a drain should there be an ingress of water. Not clearly visible in the photo are some 60 "J" bolts partially buried in concrete - these will be used to secure the 4x4 main beams on which the floor joists and are secured.

 

In the photo above, the top of the foundation wall at the far end - where our living room will be - is about 4 inches above ground level and almost 4 feet above ground level at the opposite end (closest to the camera).

 

All the marine ply and 4x4s will be recycled into the house with the ply being used as the sub-floor for the ground floor.

 

 

 

 

Mark

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Markham

Once the inner foundation wall had set and the shuttering removed, we laid tarpaulins on the ground and poured four rows of four reinforced concrete pads, each two feet square and eight inches high. These support the 6x4 beams that sit on 6x4 uprights and each joint will be secured by two marine ply "plates" screwed one on each side. We will be covering the tarpaulins with a couple of inches of river rock. We bought the tarpaulins from Ace Hardware and each is 24'x18' and that allowed for overlaps between each sheet.

 

 

 

 

In this next photograph, you can clearly see the "J" bolts securing the base timbers to the foundation wall. We've sandwiched a sheet of galvanised steel between the concrete and the timbers for two reasons. It acts as a barrier for moisture that may rise and also a further deterrent against termites and other wood borers. This is really just a little bit of extra cheap insurance as the space beneath the house and the entire area around the foundation has been poisoned against insects.

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile our well drillers are still drilling and have reached a depth of 97 feet. So far they have encountered six layers of volcanic ash and are now drilling through a layer of very fine sand.

 

 

 

 

 

Mark

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Markham

By the end of yesterday (March 22), all the internal support columns and beams were in place and a layer of river rock has been spread over the tarpaulin. Once all the joints are "plated" with plywood, the floor joists can be laid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark

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