Building a Concrete Block House – part 3

local kids testing the ladderBuilding a concrete block house in the Philippines – part 3

Our plan is to get the outer shell of this house done and the finishing work can be done at some time in the future – possibly next year. The costs in building this house might seem insignificant to readers from western countries but I try to live within the Philippine economy and stretch my pesos.

kids on the construction siteWe decided that one way to save quite a bit of money would be to use local lumber.

If we used wood from the shops in town we would basically be paying for the transport of our timber to town where it gets resawn and then back to the mountains.

The local guys have the trees and the skill to cut the logs lengthwise – also called ripping – to our specs.

I have been warned that coco lumber should be painted with used motor oil to prevent insect infestation in the future. note – a reader wrote in about the dangers of a fire hazard using used motor oil and suggested using alternatives.

concrete block construction

I did buy a few pieces of coco wood the other day but it turned out to be “luyat” – which means brittle or something like that so these guys are going to inspect the trees before we cut them down to make sure they are up to specs. We are planning on cutting down 5 trees this weekend – will try to get a few pictures.

bambooThe handy thing was that there is a nice stand of bamboo just on the other side of the wall that we had access to for making scaffolding.  Green bamboo has an extraordinary strength and will flex under heavy loads without breaking.

home construction philippinesOur next step is to get some roof trusses up there. I am going with coco wood which has many drawbacks but I am not trying to build a Taj Mahal here. I went out into the mountains yesterday to talk with the plantation owner.

coconut tree plantation

We seem to have come to a price of 450 pesos per tree but the guys that are to do the cutting were not yet available. I think the charge is going to be around 500 pesos per tree to rip the logs into 2×6’s.

coconut tree lumber

The tie beam along the perimeter at the top of the wall is about a third of the way completed now.

concrete tie beamThe steel bar reinforced beam ads tremendous strength to the whole thing but it does increase costs.

Jose decided to make an archway over the entrance. He is really doing a great job.

concrete archWe are all going to take tomorrow off from building and work on cutting down some coconut trees. If that turns out to be interesting it will be part 4 of this series.

dutchpickle gecko

Building a house in the Philippines – part 3

Oct 6, 2010

12 responses to “Building a Concrete Block House – part 3”

  1. DP,

    That coconut timber its no good i used it one time and it lasts only about 4 or 5 years before you need to replace it again…and your right its real high risk for “WHITE ANT” damage!!!

    Better to use that Bamboo for your roof with coconut leaves or sheets of tin…its good to see your doing a project to keep you busy and your mind working mate!

    very good story again keep them coming…


  2. DP,

    450 pesos per tree that’s really cheap mate you did yourself a sweet deal their on that one…is this house your building in the mountains for Beth’s family? It looks really good to me from your photos of it and i remember building our house in Narra and i was always trying to keep the costs down on it also but its not easy when your other half just keeps on adding on things at add hock all the time!!!

    Yes I’m really looking forward to seeing you again soon in palawan will drop you an email later today outlining my plans etc…take care.


  3. Hi DP providing your men select the old dark grain coconut lumber there will be no problem. The younger trees are useless, they warp, twist and termites love them.

    I have coconut lumber in my place that is 20 years in place and good as ever, from your site your men know what they are doing. Good luck to it.


  4. what are the cost of your concrete blocks and are they good? i’ll be moving there in about a month, and will be doing most of the work myself

  5. i use Gmelina wood for the roof truss it is resistant to termites, but i also treat with Solignum it is more expensive than coconut but last longer

  6. Just curious as to how you made out with building the house with coconut tree lumber. Is it still standing? Any termite isues?
    Thanks in advance.

  7. Hi I enjoy reading your blog. By the way I’m planning also to built a house soon.. I just wanna ask if how sqm your floor area and how many block did you used? Thank you and God bless!

  8. I have plan to build a small house in Cebu mountain, Local carpenter ask for 60% of total material price for labor, Its a good deal ? example: If total material is 500,000 pesos, 60% for labor is 300,000 pesos total cost me 800,000 pesos to finish it.

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