home building question???

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by johnson, Apr 9, 2006.

  1. johnson

    johnson Well-Known Member

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    i've searched the forums and haven't quite found my answer so i'll post it. i want to build a cinder block house. we live in south louisiana. so its hot and humid. as any body built one of these in a humid area? was it insulated on the inside, outside or not at all? was it hard to cool or heat? did you use a vapor barrier under the slab\foundation? i've seen lots of info but little pretaing to humid climates. and its a drystack concrete block house i'm wanting to build. thanks to all.
     
  2. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

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    I've known several people who had block houses in SC where it is hot and humid (the low country). There Are actually a lot of those houses down there. They are easier to cool in the summer but can be cold in the winter. That is not a problem if you have heat. Most of the ones I know of had no insulation. Some of them had finished walls inside and I don'tknow what was behind them,but I'm pretty sure it wasn't insulation. :bash: :D
     

  3. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    Mine has that lovely pink insulation stuff, which comes in rolls. I think the side facing out has a foil finish on it. If this house gets warm, it stays warm a long time.
     
  4. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    I have Notthing special on the bottom and I just built the windows big on the lagoon side where the trade winds would blow and keep us cool 6 month sof the year when we had electric we had fans the rest of the time before that we sweated, though it is cooler than a plywood house even with out the electric and windows.
     
  5. johnson

    johnson Well-Known Member

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    i was thinking it would be good to insulate the bricks on the outside so the sun didnt warm them up.
     
  6. cchapman84

    cchapman84 Well-Known Member

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    With cinder blocks, you're dealing with thermal mass. Letting them absorb the sun during the day is a good thing, it helps to prevent it from coming into the house. Then at night, when it cools off, they'll release the heat, keeping your house a pretty constant temperature. I would insulate a bit on the inside, that will help to keep the heat from the cinder blocks from coming in too quickly, and will also help keep heat in during the cooler months.
     
  7. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    :confused: Actually, I always thought the insulation should be on the OUTSIDE of the mass? That's the way passive solar houses are designed, anyway.

    Seems like cinder block and cement would be excellent building materials for the humid south. You wouldn't have to worry about termites or rot, and they'd probably be a little safer in hurricanes and tornadoes.

    Kathleen
     
  8. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    Eaxtly that is why everyone with the $ builds with them in the Marshall islands not to many hurricanes there but termites and rot are a problem.
     
  9. Tio Ed

    Tio Ed Active Member

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    Humidity is a major concern for all the forms of cement housing I've seen, including our house. One of the major knocks on CMU (concrete masonry unit) construction is the clammy, dank "cave-like" feeling many of them have. This is a direct result of inadequate ventilation. I spent about $100 and purchased a whole-house fan with both a thermostat and a humidistat which kicks on automatically when either gets too high. We also have the house and windows sited so as to take advantage of cross breezes. The house has a thermal chimney built into the design via a barrel vault over the living room which also helps with the temp control, further reducing the need to rely on insulation. I am currently working on getting the central courtyard set up with a water feature which should further cool down the cross breezes and add evaporative cooling to the mix. The point I'm trying to make is that a house's internal liveability can be manipulated in a lot of ways besides just vapor barriers and manufactured insulation.

    For insulation, I have granular perlite poured into many of the block cavities in our walls, which was the accepted form of insulation when this style of construction was in its heyday in the 1920s. Another accepted form of insulation is to clad the outer walls with insulating foam panels, which come in 4x8 foot sheets. In your climate, I doubt you'll need either. Winter heat is a whole 'nother matter, but in summertime you can generally rely on a 10-15 degree difference between inside and outside temps without having to use air conditioning as long as you've got good ventilation. In our Gulf coast climate, that's a significant saving on electricity bills. The roof also has an underlay of insulating foam panels.

    We DIY built an approximately 3,000 sf house around a central courtyard near Austin using the dry stack block construction method, all of which is detailed to glorious excess on Gimme Shelter, our website. Page 108 of the site, BTW, documents my trip to Mississippi immediately after Hurricane Katrina to do emergency response work and the photos/copy should be a compelling argument for this type of construction for those of us who live near the Gulf. Frankly, every year's news stories about wildfires and tornado activity reinforce my conviction that cement is the best way to build.

    The website can be found by replacing the DOTs in the URL below to make it one long string and then copying and pasting it into your browser if you'd like to do a drive-by:

    www DOT texasmusicforge DOT com/gimmeshelter DOT html

    I'm always glad to spread the DIY wealth if you have any further questions about this type of construction.

    Best regards,

    Ed Kliman
    Publisher
    Texas Music Forge
    "Written, musical and electronic
    communications for a changing World..."
     
  10. johnson

    johnson Well-Known Member

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    thanks guys. i'm really leaning toward the drystack method. for ease of cooling( we don't have much of a winter here) and structural stability. its just hard to find info pertaining to our climate(hot humid south louisiana). any other links would also be welcome. thanks again.
     
  11. Country

    Country Well-Known Member

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    Hi Johnson.
    How far south are you? I am from down the bayou in Dulac. It's 17 miles south of Houma. We have lived in Kentucky for 2 1/2 years now. Our families still live in La. They all live in St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes. We miss them but we like it here. We are pastoring a church. Sure do miss the fresh seafood. My husband talked to his best friend last night. He lives in Chauvin and has a charter business. He said they are killing the specs out by the mines. I'd love to be fishingabout now!
    Good luck with your house.