Updated 6 July 2016:
I have just published a 750 page eBook that follows the challenges, frustrations and successes of building a house in Thailand from the very start of us buying the land through to moving in and beyond. You will be part of our building team for every day of construction and I will share many do’s and don’ts all designed to save you time, money, sleepless nights or all three. This book is a must have as part of your research on the subject of building in Thailand and you can find it HERE.
13 – 20 March, a huge week of happenings which have really turned a concrete box into the potential for becoming a home. Windows, car accommodation, kitchen, tiling and more covered this time. This post has been ages coming because we have been moving into the house, which I will cover in Week 21, and things have been hectic. Thanks for waiting.
The major event of Week 20 was the installation of the windows and sliding doors we had ordered from a company based in Pattaya called DeKu. Because this was such an important occasion I have covered it in a separate post which you can find HERE. This post is shorter as Week 20 is described in a combination of the two.
The end result of three days of work installing the windows was a house we could finally shut up, which meant the inside was able to be worked on.
Along with the windows the tiling was also finished with the ensuites and the walkway around the house under the eves completed. A total of 260 m2 of tiles going laid. The floor tiles cost 80 THB/m2 to lay while the slower wall and floor tiles in the bathrooms were costed out at 250 THB m2.
A tip for those planning to build and use floor tiles. When choosing the dimensions for the house I went for a nice neat 1 meter concrete surround extending out from the walls. No reason not to so I thought. Well if you are planning spaces that are to be tiled you need to be thinking of tile sizes well in advance. In most instances for floor tiles you will be buying either a 30 cm or 60 cm tile, neither of which cleanly divides into 100 cm! By having a 1 meter surround my tiler had to cut 66 meters of my 30 cm tiles to make up the 10 cm strip left after laying the three tiles from the walls. It took longer and doesn’t look as good as a series of full tiles would have. Go 90 cm or 120 cm.
The kitchen was the first thing to be brought across from the family home where it had been delivered a few days previously. Bought from Global House for 116,000 THB it is one of the major fitout items in the house. I have to confess that it is also one of the few “for show” aspects in the house.
For those of you who have seen Thais in cooking action you know that they can produce a meal for twenty people in 30 minutes using a charcoal fire and a wok. The practical need for a full Western kitchen is debatable but it is an aspect I have found hard to give up. The kitchen has always been the central point of a functioning home and given the chance we in the West spend as much as we can to install one. Having said that it will be a real treat to have a sink again with running water rather than a plastic bucket on the ground, which is what the family use.
We have chosen a black granite benchtop with a gold fleck and hopefully it will be delivered in the next few days because we can’t finalise the kitchen until it is installed. It will complement the cupboards nicely. There will be white venetian blinds at the two windows.
If you thought the construction phase was over you’d be wrong. I decided to go ahead with a small carport on the left of the house as you look at it. Originally envisaged for the right side I changed the position to ensure the minimum space was taken up with boring driveway and also the carport would have restricted the view across the garden from the large lounge window.
I called the A Team, a group of four guys who can do just about anything in super efficient time, and negotiated a 7,000 THB or A$250 labour price for what would be four days work.
The roofing of this structure is a 3 mm non-Colorbond sheet, ordered in the morning and delivered in the afternoon. Considerably cheaper but a poorer quality. Great colour though. Almost identical to the Colorbond I chose. It wasn’t available when I was looking originally. Had it been around then I might have gone for it and saved a heap of money.
Leaving the carport I’d like to give you an example of the pitfalls of not being on site all the time. We had gone to Udon Thani to organise some things and found this when we came back.
Most windows in Thailand have the insect screens on the inside. The windows I chose for the two bathrooms, because of their design with that lever opening you can see in the photo, had them on the outside. Putting brain into neutral the builder just did what he would always do and put the insect screens inside, which meant you had to go outside to open the window 🙂 You do wonder. All corrected now.
We spent a day in Udon Thani, our closest major city, with a list of things to achieve. We were on the hunt for a couple of lounges for the main sitting room, two smaller sofas, one for the family room and one for the main bedroom, an entertainment unit, all the electrical fitout items such as switches, power and switch covers and light bulbs, re-visiting the granite place that would be doing the kitchen and ordering a dining setting for inside.
The choice of Western style furniture, that is it is comfortable to use and not butt ugly, is very limited here. The place with the best choice is Living Index on the Ring Road and it was here we ordered a total of four lounges and the entertainment unit, all to be delivered the following week. The granite guy was booked to measure up in a couple of days time and the dining table and six chairs ordered, also to be delivered in a week. All covered in my Week 21 report once I get round to it.
Late afternoon on the Friday, the last day of Week 20, the A Team finished the carport, although it still has to be painted once the render dries, and moved straight into connecting the wiring to switches and power points. I have a total of 97 of them, somewhat different from the average Thai house where a few fluorescent tubes and two power points does the trick.
It was lovely to see them go in and know that we would finally have power and lighting. A modern house really doesn’t take life until it is powered up.
All the lights have LED globes, mostly 5W but a few at 8W. It will be very interesting to see what the first power bill looks like. Luckily we received the previous one the day after we moved in so the next one will be an exact one month of us in the house. I will report back. Just out of interest the power bill is delivered by an old guy on a pushbike who sits down, has a bit of a chat and waits for you to come up with the cash! 267 THB in our case or A$10.00 for last month. Only for building work obviously this time although Gaun does water the garden twice a day which draws on the bore and the house pressure pumps.
So a great week of progress with me pushing to move in Week 21. Check with the blog to see how we went.
Thanks for reading.