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Renovating an old rural village house.


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And finally and eventually finished, well at least the external walls.🙄

Looks easy in photo's, doesn't it?
Not so, it was a combination of using small steps with a platform for the front, which I could rest a tub of paint or paint tray, but for one side and the rear I was able to use my scaffolding, then for the other side I had to use larger steps with the smaller steps at the side supporting a tub of paint (brush) or paint ray (roller).

The constant up and down stepladders, even to get on the scaffolding, sure takes its wear and tear on the old feet, and the sheer heat makes it twice as difficult. I took constant breaks to replenish the fluids that were leaking from my body.



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Great thread and interesting reading. Thank you for posting.

I have experience in building from scratch but have yet to experience a big renovation project. But the wife’s house in central (rural) Java will go through a similar process sometime in “our” future. Some pointers here and many thanks.

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We were now at the end of December, so took a break.
Both Xmas and New year fell on the weekend. Xmas weekend, I needed the break to recuperate.
New year weekend was dicing with death to be on the roads unless absolutely necessary, so that was a definite reason for an extended break.

Sat, Jan 7th 2023, into a New Year, but back to the old grindstone.
For the first time, I noticed that the concrete 'ramp' I asked the builder to complete as an extra, wasn't exactly as I'd requested. From the concreted parking area, there was a drop of some 6" onto the grassed frontage, and I'd been concerned that my front bumper skirt may catch the edge, especially when/if the ground was wet and sank.
I also had a concern the concrete edging could be broken, and it was for those reasons I'd asked him to concrete a ramp and to concrete a small area each side of the gate where the wife wanted to eventually place a couple of flower pots.

What I got was a hump, rather than a ramp and still short of touching ground level, so the edging would eventually be broken with the car wheels biting to grip at the edges.


Unfortunately, it's the same old story of if you want a job doing to your specification, do it yourself.


I extend the ramp 9" to be level with the grass verging and concreted either side along the pillars, so the wife can stand a couple of flower pots either side of the gate.

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2 hours ago, KaptainRob said:

A lemon house may be visible from space 🤣 

Are you insinuating some of the members may also be visible from space, then. 🤭

At least the dogs appreciate it!



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For those who may be considering doing some blockwork or concreting, Thai cement comes in 3 varieties dependent on the work at hand. The bags are colour coded with print, either red, green, or blue.

Red - for concreting, sets faster and stronger.
Green - for blockwork/bricking, more pliable with a slower setting time.
Blue - for rendering (plastering) walls.

Sand - Thailand sand has very small stones, which is fine for concreting or blockwork, but for rendering the sand must be sifted to remove the stones, otherwise trowelling will drag the stones across the surface scratching it. The Thais use a net and a mixing tub of water to first sift the sand for rendering purposes.

For blockwork, a mix of 3 sand to 1 cement. 
For concreting, a mix of 1 cement, 2 sand, to 3 stone.
For rendering, a 50/50 mix of sand and cement.

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With all exterior walls painted, still on my external to paint list;
The gyproc panelling on the gable ends.
The exposed galvanised steel on the rear and front roof overhangs.
The concrete pillars.
The fascias, front, rear and sides.

Although the front wall has to yet be painted and the front and rear frames and doors are to be varnished, these I've put off until a later date when the builders have finished the internal ceilings However, before I could start painting, there were numerous holes to first be filled where for reasons unknown the builder tried to put fixing screws where there were no fixing to fix to.

For example, if you're hanging a 10" fascia from a 4" steel beam, then you only have a 4" fixing area, so why try putting screws 2" from the top, then again 2" from the bottom - but they tried!

For anyone who's filled holes before, as the Polyfilla dries it shrinks leaving a small dimple, which requires refilling again once the first coat of filler has dried, so I spent a full weekend just twice filling and sanding holes in the fascias and gyproc gable end boards, preparing them for painting, although in-between the two filling coats I did manage to give the exposed galvanised steel beams a coat of red oxide primer.

Just an example of the amount of holes that first required filling;


An example of the exposed galvanised steel beams;


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I should mention that I find the quality of hair bristle brushes in Thailand shocking. The hair loss is tremendous, and they have no bulk to decently load the brush. The nylon bristle brushes are by far better quality, virtually no bristle loss (hairs in the paint), they hold the paint well, a little more expensive, but they clean well and can be reused again and again if you take care of them.

After humming and harring on whether to paint the concrete pillars white or lemon, I finally decided to be different and go for two-tone, yellow and lemon. The bottoms of the pillars are likely to get dirty finger marks and caught more, where white would likely show dirt more than the lemon, or at least that was my theory in reaching a decision.
Nothing ever goes to plan, as I now noticed all the concrete pillars were engraved with the supplier's name and contact number, which would have stood out even more when painted. I found a smooth concrete powder mix to skim over the engraving, which was easy to sand afterwards.

I also decided to tackle finishing the painting of the pillars, steel and gable ends on the rear extension first, before moving to the front extension, simply because these were all at height working from large steps, scaffolding truss, or a combination of both and moving these around was a job on its own.

You'll understand the problem and difficulties from these photos;



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Concrete pillars, gable end, steel and fascias finally all painted at the rear.


And glossed fascias down the side completed.


The conditions for painting were not ideal, apart from the heat, a very strong wind with gusts was literally drying the paint as it was laid, making it difficult to brush out smoothly. Up against the fascias at close level, I wasn't particularly pleased, but from the ground it looked good enough.

I'm not sure an ideal time for painting exists in Thailand, with the heat, and/or humidity, but the wind is also a factor outside.


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Down the other side and onto the front, where it gets a bit more challenging.


Getting on the lower roofline to paint the upper roof fascias was a bit more daunting.
Slippy, with only the roofing bolts to grip your footing and weight spread only where the steel roof supports are, which fortunately was the same place as the lines of bolts.

Not for the faint-hearted or those afraid of heights, or ladder work.
Fortunately, I've had a lot of previous experience working at height and on ladders.



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I painted the concrete posts, steel and gable end at the front first.
My second coat of Polyfilla to holes on the fascia were still drying and painting those present a challenge and a risk.




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Now, for the front fascia, which represents a problem, the ideal position to stand for painting would be on the external wall.


I have 3 tier ladders, but these rest on the top of the sloping roof. Provided a bull elephant footed the ladder to prevent it sliding, and you didn't overstretch, it's possible but awkward.

The alternative, although also precarious, I preferred as an option to a long ladder, thus;


I had a platform to place the paint on and a hand free to hold the stepladder.
I tied the scaffolding work platform to the scaffolding, so that in the event my weight went a little too far over the wall, it wouldn't lift and detach from the main scaffolding frame.


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I could reach a quarter way up each side standing the wall, but from there on in it was constantly up, down, reposition the scaffolding, then up, down again, repeat, repeat.

From this shot, if you zoom in, you can see where I tied the work platform to the scaffolding frame.


I still have to paint the gyproc boarding on the front of the higher roof gable end, but it was just so damn hot to do it that weekend, and it wasn't to be a case of 'Faz on a hot tin roof'.
This bit, where I have to lie down on my side under the roof overhang, whilst holding a pot of paint and brush, whilst cling onto bolt heads with my feet to prevent sliding down.




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Barring the front external perimeter wall and finishing painting that small area of gable end gyproc boards, my attention and thoughts were focussing on the next job at hand inside the house.

Initially, I installed my electrical circuits, complete with plug sockets, light switches and hanging cables for the light fittings, but had some afterthoughts on which type of light fittings to use.
I also decided where, when we had internet installed, the modem should be fitted, which would require an additional high level socket fitting, unless I accepted cables hanging down to a lower level socket.
Fitting an additional socket isn't a problem, but once the ceilings are installed, any changes to the lighting system became more awkward.

Originally, I'd planned for just the standard circle light fittings throughout, but after some thought and a chat with @KaptainRob on the issue, I decided to fit multiple flush ceiling mounted LED Philips 9W downlighting units, rather than the standard Thai light fittings, throughout the internal of the house, except for the bedrooms, where I definitely wanted to install ceiling fans. 


For the bedrooms, the WIN FAVOUR model TC35 42" fan, remote controlled, with an 18W LED light, or the TC 16 46" fan, remote control, with an 18W LED light.



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With a decision on the light fittings made, to accommodate for multiple downlights, rather than a single light fitting, this involved a few alterations to the light feeds, which was far easier to complete before the ceilings are installed.

I repost my original electrical schematic plan.


By deciding to replace a single light fitting with either 2 or 3 flush ceiling downlights, this meant my single light cable feed, now had to be split into 2 or 3 cable feeds.

A new lighting schematic, not to scale, as a satang was the smallest round object I could find to represent the circular downlights. 😉


FL = Fan light.
SL = Spotlight.
L   = Standard light fitting.

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Most of the single cable light feeds therefore required additional cabling to accommodate the downlights, which meant splitting and joining to the single light feed.

And, no, I have no intention of using the typical twisting and taping of cables often associated with Thai wiring, For a few extra baht you can make up an electrical junction box, with screw down terminals.
Such as this;


I prefer to twist the individual cables together, live, neutral, earth, then in the event a single cable is caught and pulled, you are far less likely to pull one feed out from the rest.


One feed in, two feeds out.
As the downlights are sealed, totally plastic an earth is not required, so I just put the earth from the feed cable into a terminal of its own.

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29 minutes ago, KaptainRob said:

What's the living room total area?

2 of those 'daylight' downlights per 16 sq/m is more than adequate. 

36.5 sq/m with a partial dividing wall.
4 downlights in one section, operated by 2 light switches.
2 downlights in the smaller section, operated by one switch.

The front room is 31.5 sq/m but will be utilised as a shop area for the wife's hairdressing, so plenty of light required. Here I've allowed for 4 downlights on 2 switches, actually 3 accounting for the fact one is two-way operated.

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2 minutes ago, Faz said:

36.5 sq/m with a partial dividing wall.
4 downlights in one section, operated by 2 light switches.
2 downlights in the smaller section, operated by one switch.

3 switches is good.  If possible, offset each switched pair on the diagonal to gain a better spread of light as you'll find 2 lights adequate for most purposes.

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In one corner of a room we'll have an access hatch fitted should we need to gain access to the loft area at a later date for any reason. That loft area will be dark after solid ceilings are installed, so with that in mind and planning ahead, fitting some loft lighting now would be easier.

I chose two of the Phillips 5FT single 22W LED - Non-Corrosive (Polycarbonate) Weatherproof IP65 rated Fluorescent Light fittings.


Of course, I now needed to fit an additional switch, which I decide the best location would be high level, below the access hatch, but additionally I elected to run it through the adjacent utility room light switch, meaning the utility light switch also has to be in the 'on' position, for the fluorescents to operate.

As the fluorescent lighting can't be viewed without lifting the hatch cover, should anyone inadvertently press the switch to the 'on' position in the daytime, the lighting wouldn't come on without the utility room light also being pressed to the 'on' position - a kind of fail-safe.


The higher level switch for the loft lighting and the adjacent utility light switch, it runs through.

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So far, I haven't mentioned any costs in relation to this renovation project.
From starting in May 2022, to the end of Feb 2023, which includes the internal ceilings which as yet have to be fitted, but cost included, the total outlay so far is circa 580,000 - 600,000 BHT.

Of that amount, labour costs were 60,000 BHT for the extension and refurbishment of the house, 27,000 BHT for erecting 3 external walls, and 20,000 for installation of the ceilings (120 BHT per sq/mtr).
Total to date 107,000 BHT.

Roofing and steel circa 120,000 BHT
Internal and external doors + fittings, circa 90,000
UPVC Windows, circa 60,000 BHT
Plumbing - water tank, pump, pipes + fittings, circa 35,000 BHT
Electrical - consumer unit, mains tails, trunking, cable, sockets, switches, lights, circa 70,000 THB
Building mats - concrete blocks, sand, cement, stone, pillars, circa 35,000 BHT
Ready mixed concrete, circa 17,000 BHT
Painting - paint, brushes, rollers, trays, circa 20,000 BHT
Ceiling frames (steel) - circa 20,000 BHT
Gyproc internal ceiling boards - circa 8,000 BHT.
Accessories/consumables, circa 5,000 BHT

Yet to complete;

I have as yet to purchase (this week) 45 rolls of 150 mm x 0.6 cm x 40 cm, Stay Cool insulation rolls for the ceiling areas. Circa 21,000 BHT

Once the ceilings are installed, there's a hell of a lot of internal painting to do, ceilings and walls of every room (bathroom exempt). Approx 600 sq/mtr. (2 coats = 1,200 sq/mtr).
Paint ?

Floor tiling - approx 198 sq/mtr.
Bathroom wall tiling - approx 36 sq/mtr.
Labour ?
Guessing circa 100,00 - 120,000 all in.

Bathroom fittings, shower, toilet, wash basin - ?

Kitchen - ?

External rails for the front porch - ?

After basic electrical appliances and some basic furniture, I estimate my total expenditure will be above 1,000,000 BHT, possibly up to 1,200,000 BHT.


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The front room of the house, which measures 9 mtr x 3.5 mtr, will be used half for my wife to continue her hairdressing business and the other half as a shop, although she is unsure what to sell as yet.

I previously extended my plumbing as far as possible, but with the external now painted I could extend the water feed down the side of the house and into the front room, which she'll need for washing hair.
At the same time, I thought it beneficial to fit another external hose tap towards the front of the house, which will be handy for washing the car and/or motorcycles.

I'd originally left a length of unsecured 3/4 pipe, with an end stop far enough to where I planned to drill through for the water feed.


I fixed pipe clips every 30 cm for 16 mtrs to the point of entry.




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Piping secured, and water feeds, inclusive of separate isolation taps, to the front room and hose tap.


Internally, I fitted a connector tap, which the flexible hose on her shower head will simply screw onto.


A waste will be fitted at a later date.

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