Map out your idea before starting
Choose the area for your extension and mark it out. Mine was 6m x 3m extending from the back of the house, overlooking the garden.
Make a rough drawing and floor plan of how you want it to be. Here’s mine.
Find a Good Builder
If you don’t know a jobbing builder, ask around. But for this job, make sure you get a young person with young labourers because there is some heavy lifting.
Estimate a price for the job if you can. I worked on seven 9 hour days with two men working at 600 baht each per day. So, If the builders quote was around 8000 Baht for labour I would be happy.
My previous experience of house building in Thailand, was a big help, and it made the outdoor patio extension a simple exercise. Plus, for $400, I created a tropical garden and turned an old garden store into a stand-alone sala.
I got two quotes from builders we knew. One was young and a good worker but a bit unreliable time wise. What builders aren’t? The other was a husband wife team, and he was over fifty.
The younger man came in at 8800 Baht – just above my estimate.
The older man came in at 8000 Baht for the roof only. He was way out. It was obvious he didn’t want the job.
When you engage the builder, get the materials list from him, what he needs, and order delivery from your local builders merchant. Pay them direct. Not through the builder.
I did a rough estimate of materials before talking to the builder and reckoned it would cost around 10,000 Baht. It was around 10,000 Baht but on the wrong side. I was short. Never mind.
Here is the list of materials – total cost 12,345 Baht.
|Pre-cast concrete posts||2, 3 metre x 14 cm posts||720|
|Roof steel||1 x 6mx4x2||695|
|Roof steel||4x 3×1.5||1860|
|Red oxide||1 tin||80|
|Roof tiles – cement||42x1x0.5||2730|
|Roof tile hooks||84||270|
|Soil fill||2 cubes||1000|
|Concrete blocks – large||60||900|
Materials 12,345 plus Labour 8,800 = 21,145 Baht ($660 at an exchange rate of 32)
Follow the building of my outdoor patio extension
Here is the back of my house where I built my patio extension by removing the facia board and welding steel rafters to the existing rafters, before adding more steel purlins.
The Work Starts
DAY ONE – The Roof
I went to the local builders’ merchants at eight o’clock on Monday morning and ordered all the materials. They delivered them in four separate delivery trucks by ten o’clock.
Art the builder and one other young man erected the two three metre pre-cast concrete posts. Then cut and painted the roof steel with red oxide. They welded the steel rafters to the existing roof structure, and overlayed the purlins and welded them to the rafters. Then they laid 42 one by half a metre cement roof tiles onto the structure. By nine pm in artificial light they had finished the patio extension roof.
I happily paid them the 2000 Baht they asked for. Considering the speed and efficiency, I could hardly refuse.
DAY TWO – Patio Footings Base and Fill
Art apologised for arriving at 10am. Little did I know what the day would bring. Three men were on the job just after ten, measuring up and digging out the footings at such a rate I thought they had found gold. Then they laid the concrete base in a horseshoe out from the house wall and put the first layer of concrete blocks down.
At five o’clock they began shovelling two cubic metres of soil fill inside the footings and watered and tamped it down.
I went to bed at nine, and at three am I still heard them working.
They laid a frame made of strips of bamboo to re-enforcing the concrete, on top of the soil fill. Bamboo because the builders’ merchants were closed, and we had no steel re-bar. Bamboo is incredibly strong, so I was fine with that.
They then laid a five-centimetre concrete base, which was topped off with a pure smooth cement finish. I believe they worked until a couple of hours before the cocks blasted their morning chorus. I can’t prove it as I was asleep.
When I woke at four-thirty it was pitch dark, and I could see they had left the light on where they were working. So I went outside to see what the boys had done. They had more or less done 70% of a week’s job in two days.
I guessed Art had one of the boys for two days and the other for one. So, he got as much out of them as he could knowing he could finish the rest by himself. I was so impressed, I tidied up and made ready for day three. Then we got a call to say, could he have a rest to recover and let the concrete cure for a day.
I was up at 3,30am and busy polyurethaning doors and garden furniture. There were other small jobs to do, and by 7am I was finished and waiting for the builder to arrive. He turned up at 10am and worked alone throughout the day, finishing blockwork and building the steps to the patio extension. We discussed the finishing touches I planned and by the time he left after midnight, I was fast asleep.
DAYS FIVE TO EIGHT – Gout
Art had gout, so he had a break while I tidied up behind him. If you have ever built a house or done renovations, you’ll understand why.
DAY NINE – Cement Plastering and Fascia Board Finish
Alone from 8am until 4pm, Art set up the final stages for cement plastering pillars and steps, while I cleaned up cement splashes on the walls and found a litre of the exterior wall paint, we used when we built the house five years ago.
At 4pm his two accomplices arrived to help finish off the roof. They went home at 11pm.
DAY TEN – Finishing Touches and Clean-Up
Art applied the finishing touches alone from 11am until 8pm
Ignoring the lost days for builders’ gout, the job only took 6 long working days. There were very few snags and the overall quality of the work and finishing was good. As I always do, I kept a close watch on proceedings, except after 9 pm, and corrected all cockups before they got worse.
We finished the rock garden ourselves and were very pleased with the addition to the house. The great thing about the tropics is, apart from storms you don’t need walls and windows for every room.
When outdoor patio extension costs were as low as 21,000 Baht ($660) and, we ended up with an open-air multi-purpose lounge in the garden for relaxation, incredible mountain and farm views and monstrous parties, the week of upheaval paled into insignificance.