The Rice Field Project : Remarks & thoughts

Building a house in Thailand
Our living room with exit to entrance hall and exit to hall-way to bedroom

As part of Living in Thailand, the Rice Field Project follows our journey of buying land, preparing it for building our house and finally building our house. This an extra part as the all project is finished and we are living in our house already for a few weeks, to read the other parts click The Rice Field Project. This is about products we bought, problems we had and things I would do different if there ever would be a next time.

Bathroom and toilet

We did mostly buy products from American Standard and some things from Verno. And I must say the quality and finishing of American Standard is really better. I would stick to that. American Standard might not be the cheapest (but also not the most expensive) but works very well. And looks good. So in future projects (building a bungalow in the garden) I will choose only American Standard.

Water

As we have our own water-well we needed pumps and filters. For the water-well we did choose Lucky Pro and for the house we did choose Mitsubishi. Both pumps are working well. For filters we did choose Mazuma. First a small pre-sediment filter, then 2 big filters with Active Charcoal and with a kind of salt. For water-heating we are using a Mazuma Power Stream 8000w, good for shower and bathtub. Currently it is set to minimum, but in the cold season it will be set to medium or high. All water pipes are the famous blue PVC pipes that are clued together. Except for the hot water is used a special green pipe that is welded together. The all setup of the water works perfect, the water is clean, hot and has good power.

Lights

We have bulb-model LED lights in the ceiling of all rooms. We did choose bulb-models because that is easy to replace. The lights are from a unknown brand-name, said to be 9w. But they give much to much light, so I bought a 5w of the same brand-name. But I not see any difference at all. So we will have to look into that later and try other lights.

Furniture

Although we took most furniture with us from our previous houses, we also bough some wardrobe furniture at Koncept. Not really cheap but quite good quality. Also the installation of the furniture was done very professional. Now I am not really a fan of this kind of furniture, I prefer real wood. But if I would be buying furniture like this again I would look at Koncept first.

Tiles

All our tiles come from Dynasty, a nation-wide brand-name in Thailand. The pro is that they are not so expensive and have most tiles in stock. The con is that the quality is not very good. Like not 99.9% same size or not 99.9% flat. But price-wise a good deal I think. If we would have bought this kind of tiles of a better brand-name they would probably have cost twice the price. So yes next project we will use Dynasty again.

Curtains

We bought our curtains at a local shop and we did choose curtains that stop light. And that works perfect, our bedroom is totally dark in day-time. This kind of curtains also blocks a lot of sun-heat. So yes I would buy them again.

Ventilators for a cool breeze

I hate standing ventilators or ventilators hanging on the wall. So we have a ceiling ventilator in the living-room. I also like to have a bit of nice designs so we bought a ceiling fan from Mr. Ken. Very happy with it, not much noise and good remote control.

Paint

The all house (inside & outside) is painted with TOA, semi-gloss and washable. Not the top of the line of TOA but good quality. The painting itself has not been done top notch, so I assume that before the end of the warranty of the house the company will have to paint it partly again. And then I might consider to pay extra to have a better quality. As colour inside we used very very light grey. In a big room this looks almost white. But in a smaller room it looks a bit too dark. If we every have to repaint inside I am considering a little bit different colour.

Electricity

All switches & wall-outlets and the switch-boards are from Chang. Again not top notch but it works good until now. All wall-outlets have grounding. I did choose to have 2 switch-boards, one in the house (first floor) and one under the house (ground level). But actually that is sometimes a little bit inconvenient as upcountry in Thailand during storm with lighting it might be a good idea to switch off your electric. And in hindsight I should have demanded better connection of wires, now all wires are twisted together and taped. In the long-run this is not a good idea I think (although even the official public electricity company is doing this with the wires on the street).

When designing where to have wall-outlets I made a few mistakes
  • Wall-outlet next to the gas comfort (we moved that to next to the door)
  • Wall-outlet in kitchen for only 2 plug (we changed that to 4 plugs)
  • No wall-outlet in the stockroom (we had one added but with pipe on the wall)
  • I am actually missing wall-outlets on 2 places
  • We should have day/night sensors on the lights outside
  • We should have move lights outside

Roof-tiles 

We have grey SCG Ceramic roof-tiles on our house. Under the tiles is an silver foil that should block heat. Not much to say yet about the roof-tiles. They look good now but how will the look after 5 years in the full sun?

Windows

Our windows are without brandname, local made. Although I am sure the aluminium has a brandname. All worked fine until last night when we had about 1 million flies after the rain and at 3 sliding windows they managed to come true the closed window (but then still blocked by the mosquito screen). As for our bedroom I am considering to change the sliding system to another type of window. Or have a real good window installed. At hindsight I should have paid extra for better windows.

The all construction project

Although I am for 95% happy with the all construction project, you might consider to have only the main construction done by a company. Then do they other things (tiles, paint, electric, water, windows, bathroom) under your own management. It will take more time but it will be cheaper (or you can use better materials).

Problems

  • Filling up the land around the house has been done so sloppy that we now after rain have again 2 small sink holes next to the house. No problem as the company will send people & sand to fill the sink holes, but it could easily have been avoided.
  • At the corner of the roof there are holes. I said birds will go in it (and maybe all the way into the roof). Construction people said "No, we closed that already". Well at one place we have now a bird nest!
  • We have wooden doors of extra high quality. But even then 1 door is not straight. And of course no warranty!
  • The toilet floor is lower as the living-room floor. Because of that the door to the toilet is also 6 cm lower as the door right next to it. That looks a bit weird. Then the door is actually still not low enough to reach the floor of the bathroom so there is 5 cm open space between the door and the floor. No problem but it looks ugly. So the door should have been 10 cm longer as the other doors. The problem was the same with the backdoor at the kitchen but is was solved by making the door 7 cm longer.

Warnings

  • Be aware that when an architect talks about sizes he means sizes from mid-wall to mid-wall. Not the real floor size. I noticed this when designing our house and in the beginning this was a mis-understanding between me and the architect.
  • Be aware that Thai people tend to have smaller doors for toilet and bathroom, sometimes even only 70 cm width. Also standard sometimes only 1.80 m high. Our doors are 80 cm width and 2.0 m high. The front door is 1 m width.
  • Painting people will create a mess, force them to be more careful and use plastic to cover tiles or other things that not need paint.
  • When buying things like a fridge or wardrobe be aware that they have to be able to go into your new house. Our fridge could almost not get into the kitchen (a door of 80 cm has only 78 cm door opening while also the door itself could block a part of the opening). Our wardrobe could almost not be build in the room where it had to be. And it is too big to go thru a door.

Building a house in Thailand

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