Thursday, January 19th, 2017

How to build a hollow block house in the Philippines and keep it cool. Concrete/hollow block houses with metal roofs are the norm in the Philippines and elsewhere in tropical Asia. Filipinos don’t build such houses out of ignorance. They have critical advantages. They resist typhoon damage. If they’re flooded, they can be cleaned out and used again. For the most part they are termite proof. Locked up at night, they provide pretty good security to residents. They are mostly built with low-tech local materials by local workers well versed in building with concrete and hollow blocks. Such houses can be quite inexpensive. So, in most respects they are well suited to the Philippine tropical context, but there is one huge and notorious disadvantage — they are so hot. The mass of block and concrete bake in the tropical sun and this retained heat is re-radiated into the house day and night. Compounding the problem is the metal roof which can turn the attic into an oven. The overall effect is a house which can be markedly hotter than than the outdoor temperature and very uncomfortable. Our …

What we’ve learned about roofing systems, roof trusses, roofing materials and cost of roofing in the Philippines as part of our house building project. Roofing systems have become very standardized in the Philippines.  What we describe here is the roof system that goes on most houses except the very high end such as real clay tile or cement tile, a few asphalt shingle roofs and the Nipa or sheet steel roofs of the ordinary “bahay” – native house. Steel trusses of various designs rise from the topmost concrete roof …