I have very little knowledge about house construction methods, so
please forgive me if my questions are 'simple' or obvious. I've tried
to google some of this stuff, but the lack of results indicates I'm
not even sure of the terms to google!
Can someone please explain how a ceiling/floor is built in a concrete
block house? House is 2 stories, ie a ground floor and one floor above
Is a wood/steel frame attached to the walls? and then this frame
filled with 'stuff'? or is it more solid? ie a prefab concrete slab or
If it's a prefab slab, how is wiring done?
many thanks in advance
Floors in concrete block homes are usually wood. The cieling or roof is
Usually "ledgers are placed on the walls and anchored firmly to this. then
joist are run. Sturdi Floor is a joist manufacturer that makes joist for
long spans and usually these are used in new construction in block or
On the other hand, concrete can be placed as a floor system, and it would
need to be supported prior to the concrete pour. Usually more in commercial
applications. Wires may be run in 'chases' and or firring attached to the
concrete for floor or cieling applications......
Our floors are "Beam and Block" floors.
Concrete beams (Inverted T section) are placed on supporting walls and
standard aircrete blocks are placed between. Then insulation and screed is
laid on top. Underfloor heating pipes and other services can be laid in the
insulation or screed. It's also possible to fix wood battens to the beam and
block floor and then secret nail wood flooring to the battens. We have a
mixture of both tiles on screed and wood on battens all with underfloor
Other concrete floor technologies exist such as the use of large partially
hollow precast slabs. In some parts of the world floors are cast onsite.
thank you both. That Hanson has been really helped me understand a bit
about how it all works.
So the upper-side (ie the floor) is filled/concreted over, then the
real floor surface (tiles etc) are put down.
And the under-side (ie the ceiling) is generally (from what I can
tell) sheetrock and paint.
is that basically correct?
yes the make up of our floor is typically as follows (from top to bottom)
60mm screed (a cement sand mix with fibre reinforcement) with UFH pipes in
Beam and blocks
38mm wood Battens
12mm Plasterboard (called drywall or sheetrock in the USA?)
Skim coat of plaster
We omitted the insulation and screed under the shower tray so that there was
a void for the waste trap. In some places we allso ommitted insulation and
screed to allow for waste pipes to be hidden in the floor with the right
We used 38mm deep battens on the underside to provide enough void space for
halogen downlights. The fireproof types in the UK typically require a void
at least 100mm including the plasterboard. The beams provide 50mm deep voids
and so the above provides 50+38+12 = 100mm
On the ground floor we have..
21mm Engineered Oak
150mm deep wood battens with insulation between
Damp proof membrane
Beam and blocks
In this case the insulation has foil heat spreader plates to help distribute
You can obviously mix and match a bit. In our garage we just have B&B floor
with screed containing mesh reinforcement.
This type of floor is quite fast to lay. The second floor (called the first
floor in the UK!) of our house is 1700 sq foot on three levels and the beams
and blocks for that went down in a day. Our builder just had to follow the
layout done by the beam company. The insulation and screed was done after
the roof went on some time later. The house has a very solid feel to it. The
kids can jump about upstairs without it feeling like they are going to fall
through the floor.
On Thu, 15 Nov 2007 03:30:30 -0800 (PST), jzfredricks
Are you asking about a specifically existing construction, or a
possible new construction?
Is there a reason not to go with traditional wood techniques on thisi
second story floor? That may be the most effective way to do it for a
No reason what-so-ever. The problem is I don't even know what the
TRADITIONAL WOOD technique is :)
I'm not at a stage of building... just dreaming of it. I just couldn't
visualise how floors were built, so I thought i'd research and failing
that ask. One of my main frustrations was not even knowing the terms
to search on, but I have them now thanks to the above links.
Suggested reading for you (I'm a little bit above your level of construction
knowledge, but not a great amount): Larry Haun's 2002 book for Taunton
Press: Habitat for Humanity: How To Build A House. It goes through
construction of a basic one-floor stick-built house in enough detail that
you can pick up terms like "barge rafter" and figure out what the heck they're
talking about, but not in such excruciating detail as an engineering or
architecture textbook might. My husband, who comes from a family of engineers
and builders, thought it was a good introduction to residential
wood frame construction for someone like me who is allergic to hammers. <g>
And I thought it quite readable.
From there you can go on to more detailed works and other construction
methods fairly easily, or so I've found.
There's also a program called "Extreme Engineering" that does a fairly good
job of explaining not-plain-vanilla construction in terms that I can
follow easily and doesn't make my husband throw heavy objects at the tv
The Madrid (Spain) space tower is concrete construction.
On Thu, 15 Nov 2007 06:57:51 -0800 (PST), jzfredricks
Well, that's a fair thing! <g> I am not a big fan of block multi-story
buildings, but I'm sure you have a reason (or two) to go that route.
Your second story's floor joists would be similar to what is in a wood
frame building, except that instead of sitting on top of the first
floor walls, you'd use ledger boards attached to teh structural
'block' poritions of the building. (I"m assuming you will reinforce,
vertically, some of the blocks with rebar and a concrete fill, right?)
Dreaming is fun... but if you are dreaming, what is the attractiveness
of concrete blocks? My experience with them has been that they are
used for cost savings mostly (seeing thousands and thousands of block
houses built in Florida--where wood is more expensive, and concrete
blocks were cheap (mostly because the sand was free!) The down side of
blocks is lack of insulation, wall thickness once insulation is added
inside (you end up with walls that are 12-14 inches thick sometimes!)
and a few other problems such as possible cracking and seepage of
> Well, that's a fair thing! <g> I am not a big fan of block multi-story
Here in the UK we use joist hangers to fix wood joists to brick/block walls
as they go up.
We don't normally need to do that in the UK for a house with just two floors
(eg a ground and first floor). Do earthquake measures require that in the
The thing to watch with a concrete top floor is the concentration of loading
around openings. eg the pillar between two large windows may need to be
engineering bricks rather than light weight blocks. Long spans may need
steel beams and other complications. All that kind of thing needs someone
like a Structural Engineer to design properly.
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