Oh! Hmm, so what is the cost of, say, two of those 11'X30' precast
units, compared with the cost of a similarly-sized one storey house
structure (not lal the plumbing etc), IOW, what I'm wonering is whetehr
it'd be economical to put up dwellings in a similar way?
And IIRC, if you use native North American wisteria, it doesn't get as
crazy-huge as does the common CHinese wisteria <g!>
Seriously...? I've lived in low-rises, where the walls are pretty much
just regular hosue-type walls, and you could hear *everything*,
including, er, bathroom functions. You could also *smell* everything,
which is bad when the neighbors' place reek slike rotting garbage. It
was *maddening* - one of those things that makes you understand why
people start shooting off guns... It seems to me that concrete would be
much quieter. ALso, why not put up a few studs on each side fo the
concrete, throw in some insulation, and cover with sheetrock? Sheetrock
has to be put up anyway, doesn't it?
It makes me wonder why that method is so rare. Isther eless stability,
strength, or longevity? I'm curious about this. It *seems* like there
would be a great amny advantages to modular building, so all I can think
is that it must be as expensive as all hell...
I like the Chinese Wisteria. In Boston we had a really ugly fire escape on
the front of the house, so I planted a Wisteria. Within 5 years it had
climbed to the roof, 4 stories above, and formed a complete cover for the
house front. My kids hacked out a "wisteria house" outside the top floor
windows on the top F.E. platform and spied upon and dropped water bombs on
their friends. When we remodeled 10 years later, we found that the wisteria
had bent the steel F.E. supports. I presently have a wisteria that covers my
porch each summer.
The projects I mentioned just painted the concrete, as wallboarding would
have added costs. In the 60's nobody talked about insulation. These were HUD
221d3 blocks and gov't recommended insulation was none in the walls and 1"
Styrofoam on the roof. The exterior walls had condensate on them in the
winter and ice in the hallways. Cost for each apt. could not to exceed
$14,500, or about $20 per square foot. Concrete is quieter, but impact (such
as high heels on floors) comes right through. Hell to hang pictures on also
;-) Don is right, the road to Hell is paved with good government intentions.
Each has their uses. Sometimes, a smaller one is appropriate. Also,
WIsteria can go truely rampant in a mild climate... I don't recall how
they climb - some tendrils can invade morter, and some vines (IIRC,
Trumpet Vine is one) also have sucker-like things that seem to create a
sort of "glue".
So you have to check the moreter etc. to be sure that you have your
structural integrity intact. I don't recall how long all of this takes;
jsut tht it's a possiblity that makes checking a good idea.
They do smell great, tho' ;)
THat's true. OTOH, could it be retrofitted...?
True, bare bones like that wouldn't work well at all...
Ah, I see, I'm not that familiar with them so I didn't know. I
remember, when I lived in Columbia, SC many years back, seeing them
covering phone poles and going across teh wires to travel back down
trees, and so on - there was one street in particular that was just
loaded with them, and when they were in bloom, it smelled great :)
IIRC, there is a black locust (or some sort of locust) that grows fast,
does not sucker or have thorns, and also have a wonderful scent; had one
growing outside of a 2nd storey apt window in Canada.
Still wondering, tho', about the whole modular concrete house thing. It
seems practical from the standpoint of being termite-proof (a biggie
down here) and rot proof (another biggie), but would it be practical and
We used to dream of extruding concrete houses, but there are some problems:
-To be accurate and be able to piece the thing together, skilled workers
must be used, not the wood knockers used in prefab buildings.
-Weight. Heavy equipment and cranes are needed.
I designed a large car wash / lube / detailing building that is just getting
completed. We used a Canadian system (Royal Building System) that has
permanent PVC forms that lock together and hold the reinforcing in place.
The forms are grouted solid to produce an 8" or 6" solid wall. In our case,
we applied a minimum 2" EIFS insulation/stucco facing on the outside. All
interior areas are a smooth white PVC finish. This system is much easier to
manipulate and frankly looks a lot better.
SO, being rare, it'd be impossibly expensive, I guess. :(
THat sounds practical - just out of curiosity, how is it on the "green"
scale? COme to think of it, is concrete more or less "green" than wood
products (taking into consideration things such as maintenance and
((Heh, my dream, a house I could just hose down on the inside <LOL!>))
Why do you think we used it for a car wash?
Concrete is not very green. Lots of energy used to produce Portland cement.
Concrete is not very recyclable. Steel is actually quite green as most of it
is recycled and many times can be reused. Wood is OK as it can be replaced
and often can be reused. The greenest is to live in an old house;-)
Normal concrete will not hold up as well. The Roman concrete was made with
Pozzolanic (volcanic) sand from Vesuvius that is molecularly different than
normal sand. I'm no chemist, but as I remember it bonds on the molecular
level with slaked lime to form a waterproof concrete. This concrete also
sets up under water. Here in Boston the Big Dig and several deep parking
garages adjacent to the harbor have used slurry walls made of this material
rough poured down to over 60' below sea level and reinforced with wide
flange steel sections. (Yeah I know the Big Dig leaks, but its not the
slurry walls, but the stuff drilled through them and the crappy design by
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