One of the most popular materials used in modern house construction is foam block. It is chosen by many people planning the construction of a one-story or multi-story dwelling.
It is worth considering the features, pros and cons of private houses built from foam blocks, as well as some interesting projects of similar structures, in order to find out how they need to be built with your own hands.
It's no secret that the modern building materials market has a rich assortment, from which you can choose the right products for any budget. Many consumers today prefer not only reliable and durable, but also inexpensive materials for the construction of private houses. All of these requests are answered by foam blocks. They are good in that they make solid and sturdy structures that do not cost their owners too much.
The foam block itself is a building material that is lightweight. Thanks to this feature, it is quite easy to work with it. In addition, foam blocks are distinguished by a special porous structure, although the latter factor cannot be called positive, since it affects the strength characteristics of such a material.
You can build a house from foam blocks with your own hands. In our time, such buildings are very common, since they are inexpensive and built in a short time. Some craftsmen compare the construction of such a block house with assembling a designer, since they fasten these building materials without using a special solution, and the blocks themselves are very light and voluminous.
Despite such distinctive features, clear plans must be drawn up for the construction of houses from foam blocks, as is the case with any other constructions. Only with a well-drawn up plan, you can build a really high-quality, reliable and safe block house.
Many users are wondering what distinguishes foam blocks from all known gas blocks. It should be noted that the former have a geometry inferior to gas blocks. The process of forming in cassettes makes it possible to maintain the most accurate dimensions if the company has good tooling, but this is extremely rare.
In most cases, foam blocks are made by small manufacturers. Large investors prefer to invest in high-tech equipment for aerated concrete.
Due to defects associated with the shape of foam blocks, after the construction of houses, problems of leveling various surfaces often arise. It is impossible to leave the masonry without this modification, as this can lead to the appearance of cold "bridges". Despite such nuances, foam blocks still remain popular materials in construction. They are chosen not only because of their cheapness, but also due to the fact that you can build a house out of them with your own hands. You don't need to have extensive experience or special knowledge for this. You just need to be patient, have free time and good instructions, from which it will not be possible to depart at any stage of construction.
Cons and pros
Foam block houses are not uncommon these days. They are on almost every street. The popularity of such constructions is explained by the following positive qualities:
- one of the main advantages of foam block buildings is their low thermal conductivity, thanks to this characteristic, such buildings are quite warm and cozy;
- foam blocks themselves are lightweight, which distinguishes them from many similar materials, thanks to this quality, houses from such materials can be built with your own hands, without even turning to assistants - everything can be done alone;
- due to their low weight, foam block houses do not give too much loads on the foundation;
- houses from foam blocks are well soundproofed;
- such materials are quite voluminous, so houses from them are created in a short time and without much energy consumption;
- another important advantage of foam block houses is that they are inexpensive; this pleases many consumers who are not ready for too serious spending;
- if necessary, the blocks can be filed without problems, which speaks of their pliability and ease of use; in addition, if necessary, various holes can be made in them without harming the block itself;
- in most cases, foam blocks are environmentally friendly, they do not harm health and do not cause allergic reactions; of course, synthetic raw materials are sometimes used in their production, which cannot be called absolutely safe, but such components in blocks make up less than half a percent;
- such constructions can boast of low hygroscopicity;
- foam blocks are durable materials from which the same durable houses are obtained;
- such buildings are not afraid of fire, since they are not flammable and do not support combustion;
- many people believe that only rather boring and monotonous buildings are obtained from foam blocks, although in reality this is not the case; from this material you can build a house in any style, the main thing is to turn on imagination and stock up on the necessary skills;
- such buildings do not require decorative finishing; usually they resort to it in order to give the structure a more aesthetic appearance, but such components in this case do not have special functional significance.
As you can see, the advantages of foam block houses are quite a lot. That is why they are so popular nowadays. But do not flatter yourself and think that such constructions are flawless. They have a number of negative qualities that you definitely need to know about if you decide to build a foam block house on your site.
- First of all, it is very important to take into account the fact that such buildings shrink 2-3 mm per 1 running meter, therefore, it will be possible to move on to their interior decoration only after six months, or even more. Shrinkage in this case is caused by a rather long reaction between the individual components of the foam concrete solution.
- As mentioned above, foam blocks have a pore structure. Thanks to this feature, such materials become less heat-conducting, the installation of fasteners in them is not so easy. Because of this, during construction work, craftsmen have to stock up on special fasteners designed specifically for foam blocks.
- It is not necessary to decorate such block houses, but without such an addition, the construction may not look the most neat and aesthetic. Here you need to take into account that for such bases, you should purchase specialized paint and plaster designed specifically for foam concrete.
- Foam blocks need reinforcement. The reinforcement must be laid in the openings. In addition, reinforcement will be needed on every 4–5 row of blocks. If you do not ensure the construction of a high-quality reinforced belt, then you will not be able to install reliable floors and a strong rafter system.
- The modern construction market is literally flooded with counterfeits. Since the raw materials for the production of foam blocks are inexpensive, they are often made in an artisanal way. As a result of such work, low-quality building materials are obtained, which are not recommended for the construction of a residential building.
- One of the most important disadvantages of block buildings is that the foam block is a rather fragile material. Of course, because of this, it is much easier to get off and has a light weight, but it cannot boast of a good load-bearing capacity.
- If you want to build a house from foam blocks, then you should take into account that for this you need to carry out special calculations of the load on materials. You will have to very carefully and scrupulously calculate the thickness of the walls and partitions, taking into account any loads. The walls in such houses are most often built with a small margin of safety.
- Houses made of mesh materials cannot boast of a solid and rich appearance. There is only one correct way to eliminate this drawback - to use high-quality finishing materials.
- For foam block houses, it is necessary to equip the form-building foundations. Such structures make it possible to level not the highest indicators of bending strength, which are characteristic of foam concrete.
- As mentioned earlier, foam blocks do not have ideal geometry, like, for example, the same gas blocks. Because of this, every single part has to be sanded or cut during construction, which often takes a lot of time.
From all of the above, we can conclude that there are plenty of drawbacks for foam block structures. Of course, a lot depends on the quality of a particular product. No less important is the skill of the person who took up the construction of the block house.
If you decide to build such a dwelling on your own, then all the listed disadvantages should be taken into account in order to avoid many possible problems and shortcomings.
Types and choice of material
There are several types of foam blocks. These building materials can differ both in the direct manufacturing technology and in the main characteristics.
All types of foam blocks are divided based on the following parameters:
- difference in density level;
- what technology was used;
- what hardening method was applied;
- for the specific construction of the foam block.
According to their performance characteristics, these building materials are divided into several subtypes.
- Structural . These types of foam concrete blocks can withstand impressive loads. Often they are used in the construction of multi-storey buildings. Large building objects made of structural foam blocks are additionally insulated, since this material has high thermal conductivity.
- Heat insulating . Such options for foam blocks are fundamentally different from structural specimens. They are not thermally conductive. Thanks to this feature, the living rooms in the house are perfectly protected from the cold from the street. However, it should be borne in mind that heat-insulating types of foam blocks cannot boast of good strength characteristics. For this reason, if this material is used in the construction of a private house, then it is usually used as an additional layer designed to improve the thermal insulation qualities.
- Structural and insulating . These types of foam blocks are versatile. They combine increased strength and excellent thermal insulation. These materials are ideal for the construction of load-bearing wall slabs or conventional partitions. Often, structural and insulating blocks are used in the construction of baths, low-rise buildings or residential private houses of one or two floors.
These building materials also differ in production technology. In this case, the decisive role is played by the equipment used in the manufacture of foam blocks.
- Shaped . These building materials have a "telling" name - in the process of their production, special forms are used, which have additional partitions in their design. The manufacture of molded foam blocks is considered the most economical, although it has one serious drawback - the dimensions of the resulting blocks are not precisely verified.
- Sliced varieties of foam blocks are made from a special ready-made mixture of the basic composition by cutting into various elements with a steel string. A distinctive feature of such materials is that they have perfectly even corners, and also have sufficient geometric accuracy.
Foam blocks differ from each other and in their designs, which are worth considering in more detail.
- Wall . These types of materials are the most popular and in demand. They are in great demand. Wall foam blocks are used in suburban construction, and we can talk not only about a residential building, but also about any outbuildings. The properties and characteristics of wall blocks allow them to be used in both residential and commercial construction.
- For partitions . There are foam blocks designed for the construction of partitions. They are distinguished by their small thickness - 100–150 mm. They are excellent materials for building strong and fairly reliable internal partitions in the house. The main distinguishing feature of such blocks is that they are very easy to trim if necessary. Thanks to this quality, from the materials of such a modification, the craftsmen make very original curly partitions or chic wide openings with arches.
- Special purpose . For the manufacture of special trays, foam blocks for special purposes are most often used. It is in these trays that reinforcement is usually laid during construction.
- Reinforced . These materials are structures made of a foam block, reinforced with a reliable steel frame. As a rule, reinforced types of blocks are used as lintels instead of the classic options made of reinforced concrete.
- Non-standard . Today on the building materials market there are also special foam blocks of non-standard modification. If necessary, various manufacturers produce non-standard copies to order from consumers.
All types of foam blocks are divided into the following types:
- autoclave - undergo an autoclave drying process;
- non - autoclave - dry under standard conditions or in special steaming chambers.
When choosing a suitable foam block for building a house, several important criteria must be considered.
- Density of material a. The specific purpose of this or that foam block directly depends on this parameter. Thus, structural parts have a density of 1000–1200 kg / m³, structural and insulating parts - 600–900 kg / m³, heat-insulating ones - 300–500 kg / m³.
- A kind of block . There are classic options, blocks with voids and Lego foam blocks. The latter type greatly facilitates installation work.
- The grade and category of the foam block . If you plan to additionally finish a block house, then it is permissible to purchase foam blocks of absolutely any category. The second grade differs from the first in that it has no defects. Differences in geometric dimensions are compensated for by the size of the seams. However, the selection of individual blocks can "stretch" the time of work, as well as the consumption of adhesive. For this reason, experts recommend buying higher quality first grade materials.
- Blocks of the third grade have more serious damage. Moreover, their porous structure may have certain deviations. It is not recommended to purchase this type of material for the construction of a residential building.
- Pore size . It is worth paying attention to the pore size of the foam blocks. The larger they are, the higher are the thermal insulation properties of materials, but their strength will be lower.
- Place and storage conditions . In conditions of high humidity, foam concrete does not seriously suffer, unlike aerated concrete. However, some of its characteristics are still reduced in such an environment.
- Block color . It is worth paying attention to the color of the foam blocks. The color should be uniform and uniform throughout the part. The lighter the material, the less cement is present in it.
From foam blocks, you can build houses of absolutely any modifications. These can be buildings with one or two floors, with an attic and a basement, or with a garage.
You should consider several attractive ready-made projects of foam block private houses of different designs and layouts.
House with an area of 86 sq. m
For wall material, you can use a combination of foam block and aerated block. As a finish, a high-quality facing brick will be an excellent option. It is permissible to use wooden beams in the role of floors. Such a structure can have a regular square shape and one floor. A small porch should be built at the back door.
Inside the house, the main area should be devoted to a spacious living room combined with a kitchen. This zone should be separated by a wall, behind which there will be two bedrooms, additionally separated by a partition. There is a place for a bathroom in front of the second bedroom, and after that it will be possible to build another bedroom (in the corner of the building).
Between all the listed rooms, you need to equip a small hall, right opposite which there is enough space for a boiler room, a storage room and a small vestibule.
Such a house will be completed with a neat gable roof, trimmed with flexible tiles.
Two-storey house 6x6 m
An attractive two-storey country house with a size of 6x6 m can be built from a foam block. The living area in such a construction will be about 40-60 m². On the first floor, a hall with a staircase upstairs (immediately after the front door), a bathroom (right behind the hall) should be located, and the remaining space should be allocated for a wide living room combined with a kitchen. On the second floor, behind a partition to the right of the hall, a small but comfortable dressing room will find its place. The remaining half of the floor needs to be divided into two separate bedrooms.
For the exterior decoration of such a construction, it is permissible to use decorative stone or brick, and put flexible tiles on the roof of a complex structure.
A small porch with a canopy can lead to the entrance to the house.
Two-storey house with an area of 200-300 sq. m
On one side of the building, at the front door, a small porch with a neat shed canopy should be built. On the opposite side, at the ground floor level, there is a place for a terrace. Inside the house, immediately after the porch (opposite), a vestibule should be placed, and to the right of the entrance zone - a boiler room. This part of the house will be used for heating and water systems. In front of the vestibule, an area should be set aside for the hallway, which, as it were, will divide the rest of the space into two halves: on the right there will be a bedroom and a pantry with a staircase, and on the left - a large living room and kitchen. The hallway area can be “closed” with a compact bathroom and another bedroom to the left of it. In front of the kitchen-dining room, located next to the living room, a terrace of 12.8-13 m² will look great.
On the second floor, a staircase can separate the bathroom and the corner bedroom and lead directly to the hall. This area will share another bedroom on the left and a second bathroom on the right. The remaining half of the second floor should be allocated for two spacious bedrooms and a small dressing room between them. In the conditions of such a second floor, it will be possible to build 2 balconies at once. One of them with an area of 8.7 m² will find its place near the corner bedroom on the left, and the second, a small balcony (5.7 m²) - next to the bedroom located directly in front of it.
For the exterior decoration of such a chic house, you can use a special peach plaster for foam blocks. Red-brown tiles will look great on the roof, and the lower part of the house should be trimmed with decorative stone.
You can build a house from foam blocks with your own hands. To do this, it is important to adhere to the instructions and not dismiss any of the stages of work. It is worth considering how to properly build a house from foam blocks, from choosing a foundation to finishing work.
Choosing a foundation
In order for a block house to be as reliable and complete as possible, it must be erected on a suitable foundation that can easily withstand its weight. Before proceeding to the construction of the foundation, it will be necessary to make a geodetic breakdown of the axes on the site, based on the drawn up project.
When determining the specific type of foundation for a block house, it is necessary to take into account the level of groundwater at the site, as well as the depth of freezing, the specific type of soil and the direct load that will be applied to the foundation. In most cases, when the owner builds a house on his own, he neglects the design work due to the fact that they often cost a tidy sum. If the level of groundwater and the specific type of soil can be determined by yourself, having made a well of 2.5-3 m, then it is recommended to entrust the exact calculation of the loads on the foundation foundation, as well as the depth and its type, to the appropriate specialists.
Usually, if the groundwater level is located at a depth of less than 2 meters, a monolithic slab foundation is installed. If the specified value exceeds the mark of 2 meters, the level of soil freezing does not reach 1 meter, and the soil is weakly porous or generally non-porous, then you can build a foundation of low depth - the tape option. Even an inexperienced master can prepare such a structure.
You should consider the step-by-step instructions for installing the foundation using the example of a strip structure.
- To make the correct markings, dig a trench of the required width and depth. A gravel-sand "pillow" 15–20 cm thick is placed on its bottom.
- Next, formwork is made from planed boards. Their thickness should be approximately 5 cm. The spacers should be set keeping a distance of 1 meter. This is necessary so that the concrete does not deform the resulting structure.
- Making the formwork, you can start laying the reinforcement. Before proceeding to concreting, the boards are moistened with water, and then concrete is laid out in stages with a compactor of each layer by vibration.
- After completing these works, the foundation must be closed with a cloth or sawdust. It must be kept wet in order to avoid cracking.
- After that, you can dismantle the formwork and proceed to waterproofing work. They are required to protect the foundation from the destructive effects of groundwater and any precipitation. Waterproofing coatings should be applied to all external surfaces using a variety of methods and materials.
Having completed all the work listed above, you should plan the specific layout of the area surrounding the house, providing a drain from the building. After 28 days, the foundation structure can begin to be loaded and proceed to the construction of the walls.
When the foundation is finally fixed and gains the necessary strength, it will be possible to proceed to the construction of walls.
This process includes several steps.
- Before laying the first row of foam blocks, you need to make sure the base is horizontal using a level. Any deviations should not exceed 30 mm.
- You should put a cement-sand mortar in a layer of 1–2 cm, and then lay a waterproofing material on it in a roll. It is advisable to lay it with a slight overlap (about 15 cm).
- This is followed by a very serious work - this is the laying of the first row of external walls. It should be borne in mind that foam blocks must be installed only according to the project, since all subsequent rows will depend on the very first one.
- First, the blocks must be placed in the corners on a cement-sand mixture. The top of the materials should be checked with a level, they should be strictly horizontal.
- Stretch a special lace between the parts in the corners. Intermediate blocks should be laid relative to it.
- If you need a block that has non-standard dimensional parameters, then it should be filed. You can use a hand saw for this.
- You can go to the masonry of the second row after a few hours, when the solution of the first row is fixed. Blocks are also laid from the corners, and then fill in the gaps left between them.
- Each new level is laid out with dressing to the previous one to a depth of at least 100 mm. It is worth removing any dirt with a brush.
- The joining of the inner walls to the outer ones should be done with a bandage.
- To put partitions, use special ties that fit into the seams. At one end, the anchors are placed in the wall, and at the other end, between the foam blocks of the partition. It is worth installing special flexible connections every 2 rows of block masonry.
- In order to further strengthen the walls and give them stability, reinforcement should be made. It is necessary to lay the reinforcement in the cavities present in the building material, which are made in advance using a wall chaser.
- To organize lintels over windows and doors, ready-made structures of suitable dimensions are used. It is worth paying attention to the support area and installation accuracy. For everything to be done clearly, the jumper should be knocked out with a rubber mallet. If its length is more than 125 cm, then additional support parts should be used that will support it.
- If the house will have more than one floor, then you need to pay special attention to the arrangement of floors. Do not place the boards directly on the foam blocks. To do this, it is necessary to pour a monolithic reinforced concrete belt on top of the block bases. Floor slabs will be laid on such a plane.
- The reinforced belt will tie the supporting structures around the perimeter and be responsible for the uniform load on the walls. The dimensions of the armopoyas are usually standard: a height of 200 mm and a width of 300 mm.
- When the concrete solution in the reinforced belt hardens, slabs are laid on it.
- The second floor must be done in the same way as the walls of the first. Any irregularities should be removed with a planer. Remove excess glue with a spatula, and cover all cracks with grout.
- As for the attic floor, it must be done in the same way as the interfloor one. You can, of course, build a structure with beams. They can be made of metal or wood.
Having placed the walls, you can proceed to the manufacture of the roof. A similar design can have one slope, two slopes, be hip or mansard.
To equip a high-quality roof of a block house should be in the following order:
- first, elements such as roof beams are installed;
- after that, you should proceed to the design of the battens and counter battens;
- followed by work related to the installation of thermal insulation;
- the next step will be the laying of roofing, the range of which is now more rich than ever; especially popular at the present time are materials such as flexible shingles, presented in different colors, metal shingles, roofing steel or lightweight coatings in rolls.
Having completed all the above works, you can safely proceed to the final stage - finishing the house.
It is necessary to carry out the interior decoration of a foam block house, taking into account some of the features and nuances associated with buildings of this type. First of all, it should be remembered that in such buildings it is not recommended to turn to the so-called wet works. This is due to the fact that the water absorption of foam blocks should not exceed 12% of the original actual volume. It is because of this that it is rather problematic to cover foam block walls with a plaster mixture. It is recommended to purchase high-quality finishing materials that are designed specifically for such bases, or turn to frame-based finishing.
For this, options such as are best suited:
- plastic / polyvinyl chloride panels;
- drywall sheets - the specific type of this material will depend on the room in which it will be installed, for example, for a kitchen or bathroom, it is necessary to buy moisture-resistant drywall sheets;
- gypsum fiber sheets.
All of these materials are installed on pre-prepared frames. They are made either from metal guides or from wooden blocks. The surfaces of gypsum plasterboard and gypsum fiber sheets after completion of installation work must be additionally coated with a high-quality putty. After that, you can proceed to their design with decorative coatings, for example, wallpaper, paint or plaster mixture.
In addition, in rooms in which there will be an increased level of humidity, the walls must be thoroughly vaporized . This is necessary so that excess liquid and moisture does not accumulate in the foam blocks, since over time this can lead to their destruction and failure. So, in the conditions of the same bathroom, a vapor barrier film is installed on the walls in advance, and a special infrared structure made of gypsum fiber sheets is laid on it, on which tiles can be glued in the future.
Finishing a block house should be approached very responsibly. You don't have to skimp on quality and suitable materials. Regular paint or plaster for foam block walls simply won't work . So, you can not only not create an aesthetic interior, but also significantly harm the building materials.
If a decision is made to build a foam block house on your own, you must not only rely on step-by-step instructions, but also take into account some recommendations from experts so as not to face common mistakes of most masters.
- It should be borne in mind that the foundation foundation must be made not only under the external, but also under the internal wall structures.
- The walls of the foundation can be insulated with different materials. Most modern DIYers prefer cheap styrofoam.
- In the process of laying the first and further rows of foam blocks, one should not forget that it is necessary to leave the openings necessary for the future installation of door panels and windows.
- Do not neglect the reinforcement of door and window openings. This should be done both at the top and at the bottom. A lintel must be made over the doorway. The principle of action is the same in both cases.
- If the foam blocks that you want to purchase for the construction of a private house have a heterogeneous color, then this may indicate that they were made in violation of technology. For example, materials may have been fast dried, which is a gross violation. It is better not to buy such products.
- Based on their experience, many owners of private houses advise not to take away the excavated soil far away - it may well come in handy when arranging a garden.
- When carrying out construction work, you need to remember that it is not recommended to leave concrete in direct sunlight during the drying process. In addition, it will need to be moisturized from time to time. Otherwise, it may crack.
- If wooden parts are used when erecting a roof or when finishing work inside a block house, then it is recommended to treat them with special protective equipment - antiseptics. Without such compositions, natural materials can begin to rot and deteriorate, or become a "home" for tree parasites, getting rid of which is not an easy task.
- Experts do not recommend building block houses with basements or underground floors. This is due to the fact that such premises are often flooded. The owners will have to spend a lot on waterproofing materials and drainage.
- It was previously mentioned that there are too many fake and low-quality foam blocks in the modern building materials market. To make sure that the product is not a fake, you need to pay attention to its packaging - the blocks should be packed in plastic wrap, which protects them from external influences, dampness and moisture. In addition, materials must lie on pallets and be labeled with the specified information about their density, category and allowed errors in dimensional values.
- The appearance of unfinished foam block houses is rather monotonous and not the most attractive. To revive the structure, it is worth using materials such as brick, decorative or natural stone, and siding for exterior decoration.
- It is recommended to lay foam blocks using special glue. It must be selected in accordance with the specific type of building material. Of course, instead of glue, you can also use a cement-sand mixture, although it is in many ways inferior to the first option, since it forms cold "bridges" in the house.
Most of the reviews about foam block houses are positive. People like not only the cheapness and reliability, but also the ease of self-erection of such buildings. Some users were surprised at how easily and quickly they coped with all the construction work. According to some of them, "the walls of the house were growing by leaps and bounds," which speaks of the ease and speed of installation.
Pleased with many people and the fact that the foam block itself is a universal material. Many used it for the construction of small private houses and summer cottages, as well as for cottages of different sizes. Homeowners also like the fact that over the years, foam block houses do not begin to crumble and collapse, even if various fasteners, for example, anchors, are installed in the walls.
For the main nuances of building a house from foam blocks, see the video below.