In recent years, expanded clay concrete blocks have been very popular in low-rise construction. However, do not forget that any building material has both advantages and disadvantages..
Therefore, it is necessary to approach his choice as responsibly as possible, weighing all the pros and cons.
Advantages and disadvantages
Let’s start with the main advantage of expanded clay concrete materials – it is good thermal conductivity of the building walls.. Inside such a building, heat is retained, therefore in winter it is quite comfortable here..
- The key advantage is the relative lightness of the blocks. Expanded clay itself is a light material, moreover, building blocks from it contain voids. Their number depends on the manufacturer and on average reaches 50% of the volume. This allows you to significantly reduce the weight load on the base..
- Despite its low weight, the material is characterized by increased strength and long service life.. At first glance, such blocks seem fragile, nevertheless, the walls and floors of them are able to withstand a rather impressive load..
- Blocks have a democratic cost. This significantly reduces the cost of the overall construction estimate. It is for this reason that buildings made of expanded clay concrete are constantly growing in popularity among developers..
- Expanded clay concrete does not shrink. Therefore, the walls during operation are not covered with microcracks, which favorably distinguishes the material from aerated concrete.
- Environmental friendliness. Expanded clay blocks do not emit toxic substances, do not contain radiation.
- Expanded clay has exceptional sound-absorbing properties. This contributes to the high isolation of the living space from any outside noise..
- Due to their lightness and compact size, the blocks are easy and quick to assemble, therefore the whole construction process takes very little time.
- The surface of the expanded clay concrete blocks has a high adhesion capacity. This ensures good adhesion to plaster and other building mixtures..
- The advantages of the material include its availability.. You can buy blocks of expanded clay concrete in every city and even in small villages. This will significantly save the cost of delivering building materials to the place of work..
However, structures made of expanded clay concrete have their drawbacks..
- Due to the increased porosity, the blocks begin to absorb moisture. When the temperature drops below zero, moisture transforms into ice and destroys the structure of the material from the inside. Therefore, when erecting buildings from expanded clay concrete, additional protection should be provided against the adverse effects of atmospheric factors..
- Due to the small volume of blocks in the masonry, there are many seams, they let cold air into the structure. This leads to the need to insulate the walls with penoplex or expanded polystyrene..
- Another disadvantage is the fact that the manufacturers of expanded clay concrete do not provide a wide choice in dimensions.. For the most part, the market offers models 390x190x188 mm, as well as semi-blocks. Therefore, the thickness of the walls of a residential building will be either 19 or 39 cm..
- Expanded clay concrete wall – a three-layer structure consisting of expanded clay concrete block, insulation and facing material. In this regard, it is necessary to pre-calculate the dew point so that it is located in the insulation. If it is inside the wall, then moisture will begin to destroy the material..
- The disadvantages of such buildings include an unpresentable appearance.. In a number of European countries, these blocks are in demand for loft-style interior decoration. In Russia, such a solution is considered aesthetically unattractive. However, this nuisance is easily solved by facade decoration..
Structures made of expanded clay concrete are built according to individual or standard projects. The first ones allow you to build a real dream home, the level of development of modern technologies makes it possible to embody the most daring and creative ideas. Such solutions have only one drawback – the cost, while the more unusual your ideas are, the more expensive their implementation will be..
Typical projects represent a more practical investment. They allow you to create a comfortable ergonomic home, taking into account the financial capabilities of the customer..
At the moment, the average price of a cottage made of expanded clay blocks varies in the range of 1-1.5 million rubles. excluding the cost of the site and engineering communications.
Projects of one-story residential buildings made of expanded clay concrete materials are a good opportunity to get a comfortable and ergonomic home. Such construction does not involve significant costs and technical difficulties. Installation of structures does not require the use of oversized construction equipment.
One-storey building with an area of 80-90 sq. m provides at least 65 sq. m of usable space. It can accommodate a spacious living room, kitchen and 3 bedrooms. This is a fairly comfortable set for a small family of 3-4 people or a country house.
The foundation of such houses is made using pile-grillage technology, the floors are wooden. As an exterior finish, plaster is the best solution. In general, this option is considered practical, but it looks quite attractive..
No less popular projects of two-story cottages. There are a huge variety of them on the market, so every homeowner will definitely be able to find a layout to their liking.. By increasing the area in such houses, you can already count on significant space..
A house with an attic or a two-story building will cost more, since more technological solutions are needed for its construction. A number of projects involve the use of wooden beams as floors.
However, experienced builders prefer reinforced concrete floors. The weight load on the base increases, so it must be more durable..
The reliability and practicality of the house entirely depends on the type of foundation, it is he who is the basis of the entire structure. The service life of the entire structure as a whole largely depends on the correctness of its choice and adherence to standards. It’s no secret that a weakened, “floated” foundation causes microcracks to appear in the walls. It will not be possible to fix this without performing large-scale work..
Since the expanded clay concrete blocks contain voids, the construction of buildings does not require a massive foundation.. If geodetic tests did not record a high level of groundwater occurrence, and the soil itself is sandy or sandy loam – the optimal solution would be a columnar base with a monolithic grillage or a strip foundation with shallow depth.
If you plan to build a two-story cottage on unstable soil or there is no way to conduct soil samples, you should secure your structure and fill in a reliable strip base. Moreover, its depth should be below the level of soil freezing, depending on regional characteristics, it can be from 1 to 1.5 m.
Screw piles work well on unstable soils. They must be buried to the level of stable ground. Such a foundation is optimal for sites with elevation differences – piles can significantly save on leveling the construction site.
Installation of expanded clay concrete walls will also be an easy task. However, this job will require basic masonry skills. The blocks are laid out with a firm hand. Any deviations from the specified vertical, even by a couple of centimeters, lead to the need to align the walls both outside and inside..
Expanded clay concrete can be laid both on a cement composition and on specialized glue. The first method is optimal for blocks with irregular geometry, it allows you to level imperfections in shape due to the variability of the width of the masonry. In addition, before finishing, you will need to apply a leveling layer of plaster..
The glue is used for blocks of precise shape with perfectly smooth walls without any surface imperfections. Thanks to this masonry technique, the size of the seams does not exceed 3-5 mm.
This significantly reduces the cost of the construction process due to savings on rough plastering.
In both cases, the block stacking process is almost the same.. It suggests the following steps.
- The foundation is covered with waterproofing in order to protect the first row of expanded clay concrete from moisture rising from the ground.
- Blocks are fixed in the corners, a control thread is pulled between them.
- The mortar must be applied to the base, and the surface of the ceramic blocks must be covered with glue from the bottom and from the side..
- As the construction progresses, the accuracy of the ceramic block is verified by the level. If necessary, the row is straightened with a rubber mallet.
- After the first row is laid, you need to make sure that the masonry is even. Calculations are performed in two planes.
- The second row is overlapped by half the block.
- In every fourth row, reinforcement with a metal mesh or rods should be provided. Similarly, a row is formed under the window within 80-900 cm on each side.
The erection of structures from expanded clay concrete blocks presupposes high-quality wall insulation. Stone wool is a good choice – it is a water-permeable, breathable material that is suitable for wall concrete stones.. Of course, you can do without heat protection, but then the wall thickness should be at least 60 cm.
It is very important to provide for a high-quality ventilation system. Maintaining a healthy microclimate is unthinkable without removing water vapor and providing fresh air. With an excess of moisture, water leaving the walls of the dwelling will rest against the insulation and condense. This leads to a dew point, which leads to mold and mildew in the house..
At a minimum, kitchen and bathroom units should provide for forced ventilation – this issue should be worked out even at the design stage.. Ventilation holes must be made in the walls and roof.
Also, do not forget about ensuring the technical possibility of connecting the fans to the AC network..
In general, the technology of building houses from expanded clay concrete does not pose any particular difficulties.. However, beginners often make mistakes..
- Prolonged exposure of the facade without facing with panels or plaster. This leads to the destruction of the structure and a decrease in the strength parameters of the entire building as a whole..
- Lack of high-quality waterproofing. If you do not pay enough attention to this issue, then the walls in the building will begin to damp, especially in the outer corners. This leads to the appearance of pathogenic microflora..
- Despite the fact that in some cases it is possible to do without a reinforcing belt, if finances allow – it is worth ensuring its installation on top of expanded clay concrete blocks.
- It is not necessary to use expanded clay concrete for the installation of the foundation, even high-quality waterproofing will not save you. While in the ground, the blocks will collapse. In a number of situations, they can be taken for the base and only full-bodied.
To make a dwelling made of expanded clay concrete comfortable and warm, it is not enough to choose high quality material. It should be professionally installed. If you are not sure that you can do it yourself, it is better to seek the services of qualified specialists..
As noted above, structures made of expanded clay concrete have two main drawbacks – they are unaesthetic, as well as a porous structure, which leads to blowing of blocks. To get rid of the draft and refine the walls, you need surface plastering, you need to do it on both sides.
Important: even if you want to veneer the house with siding, you still need a minimum grout under the finish..
We pay special attention to the fact that plastering only the inner surfaces will not lead to the desired reduction in heat loss.. In this case, the cold air flow will freely penetrate the wall from the street side, take heat and also leave without hindrance. Although, of course, drafts in this case can be avoided.
High-quality plaster from the inside and outside allows you to multiply the service life of the walls and make the most of all the heat-insulating characteristics of the material. With the right work, the house will be like a thermos that effectively retains heat..
For plastering, use one of the following types of mixtures.
- A mixture of sand and cement. This is the most affordable and cheapest option. In the past, when more modern versions of dry formulations had not yet become widespread in the construction segment, such a finish seemed to be the only possible one..
- A specialized mixture of cement, all kinds of additives and fillers. Such plaster is more durable, easier to work with and has a number of positive performance characteristics..
- Waterproofing compounds will be the optimal solution for protecting walls in houses built in difficult climatic conditions. Suitable for buildings located below ground level.
- Gypsum-based mortars are optimal for indoor plastering of residential premises with standard humidity level.