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Author: Subject: Concrete insulated foam blocks being made baja SUR
laventana
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[*] posted on 6-3-2013 at 10:21 PM
Concrete insulated foam blocks being made baja SUR


we have a true win win situation.

A friend of mine has invested $$$ in buying the machines for making the concrete foam blocks in LaPaz. These are the same ones that have been selling in the USA for years. Basically a wall will have a R23 with loading about R29.

These are also very strong, on his website the only standing home after a tornado was a EF Block home. Also a fire retardant, firehouses are built with it.

He claims that it increases the cost of building by about USD$4,000.00 per 1000 sq feet. And that any builder can adapt because it is just a block. With the cost of electricity here in Mexico if you are here year round it will pay off in 3-5 years. thus cutting down on baja energy demand and producing electricity.

Now the second win is he uses the foam that is in packaging from like toasters or TVs. This is one of the worst materials to go into a landfill, they do not break down. Generally they blow off and end up in the water. So a major win he will take all your packing foam, and has been collecting it already.

Made in baja so keeping jobs and money local too. Any normal finish interior or exterior, can be high end or budget.

Mention to your friends who might be building to at least take a look. The word needs to get out...

www.efblockmx.info





here is a house going up in LaVentana





one in cabo





[Edited on 6-4-2013 by laventana]
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BajaBlanca
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[*] posted on 6-4-2013 at 08:24 AM


Thanks for sharing.




Come visit La Bocana


https://sites.google.com/view/bajabocanahotel/home

And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.
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durrelllrobert
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[*] posted on 6-4-2013 at 11:33 AM
Here's a good how-to video for those blocks


www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_1A0RujbDE‎



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[*] posted on 6-6-2013 at 10:43 AM


After reading this and because I live in Phoenix, AZ, where the owner and developer of the product lives, I took a visit to his local operations.

Pretty "cool" stuff. I am getting read to put an add on Casita at my house in SF and will consider using this material.
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monoloco
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[*] posted on 6-6-2013 at 10:54 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by durrelllrobert
www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_1A0RujbDE‎
I believe that the blocks that the OP is referring to are somewhat different than the ones in the video.
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laventana
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[*] posted on 6-6-2013 at 11:08 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by monoloco
Quote:
Originally posted by durrelllrobert
www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_1A0RujbDE‎
I believe that the blocks that the OP is referring to are somewhat different than the ones in the video.
you are correct, the video ones are not made in baja. I like the product in the video also.... There are many similar to that one on the market...

So they do not contribute to the local job structure/economy. Second, they do not use recycled material.
So they do not help with our landfills, litter and ocean/seas.
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Bob and Susan
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[*] posted on 6-6-2013 at 02:00 PM


anyone interested in this foam block should look at a house built two or three years ago...

it does insulate but also cracks because it "flexes"

it is great for insulation the block does not transfer heat




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monoloco
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[*] posted on 6-6-2013 at 05:01 PM


My electrician also told me there was problems with the pulido finish cracking with this material. Maybe laventana could add a comment on this ?
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laventana
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[*] posted on 6-6-2013 at 06:01 PM


hmmm, what can I say. I will ask my friend for more details but here are my observations as a Engineer and geek watching people build for 14 years of still watching and myself building many years ago. . I used W-panel myself 10 years ago. Very happy with it. Plus, I used some products for making my concrete a vapor barrier. No electrician in my area had a clue to W-panel, (well they still do not). So of course I did the electrical myself as well as plumbing. This is a fishing village of 100 years or more turn to construction trade in 15 years. So no pros to tech journeyman the art. It is a school of absolutely hard knocks for those who build specially in the beginning.. What I have seen done is unreal and still see it. In my area from what I had seen till the windsurfing community arrived in mass 20 years ago the standard was 3rd grade education. Maybe the town had 1-3 people go on to college a year. Way different now. But to my knowledge there is no trade school in baja sur.

So here are some issues. First this construction is way stronger than any block home ever built in baja from the engineering structural standpoint. This internal grid structure what we call egg crating is used in making things stronger all the time in designs of products. That is the same they use for the ceiling with the foam blocks grid.

Now as a hobby I as a geek/Engineer when walking will check out the progress of many construction projects going on, walked on one two days ago. And I can tell you I have seen some awful foundations made, the one I went onto yesterday is the most massive one I have ever seen. And a person who has not seen a lot of these would be clueless. So maybe the person who made the ones you are talking about did not build correctly? Here are a few observations on the “normal” block builds” maybe the contractor was not in the know of proper foundation design.. That would be my guess after seeing how many make them. There are other potentials but not nearly as likely… I could not imagine a contractor ever shorting anyone in the proper mix of concrete in the hollows of the product... Or not putting in the rebar in every layer? I see so many homes that are made with concrete block with cracks all over because of poor foundations. I can tell you who to use in my area…

The owner of the EF Block down here was involved in construction of these types of blocks for many years as a construction worker in the USA 20 years ago. In fact he literally on the side built his own house with it in the USA 15 years ago. One would have to ask why would a person who was actually building them in the USA 20 years ago put several hundred thousand dollars setting up a factory into a product that is inherent to structural defects.

So yes do check out your contractors homes they have built... or just go to an active site and ask him for pictures of that specific sites foundation. If you do not have the where with all to know a good foundation from a hole in the ground, find a friend that does. Also another tip, if you are going to be absent from the build, have them send you pictures before and after the foundation is poured. and pictures of every layer putting in the rebar. Pictures are a great alternative way to build absentee.

Next if you want to get me going about wiring, plumbing and AC systems... I have gone into construction sites that they have stink vents but they blocked them off in the walls on the different floors because they really do not know what they are for. I have yet to see a AC installer use a vacuum pump when hooking up a AC system. This is a huge no no.... so yes, I bought a vacuum pump and do my own AC systems too.

Also Mike the owner down here is fluent in Spanish and can explain to the electrician how to do it properly. A product type that has been out for 30 some years , well I am sure all the homes have wiring it is just like my w-panel they were in a world of the unknown. Now, I am not saying it is as easy as chipping out block; I just have not done it. I will ask.



[Edited on 6-7-2013 by laventana]
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monoloco
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[*] posted on 6-6-2013 at 06:23 PM


laventana, it is altogether possible that my electrician doesn't know what he's talking about. I just wondered if you had heard of any problems with superficial cracks in the finish. A friend of mine and I are going to try and make it over on Saturday to talk to Mike about this system. Thanks for the info, it seems like a good building system to me.
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Bob and Susan
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[*] posted on 6-6-2013 at 06:29 PM


thats exactly what to look for...small spider cracks in the stucco

and later the stucco will fall off...maybe

you actually need to use chicken wire to avoid this like stick houses use

the foam block is a great insulation

as for stronger...maybe not...cement houses have been around along time and thru a lot of shaking




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[*] posted on 6-6-2013 at 07:17 PM


The strofoam composites flex much better in an earthquake than standard cement block, mainly due to the egg-crate rebar infrastructure. Have read lots of good things about their strength. These EF blocks look a lot like Rastra block in AZ---is that the parent company?
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[*] posted on 6-7-2013 at 02:43 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by Bob and Susan
anyone interested in this foam block should look at a house built two or three years ago...

it does insulate but also cracks because it "flexes"

it is great for insulation the block does not transfer heat


That only happens if the stucco is less than 3/8 thick

With the way these are grouted there is less flex than in 2x6 construction.
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[*] posted on 6-7-2013 at 02:46 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by Mexitron
The strofoam composites flex much better in an earthquake than standard cement block, mainly due to the egg-crate rebar infrastructure. Have read lots of good things about their strength. These EF blocks look a lot like Rastra block in AZ---is that the parent company?



No, but when I met with the owner earlier this week in Tempe, AZ, he and I had some friends in common. I looked seriously at Rastra when I built my house and he was the representative. He developed this on his own after learning some of the short comings of the products he was reping.
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[*] posted on 6-7-2013 at 05:00 AM


a home is a permanent structure...

I would look at a 2 to 3 year old unit made with this stuff to see if its actually worth the added cost before I used it

if it is...then go for it

talk about strength... is just that talk...
no one has ever showed me any facts about strength....but...
those triumph plastic boats ARE tough




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laventana
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[*] posted on 6-7-2013 at 06:54 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by CortezBlue
Quote:
Originally posted by Mexitron
The strofoam composites flex much better in an earthquake than standard cement block, mainly due to the egg-crate rebar infrastructure. Have read lots of good things about their strength. These EF blocks look a lot like Rastra block in AZ---is that the parent company?



No, but when I met with the owner earlier this week in Tempe, AZ, he and I had some friends in common. I looked seriously at Rastra when I built my house and he was the representative. He developed this on his own after learning some of the short comings of the products he was reping.


Mike was building with Rastra Block 15-20 years ago.

Strength, well ok someone says that the rebar egg crating is not as strong as a cinder block home. Do people understand the Mexican cinder block are not the structural part of a home. If you built your home out of Mexican cinder-block and did not put in the structural concrete supports (verticals and horizontals) your house would be structurally unsafe. That you would not get it to even get a building permit.

So we have a disagreement here that may never be settled. I will put my Engineering degree and again go out on a linb and can say that egg crating with this product is way stronger than the Mexican cinder block that is done here in baja. I would even be willing to bet some significant money.

Here is my proof of just how strong it is. A alabama tornado hits and the only house standing is a EF block home. I think the jury can decide is I win the bet.
tornado



next misguided theory being presented, you do not need chicken wire with this product. It is made with concrete that binds to the foam so that when the surface plaster is applied it will bind. Yes in others all foam like the one someone posted above you do typically use chicken wire. There are many products like the one in the video on the market that require that but they are also not made in baja and are also not using recycled foam as another benefit to our ecosystem.

Now for the doubters, think about this adhesion issue. I am sure even up in mulege they make roofs with the 3 foot by three foot squares of foam that are about 7-12 inches thick for sound and insulation in egg crating rebar fashion. I have not seen a house down here made without this in years. Well have you ever seen them defy the laws of physics when they plaster that foam ceiling without chicken wire on the ceiling? And those are just foam, these EF blocks have the concrete in them already and do not have to defy/fight the ultimate lays of gravity, the proper layer is also much thinker on a wall as noted by other poster.

So you are saying every homes ceiling being built outside of Muluge is structurally deficient in the last 10 years? that they are all structurally deficient. I have no fear of walking in people homes or businesses and the ceiling falling on me.

And yes he gives good advice like I suggested look at what your contractor has done, and as he says look at homes that are older.

As far as costs the estimate is roughly $4,000.00 more per 1000 sq feet. I am helping someone right now who is on the DAC rate which is even over 30 cents a kWh. They zone AC by which room they are in. This is costing them for a 2,400 sq foot home including garage, so we would not use for garage about 2000 sq foot home about $5000 a year for electricity. I pay about $800.00 a year and also zone cool and have similar appliance count of pumps, refrigerators. I have R12 walls and R40 roof with w-panel.

So he is paying an extra $4,000.00 a year to live in what they consider frugal comfort because they hit the DAC rate. They do not cool the entire house just the rooms they are in. If they were not hitting the DAC rate their bills would be about half.

So in 2-3 years this would pay the additional cost of $8,000.00 to have built with this foam block. And they could cool off the entire house for payback in 3-4 years.



[Edited on 6-7-2013 by laventana]
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monoloco
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[*] posted on 6-7-2013 at 08:16 AM


This has nothing to do with the product we are discussing, but I would like to note that I have caseton in my ceilings and all the ones that were plastered with a concrete type of plaster developed fine cracking to one degree or another, while ones finished with yeso have remained crack free. Just something to think about when using caseton in a roof system.
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[*] posted on 7-6-2013 at 03:37 PM


would adding latex to the mix help give it resiliance to minor flexing ?
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[*] posted on 7-8-2013 at 12:22 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Bob and Susan
a home is a permanent structure...

I would look at a 2 to 3 year old unit made with this stuff to see if its actually worth the added cost before I used it

if it is...then go for it

talk about strength... is just that talk...
no one has ever showed me any facts about strength....but...
those triumph plastic boats ARE tough


This product and products like it have been around for at least 13 years. When I built my home in Phoenix in 1999 I looked serious at Rastra, the exact same type of product.

Don't forget that this product is tied vertically and horizontally with rebar and is grouted solid every 12 to 16 inches.

My neighbor in San Felipe used Rastra about 8 years ago and it has no noticeable cracking or flaking or falling of stucco.
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[*] posted on 7-8-2013 at 01:36 PM


Quote:
When I built my home in Phoenix in 1999 I looked serious at Rastra, the exact same type of product.

My neighbor in San Felipe used Rastra about 8 years ago and it has no noticeable cracking or flaking or falling of stucco.


but you choose NOT to use it...

it does an excellent job of insulating...
the way its installed will see if the walls stand up over time
but the stucco may crack from "flexing"
(wind...earth movement)
it's flexible

people need to look at structures that are made of this stuff for the added cost

if its good for their lifestyle then use it:light::light:




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