Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Epicatt2

      IMPORTANT - READ BEFORE POSTING to SUPPORT FORUM   01/28/2011

      Posts to this Support Forum are to be related ONLY to one's ARCR membership. Posts inappropriate to the Support Forum will be removed without comment. Please post all other types of questions to the appropriate Forum. Only Forums Moderators, Administrators and ARCR Employees ae able to make any replies to this ARCR Support Forum. Paul M. Forums Moderator ==
ticotomasino

Construction with COVINTEC

Recommended Posts

Some replies on other threads have asked to desribe the Covintec system or provide websites with info. I am reseraching this product because the Covintec system sounds great and makes sense on paper but here in CR all the input I have received from contractors who have used the system over the last 10 years has been negative. I am looking for some positive input as this product makes a lot of sense with the advent of "Green Home Building".

This construction system from Mexico has been used for years and is a totally different method than typical concrete block and column construction. Because of the Covintec extruded polystyrene (EPS) panels energy efficiency there is now new interest as related to "Green Home Building". EPS foam products whether used for insulation or packaging are lightweight, versatile, sanitary, energy efficient, and most of all cost effective. The manufacture of EPS foam uses less energy than that used in the manufacture of paper based alternatives. According to The Midwest Research Institute study on special packaging applications, the total energy requirements to make plastic containers (including both processing and materials energy) were lower than or equal to the energy consumed to make competing materials. Covintec is a building system that replaces traditional block, column, and beam construction.

 

Covintec comes in 4-foot-by-8-foot panels of steel wire mesh that surrounds expanded polystyrene, which is then covered with traditional plaster. Benefits include structural resistance to hurricane-force winds and earthquake activity; quick installation; great versatility (the panels can be used in a wide array of architectural styles); transportation cost savings because it weighs less than block; improved insulation that reduces noise from outside and between rooms; and protection from humidity damage. Plus, Covintec is relatively seismic-proof, and with eight times the thermal insulation of traditional block systems, tests have shown that it provides electric energy savings for homeowners of 23 percent to 27 percent. And because there's no wood and the panels are embedded with steel, bugs and critters can't eat it or chew through it to live inside.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TicoVille    0

When they first started out, there was problems, a lot of cracks. Now there is new plaster and it works pretty well. I'm from California and always liked plaster. In Costa Rica it works well from our experiece. My business partner has been building homes here for over 10 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ticomandm    0

We built our vacation home in Paraiso, Guanacaste with Covintec walls. It was completed last February and is holding up quite well. The house is basically a steel frame with teak floors and ceilings - all the walls (where we have walls) are covintec. I was amazed at how easily it went up.

 

If you're ever in the area, feel free to stop by and check it out.

 

Michael

 

Our Covintec Vacation home

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
missy    0

This thread was started a while back but I thought I would open it again just to get some feed back. We are thinking of building with Covintec. I have heard they are building in Southern Costa Rica( Uvita) using this. Anyone have any input. I would love to get the Pros and cons.

Thanks Missy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
T&VSmith    0

Here is a developer that has used it for years on the Pacific Coast. We first saw it in 2010. You may get some "help" from them but after a lot of research by both us and our home builder we went with conventional block and mortar. It is considerably less expensive using covintec.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
missy    0

Here is a developer that has used it for years on the Pacific Coast. We first saw it in 2010. You may get some "help" from them but after a lot of research by both us and our home builder we went with conventional block and mortar. It is considerably less expensive using covintec.

Thank you I will check it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting local contractors to use something 'different' from what they are used to, could lead to problems...

 

A Canadian friend who was in the construction business in Canada, built with this, and his home gets so hot, we have to sit outside when we visit. If you do chose to use it, make sure you have a very large overhang around the house to help keep out the heat.

I would say, stick to bricks and mortar, as Terry advises in his post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kriket    0

Thank you I will check it out.

Missy,

Our house was built by this very builder. First phase - covintec, a few years later addition - cinder blocks. Covintec is about 30% (IIRC now) more expensive, but holds heat a bit better. IMHO more important is to properly design your house to allow natural ventilation. In our case sleeping in block-and-mortar bedroom is more comfortable than covintec, due to windows configuration. And - yes, make sure you have enough roof overhead to protect your windows from direct sunlight, especially at PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JEP    0

hi everyone.

I have experience designing houses with that system on the coast of Guanacaste and Ballena.

We used most of all for easy transport in properties with difficult access and especially for the thermal insulation resulting in very hot conditions.

I recommend it 100%

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I looked at Concrepal and may use them. I looked at a couple houses built by them and they seemed okay to me. I mean, you get what you pay for but for a low budget home, they're not bad, especially if you are on a limited budget. It's cheap and quick and my friends who used them were happy with them.

A lot of people say concrete is bad because it creates a home like a pizza oven. What I have learned is that by putting insulationi above the ceiling (foam, I think it is), you can keep the heat down, and then by having good cross-ventilation instead of NO Windows as the Ticos tend to do, and with some ceiling fans, you should be okay, especially if you live at a higher elevation that gets some breeze.

I'm not a builder so I'm just saying what I've seen and learned in my recent research which includes visiting some homes built with concrete.

 

I am interested in the prefab Maderas Kodiak homes which are made with EPA approved compressed wood imported from the USA and made to USA standards. This is another type of prefab home but with compressed wood that is guaranteed not to be eaten by termites etc.. The person running Maderas Kodiak is "Web Seed".

 

Does anyone here know Web Seed's reputation, or know anyone who has built using his MaderasKodiak prefab kits?

 

Normal concrete block homes seem to be quite a bit more costly these days than the pre-fab stuff which is why we're looking at pre-fab.
I agree with the person posting above who said that the electrical outlets and other such details are things you want to ask about with pre-fab.

 

What I have noticed is that the prefab plans being offered do not usually have big enough bedrooms nor enough windows. I am guessing they don't have enough electrical outlets and closet space either, so these are things you'd have to adjust/add on which is going to raise the price. Remember that Ticos mostly use these pre-fab homes (it seems to me) and so the plans may not be what you would expect for an American style home. I know Ticos hate when you say that but hey, I have observed for myself that Tico homes tend to have much smaller rooms and less windows. and the electrical isn't always up to what Americans expect (i.e. less outlets, no ceiling lights etc) Plumbing too... Just saying what I have observed with my own eyes.

Another tip: elecricity is expensive in Costa Rica, so install LED lighting, it's cheaper in the long run. And while it may be expensive to do complete solar power, you can add SOME solar power to run, say, one circuit...

Can anyone tell me why it is Ticos tend to not use many windows and almost never use screens in windows? I am guessing it's simply a matter of not wanting to spend more $.

 

But imho, one MUST have windows with screens to increase ventilation/air flow/coolness. I like the style I have seen where there are big picture windows but above them are little windows of maybe 8-12" high that crank out and in, so you can have air flow at all times, rain won't blow in because they are placed high up on the wall towards the over-hang of the roof, and it is hard for anyone to break in through them because they're too small.

 

Be careful which builder you use especially if you use SIP panels because there are some very unprofessional (flakey, lying, unreliable) builders out there using SIP panels. Do your homework, look for info on the builder on the web and ask around, no matter who you use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eleanorcr    0

One option is to buy the pre-fab panels and hire some guys to build it for you instead of the whole pre-fab package. My Costa Rican neighbor across the street did that (well, they "surrounded" their old house which is a whole other story) and they have huge windows and it's very attractive. If you just buy the panels and have someone build it, you can specify the outlets you want and windows where you want them. The windows mentioned above with the opening across the top are very popular.

 

Also -- I recall reading that someone thought the concrete panels would be too thin -- I haven't found that to be the case. To keep the heat under control, it's what you do with the roof/ceiling that counts. I've lived in a house with a ceiling and one without and I can testify that the one without the ceiling was the one that got really hot.

 

As for why Costa Ricans don't use screens -- I guess it's because they have learned to live with bugs. North Americans always seem to be in "ewww" mode when it comes to bugs. And windows are expensive for someone with a limited income. I think also that Costa Ricans tend to live a daytime life outside, on the porch, doors open and at night, they are happy to close all that off. Just what I've been told........

 

And once again, that "expensive electricity" thing. I've never had an electric bill over $15 for the month in all my years in Costa Rica. And if you will check electric rates, you will find that they are less than, say, Florida. (At least mine is.....) The difference is in the way the house is classified in the beginning and how much electricity you use. The rates increase as your usage increases.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I have observed, it is the older wooden homes that didn't always use glass in the window openings, although the Americans that built our old farm house didn't put glass in the kitchen and living room frames but added heavy wooden shutters, which did make it secure as the other windows all had security bars, but sure made it dark inside. We left the shutters but installed sliding glass windows.

 

Last year, some well traveled Tico neighbors of ours built a beautiful and very unusual styled home, that left the exterior 'angles' on the cathedral ceiling open, without glass or screening. The front door and all around it was big glass windows, so you could see right into the living area very easily from the road.... Well after they had a burglar 'climb' in through the space, they are now in the process of glassing it in and have put 'blackout film' on the glass front windows so that it is not so easy to 'see in'.

 

As for screens, if you also have security bars it can make it harder to clean the windows and they would rather keep two footed intruders out :ph34r: We have both window and door screens but keep the doors open all day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eleanorcr    0

I do have bars on my rental house and it makes it a bit more difficult to clean, but not a lot. Fifteen minutes as opposed to ten. (They are large windows....)

 

As for screens, it depends on the house. The house I am in now, I put all my screens inside. And that is done like this:

 

1. The windows that open are jalousie windows http://www.coastalwindows.com/uploads/header/3-Coastal-Jalousie-Window-b.jpg that are placed between two pieces of 1x4 wood. In this house, when the jalousies are open, they extend beyond the wood frame on the outside, so I put my screens on the inside.

 

2. To install screens: go to hardware store and get good quality screening and a box of thumb tacks.

 

Go home and cut the screen material to fit your window, leaving an extra inch all around.

 

Using the thumb tacks, tack the screens in place, folding under the 1" margin.

 

3. Cost per window -- about $2.

 

4. The beauty of this system is that you can take the screening down to wash it in the washing machine (dust, dirt, mildew, etc) and clean the jalousie panes is easy from the inside.

 

If your windows are difficult to get to from outside, the only way I've found to clean them when there are bars is to use clean rags on your mop and do the best you can, use a ladder if possible or -- take out all the jalousie panes and lean out and clean the other parts of the window that way.

 

Keep in mind that this is if the jalousie windows run down the middle of the window with two "solid" panes on either side, which is very common in Tico-style homes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One option is to buy the pre-fab panels and hire some guys to build it for you instead of the whole pre-fab package. My Costa Rican neighbor across the street did that (well, they "surrounded" their old house which is a whole other story) and they have huge windows and it's very attractive. If you just buy the panels and have someone build it, you can specify the outlets you want and windows where you want them. The windows mentioned above with the opening across the top are very popular.

 

Also -- I recall reading that someone thought the concrete panels would be too thin -- I haven't found that to be the case. To keep the heat under control, it's what you do with the roof/ceiling that counts. I've lived in a house with a ceiling and one without and I can testify that the one without the ceiling was the one that got really hot.

 

As for why Costa Ricans don't use screens -- I guess it's because they have learned to live with bugs. North Americans always seem to be in "ewww" mode when it comes to bugs. And windows are expensive for someone with a limited income. I think also that Costa Ricans tend to live a daytime life outside, on the porch, doors open and at night, they are happy to close all that off. Just what I've been told........

 

And once again, that "expensive electricity" thing. I've never had an electric bill over $15 for the month in all my years in Costa Rica. And if you will check electric rates, you will find that they are less than, say, Florida. (At least mine is.....) The difference is in the way the house is classified in the beginning and how much electricity you use. The rates increase as your usage increases.

Very helpful post. Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×