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Old 08-27-2009, 10:36 PM   #1
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Is it possible to do an entire home interior in cement board & avoid flimsy drywall?


I was designing a house in my head & was again thinking that there has to be a way to avoid building a home out of weak, flimsy & incredibly lame wood & drywall.

My ideal home would be concrete from footings to roof, studded out with either pressure treated or ripped down laminate and covered in 1/2" concrete board in place of drywall. I simply cannot fathom that in this day & age we STILL build houses out of paper, wood, "mud" and worse. Seems almost prehistoric IMO. For the roof.... Hmmm. that's tough. Maybe solid PT 2x6s covered with water membrane and they, finally, the most durable metal or stone out there. For the rafters we could use laminate stock & make a steel sill plate with welded brackets so they could be bolted into place & avoid flimsy nails as one would see in the past.

Anyway, has anyway ever heard of doing an entire home interior this way? Might be tough, as one wold have to put some kind of tapered edges on them as I doubt they are available this way.

Yeah, I know this is kind of extreme, but that's me. Seems that most houses are crap and not designed to last all that long. The thought of an almost fireproof, bombproof, bug proof and weather proof place to call home is quite appealing for some bizarre reason. I want a fortress, but not have it LOOK like a fortress!

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Old 08-27-2009, 10:52 PM   #2
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Is it possible to do an entire home interior in cement board & avoid flimsy drywall?


You should look into ICF construction. I will agree that your thought process is extreme and in my opinion, unjustified when it comes to treated framing members. Properly done, a framing member will never be exposed to moisture.

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Old 08-27-2009, 11:12 PM   #3
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Is it possible to do an entire home interior in cement board & avoid flimsy drywall?


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You should look into ICF construction. I will agree that your thought process is extreme and in my opinion, unjustified when it comes to treated framing members. Properly done, a framing member will never be exposed to moisture.
True, in normal circumstances framing won't be exposed to outside moisture. But..... pipes break (mold). Leaks happen (water damage) and more. I really want to see us get away from using 1/2" of plywood and 1/2" of paper covered talcum powder between us and the elements.

I really want a house that can shrug off abuse. Hey, if you think this is extreme you should hear what I'd do if money were no object! Seriously, though, there has to be a way around wood & paper. Just too flimsy, easily damaged & prone to wear & tear. There is a reason stone homes in Europe are still around & most wooden ones are not!
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:19 PM   #4
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Is it possible to do an entire home interior in cement board & avoid flimsy drywall?


The issue is probably cost. Sure a all cement/steel house would be nice but expensive!

And look on the bright side at least drywall is easier to work with if you decide to change stuff around.

You can either use my dad's method and just keep hitting with a hammer with zero thoughts about pipes and electrical or use my method of using an utility knife to cut pieces by piece. I prefer my method because it's safer, but my dad's is more fun.
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:29 PM   #5
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Is it possible to do an entire home interior in cement board & avoid flimsy drywall?


There are houses over 200 years old that are still around
The issue is proper maintenace
Concrete can break down too & if on unstable land will sink
Plus water vapor does pass thru concrete
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:53 PM   #6
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Is it possible to do an entire home interior in cement board & avoid flimsy drywall?


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There are houses over 200 years old that are still around
The issue is proper maintenace
Concrete can break down too & if on unstable land will sink
Plus water vapor does pass thru concrete
Concrete, stone & steel require less work. Plus, they are far more weather, insect, storm, bullet and kid proof. I'd just feel better having something stronger than paper or 1/2" plywood separating me from the outdoors.
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:58 PM   #7
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Is it possible to do an entire home interior in cement board & avoid flimsy drywall?


Ever pushed on cement board that's on 16" centers? I can tell you from experience it flexes more than 1/2" drywall.
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Old 08-28-2009, 06:43 AM   #8
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Is it possible to do an entire home interior in cement board & avoid flimsy drywall?


Most of the older homes where I live are solid stone and still in good condition. The newer ones are mainly brick/4ins cavity with insulation/block. The inside is plastered. There are now some timber framed/ brick clad ones going up, but they are not as popular. Concrete houses were used after the war, but some of these have had problems with condensation and spalling of the concrete due to rusting of the re-bars.
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Old 08-28-2009, 07:58 AM   #9
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Is it possible to do an entire home interior in cement board & avoid flimsy drywall?


I would be glad that you were paying to heat and cool it. That would be an energy hog with all the conductance around windows and floors. Particular attention would need to be paid to moisture and condensation control. Seems to me that treated lumber roof components would swell and shrink too much from normal, seasonal moisture changes. The finished roofing system would need to accomodate the motion. Not that it couldn't be done. It just needs to be accounted for in the design. Plumbing, electrical and HVAC runs would need to be very carefully planned and would not be easy to change afterwards. If drywall is an issue, use wire lath and plaster. It will be tougher than cement board. You wouldn't be the first to try this. There was a similar one near me that an eccentric old fellow built. After he died, it was demo-ed. Nobody would buy it because of the costs to heat it and no real effective way to correct all of the short comings. So the 2-1/2 story bomb shelter is in a land fill while the traditional framed house that replaced it lives on.
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Old 08-28-2009, 08:01 AM   #10
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Is it possible to do an entire home interior in cement board & avoid flimsy drywall?


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I would be glad that you were paying to heat and cool it. That would be an energy hog with all the conductance around windows and floors. Particular attention would need to be paid to moisture and condensation control. Seems to me that treated lumber roof components would swell and shrink too much from normal, seasonal moisture changes. The finished roofing system would need to accomodate the motion. Not that it couldn't be done. It just needs to be accounted for in the design. Plumbing, electrical and HVAC runs would need to be very carefully planned and would not be easy to change afterwards. If drywall is an issue, use wire lath and plaster. It will be tougher than cement board. You wouldn't be the first to try this. There was a similar one near me that an eccentric old fellow built. After he died, it was demo-ed. Nobody would buy it because of the costs to heat it and no real effective way to correct all of the short comings. So the 2-1/2 story bomb shelter is in a land fill while the traditional framed house that replaced it lives on.
Isn't one of the selling features for concrete homes greater energy efficiency? Acts like a big heat sink.

As for PT in roof framing, I can't see how they'd change more or less than ordinary lumber. Better yet, what about steel or laminate?

In short, there has to be a better way than weak wood & paper covered drywall which storms find amazingly easy to blow away & bugs love to eat. There has to be a better way......
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Old 08-28-2009, 08:04 AM   #11
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Is it possible to do an entire home interior in cement board & avoid flimsy drywall?


Properly insulated the heating/cooling is not as much of a problem
Check out this thread of a house rehab from Germany
You will notice if you go thru the thread that the entire outside of the house is insulated. Keeping the cold away from the cement is the key
Even some newer houses are doing the same thing - surrounding the the house w/insulation

German House Rebuild

There are better ways, but generally they are very labor intensive & expensive
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Old 08-28-2009, 09:29 AM   #12
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Is it possible to do an entire home interior in cement board & avoid flimsy drywall?


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Originally Posted by jws3 View Post
Concrete, stone & steel require less work. Plus, they are far more weather, insect, storm, bullet and kid proof. I'd just feel better having something stronger than paper or 1/2" plywood separating me from the outdoors.
Well,if you like extreme,find a cave somewhere and drill out a couple of holes for ventilation and light.


On a serious note though:

You really should consider conventional framing for the purpose of resale value alone.Most extreme construction is a hard sell and if you get in a position where you have to move,you may get stuck with not being able to recoup your investment.
I'm not saying that it's a bad idea to think outside the box,but in the real world,economics is a major consideration.
Incorporating some of your ideas into construction is a valid approach,but the test of time should be a determining factor in any mods you decide to make.
I like your way of thinking,as new ideas help evolve the industry.Keep doing the research,but watch for fads and gimmicks that compliment your ideals,but haven't been tested in the field.
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Old 08-28-2009, 01:09 PM   #13
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Is it possible to do an entire home interior in cement board & avoid flimsy drywall?


These are concrete houses, made from No fines concrete, which has only 5% sand, mainly gravel.The pore structure improves the thermal qualities and protects against penetrating damp.
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Old 08-28-2009, 03:03 PM   #14
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Is it possible to do an entire home interior in cement board & avoid flimsy drywall?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jws3 View Post
Isn't one of the selling features for concrete homes greater energy efficiency? Acts like a big heat sink.

As for PT in roof framing, I can't see how they'd change more or less than ordinary lumber. Better yet, what about steel or laminate?

In short, there has to be a better way than weak wood & paper covered drywall which storms find amazingly easy to blow away & bugs love to eat. There has to be a better way......
I think that you are selling wood short!
In case of steel truss's they have to be insulated in case of fire! Otherwise, they quickly collapse as the steel starts to melt!
On the other hand wood burns slowly ( 1" per hour ) and doesn't loose its strength while burning! Giving time for people to evacuate!

As KC has suggested, ICF [ http://www.ontario-home-builder.com/...struction.html ] will give you the concrete walls plus insulation, both inside and out!

Last edited by Wildie; 08-28-2009 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:09 PM   #15
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Is it possible to do an entire home interior in cement board & avoid flimsy drywall?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jws3 View Post
I was designing a house in my head & was again thinking that there has to be a way to avoid building a home out of weak, flimsy & incredibly lame wood & drywall.

My ideal home would be concrete from footings to roof, studded out with either pressure treated or ripped down laminate and covered in 1/2" concrete board in place of drywall. I simply cannot fathom that in this day & age we STILL build houses out of paper, wood, "mud" and worse. Seems almost prehistoric IMO. For the roof.... Hmmm. that's tough. Maybe solid PT 2x6s covered with water membrane and they, finally, the most durable metal or stone out there. For the rafters we could use laminate stock & make a steel sill plate with welded brackets so they could be bolted into place & avoid flimsy nails as one would see in the past.

Anyway, has anyway ever heard of doing an entire home interior this way? Might be tough, as one wold have to put some kind of tapered edges on them as I doubt they are available this way.

Yeah, I know this is kind of extreme, but that's me. Seems that most houses are crap and not designed to last all that long. The thought of an almost fireproof, bombproof, bug proof and weather proof place to call home is quite appealing for some bizarre reason. I want a fortress, but not have it LOOK like a fortress!
I know there is a product out there it's called AQUATUFF it's water proof, bug proof. I don't know where to purchase it but you can check on the Internet.
It is made for BIO Containment rooms and it is as it's name states TUFF to install.

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