Our 6 Million Thai Baht Home in Thailand

Thai traditional wooden house.
I’d be willing to bet, a traditional Thai wooden house is built better than our $200K home we live in now.

We rent. Let me make that perfectly clear. There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell we’d ever buy a home here. I honestly think, after a little internet study, I could BUILD a home better than any I’ve ever seen here.

Ok, I haven’t seen it all, but we must have lived in about 20 homes in Thailand over the last 12 years.

I’d estimate the quality of home building in the country to be around 20% of what it is in America.

I was a real estate agent with Century 21 in Tampa for a short while. During that time I also got certified as a Home Inspector. I’ve seen lots of houses. I’ve inspected many houses in the US. So, I know a little bit about what goes into a decent home construction.

If I could say ONE good thing about Thai home construction (and that’s literally ALL I could say), it’s that they sure know how to put tile floors in.

That’s it. I haven’t seen anything else impressive in 12 yrs. Sure, we haven’t lived in million dollar homes. I’m not comparing that level of construction. But, if I were, I suspect that the same issues would apply with our $200,000 USD home here in Thailand.

Where should I start?

Water leakage. There isn’t a roof in the COUNTRY that repels water 100%. I just haven’t seen it. Sure there’s wind here. Sure there’s heavy rains. Still, come on. Roofs here are like my 30 THB plastic raincoat that leaks water from four places. We have had leaks in every house we rented. If you have a home here, your roof leaks too. I just couldn’t imagine it being any other way. It’s the norm here, and Thais don’t even get too upset about it. In fact, we told our landlord about a year ago that her roof leaked. She came, had a look, judged it to be no big deal, and we haven’t had the maintenance guys here yet. We literally had water dripping out of our recessed light over the kitchen sink. Water dripped straight OUT OF IT, and it wasn’t a big enough problem to fix right away. Just gives you some idea.

Electricity… Every single light switch in this house, and our last twenty, had issues eventually. This house was brand new when we moved in. The switches worked for a while. Now, after just 18 months, they are deteriorating quickly. What happens, at least in some of them, because I saw an electrician clean some out at one of our old places, is that termites get in and chew through the concrete, dropping tiny bits into the electronic switches, and this fouls them up. It’s like someone dropping sand into your engine… eventually it seizes up, right? Same with light switches. Within a couple of years, most won’t work and they all need cleaning or replacing. Why they haven’t made termite proof switch receptacles, I can’t guess.

Light Bulbs Dying. Constantly. We have 32 recessed light bulbs in our ceiling downstairs and 12 outside. A quick check shows just 28 out of 44 lights working. There is no way in the world these lights have seen 10,000 hours of use, so I suspect something wrong with the electrical grid or the wiring here, or something. Is it possible that power fluctuations would pop lights? I think so. So far, my computer has been OK. Probably something to do with that bulbous rectangular doo-dad on the cord that plugs into the wall. Need to ask my electrician buddy Wayne that one. Noted.

Slippery Tiles. Not really a construction issue, but jesus god, when wet, the tiles on any part of your floor will send your feet sliding out from under you and a cracked-tailbone is waiting for you. I used to slip regularly, but now I just walk in my house like I’m on ice-skates, never knowing when exactly I’m going to hit a wet or even damp part of tile that sends me on my ass. To my credit, it has probably been a couple months since I had a good slip. Do be careful.

Structural Integrity? I have no idea. Everything is concrete, so it isn’t likely that could all be dorked up – could it? I haven’t had a house fall in on us yet. I have seen big cracks in concrete on the second floor of our last place, which didn’t seem to grow at all during our two year stay, so I think that’s typical of concrete construction.

Finishing. There isn’t any. It’s just as if kids had a go at it. Really. From far away, it looks OK. If you get close, you’ll be horrified. I’ve seen paint, varnish, putty, silicone gel, concrete, grouting, and everything else (is there anything else?) left sloppily on floors and walls, furniture, windows, etc. It’s an absolute horrorshow.

Anybody have any success stories?

Did I just choose twenty places to live which all sucked, by accident?

Anyone want to redeem Thai home builders?

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at ThailandeBooks.com. There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.