Monday, January 4, 2010

Interlocking Bricks - Save your construction cost

Product: Interlocking Bricks (update in 2013 posted at the end of this write up)

Interlocking bricks - as the name suggests locks itself with other bricks and it is these interlocks which give strength to the wall. No cement mixture is needed for the bonding.

This is a concept which many people of my State (Kerala) is not well aware of. People often tend to reject anything which is new. Same was the case with Interlocking bricks, as was evident by the response of people whom I approached to get expert opinion on the usage of these bricks.

It was my architect who introduced this concept to me. After visiting two or three houses built by the architect using these bricks, I decided that I was going to use this for construction.
 

The major difference with the normal bricks used for construction and the interlocking bricks are

  1. Interlocking bricks are not baked, it is just mud in high density pressed using a pressing machine and allowed to solidify by drying naturally. Some chemicals are added for increasing the bondstrength. Normal bricks are baked ones
  2. Size of interlocking brick is more. Approximately it is 2.5 times more in volume than the baked bricks. (size is 10" x 8" x 4")
  3. Weight of Interlocking bricks is more than equivalent volume of baked bricks.
Method of Construction using interlocking bricks

1. Normal basement is to be laid down first. Since the interlocking bricks have more weight than conventional bricks, a more stronger basement is needed.

2. Once basement is laid, one layer of normal baked bricks is placed over the basement. Width of this layer shall match with the thickness of the wall which is going to be built using interlocking bricks.

Quick fact: the windows you see in the above picture are concrete frames. to know the pros and cons Click here to learn my experience.

3. The Interlocking bricks are neatly arranged over this layer. (Experienced labourers are a must, since any irregularities in their placement cannot be corrected at a later stage.

4. While concreting the roof, ensure that the edges of the roof projects out a little more than the wall. This is to ensure that rain water do not flow through the walls.

5. Once the construction is complete the corners of the wall are completely plastered using the cement. This helps to have adequate pressure from the sides of the building for the bricks bonded together. The pressure from the top is from the concrete above. So it is as if the interlocking is placed with adequate pressure from all the four boundaries.

Before plastering the edges


after plastering the edges


A close up view of the plastered edges


6. The external wall can be left as such without painting. But the gaps have to be filled with like colored cement.


If painting need to be done, it can be done directly over this wall. (I chose not to paint)

7. If internal wall need to be plastered, it is better to make the surface rough before plastering, since the surface of this brick is relatively smooth.


Advantages of Interlocking bricks

1. Cost saving in terms of cement, sand and water.

2. Design is more blended with nature as arificial bonding mechanism is completely done away with

3. The walls have more strength than the normal walls. (just hit the wall and listen to the sound of walls made by interlocking bricks as well as by normal bricks)

4. These bricks does not heat up as fast as normal bricks, hence the room will remain cooler.

5. Since no painting is required another cost saving


Disadvantage of Interlocking Bricks

1. The space between the interlocks of these bricks is enough for insects and ants to set up there homes. (To avoid this point the gaps using cement mixed with redoxide and do periodic mainteance once in 6 years)

2. If rain water flows through these bricks, the color of the brick changes very fast.

3. It is difficult to ensure availability of the same coloured bricks for the entire construction. If painting is not planned, all the bricks should be having the same color. For this all these bricks have to made from the soil of the same place.

4. Not suitable for buildings having more than 2 floors, if it is not supported by pillars. Pillars are not needed for double storeyed buildings.

Cost of one brick is approximately Rs. 12/- (In 2004)
Purchased from Sal Interlocks Thumba

Update on Nov 2010:
Sal interlock is closed now
Two more units are there in Thiruvananthapuram. One is near Puliyarakonam and other one is in MC Road near Venjarammood.

Update on Oct 2013
Current cost of brick is Rs. 28 (add Rs 3 for unloading too)
Initially when I constructed my house using interlocking bricks, I had plans to plaster and paint the exterior, after 5 years. Now 8 years completed. Still the exterior having fresh looks that I need not think of plastering or painting. Thanks to my architect who suggested to leave the exterior without polishing, and to the design which ensured that water doesn't flow through the walls during rains, it is still holding up good.  The plastered interior is due for a repaint now though.

Recently I fixed up some more cupboards (read showcase) using PVC and aluminium. The fixing of these by screwing was also not a problem. The brick doesn't break up. You can read about the low cost solution for wardrobe and kitchen cabinets by clicking here.


If you want to have more information on these bricks please post your question as comments or email me.

My architect was Mr.G Sankar of Habitat Group.

To read my experience of entire house construction , click here

Why don't you have a look at my Travel blog tooo? You can find exclusive coverage of exotic locations in and around Kerala - God's own country. Click here to view my travel blog

76 comments:

Anonymous said...

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I am not really sure bout how precise the information given there is. If some guys over here who have experience with these works can have a peak and give your feedback in the site it would be grand and I'd extremely value it, cause I extremely would love to try solar panel construction.

Thanks for reading this. U guys are the best.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your valuable information for building a low cost beautiful house.Can you plse send the contact no. of civil engineer and sal interlock.As am planning to bulid this type of house.

subu.ps said...

Dear Anonymous 1 - thanks for reading. You did not give the site address of solar panel construction.Plz provide and I would love to read that.

Dear Anonymous 2 - Thanks for dropping in. Plz email me your address. I will send you the details.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot,my id p_rasadkumar@yahoo.co.in

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I was thinking of using intelocking bricks for a house and found your blog very useful. I am curious to know how much is the cost saving vis a vis conventional methods. Can you give a rough estimate?
Thanks. My id is balasath@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Dear friend,
I read your article, please provide me more details of more materials used low cost building constructin, I am planing to start my home construction at Kayamkulam (alappuzha) by using interlock bricks.my email anurajkylm@hotmail.com.
please provide me details.
Thanking you.

Daniel said...

Thanks for the information. Do you have any Idea whether these bricks are available near Kayamkulam area. -Daniel

Anonymous said...

Hello,
Thanks for taking time to publish these first hand details about interlock bricks. I too am planning to build a house that respects nature. I visited a Perumbavoor to see these blocks. I wanted feedback/review from those who used it and found your blog. Thanks for the pictures too. Would appreciate if you could provide some more details
> Any issues that you faced while construction
> How is the water absorption during rainy season
> Any cracks, deformations after few years?

Thanks for your time
abhipj@gmail.com

subu.ps said...

Dear Abhipj, My reply to your questions given below

1.> Any issues that you faced while construction
Only issue was availability of the same coloured bricks. Also ensure that you get supply of bricks which are in good shape. ie its edges are not cut off.

2.> How is the water absorption during rainy season
Ensure that water doesn't flow through the bricks by way of extending the concrete on top a little outwards. Test by pouring water on top roof and c whether it is flowing through the wall. Other wise water falling directly will be quickly absorbed and u never feel like it is wet.

3.> Any cracks, deformations after few years?
Nothing of sorts after 6 years based on my experience.

Hope I have answered your queries.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sabu.
As per my plan, I am providing a roof projection of 70cm covering the wall. And thinking of plastering one strip at the bottom too.

Today, I visited a house built of interlock blocks. He had used putty to fill any gaps to avoid insects/ant making a home inside the wall. I am still researching for suppliers in Ernakulam.

Does the block work normally if you have to screw in a TV stand or a microwave stand? Is it strong enough when you try to drive a nail?

Thinking of buying few blocks to experiment myself.

Thanks, Take care..

sujithsekhar said...

Dear shibu i read you'rs blog i got a good information form that. i would like to know about that more . If you can please sent to me ph no and address of Sal Interlocks
regards
sujithsekhar
Abu Dhabi
csujithcsekhar@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

hai dears i would like to make a house in thiruvalla pls give me you guys details pls mail me with phone no raveeshcv@gmail.com

shareef said...

Dear Friends ,

anybody can refer any place i can get these kind of bricks . how much its coast me?

if anybody have idea pleas let me know .

Thank you

shareef said...

Dear Friends ,

anybody can refer any place i can get these kind of bricks . how much its coast me?

if anybody have idea pleas let me know .

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Dear Subu..I am Gopan From HARIPADU ALAPPUZHA.I was working as a safety officer in UAE.I was thinking of using intelocking bricks for a house and found your blog very useful. I am curious to know how much is the cost saving vis a vis conventional methods. Can you give a rough estimate?
Thanks. My id is gopandevan@gmail.com
Mob:9961867590
Once again Thank you For Your Helping Mentality...

Anand said...

Hi ,thanks for your valuable information.I am planning to build a house and i am so curious about interlocking bricks..it will be so gratefull if u can provide me the details of Engineers ir builders for same..I am planning a house in Thrissur as thts my place now.my email id is anand_12may@yahoo.com or anand.purple@gmail.com...how about the yearly maintenance als for same..thnx alot...wil wait for your reply..

Anand said...

Hi ,thanks for your valuable information.I am planning to build a house and i am so curious about interlocking bricks..it will be so gratefull if u can provide me the details of Engineers ir builders for same..I am planning a house in Thrissur as thts my place now.my email id is anand_12may@yahoo.com or anand.purple@gmail.com...how about the yearly maintenance als for same..thnx alot...wil wait for your reply..

raman said...

dear subbu,

you told of strong foundation
i have a basement of random rubble
1.5ftx1.5ft in mud mortar

will it be ok for interlock brick
what sqft did your house has in GF
did you put concrete belt on basement
can you provide details of your engineer

girish

PRINCE said...

Hi ,thanks for your valuable information.I am also planning to build a house and i am so Interested about interlocking bricks..it will be so gratefull if u can provide me the details of Engineers or builders for same yours
my contact details
PRINCE P CHERIAN
princepulimoottil@gmail.com
princepc1986@gmail.com
ph +965 55419979/97253393

Anonymous said...

Dear Subu,
I would like to thank u for sharing these much information about interlock bricks.I am also planning to build a house with 1340 sq.ft in T.V.M.Can i know how much will the cost for bricks.Please mention me from where i can buy bricks. Waiting for your valuable advice.

thanks & regards,
Jassim
jassimtvmforu@gmail.com
0097155 8560343

Anonymous said...

Hai,Subu
I am Saneeb, I wish to Construct a home at Kothamangangalam, Near Ernakulam with Interlock Bricks, Could You Pls guide me to find out where we can get these bricks at ernakulam district.... How much is the present price.....
thanks and
saneebkr@gmail.com
9847618047

Anonymous said...

Tell me how do you deal with fixing the wooden door/window frames on to it? what kind of brick profile is being used? has it passed any kind of pressure test? wat about moisture absorbtion?

Joseph George said...

Thank you for this post on interlocking bricks. We should avoid unnecessarily pumping up the cost of our building with inefficient building methods, on the basis of conventional wisdom - which often have no basis on facts. Your article is highly illustrative and useful.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sabu,
Thank you for the post.
I am planning to renovate my Home, and would like to do with Interlocking bricks.
Could you please give me the phone of the person so that I can order bricks.
thanks and Regards
Sanjeev

renji said...

hi there, i would like to build a house near pathanamthitta. could you give me more details about the brick. i mean on site cost and the availability of brick .is it possible to get the same height like baked normal brick. my id renji1973@gmail.com

rombiss said...

Thanks for taking time to publish these first hand details about interlock bricks. I too planning to build a house that respects nature. if Becker model is more suit. if there the availabily of interlock in thripunithura-ernakulam. if cost is much more? if nirmiti kendra, kalamassery supply this ? I wanted feedback/review from those who used it and found your blog. Thanks for the pictures too. Would appreciate if you could provide some more details
> Any issues that you faced while construction
> How is the water absorption during rainy season
> Any cracks, deformations after few years?

RITU said...

dear friend,
i read ur blog. i am from thripunithura(ernakulam dist) . i need to construct a new 2 floor bldg. but the cost, availibilty , etc, are not well known . i visit one home , but they said that, they had lost so much time , money. - labour charge(non availability of experienced labours). also the flooring is teracotta tiles, also need to change.
so please give me the instructions about the
1. bricks availblity in my area with cost
2. experienced labours details.
3. the design of plan is almost in the final stage, then if need another architect.
i am in much more more pressure, because no body is intersting in such low cost materials.
hope an early reply.
with thanks & regards

Anonymous said...

Dear Subu,
It would be of great help to me If anyone could tell me where I can get Interlocking Bricks . I live in Ernakulam.

Regards
San
9857281333
sanjeevfvaz@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hai Subu,

Your blog was very informative. I work in Mozambique, Africa. I am planning to build a house in Trivandrum, Peyad with Compressed Earth Blocks. Kindly Give me the contact details of SAN INTERLOCKS to source bricks from.

Thanks & Regards

Naushad Nizamudeen
Email driven2win2003@yahoo.com
Phone Trivandrum 9746287942
Phone Moz: + 258820650117

sibi said...

hello subu, i am intersted in your attitude. now i need your advice and information about interlocking bricks. i am near calicut. i want to know all about these bricks and where near calicut,kondotty or feroke will get this bricks to me...
yours faithfully...
sibi

anson said...

hai....thanks for your informations....i need more details for interlock briks.so please give me your id and mob no.
my id ansadoor@gmail.com

thank you

anson

subu.ps said...

Hello sibi
Thanks for your kind words. I don't have any contact in calicut who can supply these bricks. May be you can get in touch with some architects there who will guide you.
regards
subu
http://subups.blogspot.com

wilson said...

hello subu,
my name is fariz n am from alathur, palakkad..
i read ur blog n itz too gud..
my house construction is going on here n v r gonna use inter lock bricks..
now d basement work is over..
now d problem v r facing is d unavailability of quality interlock bricks..
by making use of your contacts can u plz provide me details about where i can found gud quality interlock bricks in palakkad or trissur district..
plz replz here as soon as possible..
my contact mail is fariz555@gmail.com..
plz revert back..
n once again thanx a lot for ur sincere opinion abt interlock construction..
keep up d gud work n all d best for ur future..

thomas said...

hello Friend,
I was really looking for an experienced person in the field of interlocking bricks. Can u just tell me how much it cost per sq. feet

Deeps said...

Hello Subu,

I'm really interested in visiting the actual site where these bricks are manufactured. Could you please help me with the address and contact number of the industry. You can also mail me at deepa.nikam07@gmail.com. Please revert back. Thank You

Sunil said...

Hi ..Thank you very much for ur blog, which lights a clear idea regarding the beginers who are planning to construct Cost effective Ecofriendly homes.For me also same.. I am planning to build a CEEH,from the same archetech.Anyway I need your valuable suggestions and help in future. thanks once again...

Libin Tom said...

Its a useful blog piece for people interested in low cost modern construction methods.

But, may I know where is this house located and how did you find people with skills on using this types of bricks?

wipin gopaal said...

Dear friend,
I read your article, please provide me more details of more materials used low cost building constructin, I am planing to start my home construction at palakkad ) by using interlock bricks.my email vipinjaihind2008@gmail.com.
please provide me details.
Thanking you.

Somarajan R said...

Hi Subu,
Am Somarajan from Coimbatore.am interested in building my house with interlock bricks.could you give me details of a few construction companies who work with interlock bricks.And if u could also giv me the contact of Mr. G Sankar, pls.Any extra information is valued.
Thank you,
R Somarajan

every_little_helps said...

Hi, I'd like to join everyone else on this site in thanking you for going through the trouble of setting up this blog just to share your experience of building with interlocking blocks. I would also like to say that your blog has gone truly global !

I am contacting you from the UK and I have been picking up ideas, here and there, about interlocking blocks as a viable alternative to conventional concrete blocks but have not had much luck in finding someone who has had first hand experience of building with interlocking blocks to share with me their experience.

Here is my request, please:
Could you make available more pictures of your property, from when the foundations were laid to the completed exterior - all elevations? I am about to start a small, low-cost building in Nigeria, where I come from, and any assistance from you would be greatly appreciated.

My email address is tulatrades@yahoo.com

Many thanks,

Omo.

Anil D Justus said...

Hi
I am planning to construct the First Floor of my existing single storied house. Can I use 6" interlock bricks for that? Also can u give me the contact no of Puliyarakkonam and Venjaramoodu Interlock manufacturers?

My ID - anil.dj@rediffmail.com

subu.ps said...

hello Anil
Yes you can very much use that as it is the first floor. Well I don't have contact number of those manufacturers. The puliyarkkonam factory is in the Kollamkonam - puliyarakkonam route (1km from kollamkonam). the venjaramoodu factory is right on the side of MC road.
best of luck for your project.
regards
Subu

Anonymous said...

Hi ,thanks for your valuable information.My parents are planning to build a house and we are planning to have alow cost one. i am so curious about interlocking bricks..it will be so gratefull if u can provide me the details of Engineers ir builders for same and where this bricks will be available in Idukki.my email id is moly_atco@yahoo.co.in how about the yearly maintenance also for same.in idukki threre is lot of rain.thnx alot...wil wait for your reply..28/11/2011

June 23, 2010 4:26 AM

Johnson D' Cruz said...

I am johnson I wanted to construct a 300 sq.ft building with medical store and ATM room in Puthenthope which is in beach with sandy soil. Do you recommend interlock construction ? how much it will cost and whom to contact?
Johnson D'Cruz ( my e-mail ID is johnsondcruz@yahoo.com)

subu.ps said...

I am not technically qualified to comment on the problems of using interlocking bricks on sandy soil. Still I think it should not pose a problem, if the foundation is strong. Also I have seen a lot of beach side resorts constructed using the same. There will be a cost saving of atleast 20 to 30% when compared with conventional construction. My house construction was supervised by Habitat Group.

Thanks for visiting my blog and for posting your comment

Anonymous said...

Hi Subu, thank you very much for the very useful insight.Kindly provide me with more details on these construction method. I will start putting up my house next month.Am running on a low budget and want to use this method so that I can save some money and use it for the finishing touches in the house;tiles and interior decor.
How durable are houses constructed using this method?
Are they suitable for rainny areas like ours.
This is a fairly new concept in Kenya that is yet to be embraced by many people but I believe with this hard economic times, it is the way to go and for our environmrnt too.
Kindly email me :wangasac@yahoo.com
kind rgds,
carol,Kenya

Johnson D' Cruz said...

Please list out other interlock brick builders and manufactures in Trivandrum

JOhnson D' Cruz

Arun said...

What about concealed electrical wiring? How is it done in a Interlocking Bricks Wall?

Anonymous said...

dear sir im inguruvayoor area i have an idea to make hose with this kind of low cost bricc to use how can i contact them phone no?or where its available please inform tome email lkunjimon@gmail.com phone no 00971558759033 thanks
latheef

Swapna said...

Hi Mr. Sabu,
I am Dr. Unnikrishnan from Cherpu, Thrissur. Could you please email me about the availability of these bricks in that area? Do u know the address of any company which supply them near my locality?
I would like to know about the suppliers in Ernakulam dist also.
About the skilled labourers,Can u please provide information about them? my email id is unnikrishnanu@gmail.com

Swapna said...

Hi Mr. Sabu,
I am Dr. Unnikrishnan from Cherpu, Thrissur. Could you please email me about the availability of these bricks in that area? Do u know the address of any company which supply them near my locality?
I would like to know about the suppliers in Ernakulam dist also.
About the skilled labourers,Can u please provide information about them? my email id is unnikrishnanu@gmail.com

അബ്ദുണ്ണി said...

This is really an informative article

Could you please send me the details of the civil engineer who supported u and contact of any inter-lock brick factory in and around Trivandrum. My email id is abdunni@gmail.com

sreekumar said...

DEAR MR.SABU
COULD YOU PLEASE MAIL ME THE AVAIABLITY OF BRICKS IN KOTTAYAM AREA.

sreekumar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baiju P said...

Dear Subu,

Thanks a lot for your blog. It is really informative. I am planning to construct a double storied building at Attingal, Trivandrum. I wish to use the Interlock bricks. I visited few houses built using interlock bricks. But the size of the bricks are uneven. Will it be possible to suggest some quality brick suppliers in trivandrum? I have to construct my house in Apr 2012. I am in defence force and hence limited time is available. If you will be able to help me with details of a good supplier and skilled engineer, it will be a great help for me. My email id is bpstvpm@yahoo.co.in. My contact number is 09899690938. Thanking you -Baiju P, Attingal

LonelyThroughTheWoods said...

I read that waterproof finish for interlocking bricks helps to prevent moisture and increase durability.What do u mean by waterproof finish?and how to do it?

kamarudheen said...

dear sir. i am living in MALA trichur dist , and iam plan to make 1200sqft home my 13 cents land. i finish my foundation 3 yraes before. i like make with interlock blocks, can you get me information where available near mala this meterials please.

kamarudheen said...

dear sir , i forget to type my e mail ID kmpris@yahoo.com

kabir said...

Hi Subu,

This blog is very informative to those who planing to build interlocking brick route. Also came to know habitat involved with, in a way, your home-build blog is a tribute to late Arc.Laurie Baker.

What is the total Sq. Ft area of your home? how much it(only house) cost you at that time of construction?
appreciate your frank response.
kabeemer@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I am from a plcae called PARLI in palghat dist. I am looking at getting my house (currently only one floor) to additional one floor more (2 bedrooms and 1 hall is the intention)m
Please help and proovide as much info on cost effective construction.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I am going to build a new house 2 storied with interlock bricks. soil is firm . contractor said one feet height and 2 feet width pcc foundation for this house. is this enough for 3 storied house? kindly suggest your points

amzaidi said...

Going through your experience with Interlock blocks was really interesting. I am going to do the same with one more step. I have ordered a small manual brick making machine. It shows strength of around 1500 PSI in the produced blocks (they used soil from my site) which is quite enough, in fact much more than usual standard of 450 PSI used in cement blocks, at least in Karachi, Pakistan.
Just one question: without concrete pillars and beam, how you connected the roof of ground floor with these interlock blocks used in the walls? if I just do what you did in the base, using one normal brick between roof and interlock blocks, will it be strong enough?
Thanking you for your time and looking forward for your reply. My email is
zaidiam@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Dear.. Thanks for the Blog.

I am going to build a new house with interlock bricks.

I am from Koratty, Thrissur district.
If you will be able to help me with details of a good supplier and skilled engineer, it will be a great help for me (If it is near to my place very thankful).

My email id is joyjeswin@gmail.com.

Thanks & Regards
Jeswin

Anonymous said...

Hii...friends..... If anyone who build their home using these bricks,pls give me some experienced instructionto me...my email id : vaigasnair@gmail.com

Richman Hephzibah said...

Hi,
am a Nigerian and we need alternative way of house construction, please how can I learn this Interlock bricks method in details.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

what about the plumbing and wiring?
I Think traditional conduit wiring is not possible through the walls which is made by these bricks.
pls somebody share your experience.

Anonymous said...

I am Shiju from Kollam, I going to build a home with interlock bricks..so, aboutthe avilability of this bricks in Kollam ? Do U know about the Supplier and Skilled Labours, U pls Provide this information about them. & more details about interlock Bricks.. my id gsshijukollam1@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I want some mud blocks.in tellicherry wher it will get?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anil Shetty said...

Hi we make these blocks in Kundapur in Udupi district size Is 240*225*115 mm .if anyone is interested please email us at shankarinfra @gmail.com

Sudheer R S said...

I am sudheer from cochin. I am trying to find the experience of the people. Nobody is sharing the experience. No information regarding the cost, the availablilty, size of the brick, Conduit wiring etc.. Absolutely waste of time in this blog.

subu.ps said...

Dear Sudheer
Don't get disheartened

As per the latest information, the current market price of interlocking bricks is Rs.28 per brick. Add Rs.3 to unloading charges.

In Trivandrum there are two agencies who are supplying this. One in Puliyarakkonam and one in Vembayam.

If you get in touch with Habitat group or any other construction company you will get to know whether this is available in your place.

arun said...

i want to ask you one doubt ?
can we construct the outer walls with normal baked bricks and inner walls with this interlocking bricks and can we connect both the walls by using cement mortar

Jacob John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

what is your openion about hollow bricks counstruction....which is the best one inerlock or hollow bricks

JOHN VINCENT said...

this brick making in ernakulm?

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