I’m done. Six weeks, 3 tiki huts built with oceanviews near Montanita.
3 VERY different styles.
Non are luxury, but two of the three are nice for the middle-end or middle-higher-end traveler while one without much of a view is for the budget backpacker/surfer type.
Remember when I got quoted $3000-3500 for each tiki hut? And when I said I knew of others in the area that pull in around $50 a night on the weekends and $20 or so a night on weekdays?
Well, I built mine with kitchenette, balcony, 1 bedroom, 1 bath ensuite with WIFI for new arrival expats and travelers looking to rent anywhere from 3 days to one month, maybe while they search for something else long-term.
Well, here are the exact FINAL COSTS of the construction of each…
Tiki Hut 1, The budget option with little ocean-view built with a cement floor and cement block with the “Sing” metal sheet roofing so common in this area of Ecuador. It has WIFI and a mini-stove and bathroom (all in the same room) while the shower is behind a curtain out back. I hope to rent it to a surfer or backpacker for around $100 a month or $5 a day for shorter time periods. It’s good enough for me and someone not very picky, I could live there if I needed to live somewhere rent-free. It is very soviet-esque but comes furnished with bed, table, chair, Wifi internet, electric cooker, sink, and a half bath with the shower around back which does have a curtain. Currently its listed for rent at $85 a month.
Total build time = 6 days. (One Ecuador workweek).
Total size = 16 m2 or 172 ft2
Floor and mini-support columns
-8 sacks of cement at $6.65 = $53.20
– 1/2 m2 of sand = $9.15
– 1/2 m2 of rock = $10.20
– 6 Rebar of 8mm = $31.86
Cement block (250 units) = $77.50
6 Sacks of cement = $39.90
Door = $45
Lock and door knob = $12
No glass windows installed, only cement block windows with mosquito screens.
7 sheets of metal “Sing” = $77
4 wooden support cross beams = $36
Mosquito netting = $25
Toilet and sink = $95
Shower head = $8
Electricity installation of one light = $24
3 points of water and plumbing installation (toilet, sink, outside shower) = $60
Random plastic tubing, wiring and electric/plumbing accessories = $34.68
Electric stove = $14
Labor = 2 men, one lead builder (maestro $150) and an assistant (oficial $90) for one week, total = $240
TOTAL COST $892.49
Tiki Hut 2, I bought this All-wooden hut pre-built from a builder I know from the Ecuadorian Amazon, Tena region. It took 3 days for them to install it on my location elevated a few feet above the ground. It has a wooden balcony, wooden floor, wooden walls, a “sing”roof, a beautiful oceanview, one bedroom, one bathroom, a sink, kitchenette, mini-refrigerator, WIFI, one queen bed, closet, one full bathroom with a hot electric-powered shower with a tile floor and vinyl-covered walls.
I had to tile the floor myself first laying a small web or rebar, then laying a 5 cm layer of cement, then laying the tile… and then I had to stick vinyl on the bathroom walls with rubber cement as well as install the water and electricity outlets and hook up. For rent (based on market prices) at $20/ night, $95/week or $230/month, the price is the same for one or two people.
Total build time = 7 days.
Total size = 24 m2 or 258 ft2
Total cost of pre-fabricated wooden hut installed on site= $3200.
Total cost of bathroom supplies, tile for floor = $56
Vinyl for bathroom walls = $72
Installation of plumbing (4 points) = $84
Installation of electricity (4 points) = $48
Toilet and bathroom sink set = $85
Electric shower head = $24
Sink for kitchenette with accessories = $56
Electric wiring, plastic tubes and other plumbing and electric accessories = $78
Labor (2 days to install bathroom floor, lead maestro) = $50
Total cost = $3753
Tiki Hut 3, This was my baby, and boy I had no idea what i was getting myself into. By far the most labor intensive and time consuming, I designed the hut myself based off similar “mixed” models in the area. Due to inexperience building these types of huts (it was my first time) I made mistakes all along the way that caused me to go about $2k over budget (see the end of this email for details).
By “mixed construction” I mean a building that uses a mix of both eco-materials like bamboo and normal construction materials like cement and brick. My idea was to build an elevated structure a few feet off the ground with a cement, tiled floor and walls made partially of brick and bamboo.
The roof would have bamboo cross beams and a typical-for-the-area grass roof with a hidden layer of heavy-duty plastic and mosquito netting to keep the bugs out. The hut would have a balcony, one bedroom, one full bathroom with electric-powered hot shower and a kitchenette area complete with a countertop, sink, mini-refrigerator, one queen bed, closet, WIFI and a dining table for two. I did it, and it looks great, but not without learning a lot along the way. For rent (based on market prices) at $20/ night, $95/week or $250/month, the price is the same for one or two people.
Total build time = 5 weeks
Total size = 30 m2 or 322 ft2
4 laborers for 3 weeks (2 lead builders, 2 assistants), 3 laborers for additional 2 weeks (2 lead builders, 1 assistant)
Lead builders (maestros) I paid one $150 a week and the other $140 a week.
Assistants (oficiales) I paid $90 a week
Extra $80 for extra men the day we poured the floor
Material costs unit cost total cost
5.5 m3 of rock for construction $20.35 111.93
3 m3 of fine sand for construction $12 36
5 m3 of large-grained sand for construction $18.30 91.50
72 Sacks of cement $6.65 478.80
1 screwdriver $1.34 $1.34
11 Material transport cost $7 77
25 Rebar of 12mm $11.77 294.25
39 Rebar of 8 mm $5.31 207.09
18 Rebar of 10 mm $8.19 147.42
31 steel wire for tying rebar $.88 27.28
1 Wire #14 100m $27.50 $27.50
2 Paintbrushes $1.87 3.74
2 Pairs of rubber gloves $1.60 $3.20
1 Flex meter $3.03 $3.03
1 Net to filter sand $3.16 $3.16
45 4-meter boards of low quality wood for construction purposes $3.40 $153
28 m2 large floor tiles for bedroom and kitchen 5.18 $145.04
1 SIKA 4kg Acelerante $5.37 $5.37
2 Red Teflon Paolo $.41 $.82
2 drain piece for shower $2.25 $4.50
10 nails for cement 2.5” .08 $.80
20 nails for wood 2.5” .84 $16.80
1 Tube Connector $2.09 $2.09
1 Tube 110 mm $10.04 $10.04
10 Viruta #8 $.60 $6
10 lbs of 2” nails $1.63 $10.63
3 lbs of 3” nails $1.63 $10.63
Tubes for plumbing $2.65
34 Bamboo thin 4 meter stalks for construction purposes $3 $102
3 4×4 wood cuartones $6.35 $19.05
1 mangle (wood beam) 5 meter $13
2 doors nicely finished $70 $140
2 Door lock $12 $24
6 Caja Rectangular Plastigama Plumbing accessories $.76 $4.56
1 Caja Octagonal .76
5 Tomac 1228 2.37 $11.85
1 Tomac P-68 2.14
2 Interruptor 1100 1.79 $3.58
8 Perfiles 4x4x2.3 2.61 $20.88
2 Brushes for wire 1.60 $3.20
2 Viruta #8 .58 $1.16
2 Windows with wood frames nicely finished $100 $200
25 stalks of diced Bamboo $3.50 $87.50
15 m2 of Beige tile $9.06 $135.90
7 m2 of Sabina Beige tile $7.81 $54.67
30 units of designer bathroom tiles $.76 $22.80
4 Bags of Porcelain, grout $1.73 $6.92
16 Sacks of Bondex Titania 20kg cement $4.24 $67.84
4 Sacks of Bondex Premium 20kg cement $12.41 $49.64
Varios Tubes and plumbing/electrical accessories $478.89
2 Electric saw blade $4.50 $9
10 Cabo ¼ $.22 $2.20
1 metal sink $28.57
30 m2 Black heavy-duty plastic for roofing $1.56 $46.80
3 units Maderol 1000cc $10.26 $30.78
2 Piola Nylon Ponte Selva #6 $1.87 $3.74
8 Sack Granite pebbles $2 $16
1 Codo 50×90 Plastigama 1.20
1 Sifon 50mm Plastigama $4.01
2 llave de pared for kitchen plumbing $21.87 $43.74
3 Tubes for toilet 1/2×7/8 2.36 $7.08
16 screws 8×2” .05 $.80
1 6” brush Wilson 9.55
8 Rosetron Bakelina .58 $4.64
1 Connectors for bathroom sink $9.82
8 Tiras (wood for construction) 1.56 $12.48
10 Cuartones (wood for construction) 2.93 $29.30 744.5
6 units sandpaper #120 .35 $2.10
3 units sandpaper #80 1.35 $4.05
3 units sandpaper #180 .35 $4.05
1 unit handicraft wood for balcony $60
6 bundles palm frowns for finishing roof $25 $125
Other wood costs for construction not calculated above $100
2000 Bricks .21 $420
Total material cost: $ 4306.86
Total cost = $6557.36
Final conclusions, lessons learned, notes to self + you:
– Buy pre-fabricated if you can find a design you like! It will save you time, hassle and money!
– Build on the ground, not with an elevated floor to save costs on rebar and time. This error cost me a bit over a $1000 and caused me to go over-budget!
– Build with cement block and the typical metal-sheet roofing when feasible to economize, use brick for decorating and highlighting only. Bricks are very time-consuming to build with.
– Shop around for doors and windows prices range greatly.
– When building an elevated floor or multiple floors find someone to rent you their construction wood planks, the ones they use to hold up the cement.
– Have your own pick-up truck type vehicle during construction and save greatly on transport costs.
– Once your floor and support columns are in most of the heavy lifting is done and you can reduce personnel.
– Always be prepared for construction projects in new countries to cost 50-75% more than you planned for if managing yourself.
– Although feasible and even a bit fun, if you aren’t a builder it’s really not a good idea to manage a construction project yourself.
– There is a reason Ecuadorians build like they do, and like I followed with TIKI HUT #1, don’t reinvent the wheel, try to build as they do to economize but maybe while adding a few “perks” that add value to your place and make it somewhere you’d like to live.
-Building with eco-products like Bamboo actually is MORE expensive than building with cement and cement block.
– Buy as many fixtures, furniture and materials as possible in the nearest big city to save costs, on the southern coast that would mean buying in Guayaquil.
-Buy all the rock, sand and cement bags you will need for the project beforehand to save time and costs considering you have a place to put it.
– If building on your own get at least a couple “expert” opinions beforehand, I only got one, wasn’t enough, wish someone would have told me at least what I just told you, it would have saved me thousands!
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