Now that you know all you need to know about the roof of a building, let’s talk about the skin of a property, i.e., the walls. After all, it’s how well you feel in your skin that will determine whether you feel comfortable in your new home or not. How to inspect villa and what materials the walls of a building are built is important for how you feel in a house. Are the walls soundproof and are they insulating you from the heat? Are they breathing? And how likely will they survive an earthquake without cracks?
The most common material for walls in Bali is still red bricks (‘bata merah’) followed by hollow cement bricks (called ‘batako’). More recently, AAC (autoclaved aerated concrete) blocks (‘bata ringan’) have become available and are used more and more.
All three building blocks have their pros and cons. Red bricks are still the most common and favorite material to build walls in Bali, simply because they have been around for so long and have stood the test of time. They are locally available in different qualities and prices and are made of fired earth clay. Have you noticed the beautiful red brick walls of Bali’s temples and royal palaces? They are made out of especially fine grade red bricks of superior quality (‘batu bata gosok’). The beauty of these bricks is that they don’t require cement as a bonding agent – they are simply rubbed against each other and bond as strong as if one was using concrete. This traditional type of Balinese wall has been used in modern homes as a decorative element. The bricks are much more expensive than normal red bricks and require special masonry expertise from expert Balinese hands.
Red bricks are generally more expensive than concrete hollow blocks and it takes more time to erect a wall compared to the larger size ‘batako’ blocks. They also provide better heat insulation than the cheaper concrete blocks and they are considered more durable and more resistant against earthquakes. All in all, red brick walls are the standard and concrete blocks are considered to be of lower quality and are less desirable for residential purposes. You won’t immediately see what material the walls of a building are made of and should therefore find out from the owner or the builder. If you are not sure, drill a hole and if you see red dust coming out, you know.
These are precast, foam concrete building blocks made from quartz sands, gypsum, lime, cement, water, and aluminum powder. They are aerated and contain up to 80% air. These blocks are mostly used in multi-level buildings as they are about 50 – 80% lighter than other materials and thus require less cement, less steel, and allow quick erection of walls due to their larger size than red bricks. Other advantages are good thermal properties, good sound insulation, and durability. They are more expensive than traditional bricks though and there are several brands that are offered on the market.