This post is sponsored by Coral Homes
This is my husband, Dave.
Dave likes to build stuff.
He crafted this wooden keepsake when he was just a teenager.
He whipped this swing up for the kids for kicks one afternoon.
Pretty talented guy, huh?!
Designing and building our house was a mammoth task for Dave, but he relished the opportunity to put everything he learned from his work as a draughtie/designer and carpenter into action to make the home of our dreams.
We hit a few bumps along the way with the design, as you do. We were quick to discover our land was in a heritage listed area meaning the design had to tie in with post-war homes in our street. This caused a few issues for Dave’s funky design, but he worked around it.
The other major factor Dave took into account was working to Brisbane’s sub-tropical climate.
Summers are brutal here with hot and humid days and nights. Meanwhile, the nights can become quite cool in winter.
When Coral Homes asked me to share my experience with building homes in a sub-tropical climate, I jumped at the chance as this is something we have plenty of experience with. And when I say ‘we’, I mean Dave.
I’ll hand you over to the master now, so he can share his top tips on building a house in a sub-tropical climate like Brisbane.
1. Build to the environment
Do your research on where and when the sun will hit your house throughout the year and in which direction the prevailing winds come from. Not everyone has the luxury of tracking the sun and wind paths throughout the year, but be as conscious as you can of these elements. Work to the sun’s path and natural breezes.
Due to the shape of our land, we couldn’t pick and choose the orientation of our house. Our house lies west to east, which is not ideal. With a bit of creativity, we’ve been able to cool the living areas on both of these sides with external screening, larger soffits, blockout blinds and clever placement of windows. We placed external screens on the western side to keep the harsh afternoon sun off the walls and windows, large opening doors and windows to the east to capture the afternoon breeze and shade awnings over the northern windows.
Don’t forget to use natural assets like trees and vines or creepers to provide shade.
The main goal is to achieve cross-ventilation. If you bring air in one end, you need to let it out the other.
To maximise air flow in our living area we have used two sets of bi-fold doors with seven panels in each. This completely opens up the room and lets the air flow freely. On days where there is no breeze, or worse, hot winds, we close the doors, pull the semi blockout blinds down and run an economical split system air conditioning unit. Reducing your reliance on air conditioning will save you money and make for better and healthier living.
3. Positioning and treatment of windows
Any window that has direct sunlight will introduce vast amounts of heat into a room. Carefully consider the position of your windows and protect them with either screens, shades or applications such as reflective film or double glazing.
Awnings will take out some of the harshness of the summer sun, but will also allow the winter sun to enter.
Don’t forget to consider your window size. Louvres are an excellent option as they give you close to 100 % air ventilation as opposed to the restricted air flow via modern day casement and awning windows.
There is nothing worse than a mozzie buzzing in your ear during the night, so insect screens are a must in Queensland. They will also allow you to maximise on the cooler night time air.
Insulation, insulation, insulation. Put it in your roof, your ceiling, your walls. Cram as much in as possible to keep out the heat and keep in the warmth.
5. Building material and colour
Be aware that some external claddings, if not used in conjunction with insulation, can radiate heat into your house. Materials with a greater thermal mass will radiate heat long after the sun sets.
When choosing your external colours, go for lighter shades as they will lessen the brutality of the heat on your home. Save darker colours for trims.
Building in a sub-tropical climate can be tricky and it does require careful consideration.
If you aren’t as lucky as me to have a Dave to help you with designing and building your home than seek out a reputable organisation like Coral Homes. They have plenty of Daves who understand the needs and requirements of working in this difficult climate.
Have you ever built your own home? What tips can you share?
This post is sponsored by Coral Homes. As always, all opinions are my own.
Flogging my blog today with the gorgeous Grace from With some grace.