I had stated earlier that it is only at the non-plastered level that a mud brick built building remains what it is. However, a cement plastered mud brick building looks no different from any other where some other building material, like cement blocks were used, and you’d probably not be able to tell the difference unless you were there at the beginning, or at any period before the plastering. In some cases, it will interest you to know that plastered mud brick walls even have a more aesthetic shine to it, compared to that of cement blocks.
Plastering is a major part of the building process, because it immediately follows the incorporation of conduit pipes, plumbing pipes and other major aspects of the home to be, that must be hidden from clear view, despite their importance. It is also the point at which frames for doors, windows and other outlets/inlets are set in place, as an omission at this stage will mean breaking already plastered parts of the house to accommodate such changes in the future. An ugly state of affairs that one frequently encounters with buildings in Nigeria where masons at the plastering stage, don’t work hand-in-hand with plumbers, electricians, even carpenters and others, to plaster in such a way as to accommodate the concerns of these other important workers, to turn a house into a home.
Though using mud bricks over cement blocks is less expensive, when it comes to the stage of plastering the structure you will find that it costs more (though not so expensive to tilt the cost difference in favour of cement block built bungalow), as more cement is needed to literally “soak” the mud brick walls in plaster compared to the much that would be expended on cement blocks. Attempting to plaster mud brick built walls the way you’d do a cement block built wall, will lead to an unravelling of the plastering in no time, leading to the kind of aesthetic embarrassment you sometimes find with such buildings. This is why if one decides to tow this path, then it must be properly careered or else it should be jettisoned right from the onset.
For a mud brick built three bedroom bungalow, about seventy-five bags of cement, currently at ₦1,460 per bag costing ₦109,500 will be required, with seven tipper trips of the appropriate plastering sand at ₦8,500 per trip, totalling ₦59,500, and that’s without the cost of workmanship (not only for plastering, but also for incorporating the many bits and parts that must be accommodated within and without the building structure), which differs depending on location in Nigeria. A well plastered house that takes cognizance of the end product attachments and add-ons, makes the rest of the job easier to undertake, hence the need to have experienced masons, working in conjunction with plumbers, carpenters, electricians and other auxiliaries, at the stage of the building to prevent the situation I have aforementioned.
I’ll let you digest this for now, hopefully the next instalment should be the last on this topic, except as will otherwise become evident. When it comes to building a house, the trick is to start, as the likelihood of finishing is almost certain, as long as time and chance permits. The urge to continue and complete a building project is akin to an addiction to any hard drug which gives a high following use, the withdrawal of which is such that the addict explores all means possible to get a fix, for lack of a more explanatory example.