The Cost-Saving Way to Build a Frame House in Latvia: Our DIY Project (Screw Foundation Piles)

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Welcome to another interesting blog topic series - Frame house, where I'm going to share almost in real-time our endeavors of building a small 60m2 1-storey holiday house in Latvia. 

I decided to build it myself as much as I can, hiring only local people to help with lifting, digging and similar work.

The labor cost and services can add a lot, especially in Latvia.

For the below described works I spent about EUR 2,000 and two days in March 2023, while firms were asking me EUR 4,000 only for just installing grounds crews. There was one company offering to build me such a house for EUR 80,000. When I asked what is the reason for the price? The answer was classic - everything is expensive, inflation, quality construction materials etc. By the way, I bought the same highest quality C24 wood material for this construction site, which the company was saying now cost very expensive. Truth is - it doesn't!

Anyhow, without further ado:

Overall it took us about 2 years of pre-preparation works, owning land, and having electricity on it. Last, but not least we got a building permit for our holiday house at the end of January (2023) from the local construction board in just 3 days. 

3D Modeling Our Country House (Scandinavian / Baltic style)

It was during Spring break at QSI Tbilisi school, we booked our flight to Latvia, rented a mid-size car, booked a nice hotel in Kuldīga and here you go:

At the end of March we arrived in Riga, and I went to the local DEPO store to buy first ground screws for testing purposes only:

Transporting Ground screws in a rental VW T-Cross

Besides ground screws, I also bought a level, wires, gloves, metallic bars e.t.c

In the above picture, I have bought only 4 out of 24 planned ground screws, I did this test purchase just to make sure I will be able to get them inside the soil and that they will be sturdy enough to hold the upcoming frame house.

Preparing to install ground screws on the actual construction site

The next morning we traveled to our property. today it was also awaited the construction materials will arrive for the wood frame.

Ordered them from Pata lumber in Saldus

Wood beams arriving

It took some little manpower to unload these 6-meter-long beams but didn't ask for much time, maybe 30 minutes. Cost of transportation EUR 70.

Drilling test hole

I hired a local neighbor to help me with installation work. Also, I bought a hand-ground drill (paying about EUR 24 at the local DEPO store) to make drilling much easier. 

Author of this blog captured in action

Most of the work we finished just two of us, just later my brother arrived and helped a little bit. But frankly this job is easily doable in a pair. It would be harder, but not impossible, trying to do it alone.

Wood beams ready to be used as frame for our holiday house

For the outer frame, I ordered 10x15x600cm beams, while for the inner supports 5x15x600cm boards

Installing first beam on 5 groundscrews

I decided to install step by step, instead of installing all ground screws, I opted for installing just enough to support the first beam, accordingly from which the other beams will be installed in level.

Making wood frame

I kept pre-drilling holes for grounds crews and we continued installing outer side

Wood frame for holiday house

In total it took us 2 days to install both ground screws and construct the wood frame for the foundation

Metalic joints to support beams

In total 8 such metallic supports, at every angle

Electric drill

I bought the cheapest electric drill available at the local store in Kuldīga, paying about EUR 24 for it. A battery-powered drill would be a much smarter choice. Nevertheless, I was able to screw together all the frames.

Wooden support joint for floor

I didn't finish installing all support, as we were running low on the metallic support clamps, but the idea is to install them every 50 cm

Painting with a wood preservative

Last, but not least I covered all the construction with special wood preservative liquid, both sides are covered, I was just running low on the green liquid and on the other side applied transparent liquid. 

Now it was quite a fulfilling Spring break in Latvia, in a matter of two working days I was able to install both ground screws and the frame for a floor for our upcoming holiday house.

It planned to resume construction works in Summer, by installing walls and roof (all together)

The total cost so far:

  • Ground Screws: EUR 805
  • Wood beams: EUR 1000
  • Support clamps and angles: EUR 100
  • Tools and other goodies: EUR 150
  • Wood preservative liquid: EUR 12

Total: EUR 2067