How to Make a Bali Hut
A Bali hut is a small piece of paradise that you can build in your own backyard. Not much more than a frame structure with a roof of some sort, the Bali hut is a simple structure with a truly tropical feel. Making a Bali hut of your own doesn't require a trip to the islands, just a few simple materials and tools, and the time to enjoy your new tropical paradise.
Sketch out a diagram of your Bali hut. Walk the space where you will place the hut and determine the exterior dimensions of the structure. A basic size in an even measurement, such as 8-feet-by-8 feet wide or 10-feet-by-10-feet wide makes the calculations and construction easier. Decide if you will make a simple structure with support poles and a roof, or a more detailed one with a deck floor and steps. Remember, corner posts should be set into the ground, so the height of your posts should be 12 feet to accommodate this step.
Purchase the materials for the job based on your measurements and diagram. If you want to skip the calculations and leg work, you can purchase kits for a Bali hut from a variety of manufacturers that will include everything you need to create your hut, including the thatching. Otherwise you can purchase the standard lumber from any lumber or home supply store. The thatching can be either synthetic or organic and purchased from a specialized supplier. It often comes pre-woven and in a roll to make installation easier. Palm fronds can be adapted if you live in an area where they grow.
Measure the outline of the Bali hut and use the chalk string line to lay out the lines on the ground. You can use spray paint to mark them if you prefer this method. Pound a small stake at each corner where your posts will sit. Be sure your lines are level and square before you begin any construction. If the ground where you are working is not level, you'll need to prepare it now by scraping away the top layer of soil with a shovel until you have a level surface. If you are installing a deck, this may not be necessary; if you set the deck a few inches above the ground, you can level the deck rather than the soil.
Dig the holes for the posts. Set the posts in place one at a time, leveling them as you go. Back fill the holes and brace them with a 2-by-4-inch section of lumber on either side of the posts to hold them level while you set them.
Cut four 2-by-6-inch treated lumber sections to the outside measurement of your posts. Make your measurements so that the front and back pieces will extend past the posts by 2 inches. The side pieces should butt against them. Screw the back piece in place first. Be sure the top of the board is even with the top edge of the post. Attach the two sides, and screw to both the posts and the ends of the back piece. Then add the front, enclosing the square of your upper support boards.
Cut two 6-inch pieces of 2-by-6-inch board and screw them together to form a block. You will need assistance to accomplish the next step. Cut a 45-degree angle on four pieces of 2-by-6-inch board. Place two ladders at the center of your hut. Rest one 2-by-6-inch board on the end of a corner post, and raise the other end to the center. Have someone raise a second 2-by-6-inch board to meet the one you have lifted to the center, and place the wood block between them. Screw in place. Add the other two 2-by-6-inch boards to the other corner posts, and screw together at the center block. Attach an L bracket to each post and board joint, and screw in place, securing the 2-by-6-inch boards to the corner posts. This is the base of your roof.
Cut 8 pieces of 2-by-4-inch lumber, 2 feet long, and make a 45-degree angle cut on one end. Place two at an angle between the four corner roof supports and the 2-by-6-inch boards, creating a double brace on either side of each roof support. Screw in place.
Add a center 2-by-4-inch roof support in the center of either side of the hut, screwing it in place to both the 2-by-6-inch boards and the center block at the top. This creates a secondary support to hold the 1-by-1-inch furring strips for your thatch.
Nail furring strips across all sides of the roof supports, every 10 inches. Cut your thatch sections to fit the length of your roof. The thatch is stapled to the furring strips in layers, starting at the bottom and working upwards. To create a rounded effect at the bottom edge that overhangs the sides of the hut, you can add two additional furring strips, 2 inches apart in the first section, creating a thick triple layer of thatch for the overhang. If you are using palm fronds, the furring strips are placed the same, however the individual fronds are placed side by side, packed tightly together and nailed in place individually. They are layered top to bottom, just like roll thatch.
Add a floor deck, rails and any other additions you desire to your Bali hut. A floor deck is built by adding 2-by-6-inch outer support boards to the posts 12 inches above the ground, and then another inner square of 2-by-6-inch boards inside the posts. The deck frame is built within these, then deck boards are added for a floor. If you add a deck to the hut, you will need a step to gain entry. The height of the roof will be sufficient to add a deck as long as the deck is kept within 12 inches of the ground.
Caprice Castano recently left the field of construction management to operate her own contracting business and spend time developing her writing career. Current projects include freelance writing for Internet publications and working on novel-length fiction.
- under the shade of a tiki hut image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com