Report on Baldosa Tiles for HELPS and Trees Water and People: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador

Don O'Neal HELPS International, Patrick Flynn and Stuart Conway, Trees Water and People September 2005

Q: How are the ceramic tiles, or baldosas, holding up in service?

O'neal: I have baldosa Combustion Chambers that have been in service for 4 years and still going. The challenge with baldosa is shipping without breakage.  We solved that (mostly) with special boxes with layer of cardboard between parts.        

Once in the stove they seem to last.  I think the performance is very good.  More insulative would be good but not at the expense of durability. Thermal mass is more important to me as there is plenty of insulation ( pumice) around the CC.  

Flynn: Patrick Flynn, Trees Water and People:

Since Don found the baldosas, I think back in 2001, TWP has also been building stoves with baldosas. We have had great success with baldosas. In my experience there are three main factors for the longevity of the baldosas once they are put in the stove. 1) What type of clay mixture is used and at what temp. are the baldosas fired 2) How well is the elbow put together - this is very important 3) How do the users feed the wood into the combustion chamber - they do not need to be overly careful, but they cann't be jamming the combustion full of wood.

As Don brought up, the issue of transporting baldosas is probably the biggest limiting factor. The cardboard box remedy seems to work very well.

I, personally, love the baldosas. They are very inexpensive and seem durable enough.

Conway: Stuart Conway, Trees Water and People:

We switched a few years back to the baldosa (ceramic tiles) in our Justa stoves in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and they are holding up much better than the hand made ceramic elbows that we used previously for the combustion chambers. The tiles are much easier to transport in the back of the pick-up trucks as they stack up nicely, so you get much less breakage while tranporting the tiles compared to the previous elbows, and they are more resistant to the rougher users of the stoves, people who jam in the firewood. So, all in all the ceramic tiles for the combustion chambers are a major improvement.
Trees, Water, & People

See: Making Baldosa Tiles for HELPS Stoves in Guatemala Don O'Neal Feb 3 2003