Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Canadian neighbor putting in a Cisterna

Our neighbors have finally started work this year and began with lot clearing and a cisterna, aljibe or water storage tank. Lots of talk about how to do it, plastic or a cement box, both building a protection wall for the plastic or just put it in the ground. He decided to to do both with a block wall around. Also discussed if it should have a cement floor because the block enclosure can collect water during the rainy season. He opted for a cement floor - we'll see

Protection wall for the plastic cisterna

The plastic cistern

Semana Diez para la Casa

Updates may be every two weeks but we will see. Putting up walls is only so interesting. Last week we finished the walls to roof level and installed a support beam across the larger front room. This week we've started on the second stage of walling off the back of both lots, stairs and a wash-utility-storage area. I have no exact measurements for this utility area so we will wait for walls and when the dirt is removed, mark it out. The jog that you can almost see in the second foto is because both lots are not the same size

Roof support beam for the large room

Second stage foundation

Second stage from roof level

Retired and building a small house in Villa Pinal, Costalegre, Jalisco Mexico

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Week Eight - Walls up to three meters

This week we are starting on the top level of the walls up to the future roof level. The wall on the left is about 12 centimeters higher than the wall on the right for water runoff. You can't allow water to drain into your neighbors yard if you are on the lot line - and we are on the lot line on two sides.

We had to build an A-frame scaffold for solid support when working 3 meters up. I also bought a 2x10 by 10 feet to use as a platform. The thin 1x8 palm boards used for cement forms were not stable enough.

View from back neighbors lot

View of one bedroom - A-Frame scaffold partly shown

Building a small house in Pinal Villa, Costalegre

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Weeks Six and Seven

They finished the walls to the two meter level and now it's time to tie it all together with a cement header (dala) all the way around. Today they will finish pouring the header on the two rooms in the back .... and them on to the front two rooms. We're also putting some of the electrical tubing in the dalas so the roof installation will have a few less to do. The routing of the wires is not what I would have chosen but unless I'm there all day to check ... and I've been feeling under the weather this week. Anything can be re-done by chipping away the cement and brick and that's what they rely one.

Beginning of week Six

Toward end of week Six

Week Seven and dalas (headers) are started

Rebar for dalas almost in place and cement forms starting

I added this foto from the end of week seven to show the headers with forms off

Building a small house on the Costalegre, Jalisco Mexico

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The roof maze

This is the maze we are going to deal with someday when we put on the roof. The foto below is of a soon to be multi-story so we'll have no plumbing extending up - but all the electric will be in the ceiling. Most plumbing in Mexico is also on the roof because that is where your water storage tank is unless you have a pressure system. The foam is both to lighten the load and to better insulate from the sun. The orange tubing is where the electrical wires are run - after

Building a house in Pinal Villa, Costalegre, Jalisco

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Putting up more walls - Week Five

This week we are finishing up the walls of two rooms of the four and putting up half walls of the last two. The half walls you see are one meter and they stop there so as to not put too much weight on the wet mortar

The second foto shows how the wooden forms are held in place for the castillos. They push a stick through the wet mortar as they lay brick (rather than drilling holes later) and use wire to attach the boards. The brick and smaller board make a lever to hold the forms close.

The bottom foto is how one of the neighbors brings out water from his place because the street water has been shut off for two days. Like siphoning gas out of a car, we suck on the hose and get 55 gallons mas o menos.

A couple of windows in front and more second level walls

Forms for the castillos (upright beams)

The neighbor brings water needed to mix mortar
House building in Pinal Villa, Costalegre, Mexico

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Week Four - Starting on the walls

We finally got some clay brick but started with cement block just so they could go to work. Both bricks are nearly the same size. There is a regular brick and an over-sized. We're using the larger which will use less cement and go up faster - the problem is they are not as easily found and do cost more. The first section laid is a meter high so the weight does not compress the wall. One meter is also the standard window height

The bottom foto shows how when working with block, they insert a few rows of clay brick because clay is more flexible and will relieve earthquake stress on the walls.

From lot next door

Mixing the bricks

Example from other construction - A few rows of clay brick for stress relief

Building a house in Pinal Villa, Costalegre, Jalisco

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Building the foundation - Week Three

Week three. They finished up the dalas and added foundation walls and dalas for three bathrooms. We then needed fill inside the foundation to put the slab on. They couldn't find anyone they knew that would deliver so I went out yesterday and talked to a guy on the carretera. He was a little vague at first when he could do it but showed up an hour later with his 'tractor'. He leveled out and moved what dirt we had into the house and a half hour later the BIG truck showed up - three loads total.

The dirt (arena) is from Aguacate and looks like sand but has clay in it that compacts well. There are a few large pieces in it that are cement stone like but break up easily. This stuff is what is normally used below a slab. We ended up with about a 1/2 truck extra and will have to use it elsewhere.

Can't spread it out over the yard as it will make terrible soil for a garden. 3 truck loads and the tractor for half a day was $2500 pesos.

Double load

The tractor

Foundation is full - with watering or rain it will compact

Pinal Villa, Costalegre, Jalisco

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Building the foundation - Week Two

Our first albaniel turned out to be fast but very little thought was going into what he was doing. There were not enough support columns (castillos) for our spans and bathrooms were not planned. We added 7 new columns - 5 down the middle and two on either side of the large front room.

The bottom foto is of the reinforced 'header' (dala) that goes above the block, the top of which will be the floor level. I rented the wood for forms but will buy some next time as we'll use them multiple times.

Adding the extra castillos

The dala - header

Building a house in Pinal Villa, Costalegre, Jalisco

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Building the foundation

This is three days of foundation work but they are nearly finished after the first week. The delay is mostly because of the hand digging required because the backhoe didn't go deep enough towards the rear of the lot which is higher than the front. The albañil (mason)says the backhoe guy wasn't experienced enough ... but the albañil left me to oversee the digging and I didn't know what they had planned.

So here they are laying out the perimeters and finding level with the "water in the hose" trick. The castillos (support columns) are almost a meter deeper than the bottom of the foundation and spaced 5 meters of less

Water level

Finishing off the ditches

Foundation and castillos

The second 1000 blocks arrive

Digging the foundation

This is the second day for the backhoe and he'll be digging the house foundations. The house is approximately 19 meters by 5 meters with 3 bedrooms and a larger kitchen and living room. All rooms will open onto a ramada (covered porch) with no interior hallway. This is tropical living.

The water guy showed up the same day (late) and didn't dig the ditch as deep as he originally said. He did include the fancy connector from 2 1/2" pipe to 1/2", the hose and a brass faucet. $1100 pesos may not seem like much but compared to the other work being done it is. This guy was referred to me by the Municipio ... but if we do it again, we'll do it ourselves or hire a plumber. We may re-dig the ditch deeper later.

The water guys showed up the same day

Clearing the lots with a backhoe

Jorge cleared the lots of all the undergrowth and smaller stuff and then found a friend with a chainsaw for the trees. Multiple fires got rid of the brush and branches but there was much we had to haul away including the stumps the backhoe removed.

Lot cleaning with the backhoe took one day and he came back the next to dig the foundations.

Our lots in Pinal Villa, Melaque

These are fotos of our lots in Pinal Villa about a mile back from the beach and directly behind Melaque. I looked for lots for over a year and was about 2-3 years late to find real bargains. Prices closer to the beach doubled and tripled in that amount of time. Even though there were a number of lots in our price range back from the beach, many didn't have water or electricity. Pinal Villa still does not have Telmex (phone) services.

I found the lot in the first foto last winter but the family member of the adjoining lot didn't want to sell at the time. He later called us to see if we were still interested.

The two people sitting in the back of the first foto are Canadians who own three lots behind us and are building two casitas. They only plan to work on their place during the winter and I'm not sure they will finish this year.

The lots last winter with Canadians sitting on lot behind

Costalegre, Jalicso, Mexico

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Building a house in Mexico

Building a house in Mexico
A small place in Pinal Villa, Costalegre

Pinal Villa is a small community about a mile behind Melaque, Jalisco on the Costalegre, Mexico.

I bought the first of two lots in November of 2007 and the second adjoining lot in the summer of 2008. What we paid is less important than to say they were equal to less developed lots that had no water or electricity and no neighbors to share the costs.

I've learned a lot and am still learning - but the first lesson was to fence and mark your lot well because the Ejido will just go by fence lines and ignore what your original paperwork says. We lost almost three feet off the back and a foot or two on one side. Many of the lots in Pinal Villa are un-plotted (not on a map) so had to be re-measured.

The cost of title transfer is only per square meter and doesn't matter if there is a house or vacant lot. For us it was about $2500 pesos. If the previous owner has not paid taxes or have receipts you need to pay the last 5 years - $100 pesos a year.

Building in Pinal Villa Web Page

Costalegre, Jalicso, Mexico

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