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
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