Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yard, new palm and party garage

This is what half the yard looks like these days. I got the palm from a neighbor that had it growing too close to his house. The garage/tent/toldo I bought almost two years ago in the Chapala Walmart and never set it up. The tent works to shade the car but also nice for neighborhood parties.

Finally had a plumber come in so two more ceiling fans are installed, the second bathroom is finished and all the interior light fixturs are up. Next up on the schedule is to install a water filter as it comes in from the street. The sand is clogging my faucet screens, messing with valves and is in the cistern and tinacos.

New palm and garage tent

Monday, September 26, 2011

First real bathroom

This is my first real "indoor" bathroom. The first was tucked under the outside stairs and has served well during construction for the last 10 months. Now I need to think about shower curtain, bathroom door and possible moisture ventilation problems. There is only a small vent over the shower. Moisture and ventilation is of extreme importance here in the summer.

Just bought an identical bathroom set for the second bathroom

Humidity, bathroom, tropics, Mexico

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dos Marquesinas

The weather has been good, a little too hot actually. It has allowed the guys to stucco the inside of the roof wall an build two marquesinas (awnings) over windows and doors. The large awning below on the side of the house and a smaller one over two windows in front. I just finished painting them this last weekend.

Besides providing a little bit of shade the marquesina stops water from running down the wall and in the doors and windows. Typical Mexican construction usually the roof is extended for the overhang. Eventually I'm hoping to cover the walkway with a lamina roof tucked under the marquesina so I won't have to seal the lamina against the house.

The storm windows I made a few weeks ago work well and I guess I could have taken the plastic tarp off the door for the foto ... but what the heck. The tarp is to stop wind blown rain

Marquesina and storm windows

Front marquesina

Yard and pump house from above

Monday, July 25, 2011

Keeping the water out

The one meter wall around the roof level was left uncovered block and I'm convinced part of the roof leaking problem was water seeping in through the block even though the block sits on top of the cement roof slab. I may be wrong but it definitely looks better, I'll be able to seal and paint it and will be able to run the impermeabilizante 20mm up the wall.

The other water issue is the windows. I like the steel frame windows but they don't seal well when rain water is blown against them. I took care of the side windows with plastic in a wood frame but the two front kitchen windows have water spouts above them. When the wind is blowing there's no way to keep that much water out. That's what the small awning or marquesina is for in the bottom picture. They'll start stuccoing it today.

Newly stuccoed wall

Marquesina made with foam panel

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Geting ready for impermeabilizante (roof sealer)

Only studying the proceedure right now, filling low spots or the roof and cleaning. Then wait for at least 4 days of dry weather.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Storm windows

When the wind blows the rain like the storm last week the water comes right through my south facing windows and under the doors. I found some decent plastic at a local cristaleria store. This thick plastic looks like it might be used as a table cover and is almost like water bed plastic. I should be able to pop them out and put them in storage over the winter.

I scraped half the roof by hand yesterday, first day of sun for two weeks. Scraping will continue today and tomorrow in the hopes of being able to start sealing (impermeabilizar) Saturday. Hopefully the rain will stay away.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First rain of the season

... and my roof leaks. Same places it was leaking before we put on the Tacata layer.

Guess this means I get a power washer, wait for a dry spell and roll on impermeabilizante - probably Fester. Fester was quoted at about 1200 a cubeta. A cubeta will do about 20 meters in 2 coats. My roof is about 110 sq meters.  An unexpected cost and work 

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Cyclone Fence corral

I've been putting this fence off for a few weeks now. Coyota, my dog, would have returned my lawn to dirt without it. In this heat her way to cool off is to dig a hole where it's damp and lay in it. Attempting to train her would have been impossible. The new lawn has to be watered and has become her favorite area to cool off.

The fence guys were great and finished up yesterday, Sunday. I would rather have spent the $5000+/- pesos somewhere else but the lawn is now safe.

The new Cyclone fence (maya ciclon in Mexico)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Front door and mosaic window

Finished the door frame over a week ago but finally got around to painting it and the front wall. Don't criticize the paint job as it's mostly sealer with some white paint added. 1st coat is 2/3's sealer and second coat is about 1/3 sealer. If you paint pure sealer (sellador) it is transparent ... so except for the slight gloss, you don't know where you've painted.

The grass is looking good if the dog doesn't tear it up. The other night she started pulling up a patch and besides a few swats I'll have to wait and see. I'd hate to have to fence it but she is a real digger when she wants a cool place to lie down or just has energy to burn.

Took a picture of the window and with the contrast of dark green and white wall ... the darker won.

Front now painted

Mosaic window

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New front door frame

I was thinking of something like this months ago but how many extra little things can you add to a house. This got forgotten in a long list because things had to move along.

So now we're back to it because between my metal guy that made the door and the aluminum guy who made the screen door ... they could not figure out how to hang both with enough room for the screen to close. I just removed the screen door yesterday and we are building a frame around the door that will extend the opening 3 to 4 inches. This will give both doors room to work together and the screen door won't be flush with the house like it was.

The original idea of frames around doors and windows was that it's kind of old style and gives a bulky look to a house if the dimensions are right. We'll see what this looks like in a few days.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Not a gravel yard for me thanks

Against the advice of a few people that meant well I went with grass. This will mean more upkeep and water but but a gravel yard just does not get it for me. This is Bermuda grass and I got it through the vivero (nursery guy) near the Jaluco intersection on the way to Barra. Also got two lime trees from him.

I ordered 50 meters and sent some home with one of my workers. Price for the pasto (lawn) was 35 pesos a square meter. I think I overworked placing and cutting and didn't drink enough water so stayed in bed 'till noon today.

Still have almost half the property unplanned except for a few trees and plants. Think it will just sit while I finish the house. Hugo started painting grout joints with sealer today and I'll join him tomorrow.

6 months later finishing up

Finally ... only one more week. There's one more inside (the property) wall next to the house that they will stucco next week, along with a few corners and the finishing the entrance gates and YA! A little more finish work on the stairs that I've sealed.

After next week the maestro goes but I'll keep my neighbor who's been the helper. He'll do preparing the garden work, sealing grout lines (whole house) and little odds and ends we find over the next few weeks.  He may even make the pavers for a driveway that Elke says she has forms for, sounds interesting. I'll continue painting, cleaning and using sealer on various places before the rains.

A welcome relief and rest are coming

Joke is, it's the Centro de Salud of Pinal Villa 

Kitchen, dining and entrance

Last bedroom, extra tile and Tomas the cat

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Floor patterns

There have been a number of jokes about "my hospital" and the mono-chrome colors so far. Workers wanted to cut tiles and make a design in the middle of one of the main rooms (same tile, different tile, now we need to shop?). Personally I don't mind a light mono-chrome environment. Light colors reflect light, you can see the dirt ... and you can see the critters.

I went to Interceramic in Melaque and they had nothing that fit my idea of a color scheme. Back to Cihuatlan where I bought most of the tiles and bought this green tile. This green tile is nothing I would buy as the principle tile for a room but thought it might work as an accent. I do think it's reasonable.

Now my workers want to outline this pattern with black, blue or I don't know what ... colored grout. I had to say sorry, the same grout for the whole house, "cafe champagne".

This center piece will also draw attention away from the walls that are not straight or aligned with the house

My house is not straight

So finding a straight line (or wall) in my house is not easy. Remember this started as a family project with not the best builders. The current guys have done their best to correct many of the issues but moving walls was not one of them.

Starting at the front door and wall we ran a line of tile into the dining room. From there through two doorways to the back room. Another over to the back door. This pattern will give an overall appearance of organized tiles but tile sizes along walls will vary as needed and will vary a lot.

Front door and wall to the left

Along wall to the left - with 90 meters of tile

Line from dining room into the back rooms

And the filling in begins

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sidewalk and Driveway

The new sidewalk and driveway are finished and they look good. That was the last of the major cement mixing so we are breaking up the very large pad that has formed over the years and will soon be back to dirt.

The glass guy was here yesterday installing all the panes and within a week he'll install mosquito screens on all the windows and make a front screen door.

Hector and Oscar started tiling one bathroom and it looks great. We somehow under estimated the number of wall tiles (azulejos) we need so I'll buy 4 more boxes in the next few days. They will also use some on the sides of the kitchen counter.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kitchen counters

Decided on white cement with granite chips for the counters. Here's the construction process after building the support walls.

Fill the major portion with normal cement and then cover with the white cement and granite chips (granito). I chose size number 2 for the granite size but larger might have been more interesting. Next comes a lot of sanding with a grinder followed by hand sanding with wet/dry sandpaper.

Filled with cement

White cement and granite mix

Counters after some sanding

Also did a little house painting while they worked on the kitchen

Friday, March 4, 2011

Beach rock in sidewalk

I've been making trips to the beach to collect rock for the sidewalk and need to make another trip this morning. My first collection the rocks were too large so we've run out of the smaller ones. I don't mind the beach trips at all.

Sidewalk is done so today and tomorrow it's repairing small stuff anywhere we can find them, nail holes, seams between walls and stairs/sidewalk, etc. Deciding if it's a sidewalk in front of the house or kitchen counters next week.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Doors and windows

Doors and windows seem to almost make the difference. I guess it's the privacy and security that they bring. I opted for steel windows with the built in security rather than aluminum windows with bars on the outside. I never did compare prices but assume steel is cheaper than a 'two step process'.

I do have to paint these, install the glass and caulk around the edges so they are not finished by any means. The screens (mosquitero) is coming Wednesday.

We also built a small foundation for the walkway all around the house which is basically one meter wide. Incorporated into the walkway is a registro cover for grey and rain water, redoing the registro top for black water and a drainage registro at the bottom of the stairs which will hopefully handle some of the roof rain water as well.

The walkway foundation, 2 registros and windows
Front door - salon

Kitchen window

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Redesigning the Stairs

The stairs were unfinished and I knew we'd get around to it someday. The cement block is porous and has been letting water seep into the bathroom below. What I wasn't expecting was for my maestro to figure out a way to rebuild the stairs giving them a proper "run" (step space) compared to the very narrow original steps. He added the extra couple inches to each step by adding an angled step on what used to be the bottom platform.

To add a bullnose to each step he cuts a 2" tube in half and nails it to the step form. For a non-slip surface we used 'granito' (granite chunks) in the cement and then wash away enough cement to expose the chucks.

The old stairs

Rebuilding begins

Plastic tube cut in half for 'bullnose'

Finished stairs

The added step on the bottom

Sunday, February 20, 2011

More Tecata

This is the last of 3 roofs to tile. The second floor laundry room and the main house are finished. Quite a project and didn't come out smooth like I pictured it. I suppose with two more layers of cement wash the tiles pattern would dissapear but it's not necessary.

Next week starting on the redesigned stairs and waiting for the rest of the doors and windows.  The electric is in with four fans installed.  The plumbing is finished except for areas waiting for tile and counter tops - baths and kitchen.   One room left to give the first coat of sealer-paint mix.

Pump house and bodega

Main roof

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Installing a Tecata Tile roof

The roof tile installation has started. First photo is yesterday filling in the first section. They lay out rows (rayas) at a measured slope, about 4 inches at the highest point down to one inch in the direction the water will drain.

The second foto is starting a small section off to the side and the main section is done. When finished with a third large section this all will all be covered with a thin wash of cement and sealer (sellador)

Day one - filling between the 'rayas'

Day two - first large section done

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tecata tiles are here

The tecata tiles arrived sooner than expected and late enough in the day that we had to leave then in front of the house over night. We also had to get a pulley and large rope used to pull them up the wall bucket by bucket.

Hugo pulling from below, Oscar handling the buckets at the top ... and me stacking them. From 9am to 1pm and 3000 tiles later they are up on the roof where they will be used

Pinal Villa, Melaque, Mexico

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Making tecata tiles

An upcoming project is covering the roof with tecata tiles and I've been looking for a source for a few weeks. Finally found this brick yard behind Jaluco just past the new Melaque Bypass road. I put in an order for 3000 and he says he'll have them in 9 days (make that 7 now).

This guy also makes fine finish brick (in foto) on order and I was surprised to see a builder from Nayarit that has been building a number of gringo houses ordering more. His houses aren't intended to be stuccoed, just nice brick with mortar well tucked between. They look nice but dark inside for me.

The idea with my roof is it needs a slight slope for water runoff and they will do that with cement covered with these tiles like tiling a floor - and then covered with a thin cement wash. The extra layer is also more insulation, the tiles absorb moisture and the second 'floor' is a separation barrier.

Tecata tile drying in the sun

Stacked for firing with some fine bricks drying

Working in the brick yard

The whole family works there

The brick kiln fired with coconut husks
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