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

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Beginning to paint

Why do rooms look bigger when they get painted a light color. Don't know but they always do.  My rooms are small so it makes a difference

This is the second coat (paso) of a mixture of sealer and white paint. I actually have 5 rooms that can be painted and I won't show you the bathroom - a strange under the stairs contraption that works but is not a visual delight. Another is the bodega that is full of stuff that I don't feel like moving. Another is the pumphouse that is also full of stuff and the tinaco above has been leaking - think it's fixed now. The last is the wash area upstairs.

Haven't painted in awhile, never painted new cement ... and never painted 10 foot ceilings. It's a workout.

Painting a small house in Melaque Mexico

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New front window bars

These front window bars were put up just to keep kids out while I took a break from construction. We never considered the added thickness of the stucco so the bars had to be adjusted for the new finish work. I also decreased the window size across the bottom so the bars were raised.

Pretty simple, chip the cement away from the bar legs, pull them out ... and I get to wire brush and paint them. Usually new metal work is not well painted here in Mexico so the owner is responsible.

So now the unfinished stucco is a distance away from the bars that we can continue with the fine finish and the front of the house will look a lot better. Windows will be installed inside the bars for double protection since these are the only openings to the street. Yes security is an issue in Mexico, especially if you leave for any period.

You also see the difference light makes in a foto. The first is in the morning ... and the second is afternoon with no shadows and was automatically adjusted with MS Picture Manager. Sometimes it works and sometimes not.

On the right - old bars.  Left new window size

Complete and ready for a fine stucco

Friday, January 14, 2011

Oscar enjarrando mi casa - video

Oscar is my maestro and here is finishing up the last part of the rough stucco (enjarrar). The music in the background is what we listen to all day ... and the other noise is Hugo mixing more mortar.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Viga falsa

We are now enjarrando (stuccoing - verb is enjarrar) the kitchen/dining room and that room has a viga (support beam) across the middle of it. The problem is the roof was originally designed with a slope and now it's flat. The solution is to extend the high side of the viga down to the level of the lower end. To do this they use a wire mesh nailed to the viga and just trowel on the mortar mix.

So Oscar says we need 4 meters of this wire mesh (maya falso or maya plafon) and off to the ferreteria I go not knowing what I was really looking for. The first ferreteria sent me back with 4 meters of chicken wire. Nope, that's not it. The second ferreteria had the wire mesh but only in 20 meter rolls. No other options so I now have 16 meters of this maya to use on something else.

Below is the roll, the bending process, the installation and the stuccoing. These false vigas or beams are sometimes used to cover plumbing pipes or electrical wiring.

The viga pretty well covered

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New door and window on the workshop

Just installed a new door and window on the workshop this last week. I wanted to check out this new guys work and wanted another secure storage area now that Ron is keeping his stuff here. Nice metal work and think I'll use him for the rest of the house.

Closet a la Mexicanada

Here's the first closet and the way they supported the cement for the internal shelves and the large shelf above. Very ingenious forms they built. The top shelf is the same principle as the large shelf in the bodega but the internal shelves are something new. We tried white cement with color and 'marmol' (marble). This week we will use a grinder to smooth the surface and the marble chunks will show through the color.

This marmol idea was to show how it would work on a kitchen counter top but at this point I'm thinking it's too labor intensive. The next closet is just going to be smooth finish cement that gets painted later.

The other issue is I believe the albañiles are getting tired of the stucco work. I don't mean bored, but physically tired. Throwing cement at a wall all day for weeks on end is difficult and not many people can do it. These smaller projects give them a break ... but I need to get the house stuccoed so I can install windows and doors and get the electrician in to finish the wiring. Will have to have a sit down with them this week and maybe bring in another guy.

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