Thursday, December 25, 2014

Ranch house in Utah

My sister and brother in law are building a house in Huntsville Utah. I'm sure it's to be close to her daughter and the 2 little girls. The two properties are actually adjoining and they said they plane to use both for farming. That will be interesting.

Anyway these pictures are from a site designed for builders to post the progress when an owner can't be there to check called Buildertrend. My sister is in Seattle and the builder uploads from his Smart Phone. Very cool idea ... and so is the weather there. She said they got the roof on just in time for a White Christmas. 

Gorgeous scenery but frickin cold

Beat the snow

Nice view

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lockdown my meters and a wall painting

CFE is installing Not Very Smart Meters and not always with the owners permission. The first complaint is that you can only pay at CFE offices. The second complaint is that you/we have to read it every month with a magic card and go pay at CFE. The third complaint is you can't pay for six months and go away. This is all about saving CFE money with no meter readers .... but at huge public expense.

I wasn't going to take a chance that some commission based installer make a few pesos off my meter when I wasn't looking.The locked door also keeps the bugs and rain out.

Linda painted her garden walls and I wanted to do something with the back wall of the palapa. We both painted my wall last winter when she was here. Problem was I didn't like it so painted over with white once again. I finally broke down yesterday and spent a few hours trying something new. Not finished so I can add and/or paint it white again. Interesting to work only with the primary colors and black

Monday, July 14, 2014

The fallen sink mystery .... etc

I awoke this morning to find the outside sink had fallen off the wall. I first thought of a person in the middle of the night but you don't accomplish anything by standing on the sink. I also wondered why I didn't hear it as it's not far from my bedroom door that has a screen in it. All I can think of is my cat or it fell off of it's own weight. Simple white sinks are not expensive and only part of the drain pipe broke.

Bought a new sink for $240 pesos (basic white) but think I'll change everything including the handles/faucet., drain, wall fastener and larger screws to hold it on the wall.

Oops !!

The other is my tinaco is suddenly overflowing.  I climb up and find the float overextended in the up position and the tank full.  I lower the water level  and I can not over extend the float manually. We have moderate street pressure today so I'm eliminating possibilities.

The mystery float

My unnecessary "don't drop them in the tinaco trick"

Hugo came over while I made the school run and figured out the water was not coming from from above at the float valve shut off but from the bottom of the tank. I knew with this strange system that could happen but it never has in 3 years. My plumber thought with the good street pressure we have much of the time, why not have street pressure in the house rather than just gravity from tinaco.  So he installs these check valves that will change with pressure levels. Problem is the valves get stuck and this one usually gets stuck where tinaco pressure is not enough to open it so I bang on it to get water again.This time it got stuck in the opposite direction so that street water was enters the bottom of the tank.

Check valve - valvula check

Obviously something has to be done someday but I'm afraid it's gonna take pipe cutting, rearranging and even turning the tinaco to give more room for adjustments now and in the future.   In the meantime a couple whacks with a hammer or large wrench fixes the valve.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Black mold on walls

I finally decided to deal with what I'm convinced is at least partly mold.   My idea is that the dust from the top of the wall washes down in the rain and sticks to porous paint.   The constant summer time moisture then turns it to mold.

All flat paint may not be as porous as the next but I've used a number of brands and qualities of paint and most of them watered to some degree or another.  The inside of this one meter wall on the roof is stained the same way all around which makes me think I used the same paint. None of the house outside walls have this stain .... so maybe paint quality.

My treatment, which I think it needed, was to scrub twice with a brush, spray pure cloro the next day and then paint it with undiluted exterior semi-gloss.   The new paint is actually shiny so I assume less will stick to it or absorb into it.  The catch is I'm finding out what a real good paint job costs because this paint is expensive. Still much of the house that never gets wet so I don't have to paint it all at once.

After scrubbing and cloro on one section

No treatment

Whole wall section painted on top and sides

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Under ground water leak

I've been watching this water leak for a few months. I thought a leak and others thought just from a drip from the filters above.  It finally had a little stream of water even if ever so slightly.   The ground here swallows water very fast so very easy to miss a small leak.  I vaguely remember the ridged black pipe we were using was just a little short and not flexible for a turn like this.   It lasted a couple years but eventually decided to disconnect. May have been effected (was effected) by settling under the water spout.  

A two day project and more digging than I want.   Had to decide on the flexible hose to make that connection because the rigid black pipe is not flexible and basically brain dead.  20 pesos a meter for the clear stuff, very flexible and as strong as the black stuff. Actually both are easier to work with if they sit in the sun a few hours. The weak part are the hose clamps that corrode and become useless. A soldered copper pipe from one end to the other is a better solution.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

All about water prep this time

Three water related projects that are mostly done. Only the complete impermeabilizante job of the roof is left. Much of the roof was just a cement wash over tile and then coated with impermeabilizante. Sometimes the wash lifts and sometimes foot traffic wears the coating down. Unfinished tile or cement is porous so you have to paint or seal it somehow. I've done the patching in obvious places, next to paint the whole thing.

While crawling around the gas tank (background 2nd foto) I noticed the seams rusting.  Then I noticed any little scratch had rusted.   Then I noticed on both rounded ends the paint had little bubbles with no apparent damage to cause them.  A few bubbles had broken and rusted in side.  This tank is only 3 years old.   I know it sits in sun and rain uncovered but still ....  can't they coat something as possibly dangerous as a gas tank a little better.   So there it is, sanded and painted and I'm thinking about a cover.

The final foto is of the not quite aesthetically pleasing solution to keep roof water out of my yard and into the street.   I really preferred the ceramic scuppers on that side of the house but the first one was removed because water was draining right over the front door.   This one was removed because I don't need lots of water in my yard in a heavy rain.  It all ends up in the street anyway so why not direct.   The plastic pipe off the roof is kinda funky Mexicanada but it'll do for a few years.

Cement wash lifted

Whole roof after some patching

Rusting gas tank

No more ceramic water spout into the yard

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Earth bag construction on the Costalegre

The builder and others also call it Adobe Bag and Superadobe construction but I'm not sure you couldn't use any clean dirt, either moist or dry. Nobody went into any detail on what constitutes Adobe ... as in; mud, clay, straw, fiber, etc. Lot's of sites and pages on this kind of construction "out there" so we'll find the best answers when the actual time comes. Personally I'd love to buy an adjoining lot to mine and experiment with things like this and a real vegetable garden.

The casita builder below has a screen name of Mazinka and lives in or near La Manzanilla north of us in Melaque.  He just suggested that the fill earth should have a certain amount of clay and sent this link - What is Super Adobe .  The video on the bottom just has some ideas for something similar but I much prefer the palapa roof and other local ideas.   Stucco or mortar directly to plastic does not sound secure and I would definitely try to attach chicken wire like they do on old Adobe restorations.

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