Tag Archives: construction in mexico

Quarantine Projects

While we were in quarantine, we decided to work on the outstanding projects we have on the Ol’ Flores Ranchito. Much like the quarantine, these projects have gone on and on with no sure end point in sight. 

We had purchased the materials for these projects earlier this year or as a last minute dash to the ferreteria the first week of the #QuedateEnCasa campaign since everything was still open. Little did we know that, just like the work on the house, businesses would be open and closed in fits and starts. 

Quarantine Project #1 Tejas

Putting tejas on the pestana (overhang) on the front of the house was actually begun in February but was interrupted by this and that and it still isn’t finished here in July. There are 3 tejas that need to be placed yet. So here’s how that project went.

If you’ll recall, one of my house goals of 2020 was to finish the front of the house decoratively. The ledge on the front of the house that serves as an overhang needed to be covered with roofing material. We hemmed and hawed whether to get the old fashioned tejas or the newer flat ones that come in more colors. To determine which would be more economical, we went to three different places that sold them in Moroleon.

The first one has the two browns and one orange I was considering. I thought if we had multiple colors it would tie in the color of the doors, the color of the chimney and whatever color we decided to paint the house (which is still under debate). For pricing purposes, we went to two other places and found that the tejas were $100 per square meter cheaper there. 

The next day we went to the closer of the two cheaper places to pick them up. Well, guess what? They didn’t have the color I wanted even though we had asked the day before. So we went to the farther place. They didn’t have the exact color, but one was close enough and in stock. I gave up on the three-toned design. I was tired of hunting stuff down. 

My husband had done the calculations and we bought the amount he had calculated. It took about two days for him to install the tejas on the pestana. Only, he hadn’t included the length of penstana on the animal side of our ranchito. And that meant another trip to the ladrilleria (brick and roofing tile place) 

Only by then, the first period of quarantine started so the tejas (roof tiles) sat in the garage for several months. Meanwhile, we started on the second project.

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Adorning the Chim-chiminy

If you remember, one of my goals for 2020 was to finish the front of the house. There are several small projects that need to be done for that to happen, one of which was the adornment of the chimney face. 

My husband had a bee in his bonnet that he wanted to use what he called “pasta” to make a design. So we spent nearly three fruitless weeks looking for a place that sold pasta. Every place that we were referred to had gone out of business it seemed. Finally, we found a ferretería that sold this pasta–which is actually called PegaDuro Piedra en Polvo. 

Examples of molds. We wanted the top one.

In order to make the design, you need a mold of some sort. The PegaDuro spreads on with a play-dough like consistency, then the mold is pressed into it while it’s still wet to make the pattern. We looked through the catalog and picked a color and molding design. 

Of course, when the supplies were delivered, the ferretería had sent some sort of texturing device instead of a mold. Back to the store we went. It turns out, the piece we had paid for was the texturing thingy, not the mold. The mold would cost $1,500 pesos and they didn’t even have the design we wanted. My husband was having none of that.

He decided that he’d make his own mold and he wanted to use my bath. I objected. Then he said he’d use the car mat. I was still making faces at the idea. Finally, he said we could get a tile piece and use that as a mold.

This is the design I wanted.

We went to the tile shop and bought one tile for $83 pesos. I wanted to tile the section to begin with, but my husband said it would cost over $2,000 pesos just for the tile plus we’d have to get the grouting and adhesive and stuff. My second suggestion was that he use rocks from around La Yacata. There are plenty of those, it would be free, and I already know he can do a fabulous job based on our two fireplaces. Nope, pasta it would be.

Well, the tile didn’t work as a mold. As I mentioned, the consistency is like play-dough, so it just stuck to the tile. While my husband was hemming and hawing, my son decided to try and draw a pattern with a stick. I have to say, it didn’t turn out too bad. It’s not exactly what I had in mind, but I suppose it will do. I also noticed that the very top of the chimney seems a bit lopsided, but I think I won’t mention that at all.

Currently, the three of us are in a heated debate about what color to paint the house, so the next step might take awhile. 

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Doors and Windows

The same ferretería guy who did the zaguán and front window was in charge of the back door and back window at my sister-in-law T’s house. It was a full two weeks before any progress was made. 

He went twice during that time to the tortillería to ask for more money to finish the job. My husband told his sister that she was not to give him any more money until the job was finished. More than half of the total price had already been paid, which was more than enough for the material needed. So she didn’t.

Of course, that just delayed things even longer. Every time my husband went to see what day to expect them for installation, it was always “mañana.”(tomorrow). Well, mañana is a long time coming here in Mexico. 

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They did finally arrive, the one day my husband couldn’t be here. So my son was in charge of supervision. The door was installed. As you can see from the picture, it’s quite a bit smaller than the frame and will need to be cemented in place.  

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Back yard view.

The window fit a little better, but the sliding track is bent or something. It is hard to open and close it. 

And the guy had the gall to say that T owed him yet another 500 pesos on top of the balance still owed. T paid up. He offered to do the bathroom window as well. T said that his work was disappointing and that he wouldn’t get any more work nor recommendations from her. My husband was a little less diplomatic with his thoughts on the workmanship when he saw him.

So the bathroom window, the handle for the zaguán, and the aluminum trim that holds the glass in place will be done by another ferretería (metalworking shop). Meanwhile, my husband is going to add some cement and rebar in order to fix the fitting of the back door.

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