28 June, 2017

A New Shed, Page Three

This project is moving speedily along. Of course, being less than 1,000 square feet helps make it quite simple.

Electrical and Water Service
Both water and electricity will be coming from the parking palapa, just a simple splice job on both parts. I'm not expecting any great demand on either at this location, so we should be good to go.

Soak away is already done and filled to the brim with rocks. That will be dressed up in a bit as you'll see.

Ender Plastering the Back End
We asked that the exterior finish more or less match that of the new house and pool area. It should look very good when done.

Fixing Up the Soak-Away
All that remains for the soak-away is to frame it with blocks and fill the remainder with gravel.

Roof is Coming Along
With a project this size, it's hard to keep up with everything. Each bit moves along fast. Like the roof.

Add caption
And the interior walls. Stucco is going up on all sides of the interior.

Outside Parging (Plastering)
Outside parging is almost done. Then comes  color coat of the same material.

Cleanup in Progress
Cleanup of the construction area has started as well. One good thing with Mario's crew, they have been very neat and tidy through all of the projects. Not like some we've had that cleanup takes weeks.

Worried About Clearance for the Doors.
There's still work to be done on the roof framing, so I think this will pretty much take care of itself.

Cleaning Up the Soak-Away
Blocking in the soak-away. It'll look sharp in just a few minutes.

25 June, 2017

A New Shed; Page Two

This is a continuation of the post about the new Utility and Storage shed that our contractor, Mario Zetina, is building for us. You can read the original post here: http://www.winjama.net/2017/06/a-new-shed.html.

And here we are now. It's Saturday. Work was delayed Monday through Wednesday because of fairly heavy rain during the night, each evening. That, as Mario explained to me, affects the materials - sand becomes too wet; concrete blocks have absorbed too much water and affect the mortar holding them together. The water in the blocks wicks into the mortar, making it too squishy and less able to hold the blocks steady till the mortar sets.

So, as I said, work began anew on Thursday.

Trench For Water and Current
The workers spent part of the day digging a trench to run a water line and electrical service from the parking palapa, where they spliced into the existing services there. The trench runs in a straight line over to the shed.

Walls Going Up Fast
The walls for the shed are going up quite fast. In no time, those will be done and finishing plastering will have begun.

Water and Current Trench
Here you can see the trench going way over to the shed. They first had to peel back the Chippings on the driveway enough for the trench itself, but also so that the trench spoils could be placed until it was time to return them to the trench.

Here's Where It Begins
The water and current for the shed will just be tapped into the water and current that exists already for the parking palapa. No need for a new circuit or anything like that. There's just going to be a few light bulbs - interior lights, a porch light, and two motion detectors. They'll all be using LED bulbs so the load will be very low.

Window Space Going In
The opening for the window, which will be about 2'x4' will be on the east side of the shed.

Door Lintel Being Readied
Here you can see the lintel being formed for the door.

Going Up Fast
The end bits of the shed wall are going up. Each end has vent blocks in it to facilitate air flow and to keep the shed from getting hotter than it needs to.

Good View of One End
This view gives a good idea of how the vents will look in each end. The vent openings will be covered by screens to help keep bugs and other critters out of the shed.

Last of Elsie's Palapa
 This poor truck gets overloaded so often. Like here, it's tasked with hauling off the posts and other wood that made up the bones of Elsie's palapa. This stuff, like all wood here in Belize, weighs a ton. It's so heavy in fact, they were worried the rack on the back, which is carrying the largest pieces of wood, would collapse before they could get it off-loaded. It made the journey safely.

Ridge Beam In Place
 A sure sign of much progress is the installation of the ridge beam. This will support the rest of the roof

Ramp and Landing Getting Formed
 Here, the ramp and entry landing are being formed up. We're not having fancy railings on this structure, just a small affair that will keep a wheelbarrow or mower from running off the ramp.

Digging the Soak-Away
 I didn't like the idea of having a sink, even something small like a 'hand-wash basin' as they call them here, just drain out onto the surface. So, they're digging a nice-sized hole that will be filled with gravel and will be the sink soak-away.

Interior Walls Being Finished
Rene is busy finishing off the first of the interior walls. This is the wall that will have the standard and bracket shelving on it to hold all the paint, chemicals and associated tools.

Skylarking Above Deck
It's nearing the end of the workday on Saturday, so time for a bit of relaxation and clowning for the camera.

Electrical and Plumbing
 Some of the interior fittings going in, an electrical outlet (right above where the sink will be... That's code somewhere, I'm sure), and the drain and supply for the water.

More Electrical
On the opposite wall, the switch for the overhead lights and another electrical outlet.

Nice View From Inside
 An interior shot of the ridge beam and showing the vents - simply blocks laid on their sides.

Cleaning the Wheelbarrow
At the end of the day, when there's a little concrete left over, what do you do with it? Well, if you have a form set up for a casting, just dump it in there. It keeps the work area nice and tidy.

The Business End of the Trench
Here's the start end of the trench. Almost completed, just waiting for the plumber/electrician to come and connect everything.

View of the Full Trench length
And, here's where the trench was the day before. Looks as good as new.

There'll be some more photos and such on Monday (weather permitting). Enjoy your weekend.

23 June, 2017

Finishing the Street-side (Back) Porch

The back porch of the Mennonite House. This is also the street-side porch. We originally were going to redo this porch at the same time as the front porch.

Naturally, as things go, our money had to be spent on other things that had broken or worn out that had a higher priority than just rehabbing a porch.

Street-Side Porch Work
Once the guys got started on the porch, it took them very little time to strip the old screen materials out and have a nice clean porch to start with.

Ender Cleaning Up
Ender's busy bashing the old screws and wood out of the porch structure. It was tough going for some parts of it, like around the 4x4 posts which are very hard wood and after being in place for about ten years, have become only that much harder.

Framing Going In
Here, they've cut the treated lumber for the screen frames and are doing a trial-fitting of each of them. Once they fit properly, then it remains for them to be stained and then the shade cloth screening to be stapled to each frame.

Staining Screen Frames
The guys set up a regular assembly line for this project. Here, you can see the staining shop in action.

Sanding Screen Frames
Here's the assembly shop. Rene puts each frame section together and then sands them smooth. After that comes the trial fitting.

Time For A Snack
Some of the crew are still growing boys and require an almost continuous supply of food to fuel their growing bodies.

Attaching the Shade Cloth
Here's Ender getting the roll of shade cloth ready to attach it to the frame. This shade cloth is amazingly resistant to sunlight. All the screens on the walls of the pool house were originally the roof awning in the previous incarnation of the pool. So, they had been in constant use for eight or nine years already before we reused them on the wall screens, where we expect to get another eight to ten years use out of them before we need to replace them.

Of course, if we suffer some other damage, like from hurricanes or other storms, that's different and isn't part of the longevity equation. If they don't become damaged from something other than sunlight, they should last eighteen to twenty years. Not a bad investment and the stuff works as well as regular screening to keep bugs and such out.

Shade Cloth Going In
This porch job is speedily coming to an end and is a vast improvement over the old screening, which was really falling victim to sunlight and storm debris.

Porch Is Done
Now, the porch is done. Here's a view looking right up to the door. Really looks nice and clean.

Another View of it Done
The view from the other side of the porch looks just as good.

Long View South
From the inside, looking to the south, very nice and finished.