09 February, 2018

Parking Palapa Gets a New Top

The thatch on the parking palapa came to its end a few days ago. We had the roof restored with 'zinc' as they call it, sheet metal by any other name would smell as sweet, or something like that.

Just Getting Started
Even though the thatch was beginning to show its age, developing more holes everytime we had a heavy rain, taking it down was still not an easy task. The way the thatch is wrapped around the horizontal stick part of the frame meant that each frond had to be pulled apart individually.

It Doesn't Go As Fast As You Think

Now we're beginning to see the skeleton. Quite an impressive structure. We'll be keeping that underneath the zinc.

Starting Framing For Screws
And, just like that, the thatch is all gone. Now they're putting up board framing so there is something to screw the zinc into, and to even up the roof framing so that it looks smooth and the zinc panels don't look wavy from the ground.

First Piece of Zinc Going Up

I just made it out of the house in time to catch the first panel of zinc going up. Already looks impressive, eh?

Close to Being Done
Here it is, almost all done, complete with ridge caps, which are shaped strips of zinc designed to fit over the ridges and help provide a water-resistant roof.

Underside View

This is what it looks like from underneath. Really shows off the original structure. I like the way it looks.

Tricky Corner
This corner of the palapa always was tricky. We had to cut back the thatch here because the corner of the concrete house was a bit close. Endher trimmed back the zinc roofing to allow for that as well, in order to keep rain from running down the house wall. He said a bit of the gutter will be run around there to help with drainage.

Endher Fitting Gutter Sections
 Yesterday was a full day for the crew. Fitting gutter sections, digging trenches and putting it all together. It sure looks good as the end result.


Sidewalk superintendent taking in the view of the workplace.

Digging Trench for Floor Drain
Here's the trench for the floor drain going in. This will make number four for the floor drains along the driveway. Combined with the flow from the gate area French drain, the Mennonite house, parking palapa, the floor drains, and the new house gutters, there's a large volume of water shooting out of the pipe into the canal during and shortly after a rainfall.

3" Drain Everything Connects To

Here's the three-inch drainpipe that runs pretty much the length of the property (it's roughly 250 or so feet long.

One Side Done

The gutter (eves-troughs to those of you used to calling them that) is in place on the north side. Soon to become blue like the rest. The structure is really looking nice.

Fitting Clamps for Downspout
Endher fastening the downspouts to the brackets. I really like the metal brackets they use. I hadn't seen them before Endher and the boys used them. It keeps the pipe off the wall surface and facilitates painting too.

Positioning Floor Drain

The four-inch floor drain going in. A two-inch drain would work, except the metal top is exceedingly thin and wrinkles up at the drop of a hat. the metal on the 4" drain is about 1/4" thick so it's extremely durable.

View From Mennonite House

A much cleaner view now from the upper landing of the Mennonite house.

Making It All Pretty

Touching up the final coat of blue on the gutters.

View As You Approach

This view is as you approach the palapa on the driveway. Looks very nice. All that's left now, is for the crew to install a shelter for my bike so that I can come and go easily and the bike is somewhat protected from the elements.

Wednesday Morning Grab Bag (Short Form)

It's been a while since I've done a Sunday Morning Grab Bag. Why wait till Sunday to pull it off, I ask? Why indeed. It's Friday. It's time.
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Dianna's conducting a beginning art class on sketching. Here the class is hard at their lessons. The students all seem enthusiastic about learning the new skill.

Dianna is a good instructor as well. It's fun to listen to the class as their lessons progress.

My Electra
My new ride, An Electra Coaster 3. Hotsy-totsy kinda bike, I guess. Electra bikes are made in San Diego and are designed for beach cruising, implying flat terrain, just perfect for Corozal.

It's not new, but it's way cool. A three-speed with coaster brake. I added the front basket and collapsible pannier baskets on the back, which came off my old bike, a 21-speed Schwinn. A nice bike, but about 18 more gears and other high-techery than I needed.

07 February, 2018

Spiffing Up the Mennonite House

A good pressure wash and a couple of coats of marine spar varnish is just what the Mennonite house needs to bring it back up to par. it was looking kind of dingy on the outside.

A good marine-grade spar varnish (we use Helmsman UV-protected polyurethane Spar Varnish) will help add years to wood's life, in addition to making it look good. The down side of this, is that here in the tropics, even a top grade of spar varnish, like Helmsman, will only last a smidge longer than a year. We generally sand and re-brush the wood of the Mennonite house every year.

Kane Getting the Ladder Ready
 Part of painting or varnishing a wooden house that's nine feet up in the air is like only working on the second storey of a house. Up and down the ladder all day long. That part of the job is plain getting to be too hard for this old fart. Much better to let a younger man, like Kane here, do it. Besides, I know he appreciates the work too.

Results of Pressure Washing
 As you can see from the photo at left, the results of pressure washing. It removes all the grime and deteriorated varnish, leaving a nice clean wood surface for varnish to be applied. Of course, after the pressure washing, we let the wood dry out for a day or two, then a light once over with the sander and it's ready for a coat of varnish.

Brushing and More Brushing
 We've found that the only effective way to apply varnish is the time-tested brush. We've tried using Wagner sprayers. They just don't apply varnish thick enough, nor is it easy to control over-spraying, contrary to what the manufacturers say.

vive la différence
The difference is simply amazing. A good coat of varnish really brings brings the wood to life.

Altogether, the pressure washing of the whole house took Kane one day. The varnishing of the exterior with two coats will take about three days. Then there's the front and back porches that will each take a coat of varnish. A good week or so of work and it looks wonderful.