Monday, March 12, 2012

And a Roof is On…

For a good while, there was nothing to report. Last week was quite an intensive week, starting with three men-Luis, Jesus, and Pepe-preparing the first phase of the roof construction over the bedroom. First I’ll have to show the various components and how they are assembled. For me, quite a discovery!

The viquetas arrive pre-manufactured and consist of a metal armature in a cement bar. They are stretched over the top of the walls at measured intervals to accommodate the bovedillas.

Roof over bedroom & bath 005-1






And here are the bovedillas below on the left. Note the lip on each side of the bovedilla that will rest on the vigueta. Before the bovedillas go on the viguetas, supports made of 4” x 4” are made and installed. Photo below on the right shows the supports.

Roof over bedroom & bath 004-1Roof over bedroom & bath 003-1

Then planks are fitted to form a casing all around the roof in which concrete will be poured as the final step. Both photos below show the wood form that will receive the concrete.

The next step involves the electrician who will run a hose between the future outlets, light fixtures, wall switches, and the main. These hoses will house the electrical wires that will be inserted later.

Roof over bedroom & bath 014-1The photo below left shows how a bovedilla has been removed to allow for the ceiling light box. A piece of wood is tied in to make a form in which the concrete will be poured.



Roof over bedroom & bath 010-1

We are interrupting this narrative to announce fantastic news. It’s an election year and this morning the Presidencia’s Public Works gave us a 99% probability that WE WILL GET ELECTRICAL POWER! The elections take place in July so we presume that by then we’ll be electrified! I certainly am right now!

What comes next is the laying down of heavy duty metal mesh as is shown below.

Roof over bedroom & bath 013-2

There is a gentle slope to the roof to permit evacuation of rainwater. It’s not so visible or even detectable when looking inside at what will constitute the ceiling.

Bedroom roof 008




The last phase necessitated 7 men-Antonio, Demetrio, Jesus, Luis, Lupe, Pepe, and Ruben. I had rented a cement mixer that worked on gasoline and Jesus was minding the machine, filling it with cement, sand, gravel, and water. Demetrio filled the buckets that Antonio, Lupe, and Pepe brought to Ruben. He, Ruben, stood on a scaffold and passed the bucket to Luis who spread it on the roof.

 Bedroom roof 010-1From left to right are Demetrio, Jesus’ legs, Ruben, Antonio, and Lupe.

Bedroom roof 009




Luis and Jesus on the scaffold on the photo to the right.


Bedroom roof 003

The layer of concrete goes from 12 cm at the high end to 5 cm at the low end. It is smoothed by hand with a wood ram in the form of a reversed T. And of course, handmade.

I had been told that once the highest part of the house is finished, it is the custom for the employer to offer lunch to the workers. The information however, was not completely exact. I should have prepared a good lunch for them with chicken, chicharon, guacamole, tortillas, beer and soda pop. Expecting the tradition to be respected, the poor guys had not brought anything to eat. I could sense discontent but could not attribute it to anything until my neighbour informed me that I was at fault. I felt terrible…

So on Friday, I went to Yvonne’s lot to give each a bonus with my apologies for failing to respect the tradition. I hope that I’ll be forgiven.

My house will be completely fireproof, wouldn’t you say?


Tesaje said...

Interesting. I was wondering how a concrete roof would be built. Is this way better and cheaper than a regular roof would be? Seems like it would be very heavy.

Good news about the electric. Would solar/battery bank (maybe hydrogen fuel cells be a more cost effective way of getting electricity? There has to be a lot of solar energy there so far south.

Stargazer said...

Considering the uncertainty with which I was faced about electrical power, I often thought of solar. I do have panels that total 215 watts and an inverter with the RV. But solar energy is in its infancy here in the state of Querétaro and costs a bundle.
The roof is indeed very heavy but once cured after 3 to 4 weeks, amounts to a thick slab of concrete. Coming from the North, I had worries about. No longer.

our awesome travels said...

Looks like you will be having a very nice home once it is all done and yes fireproof as well.

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