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howard lyons

Jan 19, 2003, 7:49 PM

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Pictures of My Construction Project

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Hello Everyone,

I've been quietly observing this forum since its inception, as well as the other forums before this one was created. I would like to thank everyone who posts on this web site, as it has been very helpful to me. I've been visiting Mexico since I married my wife seven years ago. (She's from Coahuila.) The information I've learned here has been benificial to me in all aspects of this project, from land acquisition to planning; to materials; to construction techniques.

I've posted a couple of times before about my project, but after doing a search of this forum, as well as the entire site, I can't find my previous posts. I remember posting on material and labor prices and backhoe work. Charlie Palmer responded with some positive words about my previous post.

We started excavating in July 2001. As of today I only have walls, we'll do the roof in March. It has been a very slow project. Almost all of the work has occured while I was down there. So, I've been able to be more of a part of the work, but this also limits work to a few weeks per year when I can get away from work here at home. Limited time hasn't been the only problem. Money is another factor. We've done everything in cash, from the land purchase to where we are now. This isn't my only project; I'm restoring an old Dodge 4X4 and I hauled out my sail boat last October for a complete remodel, so when I have a little extra money I have to decide to which project I will allocate the funds.

Well, heres the link to photos of my project:

http://photos.yahoo.com/...dlyons@sbcglobal.net

After you click on the link, you have to click on the album labled "Howard's...", its the only album on the page, then you can click on the thumbnailed pics for a larger version, some have captions. Then you can click on the larger picture for an even larger version if you want to really see any details. After the first 16 pics you have to click on the next 6 pics link.

Howard Lyons

howardlyons@sbcglobal.net



sparks

Jan 19, 2003, 8:05 PM

Post #2 of 12 (6683 views)

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Re: [howard lyons] Pictures of My Construction Project

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Howard .. It's in Coahuila? My Google search says it's a state on the Texas border. Sorry my Mexico geography is limited up there. Nice pictures.


howard lyons

Jan 19, 2003, 8:48 PM

Post #3 of 12 (6656 views)

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Re: [sparks] Pictures of My Construction Project

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Thanks Sparks,

I've enjoyed your pictures, also. I've always wanted to see Cuernavaca, what were you doing there? School? I've never been very far south. But I'm hoping to visit Guanajuato this year. We're going to look at some land in Irapuato that my wife's grandfather is giving us.

Oh, you were asking about Coah. It's a very inland state and dry. It's in the middle of the four states that border Texas, but it shares a longer strech of border with Texas than any other state. It is the third largest state in Mexico and is somewhat Industrialized. You don't hear much about it on this web site, but it has lots of wild game and mountains and hidden colonial towns and history. The ejido that I've built in is La Cuchilla, Coah. It's a couple of hours south of Eagle Pass, TX. It's part of the Municipality of M. Muzquiz. If you follow Hwy. 57 South from Piedras Negras/Eagle Pass to Nuevo Rosita, then you go west about 45 min you'll be in Melchor Muzquiz, a colonial town that dates to 1726. Muzquiz is nestled at the feet of the Sierra de Santa Rosa. This range starts here at Muzquiz and runs North West to connect with the Sierra del Carmen that spills over into Big Bend National Park in Texas.


Howard Lyons

howardlyons@sbcglobal.net


sparks

Jan 20, 2003, 7:09 AM

Post #4 of 12 (6630 views)

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Re: [howard lyons] Pictures of My Construction Project

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Thanks for the background. So much to see in Mexico and so little time. Yes the three weeks in Cuernavaca was an emmersion attempt to improve my bad spanish.


machi

Jan 20, 2003, 9:54 AM

Post #5 of 12 (6631 views)

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Re: [howard lyons] Pictures of My Construction Project

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I enjoyed your pictures Howard. The house looks strong - is that earthquake country? We built with older and primitive methods, though we got innovative with earthberming. Check out our website for a few construction pics:
http://home.attbi.com/~ramsay52/home.html


JudyinKC

Jan 22, 2003, 7:21 AM

Post #6 of 12 (6590 views)

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Re: [howard lyons] Pictures of My Construction Project

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Thanks for sharing. About the picture of your neighbor's house--are the roofs all concrete, as in most Mexican construction?


tomgibbs

Jan 23, 2003, 7:26 AM

Post #7 of 12 (6573 views)

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Re: [howard lyons] Pictures of My Construction Project

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Hi Howard;

Your pics are great. I'm quite interested in your methods and materials. The extra thickness in your walls gained from using adobe make your reinforced concrete posts and beams quite substancial, which I would consider a real structural plus. Are you using four 3/8" bars in them?

I remember reading your earlier post on backhoe, etc. but can't recall the figure on labor and material. Are you buying your adobes or making them on site? And are you using the same adobe material for mortar?

I hope you will keep posting details. And comparisons to standard methods and materials for costs; and comfort quality comparisons when you are finished.


howard lyons

Jan 23, 2003, 8:11 AM

Post #8 of 12 (6566 views)

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Re: [machi] Pictures of My Construction Project

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You have a beautiful home. My wife and I have always wanted to ride that train and see copper canyon. Maybe one day we will!

And in answer to your question, No it's not earthquake country, thank God. After seeing the news about Colima I'm glad we did decide to build that way. There's going to be a wrap around porch supported by arches and then a second story above both house and porch. The 1/2 " rebar is to support the wieght of a second floor.

Howard Lyons


howard lyons

Jan 23, 2003, 8:46 AM

Post #9 of 12 (6567 views)

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Re: [JudyinKC] Pictures of My Construction Project

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Hello Judy,

Yes, the roofs are all concrete and his walls are concrete block. We used local adobe blocks for our walls, but the roof/2nd floor will be a solid concrete pour over the house and porch. We chose adobe because of its thermal properties and natural and traditional considerations as well as its low cost. Only 2 pesos per block delivered. Our neighbors house is being built by a local doctor and he's most likely paying 7 to 7.50 pesos per block delivered. It's funny how the perception of the locals is that adobe is only for the poor. Our neighbor would never consider using it, even though it has many benifits over concrete block.

Howard Lyons


howard lyons

Jan 23, 2003, 8:18 PM

Post #10 of 12 (6559 views)

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Re: [tomgibbs] Pictures of My Construction Project

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In Reply To

Hey Tom, I wrote a very lengthy reply to your post about adobe and earthquakes this morning from work, but as I was interrupted many times it took a couple of hours to finish. Then when I tried to post I got some kind of error message and lost everything I had written. Are you using four 3/8" bars in them? No, we're using "castillos" made from four pieces of 1/2" rebar. Are you buying your adobes or making them on site? We're buying our adobes from a local family, they make them out of the earth of their ejiedo. Because they can't make a living farming thier land anymore (lack of water for irrigation), all the boys in the family have found jobs in the mines or mine related service fields, all except the youngest son and his father. They work making adobe blocks 8" wide x 16" long x 5" height. Thier uncle works the parcel of land next to them and he makes blocks 12" X 16" X 5". We originaly negotiated a price of 2 pesos each for the 8" or 3 pesos each for the 12", but we had to provide transportation to our site. When we were ready for the blocks, they were not able to meet our needs as far as quantity, so they offered to deliver them when they were ready for the same price. If I had known what they were going to do I would have stoped them and told them to just make thier own as fast as possible, but they went out to the other producers of adobe blocks in the area and bought the number they were lacking and delivered them to us on horse drawn wagons. And are you using the same adobe material for mortar?
No, we are using a cemment mortar, because we are using a cemment stucco finish for the exterior. It requires much less maintenance than a mud plaster exterior, but cemment stucco does not adhere well to the adobe blocks. The solution is to use a cemment mortar and leave it rough. This way the stucco adheres to the rough cemment mortar, not to the block. I questioned this technique when first told this, because I wanted a more natural and organic and traditional house. But, I've learned to accept local customs and practices because they have usually developed over time from trial and error. As is turns out, this is the accepted system of finish for post and beam adobe houses in the area, and it has several advantages: 1. By using two lines of mortar on the top of the block close to the edges, instead of spreading it all over like mayonnaise on bread, you get much lighter walls. 2. You create an insulating pocket of air in between the mortar to stop the cold/heat from penetrating through the more conductive mortar. 3. You create these pockets inbetween both the horozontal and verticle joints of blocks that are filled with concrete from the columns and beams when they are poured, thus locking the wall sections together with the post and beams.



tomgibbs

Jan 23, 2003, 8:21 PM

Post #11 of 12 (6556 views)

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Re: [howard lyons] Pictures of My Construction Project

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Boy, Howard, at 2 pesos/adobe I'm impressed. Figuring bricks at about one peso, you not only have the thermal mass, but more face area. I see you just posted the measurements of your adobes, so I am editing out some questions.

Glad to hear about the 1/2 steel, concrete is too much work to skimp on the batch or steel, considering the small extra costs vis a vis strength gains.

We had a house in Mesa, Arizona years ago that was 12" thick adobe. For the Phoenix area I think 16" would have been better. In the 116 degrees days our swamper would cool us to about 85 during the hottest part of the day. And some winter nights in the thirties required us to use the fireplace during the mornings. Attic insulation would have helped on both seasons, but I doubt one could have bought in in those days in Arizona. We had a sheet metal roof and air space.

I'll bet your place is going to be pretty well balanced for your climate.

I'm anxious to see the structural relationship of your exterior column to the main. I'm assuming that they will each have there own foundation. Will they be a little deeper, a little wider, than your center house foundation? Mushroomed at bottom? Maybe in a stabile area ( no frost, no quakes) there is not much worry of them acting independently.

I'm all eyes and ears on this whole project.


(This post was edited by tomgibbs on Jan 23, 2003, 8:57 PM)


TomG

Oct 10, 2003, 6:43 PM

Post #12 of 12 (6453 views)

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Re: adobe update

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I'm back in touch with Howard Lyons by private e-mail. He's fine. He has made some more progress on his adobe house, and has posted more pics. I am quite interested in the structural aspects of his porch - footings, roofing and the structural relationship to the main house. He is not in a quake zone, but I wonder how it would apply in a quake zone. I wonder whether it would be better to do concrete around the windows and doors for better anchoring. I'm also interested in the cost relationship compared to inside house space. We'll be continuing to communicate about his house project and stuff in general.

Howard pretty much makes up all that has been done about adobe on this forum. With the quality of Rolly's reports, traditional construction methods are well documented, and his accounting is as careful as Thoreau's, although not as frugal. ;-) So I am really hoping to see more adobe reporting here to fill in the gaps.


(This post was edited by TomG on Oct 10, 2003, 6:46 PM)
 
 
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