Sunday, April 1, 2012

Project Two: Paint the Bedroom, Part One

As home repairs often go, a simple plan of  "I want to paint my bedroom" can open an unexpected can of worms.  Unexpected or not, it is part of the SURPRISE! factor of living in México.  The good news is that these pop up home repairs cost so much less than they would in the USA that 'surprise' does not necessarily mean 'shock'.

My bedroom was not properly completed when I moved in the house in 2007.  I arrived in late July and the workers started in early August.  It's a big house, and of course I wanted them to start with the swimming pool so I could escape dust and construction inside, but no, that isn't how they do things. The pool had to wait til they got to the rear of the house. Most of the rooms still look pretty good.  But my room got lost in the original shuffle and chaos. The electrician changing the wiring got way behind the workers so they went ahead and did their thing without his repairs, including the painting. I think at some point they get tired of the project and want it finished, so they just say, 'ok, feeneeshed'. The guys painted my room, and it wasn't anywhere near the color I wanted, so I've been waking up to a hideous dark pink wall for five years.  I don't even like pink.  It was supposed to be Bali berry red, a strong rusty red.

Months ago we brought in albañiles to fix the ceiling and roof of my room. It's necessary to put an impermeabilizante on the roof, a weatherproof paint needed to protect these thick cement roofs and the re-bar that supports them.  When the '07 workers tried to finish the roof, the rains started.  They must have painted three coats of weatherproofing and it all washed away three rainy afternoons  in a row.  So the roof overhead in my bedroom felt unsafe and looked horrible.  Water had welled up in a couple spots, meaning it would be soon seeping through to the ceiling during rains. Yikes!  The first guys fixed SOME of the problems, but ignored the worst ones. They left my pink room with gray patches of cement all over the walls. The patches and the pink were driving me crazy.  Plus, I felt like the only person in my own house with a crummy room!

I lucked into finding a thorough and detailed contractor with a hard working crew.  They had repaired and painted the pool for a very reasonable rate and they seemed like the right guys for the next project.  Paint my room.  I showed them the ceiling, where it had been recently but poorly patched and the areas that still had me concerned.  They immediately inspected the roof and found that it was quite 'soft'.  They started up there, pick-axing away the soft dust and rocks that were 'muy antiguo'.  They must have taken off four or five inches of depth in a large area. Much of the dust that flew can now be found on every item in the house, as you might imagine.  Of course we've had some very windy nights, perfect for redistribution of dust.  Next they mixed the new concrete in the patio and hauled it up by buckets until they covered a 10x20 ft (approx) area with five new inches of protection.  That would have to dry for fifteen days before the weather proofing could be painted over it.

While up on the roof, they examined the rest of it, found the tinaco, or water cistern, to be filthy and some of the tuberia blocked. They emptied and bleached out our two tinacos.  The one on the third story rooftop was even worse than the first one.

They did some plumbing.  New faucets for my bathroom, the shower one with the hose attachment. I love that idea you can rinse your hair and massage you tired head. That was my luxury item.  They repaired a leak under the kitchen sink, my continually running toilet, and the fixtures in the main bathroom.  They replaced all the mosquito screens in the house that had holes in them.  Anything they saw, they asked if I wanted it fixed. They were great.

They thoroughly cleaned the pool, as the weekly 'vacuum-the-pool-guy' I'd hired did a lousy job, and the system needed attention.  The filters were cleaned, the tuberia, again, was flushed and the solar heating works great as well as the filter system is more efficient.

Finally they started on my  room. Ceiling repair.  Primer. More primer to cover the pink. And rather quickly from that point on the room was magically transformed.  The bathroom door seems to be missing?  It's was a pain in the ass. It was broken. I asked them to tear it out and get rid of it. I'd rather have a curtain than a plastic door. The panels would slide down and the door wouldn't close.  There were plastic curtains in the storage area above my bathroom and I had them rip those out too.  I don't store that much stuff up there. It will hardly be visible back in the corner, it's a good sized space. It makes the room look so much larger (and cleaner).  I had begun to destroy that door, it's been months since I enjoyed ripping out the plastic doors covering the shelves in the kitchen.  I really hated that plastic, and I'm not done with it yet. I just need a little more time.  Project-wise we are advancing at a good pace.  The house had a serious once over and it seems to feel better too.  The pictures are self explanatory on the blog below.

Project: Painting the Room PHOTOS