8/24/2008

Creative solutions?

I told you all in a previous post that my career was in property management. One of the main things property managers do is to make sure the structure stays sound....protect the roof, keep water out, etc. But my work life was in the Pacific Northwest where wood is used for everything! It will rot if it gets wet! My new life with cement and tile is taking a bit of getting used to.

I get aggravated by bad planning. They do this a lot around here...the patio needed to have a lip at the doorway so the water will flow towards the drain - I get that part. But why not install the door so all the water that hits the door doesn't flow down and into the house?

I'm not satisfied piling towels where there are problems, so I had to figure out a work around. I took two of the metal seed guards from our bird cage and they keep 95% of the water outside where it belongs.

Our kitchen window is another case of bad planning somewhere in the last century. See the scupper (downspout thing) that dumps its water right on top of the window? Grrrr. So I took one of the plexiglass inserts to the seed guards and taped up the bottom of the window. As part of our backyard renovation we are going to have a long roof for this side of the house that will keep all three windows on this side nice and dry.

Here's another funny solution. Above our office, upstairs, there is a long wide window that I just love because it turns the stairwell into a chimney and evacuates the hot air nicely. But if it gets to raining hard the water will bounce up and in. I needed a way to be able to close them - fast - without running to the garage for the ladder. So, if you look carefully you'll see that each window has a piece of cord tied around the handle which are hanging down in the center of the doorway right now, since the windows are closed. Kind of dumb looking but it works! (It kind of reminds me of a contraption I built as a kid so I could turn the light switch off from my bed when I heard my mom coming...)

It has been raining a lot the last few days. We're ready for it to stop and give us a couple days to dry out, but really, we're not complaining. Everything is green, the streets are clean, and the dams are filling up. That's good.

7 comments:

Billie said...

I agree with you that the Mexicans just seem to accept that water will come in. There has to be some ways to use flashing with the metal windows and concrete. If we should ever build a house, I'll really try to work on some design ideas for windows and doors that will help direct water away from the house.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

We have bota aguas (throw out the waters) on a couple of our doors, they are permanently attached and look amazingly like your birdseed guards but at made of wood. Another thing that they do here is put a metal rod on either side of the doorway about an inch out, a board slides into that making a dam that you have to step over to get in an out of the house. That works pretty well too.
All of our street side doors have a raised pretil or stoop that you step over made of cement too (In addition to the bota agua). They are covered with tile so they look nice, you get used to stepping over them.
regards,
Theresa

Steve Cotton said...

Nancy -- I am impressed with your engineering technique. I may need you to visit my rental. The house I will rent in Melaque has similar construction problems, but it is just 10 years old. The water from the roof is directed into spouts that dump water right onto whoever is trying to open the gate (me -- during one rain storm) or onto whoever is standing on the balcony to enjoy the storm. The windows in the dome let a lot of water to fklow down the stairwell.

Matt and Allan said...

Whoa, Nancy, I didn't know you were in property management. That's great! My husband and I are in Playa to start a property management company. I just found it interesting that one of the most consistent commenters (you) are in the same business as us - that's wonderful. We did property management in Boston, and are now giving it a try in Mexico.

Nancy said...

Billie, Building a house would be more than I would want to handle, but you would be able to make the sensible changes you would want to keep the water out!

Theresa, Thanks for the name, we will get our carpenter to make us something but it will probably have to wait for when it isn't raining every day!

Steve, It's pretty frustrating dealing with water issues every day, so I would make sure you get them sorted out before rainy season for sure.

Matt & Allan, Hmmm, I think our perspectives on property management are a little different. I remember the crazy Section 8 tenant who threatened a roomful of people's lives (we nicknamed him "I Kill you All) and the winter where I had 176 carports collapse and crush cars with a freak wet snowstorm. Oh and sewer backups? I could go on and on. So after 25 years I was ready to chill out a bit, as you can tell! I envy your enthusiasm and can tell you'll do well. Just watch out for hurricanes!

1st Mate said...

Nancy - I love that you see your house problems as challenges and get to work fixing them creatively instead of complaining.

I have metal-framed windows that swing in, and water comes in underneath them, enough sometimes to soak the night table and the back of the couch in the living room. That's going to be a tricky fix...

CancunCanuck said...

Nancy, can I just call you MacGyver from now on? I'm impressed with your creative solutions and your beautiful house!