One of our latest builds hits the market

This modern oceanfront home has just hit the market and it will not last, it is stunning, for more information contact our customer and good friend John Schwartz, ,if you are looking for a custom build or full reno, just call us.

A little creativity is all you need.

With a little planning and help from our Architects you can transform an old home into a beautiful functional space.

Our latest home build in Conkal

We just finished this custom home in Conkal. The delivery was only slightly delayed due to Covid related construction closures and was delivered on budget as agreed to in the estimate. Plans were drawn to include the customer specific specifications. If you are considering a new build or reno, now is the time to book it for 2021. Give us a call and lets get your dream home started.

Ever wonder how houses are built here? Follow us to watch a build

This is your chance to follow a tear down of the old and rebuild of a new beach house located in Chelem. Our customer and friend John Swartz has given us the contract to demolish the old  structure and build a new spectacular seafront home. It took time to get all the associated permits, but we are now away to the races.

John has decided to chronicle the build as it proceeds on Facebook

Watching this build, is perfect for those of you that want to do this process at some time for yourselves or maybe you will want to buy this project when finished. Either way follow the link and see how a well established construction company builds in the Yucatan.

After all we are your Yucatan Construction Specialists and this is just one of our many spectacular builds and you can follow from the ground up.

Just follow the link

New build or total renovation

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No matter, whether you are building a new beach house or renovating a classic colonial in Merida’s Centro district. We can assist to in doing it right. We build in both locations and know the specific techniques required to build properly, in both city and beach. We are happy to work with your architects plans or we can assist you to have your dream home, designed or remodelled from the ground up, We have taken on staff Ana Burgos. Ana is a an experienced, architect designer, who can capture your ideas and thoughts and make your dreams a functional reality.

Pool Plaster Issues

One of the complaints companies that build pools get after a period of time is, “The pool plaster YOU GUYS put on is failing”. People like to blame the builder, when in reality it is beyond our control and is usually the fault of the pool maintainer. Pool surfaces or plasters are made of a cementitious mix and part of that mix is Calcium Hydroxide. Calcium hydroxide (traditionally called slaked lime) is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula Ca(OH)2. It is a colorless crystal or white powder ..

Calcium hydroxide is one of the main reaction products resulting from the hydration of Portland cement with water. Calcium hydroxide, is susceptible to acid leaching. This is where things get complicated, Pool water is often treated with chlorine to correct the PH level, but more importantly pool tablets which contain Cyanuric Acid. Cyanuric (CYA) is a pool balancing product used to help chlorine last longer. Chlorine, in its natural form, is unstabilized—which means it degrades when exposed to sunlight. Adding Cyanuric Acid reduces the sun’s impact on chlorine loss. A lot of pool shock products also contain Sodium Dichlor: Dichlor for short, is stabilized pool shock, meaning it contains Cyanuric Acid to protect your chlorine against degradation from the sun. However, Acid is heavier than water and will sink to the bottom. This is part of the reason why dilution is so important; pre-dilution reduces the average density of the acid.

A typical situation like this occurs, during the regular season the pool is kept balanced with the addition of an acid. But at some times of the year an algae bloom can occur. The typical response is to add a few more Chlorine pucks to the float to try and stop the algae and most likely get some pool shock to rapidly raise the chlorine level and kill the algae that way. But in doing so you are raising the cyuranic acid levels as well. The other critical issue is the shock pellets have to be completely disolved in a bucket of water first before adding them to the pool, failure to do this will have severe consequences, as I will explain.

It is extremely common for discoloration and leaching of Calcium Hydroxide to occur on the top step of a plastered pool. You may wonder why but the answer is simple and it lies with your pool float. If you leave the float to just float free a lot of times it gets stuck in a corner, being in a corner is not bad thing, unless that corner happens to be the area of the top step of your pool. If the pool float sits in a corner just above the step as the pool pucks degrade they release cyanuric acid, since acid is heavier than water this acid will leach the Calcium Hydroxide out of the plaster leaving a rough surface with pitting. Pitting while small, is a big problem it allows water to carry the cyuranic acid into the plaster it self, leaching out more Calcium Hydroxide and can also introduce chlorine which is a powerful oxidizer to metals under the plasters surface which will cause rapid corrosion of most metals.

If we introduce shock into a pool to stop algae growth and there are some grains of shock that are not dissolved, they naturally settle on the bottom, and dissolve over time, but meanwhile they release cyuranic acid in close contact with the plasters surface. Once again the cement reacts with the acid and the Calcium Hydroxide is leached out of the pool plaster, leaving a tiny pinhole, and a very rough patch, which allows further corrosion over time. Very typically you will see a small quarter sized area of discoloration but eventually that area will show a small pinhole in the center. The more undissolved shock granules the more spots appear blending together and if the shock process is repeated every so often the leaching of the Calcium Hydroxide in those pinholes gets worse. Eventually allowing the pool water under the plaster layer.

When pool water gets below the plaster layer several things may occur. It may cause spalling and lifting of small areas of plaster that will get larger with time. The pool may show signs of rust on areas of the finish, due to the oxidizing effect of the chlorine leaching into the pools subsurface over a length of time.This process can easily occur within just a few years.

The first place you should look for discoloration and issues is that top step as it is an indicator of issues to come. But the most important thing to remember is pool tablets contain acid and your pool is also balanced with acid, too much acid is not a good thing nor is over chlorination of a pool. Pool shock granules have to be completely liquefied prior to putting them in the pool, one whole grain can ruin a small portion of your pool’s finish resulting in a cascade effect with time.

This started out as a pinprick and grew

Upper right is small pinhole, center is about 1 years progression
Area of discoloration with pinhole from Shock granule allowed to rest till disolved
Pinholes from shock after 6 months.
Top step damaged from pool float and cyanuric acid release.

Another custom home being built in Cholul client is an architect. PART ll

more pics of construction underway.

Need more help?

Another custom home being built in Cholul client is an architect. Have your own plans? Call us.

Tile Work

We have been busy doing some reno’s at a Merida hotel.

Another reno finished

Have a nice home and want to modernize and expand? No problem, we added a second floor and pool to this structure, on time and budget.


New custom build to clients plans Updated

Clients reached out to us, to help them through the process of dealing with the Privada’s criteria and arranging all the permits From Merida and building their custom home in Parque Natura. The clients were super nice to deal with and also great people. We will post some interior shots of this cool house, when the colorful personal touches complete the project.

Lets talk about estimates

Lets discuss estimates, let me start by saying I don’t think customers know how much time and money a good estimate takes. So lets walk through the process for a typical renovation. Usually contact is made via the internet and the customer asks questions about doing a renovation. We give the customer advice on his ideas and discuss the methods of construction used here. Usually customers ask if we can open up walls or add a second story. We tell them for that, we would have to go see the house in question to know if it is feasible. We set an appointment to meet at the house, so we can see what we are dealing with. We meet the client on site and discuss the clients ideas and give him our opinion on what will be required to make the renovation as per our discussions. We also will give the client a ballpark number so they know roughly what their ideas will cost them. Here is when the client usually says OK or that is more than my budget. If it is over the budget we suggest ways they can reduce that amount, if it is possible on that project. This process so far takes 3 or more hours and fuel.

If the client says OK can I get a proper estimate this is were things get more complex. We need to send someone to measure the existing building as we need to know things like M2 of wall areas, areas of flooring, existing electrical, plumbing and all the other details we need to have on hand to do a proper estimate. This takes more time and involves 2 people. If it is a renovation that requires an architects drawings then that has its own costs. But for this article we will say he is not needed. Depending on complexity this can take some time, so lets say 8 man hours and fuel.

We need to take all the information and dimensions back to the office and calculate all the materials required and the man hours. We also need to calculate cubic meters of rubble that has to be trucked away and determine all the latest costs for the dump trucks, as they change by location. For example, in Merida centro they will not let you load during the day. So the trucking costs change. Our office staff has to contact suppliers to get pricing on all the sub trades like granite on counters or the aluminum window maker.

Once we have all this information gathered, we then need to have it all put down in a line by line spread sheet so we can produce a simple 2 or 3 page estimate. Getting the costs and doing a proper estimate takes 2 days or more of office time

This all takes time and money. All too often customers say can you give me 3 different estimates for a bathroom outside, a small casita and the main renovation and we will maybe do it in stages. Well, an estimate is only good for a certain period of time. No point in doing and estimate for things you may build 6 months from now, when prices have changed.

Sometimes the customer gets the estimate and then takes it to shop around for a better quote. In other words using our effort to get an advantage over us. The fair way is to ask other contractors for an independent estimate of their own and see what you get.

Remember we do not charge for estimates, but they are far from being free at our end.

Well it is Hurricane season again.

Last year, should have taught us a lesson in preparation, as it was a particularly wet and busy storm year. This year seems no better. Traditionally, the North coast of the Yucatan has generally been a safe place to be. Due to the geography of the area, which tends to see storms follow the Yucatan channel or lose strength as they cross land. However, there have been a few notable exceptions such as Glibert and Isadora, that did huge amounts of damage and last year Cristobal and Zeta which dumped massive amounts of water. The one good thing about storms is you can see them coming for days and have lots of time to activate your plans. You do have a plan don’t you?  Here in Mexico, once a storm reaches certain proportions and is predicted to hit this area, on the North Coast of the Yucatan, an evacuation order may be given. Once given, it is mandatory that you leave and foolish or fatal if you don’t. You need to do your own homework, to find out where the closest evacuation shelters are and make sure you know how to get to them. For people who have pets, the problem becomes much more difficult, as the most shelters do not allow pets. If you are a pet owner , you will need an alternate shelter for you and your pets. Now is the time to canvas friends, to see if they will allow you to bring your pets with you, in the event of an emergency. Remember, you may be stuck there for a week or more, under not so nice conditions, so tempers of both you and your pets might get frayed.

When a hurricane strikes it is not just a case of high wind. Hurricanes also bring massive amounts of moisture and humidity levels skyrocket. It could be 35+ degrees and 100% humidity for days on end, with no electricity for fans or A/C. Anything you get wet, will never ever dry, clothes, pills, papers, NOTHING! Plus mould and mildew will run rampant if unchecked. It will not be pleasant, to spend a week or more in a damp environment, exposed to mosquito’s nightly, along with your wet dogs. The only way to keep your sanity is to be absolutely prepared for the worst and make sure you have a way to keep everything as dry as possible. If you have an alternate place to stay inland and you have a generator. Make sure you have extension cords and spare fuel, also fill your cars gas tank and have a syphon hose. A modern car has 45 or so litres of fuel which can power a small generator for 4 or 5 days of reasonable use. So having a syphon hose handy is a good idea.

Below is a list of suggested items to have handy in the event that a hurricane does arrive. But, even if you head to a friends house or shelter and then return home, you will still need to be prepared. You may be with out power for a long period, if transmission lines are down and there is a good chance your beach home and more likely its contents maybe substantially damaged. Remember, no power means , no city water and fuel stations can’t pump gas, stores won’t have cold storage, etc. Like the Boy Scouts say “Be prepared”.

Here are recommendations on what to do before a storm approaches:

— Use hurricane shutters or board up windows and doors with 5/8 inch plywood. Make them now before you need them!

— Bring outside items in if they could be picked up by the wind, place screws in your tinaco lid, as they tend to fly away.

— Turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting in case power goes off. Use a cooler to keep from opening the doors on the freezer or refrigerator.

— Make sure your cisterna and Tinaco are full and you have 5 or more Garafons of water available.

— Make sure your vehicles fuel tanks are full and you have spare fuel for a generator, also have a siphon hose

— Have an evacuation plan.

— Learn the location of the nearest shelter or nearest pet-friendly shelter. This is a big issue for pet owners in the beach areas.

— Store important documents — passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates, deeds — in a watertight container.

— Have a current inventory of household property.

— Leave a note to say where you are going, IN SPANISH!

— Contact relatives and let then know you maybe out of touch for a week or more.

— Unplug small appliances and electronics before you leave.

— If possible, turn off the electricity, gas and water for your residence.

Here is a list of handy supplies:

— A seven-day supply of water, a minimum of one gallon per person per day.

— Three days of food, with suggested items including: canned meats, canned or dried fruits, canned vegetables, canned juice, peanut butter, jelly, salt-free crackers, energy/protein bars, trail mix/nuts, dry cereal, cookies or other comfort food.

— A can opener and eating utensils

— Flashlight(s) and candles.

— A battery-powered radio.

— Extra batteries.

— A first aid kit, including latex gloves; sterile dressings; soap/cleaning agent; antibiotic ointment; burn ointment; adhesive bandages in small, medium and large sizes; eye wash; a thermometer; aspirin/pain reliever; anti-diarrhea tablets; antacids; laxatives; small scissors; tweezers; petroleum jelly.

— A seven-day supply of personal medications, in waterproof containers.

— A multipurpose tool, with pliers and a screwdriver.

— Cell phones and chargers, laptops are handy if the Wifi in Merida’s parks is still up and running.

— Contact information for the family.

— A hammock setup, for each person, as a bed is almost useless in high humidity and will never dry. Get mosquito nets for the hammocks, .

— Extra cash, ATM’s don’t work if the power is off

— Mosquito netting or mosquito coils

— A map of the area, as familiar routes my be closed due to downed trees or other debris.

— Pet supplies.

— Wet wipes, showers may not be an option.

— Insect repellent.

— Rain gear.

— Duct tape.

— An extra set of house keys.

— An extra set of car keys.

— Household bleach, lots of it.

— Toilet paper in zip lock bags or the handy single wrapped Costco rolls.

— Paper cups, plates and paper towels.

— DRY, Charcoal and matches, if you have a portable grill. But only use it outside.

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