Front Entrance Tile DONE ~ Plus ~ Master Bath Window Underway

After a grueling ten-day marathon, one of the last big jobs, the steps at the front entry, are DONE! I know I’ve posted a bunch — probably too many — photos of the job, but here are a few more of the steps all done. I think it adds a gracious, welcoming formality to the front of the house:


View from the front door.


View from coming out of the garage walkway.


View from the driveway.


View from the point of the triangle-ish landing.

And here is a photo of the front of the house at dusk:


Our next task is to pour a black concrete bench in the master bathroom shower area and then to lay glass blocks above the bench. We’ve made good progress in just two days. The bench is poured and five of the eight rows of glass blocks are laid.

Using a combination of the big angle grinder and the reciprocating saw, I started cutting the hole for the glass blocks:


Here is my progress from inside the house:


For nighttime security reasons, I only cut a small part of the opening the first day. I welded rebar in place for the concrete pour:


And finished building the form work:


Next, Hanibal, Francisco, and I poured the tinted-concrete bench. We mixed the concrete very dry so that the colorant wouldn’t wash out as water raised to the surface of the concrete. Also, a drier concrete mix is stronger than a wet mix when it cures.

Hanibal and I worked the concrete into all the corners and under the rebar. The top of the concrete is pitched in two directions — outside the house it tilts down to form a window sill. Inside the house it tilts to drain shower water off of the bench. To make uniform slants, we used small blocks to set the level of the concrete. You can see two of the blocks between Hanibal’s and my trowels. As we struck a level, we pulled the blocks and reset them as we worked along the bench:


Here I find and remove a block:


Hanibal removes one of the blocks toward the end of the bench:


After a block is pulled, we fill the hole with concrete.

After a ten-minute wait, we floated and troweled the slab, working extra concrete into the voids left by the really-dry mix:


We closed the window hole with a sheet of plywood and walked away for the day. The next day, we laid five courses of glass blocks:


After spacing and leveling the critical first row, I left the guys to their work and I found something else to do.


The guys fill the spaces between the blocks. By the way, for added strength of each row of blocks, we put a piece of quarter-inch rebar in the mortar bed.


I photo-ambush Francisco from the roof.



Francisco cleans the grout lines and polishes the glass.

I’d like to show you the window all done, but there are three more rows to lay. We left it like this over the weekend:


While the guys laid the blocks, I tackled another project. At the end of the last dry season, I sealed the concrete roof with numerous coats of a penetrating polymer sealer. The rain was on us and I didn’t have time to apply the elastomeric top coating, mainly because I wanted to do a test patch over time to assure compatibility of the two products.

Here is the roof before the top coating. Note the small white test patch that has held up well over the rainy season:


There was a small shrinkage crack between the main roof and the newer overhang that was letting water slowly drip down the side of the container. I filled it well with the polymer and applied an extra coat of top coat here.

With a roller and a paint brush, here is the roof two-and-a-half gallons of top coat later:


I wish that I had more to show you, but that’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by.

22 thoughts on “Front Entrance Tile DONE ~ Plus ~ Master Bath Window Underway

  1. My goodness Fred, have you ever been busy with your crew..I love
    how Jako posing on the steps…. like how proud he is of you and your crews hard work..your shower is coming along beautifully and looking forward to seeing it completed, obviously not as much as you!
    Happy New Year to both and your crew! 6 more days and we will be in Panama. Thank you for your kind invite if we are your way.
    All the best,
    Dagmar and Jim

  2. Fred, you are wrong on one count: you can NEVER post too many photos. Nena and I wait for every new installment and hope during one of our family trips to be able to see this amazing project.

    jim and nena
    fort worth, tx

  3. Hi Fred, a beautiful job on the front steps. I was curious about the white Elastoplast you used on the roof. Would it stick to the metal and provide sealer and reflect heat?

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

    • Hi Donald,

      Thanks very much. The coating that I used is by Lanco, and the product is called Siliconizer. The can says to prime bare metal first, then to apply two coats of the Siliconizer. I would think that it would also seal around screws. Of course, chose an appropriate primer if your metal roof is galvanized metal,but I think I am preaching to the choir. I’m sure that the white would drop the temperature under the roof significantly. Thanks again. Fred

  4. Hello Fred and Cynthia
    How are you ? I’m sure you’ve come up with some new exotic food recipes. Any garden veggies ?
    I hope that everything is well.
    Wishing you only good luck and good health for 2015.
    Front steps look great !
    I have my tix to come to Panama from 2/14 to 2/20. I’ll come visit when I get to El Valle. It will be good to see both of you and catch up on things.
    Take care from frigid New York. jim & wenmin

    • Hi Jim & Wenmin,

      We’re doing great here. The tile guys have gone and I’m on a small task mission, tending to things that I’ve had to put off for months. No, no garden veges right now other than the volunteer tomato plant in the compost.

      Thanks for the heads up for your visit. Looking forward to seeing you soon! Fred

  5. Oh gosh, you are a go-getter! LOVE seeing your projects, you’ve done a fabulous job and apparently chosen some great helpers! Can’t wait to see more of your projects!

    • Hi Patty,

      Thanks very much. Today is Sunday, and I find myself unable to go-get anything except a Mandarin orange from the refrigerator. I’m tired! But I have to keep on my self-imposed deadline of having this place finished in June — it will have been five years in the making. Thanks again, and I am happy that you like our project. Fred

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