Walls And Faucets And Street Signs

This post: We make decisions about interior walls. We pull our faucets out of storage and drool over them. Plus a “caption this” whacky street sign contest.

My window painting job for friends is complete and all my tools are back home again. Overall it was a rewarding job because I got to do research on varnish, I got to do some nice work for friends, I got to make welds that my life depended on, I got to stand on scaffolding that hung from just two bolts, and I got to work at the top of a 38-foot ladder. Lots of opportunities for free flowing endorphins!

After all the ladder and plank hauling and ladder climbing for the past five weeks I am a little bit tuckered out. Okay, maybe more than a little bit. I’ve decided to take a few days off from heavy labor. Cynthia would have it be two weeks, but I don’t think I can sit still that long. Extended periods of non-labor are always a double edged machete for me because on the one hand if I work too much my bones, joints, and muscles start to scream bloody murder, so I need to rest and recuperate. But on the other hand if I rest too long my bones, joints, and muscles start to scream bloody murder and I have to go to work. I’ve realized that the happy medium is difficult to reach so it is a work my body/rest in the hammock seesaw, trying to pay attention to what this old guy’s pieces and parts need.

Yesterday dog Jabo, bless his heart, peed on the patio during a long, hard downpour. I guess I should be precise; the rain from the sky was the long, hard downpour, not his peeing. Anyway, in the process he hit my hammock, so while the hammock is being washed and dried, hammock time is postponed. Instead I looked at the house plans. Soon we will need to make decisions about what the interior walls in containers 3 & 4 will be made of; it might as well be today.

For some time I have thought I would use M2 panels (Styrofoam sheets with wire mesh on either side, suitable for stuccoing). I used it elsewhere for the electrical service entrance wall and for the fence footing. But the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t like the idea of a stucco finish in the containers. Additionally, it takes a lot of time and materials and labor to get a nice finish.

Metal studs and sheet metal roofing are a good option, but we wanted some contrast from all the metal siding of the containers, and also wanted a bit more sound control between rooms.

What we settled on over Cynthia’s delicious pancakes is tilebacker sheets screwed onto 2”x3” or 2”x4” steel carriolas. Carriolas are steel shaped like this keyboard character: [ . Tilebacker is a cement board that is impervious to water and, as the name suggests, is a good backing for ceramic tiles. We think it looks just fine all by itself if it doesn’t need tile.

Tilebacker comes in 4’x8′ sheets, in thicknesses of quarter-, half-, and three-quarters-of-an-inch. If the carriolas are properly placed, then the screws that attach the tilebacker become a pattern, nothing to hide. The carriolas can be installed horizontally, each end welded directly to the container walls. At the floor line, the tilebacker will embed nicely in the concrete floor that we plan to pour over the existing container wooden floors. The tilebacker can be painted, coated with a clear concrete sealer, or tiled. Where the tilebacker meets the container metal walls and roof, a bead of urethane caulk will make a good bug barrier. By the way, spiders like to build their webs in cracks and crevices where there is air flow. That way, food comes to them! Seal the cracks, and you will reduce the number of spiders that you share your house with.

All this wall-think got me thinking about the plumbing that I will need to run in the walls. Back in the States before we moved here, we bought some pieces and parts for our new house in Panama, including faucets. There are no HomeDepotLowes here and at the time the selection in Panama was not what we were used to in the States. Not even close. Now however, I have to say that the new Elmec showroom in the city, I think it is on Via Israel near the MultiPlaza Mall, has a fantastic selection of plumbing fixtures and faucets and also a vast selection of floor and wall tile. Additionally the big new Discovery store on Tumbo Muerto (a street named Tomb of the Dead?) at the corner of the road to the new bridge comes pretty close to the offerings of HomeDepotLowes in the States. Cynthia and I went there for the first time the other day and in aisle after isle one of us would exclaim, “Wow, they have THIS?” And right next door is the very large Casa de Materiales (House of Materials), a must see on our next trip into the city.

But back to our faucets. In storage for nearly four years now, I couldn’t remember what we bought, and I needed to know so I can plan plumbing in the walls accordingly. I retrieved a few boxes from our storeroom; it was like Christmas opening those boxes again. I laid everything out on the dining room table. The chrome made me dizzy. Here’s what we have:

Above is the Vigo restaurant faucet for the big kitchen sink. Yeah, I’d never heard of the brand either. We got a great price on overstock.com.

Above is the Hudson Reed master bathroom tub filler with a sleek spray wand. We bought it online from Hudson Reed. Heavy brass, immaculately chrome plated. Surprisingly affordable price.

Above is the Hudson Reed master bathroom shower mixing valve. This piece is HEAVY. The entire piece is surface mounted on the wall and looks very retro. I’ll need to find some chrome plated piping to run to the shower head; I’ll probably find it at Elmec.

Above is the Hudson Reed master bathroom bidet faucet.

Above are two of the five Kingston Brass faucets for the bathroom sinks from overstock.com. The curved one is for the half bathroom sink.

We have the bathroom sinks (overstock.com), but they are all wrapped in plastic and packaged in boxes; we’ll have to wait a while longer to see what we bought. One of the sinks, the one for the half bathroom, is Cynthia’s pick; it is clear glass with koi painted on the underside of the glass.

In other news, here are some bonus photos. The highway department has been working hard on the 28-kilometer road up the mountain for months, repaving, repainting the stripes, installing guardrails, and improving signage.

Here are two of the new signs. The first one I can understand. But the second one has piqued my curiosity. What does it really mean? Is what it depicts really possible? Should I panic? I was stumped and had to come to a screeching stop. Am I the only one who thinks something is askew and very wrong?

Caution. Unstable triangle ahead.

Feel free to leave a caption for the second photo in the comments section. Best caption wins. What’s the prize? Nothing tangible, you just get an incredible self-satisfied sense of well being and elation that your caption was the very, very best of hundreds, maybe thousands or who knows, maybe two, and that YOU WON! Throw in some endorphins, too! What could be better than that?

That’s all for now. Next I’ll work as hard as I can on resting and relaxing for a few days.

Disclosure: Much as we’d like, we do not gain in any way from the mention of the above companies. Shop at your own risk.