In Spanish the word ending -ito signifies affection or diminutive stature. In this post, I tell about the short wall I just built, hence the new English word I coined; wallito.
There has been a lot of rain recently, including a few complete rain-outs, so progress has been slow. But I have managed to work on the two-foot high wall above container three that holds up the low end of the roof between three and four.
Originally I was going to use some of the 20-foot scrap wall section cut from container three for this new wall, but we have amended the plan and now are cutting only doorways from the container. Because we decided to use tilebacker (cement board) for the interior walls, it seemed like a natural to use the tilebacker for this little wall overhead.
First I cut eight 2″x2″ square tubing “studs” and welded them in place to receive the tilebacker. Because I was working by myself, I made the runway scaffolding so I wouldn’t have to lift the welder.
Speaking of the welder, I got tired of the anemic factory-installed wheels and put on some wheelbarrow wheels. Now I have an ATW (all terrain welder).
Then Armando and I hauled the four sheets of 3/4″ tilebacker from container one to container four (it’s always a treat to carry heavy stuff through the mud). I cut them to shape with a tile blade on my circular saw and Armando sponged on the first coat of sealer. The sealer will resist water and dirt stains.
For the sealer, we decided to go with a wet-look acrylic polymer. Two coats sponged on quickly is all it takes to protect the surface. Ask me in three years how it worked. Here’s the sealer sitting on top of a piece of tilebacker after the first coat. The second coat brings up the shine.
Rain stopped production for the day, but this morning I swept the water off the top of the container roof and installed the tilebacker sheets on the studs. I used the same sheetmetal roofing screws that I used to screw the roofing to the steel framing. Here’s the wall all finished except for the second coat of sealer.
I sealed the tilebacker to the top of the container with urethane caulk. To control water runoff from the roof, I will make the standard Panamanian roof gutter system: take a piece of 4-inch PVC tubing and slice the length of the tubing with a saber/jig saw. A circular saw is faster, but the PVC will most likely shatter, making a mess of the tube. Out in the pueblos in the mountains, they use an old rusty handsaw. Tedious work for sure.
Anyway, after the cut is made, you spring open the tube a bit and slide it over the tail end of the roofing metal. Pieces of bailing wire wrapped around roofing screws holds the gutter in place. You can paint the gutter any color you want, but our previous gardener Miguel liked to use tar thinned with lacquer thinner as the paint. Any color you want as long as it is black.
Ultimately the container roof will be covered with a concrete slab, sloped toward the center of the container and down and off the back end of the container. The slab will cover and protect the urethane caulk. I hope.
I am concerned about the corrosion/rust between the metal container roof and the concrete slab, so I am considering painting the roof with an elastomeric roof coating. I could paint the coating up over the caulk and a few inches onto the tilebacker, then pour the concrete slab. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Here’s a picture of the wall from the inside:
Later, when I work on the interior of the house, I will apply a second sheet of tilebacker on the inside of the studs. For protection from potential smashers/robbers, I will probably weld a couple pieces of 1/2″ rebar in the stud cavity. The tilebacker is strong for the elements, but probably is no match for a big boot and would be a weak point in the building envelope. But for now I am only interested in getting the building dried in.
Tomorrow I will work on putting tilebacker on the triangular section you see up in the first photo. Before that, I need to paint the exterior of the wall below the triangle with white paint.
When I don’t need Armando to lift and tote, he is busy working on leveling the lot and preparing it for grass. Sod grass can be had here, but it is expensive. Armando said that he wanted to clear out some of the grass close to his house because he has had some close encounters with the slithering kind in his house lately. Replacing the grass with gravel will slow the critters down. So early one foggy morning, I went to his house to get a pickup full of grass. He lives on a dead end off a dead end off a dead end, and by the time I get within a few hundred yards from his house, the road is very narrow. I can’t make the turn into his “driveway,” actually only a wide path. So we worked for an hour with two wheelbarrows and got the truck loaded.
Sod from Armando’s yard is somewhat of an exaggeration, as he dug up the grass shovel by shovelful, pieces breaking, some only a few inches square at best. We kidded that planting the grass in my yard was like getting a hair transplant, hair by hair. But he got the job done in two days, and now the yard is starting to look like a yard.
(Normally when I write these blogs, I re-size the photos to be a bit larger on the page. This time, the re-sizing option doesn’t exist. Sorry. You can always click the photo to make it larger.)
I’m glad to have this little wall out of the way. Soon I can haul the welder up to the roof of container four and finish welding the upper wall to the container roof. That’s all for now.