Tag Archives: chanfles

Exciting Siding!

Posted by Cassie

The siding for the cabin has been an ongoing project for quite a few months. The first issue with it was simply deciding what type of siding to use. We really didn’t want to use T-111 as siding if we could avoid it at all. It is just sort of a cheesy, cheap material (that’s still sort of expensive) and to me it is just not the style aesthetically that I would prefer. So we looked into ordering various types of siding online, but the cost to ship something like ipe siding was more than the siding itself!

Cabin progress
This cabin needs some siding!

So we were back to trying to find materials on the island. We have seen a few of the older style Puerto Rican houses with horizontal lap siding and we liked how this looked. A rustic sort of style that would go good on a cabin hidden in the jungle. So then the question was where to buy it, and indeed if it could be found anymore. It was not at Home Depot, National or any of the closeby hardware stores. We found one place listed in San Juan, but to save our sanity we would really prefer not to have drive there (but if need be we were trying to steel ourselves for it).

Commercial Toro
You have arrived at Comerical Toro! Woohoo

After a treasure hunt of sorts with clues from one hardware store and friends to try this or that, we finally ended up at Comercial Toro in Cabo Rojo. This is probably where we should have started for anything wood related. In fact, all the wood from the old wood house was marked from 1990/Comercial Toro. They mill some stuff and also pressure treat the wood themselves. It’s a huge facility!

With the chanfles in Cabo Rojo

We found out that in Spanish they call these boards chanfles or in English drop siding. We ordered up a bunch (hopefully enough) and they delivered them in a few days. Then the prep work came. Before we could put up the siding we needed to put in all the windows and also the trim and paint everything.

Unpainted pile Painting chanfles
Piles to be painted

Britton and pile Siding and trim
Trim and siding

Trim for cabin
Britton installing trim while a turkey inspector pecks around

Finally this week we began putting on the first few boards of actual siding! Exciting! It’s looking pretty good too! There’s a learning curve to all of this, so Britton is starting from the back and working his way to the front. The really challenging part will be the “tall side” of the house where there is no deck and it is about 20 feet off the ground. We may need Waldemar-the-Fearless’s help on that part!

First few rows of siding on the back

Chanfles and Britton
And then a few more!

Otherwise things are going well. When we’re not working on the cabin we’ve been playing music and hanging out with friends. Life’s good.

Pool Bar John Noll
Went to see our friend’s band, Superluna, debut at Pool’s Bar

Cassie and palms
And stopped by Step’s Beach for a bit

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Windows, Bridge Work and Fun

Posted by Cassie

The month of September was sort of a waiting month. In order to put on the siding (we found chanfles instead of T-111) we needed the windows. But the windows were supposed to take about 4 weeks to finish. So in the meantime, we had started on the footbridge. But our friend Walde could only work weekends. Basically we had a lot of mini-fires going just waiting to get bigger. We still always have plenty to do, however, and yard maintenance is pretty much front and center this time of year.

BK in the gardens
Britton and the turkeys under the large avocado tree in the “garden area”

But now the windows are here! It actually took a little less time than they estimated. Windows are a different sort of bird in Puerto Rico than in the states. In the states there are generally egress rules whereby you must be able to escape out of the windows in case of a fire or other emergency.

Here, that must not be the case, because it is very difficult to find any window that you could climb through. The vast majority of windows are Miami shutter style which works for ventilation, but they block out the view. Or you can get a picture window, but they can’t open. Well, we wanted good airflow as well as visibility, so we went with larger clear glass louvres. A good compromise I think given the options.

When the windows arrived we loaded them into the truck and then brought them to the cabin

The other difference with windows is that they are almost always custom made by an aluminum works type place. We learned that trick when we got our screen doors for the cabana. They are usually cheaper than what you can find in a big box store (like Home Depot) and they will fit perfectly! Plus it helps out local businesses.

Installing window
Britton installing windows at the cabin

The bridge is the other big project that is moving right along. Since Britton only has Waldemar’s help one or two days a week, we made a big decision to get a cement mixer. To ligar cemento we would need to hire at least 2 other guys for at least 3-4 days to fill in the zapatones and the mini-columns, so we figured that even with this job it will pay off and then we can make cement stuff all over the property all by ourselves.

Bridge footers
Britton and la máquina

We’ve decided to name this bridge Tito. You know, for Tito Puente! :-) Here’s one of our favorite songs of his (though most will know it as a Santana song).

We are becoming pretty good friends with these guys that have been helping us on various projects and planning lots of paseos with them. On Saturdays after the work is through, Papo comes over with a bunch of food and we set up a little mini-bar and tail-gate from it. We listen to bachata from his truck with the doors open, open up some coconuts and drink coconut water with whiskey and eat pollo, yuca, arroz con gandules and dance a little in the middle of the yard. Life is fun. We’re getting stuff done, but we’re enjoying it along the way.

Hanging out after working
Fun with friends

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