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Building Fences

The expression “High walls make for good neighbors”, may be taken literally in Mexico because people frequently enclose their property with masonry walls two meters (6.5 ft.) or higher. Mexico’s climate encourages indoor, outdoor living, so besides security, walls provide privacy.

A high stone wall surrounds our entire property, but as we’re dividing it into three separate residences, we are adding more brick walls.

When they began, trenches running a half meter deep and half meter wide puzzled me. But when they filled them with mampostería (large stones held together with cement), It seemed like overkill.

After questioning our builder, his answer made sense. “When we get a hurricane or heavy wind storms, we need this foundation to prevent the walls from blowing over”. This is why it is wise to use a local builder, who knows the climate, what works and what doesn’t

Lengths of iron rods, called Rebar, are tied together to form long, ten cm wide squares. These are laid over the mampostería foundation. With wooden planks on either side of the rebar, cement is poured into the mold, securing it to the base. They set similar supports vertically, and tie them into the foundation at intervals like we might have used fenceposts. Bricks are laid between the “fenceposts” before wooden planks form another mold for the posts. Then they repeat the process horizontally to top the wall.

To add a decorative touch and allow some airflow, we are finishing the top of the walls with a different type of brickwork. These have several openings and come in dozens of unique designs. Before this decorative layer is added, they apply three layers of parging (stucco) to the wall.

Eventually, the wall will be sealed and painted.

To soften the hard cement appearance, I plan to cover much of this cement with a variety of vines and tall plants. With Merida’s climate, I am optimistic that within a year or so, the walls will be well masked.

This is a small part of a major renovation in Merida. Click here to Subscribe to my blog


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