House progress: part 2

It’s been longer than I wanted since our last blog…… trying to edit videos, not being a tech wizard and now knowing that our laptop does not have enough memory and needing to buy more means I am currently limited to what videos I can add.

*Getting more memory here in Nicaragua is not as easy as just buying it on Ebay …… the postal service is not great, import tax is expensive and most people do not even have a postal address!

Any way back to the subject at hand our house ……… Punta Gorda is beautiful, but a remote place to build a house, it requires commitment, determination and team work!

The outer posts were in place and the structure of our house is starting to become a reality! This whole process is a constant learning experience for us, we have never built our own house and having to learn another language at the same time makes it a challenge, but it is all part of our dream and we are doing all we can to make our dream a reality, so here is the next phase of our house build!

It is important for us to use sustainable materials and materials that can be acquired from the property and local community as much possible. We needed a centre post, this was harvested on the property and took 10 men to carry it to the house, navigating through the plantain palms in 35 degree heat and most importantly avoiding the petroglyph, an ancient stone carving, (You can see it briefly in the video below) of which there are many on the island and this one right by where our house will be!

Once there it needed to be erected!

Beams were placed for the next level of the house and then it was time to get muddy!

We are building the ground floor walls with adobe (mudbricks in spanish). The material is a mixture of soil, water and an organic material such as straw, the soil composition typically contains sand, silt and clay. The good news was the soil on the land was great for creating this mixture!

What’s the difference between adobe and cob you ask? Well adobe is building with bricks formed with mud, straw and water and cob is freehand building with the same mixture…so it’s all down to the technique used.

The holes were dug, the soil mixed with the straw and the water gradually added to gain the right consistency, whilst getting your feet dirty to trample the mixture. Obviously there was no need for encouragement on the part of our two boys to get in and do their bit!


boys in the mud

Once the mixture was ready, the bricks were created using a frame made from wood to create four bricks at a time and we had two frames. It took around 10 days to make the quantity required and then dried under banana palms to minimise cracking from direct sun.

Using adobe mixture again for bonding when forming the walls gave the boys another excuse to get in the mud! The process of building the walls was completed in around four days and they required a spraying of water twice a day to prevent them drying out too fast and cracking.

We need to apply additional adobe to the walls and this technique also allows for great creativity and we have plans to complete the house with an artisticfinish! Once done it will be plastered in ‘Cal’ lime mortar to protect it from the rain.

To be continued……………

2 thoughts on “House progress: part 2

  1. Looks amazing Alex and what an education and adventure for the boys. I am so looking forward to seeing the end result. Take care and can’t wait to see the next video. Xx


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