Friday, March 18, 2011

Times a'changing in Mexican roofing

I'm not sure if it's Mexicans coming back to Mexico (from Arizona and such places) and bringing some money with them, or whether the local economy is better than I thought it was, or what. But whatever the reason there is an incredible amount of "home improvement" going on in Coatepec. There is a bit of brand new house building, but the most obvious thing that hits my eyes as I go through the streets is the extent to which people are renovating, repainting and -- to the point of this post -- re-roofing.

Traditionally, of course, in places like this the roofing has typically been terracotta half rounds, laid on top of timber running across the face of the roof joists at regular intervals. One half round hollow down and the next hollow up, making an attractive set of "corrugations". This has always been the mainstay -- or else other terracotta and ceramic shapes and sizes.

A few years back we saw the introduction of pressed steel roofing in the shape of traditional tiling, as well as clearlight and fiberglass corrugated runs of roofing. But right now seems to be the moment of long run galvanized corrugated iron. All over town people are taking up their old terracotta roofs, putting strong beams across, and fixing 5 meter lengths of galvanized iron. The change in the view is amazing. (Of course, I prefer the terracotta aesthetically, but they make great homes and breeding grounds for scorpions and the like. With beams and iron it is possible to fix dry wall to make clean and tidy finished ceilings that keep the bugs out.)

I'm kind of hoping it doesn't go too far, because a lot of charm stands to get lost. Our own house roof is concrete, but I will now start cementing a few runs of terracotta or ceramic on the eaves. It won't offset much, but I guess a little will be better than nothing.

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