Mary Ann's Tropical Building Page
Construction on a tropic island

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Fall 99 tips

Report #22: Part V
December 31, 1999

Mary Ann Green (email: gets a lot of email about construction, plus on-site visits too.

Andes Caribbean and Wilson Brass

Alejandro Wilson of Chile runs the Puerto Rico office of Andes Caribbean. He dropped in recently. They make custom louvered wooden windows and doors, plus Wilson Brass, another Chile company that makes excellent hinges and door hardware.

He supplies 1x4 cedar T&G at 5.85 and his prices for doors are as follows:

  • $35 Operable Louvered doors 35sq ft 1 ¾
  • $30 sq ft raised panel
  • $25 sq ft fix louvered
  • raised panel 30 per sq foot

PO Box 193108
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00919

Thanks for Picture of Drawer Knobs

David Park (email: writes

Thank you very much for putting the fish knob on your site. We have had 4 orders so far.

I hope you did not have any damage to your new home during the recent storm.

Trying to convince my wife for a return trip to Cap Juluca.

Thanks again

David Park

An Email Exchange With Lots of Sources

Wow thanks for the reply. I started the web site to share information I really appreciate your response. Do you mind if I post it on my web page?

You mentioned HydroTherm paint but didn't seem sure this was the product you originally heard mentioned. Maybe SuperTherm is the radiant insulating paint you heard about? Take a look at for more information.

The intercoat's products sound too good to be true! I wrote them but so far I haven't gotten a response.

I asked about it on the alt.coatings.paint newsgroup recently and somebody was familiar with it. He seemed to think that its appearance isn't so great and it needs to be significantly thicker than 7 mil dry film thickness to work well.

Are you referring to Supertherm or HydroTherm needs to be thicker? My experience is that the HydroTherm does need to be thicker. I got a different product that was a "filler" called Aritech or something like that from our consolidator in FL it went on like paint but thicker. It worked better at covering the seams over the plywood.

We are in the planning stages for a custom house in San Diego, California, and are looking for alternative building materials that are more durable and efficient than the usual wood frame construction used around here. We are thinking about using the Insteel 3D panels for the roof and using Omniblock or IMSI mortarless block for the walls. (Both blocks are the same product, just sold under different names.) If you're curious, there is more information on these products at and

Seems like a good idea to me, as long as you can tie/bond the roof and walls together.

I'm really interested in the radiant barrier films you mentioned. Looking around the net, I found lots of articles on them. It seems like there is a need to have airspace around the film for it to work well, so I'm not sure if we can use it in the walls if we use Omniblock. One idea is "radiant barrier chips" discussed on which we might be able to use to fill cells in the Omniblock. I think the open cells in the block are about 2", so maybe a loose fill would still leave enough airspace to be effective. Very clever!

On one of the sites they mentioned using radiant barrier underneath their flooring glued to the concrete slab floor. ( But wouldn't that not work very well without airspace? Or does it still reflect some of the heat but just not as much?

Mike Ketchner my source of information about radiant barrier says that it will still work without the airspace but you cut the effectiveness by 30-40% as I recall. The stuff is so cheap at .11 cents a sq ft and so easy to install that i say go for it whenever you think it might even be a little useful.

Some other neat products you might want to check out: - uses heat in your attic to heat your swimming pool or home - recovers heat from used hot water and puts it back into the incoming cold water - heat recovery ventilators and turbulent airflow precipitation filters

Well Craig I have been responding to your email since i got it. Every time I went to finish it I got caught up in the web sites you recommended. Did you do any more research on solarattic site using the heat of your attic to heat your pool sounds good you wonder why you don't hear about it more. Something about the site seemed strange to me.

Thanks again

Mary Ann

A Thank You Email


I came across your page while researching information for a class project. I am a senior at Southern College, Orlando Florida, in Interior Design.

I just wanted to tell you I thought the plan was great and to thank you for sharing it with us on the net.

Good luck!!

Ruth Creery

Thanks Ruth--nice of you to tell me

mary ann

Oh I bet you could tell me--I've heard about a new foam for outdoor pillows that lets the water through. you use it with Sunbrella cloth. Do you know in FL where I could purchase some of this foam? And/ Or Where I could have pillows made using the foam?


I called the upholster, Kevin Van Hulse that I work with and he says it is called "Easy dry /Quick Dry" comes in sheets 55 inches by 83 inches, and in 1-5 inch thickness'. And it is sold only to the trade. He wouldn't even give ME the company name. He said it is not very comfortable for sitting on for long stretches. We use Sunbrella extensively here in Melbourne, being on the ocean. We could get a price and have it shipped to you, and or we can do pillows for you. Kevin's work is impecable. I also have a lady that does just pillows reasonably and her work also is beautiful. I hope this helps Let me know.

Ruth Creery

Home phone: 1 407 259 8140 the end of the month I am opening my own business!!

Next Step: Field trip to St. Barts

Past Progress Reports

Plans of the Main House

Plans of the Software Center

Plans of the Guest Villa

Tropical Construction Bookstore

Links to Related Sites

Building Material Sources

Beach Shack Contact:

Mary Ann Green
931 Upper Shoal Bay Road,
Shoal Bay,
Anguilla, Eastern Caribbean
Fax: 264-497-3295