Merida´s Colonial Homes: Conservation of Pasta Tiles
Merida’s expats and visitors are investing in neglected colonial homes and mansions. Foreigners are purchasing these properties at a low price and restoring them to their former glory. In fact, there is an initiative in Merida for the recovery and conservation of these historic homes, which may include tax breaks for qualified properties.
One of the first characteristics you notice about these homes is the flooring, and if the restoration is intended to preserve the home’s history, it includes handmade pasta floor tiles. The term “pasta floor” does not mean someone dropped spaghetti on the floor. The term refers to the type of flooring used in old Mexican homes. The bright colored mosaic tiles represent the beauty, character, and art of Yucatán colonial houses. These days many flooring tiles are made of ceramic which tends to crack, these tiles are concrete giving them a long life expectancy and making them very durable to wear and tear for decades.
The artistry has been reported to come from Italy, but some articles suggest the technique was brought to Mexico from Spain. Regardless of their origins, these beautiful tiles have been made right in Merida for generations. The original pasta tiles remain in many homes and businesses in Merida. Even if the building is in dire need of refurbishing, the floors remain as a symbol of its original beauty.
The procedure to create these tiles starts with concrete poured into square molds, the patterned mold is set on top, and colored liquid cement is poured into the different sections of the mold to create the design. The mold is then run through a hydraulic press, resulting in a square tile, one side with colorful design and one side plain concrete. The tiles are left to dry for weeks. After they are installed they are polished to a bright, smooth finish.
If you are fortunate enough to find a home with the original tiles, it may be possible to restore the flooring to its unique beauty. If you are starting over you can select specific designs or create your own patterns. Another option to consider during your renovation process is to use salvaged flooring tiles to create your own unique designs in your home.
During any real estate transaction from purchasing property to construction or renovation, it is imperative that you consult a Mexican real estate lawyer to review the agreement and draw up a construction contract.
Maybe you are interested in reading: Important Considerations of the Construction Contract