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Did you know that Tico construction is very different from US-built homes? I’ve seen opinions from expats who think they know but don’t.
We DO have construction codes here in Costa Rica, BUT they’re only a bit different. If you don’t believe that, check out the INVU construction regulations.
And Ticos have a different mindset, which is what this article mostly explains.
Home Inspector Tom Rosenberger (RIP) loved to joke about how locals build their homes. In Tico construction, builders sometimes forget about logic. Or at least what is logical to us foreigners.
A few years ago, Tom gave us insight into this different mindset by sharing 16 sarcastic cost-cutting secrets for building here. I’ve updated this article in honor of Tom’s expertise, and we really miss him as a person and professional.
Once in a while, we try to publish something that will help to understand that Tico construction is done on a different code than you are used to, just like you will find other building codes in California, New York, or Florida.
They all depend on each location’s different geological, geographical, and weather situations. We also have to manage the cultural differences on top of that. If you didn’t know, we live in a tropical climate and have earthquakes here.
Here are some very logical and funny solutions to typical Tico construction problems.
I don’t need it
Below are a few amenities our clients used to have in the real world. But Ticos don’t think they are necessary for Tico construction. So here are a few Tico construction cost-cutting secrets.
16 Construction details that you don’t need, so why should you pay for them:
Weatherstripping on doors & windows is unnecessary; the weather’s usually lovely anyway.
2. Higher ceilings
Extra rows of blocks to make ceilings higher than 6 feet. Most of my family, friends, and neighbors are short.
Why finish the inside of the cabinets? We hardly ever see inside.
We don’t need large closets for flip-flops, t-shirts, and shorts.
Why have a large countertop? I only have a few appliances.
There is no need for contiguous roofing, fascias & soffit materials to keep moisture out. Cheaper products with grooves and cracks allow the wind inside to dry everything.
Big gutters and downspouts are not necessary. Rainwater is suitable for the plants growing under the eaves of my house.
We don’t need insulation in walls, ceilings, or attic. We live less than 10 degrees from the equator, so it’s never cold.
Why do we need drains with U traps and vent pipes for my toilet when my windows are usually open, allowing the black water gasses to escape?
10. Electrical outlets
We don’t need many electrical outlets; I’ll use extension cords to connect my appliances.
11. Ground wires
A third electric wire to all outlets is unnecessary. I think they call it a grounding wire. My electronics are old and worthless anyway.
I don’t need screens on my windows; mosquitoes only bite at dusk and dawn. They may be notorious and also dangerous, but I have thick skin.
Why do some people have long plumbing pipes when adjusting the showerhead to spray up is easier?
14. Hote Water
We don’t need hot water; a cold shower gets me just as clean. It’s better for your blood circulation!
15. Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposal doesn’t make any sense to me. The waste flows straight into my septic tank.
16. Toilet Paper
I don’t want to install wider toilet drains that slope down when I can put toilet paper in a wastebasket.
When you buy real estate in Costa Rica, you should hire a home inspector who understands Tico and Gringo construction. So what’s the difference between a Tico home and a Gringo home?
That depends on the price tag of the home you are buying; you will indeed find quite a few of these issues on your home inspection report.
Used in image: Suprised photo created by master1305 – www.freepik.com