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Las Puertas del Puerto (Rico)

April 26, 2018

Doors are like eyes, or maybe mouths. They tell you a lot about who's inside. Would you want to walk in and get to know them?

UPDATED: This article was photographed and published toward the end of 2016, well before Hurricanes Irma and Maria left Puerto Rico in a shambles. It is a safe guess that some of las puertas en este arícolo are gone, but many are likely still there as they were photographed near the airport and in San Juan, the tourist area, which were spared.

Today, six months after Maria stripped the island, most of the electricity has been restored, but not all of it. About 20 percent of homes are still without power. And that is only electricity. There is a LOT of rebuilding that must be done before Puerto Ricans can return to their homes and try to rebuild their lives.

Fernando adds this:

"Unfortunately, folks were grossly underinsured. Half the homes in Puerto Rico were built without building permits, 300,000 homes suffered significant damage while only 2,000 homes had insurance (source: NFIP).

No permits. No inspections. No insurance.

Texas was not far off, Harvey flooded 1 million homes, only 80,000 had flood insurance. All pointing to the need for a culture of preparedness given climate change, whether manmade, God’s wrath, or a freak of nature."

If you are looking for a place to vacation, Puerto Rico's economy could use the boost. If you are reading this, you are likely a building professional, and they could also use your skills.

One reputable outfit doing good is Habitat for Humanity. Call them (1-800-HABITAT).


Original text from the article:

Traveling through Puerto Rico to the US Virgin Islands, I can't help but snap pictures of the doors. Oh, those doors. Historical, handsome, and humbling to a builder that has burdened the world with so many hundreds of six-panel embossed steel disappointments.

With many years of building behind me, I am embarrassed by how few doors that I've installed that anyone would care to photograph. In fact, I recall only one. In Los Angeles, the work of an architect whose name I've long forgotten (he's no doubt forgotten mine, too).

The door was too expensive, and we argued about it. He won. I built it and installed it. I resented it, back then, today, it's the only door I'm glad to have hung.

Fernando Pagés Ruiz is ProTradeCraft's Latin America Editor. He is currently building a business in Ecuador and a house in Mexico. Formerly, he was a builder in the Great Plains and mountain states. He is the author of Building an Affordable House and Affordable Remodel (Taunton Press).

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