Learning Uruguay

Every day brings ????

What’s hot in Montevideo?

Posted by urufish on June 11, 2007


Whenever I went to a new city, one of the first things I did was buy the major newspaper, to read the advertisements.  I always felt you could learn a lot about the city that way.  In Uruguay, you will find most of those advertisements in the ‘El Oferton’.  You can see the classified advertisements for that week by surfing to http://www.gallito.com/default.asp?origen=gallito_com_uy  on Mondays after 11:00, Montevideo time.  They do this to minimize the effect of web readers on sales of the paper, which drops to nil by Monday morning.  You cant see the display advertisements on line.   

So what’s hot and interesting in Uruguay right now?  

  • Membranas (roof waterproofing).  Winters are wet.  We have lots of flat roofs.  Flat roofs leak.  You’re supposed to replace the membrana BEFORE the winter, but if you dont, you may have to do it now.  I guess enough people do it now to justify the advertising.  Membrana comes by the roll. It is silver on one side, asphalt on the other side.   After preparing the roof, you lay down the membrana and melt it to the roof by way of a blowtorch.  Seams are melted together with surface tar, melted also.  They last 10-15 years uncovered.  You can cover them with patio stones and then it will last for 25-30 years. 
  • Burletes (weatherstripping).  Uruguayans get motivated to add or change weatherstripping when the wind starts to blow through the house.  Because of the terrain, winds are very strong here.  Doors and windows are traditionally loose fitting.  A good combination for weatherstripping. 
  • Snow tires (just kidding)
  • Cabinas (small, fiberglass, one man, outside guardhouses).  Many businesses and high end residential areas hire guards to sit the property at night.   They dont want them freezing to death overnight.  They’re also used for taxi dispatchers.  They cost around USD600.
  • Flandes, estufas, woodstoves, furnaces.  In Uruguay, the majority of homes and apartments dont have heating.  Traditionally, when things become unbearable, they plug in an electric heater.  More organized/prepared people purchase supergaz heaters (propane).  But each year, some people decide to go for a more sophisticated heating solution, like a pot belly stove, high efficiency fireplace or even, a whole furnace/radiator system.  Recently, we’ve even seen some solar systems.  The heart of a radiator system, the caldera, costs around USD3K.  A 300m house with rads, pipes, will cost around USD$8K.  Add to that the cost of breaking and repairing the walls and floors (and replacing the tiles, marble and/or granite), for the piping.  A lot of people will opt for split airconditioning/heating systems.  A whole lot cheaper.  You can install a 9000btu heating/airconditioning split for under USD$500.  A 12000 for USD$600.  The same system installed in Toronto is USD$2200.  I guess 110v costs a lot more than 220v (pardon the sarcasm).   

That’s the winter stuff…  tomorrow, I’ll do the more interesting stuff–the things people buy here all year long, that are different or have a different twist, from what we’re used to up north. 


7 Responses to “What’s hot in Montevideo?”

  1. Brazzie said

    How about the showers? Does everyone have a central hot water heater?

    In Brazil, on demand propane water heaters are common in the houses of the wealthy. It is very efficient and inexpensive to operate. Everybody else uses on demand electrical water heaters that are combined with the shower head.

    This ubiquitous combination can be quite dangerous since it is connected to the 220V mains and when faulty in contact to the shower water. So I was wondering if those are common in UY as well.

  2. urufish said

    There’s a significant difference between Uruguay and Brazil then. On demand is rare here.
    Your average Uruguayan will have a small to medium sized electric, hot water tank for the house. They often turn them off when they go out or go away.
    I’ve never seen a propane unit here. I’ve seen some on demand electric systems in the stores, but I’ve never seen them in use in anyone’s house or apartment.

    The last time I used an on demand hot water system was in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta. The condo I stayed in had a huge one. You could run 2 showers simultaneously without the water going cold. The system we put in this house can be figured as an demand system, but it couldn’t handle 3 showers at once in ‘on demand’ mode. I know it sounds a little North American, but the architect didn’t want us complaining to him when we had friends visit. So he installed it in non-demand mode. Also gave me an electric backup in case Bolivia cuts off the gas to Uruguay one day.

  3. Enzo said

    Membranas (roof waterproofing)Yeah, just like here, people procrastinate. Roofers are busiest right after a windy rain storm. People see water coming in from their roof and go outside to pick up shingles and call the roofers.

    I love on demand hot water heaters, my favorites are from Takagi. They make a great product. Their Flash T-H1 is 95% efficient.

    Be sure to also check out their Fresh Seat product for those living without a bidet.

  4. urufish said

    I’ve seen this bidet setup before. Not sure if it was this brand but it sure looked like it. First time I heard about it was when we bought out a company that lenders closed down. The owner had invested a ton of money to bring these into Canada and no one was interested in selling it. 2nd time was a couple of years ago. Saw it in a plumbing wholesaler in Toronto. It actually looks better in real life.

  5. Harry said

    You can see some display ads online on El Pais Digital. About half way down the first page of the site is the front page of that day’s paper. It’s call the El Pais E-Paper. If you click on it and follow the instructions (in Spanish) you will get whole pages of that day’s issue.

  6. urufish said

    I confess to being guilty of not investigating the El Pais site fully. I get to it rarely since I moved here. I’ve got the TV, the radio and friends, all bombarding me with the news of the day.
    Compared to other digital paper sites I’ve visited, (Canada mostly), it’s very cool. The way they turn pages is very smart.
    I’m willing to bet those advertisers are paying to be in the E-edition. I’ve never seen this with the Gallito supplement.

  7. wow! your Blog is just RICH! that is the term! i’ve been looking for a website which could teach me more about uruguay but i never cross one! thanks so much!

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