California dreaming The Spanish or Spanish revival style house abounds in the state of California. That shouldn't be a surprise since the state was once part of Mexico and approximately 5.5 million people in California speak Spanish. The style, with its tile roof, stucco or adobe brick walls and soft edges, calls to mind a hacienda in Spain, the ranch house of a large estate in Mexico, or the mysterious dwellings of Morocco.
Noticeable features The prominent features of the style are arched doorways and passages, low pitched roofs and glazed or unglazed ceramic roof tiles. The floors are usually tiled in artistic patterns and carved stone or cast cement decorative figures may peer out from nooks and crannies. The home itself is often built around an open patio that, in the traditional style, is usually filled with an exotic array of potted plants.
Earthquake concerns Buildings settle and shift, and California, Arizona and New Mexico, places where the style is most popular, are all prone to seismic activity. If your building has large, flat stucco surfaces, you'll have to repair cracks on a regular basis. Stucco can also seal in moisture and you should have the interior of the walls monitored every few years.
Adobe and baked adobe are easier to maintain in this respect, but may also need occasional small repairs.
Temperature protection Ceramic roof tiles are beautiful and also provide great insulation against extremes of temperature, but they do require regular inspection. Replace cracked tiles and re-tar the edges of any that have slipped out of place.