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Category Archives: Home Improvement

Modern Home with Classic Brick

Now one thing that we too have noticed is the advancement of our housing. No matter how cool or quirky our generation strives to be, nothing will ever replace the feeling of coming home to a warm, comfortable home filled with memories and home-made delights.

However, some of these new ‘housing’ programmes we see, the ones with run down sheds being transformed into distorted castles, depict a new modern take on how our houses should look. They promote the remote, still, empty, plain and clinical feeling through their ‘homes’. Aluminium houses and an entire wall made out of glass isn’t too appealing, we agree with the elderly generation with this: let the brick stay!

Warm, cosy and durable; the brick is a material that has proven to be a success and it should live on. The thought of the ‘TV trend’ catching on would be a somewhat mini disaster, the thought is of coldness; pure white walls may appear clean but they are certainly chilling.

So what are the perks of brick? Why does this material belong in a shiny new world?

Well, first of all brick houses are less maintenance. You will never have to fear the presence of decay or rotting, durability is on the bricks’ side; along with convenience for yourself and also the economy.

As you will be aware, bricks are a lot more energy-efficient. Imagine the money it would cost to heat up a ‘modern’ house, the condensation on the inside of that glass wall would certainly not justify the money spent! Brick will keep your warm in the winter and cool in the summer; this will of course decrease your bills and increases your fire safety.

Foundations Fixed

Concrete leveling is what all homeowners should know about. Concrete leveling is when a company comes to a home or office and levels the concrete around the house and street so that it does not crack or get destroyed. By using leveling companies, you will ensure yourself and your family that your house or office is not going to be literally, torn from beneath you. These companies will smooth out all of the concrete so that it can fix all minor – and major – issues of the house. Concrete leveling is the same for everybody everywhere but concrete leveling should be paid close attention to and all residents should consider their concrete around their house.

Foundation repair is another thing that all homeowners should know about – this option will fill and repair the cracks and tears within the foundation of the house. This will stop all further cracking and will prevent the house from being completely destroyed. This will make your house last longer and continue to bring you joy for many years to come.

Mudjacking is another option for foundation repair – when enlisted; this service will pour mud into the cracks and crevices of the foundations and concrete of the house and street. Mudjacking will prevent your house from being destroyed and will help it to last longer. When the mud is poured into the cracks, it will close them up and your concrete will be as good as new.

Do not wait until it is too late to enlist these services. Citizens of America, please take note about these issues and review your own house or office to see if these need to be done. Concrete leveling, Mudjacking, and Foundation Repair should always be the first consideration about how to maintain your house and office. By using these services, you are ensuring your family and co-workers that they will not have to worry about the building having something go wrong but that it will be fixed and better than ever.

Removing Mold

One way to tell if you have or are starting to have basement mold is you may smell a musty odor even if you just cleaned the area. Many cases of typical basement mold are characterized by the appearance of bluish, black, or white spots that might appear to be raised or have a fuzzy look. These spots can appear anywhere and can be porous or organic. If you should notice that the paint is peeling off your basement walls you should check for mold. Having a basement water leak from pipes can also cause a mold problem in your furniture, ceiling, or carpet.

When you notice that you have basement mold you should not ignore it but try to solve the problem as quick as you can to avoid affecting anyone with health issues. Before you begin to clear away the mold make sure that you are wearing gear to protect yourself, especially gloves and a face mask. When you start to clean to get rid of the mold you are going to have to take every thing out of your basement. This includes your carpet, any storage units whether they are metal or made of cardboard boxes, furniture, appliances, etc. Once you get everything out in the sunlight inspect everything very closely. If it really affected by the basement mold, get rid of it. What you can you need to make sure that you clean it thoroughly and let it stay in the sunlight for several days. You can either clean your carpet with a cleaner that removes mold, using a steamer, or it if is too bad, you may have to throw it away.

Once everything is out you need to check to see if there is a basement water leak and if so, take care of it. The next thing you need to do is apply basement mold remover on the floors and walls. After you have cleaned everything dry the entire basement with a humidifier. Cleaning the basement is not enough to prevent basement mold so be sure to use a dehumidifier often in the basement and check regularly for any leaks. Taking these steps will help prevent basement mold.

Basement Waterproofing Is Crucial

Natural calamities can become disasters

If you reside in a hurricane prone or heavy rainfall area, then you must not neglect waterproofing your basements. This is because these areas are vulnerable to flooding. Excess water from the ground might seep in through the basement easily. Rainwater can enter through the cracks which already exist in the wall and cause seepage. Also, hydrostatic pressure is created when the flood water forms puddles in the earth surrounding the foundation walls. Over time, the water is pushed over the wall due to the pressure, and can lead to flooding of the basement. This makes basement waterproofing a must in such areas.

Property Damage

If you like to use the basement to store equipment, books and furniture, or have a garage or wine cellars at the basement, it is important to get the area waterproofed. If you don’t waterproof, the water seeping in can ruin your belongings, especially if they are made out of wood.

Infestations

Check for mold growth in the basement and the surrounding areas. If you find the growth, you need to hasten and waterproof your basement. Damp areas act as breeding platforms for microorganisms and contaminants. Different kinds of mold breed beneath damp and padded carpets or in between the walls. The most dangerous contaminant is the black mold since the high levels of toxins present in it can cause death. You must be extremely cautious about areas which tend to be wet most of the times since they can cause serious health hazards. If you cannot handle these infestations, hire professionals who possess expertise in waterproofing and decontaminating your basement.

Grading and Sloping

If the area surrounding your home does not slope away from the basement, water could seep into it and create a lot of damage. The best way to avoid the problem is to spend some money getting the slope fixed. If not possible, waterproofing can be the only way out. You need robust internal as well as external waterproofing in order to prevent damage.

All about Helical Piers

A helical pier is truly a very flexible and versatile tool. It has many uses and does its job well; it’s easy to use and predictable. It functions reliably as it should without negative side effects. Additionally, new uses are being found for this wonderful tool all the time.

Helical piles are a great long-term solution. If a retaining wall or basement wall is tipping, for example, the installation of helical piers can stop the movement and possibly even pull the wall back toward being straight.

These flexible foundation tools have many uses. If a foundation is needed but the soil will not support a traditional spread footing, a helical can be pre-installed. When the concrete footing or grade beam is poured on top of the pier, the concrete will be stable and able to hold the load of the new structure.

Additionally, helical piers can be used in interesting ways, including use:

  • As tie-downs for signs that need wind overturn resistance
  • As resistance for guy wires
  • As lateral resistance to prevent down-hill sliding
  • As a method of soil stabilization
  • As soil nails
  • As building support over water sites such as a boat garage
  • As temporary supports in applications where the pier must be removed after the work is complete

Helical piers are installed using hydraulic pressure in a very unobtrusive way, creating absolutely no vibrations or loud noises. The installation process does not make an unsightly and costly mess, and the piers are almost always non-visible in the finished state. They can be installed in the tightest of conditions accurately and quickly by using hand-held motors. Both the correct position of the piers and the required angles of installation are easy to achieve.

The hydraulic pressures are monitored and used to indicate precisely the achieved capacity of the pier. Because of this, installers can be confident that required loads are achieved without unnecessary additional material costs, but also assures them that there is enough bearing.

There are many sizes of helical piles and various helical plate combinations. This allows installers to match load requirements and soil conditions, as well as any access limitations, with a minimum amount of difficulty.

Tips Manage Flooded Basement

A basement flood can vary from a few centimeters of water to knee height or more. It depends on what causes the flood. As with any flood damage you want to remove the water as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of mold and any further damage to the property.

When you head down to the basement and notice that the area is flooded, it’s understandable that you go into complete panic mode. But try and keep a cool head, there is a lot that needs to be done to reduce the risk of further damage.

Start by turning off any power that leads to the basement. Maybe you use the basement for laundry or you’ve converted it to a home office, whatever you use your basement for, you want to turn off the power straight away. Everyone knows that electricity and water don’t mix.

With the power turned off you can venture into the waters below. Be careful where you step and remove any items that are completely free of water damage. Boxes, photographs, furniture, basically anything that has no water damage should be removed from the area as quickly as possible.

When you head back down take towel or cloth with you. Any smaller items that are slightly damp, but can be saved, should be wiped dry before removing them from the flooded basement.

Larger items that are soaked or slightly wet, should be wiped down as best as possible and moved to a dry location with plenty of air ventilation to help them dry. The sooner they start drying out the risk of mold is reduced. Remember not all items will be salvageable.

Once you have cleared your flooded basement it’s time to start removing all the water. A light flood can be cleaned up within an hour or two, but deeper floods can take a day or more.

Start by removing all the water, you may get away with a mop and bucket for small floods, but larger ones may require the entire family getting involved, carrying buckets of water out of the basement.

With the water removed it’s time to mop the area to get any excess water out of the space. As you probably know water can cause mold and some mold can cause serious health consequences. It’s important that you ventilate the area as quickly as possible.

Not all basements have windows that can be flung open to allow air flow, chances are you will need to collect as many fans as you can, placing them around the flooded basement and allowing them to circulate the air and get the drying process started.

As the flooded basement dries, it’s your chance to determine what caused the flood in the first place. Is there a space in the corner where the rain is getting through? Did the washing machine leak when it was draining? Is the water coming from a burst water pipe either inside or outside of the property?

If you are unsure on what caused the flooded basement, it’s advisable to get a team of professionals in to check the cause, so it can be repaired quickly and reduce this risk of this happening in the future.

If after a day you notice your basement isn’t drying out even with fans going and the window open, you may want to call in a professional team that can dry the area for you to reduce problems in the future.

Fibreglass Insulation In Cellar

1. Ruined by water and moisture

Much like a sponge, fibreglass absorbs water and humidity. As a result, it can become saturated with moisture via basement flooding, water leaking through walls, or simply from the high humidity levels that occur in this below-grade space.

2. Sagging and falling down

Wet fibreglass loses nearly all of its insulating value. Adding moisture to fibreglass transforms a light, fluffy material into a heavy material that sags, compresses and often falls out of place. Fibreglass batt insulation installed between ceiling joists in a cellar or basement often ends up on the floor if it gets wet.

3. Supports mould growth

It’s not rocket science to figure out that before too long, wet fibreglass is going to encourage mould and mildew growth, which is very bad news for your health. Mold growth that originates in fibreglass insulation can eventually lead to wood rot in nearby structural lumber, which can threaten the building’s structural integrity.

4. Air circulation

Fibreglass insulation can’t stop air circulation. So the insulation does nothing to stop air leaks that occur around cellar windows and around the perimeter of the cellar or basement. Fibreglass insulation does nothing to stop cold, damp air from leaking into the basement and up into the living space above.

5. Compression and settling

Over time, fibreglass insulation can settle and/or compress. This significantly reduces its insulating effectiveness (referred to as ‘R-value,’ for Resistance to heat transfer). In older fibreglass insulation, the R-value will drop as the insulation settles or compacts. Whether installed in wood-framed walls or between joists, fibreglass batts compress easily and are prone to falling out of place. This not only creates a mess; it also renders the insulation all but useless.

Helical Pier Usage

Now this is getting creative. Do you see how one idea leads to more? Posts support many second-story sunrooms. Helicals can support them vertically or tie them back horizontally. Tiebacks lead to other uses. Basement walls often get pushed in by backfill, hydrostatic pressure, freezing, etc. Tie them back with helicals. The same holds true with retaining walls, which include wood as well as concrete and block. Sheet piles, often for industrial uses, can be tied back to keep the soil from collapsing or pushing over the sheet pile.

Temporary walls or walls in construction often need tieback support to resist wind loads during the building process. Consider a retaining wall at the water. Tiebacks can bring true stability during flood times. Speaking of water, how about a boat garage foundation support? Posts for docks are an option also. Helical piers are commonly used on boardwalks. They support the abutments for bridges. Helical piers can be used to suspend utility pipes from sinking or floating in poor soil conditions. They can hold the buildings and other items while adjacent work is completed.

That is not the end of the list, but it goes to show that sometimes a little creativity can expand a good solution like helical piles into a far-reaching fix for all types of problems. If you install piles, get creative! If you’re a contractor needing a helical pier expert, be sure to find one with experience using helical piers in all types of applications. You’ll find that expertise and creativity are a winning combination for a helical pier installer.

Some Types Of Foundation Repairs

Steel Pilings

If you want a material that is more durable for your foundation repair, steel pilings are your best choice. Steel is less susceptible to wear and erosion problems and can last longer than concrete pilings. However, steel pilings can be expensive and there are some limitations to how it can be used effectively.

Chemical/Soil Injection

Another foundation repair method is the use of water-soluble chemicals like ammonium salts and potassium ions. These chemicals prevent the soil surrounding your foundation from absorbing water. This avoids water-related damages on the foundation.

Root Barriers

If you have trees in your property or your house is located near a tree, the roots of the tree may cause foundation problems for you. Root barriers are designed to prevent the roots from pushing or growing into the foundation of the house. The materials often used for this method are sheet materials and solid objects.

Slabjacking/Mudjacking

Slabjacking or mudjacking is a foundation repair method that lifts back the foundation to its original space by pumping underneath it. Polyurethane resin or concrete are the common materials used in this process. This method is perfect for severe erosion issues.

Exterior Concrete Wall

What is happening, water infiltrates the block or the concrete wall and as water evaporates from the surface the mineral deposits are left behind in the form of white substance. Although efflorescence is generally a visual problem, if the efflorescence crystals grow inside and under the surface, it can cause spalling of the foundation wall, which is when the surface peels, pops out or flakes off. The salt pushes from the inside out and can eventually cause crumbling and deterioration.

Efflorescence, water-soluble salts come from many possible sources. First of all; there must be water present to dissolve and transport the salts. Groundwater is often a source of efflorescence. For water to carry or move the salts to the surface there must be channels through which to move and migrate. The more dense the material more difficult for the water to transport salts to the surface. On the other hand, the more porous the material, the greater the ease with which salts are transported and deposited. Salt-bearing water, on reaching the surface of a structure, air evaporates to deposit the salt.

When humidity is low, the water may evaporate before reaching the surface of the structure, leaving the salt deposit beneath the surface, and unseen. When the humidity is high, water evaporation is slower allowing more opportunity for salted to be deposited.

Since humidity has a definite effect on whether or not the salts appear, it can be assumed that efflores­cence is a seasonal problem. The intensity of efflorescence increases after rainy winter seasons, de­creases in spring, and by summer has practically disappeared. This cycle may repeat for months or years, but generally the intensity of the efflorescence decreases in all but very extreme cases, and by about the third year it should be practically eliminated.