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Helpful Tips for Concrete Pumping In Cold Weather

Posted by on Sep 22, 2015 in Uncategorized |

One challenge that many contractors face is work delays that compel them to operate in extreme temperatures. For instance, you may find yourself using a concrete pump during winter. This article discusses some tips that a new concrete contractor will find useful if he or she ever has to work in cold weather. Use Hot Water Concrete can freeze in the hopper or boom when temperatures drop during the concrete pouring process. Once the concrete freezes, it will become impossible for you to continue pumping normally until the frozen portions are removed. This can cause a major setback to your work schedule unless you take steps to prevent it from happening. One way of preventing concrete from freezing during cold weather is to use very hot water as you prepare the concrete mix. This tip applies even if you are getting already prepared concrete from another source. The hot water will keep the mixture warm as it is delivered or pumped at the site. Pre-Heat the Unit Another trick you can use to avoid dealing with frozen concrete is to make use of the exhaust stack of your concrete pump. Buy an exhaust hose that was designed to cope with very high temperatures. Get that hose and connect it to the exit point of the concrete pump’s exhaust pipe. Put the other end of the heat-resistant hose at the tip of the pump’s boom and let the heated air exit via the hopper. That heated exhaust air will heat the pipeline and the concrete that you later pump will not freeze in the system. Ensure that there are no obstructions as you use the exhaust air to heat the pipeline; otherwise, you will end up straining the engine of your truck with the back pressure from the exhaust. Insulate the Boom Pipeline An alternative way to avoid frozen concrete is to wrap the boom pipeline in insulating material. The most common material is foam tube. Cut the foam tube and wrap it around the boom pipe, then tape it in place. That insulation will do a good job of protecting the pipeline from the cold outside. The concrete you pump through the boom pipe will flow normally (as it does during warmer weather). Consult a concrete pump hire company for additional tips on how to ensure trouble-free pumping during cold weather, and you will soon become as good as the concrete pumping pros who have been at it for...

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Ensuring Accuracy: Five Questions to Consider Before Getting a Soil Test

Posted by on Sep 10, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Before you test your soil, you should make sure that you are well prepared and that you collect the sample correctly. That lowers the risk of mistakes and boosts your chances of getting the accurate info you need. To prepare yourself, take a look at these questions: 1. What are your concerns? Soil tests focus on a number of different issues. If you are planning to plant a garden in the area, for example, you may want to test the soil’s pH levels, but if you are erecting an apartment block, you may want to test for toxins such as lead. Identify what you want tested, and make sure the lab you select screens for that particular issue. 2. When do you need to use the soil? Keep in mind that testing takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how far you have to send the sample and how quickly the lab tests it. Then, addressing any elements in the soil takes a while as well. Ideally, you should test the soil months before you plan to use it. For example, if you are preparing for gardening, plan to test in the fall or spring to be ready for planting in the summer. 3. Has the soil recently been adulterated? If you have recently put fertiliser on the soil or just removed waste from its surface, those things can impact the quality of the soil, and as a result, you may not get an accurate reading from your test. If your soil has recently been adulterated with fertiliser or anything else, call the lab before submitting a sample and see what they advise you to do. 4. Are your tools clean? Once you know what you are looking for, have chosen the right time and are confident your soil hasn’t recently been treated, it is time to collect your soil sample. You need clean tools to ensure that you don’t have contaminants or particles from other places or other patches of soil. 5. Is the soil dry? Ideally, before you start digging, make sure the soil is relatively dry. Wet soil doesn’t test well. If your soil is slightly wet, dig beneath the surface (about the depth of a spade) in several spots. Then, pour those spots together on a piece of newsprint and let them dry. Let them dry in the air. Don’t put them in the oven to dry out. For more tips, contact a local soil...

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Builder’s Risk Insurance

Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Builder’s risk insurance, also commonly referred to as course of construction insurance covers the property that is under construction. The builder’s risk insurance coverage will vary from one construction project to another due to the diversity and uniqueness in design and complexity of construction buildings. This coverage is necessary for builders as well as construction contractors as it covers for unforeseen. When do you need builders risk insurance? Builder’s risk insurance is recommended for all builders carrying out construction projects as protection of investment from unforeseen risks. However, it is necessary for contractors dealing with materials that are fragile or prone to damage. It is also important for construction projects that are carried out in areas with severe weather changes that could risk damage of construction material. Extent of coverage To what extent does a builder’s risk insurance coverage protect your investment? This policy offers the following coverage to builders. Property damage. This policy covers property such as construction materials, machinery and equipment, scaffolding, landscaping and temporary construction structures in case of damage. Theft. In some instances, the builder’s risk insurance will cover theft of construction materials. However, before getting this coverage, the construction site should be protected against intruders through installation of fencing and a gate. Other damages. Natural disasters such as floods, fires, hailstorms and lightning as well as damage or losses as a result of workers’ negligence in the course of construction work are also covered by this insurance policy. Remember, due to the different needs of each construction project, the builder’s risk insurance coverage can be tailored to meet the specific builder’s needs. You can exclude or include some risks in the policy depending on the type of exposures experienced on the job site. What is not covered? It is important to note that the builder’s risk insurance policy does not offer coverage for everything in a construction site. For instance, it does not offer coverage to other people’s property. In case of third party damage, the builder will be required to handle the cost. Alternatively, one can acquire a general liability insurance coverage that covers third party property in the event of damage. Builder’s risk insurance covers construction material, labor costs and the complete value of the structure, but not the value of the land on which the project is carried out. It is only in force during the period insured and for which the building is under construction. The coverage can be extended where the period projected is shorter than construction period. If you are looking to start building, make sure that you are insured with risk insurance. And for more information, talk with professional builders, like those at Vinmar Homes, for their experience and...

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Troubleshooting and Repair Tips for a Timber Sash Window

Posted by on Aug 19, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Timber or wood windows can be a very handsome and classic choice for a home, and they coordinate well with wood trim and other such features. However, timber sash windows can warp over time or suffer other damage more easily than vinyl or any type of plastic. The good news is that it’s often easy to repair these windows, either on your own or with the services of a professional repairperson. Note a few tips for timber sash window repairs so you can tackle the job on your own or know what to expect by way of repairs. 1. Heaviness Windows work with weights that are usually attached by a cord behind the window frame. When you push the window up, the weights counterbalance this to keep it in place and also provide tension when you close the window so it doesn’t just slam shut. If the cords have lost tension, the window may be very sticky as the weights don’t want to move. There is usually a small access panel in the window frame that you can pop open and access the cords; these can be replaced so they work as they should. When you remove the window from the frame, you may see the weights attached to the window frame itself. Check the cord for lost tension and if it seems slack, it needs to be replaced. 2. Sticking If windows stick but don’t feel heavy, this might be because the wood has warped slightly. When this happens, it cannot easily slide up and down the tracks of the frame. Sanding the window sash can make it fit better in the frame. You can remove the window from the frame and use a level to check all four sides, and note which area may need to be sanded. Be sure to sand the entire side so it’s even and use your level to check it before replacing the window. 3. Splintering Splintering is not uncommon for timber sash windows. You can chip up a splintered area with a chisel and then fill the hole with wood putty. After the putty has dried, sand it down completely along with the area around the hole and then re-stain or repaint the area so it all matches.  If the hole created with the chipping of the splintered area is too big to fill in with putty, you may need to replace this part of the window itself. You can take the window out of the frame and pull away the one section, then replace it with a matching timber piece. Paint or stain the new piece so that it matches the wood of the...

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Handy Maintenance Tips for Your Asphalt Paving

Posted by on Aug 10, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Embarking on driveway renovations either through resurfacing or complete replacement can prove to be quite a costly affair. As such, most homeowners would rather avoid that completely. To ensure that any asphalt paving remains in good condition, you would have to take a proactive approach in its maintenance. The moment you begin noticing small signs of deterioration in your paving, it is time to start considering ways to remedy the problem. Here are some handy maintenance tips for your asphalt paving. Clean the paving religiously A common mistake people make is assuming since the paving is for the outdoors then there is no point in keeping it clean. However, getting rid of dirt and debris is not simply for aesthetic reasons. If left undeterred, the rocks, leaves and other debris will start causing the deterioration of the surface of your paving. Once the surface begins to deteriorate, it makes it easier for rainwater to access the sub base of the asphalt paving. This in turn softens it, making it weak and prime for the formation of potholes and cracking of the paving. Getting rid of this debris on a regular basis ensures your paving is not increasingly susceptible to damage over time. Inspect the paving often Other than ensuring the paving remains clean, you also have to keep an eye out for any damage that may have started happening. Spotting inconsistencies such as birdbaths, cracks and more give you ample time to rectify the problem before it escalates. Thus while cleaning the paving, also ensure that you are inspecting it. Fill cracks immediately Another mistake home owners make is waiting for cracks to spread before they embark on filling them. The reasoning behind this tends to be that rather than waste time on a small crack it would be better off to just fix it once it becomes bigger. This reasoning is incorrect though as the bigger the cracks, the more work that has to be put into repairing them. Additionally, bigger cracks give more leeway to damage happening to the sub base of your asphalt paving than smaller cracks do. As such, it is best to arrest the problem as soon as it happens if you would like your asphalt paving to remain in pristine condition for a longer period of time. Invest in a sealant To extend the life span of your asphalt paving, you would be better off investing in a topcoat sealant. This sealant lessens the risk of damage due to extreme weather conditions, heavy loads and other types of wear and tear. By applying a sealant, you also decrease the number of small repairs that you would have to do on your asphalt paving thus decreasing the time and money spent on its...

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Use Poly Tarps to Make a Kids’ Birthday Party Excellent: Five Games and Ideas

Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Planning a birthday party for kids? If so, add a few poly tarps to the shopping list. Poly tarps can be used in a range of ways for creating fun outdoor party activities for kids. Check out these ideas: 1. Make a simple throwing game Take a poly tarp and cut a range of different shaped holes in it. Line the holes with colored duct tape to reinforce them and paint a point value above each hole. Have the kids throw footballs or foam cricket balls through the holes. Give prizes to the ones who rack up the most points. 2. Get wet with a slip and slide For fun in the sun, turn your tarp into a slip and slide. Position it along a hill if you have one, and tape your hose to the top of the tarp. Kids can run, flop on their bellies and slide down your poly tarp slide. If your ground is flat. Use sprinklers along the edges of the tarp as well as a hose by its head to keep the area wet. 3. Dig a play pond Make the journey down the slip and slide end with a splash by building a kiddie pond at the end. Simply, dig a small pit, and line it with a poly tarp so the water doesn’t absorb into the ground. Fill it with water, and you have a sweet little paddling pool, whether you connect it to a slip and slide or not. 4. Build a water blob If you have little kids at your birthday party and would rather not worry about slips, falls or drownings, make a water blob. Similar to a waterbed, your blob holds water, and kids can tumble on it, bounce on it and roll over it. Fold one poly tarp in half or place two tarps on top of each other. Use several layers of duct tape or waterproof tape to seal the edges together. Leave a small hole and insert your garden pipe into it. Fill the blob with water, remove the hose pipe and seal that final hole. Your blob is ready. 5. Take everyone on a day camping adventure For a fun twist, turn your backyard birthday party into a day camping adventure. Turn a few poly tarps into tents – kids love to play games that involve playhouses or homemade shelters. Build a fire and roast sausages for lunch and marshmallows for dessert. Give fun gifts such as compasses or other camping essentials as party favours....

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3 Tips on Designing an Extension for Your Home

Posted by on Jul 17, 2015 in Uncategorized |

You may want a larger home, but you don’t necessarily want to get involved in the process and expense of buying a larger home. Another option is to design a building extension for your current home. Yes, renovations are expensive, but they are a lot less costly than the price of a new home. This will give you the space you need, and it is going to add to the resale value of your home. Before you can get into the actual building process, you need to consider three things: design/planning, and your budget, and your neighbours. The Designing/Planning Process When you are designing building extensions, you need to think about the way your home currently looks, and create a design that is going to go with and complement what you already have. Look at the main features on your home, such as the siding or shingles and the roof, and make sure that your design includes the same building materials, or at least as close to the same as possible. Windows and doors should also match. You will also need to make sure that the roof of the new section isn’t higher than your existing roof, or you may need to get special permits, or not be able to use that particular design at all depending on local building regulations. Your Budget While you are working out the design of the building extension, you need to keep your budget firmly in mind. It is important that you are realistic. You may want certain things to be included in the design, but the design won’t be realistic if you can’t afford to create it. You may need to take out a loan or line of credit to build the extension, but you don’t want to over-extend yourself. Your budget should also include extra money in case there are any problems that crop up during the construction that weren’t planned for. If you are handy with tools, you can save a lot of money by doing a lot of the work yourself. Your Neighbours Another thing you need to consider when designing a building extension is your neighbourhood. Your extension should not clash with other buildings in the neighbourhood. It is actually a good idea to let your neighbours know that you are planning on building an extension. That way, if they have any concerns they can let you know and you can work things out before there are any real problems. They will also be made aware that there is going to be a significant amount of noise, so there won’t be any noise complaints once you begin construction. For more tips on how to get started, contact companies like Destin...

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DYI Projects | Top ways to finish timber products

Posted by on Jul 6, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Wood products can have a very fantastic look. They bring out a traditional feel that many people love whether on doors or as structures in their home such as the dining table. However, they are vulnerable to moisture and can be greatly affected by bugs. That’s why a finish is applied to the products. Any timber DYIer needs to know about the different kinds of wood finishes that are available and how they impact any piece of timber. Here’s a list of some of the most useful timber products available for your projects: Green Wood Finishes These are finishes meant to be Eco-friendly. They include natural oils and wax and such finishes would be your best option if you are the kind of person that loves living green. However, synthetic alternatives made out of wax and oils are also present. Natural wood finishes normally soak deep into your piece of timber. This makes it extremely difficult to remove so you need to think long and hard before using these kinds of finishes. They exist in a wide variety and you can decide to pick a clear coat, or one that has got a bit of gloss and colour. Varnish This is meant to be a both preservative and decorative finish and you can choose to get either a clear coating or coloured one depending on your tastes and preferences. They normally have their instructions well written depending on the different manufacturers but in most cases, you’ll have to apply more than one coat for a terrific finish. Also use a soft brush for the best result. Stains These ones provide more of a decorative look than a protective one. They soak deep into the piece of timber and darken it considerably giving it a fresh look. You can also get stains that darken the wood to different degrees and there are oil based and water based finishes available. For extra durability, add a varnish layer on top of it and ensure you apply stains to clean, bare wood if you wish to get the best results. Dye Dyes are used to enhance the natural colour of the timber or even out the different shades that may exist on the wood. Additionally, you can also mix dyes up so as to match a particular colour and that is one main advantage that they offer. However, dyes are best used in the interiors and if you want to increase the timber’s durability, then add some...

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How Dirty AC Filters Increase Operating Costs

Posted by on Jun 25, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Ducted air conditioners rely on several air filters to remove particulates like dust and allergens from the air that is circulated in your home. If these filters are not cleaned regularly, the dirt that accumulates will drive up your costs of using that air conditioning system. This article discusses some of the ways by which dirty AC filters increase costs. Use this information as a driving force to prompt you to clean the filters regularly in order to keep operating costs low: Slowing the Fan Blades When dirt accumulates within your ducted air conditioning system due to irregular filter cleaning, the fan blades can become impeded. This is because the dirt will build-up on the blades, making them heavier than they should be. The heavy blades will require more energy to move so your energy bill is likely to keep creeping up. Reduced Airflow When air filters are clogged with dirt, the airflow within the ducted air conditioning system will be negatively affected. This is because the vents in the system will also become clogged with dirt. You will change to higher AC settings in order to get better conditioning of the air within your home. Those higher settings mean that the system will have to work harder to deliver the results you desire. Higher operation means higher costs. Parts Failure Accumulated dirt can wreak havoc on several ducted air conditioner parts. For instance, the dirt can cause the dirty filter to be sucked into the blower assembly. This can lead the fan to jam, causing overheating in the blower unit. That overheating can destroy the blower unit components necessitating expensive repairs. A fire may even break out within the unit once overheating takes place. Frost Build-up Dirty filters create opportunity for frost or condensate to accumulate within the ducts of the AC system. That condensate develops because air pockets stand for long in some parts of the piping due to the system clogging up. The condensate will eventually damage the ducts and you will have to overhaul the system sooner than would have been necessary. Each ducted air conditioning system comes with a manual that provides guidelines for the cleaning or replacement of air filters. Follow the given recommendations or ask your HVAC technician to advise you on the best way to keep the air filters working. Such preventive maintenance will save you from the high operational costs that result from dirty air filters. To learn more, contact a company like Ridge...

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How Does a Split System AC Differ from a Window AC Unit?

Posted by on Jun 12, 2015 in Uncategorized |

If you want to install a ductless air conditioning system, you have two options to choose from. You can install a window air conditioning unit or you can opt for a split system AC unit. This article discusses how these two systems differ. Construction The most obvious factor that differentiates a split system air conditioner from a window unit is the construction. The compressor, evaporator, expansion valve and all other components of the window AC system are all contained in one enclosed box. This box is then placed on a windowsill or in an opening that has been cut into an external wall. The split system air conditioning unit is built differently. It has two separate sections that are placed in different locations. The first section is the outdoor unit. This unit contains the “hot” components of the air conditioner. These include the condenser coil, the compressor and the expansion tube. The outdoor unit is placed on an external wall or any other raised surface close to the room that you wish to cool. The second section is the indoor unit. It contains the “cold” components of the AC system. These include the air filter, the cooling coil and the blower. Tubing and electrical cables connect the two units. Capacity Another difference between a window unit and a split system unit is in their capacity. A window AC unit can only cool one room. This is because its components are small due to the wish to house them within the same box. Split system units can cool one or two rooms because they have a bigger compressor and bigger coils. This larger size is possible because the system is contained within two separate boxes (the indoor box and the outdoor box) so there is more space available for bigger components. Noise Level Window units emit more noise for room occupants. This is because all components like the fan and compressor are found on the window so it is easy for the noise to be heard by room occupants. Split system air conditioning units are less noisy for room occupants. This is because the outdoor unit having noise-emitting components (like the compressor) can be placed far from the window of the room being cooled. As you can see, there are both structural and functional differences between these two kinds of air conditioners. Use those differences to choose the best AC system for your needs. For more information about your options, contact split system air conditioning installation...

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Tips on How to Protect Your Landscaping Work With Proper Drainage

Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Well-manicured gardens are the pride and joy of every landscaper. It takes time, money and a great deal of dedication to finally carve out your garden into your dream outdoor space. However, your landscaping efforts do not just stop at a beautiful garden. You need to put in some effort to ensure your garden remains in good condition by installing drainage systems. Read on to see how and why you should do this. Why is a drainage system so important? Unfortunately, many people only focus on the looks of their garden and forget about the vital drainage infrastructure needed. Just like with paving, water can cause considerable damage if not controlled and drained off well. In your landscaped garden, water is inevitable. Your garden/lawn/turf will get direct water from rain, indirect rainwater from gutter downpipes and water from the adjacent compound like a patio. If not controlled or drained, this water will ruin your garden and make it unusable. Your garden will pool with water, valuable top soil will get eroded and your plants will be damaged. How to properly install drainage systems There are several types of drain systems you’ll need in your garden: Drain channels are vital for collecting water along points where your garden borders a paved area, like a driveway, footpath or patio. The channels can be made of concrete or plastic. On top, they are covered with grates that allow continuous water inflow. Drain coils are usually laid under your garden. These are used for two different functions. One, they are used to collect storm water from the gutter downpipes and drain it to collection points. Two, drain coils are also used to collect water from the lawn surface through several strategically placed drain points. Water collected from drain coils can be channeled into the storm water system, septic tank or a pond. Advantages of landscape drainage Thanks to a drainage system in your garden, you can keep your grounds useable 24/7 even after heavy rains. Your garden will not flood and create an eyesore in your home. Such damage can cost you a lot of money and necessitate corrective landscaping.   A drainage system will not ruin the look of your garden. As said earlier, drain coils are installed underground where they are out of sight. Drain channels, too, are installed underground and covered with grates at ground level. Your drainage system will not need frequent maintenance like your garden grounds. Your drain coils and channels will simply serve their function independently and without much input from you. If you don’t have a drainage system in your garden, consult companies like Quincan Quarries for supplies, tips and assistance. Protect all your hard landscaping efforts with this simply...

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