Paving Sealer And The Eternal Walk

A picture perfect home is something we all crave for. There are lots of things like courtyard entrances, front porches and landscaped gardens that give a home its wow factor. A beautiful paver adds an astounding element to al-fresco areas with very negligible maintenance costs that last for generations. Deciding on the right paver is…

A picture perfect home is something we all crave for. There are lots of things like courtyard entrances, front porches and landscaped gardens that give a home its wow factor. A beautiful paver adds an astounding element to al-fresco areas with very negligible maintenance costs that last for generations. Deciding on the right paver is very important as it has to complement the surrounding areas as well as its requirement. For eg paver used near the pool area will be very different from a high traffic driveway. Pool areas must be anti-slip whereas a driveway has to withstand oil attacks!

With a history of 5000 years, the oldest paver was found in Giza, Egypt. From that, it is obvious one can certainly know see the reason for their popularity. Among the variety of materials available, bricks, concrete, natural stones etc pavers were the most common. Some of these pavers had an interlocking function as well!

With features like low repair costs, eye-catching looks, climatic resistance and an elongated life, pavers are commonly used in both residential as well as commercial places. Contracts are also in place for maintenance of commercial pavers.

Installation and maintenance play very important roles in order to maintain a comprehensive life for your pavers. One should plan and properly layout the area wherein pavers are to be laid. Removing the soil about one foot from the planned area and then compressing the ground is you're the next step. Then proceed to add several inches of base material like gravel or limestone etc to meet the required thickness specified for your base. Last, but not the least, edging of the pavers is essential to give the distinct look.

There are two types of paving sealer, solvent and water based. Water based paving sealers have the advantage of being environmentally friendly compared to a solvent. These sealers help in enhancing the appearance of the laid pavers as well as give protection. They also help in controlling the growth of wild plants, mosses and algae. Moreover, with the application of a paving sealer, a defensive outer layer appears on the surface which helps in reducing infectivity. Suiting all types of pavers like stones or concrete, paving sealers make it easy for anyone to clean and make it stain free.

In order to apply solvent sealers, few points are to be kept in mind. First, sealing pavers should only be attempted when the surface is dry and should be applied only after 24 hours of installation. One should apply them with the brush and leave the paver to dry for a longer duration. If you think, second coat is required; the time gap between the first and the second should be more than 24 hours. Usually recommended, depending upon their state, sealing pavers should be attempted every two to three years. So, if you think that you own that perfect place with amazing beauty, remember that such beauty requires protection! To maintain that beauty, one does not have to look further than a paving sealer to offer peace of mind!

Versatube Buildings, A Review Of Our Prefab Versatube Garage

My wife and I purchased a Versatube prefab garage kit measuring 20 feet wide by 24 feet long. I did my best to research Versatube along with many other prefab garage kit manufacturers and found that for some odd reason, there were not many reviews available online. If you are a research junkie like me,…

My wife and I purchased a Versatube prefab garage kit measuring 20 feet wide by 24 feet long. I did my best to research Versatube along with many other prefab garage kit manufacturers and found that for some odd reason, there were not many reviews available online. If you are a research junkie like me, you already know that this is the sort of thing that drives you crazy. I determined that regardless of our experience with the construction of our metal garage project, that I would post a review online of the entire process from ordering through to completion.

My family owns a 2 acre recreational property at a nearby lake. We have two ATV's and two PWC's (Sea-doos) and we wanted a garage for storage that was secure and completely maintenance free. Our lake property was bought for relaxing, socializing, and recreation so we did not want the inevitable maintenance involved in a wood frame building. Obviously, re-shingling, painting, or fixing vinyl siding damage was to be avoided if possible. So we decided on a metal prefab garage kit.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE VERSATUBE GARAGE …

We determined that we wanted the building to be portable, and we also wanted to avoid a higher property tax bill. To accomplish this we built a wooden skid foundation (no permits needed and our county does not tax portable buildings). Once the ground was perfectly level, we used sixteen 6x6x12ft pressure treated with 2×6's screwed to both sides to achieve the 24ft length as a base. We then screwed down two layers of 3/4 “plywood as a floor.

Ours has a 7 'x 9' overhead door. We also chose to have one semi transparent sunlight panels on each side of the roof since we like to use small solar panels to charge the batteries in the sea-doos and ATV's while we're away.

I did some horse trading with my neighbor for an almost new man door. The overhead door provided was great. The sunlight panels provided for the roof were a bit disappointing though. They appeared a rather light duty and I worried about hail damage. Sure enough, within the next two weeks we got marble sized hail, and sure enough, about 10 little holes in the sunlight panels. I went to back to the supplier and bought 2 more identical panels (at a much discounted price) and installed them over the originals. Suffice to say, I'd recommend that you ask to double up on the sunlight panels. Who knows, mention this review and they might even throw a couple extras in for free.

The construction video is decent as a primer more of a promotional thing. The instruction booklet was much more useful. There was obviously a lot of effort that went into it. I can not think of any frustrating moments wondering “what the heck do they mean!”.

The moment I saw the Versatube framing system I was impressed (and relieved) by how heavy duty it looked. As a bonus, it is quite simple to assemble. Just slide the pieces together, use some some self tapping screws to solidify, and that's it. Make no mistake though, this is not Lego. While we did not find the construction to be very mentally difficult, you'll definitely need some physical strength and agility to complete this project. A couple of good 8 or 10 foot ladders are a must. You'll also need a good quality cordless drill with a spare battery on the charger. There are several million (slight exaggeration) self tapping screws that hold the prefab garage kit together. A small amount of cutting using tin snips will also be required.

The end result is incredibly nice. It's sturdy, functional, and attractive. Apart from the minor sunlight panel issue, the Versatube prefab garage kit describes a five star rating. It's much easier to build than a traditional wooden garage and of course it's fireproof. Mostly it appeals to the lazy part of me that would rather have fun at the lake than worry about maintenance.

What You Need to Think About When Building a New Home in France

Taking the decision to build a house in France can be challenging. There are a number of factors to consider, especially if you are not a resident of France. But, if you are planning to relocate to the country, building a house is a good option. Prior to building a new house in France, there…

Taking the decision to build a house in France can be challenging. There are a number of factors to consider, especially if you are not a resident of France. But, if you are planning to relocate to the country, building a house is a good option. Prior to building a new house in France, there are a few facts that you should know about:

Cost of building new property

  • In France, the cost of land is quite low when compared to most other countries. This means that for the amount you would spend to buy land in these countries, you will get more in France.
  • When you build new, the deposit you are required to make is quite small, at approximately 5%. This is less when compared to the deposit you have to make when you buy or build a house elsewhere like in the UK.
  • The legal fee is also quite small at 3.5% (near).
  • You can make payments based on the funds you have. In case you are waiting for a mortgage to be approved, you can put the construction on hold.
  • Typically, with new constructions, the only extra cost you will have to bear in addition to the purchase price is the notaire's fee.

Location

  • It is important to find land in a location close to where you work. For instance, if your office is along the French Riviera, you can look for land there. You may find online advertisements for French Riviera property for sale.
  • The land should be located close to facilities like hospitals, supermarkets, restaurants and schools. This way you will be able to easily access these facilities.
  • Inquire wherever the location is likely to go through big changes in the near future like the addition of row houses in an area, which has beautiful cottages. Changes like this can reduce the value of the location and the houses in it. So, it is better to know about this before you purchase the land.

Amenities

When you build a home in France, ensure that it has all the facilities that you will require. This will also increase the resale value of the house. Include facilities like a gym and garage that are likely to draw the attention of potential buyers in case you sell the house in future. When the plan for the house is being drawn up, get involved in it. Inform the building planner about what you want included in the plan for your house.

Constructing an ENERGY STAR Home in PA: What Home Builders Can Do for You

There are many ways to build a more energy-efficient home in PA. Home builders from some companies have the experience and equipment to design and build certified ENERGY STAR® homes that meet the strict standards set by the EPA and the United States Department of Energy. With a total of 2,511 qualified homes built in…

There are many ways to build a more energy-efficient home in PA. Home builders from some companies have the experience and equipment to design and build certified ENERGY STAR® homes that meet the strict standards set by the EPA and the United States Department of Energy.

With a total of 2,511 qualified homes built in Pennsylvania alone in 2010, which have saved energy equal to 7,442,604 pounds of coal, energy-efficient homes are truly a step forward in the “greener” direction. There are currently 172 ENERGY STAR real estate developers in the state, all of which are capable of providing the following energy-efficient features in your new home:

Effective Insulation. Properly installed insulation is one of the most important features of an energy-efficient and comfortable home. Without it, your family can experience excessive heat during summer or extremely cold temperatures during winter. Effective insulation means having a system that completely blankets the home, including its exterior walls, ceiling, and floors. In ENERGY STAR homes in PA, home builders make sure that there are no gaps, voids, or compressions in the insulation and that continuous sealing is reserved to protect the home against moisture damage and condensation.

High Performance Windows. For your energy-efficient home in the Keystone State, home builders can install high performance windows and skylights that allow your family to enjoy the warm and views, while saving on lighting and energy costs. Also, ENERGY STAR qualified window treatments can effectively protect your home's interior and prevent furniture, flooring, and photographs from discoloring after prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Close-fitting Duct Systems. Improved comfort, lower energy and equipment costs, and improved indoor air quality are just some of the benefits of efficient duct systems that ENERGY STAR-qualified PA home builders can provide. They have your ducts third-party tested and verified for tightness and proper insulation to ensure that leaks, cracks, and holes in the system are preverted or fixed before they cause a big problem.

Efficient Heating and Cooling Equipment. Aside from requiring less energy to do its job, green heating and cooling systems are also a queter and more effective in increasing the overall comfort in your home.

For your energy-efficient house in PA, home builders can design and build elements and features that are surprisingly affordable, and effectively increase the comfort and livability of your family's personal space. Make sure to enlist the services of company that is trusted and recognized in the industry; they are more experienced and better equipped to choose and install the right energy-saving features for your home.

How to Choose Your Custom Home Lot

Right now is an excellent time to find money-saving deals not only on a home or a building, but also on a lot where you might build a home of your own. And when you are thinking about buying a lot for yourself, let me tell you, when you build a home custom or not,…

Right now is an excellent time to find money-saving deals not only on a home or a building, but also on a lot where you might build a home of your own. And when you are thinking about buying a lot for yourself, let me tell you, when you build a home custom or not, the value of that investment will forever be nearly tied with the value of the lot itself. You do not want to just buy a cheap lot. You want to buy a good lot, for cheap. Big difference!

So what makes a “good” lot then? As any experienced real estate person will tell you, the worth of any piece of property can be summed up into location, location, location. Where the lot is much more important than what is on it, especially if what is on it is nothing and will soon be you own custom-built home.

1) The Neighborhood

Take a drive, or better yet a walk, around the streets around the lot. What do you see? Does it give you a good feeling, or do you want to push down the locks on your car doors? Are the other houses around the neighborhood well-kept? Are they more or less the same size and shape as the home you're looking to build? Do the people look friendly and close to your own social situation?

2) The views

Nothing immediately adds value to a property than an amazing view. Picture what sites you would be able to see while perched on the second or third third-story window of your future house. Also, try to gauge how likely it is that an even further-off construction could actually block those views; that's a definite hit to your property value you would be taking.

3) Conveniences and amenities

How near is the nearest grocery store to your potential lot? How near is the nearest hospital? How long do you need to drive before you get to a nice restaurant street, or the big chain stores? These are things that will come up for you again and again as you live in a house built on that lot. Even though this might not be something that naturally pops into your mind right now, you can be sure you'll be regretting it if you make a wrong decision about this in the future, no matter how great your house turns out.

Good deals are all around us in these days of a depressed economy. Speculators and bad borrowers have brought us to a place where values ​​are much less than what they should be. However, this does not mean we can just run out and be taken in by what looks to be an amazing deal in the short-term. Indeed, the fact that we have that many deals available to us means we need to take that much more time to evaluate them all and choose the one that is actually good.

By having the previous factors in mind, you can make sure that you are not going into a situation that you will regret, at least. Then to go further than what is in this article, you need to consider factors that are unique to your own buying situation.

The Road To Building Your Dream Home

There is nothing that encapsulates the American Dream quite like taking what you've accomplished in life, and using it to design and build the home of your dreams; the place where you will spend the rest of your life in happiness. Your home should be the one place in the world that is exactly the…

There is nothing that encapsulates the American Dream quite like taking what you've accomplished in life, and using it to design and build the home of your dreams; the place where you will spend the rest of your life in happiness. Your home should be the one place in the world that is exactly the way you life it; that one place where you can always come back to and be yourself, that does not frustrate you and welcomes you instead. When you set yourself on the path to building the home you've always wanted, there are certain things you need to keep in mind.

Planning to Win: A Custom Home Plan vs. A Stock House Plan

While a stock home plan can provide savings of a few thousand dollars, taking the time to develop a custom plan can really pay off in other ways. With a custom plan you have the ability to add and remove features and plans as you wish. Whereas with a stock plan you will simply be buying a PDF or CAD file that you simply hand over to your builder to produce, a custom plan with give you what is called a “Modifiable”, which is a dynamic document where you can make changes at will.

Ask Admission: Getting the Necessary Permits

Our second step, and something that needs to be taken care of before even starting to actually build anything, is making sure you have all the necessary licenses and permits for the locality where you are going to be building. Imagine if you start to build the home of your dreams only to have the whole thing canceled by a city inspector because you forgot to file a form or something. Think of things like sewer permit, water permit, electrical, etc. The only way to know for sure everything you are going to need is to head out to your local county offices and get informed. Alternately, your builder company can take care of this for you.

Plan for the Future: Make Sure Your Plan is Up to Date

With all the recent technological advances, there are many new features a home needs to have planned out and integrated right into its foundations. Things like high-speed internet, fiber optics, Fire alarm power lines (so you do not need to replace batteries on it), etc. are all relatively recent developments in the house building industry, and making sure your home plan is a recent plan that incorporates all fo those which is important.

Finding Your Dream: Choosing the Right Design

Even with all the caveats above, there are literally thousands of great home designs you can choose from, or you can even make one yourself! When choosing how your custom home is going to actually look, think of a visual design that coordinates with your personality and satisfies you an an emotional and spiritual level. You are going to be living there for a long time, after all.

Building the home you've always wanted is a completely attainable goal, even though it might seem a huge one at first. By planning your approach and execution properly, you can make it a reality in less time than you think.

Boundary Walls: How to Design Your Wall, Submit Plans and Materials to Use

Style, Design and Wall Finishes Under “Costs” in the previous Boundary Wall article we discussed a few items that will have impact on the physical design of your construction, these included materials. slope of the terrain and more. Under this heading we'll discuss more of the aesthetic properties of your planned boundary wall. Various styles…

Style, Design and Wall Finishes

Under “Costs” in the previous Boundary Wall article we discussed a few items that will have impact on the physical design of your construction, these included materials. slope of the terrain and more. Under this heading we'll discuss more of the aesthetic properties of your planned boundary wall.

Various styles of walls can be constructed such as Tuscan, Victorian, Spanish as well as more contemporary styles and designs. Very Important here is that boundary wallsought to match or compliment the finish and style of the building to help keep aesthetic uniformity. A timber beach cottage with cast stone boundary walls does not look good, and can have a negative impact on the whole surrounding area.

Materials like natural stone, cast- or imitation stone, concrete, brick pillows, steel and timber may be used in almost any combination to produce the desired effect. Whatever materials you decide on, make sure it adds to the aesthetic value of the house and property.

Take into account the height of your walls and the way it will affect the street view of the home and property. Safety and security measures such as electric fencing is unfortunately a part of most of our lives, but try conceal it and, as previously mentioned, make sure you adhere to Local Council's regulations.

Building Regulations, Plans and Approval

Municipal approved plans are required to construct any boundary- or free standing wall on your property. These plans have to adhere to the design rules of the NBR *, SANS * and Local Municipal regulations and policies.

As one is not allowed to construct anything outside of your own property, no part of the wall or footings may project over the property's boundary line. In case you are unclear regarding your property boundary line, a registered land surveyor should be approached to re-determine and point out the position of your boundary.

Any division or demarcation is a common boundary between to properties. Therefore no existing boundary wall or fencing may be taken away without having the prior written consent from the affected neighbor. Consult with your neighbor first, as the other party has the legal right to object to your proposed alteration or removal of a common boundary division.

Heritage sites have particular restrictions and regulations that must be adhered to. If you know, or are suspecting that your property might have some heritage value, consult your local Municipality or contact the area's Heritage Council. Approaching a private Town Planner can also be considered.

The following SABS * Regulations are applicable to boundary walls and their foundations: SANS 10400-K and SANS 2001-CM2. Your architect or draftsman will know, or can easily get, these regulations and practical implementation of them. Alternatively, visit the SABS website, where these can be purchased.

Many areas have started adopting their own “Boundary Walls and Fences Policies”.

The Stellenbosch Municipality requires, for instance, specifics height of “… a street boundary: – 2.1m high, on condition that 50% of the height of the wall or fence on residential zoned properties must consist of open decorative work to create transparency , consisting of materials as described … “

and

“Additional safety precautions such as razor wire, electrical fencing / wiring, etc. should preferably not be visible from the street and are included in the maximum height for walls and fences …”

The City of Cape Town's policy states “No solid boundary wall will exceed 1.8m in height on a street boundary and 2,1m in height on a lateral boundary; no palisade type fence shall exceed 2,1m in height ….. “

and

“Relaxation of …… requirements ……. at the discretion of the District Manager.” as well as “At least 40% of the surface area of ​​a street boundary wall, including gates ….. must be visibly permeable …”

Note that these are only excerpt from said Boundary Walls and Fence Policy for the two areas. Obtain a copy of your area's at your Local Municipality.

Common Pitfalls

Some common mistakes to be wary of:

Quality of the types of materials used

For instance, if you are building an unplastered wall, bricks need to be of higher quality seeing that they are exposed to the elements. Should you opt for a steel palisade or any other metal type fence, it is good practice to have it galvanized, especially if you live close to the seaside. Timber fines should preferably be a harder wood. This list can be never ending, bottom line is; Do not skimp on materials and spend a little extra to ensure your wall or fence is a longer lasting construction.

Builder to be employed to construct the wall

Make sure they know what they are doing. Get references from previous clients and ask your friends to refer brick layers or contractors they have used. Keep an eye on how often the owner or foreman is on site and, if need be, address any issues before payment date. Some builders will require up front payments. Make sure you do not overpay them and never pay the full contract amount before all construction and finishing is completed.

Local municipal regulations

As mentioned under the first heading of this article, different Municipalities have different policies. Get your plans approved before you construct your boundary wall to prevent penalties and extra costs.

Heritage sites

There are special regulations for any site with heritage or ecological value. Ensure you are in keeping with these.

Added features

The need for security and privacy has led to higher boundary walls. Just keep in mind, high solid wall surfaces may result in a mundane and hostile street view and may also conceal criminals from the public's view. Wall lights and any other decorative work must firstly be of exterior quality and secondly should not be overly expensive and be positioned so it does not entice vandalism or theft.

These are a few examples as this list can become inexhaustible.

Techniques and Processes

Seeing that there are so many different materials and styles for boundary knives and walls, it will be impossible to discuss all of them. Here are a few pointsers:

Maintenance of the wall or fence:

Keep in mind how often and cost maintenance on your chosen product and finish can be.

Brick walls:

  • Mix small batches of mortar to match the rate of construction, allow twenty or so minutes for initial setting. This way your waste on cement and aggregates is minimized, saving you some money.
  • Mix face bricks from a variety of batches to reduce color bonding. This blends the color variation of different batches.
  • Fill all mortar joints solidly and waterproof the top of your wall to decrease penetration of water.

Painted or Bag washed walls:

It's often assumed that unplastered brick wall surfaces that are only to be painted may be constructed with less durable materials, and in some cases, with less attention to craftsmanship than would generally be used for unpainted brick wall surfaces. This is simply not true. When a brick masonry wall is to be painted, the choice of materials, both brick units and mortar, as well as the craftsmanship used in building the wallought to be of the very best quality.

Painting:

Paint supplier's specifications and advice needs to be carefully followed. When choosing colors, get samples made up and paint 1m x 1m samples on your wall to make sure you chose the correct color. If you are handy enough, paint the wall yourself to save some money.

Timber Fences:

Painted wings can be high maintenance. Inquire at your paint supplier regarding the correct product and application method. As far as possible, prevent timber from touching the ground.

Where wooden posts are used, cast a concrete block that protrudes slightly above your garden level, plaster the edges off to slope out, taking water away from your post.

List of Abbreviations:

* NBR: National Building Regulations

* SABS: South African Bureau for Standards

* SANS: South African National Standards

* SACAP: South African Council for the Architectural Profession

Home Improvement Tips for an Environmentally Friendly Pre-Fabricated Steel Building

The first thing we look at is roofing. The best way to make this environmentally friendly is to add solar panels. Basically solar panels are put on your roof in the sun and will collect power without adding any fuel or replacing work out parts. These panels are very popular, modern, green, and used almost…

The first thing we look at is roofing. The best way to make this environmentally friendly is to add solar panels. Basically solar panels are put on your roof in the sun and will collect power without adding any fuel or replacing work out parts. These panels are very popular, modern, green, and used almost everywhere. You might also want to change your roof color of your steel building, research indicates that roof color and the type of material used can help to lower attic temperatures. If you decide to re-roof, consider lighter tiles such as white over the standard shingle roofs and this will reduce heat gain to your attic.

Another great idea is to replace all light bulbs in your building with compact fluorescent ones. Energy-smart bulbs use 70-75% less energy than the incandescent kind and last up to ten times longer! This is just a simple tip but can save you $ 59 dollars on energy costs over the life of the bulb, which can be anywhere from five to seven years. Also, installing motion detectors outside your home rather than leaving outdoor lighting on all night which will only waste energy, money and disturb wildlife.

One of the most important tips here is do not waste water. Always check for leaky faucets and get them fixed if you notice a leak as soon as possible. When doing laundry, try to use cold water as much as you can. Also set a good example for your children by teaching them to turn off water while they brush their teeth. Installing low flow showerheads will cut down on water usage and save energy costs.

When heating and cooling prefabricated steel buildings or your home, invest in a high-efficiency HVAC system that is Energy Star certified and install it in your home. This will reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted and will shave your utility bill. Look for a product with a higher SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficient Ratio). This means that the product meets strict government criteria necessary to be deemed “energy efficient.” The standard is 13 SEER, but many heating and air conditioning products have a rating as high as 18 SEER. Also, cleaning out your air conditioner filters and replacing them regularly will help to reduce costs. If you are not in your home, adjust thermostat to accommodate the changing temperatures outside.

Finally, another good tip is to install more fans in your home. Ceiling fans can help reduce your family's dependence on air condition during the hot summer months. In winter, they push heat down from the ceiling.

Common Building Terms Explained

Perplexed by lintels and REO? Wondering what a bar chair has to do with concrete? Wonder no more. Our glossary of building terms will clarify some of the most common building terminology – and some of the most commonly misunderstood (words in italics in descriptions are also defined in this list). Ag pipe or line:…

Perplexed by lintels and REO? Wondering what a bar chair has to do with concrete? Wonder no more. Our glossary of building terms will clarify some of the most common building terminology – and some of the most commonly misunderstood (words in italics in descriptions are also defined in this list).

Ag pipe or line: these flexible pipes are laid behind retaining walls or under landscaping – they have holes in them to catch surplus water to prevent flooding

Ag sock: a fabric used to cover a pipe to prevent stones and other debris from getting through the holes in the pipe and potentially blocking it

Aggregate: gravel, crushed rock or similar used to make concrete and in drainage and construction

Bar chairs: in construction this is not a stool that you pull up to a bar, but a small plastic or metal device used to support REO in concrete slabs.

Besser / Bessa blocks: a popular type of lightweight but strong masonry blocks

Blue metal: not metal that is colored blue, but a type of aggregate (gravel) used in concreting and drainage.

Cement: the powder mixed with sand, water and aggregate that hardens into concrete

Commons: they are quite common, but this is just a term for cheap, unfinished dry pressed or extruded bricks – typically used where they are not visible or appearance is not important

Damp proof course / damp course: a barrier that prevents damp from rising up walls – different products can be used, including bitumen-coated aluminum and thick black polythene

Defirmed bar: a steel reinforcing bar or rod cast into concrete to strengthen it- 'deformed' reflect to the fact that the surface is indented or ridged to improve the bond with the bar and the concrete

Dry pressed stones: molded bricks that do not have holes in them

Extruded bricks: these bricks have holes in them as part of the manufacturing process (these holes reduce the amount of clay needed to make them and then the cost)

Form: a temporary structure, often a frame made of wood, that keeps concrete in place while it is beloved and while it hardens

Flashing: no need to call the police, in building flashing is simply a strip of impermeable material, typically a soft metal, used to prevent water from entering a joint or cavity

Lintel: a metal or concrete beam or bar which is used above a doorway or window to support the weight of the bricks above. Available in different sizes and shapes.

Mortar: used to fix bricks together and made from a mixture of sand, cement and water.

Render: a finish that can be applied to bricks made from a mixture of sand, cement and clay. Can be painted once cured.

REO: not a misspelling of Rio, although it's pronounced in the same way. This is a concreting term which is short for 'reinforcing' and refer to mesh, bar or steel rods which is used to strengthen or support a concrete slab, including mesh sheets, deformed bars and bar chairs.

Retaining wall: a wall built to hold a slope in place and prevent ground move due to erosion or to create a level area

Retaining wall blocks: blocks purpose-designed for use in retaining walls

Slab: short term often used to refer to a concrete slab

7 Most Architecturally Amazing Buildings In The US

American architecture reflects the rich diversity that has shaped all areas of life in the United States. From Spanish-influenced southern architecture to the English-inspired designs of Virginia and Massachusetts, the suburban arts and crafts style and the Victorian grandeur of early 20th-century homes, American architecture has varied significantly overtime to reflect a range of styles,…

American architecture reflects the rich diversity that has shaped all areas of life in the United States. From Spanish-influenced southern architecture to the English-inspired designs of Virginia and Massachusetts, the suburban arts and crafts style and the Victorian grandeur of early 20th-century homes, American architecture has varied significantly overtime to reflect a range of styles, building materials and Influences. The following seven buildings do not fit neatly into any one style but reflect the sometimes whimsical, ingenious and innovative spirit of American design.

The Basket Building

This Newark, Ohio landmark may be the world's most unique office building. Home to the Longaberger Basket Company, the building is a 180,000 square-foot replica of the company's best-selling basket. While the real thing is less than $ 50, the building cost $ 30 million to construct. No one took owner Dave Longaberger seriously when he proposed constructing a seven-story replica of a basket, but employees moved into the new office on December 17, 1997. The building is a faithful replica, using stucco over steel to achieve a more authentic wood appearance. The interior is less whimsical than the exterior but is no less impressive. A grand staircase and marble flooring lead to the seven-story atrium that fills the space with light.

The Kansas City Public Library

All libraries are full of reading materials, but this Missouri library actually looks like them. The library garage's exterior was designed to look like a bookshelf, complete with massive book bindings. Locals voted on their favorites and chose the Lord of the Rings, Charlotte's Web, The Invisible Man and other tales to create the library's intriguing facade. The mylar book spines measure approximately 25 feet tall and nine feet wide.

Wonderworks

This Pigeon Ford, Tennessee building turns American architecture on its head, literally. The upside-down building rests on its roof while the floor faces up to the sky. The topsy-turvy space houses over 100 interactive exhibits for families to enjoy, including laser tag, educational shows, magic demonstrations and a courses course.

Chapel on the Rock

Seamlessly blending modern architecture with nature, this Arizona Catholic chapel sits within the red rocks of southern Sedona. The building's designer, Marguerite Brunswig Staude, was heavily influenced by her teacher, famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The chapel reflects their love of nature, open spaces and geometric design.

Quadracci Pavilion

Welcoming visitors to the Milwaukee Art Museum is this stunning futuristic design from Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The dramatic 142,050-square-foot space reflect both modern design and old-world craftsmanship. Hand-built concrete flying buttresses, vaults and arches create impressive wings that actually close automatically when high winds are present. The 217-foot long wings are constructed of 72 massive steel fins that make a starting contrast with a blue sky and glisten in the sun. Designed to resemble a ship, the space overlooks nearby Lake Michigan with panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows.

Rose Center for Earth and Space

A true architectural wonder, the American Museum of Natural History's Rose Center for Earth and Space is a stunning example of American ingenuity and design. Located near Central Park in New York City, the center revamped the Hayden Planetarium's design in 2000. The dense glass cube houses the Space Theater, designed by architects James Polshek and Todd Schliemann. The redesigned space is six stories tall and looks to float in midair. The hidden complex truss work below supports the 333,000-square-foot structure. The museum's Western Pavilion is just as stunning and allows visitors to enter the museum through a four-story archway of white glass.

Shoe House

The old woman that lived in a shoe would feel right at home in this Pennsylvania home. Designed to look like a shoe, the 1948 home is 48 feet long, 17 feet wide and 25 feet tall. An actual home, the space features three bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and two full baths. Designer Mahlon Haines originally intended the space to be used as an advertising gimmick but it later became a guest house. Today, the house draws tourists from all over the country that hope to sit at the kitchen's curved breakfast table, which is located in the shoe's heel, and to gaze out over the shoe's tow from the second floor.

Important Information on Contract Reviews!

Once a roof has aged past its expected service life and has begun to show significant wear and tear, the only sensible solution is to have it replaced. The most obvious thing to do at this point is to find a professional roofer. Yet there is one very important detail that is often overlooked and…

Once a roof has aged past its expected service life and has begun to show significant wear and tear, the only sensible solution is to have it replaced. The most obvious thing to do at this point is to find a professional roofer. Yet there is one very important detail that is often overlooked and that is the contract. Disregarding this important detail, either by not reading the written agreement or having no agreement whatever, can result in a myriad of problems, including poor quality workmanship or the lack of a warranty.

What is a Contract?

A contract is a binding agreement between a contractor and a homeowner. It is basically a document that includes all of the information about the project including details that have been provided by the roofer during the estimate phase. The document protects the interests of the building owner in terms of workmanship, quality of materials used, cost of labor and the estimated time frame of the project as well as any applicable warranties, among other things. This is why it is so important to thoroughly review this document before signing it to ensure that any agreed terms that have been discussed have actually been included.

Information to Inspect

One mistake that is made in a construction project is that focus is often on the overall cost of the project without considering how the contractor will actually use the money. While a low quote on a project can certainly get the job done, maybe the material used will not be of a good quality and fail early or the completion date will not be for a reasonable time. To avoid these problems, following are some things that should have been included in a contract before the document is signed and a commitment made.

  • Material Quality – Ask about the quality of materials that will be used as this makes a large difference in the longevity and the overall quality of the entire structure. Some contractors make most of their profit by using commodity materials, which are types of material that are thinner and lower in quality than standard material and has a shorter service life. While the finished product may serve well for the first few years, it will have to be replaced much sooner than might otherwise be expected. Material must also be the type appropriate for the project. Focus should be on building features such as the thickness of insulation that will be used, the type of finish, the thickness of the underlayment, the type of sealants, etc. These can all make a huge difference in terms of durability.
  • Expense Break Down – Request an expense accounting to be sure that everything is within a reasonable price range. Ensure that the amount of material to be used is equivalent to the size of the area that will be replaced. Some contractors often make the mistake of providing a quote without taking measurements of the actual roof itself. This could result in the over-purchase of materials, resulting in unnecessary waste. The opposite problem would have been a shortage of materials, resulting in additional costs and possibly a delay in completing the job within the projected time frame.
  • Cost of Labor – If the quote is relatively low, determine how much of the actual cost is going towards labor. While the contractor describes proper compensation for well-trained workers, high labor costs on a low overall bid usually means that lower quality material will be used. Therefore, it is important to ensure that there is a good balance between labor and material costs.
  • Project Time Frame – This type of job is very time sensitive as it must be done in the shortest amount of time possible in order to prevent any damage to the underlying living space. Be sure that a reasonable time frame is provided and clearly indicated in the contract.
  • Warranty – A finished roof does not always mean that it will be leak-proof. Heat can cause components to move, which could create gaps and cause leaks. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the contractor will provide a warranty of their work on the project for a period of time. A short-term warranty should come at no additional cost; an extended warranty may have a small cost with it.

The replacement of a roof is a laborious, time-consuming and financally exhausting task; however, it can be done with the least amount of stress by thoroughly reviewing the contract before it is signed. Hopefully this article has provided important information necessary to know what should be included in a contract to ensure that the final result is a roof with the highest quality workmanship!

Vinyl Sidings for Extra Durability and Long-Term Performance

When it comes to making the home's exterior stunning and inspiring, people choose the finest quality and extra durable vinyl sidings. It is supposed to be the best option for the home owners to have their exteriors beautiful, functional, robust and amazing. Vinyl sidings are one of the most practical options and gives an appealing…

When it comes to making the home's exterior stunning and inspiring, people choose the finest quality and extra durable vinyl sidings. It is supposed to be the best option for the home owners to have their exteriors beautiful, functional, robust and amazing. Vinyl sidings are one of the most practical options and gives an appealing look to the old looking buildings as well. It is highly flexible yet solid in nature to accommodate any fluctuating climatic conditions. This is the reason it is considered as the best option for the home remodeling and accentuating purposes.

Today, people can use a broad variety of options for their buildings, however vinyl siding is a unique and sturdy option that can accentuate the homes and their overall exterior aura. In terms of texture, color, grades, looks, appeal, feel and strength, it is the best suitable option for the people looking for high-end designer and decorative looks. In fact, these can be purchased as per the exterior home design and theme to match and align with them. Whether you're trying to match the look of a stone wall or that of a rustic cabin, you can easily find the vinyl siding for you. In fact, its price range is also affordable for the homeowners.

When it comes to durability, serviceability, reliability, long-term performance and material strength, vinyl sidings are the perfect exterior material. In fact, it can be good for all weather conditions and keeps dust, molds miles away from the home structure. Previously, people preferred paints, wooden walls and other such materials, but due to their unhygienic effects and low efficiency over a long period, people are now switching to vinyl sidings. It gives the same exuberant look that you want for your dream home. You do not have to think about renovation or other maintenance frequently. It is long-reflecting, easy to install and gives professional look to the exteriors.

Because of all these brilliant features, it is considered as the best choice among builders, engineers, and architects. It is also considered as the superior material when it comes to new construction and home remodeling . It not only adds luxury to the home but also makes it more functional and phenomenal.

Trained experts and siding specialists recommend the best possible sidings as per the weather conditions, requirements and the personal preferences. They also provide the sidings according to the home's style, texture, as well as color and other inspiring attributes.

Home Renovations – Planning Ideas

As it's the start of the year, most people are looking for fresh starts and where could be a better place to begin than with home renovations. Whether you are simply looking for a small remodeling job or maybe a total overhaul of your house, this article will provide you with ideas and inspiration to…

As it's the start of the year, most people are looking for fresh starts and where could be a better place to begin than with home renovations. Whether you are simply looking for a small remodeling job or maybe a total overhaul of your house, this article will provide you with ideas and inspiration to get you started.

The kitchen is one of the most favorite rooms to renovate and there are many reasons for this, including outdated cupboards and appliances to a change of living circumstances for example a family with older children may want to renovate the kitchen area into a place of entertainment.

Examples include knocking down an internal wall for example a dining room located adjacent the kitchen so as to make one big kitchen area. This really opens up the space and allows you to entertain while cooking, making it an ideal room for big homely family gatherings. If your budget allows you could bring an experienced professional on board such as an interior designer who will help you to plan your space in an optimal and aesthetic way.

Another very popular choice among people in terms of home renovations, is converting a spare room into an office space or a nursery for a new baby.

This is particularly common among new couples who have begun to start a family and want a practical space to look after their new arrival. Converting a room into a nursery need not be as daunting as one would expect and will actually reduce your stress levels when the new arrival is welcomed home.

It also mentally prepares you for the change before the pitter-patter of little feet can be heard about the place. Once you have created the space, you are already making room for the little one in your life so or she arrives it will be like he or she has always belonged there.

Whatever renovations you are planning to do, it is always wise to consult with a qualified professional first, who can give you an ideal time scale, offer budgetary decisions and also make the home improvements as safe and smooth as possible.

Everyone likes to dabble in a bit of DIY but for such a big job as a home renovation, it makes sound sense to bring the experts on board, which in the long run will actually save you time and money especially when you want to get the job done right first time!

Simple Ideas on Home Renovations

You want to transform the living room, spruce up the dining area, renovate your kitchen and refurbish your bathrooms but the clock is ticking away and time is the last thing on your hands? Do not freak out. The biggest challenge in home renovations is lack of time. In addition to this, room additions and…

You want to transform the living room, spruce up the dining area, renovate your kitchen and refurbish your bathrooms but the clock is ticking away and time is the last thing on your hands? Do not freak out. The biggest challenge in home renovations is lack of time. In addition to this, room additions and whole scale renovations can get real expensive. So there pops up the million dollar question -How can I get it all done with a small budget and within so little a time? Your wish can be granted with professional services or one-day / weekend makeovers.

Dapper Up Your Bedrooms

The trick of instant home renovations is to stick to simplicity and not go overboard with colors and effects. You can begin by giving the room a fresh coat of paint. This helps revitalize your room in a simple yet inexpensive way. Make sure you use warm colors such as maroon, blues and tans to add to the cozy ambience. Add zing to your bedrooms with new pillows and sheets. Shell out a few notes on lovely drapes and soft rugs. You can do one step at a time and get a whole new bedroom within months or just hire the experts' for a few days to get room additions and renovations done in no time.

Tricks for Instant Home Renovations

Replacing ancient plumbing fixtures with fancier faucets and showerheads can transform the restroom beyond your imagination. Always opt for track lights in bathrooms and try to trap in as much natural daylight as possible. Say good bye to useless counters and add pedal sinks for efficient home renovations. Buy new fabrics and reupholster the dining chairs and tables. Create your own fun seamless patterns to run across the room to define your style. Use your own imagination and add, subtract or reposition the existing sofas, and ottomans for a classy look.

Hire the Experts

If you find that you do not have sufficient time and need professional help, you would do well by hiring certified, professional, renovating experts. With their expertise, not only can you save time energy, you can trust them to make your dream home a reality. Just get online and browse through websites that offer home renovations . Be sure to deal with only authentic companies. You can do this by reviewing their previous home projects and growing through customer reviews or personally contacting their previous customers to find out about their claims. Settle for a company only after you are satisfied with their service and the cost estimating process. Pop in your queries and receive replies through the inquiry link. What are you waiting for? Give your home a brand new look today with new room additions!

Top Guidelines in Constructing Custom Homes

Are you dreaming of a luxurious multi storied abode on a scenic plot of land? Want someone to walk right into your dreams and make the house you've envisioned a reality? Think it's impossible? Not any more. Now, with the arrival of custom home builders, not only can you build your dream home, you can…

Are you dreaming of a luxurious multi storied abode on a scenic plot of land? Want someone to walk right into your dreams and make the house you've envisioned a reality? Think it's impossible? Not any more. Now, with the arrival of custom home builders, not only can you build your dream home, you can construct it well within you're budget.

Select Custom Home Builders

Building a house is a very serious affair. For many, it's an once-in-a-lifetime achievement and they sure would not want to muddle it up or take a chance. That's why it's good to hire perfectionists or dedicated custom home builders who have an eye for detail. Ensure that you hire reputed builders who know exactly what you are talking about and can adhere to specifications. Uncertified builders may cost you thousands of dollars and when they are through you are left with poorly done home. It's good to deal with those who are registered with organizations such as land development authority or other warranty corporations just to make sure that they are genuine. They also should have ample experience in building custom_homes and be capable of maintaining good customer relations. Make sure to do your homework in advance to find out if there are any legal / criminal issues which the builder faces. This may hamper the work in the long run.

Guidelines for Building Custom Homes

Demarcate areas which the rooms will occupy and study their circulation and access. Start assigning realistic budgets for your dream home. Another important point is to take care of extra expenses and hidden costs which may arise when you begin building your custom_homes. You also have to eliminate rooms or add structures or change floor plans as and when required. Critical decisions have to be taken at the right time so that you are left with a beautiful, affordable home. Builders should have good knowledge regarding house building techniques and keep abreast of the current latest trends.

Begin Your Custom Home Quest

Gone are the days where you were forced to select between a couple of local builders who'd make a mess of things. With advances over the internet, you can easily browse through the different sites which boast about custom home builders , get quotes and select the most reputed builders in town. All you require is a little patience in comparing the best builders, quotes and prices. After you are through with that, narrow down your choices and get started right away! Do not hesitate to see models of previous custom homes. Infact, this is advantageous as it will give you a clear picture of what to expect. Make your dreams come true with awesome custom home builders today!