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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Underpinning Basement

Underpinning is used for reasons such as:

· To correct faulty foundation in case it has suffered a lot of cracks and settlement

· If the foundation is not strong or stable enough to hold the weight of the property

· To increase the load bearing capacity of the existing foundation

· To add floors to the existing foundation, rather than constructing a new building

Choosing an underpinning method solely depends on the type of foundation of your home. There isn’t a single method that will be suitable in every situation. In order to choose the correct method, you should keep the following points in mind:

· The structure of the foundation

· The factors that may have caused damage to the existing foundation

· Depth of excavation

· Site restraints

· Local permits and regulations

· Cost of the entire process

· Time duration

Commonly Used Methods for Underpinning

  1. Mass Pouring

The most commonly and traditionally used method of underpinning is mass pouring. It is suited for shallow underpinning in which a lot of digging is not required. It simply involves excavating the weak soil underneath the surface and pouring concrete in its place to strengthen the base. Since concrete is stronger than soil, the weight of the entire structure is carried effectively by the concrete.

Following are the advantages of using the mass pouring method:

· Low cost of labor

· The simplicity of engineering

· The continuity of the building’s use during construction without involving any need of evacuating the property

  1. Beam and Base Method

Another method of underpinning involves the use of beam and base. The method also makes use of traditional mass concrete base, and incorporates beams to support the existing foundation. The load is transferred to a concrete beam that is constructed below, above or in place of the existing foundation. The beam then transfers the load to a mass concrete base that is spread evenly for support. The construction of the beams depends on the architecture of the structure built on the foundation and the type of load applied to the foundation.

  1. Pile Method

If you opt for the pile method, the general contractor drives piles at equal distances along both sides of the wall. The piles are connected by concrete or steel needles that penetrate through the walls. It is the most effective method for houses built in clay soil as well as properties constructed in waterlogged areas. The pile method helps in relieving the load of the existing foundation.

Tricks to Care for Laminate Flooring

much as you can and refer to them if a problem develops.

2. Ask for post-installation care instructions.You may not be able to mop the floor for 48 hours or you may be given other care instructions, depending on the flooring brand.

3. Don’t wet-mop laminate floors, because puddles could seep behind basebords and under your floor, damaging them.Only vacuum and then damp-mop them.

4. Don’t ever apply wax or acrylic floor finishes.

5. Use only the stain-removal products recommended by the flooring manufacturer. Typical suggestions in product literature are: acetone, for cigarette burns and nail-polish spills, and mineral spirits for grease and tar.

6. Buy doormats for doorways that lead to the garage or outdoors.These doormats will trap grit that can gradually cause light scratching on the laminate floor’s surface.

7. Put easy-glide protective buttons on the feet of the furniture.

8. Use dollies when moving a large piece of furniture or a heavy appliance across a laminate floor or else you could leave a scratch by getting tiny peebles caught under a furniture foot or a wheel.

Foundation Failing

Identifying lateral pressure damage is not difficult, but accurately quantifying the contributing sources is very difficult and should only be handled by a qualified engineer. The inward bowing of a basement wall is the simplest indication of lateral pressure. The bowing generally occurs when the external forces exceed the wall strength. The maximum bowing will often occur near the center of the wall because the adjoining perpendicular walls provide support in the corners. If bowing becomes severe, these walls can collapse inward.

Cracking can also occur when lateral pressure exceeds the strength of the concrete or block wall. The most common crack pattern begins in the corners and move up or down at 45 degree angles in concrete walls. For block walls, the cracks move along the mortar joints in a stair step pattern. Often these cracks end at a long horizontal fracture that parallels the basement floor.

Lateral pressure can affect the overall integrity of a house. Severe damage results in a visible opening between the top of the basement wall and the structure. Since water is one of the main causes of these cracks, water infiltration becomes significant in the largest of the cracks. Filling these cracks with epoxy, without solving the water problem, only moves the lateral pressure to another section of the wall.

The difference of the outside ground level and the basement floor creates a mass of soil that must be retained thus causing a lateral pressure. The pressure of soil weight is typically considered during the design of an engineered wall using theoretical earth pressures.

Clay soils undergo a change in volume when the moisture content of the soil changes. When expansive clays are placed against basement walls, the swelling of these soils can induce lateral pressures not accounted for in the original design. Cyclic shrink/swell can also reduce the shear strength of the backfill and thus increase the lateral pressures . The solution to this problem can be as easy as replacing clay backfill with gravel or other non-swelling material. When used in conjunction with a footing drain, gravel will prevent increased lateral pressure.

Hydrostatic pressure is pressure exerted by a fluid due to its weight. Hydrostatic pressure against a basement wall develops when water fills voids or “ponds” within backfill immediately adjacent to the wall. This water buildup can cause dripping, seepage, dampness or efflorescence (salt residual). Leakage during heavy rains or poorly designed/maintained drainage increase hydrostatic pressure. Like soil swell, hydrostatic pressure is not typically considered during design and construction of basement walls.

Water that accumulates in backfill and then freezes may cause large lateral pressures on basement walls. Severe damage can result from frost causing lateral pressures much greater than even hydrostatic pressure. The expansive natures of water crystals have been know to create catastrophic structural damage.

Backfill, that is heavily clay laden, present long term lateral soil pressure problems. Their cohesive nature makes it practically impossible to re-compact them to a uniform moisture content and density. Clay backfills require significantly stronger basement walls to withstand the larger horizontal pressures. The obvious solution is to backfill with non-cohesive aggregate with proper drainage.

Structural settlement is characterized as either total and /or differential settlement. Total settlement is a complete structure downward movement. Differential settlement is the difference in vertical movement between various locations causing structure distortion. Generally, total settlement is not a critical factor as long as it is uniform. Utility connections are affected to the greatest degree by total settlement. Even relatively small differential settlements can cause cracks in floor slabs, brick walls and drywall.

About Carpet Maintenance

Olefin fibers are the most stain resistant of all fibers used in the manufacture of carpet; however they tend to matt and crush easily. Olefin fiber is solution dyed, making it unique among carpet fibers, facilitating the use of a bleach water solution that will not damage or discolor the carpet when cleaned. Polyester is inherently more stain resistant than nylon; however it is not as resilient.

Routine maintenance of your carpet will ensure optimum performance in terms of durability and aesthetics. Carpet construction is designed to hide dirt and soil and the fibers are treated with chemicals that have the ability to resist soiling and stains. This coupled with certain inherent stain resistant qualities of the fibers itself, has resulted in carpets that are more stain resistant and are less likely to abrade and discolor.

Regular vacuuming is the key to maintaining the luster and health of carpet. Particles of dirt, dust and soil contain sharp edges and will cut into the fibers of a carpet, thus reducing its sheen and giving it a lack luster appearance. Regular vacuuming will remove these particles from the surface of the carpet, preventing them from being trodden into the carpet pile and thus abrading the fiber. For plush carpets, utilize a vacuum with a beater bar or rotating brush head, in order to loosen and remove soil and dust particles that are present on the surface as well as deeper in the pile. When vacuuming a loop pile carpet, it is advisable to use a suction vacuum only, in order to prevent the fibers from fuzzing.

Due to their tight level loop construction, berber carpets are easier to maintain as dirt particles cannot penetrate the pile. As the carpet is vacuumed, the soil and dust particles are easily lifted off the surface of the carpet by the vacuum cleaner, as opposed to a plush constructed carpet which is more difficult to vacuum due to soil and dust particles penetrating the shag and settling deep within the carpet pile. Always ensure that the vacuum cleaner head is free of any protrusions, nicks or gouges, as these will damage the carpet fibers and cause unnecessary wear and tear.