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Category Archives: Home Improvement

Applying Epoxy Coating to Garage Flooring

Installing epoxy flooring takes a little up-front preparation before beginning. The most important step in the process is making sure that the floor you are going to apply the epoxy coating onto is free of moisture, residual paint and does not have a cement sealer or other finishing applied to it.

To test for moisture, take a sheet of plastic and take it to a 3-foot x 3-foot area using masking tape. Keep it there for about two days and then remove and check for any moisture collecting on the side of the plastic facing the floor. If moisture is present, than an epoxy flooring coating is not suitable as epoxy needs a dry surface to properly bond with the flooring.

Next, we’ll test to make sure the flooring does not have a sealant already applied to it. This test will also check for the presence of oils in the cement as well. Take a cup of water and pour it directly onto the existing flooring. It should soak into the floor in a reasonable amount of time. If it beads or just sits on top of the flooring then the flooring has probably already been sealed or contains oil contaminants. Epoxy flooring is not suitable for cement floors that have already been sealed or contain any type of oil residue as it will not bond.

Finally, if you are willing to spend several months testing an area of your garage floor for suitability to installing epoxy flooring you can paint a small area with regular, oil-based enamel. If this test area lasts for several months then it is likely an epoxy coating will last as well. However, if you decide to proceed with applying the epoxy coating you will need to remove this enamel coating which will require sanding.

Tile Floor For Basement

1. A tile floor is relatively inexpensive compared to other types of flooring. Depending on the grade and style you buy, you might be able to get the peel-and-stick brand that you can lay down yourself instead of hiring it done. This will suit not only your wallet but your schedule, since it can be done in stages, as you have the time, and perhaps with the help of a friend or family member. Of course, you can get the more costly styles, and pay more, for a richer or more polished look, depending on your plans for the basement‘s use.

2. Tile is replaceable, so if one or more pieces should get stained, chipped, or torn, you can take them up and lay down new ones at your convenience. Instead of waiting for a service call from someone who only works weekends for double-time pay, you can do it yourself in time for the next party or family get-together.

3. Tile flooring is easy to clean. You don’t have to worry as much about spilled beverages, pet accidents, or muddy shoes tracking through. Just fill a bucket with hot water and mild detergent, or whatever the tile manufacturer’s directions suggest, and mop up dirt, dust, and debris in a few minutes’ time.

4. Tile is easily changed. If you get tired of the design and want to change it, or decide to put down carpet when you get an unexpected monetary windfall, you can make the switch fairly quickly and easily. Some people decide to lay carpet on top of the tile, which makes it easier than taking up the old and putting down the new floor covering.

5. Tile patterns are versatile. You can choose a basic monotone color to blend in with neutral surroundings. Or buy a contemporary design to turn your basement into a family recreation room. A more sedate, intricate pattern provides a nice floor covering for a room that will become your den or a spare bedroom. Throw down a few accent rugs (the non-skid variety) and enjoy the brand new look.

Exterior Waterproofing

In case the house where it has been built on soil, knowing that the soil will be moist having high and fluctuating water table. In case of a leak in the basement, then the water coming in will do a lot of damage to the basement walls and floor leading to the need of exterior waterproofing.

The wet basements leave out an unpleasant smell and lead the people to get infected and results in potential health hazards. The growth of mold or mildew will start if there is moisture content in the basement, which again needs basement waterproofing services to avoid further damage to the basement.

The main sign of exterior wet basement is the presence of water on the foundation as the drainage system may not be working well leading to damp walls. This situation is a serious hint that the house needs to have the basement waterproofing services to be given along with exterior waterproofing, which will prevent the basement from getting more damages than ever.

The exterior waterproofing is a costly affair, but does save a lot of effort and health hazards for the residents. The process is listed out in a step by step procedure below for a better understanding of the benefits of the process:

1. For this process, the house needs to be excavated from the sides till its footings.

2. Once the soil has been excavated then a protective membrane is applied around the exterior in order to safeguard the basement from any water issues.

3. In the end, a new upgraded drainage system is installed as prevention means to stop further damage to the basement with the help of a new protective membrane. This is also done with the aid of using a plastic drainage pipe leading to stoppage of water clogging around the house. Basement waterproofing services are essential to keep the exterior basement safe in order to keep the interior basement safe for the best homes.

Building Strong Foundation

  1. Soil Inspection

Checking the condition of the soil is the foremost step before beginning any work on it. When it comes to building a strong foundation, the soil type and its condition become very important. If the soil inspection is ignored, it can lead to instability in the future. Your structural engineer or your architect may be a trustworthy person to approach for inspecting the soil.

  1. Excavating and Grading Process

Remove all the small stones, rocks, pebbles, twigs, roots, etc. from the soil as such waste materials may hamper the process of building the foundation. Removal of waste material is necessary because it may also interfere in maintaining a particular level of slope while grading the soil. Make sure to dig the soil up to the required depth only. For accurate results, an excavation contractor may come to your rescue.

  1. Building the foundation

To begin building the foundation, install the footings. Keep in mind that you would either be pouring concrete into wood forms or directly into the trenches to create footings. It depends on the type of foundation you want and the type of soil.

Concrete needs reinforcement for added strength and crack resistance. It is worth the small additional cost to install rebars (steel reinforcing bars). Once the concrete is poured, make sure to check that there is no air gap as it will lead to developing further cracks in the foundation. Seal the footings with a high quality sealer.

Remember that the concrete base should be cured of any loopholes before proceeding further. Pay attention to minute details such as the correct mixture of concrete, amount of water in it, depth of the layer to be poured, etc. Take the help of a quality-minded concrete contractor for building the foundation successfully.

  1. Finishing touch

Last but not the least, make use of concrete finishing tools such as hand float, trowel, edger and hand groover to smoothen the top layer of the foundation. Apply another layer of sealer to get rid of the remaining moisture. You can opt for acrylic-based sealers because they work well as a curing compound as well as a sealer.

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.

Foundation Crack Repair

Inspect- Cracks can occur for a number of reasons. To repair cracks and address the real reason of cracks to develop, you will need to deeply inspect your home’s foundation. In most cases, you will able to yourself detect the cause of the cracks. The most common reason for these cracks to develop is due to the settling of the soil. Another common cause is the development of excessive moisture around the foundation. If the crack is small, you can easily repair it using DIY methods. But, if the crack is very large, call in a professional for evaluation.

Preparing the Crack for Repair- You will first have to clear all the loose material with the help of a screwdriver and a brush. You can use a hammer and a chisel to widen the crack and undercut the crack edges. After this, rinse the crack with water using a garden hose and pat the area dry using a towel.

Repairing Thin Cracks- There are many patching compounds available in the market, which you can apply using a paintbrush. You can also patch the crack using a cement mixture. Pack the mixture firmly into the crack and level it with a finishing trowel. After about an hour, go over the surface in circular motion using a float or a trowel. This will help it in blending with the surrounding surface.

Repairing Larger Cracks- These can be repaired using Polyurethane, silicone or latex concrete caulk. They can also be filled using hydraulic cement. But, it is always advisable to take the help of an expert.

Sealing the Walls- After the crack and filled and dried, apply waterproof sealant to the foundation walls. This will help in preventing water infiltration.

Some Ways Install Bamboo Flooring

An added bonus to these beautiful floors is the knowledge that bamboo, unlike wood, grows quickly and abundantly, reaching maturity in five years or less. Red oak and maple, by comparison, can take decades to mature and then have to be replanted. Clear-cutting of forests also has a negative environmental impact and threatens the planet’s biodiversity.

After harvesting, cutting, processing, and finishing, bamboo flooring installation is not much different from standard hardwood floor installation. The important steps in installation occur before putting in the bamboo floor. First, make sure you buy from a reputable manufacturer who is willing to back up their product with a warranty.

The next step in bamboo flooring installation is making sure the subfloor is dry, clean, and level. Dirty subfloors will not bond well with the adhesive, and subfloors that are not dry will eventually cause rot. If not level, the bamboo flooring will squeak when walked on. If you are competent in home repair and good with your hands, you may be able to complete the bamboo flooring installation on your own. In some cases, with certain types of bamboo flooring, a professional will be needed.

Bamboo flooring may be glued down using a moisture barrier flooring adhesive. After applying the adhesive to the subfloor with a trowel, the bamboo flooring planks should be immediately placed. You may also install bamboo flooring using a nail gun over plywood or particleboard. Once starter rows are secure, subsequent planks should be nailed directly above the tongue at a 45-degree angle to face.

After installing the bamboo flooring, you will care for it in a similar way to hardwood floors; frequent dusting/sweeping, occasionally mopping, and use of wood cleaners. With regular care, bamboo flooring will add a stylish, beautiful component to your home for many years to come.