Monthly Archives: June 2015

  • The Realities of Building a Home During Winter

    Building a home during winter may seem counterintuitive. Dealing with sub-freezing temperatures, in addition to snow and ice can wreak havoc on a home construction project. While building a home during winter may be challenging, there are several myths to be cleared up.

    It is widely believed that concrete poured in the winter contains additives that make it weaker than when poured during the summer. While calcium chloride is added to concrete mix to accelerate the curing process in cold weather conditions, the reality is that there is no major difference in strength when both are fully cured. Concrete walls with additives in the mixture meet building code requirements. While there are low temperature limits that make pouring concrete unrealistic, protecting newly poured concrete with blankets or straw may help. However, it may be best to wait until the cold front has passed before pouring concrete.Building Homes in the Winter

    Cold weather is often seen as a hindrance to exposed lumber in the framing stage. However, the lumber industry has developed (and continue to develop) procedures that are employed in the milling process that reduce the effects of winter weather. Framing lumber is kiln dried at 19% moisture content. This is also the case during the summer when humidity becomes a moisture factor.

    Crews are happy and willing to work on home construction projects, even during the winter. Workers face challenges throughout the year, and many see winter as a normal part of their building schedule that simply involves different elements. In the summer, they are challenged with sweltering heat and humidity and in the winter they are faced with numbing cold and high winds. Just as some workers prefer working in the summer, there are others that actually prefer to work in the winter. Crew managers and homeowners may also address extreme temperatures during winter by using a forced air kerosene heater.

    Homes built in the winter are not necessarily priced higher than homes built in the summer. While there will be additional expenses to account for getting the project completed in the winter, it is a relatively small figure when compared to the overall cost of the project. Additionally, homebuilders should take the price of materials and labor into account – which are usually higher in early spring. These price increases can easily exceed the additional expenses related to cold weather construction.

  • Common Winter Roofing Problems

    Snow, rain, ice, and wind may cause major damage to roofs during the winter. Common roofing problems include ice damming, structural water damage, and leaks. Keeping an eye out to catch these issues early may enable individuals to complete DIY fixes, or at least determine if a professional should handle the matter.

    Ice damming occurs when snow and ice accumulate in gutters and along roof ridges, preventing meltingSnow on Roof water from draining properly. As the water builds up, it can penetrate the roof shingles, ceilings, and walls causing major water damage. To prevent ice damming on the roof, safely remove snow buildup using a roof rake. Those working during the winter to address this problem may consider using a DeWALT electric heater to keep warm in low temperatures. Seal air leaks between the roof and attic to increase insulation and ensure the ceiling is airtight.

    Structural water damage may occur in the wake of heavy snowstorms and ice buildup, which prevents the home from heating efficiently. It may also cause damage to the roof shingles and trusses. Consider installing an attic ventilation system if your region is susceptible to consistent severe winter weather. This system circulates air in and out of the attic, therefore reducing interior condensation and preventing snow and ice from settling on the roof for long periods. A good roofing ventilation system can also save homeowners hundreds of dollars on their utility bills each year.

    Roof leaks occur in several main locations. First, those with sloped roofs may notice post-storm roof leaks at areas where aluminum is installed to protect roof edges and corners, otherwise known as flashing areas. High winds or bad installation can loosen flashing in the face of high winds and heavy rain, causing it to pull away. Monitoring flashing and taking care of any updates or repairs before a major storm may save individuals hundreds or thousands of dollars.

    Secondly, those who own property with a flat roof may notice leaks at drain locations, due to improper maintenance. Drains are easily clogged by debris and conducting inspections on drain locations about twice a month can help thwart clogs from causing major problems.

  • Safety and Sanitation – What You Need to Know about Shoveling Snow this Winter

    As frigid winter weather continues to pound some parts of the nation, safety concerns are important to consider. While seeking shelter in rain and shoveling snow may seem obvious, individuals must ensure they are doing everything possible to stay safe from extreme cold and winter accidents. As more snowfall blankets various regions, here are some guidelines for staying safe when it comes to shoveling snow.

    First, unless you live in an extremely busy part of town, do not rush out to start moving snow. AsShoveling Snow counterintuitive as it seems, take the time to stretch your muscles – your hamstrings, back, and shoulders. These areas will be hard at work and in order to prevent unwanted injuries, treat shoveling as any other physical exercise.

    Next, do not overdress. Wear a few layers that will enable you to stay warm initially, but resist multiple bulky sweaters, as you will start sweating after a few minutes. Wear loose-fitting layers that can be removed easily as you start warming up. Consider keeping a DeWALT kerosene heater powered on to minimize some of the shock to your body.

    Before picking up your shovel, determine where you are going to pile up the snow. Move the first shovelful farther away from where you are standing, and then dump the rest of the snow closer to where you are. This means you will move the last batch a short distance away.

    Clear around cars first by removing accumulation on all sides. Clean all windows until visibility is undeterred.

    Keep hydrated and rest regularly to prevent burnout. If possible, seek help from family members, neighbors, or even hire someone to assist you with shoveling. The more hands, the quicker you can get back inside.

    Once you are finished, stretch your muscles again to warm them down.

  • Tips for Finishing the Basement

    Basements add extra space to a home and may be utilized in many ways – as a bedroom, workshop, playroom, office, etc. Finishing a basement may be done over the course of a few weekends and advanced weekend warriors must be organized and thorough. Before starting work on the basement, keep the following tips in mind:

    Each area has specific codes so find out if any permits or approvals are needed from the local council. This is especially true if your work includes plumbing and electrical factors as the project may have to be inspected.

    Ensure the basement is completely dry. Check for water damage such as pools of water or drips coming in through the walls. Repair cracks in your foundation and any other water-related issues. You may begin work once you are certain there are no moisture problems in or around the basement. Add a vapor barrier to the walls and floors before starting to frame and finish off these surfaces.

    The majority of basement walls and floors are masonry, cement, block or brick. This means that regular screws and nails will not work when attaching framing. Get the right fasteners and anchors for your Handyman Finishing Basementwalls.

    Work safely. Ensure that all power tools are unplugged when not in use and out of the way. For basement projects in the winter, use a forced air kerosene heater to stay warm. For bigger jobs, the 175K BTU forced air kerosene heater provides warmth to a larger area.

    When looking at insulation options, choose one that includes a vapor barrier on both sides. Insulation will not only help control the temperature inside the basement, but it is wise to use it as another layer of moisture protection. Another insulation option is spray foam insulation – just be sure to check the code requirements.

    Drop ceilings are affordable and conceal electrical and plumbing lines, while offering easy access in the case of an emergency. While a suspended ceiling may not be the best option aesthetically, there are many attractive options on the market. Another factor to consider when it comes to the ceiling in the overhead space available.

    Keep the utility room that houses the HVAC unit and water heaters clear and open. There are specific code requirements for spacing and framing. While you may be tempted to enclose it or finish it along with the rest of the basement, keep it simple to avoid problems later.

  • Tips for Outdoor Entertaining During Winter

    When individuals think of entertaining guests during the winter, they usually plan indoor parties so that guests can be warm and comfortable. But entertaining outdoors during the winter can actually be a fun alternative to having everyone cramped indoors. Even if the air is brisk or there is light precipitation, providing warmth, shelter, and comfort outdoors can be achieved easily. Here are some ways to make winter entertaining a hit:

    First, let guests know ahead of time to bundle up. Then, invest in a stainless steel patio heater in the event of colder-than-normal temperatures. The patio heater does not require electricity, can last for 9-10 hours, and is easy to move as needed. Those looking for an alternative to stainless steel may consider the jet silver patio heater instead.

    Once considerations have been made to keep your guests warm, dress your outdoor space in an equally considerate way. For example, light candles of different shapes, sizes, and scents. Vanilla, cinnamon, and coffee flavors create a relaxed atmosphere. Use furniture that is comfortable, cozy, and made from warm Outdoor Entertaining During Wintermaterials such as wool or velvet. Throw fleece blankets over chairs so that individuals can use them as shawls or to cover their legs. Another fun element may be to create a bonfire where guests can gather around to socialize in smaller groups. It also sets the stage for an evening of fondue.

    Serve meals that are warm and filling. Stews, soups, or even grilling are great options. Keep warm drinks, such as hot chocolate and coffee, flowing throughout the party. For dessert, something hot and gooey will be a sure winner.

    Music is an important factor for outdoor entertaining. Create a song list that caters to the preferences of guests. Start slow and play more upbeat songs as the night goes on. A surefire ways for guests to stay warm is to dance the night away.

  • Weekend Warrior - Modern House Trends

    One of the easiest ways to increase property value on a home is to add a few luxurious touches. Doing so can turn an ordinary house into a dream house. Even if you are not planning to sell, updating aspects of the property such as landscaping, lighting, and outdoor setup may have you feeling like a celebrity. Weekend warriors may consider the following home design ideas to create modern and stylish accents at home.

    • Large windows and glass walls, folding or sliding glass doors, and glass partitions that connect rooms indoors with outdoor living spaces create a modern look but also add functionality to any space.
    • Nothing says luxury like a spa-inspired bathroom. Use natural views as the focal point to the bathroom by incorporating large windows. If your bathroom does not have a naturally beautiful view, create a mini-spa area and combine natural materials with chic décor.
    • Spacious walk-in closets and stylish dressing rooms are great additions for any home. They create smart storage spaces, make individuals feel opulent, and add value to the house. Consider wood for built-in shelves and cabinets, combined with contemporary lighting.Backyard Landscaping
    • Large outdoor living spaces that utilize a beautiful garden, yard decorations, creative artworks, and unique décor can be done simply or extravagantly, depending on your personal taste. A great example of unique décor is this bronze patio heater that allows you to stay warm while using the outdoor space during the winter.
    • A modern home theater creates the atmosphere of being at the movies, with the comfort of extra-plush seating, a customized screen, and the convenience of being at home. A home theater may be used to host parties for major events, such as the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards, etc.
    • The exterior of a property should give a great first impression. A beautiful driveway, manicured lawn, and bright outdoor lights will impress guests right away and sets the tone for the rest of the house. Lighting should be stylish, efficient, and subtle to make the house feel expensive.

    Child-friendly areas that have bookshelves, slides, and storage add creativity to the house. Having a dedicated area where kids and adults can play is valuable emotionally, and also prevents the entire home from being influenced by touches of disarray.

  • Arts & Crafts: Tips for Planning a Tented Wedding

    Hosting a tented wedding may be a necessity for couples tying the knot during winter, but it has also become something of a trend over the past few years. Creative DIY-enthusiasts have an advantage in their ability to create and coordinate the decorations without spending thousands of dollars on vendor fees. Challenges are sure to arise, however, and preparing ahead of time will make these roadblocks seem less intimidating. Here are tips for those who plan on throwing a tented wedding in the future:

    • Couples who do not mind unpredictable weather should come up with a back-up plan in the event of rain, show, sleet, hail, or high winds. While most tents can withstand weather, it may be best to invest in side curtains that can roll down, turning the tent into a water-tight outdoor space. Consider a heater such as L.B. White’s 80K BTU tent heater and rent enough units to warm the entire space.Tented Wedding
    • Tent location is extremely important. When choosing a location, consider how far guests will have to walk, if they may get their shoes dirty, where the caterers will prep and cook, and where the rentals will be loaded and unloaded. Each of these factors will play a role in the final cost of the event, as well as guest experience.
    • Communication with vendors is key. Tented weddings are unique and there is a chance that several vendors will not be familiar with the logistics. Additionally, tented weddings vary from event to event based on many factors. Be clear and honest with your vendors in terms of expectations and how much help is needed. It is always better to voice all requirements well ahead of time instead of at the last minute. Allow them access to the space and put them in touch with the right people to ensure your tented wedding is a success.

    Once the wedding location has been finalized, secure any necessary permits immediately. Depending on your location, check with the local council on rules pertaining to an outdoor wedding.

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