Building Materials

Building materials consist of lumber, steel, concrete, etc. A large part of the cost of construction is due to the building materials used. That’s why it is important to find good building material distributors. Costs of building materials vary between different vendors and so does their quality. Negotiations on rates will reduce the overall construction cost by a huge amount.

It becomes imperative to double-check the correct amount of building materials that would be needed for construction before embarking on the project. This would ensure that one is not left with unused material once the construction is complete. It also becomes easier to negotiate prices when one has a clear picture of the correct amount of materials needed.

Materials for building must be purchased for their performance rather than looks. While buying stone, brick, concrete and other such fundamental building blocks, it is the rigidity and tenacity that matters and not just their aesthetics. It is wise to know well in advance what purpose the construction will offer before zeroing in on a particular construction block.

There has been a wide range of building materials used over the ages. Almost every moldable and adherent substance has been used at one point of time or the other as a building tool. People have used substances like mud, metal, even plastic and glass to craft building structures. Nowadays, steel and glass are much in vogue for office buildings, while brick still remains the popular choice for residences.

Apart from the basic construction material, there is requirement of cement, concrete, limestone, sand and other adhesive and protective materials. Again these materials should be selected for their efficiency. New materials with modifications are continually thronging the market.

One important factor in the availability of building material is the location. Locally available materials are cheaper and more easily found than materials imported from foreign places.

Ancient structures are still built with traditional materials like wood and stone as in Victorian, Georgian and Edwardian homes. People in the tropical rainforests of Africa use anything from animal hide to tree leaves to construct their tent settlements called yurts, while the Eskimos are famous for building their igloos entirely of ice blocks. Wood is considered by many people even today for its tremendous visual appeal. It can be acclimatized to any type of environment and can be made pest-resistant and water-resistant. It can be made to be highly tenacious and flexible. Compressed wood is known to be very strong.

In recent times, green building materials have gained a reputation for being highly environmentally friendly. These materials are composed of renewable materials, and hence they can get degraded in the environment and do not pose an ecological threat. However, the use of green building materials is still a developing field as of now.

Building Material Manufacturers

One of the recent developments in homebuilding that is slowly becoming very popular is the concept of prefabricated homes. This new concept allows buyers to have access to high-quality home building materials at affordable prices. This is because these materials are mass-produced and are made in a factory setting, which makes it possible for manufacturers to build entire homes and parts of houses in a consistent manner while offering them at low prices. For bigger savings, buyers can go directly to the manufacturers of these prefabs because buyers are assured of getting the products based on their specifications and at factory or discounted prices.

Contacting manufacturers

Prefab manufacturers offer a wide range of prefab materials to buyers, and looking for one will require doing some research on the types of products that manufacturers offer. In looking for a prefab manufacturer, it would be advisable to know first the particular type of prefab that you would want to use in your home so that you would be able to narrow down your search. Most manufacturers specialize in certain types of prefabs and it would be a good idea to go to a manufacturer that specializes on the material that you want to use, as this can ensure that you get materials with very good quality.

Apart form knowing they type of prefab material that you want to use, you should also have a good idea of the specifications of the building materials so that you would be able to get specific information on your options, which includes the cost of the material. Most of these manufacturers would first ask you about your specifications before they give you a quote, which is why you need to communicate them very well to avoid any problems in the future with regard to the costs of the materials. Once the manufacturer starts building the prefab material for you, you should maintain constant communication with the manufacturer in the form of frequent visits or phone calls so that you can make sure that the manufacturer is following your specifications.

Given the popularity of the prefab concept in building homes, you can expect that there would be quite a number of manufacturers who would offer prefab building materials. However, the process of searching for a manufacturer can be made easier if a buyer does his research, which includes knowing exactly the type of material he needs and their specifications.

Building a Deck

The deck is said to have one of the most basic structures in home construction. Compared to various construction works, building a deck is much easier. It is interesting to gain expertise in this field. There is a growing demand for decks.

To begin with, planning a deck is important. This process doesn’t require an architect or a drafting professional. A simple hand drawn sketch is sufficient for purchasing materials, getting a permit and guiding construction. Certain other issues involved with building a deck are that problems can arise. Hence a first-time deck builder should probably get professional help with the designer since there’s no substitute for a good plan.

The plan will involve where to build the deck in order to suit your home. It can also be freestanding. The size of the deck boards and the material to be used for decks should be decided before building. Preliminary deck planning should be influenced by these factors: anticipated use, air currents, existing structure, sunlight, privacy, view, safety, access to home, terrain, and other personal needs and preferences. See that the deck does not cease the drainage lines, telephone, electric wires, and water or sewer lines.

After the planning, don’t forget to get the license. Most municipalities will require a building permit for the construction of any deck, especially if it is to be attached to the house or it’s more than 30 inches above ground. It will prevent problems by spotting potential problems, avoiding damage and repairs later on. Some homeowner’s insurance policies will not cover accidents involving construction that does not meet local codes. A special fee is involved with most permit applications, but it is designed to cover the cost of a plan review before construction. The field inspections will be done after work begins.

Now you need all the necessary tools and the materials. So buy them and start building your own deck. Get the help of a do-it-yourself online guide, or any experienced people if you are a beginner. It will help you solve many problems, and answer many of your doubts.

Bonsai Tree Care

Bonsai is like a baby. You literally have to pamper and take good care of it, not just with essential ingredients but also with passion and that special touch of your hands. Bonsai making is akin to investing your dreams or watching your baby grow up and take shape from your imagination.

Soil is one of the most vital ingredients in bonsai care. Since the tiny trees grow in a confined space, special bonsai soil is required, and the tree must be watered frequently. If you don’t, your plant will wither off, almost completely. Besides essential nutrients, nitrogen, phosphoric acid and potash must be supplied regularly.

Water is as important to the plant as it is to human body. In bonsai it is all the more crucial since it is an indoor plant, hence, it misses natural humidity. So always place the bonsai pot in a small tray filled with water, with some pebbles underneath the pot so that the roots are saved from getting too wet. Do not water your little tree too much, as heavy watering makes it vulnerable to fungal infection and a condition called root rot.

Sunlight is essential, except when a bonsai has undergone pruning. Excess sun and wind will quickly dry your plant, but minimum sun requirements should be met. If your house doesn’t have a provision for direct sunlight, then select a bonsai tree that can grow in condensed sunlight.

Wiring is important, and copper wire is mostly used. It is woven around the branches in the direction you want it to grow. Once a branch is wired, you should make sure it doesn’t crunch too much into the tree. After six or twelve months, the wire should be cut at each twist and turn.

Boilers

Boilers are a common heating device for most homes in the US. The warmth generated by boilers through an intricate system has made the lives of millions in the US comfortable. Boilers have become a necessity in the US and there is hardly a household that does not possess these gadgets. Boilers heat water, supplying either hot water or steam for the purpose of heating.

Steam is disseminated through pipes to steam radiators, while hot water can be supplied by means of baseboard radiators or radiant floor systems, or can heat air with the help of a coil. Steam boilers function at a higher temperature than hot water boilers, and are essentially less effective. But thanks to modern technology, high-efficiency forms of all sorts of boilers are presently obtainable.

A central boiler’s effectiveness is determined with the help of annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). Prevailing laws in the US make it mandatory for boiler manufacturers to provide information about their AFUE to consumers, so that they can compare the heating effectiveness of different models. AFUE is an indication of an appliance’s effectiveness through a particular year. In precise terms, AFUE is the ratio of heat output of the boiler in contrast to the entire energy used by a boiler.

Electric boilers are highly efficient, but the high cost of electricity in the US deters consumers from using them. The AFUE rating for an all-electric boiler is between 95% and 100%. A boiler’s efficiency can also be gauged, apart from the AFUE, by the characteristics of its equipment. Mid-efficiency heating systems are characterized by a natural draft that generates a supply of combustion gases, a continuous pilot light, and a heavy heat exchanger.

High-efficiency boilers are marked by an exhaust fan that controls the flow of combustion air and combustion gases more accurately, an electronic ignition that ensures the absence of a pilot light, a compact size, a lighter weight to diminish cycling losses, and a small-diameter pipe.

Boiler Professionals

Boiler professionals are highly trained technical personnel who are well-versed with the functioning of a boiler. They are generally involved with the installation of a boiler, and its maintenance and repair in the event of a breakdown. Boiler personnel possess comprehensive knowledge about various aspects of boilers. They are also aware of the types of boilers in vogue.

Boiler professionals have expert knowledge of a particular type of boiler in which they specialize. Boiler professionals specializing in the residential types of boilers come to the rescue of residents when their boiler fails to function on a cold, wet day. It can be extremely depressing at times when boilers fail to function normally. In the US a majority of the households rely on boilers, and when the boilers do not function properly they are desperate to seek the services of boiler professionals.

Most companies manufacturing boilers give a warranty period, during which time any technical problem is rectified free of charge by boiler professionals. There are companies which enter into contracts with customers for a certain period of time against a fixed amount.

During this period, prompt services are provided by boiler professionals to those who are in urgent need of them to repair their non-functioning boilers. There are also individual professional boilers who offer their expert services to the people on the basis of contacts made personally over the phone or through other means of communications.

Boiler professionals are in great demand in United States and their services are required round the clock. Boiler tune-ups and repairs should be entrusted to trained boiler professionals. When the working of a boiler is disrupted the first thing that a boiler professional does is to trace all devices that can prevent the boiler from starting.

Boat Ladders

A boat ladder is an essential accessory for boats. They help in climbing in and out of the boats. Boat ladders can assist in climbing in the boat from two ways; one from the deck mount and two from the side. They come in a variety of models ranging from single step to five steps. The height of the boat helps in deciding the number of steps you need. They are mostly manufactured in a combination of aluminum, stainless steel, vinyl and plastic parts. Boat ladders have two hooks at the top to fit on the boat’s side for support. The width of your boat side should determine the size of the boat ladder hook. Most boat ladders come in folding type models with unbreakable rungs and do not sink in the water.

There are some special boat ladders. Transom ladders are meant for boats having transoms. Similarly, there are ladders for pontoon boats. Even an electric hydraulic controlled ladder is available for pontoon boats; having two handrails that extend up to facilitate climbing. For divers, there are sports boat ladders that come with center design and a comfortable angle for a problem-free, easy dive. And for the explorer who has to wear inflatable gear, specially designed ladders with contours are available. Rope ladders are not very common in boats, but they are quite convenient for swimmers. Rope ladders are used for landings and are essential for rescues. For the people, who like to take their dogs boating, there are boat ladders designed for dogs without gaps, so they can walk easily in and out of the boat without stumbling and falling.

Boat ladders should ideally fold flat for easy storage, should be sturdy and durable and provide maximum foot comfort. One can find boat ladders in outdoor activities stores, hardware shops, and special boat accessories shops or on the Internet. Some manufacturers provide custom-made boat ladders on request.

Blowers

There are many types of Blowers — leaf blowers, industrial blowers, snow blowers, etc, Each type has different subtypes such as backpack, handheld, corded and cordless, wheeled, electric-powered and gas-powered, and so on. Each type and subtype differs in function and purposes. For example, while some of them may be specifically manufactured for home maintenance, other more powerful units are aimed at commercial users.

Electric-powered blowers require an electrical power source provided from an electrical outlet, through an extension cord. Cordless blowers, on the other hand, use rechargeable batteries and are more suitable for smaller areas because of their limited operating time. Mixing oil and gasoline operates gas-powered leaf blowers. 2-stroke gasoline engines generally power backpack blowers, while wheeled units generally have 4-stroke gasoline engines.

Snow blowers can be single-stage and two-stage. The former is a light duty machine that uses a single high-speed impeller (a rotor inside a tube) to pull in snow and expel it from a discharge chute. Two-stage snow blowers on the other hand, are heavy duty and have more than one low-speed metal auger that pull the snow into an impeller, which then discharges the snow into a chute.

Leaf blowers can be handheld, backpack or wheeled. Handhelds are most suitable for simple, home maintenance works. Backpack blowers are swift, has quick throttle response and fuel efficient and generally preferred by professionals. Wheeled or walk-behind leaf blowers are the best for maintaining larger areas and are mostly gas-powered.

Industrial blowers are manufactured using a range of durable plastics and metals, or a combination of both materials. Function includes drying, reducing heat levels, reducing smoke and odors, processing and controlling gaseous fumes in industrial settings like factories.

Blower Motors

Single-phase motors are built differently from three phase motors that start and run in a direction based on the phase rotation of the incoming power. An auxiliary starting means is required to run single-phase motors, which, once started in a direction, will continue to run in that particular direction.

Single-phase motors are categorized by the method used to start the motor and the method used to establish the direction of rotation.

Split Phase Motors

Split phase motors are categorized under single phase and are generally available from 1/25 to 1/2 HP. They have low starting torque (turning force) and high starting current but are less expensive. Split phase motors are generally restricted to applications where the load needs low starting torque and starts are infrequent.

Capacitor Motors

Capacitor motors are available in sizes from sub-fractional to 15 HP and prove to be the most popular single-phase motors on the market.

Single Value Capacitor Motors

They are also called permanent split capacitor (PSC) motors. The motor operates with a capacitor connected in series with one of the two windings. This type of motor is generally used on small sized fans, blowers, and pumps typically less than 1 HP.

Two Value Capacitor Motors

The two value capacitor motor is generally used on large blowers with 5-15 HP single phase motors. It starts as a capacitor start motor but runs as a form of a two phase or PSC motor. Therefore, large single-phase motors having high starting torques and moderate starting currents can be constructed using this combination, and at reasonable rates.

Blinds 101

Blinds are window coverings that come with either vertical or horizontal slats. They are used to enhance interiors and for partial or complete blockage of light. They are convenient and easy to use and install. They come in a variety of styles, textures and sizes. They are extremely delicate and add grace and charm to a room. They can be simple or extensively designed.

The most basic types of blinds are the functional models that come without any frills. They may not add much, aesthetically, to a room, but are very efficient sun shields, and offer the people inside the room privacy.

When shopping for blinds, it is recommended to know the various types available in the market. Family and friends, who have them, should be consulted before a purchase. Getting expert opinions is also recommended. The buyer can also look for price quotes online, any time.

x93Grab and gox94 blinds are pre-cut shades that the customer can buy off the shelf. These are made for the most common window sizes. These blinds do not fit as well as custom-made blinds or shades. They are also the lowest priced blinds on the market since they are made of lightweight, cheap materials and lower quality hardware. There is not much of a choice in sizes or colors and they also lack a warranty. These blinds generally do not have very long life. Since they are cheap, they make a good choice for places like basements, garages and attics. x93Grab and gox94 blinds are available at most reduction chain stores, large department stores and home enhancement centers.

Blinds can be purchased at stores, and they can be ordered online as well. However, it is important to verify the credibility of the suppliers to avoid getting duped or end up with less than you expected.