A generation or more ago, home builders used to favour a type of interior decoration known as a ‘popcorn’ ceiling. If you happen to have one of these in your home should you be worried about asbestos — and how should you proceed?
What Is It?
The term popcorn ceiling was given by decorators to this form of finished treatment due to the texture having a similar appearance to popcorn or even cottage cheese in some people’s view. This was a fashionable decoration back in the 1980s and was applied by spraying from a handheld gun onto the ceiling surface.
Many different materials used to go into the mixture in order to come up with this popcorn appearance. Styrofoam and cardboard were popular ingredients, together with a mineral product known as vermiculite. It is this latter product that could give rise to concern as it may contain asbestos.
How to Find out If You Have a Problem
It’s difficult to know whether or not the popcorn ceiling in your home actually contains asbestos. Therefore, it’s best to be prudent if you are considering any type of renovation or may want to remove this decoration. The best course of action is to get a small section of the ceiling tested in order to see whether there is indeed any asbestos present.
If you are going to remove a sample yourself, there are a number of different steps to take. Note that if you have a popcorn ceiling in a state of general disrepair then it could easily crumble if you’re not careful.
Cutting a Sample
The first thing to do is to shut off the air conditioning system so that any fibres, should they be dislodged, cannot be distributed. You must wear a mask and disposable gloves and should place a plastic sheet beneath the area on the floor. Get a small spray bottle and fill it with water and set the nozzle to ‘fine’. Carefully wet a small piece of the material before you cut into it. Use a very sharp knife and carefully cut out a fairly large sample.
Get a plastic bag with a zipper and place the sample within, tightly sealing it. Then you must put a label on the outside detailing what is within and the date the sample was taken. Next, get some duct tape and patch over the area where the sample was removed. Use a damp paper towel to remove any residue and then throw away this, the gloves and the plastic sheet.
Send your sample to a laboratory to analyse for asbestos presence. You can find the address online or by contacting your health department.
What to Do with the Result
Be patient while you wait for the results. Once received, if asbestos is indeed present then you should contact an asbestos removal contractor to replace the entire ceiling. If not, you can remove the popcorn effect by yourself.
Recently, after attempting to repair the Great Wall of China with cement, Chinese officials received lots of criticism. Reportedly, the work was not attractive, and it didn’t do this great wall justice. If you need to do a concrete repair on a stone wall, you may be worried about making the same mistakes.
Luckily, however, repairing a small wall at home may be easier than you think. Here are some tips to help:
1. Prepare the area first.
Since the cement mixture adheres to the stone wall, prepare the area carefully before you begin to work. Remove loose chunks of concrete by hand and brush out any small particles. If there are loose stones, set them aside, and then clean the wall with a pressure washer on a low setting.
2. Mix your concrete repair.
When repairing a stone wall, don’t use plain concrete. If you do, you risk making the same mistake that wasn’t appreciated on the Great Wall. Instead, mix one part cement to two parts sand, and add water. Stir this mixture around, and use it immediately.
3. Apply the cement mixture with a trowel.
Use a trowel to apply the cement and sand mixture to the broken parts of the wall. If any stones have fallen out of the wall, hold them in place with your hand, and trowel in the cement around them. If you are not comfortable working with a trowel, use your hands.
As this mixture is not pure cement, you don’t have to worry about cement burn as much as usual. However, to be on the safe and comfortable side when you are working with the cement and sand, you should still wear gloves.
4. Remove excess cement.
Once you have finished repairing the concrete holding the stone wall together, moisten a sponge. Rub the sponge over any stones that have cement on them. It is easiest to remove excess cement immediately.
5. Make the cement match.
When you finish applying the cement repair to the stone wall, you are likely to notice that the new cement doesn’t match the old cement. There are two ways to deal with this issue. You can pick up some dirt from near the wall and rub it against the new cement — do this while the cement is still wet so that the soil stains it. Alternatively, you can water down some of your cement and sand mixture, and then gently paint it over the old cement so everything looks new.
If you are buying a modular home, the home is assembled in a factory, meaning you don’t have to build it on site. However, you still need to do a construction survey to decide where to put the foundation and to prepare the area for the modular home. Here are some tips to keep in mind when arranging construction surveying of your property for a modular home.
Review local setback laws
When the surveyor comes to your home, he or she will mark the outer corners of your property to define the property line. That can also give you some guidance on where to place your modular home. In particular, you need to ensure that you follow laws related to setbacks (the distance buildings need to be from the property line).
If your foundation is over the property line or past the setback area, you may have to tear down the foundation and rebuild it. If you already have your modular home in place by the time someone notices the issue, you may have to move the entire thing, foundation, home and all. Because of that, it’s important to know the setback rules for your area.
Choose a spot on the highest part of the property
Once you have reviewed the setback laws, you can start to choose the spot where you hope to put the house. To help with drainage issues, this should typically be the highest spot on your property or it should at least be higher than the surrounding areas. Once you identify the rough spot where you want the house, put some stakes in to mark it, and then let the surveyor adjust the exact spot as needed for balance, accuracy and topographical considerations.
Decide if you need a topographical plat
As you look around your lot trying to find the perfect spot for your manufactured home, you can easily decide if you need a topographical plat. A topographical plat is a special type of survey that focuses on the elevation of the plot. With this survey, you can make decisions about which spots to level, where to add retaining walls and other considerations related to putting in the home and landscaping around it. In most cases, you only need a topographical plat if your ground slopes noticeably with swells and slopes a metre or more high.
Focus on creating a level spot for the foundation
In addition to helping you decide where to place your home and giving you tips on how best to prepare the rest of your site, a surveyor can also set up the stakes to guide the builders as they put in your foundation. Talk with the surveyor about the importance of a level foundation. Without that, your modular home base may crack, and the home itself may incur damage.
If you are contemplating a bathroom renovation, it is not uncommon to find yourself hesitant as you assume that it may cost an arm and a leg. This fear of the unknown should not deter you, though. There are several ways that you can go through bathroom remodelling without having to deplete all your savings. All you have to do is focus on specific areas that will bring you a significant return on your remodelling investment. The following are some of the minor changes that you could embark on to makeover your bathroom.
Invest in new taps and resurfacing
If your bathroom sink and tub are still in pristine condition, you can get away with simply changing their tap ware. There is a myriad of new taps you could choose from that would provide you with technologically savvy tap ware. For instance, automatic taps can work toward considering water in your bathroom by ensuring that taps are not left slightly opened once used. You can also opt for new finishes in metals such as titanium or gold to bring some shine and sophistication to your bathroom.
If you find the new tap ware is making the older sink and tub look haggard, then you could choose to resurface them. Remodelling contractors can bring back the gleam and shine to your tub and sink without you having to invest in replacing them in their entirety.
Create the illusion of floating
If you have a small bathroom, having hardware on the floor of your bathroom can actually make the room appear smaller. To have some additional space, you should try creating the illusion of floating amenities. For example, rather than having your toilet affixed to the floor, have the remodelling contractors hang it on the wall. This can be followed by recessing the cistern into the wall to create vertical space. By having the toilet off the floor and installing the cistern within the wall, not only do you create floor space, but you also create vertical space.
Another amenity that you could have floating in your bathroom is the vanity. Typically, vanities will take up floor space as the plumbing will be located below it. Instead, recess the plumbing into the wall and this will free up the space below the vanity. You can then opt to install additional storage below the vanity. Alternatively, you could leave it empty so that the bathroom appears larger than it really is.
Making a selection of commercial flooring is not the same as selecting flooring for your home. Functionality should be your main priority, thus your flooring choice would largely depend on what type of business you will be conducting in the commercial building. For instance, an office space would require vastly different flooring than a clinic. Your choice of flooring will also depend on the amount of usage it will be exposed to. For example, it would not make sense to prioritise the aesthetics of your flooring only for it to be incapable of withstanding high traffic. The following are some of the different options you can consider when selecting flooring for your commercial building.
This is a popular option for commercial flooring as it blends both functionality and aesthetics seamlessly into your building. Terrazzo is characterised by mosaic patterns with specks of marble embedded into the concrete. If you do not like marble, you can opt for other materials such as metals or glass to add some glimmer to your flooring.
It should be noted that terrazzo is also one of the most expensive options that you could consider. This is because of the triple threat it provides by being attractive, durable and easy to keep well maintained. As such, terrazzo can be used for all types of commercial settings, whether you are renting out your building for office space or using it as a warehouse.
Commercial buildings tend to be quite expansive. Therefore, it can prove economically challenging to opt to carpet all the flooring in the building. If you are suiting your building as an office space and would like to enhance the comfort of your tenants, then you could consider carpet tiles. As the name suggests, these are individual tiles of carpet that are arranged to create the illusion of wall-to-wall carpeting. The carpet tiles also add a layer of sound insulation in the commercial building, which will function to ensure the different tenants do not bother each other with the sound of footfalls. This type of flooring is also easy to replace in the event of damage, as all the contractors would have to do is take out the affected carpet tiles.
Nevertheless, carpet tiles would not be a feasible option in buildings used as schools or medical facilities. Not only will they be prone to soiling making them unsightly, but they will also absorb bacteria and a host of other pathogens and allergens.
When you have construction jobs to fill, you might assume you can or should handle this hiring yourself. However, a placement agency specialising in construction jobs can offer you some great advantages over managing this process on your own; one such advantage is that they can perform certain tests and assessments for candidates that you may not know how to manage on your own. Note a few of those tests here so you can determine if using a placement agency is your best choice for construction jobs you need filled.
Drug testing, background checks
Having prospective employees go through drug testing and background checks is often somewhat standard, but do you know how to have those tests conducted legally and also thoroughly? If you contact a local drug testing agency, they may give you a number of tests from which to choose, and you may not know the best ones for your prospective employees. The same is true for background checks; these need to be thorough but there may also be legal limits as to what information you can collect.
Along with collecting this information, you need to ensure test results are handled confidentially. Failing to hold certain information in confidence may result in a civil suit against you by an employee, which is why it can be good to have a placement agency manage these checks instead.
Verification of right to work
It’s good to ensure that everyone on your jobsite is legally allowed to work in your country; a placement agency will be able to more readily confirm a person’s identification and, if they are in the country on a visa, that they are legally able to work. If you do hire those who are in the country on a work visa, you may be legally obligated to show proof of payment to these ones. A permanent placement agency can advise you on your legal obligations and how to ensure you don’t face fines or fees for failure to pay migrants properly.
Construction is a very labor-intensive industry, so you need to ensure that your employees are physically able to handle this work. However, there may be legal limits as to the types of medical tests that can be performed for potential employees and, as with other checks, how this information is handled. A permanent placement agency will know how to arrange these physical tests and can ensure this information is kept confidential so you avoid potential liability.
As winter quickly approaches, it’s important to take some time to inspect your entire house to determine if there are any changes that need to be made in preparation for winter. In particular, you’ll want to spend a significant amount of time preparing your garage roller doors, as they are quite vulnerable since they are always exposed to harsh winter conditions. This article will review 3 maintenance tips that will prepare the roller doors for the harsh conditions ahead.
Remove Hardened Grease and Lubricant on the Tracks and Rollers
Roller doors rely on grease and lubricant to open and close smoothly and properly. The cold temperatures of the winter months will only cause the lubricant to dry out and further harden. Hardened lumps can easily obstruct the roller door pathway. Because of this reason, you should remove as much hardened grease and lubricant as possible that may already be on the tracks and rollers and apply a new coat for winter.
Secure Fasteners and Screws
Temporal fluctuations in the winter will cause the metal to expand and contract. This can cause the metal tracks to buckle or warp if they are not already structurally sound. To reduce any likelihood of damaging the metal frames, secure all of the fasteners and screws that are holding the frame in place. You want to make sure that the frame is solid and can’t be easily moved. You can determine which fasteners or screws may be loose by listening for a rattling sound when the roller doors are in operation.
Repair Holes or Cracks
As the garage roller doors are always exposed to external elements, you can say that they also play an important role in maintaining the overall energy efficiency of your household. The truth is that your garage can allow up to 25% of all heat and cold sources into your house on a daily basis. This means that you’ll be using a lot more energy to maintain the temperature inside your house if there is a leak in the garage. Look for holes or cracks within the roller door panels. Patch these holes or cracks up immediately with putty or other materials. If the damage is too severe, you might want to consider replacing the entire panel.
Prepare your home for the winter by making appropriate inspections in the fall. You’ll want to spend a significant amount of time inspecting your garage roller doors, as they tend to be quite vulnerable—although, most homeowners don’t normally pour a lot of attention into maintaining and preparing them for the winter.
Cladding refers to materials that are affixed to the external surfaces of a structure to provide both a functional as well as an aesthetic finish. One of the materials that you could consider when replacing the cladding of your home is timber supplies. Timber cladding will typically be in the form or long, narrow boards that are installed overlapping each other. With the timber cladding boards, you could have them affixed horizontally, diagonally or vertically depending on your aesthetic preferences. Other forms of timber cladding that you could consider are timber panels or timber shingles. It should be noted that timber cladding is not simply for the enhancement of your residence’s curb appeal. This material, once treated and sealed, can also be quite functional. So why would timber cladding be ideal for your home?
Timber cladding is versatile
A major benefit of timber supplies being used as cladding is that they are quite versatile. Firstly, the timber is easy to work with. Meaning the contractors can be able to cut it to any size to ensure that it is customized for your home.
Secondly, the timber supplies come in a wide array of patterns. This gives you the flexibility to create unique designs with your home’s cladding. Thirdly, timber cladding can be used for different types of structures. This makes it a good option for homeowners who have several structures on their property such as a garden shed, a granny flat and more. The contractors can match the cladding on all these structures to create a sense of uniformity of your premises.
Lastly, timber cladding gives you the flexibility to experiment with various decorative effects. Through painting or staining the cladding, you can come up with attractive finishes that would make your home stand out.
Timber cladding is eco-friendly
If you are concerned about your overall impact on the environment, then you may want to consider timber cladding. There are several ways that timber supplies would be a more environmentally friendly option when compared to other alternatives. Firstly, timber supplies are a renewable resource. This means that your cladding will be made from materials that are being harvested and regrown, rather than contributing to deforestation.
Secondly, timber supplies only require a few fossil fuels during the manufacturing process. Lastly, timber supplies are completely recyclable. As such, in the event that your cladding has become worn and requires replacement, you can rest assured the timber supplies will be recycled for other uses. For more information, contact companies like Hayter’s Timber & Paving.
Office fitouts can be a big investment for any company, but they’re necessary in order to create an office space that can be fully utilized by your staff. Before you decide on all the partitions and walls and other pieces you need for your office space, note a few trends for today’s offices that you may want to consider as well, and why they’re becoming so popular.
Shrinking the space
Today’s workers are more likely to utilize electronic storage of documents rather than keeping files, reference books, and other items on hand. In turn, they may not need as much storage space. Conference rooms are also often much smaller than ever before, as many companies will have workers offsite who don’t travel to the office for meetings and the like. Hooking people up through videoconferencing, even over Skype, is more economical than all those travel costs, and this also means that your conference rooms may not need to be as large.
It became very popular some years back to lower partitions in the office, to allow sunlight to pass through and for everyone to see each other in order to create a team atmosphere. However, this meant more noise and distraction. As a compromise, glass partitions are now very popular for the office versus fabric or drywall. The glass allows light from the surrounding windows and helps workers to see who else is present, while cutting down on sound.
Enclaves and private offices
Even with large partitions, it can still be difficult to concentrate on certain phone calls or while managing special projects in the office. Enclaves or private offices that are big enough for temporary use have become very popular; you can sign out such an office for a day, a few hours, or as long as necessary. This gives workers the quiet they may need temporarily while not taking up space for offices for everyone.
Don’t underestimate the need for regular, quiet breaks for your employees. Being able to step away for ten or fifteen minutes every morning and afternoon can allow an employee to recharge and refocus. Rather than just one kitchen or break area for everyone, however, you might consider smaller break spaces with a coffeemaker and mini fridge, along with some relaxing lounge chairs. This can give employees more quiet than if they took a break in a busy kitchen and can mean less wasted storage space or floor space in an oversized kitchen that isn’t used.
The sole purpose of installing cooling towers is to remove unwanted heat from a building and ensure optimal thermal conditions for the occupants. The cooling effect is achieved through water that runs continuously in the system and acts as medium of heat transfer between the indoor and outdoor air. To fasten the cooling effect of the water in the cooling tower, cooling tower fill is used. The fill increases the surface of the water exposed to the atmosphere, meaning that more water is in contact with the outdoor air to get rid of the unwanted heat. When choosing a cooling tower, an understanding of the kind of fill it has will help you to make the right choice. Here is a discussion on splash and film fill for cooling towers for the best consumer choice:
Splash fill is designed in a way that allows water to cascade (pour down like a waterfall) over a parallel splash bars arranged in succession. This design enables water to flow over the splash bars for a long time through the repeated interruption of the water’s smooth flow. Notably, the arrangement of the splash bars is quite lenient on dirty water, making them ideal for cases where the supply of clean water is unreliable or where you have an inconsistent water treatment schedule. However, there is a need for support systems to guarantee the prolonged performance of the splash fill. For optimal performance, you must prevent blockages at all costs. Poor water supply over the splash fill makes some areas devoid of water, and most air will flow through the sections with no water because there is no resistance to airflow, leading to inefficient heat transfer.
Film fill comes in the form of thin sheets that create a corrugated pattern throughout the towers. Unlike splash fill, the sheets are more tightly spaced, creating more turbulence to the flow of air from the inside of the building to the outside. Unlike their splash fill counterparts, film fill is sensitive to both the supply and the quality of the water running through the cooling tower. Any dirt or interference with the water supply within the cooling tower greatly affects the quality of the thermoregulation achieved by the film fill. Sections deprived of water become impassable for air exchange, cutting out air exchange completely unlike splash fill. This means that you should only go for film fill if you have a reliable water supply that is treated every time before it is run in the system.