Concrete Has A Lot Of Uses

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

While they may look similar, concrete and cement are different things. One big difference is that cement is one of the things that concrete is made up of. Concrete is actually something called an aggregate. That means that it is made up of a whole lot of things, including cement. 

Concrete Uses

Concrete has been used for many things over the centuries. In ancient Rome, they used concrete for things like aqueducts, some of which are still standing today. Today, concrete can be found in everything from decorative outdoor items, like bird baths, to homes built completely from concrete, to high-rise buildings that use a lot of concrete. 

It’s used in all those places because it is strong and has a long lifespan. Concrete’s myriad uses also show how versatile it actually is. 

Concrete Ingredients

A good concrete mix needs several things. The most basic things it needs are particles to be made up of and a glue to hold it all together. The particles that make up concrete are rocks and pebbles. The glue is cement. In most cases it’s Portland cement. Portland cement is made up of things like limestone, clay, and gypsum. The final ingredient is water. That water mixes with the powdered cement and turns it into the glue that holds the concrete together. 

All these things have to go in to the mix in the right proportions. How much of each depends on a lot of things. One is what the use is. Different uses need different strengths of concrete. For example, the concrete that is used in a high rise building needs to be stronger than the concrete that your backyard fountain is made of.

More or less of one ingredient will change how strong the concrete is. Another variable is what the weather is like. That primarily affects how much water goes into the mix. It’s almost an art to make sure that everything is done correctly. 

When the concrete is getting mixed, other things can be added to the mix as well. That includes decorative additions. Powdered dyes can be added to the mix so that the concrete is colored. Decorative stones are another option. That could mean things like colored stones or things that sparkle. Those things would add some visual interest to the concrete, especially for decorative concrete uses.

Concrete has had many uses over the centuries, and continues to have many uses. To learn more information, try contacting a company like Mid-States Construction Inc. with any questions or concerns you have.

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Window Air Conditioners Versus Central Air Conditioners

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

If you’re trying to decide between installing one or more window air conditioners versus installing a central air-conditioning system, you’re not alone. Many people face this decision every year as summer looms closer. There are pros and cons to both approaches, and you should consider the following when making your purchasing decision.

Window Air Conditioners

A window air conditioner doesn’t require any special skills or equipment to install. No electrician is necessary, since it uses an ordinary electrical outlet. Varying in size and power, the more expensive and larger units naturally cost more and deliver greater cooling. This cooling power is designated using BTUs (British Thermal Units). The more BTUs your air conditioner has, the more it can do for you.

Central Air Conditioning Systems

Central air conditioners are more complex and more powerful than window units. They make use of an outdoor compressor unit that pumps a refrigerant to and from the home in order to cool it. Considerably larger than most window air conditioners, the internal part of a central air-conditioning system is connected to ductwork running throughout your home. Because the main components of the system (apart from the air circulator) are located outside the home, central air conditioning systems are usually much quieter than window units.

The Area to Be Cooled

Keep in mind that a single window air conditioner will be able to cool the only one room. More than this, if you don’t choose a unit that is large enough it might not be able to cool even that one room. Very powerful window units will still only cool about 1000 ft.². By contrast, a central air conditioning system can cool an entire home. Of course, it is still essential that the central air-conditioning system be sized properly when it’s installed. One that’s too small will not cool your home sufficiently, while one that’s too large will waste energy.

Energy Efficiency

There’s a common misconception that window air conditioners might be more efficient than central air conditioning systems. In fact, the opposite is often true. Window units that are undersized and too small to properly cool a room will run all the time and waste electricity. On the other hand, central air conditioning systems can cool an entire home much more quickly than a window unit can cool a single room, but they will use much more electricity in the process.

When trying to choose the most efficient model window air conditioner or central air conditioning system, from companies like Springer Bros Air Conditioning-Heating LLC, you should look at their rating. Window air conditioners are rated using the EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) system. Central air conditioning systems use the SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating system. Look for a unit that has a rating of 13 or higher.

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What To Do During A Roofing Emergency

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

The roof is one of the sturdiest areas of your home. A good roof should last for decades with perhaps only minor repairs needed, as long as you are taking proper maintenance steps. But sometimes, disaster can strike. If your roof is severely damaged by a storm, you’re going to need a plan of action to help you and your family get through the situation until help can arrive. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Don’t Worry About the Damage, Get to Safety

If your roof is significantly damaged by something like a fallen tree, do what you can to quickly assess the situation. If it appears that the roof has caved in at any point, get your family out of the house immediately. You will of course want to try and assess the damage, but it’s better to do that once the storm calms down. Also consider that going up on top of a roof with significant damage could be very dangerous, as the roof could be unstable. Focus on making sure your family is okay. Everything else should come later.

Contact a Contractor

As soon as everyone is safe and sound, call a roof repair company, such as Allen Roofing & Construction Inc. Some contractors may be able to respond quickly if it is a true emergency. If you can’t get a hold of a contractor right away, and you feel that your house is in danger of sustaining further significant damage, consider calling the police. The authorities may be able to provide some kind of support to help you, or they could even help you hunt down a roofing specialist if it is clear that the damage to your house could harm other homes in the area if it causes a full cave-in.

Document the Damage if Possible

While your first priority once you call the roofing contractor will be getting out of the way and letting him or her do their job, you should also consider taking photographs of the damage if you can do so safely without putting yourself in harm’s way. You will likely need to call your insurance company to see if they will help pay for the damage. It can be helpful to have photos on file to show the insurance auditor, especially if the damage is going to already be fixed by the contractor prior to the auditor viewing the house.

If you experience a major emergency with your roof, such as a massive leak or cave-in due to something like a tree falling onto your house, your first order of business is to stay calm and get your family to safety. Don’t go up on the roof and try to fix the problem yourself. Call a contractor or the police if the emergency is bad enough. If you have the opportunity to document the damage for insurance purposes, you should do so, but only if the situation is stable.

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Importance Of Humidity Levels In Your Home

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Blog, Construction & Contractors | 0 comments

If someone in your home has allergies or asthma, a humidifier can be beneficial. Increased humidity in your home can help ease breathing in both children and adults. It can also help reduce symptoms of respiratory infections, such as a cold, as well as dry skin and cracked lips.  When using a humidifier in your home, however, you must monitor the humidity levels.

Different Types of Humidifiers

Humidifiers emit steam or water vapor into the air to increase moisture levels. There are different types you can choose from including:

  • Steam vaporizers: This type of humidifier uses electricity to create steam in the air. The humidifier cools the vapor before it is released.
  • Central humidifiers:  If you use a central humidifier, it is built into your home heating and air conditioning system.
  • Evaporators: An evaporator uses a fan that blows air through a wet belt, filter, or wick.
  • Impeller humidifier: If you choose this humidifier, it features a rotating disk that produces cool mist in the air.

Humidity Levels in Your Home

You need to keep a watch on the humidity levels in your home. Humidity is how much water vapor is in the air, and it is generally higher in the hot summer months, and lower during the cold winter months.

It is recommended that you maintain a relative humidity that is below 50%. If you live in a colder climate, you will need lower levels to prevent condensation on surfaces, such as windows.

If the humidity levels in your home are too high or too low it can cause problems, such as:

  • High humidity: If the levels are too high, it will cause condensation on your windows, floors, walls, and more. This condensation causes the growth of molds, dust mites, and harmful bacteria. This can trigger an asthma or allergy flare-up, as well as cause other respiratory problems.
  • Low humidity. If your home has low humidity, it can irritate your throat and nasal passages. It can also make your eyes itchy, and make your skin dry.

Measuring the Humidity Levels in Your Home

There is a tool that you can purchase from many hardware stores called a hygrometer. This tool works by measuring how much moisture is in the air. You can purchase humidifiers that have a built in hygrometer so you can keep a constant check on these levels.

Talk with your doctor before you purchase a humidifier for your home. They will be able to tell you what will work best for you for the medical problem you or your family is having.

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3 Ways To Make Sure Your Home Is Ready For Winter

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Winter can put added stress on your home because of all the wind and moisture that tends to come along with the season. Of course your heater is there for support, but relying on it to do all the heavy work can be costly and wear down your system. Here are three things you can do to get your home ready for winter and save some money on your energy bills:

Have Your Roof Inspected and Coated

One of the most important ways you can protect your home from the outdoor elements is to have your roof inspected for leaks and treated with a reflective coating. This coating will help minimize water penetration during winter, keep your home cooler during summer, and lower your energy bills overall all year long. Having your roof professional coated is an investment that keeps giving throughout all the seasons.

Insulate Your Windows and Doors

Keep wind, mold, and moisture outside where it belongs during the winter months by insulating your windows and doors. Start by using spray foam insulation or caulking around the frames of every window and door that connects to the exterior of your home. You’ll get even more relief from the cold by taking these additional steps:

  • Use door snakes along the bottom of exterior doors when they aren’t in use to keep drafts outside.
  • Install insulating window film for extra warmth and to minimize moisture buildup.
  • Use honeycomb cellular shades in front of windows for better insulation, optimal light filtering, and even noise reduction.

It’s important to insulate the doors and windows in your basement and attic because drafts can make their way into your home even if those spaces aren’t used on a regular basis. 

Add Layers to Bare Floors

Using area rugs on bare floors in your home will help to keep your home warmer because the rugs act as insulation. There are several ways to use rugs for warmth and energy savings—try one or more of these options:

  • Put large rugs in common areas where a lot of foot traffic is experienced.
  • Use elongated rugs in hallways as runners.
  • Put small throw rugs under each chair in the dining room.

Using area rugs on floors with thin carpeting can also help to further insulate your home and keep you warm.

These weatherproofing methods will also help to improve the look and feel of your home, and may even increase your property’s value overall. Click here for more info on keeping your home warm and safe this winter.

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