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Paving Ideas

Help the environment and use recycled materials

Why not look out for the environment and use recycled pavers for your outdoor areas, a trend we have seen emerging, bringing life to old materials. There are many options currently offered for recycled pavers, they are available in all materials, colours, sizes and they have the ability to create some really unique, artistic original designs. You have the option of going for more of a modern look, cleaning them off so they do not appear as old. Alternatively, you can opt for the original look and keep them in their current state to create an ambience of authenticity with that extra old warm charm.

The trend towards using recycled materials comes down to a couple of significant factors. The saving you receive; it is a lot cheaper to use recycled materials compared to purchasing things brand new. You are also redirecting materials from landfill into beautiful inspiring works of art, something to be very proud of. In this modern world, people are becoming more conscientious about the environment and value the emotional benefits of doing something positive for the environment. It is also a great feeling to inspire others and be a role model, providing for a more sustainable living environment.

Be Natural

One of the most recent movements at the moment is to be using natural materials. As people’s concerns increase with the environment, there is more demand for materials that are pure and sourced directly from nature. Examples of natural materials include stone pavers and large format clay pavers. Both of these are currently in high demand. A stylish, modest and timeless look can be created with stone pavers that suit any style of home. They are multipurpose in nature and can be used anywhere around your home, from your veranda to your front path, around the pool or even your driveway. Clay pavers look best when they are large format and have rounded edges and they can be used in virtually all locations. It is recommended to be cautious if you are thinking of using pavers on driveways as they have a natural fault line in them that may break underneath increased pressure.

Cobblestone is charming

Even though cobblestone is nothing new and has been around for hundreds of years, we are seeing it continuously used within the paving arena. It seems this “old” style will never die out and can be adapted to create the “old but new” look.

Cobblestones are surprisingly quite adaptable in nature, and can be used as the main paving material in verandas, driveways, pathways or they can be used as accents with large format pavers, allowing for a stimulating and distinct look. They can change a neutral, uninspiring area into a relaxing and stimulating place to be. Enchanting country paths, the ambience of being in a relaxing Taiwanese resort, or a romantic European style setting are all possibilities when using cobblestones.

Paving both inside and out

We are seeing a move towards creating large open spaces, one of the major trends in living at the moment. People are achieving this by merging their indoor and outdoor living areas with the same paving materials. It is common to achieve this look by using bi fold doors. In order to achieve unity between indoor and outdoor living spaces and create one big living area, contemplate using the same pavers or tiles throughout. Think natural stone tiles or large format pavers with a non slip coating. Using the same paving material will create a true feel of harmony, unity and cohesiveness through the two living areas.

Kitset Home

The idea is actually very simple. A company designs a house. It prepares all of the major materials necessary for its building – the timber frames and panels, trusses, the external cladding and the plumbing supplies. Some companies go a step further and include a kitset kitchen with all cabinets and sometimes with all appliances in the package as well.

Materials which may be necessary for the construction of a kitset home such as bricks and concrete are typically not included in the package. This is because these are not mandatory to use in all cases. Another reason is that buyers can get them cheaply from local suppliers.

The plan for the building of the house comes in the package as well. You will get the blueprint and all other important documents. Guidance and advice is readily available from the company. The buyer has to arrange the building consent and hire a construction company to build their home. Reputable companies offer assistance for both tasks.

Kitset buildings meet all national construction standards in the countries where they are available. This means that they are of the same quality as all other houses. They are built to last. They provide the necessary insulation, coziness and comfort that every family requires.

The kitset houses come in a wide range of styles and designs. You can go for a colonial home or for a totally modern one. There are one-bedroom guesthouses with a bathroom and kitchen. There are also large 3-bedroom homes that come with all amenities that a modern family requires.

These homes are significantly cheaper than their traditional counterparts. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, the designs are readymade so the cost of architectural and engineering services is reduced to a minimum. In addition, you get exactly as much material as you will use so there are no unnecessary extra costs. Since companies offering kitset buildings work on a large scale, they get high-quality materials at lower costs and some of the savings are passed to their clients.

You can get a gorgeous kitset home that meets all of your requirements at an affordable price. Do not miss out on such an opportunity.

Uses of Cable Gland

Nylon cable glands are best suited for use where there is risk of flammability, since nylon has a very high resistance to burning. It melts in the presence of high temperatures, providing some level of protection. Nylon cable glands are produced in a variety of colors to distinguish their function.

Spiral type cable glands have excellent locking and sealing qualities and can withstand a wide range of temperatures, with some of them being able to resist extremely high temperature intermittently as well.

Other types offer explosion protection and gas-sealing features which are suitable for use in hazardous industries.

Some special applications may require additional protection like a lock-nut and washer to give better sealing.

Most manufacturers must comply with the international protection standards like the IPR or International Protection Rating scale. This scale provides different values for different qualities that can be measured such as immersion in water up to certain depths, heat resistance up to certain temperature, etc. The threading variations are also standardized according to metric or other calibrations. This makes it convenient for purchasers to find the right kind of cable gland to suit their requirements. These standards also allow parts to be replaced quickly and accurately as they can be ordered according to the correct specifications.

Cable glands also have clamping facilities which make them highly effective in providing the correct grip and sealing irrespective of the number of cables that are passed through them. Color coding is also available with different manufacturers, with distinctions being made between outdoor and indoor applications. To provide additional sealing and locking facilities, cable glands can have their own set of gaskets in different or similar materials which provide safety while being tightened so that the gland is correctly positioned and it continues to sit in that position.

Depending on your requirements, you can purchase cable glands from your local hardware or electrical goods stores. However, if you have a bulk purchase, you can order them directly from the manufacturers on-line after consulting their catalogs. Many manufacturers offer free shipping, bulk discounts and free samples for better selection.

Advantages Building a Small Home

  • Lower Property Taxes
    With building a smaller home comes the benefit of lower property taxes. A smaller footprint often translates into your home being viewed at a lower value, offering you a more favorable assessment on your property than neighbors with larger homes.
  • Energy Cost & Consumption
    With a smaller space, come lower energy bills. Studies show that heating and cooling costs alone are 13-20% lower in a home that is 1,500 square feet compared to a home that is 2,500 square feet.
  • Environmental Impact
    A small home simply uses fewer natural resources in construction, maintenance and energy consumption. The efficiency of a small home helps the environment and helps you live responsibly.
  • Maintenance & Cleaning
    The smaller the home, the less maintenance you have to worry about. Think about the cost to replace siding on a 2,500 SF home compared to a 1,500 SF home or the amount of money that can be saved when installing new flooring or tile. There are fewer windows to replace, walls to paint and gutters to clean. Regular household chores will be cut in half and if you hire a cleaning service, their rate will be lower.
  • Less Clutter
    Less space equates to less room for items that aren’t necessities. We all know that the more space we have, the more ‘junk’ we accumulate. Having a smaller home forces you to become more organized and avoid the accumulation of unneeded possessions. Think of all the unused items you’ll be motivated to donate to charity or sell on eBay and Craig’s List.
  • More Financial Freedom
    When living in a smaller home, the savings you’ll accumulate from having a smaller mortgage, lower utility bills and overall reduced consumption will add up quick. You will be able to free yourself from unneeded expenses and become more financially secure.

Choosing the Perfect Garage Plans

Before jumping into the idea of building a garage, it is important to consider your needs, as well as the things you would like as a result. If you’re particularly seeking for an approach to add more space to your home without actually building exactly onto your existing house, detached garage plans offer the perfect option which you may be looking.

An apartment garage design can be made easy when you utilize proper planning and designing tools. In fact, there are nearly hundreds to thousands of software and online applications that can aid you in the designing process. However, there may be some of us who doesn’t have any knowledge or idea in exploiting these applications. Some may try to learn the basics but there’ll be some who won’t even think of attempting it. For those who don’t want to spend time in designing the garage, there is an alternative way to get a unique garage plans. One way is to buy ready-made blueprints of garage. This is very valuable for those who design the whole plan from scratch.

If you’re residing in a subdivision, you will most likely need to ascertain that the plans which you are going to buy are approved by the home owners association and will adhere to the C and Rs. If you’re not in a subdivision, you would still want to ensure your design goes with your property.

When you’re searching for garage plans, always bear in mind that it will be very tough to stumble on floor plans that would precisely fit and match the area that you are planning to make use of. Remember that your floor plan should be able to provide you a guide; it should not direct you to perplexity.

Evidently, the key is to tag along the floor plan that you have acquired. But that doesn’t imply to thoroughly go after the plan to the letter, to the extent of disregarding your budget just to keep ardent with what the garage plan has stipulated.

It is important to reconcile your garage plan and your budget so you can assess if you have the means to finance this project until completion. Building the garage is one thing and maintaining and keeping the garage is another.

Whatever you settle on when constructing garage plans, always take into account that a garage which is a poor match for your house, will actually diminish your property’s appreciation thus, making it harder to put up for sale in the future. Nonetheless, an attractive garage will do the contrary. Hence, you will want to check first that you have included products like paint, trimming, and decorations for the beautification of your composition in the materials list, as well as, the estimate of your building costs and expenses.

About Earthquakes and Structural Damage

The severity of ground movement usually coincides with the building’s proximity to the earthquake’s epicenter. For example, a magnitude 7.0 quake will be only 50% as strong 8 miles away from the epicenter. The strength of the shake can also be affected by the type of rock the seismic wave passes through, and soil conditions. Soil that is soft and wet will increase shaking.

Duration of the motion can influence the amount of damage as well. Buildings that shake for longer periods of time typically have more damage.

There are many complex issues involved in how a building moves during a quake. Visually, when the base of a building moves to the left, the rest of the structure appears to move to the right. In fact, the building’s move to the right is simply a resistance to the motion occurring at the base. Other factors that influence movement include seismic load, soil conditions, building material strength and building design. An important aspect of design is the structure’s ability to bend or sway when the ground beneath it moves.

Even a building that has been designed to withstand ground motion can fail if the foundation is weak or damaged. Certain types of foundations are also more likely to result in damage, such as structures built on columns. This is usually because of uneven settlement.

When a new building is constructed, it must adhere to various regulations designed to minimize quake damage. Older residential and commercial buildings however, need to be inspected to determine their ability to withstand a quake. Most of these structures will need to be strengthened.

Earthquake retrofitting is the term used to describe the process of modifying a building to make it more resistant to seismic activity. Types of retrofitting include foundation bolting, cripple wall bracing and the installation of brackets.

Foundation bolting strengthens the connection between a structure’s frame and the concrete foundation. Some structures have no bolts, while others have an insufficient number of bolts or bolts that have become weakened over time. Knowing what types of bolts to use and where to place the bolts is extremely important.

Cripple wall collapse is one of the main causes of earthquake damage. The failure of a cripple wall will cause the floor of the home to drop to the ground. Braces can be used to strengthen cripple walls. In most cases, these braces will need to be placed on all sides of the home. Hold-down brackets are used to anchor shear walls, and help prevent the wall from rolling or shifting.

If you have an older home, request a foundation inspection from a foundation repair expert. Experienced foundation contractors can determine if your building needs retrofitting to prevent damage during an earthquake. Taking care of earthquake preparation, you can minimize the risk of structural damage with the right retrofitting techniques and materials.

Qualities of a Good General Contractor

  • Knowledge of Construction. If your general contractor is not familiar with construction, he/she won’t know if the sub-contractors are doing a good job. Leaks in the roof, drafty doors and windows, interior leaks and shoddy work can all happen if a contractor doesn’t know what to look for. Be sure whoever you hire has a construction background and understands how quality work is done. Ask questions before you hire anybody.
  • Good communication skills. Remember, this is the person who will become your voice. He/she will be communicating your vision and needs to everyone else who comes in to work on your home. They need to understand what you are looking for and then share that in a way that makes what you want happen.
  • A solid group of sub-contractors. Most general contractors, who have been in business for a while, have a group of sub-contractors they work with on a regular basis. This means there is trust and knowledge of how and how quickly they work. Things generally run more smoothly when people have worked together before.
  • Knowledge of necessary permits for the area. Every state and city has different rules and regulations regarding building and additions/expansions on homes. Some have to do with earthquake safety, such as in areas that run close to fault lines, some have to do with storm protection for coastal areas. If your home is not built to code, you could be forced to tear it down. Building within property lines is also critical. If you build over, you will at some point most likely be responsible for taking down all the hard work that went into building your home or addition.
  • Ability to save you money without compromising materials. Some people think they can save money by acting as their own general contractor. This is similar to people picking up a camera and thinking they are a photographer.

Contractors are trained to know what to look for. Their job is to organize and know what types of materials work and how they work together. Their knowledge is invaluable when it comes to building a home. If you don’t have a construction background, you will probably save more money by letting a general contractor take over.

Basics of Design-Build Concept

Streamlining the Process

When one team works on the entire scope of a job, streamlined efficiency generally occurs. One team is responsible for the entire scope of service beginning from the initial concept through to the finished product being constructed and installed on site. It’s typical for design-build workers to complete work faster with fewer issues and problems occurring that can delay the finished work.

Finished Price

With the streamlined process, it’s likely that you will find the finished price of this method to be lower than with traditional methods. In fact, it’s common for the final price with design-build methods to be as much as 10 percent less than with traditional design methods.

Enhanced Results

  • The cohesive process generally produces enhanced final results. The professionals working in this field are experts in both architecture and construction, giving them an expertise in the entire process so they understand exactly how structures go together. It’s also common for these professionals to have an expertise in structural engineering.
  • This construction method often involves the client in the project to a higher degree than with traditional projects. This involvement can ensure full satisfaction with the final product, because the client works with the team throughout the entire process. If anything occurs or comes up that requires client input or decisions, the client can supply this immediately. Clients often have positive feelings of pride and accomplishment from this degree of participation in a job. Customer satisfaction generally results in positive reviews for a company, also.
  • Honest and ongoing communication is a hallmark of design-build construction. The entire team works together to complete the process, communicating throughout each step so everyone remains apprised of progress and developments.
  • With everyone working together and communicating effectively, the entire team has accountability for the end result of the job. No one can claim ignorance about any aspect of the project with this type of construction method. This means that everyone has first-hand knowledge and accountability for the schedule, the pricing, the design phase, the construction phase, and all costs and allowances.
  • Warranty issues and litigation claims are also less prevalent with this type of approach due to fewer issues with warranty gaps and higher customer satisfaction.

Different Types of Cladding Used In Construction


Metal is an indispensable material for building. If your house has been integrated with metal building materials, you can clad it with a protective layer that will prevent it from corroding easily. When metal is exposed to moisture and oxygen, rust tends to form. Affixing metal armours to existing metal building materials is actually a lot more cost-effective than buying building materials that are inherently resistant to rust and corrosion. So if you are on a tight budget, you might want to opt for adding a protective layer to your existing metal building materials. A very thin layer of the armour material is administered to the metal building material. This will then be subjected to high heat. This will then force the metal and the protective layer to bond together.

UPVC Cladding

UPVC Cladding is a popular treatment for fascias. UPVC is one of the most durable materials today. One of the advantages of using UPVC as a protective layer to your fascias is its resistance to high heat and moisture. It protects your fascias and preserves its colour for a long time. In addition to that, UPVC is also easier to clean. You do not have to add a coating to it or even repaint it. It maintains its natural state for a long time. Maintenance is comparatively easier. You just need to wash it with water and a mild cleanser. It can also be easily repaired if there are any damages. Also, UPVC cladding for your soffits or fascia is cheaper than any other type of coating such as fibre, stucco or even wood.

Over cladding

This is very common in building and much preferred by builders. This is because it helps increase the resistance of walls from weather damages. This keeps the building a touch more weather resistant. Over cladding basically refers to the installation of another wall or skin. This is built on top of the external layer of the building. You basically have two external layers after this has been installed. Builders use an assortment of materials here such as ceramics, aluminium, glass, concrete and metal.


In the past, you rarely saw copper as a home accessory, although builders do use it for basic construction. In recent years, we have seen quite a number of uses for copper. There are now copper kitchen and bathroom sinks and even copper utensils. It is also used as an exterior coating for buildings. One of the advantages of using copper as an exterior building material is its durability. It is one of the most steadfast materials today that will not rust or succumb to corrosion easily. It is also lightweight so builders have an easier time working with this material. Copper is also a renewable material.

Home Extension Testament

Home Extension Utility – Even if you have heard and still want to know more, here is a brief on home extension utility.

  1. You will get what you want – More living space is usually what you want from a home extension.
  2. Your existing property value will increase- Once you make your house more functional, then automatically the price of your property will soar.
  3. You will get to save a lot of money – The prospect of home extension is much more profitable than that of buying a new mansion altogether. It will also give you great returns on investment.

Customary Extension Places – As a house owner, you can opt for a loft or cellar or kitchen extension. The obvious benefits that you can reap include:

  1. More rooms are available if you choose to go with extension
  2. Extending a house can open outlets for more light to get inside your house
  3. You can also save your garden, if you have one
  4. You can easily get permission for extension if it is within your house.

Aspects to Consider – Few other ideas are also there which you might want to include while implementing extension designs:

  1. Your first look out is to assess how much space you need. You must know what you want from the home extension plan. In this regard, you need to pay heed to matters like layout, design, material-type, budget and so on. If required, then you can ask your builder to give you a drawing plan of the proposed design.
  2. Check the designs in and out for instance – the roof style, windows, doors and internal finishes. Later, you must not regret if there is any mis-match in contrast of colors, designs and etcetera.
  3. To increase the monetary worth of your house, you can look into its thermal performance, protection from UV rays, insulation and other related aspects.
  4. Last but not the least; your house must fit in all the criteria of being an asset that gives good value for money. In simpler terms, it must have all the qualities of a standard property at a killer price.

Finding the Company – After having evaluated all the required details about house extension, you next step is to find a company that will not charge any sneaky extras to complete your project. The price they charge must certainly be reasonable and the services up to the mark. Here are few handy tips:

  1. Look for the company or builder who is a master in the type of project that concern you.
  2. Talk to them to get the estimates for the specified project
  3. Explore all the nitty-gritty of legal matters
  4. The company must have credibility, that is, it must have references and testimonials to speak for its work
  5. The builder must behave nicely and be generous enough to oversee your work from the start to the end.

Adopt the Right Way – Before venturing on any big project, you must make a blue print and try to adhere to all the correct codes of conduct. These matters are crucial and need a lot of monitoring of structural, functional, financial and legal elements. If you follow the above methods, then most likely you won’t have problems selling your house in the future.