Archive for October 2011
When the concrete foundation for a new house has been completed and workers first strip off the forms, it’s hard to believe that anything could damage the massive walls that are revealed. But if the house occupies a site where expansive soils are present, this foundation could easily crack, buckle and shift even before the house has been finished. Expansive soil, also known as expandable soil, shrink-swell soil or swelling clay, has the potential to cause extensive foundation damage. According to some estimates, expansive soil is responsible for $2 billion to $7 billion in construction damage.
Although expansive soil damages roadways, side walks, retaining walls and other masonry structures, in this article we’ll focus more on how these soils cause problems in houses.
Clay is the culprit
You most likely have seen expansive soil before, but just didn’t know its proper name. Ever noticed dry soil with polygon-shaped cracks? Or, maybe wet soil that is unusually sticky, dense and malleable? Well, that’s expansive soil and clay is the ingredient responsible for such characteristics. More specifically, geologists have identified a certain class of clay minerals called “smectites,” that make up expansive soil. These super-fine clay particles expand and contract at high rates as they gain and lose moisture.
If you plan basement construction in an area that has clay in the soil, you’ll need to take safeguards to avoid structural damage to your home. Here are a few tips to consider before you start basement construction in clay soils.
Before you begin basement construction you need to understand what type of soil you are creating upon. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers soil information on the majority of of the United States. Soil testing may also be done so you will be aware what you are working with. Another important step is to make sure the floor is actually compacted. Faltering to small the ground properly may also lead to difficulty in the future.
Expansive clay soils, this kind of as bentonite and montmorillonite, can cause architectural damage to cellars and home fundamentals whenever correct precautions aren’t used throughout construction. When determining to build a basement in an area which has clay soil you need keep in mind the nature of the soil that you simply plan to develop. Clay holds moisture and as the months alter the amount of dampness in the soil also modifications.
If you develop clay-based when it is holding large amounts of dampness, you can have your basement kitchen sink as the moisture content material of the soil decreases. If you build while the dampness content is low, your basement may be pressed up whenever the dampness content raises. This can finish up leading to structural cracks. Presently there are a number of ways to cope with the seasonal changes in the dampness content material in clay whenever you are creating a basement.
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The world was shocked when Dubai had a debt problem. This country was easily the fastest developing place in the world for the last decade or more. It became a hotspot for business and holidays alike. Anyway, now Dubai is bouncing back on Monday by inaugurating the tallest building in the world, beating the Taipei 101 in Taiwan quite easily.
The Burj Dubai (which means Dubai Tower in Arabic) is believed to be nearly 2,700 feet or 800 meters tall. That’s a big jump from its nearest rival, the Taipei 101, which stands at 1,674 feet or 508 meters. Though the official height of the Burj Dubai is still a closely guarded secret, its details will only be out today. Burj Dubai has managed to break a few other world records too, like the most floors in any building, the highest occupied floor, an observation deck on floor 124, and the tallest structure in the world, beating the television mast in North Dakota.
Bill Baker, the building’s structural engineer said, “The engineers weren’t sure how high they could go, and that the process was a learning experience. Saud Masud, the Head of Research and Senior Analyst, Real Estate at UBS Investment Bank in Dubai said, “We have to give them credit for an engineering feat and it’s also very symbolic, it’s the tallest building in the world. It speaks to the economic momentum Dubai has had, for several years now. The Burj also “puts Dubai on the map in a ironic way because real estate housing downturn, is what is responsible for the current economic down cycle.”
Some apartments in the Burj sold at even USD 1,900 per square feet. It houses luxury apartments, offices, and also a hotel that has been designed by Giorgio Armani. It will be inaugurated by the ruler of Dubai, along with a fireworks show.
Things like clogged toilet at the most inopportune moments, like when you are going to have guests visiting you, are quite annoying. You may have to make the arrangements for the guests and at the same time, you will also have to cater to this problem. In all of this you should not get flustered, as there are some easy ways which can be of help to unclog a toilet. One of the easiest way to unclog a toilet is to use a plunger. If this does not work, then you will have to use the methods of plumbing mentioned below.
How to Unclog a Toilet?
A lot of people are of the opinion, that flushing is the best way to unclog a toilet. However, it is not so. If you realize, that your toilet is clogged, you should not flush more than once. If you wonder, what to use to unclog a toilet. The answer is plunger. More often than not it does wonders to unclog a toiler. We will now see the different methods, which can be used to unclog a toiler.
Proper Way to Plunge Toilet
It is important to know the proper way to plunge toilet. It is necessary, you have the right plunger for the same. You can either use a ball shaped plunger or a fold out rubber flange on the bottom, that will form a seal kind of a plunger. If you have a large plunger, you will have to apply extra force. Now that you have the right plunger, insert the plunger into the bowl and press down firmly, yet slowly. When you press down the plunger, you will have to ensure that the drain hole of the toilet is completely covered with the plunger. To know, if you are doing the right thing, check if the plunger is submerged in water. It is necessary that you push and pull with water and not with air. Next sharply pull up on the plunger, so that suction is created and then push to create pressure. However, you should not push hard, as it can clog the toilet further. With the constant pressure, due to push and pull, it will disturb the clog in both the directions and eventually it will be flushed down. However, you will have to repeat the same steps a number of times, to ensure that the toilet is indeed clog free.
For those who are unaware of what railroad tie retaining walls are, these walls are made with evergreen railroad ties. The wood is saturated in a preservative called creosote which is also used on telephone poles. Even if the railroad ties are completely or partially buried in soil, they can last for decades. Installing a railroad tie retaining wall in your backyard not only gives your yard an aesthetic look, but it also helps to stop an existing hill from sliding. With a railroad tie retaining wall, you can use up any empty spaces in your backyard and provide it with a new look. A railroad tie retaining wall is perfect for backyard landscaping ideas, as the wood is sturdy because it comes from real railroads, the color is neutral (no worries about disturbing your yard’s overall appearance), and have exceptional stability.
Building Railroad Tie Retaining Wall
Before you even consider the idea of how to build a wood retaining wall, visit your community’s building department to check if you can go through with the project. Many construction codes need a permit before any structure (weight and height wise) can be erected. If the slope in your backyard requires a higher wall (some codes only permit walls up to 3 feet), you can hire a landscape contractor. If you’d like to handle this home improvement project yourself, you can just terrace the slope with 2 or more lower retaining walls. This way, you can give the entire wall a creative look.
Now comes the part where we’ll discuss about the tools needed for the railroad tie retaining wall construction. Following is a list of all the tools and materials you’ll need for this project.
- Railroad ties, salvaged
- ½ inch diameter reinforcing bar, 16-inch & 18-inch
- Chain saw
- Deadman anchors
- Landscape fabric Read the rest of this entry »