Placing a Concrete Slab

Although the amount of con- crete used is small, the forming and finishing techniques for a slab such as a deck-stair landing—or in this case, a propane-tank pad—aren’t much different from those used for larger slabs. First and foremost is subgrade preparation. Get that wrong, and the slab will crack. The underlying ground needs to be compacted evenly. In most cases, slabs shouldn’t be placed next to new buildings until the backfill around them has settled for several years. After digging out the slab location, compact the soil directly below so that there’s no loose dirt. Use a gravel base One step that’s called for but rarely done on small jobs is to place gravel between the slab and the subgrade. The usual explanation is that the gravel provides drainage to prevent soil saturation and the resulting frost heaving. But unless you drain that gravel somewhere with pipes, where’s the water going to go? There are two reasons to use gravel. First, concrete moves because of thermal expansion and contraction. Restricting this movement will crack the concrete. A gravel base allows the slab to move freely. Second, slabs need a flat base to ensure uniform thickness, and gravel is easier to grade than many soils. Choosing concrete For a slab that’s 40 sq. ft. or more (about 1⁄2 cu. yd. of concrete for a typical 4-in.-thick slab), it’s easiest to order truck-mixed concrete. This 3-ft.-sq. slab was small enough that mixing bagged concrete by hand.

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Frost heave occurs when freezing temperatures penetrate the ground, causing subsurface water to form ice structures that displace the soil along with anything that rests on or in that soil. While it was once thought that frost heave happens because water expands as it freezes, the process is actually more complicated, involving not only expansion due to freezing, but also the accumulation of additional layers of ice as liquid water is drawn up from below the frost line. Frost-susceptible soil—finegrained, moist soil in certain climates—is the first prerequisite for frost heave. Engineers define this type of soil as either that in which more than 3% of the grains (by weight) are 0.02 mm in dia. or smaller, or that in which 10% of the grains are 0.075 mm or smaller. Water is another requirement, as are subfreezing temperatures that penetrate beneath the surface. The depth to which freezing temperatures penetrate the ground is referred to as the freezing plane or frost front. The depth to which they can potentially extend in any given region is the frost line. Frost lines range from a few inches in Florida to more than 6 ft. in the northern United States. If not controlled, frost heave can seriously damage buildings and other structures in cold climates. Mitigation typically involves removal of one of the three elements (frost-susceptible soil, freezing temperatures, or water) required for frost heave to occur. Here’s how it works.

FROST-HEAVE FORMATION When freezing temperatures penetrate the ground, water trapped in voids in the soil forms ice crystals along the frost front. As it solidifies, this water expands by about 9%. In addition, the freezing process desiccates the surrounding soil, drawing unfrozen water from below the frost front through capillary action and vapor diffusion. This water freezes to the ice crystals that have formed above, thickening it to create an ice lens.

AN UPWARD FORCE As temperatures change, the depth of the frost front changes, leaving behind a series of ice lenses with layers of frozen soil between. As they grow, these ice lenses may attach themselves to vertical surfaces below ground, an action known as adhesion freezing, or adfreezing. The ice lenses continue to grow in the direction of the heat loss—that is, toward the surface—lifting soil and structures along the way. When the air warms, thawing occurs from the ground’s surface downward. As the ice lenses melt, water saturates the soil, weakening it. Structures raised by the frost heave slide back down, often resting askew from the combination of weakened soil and shifting load forces above. The cumulative effect of repeated heaving may aggravate the situation, causing a structure to collapse.

Code mandates that support structures either extend below the local frost line or be protected by insulation so that the bearing soil is not subject to freezing and, thus, heaving. Frost heave also can be controlled by backfilling around piers with gravel to promote drainage, using a sleeve to prevent ice from gripping the concrete, or pouring footing bases that resist upward movement. DRIVEWAYS, WALKWAYS, AND PATIOS The occurrence of frost heave can be minimized by replacing fine-grain, frost-susceptible soil with coarse granular material that is not subject to heaving. Drainage measures can reduce the presence of moisture, which also prevents heaving. Providing a capillary break is another option; interrupting the capillary action that draws water toward the ice lenses can make frost heave less severe. BASEMENTS Frost heave can seriously damage a basement if the ground surrounding that basement freezes to the foundation walls. When this happens, heaving soil around the house can carry the walls with it. This situation does not occur with heated basements, however. That’s because a heated basement (insulated or not) loses heat to the soil surrounding it. This outward heat loss pulls moisture away from the foundation walls. Because moisture is required for adfreezing, less moisture means the frozen soil has a less tenacious grip on the foundation.


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Construction ideas

My father was more joyful chipping away at the autos than he was redesigning the house, yet since my mom had a perpetual rundown of home change extends on her list of things to get, he endured more than a decent amount of renovating ventures. All things considered, my father’s gathering of devices appears to be miniscule, particularly contrasted with the shop loaded with devices I consider “absolute necessities” now. The few power instruments he had were extraordinarily dwarfed by hand apparatuses, and not a solitary device requiring batteries or an air hose was anyplace in locate. However, despite everything he figured out how to assemble two story expansion, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Sooner or later, following quite a while of watching me sneak down into the storm cellar to mess around in his shop, he got me my own tool kit. It was one of those sheet-metal employments, with the pivoted cover and clasp catch on front. He likewise purchased three of those little intelligent stickers that individuals put on their letter drops to spell my initials on the front. Inside the crate, he gave me a supplement of starter devices. They weren’t new apparatuses, yet rather a portion of the things from his accumulation that were copies. Among the gathering was an assortment of Stanley screwdrivers, a Plumb fiberglass-handle pound, a Craftsman sickle torque and attachment set, and a couple of Vice Grip locking forceps. The locking pincers were noteworthy in light of the fact that they accompanied their own particular underwriting. “When I was in the Air Force,” he stated, “I kept some Vice Grips in my back jeans stash consistently, prepared to go.” To him, they were kind of a technician’s jack-of-all-apparatuses, you may state.

I’m appreciative that my father didn’t get me a toy tool kit, or one of those across the board units you can purchase at a home focus that has light obligation substance. He gave me a genuine metal tool kit with my initials on it, with genuine, quality brand-name devices inside. Despite the fact that the devices have since moved out of that crate and into the all inclusive community of my own gathering, I’m certain regardless I have the vast majority of those unique things. Also, as should be obvious from the photograph, that tool compartment still looks as good as can be expected.

Help your children out: when they’re mature enough to securely utilize hand apparatuses, give them a genuine set up. Reveal to them how the devices function, where each is helpful, and clarify that this setup is presently all theirs. It will affect them than you may understand. Ask me how I know.

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Modern Master Bathrooms

This modern and refreshed master bathroom features beautiful materials and craftsmanship accentuated by the space’s abundant natural light. The vanity and linen closet are custom designed, and fit in perfectly with the bright white tones of the bathroom. The glass enclosed shower features large format porcelain tiles with three on the walls, and one on the ceiling. The small number of concrete and ceramics tiles used creates a dramatic and nearly seamless aesthetic to complement the glass sliding door and surrounding space. The floor and tub platform’s marble tile works beautifully alongside the tiles to create a bright and welcoming space. Thanks so much to the Orlando Concrete Company for sponsoring my blog!

Detailing Windows

We are always tinkering with our framing techniques to try and improve them, but one that has worked well for the double stud wall is to wrap the rough openings for doors and windows with Zip System sheathing. It connects the inner and outer 2×4 wall in the double wall assembly and stiffens the rough opening. It also provides nailing for trim when the time comes.

The Zip System sheathing jamb is sealed to the exterior sheathing with a combination of Zip System stretch tape on the sill and the more common Zip System tape on the sides and top. The stretch tape receives rave reviews from the crew. It is easy to apply and doesn’t wrinkle when you form it to every corner.

The MAJOR thing to remember when framing with this technique is to add 1 in. to all rough opening dimensions. It’s kind of important, unless you don’t mind doing this twice …


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