Traditional Mass Concrete Underpinning: 3 Tips For Better Overall Stability

If the foundation of a structure can no longer fully support the weight and capacity of the structure, further securing the foundation using one of the many different underpinning methods may be necessary. While there are many different techniques available, the most basic one is known as traditional mass concrete underpinning, and basically involves excavating underlying soil and replacing it with mass concrete. Here are 3 tips that will boost the overall stability of the resulting foundation.

Use Vibration-Compacted Concrete

Compact the foundation down as much as possible. A compacted concrete foundation will offer a lot more support and will be much more structurally sound because the aggregates within the mixture will be tightly bound to one another, so they won’t have much room to move. There are many different ways that you can compact the concrete. Techniques involving mechanical compaction that rely on vibration tend to be most effective. The vibration causes air bubbles inside the concrete mixture to rise to the top.

Remove Plants, Shrubs, and Trees in Surrounding Area

The new foundation will be much more secure if there are no external conditions and factors constantly trying to jeopardize its structural integrity. With this in mind, you’ll want to remove plants like shrubs and trees in the area designated for the traditional mass concrete underpinning. As these plants grow, their roots can easily extend towards the concrete base and may even eventually end up penetrating the concrete. This will cause the structural integrity of the slab to become compromised, and the concrete foundation may start to crack or crumble.

Ensure the Excavated Cavity is Filled Up

To ensure that you get great results with traditional mass concrete underpinning, you’ll need to be careful when planning the entire operation. Make sure that the area of soil that you have excavated is wide enough and deep enough. After you pour the concrete mixture into the cavity, you’ll want to use a rod bar or some other tool to ensure that the concrete has successfully filled in the entire cavity, and that there are no empty spaces present.


Traditional mass concrete foundation underpinning is perhaps one of the simplest techniques used to further stabilize a foundation. You can get great results if you are willing to put in the extra effort needed to stabilize the concrete base, and the foundation will easily support the structure it was intended for with ease. 

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Design Ideas For Creating An Enchanting Entrance To Your Garden

The entrance to your garden can make a huge difference in how well your garden design works to impress your guests. Creating an entrance that is attractive and unique is the best way to make an impression that invites your guests to enter your gardens.  Thinking outside the box can help you come up with designs that are unusual and offer a distinct and enchanting invitation into your gardens.

Antique Gates And Accessories Can Add A Nostalgic Appeal

Antique gates can add a nostalgic appeal to your garden, especially if you tie in your garden design using matching lawn furnishings. For example, if your garden gate is antique wrought iron, arranging wrought iron benches, tables and chairs in view of the gate can enhance the gate. Adding potted plants can help to tie in your design as well. Placing pots of neutral colors on each side of your gate that match the ones you have sitting on your wrought iron table increases the tie-in appearance you are trying to achieve. Keeping the flow of your garden design in mind when choosing a gate is important for creating a look you and your guests can appreciate during any season.

Inspiring Design Ideas From Various Cultures

If you are having trouble coming up with a design for your garden gate, checking out gate and garden designs from other cultures can be inspiring. For example, you might find the thick, rounded wooden doors used during medieval times attractive when painted a rich red color or stark white. Remember to use pressure-treated wood for its durability. Using wooden lawn furnishings painted the same color as your gate can add another level of the culture you are mimicking. Many cultures, like the Japanese, have beautiful garden gate designs that would help you create an enchanting look in your garden and landscape.

Using Old Garden Tools As Design Accessories

The gate you want to make on your own can be unique and one of a kind. For example, you can use old garden tools as the bars in the center of your gate by attaching them to it. Hanging an old rake, hoe and shovel on a gate made from bent pipe is a great way to add an unusual touch to your garden’s entrance. You can also build a gate out of wood for hanging garden tools on it. If you need your gate to be functional for keeping out animals, adding chicken wire before hanging tools on it as a decorative touch works great.

Taking the time plan your garden’s gate design is as important as the efforts you put into planning your entire garden and landscape. Bear in mind your garden’s gates and the accessories you use around it help to frame your garden and act as a focal point. Contact a company like Incom Inc for more information.

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These Electrical Construction Upgrades Could Make Your “Fixer Upper” Safe And Beautiful

Did you buy an older home that you intend to renovate? Perhaps you are planning to rent the home, resell it, or use it as a starter home for yourself. You likely have a number of things in mind that you intend to do to beautify your home. Ensure that in the midst of your planning you do not overlook the importance of safety. Electrical repairs and upgrades should be on your checklist, and electrical construction can beautify and protect your investment. 

Replace fuse box.

If the home you purchased has a fuse box, you should consider getting it replaced with a circuit breaker. Blown fuses can be an inconvenience, and you will likely find that your modern electronics cause you to blow fuses regularly. This is because today’s electronics consume more electricity than electronics from yesteryear. Fuse boxes were built to accommodate the power demands of appliances and electronics from a different era. Attempting to use fuses that are designed to withstand more electricity but not the recommended amperage for your fuse box could result in an electrical fire. 

Upgrade kitchen and bathroom lighting.

Consider investing in recessed lighting in these areas. You could also benefit from replacing standard light switches with dimmer switches. Adding lighting under cabinets and vanities can make your home’s lighting scheme look more modern. 

Repair or replace the wiring.

Your home may have wiring that is prone to causing fires. Aluminum wiring has been known to do this. You may also have exposed wires in your home that need to be covered due to the possible risk of electrocution or a fire. Rodents such as mice could chew through exposed wires and cause a fire too. If you are doing some of the renovations or decorating yourself, you may also need to have wiring replaced if you drill or nail something to the wall and accidentally damage a wire behind the wall. 

Replace outlets.

If you have small children, consider having your outlets changed to tamper resistant outlets. This will reduce the chances of curious children digging their fingers or other objects into electrical outlets, which could harm them. Some children may be crafty enough to pull socket covers out of sockets, but tamper resistant outlets pose a greater challenge. This would also be an ideal investment if you have plans to the rent the home because the family that rents from you might have children. If you plan to have the outlet covers replaced, it is also sensible to have all of your outlets tested and inspected to ensure that they work and are not potential electrical hazards.

An electrical contractor is a good resource to use for your electrical construction upgrades. They can also inspect your home to determine if there are any electrical hazards you may not be aware of.

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Choosing Between A Boiler Repair And A Boiler Replacement

Are you trying to figure out whether your boiler needs to be repaired or replaced? While replacing a boiler entirely may be more expensive, it can also save you money in repairs long-term — a lot like a car. Here are a few factors you can use to make your decision.

When to Repair Your Boiler

  • If you haven’t experienced any issues with it previously. If your boiler has been functioning fine and simply needs a part replaced, it’s unlikely that you’ll need a new replacement.
  • If the repair is relatively inexpensive. An inexpensive part is under 10% of the boiler’s cost. You’ll be looking at a sizable increase of your expenses if you choose to replace your boiler rather than repair it.
  • If your boiler is five years old or younger. A new boiler is very unlikely to need to be replaced. In fact, if your boiler does need to be replaced at that age, it’s likely that there are some other issues involved, such as a manufacturing defect.

When to Replace Your Boiler

  • If you’ve noticed a significant increase in your bills. Your utility bills will go up if your boiler is malfunctioning. While that isn’t proof that the boiler needs to be replaced, it is a bad sign when combined with any of the below.
  • If your boiler is ten years old or older. Most boilers are designed to work anywhere from 10 to 20 years. A boiler that is 10 years old or even older may simply be approaching the end of its usable lifespan.
  • If your repairs will cost more than 50%. If your boiler is at least a few years old, it’s likely that it’s only worth about 50% of its original value. if the repairs will cost more than that, it may not be worth it.
  • If your boiler has needed a large number of repairs. A boiler that has needed a significant amount of repairs will likely continue to need that amount of repairs. If a boiler requires repairs multiple times a year, it’s a sign that the boiler itself is breaking down; you may get locked into a cycle of constantly replacing parts.

A boiler repair specialist will also be able to tell you whether they believe your boiler should be repaired or replaced. They may know more about your specific brand or model of boiler and whether or not it would be advantageous to make the investment now. Contact a business, such as Schweitzer Roger & Sons, for more information.   

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Answers To Common Fuel Management Questions

There are many businesses that depend on powerful oil burning boilers in order to fulfil their responsibilities. Unfortunately, supplying these devices with fuel and ensuring you are getting the most for your money can seem like a challenging and complicated task. If you have recently started a business and find yourself struggling with this aspect of owning an enterprise, you might benefit from learning the answers to a couple of basic fuel management questions.

Why Should You Sign Up For Automatic Delivery With A Fuel Service?

Running out of fuel for your boiler can be a critical mistake to make as it can cause your business to halt operations. By opting for automatic fuel delivery, it is possible to ensure that your enterprise’s fuel tanks are filled on set days throughout the week. When using these services, the provider will only add enough fuel to bring your tank to the fill line. In instances where the supplier notices that the fuel is consistently running low, they may recommend that you increase your fuel delivery or install a digital monitor. These monitors will alert the fuel supply company when your tank starts to run low on fuel, which can allow them to ensure that your tanks never run dry.

How Can You Lower Your Fuel Expenses?

It should come as no surprise that many cost-conscious business owners will want to reduce the expense of providing their boilers with fuel. This should not be surprising given that the price of oil can rapidly increase. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to help ensure that you get the most from your expenses on fuel.

One of the best options for lowering costs is to make sure that the boilers are regularly serviced by trained professionals. During these visits, these individuals will be able to test the burner, fuel delivery system and any mechanical parts to ensure that they are working efficiently. In some instances, residue from the oil may accumulate on the burner, which can severely restrict the efficiency of the system. When this problem is discovered, the contractor will thoroughly clean the burner to ensure that it is not clogged. Another option for limiting this expense can be through prepaying for the fuel. Under this arrangement, you can make bulk orders for fuel that will allow you to buy it for the current market price. By keeping a close eye on the price of heating oil, this option may allow you to capitalize on periods of low prices.

For more information about supplying fuel to your business, contact a company like Small & Sons Oil Dist Co.

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Subtractive And Additive Machining: Differences Between The Two And Why They Matter

In the world of precision CNC machining, there are many different tools and processes used to create metal products. Two of these processes lie at the heart of metal machining. They are referred to as “subtractive processing” and “additive processing.” Here is an explanation of the differences between these two processes and why they matter.

Subtractive Processing

Subtractive processing is so named for the ways and tools that cut out, cut away or “subtract” from a larger piece of metal. For instance, if your company decides it needs several specific shapes cut from a single sheet of tempered steel, then the CNC machinist programs these shapes into the computer and sets up the laser cutter to cut the shapes out of the sheet of tempered steel. Because the laser is “subtracting” the unnecessary excess metal from the sheet to produce the flat steel shapes you requested, this would be an excellent example of subtractive processing.

Additive Processing

Additive processing, by contrast, is the process whereby metal objects and pieces are “added” to each other. This may mean that cylinders, tubes, sheets and other metal objects are joined together, usually through the process of welding, but they can also be bolted or attached in other ways. This process in machining is more commonly used to fabricate or replicate metal structures of the three-dimensional variety. Car manufacturing, specifically the engine construction and framework, are both examples of the additive processing variety of machining.

Why Their Differences Matter

Knowing that you can either add or detract from metal and metal objects to create the products you hope sell means that you have a wider variety of options on how to approach your metal products and projects. You could start two-dimensionally and build up until you get the results you expect, spending each moment overseeing the machining process that cuts metal away and builds it up layer by layer, or you could start three-dimensionally and continue adding various metal components.

More often than not, most metal product manufacturers use both subtractive and additive processes during some stage of production. In many cases, it is sometimes easier to use the subtractive process with precision CNC machining because you can always start with too much metal and then carefully cut it away with the precision lasers until you have the perfectly-formed items you requested. The precision aspect of this type of machining is within a fraction of a specified or chosen measurement, making the subtractive process a more appealing approach to your projects.

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3 Things To Consider Before You Commit To Replacing Your Home Furnace

Don’t rush towards a brand-new furnace for your home just yet. It’s highly possible your current furnace can continue to work for you just fine. Before you replace it, check with a professional to see if any of the following things will help instead.

1. Cleaning Your Furnace Can Restore a Lot of Functionality

Your furnace, and HVAC system as a whole, will lose functionality if it’s dirty. When dirt clogs the filter dust builds up on the inner workings of your furnace, you will lose efficiency. This loss of efficiency often leads people to believe they have a faulty furnace.

It’s worth it to give your furnace a good cleaning before you assume it’s not working as well as it used to. You may want to call in a professional service for a deep cleaning of both your furnace and HVAC system. However, here are a few things you can do yourself.

  • Replace the filters
  • Clean the blower
  • Clean the blower motor

You’ll also want to clean anything within reach that seems to be accumulating dust and particles. There are a few more things you can and should do as a part of routine maintenance of your furnace. Keep in mind that even if you do replace your furnace, you’ll want to keep a maintenance and cleaning schedule anyway.

2. A Repair to Your Furnace May Return it To Good Health

The “repair or replace” dilemma seems to exist for most appliances. Sometimes, a repair can keep your furnace going for a long time. This is especially true if you keep up with cleaning and maintaining your furnace after the repair. Sometimes, a repair is only a temporary fix for a furnace that’s failing anyway.

One way to figure this out is to crunch some numbers. If your furnace is old, or near the end of its life expectancy, then a repair is probably prolonging the inevitable.

If your furnace is only halfway through its estimated life, a repair is usually the better option. Of course, knowing the lifespan of your particular furnace may require a professional inspection.

3. Retrofitting Your Furnace Can Make It Seem New Again

Retrofitting a furnace isn’t an option that comes up too often. Many people don’t even know that it’s possible to replace or upgrade certain parts of a furnace to give it added efficiency. For example, you can install an intermittent ignition on a gas furnace so the pilot light won’t have to stay on at all times.

You can install quality aftermarket parts that work with your furnace. There are a lot of options, but once again, you should speak to a professional  installer about what’s viable for your furnace and what isn’t.

Use a Professional Heating Repair and Installation Service

You may decide in the end that you just want a new furnace. Nothing wrong with that. Just make sure you contract a professional heating repair and installation service, such as Sparks Refrigeration Inc, to help you. And remember, even with a new furnace, you still have to consider these three options for keeping that new furnace efficient and in good health. 

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