Category: Building a Home

Insulating Your Home

Ensuring your attic insulation is performing as required is always a great way to save money and make your home more comfortable. You can even prevent premature failure of shingles, sheathing and other roof components. If you are contemplating checking or adding to your insulation in your attic read these tips before committing to a product or contractor.

The “R-value”
Thickness isn’t the only way to determine the effectiveness of insulation.
Materials that are good for insulating purposes are poor at conducting heat. To provide a standard of comparison for insulation materials, “R-value” is used to measure resistance to heat transfer. The higher the R-value per inch of insulation, the more effective the material in resisting the escape of heat.

Recommended R-values
For new housing, the 1995 Ontario Building Code requires:

R32 for Ceilings
R12 for Walls
R8 and R12 for solid masonry/ concrete/frame basement walls
R20 for cathedral ceilings
R26 for floors over unheated garages/crawlspaces/overhangs
When you buy home insulation, it’s a good idea to look for the manufacturer’s instructions on the insulation packaging to make sure it meets the standards set by the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB). In 2007 the new building code takes effect and includes many upgrades to requirements for insulation and other “green” improvements.

Types of Insulation
Insulation has come a long way since the days when newspaper, sawdust or
woodshavings were used. The following are common examples of modern nsulation.

Loose-fill insulation: These include glass fibre, cellulose fibre, mineral fibre and vermiculite. Some of these, such as glass and mineral fibre, may be blown as well as poured. The R-value per inch varies from 2.1 to 3.6 depending on the type and insulation method.

Batt or blanket insulation: This is normally made from glass or mineral fibre. Batts come in different widths and thicknesses. The R-value per inch varies from 2.9 to 3.3 according to the type. The total R-value of the batt depends on the thickness.

Rigid board insulation: Included in this type of synthetic insulation are
extruded polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, phenolic foam board and polyurethane slabs. Though the R-value of these products is rated at 3.9 to 6.0 per inch, great care must be taken to ensure they are properly installed or they could create a severe fire hazard. Rigid board and foamed insulation will burn, and should never be left exposed. They must be covered with an interior wall or ceiling finish acceptable to the Ontario Building Code, such as gypsum board, gypsum lath, fibreboard, plywood, particleboard or wall tile.

Foamed insulation: Polyurethane foam is a relatively new product and must be installed in walls by factory-trained installers. Complex equipment and mixes are used, and improper installation could cause damage to your house. The R-value of polyurethane foam is about 6.0 per inch. This material hardens almost immediately, can catch fire and should be completely covered in the manner described in the Ontario Building Code. Polyurethane foam is now available pre-mixed in pressurized containers. These are either hand-held spray cans for smaller jobs such as sealing of drafts around window frames, or large “floor” canisters for heavier use.

When choosing the type of insulation you need, think about resistance to water, bacteria and household pests, the cost, ease of application and perhaps rigidity/flexibility. Check with at least three different contractors or building supply companies to find out what is best for your application. Your local Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation office can tell you which material has been approved by the CCMC, or your local building center.

Vapor Barriers and Ventilation
Under winter conditions, the warm moist air inside heated spaces passes into the cold outer areas of the building and condenses in roofs and walls. To control the movement of moisture into other areas, vapor barriers should always be installed on the warm side of the ceiling or wall. Good ventilation in attics and roof spaces helps keep the insulation dry and retains its effectiveness, prevents mould growth, corrosion and wood rot and reduces paint peeling problems.Even houses that have a properly installed vapor barrier allow some leakage into
the walls and attic. In all cases, moisture must be allowed to escape to avoid problems. Outside walls generally allow vapor to escape freely as they are not airtight–but attics require ventilation. If you see frost on the undersife of your sheathing in the winter you know you have a moisture problem in your attic which needs immediate attention. Common causes are; bathroom exhaust fans that vent directly into attic or a duct that has become disconnected; or your stove exhaust maybe improperly vented into your attic. If this is not within your comfort level of “Do It Yourself” projects, call in an expert and save yourself the agony of a more expensive repair in the future.

There should be one square foot of unobstructed ventilation opening for each 300 square feet of ceiling. These openings should be located to establish good cross ventilation with one-half the required vents to be in the soffit and the other half on the roof near the ridge or high in the gable ends. Don’t forget that every home needs a good supply of fresh air. Just as we need air to breathe, fuel-burning appliances need air to operate safely. A special duct to supply outside air may be needed. 25% of ventilation is required from soffits and 25% from top of attic, the remaining 50% can come from any location. Built up wood soffit vents are the correct method of venting soffits although building inspectors will allow use of Mor-vents or Sur-vents, a foam product designed for soffit venting.

Doing it yourself?
If you’re going to work in the attic, follow these safety guidelines;
Provide lots of light, take up trouble light and extension cord and hang it from a central location. Don’t walk on the ceiling–you will fall through. If not used to walking on rafters and trusses lay boards on joists to form a walkway. Always wear a hardhat for protection from protruding roof nails and bumps. Wear coveralls, gloves and a breathing mask if you are working with glass or mineral fibre. Animal and roden feces is dangerous to your health. If you suspect you have mould or feces in your attic, don’t enter and call in the experts. Always wear breathing mask and use goggles to prevent eye irritation.

Watch for electrical wiring. Do not disturb.

Keep insulation at least three inches away from electrical equipment
and chimneys. Use only CCMC approved material and don’t block the ventilation from the eaves.

If there is no vapor barrier, consider installing one, taking care that it’s placed on the warm side of the wall or ceiling you’re insulating. Vapor barriers should never be placed on the cold side of insulation.

Whether or not there is a vapor barrier, major air leakage into the attic from the rooms below should be sealed off before adding insulation. Common air leakage areas are around attic hatches, chimneys and plumbing stacks and up through interior walls.

Have a look
When the contractor tells you the work is completed, have a look for yourself. If you contracted for eight inches of insulation in your attic, take a ruler and measure.

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Wood Retaining Wall Options For A Home

If you’re currently trying to discern whether or not you could benefit from building a retaining wall, try answering the following questions:

1. Do you own a home or property situated on or near sloped, uneven ground?
2. Do you live in a particularly wet climate where flooding and soil erosion are prevalent?
3. Are you looking to add a touch of uniqueness and beauty to your yard and/or property?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any one of the questions above, it’s time to consider installing one.

The Benefits of a Retaining Wall
Retaining walls have a number of uses as well as offer many practical advantages to the homeowner. Generally, the main purpose is to prevent the erosion of sloped earth that may threaten to shift and slide; thereby, potentially damaging or destroying your home or property. They are also particularly effective tools in climates with heavy precipitation, e.g., the Pacific Northwest. Not only will an effective one properly support sloping earth, but it will also act as an effective means of draining water runoff and reducing hydrostatic pressure. Furthermore, they provide a number of agricultural benefits. For warmer, dryer climates, a wall can delay seepage of water from land, and for wetter climates, properly drained walls can divert water from areas prone to flooding.

In addition to practical purposes, these structures maintain a certain aesthetic value as well. As such, adding one may increase the resale value of your home, while also enhancing your own enjoyment of your property. For example, a wall can be constructed in a series of steps or levels, granting you unrestricted creativity to include all kinds of plantings, flowers, or other elements that will add texture, color, and new life to each successive level. Not to mention, stepped retaining walls have proven to be a more effective form of erosion control.

Retaining Wall Options
Since these structures provide support for vertical grade changes, an effective one must be constructed in such a way as to accommodate and redistribute the lateral pressure caused by sloping. As a result, they vary in size and type, and often include materials like stone, brick, concrete, vinyl, steel, and pressure treated timber.

If you’re brainstorming ideas for a retaining wall, the following are commonly used types.

Gravity retaining walls rely on their mass to hold back pressure. Often these walls are constructed from large pieces of stone, concrete, or other heavy materials that are often a composite of elements including steel, rock, timber, soil, and concrete.

Sheet pile retaining walls are utilized for soft earth and limited space. These walls are typically constructed from thin sheets of steel, vinyl, or wood which are driven into the ground.

Cantilevered retaining walls were more popular before the introduction of gravity walls. These walls are typically taller and fashioned from thin stems of steel-reinforced concrete often cast in the shape of inverted T. In effect, they will “cantilever” loads, diverting pressure downward toward the strong base instead of forward. The advantage to this particular type of wall is that it uses less material than most others.

Anchored retaining walls employ the use of anchors placed behind the wall (into the earth) for support. The size and shape of anchors vary, and a number of different methods are used to place them. They are typically used when either high loads are expected or the wall itself is required to be thin, rendering it too weak to stand alone.

Finally, soil nailing is a technique actually used to reinforce the wall. Usually, a number of relatively slender elements, like steel bars, are installed through the wall at a downward angle. This allows them to be easily modified during the construction process and, typically, built from the top down.

Building a Home to Budget

Building a new home can be quite a glorious project, but you always have to remember your budget. There are a lot of cool things that you can do when you design a house, but just because you can think of it, it does not mean that you can afford to do everything you want.

Before you begin your project, you must determine how much you have, how much you will borrow and then sit down to create a budget. No budget is ever actually accurate but they can provide guidance and a great way to get a ball park figure. On average most people who stick very closely to their budget end up paying one third more than their proposed budget.

How to Get Started?

One of the first things you have to inquire about when building a home is how much it costs to actually construct the home. You should contact your local builders to find out how much it costs to build a home with the size, features and quality that you want. Most charges are given in square feet which will help you to calculate the total cost. Always ask about what is included in the price. You do not want a price that does not include materials as this will be a costly mistake in your budget.

After you speak with the local contractors, you should view homes that are similar to your dream home. Find homes that have the same features that you want, approximately the same size and style. You then find the price of both the land and the home. You should compare at least three to five homes for an accurate ball park estimate.

Your Home Features

Not every room in your home will cost the same amount to build. The costlier parts to build are normally the kitchen, bathroom, vaulted ceilings, high roofs, and even the specific types of windows. You should make sure these features are similar or included in the homes that you are evaluating for your budget. Ironically, larger homes have a smaller per square foot cost than a smaller home and two story homes cost less than a one story home. These larger details will make a huge difference in your budget that must be taken into consideration.

Smaller Features of Your Home

The smaller features of your home are normally forgotten about, but these smaller features add up. This means that you may be way off the price of your home if forgetting about these details. Some of the necessary details include the size of the home, the shape of the home, preparing the land to be built on and inflation of market costs. You should always include 10 percent for unexpected costs.

What Are The Worst Home Selling Mistakes You Must Avoid

It is a good idea to protect yourself as much as possible when you are selling or buying your home. It is within your ability to protect yourself, especially against making costly home selling mistakes.

Finding this information online, or from your real estate agent, is possible and within your abilities. To ensure that your deal is successful, you would be wise to accept any responsibilities that come your way. Your agent may care enough to go the extra mile, but if you will placing a lot of trust in that person. The following three approaches can be used to protect yourself from making some of the worst home selling mistakes possible.

If you list your home and it doesn’t sell during the life of the listing, there is a kind of black mark – stigma – that surrounds your home. Much of it is a psychological effect which is typical with stigmas. Potential buyers will wonder why the home didn’t sell during the original listing and assume that it must have a problem. To prevent this from happening with your home, there are steps you can take to safeguard against this problem. When this happens, you will have lost time and money. It is necessary for you to address to this problem before listing your home. See what kind of solution or recommendations your agent has to avoid this problem. Then, consider the efficacy of their answer. Nobody who wants to sell their home should settle for the first real estate agent they talk with. You need to gauge the experience of the agents you talk to and you can best do that by talking to a variety of different agents. While you are interviewing a prospective listing agent, discuss what they suggest as the listing price for your home. When you list your home, you hope that you will get as much from the sale as you can. However, this is an area where a home seller and their agent can make a big mistake. How fast your home sells will depend on a pricing compromise between too high and too low. Your potential buyers will instantly know if your asking price is reasonable or not as they have been looking at other comparable properties. You may lose many sales if your home is not priced according to the local market for homes like yours.

Getting acquainted with the real estate industry, and its many diverse terms and expressions is something that you should do. For example, there is the home showing which is a fairly intuitive term. In most cases, the buyer is coming over to look at your home. That’s what it means. But then there is what’s known as staging your home. You are getting your house ready for showing – that is what this means. You need to let a professional do this for you. It is worth your time and money. The person who does home staging will know exactly what to do and all the little tricks that are known to work. The money will be a very good investment and should be considered.

Costly home selling mistakes happened to many people. You need to avoid these and remember that your house is your investment. You need to take this seriously! Truth be told, it’s not as difficult as it may seem to be. It’s all about taking control over what is happening and using the information to do things the right way.

Staying out of this mistake it may be carried out such lots of ways. You can find some ways by letting in contact with this expert to assist and educate you on this concern.

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Practical Applications For An Automatic Wire Stripper

There are many situations in which an automatic wire stripper will come in handy. In this article, we’ll take a look at a couple of practical reasons for using automatic wire strippers.


One of the most practical uses for automatic wire strippers is the situation in which the person wishing to strip the wire is a novice at the job. Manual wire strippers can be wielded by experts in the same time as an automatic wire stripper can do the job, but for a person who is either new to the task or who only has a need for a wire cutter every once in a while, an automatic cutter will prove to be most beneficial.

Anybody who repeatedly strips wires will eventually acquire the touch necessary to greatly increase speed and precision, although it is not always in the best interests of the individual to use manual wire strippers. Electricians, mechanics, and other trades people find that a using a set of automatic wire strippers results in a more timely and precise job.

Repetitive tasks

Today’s medical research is finding an ever-increasing link between repetitive motion and injuries to the body, particularly in the wrists, hands, and lower arms. A job that requires the constant stripping of wires will sooner or later begin to take its toll on the health of an individual, manifesting in soreness and possibly carpal tunnel syndrome. The use of automatic wire strippers will greatly reduce the risk of repetitive motion injury.

In addition, automatic wire cutters can be used to increase the number of tasks that can be done by those already suffering repetitive motion injuries. Switching to automatic wire cutters will mean that the chances of compounding the pain are minimized, thus more jobs can be undertaken. It’s useful to know what kind of wire and what size you will be cutting before you purchase an automatic wire cutter, in order to avoid making extra work for yourself.

Automatic wire strippers should be in your toolbox if you are looking to minimize injuries and maximize efficiency.

How To Build A Ballista As A Home Project

Built by Greeks, refined by Romans, war games of the period, weapon which initially used to throw rocks into enemy castles and strongholds, later resembled a giant crossbow, replaced by catapult, quick form of transportation easy take-off, landing issues

Not barista mispronunciation of oriental tendencies for the beverage brewer at your local java dive.

Root word for ballistic ballistics expert on spent bullets and guns knowledge, gone off rocker, no control once it leaves the source, hope for the best to reach target

A ballista is a weapon of ancient warfare, initially designed by the Greeks. It is
considered the technology of its period as it is able to hurl giant rocks to break castle walls and cause a significant dent in the enemys defenses. The Romans later refined the design into the beginnings of a giant crossbow of sorts. It also evolved into a catapult.

Before attempting any further, some research on how to build a ballista is recommended. It is technically not a difficult task to accomplish as the proof of the pudding is in the execution post-construction. In building a Greek ballista, identify sufficient footprint space for the ballista which includes its wooden base and the wooden arm once released. For added mobility, add some wheels to the base with brakes to keep in place during execution. Remember to give allowance for projectile testing. If you have a suitable backyard, do inform your neighbors beforehand to avoid unexpected calls from the local law enforcement. Otherwise a field is a better option.

Build a heavy base to avoid it topping over once the arm is released. Securely attach a basket or wooden box to one end of the arm to contain the projectile.

Add a pivot at one side of the base and securely attach to the end of the arm without the box. Add a winch to the base with a sufficient length of rope. Attach the other end of the rope to the end of the arm with the box. Turn the winch to tighten the rope and tautly pull back the arm. Secure the winch to avoid accidental release of the arm. Place a projectile in the box and release the winch for a pilot test. Stand clear of the front of the ballista to avoid getting hit by the arm slamming to the ground. Continue to fine-tune the ballista until pilot testing is accomplished.

Alternatively, you can build a ballista resembling the above with a slight variation to launching technique. Instead of the winch pulling taut the arm, build a wooden track in which to launch the projectile. Place the track at an angle to ensure maximum coverage of distance. Securely attach the winch at the lowest point of the track. Place a backing board at the highest point of the track and use the winch to pull the board back to the launching position to place the projectile. Once again, secure the winch to avoid accidental release.

Place the projectile at the launching position and release the winch. Continue to adjust the angle to achieve best results.

In building a Roman ballista, construct a heavy base and a wooden track as described above. Since it resembles a crossbow, either purchase a bow or build your own bow by bending a flexible yet strong wooden board. For easier flexing, either steam or soak the board and attach a bow string. Attach the bow to the highest point of the track, facing out as per normal practice but in a horizontal fashion. Pull back the bow string as much as possible to the lowest end of the track, place a projectile and release. Continue to adjust the angle to achieve optimal results.

Once you have managed to build any of the above ballistae, invite a few friends over for a demonstration and a competitive game of hitting targets.