How To Update Concrete Steps With Stone Veneer

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Most contractors install custom-poured or preformed concrete steps, but you can add pizzazz in a weekend with just a few supplies. Veneers are thin, so you can add them to your steps without a major change to the profile and size of your entrance. Step 1: Prepare the steps. Start with clean, unbroken concrete so you have a blank slate to work with. Sweep and rinse the steps, letting them dry completely before you begin laying the veneer. Step 2: Create the layout. Arrange the bricks, stones or tile veneer on top of the step to determine a basic layout pattern before you begin. Plan for 1/4-inch mortar joints between each brick. You may need to cut down some of the veneer materials to fit, so the steps are completely covered. Don’t forget the porch or stoop and the top of each of steps. Step 3: Get your mortar ready. A stone or brick mortar containing concrete will adhere best to the concrete steps. Mix the mortar with water, following the mixing ratios recommended on the package. If you are using tile as a veneer, skip the mortar, and use an outdoor tile adhesive and grout instead. Adhesive won’t require mixing, although the grout will, depending on whether you purchase is it premixed or not. Step 4: Lay the veneer. Trowel on a thin 1/2-inch layer of mortar and set your stone or brick in place. Press it down firmly so the mortar squeezes from underneath. Set the next stone in place, setting it about ΒΌ inch away from the first. Continue to install each stone until the step or riser is covered. Scrape off the excess mortar, smooth the joints, and move on to the next step or riser. For tile, coat the step with the adhesive, and set the tiles in place. Set them about 1/8-inch apart. Squeeze the grout into the joints and smooth it over with a tile float. Step 5: Let it cure. Wipe down the bricks, stones, or tiles with a wet towel immediately after applying the mortar or grout, wiping off any residue on the veneer’s face. Allow the mortar or grout to cure and dry for 24 to 48 hours before walking on the steps. More tips and ideas: You can use a masonry saw or a chisel and hammer to cut bricks and stones. This allows you to cover any gaps on the step veneer. Most cities have building codes that specify the height of the stair risers on outdoor steps. Make sure your covered steps still meet code, and get any permits necessary before proceeding with the project. Visit http://www.unitstepjoliet.com for more...

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Upgrading Your Home Security

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure inside their own home, but there can be things that affect you and make it difficult to find that feeling of security. Choosing to upgrade or install a security system in your home can help, but it is most effective when you address key areas first and focus on major security issues instead of simply buying a lot of gadgets. Some of the most effective security measures are often inexpensive; so it’s important to know what’s important and what is just for show. Simple Deterrents One of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of a break-in is to make your home an undesirable target. This means presenting a facade of security or unpleasant obstacles that a potential thief might have to navigate in order to gain entry. Just like selling your home, it all starts with curb appeal. Shrubs, especially those with thorns or briars, might be a minor nuisance to the average passerby, but to a thief trying to climb through a window they’re a serious problem. Not only are they painful, they snag clothing, leave a trail and force them to slow down. In addition, make sure a sign is prominently displayed, advertising the presence of a security system, even if you don’t have one. Often, this isn’t a chance that the average burglar is willing to take. Wireless Alarms When it comes to alarm systems, the louder they are the better off you’ll be. The important thing to remember is that alarms are most effective if they’re triggered as soon as a breech happens, as this will often cause a thief to flee the area before authorities arrive. These don’t even necessarily have to be connected to a central unit, so long as they’re loud enough. These types of alarms use contact plates between two surfaces, triggering when that connection is broken. This makes them ideal for windows and doors. Don’t count on motion activated alarms, as these must be triggered by movement inside the house, and if a thief is far enough inside to set them off it’s already too late. Security measures, such as those from http://www.arapahoesecurity.com, for homeowners should focus primarily on driving off or deterring potential thieves rather than catching them in the act. Diligent and experienced criminals will have more than enough time to find what they’re looking for if they gain entry to your home, even in areas with relatively good police response time. You don’t want to catch them in the act, you want the act not to happen in the first...

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3 Ways To Prevent Ice Dam Damage On Your Roof

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Do you live in a cold climate? If so, you’re probably seen ice dams before, even if you haven’t known exactly what they’re called. Ice dams are cold weather phenomenons that can do serious damage to a sloped roof. Without proper protection, they can cause your shingles to buckle and crack and can cause structural damage to your roof. If left unchecked for a long period of time, water can enter your home and cause mold and mildew problems. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent ice dam-related problems. What is an ice dam? Ice dams can form when the outdoor temperature is freezing and there is snow or freezing rain precipitation. In many homes, hot air escapes through the attic and up to the roof. When the precipitation hits the roof, it’s greeted by the escaping heat and melts. The water then runs down the sloped roof to the gutters. This may seem good. After all, your gutters are in place to guide water away from your roof. In cold temperatures, though, the water usually doesn’t make it to the gutter. Your roofs eaves aren’t heated like the rest of the roof. The eave is the overhang at the bottom edge of the roof. When the water hits that point, it freezes, forming a dam. This creates a barrier that stops any additional water. As water continues to run, the ice dam gets bigger until you eventually have water pooling on your roof. The problem doesn’t go away until the temperature rises and the ice dam melts. How to Prevent Ice Dam Damage There are three common solutions to preventing damage related to ice dams: Insulate your attic. Improve the insulation in your attic’s ceiling to prevent indoor heat from hitting your roof. If your attic isn’t a usable space, consider having your heating ducts rerouted so it receives little warm air. Also put insulation in the attic floor to further prevent heat from rising in your house. Ventilate your roof. The key to preventing ice dams is to keep the rest of your roof as cold as the eaves of the roof. One way to do that is to hire a roofing contractor to install a vent system that pumps cold air from the eaves around the rest of the roof. Vents are installed at the bottom edges, and then ducts are installed that run to common moisture accumulation points. Install an ice shield. This is an underlay that goes beneath your roof’s shingles. It’s an adhesive layer that sticks to the wooden surface of the roof. At a minimum, you should have a strip of this around the roof’s eaves, but...

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Frequently Asked Questions About Asphalt Driveways

Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in Uncategorized |

If you are building a new home, there are many decisions that you are going to have to make, and the material that you use to create your driveway is among those decisions. While there are several driveway materials available, asphalt is one of the most popular. It is relatively inexpensive, as far as driveway materials go, and it’s durable. If you do opt to go with an asphalt driveway, you might find that you’ll have some questions along the way. To clear up any confusion that you may have, here are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding an asphalt driveway. Why are there roller marks? Right after your driveway is laid, you might be surprised to find that there are roller marks on the surface. This is perfectly normal. Asphalt needs to be firmly compacted in order to create a durable surface that will last a long time. In order to do this, a steam roller is rolled over the surface, and that roller could leave marks behind. Rest assured that these marks are only temporary and will go away in a few months. What is the best time of year to pave an asphalt driveway? In order to ensure that your asphalt driveway is laid in the proper formation and that it is compacted properly, the asphalt needs to be hot. A temperature of 275 degrees Fahrenheit and 300 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal to ensure proper installation. Since the material needs to remain hot, summer is the ideal time to lay an asphalt driveway. The asphalt will remain hotter longer, making it easier to lay and ensuring a strong surface. Is there any way to prevent the edges from cracking? Though an asphalt driveway is strong, the edges are vulnerable to cracking. If too much weight is put on the edge of the driveway, it will likely crack and break off. In order to avoid this, the edges need to be supported. The best way to avoid edge cracking is to place topsoil and grass seed, or sod, against the edges of the driveway. When is sealcoating necessary? Sealcoating will make the surface of your driveway smooth. While it can enhance the look, it should only be done every three years. Sealcoating it more often will result in a surface that is too smooth, making the driveway slick and slippery when it’s wet. When can the driveway be driven on? Asphalt needs to cure to create a strong surface, and it takes about 30 days for it to cure completely. You don’t have to wait 30 days to drive on it; as long as you are careful and don’t sharply turn your wheel (which will dig...

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