Saturday, 31 March 2012

What Is Waterproofing?

Even after decades of technological advancement we are still facing weather induced problems contaminating our constructed buildings. The most destructive weather element to concrete, masonry and natural stone structures is water. The only way to prevent this is to 'envelope' your building by waterproofing it using water resistant products. It sounded simple but again it's not. Most waterproofing work done during the construction stage was most often done recklessly. This happens for many numbers of reasons and for one, the construction companies aren't able to monitor each and every one of its construction workers work so the quality may differ or if you are unlucky they skip a step. Most contractors outsourced their construction workers who speak other languages than English so you tend to wonder about their comprehension of things and what about cutting corners? Some irresponsible company dared to cut corners in the name of cost saving and maximizing profit margins. Either way, once the building is done, all beautifully concealed with coatings of plasters and all you can see is a gorgeous looking house or building. Buildings must be made waterproof or water-resistant from roof tops to vertical above grade walls to below grade floors.

Did you know that almost 90% of water intrusion problems occur within the 1% of building's exterior surface area? Reason being is that during construction, from the process of design, construction, maintenance and 99% of building envelope will typically function properly. It is the remaining 1% that needs attention and time by owners, designers, architects, engineers and contractors to ensure an effective building envelope. The most common reason of waterproofing problem came from the discrepancies of the designs and installations.

The building 'envelope' that I was referring to means a combination of roofing, waterproofing, damp proofing and flashing system that act cohesively as a barrier, protecting interior areas from water and weather intrusion. Waterproofing does not only prevent water penetration but also prevent structural damage to building components. It prevents the passage of pollutants that cause steel deterioration and concrete palling, such as chloride ion build ups into structural components. Once water are able to seep through and in contact with the steels inside the concrete, oxidation occurs. This will result into the expansion of steel and creation of cracks (or even bigger cracks). Building envelopes also acts as weather barrier - the wind, the cold and the heat. These forces with combination of water can multiply the magnitude of damage to building structures as well as its interior. Direct exposure to the wind can force water deeper into a building structure through cracks or crevices where water may not normally penetrate. In order to prevent this, building envelope must not only be water resistant but also weather tight against the wind.

Waterproofing system does not last forever. It usually lasts between five to ten years depending on the contractor's workmanship as well as quality of products. However the lifespan of waterproofing barriers may be shorten even more due to weathering, U.V rays and earth movements. Most of us are oblivious about the fact that waterproofing barriers can be compromised when we do physical alteration towards the external part of the building for example; renovations or even minor alteration or repair works - so long that it leads to physical alteration of the building's surface.

As far as remedial waterproofing is concern, there are four main areas that are usually problem prone which are the roof, wet areas such as toilets, kitchen and balcony, subterranean areas and lastly external walls. Should you have leakage from the roof note that if you are a flat roof or other wise.If you are a flat roof, you should check if your roof is having an active leakage or not. If it is active there is a possibility that there is 'ponding' on top of the roof which means that you might have problem with the gutter or leakage from water tank but if it only leaks when it rains then it is just the roof that is problematic. Many contractors take advantage of this situation to cheat owners into thinking that it is a complicated problem and over charge them.

There were countless times when we face mind boggling leakage problems. Water penetrations are visible but the source was unknown as there was no water source nearby. The Owners would usually call for a plumber to solve the problem as they thought that it was plumbing problem. Plumbers are great at solving plumbing problems when they know and see a clear cut case. It is usually not the case for waterproofing. Seepage and leakage are most often random an inexperience person would blind hack the seepage area in attempt to remedy the problem and we would see that a large part of our walls have been torn apart. The traditional way of rectifying leakage or seepage on wet areas usually involves extensive hacking, removal of existing tiles, pumping of PU grouting with a high pressured compressor. These processes are a nuisance to owners as it is messy, expensive and would usually frowns the 'lady of the house' because they had to remove their designer tiles and most of them did not survive the removal process. After the expensive and troublesome remedial process owners would usually come across another leakage elsewhere and that area is not covered by the contractor's warranty.

In the end, this encumbered owners from getting their waterproofing problems repaired immediately. Most owners allow their problems to spread and cause further damage to the building structure. Not only that, toxic mold would grow on damp walls and ceilings making the house or building hazardous to health. Some people simply result to covering up discolouration's, molds and efflorescence instead of rectifying the problem. This act is reckless and irresponsible because if there toxic molds spawning somewhere it could possibly cost you a life as toxic or black molds can cause respiratory problems and it can worsen an asthmatic condition, can cause allergic reaction and possible bronchial infections.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Basics Of Fencing Your Yard

Whenever one looks at houses while driving down the subdivision, fences are rarely eye-catching. Fences are usually a component of the whole backdrop of a house, and perhaps this is the main essence of a fence. The beauty of a house is made to stand out through the use of fences and it should not be the other way around. Fences accentuate the natural splendour of one's home, and properly choosing and installing fences are key ingredients towards attaining that specific goal.

There are many reasons why people would want to put fences on their yard or reinstall new ones. For those houses which never had fences, the owners may want to have some sense of privacy and security, even though in reality, fences don't really provide security and privacy. Nonetheless, fences concretize the boundaries of one's properties. This is a very important thing that fences provide. Other people would want to install fences so that their pets and small children would not go out of their yards.

Types of Fences

When installing fences in one's yard, there are many types that one can choose from. Fences that are made from timber are by far, are arguably the most popular ones. These are quite cheap, versatile and come in different shapes and sizes. These are also preferred by some buyers because they are environment-friendly. However, timber can rot and some types of timber fences are no-good in terms of quality.

Modern houses usually have brick or cement fences. Brick fences are popular because of their sturdiness and durability. The colours selection is also endless. These, however, are more expensive than timber fences. There are also steel fences which are lightweight and quite strong. Steel fences can, however, make irritating noise, especially if it's windy or rainy.

There are also stone fences and those which are made from natural materials such as bamboo, cane and reed.

In fencing up one's yard, one has to take into consideration some of the following factors to be able to make the project a successful and fulfilling. Here are some of them:

Local Laws and Permits

There are different laws regarding the installation of fences in different parts of the country. Most local fencing laws would prohibit fences that are more than 6 feet in height to be able to preserve the aesthetic value of the whole place. One should consult the local authorities before even proceeding with the selection process. A practical idea is to ask one's neighbour about his experiences when he was putting up his fence.

Cost of Materials

After one has consulted the local laws and permit stipulations, he can now go on with the fence selection process (choices will be limited in accordance with the local laws). One of the most important things to look at when selecting fencing materials, as with any kind of materials, is the cost of the different choices. The different materials vary in cost. Timber, bamboo and other natural materials usually cost less than brick and stone fences.


Privacy is one o the main reasons why fences are build. However, fences should not obstruct the view of the owners from inside. Fences that are too tall tend to do this. Avoid building a Berlin Wall between your house and the street as much as possible.

Strength and Durability

Again, different materials vary in terms of strength and durability. Brick, stone and steel fences are to be installed by homeowners who would prefer stability than design and appearance. Make sure that the not-so-strong fences such as timber and bamboo fences are protected from vines. Vines may not seem harmful to fences but they are actually one of the reasons why fences break down. They drag the fences down through their weight.

Installing the Fence

One can hire professionals in putting up the fence. Perhaps, he can contract the friendly neighbourhood carpenter to do this for him. If one is to install the fence by himself, he should use a chart where the exact distance of the fence can be indicated. This makes placing the posts much more easier and will make the installation smoother.

These are just some of the few tips that we can share with you. Remember that fences are sideshows and the house is the main attraction. Remember this rule and you'll be fine.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Picking A Kitchen Countertop You Can Live With

Your kitchen countertops serve two purposes - to provide a work surface and to look good so it's important to know how to select one that satisfies your criteria for both.

Your countertops need to be functional for preparing food and provide easy clean up. They are also the first thing you notice when you walk in the kitchen. The right countertop can add beauty and style as well as practicality. When planning a kitchen remodel, your countertops should be carefully chosen for these reasons and others.

Selecting the material is a matter of personal preference, but you should make sure the material has several features. This will allow you to keep the countertops in tip top shape for many years to come and make them easy to work with. Countertops are a huge investment and making sure you get the right ones is critical. Here's some features you should look for:


Kitchen countertops take a beating so you want to make sure they are durable. If you pick a material that can easily crack, burn or stain you might find that you have to put money into repairing them. Of course, durable countertops will be among the most expensive, but it will be money well spent.

Ease Of Cleaning

One of the big jobs in the kitchen is keeping the counters clean, therefore you want to choose a material that makes this job easier on you. Countertops that are made from a porous material will stain and end up looking unclean. Tiles will be hard to clean because crumbs and other stuff will collect in the grout - and if you have light coloured grout it will get dirty very fast. Granite and Corian are pretty easy to clean and the colouring can help even a dirty counter look great.


Who would think you might have to consider safety in a counter top? Well if you have small children you should make sure that edges are rounded to protect from injury. You don't want rough edges on the counter tops either. These days, you can even buy countertops that are treated with a special substance that can cut down on bacteria that can cause food poisoning.


Last but not least you want your kitchen countertops to reflect the style of your kitchen. Think about the colour and texture and how that fits into your current (or intended) style. You can check out the kitchen showrooms to see what colours and types of materials look best with the cabinets you have or might be installing.

You can buy kitchen countertops in many materials from granite to tile to porcelain to stainless steel to slate to marble. They are even making them from cement now! All of these materials can work, and if you select your countertops carefully they can be an investment you can live with for years to come.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Bathroom Decorations - Tips On How To Get Started

If you want to redecorate your house there are many things that you can do. What happens though if you want to redecorate your bathroom? It's not as tough as you might think and there are rather a few things you can do to change your existent bathroom decor to something newer and more upbeat. And it doesn't need to be expensive either. Lets take a look at a few things that will get you started.

You can get a good looking bathroom even if you are on a tight budget. You will inevitably need to cut a few corners but they won't need to be drastic or anything too dramatic. One of the best n-ways to boost your john if you're on a tight budget will be to go at it slowly. Take it a piece at a time or even a particular set at a time and change your old bathroom decor to suit your new bathroom decor. This also provides you the time to ponder, research ideas and evaluate your ideas.

The problem with that though, is that you might not get to see a striking change taking place, alternatively you'll have a gradual change which can be rather unsatisfactory sometimes. So another thing you can do would be to change more or less the whole of your bathroom decor all at once. This can be more comforting to the individual and can brighten your day considerably when you see the changes that have been wrought. Of course if your budget allows this kind of activity.

The best place to start though, whether you're on a awful budget or not, is by fetching the time to sit back and think about what you want changed about your bathroom decor. Unless you're amply redesigning your bathroom then it's almost a presumption that you won't change around any of the fittings. So if you have decide not to re-design, your next need is to decide what it is about your old bathroom decor that you disfavor so much and what it is that you want to change.

This process, many times, can be the longest. Because it requires you to think, imagine and visualize what you see unsuitable in your bathroom. Trust me, once this process is done you will be happy you did it. when in this process be sure to document and take notes so you can refer to them later. This way you aren't shooting from the hip. We all know what happens when we do this. We buy things we think we like, out of impulse, and later realize it really isn't what we wanted.

This might not be as easygoing as you think as not everything is physical at first glance. That's why you need to sit back and take a good hard look at what you need to do about your bathroom decor. To get the best effect let's start with the walls. Does it need a fresh work of paint or can you get away with a few strategically located pictures and prints.

If you have a rain shower drapery does that need to be replaced, and what about the rugs and mats as such? Another good place for you to start is with a color intrigue in mind. If you can settle down on what you want your bathroom to look like in the last analysis - inside rationality of course - then you can proceed from there.

Now if all of this seems overwhelming to your, don't worry. Research, understand and learn the fundamental concepts of interior design and decorating. With this knowledge you will feel confident in your approach. Also, let me clarify here - I am not talking about a 4 year degree. I am talking about the fundamentals to boost your confidence to get started. So, let us wrap up with a knick knacks.

A few knick knacks here and there which will enhance your lavatory should do the trick. Intersperse them with a few expensive cardinal pieces and your new bathroom decor should be all that you could want or need. Please, don't go crazy with the knick knacks. If you feel it is too much, then I would say it is too much.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Easy Ways to Update your Kitchen

If you are looking for some ideas to redecorate your kitchen, it doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. Some minor changes that you can do on your own can really change the overall affect the room has. Many of us spend a great deal of time in the kitchen cooking, eating, and visiting with our family and friends. It is important that our kitchen has a very comfortable feeling to it. Some simple projects include adding a new kitchen sink, counters, and even bar stools.

Changing the design of your kitchen sink can change the look of any style of kitchen. There are many designs to select from so you will be able to find exactly what you are looking for. You will likely want to choose a kitchen sink that fits the space you already have designated for it. However, if you need a deeper kitchen sink or a wider one it is possible to do so by cutting away some of the counter space.

Some of the newer models of kitchen sinks feature one deep side and one shallow side. Others feature three separate compartments instead of the traditional one or two style. The type of material you choose for your kitchen sink will really influence the overall look. Choose from stainless steel, cast iron, or copper.

Probably one of the most common kitchen decorating options is redoing the counters. This can be simply redoing them in a new color and material or changing the layout of the kitchen so you have more counter space. In many open kitchens one complaint is too much space that isn’t being used. To remedy this type of situation a straight counter can be turned into a T shape or an L shape to let you take advantage of some of the open spaces. You can also place an island in the middle of the kitchen to serve as a work area.

There are many different types of counter top materials you can choose from. There are also so many colors that you will definitely find one to match the overall d├ęcor of your kitchen area. The most common type of counter material is granite. This is very solid and it will last for years.

Adding bar stools to your kitchen area is a great way to give it some flare. It will also provide you with some additional room when you have a few too many people for your kitchen table to hold. Bar stools are available in a variety of colors so look for something to match with the flooring and the cabinets in your kitchen.

They are available in metal or wood materials and they come in a variety of styles. Many of them don’t have backs but many people prefer those that do have a regular chair back on them. Look for bar stools that have a durable and comfortable seat. You also need to carefully consider the height of your counters. The bar stools need to fit under them properly and provide a comfortable reach from the sitting position to the counter area.