Are Concrete Cracks the End to Your Concrete Floors?

Without a doubt, concrete is the most versatile construction material on the planet. It can be dyed, stained, stamped, polished or painted in whatever shade you prefer. However, the issue with concrete is that it tends to crack. As a rule, cracking is nearly unavoidable but you can control where and how these cracks develop.

Joints

According to concrete residential Lakeville MN experts, both expansion joints and control joints are crucial to concrete flatwork.  However, each kind serves a different purpose. For instance, expansion joints are made to allow an entire slab to expand and then contract without coming into contact with a nearby slab, structure or wall.  An ideal location for an expansion joint would be between slabs or around electrical boxes. Control joints on the other hand are used to relieve stress from within the concrete slab. The joints, which may be formed with a jointer prior to the concrete setting or can be cut using a saw after it finally hardens. They are designed for the purpose of controlling where a crack may occur by inducing the concrete to crack in the location of the joint.

How many Cracks is Enough?

According to concrete residential Minnesota specialists, one of the most common questions homeowners have regard cracks in concrete is how much cracks is enough or is acceptable? To be honest, there are really no standard rules to follow. However, many contractors point to floor size, perception and, of course safety.  If a floor that is comprised of thousands upon thousands of square feet, a few cracks may be acceptable as long as these does not involve structural areas. The primary concern here is of course the aesthetic. Cracks in the floor tend to point to a structural problem if the run through the depth of the slab and begin to come apart in certain areas. Aside from the number, severity of the cracks would be a major factor to determine which cracks are acceptable and which require repair.

Can it be Avoided?

If for instance the sub base is faulty or was not prepared according to specifications then no amount of control joints would be sufficient to limit crack formation. If this is the case, sawing additional control joints in places where there is not enough of them is the only solution. If you notice an abundance of cracks in your floor with varying degrees of severity, consult a concrete engineer so he can conduct and inspection and provide recommendations.

Pointers for Cleaning Polished Concrete

A polished concrete floor always leaves a stunning impression to anyone who visits your home. According to concrete residential MN experts, polished concrete floors are quite durable because of the polishing and densification process involved in their creation. They are also easier to maintain than other kinds of decorative concrete flooring and do not require any sealers or waxes. If you have a polished concrete floor in your home here are some tips to keep in mind.

Keep it Simple

According to concrete residential Minnesota  specialists, a simple maintenance regimen consisting of occasional dusting in order to remove grit and then some damp mopping can do wonders to maintain and enhance the shine of your flooring. There are some commercial products available in the market today that not only cleans the surface but also leaves behind a dirt-resistant film. These products can be applied easily using a mop or an auto scrubber without necessarily having to use a buffing machine.

If you noticed that your polished concrete floor has begun losing its luster, a simple buffing up of the surface using a commercial polishing agent more often than not does the trick. If more work is needed the floors can be re-polished lightly using a fine grit abrasive.

Correcting Minor Flaws

Cracks, scratches and the like can be repaired with the correct patching material. If there is extensive cracking then there might be a need to do some resurfacing work using an overlay. In some cases, it can be quite possible to accentuate existing floor cracks to make them look like they are part of the original floor design. This is made possible using staining and saw cutting methods.

Correcting Discolorations

If applied properly, concrete dyes and stains usually penetrate deep enough into the surface so as to provide a permanent color that will not flake, fade or peel. However, acid staining requires a bit more attention as they react chemically with the concrete and in the hands of an inexperienced concrete contractor cause color variations that are not planned. This can be corrected using a tinted sealer to change the color entirely or the application of a new type of stain or dye.

How to Keep Your Decorative Concrete Floors in Top-Top Shape

As a rule, there is no type of flooring material that is absolutely maintenance free; the same is true for decorative concrete. While it is true that concrete floors are quite easy to maintain compared to other kinds of flooring, they sill require some form of regular attention.  According to concrete residential Minnesota  experts, the extent of maintenance your floor will require depends largely on the degree of traffic it gets. As such, the maintenance requirements of a residential floor is very much different from a floor in a commercial high-traffic environment.

Her are some general maintenance tips to keep in mind.

In most scenarios, residential concrete floors usually experience light foot traffic and a simple but effective cleaning regimen consisting of damp mopping and sweeping can keep it looking good for many years.  If you want to add an additional layer of protection, concrete residential Lakeville MN experts recommend the installation of a film-forming sealer and finished off with a film of wax to ensure good resistance against stains and most especially abrasions.

Avoid Saw Cut Designs

It is recommended that you avoid floor designs with saw cut designs as the narrow edges make it prone to trapping dirt and debris which we all know can be quite difficult to remove once they get stuck there.   It is also recommended to use a reliable floor sealer, which not only provides a good layer of protection it also can extend the life of your floor significantly.

Dependable Floor Wax

In order to provide an extra layer of protection against dirt, abrasion and stains you need to use a dependable commercial-grade floor wax that was made specifically for concrete floors. This will help protect the sealer protecting the floor and is quite easy to reapply.

For areas that are considered high-traffic zones you can minimize wear and tear by utilizing floor mats inside and outside entrances and foyers.  It is also recommended that you follow the maintenance schedule recommended by your concrete floor contractor to ensure you decorative floors are always at their best.

Important Tips to Remember When Building a Concrete Pool

A concrete pool can be a good addition to your home. If done right not only will it provide you and your family with a place to relax and enjoy one another’s company it will also increase the value of your home. If you are contemplating having a concrete pool constructed on your property here are some helpful tips to guide you.

Location

According to concrete pool MN experts, picking the right area for your pool is as vital as the swimming pool itself.  If you are not sure where in your property is the best spot, talk to an experienced contractor in order to get valuable insight. Here are some helpful tips in the meantime.

Sunshine

Use the sun’s warm rays to your advantage by selecting an area that is open to the sun and away from nearby trees. That location will help in warming up the water thereby reducing your heating costs as well as reduce the amount of leaves that drop in it.

Away from Windy Areas

Constructing a pool in a windy area contributes greatly to water evaporation, which will result in you having to constantly add more pool water in order to maintain the correct pool level.  Moreover, strong winds can also likewise make you feel uncomfortably cold and can expose you to getting sick. In order to avoid this, construct a windbreak by installing a solid board fence or a row of trees and thick shrubs.

Avoid Low Lying Areas

When constructing a pool, concrete pool Minnesota recommends avoiding low-lying areas as this will easily result to pool flooding from mud and other debris.  Areas with a high water table should also be avoided as well as rising groundwater will flood the deep section of the excavated hole.

Selecting the Correct Circulation System

The pool’s circulation system is designed to keep the pool water clean and clear. In order to achieve this properly it will rely a lot on filtration and sanitization. At the core of the filtration system is the pump. This is the one responsible for drawing water from the pool’s bottom drains and then sending the it to an automatic skimmer and then the filter prior to being recirculated back to the pool.  You can use one of 3 systems, which are sand, cartridge and diatomaceous earth.  Talk to your pool contractor regarding which one would be best for your property.

How to Achieve the Perfect Concrete Inground Pool

In the past, aboveground pools were all the rage and rarely do you find “dug in” pools, as they were quite costly. According to exterior concrete Minnesota experts there are over 5 million existing Inground pools in the country with an additional 175K to 200K new pools constructed each year.

Selecting The Pool

When it comes to inground pools there are three types available. The most popular is the concrete type followed by the vinyl-lined and lastly fiberglass.  According to concrete pool Lakeville Minnesota specialists, concrete pools can be considered truly custom-built and can be made to adhere to any shape or size. Known as Guinite or Shotcrete pools due to the fact that concrete is fired from a gun and onto steel-reinforced walls. Once the curing is done it is either plastered, painted, smoothed out or finished with some textured aggregate surface or simply tiled.  There are also a small portion of concrete pools constructed and poured in the same way to a house foundation. The method used is called structural concrete and is most often used for hillside pools.

How Long to Construct

Between vinyl and fiberglass, concrete pools usually takes the longest to install about three to twelve weeks but it is considered to be the strongest and the most durable type. As a matter of fact, concrete pools constructed 50 years ago are still very much in use today. Moreover, concrete has the additional benefit of being remodeled, enlarged or updated altogether.

Cost

The cost of an inground pool varies depending on the size, soil condition, circulation system, accessories and shape intended.  Sometimes the time of year can play a role in how much you will eventually spend for constructing a concrete pool.  Having one made during the off-season can net you discounts so better talk to your contractor when would be the best time.

Zoning

Like any other home improvement, constructing an inground swimming pool can be subject to zoning regulations. You therefore would need to apply for a building permit and then get approved before commencing any work.  As you may already probably know, building and zoning rules differ from city to city so check with your local zoning authorities first.

5 Steps to a Custom Dream Home

Custom homes are essentially dream homes because virtually every aspect of the home from conception to design to construction to amenities are the personal preference of the homeowner. While thinking about designing a custom home may be easy as you are free to add whatever you want, the reality is vastly different. Here are 5 steps to building your custom dream home.

Begin Simple

According to custom home Bluejack National TX experts you do not need sophisticated programs in order to start making decisions about your custom home plans. Just a simple pencil and piece of paper is all you require. Draw your ideas on paper. Make a list of the features you want each room to have and then show these to your home design team.

Always Consider the Future

Many folks make the mistake of not planning forward enough and instead think only of the present.  Are you planning to have kids in the future? Do you plan to take care of your parents someday? Will you be expecting from time to time visits from extended family members or children returning home from college? Make sure to think about these scenarios and integrate the aspects needed into your custom home.

Maximize the Land

According to homebuilder Willowcreek Ranch TX specialists, you need to consider the topography, size and the best features the lot offers. For example, if your land has a good view you might want to have the living room to face towards it. Consider the placement of windows in relation to the best views of the landscape. Remember that a custom home design for a steep slope will look very different than a design that is intended for a flat area.

Prioritize

When designing a custom home it is quite easy to go overboard with design features resulting to budget excess. There are so many creature comforts to choose from it is essential that you prioritize what you need versus what you want.

Integrate Flow and Function

Make sure the rooms in the custom home flow correctly and are spaced properly. Make sure to reduce noise near sleeping areas, which means keeping bedrooms away from communal areas.

How to Integrate Aging in Place Design for Your Custom Home

The greatest thing about building a custom home is it gives you the opportunity to design a home that will be able to fit all your needs not just now but your future needs as well.  If you are considering getting a custom home, homebuilder Montgomery TX specialists recommend that you integrate aging in place design elements that will allow you to live independently and quite comfortably as well to the point that you will not have to move into an assisted living facility in your twilight years.

Wider Doorways

In order to allow a wheelchair or walker easy access, each doorway and hallway in your home needs to be at least three feet wide. In a remodel setup, this change is incredibly challenging not to mention expensive which is why it would be wise to integrate this feature in the original design of the custom home.

Level Flooring and Entrances

According to custom builder Cypress TX specialists, at least one entrance to your home must be level or at least feature a ramp for easy access. This not only allows convenient entry but also reduces the chances of falls.  It is also important to mention that the flooring inside the home needs to be even as well. Smooth transitions across different rooms as well as varieties in flooring surface is recommended.

First Floor Owner’s Suite

The owner’s suite needs to be integrated on the 1st floor of the house and should include a full bathroom as well. Likewise, the laundry area should also be on the first floor too. When you get older chances are you will not appreciate having to go up and down a flight of stairs everyday. By constructing a one-story home you make it convenient for you to age in place.

Safe Bathroom

Each year thousands of hip operations are performed in the US on elderly individuals due to some mishap in the bathroom or stairs.  Without a doubt, bathrooms are the most expensive to remodel and therefore should be ready with age in place features from the get-go.  It is recommended to have slip-free floors; zero-entry showers as well as showers that have a seat option.  Grab bars should also be in place to assist from sitting to standing. While you do not necessarily have install the handles when the house is being made, installing the proper anchors for them now will save you a lot of time and effort in the future.

What Does Square Footage in a Home Really Mean?

When it comes to purchasing a home or building one you have no doubt come across terms like square footage and the like and most of the time you probably just nodded in agreement to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation. On the other hand you do know what this means with regard to your proposed home but do you really know for sure? Here is a bit of an explanatory guide.

According to new homebuilder Blue Jack National TX experts, square footage can be explained in three parts. The first is the square footage itself, second is the materials involved in the construction and lastly has something associated with the needs of the buyer as well as his personality.

Raw Number

Square footage in a property is a raw number in itself. It consists of several factors actually such as:

Home design – offsets, sophistication of the rood and spans affecting cost

Livable aboveground space – normally the 1st floor, 2nd etc.  Builders may integrate a family room with a two-story ceiling as the square footage for the second floor.

Other Spaces – this could also refer to a percentage of space in other places like the garage for instance.

Underground Space – this could also be a percentage of an underground space such as the basement.

According to ccustom home Tomball TX specialists, having different layouts available is perfect for both individuals and families when it comes to home design.  However, this can also quickly change the price per square foot.  For example, the addition of another bathroom on the 2nd floor section by acquiring space from another room like a hallway or a closet. You will need to make the space more functional, thereby increasing the end cost per square foot. Bathrooms require more commitment than a simple closet so a house with two-and-a-half bathrooms as opposed to one with one-and-a-half bathrooms could have the same square footage but the cost could be different per square foot.

Why a Rear Entrance Foyer would Benefit Your Home

For homes that have an attached garage, new home Magnolia TX experts say that 92% of the time you go in and out of your home utilizing the door between the garage and the home as opposed to the main entry door.  A long time ago, attached garages were quite popular, as there exists a utilitarian purpose like using it as the main laundry area rather than a basement laundry. However, would you really like to be greeted by piles of unwashed laundry at the end of a grueling workday?

Rear Foyer Amenity

In today’s new home construction the laundry/mudroom has evolved into the rear entrance foyer and like the front foyer receives very little in terms of design aesthetics.   According to custom builder Willowcreek Ranch TX experts, it is all about livability these days. Who would not want a coat storage or perhaps a small bench to remove shoes plus some storage beneath? Do you hate it when the kids ask you where their science project/backpack/gym clothes/lunch money is in the morning? Add lockers in the rear foyer for each child so everything is there on their way out.

Drop Zone in the Rear Foyer

The drop zone is considered one of the mot popular amenities today. Imagine coming home from a stressful day, you will need a dedicated place to put your keys, mail, bag and electronic gadgets right?  The answer is the drop zone. It is the most essential thing that can free up an over cluttered kitchen island.

Great for Pets

In homes where pets are king, pet centers can be integrated into the design of the rear foyer complete with storage sections for food, built-in kennels and even a wash area. If you have pets you know they do not ask for permission when going inside the home complete with dirty, muddy paws. Ask your builder to integrate a rear foyer in your home.

How To Tell if a Builder is Cutting Corners in the Home Construction Process

Most of us will invest in a home only once in our life. It is important therefore to ensure that when we do take the plunge on new home construction we are able to choose the correct builder.  We all want to work with someone we can trust which is why there is usually a lengthy process of selecting builders. While most homebuilders out there are reputable, in reality there are still some that would take advantage of our trust and lack of knowledge regarding building a home. Here are some warning signs that you need to know if a builder is cutting corners.

Cutting Corners

According to custom home Bluejack National Texas experts, the methods and materials your builder uses have a major impact on your home’s sustainability, durability and overall efficiency. Cutting corners is defined as using means that are cheapest, quickest and easiest to do at the expense of work quality. Builders of ill repute will promise to use premium products with the price tag to go with it but in reality substitute cheaper items to maximize their profit. Most of the time these practices usually occur in areas of the home that you do not see or appreciate often.

Right to Check Building Process

While you may visit the construction site everyday you may still not know what goes on there. It is important that you pay attention to the work the builder is doing. It is important that a solid foundation is achieved, durable walls and reliable utilities are constructed properly as they form an integral functional and structural role in your home.

If in doubt of what the builder is doing you do have the option of hiring an independent contractor to check on the work that has been done. Sure, it could cost a little bit of money but will save you from more costly repairs later on. Be warned if the builder discourages you from hiring an independent contractor, as this is definitely a sign.

 According to new home construction Willow Creek Ranch TX, a reputable builder will not hide:

License and Insurance Information – Ask for this upfront even before you sign the contract. It should be valid and updated.

Standard of Operation and Communication – This form will tell you how they handle the project and what way they will communicate the progress with you.

References – Be sure to speak with them without the builder present and go to the site and see the home for yourself.