Balloon Framing Gable Walls

Prior to the 1950’s balloon framing of new homes was the standard construction method, until the advent of platform framing. Platform framing is a safer, quicker, and more cost effective method than balloon framing. With that being said, balloon framing still has many effective uses in modern house framing that can be incorporated with platform framing for a safer, sturdier, and more cost effective home.

Balloon framing originated in Chicago in the early 1830’s and replaced the prior construction method of mortise and tenon. The name originated from the old mortise and tenon carpenters when they first saw the framing method in use. With the long skinny framing members being utilized and held together with only nails, they thought it would probably be blown away with the next strong gust of wind just like a balloon. The name caught on and has endured to this day.

Disadvantages

  • Balloon framed gable walls are very tall, usually eighteen feet or more above the floor level. This added height requires the use of scaffolding for the framing carpenters, electrician, plumber, heating ventilation and air conditioning, insulator, drywall installer, painter, and trim carpenter resulting in higher labor costs.
  • Fire can travel up the stud bay just like in a chimney, to mitigate the risk of fire, blocking should be installed at each ceiling and floor level.
  • The required use of longer studs increases the cost per lineal foot resulting in still higher expenditures.
  • These walls can be very heavy and dangerous, even life threatening, to raise requiring the use of proper lifting equipment and highly trained personnel. The hazards of manually lifting balloon framed walls has been clearly defined by OSHA.

Advantages

  • The longer studs resist wind loads better and help to reduce drywall cracking and nail pops.
  • Very large windows with rounded, arched, or angled tops can be installed to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the home.
  • Ability to construct a tall chimney.
  • Two story open foyer.
  • Great room.

When considering the use of balloon framing to enhance the look and livability of your new home the advantages and disadvantages should be weighed carefully.

Who Determines the Course of Your Life?

To live a self-determined life is the essence of consciousness.

A self-determined life is fundamentally different from a life that's determined by our ego. When the ego is in charge of running our life, we only have an illusion of determining our life, not the actual experience of doing so.

To be able to determine our own life requires us to be free, a state that few on our planet yet enjoy. Even those of us who think we are free are so heavily programmed by family and society that we do not even know we are not free.

To live a self-determined life is to be awake as we move through life.

Instead of deluding ourselves with our projections of what life ought to be and what we hope it will be as the vast majority do, we are actually aware of everything that's going on within us and all around us.

In the movie Feast of Love, starring Morgan Freeman, the statement is made that everything we need to know to chart our life is already right here, available to us this very moment, if our eyes are open.

Most humans sleepwalk through life. They really have little comprehension of what causes them to do what they do. People tend to blunder their way through their average day.

To become present in our life-to be conscious as we proceed down life's path-isn't some otherworldly experience. It's to have our eyes open to what's in front of us.

The 2007 movie Feast of Love shows how we lurch from one bad situation to another much of the time until we open our eyes.

Consciousness is that simple-living with our eyes open, attuned to what's really happening within us and all around us.

There's a nice touch at the close of this movie. Individuals who have gone through some messy situations are able to accept each other, realizing that what they went through was all intended as part of their awakening.

Acceptance, leading to forgiveness of those who have hurt us, flows spontaneously once we realize that everything in life is seeking to awaken us.

In other words, things are not about what they so often appear to be about on the surface. All of the emotional entanglements and moral mazes we get ourselves into are not what life is about. They are just scaffolding for what's being build inside us-a manifestation of the divine Presence uniquely expressed as us.

Why Project-Based Learning Can Improve Motivation And Relevance In Your Classroom

Project-based learning has been defined as a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning in the classroom designed to engage students by investigating interesting problems. Projects have a lot of potential to help people learn of all ages. There are a number of factors in the design of curriculum that can affect motivation and thinking processes. Project-based learning is not without its difficulties for both students and teachers. Technology can be employed to support the learning efforts of both students and teachers as they work on their projects. This article briefly describes these topics in greater detail.

Teachers are concerned about motivation as well as technical issues of thinking and learning. Unlike psychologists, teachers have a requirement to integrate both dimensions in classroom. If the teacher wants to go beyond rote memorization and engage students in sophisticated challenges that require deep understanding the teacher must be concerned with motivation, because this motivational energy will help students processed in the face of challenging lesson material.

Researchers have found substantial evidence that focusing on relatively long term problems that require meaningful engagement with challenging subjects that integrate ideas from a number of diverse disciplines in which is supported by practical and useful technology can help overcome many classroom challenges and prepare students for practical and relevant skills for the future.

There is considerable evidence that there is a strong link between student motivation and mental engagement in the classroom. In all of these studies it was crucial to define the difference between learning and performance, with the primary distinction being that learning is engaged with education for its own sake as a valued and state, rather than as a means to achieve an external goal like approval, grace or a score on a test. Motivation is easier to generate and sustain when aligned with education as a legitimate and valued goal.

Problem-based learning at once allows groups of students to collaborate, to apply themselves in real-world challenges that demonstrate the relevance of the material, explore and integrate information from across multiple domains and allow the teacher to adopt the role of facilitator and co-learner rather than as the single point of expertise in the classroom.

It is generally considered easier to develop contextual knowledge when working on complex problems than it is when considering concepts in the abstract. This adds to the motivation of project-based learning. In this framework, teachers are well employed as a master craftsman who provide just enough scaffolding in order to ensure students can remain on task and productive rather than floundering without guidance. Judicious application of scaffolding allows the teacher to maintain an appropriate level of complexity without sacrificing student motivation or focus attention.

Project-based learning, therefore, can be an appropriate way for teachers to generate collaborative motivating an interesting learning environments inside their classroom that will contribute to raising and maintaining student motivation with interesting and relevant material.

Embellish Your Home’s Exteriors With Concrete Columns and Pier Caps

Concrete columns and pier caps are attractive adornments for a diverse range of outdoor living environment. Piers could be either positioned on the sidewalk for recognition and for greeting to your home or on any side of the driveway. Columns are very essential for a strong foundation for any building or property and at the same time it gives aesthetically pleasing look.

Pillars of patio offers a surface that can be used for any number of uses, e.g., decorations, lights, space for plantation, a place to have get-together for family and relatives or friends and enjoy a dinner party. Furthermore, in order to hide structural columns, pillars can be utilized or to offer the foundation for a pergola.

Additionally, you can utilize the basic pillar structure to make a café table. The manner in which a pillar is capped has a considerable impact on the appearance of the whole area as well as what can be positioned on the top of the pillar. Light top, peaked, and flat are the various shapes in which you can get the pillar caps.

When you plan to place something on a pier such as a planter, statue or dishes, flat caps are the finest option. For supporting lights, flat caps are ideal; however, you may favour a light top cap. Light top caps possess some sort of climb in the center either by piling single pieces to shape an elevated hub or as a component of a one piece cap with a uniquely designed structure. Simply for ornamental purposes, sharp pillar caps are designed to stand exclusively without having any type of additional usage. Pillar caps are either made by man or it can also be a natural stone; caps can be a single piece or multiple pieces.

To offer a final touch to your concrete column, pier or gate post, cast stone pier caps are just perfect. Cast stone pier caps are also the ultimate choice for a brick gate pier or stone. They are easily available in a huge range of sizes and visibilities. Furthermore, to match individual requirements in regard to its sizes and visibilities, cast stone pier caps can also be custom built.

Indeed, concrete columns and pier caps are architectural embellishments that can be used in a variety of ways to augment your home’s exterior as well as interior areas. They also give spirit and elegance to the place where they are installed. Unquestionably, any building or property will not look complete without them.

Keeping Your House Painting Cost Down

If the walls of your home need cleaning, rather than trying to scrub them, you might consider a fresh coat of paint. Whether one room or the complete home, your house painting cost should not be expensive if you decide to take on the task yourself. This article points out the pros and cons as to whether you should hire out the work, or do it yourself.

Most people would rather hire the job out. However, to save money, they turn to their own talents. First, you must determine if the overall painting project is above your skill level. Some homes have high ceilings that require special equipment. This equipment can include; tall ladders, scaffolding and drop cloths to name a few. Additionally, there is the time element involve, and if you do not take your time, you may be less than happy with the results.

Some paint companies charge per room, while others by the square foot. Though hiring a professional can feel like an intrusion, the whole project will go much easier when you depend on the experience of others. Additionally, you will not have to visit home improvement centers and spend hours gathering all the materials. You will simply choose all of your paint colors from the comfort of your own home by hiring a professional painter.

Attempting to keep your house painting cost down by doing the job yourself can save you money. However, a botched job is easily noticeable, and the final result can be less than stellar. On the other hand, if you are only painting a few small rooms, you should go ahead and do it yourself.

Secrets Of Bonding 114: Offer a Concrete Solution?

This Concrete Subcontractor has a big problem. How would you solve it?

Facts:

  • The bond applicant, we will call ‘Subby,’ is a highly experienced subcontractor who performed concrete work on a school job.
  • Subby was not required to give a Performance & Payment Bond to the GC.
  • The GC, “Gigunda Const.,” has given a P&P bond to the school district.
  • The GC claims that the concrete Subby installed has failed a critical strength test. As a result, Gigunda is demanding a 2 year maintenance bond to cover potential defects.
  • Subby has disputed this charge and feels they are in compliance with the contract.
  • Since the requested maintenance bond will run to the GC and not the school district, it appears the issue must arise from within the subcontract terms (not directly with the school district).
  • Subby has an ongoing relationship with a major bonding company: “Wonderful Surety.”
  • Wonderful Surety has refused to provide the maintenance bond.
  • Subby’s agent called us for help. Is it possible some of our sureties may support it?

Issues

  • The work is not covered by a performance bond.
  • Subby’s current surety has refused to support them.
  • If Subby ignores the problem, the GC may ultimately have a performance claim on their bond. The GC, and their surety, are responsible for the entire project, including the subcontracted work.
  • If Subby ignores the problem, the GC may have to fix it – and will back charge them for the costs.
  • If Subby doesn’t provide the maintenance bond, the GC will withhold the remaining money in their sub contract.
  • Gigunda’s subcontract may have imposed the GC contract conditions automatically on to the subs (possibly including concrete strength requirements).
  • It would be normal for the subcontract to state that Subby must protect Gigunda from claims arising from their work.

Possible SolutionsWhich One Do You Like Best?

  1. Subby can ask a new surety to provide the maintenance bond.
  2. Subby can rip out the questionable work at their own expense and re-do it to Gigunda’s satisfaction.
  3. Subby can review the subcontract to determine what strength requirements were indicated, and if Subby is actually in violation.
  4. Gigunda can press their surety to issue the maintenance bond. (Although this would be unlikley if Gigunda is the beneficiary.)
  5. Subby could refuse to get the maintenance bond or replace the work (do nothing.)
  6. Subby could ask Gigunda for a contract amendment providing additional money to rip out / replace the questionable work.
  7. Subby could let Gigunda hold money for 2 years in lieu of the bond (the entire bond amount).

So you chose: #_____

Conclusion

The next step we recommend is #3, “review the subcontract requirements.”

Subby is an experienced concrete company that is convinced their work product is correct. They are not aware of the strength requirements that are the basis of this dispute – but a careful legal review is needed.

Subby should also ask the GC to cite where these strength requirements appear in the subcontract.

If the work is in violation of the subcontract, Subby will have to choose between paying to replace it now, or face the difficult task of obtaining the maintenance bond. It is possible that no surety will support this without requiring substantial collateral, or maybe even full collateral.

Pretty tough, but the bond would offer some important advantages even if full collateral is required:

  1. Subby could totally avoid the cost of replacing the work if the concrete performs successfully. Only time will tell, and filing the bond gives them that time.
  2. The bond is better for Subby than letting Gigunda hold funds. If Gigunda concludes the concrete has failed during the 2 years, they will have to go through the surety’s claim department for recovery. That’s better than just letting the GC use their money if they want. This type of advantage always exists for bond applicants when choosing between a surety bond or putting up cash directly with an obligee / beneficiary.

Start a High Profit Painting Business

The business of painting is one that can take on variations such as residential or commercial. If you are interested in residential painting, then you will be primarily working as a house painter. In this area, you will paint the interior and exterior of homes and apartments.

A commercial painter would look to businesses as their primary source of revenue. They may include apartments but also restaurants and office buildings. Each of these have their own special challenges that you will need to deal with. With residential you will have to deal with colors and painting techniques that will not make it into the commercial world.

The commercial world will generally be larger projects requiring more staff and less time to get the projects completed on schedule. In both cases, if you are trained and know the little tricks that make projects go faster you can make a lot of money as a painter. The equipment needs are not all that great, though the quality will need to be higher than what most people would buy to paint their own home

You will need a wide variety of brushes, rollers, ladders, scaffolding and, of course, something to transport it all into the job site. The cost of the better quality supplies is certainly going to be higher, but you can spread that cost over several jobs. This will make your business more profitable by being able to reuse your supplies again and again.

The profit potential is certainly there and will continue to be there so long as you do good work and build a good reputation. This is accomplished by being to the job on time and doing it right the first time. Being able to get it done on time and even a little early will definitely help. To get started you will need to contact contractors or even a union representative if you want to join a union.

Being a union painter will have its advantages especially for the new comer. They provide benefits and a steady stream of work for the cost of your union dues. If you decide to not go the union route, you will be responsible for all your own marketing and benefits yourself. You will need to visit many contractors and promote yourself to them.

You can place ads in the local paper and in the local stores looking for residential work. Word of mouth has always been a mainstay in the field. If your work is high quality and you are professional, you will be recommended to others very quickly. The biggest cost you will have is labor and you will need to judge just how much labor you really need to get the job done right and on time. The web has also made it possible for you to have a website to show samples of your work to prospective customers.

Characteristics of Polished Concrete Floors

Polished concrete floors are an outstanding method of flooring that are increasingly becoming a way of life for many home and business owners. The benefits that one can get from the polished concrete floors are quite numerous and some of them include the fact that the polished floors provide a real low cost solution to the idea of ​​flooring as a well as offering a good alternative in terms of environmentally friendly alternatives . Apart from that, there is the fact that the polished concrete offers durability to a person who opts for it. This simply means that once you get the polished flooring, you will most likely not have to think about flooring for a very long time, if not forever.

With all those benefits in mind, it would come as no surprise that many people would like to have polished floors for their offices, homes and businesses. However, before one can even think of getting such a floor, they should bear in mind the fact that there are certain characteristics that one should look out for if they want to properly identify a polished concrete floor.

Concrete polishing creates a world of difference between such a floor and any other kind of floor. If you walk into a place that has polished concrete flooring, you will realize instantly that the place is somewhat similar to marble. Sometimes, you could actually look at the polished flooring and think it is probably a terrazzo surface. However, the remarkable difference between polished floors and any other kind of floor is that concrete polishing provides up to 8 times more resistance to damage as compared to other floors. Therefore it will come as no surprise when you walk into a home that has concrete polishing that there are no cracks, leaks or damages on the surface. It is really tough, resistant and can withstand substantial amounts of pressure.

In places where traffic moves on the polished concrete flooring or where certain wheels run on the floor, you might actually not realize that the flooring has wheels running on it because tire marks and all other marks can be cleaned rather easily. Apart from that, even dust can be cleaned off the surface easily and in most places that have these polished floors will always be clean and attractive. This is down to the fact that the surface can be easily cleaned and once it is appropriately wiped, it will always be as good as new.

Another outstanding characteristic of places that have polished concrete floors is that there is a high sense of hygiene amongst the people there. The mere fact that the surface can be easily cleaned means that the users are always keen to keep it clean and as a result, the hygiene is always maintained and kept within good limits. This explains why the concrete polishing is a common thing especially in hospitals, homes and generally in places where hygiene is supposed to be maintained 24 hours a day.

Poly Tarp Covers and Their Uses

Poly tarps have long been used as canopy covers for pole tents but in recent years there has been noticeable increases in the different types of uses. Poly tarps are now being used for many different applications and in many different industries including construction, agriculture, garden, sports, marine and more. The sudden popularity can be attributed to the strength, longevity and cost effectiveness of the poly tarp. Made of high density polyethylene, these protective covers are typically heat sealed, laminated and then treated with added fade blockers and anti-microbial agents, which prevent cracking and tearing under harsh conditions. The end result is an extremely durable tarp cover that is not only lightweight but also affordable. These characteristics have been the driving force in the poly tarps new-found popularity with consumers and have replaced more expensive alternatives such as canvas and vinyl.

The construction industry has always had a need for temporary coverage. During the building process valuable equipment and supplies are exposed to the elements and protecting these assets is vital to the completion of the project. However, tarps are now being used for hillside coverage during the rainy seasons to divert water run off and prevent erosion from undeveloped slopes. Construction sites that are working on multi-level buildings such as apartments and offices utilize tarps as drops from scaffolding. The covers are attached to the top of the scaffolding and are then draped down the framework of the building. This protective shield not only reduces visibility from onlookers but also helps contain debris within the work area. The scaffolding drop keeps the work site safe while protecting workers from rain and wind.

The agricultural industry uses tarps for various applications including greenhouse coverage and nursery shade. The white and clear tarp covers when used in conjunction with a wood or steel frame can turn any area into an instant greenhouse. The poly shade mesh tarps are made with high-density polypropylene materials and are used for horticultural and agricultural applications to protect crops and livestock from the extremes of sun and wind. In many agricultural areas access to water can be difficult but is a necessity for the growing of healthy plants and vegetation. By simply digging a shallow hole in the ground and lining it with a poly tarp before adding water, the agricultural industry has access to important sources of irrigation ponds anywhere it is needed.

Poly tarps have proven to be very beneficial to the garden industry, especially among landscapers. The protection of lawn care equipment is vital to the industry as many of the trucks have open areas where exposed machinery can become damaged due to poor weather conditions. The poly tarp cover is normally draped over the machinery during transport and tied to the truck using the grommets, which are located around the perimeter every 18 to 36 inches. During the process of lawn care many landscapers are finding that the burlap sacks commonly used to contain loose vegetation and waste tear under minimal use. As a result, many landscapers and garden care associates are using poly tarps as an alternative due to their strength and durability.

The recent rise in popularity of the poly tarp has prompted many manufacturers to increase current inventories by adding new sizes. Due to this increase in production, larger size tarps are now available and can be purchased as big as 170′ x 170′. The large size tarps have been most popular among the sports and recreation industry. Sporting institutions and athletic departments are now using large poly tarps as covers for baseball, softball and football fields. The new pre-manufactured sizes have eliminated the need for purchasing expensive custom-made field covers. In addition, the tarps are being used as gymnasium covers as well as, dug out covers and fence tarps.

The poly tarps new-found popularity has gained the attention of many different industries, including the marine or boating industry. Boat covers are not so much an accessory item as they are a necessity for the longevity and protection of watercraft vehicles. Boating enthusiasts have been purchasing expensive custom boat covers for years without looking for more cost effective alternatives. However, the boating community is now realizing that tarps accomplish the same result as custom covers at a fraction of the price. There are so many different sizes available that finding a tarp cover that fits an individuals needs has never been easier. Due to the effectiveness of the poly tarp, boating enthusiasts are now purchasing canopy kits with poly covers as additional protection for their long-term storage needs.

The tarpaulin industry is constantly evolving as the demand for high efficiency covers grows. The poly tarp has replaced the need for many of the more expensive covers such as canvas and vinyl as well as, eliminated the need for custom solutions. Poly tarps can be found in just about every industry and have proven just as effective for residential use.

How to Build a Form For a Decorative Concrete Wall

Have you ever wanted to make a retaining wall like the ones you see alongside the highway/? You know the ones – they have reliefs of mountain ranges, trees, buildings, animals such as bears, dinosaurs, Buffalo, etc. The only problem I can see is that the concrete will stick to the wood. If I ever get around to it I would use a router for my reliefs or probably cut them out of plywood and screw them on to the original form base. Then I would seal the plywood with some good paint or probably use fiberglass resin. I would use the “Gel coat” type – it has wax in it. If you are adventurous you can buy the gel coat without the wax pre mixed and add your own. I know fiberglass guys who do this (they work on boats not molds). They claim it is better – you can build up a couple of coats and then add wax for the final coat. This way you get a stronger layer of protection. The thing here is if you use the wax type you can’t paint more gel coat on top – it won’t stick. Make sure that there are no undercuts in your forms and that they are as smooth as you can make them.

Paint on some gel coat mixed according to the instructions, let it cure and you should be ready to go. I think I would also use a spray on non-stick like “Pam” as extra insurance. I would test this before I went to my project because there is a lot of pressure on the form when it is full of concrete. Be sure you make your form as rigid as you can. Use 2×4 bracing on the outside. If it flexes your gel coat may crack and then you will have concrete sticking and of course a ruined casting. The critical thing here is preventing the concrete sticking to your form. Do all you can to stop this and you will build a great looking wall.

Advantages of Portable Buildings

Portable buildings are basically buildings that are manufactured in factories and the parts are shipped to the building site where they are assembled. Portable buildings are not always portable once they’re constructed, the only reason they’re named this is because they’re shipped to you.

Advantages of portable office buildings:

There are plenty of advantages of portable office buildings, let’s take a look at some of the many advantages that these marvels bring us:

They’re cheaper

Before you think of anything else, you should know that these are a whole lot cheaper than building one from scratch using all the raw materials usually needed. The main reason being: less manual labour that is needed when most of the parts are manufactured in a factory.

Also, the factories would be able to manufacture them much faster than a team of individuals would ever be able to, so they can reduce the margin of their profits on each piece and still make a good profit on the whole. That’s the reason you can get them at a cheaper rate.

Your choice on materials

The materials used in the construction vary and you can choose what you need. There are plenty of options and the manufacturers usually build a variety of structures. However, if you’re not happy with what’s being offered you could always give them a custom order.

Quick construction

Very often your office would need to shift due to unavoidable reasons and in such cases you may need a building to be built within months. In such cases you could opt for portable buildings as your workers would be able to get them up within weeks.

They’re ready for use

Most of the portable office buildings that are manufacture come equipped with everything needed for your office such as electric connections, the necessary ducts and a lot of other necessary instalments too. Therefore, you would not need an expert electrician to plan the ducting system for your newly built office.

Expand your office instantly

You may already have a huge office set up, but as your business grows there’s going to be a need to expand even further. If that’s the case you would also need more office space and portable office buildings would be the best option.

The above reasons are just a few of the many reasons as to why portable offices are superior to the ordinary buildings. There are plenty of other benefits that you would receive when you opt for this kind of construction.

Understanding Concrete Pool Lining Options

Every swimming pool must have a liner, whether it is a vinyl liner, concrete liner, or a fiberglass one. Concrete pools are one of the most dependable types of pools and are usually in the ground. They provide the most options when it comes to pool liners.

Tile Liners

Tile can include numerous colours and can also be used to create simplistic images along the pool floor and walls. They come in various materials, such as fiberglass and ceramic. They take a long time to install, but the beauty they provide is well worth the time and/or effort.

Concrete Liners

Painted concrete surfaces present an opportunity for good creativity. They allow the pool to have fancy, appealing shapes or various forms because the floor and walls can be painted, no matter what shape the pool is. In other words, it is a flexible pool liner so to speak, even though it is just painted concrete. In addition, paint can be used to create works of art on the walls and floor for that extra touch of both luxury and style. The paint that is used on concrete pool linings is usually either a rubberized paint or an epoxy one.

Vinyl Pool Liners

Even though vinyl pool liners are typically used for above-ground pools, they have also evolved into being used as concrete pool liners. They are especially beneficial for concrete walls and floors that have been chipped, cracked, or weathered. They come in many designs, colours, and styles so you can find one that suits your needs.

Pebble and Aggregate Liners

For those that worry about slippery surfaces, pebble pool liners are the perfect solution. They provide a slightly rough surface that does not hurt the feet due to their design. The aggregate materials used in combination with the stones only protrude a little bit from the surface. This type of liner adds natural beauty that is enhanced with sunshine. Depending on the design and materials used, the sun can make the pool surface sparkle.

For aggregate liners without stones and pebbles, the surfaces are flat. They usually include chips and particles that create a speckled design. The materials are usually mixed in with concrete to form the liner that goes over the existing concrete liner. There are many colour options for these as well and you can choose the speckling design you like. Some even include things like seashell pieces or other beautiful accents.

How to Set Up a Window Air Conditioner

Many people do not know how to set up a window air conditioner and therefore just allow their homes or offices to remain sweltering during the summer. Window air conditioners are great because they are the least invasive air conditioning systems to install and can very easily be turned off or removed as is needed. They are easy to put in and should come with descriptive directions and charts.

However, not all directions give little tips and tricks. The first thing you should do is make sure to install it during the day. Daylight will make it easier to see what you are doing so it does not fall out of the window, and it will also keep bugs from entering while the window is open. Have everything ready and laid out before you have unpacked. Have the screen removed from the window.

Remember that these only work for windows that can be pulled up. Ones that crank out will not open wide enough, nor will they have anything to hold the air conditioner steady. Open up the window as wide as it can go to give yourself a little extra room to work. It is helpful if you have someone there to push down the top sash when the time comes.

Make sure the air conditioner is facing the right way. The front, which should be inside the room, should have the dials and the cord to plug into the wall. The back, the part that hangs outside, should have the vents where water will drip out. Carefully place it on the window sill, facing the right way. There should be ridges around the perimeter of the air conditioner to show you where it should line up with the window.

Once you have this lined up, slide open the side panels. These are designed to fill up the rest of the window that the device does not fill. Slide them as tightly over as you can. Have the top sash of the window lowered carefully and slowly down until it comes into firm contact with the top of the conditioner. The frame should be very tight against it to brace it and keep it from falling. Slowly lessen your grip on it. If the conditioner wobbles, the sash is not down tightly enough. After it is secured, put in the foam provided around all cracks. You may have to use extra strips of paper towel to really make it tight. This will keep bugs from entering. Plug it in and turn it on.

Fall Protection and Safety

In fact, falls are considered the biggest safety hazard for construction workers on most sites, particularly those that require work on extremely elevated heights, such as bridge construction. Falls from high places are the number one cause of death in construction workers on construction sites.

Construction safety related to fall protection includes an evaluation of the correct methods of access to the heights where the work needs to be done, safety precautions being put in place and followed at all times, and regularly clearing the construction work area of ​​all debris.

Clearing debris and equipment is actually a critical part of fall protection and fall prevention. A large amount of fall accidents occur because of excess debris and too much equipment that's lying around. By simply putting things where they belong and keeping the main construction work area free of extra "stuff," you can reduce a great deal of accidents that occur from falling and tripping. As an added bonus, the after-work cleanup will be a lot easier and quicker if you "clean and clear" as you go.

In addition, it's important that construction workers not become too overly confident or even cocky while on the job, thinking construction safety is "below" them or they do not need the hassle of protective equipment and gear when venturing out onto high places "for just a minute. " However, a lot can happen in a minute, and this is actually when many fall accidents do happen, and without any fall protection, particularly safety harnesses, injuries can be far worse and even fatal. Appropriate and sufficient protective equipment should be worn at all times while on the job. Taking the time to harness up before going out on the edge for a minute or two could save your life.

In order to ensure your fall protection equipment, such as safety harnesses, is safe and secure, retains its quality, and is operating to its maximum potential, it's important to follow a few storage and maintenance guidelines:

Put such construction safety equipment where it belongs to prevent damage (for example, hang up harnesses; do not throw them on the floor). Store them away from heat and chemicals. Check them every day for dirt / debris buildup and damage. Remove dirt buildup with mild soap and a little warm water; hang dry. Remove damaged equipment from the premises – damaged goods should never be used as a "second best" option. Equipment that has been exposed to a fall must also be removed from the site and future service right away.

Anchorage points on the construction site should be regularly inspected as well for regular approval, weakening, excessive wear and tear, sharp edges, and cracks or tears. Scaffolds, ladders, guardrails, light fixtures, plumbing, rebar, and roof stacks should never be used as anchorage points.

By implementing fall protection and working toward fall prevention, overall onsite construction safety can be greatly enhanced.

The Beauty of Self Leveling Concrete

Self leveling concrete is an amazing product. The beauty of self leverers is that you can control the height of your floor. They can also be stained and sealed. Mapei makes a self leveling product that can level smooth as glass with almost zero shrinkage. Other companies are working on similar products.

During the past week I filmed the installation of Mapei self leveling concrete in a new restaurant. It was the only flooring solution that would work.

One of the issues was that there was little thought about the floor until late in the project. This happens a lot. Flooring should be the first consideration in every project then design and build from there, not the other way around.

All the moldings were already in and painted. Tile had been installed in the kitchen leaving a height issue where it meets the main floor. Entrance door had been installed leaving little height for flooring below the door. All the doorways had a height issue at the transition.

The self leveling concrete solved all the height issues. The self leveler was poured thin, slightly more than 1/4 inch. A gauge rake is used to pull the concrete to the exact height. The gauge rake has feet that can be adjusted to the exact height you need.

It’s amazing to watch. The self leveling concrete is very wet and flows to an even flat surface. Then a “Smoother” is used to flatten out even more. The Smoother is a tool that has flat edge on a pole that is pulled over the surface.

The floor looked awesome when complete. It took 3 people about 90 minutes to resurface 1200 square feet. When complete you could see a perfect transition at all the doorways, entrance door could swing open freely, transition to tile in kitchen was perfect.

The next day dark brown Acetone concrete dyes were sprayed randomly on the floor. Then a diluted brown concrete acid stain was sprayed over the entire floor and left on for 1 hour. Then they rinsed the acid stain to stop the chemical reaction with the concrete and to remove any residue.

The final step in the coloring process was application of diluted brown water based concrete dyes over the entire floor. The process was a combination of spraying then evening out the dye with a thick microfiber mop.

The next day the self leveling concrete was sealed with 2 coats of a solvent based concrete sealer.

The last step which brought it all together was application of a high solids floor finish. Once the second coat was applied the floor came alive.

The final result was a highly functional, decorative, low maintenance floor. One very unique feature is the importance of wall color and lighting. The floor picked up reds from the awning outside. Copper panels reflected a copper color onto the floor. This is a feature that is not achieved from other flooring products and is critical when working with decorative concrete.

There were imperfections as with all decorative concrete floors. But generally the floor was a thing of beauty. Any imperfections would not be evident since 80% over the floor would be covered with tables and chairs.