Home innovations improving life quality

This is really amazing. Many people with disabilities have a lot of difficulties to independently move from one place to another. Mainly inside their houses. Now this company is advertising some products that can be a game changing in the mobility for these people.

In USA the company has the name of Sure Hands and you can find more info in their website. It can be used for bath, bed and toilet use, to access the tub, to get in and out of a swimming pool and also be used in some treatments like horseback riding.

All installations of the track for ceiling lifts, wall lifts, and pool lifts, are done by a Sure Hands authorized and experienced installer. They ensure the proper and safe placement of the lift system. Through rigorous planning and preparation the installation is done with minimal disruption. The contact for more information is +1 (800) 724-5305

You can check more info about this product also in the Handi-Move (the original company that developed this system) clicking HERE

Engineered Wood Products: the new normal

Engineered wood products includes a range of derivative wood products which are manufactured by binding or fixing the strands, particles, fibers, or veneers together with adhesives or other fixation methods.

They can be divided in a lot of categories:

  1. Plywood: one of the most recognized and trusted wood building products for decades. Manufactured from thin sheets of cross-laminated veneer and bonded under heat and pressure with strong adhesives, plywood panels have superior dimensional stability and an excellent strength-to-weight ratio and are highly resistant to impacts, chemicals, and changes in environmental temperature and humidity. Suitable for a variety of end uses including subflooring, single-layer flooring, wall and roof sheathing, sheathing ceiling/deck, structural insulated panels, marine applications, siding, webs of wood I-joists, concrete forming, pallets, industrial containers, mezzanine decks, and furniture.
  2. Oriented Strand Board (OSB): widely used, versatile structural wood panel. Manufactured from waterproof heat-cured adhesives and rectangularly shaped wood strands that are arranged in cross-oriented layers, OSB is an engineered wood panel that shares many of the strength and performance characteristics of plywood. OSB’s combination of wood and adhesives creates a strong, dimensionally stable panel that resists deflection, delamination, and warping; likewise, panels resist racking and shape distortion when subjected to demanding wind and seismic conditions. Relative to their strength, OSB panels are light in weight and easy to handle and install. Also suitable for a variety of end uses (similar to plywood)
  3. Glulam: Glued laminated timber, or glulam, is a highly innovative construction material. Pound for pound, glulam is stronger than steel and has greater strength and stiffness than comparably sized dimensional lumber. Increased design values, improved product performance, and cost competitiveness make glulam the superior choice for projects from simple beams and headers in residential construction to soaring arches for domed roofs spanning more than 500 feet. Glulam has a reputation for being used in striking, exposed applications such as vaulted ceilings and other designs with soaring open spaces. In homes, churches, public buildings, and other light commercial structures, glulam is often specified for its beauty as well as its strength
  4. I-Joists: I-joists are strong, lightweight, “I” shaped engineered wood structural members that meet demanding performance standards. I-joists are comprised of top and bottom flanges, which resist bending, united with webs, which provide outstanding shear resistance. The flange material is typically laminated veneer lumber (LVL) or solid sawn lumber, and the web is made with plywood or OSB. The robust combination of structural characteristics results in a versatile, economical framing member that is easy to install in residential and light commercial projects. I-joists are used extensively in residential floor and roof framing. They are ideal for long spans, including continuous spans over intermediate supports. Because I-joists are straight and true, it’s easier for builders to avoid crowning and maintain a level framing surface.
  5. Structural composite lumber (SCL):  includes laminated veneer lumber (LVL), parallel strand lumber (PSL), laminated strand lumber (LSL) and oriented strand lumber (OSL). They represent a family of engineered wood products created by layering dried and graded wood veneers, strands or flakes with moisture resistant adhesive into blocks of material known as billets, which are subsequently resawn into specified sizes. Typical uses for SCL include rafters, headers, beams, joists, studs, columns, and I-joist flange material. Two or three sections of SCL can be joined together to form 3-1/2-inch or 5-1/4-inch members. These thicker sections readily nest into 2×4 or 2×6 framed walls as headers or columns

Source: APA website

Keep the quality on your roof edges

APA – The Engineered Wood Association has a lot of useful information for builders in their website, and here we will share a very important tip: how to choose your panels for soffit applications.

Quality APA panels are a great alternative to other materials used in soffit applications. There is a variety of APA face grades from which to choose. Selecting the appropriate panel depends primarily on whether the soffit is open or closed.

For appearance purposes in open soffit construction, you have to provide adequate blocking, tongue-and-groove edges, or other edge support such as panel clips. Minimum capacities are at least 30 psf live load, plus 10 psf dead load.

For open soffit construction (figure 1), panels designated Exposure 1 may be used.

Figure 1 OpenSoffit

Exterior panels should be used for closed soffits (Figure 2).

Figure 1 ClosedSoffit Wise Home Building

In open and closed soffit construction where Exposure 1 sheathing is used for roof decking, you have to protect panel edges against direct exposure to the weather with fascia trim.

Fascia Subfascia plan drawing Wise Home Building
Plan drawings showing a fascia, sub-fascia and trim to protect the edge of a roof (red arrow) in an open soffit design

Finishing. Although unsanded and touch-sanded grades of plywood are often used for soffits, optimum appearance and finish performance is achieved by using panels with Medium Density Overlay (MDO), or textured (such as APA 303 Siding) or sanded A-grade faces. Top-quality acrylic latex house paint systems perform best and are the only systems recommended for A-grade faces.

You can find more information in the APA website: www.apawood.org/

What’s wrong with my grass?

These are the most common types of weeds that can damage your grass:

1.  Creeping Charlie (aka Ground Ivy)

creeping charlie cedar rapidsCreeping charlie is a very stubborn weed. It is most commonly identified by it’s purple flowers and round leaves. This weed grows low to the ground and quickly spreads across the lawn, choking out grass and small plants in it’s path. Creeping charlie thrives in shaded areas. Trimming back trees and shrubs will introduce more sunlight to the area and help thin out the weed. Keeping a healthy lawn is the best way to prevent a creeping charlie, or ground ivy, invasion. Thick, healthy grass will crowd out the weed, giving it little opportunity to grow.

2.  Dandelions

Like creeping charlie, dandelions grow best in open, sunny areas and they spread very easily. When trying to manually pull dandelions, if the entire root is not removed it will regenerate and produce again. Dandelions are also known for their white seeds that blow in the wind and spread the weed. Not only will a regular lawn treatment program keep dandelions out of your lawn, it will also keep dandelions from neighboring lawns from spreading to your lawn.

3.  Foxtail

foxtail weed cedar rapidsFoxtail is hard to identify when it first starts growing because it has wide leaf blades that are very similar to turf grass. However, it will grow shoots with 3 to 10 inch seed bearing flowers. These flowers are yellow-brown with a fuzzy texture. This weed grows in both moist and dry soil and is tolerant to a wide range of conditions. Foxtail rarely grows in a well-kept lawn, however applying a pre-emergent herbicide is the best preventative.

4.  White Clover

white clover cedar rapidsWhite clover is most commonly found in lawns with sparse, weak grass.  It typically has 3 leaves and grows a white flower with a brownish-green center. It is a low lying weed that spreads across the lawn. Clover grows best in soil that has low nitrogen levels. Keeping your lawn well fertilized will help your existing grass become stronger and more resilient and also make conditions less desirable for clover. You can also keep white clover out of your flower beds by maintaining a thick layer of mulch around your plants. While you can hand pull these weeds, the best treatment for killing clover is regular herbicide applications.

5.  Crabgrass

crabgrass cedar rapidsCrabgrass thrives in bare, sunny areas in your lawn. It sprouts in late spring and continues to grow all summer long. Crabgrass is killed off in the fall by cold weather, but by this time the seeds have already spread and are preparing to continue reproducing next spring. There are various ways to treat for and prevent crabgrass, including: maintaining proper mower height, over seeding the lawn to reduce barren spots, hand pulling the weed and applying a herbicide treatment, and maintaining a lawn fertilization program to keep the good grass strong and healthy.

(From the website https://www.lawn-tek.com)

Interactive intelligent house

Creative Home Building Boutique

Imagine something like that: your house warms before you rise, your favorite song fades in early in the morning, and the shades go up to let in the morning light. No, it is not a movie, nor the new TV series remembering that billionaires are there to show how difficult it is to belong to their world.

smarthome Aria SystemsIllustration from Arya Systems webpage (https://www.ariasystems.com)

Of course all of these new technologies are not cheap, but innovation and technology are here to stay. New home owners can dream about and depending on the systems they would like to use the prices can be attractive. If you want all the luxury behind the idea, you have to pay the price though.
Intelligent homes can do a lot of thinks:
1. You can turn off the lights of the house using your Apple Watch of Samsung G3
2. From your mobile you can start…

View original post 175 more words

Understanding your roof parts

Roof terms are a little bit complicated, and here you can check if you are familiar with them.

The pitch of a roof is the vertical rise divided by the total span. The slope is the vertical rise divided by the horizontal run (a run corresponds to half of the spam). Imagine that a building has a roof peak located 8 feet above the top plate. The building width is 24 feet (total span, in roof words). So, the pitch is 1/3 (or 4 in 12 – normally the plans shows multiples of 12). The run is half of the span (in that case 12), so the slope is 8/12 (or 8 inches of rise per 12 inches of run)

Framing a Gable Roof
Diagram from the website https://www.mycarpentry.com

The pitch defines the angle of the roof in degrees – a 12″ in 12″, for example, corresponds to a rood with an angle of 45 degrees in the lateral side (an eave, in the rood language). It is very important to understand this concept to work together with your framing team to define the loads of your roof, mainly in our area, where snow times during winter can be tough. The main areas of your house will need pitches of at least 8″ or 10″ in 12″. Deck ceilings can have less pitch in the roof design 2″to 4″in 12″).

roof pitch expressed in degrees
Photo credit: https://www.roofingcalc.com

To understand the other names associated with your roof area, check the photos from the website https://www.mycarpentry.com. They also have a calculator to facilitate the roof analysis during your building process.


How to lower the cost of electric water heating

This decision is an important one when building a new house: how can you manage the costs if you decide not to use a water heater fuel as natural gas or oil. If you decide that your house will have an electric water heater the increase in your monthly bills can drive you crazy, believe me.

Voltex® Hybrid Electric Heat Pump 80-Gallon Water Heater
Voltex Hybrid water heater tank (AO Smith)

First of all, you have to look for Energy Star systems, that can save you money because they have different functions. The Voltex® Hybrid Electric Heat Pump, for example (A.O.Smith) reduces water heating cost by up to 58% through an innovative design that pulls environmental heat while dehumidifying and cooling the ambient air at the same time.

It delivers good savings by generating heat through the heat pump technology instead of the heating elements. These tanks also offers user-friendly display, vacation mode to save money while you are away, and a heavy duty anode that protects your tank for 10 years. this model also has two heating elements that help the water heater recover quickly during periods of high demand. The tank has a 80-gal capacity, pretty nice number if you like to use your tub frequently.

If you are thinking about take advantage of the new solar panel credit program available by the government this can also help you in terms of electrical bill costs. Between financing and incentives, customers are usually cash-flow positive in their first year, and the system itself can be paid off after 3-5 years on average (depending on a lot of factors, of course – some some systems only break-even after 10 year, be aware of that).

Solar panels and energy bills: you can save a lot with them

Massachusetts has one of the strongest solar incentive programs in the country. In addition, federal tax credits and low-interest solar loans contribute to a positive cash flow. You can also sell some energy in the market, and have positive incomes that helps you decrease your bill expenses.