Building Techniques For Earthquake Zones

Modern construction techniques are constantly changing and science is making ever more progress into understanding the impacts of earthquakes on man-made structures. In the past decades there have been devastating events around the world, from Chile to China and Haiti to Italy.

In the US, however, there hasn’t been a huge event in quite a while. The last major event was in 1992 with a magnitude of 7.3. While construction codes have changed since then there are still countless buildings on the West Coast which are prone to more damage than initially expected.

Even minor tremors which don’t even make the news reports anymore can over time cause damage especially to steel frame structures. The steel itself is usually not the issue; it is more the welds that were put in place. A lot of buildings constructed before 1995 have the potential to weaken during a quake, or may have already cracked from numerous minor events.

This makes this a huge career opportunity for young people especially around California. The latest welding apprenticeship programs, especially on the West Coast, cover steel construction and welding fault detection with earthquake damage in mind. These types of welders are becoming ever more in demand with some huge paydays available.

Apprentices usually join their sponsoring union after successful completion and there are significant benefits of joining a welding union to the welder. The training and union member ship will show to prospective employers that you are fully capable working on earthquake damage detection.

Structural safety concerns are constantly evolving and people are understandably concerned about their personal safety at home and at work. Recent Hollywood movies are also causing people to pay more attention, which is probably not a bad thing as long as there is no panic about this. I certainly enjoyed the movie a lot.

Structural safety information is readily available and the SEAOC can help private citizens, landlords and businesses determine their level of risk. If you are at all concerned about a building you live in or own then the best thing to do is to engage a structural engineer. This will not be cheap, but it will immediately give you a report on what level of protection you have in the event of an earthquake.

With the engineers report in hand you can then decide on whether you accept any risks highlighted or whether you hire a building contractor to make changes and improvements that will increase safety. What those changes are will very much depend on the building. In many cases wooden structures are the most resistant to damage as the wood is flexible, as opposed to concrete and brick structures.

Steel structures can be a huge advantage; however, as mentioned above, there can be some significant flaws that may require some retrofitting work to be carried out. This will need to be assessed by an structural and welding engineer/technician. Most common steel frame structures are easier to upgrade than most people think, and certainly easier than some of the remaining brick built structures.

Designing for Paddleboard Display

It’s not uncommon for a bicycle become part of an urban commuter’s apartment design so why not have a paddleboard become part of a paddle boarders house or apartment design? If an athlete is passionate about his or her sport it seems natural to want to have reminders of that sport in his/her living space. In the same way that a photographer or painter would display favorite photos or paintings in strategic places in her living space we can also display different things that are necessary for a hobby or vocation on the walls of our homes. Displaying ones best standup paddleboard (SUP) in one’s home in a tasteful way is admittedly a tricky task but designers are called on to do things much more difficult than that! Paddleboards are unwieldy and large and finding a space big enough is our first challenge.

A front hallway is the first good option that comes to mind. This makes the best sense in that it is the easiest location when you consider bringing the board in from outside, as well as taking it down and outside when you want to use it. Many paddleboards measure around the 10′ to 12′ range and could be fairly easily accommodated in a hallway. If there are several paddleboards a vertical stacking of the boards would work fine as well.

Constructing some form of rack to hold the board or boards has it advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side a rack would protect the wall from bumps and scrapes associated with moving the board, on the negative side a rack might take up too much room and make it difficult for someone walking down the hall to pass. If the designer has free reign it is possible to solve this dilemma by creating a recess in the wall that would hold the paddleboard(s) and frame it (them) at the same time. One could even incorporate recessed lighting to show off the board as one would an art piece.

Another way one could display a board is to have it standing vertically in a stairwell. Some larger houses do still have two-storey walls where this could be done. Taking the board down and putting it back in place is likely much more difficult in this case. A permanent display like an art installation is possible, however. Perhaps the boarder might have a favorite retired paddleboard that could be shown with other gear vertically displayed alongside it: a personal floatation device, a safety knife, a paddle… In any case having a board permanently affixed to a wall gives the designer many more options for placement: a living room wall, a basement, or a bedroom come to mind.

Solutions to this particular design problem are as varied as the dwelling places that paddleboarders own or rent and as such must be approached in an individualized way. Other factors would be the usual ones like money, the client’s personality, an so on. If you are as passionate about design as some boarders are about paddleboarding this is an unusual challenge and one to look forward to!

Designing Your Own Dream Home

Having a home that you’ve been dreaming for so long needs hard work and money. You need to consult and hire a professional building designer, or a home designer, that specializes in designing light-frame buildings such as family homes. Hiring a designer costs a lot nowadays because of the expensive training courses they took before getting their license as a designer. Another important thing that you need to know in building your home is the set of materials that you must purchase to build a beautiful and sturdy home. Today, if you want to have the best materials for your home, you need to invest huge amount of money for that. However, there are certain ways that you can do to reduce other expenses in building the home of your dreams.

Design Your Own Home

Instead of hiring a home designer, you can now be your own home designer. It’s important that you have a picture in mind of what your dream home would look like. Once you have that picture, you are now ready to learn several things to consider in designing your own home.

Start by Planning

Planning is essential in the whole process of building a home and you can start by making a checklist so you simply check all the things you need. Also, having a checklist can help you monitor your budget by simply comparing it to the actual cost of the materials you need. Whether you have enough or exceeded the budget, you can make adjustments to fit everything in place. If you need help, you can always call a financial expert using VOIP hardware for free to balance the finances that you need for your home.

Visit Beautiful Homes

Once the finances are stable, allow yourself to visit your favorite homes in your neighborhood so you can get ideas of some designs that you like. These homes will inspire you to work on the styles and designs that you want for your future home. In this way, it will help you save time in creating a home design that best fits you.

Take Pictures of Designs

As much as you can, capture every angle of a building that you like, inside and out. These photos will help you find more details of the designs to choose from than you saw in person. After visiting many beautiful houses, the photos you have will help you recall all the designs that caught your eyes.

These are some important things that you need to know in designing your dream home. If the budget is right, you can now implement your plans in building your home. Once the house is built, you can add more details to make it more beautiful and perfect for you. Furniture is one thing to consider in making your home more attractive and you can find affordable yet elegant furniture available from different shops online. You can call them by using Broadconnect Hosted PBX for free to have the perfect furniture you need for your dream home.

Three Things to Remember in Interior House Design

One of the most neglected things in house construction projects is interior design. Alot of home owners, whether moving in to a newly constructed house or to an apartment, would not give much of a thought to proper home interior design. The most noteworthy reason for this is the misconception regarding interior design. Most people think that to have an excellent interior home design, one must hire a professional designer.

What they fail to realize is that home interior design has many benefits that could be enjoyed as they live in their new homes. It is not solely confined to the aesthetics of the home, it also improves functionality by allowing the homeowner to maximize the space. The best thing is that it does not need to be expensive. In fact, you can do interior house design yourself. What you need to have are a creative mind and a good understanding of the basic principles.

If you are seriously considering learning the basics of interior home design, here are the three basic principles.

Functionality

The concept of functionality goes beyond just making the interior of your home look good. It also deals with making your house really work for you. In this principle, you will look into the lighting, the type of furniture, as well as the arrangement of the furniture. The first step in this principle is to identify the focal point of the room you are working on. For example, if you are working on the living room, the fireplace or the bay window could be a good focal point.

If you do not have any of these, you can create one. This can take the form of an art piece or even an area rug. One thing you can do is to find the best compound bow available such as the ones in this site. Bows, along with swords could be great focal points for the living room.

Mood

The mood of the room is the kind of ambiance you would like to project. This can be achieved by picking the right colors and the patterns to setup for your room accessories. Another way of making this principle work is to come up with a theme. If you are going for the bow as your focal point, you can come up with an elven theme.

It could be loosely based on movies like “Lord of the Rings” where archery plays a very significant role. If you are a woman but find this theme to be interesting, you can actually find the best compound bow for women in here.

Character

Lastly, you need to make sure that the room projects a character. The example we had earlier may have already achieved this to a certain degree. The compound bow would largely give your living room a unique feel and a certain personality, one that cannot be easily forgotten. To perfect the look, you can add something that somehow contrasts that elven look without ruining the theme. It could come in the form of a flower vase or an Oriental area rug.

Importance of Architects and Interior Designers

Architects, interior designers and other professionals have the ability to see what they want a blank space to look like in the end. Their imagination and creativity brings life to concepts and ideas, which later become beautiful structures, magnificent buildings, or aw-inspiring works of art.

There is a fine difference between architects and interior designers. Although their work is closely related, they are still considered as separate areas of expertise. Architects are concerned more with the planning and building of the structure. There is some design work involved, but this is more for function rather than for aesthetics. For example, an architect will be in charge of planning the lay out of the room or house; while an interior designer is the one who will be responsible for adding different elements to make the room attractive or impressive.

Precision and Skill

What is important to note is that there is a never-ending need for people with this types of talent – the talent to make houses and buildings beautiful and functional. Let us make the distinction between architects and interior designers a bit more clear.

The job of an architect is to come up with a plan, design and monitor the construction process of a building. Architects work with engineers to complete the project. It is also his job to communicate to the engineers and staff how he wants the job done. His job also covers the immediate surroundings of the building and what to do with it. The word has its roots in architectus, which is a Latin word meaning head builder.

An architect must always be sharp, precise, and know the right tools to get the job done right. In the construction site he uses power tools from the best suppliers; at home, he uses the best knife sharpener from Knife&SharpenerHQ. Most professionals trust only the best known sharpening tools and accessories and will not settle for anything less. Architects are known for being meticulous; after all, they cannot leave anything to chance when it comes to building or construction work and they tend to carry that attitude inside the home. Expect them to have the best appliances and the most efficient tools – knives and all!

On the other hand, an Interior Designer’s emphasis is focused more on planning, functionality of the design and how to maximize the use of space found in the interior of the project. Interior designers also have the knowledge on what type of lighting to install and other technical aspects about the buildings interiors like door sizes and laying out floor plans. If the interior designer requires changes in the building’s master plan, the designer should always ask the Architect’s permission, especially when it comes to structural modifications like walls and roofs.

Another thing that confuses people is the inter-changing terms, interior designer and interior decorator. A decorator deals with the aesthetics like fabric and furniture and the positioning of these. A designer can do these too, but a decorator cannot do all the things a designer does.

It takes a lot of professionals to make something beautiful and functional. These houses or buildings are also being built to stand the test of time so that future generations may still be able to appreciate them.

Be an Online Freelance Architect and Spend More Time with Your Family

If you are a mother, you might be torn in between pursuing your chosen career or leaving it behind so you can spend more time with your family. This is always a difficult decision and most mothers would opt to just spend time with their family especially if their husband can already provide for their needs. However, this is not an easy decision especially for those who don’t earn enough to pay for all the family expenses. If you are one of them, then you have to really find a job and help out in paying the bills. However, you don’t need to leave your house just to earn money.

Be a freelance architect online

If you have a degree in architecture and you have experiences as an architect prior to your marriage, then you can always go back to this profession by working online. In doing so, you can continue working and not miss anything at home. There are a lot of contract jobs online for architects. Some of them are consulting jobs. Since you have experiences as an architect before, it is easy for you to go back to work again. You can also consult with your previous colleagues if there are tasks that you can’t handle. The best part here is that you can work whenever you want to and you can always decline tasks if you feel like you won’t be able to finish them on time.

Don’t miss a family bonding moment

Since you are just working at home, it is easier for you to spend more time with your family. You can always pause your work just to give time for your kids. You also don’t have to worry about emergency cases since you can respond to them right away. The best part is that you can always take any time off just to have a bonding moment with your kids. For instance, if your kids are free on a weekday, you can just take them to the nearest park and walk around with them. If you have a baby, you can use a jogging stroller so you don’t have to carry him all the time. You can check the jogging stroller comparison table at this site if you want to know which one is perfect for your baby. You can also use the comparison of jogging strollers chart at http://www.toddlervirtues.com/  if you want more useful details.

Now that you can use the stroller for your baby, you can go wherever you want to and it won’t be a big deal. If you have to hurry to go back home, it is also possible since the strollers are so easy to deal with. In short, you can now be a working mother, but you need not leave your home at all. If you can continue working online, then you won’t have any issues with parenting at all. Also, since you are doing what you love most, you won’t have regrets either. The best part is that you can now contribute in paying for your family’s expenses.

Effective Methods of Preventing and Eliminating Termite Infestation

There are various ways on how to prevent termite infestation, as well as methods on how to get rid of termites if they already infested your home.

Having your home designed does not only enhance its curb appeal, but it also makes it more relaxing. Its beauty could take away the tiredness and stress away, which you may had after a whole day of work. However, termite infestation could ruin this. Termites eat on woods and if your house has parts made of this material, there’s a risk that you might experience this problem. Aside from being aesthetically unappealing, this could also affect the structure of your home, making it unstable or unsafe. Whether you’re having a home makeover or you want to keep your house beautiful and termite free, there are ways on how to prevent termite infestation. In case there are already termite damages, you will find helpful solutions on how to get rid of termite.  

 How to Prevent Termites

Termites are drawn to moist. This is why structures and any parts of the house that are made of wood must not be exposed to water. Soil also tends to get damp. For this reason, your home’s structure must not be in contact with soil. Since they feed on wood, lessen furniture made from it. If having your home designed, this is something that you should consider. Termites could also get in easily on cracks. Perform a visual inspection in your house and make sure to seal if you see any cracks.

Termites are attracted to dampness, so it’s best to keep your place dry. Fix any leaks and clean gutter as well, as termites love dirty and wet areas. There are also pest repellent products that you can apply on the wooden structures of your home to prevent termite infestation.

How to Get Rid of Termites

If your house is infested by termites, you should act promptly to prevent the concern from getting bigger. As mentioned, this could affect the overall look and safety of your home. Moreover, it could also cause health problems. One of the most popular ways of eliminating termites is by using insecticides. There are several products available in the market that you can use. Another way is to set up a trap using cardboards. Get strips of wet cardboards and place them where you think the termites are. Once termites swarm on the trap, move the cardboards out and burn them so the termites would be killed.

Termites can also be eliminated by exposing them to the sun’s heat. If you have furniture that’s infested by termites, place it outside where it could be exposed to sunlight. Take advantage of the heat of the summer to remove unwanted termites. However, if the weather is cold, there’s another solution for that. Termites can also be killed by freezing them. Placing the infested furniture in the freezer would do the trick. Both the freezing and heating under the sun methods would need to be done for two to three days.

If problem persists and it’s difficult for you to eliminate the infestation, it’s best to get the help of professionals. Make sure to get one that’s trusted and has a proven track record in the business.

3 Things You Should Know Before Building Your Home

I wrote this article with the assistance of Zach Riggs, a trusted friend of mine who is a great realtor as well. Since many people begin thinking of building a home after they can’t seem to find what they want looking for in a home with a realtor, I figured a realtor’s input in this article was smart. You can find out more about Zach at www.trustedmissourirealtors.com or by checking him out here.

I love home design. Something about helping people design a home where they will build a life and memories just gives me a great joy. With that said, there are many issues that one can run into when they look to design and build their first home. Most of these issues occur just because they don’t know what to expect from the process and get caught a little off guard. To help any of you out that are perhaps thinking of building a home or know of anyone that is, I’m going to share with you three things that you should know before starting the building process.

Know Exactly What You Want That Other Homes Don’t Have

Zach was telling me that many people that he works with that end up looking to build a home are ones that don’t seem to be satisfied with houses they see and they can’t seem to pinpoint exactly what they are looking for. “Seems they just go off feel” are the exact words Zach said and I can say I’ve seen that many times as well. You might think it would be frustrating for a real estate agent to try and guess what a client is looking for, but try designing a home and the person can’t tell you exactly what they are wanting. Do yourself a favor and really think about what it is that you’re wanting and exactly what most of the houses you have seen don’t seem to have. This will go a long ways in helping you decide if building a house is really something you should do or if you can find what you’re looking for in an existing house as well.

Know Your Budget

You would be amazed at the amount of people that Zach and I have worked with that have no understanding of what kind of house their budget can get them. Many people watch home improvement shows or marathons on HGTV and see things they want. The only problem is that their budget may not allow for those things. I can tell you that if you can’t find what you’re wanting in an existing home because it’s out of your price range, you will not be able to afford it by building your own home either. This usually happens during the consultation process with a home designer, but it’s still something that can be completely avoided by just being realistic with your budget and what you can and cannot afford with it. You may be able to include many things in your budget to build a home, but just know that the TV shows that you see don’t usually have “realistic” budgets. Sadly, you may have to forgo that heated driveway or infinity pool that you loved on HGTV.

Find The Right Builder

This is a step in the process that many people don’t think about once they have determined they want to build a home and have some initial blueprints for it. You should price out builders and weigh that with the reputation of the builder as well. A builder may come in with a super low cost bid yet use sub par materials, cut corners on construction, and don’t have the quality workmanship that others do. You could pay the price with a subpar builder years later with small problems like leaks, creaks and other small annoyances. You could also have larger problems like bad roofs, bad floors, poor insulation, and many other things that can really add up and not only be headaches but a siphon to your wallet. Trust me when I say that your contractors should be experienced, reliable, and and have great feedback. Don’t make the decision solely on how much they cost.

Pests & House Design

When you are designing a beautiful new home that is welcoming to family and guests, you may have inadvertently created a home that is also welcoming to pests. Like the overnight guest who stays for three weeks, these pests may not want to leave. Follow these seven tips when building your home so that it does not invite pests.

1. Foundation

The foundation of your home can let in a variety of pests. Once the foundation is in place, inspect it carefully for any cracks. Insist that these cracks be sealed properly. Once the rest of the house is constructed, reinspect the foundation for cracks where the foundation meets the house. If you find cracks, insist that they be properly sealed.

2. Roofs

Mildew, algae, and mold can be tremendous problems on roofs. Along with destroying roofs, they can attract a multitude of pests. Metal roofs are resistant to mildew, algae, and mold. Brass or copper shingles are another great alternative, as they are naturally resistant to these problems. Cut or prune any trees that overhang the roof.

3. Soffits

If you want a home with beautiful overhangs, then you probably plan on installing soffits to help cool the attic in summer and keep ice from forming in winter. Bats love to live in soffits and use them as an entryway into your home. Make sure all soffits are sealed properly as a bat can squeeze through a 9.525 millimetre hole.

4. Windows

Many homeowners have problems with insects, particularly pesky mosquitoes, entering their homes through windows. When constructing a new home, ensure that all window casings are properly caulked, as insects use miniscule spaces to enter your home. When the frames are installed, inspect again to ensure that the frames fit properly, paying special attention to the corners. Finally, never accept a screen that is torn or you might as well hang out a welcome mat for insects.

5. Doors

Mice enter most homes through openings in doors. Therefore, make sure all doors are plumbed correctly. A properly plumbed door fits the opening tightly.

6. Kitchen Cupboards

Insects, particularly ants, love kitchen cupboards. While you will find that you are constantly yelling at the kids or your spouse to put food away properly, when building a home, insists that the cupboards be washed with a good wood soap. In addition, inspect the installation of the back splash to make sure no cracks are present between it and the counter top.

7. Landscaping

Now that you have a beautiful new home that is free of pests, landscape it to keep it that way. Never plant bushes or plants against the foundation, as they can not only destroy the foundation, but also serve as a home to insects and mice. If you insists on planting here, use plants such as marigolds (especially good for squirrels), citronella, peppermint, lavender and catnip that naturally deter pests.

By following these simple tips, you will enjoy a home that is free of pests. Of course, the work does not stop there. While living in the home, you need to inspect each area on a continual basis to make sure they stay in great conditions so that pests cannot enter your home.

Tips for Designing Your Home Gym

Are you thinking about designing your own gym at home? Maybe you want a private space to keep in shape or the long travel time and expensive membership fee is a drag. In this article I highlight all the aspects you need to consider when designing a home gym.

The very first thing you need to consider is space. You need to decide what equipment you want and how much space you will require. Is it possible to pack the gym equipment away after use or would you prefer to leave it in the same place?

Building a gym in your garage or basement sounds like a good idea, however you need to consider lighting. If you are a person that loves natural light, the basement and garage are not going to be the best place to build your gym.

The space you choose needs to be a place you enjoy going or you run the risk of creating a room that is avoided. A room with a fantastic view, enjoyable art or motivational images can make a huge difference.

Room ventilation is also another thing to consider because you want to avoid lingering smells, and a controlled environment is much better for working out.

Now that you have a space you need to get it equipped. The two main factors when it comes to gym equipment are cost and space. You also need to think about your end goal — what workouts are you going to be doing?

For example, if you are planning on a routine built around cardiovascular exercise, a treadmill, elliptical or a bike would be a good investment. If you are planning on using the space for dance workouts, then installing a TV and sound system are better investments.

Once you have a list of equipment to be installed you also need to think about the power usage. A lot of gym equipment requires power, so it’s important to ensure you have enough sockets around the room.

If you are planning to incorporate strength training into your routine you will require a gym system that has a rack with different size weights. This system won’t require any power, but it will take up a large piece of space.

Consider a place to store workout shoes and clothing, as these tend to smell after weeks of use. Mixing your workout clothing and regular clothing is never a good idea. A simple solution would be a storage closet in the gym room.

Most home gyms also include a range of smaller accessories including power resistance bands, skipping ropes, power balls, dumbbells and medicine balls, for example.

These smaller items are a great space saver — they can be easily moved around the room and stored in convenient spots. You can also increase the range and variation of exercises with little expense.

My final piece of advice is to incorporate entertainment into your new home gym. A TV, tablet and MP3 player will make your workout space a place you enjoy visiting.