Causes & Solutions For Lippage

Ceramic, porcelain or stone tile add beauty and luxury to our home. Unfortunately, the downside to such eye-appealing floors is the risk of lippage which is the difference in height between the edges of the tiles. The result is a warped and ridged surface that isn’t completely flush, and may affect the aesthetic of your flooring, not to mention that it is a potential tripping hazard.

To avoid lippage, follow these precautionary installation procedures: Start with examining the subfloor to determine if the surface is uneven. You can do this by placing a leveler in the center of the room to determine if the floors slant. If there is a slant, or if the boards warp in the middle and pull away from the walls, you need to replace the plywood before laying your tile. Additionally, you need to replace the plywood before laying tile if there are large cracks in the concrete surface, water stains or ripples in the cement.

Remember this rule: For proper installation, larger tiles require a level tolerance of 1/4-inch per 10 feet. In other words, the subfloor’s level should not vary more then 1/4-inch per 10 feet.

The size of tile greatly contributes to lippage. Small tiles are easily aligned to adjacent tiles and will adjust to an unleveled grade. But, as the size of the tile increases, so does the challenge of creating a flush surface. Today 16-by-16 and 24-by-24 inch tiles are becoming more common. These less forgiving tiles in addition to the likelihood of an unleveled surface will increase the possibility of lippage occurring.

In addition to ensuring you’re working with an even subfloor, you need to make sure that your thinset adhesive or mastic is applied evenly. Use a trowel, and spread the mastic evenly in all directions.

Lastly, there are tile leveling tools that can help install large-format tiles in a more easily-achieved lippage-free manner. These excellent tools help keep the surfaces of tiles flush with one another during installation and also during the initial slump and shrinkage time that occurs with commonly used mortars.

The Best Way To Eliminate Tile Lippage

Using tile leveling systems to eliminate lippage.

To make a long story short, the best way to lay tile and do it like a pro is using tile leveling systems! It makes it much easier and improves your results.

Of all the tile leveling systems on the market today, the ATR system is the most innovative and simple to use, with only 2 elements – spacers and spindles. The ATR tile leveling system is an innovative system that will greatly assist in the installation of ceramic, marble, stone, granite and large format slab tiles.

Anyone can now execute a virtually lippage-free tile installation on floors or walls. The system interlocks the tiles together, creating a single flat slab surface while the setting material is curing. The interlocking design eliminates nearly 100% of the settling from shrinkage, which minimizes the possibility of warping, thus creating that ideal lippage free mirror like surface.

The advantages of using the ATR Tile Leveler:

1. The spindle is reusable and recyclable.

2. Increases productivity in tile laying time by 20 to 35 percent.

3. Designed to work with any size tile with a thickness of between 6mm and 20mm.

4. Will work with ceramic, porcelain, marble, onyx, granite and most composites.

5. Learning to use this system is a simple procedure which only takes minutes to learn.

Preparation of surface check list:

  1. Make sure the surface is suitable for tiling. Follow recommendations from your tile manufacturer to identify suitable surfaces.
  1. Assess substrate for flatness or evenness. Fill in cracks and gaps with an appropriate compound.
  1. Ensure area is swept clean and clear of debris.
  1. If you’re using a cordless drill: Use a cordless drill with voltage no greater than 10.8 volts and its clutch mechanism set to low to prevent any over tightening or potential stripping of thread on your spacing plate. You can test your clutch by tightening a spindle that is attached to a spacing plate and has been placed in between a couple of tiles with no adhesive and adjust the clutch mechanism of the drill accordingly.
  2. Use your cordless drill with a 10mm metric socket bit.

How to use in 3 Easy steps

1. Spread thinset and lay tile.
2. Screw spindle into spacing plate, slide spindle with spacing plate attached in between two tiles.
3. Tighten spindle clock wise firmly until all four corners are aligned flush. (Remove reusable spindle once tile adhesive is dry.)

By Green Future Remodeling

Decorative Concrete Makeover Solution

Decorative Concrete Flooring – With infinite potential for design flexibility, concrete is now in the forefront of flooring alternatives that are both attractive and cost effective.

Decorative concrete can transform the traditional colorless concrete into beautiful and unique colored floors. You can now decide which hue of red, brown or any other color you want for that tile look on your pool deck at half the cost of similar flooring options.

In addition, you can embed personal mementos in your new concrete kitchen counters, islands, or floors around the interior or exterior of your home.

From expansive new homes with elaborate concrete driveways to small remodels showcasing a stunning stained concrete floor, the buzz is continuing around using concrete for decorating.

The concrete mixes that are used for custom decorative concrete are significantly different than the regular concrete mix bought in the home improvement stores. Concrete in its most basic form is made by mixing cement, pebbles, sand, and water. But today, the advancements in concrete tools, concrete stains, textures and patterns, have made concrete much more versatile and durable. Custom decorative concrete requires the right craftsmanship for the job and knowledge of mix designs and knowing the strength limitations of concrete.

Concrete Floors Benefits

  • Concrete flooring can withstand high traffic, spills, and chipping — all while looking as fabulous as a high-gloss marble finish.
  • Decorative concrete overlays are giving homeowners the opportunity to upgrade damaged or out-of-date floors at a lower cost than a complete floor renovation.
  • Concrete overlay can be applied without ripping up existing flooring, thus a whole new look can be created without dramatically impacting the other materials in a room.
  • Perfect for projects requiring an attractive flooring surface that is durable and easy to clean.
  • Concrete floors are an allergy friendly option because they don’t harbor allergens and are easy to clean.
  • Concrete floors are low maintenance, Eco-friendly, improve indoor air quality, and have the ability to create a large and seamless surface.
  • By adding sealants, coatings and texture to the product while still wet, concrete achieves a new look that can be nearly indistinguishable from stone or marble.

Copy right © 2015 Green Future Construction

Infinity Swimming Pools

Infinity swimming pools, or endless pools, as they are sometimes called because of the way the water appears to go on forever like the ocean waves on the shore, are the high-end class of swimming pools.

Building an infinity pool costs more than a free-form pool due to extra materials, the plumbing and the equipment used in the construction of an infinity swimming pool. The cost factor in infinity swimming pools is because usually infinity pool construction projects have to be engineered to accommodate the vertical slope they will be adjacent to. Although in some situations infinity swimming pools can be built with a standard engineered plan made specifically for infinity swimming pools positioned on a less drastic slope condition.

But don’t be discouraged by the high price these infinity pools go for. Speak with a professional pool contractor who may surprise you in a good way. The standard infinity swimming pool engineered plan may be applicable in your situation, thus reducing the price tremendously.

SALT WATER SWIMMING POOLS

Salt water swimming pool construction is no different than regular swimming pool construction. Contractors use regular plaster, pebble finishes and plaster products mixed with aggregates.

Homeowners tend to think that the salt water swimming pools will smell and taste like the ocean, but this is absolutely not the case. Salt-chlorinated water is soft water with no need to worry about itchy skin, red eyes, heavy chemical odors and unwanted bleaching of clothes.

For the past decade, salt water swimming pools have become the new industry standard. For many years treating swimming pools with chemicals was the only option, but nowadays salt water swimming pools & designs are shown to be the best cost effective way to treat swimming pools. Salt water pools utilize normal table salt; approximately one teaspoon per gallon of water is all it takes and it won’t wear-out or evaporate.

INDOOR SWIMMING POOLS

In general, the construction of indoor swimming pools is no different than an outdoor pool construction. The major difference has to do with dealing with humidification in an indoor pool because such pools release large amounts of humidity. If this humidity is not handled properly, it will cause real damage to the structure of the building. Needless to say, the main benefit of an indoor swimming pool is the year-long usage of the pool.

SWIMMING POOL RENOVATIONS

Swimming pool renovations start with a redesign of your existing pool and backyard. The second part is choosing the desired materials and checking how they intertwine with the new swimming pool design. There are many things that can be renovated in the pool – tile size and color, the coping, possibly adding a spa or water-feature to the pool re-design. These choices can change your existing pool from a boring look to a very exciting looking swimming pool. Another important part of swimming pool renovations is getting your pool up to code and converting your swimming pool to a more efficient pool in terms of saving money on a monthly basis and not throwing money away when ever your swimming pool is running.

Copyright 2015 Green Future Construction

A few tips on what you can do for Mother Earth

What can individual consumers do to help slow down global warming and reduce carbon dioxide?

We can help in various ways – outdoors as well as at home – by using “smart green technology” and by adapting new green habits and attitudes.

At work and in the home environment, for example, having a few tree planted around the house and even planting a garden in the backyard is a slow but sure way to contribute to the efforts of reducing carbon dioxide. Using public transportation whenever possible, forming car pools, and switching to a hybrid electric vehicle are some other good ways.

It is definitely possible with collective cooperation as well as with individual actions to join in the task of solving the issue of carbon emissions. Each and every one of us can do a lot without spending money. Here are a few little things we can do at our home sweet home.

Energy savings is the key and is something that everyone can do in order to fight the global warming phenomenon. Installing a programmable thermostat is a practical way to act on the issue. Programmable thermostats will automatically lower the heat or air conditioning at night and raise them again in the morning. You may not know it but almost half of the energy we use at our homes goes to heating and cooling. By using a programmable thermostat you could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and it’s a simple adjustment to make. It may cost you a little now but you save a lot of money in the long term.

Take a shower instead of a bath. A shower takes up to four times less energy than a bath. To maximize the energy savings it is also advisable to use low-flow showerheads, which are cheap and provide the same comfort. In addition, since it takes a lot of energy to heat water, by installing a low-flow showerhead you save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

When purchasing new appliances, choose energy efficient products. Look for the Energy Star label on new appliances to choose the most energy efficient items available. And while you are at it, replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb. This can save about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Apropos electrical appliances, it’s a good practice not to leave appliances on standby. Use the “on/off” function on the machine itself. Consider this very interesting fact: a TV set that’s switched on for 3 hours a day (the average time Europeans spend watching TV) and left in standby mode during the remaining 21 hours uses about 40% of its energy in standby mode.

Don’t let heat escape from your house over a long period. When airing out your house, open the windows for only a few minutes. If you leave a small opening all day long, the energy needed to keep it warm inside during the six coldest months (10ºC or less outside temperature) would result in almost 1 ton of CO2 emissions. Replacing your old single-glazed windows with double-glazing can also be a good way to keep it warm inside. However, this requires a bit of upfront investment, but will save the energy lost through windows and pay off in the long term.

In conclusion, global warming is a dramatically urgent and serious problem. We don’t need to wait for governments to find a solution for this problem. Each individual can make an important difference by adopting a more responsible lifestyle, starting with little, everyday things. It’s the only reasonable way to save our planet before it is too late. We all need to take personal responsibility by doing what we can in our homes and in our personal lives.

Let’s Keep Our Planet Green

Here are some simple steps you can take to reduce your household emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas contributor to climate change. (Annual carbon dioxide savings are estimates for the described activity for an average household).

Energy-proof your home. Make sure all the windows are closed properly and that the attic in your home is properly insulated. Also, keep your heating and cooling systems properly maintained, and switch to reusable filters when possible.

Set your thermostat 2 degrees Fahrenheit lower in winter and 2 degrees higher in summer. Heating and cooling account for half of all energy use at home. (Annual carbon dioxide savings: 2,000 pounds).

Wrap an insulation blanket around your water heater and set the unit’s thermostat to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. (Annual carbon dioxide savings: 1,850 pounds).

When you are away from home for an extended period of time, switch the water heaters to vacation mode. Most water heaters have a “vacation” setting. Switching to that “away” mode still keeps the water warm, but will not use the energy it takes to keep a tank full of piping-hot water.

Try switching from incandescent to compact florescent light bulbs. Compact florescent light bulbs use about 60 – 75 percent less energy than our normal light bulbs and last much longer. Compared to regular bulbs, the fluorescents are more expensive, but they will eventually pay for themselves due to lower energy costs. (Annual carbon dioxide savings: 300 pounds).

Schedule a home energy audit. Many utilities check customers’ homes, provide simple energy-saving devices for free, and offer suggestions on improving insulation and energy efficiency.

Use less hot water. Heating water consumes a lot of energy. Try installing a low-flow showerhead and washing your clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot. (Annual carbon dioxide savings: 850 pounds).

Let’s keep our planet green!

The Ultimate Guide To Kitchen Remodeling

The Kitchen is the hub of most of your family’s activities – the laboratory from which comes forth the many marveled substances that sustain our biological existence and which cooks and housewives alike concoct.

If you are planning a new kitchen design or are redesigning an existing one, surely you should give due thought and be aware of how important proper kitchen design and organization is (for your family, it might be as if you are building a laboratory!).

A properly organized and designed kitchen is lovely to look at and a wonder of convenience, efficiency, and function. Any cook will tell you that one of the secrets to achieving culinary success is to have a properly designed and well-equipped kitchen. That way you don’t waste time and you minimize problems such as tripping on the cords, or how to get by a cabinet that is in the way. With the mind fully absorbed in preparing delicious food, such things can be very annoying.

Here are some tips to consider when planning and designing a kitchen.

Kitchen Space – The most profound element of a good kitchen remodeling is the space. It’s more than just having to worry about the space to lay your bowls. For one, you really have to consider just the right amount of space to move about yet not be encumbered by having to take too many steps to get from the fridge to the stove or sink.

The ‘work triangle’ is one guideline worked up for this purpose. It is an imaginary line starting from the sink, all the way to the cook top, down to the fridge, and back to the sink. The length of this imaginary triangle should be about 26 feet, with no segment being less than 4 feet or more than 9 feet.

This concept has many fans, as well as critics. However, it is a good place to start when planning your kitchen’s layout.

Architecture – its best if the kitchen doors are wide and not knobbed. Swivel doors can be a good alternative to doors that have knobs. Access to other rooms, especially with full hands, should be made easy.

Design the walls so that they are protected from the heat and smoke stains and other kitchen stains. Consider installation of a vent to get rid of the smoke and gases that build up during kitchen routines. A good thing is to have your ceiling higher than normal, if possible.

Organization – see the future and design ahead of time to accommodate a growing number of cookware and other kitchen utensils. Consider the space needed for supplies such as fruit, vegetables and meat and make sure the equipment and supplies are arranged in an area where they are easily accessible when needed.

Plan your kitchen in such a way so that the equipment will not be cluttered about. When moving about in the kitchen, you shouldn’t have to go around or hurdle certain equipment. This is not only unsightly, but also poses a danger for accidents.

Equipment – When designing the laying out the format of your kitchen, try to simulate your normal kitchen routine. What do you need? Where do you go? What steps do you usually take? Use this guide to determine where you should place all your equipment. Place the outlets in the areas where you will need electricity and make sure that they are not in areas that get wet often.

A general contractor and an interior designer can also assist you if you need advice on the layout of your kitchen. Make your intentions and desires very clear so that they can adjust to your needs.

In essence, design your kitchen after your personal image and cooking style!

Copy right © 2011 Green Future Construction

Guide for a Fun Bathroom Remodeling Project

Upgrading your bathroom appliances and fixtures, as well as breaking down some walls fit with the general scope of a bathroom remodeling project.

You will most certainly need help that will include a designer/architect, an electrician, professional tile man, plumber, carpenter, or a general contractor to manage and organize the job and bring everybody together. Bathroom remodeling is not a simple do-it-yourself project so for best results you need a professional and licensed contractor to coordinate and supervise the job.

The Benefits of Hiring a Contractor

The most notable benefit of hiring the help of a contractor for your bathroom remodeling, or any major home improvement project, is acquiring “peace of mind” and having to deal with just one person to implement your ideas (or to blame in case something goes wrong).

A responsible contractor carries with him the skills and knowledge to supervise everything in the bathroom remodeling process starting from the demolition phase up to the installation of the last fixture and plumbing piece.

The general contractor coordinates with the plumber, electrician and all the other professionals needed for your bathroom remodeling project, obtains all essential permits demanded by your city and puts together the work schedules so that no time is wasted.

Some check points for planning your new bathroom:

  • Design plans will help you as well your professionals to visualize the completed project.
  • Throughout your bathroom remodel, remember to look at the project from all angles such as functionality, overall design, aesthetic appeal, material texture and colors, and comfort.
  • Get the advice of a designer for bathroom design suggestions, let them know of your design preference so they can give you a sketch or you can examine magazines and cut out designs, ideas and pictures that correspond or match with what design you have in mind.

Be Realistic About Your Budget

Even though the bathroom, in comparison to all the other rooms in the home, has the smallest square footage, bathroom remodeling can be costly.

It’s very important to remember that it is less expensive when you don’t relocate your bathroom’s plumbing fixtures, like toilets and sinks. If you are low on your budget, incorporating your current bathroom plan into your new bathroom style can in fact, be very economical.

In addition, the cost of your bathroom remodel will greatly depend on the fixtures and bathroom appliances you would like to have. Some bathtubs, fixtures and even tiles can be very expensive.

Today’s bathroom is no longer just a place for taking a bath or brushing your teeth. It now can be a place where you can relax in the tub, light a candle, read a book and just take pleasure in its calming ambiance.

So get into the fun and excitement of your bathroom remodeling project and take pleasure in the many years of contentment offered by your finished bathroom project.

Copy right © 2011 Green Future Construction

Some Tips on Roof Installation and Repairs

Roof maintenance, unlike other home repairs and remodeling, is not something you can just put off for next year. When one finds a roof leak it needs to be fixed right away or at least before the next winter shows up, otherwise the water damage caused by the leaking roof can be substantial and can lead to unnecessary expenses in the long run. The urgency of roof maintenance is important also for making your home more energy efficient and for reducing high energy bills. As a matter of fact professional craftsmanship in roof repairs and installation is the first step in improving energy conservation and efficiency for your entire home and you’ll be amazed at the positive effect this will have on your utility bills.

Most roof types and materials are very durable and can last for many years, but because at least 40 % of your home’s front elevation is the roof, it is constantly exposed to changing weather conditions that can cause damage and can make the roof look dirty and neglected. Thus, whether it’s a tile roof, shingle roof, or even steel roofing, periodic roofing services are necessary and need be taken care of by a professional roofing contractor.

In addition to natural causes, sloppy craftsmanship is another common reason for a leaking roof and other roof-related issues. If the roof installation was not done properly, by wintertime you will surely know about it. For example, if the perimeter edge is re-roofed without a starter shingle or if the starter shingle is improperly installed, you definitely have a problem there. Exposed fasteners and nails that are not sealed will eventually cause a roof leak. Improper installation of counter flashing or missing counter flashing under the step flashing, no underlayment, debris in the gutters, and rough cut shingles are also examples of bad roofing that one should watch for.

Some general rules to follow when considering the type and color of your new roofing are also in place. Today what we predominantly see in terms of roofing materials are tile and steel or metal roofing systems, as well as the fiberglass shingle roofing system. In the shingle roof system you have the standard fiberglass roofing or you have what is called dimensional roofing which is becoming popular and is considered as high-end roofing. In selecting your roofing it is really going to depend on what is predominant in your neighborhood or if you are looking for a unique look you would want the roofing to match with the brick or siding of your house. If you have a lighter shade of brick or siding you don’t want go for a really high contrast where you have a really dark roof, but rather you should go with a lighter shade more resembling your siding. Basically the roof needs to blend with the color of your brick, siding and the gutter system. For instance if the siding is of a lighter shade tone you need more or less a lighter color for your roof, like light grey or a light brown.

As a last note, remember that cost of service does not determine quality, and not all kinds of roofing will meet the needs of your specific home. But by carefully selecting the right roofing material and making sure it’s installed properly by a licensed roofing contractor and by performing maintenance occasionally, you can have a roof that functions properly for 20 to 30 years or even longer.

Copy right © 2011 Green Future Construction

How To Choose Home Remodeling & Repair Companies

The purpose of this article is to enlighten home owners on a few points to consider before choosing a good home remodeling & repair company. Knowing is power therefore one should follow a check list when deciding on the matter of a remodeling contractor

Our home is one of the must important assets that we own and often it requires maintenance and remodeling of one kind or another. We all dream and aspire to have a place where we can retreat from the stresses of the out-side world and connect with ourselves and with our family. This necessity it is not a cheap one but rather something that takes time and money as well as a good home remodeling & repair company to achieve. A home is as personal and as precious as a beautiful piece of jewelry and just like an expensive diamond is handled by a professional jeweler so too a home should be given to a good home building contractor to remodel or maintain.

Home improvement and remodeling contractors are abundant like mushrooms after the rain, and although many of them do have the right credentials in terms of experience and licenses, some are less then amateurish to say the least. One can not stress enough how important it is to choose a good home improvement company for your construction project, a company that can show and prove its excellence and performance with testimonials and recommendations by other happy home owners.

The golden rules to follow in finding a reliable home remodeling & repair company are very clear cut: 1. the company must have a license and should present it to the home owner before the signing of any contract. A general contractor must have a general B license and all sub-contractors needs to have a license for their specific specialty. 2. The company should, by law, have the proper insurance such as liability insurance and workers compensation insurance. 3. As mentioned before, it is recommended to check previous home construction work by the general contractor you are dealing with. Usually the home remodeling & repair company can provide a few telephone numbers for references and recommendations, and if possible maybe even ask to visit a site where the general contractor is currently working on.

Today the construction industry is regulated with very strict laws and building codes by the government and state license board and most general contractors are educated and reliable builders, with integrity and high standards of good service and customer satisfaction. So as long as you follow the guidelines mentioned above in deciding on a general contractor or company things should work out smoothly with your construction project.

Copy right © 2011 Green Future Construction