Foundation Wall Cracks, Cause, Effect and Solution


There are no perfect houses and that would include its foundation. Whether you have a new home or one that’s a hundred years old, house foundations crack. Houses shift and settle after construction. Houses will have cracks in either the cosmetic finishes or structural components. Most of these cracks have no structural significance. The common types of cracks in foundation walls will include;

Vertical (or near vertical) cracks; Just because a wall has cracked doesn’t mean that it has failed or that corrective action is required. If the crack is narrow (1/8 inch or less), is nearly vertical, has no lateral separation between the adjacent portions of the wall, and no water is leaking through the crack, no action generally is required. This is a shrinkage crack and occurs as moisture in the wall evaporates causing the wall to shrink into the voids created by the escaping water. This type of crack is controlled, or minimized but not eliminated by, using horizontal reinforcement steel, which helps distribute the stresses in the wall. If horizontal steel is present, you are more likely to get several very small cracks instead of one or two much wider cracks. Another method of limiting shrinkage cracks is to control the amount of water used in the concrete mix.

Reentrant Cracks; Whenever a concrete element has a sharp angle, there is a concentration of stress. This almost always results in a crack called a reentrant crack that emanates from the inside corner. It may be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal as it exits the corner. This phenomenon exists in nearly all materials. Round openings can dissipate the stress but this is not practical in concrete wall construction. The typical remedy to reduce this type of crack is the placement of steel reinforcement in the corners. It will not eliminate these crack but keep they tight and controlled.

Horizontal cracks; Horizontal cracks require greater scrutiny. Most residential foundation walls are designed to span from the footing or floor slab to the connection of the floor structure above. An 8-inch concrete wall in normal soil conditions usually is strong enough to withstand the forces exerted on the wall with no vertical reinforcement. Exceptions include areas with high ground water conditions or in expansive soil conditions. If there is vertical reinforcement in the wall, a horizontal crack is probably not a concern. An expert should be consulted when a horizontal crack appears to evaluate whether there is a structural risk.

These cracks typically result from one or more of the following;

1. Soil settlement beneath the footing resulting in downward movement of the footing, and shifting is common to most newly constructed homes.

2. Alteration of the local water table whenever a new home is built. Specifically, the soil beneath the home dries; the resultant soil shrinkage causes minor settlement of the footing which can result in hairline cracking in the foundation walls.

3. A new home, without of furniture and effects, does not impose a significant load on the foundation. Once all of your furniture and appliances are moved in, the weight borne by the foundation, and the structure in general, increases and causes some flexing (or movement) of structural members throughout the building. This increased load can cause hairline cracks in the foundation.

4. Drying shrinkage. While poured concrete is dries and hardens, it will shrink. The major factor influencing drying shrinkage is the total water content of the concrete. As the water content in poured concrete increases, the amount of shrinkage increases. Significant increases in the sand content and significant reductions in the size of the coarse aggregate used in poured concrete increase shrinkage because total water content is increased and smaller size coarse aggregate provide less internal resistance to shrinkage.

5. Thermal expansion and contraction of concrete. Concrete poured during high daytime temperatures will contract as it cools during the night, this can be sufficient enough to cause cracking if the concrete is restrained.

6. Restraint; The restriction of free movement of fresh or hardened concrete subsequent to the completion of placing (pouring of concrete) in formwork or within an otherwise confined space; restraint can be internal or external and may act in one or more directions.

7. Subgrade settlement or movement. The dropping of soil or the footing due to their mass, the loads imposed on them, or shrinkage or displacement of the underlying support.

Most foundation cracks are minor and insignificant; they are common to both poured concrete and block foundations. Structural cracks (horizontal) in residential foundations are usually the result of settlement and/or horizontal loading. They can be the result of hydrostatic pressure or the use of heavy equipment next to the foundation. The possible implication of cracks in your foundation is moisture penetration, moisture that can ruin finished wall coverings, floor …

Tips on Choosing Exterior House Colors and Materials


Choosing exterior house colors can be quite a challenge. It often takes years of experience to learn what colors and materials will work together. The average person has never done this before and certainly dooesn’t have training or professional experience. And choosing the wrong color paint or material can be a very expensive mistake that you’ll likely have to accept for many years (or spend a lot of money to fix). Here are some tips to help you make the right choices.

Choosing the Right Paint Colors

The most common error I see in choosing exterior house color is that the color is too light. The sun will wash out colors outside, so choosing a light color will end up looking like white. When choosing colors, keep in mind that they usually need to be more grey or brown than you think. For example, a grey with a tint of green in it will read more green than you usually think when painted on the entire house. If you choose a color and can say ‘now that’s green’, you’ve probably chosen too ‘green of a green’. The primary exception to this rule would be in more tropical locations such as Florida or other locations where a lighter more reflective color is desired to keep a house cool. Here pastel and brighter colors can work very well.

If you are having trouble choosing siding and trim colors, keep them related to each other, like a cream trim and a darker beige on the same paint chip strip. Then add an accent color like a deep eggplant color.

Tips on Choosing Window Colors

Many homes have vinyl windows which will usually be white. Painting white vinyl with a dark paint can be disastrous because of the expansion of the vinyl in sunlight. The dark color will cause the vinyl to expand even more than normal, leading to paint and possibly window failure. If you have trim around a white vinyl window, it often works best to paint that trim white too. That will tend to make the vinyl windows blend in more, and look more like a traditional wood window.

If you are choosing new windows and you want to paint your house a darker color, consider choosing a window that is cream or almond color. A bright white window on a very dark house color will generally have too much contrast. If you choose cream or almond windows, and paint the trim a coordinating color, it will work better with the darker paint scheme. There are a few manufacturers that product a grey vinyl which can work well with a more modern house or a house with metal siding, or even brick. Generally I don’t care for white vinyl on brick homes, unless the house is very traditional. Choosing a grey or almond window will almost always look better. If you have the budget for wood or metal clad windows, then you’ll have many more color choices, and the mid-tone to darker colors often look better with brick.

Painting Brick:

Just because you have a brick house, don’t automatically rule out painting the brick. You will still have the texture of the brick, but you won’t be stuck to the same color, which date many, many homes. Of course, if you have a Frank Lloyd Wright mission style brick home, don’t paint it! But most of our homes are not so inspired. Painting the brick can really freshen up a dark and dreary house. Consult a good paint store when painting brick to be sure to get compatible products.

How to Choose the Right Accent Colors

This is a place where you can afford to be a little riskier because generally accent colors are limited to a smaller area. I compare this to a woman who puts on makeup: the accent color is like putting on mascara and lipstick. But keep it classy! You know what too much makeup does to a woman. The same goes for a house.

How to Choose Roof Colors

When the roof of a house is visible, it can be a very prominent element. Choosing the wrong color roof is a very expensive mistake so it’s important to understand some general rules. When choosing the roof, consider what color the house is going to be painted (or if it is brick or stone, consider the general tone of the material). If the house is being painted warmer colors, then a brown roof will be the right choice. If the house will be cooler colors (like greys, blues or greens), then a dark grey roof will work better. If you have to decide on a roof color first, one of the most common and versitile choices is a dark grey color. If your house used to …

Gable or Shed Roof – Selecting the Right Roof for Your Home Addition


Adding a room onto an existing home is probably the most cost effective way to increase a building’s usable interior space. In this article, an addition means what a colleague calls a “three sided” addition. This phrase intends to avoid confusion with other sorts of home additions such as raising a building to create a new ground level space, or raising the roof to create a story between a ground level space and a roof area. The three sided addition means that the new and existing building will share an interior wall.

The first consideration when planning an addition is headroom: the height of a ceiling relative to human proportions. Most building codes stipulate minimum ceiling heights, but, as most people prefer ceilings that are at least eight feet (2.5 m) high, a well-designed space will probably meet or exceed these. Ensuring adequate headroom is probably the most challenging aspect of addition design, and is the main reason to start planning an addition from the roof down.

Begin your design thinking by trying to envision what you consider an ideal ceiling height for your addition when finished. As mentioned, most prefer a minimum eight feet, but a few inches less than this will still work in a pinch. It is important to start here, because your new ceiling will likely be hanging from the roof framing that will, in turn, attach to the existing building. If this framing attaches to an existing building too low, your ceiling will be too low. Let’s look at a couple standard roof frame techniques to help clarify.

Gable Dormer: When most kids in the western world draw a house, it will have a gable roof. A gable roof is an upside-down “V.” A gable dormer is this same roof shape attached to an existing main building at a right angle. It will have a peak as does the children’s drawing, and where its roof meets the main roof is called a valley. As people have been using gable dormers for centuries, you won’t need to look far for an example. The main advantage to a gable dormer when designing an addition is that the addition’s ceiling height is determined by how high its peak is relative to the main building. Typically, the higher the peak, the greater the available ceiling height.

As with any building project, there is seemingly no end to pro and cons, and compromises need be found. When using a gable dormer frame for an addition, the compromise is that much of its weight will bear on the existing or main roof framing because it overlaps this framing. As the main roof framing was not likely designed to support this extra weight, this main roof frame will need to be strengthened. Of course, there are a few more in and outs to know about putting a lid on your addition using the gable dormer method, but in my opinion, this method is the slickest, and in the long term, will offer better looks than most alternatives. Due to the structural bolstering, and other framing elements required when using a gable dormer, it will likely cost more, as well.

If considering the gable dormer method, one thing to bear in mind is that because a sizable addition’s roof dormer will cover up a substantial portion of the existing roof, hold off on re-roofing until the dormer is in place. This will save burying a lot of new roofing material under the new dormer.

Shed Roof: The shed roof or shed dormer has an unfortunate name, but when artfully built, proves a cost effective roof frame for an addition, as well as an attractive one. Starting again with that inverted “V,” the shed-style addition roof is a flat plane say the shape of a floor tile or square cracker that meets one “leg” of the upside-down “V” somewhere. “Somewhere” is the operative word because this versatile addition roof style can, when well supported, be attached anywhere on a building from the main roof to its exterior wall. For now, let’s suppose the shed roof attaches at the base of the inverted “V.” Ideally, the roof joists your ceiling is hung from will “land” on the exterior wall plates where the main roof frame rests. This makes for easier framing.

But here’s the tricky part of using the shed-style. Unlike the gable method which has its drainage slopes built into the design, that tile shaped shed roof plane needs to be tilted down, at least a little bit. How much depends on roofing know-how and the materials chosen. Using the so-called 1:12 ratio which I think of as minimum, for every foot the roof extends from the main building, the plane, that tile or cracker, tilts down one inch. The tricky part is …

Academic Writing Versus Popular Writing


Casual writing in the popular mainstream style is usually very different from the type required in academic settings. One is largely loose and informal, while the other is more conventional and strict. Whenever you write in either style, being mindful of these differences is necessary to keep the material consistent throughout its course.

Contractions. In academic writing, you need to spell out words; in informal writing, you’re free to use common contractions.

Technical terms. In academic writing, the use of technical terms is expected, provided you offer up an accompanying running definition; in popular writing, the use of technical terms should be kept to a minimum, with an in-depth explanation every time.

Groupspeak. In academic writing, you should use “we” when explaining technical terms; during informal use, using specific names (as well as referring to yourself in the first person) are more acceptable.

Abstractions. In academic work, you’re encouraged to emphasize abstractions, with no need for an in-depth explanation; in popular writing, any mention of high concepts should be accompanied with plenty of examples and simplified diagrams.

Passive voice. Using passive voice is actually advisable for academic writing in some cases (when trying to demonstrate that other scientists can accomplish the same results, for instance); in popular writing, passive verbs should be avoided like the plague.

Confidence. In academic writing, you are advised to state your points forcefully, in as succinct a manner as you can; for less-stringent writing, you should hold back on the self-assured statement, showing empathy for the readers’ potential struggle with it.

Most of the best writing software around integrate a facility to check for adherence to formal writing standards. Make sure to take advantage of it when you’re tasked to write in an academic capacity.


Source by Mary Simmers

Three Benefits of Roof Repair


Roof repair is one of the most important forms of home maintenance that you can keep up with each year. After all, the entire system has to work together to stay strong, solid, and functional for all seasons throughout its successful use. It needs to be able to expand, contract, remain sealed, water and pest resistant for the duration of the optimal use of the components. Therefore, depending upon the age of the materials used on your style and age of home, you may require mending to sections, a coat of sealant, or shingle replacement in order to prolong the effective protection that this section of your home provides. Or, you may need to have sectional or full overhaul of several components and layers of your system replaced and/or upgraded in order to enjoy renewed security, comfort, and home restoration with professional roof repair.

Plainly, a few of the benefits of regular inspection and performance of necessary roof repair is to avoid expensive replacements, avoid dangerous sink in or breeches, and to maintain your solid home. If precipitation runs off properly then the inner walls, attic, and even the basement can stay dry. Mold and mildew-free living has immeasurable monetary and respiratory benefit, for you and your entire family. Roof repair is a multistep process that helps your home to see the full 15 or more years of life from your construction materials.

A house is only as strong as the materials it is made out of and the professional maintenance that is performed regularly in order to keep every component and function in optimum condition. The top of your home should be one of the first aspects of home ownership that you should consider keeping up. It takes a pounding from the sun, wind, rain, hail, snow, and airborne debris year round.

Your entire family also depends on it for its participation in your home’s insulation and to protect the rooms and people below from the elements, animals, insects, and all other outdoor conditions that you’d like to rest free of constant exposure. So with all of the protection that these materials provide; their connections, thickness, and sealants can be worn and no longer keep out bugs, water, or provide excellent insulation. Therefore, periodic roof repair becomes a necessity of home ownership in order to maintain all of the duties that you expect your construction materials to provide.


Source by Aloysius Aucoin

Learn How To Choose The Right Septic Riser For Your Home


If your home has a septic tank, then you need to look into getting a septic tank riser if you don’t have one already installed. A septic tank riser is exactly what it sounds like, it is an extension that rises your septic tank to ground level. This will make it easy to find for maintenance and routine pumping. It will save you money because it can be expensive to have a professional spend time trying to locate your septic tank. Keep reading to discover the types of septic tank risers are out there and which one may be the right choice for you.

There are basically three types of septic tank risers on the market. These three are concrete, PVC and polyethylene. They differ significantly in price and durability. It is a good idea to chose the best septic tank riser that you can afford.

Septic tank risers that are made from polyethylene are resistant to chemical and soil corrosion. These types of septic risers also weigh less and therefore are easier to install. There have been some issues on getting a good seal with the polyethylene septic risers, but if you do get a good seal they are very effective at keeping in gases and water.

The PVC plastic septic risers are light and very easy to install also. The lids are very easy to remove. A tight seal is easily obtainable, which is gives maximum protection from ground water. As with the polyethylene risers, the PVC risers will be more resistant to corrosion.

Last is the concrete septic risers. These risers are heavy and cumbersome to install. The lids to these risers are heavy as well. Another problem with the concrete risers is that they are prone to leaking. They can also be unattractive in your yard.

If you are price shopping, you need to remember that cheapest is not the best in this situation. The cheapest septic risers are the concrete risers. But due to difficulty in installation and the tendency to leak, this is probably not your best choice. The PVC and the polyethylene septic risers are pricier, but easier to install and will last a lot longer. These will give you the best value for your money. When it comes to septic risers, it is smart to pay a little more for quality. It will save you a lot of trouble in the years to come.


Source by Terry Edwards

Emotional Freedom Techniques For Benzodiazepine Withdrawal – The Ideal Self Management Tool


Benzodiazepine Withdrawal and EFT- the Ideal Self-Management Tool

I'm an advanced Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) Practitioner as well as being recollected involuntary benzodiazepine (benzo) addict. I came off benzos in 1988 and qualified in EFT in 2006. That's quite an unusual combination. I wish EFT had been around when I was coming off. But now I'm qualified, it puts me in the unique position of being able to offer EFT tapping routines to people who are withdrawing from a place of personal experience. And that's really good news because if there's one thing you need when coming off benzos – it's the advice and support of others who've been through it – 'survivors'.

My own withdrawal in 1988

There was not much information available when I came off, certainly nothing like there is now – internet sites, books and organizations. Professor Heather Ashton, world authority on benzo addiction and withdrawal, had not set up her withdrawal clinic in Newcastle or written her manual (see below). I devised my own withdrawal program, putting together a variety of complementary therapies and emotional / psychological support techniques. The result is 'Safe Benzo Withdrawal', my double CD set (see below) which contains advice and information based on my own experience. There is also a guided relaxation which I wrote specifically for benzo withdrawal. The data CD contains equivalence tables for switching to Diazepam (valium), a slower acting benzo.

Withdrawal Symptoms vary

Not everyone has a tough time coming off. We're all different and there are many factors affecting the type of withdrawal ie dosage, type of medication, time you've been taking it etc. Rest assured. Many thousands of have now successfully come off and are living proof that it can be done. And now there's a whole variety of withdrawal support resources available. (See below)

What is EFT?

EFT is a healing tool developed by an American, Gary Craig. It's a kind of emotional acupuncture based on ancient Chinese healing. About five thousand years ago the Chinese discovered the human body had energy channels, called meridians, through which the body's essential energy or chi flows. Managing the flow of chi forms the basis of the Eastern healing practices, such as acupressure and acupuncture, which are now widely used in the West.

How does it work?

When we experience anything which distracts us, be it physical pain, emotional distress, anxiety, anger, fear etc, there is a disruption in the body's energy field and the EFT tapping is designed to remove this disruption and restore a sense of calmness and equilibrium . These energy disruptions can be held unresolved in the body, for many years, and often tapping is addressing an event from childhood that continues to affect one's present life.

How do you do it?

You tap with your fingertips on various points on the energy meridians around the face and body while focusing your thoughts on a distressing symptom or feeling you're having and reiterating an affirmation or positive self-healing phrase. (Full instructions, see link below)

Why is EFT perfect for benzo withdrawal?

  • It's easy to learn and very simple to use. Concentration span can be very limited when you're pulling, so a technique that's quick and easy is important
  • Use it anywhere, anytime. Benzo withdrawal symptoms, especially panic attacks, can be unpredictable. They might wake you at night, or come when you're out somewhere. With EFT you do not need another person, or any equipment – just your own fingertips and a minute or two of your own time.
  • It's a tailor made self-healing tool. You can design your own tapping routines to address whatever symptoms you're experimenting with.
  • EFT is a self-management tool. This is about taking back power and responsibility for your own healing. Addiction, whether voluntary or involuntary (iatrogenic *), drains your self-empowerment. Using EFT can restore a sense of control over your life.
  • It's free. Just download the manual (see below). There's no financial outlay. Of course, you have the choice of consulting a qualified EFT practitioner from time to time, to keep you on track and to gain some objectivity, and maybe learn some more advanced techniques – see my contact details below. But the basic routine taught in the manual consistently produces good results.

So there's five excellent reasons to use EFT in your withdrawal and help you on your journey to recovery. Top three withdrawal tips are; Be safe – talk your GP. Be sensible – taper off very gradually at your own pace. Be supported – find or start a support group, either face to face or on the internet. I wish you all strength on your journey to recovery.
* Iatrogenic = caused by the medical profession

Remember: never stop taking your medication suddenly. This can be dangerous. Consult your GP. The information …