Tips For A Perfect Concrete Saw Cut

Cutting concrete is a tough task, which takes the utmost accuracy, patience and ability. The entire procedure is further confounded when you consider the fact that you only have one opportunity at the cut unless you want to begin the entire process again. By implementing proper concrete cutting techniques and specialized tools according to the latest power saw technology, you are certain to get the best possible finish every time. There are several types of concrete cutting services that can be performed in conjunction with some useful tips which can be used to improve your concrete cutting abilities.

Choosing the Right Equipment

This is the No. 1 rule that can be applied to all industrial, commercial and residential projects. While it is still possible to use ancient saws to cut concrete such as using a chisel and sledgehammer, it is highly recommended that you use a specialized circular saw for the job. Whether you`re cutting concrete blocks or slabs we recommend purchasing a specifically designed concrete saws which are planned for heavy duty, professional construction work. When properly matched to the job cutting saws can provide fast and professional results, therefore it is advisable to invest in the proper equipment to get the results you desire.

Diamond Blades

Understanding how a concrete saw works will help you choose a blade with the right characteristics for your needs. Diamond blades are crucial to accompany your power saw when looking to cut through asphalt or walls. These tools are designed to slice through the most rigid and dense surfaces possible, making light work of any concrete structure you are working on.

Concrete Cutting Do`s

The most important tip is to begin with a single surface cut. This lets you to spot the location where you are cutting along, while also breaking the compactness of the concrete which makes it easier to cut through. For maximum cutting results let it run freely every 30 seconds. This will ensure that the saw does not overheat. Make sure that you wear protective safety gear when cutting through concrete. Flying bits of debris can be extremely dangerous and lead to serious injury. Therefore, it is important to wear safety goggles, earmuffs and gloves.

Concrete Cutting Don`ts

A cutting tool that is forced with too much pressure on it is a huge mistake. Just let the weight of the saw do the cutting, while you steer it.

Do not ever start using a saw without a map planned out in your mind and on the wall for how the job will be done. Prepare correctly by using a piece of chalk to draw out where you want to cut.

10 Tips for Opening Your Own Dance or Ballet Studio

As the owner of a brand new dance school, the process of putting together all the required equipment for dance and ballet studios is still very fresh in my mind. The following is a list of what is needed in each dance studio:

1) Marley or other vinyl floor covering. This is the preferred dance surface for ballet, modern/jazz, and tap instruction. There are several manufacturers of vinyl dance flooring products. Most come in 5-6′ wide rolls in lengths up to about 100′. Marley is usually rolled onto a hardwood floor and “floats” on the floor without any adhesive other than special vinyl tape used on seams and edges. Since the marley is not permanently affixed to the floor, it can be rolled up if needed for a performance in another venue. One important thing to note is that rosin cannot be used by ballet dancers on marley – the rosin damages the vinyl surface and is very difficult to remove.

2) Sound system for CDs and/or Bluetooth connection to a iPhone/Android device. It is essential to have a sound system with a remote control so the instructor can easily repeat sections of music as needed.

3) Barres, either wall mounted or standalone. Please refer to the section on barre construction below for more detailed information.

4) Wall Mirrors. Mirrors should be mounted on at least one wall (preferably two adjoining walls). They should start as close to the floor as possible, but even young dancers can see their feet from anywhere in the studio as long as the bottom of the mirror is lower than about 15 inches from the floor. The top of mirrors should be 6′ minimum from the floor.

5) A small table for instructor’s notebook or other instructional materials can also be used for the sound system.

6) Large wall clock. Dancers and instructors need to know class start and end times.

Ballet Barres – Build or Buy?

One of the most important pieces of equipment in a ballet school is the barre. There are many commercially available ballet barres, but in the end we decided to make our own barres for the following reasons:

7) Commercially available barres are expensive. Typically, a professional grade 12′ barre costs between $400-$1000 for a free-standing model, and between $300-$600 for a wall mounted version.

8) Our experience with commercially available free standing barres is that even the highest quality models eventually have failures at the connection points.

9) We wanted barres that were absolutely rock solid and would last for many years. We believe that most commercial free-standing barres are too lightweight and “flimsy”.

10) We wanted a barre system that was flexible enough to meet the needs of our school’s schedule of ballet classes for many age ranges as well as modern, jazz, and tap classes.

In order to give our school the maximum flexibility in our class schedule, we decided to build two free standing 12 foot barres for each of our two dance studios. We chose free standing barres so we could (1) have dancers on both sides of the barre and (2) orient the barres as either a single 24′ span or two parallel 12′ spans. Since (unlike commercial barres) we have no need to dismantle the barres for shipping, we decided to eliminate joints (and hence the possibility of joint failures) by using steel tubes and welding the joints.

The exact specifications of the barres are as follows:

– Tubing material is schedule 40 1 ½ inch steel black pipe. This pipe has an outside diameter of 1.9″. The use of 1.9″ diameter tubing (a) makes welds much stronger and (b) is very comfortable to grip

– The top of the barre is 12′ long and is 42″ above the floor.

– The legs of the barre are an inverted “T” with the “feet” (i.e. the part of the leg that lays flat on the floor) being 2′ long.

– The top of the barre overhangs the legs by 18″ on either side. This allows for easy moving of the barre.

– We decided to have a lower barre welded between the legs at a height of 32″ for our younger dancers.

Schedule 40 pipe is available at most steel suppliers (search “steel pipe cityname”). The pipe comes in 21′ lengths, and the steel vendor will usually make one cut per pipe at no additional cost. I had the pipes cut into 12′ and 9′ lengths to minimize waste.

Our welder had no trouble fabricating the barres. Included in the fabrication was thorough de-burring of all exposed ends. The result is a smooth, rounded edge that does not require any type of end cap.

After our welder completed the barres I purchased rubber feet (1.5″ diameter and 1″ thick) and bolted them to the ends of the “feet” of the barre. This has worked extremely well in eliminating damage to the marley in our studios.

To finish the barres, I first sanded the surfaces with 180 grit sandpaper to smooth out the horizontal gripping surfaces and prep for painting. I then sprayed with textured black paint. Three coats resulted in a beautiful finish that resembles powder coating at a fraction of the price.

Dancer response to the barres has been uniformly excellent. Though heavy (they weigh about 60 lbs each) two young dancers have no trouble moving them into the center and back up against the walls when needed. We have had no issues with the fixed heights of the barres.

Total cost for 4 barres was about $450 in materials and $400 for welding services, for a total cost of $850, or $212 per barre.

Residential Construction Site Cleanup Checklist

The construction industry is a large and messy one. Even the smallest construction site can end with a large and daunting mess that needs to be cleaned up. In order to efficiently and effectively clean a construction site, follow this simple checklist to make sure nothing is left unclean. This checklist is a great tool not only for small remodeling construction sites established by a homeowner but is also a valuable tool for the commercial cleaner who is hired to clean up a large-scale commercial mess.

Start first with general cleanup. In newly constructed homes, buildings, etc. clean and scrub the walls, ceilings, any installed appliances, trims, base boards, doors, mantels, windows, etc. Also make sure to dust well as the act of construction will build up reserves in dust in any nook and cranny it can. This dust if left to continue to accumulate can become detrimental to overall health if left unchecked. Check the tops and undersides of doors, hinges for dirt, debris of any extra paint that is leftover and make sure that it is removed. If interior masonry is existent in the construction site, make sure it is properly cleaned before proceeding. Vacuum or sweep carpets, hardwoods or tiled floors respectively, making sure to remove any accidental paint splatter or any scuff marks. Wipe off faucets and knobs as well as any electrical switches. Then, a final item to check off your list of general cleanup is to remove and dispose of any trash.

For other areas of construction sites, such as entries, exits and kitchens, special cleanup care is necessary. For all exits and entryways, take special notice to clean doors and hinges properly so everything closes in the way that it is designed to do so. For the exterior doors of a building or home that has a porch or deck, sweep and clean those accordingly. Also including in an exterior construction site cleanup checklist is to completely pressure wash those areas as well as the driveway and garage spaces. If the construction site includes an outdoor patio, also pressure wash that site.

Kitchen construction cleanup requires all the of the items on the general construction site cleanup checklist but requires you to make note of some special areas to clean unique to the kitchen space. Clean all kitchen appliances inside and out, this meaning the stove, refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, etc. Check around the appliances to where they either attach to the wall or counter tops to see if you need to remove any excess caulking or wipe clean of any leftover dust residue. Also, if the appliances are new, make sure to remove any plastic packaging or labels.

This being a very basic cleaning checklist, it should be no means be used as a standard or even an exclusive construction site cleaning checklist. But the items mentioned in this list will leave you with a home or building that is considerably cleaner and nicer to look at than the one you saw before you started to clean. Even so, a more professional checklist or company might need to help assist you in officially cleaning a construction site.

Searching for a Good Steel Fabricator? Keep These Tips in Mind

A Confident Foreman

Only a great structural steel fabricator’s shop will have a foreman that’s great at communication and extremely confident in his shop’s abilities. As the lead of every fabrication job, he guides his group of professionals offering tricks and tips of the trade so that even the least experienced personnel have the guidance they need.

Due to this ability, there are likely many companies that are dedicated to employing them, and are willing to spread the word of their business relationship. There are likely a mix of fabricators that have years of experience as well as those fresh out of college or with engineering degrees. It’s good to find structural steel fabricators that have both these types of experts on board.

Truly, the best foremen are those that have a nice balance of experience and education to ensure a smooth job from start to finish. Those that have worked their way to the top are the best in the business.

Tight Deadline? Only Hire Experienced Fabricators

Often times, if a company has a quick deadline they find themselves frantic to find the best structural steel fabricators. Beware of shops that take one lead fabricator and then assign him or her “random help.”

These jobs need to have experienced hands assigned more than any other. This is because for the job to go quickly, smoothly and accurately everyone should know what they are doing. Otherwise, the experienced individuals end up babysitting those who aren’t as knowledgeable.

Rather than chance missing a critical deadline, each task can be given to a different stringer to make all the correct elements for a nice fit.

Safety First

Workplace and worker safety is the most important element to any job, however not all structural steel fabricators believe this. Every part of the process should be handled with care, especially when it comes to steel plates.

Mishaps occur when crucial steps aren’t followed, and injury can happen much easier. Ensure the crew to be hired is well trained in safety before considering them for the task at hand.

Learn About Processes

Certain processes must be followed in order to fabricate. Structural steel fabricators should be able to explain what they’ll do from start to finish to create the most stellar product possible for their clients. Avoiding unnecessary stress on the steel and maintaining structural integrity is more important than anything. Proper welding, careful measurement and pristine methods are necessary. While the hiring company may not know the specific processes, they should still be able to hear the basics about how parts will be fabricated and ensure they result in engineering’s approval.

Complete Drying of All Concrete

Unfortunately, many structural steel fabricators tend to rush jobs that should never be rushed. This in turn results in a lot of reworking and loss of precious time on a job.

It’s important that when they’re working with concrete they let it completely dry. They should also get precise field measurements, and then complete the structural work. One example is not creating the handrails before the concrete is even poured. This often results in wasted effort as much can happen between planning and construction.

Be Sure They Share Tools

Most don’t realize that slight differences in layout tools can result in problems with consistent and accurate structural steel components.

Inquire with structural steel fabricators to make sure they are using hand tools that are standardized to guarantee a uniform finished product.

These are just some of the little known things to consider when hiring structural steel fabricators, but they can make all the difference in the experience and the results of any build involving steel.

3 Tips For Better Haunted House Radio Commercials

You put your heart and soul into your haunted house attraction this year. You’ve spent day and night toying with each scene and scare, now you just need people to show up and experience your labor of love. How do you get them there? An effective haunted house radio commercial is a good place to start.

What goes into a good haunted house radio commercial though? Where do you start? Here are three tips to make your message stand out and hopefully draw larger crowds than ever before.

  1. Tell a story. Make sure that your commercial is not just a laundry list of directions and the types of scenes you’ve put together. Think movie trailer here. Truly good trailers suck you in, tell a story and make you walk away thinking “I have to see that!”. The same should be true about your haunted house radio commercial.
  2. Make an offer that they can’t refuse. Want to make your haunt the clear choice over all the other choices? Then be ready to make an offer like “buy one get one free admission”, “take $10 off speed pass admission when you use code radio”, or something of that nature. Sell some extra snacks on site or add premiums like “speed pass lines” and you will make it up in no time. Plus the sheer amount of people who choose you over the others because of your crazy good offer, will likely work wonders at increasing attendance. But make the offer good. Do not skimp. That means “Take $2 off or 15% off” will not cut it. It makes you sound cheap and will be a turn off. Go big on the offer, or don’t make any offer at all. Period.
  3. Create multiple versions of your haunted house radio commercial. Versions that run the day of the haunt that say “Tonight” or “this weekend”. People respond to urgency. If it sound like all the fun is going on “tonight” vs. the “every Friday, Saturday and Sunday” version, they will be more likely to visit your haunt that night.

Most important is getting your message created and recorded by professionals. Don’t skimp on this one. Having the local dj’s do their “spooky” voice, will pale in comparison to the sound of a professional haunted house radio commercial company will deliver.

The message your customers hear on the radio is the calling card to your haunt, if its good you can expect long lines and happy customers. If it sounds lame, you and your crew will be in for a long, slow night.

Concrete Repair & Restoration – Broken Down

Concrete repair, restoration, and general maintenance, is typically more cost effective for commercial structures in the Maryland (MD), DC, or Virginia (VA) areas than complete concrete replacement, as you are probably aware. On this page you will find some general tips and considerations in the event that you are looking for a commercial concrete repair restoration contractor.

What is Concrete Repair, Restoration?

Simply put, it’s the practice of fixing broken concrete, as well as cleaning and applying a sealant for future protection.  Depending on the level of damage, some cracks can be filled with epoxy.  If the damage is deep, the concrete might need to be removed and re-surfaced. 

Why does Concrete need Repair?

Other than the obvious visually displeasing aspect of broken concrete, cracked concrete can also be very dangerous to structures as a whole.  For instance, imagine a parking garage where cars are driving on cracked concrete.  Over time, that crack will get larger and larger, forming either an annoying pothole for your customers, or even worse, putting them in danger.

The most important reason for concrete repair and restoration in the MD/DC/VA area is what any waterproofing contractor will tell you – moisture is the most damaging force to concrete.  If you have cracked or damaged concrete, it is much easier for water to seep through and cause further damage. 

How to Perform Concrete Repair, Restoration

There are do-it-yourself methods, but we do not recommend wasting your time with those.  Not only are they relatively expensive, but are also time consuming and difficult to perform properly. 

There is no simple fix for damaged, dirty, or cracked concrete – every job is different.  Some cracks can be easily repaired with epoxy injection, and some stains can be removed by power washing with chemicals and sealant.  But sometimes, the fix will come from facade re-anchoring, especially in stadiums, balconies, and parking decks.

For an estimate or just to ask questions about concrete repair or restoration, give a call to Concrete Restoration at 301-261-4933.

Commercial Construction Services

Commercial construction refers to construction of commercial projects such as office buildings, shopping centers, sports complexes, hospitals, schools and luxury hotels. Commercial building construction is not an easy task; it involves visualizing a concept and translating into reality which needs to be innovative as well as application of engineering brilliance.

Often when it comes to commercial constructions, huge capital finances are involved and invested. In fact, investments in capital property are a widely used method of retaining capital. When huge finances are involved, the legal aspects are another important aspect that needs careful consideration. Any real estate used exclusively or in parts for business purposes are considered as commercial properties. Hence, it is vital that you satisfy all the legal formalities, rules, norms and regulations that need to be adhered to in your locality before you start construction.

Companies or vendors offering commercial construction services need to sign the commercial construction agreement or contract in which a party agrees to furnish all labor materials, equipments, supplies and do all things necessary for the construction and completion of a commercial building. Essentially, the core aspect of the agreement remains the same in all countries/regions subject to a few modifications depending on the local governing laws in that area or locality or country. They must also ensure compliance with a wide range of regulatory requirements such as environmental standards, legal employment practices and such like.

As we all know, most commercial building construction require huge capital investment as well as employment of skilled employees in various departments. In the construction industry, safety regulations need to be adhered strictly. Many workers who work during the construction process need to be protected against any accidents or physical damage during the course of their work. Hence, safety is a major concern in the real estate business and companies or vendors are required to maintain a safe jobsite and minimize or avoid any health risk to their employees through proper planning, training and regular inspections. Planning ahead allows workers to see and avoid mishaps before they occur.

Implementing a successful commercial project requires a great deal of work at all levels of the project; right from conceptualization to the delivery of the project. While overseeing a building construction, a thorough knowledge of the budgets, materials and staying right on schedule ensures a successful and complete project.

Construction Project Management Tips

A really good project manager can manage most if not all construction projects fairly easily. That being said sometimes even the best project manager may need to be reminded about the best practices for running projects smoothly every now and then. In this article we take a look at 4 very important keystones for a construction related project manager.

Planning for success

This point sounds very obvious but the fact is that the majority of construction projects fail because their project manager had no clear plan to complete the job. In order to be successful you need to take four very important steps:

  • Outline a clear goal
  • Make a list of all the milestones you need to meet to reach your goal
  • Publish a clear schedule
  • Make a daily list of things to do and mark the completed stuff off

The Pareto Principle

Also known as the 80/20 rule, the Pareto Principle is one of the most important keystones. The principle talks about 20% of the work required to yield an 80% result. In order to achieve this, project managers need to know exactly what core milestone needs to be completed to complete 80% of the job.

Have meaningful meetings

Construction project managers need to have meaningful meetings to provide valuable information which is instrumental in pushing the project forward. There is no point of drawn out meetings except that it wastes valuable time and accomplishes very little. The meeting should not feel like work, rather the meeting like the project as a whole needs to work for the team. The aim should be to:

  • Outline a clear agenda for the meeting
  • The setbacks faced should be explained in detail
  • There should be focus on opportunities that a project presents
  • Ancillary groups should be established for debates, external input and technical issues

Always think Big

In order to manage any construction project a successful project manager needs to always look at the big picture. You need to keep each and every milestone in mind but at the same time also the project as a whole. The biggest aspects of this ‘big picture’ focus for any construction project are: to stay out of all the work itself and to avoid micro management.

Conclusion

The team which is hired for a construction project is always chosen for a particular reason. A really good manager is able to take a few steps back and allow the architects to chart out any design details with the client. The architect should be allowed to finalize the design of everything from the external look of the structure to each and every beam. The person in charge of delegating jobs, balancing priorities and efficiently managing time which does not mean that you have to be the best code interpreter or client handler.

9 Pro Tips for Selecting a Custom Home Building Contractor

Planning to build your custom home that matches your personal taste in architecture? First, you have to find a contractor you can rely on. Selecting between different residential contractors can be tricky at times, because every other company claims to be the best in business. Here are the 9 pro tips that you need.

1. Ask around. When you are looking for custom home builders, references always count. Talk to your friends, colleagues and neighbors to know about the services that they have tried so far. Ask them about the experience and why they liked or disliked a service.

2. Check if the company is genuine. Don’t be surprised to find that many of the contractors don’t have any experience working with clients. They often offer the best discounts and sell the contracts to smaller subcontractors to make some easy money.

3. Make sure the company is licensed, insured and bonded. You need to check if the contractor has the required permissions to work in your city and area, and they must be insured, as well. These are basic aspects that people often ignore while comparing the options.

4. Are they open to your ideas? A good and reliable general contractor will take the time to understand the needs, expectations and requirements of their clients. They will also discuss the ideas that you may have in mind, and depending on the practical aspects, they may suggest the right things.

5. Will they offer an estimate? As a client, you should be extremely careful about your choice of contractor, especially with regards to the estimate that they provide. Check if their prices are genuine and in sync with the standards. Getting an estimate is also important because you can compare the options.

6. Specialization counts. Always work with a contractor who has worked on and managed projects similar to yours. Not all commercial contractors deal in residential projects, so ask them about their areas of expertise.

7. Check their previous projects. You can never rely on a service that doesn’t have enough clients. Check the work they have done so far, so that you know the kind of experience they have with residential projects.

8. Ask for references. It is not enough to see a few pictures of their previous projects. You need to know the experience of their clients with regards to their services, and for that, nothing is more important than references. A company that has been doing business for more than five years will have enough clients.

9. Ask why you should hire them. As a client, you need to know why a company believes that they are better than others. Know about their highlights and ask them questions about their work. They should be able to convince you about their highlights and the kind of things they do.

Finally, take the time to set up a personal meeting. You may need two to three meetings before you can give a nod for the project.

5 Tips for Choosing a Contractor for Your Construction Project

With the economic outlook so bleak these days, how is Los Angeles construction doing? Well in looking at the numbers we are doing pretty well against last year. And this year it is only going to get better with leading indicators giving us hope for a better future. Looking for a contractor is not any easier though.

Every day you hear of some contractor scamming someone out of money. How can you avoid this? There are many things that you can do as a prospective client to protect yourself from a bad deal. Here are 3 tips to get you past through that process:

1. Get references. Ask your friends and co-workers. Los Angeles construction is varied and sometimes specialized so don’t just rely on one person, ask a lot and look for reviews of the contractor. The more feedback you get the better your decision will be and the happier you will be. DO YOUR RESEARCH. You are going to be spending a lot of money so spend the time and check them out. Go online, call the better business bureau, and the Builders association.

2. Design. Try not to start with an architect as they draw pretty pictures, but they have little regard for the bottom line. If you do start with an architect involve the contractor along the way. If you can find a contractor with “in-house” designers and architects, as they will have a better grasp on the budget components of the job.

3. Building Site. Another thing to consider in Los Angeles construction is our topography. With the varying terrain in the LA area it is imperative that you consider your surroundings. Ask the questions that need to be asked about the costs and process of building on your specific site. What experience does this contractor with hillside construction if its on a hill?

4. Ask questions. Can I talk to some of your past clients? Can I see some of your work? Can I see pictures of similar work to my project you have done? The answer to these questions could save you years of grief if you do the work of checking them out.

5. Multiple bids. You should get 3 bids to make any kind of rational decision unless the contractor comes from a very reputable referral. You are not obligated to anyone, don’t be pressured by a sales person, friendship, or any other emotion. Your goal here is to get the best value for your dollar. Does that mean that you are going to take the lowest bid? Not always, there are a lot of factors in play and you need to look carefully and the bids. One contractor will include things that another will not. Be careful of things not included, they can add up to be staggering amounts of money and heartache.

A good reputable builder will sit down with you, go through the construction process, timelines, and budgets, and answer all the questions you have. If, they don’t make you feel completely comfortable that they have total control of what is going to happen, MOVE ON.

The most important thing to remember about Los Angeles Construction, is that is can be specialized and know the ins and outs of the area and its challenges is important.