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Renovation tipsHow to Avoid Energy-Related Scams
If there is any certainty in this world, it is that there will always be dishonest people knocking on your door to try to extract money from you that you did not plan to spend.
This stranger who showed up unexpectedly presents themselves as an Energy Star representative...Beware! They're certainly a fraud, willing to do anything to get inside your home.
As we want to prevent anyone from being a victim of this kind of dishonest maneuver, here's everything you need to know about it. Seems like forewarned is forearmed!
If your experience is similar to mine, you will probably be asked if you are the owner of your home the second you open the door in front of you. This already seems suspicious as an entry into the matter! To make it more credible, the individual will be dressed professionally and will present themselves most of the time as a government representative, an employee of Energy Star or an employee of a program such as Rénoclimat or EnerGuide. In some cases, the individual may even claim to be a worthy representative of Natural Resources Canada.
They will have some information on the subject to try to prove their credibility. They will try to convince you to let them in, claiming the need to inspect your windows, your water heater or your heating or air conditioning system.
No matter how you feel about this individual (some might look relatively friendly), remember that no representative from the government, an energy efficiency program or Energy Star will come knocking on your door without an appointment to do so. At no time and under any circumstances should you allow this individual to enter your home.
If it is not wise to let someone you didn't plan to visit inside your home, it's also not advisable to provide information about your property, yourself or your spouse. This includes personal information, such as your date of birth, email address, phone number, personal insurance number or bank information (account and credit card).
For those who might be fooled by a seemingly honest contract, keep in mind that it is very likely that the document on which you sign will have carbon copies underneath that indicate something other than the first page.
This type of fraudulent scheme obviously causes its share of complications, the fraudster having a contract signed by you. Consequently, it will be very difficult to challenge the latter in the absence of both expensive and complex procedures.
The more information you ask for, the more hesitant and uncomfortable your interlocutor will seem to be in the face of your aplomb. Keep in mind that all information provided must be cross-checked, whether it is information about a tempting offer or information about a business or government program. Beware of the credibility of the sources consulted to be well informed and avoid making a decision that you could easily regret!
Specifically, explicitly ask the salesman to provide you with the name and contact information of the company he works for, his full name and the salesman's registration or license. In the event of fraud, you will be able to pass this information on to Natural Resources Canada and your municipality's police department.
If you are experiencing this type of situation, please contact your municipality's police department to let them know about this incident so that appropriate action can be taken. Also, be aware that it is important to notify Natural Resources Canada if any individual comes to your door claiming to be the representative of that organization, Energy Star or EnerGuide.
The recommended procedure is to send an email with the necessary information:
Let's finish by saying that if you have lost money as a result of this misadventure, Natural Resources Canada cannot help you get your money back, as this is a process that needs to be done by contacting the relevant authorities, as mentioned above.
Do you have any questions about door-to-door sales? Contact the Federal, provincial and territorial Consumer Affairs offices.
RenoQuotes.com can help you get quotes for your home renovation project. If you submit your project to us, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will get estimates from trusted professionals.
Last modified 2023-03-07
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SoumissionRenovation.ca • 30 Aug 2023
A concrete circular saw is an efficient and precise tool provided you’re using the right equipment. From the saw to the blade type, here’s how to choose your material to cut concrete like a pro. Why Use a Circular Saw to Cut Concrete? Source: Canva That’s easy because it’s lightweight and easy to handle. A circular saw can slice concrete slabs over a depth of 6.49 inches (165 mm). To do so, such a concrete saw must be fitted with a diamond blade, the sole mineral rated 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, which true to its name, characterizes the hardness of minerals. As such, it’s solid enough to cut concrete at great depths. However, there’s another type of blade, one made with a mineral rated 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale: corundum. Albeit not as hard as diamond, corundum is a hard aluminum oxide. Sold under the name of “abrasive disc,” it’s cheaper and less durable, and its cuts aren’t as precise nor as fast to carry out. To that, it can also be said that the cuts aren’t as deep, since they only hit depths of ¼ to ½ inch. How to Spot a Concrete Circular Saw Source: Canva A concrete circular saw blade is easily recognizable. Unlike a miter saw, which has hard-toothed edges, a concrete circular saw is either smooth or segmented. Entry-level blade models are 7 inches wide and cost a little under $8. A concrete circular saw is often paired with a water line to constantly cool down the blade during its use. If this isn’t the case, you can cool down the zone with the help of a garden hose. What Type of Saw Should Be Used to Cut Concrete? Source: Canva Wet Saw As we’ve already mentioned, concrete circular saws are often paired with a water line to cool down the blade, which means that there’s also a way to dry-cut concrete, as is the case with the power tool we’ll discuss next. The advantages of a wet saw hinge on the following: Expert cut Speed Dustless The device can be equipped with a water reservoir or directly supplied by a garden hose via a connection meant for that very purpose. Power Saw A corded concrete chainsaw is ideal when working in a closed-off environment. In fact, using said tool allows one to bypass diesel exhaust generated by a thermal circular saw. Typically, the dry concrete cutting method is used with this type of device. However, some manufacturers retail circular power saws that are also fitted with a water cooling system. The blade can measure up to 16 inches wide, with 3,200 W of power, much like thermal cutting tools. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Which Blade Is Best Used to Cut a Concrete Wall? Source: Canva Choosing the right blade isn’t as easy as it may seem considering there are differing options available. The blade can be: Continuous Segmented Continuous Blade A continuous saw blade ensures the best cut for fragile materials, such as flooring and roofing tiles. In fact, it prevents a chisel-like effect that could result in the material cracking. Segmented Disc On the other hand, the segmented disc is favoured when working with hard materials like concrete. The segmented blade prevents the disc’s rim from cracking. As such, to effectively slice concrete, a circular saw fitted with a segmented blade is best. Choosing the Right Size: 12, 16, or 14 Inches? As for the width of the blade, it depends on the depth to which the concrete must be cut: 12-inch wide blade: a 4-inch depth (100 mm) 14-inch wide blade: a 5-inch depth (120 mm) 16-inch wide blade: a 6-inch depth (152 mm) How to Cut a Concrete Slab with a Circular Saw Source: Canva Step 1: Measure the width of the slab The width of the slab is key to determining the size of the blade you’ll need to purchase. In any case, to cut concrete, you’ll need a segmented blade. Step 2: Choose a type of circular saw Your device can be: thermal or powered; with dry- or wet-cutting. The tool type very much depends on your needs. For indoor use, it’s best to opt for an electric circular saw to avoid inhaling diesel exhaust generated by the apparatus. If you’re planning on carrying out numerous fast and precise cuts, a circular saw with a wet cooling system is what you need. However, if your cuts can be done outside and aren’t as thorough, a dry-cutting method will do. Why, you ask? Because dry-cutting results in a lot more dust and the blade risks overheating faster. Therefore, this type of cut isn’t meant for indoor spaces or thorough work. Step 3: Mark cutting guidelines Using a ruler, string, or chalk, mark the concrete with your cutting guidelines to ensure the saw’s blade hits the intended spot. Step 4: Set cutting height While the blade’s diameter is either 12-, 14- or 16-inch wide, you can adjust the saw’s cutting height to your liking. To do so, adjust the knob or lever on your device. Step 5: Gear up To cut concrete, not only will you need a circular saw, but you’ll also need the following handy: Safety goggles Face shield Gloves Mask Step 6: Cut the concrete Manually operating a circular saw is pretty straightforward: place dominant hand on the power trigger; hold the front grip with other hand. Holding a circular saw in such a way only serves to hold the power tool firmly in place. Under no circumstances should you push down on the blade when cutting the concrete. The blade’s 3,500 or 4,200 spins/minute will do that. Step 7: Cool down the blade If your circular saw is a wet saw, it cools down while cutting. However, nothing’s stopping you from lifting the blade out of the concrete every 30 seconds to help cool it down. When dry-cutting concrete, the process of cooling down the blade is a must. Otherwise, you risk breaking the blade.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 09 Aug 2023
Concrete panels are durable, cost-effective, and viable options for both indoor and outdoor walls. Their list of attributes doesn’t end here: they're also easy to install, especially aesthetic-looking, thermal insulators, and soundproof. We’ll delve into why and how these panels should be installed. Characteristics of Lightweight Concrete Outdoor Wall Panels Source: Canva Concrete panels are considered lightweight when their density is between 90 to 115 lb/ft³, as opposed to regular concrete’s 140 to 150 lb/ft³. As such, they weigh roughly forty pounds (20 to 30 kilos) apiece and have: low thermal conductivity; high thermal resistance; reduced likelihood of shrinkage; increased ability to withstand rotting. Variations are made using different types of aggregates. With lightweight concrete, it can be: Slate Ash Schist Pumice Clay Perlite Introducing New Aggregates Over the last few years, materials from agricultural waste have made their way into the manufacturing process of lightweight concrete panels, OPS (oil palm shell) concrete being one of them. Furthermore, innovations aren’t curbed yet, as experiments are carried out to manufacture concrete panels sourced from the slag generated by gasification processes and fly ash issued from petrochemical incineration. These products, stemming from an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), are used to produce glass-ceramic, and with lightweight concrete, exhibit compressive strength exceeding the requirements established by the international standards organization ASTM International (formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials). PCSP Also available are PCSPs—precast concrete sandwich panels—which are rightfully named for their 3 layers (concrete - insulation - concrete), and have valuable characteristics: withstand compression load; lightweight; energy efficient; durable, safe, and comfortable. Specifically, it’s a mix of 3 mm expanded polystyrene beads and cement, to achieve a density equalling 9 kN/m³. Why is lightweight concrete cheaper than regular concrete? Simply because regular concrete, being heavier than its lightweight counterpart, requires rebar (structural reinforcements), like framing, steel beams, etc. As such, the total cost of a project will be higher using regular concrete as opposed to lightweight concrete. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! How to Install Fibre Cement Panels Source: Canva Fibre cement panels can just as well be installed inside as outside since they’re fit for roofing. They’re used as a thermal barrier coating, and reinforced with a fibreglass mesh to withstand UV rays. Here’s a 9-step guide for installing fibre cement indoor wall panels: Step 1: Gather materials Here’s everything you need to secure fibre cement wall panels: Low-expansion construction foam Caulking gun Electric drill Hammer Compressor with 16-gauge nailer 1 ¾ inch finishing nails Wood shims Laser level or 4-inch line level Tape measure Grinder or mechanical saw with a diamond blade Step 2: Inspect plywood Once installed, lightweight concrete is just as resilient as plywood. However, if the plywood isn’t properly installed, or isn’t sturdy enough, the lightweight concrete panels will mirror the former’s characteristics. Step 3: Unbox and store panels Upon delivery, your panels will be boxed in protective packaging. To remove the panels from their packaging, lay the panels sideways, vertically on their edge. If laid horizontally, they risk breaking. The same concept applies during transportation. Always transport concrete panels vertically rather than horizontally, to prevent breakage. Step 4: Mark the wall To install concrete panels, always start with the first row, meaning at the bottom of the wall. Make a mark to indicate the wall’s midpoint as well as to indicate the height of the first concrete panel. Based on the height of the concrete panel, you can then set your laser level or use your line level. Step 5: Prepare panels Once you’re certain of where the first concrete panel should be secured (centre fit at the bottom of the wall), you can go ahead and apply the low-expansion construction foam on the back of the panel. You can apply the product in a sinuous-like wave pattern, from top to bottom, over the panel’s entire back surface. Step 6: Wedge the panel Should you not want the panel to sit directly on the floor, especially if the latter isn’t level, you can wedge a wood shim beneath it. Otherwise, you can simply hold it in place for a few seconds until it adheres to the wall. You can then nail them in place using a nail gun. The concrete’s texture will conceal the nails. Step 7: Cut panels accordingly The last panel in each row will most likely need to be cut. To do so, you can use a grinder or mechanical saw fitted with a diamond blade. Step 8: Check level and thickness This is a crucial step. The first row must be completely level, otherwise, the subsequent rows will also be crooked. Once the panels have all been installed, you may notice a discrepancy between one panel to the next. Should this be the case, use a wood shim to adjust the panels accordingly. This will allow you to have a perfectly flat and levelled wall. You can also drive a screw into a panel in question and use it as an anchor point to then pull the concrete panel toward you to adjust it accordingly. Keep in mind that you only have about 5 to 10 minutes to make any necessary adjustments before the adhesive cures. Step 9: Caulk the edges Caulk the panels’ edges with an adhesive, while using a trimming tool to apply the silicone. You can remove any excess product using a putty knife. Lastly, sand the surface of every concrete panel with a fine-grit sandpaper. Doing so will effectively remove any and all fingerprints, as well as accumulated dirt resulting from the installation. Types of Panels Source: Canva Concrete panels have made their way into all construction-related fields: Architecture Interior use Décor Fireplace walls Flooring Architecture Lightweight panels are available in an array of colours and are more often than not the sought-after choice amongst architects. So much so that it resulted in the inception of a new trend: photo-engraved façades. This involves using patterned concrete to depict a grooved image. When it comes to pre-fabricated concrete, the image is moulded and positioned at the bottom of a mould. There are two other techniques: Graphic Concrete Béton picturalⓇ Both methods are distinct. The first method involves using a retarder to delay the concrete’s curing process in certain areas, thereby allowing aggregates to show through. This is achieved using a special membrane with a retarder. On the other hand, the second technique entails digitally printing an image onto a concrete slab. Therefore, concrete panels are the perfect canvas for a new, vector graphic-based architectural art. For Indoor Use Walls aren’t the sole surface to accommodate concrete panels. They’ve permeated every corner of the home: Floors Behind fireplaces Bathrooms etc. They’re just as used in single-family homes as in administrative and commercial buildings. Decorative Concrete Although lightweight concrete panels are designed to withstand loads, they’re, first and foremost, thought of as decorative pieces when used indoors in their ultra-lightweight versions, weighing roughly forty pounds (20 to 30 kilograms). Concrete panels are available in various shades of grey and are particularly valued for instilling modern-looking interior designs. They exude a sophisticated ambience that combines elegance and charm. For Fireplace Walls If you’re looking for fireplace wall cladding, fibre cement panels are perfect for that, given that they can be positioned around and behind fireplaces. Panels are retailed as 4-, 8-, or 10-feet high boards, with thicknesses ranging from ¼ to ½ inches, as provided by manufacturers. As Flooring Concrete panels can be glued onto subflooring, whether the latter is made of plywood or OSB. Concrete panels and subfloors are adhered together by mortar or using an adhesive. When proceeding with installation, avoid overlapping the panels’ joints with those of the subfloor.
N/A • 27 Sep 2023
Setting up a workout space in your home is a great way to maintain your fitness and wellness goals. Yet, the benefits aren’t limited to physical fitness; physical exercise also helps develop self-control. There are several advantages to having a dedicated workout space at home: Time-saving (you don’t need to factor in travel time); Cost-effective (gym memberships aren’t free); Comfort; using your own equipment in the comfort of your home can be very appealing; Convenience; you can work out whenever you want, whether at midnight or during peak hours. Pro Tips for Setting Up a Home Workout Space Source: Canva We reached out to Samuel Oseas Escobar, a personal trainer and kinesiologist, for advice on properly setting up a home fitness corner. He’s the founder of Resilience physique and a bodybuilding medalist. Oseas Escobar strongly emphasizes that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to work out at home. Your body is your most important piece of equipment. “Not having the budget for it is just not an excuse,” he said. “There’s a plethora of functional exercises and worthwhile online resources that solely require your body weight.” As long as your body is healthy, you can work out. The possibilities for setting up a home gym are endless, so first, establish a budget. Budget-friendly home workouts? We got you! If you’re working with a limited budget but are still looking to buy some type of workout gear, Oseas Escobar suggests a few must-haves for a little over the hundred-dollar threshold. Surface Area Once you’ve established your budget, then consider the square footage needed. You’ll need to move comfortably, both lying down and standing up. If need be, move furniture aside to avoid bad falls and injuring yourself. “The area in which we work out has to be functional and can’t limit our movements,” the personal trainer explained. Starter Kit When asking, “Do I need rubber flooring?” Oseas Escobar simply said no. Not if you’re looking just to keep fit. According to him, typical gym rubber flooring ends up being rather expensive. Instead, he suggests buying a yoga mat and/or padded floor mats. Free weights To get into shape, the fitness expert suggested equipping yourself with 5- and 10-pound free weights, which retail for about $1.50 a pound. Working with free weights allows you to build muscle easily. It also can be used to correct muscular imbalance because, with the help of a dumbbell, you can strengthen a weaker bicep, for example. Free weights allow you to target a specific muscle or muscle group. Resistance exercise bands Resistance exercise bands are made from robust rubber, giving them a unique sort of resistance. When stretched, your body weight or free weights offer the same type of resistance throughout the movement, whereas exercise bands become increasingly resistant when stretched. With exercise bands, you can work out differently. You can work on your lower and upper body. You can also use it solely when warming up or stretching out at the end of your workout session. Swiss balls Swiss balls (exercise balls) allow you to work your stabilizer muscles (abdominal and lumbar). Unbeknownst to you, you’re strengthening your deep muscles and those around your spine. By strengthening your abdominal muscles in this way, as well as your deep muscles, you’re improving your athletic performance. The force transfer between different body parts becomes much easier, while the strength built with stabilizer muscles allows you to move more efficiently. Swiss balls aren’t too expensive—you can buy one for about $30. If you’ve been diagnosed with a musculoskeletal injury, stabilization exercises (dead bug or wall squats) will help with muscle strengthening and rehabilitation. Vibe The environment in which we exercise can also influence our motivation and determination. So why not get all the necessary elements to create the ideal workout space? Think about setting up your workout corner in a bright and luminous area. Ideally, your body can absorb a little vitamin D while exercising in a room with windows. You can also add a big mirror. It has a dual function: it’ll make the room look bigger and ensure that you maintain the proper posture, which is the goal. For example, exercising with free weights requires the proper technique and posture to prevent injuries. By looking at yourself in the mirror, you’ll have greater self-awareness and are more likely to correct your movements and posture. Moreover, seeing your body in motion and your muscles contracting during physical activity helps with personal motivation! Consider leaving a window open, even during winter, to ensure the space is properly aired. You can also improve air quality by adding a few plants. The most sought-after plants for air purifying purposes are peace lilies, common ivy, spider plants, devil’s ivy, and snake plants, just to name a few. If you’re not a fan of using headphones while working out, get yourself a little Bluetooth speaker to still listen to upbeat music. Are you looking for experts for your home renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! What if money is no object? Source: Canva As mentioned earlier, there are endless ways to set up a home fitness corner. But, just like we did with a more limited budget, you still have to establish some budgetary constraints. This time around, let’s say you have a budget of around $10,000 to set up and furnish your home gym. What should you be considering for a home workout space? Once again, Samuel Oseas Escobar came to the rescue and answered our questions. Cardio When thinking about getting into shape, he mentioned how important it is to consider one’s cardiovascular health. Starting out your exercise routine with 10 to 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise is a great way to jumpstart your workout. You don’t need to spend an hour working out intensely using the equipment below. Not only can simply doing a few minutes before and after your workout often suffice, but you can also—and it might be even preferable—turn to low-intensity exercises on a treadmill or stationary bike and maintain the physical effort over a longer period of time. Treadmill (must-have) The cost of a treadmill varies, but the expert we consulted highly recommends investing around $1,500 for a machine. Check out the Horizon 7.0 treadmill on The Fitness Factory website. The model is foldable with incline settings. Rowing machine The advantage of a rowing machine is that it allows you to warm up and/or do a full-body workout. This piece of equipment works out the bottom half of the body just as much as the upper half, as well as the midsection. Therefore, it’s a great way to start your workout. There are numerous different rowing machine models, like a waterrower. The latter simulates real-life water resistance. Squat rack A squat rack is another piece of equipment to consider if your budget allows it. This device has the added bonus of being extremely versatile. Squat racks are used to perform several different exercises paired with a straightforward weightlifting apparatus and bench. Think of squats, lunges, and bench presses. Using this equipment, you can work out all muscle groups. 45-pound Olympic bar An Olympic bar is indispensable to a squat rack. Those who are further along in their fitness journey, and are a little more experienced, can use this piece of equipment for muscular hypertrophy, stamina, and strength exercises. Bench A bench that can be fully inclined or declined during various routine workouts means you can slightly change the exercise and progress along your journey. Deadlift platform A deadlift platform is a piece of equipment that can very much turn people off exercise altogether, and it’s understandable. It’s very demanding, muscle-wise. Why put yourself through that? Because weightlifting is one of the very rare exercises that allows you to gain muscle strength efficiently and swiftly. Unlike many exercises that don’t necessarily target specific muscular zones, the benefit of adding deadlifts to your workout routine means training different muscular zones simultaneously. This creates tension from your quads to your forearms. Such a difficult motion puts significant stress on the body, which, in turn, must quickly adapt to this new physical strain. Few exercises yield quick progress in terms of strength and muscle mass. Flooring Source: Canva Having shock absorption flooring will make your workout sessions much more pleasant. Carefully consider the type of flooring or mats you’d like installed to protect your current flooring, body, and equipment adequately. The kinesiologist and trainer we consulted recommended rubber horse stall mats. According to him, they’re quite affordable and the best type of flooring available for home gyms. There’s also another range of foam floor mats that are budget-friendly too. Elliptical machine Not unlike a rowing machine, the elliptical allows for a full-body workout. It helps burn calories by exercising both the upper and lower parts of the body. Free weights and kettlebell set As for these, Oseas Escobar suggested getting 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-pound, up to 50-pound free weights. Kettlebell exercises are more intensive and dynamic. Such workouts can allow you to develop both your muscles and good cardiovascular health. Mats Even if you cover your workout space in a specific gym-appropriate flooring, you’ll still need to use floor mats during floor exercises. Opt for a quality yoga mat or a thick foam floor mat. Functional trainer (pulley system) This weightlifting apparatus is great because its resistance can be adjusted accordingly. It also allows you to work different muscle groups, like triceps, pectoral muscles, dorsal muscles, etc. It opens the door to countless possibilities. Sauna Is it a luxury or not? If you think you can afford it, why not go for it? Different indoor saunas retail for anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000 and can be plugged into a 120-220-V outlet. Time spent in a sauna post-workout helps blood flow. Doing so helps heal damaged muscles from your body's physical strain while exercising. A faster recovery period means you can resume your workout routine as you normally would. Muscle roller Speaking of recovery, the primary use of a muscle roller is to relax muscles. The foam roller decontracts muscles to reduce muscle tension or stress. This relaxing sensation is perfect for post-workout recovery. It can also be used before a workout, given that the roller stimulates blood flow, which prepares the muscles for physical strain. At-Home Workout Routine with a Personal Trainer and/or Kinesiologist Source: Canva A non-negotiable advantage of working in a gym is that you’re surrounded by health-conscious enthusiasts, people who are both motivated and determined. And there’s nothing more contagious than another person’s motivation! For at-home workouts, you have to be disciplined. It’s not always easy to get through it alone. That’s why a lot of personal trainers like Samuel Oseas Escobar offer personalized training programs tailored to your physical condition, your experience level, and your equipment. Therefore, a personalized training program and a remote follow-up can benefit you. It’s pretty straightforward: Being accountable to someone else equals more motivation. Depending on the number of follow-ups you have scheduled with a professional trainer, it can cost between $200 to $300 to get a custom workout routine tailored to your goals. Also, having a routine allows you to focus during your workouts, whether at the gym or home. It can also boost confidence, building your self-esteem, not only muscle tone.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 30 Aug 2023
Why choose timber formwork at the height of steel formwork? Simply because timber has three undeniable advantages: it’s cheap, effective, and safe. If you’re not all too familiar with timber formwork, here’s everything you need to know about this material that guarantees well-built and durable structures. What’s timber beam formwork? Source: Canva Formwork is a structure used to support and shape freshly poured concrete. Its primary purpose is to ensure the weight of the concrete is evenly distributed through the formwork’s grid pattern to the foundation. What can you make with timber formwork? With timber formwork, you can make: Concrete beams Slabs Foundations What’s formwork made of? Depending on the work being done, timber formwork can be made of: Raw lumber boards Plywood Stringers Timber beams Strapping Rafters Structural bracing All these wooden components can be reused multiple times, and have the advantage of being built directly on-site. Formwork Characteristics Timber formwork has the following characteristics: Designed for disassembly Can be reused (5 to 10 times) Waterproof Durable Stable The formwork components are typically connected to one another with nails, which prevents the concrete from vibrating from the outside from the structure’s lack of stability. However, hybrid–timber (wood and steel) constructions can also be built. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Techniques Used to Build Timber Formwork Source: Canva The timber formwork building method hinges on three factors: Under-construction unit’s framework Structure’s location Materials and tools available Regardless of the circumstances, the formwork must be durable and watertight. There are three steps to building a timber formwork atop a standard structure (slab, foundation, wall, etc.). See below. Step 1. Choose boards As you’ll come to know later on regarding the current timber formwork standards, the boards used must be at least 1.5 inches (38 mm) thick. This factor ensures the formwork boards are sturdy while preventing warping (or deformation). Lengthwise, the boards used can measure up to 5 m (16 ft). Using plywood may be a better option compared to lumber since its greater dimensions and smooth surface limit the amount of finishing work required. Furthermore, plywood is strong enough to withstand the weight of concrete. Step 2. Outline area Before installing the boards, outline the perimeter of the to-be-built formwork with a string. Nail or screw the formwork boards together. For projects with a relatively low amount of pressure (concrete slab, for example), the boards can be reinforced with pegs at regular intervals. However, for more ambitious projects, like building walls, for example, adding structural bracing is a must. This will prevent the structure from warping or collapsing. Step 3. Prep for strike-off This might seem hasty, but you should prepare to strip the formwork prior to pouring the concrete. How so? Apply a release oil on the interior surfaces of your formwork. Now the structure is concrete-ready! For more technical concrete formwork, like those needed to build staircases or beams, it’s best to use precast concrete forms or permanent shuttering. The latter is also precast with concrete. Which wood species should you use for timber formwork? Source: Canva In Quebec, the three most used wood species to build formwork are: Norway spruce Fir Douglas fir They’re favoured by construction industry professionals because they’re cost-effective and have the following characteristics: Adequate load-bearing capacity Durability Decent mechanical and physical properties These factors make timber formwork a material that has the capacity to withstand tractive, compressive, and bending forces. It renders the worksite safe for labourers, preventing the formwork from collapsing from the weight of the concrete. How thick should formwork boards be? Source: Canva The thickness of the formwork boards depends on the structural analysis that was carried out for the construction project. This means that the required board thickness is entirely dependent on the lumber's concrete load-bearing capacity. However, to make it easier during the course of a standard project (house foundation, slab, etc.), you can follow the guidelines issued by the Government of Quebec, with specific regulations for: Lumber Plywood Nails Lumber Thickness Formwork lumber must be: at least 1.5 inches (38 mm) thick; S4S (faces were surfaced and edges ripped); dry or green dimensional lumber and; green for structural bracing. The National Lumber Grades Authority (NLGA) controls lumber standards. Whatever the species may be, all lumber is evaluated based on the same criteria and given a grade stamp. What matters is that the stamp corresponds to the specific characteristics indicated on the formwork blueprint. Stamps indicate: Grading agency Wood species Grade Dry or green lumber In cases where the chosen lumber has already been used, examine it to make sure it isn’t: Rotten Insect-infested Damaged by chemical products If you detect any of the above-mentioned, don’t build formwork with the affected lumber prior to it being inspected by a member of the NLGA or an NLGA-affiliated grading agency. Plywood Thickness It must comply with CSA 0121-M1978, which mandates: at least 7 plies; 0.66 inches (17 mm) in thickness and; issued from Douglas firs. What type of nails should you use? Believe it or not, nails also have their specifications since they must withstand crosswise strain. Their characteristics largely depend on: Surface Diameter Penetration depth Wood density or moisture For maximum hold, a nail has to be hammered into a dry and hard surface rather than a green and softwood board. Also, it must be hammered in at least halfway. All nail-related characteristics are detailed in Table 45 of the CSA standard CAN3-086-M84. How to Build Circular Formwork Source: Canva Typically, the timber boards used for circular formwork have to be bent. In all sincerity, flexible plywood can’t be used as is. Why, you ask? Because this specific type of plywood only has three plies, instead of the 7 required by the current standards established for formwork. The simplest solution is to go through a carpenter who can build the formwork with the required thickness in whatever shape you want. However, there’s another, easier way to proceed than with bent wood. This method consists of building traditional formwork, but the inside facing surfaces have the desired curvature made possible using polystyrene. Therefore, the concrete poured into the formwork will take on the desired shape. You can even build an arched-shaped formwork using this technique.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 30 Aug 2023
Cellular concrete was invented in Germany during the latter part of the 19th century. Albeit it isn’t ground-breaking technology, it’s still considered innovative as it has contributed to building extremely energy-efficient, modern-day single-detached homes. Come along as we delve further into detail regarding this material, with concrete-like qualities, that’s striving to find common ground on Quebec-based worksites. What is cellular concrete? Source: Canva Cellular concrete, which is also branded as aerated concrete, lightweight concrete, or foam concrete, is a type of concrete that isn’t formulated with aggregates but to which millions of air voids are added. Once hardened, the mixture takes on the shape of closed microcells to prevent capillary rises. Cellular concrete boasts numerous advantages, giving rise to its appeal, not only in terms of residential construction but also in jumpstarting large-scale projects. It’s suitable for both interior and exterior use to build walls, partitions, ceilings, low retaining walls, lintels, beams, etc. How is cellular concrete formulated? Cellular concrete is a meticulously formulated material that includes closed concrete microcells, set apart by thin walls preventing capillary rises. While the amount of each ingredient may vary, the composition remains the same. Sand (44-65%), lime (10-15%), and cement (3-20%) are mixed with water (41%) to make a paste that will expand as a result of the added aluminum paste or powder (0.6%). The voids created as a result of trapped air—hence the term cellular—significantly heighten the volume. After moulding and heating the paste at 180°C, it solidifies into blocks. These blocks consist of 80% trapped inert air, with the remaining 20% comprising solid matter. Who would’ve guessed that we’d be building structures made up of 80% air voids? Soundproofing Properties Cellular concrete is valued for the soundproofing properties in its making. Therefore, it can be used as an insulating base layer beneath a structural slab, relacing expanded polystyrene panels. Phonic insulation increases based on the mass. While using thinner cellular concrete blocks isn’t optimal, soundproofing insulation can be easily incorporated. How thick is cellular concrete? Cellular concrete comes in block, tile, or panel form, with widths ranging from 5 to 30 mm. However, what’s more surprising is its weight. The density of cellular concrete oscillates between 1,100 and 2,000 kg/m3 (that of standard concrete is roughly 2,300 kg/m3). For comparison’s sake, it’s four times lighter than water. If you were to throw a cellular concrete block into water…it would float! Manufacturing Process of Cellular Concrete Making cellular concrete is done according to the following four steps: Prepping, dosing, and mixing the previously mentioned materials. Preparing the moulds, then pouring the paste, letting it expand and harden. Cutting it with a steel wire Curing it, so inserting the material in an autoclave for 10 to 12 hours, at a temperature of 180 degrees Celcius. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! What are the pros and cons of cellular concrete? Cellular concrete has amazing characteristics, making it an exceptional material. PROS Source: Canva Excellent thermal insulator Cellular concrete, with its million little stable air voids, has impressive insulating capabilities. With it, indoor temperatures can be controlled for higher comfort levels and definite air conditioning and heating savings are achieved. From a global warming perspective, it will be especially efficient during summertime, mitigating sudden spikes in temperature. A wall made with 20 cm-thick cellular concrete blocks, with a 10 cm insulator, has a higher thermal performance than an equally thick, standard-issued masonry wall. While compelling, even this thermal efficiency isn’t enough when confronted with the very cold temperatures that Nordic countries experience. Lightweight Cellular concrete is surprisingly lightweight and weighs twice as less as other, similar materials, which reduces transportation costs and the duration of installation. Quick assembly Since it’s lightweight, it’s easy to work, cut, and assemble. According to experts, this would mean that it requires 30% less time to build a structure (compared to traditional masonry constructions). Cost-effective As above-mentioned, using cellular concrete means reducing construction costs. Reduces carbon footprint Cellular concrete is mainly composed of natural and recyclable materials, which makes it an overall eco-friendly product. Overall, the manufacturing process of cellular concrete solely requires small amounts of natural resources and fossil fuels, meaning it’s non-pollutant. And, 90% of the amount of residual waste can be reused. In a nutshell, its production requires little energy and the water can be reused. Durable Unlike other materials with limited service lives, cellular concrete is as durable as a rock; it doesn’t deteriorate over time. Great soundproofing Sound bounces off cellular concrete, and reverts back to where it originates. A small part of the sound will also be absorbed by the concrete, which means that, overall, noise pollution inside is kept to a minimum. Versatile Cellular concrete is easy to make and is retailed in various forms. Beyond blocks and panels, you can obtain custom-made shapes (arches, pyramids, angles, etc.). This makes unique constructions a possibility. Fireproof Cellular concrete is both non-flammable and non-combustible, which makes building fireproof structures possible. On the flammability rating scale, it’s A1-classified with a 1,200°C melting point. If exposed to intense heat, the material won’t explode or crack. Due to its low thermal conductivity, it’s not only ideal for building single-detached homes, but also for industrial, agricultural, and administrative buildings. Waterproof Since cellular concrete slows down water absorption, it can also regulate moisture levels inside the dwelling for greater comfort. Additionally, it limits thermal bridges since it doesn’t have any openings susceptible to air seepage. This contributes to better thermal insulation and also reduces energy costs. Rot-resistant Cellular concrete is a porous material, but unlike other materials, it’s airtight and doesn’t allow water vapour to seep through buildings. This minimizes the risks of being faced with a mould or fungi problem. Withstands compressive forces and reduces dead weight The more dense the material, the more resistant it’ll be. By using a material that’s as lightweight as cellular concrete to build the load-bearing structure of a building, the building’s height can be increased as well as the number of storeys. Buildings can also be built on smaller footings, with fewer pilings or smaller pile caps, requiring fewer rebar. This translates into lower construction costs and more space. Self-levelling Cellular concrete is lightweight and naturally self-levelling or self-consolidating. It can fill in even the smallest of cavities. CONS Source: Canva Fragile Cellular concrete is nonetheless fragile and, unfortunately crumbly, which makes its installation process delicate. To prevent degradation, material-specific anchors or sealant must be used. Cellular concrete is also more likely to crack than other materials. A health hazard? The dust created when cutting cellular concrete contains health-hazardous particles. It’s thus recommended to wear a mask to shield yourself. Furthermore, while the related studies are contradictory, cellular concrete may cause cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. Eco-friendly, but… Its production requires the use of non-renewable raw materials and its manufacturing process generates CO2 emissions. Limited coating options Cellular concrete can only be coated with a limited amount of products and material-specific paint. What type of exterior plaster can be used? To safeguard cellular concrete, since it’s a crumbly material that’s likely to crack, it does require a coat of exterior plaster (a plaster compound for rough surfaces like cellular concrete). Once topped in a plaster compound, cellular concrete can be coated with paint, tiles, etc. The surface must be completely dry prior to applying the paint to prevent any surface adherence issues or cracking. Opt for a moisture-resistant and weatherproof paint. How to Cut Cellular Concrete Blocks Source: Canva Given its composition, cellular concrete is easy to cut and doesn’t require any particular tools. A hand saw will work just fine, but remember to wear a mask to protect yourself from health-hazardous dust. Tools to Use Tungsten carbide-tipped hand saws can cut 7 to 15 cm thick tiles, or 20 to 50 cm thick blocks. An alligator saw—a handheld electric saw with a carbide blade—can cut tiles and blocks. A grinder with a 230 diamond blade can cut through, at most, 9 cm thick tiles. How should you go about it? To mark cellular concrete with a cut guideline Lay flat the block or tile. Measure the required length and mark the cellular concrete with a guideline. Extend the guideline over the entire surface of the tile or block using a large carpenter square. To position the material to cut on a support Position the support and item to be cut in alignment with where the intended cut will be. To cut Pile blocks or tiles atop each other to create a makeshift support. Place the item to be cut cantilever-like on the support, based on where the intended cut will be made. Start cutting at the opposite end, meaning the back side of the cellular concrete item. Using a saw, angle the blade downward 45 degrees, then cut through to the underside. Then, reduce the angle so that your cut is shallower yet longer, creating a raised guideline over the original marking. Once the tip of the saw reaches the front edge of the item, angle your blade downward 45 degrees to finish the cut. Can you build a house with this type of concrete in Canada? Source: Canva Cellular concrete is increasingly sought-after worldwide. However, the National Building Code of Canada renders its use a little more complex. It’s best to inquire prior to using it as intended. Right now, cellular concrete has a relatively low MPa compressive strength rendering it non-compliant with the minimum standards required for standard concrete in all things foundation, ground-level slabs, and structural elements with rebar. Also, note that an 8-inch thick (20 cm) cellular concrete wall isn’t especially energy-efficient in Canada since it only allows for an R-8 insulation value, while the minimum requirement is R-24. Despite that, cellular concrete can make some genuinely beautiful structures, here and elsewhere. You just have to figure out which ones.