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Planning a Landscaping Project: What to Know

By: Karine Dutemple

Planning a Landscaping Project: What to Know

By: Karine Dutemple

Exterior renovations Planning a Landscaping Project: What to Know

Have you tried your hand at designing a landscape? No doubt, this is an exciting project to plan out and complete, but the abundance of choices could leave you feeling overwhelmed. What plants are correct for your region and which work together? Will you include accessories like a bench, fountain or birdbath?

Luckily, if you’ve had a hand in your home's interior design, taking a leap with a landscaping project won’t be as daunting as it seems. Planning out a plot follows the same principles that guide an interior setup, with a few modifications of course.

If you’re ready to try your hand at planning out a landscaping project and are curious about the steps, then know you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to offer some important notes when it comes to undertaking this new venture.


The Planning Stages of a Landscaping Project


Source: Canva


1- Determine your needs and wants for your backyard

As mentioned in our introduction, a landscaping project can be daunting at first. An excellent place to start is to determine your landscape needs and wants. What is the most important aspect of your landscaping design? Consider some of the following questions:

  • Are you taking on the project for aesthetic purposes alone?
  • Does your family need a functional yard more than one that’s simply beautiful?
  • Are you looking to incorporate electrical elements, such as a water feature, lights, or even an outdoor kitchen?
  • Do you have pets that need space to run free?

These questions can help you to come a little closer in terms of layout and functionality. Remember, you can create various spaces with different uses as long as you use strategic planning and some hardscaping. Furthermore, we’d suggest doing a sketch of your lawn or backyard in order to get a visual sense of how you intend to lay things out. This doesn’t need to be your final plan, but it'll allow you to make some informed decisions moving forward. 


2-  Understand your backyard


Source: Canva

An important part of designing a landscape is knowing which plants are native to your region, and thus, will flourish in your backyard. Consider your regional climate, the topography of your site as well as the type of soil you’re working with. Most of this information can be found online, and if that doesn’t suffice, we’d suggest taking a trip to your local garden centre and speaking to an employee for a bit of insight into what will and won't grow.

Another note is that your yard will likely have very specific conditions and create a microclimate based on the amount of sunlight and shade it receives. This will be a major consideration when it comes to determining the plants that are able to live on your property. You can think about these microclimates in 4 different categories: full sun, partial shade, shade or deep shade. When you’re drawing up a sketch of the areas you’re going to be taking on, take note of these regions.

Lastly, consider the topography and how water drains on your land. Do bear in mind that the best landscape design will allow water to drain away from your home.


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3- Think about landscaping design ideas

Choosing a theme for your landscape can be helpful when determining where your plants and other items will go. We’d suggest choosing a theme that’s in harmony with the architecture of your home. If you’re thinking about your landscape as an extension of your house, you’ll want to work with cohesive lines, patterns and forms. Are you more interested in a landscape that's neat with tidy geometric shapes? Or, do you prefer softer lines and a natural feel when it comes to your space? 

As mentioned, your yard should be thought of as another room of your home. In the way that the inside of your home has carefully designed rooms, so should your landscape. You can use plants and materials to create different areas. These considerations can move you closer to a concrete landscaping plan. 


4- Hardscape, then softscape


Source: Canva

Before you set out any plants, we’d recommend beginning with hardscaping elements. Hardscaping can include features such as a patio or porch, fencing, walkway or driveway, and so forth. In most cases, these are involved in construction projects and thus, will damage any turf, grass or plants you’ve already laid out. 

By now, it’s likely you've determined which plants will work for your landscape and climate. Plants can be used to clearly define barriers as well as where your landscape ends. Low-growing plants can offer an implied barrier or border, whereas taller plants can be used to clearly define areas. It’s important to mention that when correctly placed, plants and trees can greatly alter the conditions of your site. This will include temperature, light and wind conditions, as well as how noise travels within the space. 

When structuring your plants, consider the various visual landings. The overhead landing will include tall trees or plants. The vertical landing will include the disposition of plants in terms of their distance from one another, as well as the width and height of smaller plants. Lastly, there’s the ground level, and this is for smaller plants which will be grouped together. Regardless of the plants you’re working with, remember to uphold a sense of unity throughout your entire landscape.


5- Start small, but think ahead in terms of your backyard


Source: Canva

If this project still feels overwhelming to you, we’d like to take a moment to mention that part of designing your own landscape is to slowly and carefully develop a plan and have fun while doing so. Don’t spend too much time thinking about how quickly things need to be finished. Take it day by day, a step at a time. You want to pay careful attention to detail and this can only be done when you approach it from a meticulous and balanced perspective.

Of course, you’ll also need to consider the future of your landscape. Specifically, think about how the passage of time may affect the plants. This means, when selecting your plants, consider their growth rate, maintenance requirements and their size at full maturity. It’s important to keep in mind that a plant has the potential to grow bigger or shrink in specific conditions.


If you're looking for more information about landscaping projects, consider our other articles:

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Last modified 2023-05-30

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5 min read 19 Jul 2023

Flux-Cored Arc Welding Techniques and Advantages

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Electric Arc An electric arc is formed between the welding machine’s contact tip and the metal piece (object to be welded). Its purpose is to generate intense heat, melting the piece to be welded and flux-cored wire resulting in the creation of a “molten pool.” The electric arc is generated by a variable direct current, with an intensity ranging from 40 to 700 amps, depending on the following factors: Welding position Size of the metal pieces Size of the flux-cored wire Bonding The higher the amperage, the smoother and more stable the electric arc will be, making it easier to handle and forming a well-defined molten pool. A Gasless Process The term “gasless” for flux-cored arc welding isn’t entirely accurate for two reasons: Firstly, a shielding gas is naturally generated during the welding process. As the flux-cored wire disintegrates and the parts melt, carbon dioxide is produced. This gas forms a shield around the weld during the welding process. 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8 min read 31 May 2023

Elevate Your Outdoor Experience with a Balcony Awning

Are you yearning for the ultimate outdoor experience this summer? Look no further than a patio or balcony awning, a perfect solution that fulfills both your practical requirements and aesthetic desires. By selecting the perfect model, you can revel in its multitude of advantages, basking in shade and protection from the scorching sun during heatwaves, while also reaping the benefits indoors as your AC unit enjoys a well-deserved respite. It's a great way to enhance both backyard space and home comfort. We'll walk you through the different models and the many options available to help you choose the one that suits both your outdoor space and your lifestyle. This summer, let your awning extend beyond your balcony or patio to delight your senses. Why install a balcony awning? Source: Canva Living in a region where summers never seem to stretch out long enough, a balcony awning allows people to spend more time outdoors. 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And, as an added bonus: the retractable awning and patio heater can be connected! Glass awning The fixed or permanent glass awning allows you to benefit from your outdoor space, at all times, no matter the weather. Your patio furniture is always protected and you’ll never have to postpone outdoor gatherings due to bad weather. These are custom-made and ideal for decks, patios, or balconies, and, as an added bonus, said structure allows you to significantly limit the heating value inside your home! Designed to withstand the harshest weather, there's no need to worry, winter or summer. Now that's something to feel good about! Aluminum composite structures guarantee up to 30 years of service life, while 5 mm thick tempered glass is synonymous with peace of mind, come rain or shine. Opt for clear or opaque panels or a combo of both. Last but not least, make sure your structure can withstand the weight of snow and is certified by local engineers. The Different Awning Materials Source: Canva Polycarbonate and aluminum are two quality materials used to manufacture awnings. It’s two really good options. Here’s essential information about each option: Aluminum Pros More resistant and durable than polycarbonate Doesn’t fade Withstands extreme weather conditions, including hurricanes Average service life of 18 years Easy soap-and-water cleaning Higher resale value Cons More expensive than polycarbonate Heavier (requires heavy-duty anchors) Limited colour range, but can be painted More prone to corrosion if exposed to salt water or chemical products Polycarbonate Pros More affordable Withstands the weight of snow Doesn’t deteriorate over time Available in a wide range of colours and finishes Slightly more sheer so it doesn’t obstruct views Lighter, doesn’t require any structural support Easier to install Cons Doesn’t withstand extreme weather conditions as well Made with PVC plastic, which can crack Less cold-resistant Not as UV ray-resistant More high-maintenance Turns yellow or gray if not cleaned with bleach every year

7 min read 23 Aug 2023

Improved Wastewater Treatment Courtesy of a Leaching Bed

When it comes to a septic system, the tank is usually the one thing that comes to mind. Yet, the leaching field, which is out of sight, out of mind… is nonetheless a vital component of this installation. Its proper functioning is primordial, with regard to you and your family and the surrounding community and environment. A leaching bed, or drainage field, is where bacteria and microorganisms found in your septic system will systematically break down waste matter. Should it fail, the entire wastewater treatment system will be affected. We’ll explain the functioning of a leaching bed, as well as what your role is in ensuring its proper working order. The Functionality of a Septic Drain Field Source: Canva On average, Canadians use 329 litres of water a day. Yet residents of the province of Quebec use, on average, 400. There’s no need for great mathematical solving to understand that, if a household has several occupants, the septic system will have to treat a significant amount of wastewater daily. Wastewater will ideally be channelled due to gravity between the septic tank and the pipes. When necessary, it will be directed toward the leaching bed with the use of a pump. Since bacteria require oxygen to treat wastewater, the leaching bed is built in non-water-saturated soil (surface water or phreatic zone), and free of all porous elements (asphalt, concrete, shed, etc.). Wastewater Treatment A leaching bed is an underground network that treats and redirects septic tank wastewater. Wastewater, which is partially treated by the septic tank, is channelled to perforated pipes that are part of the leaching bed with the help of a pump or gravity. The wastewater will then percolate through a bed of gravel, which is a process that’s designed to eliminate pollutants before the water is released into the ground. Decomposition of Contaminants During this last step of the treatment process, microorganisms found in the soil digest and eliminate residual filth (suspended solids, organic chemical products, viruses, bacteria). Their role consists of breaking down the contaminants found so that the wastewater seeping into the soil, mixing with groundwater, is rendered clean. The whole process prevents contaminating the phreatic zone. What’s the standard size of a leaching bed? Source: Canva The size of a leaching bed depends on both the choice of equipment and the property’s requirements (number of persons in the household or number of bedrooms). For big installations, 10-cm wide pipes (4 inches) can be 30 metres long (100 feet), each positioned within 4 inches of each other. The pipes are typically sitting 90 to 120 cm deep (36 to 48 inches), and are laid on a 30-cm thick bed of gravel (12 inches), protected by a layer of backfill. Therefore, a standard leaching bed will require 1,938 square feet of grass-covered land to suit a 3-bedroom residence. While this may seem rather big, and such an amount of space isn’t always readily available, there are options tailored for smaller pieces of land. A modified leaching bed is one of the most commonly employed solutions. Not only is it cheaper, but it’ll make do with 646 square feet of space. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Difference Between a Conventional and Modified Leaching Bed Source: Canva As you’ve probably gathered, a leaching bed solely relies on bacteria and microorganisms found in the septic tank, as well as the soil’s filtration capabilities, to treat wastewater. While bacterial colonies are often subjected to unfavourable conditions caused by chemical products and detergents discharged into the system, the soil’s filtration abilities depend on several factors: soil composition, slope, surface area, depth of phreatic zone, permeability, etc. As such, the water, which is more or less treated, is eventually channelled into groundwater and water streams. Conventional Leaching Bed The design, layout, and size of a leaching bed are contingent on the amount of wastewater to be treated (number of bedrooms in a household), the soil’s capacity to absorb water, and the depth of the phreatic zone. PROS 20- to 35-year service life (35 years in low-sloped, porous soil, and regularly maintained); Roughly $6,000; it’s the cheapest system; No energy use; Aesthetic, solely requires a slight slope; No annual maintenance fees. CONS High risk of clogging; Risk of poor wastewater drainage; Higher risk of soil pollution given the size of the field; The specific land area shouldn’t have a slope exceeding 10 to 30% (based on the chosen treatment system). Modified Leaching Bed Especially sought-after between 1980 and 1990, a septic system with a modified leaching bed is still the most commonly used conventional installation to date. It’s definitely preferred, not only for reasons related to cost and simplified functioning but also because it’s suited to smaller pieces of land. While a conventional leaching bed requires an empty 1,938 square feet of grass-covered land for a 3-bedroom household, the modified leaching bed will provide the same advantages while solely requiring a 646-square-foot plot. Not unlike a conventional septic system, a modified leaching bed also consists of side-by-side absorption trenches and an absorption bed designed to filter pre-treated wastewater. This more compact system has a secondary treatment system—a modified filter—on top of a primary system. PROS More compact than a standard leaching bed; Worthwhile price; No maintenance fees, except to empty the septic tank; Simplified functioning. CONS Has an effective service life of about 15 years, but can see 25 years; The entire absorption surface area has to be excavated and then filled with crushed stone, which means much more significant earthworks. The surface area in question must have a slope of 10% or less. The rock, groundwater, or porous or not soil layer must be at least 1.2 m (48 inches) below ground. Absorption Wells Absorption wells are the recommended solution when the land’s surface area can’t accommodate a leaching bed. Absorption wells, or infiltration wells, don’t require drains or trenches, they can be installed in confined spaces, meaning land with a limited surface area (323 square feet for three bedrooms). The filtration process is done via the wells’ walls. PRO Suitable for small surface area plots (323 square feet for three bedrooms). CONS The ground in question must be twice as porous as what’s needed for the other wastewater treatment systems; Solely three-bedroom or less households can benefit from this option. Regulation Source: Canva Wastewater overflows are hazardous to both human beings and the environment. For that reason, laws have been introduced to ensure that the installations aren’t only adequately built (solely authorized contractors can proceed with a septic system installation) but also properly maintained. As such, septic systems will be deemed viable as long as there’s no evidence of direct environmental pollution or health hazards, as stipulated in Section 20 of the Environment Quality Act: No one may emit, deposit, issue or discharge or allow the emission, deposit, issuance or discharge into the environment of a contaminant in a greater quantity or concentration than that provided for by regulation of the Government. The same prohibition applies to the emission, deposit, issuance or discharge of any contaminant the presence of which in the environment is prohibited by regulation of the Government or is likely to affect the life, health, safety, welfare or comfort of human beings, or to cause damage to or otherwise impair the quality of the soil, vegetation, wildlife or property. Therefore, if a septic system is deemed ineffective, the government may force the homeowner to replace it. Lastly, note that it’s illegal to alter your septic system yourself, or replace it yourself. How much does a septic system cost? Installing a septic system (septic tank, leaching bed, and artisan well) costs between $15,000 and $45,000. To that amount, one can add soil percolation test fees. The overall cost is influenced by several factors, which explains the considerable discrepancies: number of residents in a home; the chosen system, the complexity of installation; the chosen contractor; region where the system will be installed, etc. Maintenance and Compliance When it comes to a septic tank or leaching bed maintenance (emptying the tank), one must budget between $150 and $250. For an inspection meant to confirm the system’s overall compliance, one will spend between $300 and $500.

7 min read 09 Aug 2023

What's There to Know About Fibre-Reinforced Concrete?

Fibre-reinforced concrete was a definite turning point in the construction industry. Designed to offset the brittleness of standard concrete and with a low-tensile strength, fibre-reinforced concrete sets a new record. As a result, some mixtures allow for fewer rebar use on construction sites since this material can withstand tensile forces of 2,300 MPa, compared to standard concrete’s 500 MPa. However, there are various types of fibres, and they don’t all bestow fibre-reinforced concrete with the same characteristics. Fibre-Reinforced Concrete Features Source: Canva Impact resistance Structural reinforcement Fibre orientation Heightened resistance (tensile forces, flexural strength, compression) Improved shock resistance Nonetheless, fibre-reinforced concrete isn’t considered a material in itself. Its characteristics are entirely composition-based. Steel fibre-reinforced concrete doesn’t have the same technical characteristics as that of fibreglass- or plastic fibre-reinforced concrete. This will be further discussed in the last part of the article. Methods of Use Fibre-reinforced concrete can be used everywhere. Most often, it’s shipped in a ready-mix format, which can, depending on its characteristics, eliminate the need for rebar. We’ll delve into the latter with structural concrete. This material can be shipped ready-mixed to construction sites, which leaves the preparation of this type of concrete in expert hands. As a matter of fact, some types of fibre-reinforced concrete are made from an optimal mixture consisting of 1.5% fibres, while others require 3% or more fibres. This will be further detailed in each fibre-specific section of the article, but let’s just start off by saying that high-fibre content concrete isn’t as malleable. Therefore, fibres should be added in moderation. When to Use? Fibre-reinforced concrete can be used for all kinds of work, from foundation work to wall-building, with footing and columns in between. The type of fibre used in its making determines its characteristics, and thus its use. Continue reading to learn more about the different types of fibres providing the ideal features based on the structural building needs. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Why Use Fibre-Reinforced Concrete: Pros and Cons Source: Canva Fibre-reinforced concrete has at least 6 advantages since it’s: Easy to use Ideal for large-scale building sites Lightweight Durable Ductile Adhesive Other advantages could be listed, including its fire resistance. However, those advantages aren’t typically associated with fibre-reinforced concrete, but more with the use of distinct fibres. Therefore—and as we’ll explain in further detail below—fibre-reinforced concrete’s ability to withstand flames is directly linked to the use of polypropylene fibres. Nevertheless, fibre-reinforced concrete still has drawbacks as it’s: More expensive Not as water-resistant Can be less compression-resistant (as seen with plastic fibres) Not as capable of withstanding earthquakes Once again, fibre-reinforced concrete drawbacks are largely determined by the type of fibre used. Types of Fibre-Reinforced Concrete Source: Canva Ultra-high performance UHPC (Ultra High-Performance Concrete) is a type of concrete made using short fibres, meaning fibres that have been designed to reduce cracking and improve fire resistance. These synthetic or organic fibres are added to the concrete mixture, thereby providing increased compression resistance, from 150 to 250 MPa, compared to 30 MPa for regular concrete. Depending on the types of fibres used, fibre-reinforced concrete can completely negate the use of passive rebar. This is seen with structural concrete, which we’ll further detail at the end of this article. Generally speaking, the main characteristics of UHPC are: Low permeability Great mechanical resistance Enhanced strength and ductility Low creep Durability High density It shouldn’t be confused with HPC (High-Performance Concrete), since UHPC is a lot more resistant, as well as a lot drier, more fibre-reinforced, and has increased tensile strength. Shotcrete Sprayed fibre-reinforced concrete can be made with: Steel fibres (20 to 50 kg/m³) Polymer fibres (5 to 9 kg/m³) Said fibres render the mixture with: Superior bond strength Increased shear strength Ductility Less spalling when exposed to intense heat (fire) However, all dosages must undergo testing to ensure the concrete meets the necessary characteristics required to achieve a predetermined structural goal. What type of synthetic fibres can be added? Source: Canva Fibre-reinforced concrete is made using additional fibres of various natures (bamboo, jute fibre, plastic, etc.). However, nowadays, the majority of added fibres used are grouped under synthetic fibres: Fibreglass Polypropylene Carbon Plastics Metals Fibreglass Fibreglass reinforces tensile strength. It limits the need for steel rebar, but also increases the overall strength against: Weakening Flexural stress Tensile forces Impacts Cracking Regarding the last point, fibreglass directly impacts the size of cracking by reducing widths. However, unlike steel fibres, which we’ll cover below, fibreglass doesn’t improve concrete’s compression strength. Polypropylene Shields against chemical and bacterial infestations Improves compression strength Increases flexural strength Polypropylene fibres are used to enhance concrete’s resistance to heat exposure. Using these fibres means exposing concrete to temperatures of 600°C (1112°F) won’t affect its compressive strength. The more polypropylene fibres used in concrete, the better its resistance to flexural stress will be. However, as the fibre content is increased, the more unstable and hard-to-manipulate the mixture will become. As such, polypropylene fibres are used as concrete reinforcers mainly in demanding environments: Parks Roadways Public spaces Beaches Plastic fibre Increases adhesion of PET bonding mixture Increases tensile strength Improves ductility Increases flexural strength Plastic fibres are part of a major environmental concern. With the significant amount of plastic waste generated by our society, a considerable portion could be recycled into this type of fibre-reinforced concrete. In fact, simply adding 1.5% plastic fibres per concrete volume is ample to achieve an optimally reinforced mixture. However, plastic fibre-reinforced concrete does have a major downside: it lowers its compression strength. Therefore, to offset this particular drawback, additives are used, like metakaolin or silica fume. Carbon fibre Increases flexural strength Improves ductility Prevents weakening-induced degradation Strengthens load-bearing capacity Carbon fibres aren’t used independently. They’re used together with polymer concrete to create a type of concrete that’s known as CFRP (Carbon Fibre-Reinforced Polymers). While this type of concrete’s compression strength isn’t improved by carbon fibres, its flexural strength is literally doubled. CFRP is mainly used in environments in which concrete is subjected to harsh weather or pollutants. Structural Structural fibre-reinforced concrete (or fibre-reinforced concrete) is used to improve the mechanical strength of the concrete mixture, and at times can replace standard reinforcement steel. This unique characteristic is made possible due to its composition, which contains two types of fibres: Metallic fibres Macro-synthetic fibres It’s used to build: Foundations Footings Superstructures Columns Beams Slabs Walls When it’s used to completely replace reinforcement steel, fibre-reinforced concrete can speed up building processes, as the following doesn’t have to be done: Cutting rebar Securing rebar Installing shims Metallic Metallic fibres reinforce concrete in 3 distinct ways: Enhance compression strength Improve flexural strength Mitigate cracking The whole is obtained with a mixture consisting of only 3% steel fibres per concrete volume. One may be led to believe that the richer in steel fibres the concrete is, the stronger it is. Although this is true, the more steel fibres it contains, the less malleable it becomes. As such, one has to find the right balance between concrete strength and malleability. How do steel fibres reinforce concrete? Well, that’s rather straightforward. Steel fibres allow concrete to break apart in a ductile fashion, which differs from standard concrete cracking. For example, this steel fibre-reinforced concrete-specific characteristic means that concrete beams are more: Rigid Wear-resistant Shock-resistant Withstand energy absorption Ductile The same concept applies to steel fibre-reinforced concrete slabs. The latter can better withstand loads. However, steel fibres do have limitations. The bond between the fibres and the concrete can vary; it can range from a coefficient of 1.0 to 2.2, thereby doubling it.

4 min read 26 Jul 2023

Everything to Know About MIG/MAG Welding

MIG/MAG welding, also known as gas-shielded arc metal welding, is a widely used welding technique in various industries. In this article, we will delve into the details of this welding process and explore why MIG/MAG welding is such a popular method. MIG/MAG Welding Definition Source: Canva MIG/MAG welding is a type of arc welding that’s also known as GMAW, which stands for Gas Metal Arc Welding. It’s basically a process during which an electric arc is produced between a metal welding wire fed through a torch to a welding piece. The electric power strategically melts both the piece of metal and the tip of the welding wire, creating a molten pool. To ensure the quality of the weld, a gas supply is used to shield the electrical arc from any airborne contaminants (oxygen, nitrogen, moisture) present at the worksite. Fundamentals Two gases are used: Inert gas, for MIG (Metal Inert Gas) Active gas, for MAG (Metal Active Gas) MIG welding is suitable for fusing delicate materials like aluminum or alloys that are sensitive to oxygen and nitrogen. MIG welding employs inert gases such as argon, which is a mixture of argon and helium. As for MAG welding, this method employs oxidants found on the surface of molten pools. The oxidation process is done through the presence of oxygen or carbon dioxide. However, these gases aren’t used in their pure state but mixed with shielding gases. They're active gases. How does MIG/MAG welding work? MIG/MAG welding has three different metal transfer methods. This type of welding uses the following modes: Short circuit (GMAW-S): Direct contact between the welding wire and the molten pool; Pulsed MIG: A droplet forms with each peak of the electrical output; Axial spray: Includes globular transfer (glob by glob), axial spraying (spattering), and a combo of the two. Furthermore, there are four types of welds classified according to their position: Flat weld Horizontal weld Vertical weld Overhead weld Different gas mixtures are available depending on the welding mode used, the type of weld being made, and the materials being worked on. They’re mostly made of argon, which benefits from being denser than air. Therefore, it can shield the molten pool better than helium since the latter is lighter than air. Adding oxygen (O2) or carbon dioxide (CO2) to argon basically yields the same result: Stabilizes the electric arc. Improves the look of the weld. The benefit of oxygen and carbon dioxide is that they don’t need as much force to be expelled from the torch as helium since they’re much denser than air. As for helium, it has a better thermal conductivity compared to argon. Therefore, it ensures better uniformity with the electric arc. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! What’s a MIG/MAG welding machine? Source: Canva A MIG/MAG welding machine essentially houses a transformer that adjusts a high voltage (575 V or 220 V) to a low amperage (20 to 50 amps) and a low voltage (16 V to 40V) to a high amperage (80 to 500 amps). Aside from the transformer’s purpose, a MIG/MAG welding machine also includes a current rectifier, which converts alternating current (AC) into direct current (DC). Why? To ensure the welding arc is stable and reaches the very high heat required for welding. Polarity is also inverted during this welding process. To adjust a welding machine’s current output, the welder can use either of these settings: Amperage Voltage The welding machine’s current output can be set by adjusting the welding wire feed speed, while the voltage can be adjusted directly on the machine. Changes in voltage will directly impact the length of the electrical arc. Some MIG/MAG welding machines also have a slope and inductance setting. The inductance is what controls the speed at which the current reaches amperage and voltage parameters set by the welder. MIG/MAG welding machines that lack a slope control feature come preset from the factory at 2 volts for 100 amps. However, increasing the slope allows for better control over low amperage in a short circuit mode. This mode is essential for two reasons: It won’t cut through thin material. It reduces spattering when starting the arc. Regarding inductance, it serves to prevent overheating or electrode explosions. In certain modes, such as axial spray transfer, it’s essential to have, low inductance settings to ensure proper and controlled metal transfer. Pros and Cons Source: Canva The MIG/MAG welding process has eight advantages: It allows for welding in various positions, including underwater, using submerged arc welding (SAW). Has a continuous electrode wire feed. No length restrictions for electrode wire. Suitable for welding all metals and alloys retailed in stores; Lack of slag; High metal deposition rate, higher than those of SMAW (shielded metal arc welding). The welding speed is very fast, also related to deposition rates. Deep welding penetration can be achieved using axial spray mode. However, this welding process also has a few downsides: The equipment can be complex to set up and relatively expensive. The system is very vulnerable to drafts that disrupt the shielding gas. Generates intense heat and a powerful electric arc.

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