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Exterior renovationsHow to Grow Vegetable Plants?
We often imagine that having a vegetable garden on your land requires a green thumb and knowing everything about plants. With a little preparation, you can also have a vegetable garden from which you can pick fresh vegetables all summer!
We will see together what a vegetable plant is, how to get and maintain them, the facilities available as well as the best practices to be able to enjoy a beautiful vegetable garden year after year.
By definition, a vegetable plant is an edible plant that can be grown in an orchard. The definition can be extended a little further to say that it is about what can be grown in an orchard, but which is neither a grain nor a fruit. The first shortened definition welcomes tomatoes in this understanding of a vegetable plant even if it is a fruit, essential to a successful orchard.
Vegetable plants include, among others:
There are many options available to you when it comes to which vegetable plants you want to choose - vary your vegetable garden and most importantly, go according to your taste! Do not over-grow a vegetable or herb that you love a little less at the risk of losing it, or give some of your crops to family and friends!
Before you think about what you want to grow, you need to know how much space will be available for planting your shoots. A planter (also known as a garden container) can be placed directly on the ground or raised. Both types of planters work equally well, but a box placed directly on the ground will prevent the grass under the box from growing, which means you will have to re-green where the box was if you eventually move it.
A ground planter should be seen as a more permanent measure and a raised (or legged) planter is a temporary solution. It is also important to note that a planter on legs is ideal for growing aromatic herbs and lettuce.
For its part, a ground tray will be used instead for vegetables that grow in the ground such as carrots or for plants that must be able to root as deeply as possible such as tomatoes or cucumbers.
The length and width of the planter can be left to your discretion depending on the space available, but the depth of the planter should always be between 30 and 50 centimetres. Consider choosing building materials that resist moisture well for your planter - of course, a planter will come into contact with water often, as you will need to water your garden occasionally.
Also, make sure that the location you choose to put your planters in has six to eight hours of sunlight. Not all plants have the same sunlight needs: learn about the different needs of your vegetable plants to achieve adequate yields.
Keep in mind that some plants like tomatoes generate a lot of foliage during growth, which can create shade on some of the other plants. It will therefore be necessary to cut the foliage of the plants from time to time or simply provide for the shade and plan the location of the plants accordingly.
There may be spaces between the planks of your planter: to prevent loss of soil between these planks, line the inside of the planter with plastic sheeting or a permeable geotextile. This will also increase the water content in your potting soil, as it will not flow through the bottom of the planter when watering.
Fill your bin three-quarters full with potting soil - there are specific formulations for planters and vegetable plants, be sure to get the right potting mix for the right kind of activity! Potting soil for flowers does not contain the same fertilizers as a vegetable garden, and this simple step is crucial, as selecting the wrong soil can jeopardize the success of your vegetable garden.
A vegetable plant remains a living organism that you will take care of all summer and you will maximize your chances of success if the container is well chosen for what you want to grow. A landscaper can also help you plan your land well if you want to maximize the functions and activities of your land.
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People for whom gardening is second nature will brag about growing seedlings themselves. It is true that this is the most economical way to grow your vegetable plants from seed before putting them in the ground when the time comes. A packet of seeds costs less than buying seedlings that have already emerged. However, this step takes a little more organization.
Sowing can be direct or indoor. Direct seeding is a seed that you can directly plant in the soil of your outdoor planter at the period indicated on the bag. On the other hand, squirrels and other rodents sometimes dig up these seeds to eat them before they have time to grow! Plant a little more than planned to compensate for this potential loss and take a look at your soil: if it is dug on the surface, a rodent has surely visited.
Squirrels are known to be very smart: keeping them away is possible, but quite difficult. Solar rodent repellants or garlic and onion spray solutions on flower beds, fences ... the effectiveness of these methods vary and none seems to be unanimous at the moment. Try to see if you are struggling with this problem and if there is absolutely nothing that is working and your direct seeding is keeping rodents in your neighbourhood happy, the alternative will be indoor seedlings.
Indoor seedlings require a bit more preparation, which can be summed up as follows: you need to plant the seed in a small pot (an earthenware pot or even a pierced yogurt container filled with potting soil will do) and it should be stored in a warm place (between 21 and 24 degrees Celsius). When you see that the seed has produced two leaves, you need to transplant it (move it to a bigger pot) being careful not to damage the roots, which are very fragile. Be sure to water the potting soil when it is dry.
Rely on a sowing schedule to know when to start your seeds so they are ready to be planted outdoors as soon as possible. Be proactive if you want to go that way, as some seedlings need to be started in mid-March to be ready in early May or June!
If you want to focus on your planter and your entire vegetable garden for the first year without having to think about preparing seedlings, visit your local nursery, which will offer you a wide variety of vegetable plants that are already ready to go, in addition to being able to give you sound advice if necessary on their optimal growing conditions. If you want to plant a tree on your land, some nurseries sell it as well.
Permaculture is a line of thought that responds to monoculture by proposing a sustainable model of agriculture. It is generally applied to mass commercial productions, but nothing prevents certain principles from being applied well to your vegetable garden.
Different vegetable plants will look for different minerals in the soil: if your planter is not varied enough, plants of the same type will get the same type of nutrients in the soil, which will deplete it in the long run, increasing your need to enrich the soil with fertilizer. Vary your production, as much for your soil as for you, because you will be able to observe how the plants grow in the specific conditions of your vegetable garden! After a few years, you will know exactly what grows best in which location.
Also remember to put some flowers in your vegetable garden, because they attract pollinators like bees, which can then pollinate your garden. Most herbs like cilantro, mint, thyme and basil also attract pollinators. These examples are not the only ones: have fun combining your favourite herbs!
Permaculture is about seeing your vegetable garden as part of a changing ecosystem. It is a production method closer to nature. Rotten vegetables don't have to be thrown away: if you bury them in your vegetable patch before the soil freezes, you may even have seedlings already ready in the ground the following year.
If you are interested in eco-responsible landscaping, read our article on these 5 eco-responsible landscaping projects!
A vegetable garden is a great adventure that allows you to close the gap between yourself and your food, in addition to giving you a great opportunity to enjoy summers to their fullest potential. A planter, floor or raised, gives you the space you need to begin your planning.
Pick the right potting mix and choose how you want to source the seedlings, whether it's growing them yourself indoors or picking them up at the nursery if you are less interested in seedling maintenance. The two methods are not mutually exclusive: you can go to the nursery to look for the seedlings that you cannot grow yourself.
Keep an eye out for sunlight, because not all vegetable plants have the same needs when it comes to sun exposure. Too much sunlight is also harmful to some plants!
Consider applying some permaculture concepts such as observing your vegetable garden and acting on natural changes and valuing renewable solutions as much as possible.
Source for pictures: Flickr, Unsplash & Pixabay
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Last modified 2022-07-25
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SoumissionRenovation.ca • 31 May 2023
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. Come rain or shine, a balcony awning can turn your outdoor space into a wonderful little cocoon. It’s an undeniable value added to your outdoor space and it takes your patio game up to a whole other level. Why settle for merely decorating your deck when you could transform it into a whole new space that expands beyond the confines of your home? Your new outdoor dining area or living room could be the perfect place to gather with friends, but it could also be the perfect living space for the whole family. 7 Advantages of Having a Balcony Awning It’s an exceptionally comfortable space to relax or gather with guests. It personalizes your backyard and contributes to the uniqueness of the space. By shielding you from rain or sunshine, it allows you to fully benefit from the summer months. It’s a value added to your property. It’s a long-term investment: a well-maintained awning can easily last 15 to 20 years, 30 even. It envelops a part of your home with shade, helps keep rooms cooler, and saves you up to 17% on air-conditioning costs by creating zones of shade in certain areas in your home. In an exposed backyard, it adds a sense of privacy to your patio or deck, shielding you from prying eyes. How to Choose a Balcony Awning Source: Canva Before settling for one particular awning, you have to consider several factors, such as: The square footage to cover; Sun exposure; Wind strength. You also need to determine whether or not you want to use it as a shelter when it's raining. Consider whether you want it to be fixed or retractable, so you can enjoy the sun from time to time, or the starry night sky. Since there’s a wide range of models available on the market, it’s best to think over your decision to ensure you’re making the right choice based on your long-term needs. Don't buy one on a whim! Some flashy models may appeal to you at first, but may not meet your long-term needs. Keep in mind that it’s best to choose patterns and colours that blend in with the rest of your house—siding and style—rather than succumbing to a favourite that won’t necessarily, once the spell has worn off, meet your needs down the line! 5 Fan-Favourite Brands of Awnings Based on the space to cover and the property’s architecture, some brands could be a better fit compared to others. Here are a few brands that stand out from the crowd, awning-wise. Mitjavila Made in Quebec, Majavila awnings offer great flexibility and are available in various sizes, both manual and motorized. Also worth noting: they're easy to repair, if necessary. BAT Here’s an Italian best, a meticulously crafted model, with over 500 colours, variable slopes, and motors to suit all needs. The ultimate sun and rain protection. Corradi A high-quality, European-looking, retractable awning. It features a fixed, waterproof structure made of aluminum or exotic wood. While the colour scheme is rather limited, people still steer toward it due to its smartphone feature. Bellon With over 125 years of experience in the industry, Bellon offers its own exclusive brand, developed to meet the needs of residents of Quebec. This results in a wide range of fabrics and flexibility in terms of awning slope. Bellon also offers awning fabric storage, cleaning, and repair services. Stobag Yet another well-known brand, hailing from Switzerland. Available in 300 patterns and colours to give your outdoor space a unique look. A Tailor-Made Awning for Your Home Every year, a lot of people mistakenly choose to invest in a low-end awning, which proves to be just so. Albeit cost-effective at first, it deteriorates rather quickly and offers very few advantages when compared to a custom-made awning. Aside from its superior quality in general, the first advantage of a custom-made awning is that it’s perfectly fitted to your outdoor space to fully meet your various needs. Designed based on the size of your patio, it perfectly blends in to enhance your décor. You also have access to a huge selection of colours and patterns that perfectly match your house. It takes 3 to 4 weeks to design and manufacture a made-to-order awning. By just grabbing one off the shelves, you can install it the same day; however, an awning that’ll last for years surely is worth waiting around for a few weeks. Also, the manufacturer almost always offers installation services. Some models can be installed by the homeowners themselves, but most of the time, it’s best to call in professionals. A poorly installed awning may cause both damage and injury. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! The Different Types of Outdoor Awnings Source: Canva Choose from various models with tinted glass, opaque or clear tops, and UV protection. Enjoy numerous configurations, with or without a valance. Let us guide you through the diverse choices to find your perfect awning. Fixed or permanent awning A fixed awning is permanent, in the sense that its structure remains in place all season, or year-round, depending on the model selected. If the awning is made of canvas, it should be carefully removed before winter and stored in a warm, dry area. Retractable or manual awning A retractable awning is kind of like a wall-mounted sunshade. It's fixed to a building wall and has retractable brackets that allow it to be folded away as required. It provides cover on hot summer days and can be retracted when you're out on the patio, looking to soak up the warmth of the sun at the beginning or end of the summer. It can be manually retracted using a hand crank. In winter, the awning has to be retracted since the freeze could damage it. For added protection, a custom-made cover or case can be purchased to prevent rodents from nesting in it during the cold season. NOTE: The retractable awning can also be freestanding if you’re not inclined on having it affixed to the side of your house. It’s a practical concept if you’re a tenant and aren’t allowed to alter the exterior shell of a structure. Motorized awning (remote-controlled) Investing in a remote-controlled, retractable awning means getting the most out of the summer months. Versatile and ultra-functional, it suits all patios to help shield you from the sun and bad weather. It retracts by means of a motor connected to a wall switch or remote control. Some home-automated awnings can also be controlled via a smart device. This means you can remotely control the awning if unexpected rainfall jeopardizes your patio furniture. WE LOVE the wind and rain sensor that automatically retracts the awning when the wind picks up or rainfall occurs. A range of settings enables the awning to withstand different weather conditions. 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
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 24 May 2023
With the swimming season around the corner, the only thing you’re probably awaiting is taking that first refreshing dip into a nice, clean pool. But first, you have to open it, which isn't a fun thing to do. Fear not, as this article will guide you through the swiftest and simplest method to open your pool! How to Open an Above- or In-Ground Pool Source: Canva Regardless of whether your pool is above- or in-ground, the initial steps for opening it remain basically the same. The key is to ensure you have the appropriate equipment for your specific system. Below, you'll find a list of the materials typically needed to open a pool: Plumber’s tape Pool silicone lubricant Wrench Garden hose Leaf skimmer Cleaner Tongue and groove pliers Pool brush Test kits or strips Safety goggles Gloves Pool Starter Kit A pool starter kit contains the tools and products necessary to prepare your pool for use following the winter months. Generally, it includes: Cleaning and disinfecting products, like chlorine; Water treatment products; And required items such as pipes, filters, and robotic pool cleaners. There’s a wide range of products, readily available at hardware and department stores. Prices range from $15 to $50. Before purchasing, check the volume of litres treated per container. Certain brands offer distinct starter kits tailored to above- or in-ground pools. Keep in mind that opening an in-ground pool generally requires a larger quantity of products compared to opening an above-ground pool. How to Start an Above-Ground Pool Source: Canva To open your above-ground pool properly, you'll need to follow a set of precise steps: Step 1: Start by cleaning it The initial step toward successfully opening your pool is cleaning. Twenty-four hours prior to opening your pool, start by removing any leaves or debris floating on the pool’s winter cover, then remove it. Take this opportunity to thoroughly clean and dry the pool cover before storing it until next winter. Clean the bottom of your pool with a pool brush or pole. You can also pour in a pool degreaser to facilitate the cleaning process. Step 2: Plug in the pool filter and other equipment This next step consists of plugging in your pool’s filter system. Before turning on the filter, make sure it’s correctly fitted. Also, verify that all other equipment (skimmers, nozzles, lighting, pumps and filters) is properly connected and in good condition. Make sure that all connections are firmly secured. Are you looking for experts for your landscaping project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Step 3: Vacuum After plugging in all equipment and ensuring their proper functioning, set the pool filter to “Waste” and clean the bottom of the pool with a pool vacuum. Also, clean the filter’s skimmer basket to maximize debris extraction. For more effective cleaning, run the pool for about 5 hours. Step 4: Analyze pool water To prevent potential skin irritation or diseases, it’s best to analyze and treat the pool water. You can either take a sample of the water to a pool professional or use a DIY water test kit to monitor the water’s total alkalinity, pH, and calcium hardness. In the event of a problem, ask a specialist for the right products. And there you have it! Your pool should be good to go! Now you take that well-deserved first dip. What products should you use first to perform a pool shock treatment? A pool shock treatment is an essential step in purifying your pool's water. It effectively eliminates microbes and algae, restoring the water to a healthy and pristine state. Start by slightly increasing the water level compared to normal, while simultaneously pouring a degreaser straight into the water. Allow it to take effect for a minimum of 24 hours, meanwhile, you can clean the area surrounding your pool. Run the filter system and set it to "Waste" mode. Empty and refit the basket several times to remove any residual dirt. Increase the pool water level once again and backwash your pool. Use the products found in your starter kit and backwash your pool once more. We strongly recommend that you run your pump, uninterrupted, for at least 24 hours to have crystal-clear water. When Is the Right Time to Open an In-Ground Pool? Source: Canva The general recommendation is to open an in-ground pool after the ice melts, typically around mid-April. However, the specific timing may vary based on your geographical location. Note that algae growth typically occurs as the water’s temperature rises. CAA-Quebec recommends opening a pool prior to water temperatures reaching 21°C. Thus, it’s best to open it as soon as possible to mitigate algae growth. If the algae start lining your pool, it will render the cleaning process much more difficult. Moreover, this will help limit the amount of pollen vacuumed by the filter system. Another benefit of opening your pool sooner rather than later is that it'll allow you to look over its general condition and repair any equipment that may have been damaged during the winter months. You'll then be able to enjoy your pool, worry-free, all summer long. Pool Opening Tips Here are a few useful tips to successfully open your pool: If this is your first time opening your pool, it’s best to have the company that installed it perform the work. A pool professional will carry out a complete inspection to spot any potential anomalies before the warranty period expires. Regularly maintain your pool to ensure that it’s in tip-top shape throughout the summer months as it’ll ensure quality water and an extended service life. Remember to change the sand in your filter every 4 years.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 23 Aug 2023
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.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 09 Aug 2023
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.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 19 Jul 2023
Flux-cored arc welding is a well-known method used among DIYers, it rarely requires gas, and appeals to most for its numerous advantages. However, note that it isn’t suitable for all types of work. The Fundamentals of Flux-Cored Arc Welding Source: Canva Flux-cored arc welding (FCAW), also known as dual-shield welding, is a type of welding method that: uses a flux-cored wire and; an electric arc; is gasless and; can be used in windy conditions (self-shielded). Flux-cored arc welding machines are single-phase devices into which a spool is inserted. What’s a flux-cored wire? When using a flux-cored arc welding device, the spooled wire used isn’t solid, unlike the one employed in MCAW (Metal-Cored Arc Welding). Instead, it’s a tubular electrode wire filled with powder. This powder serves as the flux, acting as the bonding agent between the pieces that will be welded together. The flux-cored wire is: Wrapped in a metal sheath (0.8 mm to 3.2 mm wide). Continuously spooled. Fed at a constant speed (up to 3.28 ft [1m] per minute). The flux-cored wire is placed on a spool and passes through a wire feeder that guides it to the welding torch’s nozzle. The faster the wire unwinds, the higher the welding intensity. But that’s not all; to adequately weld using a flux-cored wire, the stick-out is of crucial importance. What’s the stick-out when flux core welding? The stick-out refers to the appropriate length between the contact tip and the piece to be welded. Typically, it’s 0.6 inches to 1 inch (15 to 25 mm) depending on usage, with a maximum tolerance of 0.11 inches (3 mm). Why is that important? Because if the stick-out is too short, the welding wire will end up being too close to the contact tip, resulting in overheating and creating blowholes in the metal piece. On the other hand, if it’s too long, the wire itself overheats, causing an increase in slag, which is the substance that shields the weld. 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. Secondly, while a shielding gas can be added to the welding process, it isn’t mandatory. Welders have the option to save on gas consumption by using a specially formulated aluminum flux-cored wire for welding. Ideal Outdoor Welding Method Flux-cored wire welding is an ideal outdoor welding method used on worksites because it typically doesn’t require an external gas supply. Since there’s no external shielding gas, the wind doesn’t blow it away, making the process more practical and often used on large worksites, such as when constructing bridges. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Why use this welding method? Source: Canva Flux-cored arc welding often competes with 3 other types of welding: Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW); Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW); Submerged Arc Welding (SAW). If one welding method can replace another in numerous circumstances, the question is, why choose flux-cored arc welding? The answer lies in its cost-effectiveness compared to gas welding methods. While some DIYers just want to stick with flux-cored welding, it’s essential to note that this method isn’t always suitable. What can you weld with a flux-cored wire? Source: Canva According to the American Welding Society (AWS), flux-cored arc welding is suitable for the following materials: Carbon steel Stainless steel Low-alloy steel Nickel alloys Cast iron Hardfacing alloys However, certain materials aren’t suitable, including titanium, zirconium, magnesium, and copper alloys. And the list doesn’t end here. The depth of flux-cored arc welding is rather impressive. However, it can cause metal parts and supports to warp or distort, making it unsuitable for thin sheet metal, such as 0.6 mm sheets. Therefore, the bodywork of a vehicle can’t be welded with flux-cored welding machines. Attempting to do so would result in blowholes, distortions, and a shoddy end result. 10 Advantages of Flux-Cored Arc Welding High and variable deposition rate based on the flux-cored wire used. Deposits a larger amount of metal compared to arc welding. Possibility of working in windy conditions. Faster work compared to using TIG or shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) methods. Fewer welding repairs. Welding can be done in all directions since the flux-cored wire is small in size. Better welding penetration than SMAW. Gasless welding is a possibility depending on the flux-cored wire used. Continuous spooling, therefore there’s little time spent on changing the wire. Very good mechanical characteristics.