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Carpenter Bee’s Bugging you?

By Michele Colopy, Program Director, Pollinator Stewardship Council

If carpenter bees are chewing into your deck or house trim, you can deter them in the following ways:

Cover or fill carpenter bee holes

This year, insert some steel wool in the current holes in the deck or house trim, fill in the hole with wood putty, and paint it to match the house or deck. The carpenteer bees that emerged in the spring from those holes will return to that site to lay new eggs. Filling the holes will make your home less attractive.

Give carpenter bees a bee house

Purchase or make a carpenter bee house and hang it near where the bees are flying or trying to make a nest. Let the bees fill up the tubes or holes in the bee house.

At the end of November, move that native bee house to the far end of your property, posting it to a fence or tree. When the carpenter bees emerge next year that will be the home they return to.

Bee House

The difference between bumble bees and carpenter bees

Bumble bees are often confused for carpenter bees due to their similar appearance.

Carpenter bees are mostly lacking hair on their shiny abdomen. Often, carpenter bees fly fast and erratically. Bumble bees fly slower, and “bumble” along due to a shorter wingspan.

Bumble bees tend to make a nest in the ground, often in former chipmunk or mouse burrows. Native bees will lay their eggs, provide them with food, and many of those eggs will emerge next spring to pollinate plants. Carpenter bees lay their eggs in a tunnel they chew into dry wood.

carpenter-bees-vs-bumblebees

Discourage bees from making your home their home

Always repair, seal, or fill any holes in your deck or exterior parts of your home. This will deter rodents and insects, especially bees, from nesting or entering and causing damage to your deck or home. All critters are opportunists. And carpenter bees will take advantage of any available hole in wood.

Resources on native bees

You can use the free pollination services of native bees by providing them a place to live that does not damage your home.

Bee pictures from the Maryland Dept. of Natural Resourcesdnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/habitat/wabees.aspx

What to know about concrete curing times and when you can build on your slab.

You may rightly consider concrete to be one of the most durable and attractive construction materials around, but did you know that everything you do after pouring has just as much impact on its strength as the mixing process? In fact, the chemical reaction between cement and water that binds sand and gravel together to make concrete takes nearly 28 days to fully complete. During this process, which is known as hydration, you want to keep moisture in the concrete. Otherwise, water evaporating too quickly from the surface—which can happen easily outdoors and in direct sun—will weaken the finished product with stresses and cracking.

Controlling the moisture content and the temperature of the new concrete for the first several days through curing take top priority. By giving concrete mix extra attention during this period rather than walking away as soon as it’s poured, you can increase the structural integrity of the concrete and make it more resistant to future cracking. For the best results, check out our list of best (and worst) concrete-curing practices before you tackle your next project.

DO spray new concrete with water.

One of the most common methods for curing concrete is to hose it down frequently with water—five to 10 times per day, or as often as you can—for the first seven days. Known as “moist curing,” this allows the moisture in the concrete to evaporate slowly. Moist-cured concrete can be up to 50 percent stronger than concrete that was cured without being dampened! Spraying is not recommended for concrete poured during cold weather, however; for pours in chilly weather, see “Don’t Let Concrete Get Too Cold,” below.

DO cover new concrete.

When you don’t have time to revisit your concrete with a hose as many times as necessary for true moist curing, another option is to use a cover that can trap and slow the evaporation of the moisture in the mix. Either polyethylene sheeting that’s at least 4mm thick or a concrete curing insulating blanket—both available from DIY stores—are good for this task. Wet the concrete thoroughly, and then cover it with the sheeting of your choice, using bricks, rocks, or other heavy items to hold it in place. Remove the sheeting or blanket daily, wet the concrete again, re-cover it, and repeat for seven days. This technique can also be used for upright concrete columns and walls by wetting them down and wrapping them with a curing blanket or plastic sheeting.

DO pond cure concrete slabs.

Pond curing is another great way to cure concrete, and the process is just as it sounds: You form temporary berms around a new concrete slab, and then flood the area inside them with one foot of water. Three days of pond curing does the work of seven days of moist curing, and without daily attention—just be sure the water level remains above the concrete slab. If it drops, you’ll need to refill a little. This technique isn’t for everyone, though, because it takes quite a bit of soil to form berms around a big concrete slab. Large-scale builders may use this method to speed up the construction process when pouring foundation slabs, for example, in order to get on to framing the structure.

DO make the process easier by applying a curing compound.

If other methods are not feasible, there’s a simpler solution yet: curing compounds. Available from DIY stores and ready-mix concrete companies, these contain soluble emulsions that form a protective film when sprayed directly onto the surface of newly poured concrete slabs or walls. Ultimately, the film provides a barrier or film to prevent water from evaporating, allowing it to cure at a consistent rate. Some curing compounds are designed to disintegrate completely after a couple of weeks, while others should be removed by scrubbing after the curing process is complete. Still others, such as Quikrete Acrylic Concrete Cure & Seal, penetrate the surface of the concrete, becoming a permanent sealer that waterproofs the concrete to keep it looking freshly poured. Read the manufacturer’s labels carefully before choosing a curing compound to ensure that it meets your specific needs.

DON’T skip control joints in concrete slabs.

The goal of all concrete installation is to produce a high-quality product that resists cracking. While curing concrete will go a long way toward strengthening the finished project, many concrete slabs will crack anyway—despite all precautions—due to concrete shrinkage as water is used up in the hydration process as well as temperature fluctuations. To preserve the beauty of the slab in the face of these challenges, do-it-yourselfers can place control joints at predetermined locations to guide the inevitable cracks. These joints should be cut in a quarter of the depth of the concrete slab during the very beginning of the curing process, within 24 hours of the initial pour. Using a metal jointing tool, the control joints can be easily and smoothly cut into the concrete surface as the appropriate distances in the slab.

Determine the maximum spacing between joints (in feet) by multiplying the planned concrete thickness (in inches) by 2.5. For example, if you’re creating a sidewalk that is 4 inches deep, you’d multiply 4 by 2.5 to get a distance of 10 feet between joints. Feel free to place them closer together for added crack protection. On a larger square slab, like a patio, you’ll want to consider breaking the concrete with joints that are perpendicular, too—down as well as across. Then, if your slab patio, driveway, or sidewalk cracks, it will most likely do so along a precut joint and can, therefore, go virtually unnoticed.

Dos and Don'ts for Curing Concrete

Photo: doitbest.com

DON’T let new concrete get too cold.

The best time to pour concrete is when temperatures are expected to remain above 50 degrees for five to seven days, but plans can go awry with the arrival of an unexpected cold front. When that happens, the importance shifts from keeping the concrete damp to keeping it warm enough that the chemical hardening process is not interrupted. Concrete’s chemical reaction slows at 50 degrees Fahrenheit and completely stops at 45 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning that it’ll go dormant and it won’t gain strength. If you expect to pour concrete and use it in a couple days, you can’t. When the temperatures drop, new concrete should be covered with concrete insulating blankets (or, in a pinch, old household blankets!). Protect new concrete from the cold for the first two to three days—up to a week, if it’s very cold—after which it should be strong enough to handle it without risk of damage.

DON’T paint or stain concrete in the first month.

Any paint or stain applied to young concrete while it’s still hardening can be negatively affected by residual moisture or the changing chemical content in the concrete. It takes about a month for all of the water to get used up in the hydration process. Brush on paint too soon while moisture is still rising to the surface, and it can put pressure underneath the hard barrier of paint, causing it to peel away or break the bond. For this reason, paint may not adhere as well, and the final color and appearance of stained concrete may also be affected. To achieve the best results, wait until the 28-day period is over to apply paint or stain, and then follow the top tips outlined in this video from the concrete pros at Quikrete.

DON’T subject new concrete to excessive weight.

Although concrete will harden soon after pouring, it’s still susceptible to damage from weight during the first four weeks. Wait at least 24 hours before allowing foot traffic, including pets, on a newly poured sidewalk or slab, and don’t drive a vehicle on a new driveway for at least 10 days. After that, you can drive regular passenger cars on the concrete; heavy pickups or RVs can roll onto the driveway once the concrete reaches its full strength, at around 28 days.

 

“This content has been brought to you by Quikrete. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.”

Newly compleated 2 story custom garage full brick.

  This is 24×30 All brick to match home fully wired.  This also was partitioned off for a 1/2 bath with entrance access for the pool area.  We build to fit your needs!  Located in Murfreesboro Tn.

www.affordable-buildings.com

Remember to stop by the Southern Home Show in Wilson County we’re going to be in Booth “40” come by and say hello ✌

How exciting we were nominated Best Backyard Outdoor Builders in Wilson Co.

I just wanted to share the news with everyone 🙂  We are very happy to just be nominated and if you would like to vote for our company you can follow the link below. https://wilsonpromotions.net/best-of-wilson-county-readers-choice-2019/#/gallery/?group=301106

ABC is very gracious to be in this category and we are some of the BEST Garage and Storage builders in all of Tn!

www.affordable-buildings.com 

Making sure your Garage is weatherized for the winter!

Weatherstrip garage door seal

You probably don’t think about your garage when you think about weatherization, but you definitely should. While it may be detached from the rest of the home, garages often have attic space or even living space above them. Sometimes they house water heaters and duct-work.

If either of those are true then it is important to your home performance that you make sure both the garage door that leads in from outside and the interior door that leads to the house from the garage are properly weather sealed and that the room has proper insulation in the ceiling and walls around the water heater and around the duct-work. This also applies to any windows that your garage may have. Garages are also susceptible to moisture leaks, much the same way that basements are, and that can move into the rest of the house, so sealing is key.

Older Garages are more susceptible to moisture more so then our newly built on site garages. we make sure the garages we build you are of course water tight and will not hold moisture.  At www.affordabe-buildings.com  you’ll find many different styles of custom built garages and Storage sheds, we do go the extra mile to make sure your new garage is not going to run your electric bills up with unprofessional  building, ABC Back Yard Builders are some of the best garage builders in Middle Tn.

Using Pressure Treated Lumber??

Pressure-treated lumber is wood that is engineered for use on projects that are exposed to the elements. Pressure-treated wood typically starts off with one of the SPF varieties (Spruce, Pine or Fir) or other similar Softwoods, and a sealant formula is pressure-applied to the wood, so that the sealant soaks into the core of the wood.

This process of pressure-treating was introduced by Dr. Karl Wolman in the early 20th century, using a formula that was arsenic-based. This formula was quite effective in protecting the wood, but had issues with toxicity, not only for those who worked with the wood, but also for any animals that came into contact with the lumber (for instance, dogs that chewed on the wood often succumbed to toxic arsenic poisoning).

How to Buy Pressure-Treated Lumber

When buying pressure-treated lumber in the home center, you’ll often find that the wood arrives in the store wet. Very wet. Almost dripping wet.

When wet, wood acts like a sponge, with the fibers (forming the grain along the long axis of the tree trunk) soaking up as much liquid as possible. As the wood begins to dry, it will shrink across the fibers considerably, but very little shrinkage will occur along the length of the boards.
With this fact in mind, when you buy pressure-treated lumber, you won’t have time to wait for it to dry before you buy it to see what boards warp and twist and which boards stay straight. Instead, you’ll need to find another way to judge what boards to buy. Inspect the long edges of the boards, looking for blemishes or weak spots that may show a tendency for the board to bend around the defect. Additionally, inspect the end grain of the wood. If possible, select wood whose grain lines cross the narrowest span of the end of the board. Boards that have arc-shaped end grain will likely cup more easily than boards whose end grain crosses the narrow span of the board.
Installing Pressure-Treated Lumber

When building a deck or outdoor project that calls for pressure-treated lumber to be installed with gaps between the wood, you’ll likely want to install each board butted against the next board as tightly as possible. When the wood begins to the process of shrinkage as it begins to dry, the gaps will appear between the boards automatically.

Additionally, to help resist cupping, position any boards with end grain in the shape of an arc so that the center of the arc-shaped grain is pointing away from the adjoining member. So, if you’re installing decking onto a framework, the center of the arc on the end grain should point upwards. Be sure to place at least one deck screw through the center of the board to help minimize the bowing as the board dries. Pre-drilling the boards before driving the screws will help maintain the integrity of the wet wood as you drive the screws. A quick change drill driver set on the end of your cordless drill will make the job quick and easy.

Safety Concerns

When working with pressure treated lumber, one should consider a few extra precautions over the normal woodworking safety rules. First of all, consider wearing a dust mask when cutting the pressure-treated lumber. Even though ACQ lumber doesn’t have the toxicity issues of previous pressure-treated woods, the sawdust can be irritating to the lungs. As such, you should also do all of the cutting of the wood outside, to allow the breeze to help dissipate any airborne sawdust.

Additionally, pressure-treated lumber should be used only on outside woodworking projects, and the wood should never be burned. Once again, this is less of a concern with newer formulations than the old arsenic-based varieties, but it is still a good rule-of-thumb by which to abide.

By: Chris Baylor

Knowing the differences when looking for a storage shed.

I would like to take a few minutes to explain the differences between an all metal storage building and a wooden storage shed.

Sounds simple to know the differences, but don’t think so fast!

When you finally hit that point in your home that you’ll need to add more storage space and that day will come.  Maybe you’ll get rid of that extra stuff but, most likely that’s not happening as soon as you’d like.

There are 2 popular choices you may think of and one is a wooden storage shed the other is a metal storage shed?   Most of the time we start out wanting to weigh the price options then another big question is size do I have a level spot that’s adequate for a storage shed to be built onsite?  ABC will level your storage with concrete blocks, also ABC will come out to look at your spot to give you a free quote and determine just how many concrete blocks maybe needed to level the storage unit on your lot.

All Metal Storage Sheds

All metal storage sheds are not water tight to start with and the roof can be installed just perfect and you’ll still have condensation drops when the weather turns cold.  Metal roofs sweat and condensation will collect on the inside of the roof which will make it damp and tiny drops of water will fall on whatever is on the inside.

All metal garages / storage sheds are built with either 14ga or 12ga option square galvanized aluminum tubing which is 2.5 to 2.75″ the legs are 5ft OC and have metal carports or storage buildings can be wind rated with  restrictions up to 140 mph.  Metal buildings have a corner trim on the outside, but you will still see sun rays come in where the metal does not come together to form a tight seal which is not completely water tight and some people will need to spray foam in these spaces to keep  the bees and insects out.  The windows on a metal building are not insulated and no floor or foundation and you would need to pour concrete, a gravel pad or even asphalt for the install or if you chose you can sit it directly on the dirt/ground.  Now this type of metal building will be anchored to the ground, asphalt or gravel with 30″ re bar that is driven through pre-drilled holes along the bottom rails or if on concrete they will use 5” red head anchor bolts.  These types of metal sheds are just what they are “all metal sheds”.

Wooden Storage Sheds

When looking for an all wooden storage shed you have many options.  ABC can custom build a unit for you, so take look on our site at “Custom” under Storage sheds or you can choose from our standard sheds which you will see many styles here at www.affordable-buildings.com.

We can build on runners or if you’d like to have a concrete foundation poured we can quote you on that along with your unit.  ABC has a concrete crew that is excellent!  Our builders are a few of the best garage and storage builders in middle Tn! 

Roof options, shingled roof or a metal roof?   When we build an all wooden shed, we start with 4×4 runners that are notched in and not just nailed on to the floor joists which are 16” OC, smart panel is used for the walls and carries a 30-year life time manufactures warranty on the panels, not to chip, split, warp, this is not your grandfathers osb/particle board any longer that splits warps and chips!  We use 2×4’s for the framing that is 24″ OC, the floor is 3/4-inch plywood vs. 1/2-inch plywood for the floors like the Pre-built mass production  storage sheds.

We don’t just staple on the shingles without felt paper we roof it like the roof on your home also offering a 25-year shingle.   We do use an insulated vinyl window with screens, 2 vents on each end with screens to keep the insects out.  In the event, you’d like to insulate you won’t need to change out the windows first because we do think ahead!   We can custom build to fit your needs with many options!  One of our popular upgrades is a loft, 1 loft or 2 for extra storage utilizing all the space with a double loft also we can add shelving and work benches as an upgrade/option.  Check all the in’s and outs before you purchase a storage building!  ABC goes the extra mile!

Being “Environmentally” Responsible is what we need to focus on heading into the New Year 2019!!

Our Windows_03292018

See this link above for detailed info pertaining to this article

Why Keep Old Windows?

Repairing and maintain existing windows maintains value and historic
character, is environmentally responsible and can be much less expensive.
Historic windows can be endlessly repaired whereas replacement windows
have relatively short warranties and once the window fails, the entire sash
must be replaced which creates an endless cycle of purchasing, replacing and
sending materials to the landfill. Manufactures often offer lifetime warrantees
but what they don’t make clear is that 30% of the time, a replacement window
will be replaced within 10 years. Many old windows are made of old growth
wood that is denser and therefore longer lasting than wood available today.
What About Energy Efficiency?
Multiple studies have shown that properly maintained windows with the
addition of storm windows, particularly interior storm windows, can be as
efficient as replacement windows, and also continue to maintain the integrity of
a building’s historic fenestration. While the exact figure will vary depending on
the type of window installed and whether or not a storm window is used,
studies have found that it could take 100 years or more for a replacement window to pay for itself in energy savings. In addition, the majority of energy loss is
through the roof so it may be more cost efficient to replace or increase attic insulation rather than replacing windows.
What Should I Look for When Replacement is Necessary and for New Construction?
Consider using a “sash pack” that retains both the original window casings, frame and sill, rather than full, costly, replacement of these elements.
Use simulated divided lights (SDL) with spacer bar or no muntin grills. Bars should range between 5/8” to 1 1/4”, depending on the style of the window.
Use a mullion, to divide paired or triple windows. Mullion should be 4” to 6” in width as they are creating the appearance of an historic weight pocket.
Windows used in walls with lapsiding or shingle siding may not use brick mould casings.
Windows used in walls with brick or stone cladding, should use brick mould casings.
When a casementstyle window is required for a dormer to meet emergency egress requirements, but other similar dormers on the structure have
doublehung windows, a new casement that incorporates an applied grill pattern mimicking doublehung sashes should be selected as these are readily
available from multiple common manufacturers, are more compatible with the building’s existing historic millwork, and fully meet applicable code
requirements for secondary exit of a residential sleeping space.DH windows with 2 tilt sashes also meet emergency egress requirements.
Storm windows should use blindstops and have a meeting rail that lines up with the existing meeting rail.
  • What Windows Have Already Been Reviewed and Which Districts Are They Allowed To Be Used In?
    This information is for planning purposes only and is not in any way exclusive. Replacement windows are not reviewed in Neighborhood Conservation Zoning Overlay Districts.
  • Please Click on the link provided for a detailed list of manufactures and other important info you maybe interested in when choosing a type and brand of windows for your home.

Happy New Year!! 2019 Is Just hours away!!

 ABC wishes you a very Happy and Safe New Years Eve and New Year to come!!!! 

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