Thursday, February 22, 2018

Key Safety Elements for the Outdoors Around Your Home

Key Safety Elements for the Outdoors
As humans, we’re very demanding of our homes. They should be comfortable, well organized, well built, warm - or cold - and safe. The thought that goes into architectural planning is well established, and architects invest time in new ideas all the time.
One thing we don’t always fully think out is safety. Of course, the house will be structurally safe and sound during construction, and after. But what features should be present in key areas to guarantee safety from everyday accidents? And how can we implement them without sacrificing design?

The Garden
Starting with the outdoors, as it’s there before you’ve even opened your front door. Despite the open and generally flat nature of outdoor spaces, there are a few unusual garden safety hazards that can hamper your enjoyment of the area - especially where children are concerned. Prime amongst these are plants. Landscapers and designers may often include plants which are listed in the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System and are toxic to humans and animals. Even if there isn’t a child around to curiously eat the plant, it can end up in your system. Check what flora is in your outdoor space and adapt accordingly, or introduce safety measures - these can include using similar, less harmful species of plant, to retain design integrity.
The Outdoors Living Areas
As the focal point of the outdoors areas, your seating and gathering places will go through a range of conditions. Temperature will fluctuate; at nights cold, in the morning and during occupation, very warm. Moisture will build up from activity; drinks, food, chat and laughter. As a result, you’re likely to encounter mold. This is especially true, given the popularity of wooden furniture. Mold is quite dangerous and can cause a range of problems. Luckily, there are plenty of methods out there now for preserving the quality and integrity of your furniture, making it safe for your family and friends to continue to use. Examples including using anti-mold paint and sealant, and purchasing furniture made from specifically designed materials.
The Pool
Whilst pools might be hard to come by in the colder areas of the countries, many houses still operate them. This can be for exercise, where the water temperature isn't necessarily important; or, for more affluent homes, as a architectural feature and heated area in which to host events and unwind. However, they are intrinsically dangerous, especially when mixed with children or alcohol-laden events. Luckily, pools are easy to make safe. Simply install a fence - which can easily be changed to the specification and style of your property. Furthermore, it can be beneficial in the long-term to look for natural water filters, such as those made with graphite, as opposed to using chlorine.
Those are a few of the key safety elements of the home and probably the most pertinent for the majority of people. If you follow these basic tips, you can be sure to have a safe home without compromising the design and layout of your property.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Think Of Building Your Basement Out Of ICF

Are you planning to build yourself a house?

When you are in the planning stage with your architect or builder there are may things to consider, one of them is how you are going to insulate your basement walls.

In the past 5 years there have been many code changes in the building code in Ontario and one of the big ones is the amount of insulation that you have to install in the walls of your basement.

The actual amount of insulation that you have to install varies by the amount of windows you have in the house and the heating system that you are planning to use in the new house. Its an equation that has to do with the overall energy efficiency of your new house and the standard the code demands it to be before you will be granted a permit. 

One of the ways that you can easily meet the minimum amount of insulation needed is to have your basement built out of ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms). ICF is a concrete wall that has foam insulation installed on both sides of it. This creates thermal mass, making it superior to conventional insulated concrete basement walls that are only insulated on the inside.
In fact ICF is such a good insulator that not only does it help your new house meet whatever minimum insulation code that is required but it also will exceed it.
It actually exceeds it in a way that it helps you not have to spend more money on insulation or higher end windows elsewhere in the house.

This means that the added cost of building your basement out of ICF is offset somewhat by the savings you achieve in other parts of the house.

ICF doesn't just help you reach your insulation requirements it also helps create a warm, dry and cozy area that most basements never achieve. ICF helps you create a real living space that is usually reserved for storage and that pool table that seldom gets used.

So remember that while you are in your planning and budgeting stage of your new house build ask about an ICF basement, you won't be disappointed.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.