Accordion Gates

Accordion Gates

Accordion gates in the first place have nothing to do with music. Rather, it has something to do with public and residential security. In what sense? Well, you read on.

Many people are currently looking for accordion gates to secure their warehouses, their bay doors, their aisles, and other restricted areas. These gates are generally excellent for situations where compact, restricted access is a priority; however visibility as well as air flow is also desired as well. As you may know, security and access aren’t mutually exclusive.

The accordion gates generally come in different forms, but they are usually folded. They are designed to make the facilities more secure and still allow frequent and easy access to those who need it. As folding gates, the accordion gates fold easily back and out of the way especially when people or equipments need to pass. However, they mostly offer a lockable barrier when closed.

It is further worth noting that most of the accordion gates are crafted from heavy-duty steel U-type channel riveted back to back. This is actually the reason that the accordion gates are also called “steel gates”. Also, they typically come in single or double, and all the double gates are commonly protected with drop pins. As you may know, some even feature steel ball bearing swivel casters for an easy opening as well as closing. There are also some accordion gates that feature webs that are riveted to vertical rails. The rivets are generally held behind in order to prevent tampering. Also, with this kind of accordion gates, welding is not necessarily required for installation.

Today, most of the available accordion gates are intended for pets and babies security. These gates are called pet gates or baby gates, and they are usually made of metal, plastic, or wood. As, a pet gates, they are designed to help keeping the dog out of trouble as the accordion gates restrict the dog’s access to specific rooms or areas. The gates also confine him to acceptable surroundings. This is also true with babies. These gates are generally a better option to simply closing a door to restrict or confine your pet or baby.

Most of the accordion gates are also used in residential elevators. They basically feature solid panels that are joined with steel hinges and sealed with premium vinyl for a gate that completely closes the car opening and eliminates pinch hazards. Just like the pet and baby gates, this kind of accordion gate generally carries the concepts of quality and safety as top priority.

Avoiding Crime When Parking Your Car

Avoiding Crime When Parking Your Car

Theft and Vandalism
– Wherever possible, provide each dwelling with its own locked garage within the property boundaries. Locked garages outside the boundaries or well-lit and visible common car parks are the next best things.
– Where private garages are not feasible, carport or driveway parking is preferable to grouped parking away from dwellings.
– As a general rule, underground or multi-story car parks should be avoided, as they are breeding grounds for vandalism and crime. If they already exist, limiting entry points and providing them with sturdy locked gates could minimize danger. Alternatively, each resident could be provided with locked gates could minimize danger. Alternatively each resident could be provided with a lockable garage in their own space, with robust, vandal-proof metal doors – garages within garages, so to speak. Or users can be provided with a secure lock or a plastic keycard, which operates electronic doors.
– Grouped car parks should be avoided in high-crime areas. If they cannot be avoided, they should be within view of some dwellings; they should be equipped with sturdy gates or tilt doors, and should never be sited near alleyways.
– Open car parks should be small and within view of dwellings and visitors’ car parks should be clearly identifiable, well lit, and visible from dwellings.
Rape, Assault, Robbery
– To make car parks safer, planners should provide direct access from parking areas to the entrance of dwellings.
– Car parks should be no further than 60 meters from dwellings, and the path should be well lit and free from shrubbery.
– Visitors’ car parks should be well lit, clearly identifiable, and visible from dwellings.
– Access to enclosed car parks should be limited to residents by some form of electronic entry control device if possible.
– If it is desirable to limit access to dwellings, make sure access via car parks is monitored as well.
– In high-crime areas, advanced technological surveillance methods may be needed in car parks. For example, an infrared unit is available which detects the presence of intruders – but not cats and dogs – by body heat, and automatically switches on all lights in the car park and turns them off after 15 to 20 minutes.

8 Tips for Renting the Right Apartment

8 Tips for Renting the Right Apartment


Source: Flickr

So, you’re looking for an apartment to rent or share with a roommate. Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced apartment-hunter, it’s worth taking the time to decide what’s most important to you in where you live and to plan your search strategy accordingly. With that in mind, here are eight tips to consider:
1. Make a list of your top housing priorities.
Do you need extra parking spaces? A place that welcomes pets? A large kitchen or linen closet? A ground-floor entrance to your home? Or what? Thinking through your needs ahead of time can help you find an apartment that meets those needs, instead of one that just strikes your fancy at first glance.
2. Check out the property.
In addition to examining the condition of the for-rent unit, walk through the property to see whether it appears to be well-maintained. Is the landscaping healthy or dying? Nicely trimmed or growing wild? Are any windows, steps or railings broken or dangerous? Do the access doors open easily and shut tightly? Walk through at night, too. Are the parking areas and pathways well lit? What about the stairwells and hallways?
3. Talk to the neighbors.
If you’re serious about a particular apartment, knock on a few doors and ask your potential neighbors whether they’re satisfied with the building’s amenities, management’s responsiveness to repair needs and other issues of concern to you. Ask: Would you tell a friend to move into this building?
4. Examine the lease.
A lease is a legal obligation to pay rent for a specified length of time, and every lease has variations on the terms and conditions of tenancy. How much notice must you give before moving at the end of the lease term? Can the rent be increased? Are pets allowed? What provisions cover your security deposit and end-of-lease cleaning costs? If the terms of the lease agreement don’t suit your needs, negotiate or reconsider renting the apartment.
5. Consider security.
Does the building have controlled access? If so, are the exterior security gates and doors closed? Are the locks in working order? Does your individual unit have secure door locks and window latches? (Some states have specific laws regarding minimum security devices for apartment units.) Does the building have a security service? If so, is a guard on duty 24 hours or does he or she just drive by periodically?
6. Ask about shared facilities.
Does the building have a swimming pool? A recreation or fitness room? Tennis courts? Laundry facilities? Who is allowed to use those facilities and during what hours? Is there an extra fee charged for use of the facilities? Where are the facilities located in relation to your prospective apartment? Do you really want to live poolside or near the laundry room?
7. Ask about utility costs.
Is the water bill paid by the owner or separately by the tenants? Are electrical or gas utilities included in the rent? Is there a single thermostat for the entire building? If so, who controls it?
8. Take notes.
Before you move in, document the condition of your unit and make note of any nonfunctioning doors or windows, leaking plumbing, missing fixtures, stained carpets and so on. Ask your landlord to initial a copy of your documentation to prevent disputes when you eventually move out. Better yet, take pictures or make a video of the premises before you bring in any of your furniture or belongings.

Home Security (5)

Home Security

You may not believe it but most burglars do not plan their break ins. They are crimes of opportunity. They pick what appears to be a simple target. If they see a greater risk than they anticipated, they move onto a safer target. Therefore the more effort you take to keep your home from seeming to be a simple target, the safer you will be.
A multilayered structure is the best way to approach arranging your home security, and the first layer is the landscaping and other features of your yard.
Landscaping and Yard Security
A few simple changes to your landscaping can help to protect your home from would be burglars.
They are looking for a home they can get into and out of quickly; the more time they spend in your home the more chance of getting caught. Their best target is a home surrounded by tall hedges and shrubs, which restricts visibility from the street and your neighbours’ houses.
Trim your shrubbery and trees so that your doors and windows can be seen by neighbors, and from the street, by forgoing a little privacy you will not be providing a hiding place for a burglar. If you have more than one floor, prune trees away from upper floor windows to prevent an intruder using them as a ladder, also make sure any trellises won’t provide a convenient ladder to gain entry to the upper floors.
All planting close to the sidewalk, driveways, doors or gates, should be kept low say no more than two feet in height. As you move further away from the sidewalk you can increase the height but keep it down to no more than four feet.
Any plant under the window should be kept below the windowsill.
Trees should have their lower branches trimmed to at least seven feet off the ground.
Be sure to keep your lawn trimmed; an uncut lawn will indicate to a potential burglar that you have been away from your home for some time.
By placing gravel on the ground under windows you will be warned if someone walks on it, this can be a useful psychological deterrent. Remember not to have any large rocks or stones near glass windows or doors. There’s no point in providing a burglar with his tools!
Plant spiny (thorny) plants along fences and under windows, and on border fences, roses are ideal. Protecting your home with spiny plants is as good as using barbed wire, and it looks a lot better too.
Street Numbers.
Make sure your house number can be seen easily from the street. This can save time for the police and emergency services if they need to find your home.
It is best to use numbers made of reflective materials, or alternatively black on white, they should be at least six inches high to facilitate visibility from the street. Keep the number clean and trim any plants, so it can be seen. The number should be illuminated and near the front door or the garage entrance.
Limiting Access to Yards and Store Rooms:
The main thing burglars are looking for is an obstruction free and speedy exit. Fences will stop burglars from carrying away your larger processions, if the gates are locked. Gates should be locked at all times!
Make sure that any ladders and tools are stored in a garage or a storage shed, and these should be locked when not in use. To increase security chain your ladder to the wall of the garage when it is not being used.
The idea is to use the landscaping to control access to your property. Proper fencing hedges etc. create barriers that will make a potential burglar feel uncomfortable as they approach your home, but will not prevent a neighbour or passer by from seeing any unusual activity.
I will be covering additional steps you can take to improve your home security in the next article in this series.

Spring Cleaning for Driveways, Paths, and Parking Areas

Spring Cleaning for Driveways, Paths, and Parking Areas

Time was when most houses were approached on foot up the garden path and entered through the front door; the horse or carriage presumably was left by the front gate. The advent of automobiles and busier roads has left the front doors of many older houses high and dry, blindly facing a busy highway on which it is no longer safe for horse or automobile to tarry. Many of these older houses are now entered by what was once the back or side door, and a new approach has been necessarily created, often involving some form of driveway and parking space. Modern houses are designed with their main entrance oriented to the automobile’s requirements, usually up a private driveway. In the suburbs, it may be a short suburban tarred strip; in the country, a longer shaled driveway leading to the house.

Whether you have a short or a long driveway, it will need certain maintenance from time to time. Make your inspection after you are sure the last snow has come and gone. If yours is a gravel driveway, clean up and rake back any gravel that may have been snowplowed off (usually onto the adjoining lawn).

If you have a blacktop driveway, check for cracks and holes. If these are minor, they can easily be repaired with special tars available from hardware stores and lumberyards. Occasionally, the whole driveway can benefit from a coat of blacktop sealer that creates a new wearing surface.

Similarly, minor repairs to concrete driveways are easily made at this stage using a concrete mix that can be bought in small sacks from building suppliers, lumberyards, and many hardware stores. (See pages 21-24 for more information on concrete repair.)

If yours is a longer driveway made of shale, crushed stone, split rock, or gravel, it will probably require more regular maintenance than either blacktop or concrete. Snowplowing, if necessary in your area, can exact a heavy toll by removing surface material along with the snow.

Any hole or rut-even a small one-will be enlarged by the action of rain and runoff and eventually become a major hazard. No matter how carefully a graded driveway is originally graded, sooner or later it will develop ridges and depressions that begin to collect water. The holes seem to grow of their own accord; in attempting to skirt them, drivers gradually change a smooth, straight run into a winding obstacle course.

This process, however, can be slowed greatly by a little rake-work now and then. When all the frost is out of the ground and any heaved sections have subsided-and the ground is reasonably dry-fill in holes and depressions with material raked from the high spots. If permanent ruts across the driveway persist from heavy rains and runoff, consider installing new or additional culverts to carry off the excess water.

Even though it is important not to begin to level your driveway or parking area until you are certain that cold weather has subsided and all the frost is gone, early spring is the best time of year to do this kind of work, especially if you are undertaking more extensive repairs like major reshaling or adding additional parking space. Spring repairs allow the driveway to be compacted firmly (by use) during the summer, minimizing the amount of loose surface material that snowplows may later scrape away.

Much of what has been said about driveways is pertinent to paths. Paths and walkways that are not well drained or that are constructed over bases unsuited to their climate can suffer considerable e-raised paving material, loosened bricks, and misplaced flagstones. Before attempting any repair, wait for the effects of winter the rainy season to subside.

A Concrete Way To Raise Your Home’s Profile

A Concrete Way To Raise Your Home’s Profile


Increasingly, homeowners looking for an inexpensive way to make their home more livable and increase curb appeal with an eye toward resale are embracing the nationwide trend of creating outdoor living spaces.

These areas usually feature spaces for entertaining friends and family while grilling, dining, eating and relaxing. That often means room for a patio, a grill, a sink or a fireplace. Some think of it as adding a family room without the roof.

For many, the building technique of choice when creating these spaces calls for using segmental concrete paving. This technique employs interlocking units-called concrete pavers-that are strong, durable and are growing in popularity worldwide. In Germany, for instance, there are 15 square feet of pavers installed per person annually. In the Netherlands, most of the streets and sidewalks are made of pavers.

Often used in walkways, patios, plazas and historic restoration projects, pavers are manufactured in a variety of shapes, textures and colors and can be easily removed and reinstalled.

One kind of home-improvement project where pavers are increasingly being used is a raised patio. These patios are known for their durability and can create a new sense of space in a yard, particularly when extended to meet an existing deck. Such spaces can be used as an outdoor entertainment area, complete with hot tub or barbeque pit.

There are a number of reasons why pavers have become popular in projects such as these:

• Their uniform size and quality allow them to fit tightly together for a strong, interlocking surface.

• Paver joints allow for a small amount of movement without cracking. That means they won’t crack like asphalt or poured-in-place concrete.

• Their design makes them easy to install and repair

• They’re available in a wide variety of shapes, colors and textures.

• And they can be installed by either a professional or a skilled do-it-yourselfer.

One of the newest styles offers the high-end look of stone for a more modest price. Called “tumbled” or “antiqued” pavers, they can be used to add a stately look to a walkway, patio or driveway.

How to Hire an Asphalt Driveway Paving Contractor

How to Hire an Asphalt Driveway Paving Contractor


Asphalt paved driveways are extremely popular and the most cost effective to install over most other driveway options.
Hiring the right asphalt paving contractor however can sometimes be a challenge. If the paving contractor installs the asphalt driveway correctly the driveway should last 25-30 years with only minor maintenance.

Unlike concrete, an asphalt paved driveway is both strong and flexible and is ideal for colder temperature zones where constant freezing and thawing occur.

Asphalt paving, also known as Hot Mix Asphalt paving, consists of an aggregate of stone and sand mixed with liquid asphalt cement. The aggregate is carefully mixed and heated prior to being mixed with liquid asphalt. The mixture needs to be delivered to the job site hot else your newly paved driveway will not cure properly.

In order to ensure a quality paved driveway it is critical that the paving contractor first properly prepare the driveway for the Hot Mix Asphalt. Preparation includes removing topsoil or clay type soil and replacing it with a sub-base layer of crushed stone and gravel.

A typical asphalt paving job consists of the application of two layers of Hot Mix Asphalt over the sub-base layer. In some cases a paving contractor may suggest a full-depth asphalt application. This type of application is best if very heavy vehicles will be regularly parked on the driveway. With a full-depth asphalt application the entire driveway, including the gravel sub-base layer, is constructed using liquid asphalt cement. By additionally binding the sub-base gravel layer with the liquid asphalt cement a much stronger paved driveway is created.

When hiring any contractor you should plan on getting 3-4 quotes to get the best comparison of workmanship and price. Talk with friends and family members, as well as search the yellow pages or the internet to find local paving contractors in your area.

With any contractor you hire, make sure they are insured and bonded to protect you from any liability as well as to protect you from any sub-par performance on the contractor’s behalf.

Lead times for paving a driveway can be up to several weeks, so plan appropriately when talking with your prospective paving contractors.

In order to obtain accurate quotes from the asphalt driveway paving contractors it is best to have a sketch of the home and the desired driveway footprint. You should also walk the site with the paving contractor and have him or you stake or paint lines where the paved driveway is to lay.

When talking to the prospective paving contractors make sure the subject of installing proper slopes and drainage is discussed. Otherwise you may wind up with water pooling on the finished driveway, or even worse, draining into your garage or home.

It is also critical that during the installation of all the various layers to the driveway that they are each compacted prior to the installation of the next layer of material. Quoted depths should be after compaction, not before.

Also, if there are any municipal pipes that need to be raised to the finished height of the driveway, find out if the paving contractors’ quotes include performing this task.

In addition, confirm that the contractor will remove and reinstall any type of gate or door to the new finished level of the paved driveway.

With these few basic tips you are on your way to hiring the right paving contractor for your driveway.

For more help on how to hire an Asphalt Driveway Paving Contractor, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid sheet. The Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid Sheet will help ensure that your hire the right contractor so that your driveway is paved correctly and you get the finished driveway you are looking for. In addition, it will help to ensure that installation of your driveway will be accomplished on time and on budget.

Asphalt versus Concrete Driveways – Which is Best

Asphalt versus Concrete Driveways – Which is Best

Viaduct
Source: Flickr


Asphalt and concrete are the most popular types of material for paving driveways.
Asphalt driveways and concrete driveways both have their unique advantages. If you live in a cold climate and are considering a concrete driveway you need to make sure the base for the driveway is heavily laid with gravel and it is compacted first. Otherwise the driveway will run the risk of cracking due to frost heaves. In addition, concrete is susceptible to salt damage, a material frequently used on roads in cold weather parts of the country. On the other hand, if you live in a warm or hot climate and are considering asphalt paving, then you need to consider the fact that asphalt can become soft in the hot sun and is therefore susceptible to ruts.

Asphalt paved driveways are typically cheaper to install than concrete paved driveways. However, asphalt paved driveways need significant more care over time to protect them. Asphalt paved driveways need to be sealed at least once every 3-5 years. Each sealing, though easily completed by a do it yourself homeowner, costs money and time. In addition, the sealer needs typically 2-3 days to dry before you can park a vehicle on it. Also, a newly asphalt paved driveway should not be sealed for at least 6-9 months, as the light oils associated with the asphalt need to evaporate first. If an asphalt driveway is sealed too soon it will remain soft forever.

Asphalt driveways do not need to be always black and concrete driveways do not always need to be off-white. Both asphalt and concrete driveways can be tinted to various colors. Check with your prospective paving contractors first to see what color options there are for your driveway project.

Asphalt driveways, if maintained can typically last 25-30 years. Concrete driveways can last even longer. However, both require a solid foundation to be laid on. If not laid on a solid foundation both will crack over time, especially in colder weather climates. Asphalt cracks are easier to repair than concrete driveway cracks.

Consideration for the slope of the driveway should also be considered when contemplating concrete driveways. Over time, concrete driveways can shear off of the foundation they are poured on which can lead to unwanted cracks.

If you are planning a new asphalt driveway and need help on how to hire an Asphalt Driveway Paving Contractor, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid sheet. The Asphalt Driveway Paving Bid sheet will help ensure that your hire the right contractor so that your driveway is paved correctly and you get the finished driveway you are looking for. In addition, it will help to ensure that the installation of your driveway will be accomplished on time and on budget!