Construction Calculators

A Consumer’s Guide to Construction Calculators

Many home improvement and remodel projects fall through because of budget failures. The cost for materials is underestimated in the overall budget; leaving the project undone and the homeowner feeling overwhelmed.

The days of making a last minute mad dash to the DIY store for more materials needs to end. Bought your new flooring on clearance and it’s no longer made but everything you bought is now glued to the floor? Tough break.

The other less delightful end of the spectrum is gone too, that of trying to return unused materials for a possible refund. Why haul materials back and forth for little or nothing?

This problem can be solved by using a construction calculator to estimate the materials needed beforehand. The project can then be done in stages according to the budget or all at once.

Types of Calculators:

Construction calculators are available for different trades: pipe layer, carpenter, contractor, electrical and plumbing. Some models come with workbooks with construction formulas so the average DIY’er can easily estimate the materials needed. Others are available for the professional contractor for major projects. They range in price from approximately $20 and up depending on the use.

The InchMate calculator helps with finding accurate dimensions. Nothing in home construction or carpentry is ever just “one foot” exactly. Able to help convert metric to inches and deal with fractions of inches, this calculator can be used by anyone to find the exact measurements for the project.

Construction calculator software is also available for those who need accurate estimates but do not want to deal with a hand held model and remembering formulas. Affordable and easy to use; formulas are already programmed into the template. This saves time and effort. The information can be saved and printed out with professional looking results- far better than notes stuffed into a pocket or written on a wrist or forearm.

By using a construction calculator guesswork is eliminated. The DIY’er can measure stock already on hand and know exactly how much is needed to complete the project. Calculate wood, concrete, electrical lines, pipe, roofing material and more accurately with this invaluable tool. Keep it in your toolbox or tool belt so it will be available when it is needed the most.

These calculators are available at any DIY store; ask trained employees to help match you with the right one. They are also available online with customer service available to help you.

Safe Sandbox for Your Children

How to Make a Safe Sandbox for Your Children

There are some factors to consider when making and locating your child’s sandbox. This article will reflect on safety, location and construction of your child’s sandbox.

First, decide where you want your sandbox located. Keep these factors in mind. You want to be able to see your child while they are playing in it. If it is too close to the house, you might not be able to see them playing in it. Keep it away from driveways, sidewalks, streets, wells, and gardens. Each of these areas can present their own problems. As for gardens, they attract insects.

You also don’t want the sandbox in direct sunlight. Sand can get very hot and cause burns. You want shade on the box but, you don’t want debris from trees falling into it either. So this sets up a good challenge for you. Once you find your location, you are ready to start.

I would caution on the use of truck or tractor tires. Insects like to fly or climb into the inside of a tire. They build nests inside. This could cause problems like bites and stings. If you decide to do this, always check it out before letting a child play in it. Snakes also like the coolness on the inside of a tire.

Construction: When you have picked out your area, stake it off and use a string to mark off the area where your sandbox will be located. Using a spade or sharp shovel, dig out the area. You don’t need to go very deep. However, you want a smooth surface with no grass, weeds, or vegetation growing inside this area. I would think three to four inches of sod removal is enough.

Now use some heavy duty plastic to line over where you dug out. You can usually find a roll at your local hardware store. You can also find them at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Simply lay it down in the area and cut it off at the ends. If you have to overlap, make sire you go at least 8 inches on the overlap. The plastic does several things. It keeps out weeds from growing. It provides a smooth flooring for your child’s feet and hands. To some degree it holds some moisture. However, once the sand is turned over, the moisture usually evaporates.

I recommend using 2 by 6’s or 2 by 8’s for the sides. 2 by 4’s are just too small. You want something strong and that is hard for the child to move. Now simply measure and box up the size that you want. Use long dry wall screws to secure it together. Three inches are great for this project. Once you have it boxed up, set it where you want it. It is okay to have some of the black plastic on the outside of the box frame.

You are ready for your sand. Some people like to use white sand. I caution against it ,because in direct sunlight, it will get hotter than regular sand. Regular sand will work just fine. Your pit should be filled only about two thirds the way up to the top of the sandpit.

Now take some left over sod and go around the outside of the sandbox and cover any plastic that is showing. This is very important to do, because the if you use black plastic, it will attract bugs. Just like a tractor tire, insects will be looking for a nesting place.

There you have it. Your child’s sandbox is ready to go.

Note: Double check to make sure that no screw points are splinters are exposed on the sandbox. You can add a board on the corners for seating if you desire. Just be sure they are safe.


Home Drummer Friendly

How to Make Your Home Drummer Friendly

  1. The first step is the simplest, just try and choose a room to drum in, that is the furthest away from other living areas in the house and from your neighbors.
  2. If you still live at home, talk to your parents. Maybe they would let you use the garage to practice in. All you would need is a small heater.
  3. If one of your siblings has a room, more out of the way, ask whether you can trade. This should keep everyone happy.
  4. Talk to your family about sound proofing the room. Although it is very expensive to professionally sound proof a room, there are steps you could take to reduce noise.
  5. If you are allowed to use the garage, that would be best, as sound proofing isn’t always pretty.
  6. Talk about what budget is available for sound proofing and look at your options from there.

Here are some options that you can use for sound proofing:

  1. Acoustical foam can be bought from music and hardware shops. This is rather expensive, but when attached to ceilings and walls does a great job at sound proofing.
  2. Extra insulation will also help.
  3. Carpeting will help reduce sound waves. Generally speaking, the rougher textured carpets will absorb more sound waves.
  4. Egg crate mattress pads also absorb sound and can be attached to walls.
  5. Fabric furniture pads are often used for sound proofing and are available from furniture shops. Try to avoid the flimsy furniture pads, as these will not work as well.
  6. Add a thick rug to hard wood floors.
  7. Thick rubber mats, or gym mats can be used to stop vibrations, under your drums.
  8. Ask your local movie theatres whether you can buy used draping. This is a very thick material and works very well. Used products are also a lot cheaper.
  9. It is very important to install a smoke alarm and make sure you never use candles in your drum room. Some of the sound proofing equipment would catch fire easily and could end in disaster. However with care, this can easily be avoided.
  10. Keep your room clean and dust free.
  11. If you are buying used materials, you may want to hang them outside for several hours, to get rid of any odor.