Outdoor Fireplace Construction

Outdoor Fireplace Construction

If you’re looking for a great way to accent your patio, garden or just favorite spot in the yard, then adding an outdoor fireplace is it. By adding an outdoor fireplace, you can create a snug and cozy alcove for just two, or make a fantastic gathering spot for your guests. No matter what you choose, you’ll find that an out door fireplace becomes a focal point in your outdoor occasions.

Outdoor fireplace construction isn’t for everyone. It is a complicated task in its entirety. That doesn’t mean you can’t sub out the hard stuff and do the easy stuff yourself.

Location of the outdoor fireplace should be on a level area preferably with a wind buffer like a hill or trees that block prevailing winds. You may need to install shrubbery or a fence to prevent prevailing winds from ruining your outdoor gathering with wind and flying hot ash!

You’ll need a good foundation to start with, so after you decide where you are placing it, dig a footer. It should be a minimum of 8″ into the virgin soil. Set up a set of forms if your soil is sandy and loose. Set a series of #8 rebar inside of the footer and pour on some concrete. Mixing a few bags should be enough for small projects, but if you’re going all out, you may want to think about calling in some help and a cement truck.

After your foundation has dried, its time to add some blocks. Concrete blocks are set with mortar mix and a trowel. Spread a layer about 1-2″ thick along the foundation and set the blocks on it. Use a string line and tape measure to square up the blocks as you set the four corners. After the corners are set, fill in the rest using a line as a straight edge. Add more mortar and continue adding alternating corners and rows until you reach the top. Keep the height of the joints uniform by adding more than you need and tapping the block down until it’s the same as the rest. Wipe away the excess mortar with a wet sponge.

In the center of the blocks, add the fire slab and fire brick in the same way as the block. Mix fire mortar for the inner hearth and fire brick. Stack the center until you reach the top.

You should make the chimney at least 10 feet high to prevent smoke from getting in your face when you sitting or standing next to it. If you’re unclear how a chimney works, you can find countless blueprints and side drawings of fireplaces and how they work on the web or call your local building department for more details to fireplace codes specific to your region.

Transom Windows

Add Style to Your Home Interior with Transom Windows

Often considered a classic element of Victorian architectural style, transom windows are making a big comeback in both new construction and home remodeling. Here is a bit of information about what transom windows are, their benefits, and how to incorporate them into your own home.

Transom Windows: What Are They?

Transom windows are small windows that rest above interior doorways or in walls. These windows can either be plain or decorative and come in a wide variety of styles. (Styles of decorative transom windows can rage from extremely detailed stained glass pieces to incredibly simple clear glass ones.) In addition, transom windows can either be able to be opened or stay fixed closed.

Transom Windows: The Benefits

There are two major benefits to adding transom windows to the interior of your home: light and ventilation. Traditionally, transom windows were able to be opened and allowed cross ventilation from room to room in homes that pre-dated central heating and cooling. For many homeowners, the height of transom windows (typically, high above doorways) allowed for secure ventilation without leaving a low door unlocked or window open. In modern times post the invention of the air conditioning system, these windows are usually used for decorative purpose. Transom windows are also an excellent option for hallways or staircases that have no outside windows and need to draw light from other areas of the home.

Transom Windows: Transom Windows In Your Home

Typically, adding transom windows can be a bit tricky in homes with low ceilings. However, if the room has a vaulted ceiling and standard height doorway, most contractors can easily frame and install a set of transom windows above an interior doorway. There are a wide variety of options and styles for these types of windows available from manufacturers in the industry, whether they are traditional “hand blown” glass styles (more expensive) to plain clear glass options (less expensive). Contact your local door and window contractor to find out if transom windows are an appropriate option for the architecture of your home.

FUN FACT: The American saying “over the transom” refers to a piece of literary or other work that is submitted without being solicited from a writer or artist to a publisher. This comes from the days when many offices had transom windows, and a budding novelist or musician would slip their work over the locked office door and into the building through a transom window.

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.