What Makes Intumescent Paint a Great Choice for Fireproofing?

Erecting a beautiful structure is just the first step towards the completion of a construction project. All your valuable time and money can go down the drain if proper attention is not paid to installing the necessary safety measures. Ensuring the complete safety of the structure/building is crucial.

Every year, thousands of people die due to domestic and industrial fires. Fire is, in fact, a huge threat to mankind. This threat can be reduced by implementing the right fireproofing measures.

What is the ideal solution for fireproofing a building?

Intumescent paint can prove to be a good answer.

Intumescent paint, also known as fire resistant paint is used in buildings as a passive fire resistance measure. It can be applied to structural members as an aesthetically pleasing fireproofing product, and make them capable of withstanding high temperatures.

Here are the top five benefits of using intumescent paint for fireproofing a building.

1. Acts as an Insulator

Intumescent paint expands significantly when exposed to high temperatures. Its key feature is that the paint is inert at low temperatures, but provides insulation as a result of complex chemical reactions. The reactions take place at temperatures typically of about 200-250°C.

Owing to these reactions, the paint swells and provides an expanded layer of low-conductivity char. Moreover, the paint acts as an insulator, and keeps high temperatures away from structural members or protected openings.

This way, the paint protects the structural members from damages and deformation.

Intumescent paints are either water-based or solvent-based. Both of them contain a significant amount of hydrates to help in cooling the temperature because of evaporation effects. More often than not, water-based paints are used as they are widely available and inexpensive. Solvent-based intumescent paints, on the other hand, have limited usage.

2. Provides an Aesthetically Pleasing Finish

Intumescent paint is most commonly used in architecture to provide an aesthetically pleasing finish on the final structures, especially structural steel. The paint has the capability to compliment the design and enhance the appearance of exposed steelwork.

Intumescent coatings are being significantly used in large public buildings as they allow the steel designer greater creative freedom, without the disruptive element of sprayed fiber or board. The paint is applied to the steel structure in layers, in order to generate the thickness that corresponds to the level of protection mandated by the building code. The final layer of intumescent paint is mixed with pigments that provide the desired finish to the structural steel.

Intumescent coatings are also frequently used on structural members made of wood. In such cases, however, the protection is not as much about the heat, as it is about stopping the spread of flame and smoke.

Among all the fireproofing methods, intumescent paint provides the fastest, the thinnest and the most aesthetically pleasing finish.

Additionally, the paint can be applied off-site by the steel fabricator or in a specialized painting shop. This helps in further reducing costs and minimizing disruptions for other trades. Off-site fireproofing has several distinct advantages such as:

Faster and easier construction
Improved quality control
Reduction in site disruption
Cleaner sites
Improved site safety
Easier servicing installation

3. Usage

One of the major reasons that make intumescent paint a great choice for fireproofing is that it is suitable for use on most structural building materials such as:

Softwoods, like pine, larch and cedar
Hardwoods, such as oak, ash, beech and birch
MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard)
Chipboard
Melamine faced sheet
Brick and Stone
Plaster and Plasterboard
Metal
Concrete

Intumescent fire-resistant paints are suitable for interior and exterior use including on doors, decking, bar–tops, paneling and matchboard, cladding, floors and industrial buildings. Additionally, the paint can be applied to most surfaces including ones that are already painted, varnished, stained, unpainted and coated with multiple layers of non-retardant paints.

4. Major Advantages

Intumescent paint provides a variety of benefits such as:

The paint prolongs the structural life of steel. The load bearing capacity of protected steel gradually increases, as it is less exposed to frequent temperature variations.

Advantageous use of the paint can be made in refurbishment projects. The structural, aesthetic, and architectural value of the structural objects remains preserved.

The paint is mainly used in fire-stopping, closures, and fireproofing works in buildings, houses, and manufacturing industries. Additionally, gasketing applications also make use of intumescent spray-on fireproofing paints. The paint is majorly used in offshore drilling, aircraft maintenance, and ship-building industries.

Using intumescent paint for fireproofing will additionally strengthen the building. Also, it will prevent the building materials from melting, burning or weakening when subjected to extreme heat.

Conclusion

Fire poses a real and present danger to residential and commercial buildings everywhere. You must sincerely consider the various safety measures to protect your property from the threat of fire. While no practical building material is truly fireproof, there is a better chance of withstanding catastrophic blazes by using the right material. Using intumescent paint is a brilliant passive fire-protection system. It will drastically reduce liability on the property. The time and money spent in prevention is undoubtedly worthwhile, considering the devastating effects fire can have on a property. You can save yourself from the perils of infernos and create a fire-resistant environment by using intumescent paint.

(Image credit: 1)


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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Building Contractor

Imagine this – you are ecstatic about your home remodeling project. Unfortunately, your building contractor goofs it up by committing major blunders. After everything, he blames you for giving him the wrong idea. Moreover, he refuses to return even a single penny.

This can be a very frustrating situation. You don’t want this to happen to you.

This is where hiring the right building contractor comes into the picture.

Finding a building contractor that not only provides the highest-quality workmanship, but also completes the project on time can be quite grueling. An unfinished job, unsafe construction or a mismanaged project- there’s plenty that can go wrong if you hire just any building contractor.

Here are the top five mistakes to strictly avoid when hiring a contractor.

1. Hiring without Verifying the References

Simply hiring a contractor on face value can not only be expensive, but also downright dangerous. Their false practices might land you in trouble.

Word of mouth plays a powerful role in every business. For your peace of mind and to obtain a successful outcome, you must ask the contractor for several referrals. Make sure to contact all of them and ask the following questions:

Was the job done on time?
How was the overall experience?
Did the contractor commit any blunders?
Were there cost overruns?
Was it easy to reach him/her?
Did they meet the terms and conditions of the contract?
Would you recommend them to other people?

The contractor’s past work speaks volumes about their. Make sure to also check with the local Chamber of Commerce, code inspections office and Better Business Bureau, to see if there are any complaints lodged against the builder.

By getting all the required information about the contractor beforehand, you will save yourself all kinds of hassles. Satisfactory answers from these references will ensure that there’s no risk in hiring that particular building contractor.

2. Not Getting into the Specifics

You must have answers to the following questions before the commencement of the construction project:

Is the contractor clear with your vision?
How long have they been in business?
Have they ever been charged with any fraudulent practice?
Do they specialize in your project type?
Do they charge a lump sum payment before the project?

Getting an idea of the contractor’s work history is essential for making the right choice. It speaks a lot about the contractor’s reputation. It’s important to get all your questions rightfully answered by your contractor.

3. Not Checking the Credentials and Qualifications

Just like any regulated profession, construction is also a disciplined and a professional craft. Further, there are certain qualifications and benchmarks that’ll help prospective customers decide whether or not a contractor is qualified and professional.

You will increase your chances of choosing the wrong contractor by believing everything mentioned on his advert. Just because they are in the construction business, it doesn’t imply that they definitely is professional and trustworthy.

If you are looking for a highly-rated, professional contractor, then asking about their qualifications and credentials is a must. Additionally, it is also essential to check the contractor’s license and insurance policies. Their qualifications and credentials will demonstrate their credibility and knowledge. These will ensure that your building contractor has all the necessary skills and is familiar with the various processes and building codes.

4. Going Ahead without a Written Proposal

One of the worst mistakes to make when hiring a building contractor is not getting anything down in writing. It would be an awful mistake to believe anything the contractor puts forth verbally. Be prepared for unpleasant surprises if you have gone by the verbal commitments made by the contractor.

Remember, a written contract is legally binding and is the order of the day in the construction business or any other business for that matter. Also, once the work’s done, you’ll have a hard time getting hold of the contractor, should something go wrong with the job. This will only lead to further loss of time, money, energy and your sanity.

You must get a proper written contract that includes the following:

Detailed description of the project
Scope of work
Usage of materials and their respective quantities
Project commencement and completion dates
Payment schedule
Process of handling changes in work orders
Notice for cancellation

Additionally, asking for a guarantee of the work to be done in written is also essential. A professional and credible contractor won’t hesitate in providing a written agreement. On the other hand, if the contractor refuses to do so, you should rethink hiring them. There’s nothing more annoying than a botched up job.

5. Getting Lured by Great Deals

You must bear it in mind that underground building contractors care very little about your or their reputation. Hiring someone disreputable, just because you believe that you’ve bagged yourself a bargain can be the worst mistake.

How, you ask?

If you have received a surprisingly low quote for the intended job, it can mean anything from the following:

Usage of low-quality materials
Shortcuts and cutting corners to finish the job quickly
No qualified staff and laborers
Lack of attention, leading to a shoddy result

Don’t fall for low bids. Chances are that their faulty practices will land you in serious legal or financial problem. Look carefully at what you are getting for the price quoted. Hire a reputed building contractor in Anchorage to get your money’s worth and spare yourself the nightmares.

Conclusion

Choosing the right building contractor can be quite difficult. But, by avoiding the mistakes mentioned above, you can ensure the successful completion of your construction project. Additionally, you will also save yourself from falling victim to unscrupulous contractors, who are likely to rip you off. Think wisely, invest quality time and consider each aspect when choosing an expert building contractor.

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How Experienced Contractors can Help You Build a Fireproof Home

Fireproof Home

Building a home is usually a lifetime opportunity for many. It involves a huge investment, both in terms of monetary and emotional investments. It is therefore critical to get your home absolutely right, at the first go. There are certain measures you need to take to protect and insure your house from possible threats such as burglar, fire, and other natural and man-made disasters.

According to a report by the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 366,600 home structure fires per year during the five-year-period of 2007-2011.” In 2013 alone, there were 369,500 home fire incidents in the U.S. that killed more than 2,700 civilians and injured 12,200 more. The estimated property damage was around $6.8 billion.

If you are planning to build your dream house, there are a few things you need to take care of and fireproofing your house is definitely one of them. It is also important that you hire the right contractors who have years of experience in building fireproof homes. Find fireproofing experts is easy these days. There are several local contractors offering such services. For example, if you are looking for contractors with fireproofing expertise in Alaska, simply Google the term “Alaska Fireproofing Contractors” and you will get a whole list of contractors in the area with experience in building fireproofing homes.

What Makes Your Home Fireproof & How Contractors Can Help

As a homeowner you should know what makes your home fireproof in order to ensure that your contractor has covered all the aspects to protect your house against major fire incidents. There is one thing you need to understand – fireproofing your house only makes the structures of your house resistant to fire and doesn’t guarantee complete protection against fire. However, fireproofing your house ensures that the damage would be minimal as the structure has the ability to withstand high temperatures.

An experienced contractor would follow the parameters provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to design a fireproof home. Here’s how experienced contractors can help you choose the right material to strengthen your house against fire.

One thing you need to stop using in order to make your house fire resistant is wood or other substances that are combustible and prone to catching fire quickly. For example, ask your contractor to replace your wooden roof with materials like composites, metal or tile as they are more fire resistant. Also, avoid using wood products for your walls; instead, use ignition resistant building materials such as fiber cement, stucco, treated wood, fire retardants, and other approved materials.

Similarly, a good contractor will ensure that all vent openings are covered with metal mesh so that there are no space for flying embers. Installing dual-pane windows would lower your risk of breakage in a fire, especially if you have one pane of tempered glass in the windows.

An experienced contractor would use ignition resistant materials for patio coverings and cover stovepipe outlets and chimneys with non-combustible metal screen material to prevent flying embers from escaping/igniting a fire. He would even recommend a weather stripping installation under and around the garage door and fence your house using non-combustible and non-ignition material to further enhance your safety against fires.

In addition, a good fireproofing contractor would construct your driveways according to your state and local codes. Remember that it is essential to build the driveways in such a way that fire and emergency vehicles can easily reach you in time of need.

Finally, a responsible contractor would recommend you to install multiple garden hoses or a pump, if you have a pool/well that can reach the whole house in case of a fire breakout.

You Need More Than a Fireproof Structure

While building a fire resistant house would minimize the impact of the incident, there are certain best practices you need to follow to further safeguard your house against a fire.

Install Smoke Alarms: Ask your contractor to install smoke alarms in your home. If you have a pre-existing house, it’s never too late to install one. Additionally, check the batteries at least twice a year. Smoke alarms are great tools to alert you instantly, if a fire does occur.

Get a Fire Extinguisher: A simple step like investing in a fire extinguisher would further enhance the safety of your house against a fire breakout. There should be at least one fire extinguisher in each room, including one in the basement and one in the kitchen and other place like where fire is ignited regularly.

Fireproof Carpeting & Fireproof Furniture: By installing fireproof carpeting, you can slow down the progress of a fire or, even better, reduce the chances of a fire breakout significantly. Additionally, consider investing in fire resistant furniture. You can simply upgrade your existing furniture by coating it with fireproof chemicals.

A Few Safety Precautions

Certain safety measures will help you avoid a fire occurring in your home. For example, remove your old flammable items like newspapers, magazines, boxes and clothes to diminish your chances of a fire as these items are definite fire hazards. Similarly, never leave your candles unattended. In fact, they are one of the major reasons of house fires.

Another safety rip is to clean your lint trap on a regular basis. The accumulated lint often causes overheating of your dryer, which further lead to a fire. It is also crucial to maintain your furnace to keep the fires at bay. Change your filters at regular intervals to avoid overheating of the furnace, which often lead to a fire.

Overloading of your electrical wires is another reason for fire breakouts; make sure your fireproofing contractor has installed your electrical wires properly to avoid such hazards. Finally, it is recommended to check your electrical cords and appliances regularly and replaced any worn out and frayed item.

Conclusion

These simple tips and precaution would safeguard your house against a fire and help you avoid property damages and loss to human lives caused by fire. A small step like using fire resistant materials in building your house or coating all other items with special, fire-resistant paints and chemicals would take you a long way in protecting your house and our loved ones. It is essential to adhere to fire safety norms and design every aspect of your housekeeping fire safety in mind.

(Image credit: 1)

Commercial Painting is More Than Creating Pretty Walls

Pretty Walls

For a commercial property owner, maintenance is often a big issue. Though the building needs to look at its best, you can overrule the importance of functionality. In fact, functionality and productivity of a commercial building/complex are as important as appearance, if not more.

Besides, refurbishing should be done without disrupting your business or tenants. Commercial painting is more than creating pretty walls; it creates a lasting impression on people and it must look welcoming to visitors. This is where you need an experienced commercial painting contractor who can help you select an appealing color scheme and also provide other related services to get the best out of your commercial building.

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when painting your commercial property.

It Establishes Your Brand Image

As a commercial property owner you will probably like to establish a distinctive brand or convey a particular image. This is applicable for all commercial properties including office, shopping malls, hotels, entertainment complex, religious institution, schools and so on. The goal, almost always, is to be functional and look welcoming to visitors as well.

What you need is a neat and attractive appearance in order to foster a good first impression and a sense of confidence. It is therefore important to choose a color scheme that can help you achieve your goals. An experienced commercial construction and painting firm can provide better advice on current color trends, suitable for your particular industry.

In addition, they can even help you select the right color combination to create an appropriate mood. For example, soothing blue and light purple or lavender are great colors for a spa. Similarly, you can use lively red in a restaurant and yellow or orange in combination with soothing colors like blues and greens in an office or factory.

A good commercial painting contractor usually use digital color imaging so that you get a clear idea of how a particular color or combination of different hues would look in your commercial property.

The Type of Paint You are Using

Make sure your commercial painting contractor uses high quality paint. This is imperative for a good-looking and hardwearing job as high-quality paints are usually resistance to extreme weather conditions such as harsh sunlight and/or heavy storms.

Well-chosen commercial paint can usually endure five years of heavy use. Besides, different surfaces such as drywall, concrete, wood, metals, and others need different kind of paints. Similarly, high-traffic areas will also require special wall and floor solutions.

Your contractor would be able to suggest you the best products for various surfaces and areas. Also, use low-odor paint for interior walls. It will cause minimal disturbance to your tenants, client or employees. If possible, go for anti-mold paint and products that have no or at least low VOCs in order to safeguard the health of your people.

Don’t Forget Paint Primer

In most cases, amateur paint jobs look dull or listless. One reason behind this is that they fail to use a paint primer prior to applying the first coat of paint. It helps in hiding stains and other imperfections from the deeper layers of your walls. As the result, the paint will appear smooth and neat. Furthermore, primer helps the paint to spread evenly without any significant blisters. Finally, it allows the paint to stay more vibrant and brighter for longer, hence increasing the interval between paint jobs.

Using primer is even more important if you are using a lighter color over a darker one. You need to first hide the underlying color and one way to do this is by mixing the primer with a small amount of the lighter paint before applying the paint itself. However, make sure that both your primer and paint are of the same type i.e. latex or oil.

Preparing for The Paint

Proper preparation is key to a good commercial paint job. For example, a quality commercial walls Anchorage painting contractor will always perform a thorough cleanup before treating a surface. They will perform pressure washing of the exterior as well as take care of all your existing problems such as water damage, chipping or peeling paint, damage to the substrate, graffiti, mold, rust, and/or concrete spalling.

Your painting contractor is also responsible for other types of repairs, including those inside the building. These may include patching of nail holes, repair/replacement of drywall, repairing cracks, gouges, dents, and retexturing of acoustic ceilings.

Clean Up must be Easier

Make sure your painting contractor is professional enough to provide cleaning services, once the paint job is completed. In addition, there are certain ways to make cleaning easier. For example, you can line up your roller tray with a plastic liner or aluminum foil before pouring paint into it and throw away those materials after completing the paint job. This will make the clean up easier and will also reduce the amount of time required for cleaning.

When applying paint to the corners of an interior room, many use the side of a paint brush. Try to avoid this and instead use flat side-brushing method in downward strokes from the corner. This will not only make the job cleaner but will also increase the life span of the paint brush. Also, consider using masking tape if two colors are meeting in a corner to avoid splatters or bleed over. Cover the dry surfaces with masking tape before applying the paint on the one side of the wall and once the paint is dry, cover it with the tape and continue painting the other side.

What is a Good Time to Paint Your Exterior Walls?

Weather plays a crucial role when it comes to selecting the right time to paint the exterior of your commercial building. Try to schedule the paint job sometime around the best drying times. The temperature should not be below 60 degrees F or above 90 degrees F. Also, avoid painting if it is windy or raining outside.

If possible, avoid painting the exterior walls in direct sunlight.

Conclusion

Your commercial painting contractor should be able to help you guide through the process to make it as hassle-free and seamless as possible. They must also take necessary steps to cause the least interruption and inconvenience to your normal business, employees and clients. Try to opt for a contractor that provides flexible scheduling, i.e. working during your slow season or off-hours so that you can continue to function relatively normally.

(Image credit: 1)

How to Hire a Contractor Who is perfect for Your Needs?

Home owners typically need to hire contractors for fireproofing, remodeling, reconstructing, or rebuilding their house. The work is normally undertaken by a contractor and it’s a herculean task to find a contractor who does great work within budget and the required time frame.

This article will give you some handy tips to hire a contractor who is perfect for your needs.

Check Contractor License

The business history of the contractor and the kind of work he has undertaken so far will help you get an idea of what you are really getting into.

Scrutinize aspects like the contractor’s state licenses, the amount of time the contractor has these licenses, his professional associations, financial stability or legal issues, if any; also check if his employees are paid regularly, his revenue model and the company’s physical location.

It is also advisable to get third party confirmations from existing clients to get a better idea of the work done by a contractor and the satisfaction levels of these clients. This helps you make an informed decision about hiring a particular contractor.

Sub-contractors or his own team

The contract work can be carried out by the contractor through his own staff or he could hire sub-contractors. It is important to know these details so as to be aware of the payment and remuneration terms set by the contractor, matters concerning licensing, payroll, liability insurance and worker’s compensation.

Some states have a law that if the contractor does not pay the sub-contractors, a mechanic’s lien can be placed on the house for which the contract work was undertaken and the homeowner can be sued in a court of law for compensation.

Also, information like the contractor’s current projects (projects he is working on simultaneously), time set aside for your project, his role (actually performing day to day tasks or supervisory role), person assigned to oversee tasks in the contractor’s absence, will give you a clear idea about the trustworthiness and reliability of the contractor.

Set deadlines

Deadline

Before you start the project, get clarity on as many aspects as possible including the start date of the project, expected finish date and any lead time required. These aspects must be properly documented to avoid any misunderstandings in the future. A timeline of events should be maintained and a timetable with required materials for the project should be furnished well in advance so as to prevent delays due to want of resources.

Also, predefine the modes of communication because you’ll need to constantly interact with the contractor. Communication and documentation are 2 very important factors required to turn the project into a success.

Read, re-read the contract

Contract

Just like the payment lien laws of the states, there has to be clarity on a lot of matters between the contractor and the contracted. If everything is well-documented and covered in a contract, it will leave no room for misunderstandings. It will be a good thing to thoroughly understand the terms and conditions of the contract; read it and clarify things which are ambiguous or not clear and can be interpreted in different ways. Make sure that the contract specifies keeping record of invoices and payments; this proves useful in settling any possible disputes.

The contract should clearly specify who is responsible for the costs associated with approvals or licenses and who will complete the formalities or paperwork and take care of all the regulatory approvals sought for the contract work.

The contractor might skip certain details to save time and money and it can cost you heavily later in terms of legal costs associated with any lapses. The guarantees a contractor can give you regarding his work are a very important feature to include in the contract. Once these terms and conditions are agreed upon, it’s time to discuss the price.

Total costs

Make sure that all estimated costs should be provided in detail and must include the possibility of changes known as tolerance limits (absolute upper and lower limits expected in the event of favorable and unfavorable circumstances).

After you receive the cost estimates, examine them carefully; particularly, pay attention to any amount which either seems too high or too low. Any suspicious figure should be questioned and thoroughly understood before you agree to the costing.

Once the costs seem appropriate, the payment schedule should be negotiated to include the possibility of surprise orders or potential inflation related changes and the manner in which they will be dealt with. Ideally, you must save as much money as you can and make sure the last check is not signed until you are 100% sure of the work and are completely satisfied with it.

Work routine

Since the contractor will spend a lot of time in your home and it’s a workplace for him, it’s always good idea to know a little bit more about this person. Familiarity with a person can make it easier for both the people involved to adjust to each other naturally. Having an understanding of the contractor’s routine will help you plan your schedule around it or alter it, if needed. Also, there could be some changes made in their schedule based on your existing priorities.

You must ask questions like what time do they start working? Will they only focus on your project or will work on multiple projects simultaneously? What will they do with the waste or extra left over material? You don’t want to collect it all and pile it up in your garage.

The answers to these questions will tell you whether you will be comfortable with their way of working and their pace or not.

Down payments

Down Payment

The initial payments can be a bit tricky and a big decision to make. Contractors would normally expect some cash to start the work and homeowners are expected to pay a particular amount to get the work started; both you and the contractor must figure out a mutually agreeable amount as a down payment. Some US state laws have a cap on the down payment contractors can ask for.

Frankly, it all really boils down the construction company and its cash flow.

For e.g. a stable construction company in Anchorage, Alaska that is a well-entrenched name in business won’t need a lot of cash to start work as it will have a healthy cash flow; down payments can differ based on a lot of factors. It is generally a prudent practice to not pay in advance for work which has not been completed.

Who Do I actually pay?

Although it’s really obvious that you are paying the contractor for his work, it is important to know whether you are paying in the name of the individual or his company. Paying an individual has ‘tax avoidance’ written all over it and as such is not a sign of an honest individual, especially if the contractor holds a business license. Also paying with cash is not safe as it’s untraceable. Checks, credit cards, or other payment methods can be considered much safer options. Also, paying a business provides an assurance that this payment is on record somewhere.

These are not the only factors you must keep in mind for hiring the right contractor for your needs; but keeping them in mind will point you towards a contractor who is the best fit for your needs and requirements.

If you think there are some other important aspects that need to be kept in mind, please share them in the comments section.

(Image credit: 1, 2 & 3)

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