Being Cognizant of Reactive Soil Sites (Part II)

Being Cognizant of Reactive Soil Sites (Part II)In our last post, we dove into the crazy world of reactive soil sites. Missed it? Here’s a brief recap of the fun facts that we covered:

  • Reactive does not refer to contamination in any way. It refers to the way that the soil will react when it comes into contact with different levels of moisture.
  • If the soil is clay based, it will have some degree of reactivity. The more that your soil will shift or move based on levels of moisture, levels just how reactive it is.
  • There is a governing body, or rating that measures reactive levels. It’s called the Australian Standard AS 2870/2011.

Today we talk more comprehensively about the different levels of reactivity and how to handle them. Here’s a handy list of the different ratings that the Australian Standard AS 2870/2011 encompasses:

Site classifications and movement based on soil reactivity

Class A (0-10mm)Stable, non-reactive. Most sand and rock sites. Little or no ground movement likely as a result of moisture changes.
Class S (10-20mm)Slightly reactive clay sites. May experience slight ground movement as a result of moisture changes.
Class M / M-D
(20-40mm)
Moderately reactive clay or silt sites. May experience moderate ground movement as a result of soil conditions and moisture changes.
Class H1 / H1-D (40-60mm)Highly reactive clay sites. May experience a high amount of ground movement as a result of soil conditions and moisture changes.
Class H2 / H2-D (60-75mm)Highly reactive clay sites. May experience very high ground movement as a result of soil conditions and moisture changes.
Class E / E-D (75mm+)Extremely reactive sites. May experience extreme amounts of ground movement as a result of soil conditions and moisture changes.
Class P (this is approximately 70% of building sites in Australia)Problem sites. The ability of the soil to evenly bear a load is very poor. Sites may be classified as 'Class P' as a result of mine subsidence, landslip, collapse activity or coastal erosion (e.g. dunes), soft soils with a lack of suitable bearing, cut and/or filled sites, or creep areas.
Ground movement as a result of moisture changes may be very severe, and these sites are typically subject to abnormal moisture conditions resulting from things like trees, dams and poor site drainage. If you are building on a Class P site you will need to consult a structural engineer.
The 'D' inclusion (i.e M-D, H1-D, H2-D or E-D)The 'D' in these classifications refers to 'deep' movements in soil due to deep variances in moisture. These classifications are mostly found in dry areas (e.g. north of the Great Dividing range, in places like Stawell, Horsham, Mildura, Bendigo, Shepparton and Wangaratta).

As mentioned in our last post, there’s never any reason to fear. Restumping Melbourne has dealt with every subfloor and soil issue under the sun, our team is equipped with the know-how on how to help.

Let’s talk first about the Class A and Class S sites. You’ll note that they range from 0-20mm of movement, pretty stable as far as the chart goes. For these situations, the Restumping Melbourne team leverages reinforced slabs with concrete beam footings. No additional work or maintenance is needed here, especially since you can always depend on the highest grade materials from our team.

On the other end of the spectrum we have sites with much more reactive soil. This includes Class H1, Class H2, Class E and Class P. It’s very important here to make sure you have a geotechnical engineer oversee a soil sampling test. The foundation of your home is extremely important and should be treated as such. With more reactive sites, our team will recommend concrete piers or screw piers beneath the footing beams on the slab. This provides maximum support and stability. This also digs much deeper into the soil where the moisture is more minimal and not nearly as much of a catalyst for issues.

Regardless of whether your soil measures in the Class A region or the D inclusion region, the Restumping Melbourne team will be on hand to make sure that reinforcing the foundation of your home or business goes as smoothly as possible.

Questions? Give us a shout. We’d love to help.

Being Cognizant of Reactive Soil Sites (Part I)

You’ve probably been told that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Whether you’re receiving a scolding about superficiality, or a reminder to not judge a book by its cover, it is sage advice.

It has special meaning when you’re referring to the build of your dream home or business. After all, we’re talking about physical structures now. You can only guess what will happen if a home isn’t built on a foundation that’s firm and strong. It could slide down a hill at the first sign of a storm, or topple over in the middle of the night after being pushed by a puff of wind. While these aren’t the norm, they are possible. And that’s why we put such a heavy focus on the strength of the foundation of your dream home or business. It’s why we got into the business that we did. Because when the foundation is strong, everything built upon that can grow and prosper, including lifelong memories.

Being Cognizant of Reactive Soil Sites (Part I)You’re probably wondering what makes the soil underneath your foundation less or more safe. If you’re dealing with reactive soils, which we are in this post, then they’re less safe. Let’s dig into what reactive soils are:

The reaction that the term refers to, doesn’t have to do with contamination. The reaction refers to how the soil deals with different levels of moisture. Any soil in the clay family has some potential to change or shift shape. Those that have extra high potential to change or shift shape are referred to as reactive. The more they move, they more reactive they are.

Don’t go getting too worried about the current state of your home. It’s most likely that you received a soil test when your home was initially built. This test is administered by geotechnical engineers. Results are classified based on Australian Standard AS 2087/2011- Residential slabs and footings.  It’s the results of this test that help contractors and restumping teams like ours, determine the best way to fortify the foundation. One important item of note is that there are a couple of different moisture levels within the terrain, that a foundation needs to be prepared for. The geotechnical engineers refer to these as “normal wet” conditions and “normal dry” conditions.

No matter what soil classification you receive, Restumping Melbourne is prepared. All that is now required is choosing a subfloor which is both suitable for “normal wet” and “normal dry” conditions, but also for the style, size and shape of the structure which you’d like to build. You ask, and you shall receive. We’ve seen every which type of property and our decades of experience mean that we’re readily equipped to bring your vision to life.

We believe it’s important to educate our consumers about not only our services, but why they’re necessary. Stay tuned for our next post, when we’ll dive even further into the world of reactive soil sites and choosing a subfloor that makes the most sense for you.

Restumping- The Buzzwords You Need to Know

Restumping- The Buzzwords You Need to Know

We promised a post with restumping buzzwords and by golly, we like to deliver. One of the parts of the Restumping Melbourne ethos that we’re especially proud of, is our promise to deliver, our dependability. Whether it’s the physical quality of our work, or the constant and transparent communication, you can always depend on the Restumping Melbourne team.

A lot of the language used by our team can sound confusing. Whether it’s different parts of the process, or different names for materials, sometimes you might be wondering what the heck we’re talking about. We’re not trying to pull the wool over your eyes by any means. In fact, we aim to educate our valued customers so that they’re completely in the loop about our work. We want you to question us, to challenge us if need be. We want you to feel fully invested in the process. Here are some restumping buzzwords that you may hear us use:

Batten: a long, flat strip of squared wood or metal used to hold something in place or as a fastening against a wall. Can also be used to describe the art of strengthening or fastening something. Exactly what we aim to do when reinforcing the foundation of your home or business.

Concrete stumps: Concrete stumps have a 10mm diameter threaded rod along the top, which helps secure poured concrete pad footings. This rod makes sure that the stump can be securely attached to the frame of the floor. Concrete stumps have an endless shelf life. The only exception is when they’re in the dampest conditions. In damp conditions, the rod that serves as their reinforcement may rust or bow. This is very specific to Queensland, where it’s important to source a different type of stump for your restumping job.

Concrete pad: Concrete pads provide optimal and necessary protection against long term footing settlements. They’re as simple as they sound, slabs of concrete, poured at the base of the restumping job to ensure that everything stays in place, exactly as it should.

Long term footing settlement: While everything else on this list is a positive, long term footing settlements are not. They’re something that you want to avoid. When your foundation or your footings settle improperly, the foundation of your home or business is not set up for future success. That’s when you know it’s time to give Restumping Melbourne and our team a call.

Rot resistant stump: commonly used material in the science of restumping. Victorian red gum stumps are especially common. They’re about 10% less expensive than other types of stumps, but have a shelf life- about twenty years. This shouldn’t effect most families but is important to keep in mind.

Feel like a restumping expert? If you don’t already, you’re well on your way. Questions on any of the above? Feel free to reach out and give our team a call. We’d love to hear from you and talk about anything in the crazy world of restumping.

Termites- A Four Letter Word in Restumping

TermitesNot that any other industry is particularly fond of the little buggers, but those in the restumping business are seriously averse to termites. It’s like many years ago, restumpers and termites got into it and kicked off a permanent war where one cannot survive if the other does.

We’ll have to get to the root of that problem another time. Today, we tackle the problem of termites themselves. What are they? What havoc do they impede on residential and commercial properties? And above all, how do we eradicate them so that the value of homes and businesses is not impacted.

Termites are eusocial insects. They were once separate from cockroaches, but that is no longer the case. They are a truly successful group of insects on planet Earth. Their colonies have impeded every landmass except for Antarctica. So if you’re looking for a permanent way out, that’s the place to go. That being said, we don’t offer restumping services on continental Antarctica…yet. The colonies range in size. We’re talking as small as a few hundred, to as large as several millions. The queens especially, have notably long lifespans, up to 50 years. Many confuse termites for ants but there is one detailed difference. Ants undergo a full metamorphosis. Termites go through incomplete metamorphosis. They proceed from egg to nymph to adult. (Gross) Fun fact of the day? Some cultures view them as diet delicacies… Hey, we’re not a judgmental company! To each, their own.

One place we don’t recommend that you chow down on termites—at home, when they’re fresh and young. What kind of damage do termites cause to your home? Termite colonies will burrow down in the very foundations of your home, where the ground is the darkest and most moist. They’ll use underground tunnels that they nibble through, before they traverse the hollow core of a timber stump within your foundation. By tunneling through this core, they can build a mud tunnel all the way up to the underfloor of your home. From there, the rest is history. They’ll take advantage of any access to wood that they can find and munch right through it. They’re a chaotic problem to have, ever growing, ever spreading.

Never fear! Part of the mission of Restumping Melbourne is to educate our valued customers. While we will take the work off of your plates, it never hurts to be in the know about the services that we offer or why we’re doing the work that we’re doing. So, a few helpful tips from us:

  • Don’t store firewood on the ground- instead, make sure that you have a special container, or closed area for it.
  • Make sure that the battens aren’t attached to your floor framing.
  • Maintain under-floor ventilation.
  • Don’t allow sardens to build up over your battens.

Afraid that some of this lingo may be jibberish…? Never fear, look out for next post around the restumping lingo that you need, to be in the know.

2016: A Look at an Exciting Year Ahead

2016--A-Look-at-an-Exciting-Year-AheadJanuary is a funny month. You might be feeling a wee bit sluggish from the excessive amounts of eating and drinking during the holidays. Reference miracle hangover cures for such ailments, here. You may be feeling a bit strapped for cash as the bills from aforementioned holidays begin to roll in. You might be feeling nostalgic for a successful year’s completion. We certainly are. We can’t thank your valued customers enough for a truly wonderful 2015. With your help, we were able to expand our reach and assist more and more amazing families and businesses. It’s truly through your positive word of mouth recommendations that we’ve been able to grow as much and as quickly as we have.

On the other hand, you may see January as the best fresh start possible, and an abundance of excitement and trepidation for the year ahead. There are so many possibilities—it’s a blank, clean slate. You can set your expectations as high as you’d like, there’s no one stopping you. And finally… It’s the month of a funny little thing called resolutions.

Resolutions can be our voices of reason, or the bane of our existence, depending on how you handle them. We like to always operate on the former. Here at Restumping Melbourne, we relish New Year’s resolutions. We can’t reiterate enough how much we strive for progress in this industry. We do so in a variety of ways. These include immersing ourselves in educational opportunities, like tradeshows, and pouring over related publications. We’re searching for innovations in both materials and process. We’re looking for materials which are light, but sturdy, materials that will last for generations to come so that you and your loved ones can feel comfortable in your home. We’re looking for the tools that will expedite the install process and make sure that it’s done well, there will never be holes or workarounds when you’re working with Restumping Melbourne.

So as far as we’re concerned, January is a really exciting month. We’re writing our resolutions based around the above goals and we’re confident that we’ll meet and exceed each and every one. We’re looking forward to growing in 2016—to working with larger and more complicated properties. We’re looking for challenges and we’re looking to help.

The best way to meet and exceed your resolutions? Find an accountability buddy. The accountability partner is a great go-to to track your progress with. Who best to fit this role for Restumping Melbourne? We didn’t have to look very far. We hereby designate each of our wonderful customers as our accountability buddies. It’s through both your positive and constructive feedback that we grow. Please keep us posted on what works and what doesn’t through any medium that works best for you. Phone? Email? In person? The forum doesn’t mater to us. We love talking to you about your experience, so that we can integrate those learning’s moving forward.

Looking forward to a wonderful year!

Spotlight on Outdoor Deck and Verandah Services

We give a lot of real estate on this blog to restumping and underpinning. After all, they are the bread and the butter of what this company was founded upon. But it’s not the full extent of what Restumping Melbourne can offer you and your loved ones.

When the sun is shining, do you want to hang out inside, cooped up with none of the benefits of the sunshine? While that may have sounded like a rhetorical question, I assure you that that’s not the case. If the temperatures are comfortable, then most of us tend to gravitate outside. But comfortable tends to be a bit subjective. If you have no cover or structure to your outside areas, then you’re exponentially more susceptible to sunburns and other negative effects of the sun. There is a happy middle of the road here, and that’s the perfectly designed outside deck or verandah.

Spotlight-on-Outdoor-Deck-and-Verandah-ServicesLuckily for you, we count these areas as passions of our trade and have extensive experience designing and installing custom deck and verandah solutions for properties of all sizes. This is not an off-the-shelf solution, rather we’re happy to work through your individual needs and what will work best for you. There are a couple of specific questions to begin asking yourself-

  1. How do you want to use your outdoor deck or verandah?
  2. What look or finish are you looking for, for your verandah?
  3. Do you want this area covered? Not covered? Partially covered?

These are the tip of the iceberg but they’re great inspiration questions to guide the exact aesthetic and functionality of your next deck or verandah.

As far as the first question, there are a million different activities that you can take advantage of your deck or verandah for. It’s a great place to install a pool or a hot tub, either now, or down the line. We can work with partner contractors to make visions like this come true. It’s also a great property opportunity to build flower beds or set out pots of plants and herbs to bloom. This way they get the most sunshine. However, it’s very easy to give these plants and flowers too much sunshine, so our design will take some cover into account, if this is your function preference. Finally, it’s a great place to enjoy a cool beverage and barbecue with friends. If this is your ideal usage, then we’ll make sure that you have as much space as possible to invite over as many friends as possible.

The second question may open a Pandora’s box, but we’re not necessarily apologizing. Strategizing the look and feel of your deck or verandah is an activity that we take a lot of joy in, and we’re happy to brainstorm all day long. This also ties into the second question. There are a myriad of ways to design your outdoor space, covered or not. Explore your favorite online resources to your heart’s content. We’ll bring your dream to life.

So what are you waiting for? Give us a call to discuss your outdoor deck or verandah needs.

Playing Nice With Your Neighbors During Installation

Your relationship with your neighbors is of a particular variety. It doesn’t matter whether you’re thick as thieves or avoid each other at all costs, respect still needs to be present. It’s not just because your neighbors will come in handy when you need that egg or cup of sugar, it’s because your neighbors play a bigger role than you know when you’re undergoing home repairs or renovations.

Playing-Nice-With-Your-Neighbors-During-InstallationThere are two different ways that we can look at this. The first is that whole thick-as-thieves, best friends for life, best man or maid of honor in your wedding type relationship. We all aspire to have these relationships with everyone that we know, but when they work out with neighbors, the minimal distance and close proximity are extra handy. Yes you can borrow ingredients when you need. You can also ask them to keep an eye on your place when you’re out of town or walk the dog if you’re late at the office.

The other end of the spectrum can be difficult to navigate, and this plays a big role in home improvements or repairs. If you don’t get along well with your neighbors, not only have you lost out on all of the benefits detailed above, but they can also make your life very difficult if you’re trying to update your property. Fencing is one particular example that comes to mind. After all, it’s on their property as well. They need to sign off on its design, materials, price and schedule. While your neighbors don’t have to sign off on the update of your foundation or any of the Restumping Melbourne services, they will probably want to know about new strangers on the property, machinery and extra cars in the street.

So how does one go about creating the best relationship possible with your neighbors? There are a couple of main characteristics to focus on.

The first is transparency. We always recommend letting your neighbors know at the beginning of the valuation process that you’re having work done to your property- no matter what it is. As stated above, it might be the smallest repair but it can have a domino effect of side repercussions including traffic and machinery.

The next is patience. Home repairs are stressful, even if they’re not your own. They can disrupt your life in the smallest of ways. A smile and brief conversation whenever you see your neighbors during the process will put you in your neighbor’s good graces in no time.

Finally, make sure that good humor is integrated into all of your interactions with your neighbors. Good moods are infectious. If you are perpetually in a good mood, the chances are much higher that those around you will be in good moods. Good moods are interesting, because they serve as immediate catalysts to ensure a good experience is had by all involved.

Follow these recommendations and your home repair or installation will speed right on by.

The Best Way to Stay Cool in the Heat

Mother Nature can be one tricky lady. One minute she’s scorching us all with her fiery rays of sun, the next she’s dumping down torrents of ice, cold rain. You simply never know. You may have noticed that the past couple of posts have touched on ways to keep you and your loved ones comfortable, looking at your home from the INSIDE. So it may surprise you to find that our suggestion to stay cool in the heat…enjoy it responsibly!

The services of Restumping Melbourne are robust and extensive. They’re not just for the underpinning and reblocking services that your home requires. They’re not just for your foundation- out of sight and out of mind. They’re also for the architectural elements of your house that you want to share with everyone and show off for all to see. And that includes beautiful decks and verandah spaces where you can rest your feet and enjoy an ice-cold beverage (adult-style or other).

The-Best-Way-to-Stay-Cool-in-the-HeatSo the first step is deciding if a deck or verandah space is right for you. Devil’s advocate– it might not be. Your home may need releveling services based on the terrain of the area. You’ll need to figure out the boundaries of your property and if you’d like to keep a portion of the outdoor area for grass, a pool or garden full of flowers. However if you’re comfortable with getting these extra pieces of work done, then you’re well on your way. Based on that information, you’ll be able to determine how many squares of land you have at your disposal to build a deck or verandah space. There is a noted difference between the two. A deck is open-air. A verandah space is covered and frequently wraps around the front of the house. Both have great benefits, best of all- that you’re able to enjoy the sunshine from the privacy of your own property.

Once you’ve determined if a deck or verandah is right for you, the Restumping Melbourne team can take it the rest of the way. We’ll do a valuation onsite and let you know exactly what you can expect. If there are extra services needed based on the terrain of the property, or the slope, we’ll keep you posted on the timeline and any additional costs associated. We’ll always be totally transparent about any changes along the way, keeping you looped in as much or as little as you would like.

Once we’ve installed your deck or verandah and ensured that it meets the vision and functional criteria that you expected, then it’s time for you to truly enjoy the great outdoors. At this point we just have a few wise words to pass on—sunscreen, cold beverages, music at an appropriate temperature or a good read for an afternoon, and the best people that you can find.

Questions? As always reach out to your Restumping Melbourne team. We’re pleased and honored to help with any of your reblocking, releveling and deck or verandah needs.

The Materials Used in Restumping

1If you didn’t understand how houses are painted, would you feel comfortable entrusting the service to someone you barely knew and who didn’t explain their work at all? If you didn’t know how taxes worked, would you be okay calling up the first CPA in the phone book or listed on the internet and saying, “hey, take my money.” If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions, then we may have a larger problem on our hands.

The team at Restumping Melbourne knows our stuff inside and out. We have the decades of experience to prove it. But why should that be enough for you to choose us? It shouldn’t. You should feel comfortable asking us, “what on earth we’re doing and how,” at any point in the process.

Part of this is the materials that we use. The fact alone that restumping and reblocking are phrases used interchangeably depending on where you live, is probably confusing enough. Here’s a breakdown of the different materials used in the restumping process, all over the country.

Victoria:

  • Victoria chooses rot-resistant timber stumps. Victorian Red Gum is one of the most commonly used. There is an advantage with Victorian Red Gum– it’s 10% cheaper than concrete. However it does have the disadvantage of limited life expectancy. Many don’t care about this because they will still last upwards of 20 years and many assume that they won’t be in their homes that long. It’s still something to keep in mind, regardless.
  • In our opinion, an equally as impactful disadvantage with Victorian Red Gum timber stumps is that they won’t be nearly as well-secured to the the bearers as concrete stumps will be. This ultimately means that the home won’t be leveled as accurately.

Concrete:

  • Concrete stumps are used throughout Australia. They’re on the market in several different types. Those that cause the best connection have a 10mm diameter threaded rod at the top of the stump, which is then secured with a footing from a poured concrete pad. This threaded rod is what allows the stump to be bolted securely to the floor frame. Once you do this properly, you prevent both upward movement and downward movement. Then the concrete pad provides protection against the settlement of long term footing.
  • These concrete stumps last indefinitely– the longest shelf life by far. The only exception here is the most damp conditions because even the best concrete stumps are amenable to rust. If a stump rusts, it may expand and cause weakness.

Queensland

  • Life Victoria, Queensland has specialized stumps that they tend to use frequently when they enforce the foundation of their homes and businesses. In the past, the stumps that contractors used in the area were made from 300mm diameter ironbark or rot-resistant timber of a similar style.
  • These days, these choose CCA (Copper Chrome Arsenate) treated pine, or concrete stumps. In a lot of areas where the ground is particularly soft, a concrete footing is poured first.
  • High wind stresses are also particularly prevalent, so anchor bolts are required in each corner, around the perimeter every four meters and also under bracing walls.

We want to equip you to ask the right questions. If there is content that we don’t cover, feel free to reach out to any of our team members. We’ll be happy to help. 

 

Great Ways to Weatherproof Your Home

Whether we like it or not, there are four seasons each calendar year- each with specific weather patterns. Maybe you lucked out and you live in a more temperate area, but most endure the heat of the summer and the bitter cold of the winter, at least for a small amount of time.

1During the summer, you probably curse the insufferable heat. You feel like there’s never enough air in the room, and didn’t know that your body could produce that much sweat. During the winter months, you regret every negative thing that you had to say about good ‘ol summer. You picture the heat as an oasis in the bitter cold. Unfortunately, both of these extremes have great impacts on your comfort level at home. So today lets discuss a few easy and inexpensive ways to weatherproof your home for any day of the year:

  • Add plastic coverings to the inside of your windows. You can easily add plastic coverings to the interior of your windows to help insulate and fight the draft. Add plastic over wooden blinds, leaving a hole at the top to pull the cord through so that you can still open the blinds and allow the sun to shine through, when it comes out to play.
  • Purchase Draft Stoppers for your doors. There are tons of aesthetically pleasing models which serve their purpose to keep the right air in the room, and the wrong air out.
  • Get a Water Heater Insulating Blanket. When you Insulate your hot water heater you can create drastic energy savings because you reduce the heat that you lose through the sides of the water heater by 25-40%. Energy savings mean much more money back in your wallet, where it belongs.
  • Insulate all of the outlets in your home. This may not sound very intuitive, but it’s extremely important. The majority of the electrical outlets, especially if you have an older home, aren’t insulated. This is a surefire opportunity for the cold air to sneak in. Outlets are just a hole in wall, after all. Don’t worry, this is easy enough to remedy. All you need to do is purchase foam padding and line the outlets and light switches. Just make sure that you follow directions when working around electricity.
  • Look into both attic or basement insulation. Yes, this will be a bit more of an investment, but like any good investment, when done right, you will see the greatest return. Uninsulated spaces, just like your outlets, are the biggest opportunities to let in the cold air and let the hot air out. You can reach out to a professional or do it yourself, just by rolling extra insulation along the floor and walls of your attic or basement.  

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tips for keeping your home warm and cozy. You know how passionate the Restumping Melbourne team is about everything home renovation so feel free to reach out to us with any questions that you may have.