An outdoor bar is a great focal point of any backyard patio and ideal for entertaining throughout the year. The bar can be a simple design or as elaborate as you can imagine. Even with a built-in refrigerator, a BBQ Grill, shelves and even a sink, but either way, it can be customized to fit your specific needs. The construction process is quick and easy for even the most novice do-it-yourselfer. The base is constructed using a simple dry stack block process with an application of QUIKRETE QUIKWall to give it a beautiful stucco finish.
QUIKRETE QUIKWall is a special, fiberglass reinforced stucco that is simply troweled over the surface of a dry-stack block wall… QUIKWall can create beautiful stucco surfaces that are stronger and faster to build than traditional block and mortar construction. The bar countertop is made of concrete using QUIKRETE Countertop Mix and melamine forms.
Before you get started, make sure your base slab is solid and level.If you need to build a pad for the outdoor bar. High Strength QUIKRETE 5000 is the recommended product for slab construction…because of its high strength and rapid strength gain. To get started, it is important to stage the first course of block and snap a chalk line on each side of the block wall as a reference line to ensure that your corners are square and your base walls are straight. Also check to make sure the base course is level.
If the base slab is not level, remove the blocks and lay a ½ inch bed of QUIKWall under each block on the slab. This will help keep the first course level if there are imperfections or a slope in your concrete base. For this application, the QUIKWall mix should be workable but firm enough to support the weight of the first course.Because there are no mortar joints in this construction technique, your first course of block will determine if your base will be level and square.
Now, set your bottom course; check your alignment and level every 3 to 4 blocks. Once your first course is set, dry-stack the remaining block in a running bond pattern to the desired height. All corners should use an interlocking pattern. QUIKWall can be successfully mixed by hand or machine. The size of your project will often determine which method you choose.
Hand mixing can be done in a mortar tub or wheelbarrow with a mixing hoe and is suited for small projects. Always wear rubber gloves and safety glasses, when working with cement-based materials. Each 50 pound bag of QUIKWall will require about a gallon of water. Additional water can be added in small amounts to achieve a workable mix. Adding liquid cement color to standard white or gray QUIKWall can add a decorative stucco finish.
One 10 oz. bottle of QUIKRETE Liquid Cement Color will color up to two pounds of 50 pound QUIKWall. To achieve a consistent color throughout the mix, the Liquid Cement Color should be blended into the mixing water, before adding it to the mix. Using the same water-to-color ratio will help maintain color uniformity from batch to batch. This is especially important when working on large areas. The proper consistency is achieved when the wet QUIKWall will “hang” on a trowel held at a 90’ angle.
Before applying QUIKWall, thoroughly dampen the block wall with water; dampening the block will make the mix easier to finish and will help prevent inconsistent color and cracking, especially in hot temperatures. Apply a consistent 1/8 to ¼ inch coat of QUIKWall to both sides of the block. Use a square finishing trowel held at a 45 degree angle and work from the bottom of the wall to the top.
One 50 pound bag of QUIKWall will cover approximately 50 square feet at 1/8 inch thick. The coverage may vary based on the texture and thickness of the QUIKWall application. After applying QUIKWall to the base, water cure the entire surface with a fine water mist. This is especially important for color consistency and to prevent surface cracking.
Once your base is complete, confirm the measurements for the concrete countertop. Concrete is a very durable, but heavy building material; so it is best to build the countertop in manageable sections. For example, a 2 foot by 3 foot countertop, 2 inches thick will weigh about 145 lbs. In addition, if your countertop sections are 4 feet in length or less, steel reinforcement is not necessary.
The best way to achieve a dense, smooth surface for your concrete countertops is to use a precast method. In a precast process, the countertops are poured in forms constructed from ¾ inch melamine – coated particleboard. Cut 2 inch strips of melamine for the form sides to create a 2 inch thick concrete countertop. Drill pilot holes every 6 inches along the length of the side forms and attach the side forms to the base using 2 ½ inch deck screws.
Use a carpenter’s square to make sure all corners are square. Then run a thin bead of silicone caulk in all form seams and smooth with a fingertip. This will give the countertop a smooth edge. Now the form is ready for the countertop mix. Countertop Mix can be mixed using a standard drum mixer, or in a 5 gallon pail with a ½ inch drill mixer and mixer blade. QUIKRETE Countertop Mix is designed specifically for countertops… the high density, high strength concrete mix can be removed from the forms in just 18 hours and achieves over 6000 PSI in compressive in 28 days.
Another characteristic that makes Countertop mix unique is that it requires very little mechanical vibration to consolidate and densify the mix, which minimizes voids and helps provide a smooth surface. Countertop Mix is available in two base colors: gray and tint base white. Gray can be used for a natural gray concrete color and to achieve darker colors with the addition of liquid or dry pigments. Tint base white is designed to be used with pigments to achieve a lighter color range.
The concrete should be mixed for a minimum of 5 minutes until the desired consistency is achieved. The mix is formulated to perform equally well in a plastic or flowable consistency. To give the countertop an integral color, liquid cement color can be added to the mixing water before it is added to the mixer. After mixing, fill the form, making sure the mix is consolidated into the corners of the form. Complete the pour in two equal “lifts” about 1 inch deep.
Work from the bottom-up rather than side-to-side. This will minimize any surface color variations. If necessary, structural steel should be embedded after applying the first lift. Then continue placing the mix, overfilling the form slightly. Then using a metal straight edge, screed the surface in a sawing motion. You will want to do this in both directions several times. Screeding will level what will be the underside of the countertop.
After screeding, use a rubber mallet to vibrate the form to consolidate the mix and remove air voids that would cause surface imperfections. Another option is to use a vibrating palm sander. Once the finishing process is completed cover the forms with plastic sheeting and allow to stand undisturbed for 18 hours. After the forms are removed, flip the countertop and use fine sandpaper to smooth edges and remove imperfections.
Every countertop contains natural surface variations that make each countertop truly unique, the countertop’s appearance can be enhanced with surface treatments such as staining and sealing. QUIKRETE® Acrylic High Gloss Sealer – Wet Look is a water-based, high-gloss, clear acrylic sealer designed to seal concrete surfaces from water, dirt, oils, and grease, and to enhance the natural surface color.
Wet-Look Sealer can be applied after the concrete has cured in about 28 days. To guarantee a proper seal, wipe down the countertop surface, before applying the Wet Look Sealer. This is necessary to remove any dirt or dust that may have adhered, during the 28 day curing process. Once the surface has been cleared of any particulate matter, apply QUIKRETE Acrylic High Gloss Sealer. The wet look sealer can be applied with a roller or a brush.
When working with cement-based products, always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves.
Step 1 Stage the first course of block, on top of solid, level concrete slab.
QUIK-Tip: If you need to build a pad for the outdoor bar, use QUIKRETE 5000
Step 2 Snap a chalk line on each side of the intended block wall, to make sure the corners are square and the wall is straight.
Step 3 Set the first course, against the chalk line.
QUIK-Tip: Make sure the first course is level by checking every third or fourth block.
Step 4 Once the first course is set, dry stack the remaining block in a running bond pattern, making sure the corners are interlocking.
Step 5 Mix the necessary amount of QUIKWALL, following the directions on the bag.
QUIK-Tip: The mix is the right consistency when the stucco will hang from a trowel at a 45 degree angle.
Step 6 Dampen the block with water using a garden sprayer.
Step 7 Apply the stucco at 1/8” to ¼” thickness using a square trowel, starting from the bottom and working up the block wall.
Step 8 Once the stucco is applied to the entire base, water cure with a fine mist to prevent cracking.
Step 9 Re-confirm the dimension for the countertop by measuring the top of the block base.
Step 10 Build forms from ¾” melamine by screwing four 2” strips to a base sheet, according to the countertop dimensions.
QUIK-Tip: Concrete is heavy, so use multiple forms that don’t exceed 2’ x 3’ and 2” thick to manage larger countertop projects.
Step 11 Squirt a bead of silicone caulk in the seams of the forms, and smooth with a caulk tool or fingertip to give the countertop a smooth edge. Remove any excess.
Step 12 Mix QUIKRETE Countertop Mix, following the directions on the bag, and pour into the forms in two 1” layers. If necessary, place metal rebar or wire mesh between the two layers for added strength.
QUIK-Tip: QUIKRETE Liquid Cement Color can be added to the fiber-glass reinforced stucco and/or the concrete countertop mix to give the outdoor bar more decorative flair.
Step 13 Over fill the forms slightly, before pulling a 2×4 in a sawing motion over the surface several times each direction.
Step 14 Consolidate the mix, and remove air voids by tapping the forms with a rubber mallet or vibrating with an orbital sander without the pad.
Step 15 Let cure for at least 18 hours, before removing the forms.
Step 16 Once each countertop section us removed from the form, smooth the edges with fine sandpaper.
Step 17 Place, as desired, on newly formed bar base.
Step 18 After the countertop mix has cured the full 28 days, a sealer can be applied with a roller or brush to protect the surface from dirt, oil, grease and other unwanted stains.
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From Source Article: moneypit.com
Relaxation is something people need in a world of mile-long to-do lists, and yet we never seem to make it a priority. But, there’s one group of people who are doing it right.
(By the way, if you need some relaxation tips, check out these 11 tips for creating a relaxing reading nook).
Drive past a shady clump of trees within a park, saunter through a campground, or find a beachfront lined with palms, and you might come across some “mocking.”
Hammocks are a thing right now. This is not a hammock hanging on a metal stand in your backyard for a lazy Sunday afternoon nap type of thing, but an actual trend with mostly teens and twenty-somethings—they buy a hammock and take it on the go.
Mocking enthusiasts are spending their afternoons setting up and chilling in a hammock with no plans at all but to enjoy the pure relaxation while suspended effortlessly in a sling of fabric, rope or netting. It’s a social affair that gets a community together to explore new terrain and hook up their hammocks for a few hours.
(If you’re mocking on a campground, before you go, be sure to check out these 15 amazing camping gadgets found on Amazon.)
You may be thinking, it’s just as easy to whip out a lawn chair and read a book next to your friend in your yard. The difference is, mockers get excited about exploring a park, beach or nature reserve they’ve never been to before? Mocking makes for a bit of adventure and people are making an afternoon of being outdoors together, relaxing and hanging out (literally).
June 22 is National Hammock Day, so don’t be surprised if you see mockers hanging around in the trees!
Need more inspiration to get some fresh air? Check out these 34 awesome outdoor DIY projects to get you outside.
Read more: familyhandyman.com
Water pipes that silently serve your home day in and day out can become raging geysers when windy, sub-zero temperatures find their way into the wall and floor cavities shared by your home’s plumbing system. As water is cooled, it expands. Unfortunately, the pipes carry it – do not. As a result, these plumbing pipes literally explode, ripping wide-open and allowing an endless supply of water to drench every element of your home in its path. Making matters worse, pipe bursts usually happen overnight turning sweet dreams into frozen pipe nightmares, or worse, they can even burst when you’re away from home!
Repair costs can range from hundreds to fix the pipe, up to tens of thousands to repair the ensuing water damage. Fortunately, with a little planning, you can protect yourself from the ensuing cold-water drenching and damage. Here’s where to begin.Open cabinet doors
On very cold nights open the doors to any under kitchen or bath sink cabinets that are located on outside walls, allowing those area to warm from the home’s heating system. This can prevent the inside of the cabinet from becoming a freezer that can lead to frozen water lines.Turn off outside faucets
This first tip may seem like a no-brainer but it’s surprising how often its overlooked until a burst reminds a forgetful homeowner! Most outside faucets have a shut-off valve called the hose bib, usually located inside the home, crawlspace or basement within a foot or two of the faucets location. Turn the valve off, then open the exterior faucet and leave it open all winter long. That way if the valve leaks slowly as some do, any water that accumulates will drain out. By the way, if you are locating these valves for the first time, make sure to add a tag to them so they can be easily found in the future.
Likewise, be sure to drain any in-ground sprinkler systems. This is best done by a sprinkler company with a high powered air compressor strong enough to purge all of the water out of the lines.
Insulate all exposed water pipes
Insulate all water and heating lines located in unheated crawl spaces, attics, and basements. You can use insulating foam tubes, fiberglass tubes and/or fiberglass pipe wrap. Be sure that pipe elbows are carefully wrapped as well, since these tend to be the hardest parts to get covered. If you notice that the same pipe freezes all the time, then you might want to consider having that pipe re-run through a warmer section of the house.
We took this approach to stop a persistent frozen plumbing pipe problem in the kitchen of our 1886 home. The sink supply lines ran up an exterior wall and through a crawl space that were both very difficult to reach. The solution was to abandon those pipes and re-run new supply lines made of PEX, a virtually leak-proof plastic pipe that is also very flexible, and hence much easier to instal through enclosed walls and tight spaces.TIP: Which will burst first? Hot water pipe or cold water pipe?
While you’d think cold water pipes would freeze and burst before hot water pipes, the answer is just the opposite. Here’s why: as hot water passes through the water heater, air bubble entrained in the water are released. When water freezes, these air bubbles create a bit of a cushion effect and can take displaces some of the pressure caused by the expanding water. With hot water, there are no air bubbles and hence no cushion. As a result, all that expanding ice presses outward and rips the pipe open faster than if it were a cold water pipe!Seal drafts in walls, floors and around pipe openings
Super-cold wind-driven air causes many frozen pipe problems as those drafts can freeze uninsulated pipes in a matter of a few hours. Finding and identifying those drafts in areas like exterior walls, crawlspaces and basements, can prevent frozen pipes. Consider using expanding foam sealant like to seal odd shaped spaces, and add batt insulation to the box joists along the interior perimeter of your crawlspace or basement.
If your home is on a crawlspace, close or cover foundation vents. Cut blocks of foam-board insulation to fit the vent openings, and slide them into the vents. Don’t forget to open the vents again in spring; necessary to prevent excessive moisture from forming
Also, it’s worth noting that drain and vent lines can also freeze. On very cold nights, run some hot water down drains that may be located on outside walls of your home.
Keep heat on, even if you’re not home
Keep all your heating zones above 55 degrees all winter long to prevent frozen pipes. Shutting off or lowering unused heating zones can cause water and heating lines to freeze in walls and ceilings of the unused areas, as well as frozen pipes. On super-cold nights, raise the temperature a few degrees higher than normal.
Also, even if you are winterizing your vacation home, keeping some heat on prevents condensation and mold from forming, as well as slows the swelling of doors and other wood parts of the house. You are better off spending a little extra on energy to prevent the pipes from freezing than paying even more for repairs!How to thaw a frozen pipe
If you are caught off guard by a frozen pipe, you may have some time to thaw it before it breaks. Plumbing pipe heat cables, commonly referred to as “heat tape”, works well as a DIY solution for this, but only if it is used safely. Heating tape is an electric appliance in the form of a long strip. You attach it to the plumbing pipe, plug it in and the strip gets hot, and hopefully warms and thaws the pipe. Just remember to turn off the water line first, in case a break formed but the water was too frozen to leak.
Plumbing pipe heating cables are pretty effective in most cases, however, I want to caution that there’s one common and potentially dangerous use I’ve seen countless time in my experience as a former professional home inspector. That is to place heat tape under the pipe insulation. This is a huge fire threat as the amount of heat generated by the tape appliance is not designed to be contained by insulation. I have seen heat tape actually burn when it was applied like this by an unwitting homeowner. This is a severe fire danger, so make sure you carefully follow the heat tape manufacturers instructions.
Aside from covering the tape with insulation, another common mistake is overlapping the tape, or essentially wrapping it around itself. The tape should always be attached parallel to the pipe, with the thermostat touching the pipe, and secured every few inches with electrical tape.
Also, if you decide to go with heat tape, buy a new one from a reputable source. The safety standards continue to improve and many old heat tape products are simply out of date and unsafe.
If the freeze is beyond what can be accomplished by heat tape, a plumbers are equipped with pipe thawing machine that can handle bigger jobs.How to monitor for a major pipe leak, even when you are not home
Smart home technology has made it easier to monitor many things in our home and water usage including that which would signal a major pipe break is certainly among its capability. The Streamlabs Smart Home Water Monitor is a new level of protection from water damage, including a major pipe burst. The smart home device helps you detect leaks in real time, learn about your usage and water habits, and find ways to use water more efficiently—all in an easy-to-use app. The installation requires no plumbing work – it’s simple to install and connects directly to your home Wi-Fi, and can alert you at the first sign of major water usage, like a frozen and busted pipe!Frozen pipes and insurance
Homeowners insurance policies usually cover leaks not caused by deferred maintenance and neglect. Check your policy or contact your insurance professional to determine coverage for a “sudden dispersals of water,” which is insurance speak for a busted pipe!Leave the water trickling
Finally, if you haven’t taken any of these steps and are worried about one very cold spell, it OK to leave water trickling in a faucet or two and that MAY stop the pipe from freezing and bursting. Sure, it’ll waste water but its a small price to pay for a quick preventative step.
Bottom line, just a few simple steps can keep your water flowing like it should all winter long. Frost-proofing your exterior water faucets and water pipes in your home now can help prevent major damage should a pipe freeze and break in cold weather.
It’s one big mess we guarantee you want to avoid!
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