Concrete 101

All about Concrete


Concrete Facts. (Photo Credits)

Concrete is a widely used building material of the modern time. It is resilient, it is easy to clean, it is efficient. Concrete  

The website Architect Magazine published a brief history of the concrete.   National Ready Mix Concrete Association

“One small niche of the residential market was the use of textured concrete block designed to simulate stone. This material hit its peak of popularity around 1910​, and it preceded the larger production of concrete block and was marketed as a do-it-yourself material. With a few molds and a concrete mixer​, an individual could go into business. Sears Roebuck & Co. was an early marketer of the equipment to make these concrete blocks.”

Read more here.   

Trivia, Trivia

Slideshare meanwhile provided six facts that ordinary people may not know about concrete.

“Making one tonne of cement requires two tonnes of raw material”

Read the rest of the amazing facts here.

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Curbed also shared a post on historical trivia about concrete. “While precursors to concrete can be found back in Roman times (the term comes from the Latin word concretus, meaning compact or condensed), the modern version was developed in the 18th and 19th centuries. British bricklayer Joseph Aspdin applied for a patent for Portland cement, named after an island near Dorset where it was quarried, in 1824. Initially, architects and engineers didn’t show much interest in the material. Ordinary builders and contractors were the first to pick it up and start experimenting.”

Read the rest of the post here.

So there goes concrete information on concrete.

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The Art in Murals

All About Murals

Rythme n°1 (Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris)

What murals are trying to convey. (Photo Credits)

Wall Murals continue to be considered a work of art.  They may be abstract, but they definitely convey a message from the artist that painted it. Cemented  

This is Colossal for instance shared amazing photos of murals that hide or highlight entryways. “Over the last year or so, German street artist 1010 (previously) created several of his fantastic spray paint portals in locations around Germany, Panama, and the United States. 1010 brings surprising layers of depth to drab facades and blank gallery walls by painting concentric layers of color. The artist most recently had a solo show at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco titled Limbus.”

Take a look at the murals here.

Transforming Power

The Website Can You meantime shared photos of magical bedroom murals. American Society of Concrete Contractors 

“European artist Bogi Fabian is turning ordinary rooms into a dreamy wonderland filled with dazzling and glowing wall murals. Her wall murals focus on creating a dream world achieved by painting floors and walls with glow-in-the-dark paint.”

See the Glow-in-the-Dark Murals here.

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Australian Website ABC for its part featured a mural that depicted indigenous soldiers.” The artwork shows 18 servicemen of World War I who came from the region, which is Tanganikald country.”

See the mural here.

Where was the last time you saw a mural?

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Dream Home, Concrete Home

What you should know about homes made of concrete

Concrete Home Construction in Guatemala

A Modern home is a concrete home. (Photo Credits) 

When one says “modern home,” an image of a concrete home is usually being conjured. After all, it is the strongest, and most resilient material available when reinforce with steel among other construction materials.

And what could be more futuristic and iconic than this concrete home featured over at Concrete 

“This crazy concrete home could make you seasick. Carved into a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea, Casa Brutale is a brutalist building reminiscent of the iconic Casa Malaparte in Naples, Italy, except it’s volumetrically inverted. The monolithic underground structure has a roof-mounted swimming pool that acts as a translucent ceiling, and a view that will definitely unsettle the faint-hearted.”

Check out the photos of the house here.

Dream House

Another dream home has been constructed this time in Texas, as shared by the website National Ready Mix Concrete Association         

“An eye-opening trip to Naoshima, Japan, convinced the Robertsons to find a way to build their dream. On the 3.15-square-mile island, they visited the Benesse House Museum and the Chichu Art Museum, a series of square, rectangular, and triangular volumes  embedded in a hillside, which house installations by James Turrell and Walter De Maria, as well as paintings by Claude Monet. Both museums were designed by architect Tadao Ando and are composed of concrete, a signature material that Ando has used to rich and evocative effect. The Robertsons were taken with the rawness and mystery of the spaces.

Take a look at the design of the house here.

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Strength and reliability are also two of the factors why most homeowners choose concrete for their homes. shares how resilient a concrete home can be against wild fires.

“One man rode out the firestorm in the comfort of his living room, even as a wall of flames 20 feet high marched right around him. ‘The fire was at this draw right here,’ said homeowner John Belles. ‘We didn’t have time to do much of anything. The fire was like 30 yards or so to the north of me when I decided to go into the building.’ Belles built his concrete, monolithic dome in 1999 after he bought some property near Riverside. It’s designed to withstand Mother Nature’s fury, and that’s exactly what it did as he rode out the firestorm inside.

Read more here.

What do you love about your concrete home?

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Make your own Concrete Planter

Homemade Concrete Planters

found objects

It is not too hard to make a concrete planter. (Photo Credits)

 Concrete planters are both functional and decorative gardening pieces. The great thing about it is, it is not too hard to make one.        National Ready Mix Concrete Association

Garden Therapy for instance shared a tutorial on how to make concrete planters. “These DIY concrete garden planters are simple to make in just a weekend and with materials you may already have around the house. They look modern with unique shapes that come straight from the recycling bin!”

Check out the step-by-step tutorial here.

Not complicated at all

Concrete So Creative Things meantime shared two ways on how to make concrete planters. “If you are loooking for a Creative DIY Project for planters you are in the exactly right place.After this project you will be able to make your own concrete planters in a different and easy way. There are many ways to make this but today we are going to show you the best ones. The first one is making concrete planters with plastic pots and the other one is using wooden casts.”

Read the rest of the article here.

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Plantcare Today also shared an instructional video on making DIY Concrete Planters, specifically for succulents. “Plants in the home add a special look and welcoming feel to the indoors. There are many plants which can be used to dress up an indoor space. One type of plants are succulents. However, besides plants the container and planter can play an important role in the overall look. But, decorative planters can break a budget!”

Read the whole post here.

Would you like to try doing a cement plater on your own?

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Add life to your concrete walls

Liven up those boring walls

Simple green!

Better walls. (Photo Credits)

Empty walls are well, empty and boring. A homeowner can definitely do something about his or her home’s concrete to at least add life to it. for instance shared ways on how to splash photographs on a home wall like a pro.

“Well designed layouts complement your home interiors, making room look interesting, but light and spacious. Beautiful collections of photographs are excellent wall decorating ideas that help declutter homes and design beautiful and cozy, personal and modern interiors. Large empty walls can handle big collections of photographs or large photos. A single small photograph on an empty wall looks lost and unappealing. If you have lots of small photographs, it is better to design a composition and arrange them on empty walls in accordance with one of layouts that demonstrate how to hang photographs and decorate empty walls like a professional decorator.”

Check out the many ways here.

Creative and Functional

Kitchen walls can also hold both décor and functional space as shared in Better Homes and Gardens. “Amplify your home’s storage capacity by optimizing wall space. Check out these storage solutions — from capacious cabinets to inventive constructions — that stow copious amounts of all kinds of stuff.”

Take a look at the photos here.

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This employee featured over at found their concrete office wall too boring hence he made DIY decorations that came out really amazing.

“He Was Tired Of Looking At Boring Office Walls, So He Bought 9,000 Post-It Notes. The Result Is Amazing”

Look at the pictures here.

Are your home walls boring?

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Shoveling snowy concrete driveways

Random Act of Kindness

March in Thunder Bay - Driveway

Snowy driveway. (Photo Credits) 

There is nothing like waking up in the winter, getting ready for work, and seeing your driveway overed in snow.

But when you have a kind-hearted neighbor who does the shoveling for you, without anything in return, then that is just something to be really thankful for.

USA Today shared this story. “More than 50 homes in the area had definitely been served by six teenagers who chose to wake up early — around 6:30 a.m. — and shovel away. The high schoolers said they just wanted to pay it forward.”

Watch the report here.

You have been Served

American News also featured the same Random Act of Kindness. “Parents in the neighborhood were so grateful they offered the teens a cash reward, but the teenagers refused. That’s when the parents gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse: hot chocolate. After the teens finished their good deed, they enjoyed an afternoon filled with multiple rounds of hot chocolate and sledding down a nearby hill.”

Check out the whole article here.

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Opposing Views also picked up on the surprise snow shoveling in the Colorado neighborhood.

“The teens posted fliers on the front doors of more than 50 homes that read: ‘You’ve been served.’ ‘You just don’t see that in this day and age,’ said Jeff Mostellar, another local resident. ‘They did everything. The whole driveway, the stoop, the whole sidewalk up to the fence.’”

Take a look at the photos here.

When was the last time you did a random act of kindness?

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Calgary inventors create device to trap greenhouse gases from home furnaces

Three Calgary-area entrepreneurs say they’ve invented a device that will trap greenhouse gas emissions produced by home furnaces, bringing the battle against global warming to the suburbs.
The irony of Albertans opening a new front in the war on GHGs isn’t lost on the trio behind CleanO2 Carbon Capture Technologies — the province’s oil and gas industry is usually blamed for Canada’s inability to meet GHG reduction targets.
They just installed their first full-scale prototype in the utility room of partner Jaeson Cardiff’s Airdrie bungalow.
“There is no other company doing carbon capture from the residential market. Nobody,” said Cardiff in an interview.
“It’s very complex. It comes back to the notion of rather than dealing with a large quantity of CO2 at a single source, you’re dealing with a bunch of CO2 spread out over a wide area. The average home produces six tonnes (per year). The city of Calgary census from 2012 showed 245,000 homes so that’s 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 and that’s just the single detached homes.”
Cardiff, a plumber with a knack for inventing, came up with the concept of home carbon capture eight years ago while brainstorming ideas for a science magazine invention contest.
He brought in his boss, Scott Forgrave, owner of Calgary plumbing and heating company Excelair Mechanical Services Ltd., and Kathi Fischer, a chemical technologist, and they got to work.
The prototype, a thin polished black box with blue lights that perches next to the furnace like an extra water softener, is designed to come on automatically when the furnace kicks in. Many of its parts were made using a 3D printer picked up on eBay.
High-efficiency furnaces create carbonate ions and carbonic acid, the company says. The CleanO2 machine — dubbed CARBiNX — circulates cold air from outside through a heat exchanger to cool the fumes to make it easier to dissolve the carbon dioxide with an atomized solvent spray. The solvent — they won’t say what it is, other than to emphasize it’s non-toxic — is then circulated through polystyrene resin beads which strip off the carbonate ions so the liquid is ready to be used again. The bead cartridge can be switched out when it is full.

Jim Wilson, intellectual property manager for Innovate Calgary, said the technology is at a very early stage and many questions remain to be answered but its potential for small- to medium-scale carbon capture is promising.
“The uniqueness is the scale and the simplicity,” he said. “I think there are a number of steps to do before this can go out at scale and be a profitable business, but it’s a direction that everyone is interested in and everyone is looking at.”
Innovate Calgary helped CleanO2 review existing carbon capture technology and file a patent on the technology in the United States, the latter partly funded by Alberta Innovates Technology Futures.
Earlier this month, the federal government pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about one-third to an estimated 515 metric megatons per year by 2030. Emissions were 726 megatons in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, and Environment Canada figures show they are projected to increase 727 megatons by 2020.

Early testing suggests the CleanO2 device can capture 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide from a typical residential furnace — that’s about two tonnes per year. One of the key questions is what you then do with the carbonate, with options including consolidating it for recycling, sending it to a landfill or flushing it down the drain to be collected at a municipal sewage treatment facility.
CleanO2 says it needs to raise about $500,000 to secure patents, finish testing the prototype, file for certification and begin manufacturing. Once the money is in hand, the partners estimate a product could be on the market in a year or so.

“We need to find investment so we can take it to the next level, which is industrial,” said Cardiff. “We also believe there is a niche market with people with more disposable income. We could market this as a high-end green product you can put in your home.”

Fischer added that furnace manufacturers may be interested in licensing some of the technology to incorporate into their products.
Forgrave pointed out that high-efficiency furnaces are mandated by the federal government — if CleanO2’s product works as hoped, it could also be backed by government through legislation or subsidy. He said that’s something Alberta’s new NDP government might also be interested in backing.
The partners estimate the prototype cost about $10,000 to build but with mass production the cost could fall to $450 to $500 per unit, about the same as a water softener.

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