An Introduction to Eco-Friendly Green Roofs


Environmentally Friendly Roof Philosophy
Green roof is probably not an unfamiliar term nowadays, due to the ever raising ecological awareness and the need to help the environment in any way we can. Beside these motives, there are also some individual and practical ones that may persuade you that an eco-roof is just the thing you need. Namely, this roof type has many benefits beside the previously mentioned one, usually related to its insulating power and attractive and natural look. Well, this is why this just might be the perfect time for an introduction to eco-friendly green roofs.
Before even starting with some green roofs basics, let’s try to persuade you to at least consider covering your home with something that will not only protect your home but also look good. Firstly, know that there is much more to this roof than solely its good looks. The first thing on the list is most definitely its insulation properties and the ability to keep your home warmer during harsh winters but also keep it peaceful, quiet and comfortable, since it also works as a noise barrier, depending on the thickness of the vegetation layer.
Second thing deriving from the first benefit is lower energy consumption and thus lower electricity bills which means some time off for the environment and your budget. If you are getting tired of having to replace your roof covering every once in a while, eco-friendly green roofs can make a significant contribution in this area as well, since they will keep your waterproofing membranes well protected from UV radiation and harmful effects of the weather and temperature fluctuations. Finally, all those of you living in urban and densely populated areas have probably heard of the so called urban heat island effect, showing the temperature changes between urban and rural areas, always resulting in much higher temperatures in urban ones, due to the motorization, mass production and larger population. Well these green beauties can decrease these changes, since they work as great insulators not only during the winter but also the other way around by cooling up the space during summertime.
Green Roof Basics
Now that you are aware of some basic benefits of having a green roof, it is time to get to know with its basic characteristics and types. It consists of a few layers, which all have their functions in usually protecting the layer beneath and making a ground for the layer placed on top. The layers are as follows:
·vegetation layer is made from plants of your choice, depending on the climate, roof structure and its maintenance and can have different thickness influencing its insulation power;
·planting medium layer is probably the most important part of the roof, since it holds nutrients, water retention, air volume and grain size, made from minerals or more often some more absorbent material such as perlite;
·fabric filter layer is placed below as a protection for the planting medium;
·drainage layer is used to supply the substrate with air and water since it holds the drained water from the roof and
·protective layer is placed on top, used to make the roof membrane safe from fertilizers or other potential hazards, made from concrete, plastic or better yet rigid insulation boards.
Now – the classification. Basic green roof types are the so called intensive and extensive roofs. If you expect great insulation results from your roof and the roof structure allow you, intensive green roofs are the thing you need. Although they need more attention when it comes to their maintenance and include more conditions that must be fulfilled, they are more insulating and include greater biodiversity than extensive ones. This makes them perfect for growing food or even making a whole garden for your roof which includes small trees, shrubs or lawns.
On the other hand if you have a large area to cover, do not want to reinforce the roof structure and have only a few plants in mind, like grass or herbs, extensive green roofs should be your choice. They are very easy to install and maintain, lightweight and usually do not include separate irrigation system, so you can make your pick amongst biodiverse extensive roofs, lightweight or super lightweight ones.
Finally, whichever roof you go for, always take some precautions, including whether your roof structure can support the massive vegetation you are planting, how it will affect your roof covering and whether there is a need for additional protection for downpipe outlets and fire protection.

Getting Your Pool Ready for Summer Swimming


It’s spring and even though it’s snowing up north, the southern states have been warming up for weeks. With the continuing 80 degree days, you are longing to get back into your pool. However, having gone unused for the last few months, the pool needs to be cleaned in order to prepare it for the summer swimming season. You can either hire an expensive pool cleaner, or with these few easy steps, save yourself the money and you will be enjoying your pool in no time!
1.Clean the area surrounding your pool:
Take advantage of the pool cover and dirty pool to clean the area around your pool. Trim any trees, shrubs, or plants and pick up any dead leaves or debris that has accumulated around the pool. If your cover has collected dead leaves you may use an air blower to remove the debris. Hose off the deck to remove loose pollen, leaves, etc that have accumulated.
2.If your pool is covered, uncover it at this time:
Do your best to clean the pool cover, removing not only debris but also water, before trying to take off the cover. In order to avoid accidentally spilling the dirty water or debris into your pool when you remove the cover, first raise the water level to the middle of the skimmers. Blow off with a blower as described above. Then, with someone helping you, grab a corner at the shallow end and uniformly drag the cover from the pool. Clean and dry the cover then store it in a dry location.
3.Inspect:
Inspect your pool for signs of damage that may have occurred during the winter. If you see cracking, staining or any other damage it is best to contact a qualified professional to see about repairing these.
4.Prepping:
First, make sure that you have all of the tools you need to clean the pool yourself. You will need a pool brush, a skimmer net on a pole and some kind of vacuum system. Depending on your pool system, some of the chemicals can include chlorine and bromine for sanitizing the water and destroying any bacteria. You may also need muriatic acid to set the correct pH balance.
5.Plug the pool equipment:
Close or replace any of the drain plugs that were opened or removed when you prepared your pool for the winter. These may include but are not limited to the drain plug on the pump/s and the filter.
6. Inspect pool filter cartridges or DE grids:
Prior to starting up the pool you will want to inspect your pool filter cartridges or DE Grids and the Tank O’ring. If you find any tears in the cartridges or DE grids they will need to be replaced. The tank o’ring needs to be inspected as this in important to the function of your pool filter. If it is torn or flattened then it could allow pressure to escape from the filter. Always coat the o’ring with the a silicone lube to extend its life and assist in sealing the pool filter.
7.Just skimming the surface:
Use the skimmer net on a pole or commercial-grade net to clean any debris that is visibly floating on the top of the pool.
8.Let ‘er go:
After priming the pump allow your pool filter run for a full 24 hours. After the 24 hour period add chlorine shock in order to disinfect the pool and filter system. Test your water and adjust the chemical in the pool accordingly, allowing another 24 hours to pass, then test the water balance again.
9.Checks and balances:
Check and balance the chemical levels. There are four levels you need to check: the pH level (7.4 – 7.6), which measures the base and acid levels, the Alkalinity level (80-120ppm) which measure the water’s resistance to changing pH, the Calcium hardness (250 – 450 ppm), which measures the hardness of your water, and the chlorine (1 – 3 ppm) (sanitizer) content. An additional reading on some testers is for the Total Dissolved Solids, this number wants to be (250 -1500 ppm)
10.Shock ‘er!
The last step is to shock the pool using chlorine to kill off any remaining bacteria prior to use. A good rule of thumb is using one pound of shock chlorine for every 10,000 gallons of water. This should be done weekly if needed. This may also need to be done after a heavy rain or more often during very hot summers. All these instructions are a general guideline and need to be adjusted based on your area of the country. Some areas have very hard water, where others will have very soft water so always check with your local pool store if you have questions about your particular area.
11.Jump on in and enjoy your pool!
We at Pool Cartridge Deals offer you great pricing on pool filter cartridges for your swimming pool. http://www.poolcartridgedeals.com offers free shipping with a low handling fee. We specialize in pool filter cartridges and pool filter DE grids. We also supply you with swimming pool water testing kits, pool filter tank o’rings, skimmer socks, cartridge cleaners and even a few fun items for the swimming pool. We have several articles on the page under our Resources Tab to educate the you, the pool owner, on how to best care for your pool and even extend the life of your pool cartridges. Please visit our site. Happy Swimming!

Exploring the Different Types of Decking Boards


Decking in general means outdoor flooring to add more space and character to a house. Outdoor living is becoming a popular trend and lifestyle in the housing market and every house owner is beginning to add this feature to their homes in the form of patios to functional entertaining areas complete with barbecue, dining and kitchen units. The housing market taking advantage of this trend has come up with a variety of decking boards to satisfy the demands of customers.
Consumers are very picky when it comes to the type of board they buy for their outdoor decking area. What might suit the needs of some customers might not do the same for some others. Hence, there are various types of decking boards available in the market today with their own pros and cons.
Ipe – This is the most popular and most sought after decking material due to its durability, colour and safety aspects. The material is a combination of grain and natural oil, which gives out a better performance and appearance than any other soft wood or synthetic material. The Ipe has a slip, scratch and splinter resistant surface and retains its original form for more than 75 years without treatment, painting or staining.
Tigerwood – It is a mixture between golden reddish brown colour and brown and black streaks, which matures into a lighter colour over time. This decking board can lasts up to 30 years without any treatment except for its colour, which has to be maintained by applying UV oil once in a while. Tigerwood is chemical free and resistant to mold and decay.
Cumaru- Due to its high density, pre drilling is required. The Cumaru boards can last more than 50 years and is resistant to scratches and splinters with a nonslip surface. It is easy to install and has a reddish brown colour, which adds a vibrant tone to a deck.
Garapa – Ideal for those who prefer light coloured decks. Its light golden colour captures more brightness onto a deck and is an inexpensive option for those on a tight budget. It is termite, mold and decay resistant.
Massaranduba – It has a rich red colour with a smooth surface on one side and a non-slip surface on the other. It has similar properties as the Cumaru.
PVC – It is made of plastic and despite its resistant properties to decay and warping it is very fragile. It contains toxic gases and retains heat when exposed to the sun making it very unpractical.
Composite – It is made from recycled plastic and wood fibres and looks like natural wood. Even though it is maintenance free, it may contain harmful chemicals depending on where it is sourced.
Pressure treated – This type of decking is used for both residential and commercial purposes. It is cheap and affordable with resistance to different weather conditions and termites. However, it has structural defects and doesn’t last very long.
Your article writer Jack Howe is regarded as an expert in the garden decking industry and has been helping consumers for many years to find types of decking boards. For anyone looking around for more information on the different types of decking then reading through the useful guides written by Jack will definitely help you find the best solutions for your needs.