Applicator Types for Interlock Sealing

There are many ways to build a driveway or a pavement, and one of the most popular of these is by using interlocking blocks. Not only is the process quick and convenient, but the results are also long-lasting when taken care of. The fact that there are so many materials to choose from also means that using interlocking blocks can be a strategy to design an aesthetically pleasing driveway or pavement. After construction, sealing is a process that is optional.

However, due to the many benefits it confers to the driveway or pavement, it is advisable to ensure that it’s done. Sealing interlocking blocks results in longer life, need for less maintenance, a lower risk of weed growth and maintenance of the original color for a longer time. Placing sealant on interlocking blocks is usually done using an applicator. Some of the most popular types include:

Low pressure, high-volume (LPHV) sprayers

Also known as airless sprayers, these sealant applicator types are considered to be the best for application of any type of interlocking block sealant. When sprayers of this type are used, they permit finely controlled rates of application. This means that the sealing process can be more accurate, and it also makes it possible to seal large areas in shorter times.

The majority of these sprayers can be used with solvent-based or water-based sealers, any type of resin and low or high solid content. The contractor basically has few restrictions regarding the type of sealant they can use when using LPHV applicators. The spray equipment is usually rented (if you decide to do the sealing on your own). However, you can ask your paving contractor to do interlock sealing as part of the project. You then don’t have to worry about the technicalities of doing it, and will be assured of a professionally done sealing job.

Roller sealants 

A roller sealant applicator makes use of a roller similar to the one used for painting. The roller typically has a quarter to three-eighths inch naps. Though they can be used to apply sealants that are solvent or water-based, they are not ideal for application of sealants whose solid content is above 35%. Additionally, if it turns out that the surface to be sealed is rough or ambient temperatures are high, rollers are not ideal for applying solvent-based sealants since they will lead to problems including puddling and bubbling. In essence, this means that before using roller sealants, one has to make sure that all the variables allow for its use.

Pump-up sprayers

These sealant applicators are also known as low-pressure sprayers. Some are not ideal for using solvent-based sealants, since they can get clogged. However, pump-up sprayers that are designed for solvent-based sealant use are ideal for application of one-part solvent-based sealants which have a solids content less than 35%.


A T-bar applicator is a piece of metal with a straight edge, designed specifically for sealant application. They are most ideal for applying sealants that have very high solid content (more than 35%). These are usually epoxy and polyurethane sealers. T-bars can only be used for application over smooth surfaces.

Lamb’s wool applicator 

This sealant applicator is essentially a woolen rag which is wrapped on a block. This type of applicator is excellent when applying high-solid sealant, particularly if they are solvent-based. These typically include epoxy and polyurethane sealants. These applicators can only be used on smooth surfaces.

Micro-fiber applicators 

Synthetic micro-fiber applicators are the best choice for application of water-based sealants with low solid content on smooth surfaces. One of the major benefits of micro-fiber applicators is that they achieve very thin coverage, which is necessary to achieve a quality finish.

Tips To Ensure Your Deck Stays Durable

Decks provide extra space in your home, which can be used for fun activities such as holding outdoor parties or simply relaxing after a hectic day. When thinking of installing one in your current home, the planning process should put into consideration many factors so that you can end up with a deck which is not only aesthetically pleasing, but which will also be safe and functional as well.

Of course, if you consult a trusted deck contractor to do the job for you, you can rest assured that all these details will be sorted out. However, it’s important to know about some of the critical things which influence deck design and construction, and one of these is the strength of the deck. Since this affects safety, it is something that you should not ignore. Some of the tips you can use to ensure that the deck stays durable include:

Consider the furniture and other equipment that will be on the deck 

During the planning phase, you should have a good idea of the type of furniture and other equipment that will be on the deck. These could include a grill, a drinks cabinet and more. This will then give a rough idea of how much weight the deck will be expected to bear, and the design will be made with this in mind.

The purpose of the deck 

Why are you building the deck? Is it to provide a space where you can spend some alone time or to provide an area for frequent outdoor parties? These answers to these questions should be clear when designing the deck. In the first instance, you would not need a very strong deck since it would only need to support you and occasionally, a few other people.

The fact that you would be using it on your own most of the time also means that it won’t need a lot of furniture. Such a deck can be built to be weaker than one that is meant to host parties where a significant number of people may attend on a regular basis. In the latter, the weight of the individuals in addition to the weight of the greater number of furniture means that the deck would need to be much stronger than in the former case.

The material used 

Many decks are made out of wood, but you can also design one out of other materials such as composites. Either way, your choice of material will always influence the strength of the deck. For a stronger, safer deck, you would be better off using hardwood if you decide to have it made of wood. This is especially in critical areas such as main support beams, which will bear significant weight from the deck. When using wood for the deck, it’s advisable to have it treated so that it doesn’t start rotting or being eaten by termites. This will gradually reduce the strength of the affected wood, resulting in collapse of the deck if not attended to urgently.

The experience of your deck contractor 

This is by far one of the most important factors influencing the final strength of your deck. During the design and construction of a deck, variables such as the distribution of force account for decisions such as how to align support beams, the types of material to use and how to use them. Using reliable deck contractors, you can rest assured that all these variables will have been assessed, and that the final product will be as sturdy as possible. This simply means that taking the time to find a deck contractor you can trust is well worth it.

DIY Methods To Remove Weeds From Interlocking Brick Driveways

Interlocking brick driveways are aesthetically pleasing options for driveways, and are usually easy to maintain as well. This explains their popularity in many parts of the country. One of the common problems people encounter with these driveways is dealing with weeds. These usually grow between the interlocking bricks, particularly if the driveway is aging and the mortar holding the bricks together is falling apart. When left in this state, the driveway could become an eyesore, particularly if the weeds grow noticeably tall. There are easy methods to get rid of the weeds, including:

Using plain salt 

Many people find that pouring plain salt between the bricks will deter the growth of any plants in the area. Part of the reason for this is that salt is highly hygroscopic, which means that it absorbs water from the surrounding soil and makes it less suitable for plant growth. The frequency of doing this should be customized; you may need to experiment for some time before finding the ideal duration of time before you can apply more salt between the bricks for long-term weed growth prevention.

Using fine sand 

It has also been found that the use of fine sand can inhibit the growth of weeds between the bricks. However, this is a technical procedure and there are steps to follow. First, one would need to get fine sand, such as the Magic Sand brand which can be found in many hardware stores across the countries. You can also buy some of it online. The sand is spread on the bricks, and then brushed so that it accumulates in the area between each brick. The sand is then wet using a hose which produces a fine mist, rather than torrential water. This makes it harden after some time, making it difficult for plants to grow between the bricks. This is a perfect method of weed growth prevention since its effects last long.

Using full-strength vinegar 

The use of full-strength vinegar to prevent weed growth is a cheap yet effective method of controlling the presence of weeds in the long term. Fortunately, this product is easy to find, and all you have to do is to pour it in the area between the bricks where the weeds grow. With time, they will wilt and die, and it will take a long time for them to grow again. This prevents the need for frequent weeding of the driveway.

Have the driveway sealed 

By far, the most effective way to prevent weed growth for the long term is by simply having the driveway sealed after interlock installation. By sealing the bricks, air and water are prevented from penetrating the surface of the driveway. Since plants need these elements in order to grow, the presence of the sealant ensures no plant growth at all. For best results, high quality sealant has to be used, and the correct skill has to be applied as well. This means that you have to consult a high-quality contractor for both the installation and sealing of the driveway.

Depending on various factors such as the rate of wear and environmental factors, pavement sealants may degrade over time. Your contractor should provide you with detailed information regarding the expected rate of degradation, so that you can know when to reseal the driveway. Typically, it takes years before this is necessary, particularly if high quality products and skill are used in the installation.

These are just a few of the methods of weed growth prevention you can use for your interlocking brick driveway. You can always rely on an experienced contractor to give you more information regarding this, so that you don’t have to keep removing the weeds on a regular basis.

3 Important Reasons Why It Is Necessary To Sealcoat Your Driveway

Sealcoating an asphalt pavement, driveway or parking lot is done for one main reason – to extend the lifespan of the surface. Considering driveway sealing in Markham is a wise move, as your driveway can deliver many stellar years of service, and the sealcoating contractor will help to reduce the rate of deterioration. All in all, you will find it worthwhile to apply a sealcoat to reduce on maintenance costs.

The value of a site or driveway is optimized by such work done to the asphalt pavement. In addition, you will decrease the limitations of the pavement which has the sealcoat applied over it. As it is well known, the bitumen mixture in most driveway construction is prone to certain limitations as poor compaction, excess voids and poor mix stability. With these weaknesses looming, you will find the sealcoat helpful in the following way:

Slowing down oxidation

Asphalt pavements provide very poor resistance to sunlight and UV rays. This in effect causes the asphalt to deteriorate due to oxidation. Its immediate exposure to the sun is enough to cause such effects as cracking almost immediately it is constructed. The aging of the asphalt pavement is therefore quickened. Anything you can do to reduce the oxidation prolongs the life of such a costly installation.

The secret is to slow down the oxidation before it goes to extensive lengths. According to experts, some oxidation of the asphalt is necessary, since the process involves a whole lot of oils that need oxidizing for the strength of the surface to increase. As the oils are released to the new environment, the surface becomes harder and harder, but if this goes on for too long, the asphalt becomes brittle and may crack very easily. A sealcoat will prevent this from taking place.

The oxidation process is responsible for creating a whole lot of mess on the surface. Apart from the brittle nature that can be created, you may also experience the release of fines, which exposes the aggregate in the mixture. With such exposure to traffic, the aggregate will easily pull out and eventually form cracks. If untreated, the cracks become larger and allow water beneath the pavement, and we all know what water does to asphalt when it is right beneath the pavement.

Sealcoating is a part of the overall protective system

Sealcoating is done as part of the larger process, and should not be overemphasized against the rest of the processes involved in laying out an asphalt pavement. The truth of the matter is that water will still find a way to sip through the asphalt if the pavement is not done well from the beginning. Water has a way of sipping through a place of lowest resistance, so any contractor needs to keep this in mind while working the process.

Sealcoating needs to be done as well to any pavement repairs as part of the maintenance process. Crack-sealing, for example needs to be properly filled out before the sealcoat is applied. It must be noted that the sealcoat is not a crack filler, and is never designed to do this.

The coating improves the aesthetical appearance

After sealcoating, the area will deliver a great aesthetical appearance for your pavement. If you are, for example, a store owner who has a parking lot, your customers will want to come to a place that looks inviting, with nicely done black and white stripped surfaces, that builds a good first impression about the kind of service you are ready to offer them. It is said that the first impression makes a big percentage of a customer’s perception of who you are, and the parking lot is the first symbol that will influence your customers’ perception of your store.

Common Causes Of A Retaining Wall Failure

No one likes to fix a mess left by others, but unfortunately, sometimes you just have to. Some homeowners will call up a contractor to deal with a poorly done landscaping job by an unqualified person. In correcting some of these issues, it may be a task as simple as switching from one plant mismatch to another preferable one; or it can be a daunting task, such as dealing with the effects of a retaining wall failure.

Some of the signs that show that a retaining wall is not functioning like it should be include when it leans outwards, or when it is bulging or shows some cracks. If the wall has totally collapsed, then you will be dealing with a whole new problem. However, you will always be able to see the sign before a total collapse takes place.  Before doing the repairs, you will need to establish the cause of the failure. Here are some of the causes:

Poor drainage of water

This is one of the most common causes of problematic retaining walls in Vaughan. Whenever excess water is allowed to saturate the soil held by a wall, without it being given a way out, it applies excess pressure on the wall. As we know, saturated soil has more weight than unsaturated soils, and if the wall has not been designed to hold such amounts of weight, then a problem will be easily caused.

Its prevention requires a solution to be created to lead water out of the area. A professional will advise the addition of a drainage system leading excess water out. Alternatively, regrading the soils can help redirect the flow of water, and hereby redirecting the pressure caused to a more pressure-resistant area. Landscapers also employ the use of crashed gravel to provide drainage so as to keep off saturated backfills.

Unanticipated pressure from sudden loads

It is important to have good communication between the landscaper and the homeowner as regard the use of every area around the compound. When this does not occur, for one reason or the other, the landscaper can end up building a retaining wall, having in mind a different use from what the homeowner intended. If for example, the homeowner intended the area over which a wall is built to be used as a parking, or to build a shed, and did not communicate this to the landscaper, we will expect to have a retaining wall that will be under excess pressure to retain the weight of the soil plus the overlaying activity.

Such walls need to be strengthened by transferring the shear force towards the base area of the wall. The footing of the base can be strengthened by placing concrete blocks to thicken the basement.

Issues with the foundation

The retaining wall, like any other structure, needs a strong foundation, and its neglect will be evidenced by cracks and eventually its collapse. The soil underneath it should be properly compacted in the construction process. This therefore requires proper site investigation, without which the contractor will be making an assumption concerning terrain and soil property.

The footing needs some adequate depth; deep enough to resist any weight presented by saturated soils. It also needs to go deeper than the frost line for obvious reasons. In order to increase the strength of the footing, concrete can be used to a certain depth. For those retaining walls that need to go really high, landscapers decide to regrade the surface, hereby decreasing the average height of the wall.

Though most of the issues caused have a lot to do with planning and doing a good foundation, it should also be noted that a proper wall needs to be built. The right ratios of cement, sand and water in the motor mixture needs to be done to keep the wall stronger for longer.

5 Things You Need To Know When Installing Your Brick Backsplash

Brick backsplashes are currently becoming a popular feature in many of the modern kitchen designs. Installing one of them, however, is not a walk in the park, and thus some accurate preparation must be done to allow the owner to use these walls for a long time. They are meant to deal with the everyday splatter and spills that the kitchen sinks and ovens are exposed to, so you need to have them done the right way.

The right installation procedures will eventually save the owner a good amount of money and maintenance effort once the backsplash is up – if installation is done correctly. Here are some of the things you will need to know prior to the installation:

Check your options for the budget at hand

Two options exist when it comes to backsplashes in the market; solid and brick veneer types. Nothing will beat the solid brick types when it comes to durability and strength. However, for you to install such bricks, you will have to be set back up to $20 per square foot for purchase and installation. Solid bricks are also installed by laying single bricks over a pre-existing masonry foundation. Its insulation power is also not very high.

The other not-so-expensive and easy-to-install option involves the use of brick veneer; brick panels that are thin and interlock to provide the same feel as the solid brick type. Their advantage, apart from cost and ease of installation is their ability to adapt to a foundation of stone, metal or wood.

The toolset needs an update

Whether you will be the one installing or you will be using the help of a professional who specializes in interlock installation in Richmond Hill, the bricks need to be worked by using the required tools, especially when fitting the bricks over an edge. They need to be cut prior to the installation. This requires the use of an angle grinder, fitted with a diamond-cutting toothless blade. The bricks are marked using a pencil after the required measurements are made after which the angle grinder works on the marked area. A mason’s hammer is then used to tap the excesses to snap the remains away.

Be smart while using the sealant

It is highly recommended that the installed backsplash be coated with a clear sealing agent. A satin or a matte finish will do quite well and will keep both air moisture and stains from different products used in the kitchen out. You will also keep stains from food oils and fumes from dirtying the wall. Choose clear silane or a siloxane-based type for the sealant. Do not go for silicate-based sealants. These tend to discolor the veneer.

Be cautious while cleaning the backsplash

You must be aware that cleaning the brick surface should not be down with excessive force. Doing so tends to erode the brick or discolor the surface. Though the bricks tend to leave a deep recess between individual interlocks (which allows for a grimy-buildup of dirt), you should not use a heavy hand over the dirt.

Instead, spray away the dust off the surface and use plain water on a spray bottle to clean out the loose dirt. For the persistent stains, prepare a paste using dish soap and salt and spread it across the dirty area. Brush off the area gently using a bristle brush. Never use a wire brush for cleaning the surface.

You may encounter efflorescence

Even with well-maintained backsplashes, once in a while, you may encounter some white material forming up right at the surface of the brick. This chalk powder-like substance appears as a result of a reaction between the mineral substances inside the brick and water or moisture.

To reduce its presence, you need to ensure that before installation, bricks do not get into contact with water. In addition, you must ensure the sealant used is adequately applied. When cracks or gaps appear on the brick surface, be sure to seal with enough silicone caulking. A mix of muriatic acid and a gallon of water is also used to make the white patches disappear.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Laying Flagstone Patios

Flagstone patios are a common addition in many homes, mostly owing to the fact that not only are they long lasting, but also easy to clean and incredibly durable among other benefits. However, the only way to benefit from them is to make sure that they are installed in the correct manner. It’s very easy to install flagstone patios with mistakes, and this needs to be avoided to reduce the risk of wasting time and money whether it’s done as a DIY or when you use a contractor. Fortunately, there are many known issues which could reduce the lifespan of patios, and simply avoiding them during construction can help you

Choosing the patio size

One of the commonest mistakes that people make when using flagstone to make patios is to choose the wrong patio size. Try to always take your time to figure out how much space the patio will occupy, which mainly depends on the reason why you need it. Some of the things you can use to estimate the size of the patio include the number of tables and chairs you will need to fit in it as well as the number of people who will use it.

Also, consider how much free space you will require for the patio. Consulting your contractor about flagstone placement is essential, since they can use their experience to help you figure out how much space you need. What you don’t want is to spend a lot of money on a patio that is far too large for your needs, or one that is too small.

Patio grading 

Patio grading refers to the way the patio differs from the surrounding earth. For the best results, the patio needs to be slightly elevated compared to the surrounding earth. In addition to that, it has to be at a gentle slope to reduce the risk of water accumulating on some areas of the patio, resulting in cracking if the water is left there for a long time.

Most people don’t pay much attention to this, and the end result is always higher maintenance costs as well as a higher likelihood that you will need to do major repairs within a few years of having laid the flagstone.

A poor flagstone base 

When laying down flagstone, the base on which the stones will sit is very important in determining various aspects of the flagstone including its longevity and beauty. A mistake that you might find is people not preparing the flagstone base, and in the end put the flagstones on earth that is far too soft.

The result is that some areas of the flagstone will sink or spread in different directions, making for an uneven-looking aesthetic. During the installation process, make sure that your contractor first compacts the base of the areas in which the flagstone will be placed. Of course, if your contractor is of high quality, this is something that you will not even need to tell them about.

Doing DIY flagstone placement with limited knowledge 

During tight economic times, many people try to do home improvement on their own. This might seem less expensive compared to renting a contractor to do the work. However, you need to remember that for this to be effective, you will need to have extensive knowledge regarding flagstone placement. One way to solve this issue is to remember that when you use a professional to install the flagstones, you will spend a lot less money in the long run doing maintenance and repair. Spending just a little more on a professional is actually the cheaper way to install flagstones, since it cuts down on the cost of repairs and maintenance.

Reduce the Cost Of Constructing Your Deck Without Compromising Quality

Decks provide an excellent location for you to not only relax, but to also take part in recreational activities while also enjoying the outdoors. However, the problem is that many people consider decks to be the preserve of the wealthy, when this is not the case. As a homeowner, you can end up with a high-quality deck without having to spend a colossal amount of money on it, and it will still end up being appealing. The trick to doing this is recognizing the common elements which cause increased deck construction rates, and then putting in place measures to reduce them. A few of these include:

Design scale

Decks and patios come in myriad designs, each of which has their own pros and cons. Some decks designs require multiple levels, screening and other elements which will quickly elevate the price of the deck. To avoid this, the first step in making sure that your deck will not cost as much as you had anticipated is choosing a design which will fulfill your needs, but which will not be outlandish or too “out there”.

The presence of the internet has made it easy for anyone to find information regarding deck designs, so you can use this as a resource to figure out what to get and what to avoid. More importantly, you should figure out why you need the deck in the first place. If you have a small family and simply need an outdoor space where you can congregate for occasions such as a barbecue, there would be no need to spend a large amount of money on a massive deck since this would be a lot more than what you need.

In this case, you would be better off choosing a reasonable design for the deck, which is likely to cost a lot less than a massive, multi-level deck. The best thing about it is that it will still function as you expect it to.

Choose your building season carefully

You may not know this, but deck building is also done in seasons. Spring and summer are very popular for homeowners to build decks, which means that most of the firms providing the services will hike their prices for the construction or simply not be available. To have a better chance of low cost deck construction, you could consider having the deck built during the low season, such as during winter or the first few days of spring. The benefits you stand to gain include having an easy time finding a qualified deck contractor to do the construction, as well as having leverage in negotiating for lower rates. Since the costs of both labor and materials go down during this season, the cumulative savings can be massive.

Pick wood as your construction material of choice 

Using wood to construct decks has become a complicated issue for many people, especially considering issues such as deforestation, the durability of wood and other factors. However, when it comes to cost savings during construction, wood can help you save a lot of money. For one, wood is less expensive compared to materials such as vinyl and composite material.

It’s also generally easier to work with wood. In addition to that, you can further save by finding the wood on your own rather than ordering it through your contractor. For instance, you can look for second hand wood for the deck. This can be leftover wood from someone else’s construction project. Depending on your state, you can also find firms which encourage construction firms to turn in leftover wood, which you can then use for the construction. This saves the environment, and is also cheaper than getting wood that has been freshly logged.

How To Select An Ideal Driveway Design

If you have just bought a new home, you might want to make a few changes to it even if most of its aspects are perfect. One of the commonest focus points is the driveway. You will want to choose a driveway design which matches the home’s design, as well as any future plans you have for the lawn. It may seem like a simple undertaking, but it’s easy for you to waste money on a driveway design that may rapidly increase in cost, or which will require a lot of maintenance in future. In order to avoid this, you should carefully choose the driveway design, rather than using a gut feeling to help you make a decision. The most important qualities you should focus on include:


Unless you have bought a used home, you don’t want to start making repairs and changes to any part of the house on a regular basis within a few years. With the wrong driveway design, this is a problem you will definitely face. Some driveway designs are more durable than others, and these are the ones that you should focus on. If a driveway design looks impressive but requires meticulous attention on a regular basis, you would be better off without it unless you are comfortable on spending the time and money keeping it in an aesthetically pleasing state.

Durability is a very important element of any driveway particularly when you consider the type of treatment the driveway will get. The act of vehicles driving on the driveway repeatedly can put a lot of stress on the materials, and this means that it is at high risk of falling apart if it’s not built properly. Interlocking driveways are ideal for use in such situations owing to their structural features which allow them to spread the forces they are exposed to evenly, resulting in a more longevity for the driveway and low maintenance costs.


Some driveway designs, by virtue of the material they are made of or the manner in which they are put together, tend to work better in different conditions. For instance, there are some that will fall apart faster when they are exposed to environments with higher humidity than others. When picking a driveway design, always make sure that you sign off on this. Find out if the driveway design will be adaptable to the region you are in, which will then reduce the risk of reduced lifespan for the driveway. In essence, the driveway design should be adaptable to the local region where you live.


Of course, the main reason why you are even thinking of changing the nature of the driveway is to improve the aesthetics of the home. however, not all driveway designs can do this effectively. Some driveway designs only work well when paired with a particular type of home, while there are some that look beautiful irrespective of the type of house. An example of this is an interlocked driveway; these tend to be globally appealing irrespective of the type of home you live in.

Choose your installation company wisely 

Once you have gone through the above checklist, you will then have to make a decision on who will do the driveway installation. Typically, interlock installation is one of the best solutions for driveway installations on account of its durability, beauty as well as low repair and maintenance demands. If you have decided to pick this type of driveway, you would need to choose an experienced firm to do the installation for you to ensure that not only will it last long, but that it will also be cost effective.