Your lawn may be dead and your flowers wilted, but that is no reason to give up your green thumb. Take a look at these 12 great drought tolerant plants. These un-thirsty succulents, flowers and grasses will thrive with little or no care. Print out this list and head into your local nursery today! (more…)
With approximately one week away until Father day, many of us may still be scrambling to find Dad the perfect gift! Is there really a perfect gift for the man who takes care of his family and works hard every day to be a role model for his children? No, there isn’t. There is no perfect gift but Basalite has put together a few ideas to let that special Dad in your life know that you appreciate him. Check out our guide to Fathers Day gifting… (more…)
The well-being of our workforce is a priority at Basalite. Heat illness is a health and safety issue that every general contractor has been concerned about for many years. We recognize the potential risks of heat exposure. We take the necessary steps to protect our employees, not only from heat illness but from other potential health and safety hazards as well. (more…)
One of the greatest joys of summer is being outside, surrounded by friends and family and enjoying the warm nights! Why not ditch the BBQ and have a Dessert party instead? I am sure no one would complain. Take a look at our 17 desserts you can make on a grill.
The Cakebread Cellars infrastructure modernization project is a model of sustainable development.
The winery is undergoing a renovation that changes the way it engages the environment through both site and system improvements on its 5.2 acres. The green components that are part of this transformation include the use of micro turbines, permeable paver systems, bioretention and a photovoltaic system. (more…)
Many of us order way more than we can use when it comes to landscaping projects. Too many plants, too much mulch and too many blocks left over from the last DIY project. Don’t keep stacking those blocks up on the side of the house. Reuse the block into a new backyard statement piece. Take a look at our 5 top ideas for reusing concrete block.
To say a lot of thought has gone into this house is a vast understatement. Occupying a cul-de-sac lot in King George County’s Potomac Landing subdivision, about two-thirds complete, is an insulated concrete form house that will be both sturdy and environmentally sound. Eric Kessler, a retired Defense Department engineer, broke ground on the project last June and expects to move in with his wife, Chris, in April.
When the temperatures rise and the land is dry we are at a higher risk of fires. However, in a fire concrete performs well. Better than well actually, concrete does not burn. It cannot be set on fire unlike other materials in a building and it does not emit any toxic fumes when affected by fire.
Concrete is safe and we believe the best construction material around. Here’s why: (more…)
The definition of concrete pavers is “concrete blocks, designed to be used as outdoor flooring.” If we may, we’d like to change that definition to read “concrete blocks, designed to be used as building blocks by grownups.” So easy to use and available in so many gorgeous colors, concrete pavers allow you to express your inner creativity via that favorite American pastime … decorating your yard. Maintenance is simple, too — just spray them down with the garden hose. And when it comes to repair, pavers can’t be beat — you can just replace one single damaged piece instead of having to redo the whole patio, walkway, fire pit, or what have you. Try one of the following 8 great paver projects this spring.(more…)
Our April Contractor of the Month comes from Bellevue, WA. Fairweather Masonry continues to be a top notch organization to conduct business with. Their organization has developed similarities to Basalite Concrete Products from being family owned, the core values of how they approach business, to the reputable quality of their work.(more…)
When you are deep in a drought such as California is, you may have to rethink watering your lawn everyday. Certain cities in the State of California have already passed laws on the number of days you may water. If you are caught watering more than 2 days a week you could get slapped with a $500 (Or more!) fine. It may be time to look at other landscaping options.
Take a look at the top 10 idea to obtaining a drought tolerant landscape:
So you want to install a retaining wall or paver walkway-patio, but you don’t have the knowledge or expertise to be able to do it. You’re smart enough to realize that if you tackled it yourself you would spend all weekend long hearing your husband or wife critiquing your work, constantly asking you if you’re doing this correct or why does this look like this, the manual shows something else…believe me it’s easier to hire a contractor than go through the stress and hassle of not doing the install correctly and having to look at your mistake every time you go outside to BBQ.
To help you out we put together a ten point check list that will help you when interviewing a contractor or after you have made you decision. Oh and YES, I said when interviewing a contractor! (more…)
Townsend & Schmidt Masonry in Sacramento, CA., were selected to design the concrete block segment for the new downtown Arena. We couldn’t have been more excited when they selected Basalite Concrete Products!
It’s hard to find people who look at concrete like we do. Typically, concrete is thought to be an outside element for roads, driveways, buildings, etc. Yes, that is what a majority of people use it for however, it can be so much more. (more…)
There is nothing more romantic or relaxing than sitting in your private backyard oasis in front of a crackling fire. The trend in backyard retreats now include your own fireplace, fire pit or better yet, a pizza oven! Basalite can help you impress your guests and even your family with a fully-assembled backyard pizza oven! Two beautiful options from the Forno Bravo Primavera Series allow you to really enjoy wood-fired cooking, real easy. Call us at 1-800-776-6690 and a Basalite representative will assist you with the process! Now, That’s Amore! Check out this delicious and authentic pizza recipe! (more…)
Cinder blocks: They are inexpensive, reliable, and strong but are light enough to be easily used in DIY projects. The hollow center reduces blocks’ overall weight and, in construction projects, allows room for insulation. DIYers can take advantage of cinder blocks’ design, leveraging it to build strong yet easy-to-assemble structures at home or in the yard. Here are five favorites: (more…)
With Spring right around the corner, it’s time to think about outdoor decor. If you are thinking of building an outdoor planter box; consider Basalite blocks versus wood. The block can endure rain, snow, sleet and is extremely easy to construct. Here are a few things to consider when you are installing your new planter box. Also, if you are unsure about what to plant, check out the website below for region planting guidelines.
In today’s digital world, it’s impossible to get through the day without checking at least one mobile application. Savvy business owners are building new apps everyday in order to reach new customers while pleasing their current ones. You can connect to anything with one swipe of a finger!
Here at Basalite, we understand that many of our clients and staff love to stay informed about our industry so we put together a list of our top 5 apps. What are your favorites?
Engineers and Contractors frequently drive around to check the retaining walls they designed and/or built, to make sure they are performing as designed. When designing and installing retaining walls, professionals take into consideration potential hazards. The list of potential hazards is extensive, but for now,we are going to concentrate on TREES.
So, you moved into your new house and want some shade in your backyard, or you want to add some value and luxury to your existing backyard. A beautiful Maple or fast-growing Fruitless Mulberry are just two of the many trees that do well in Northern California. But how close to the retaining wall can you plant this tree? Take into consideration a trees root system when planning out where to plant your tree. A tree will send down a “tap root”, which is a root that extends down as far as it can obtain oxygen. Once it has reached that point, it sends out shooter roots that grow horizontally. The myth out there is that the shooter roots will only grow out as far as the canopy extends. While this may be true for some trees, it is not true for most trees. Your best bet is to contact the tree professional at the nursery you are purchasing your tree from, or contact an arborist and consult with them. This is important because over time- if you plant a tree too close to a retaining wall- the potential for the roots to push the wall over is in direct proportion to the height your tree will grow to.
Now don’t get me wrong- there are trees planted close to retaining walls that have been there for years and will probably be there for years to come. But you should have that tree periodically inspected to make sure it is healthy and not pushing on the retaining wall, potentially turning into a problem.
When planting a new tree near a retaining wall, the tree should be a minimum of 2 feet away from the face of the wall plus the diameter of the root ball, i.e. a tree with a 5 five-foot root ball should be planted a minimum of 7 feet away from the face of the retaining wall. While a tree can bring comfort from its shade and beauty from its structure you need to remember to consult with a tree expert or an engineer before planting your tree.
Want to add an impressive seating area to your backyard? Build a stone bench to enhance your outdoor space, by following these easy instructions. In just a few hours, you will have a unique and attractive new backyard feature! The addition of this DIY stone bench can add a unique esthetic element to your garden, patio, or any landscaped area.
This project measurements reference Stonewall II Concrete Blocks. Other block products may be utilized. Contact your dealer for more information on products that would complement a bench).
Stake out a 2’ x 9’ rectangle. Use one of your stakes as your starting point and hammer it into the ground. Measure 9’ in the long direction and hammer in another stake. Measure 2’ at a 90 degree angle from the two stakes already hammered in the ground. Set both stakes and make sure they are 9’ in between. To check for square, measure diagonally from stake to stake until the two measurements are the same.
STEP 2, COMPACT AND LEVEL
Once you have your area marked out, dig approximately 4” into the soil. Place and compact 3” of 3/4″ Minus Gravel as a leveling
pad for the base course of your bench.
STEP 3, SET THE BASE COURSE
To set your base course, lay your first stone 1” below finished grade, and level front to back and side to side. Start with a large and small and large and small, side by side to make a 20” x 20” column base. Measure 5.5″ in from one side, and place a large stone, then a small stone, alternating until your bench is 5′ 2.25″. Then, build another 20″ by 20″ column base. Fit for alignment and check for level.
STEP 4, STACK THE COURSES
Place a continuous bead of caulking on the blocks below. Stack additional courses, ensuring you have a running bond, so the block lines do not match the lines below. Check for level and adjust as necessary. Stack additional rows on the square to a maximum of five rows high.
Stack additional rows on the bench to a maximum of three rows high.
STEP 5, SECURE THE TOP COURSE
Secure the capstones. Use a generous amount of SRW adhesive to glue the top caps and five bench caps. Questions about this project?Contact Basalite and we’d be glad to help you with your project!
Sand is the glue that holds pavers tightly together. Whether constructing a patio with pavers or a driveway, it is important to construct a paver base. This paver base should be a minimum of 4 inches of a class 2 road base (available at a landscape yard), compacted to 95% Standard Proctor Density (or compacted until you are not able to make a dent in the road base with the back of your foot). (more…)
Featured: Basalite Artisan Slate Pavers in Positano
A paver project, when properly installed, can enhance your property appearance and value. The use of concrete pavers in the United States has become more and more popular due to paver flexibility, looks, durability and DIY capabilities. While this is not a project for everyone, most do-it-yourselfers will find that they can properly install a paver patio, walkway, or driveway, as
long as the correct tools are available. (more…)
Spring missed us in Northern California. In some areas, temperatures have already hit the 90’s and our grass won’t stay green for long. But the lack of spring weather or reasonable temperatures doesn’t mean we can bypass our spring projects. Many of us will still be building our concrete patios or pouring new concrete walkways.
Working with concrete in high summer temperatures can be a real challenge. Excessive heat coupled with low humidity, direct sunlight and wind is the perfect storm for concrete surface cracking. Shrinkage cracks can occur when the surface moisture evaporates too quickly. Hot weather will also cause concrete to lose slump (consistency of the mix) and overall workability, causing the concrete to set too fast. On average, concrete sets up in approximately 4 hours at 80F. An increase of 10 degrees will reduce the set time almost in half. An increase of 20 degrees will reduce set time over 60%! While it may seem logical to add more water when temperatures climb, adding water can have a negative effect on the ultimate strength of your concrete, and can increase the risk of cracking. (more…)
Poured-in-place concrete driveways, walkways and patios are stronger than those constructed with concrete pavers The opposite is true. Typical ready mix concrete pavements are between 3000-4000psi and concrete pavers, by ASTM standard (936) requires that concrete pavers have a minimum compressive strength of 8000psi, twice as much as their cast-in-place, monolithic counterpart.
Concrete paver driveways and approaches tend to rut out All pavements will reflect what happens with their base; therefore, when rutting occurs, the base underneath the pavers has most likely been inadequately compacted. Concrete pavers are twice as strong as typical cast-in-place concrete; therefore, the same base with cast-in-place concrete would most likely crack, collapse and become uneven. If this happens with concrete pavers, the individual paving units can be lifted out, the base repaired, and the original units re-installed in the pavement. Cast-in-place, on the other hand, would have to be jack hammered out, the broken concrete hauled off and the pavement re-poured at great cost.
Installing pavers can add beauty, functionality and value to your home. Whether you take on the project yourself or hire someone to do the work for you, it’s important to ensure that the right steps are utilized and that no shortcuts, which can cause problems later, are taken.
The good news about these paver problems is that if you do run into them, there are steps that you can take to correct them. (more…)
A backyard pool can be an important part of a family’s recreational time. A pool can create hours of outdoor fun, or a quiet place to relax. When building your new pool, you will not only want to consider the size, shape and depth of the pool itself, but what materials you would like to select for your pool decking. There are many options, but typically, pool owners select either a cement or concrete deck, or pavers for their decking needs. (more…)