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It’s hard to find a building today without concrete surfaces stained by rust. Rust stains can adversely transform the aesthetics of a beautiful building. How can rust stains be removed? Let’s find out!
Once rust staining has occurred, it is important to remove the stains without altering the color or finish texture of the concrete. Two techniques which can be implemented are dry methods (i.e. sandblasting, wire brushing, grinding, etc.) and wet methods (i.e. waterblasting, chemicals, etc.). If surface texture is not a priority, the dry methods can be a quick and cost-effective way to remove stains. If the final finish is important, as is commonly the case with architectural concrete, chemical treatments are recommended.
Mild stains usually can be removed with an oxalic acid or phosphoric acid solution, applied to a water saturated concrete surface. Deeper stains typically require a poultice, which absorbs the chemical solutions and then forms a paste over the stain. Older buildings require more attention with stain removal because the chemical treatments may remove other contaminants in the concrete, creating a lighter color than the adjacent concrete.
The rule of thumb when putting a cleaning solution on your stained carpet or clothes applies with concrete. Be sure to test different chemicals on small, inconspicuous areas to evaluate the treatment. Also, the longer you let a stain sit, the more difficult it is to remove, so seek help quickly when rust stains appear!
This is not a radioactive fluid spill! We just used a fluorescent green biodegradable dye to see if water was flowing under, rather then through the culvert. It turned out that water was flowing under the pipe through the gravel setting bed. We have more dye left if you need to know where water is coming from or going to.
Alfred Hitchcock had bird issues (especially seagulls), but in the Baltimore-Washington area, the most common pest birds are pigeons, house sparrows, and starlings. These birds are undesirable if they land, roost, and nest on or in our buildings because they bring unwanted noise, odor, and often disease. Plus, no one likes their deck, patio, lawn furniture, or other belongings adorned with bird droppings.
If you’ve ever tried getting rid of pest birds, you probably know that they annoyingly adapt to many control methods and won’t go away without a fight. After all, they’re called “pests” for a reason. So how do you win this battle and get them to leave for good? You have to think like the bird. Birds seek flat, unobstructed roosting surfaces and they are looking for food. If you take these two things away, they’ll find somewhere else to go.
To reduce or eliminate surfaces on which pest birds roost (i.e. ledges, railings, parapets, awnings, etc.) you should consider installing one or more physical barriers, which typically include spikes (plastic or metal), netting, and electric barriers. Physical barriers are humane, eco-friendly and cost-effective solutions that have high success rates. Spikes and netting are inexpensive and easy to install, but are best suited for hidden areas or where building aesthetics is not a priority. Wires and electric barriers (low-voltage, non-lethal) are less obtrusive and often virtually invisible.
Another great way to make flat roosting surfaces unavailable is to cover them with wood or metal sheathing at a 45° or steeper slope. If you are considering a roof or façade repair/replacement project, this would be the perfect time to implement these methods.
Other bird control systems like sound, traps, aversion chemicals and killing are inhumane, expensive, temporary, and/or ineffective options. We and the Humane Society do not recommend them. As for plastic owls and hawks, they only work on the stupid birds. Savvy city birds aren’t fooled.
The last thing to do to keep birds away is limit availability to food. Implementing better trash management and asking residents to not feed them are two ways to encourage birds to inhabit other areas.
Since every building has its own unique roosting sites and bird access, there is no “one size fits all” bird control option. Be sure to have a qualified professional discuss with you which options are the most appropriate for your building and goals
RCI, Inc. is now IIBEC.
Today, a nonprofit association originally incorporated in 1983 as the Roof consultants Institute (RCI), officially becomes the International Institute of Building Enclosures Consultants. (IIBEC; pronounced eye-bec) This refreshed brand has been designed to accurately represent the services and value of the organization, and in turn, that of its members.
Nothing like a rainy day to see how one of our drainage projects is performing. The channel is not done. We still need some plants to finish the step pools to make the swale look even prettier.
We have found paving fabrics to be very useful in pavement rehabilitation. However, it’s important to apply a proper thickness of asphalt over the fabric or premature failures can occur.
The photograph illustrates what often happens when a thin layer (less than an inch and a half) is applied over paving fabric.
Ron Brookman, our pavement expert, would be happy to discuss any pavement concerns you many be facing this Spring. Send him your questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you ever seen that yellow sign before driving over a bridge that says, “Bridge Ices Before Road” and wondered why? A major reason is that cold air surrounds the bridge from above and below, which means that heat within the bridge deck is lost from all sides. Roadways, however, are protected by the ground below which helps trap in heat.
Another reason is that bridges are often constructed with concrete and roads are typically paved with asphalt. Asphalt pavement is much less dense than concrete which means that the asphalt absorbs heat much better than concrete because the heat can penetrate deeper into the pavement. Additionally, asphalt pavement will retain the heat better than concrete and lose trapped heat more slowly than concrete as the ambient temperatures fall.
Look forward to seeing you there. Sign-up today!
Landscape Infiltration devices have become a favored method of controlling and filtering sediment and pollution carried by rainwater runoff, replacing large sediment ponds previously used. Landscape infiltration devices utilize beds of sand, gravel and mulch, along with native plantings to filter the runoff before the water enters the stormwater system. When completed, the area appears to be a nicely landscaped section of the property.
As with the traditional sediment ponds, the landscape infiltration devices require maintenance to ensure that they function properly. Typically, this includes routine weeding, replacing dead plants and maintaining the mulch bed. We have found a good summary of maintenance information developed by Anne Arundel County, Maryland at the following link:
They did it again! EV-Air-Tight is the winner of the 2nd Annual ETC Canine Invitational.
Since the only prize is a plastic trophy and bragging rights (all proceeds go to CCI) we’re giving EV-Air_Tight a big shout-out for their outstanding golfing abilities, as well as, their big, generous hearts for donating to such a worthy cause.
Well done gentleman. Hope you will be back next year to defend your title.
Honorable mention to our golfing friends & contributors: Culbertson, CP&R, CWI, CWS, East Coast, Exterior Medics, Function & NVM – Enjoyed the day
For more information on CCI, please visit: www.cci.org
Always nice to collaborate with others in the industry. Outstanding work by ETC’s Chief Structural Engineer, Chris Carlson, PE and Project Engineer, Luke Valentine, PE. Job well done!
ETC is pleased to announce a forthcoming change in ownership.
Since its inception, nearly 4 decades ago, Joe Shuffleton has been owner and president. Through his leadership, ETC has grown to be a highly-reputable engineering and architectural firm specializing in the restoration and rehabilitation of existing commercial structures in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area. Mr. Shuffleton successfully guided the growth of his team that now spans three, multi-state offices.
Five individuals comprise the new ownership group. Mr. Shuffleton has, without reservation, come to trust and depend upon these induvial for many years.
- Chris Carlson: With over 30 years’ experience, the last 12 as our chief engineer, he is the key technical person behind our entire structural team.
- Mindy Maronic: With over 20 years of marketing & client relations experience, she has brought our company to the forefront of business excellence.
- Kirk Parsons: Our vice president of operations for over 20 years, he has played a vital role in building company growth and client loyalty
- Bobby Radcliff: The newest member of the group, with 10 years at ETC, he is also a talented, lead engineer with strong business acumen.
- Jeff Shuffleton: Our technology and administrative director, he has assured clients accurate and efficient company procedures for the past 15 years.
Commenting on the transfer of ownership, Mr. Shuffleton states “As I prepare to step away, simply to enjoy the next juncture in life, I am fortunate to turn to my key employees who have played a pivotal role in the growth of ETC. It is these employees who will take over where I leave off; growing the company on the same guiding principles and business ethics upon which ETC was founded. I am proud of all that we have accomplished, and equally proud in the legacy and exciting opportunity I pass on to them and the entire ETC team”.
Under the new leadership, the plan is to keep the company’s direction true to Mr. Shuffleton’s vision:
ETC has no desire to be the biggest firm; however, we do strive to be known as the best. To that end, the needs of each assignment are analyzed and matched to the capabilities of our high caliber technical staff. We will not take on any project if we do not have the competence required or if for any other reason we are unable to meet client expectations.
Joe Shuffleton will stay on for a period of time to gently guide the company through the transition. He will also serve as both a consultant & ambassador, watching ETC as it thrives under its new leadership.