Author Archives: Contractors Society

Five Popular Playground Flooring Materials

Traditionally, tarmac and asphalt were the most widely used materials for playground flooring. This is mainly due to them being strong, inexpensive, and relatively safe in wet conditions. However, these do wear over time, especially in extreme climates, and neither are the softest surface for children to fall on to.

Artificial Flooring Materials
These days there are a variety of playground flooring materials available, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Once you have chosen the flooring most suitable for you, you can use a local directory to find a relevant and experienced contractor to complete the job.

1. Interlocking Rubber Tiles

Interlocking Rubber Tiles have become popular as a playground choice as it is durable, strong, and non-slip. They allow water through which means they can be used shortly after rainfall has passed. These are a greener, more environmentally friendly option as they are often made from recycled rubber. Rubber tiles are also fairly low maintenance, easy to clean and can be polished with water-soluble wax which prevents damage and loss of color. Safety is a big factor when selecting flooring for playgrounds, and rubber tiles are ideal as they are non-slip.

2. Artificial Grass

Artificial grass brings an element of color to any drab, grey playground. It’s much softer than hard alternatives such as concrete but does require more maintenance. There are also benefits to using artificial grass over natural grass as it doesn’t need to be mowed, weeded or watered, and lasts for many years.

3. Wet Pour Surfacing

Wet pour surfacing provides another environmentally friendly option, as it is made up of recycled rubber which is bonded together to create a safe playground surface. It’s a good weather resistant option as it does not crack in harsh weather conditions and is not slippery when wet. Wet pour surfaces can be used in conjunction with thermoplastic markings, making them ideal for games and especially sports as they are also impact absorbent.

4. Real Grass

Real grass offers many benefits but is higher maintenance than other options available. The visual appearance of grass is uplifting and can provide a classier, more authentic feel for schools trying to achieve that. Real grass is environmentally friendly as it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen which will help to reduce global warming. Grass will also provide microorganisms to live and is in general a cooler surface than artificial options – ideal for warmer, sunny climates.

Real grass needs to be cut on a regular basis, and may need also weeding and watering, making it more costly over time than some alternatives.

5. Wood Chips & Mulch

One of the more expensive options, wood chips and mulch offer an attractive solution for any playground floor, especially as they are available in multiple colors. However, they can lose their color and texture over time and are not as durable as some of the other flooring options.

Why Concrete is The Most Popular Building Material

It’s essential to ensure a durable material is used when constructing houses and buildings, so that they can survive environmental conditions and last the test of time. Concrete is widely considered to be the most popular building material as it provides a variety of benefits, including durability, sustainability, low cost and energy efficiency.

Construction Worker Concrete Building

Concrete has been used to create multiple infamous structures including the Hoover Dam, Panama Canal and Roman Pantheon. The material was first introduced in Roman times, where it was used widely to provide all kinds of structures. Nowadays, Estimates suggest that the concrete industry provides over 2 million American jobs.


Concrete is the most used material throughout the world, mainly thanks to its durability and strength. Concrete can handle almost ever climate and is resistant to erosion, rotting and rust- meaning that it requires minimal maintenance. Concrete can outlast wood and other common building materials and its strength improves over time.


Concrete is environmentally friendly throughout the construction process, from raw material production to demolition. This certainly contributes to its popularity as a building material, now that building culture is moving towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly construction. Limestone is the raw material used in cement which makes concrete. Limestone is a plentiful resource, however concrete can also be made with power plant by-products, such as ash.


Concrete can be used for the construction of buildings, dams, tunnels, pavements, roads and bridges. It’s fire resistant which increases the number of projects it can be used on.


Raw materials used to make concrete include air, cement, water (to form a paste) and aggregates (sand, gravel, crushed stone). When these are combined a chemical reaction occurs and the paste hardens with rock-like strength. Concrete is malleable whilst wet and strong once hardened, making it extremely versatile. As concrete can be poured, this means it can be molded in to any shape desired. Concrete is routinely used for foundations, roads and bridges for this reason.

As concrete can be poured, this means it can be molded in to any shape desired. Concrete is routinely used for foundations, roads and bridges for this reason.

Energy Efficiency

Concrete is highly energy efficient and buildings built with it can enjoy concrete’s ability to absorb and retain heat. Conversely, light colored concrete absorbs less heat and reflects sunlight, which is ideal for pavements in warmer climates.

Concrete is sound proof, ideal for family homes and houses/buildings built near busy roads or in loud city areas.


Concrete is one of the most cost-efficient building materials and its price remains steady even when other material costs change. Costs do vary depending on the grade, finish, surface preparation cost and tools required so it’s important to bear this in mind.

Innovative Roof Shingle Granules by 3M Can Actually Reduce Smog

In the midst of cool roofing development, 3M has designed a new way to be environmentally friendly in your roofing selection. Through innovative technology, 3M has created a form of roof shingle granule that actually reduces the amount of smog caused by nitrogen oxide in the environment.

A New Kind of Technology

3M Smog Reducing Granules

These Granules, Produced by 3M, Transform Dangerous Smog Into Harmless Water-Soluble Particles.

Tested by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the smog reducing granules deliver a chemical reaction when activated by UV rays which transform the nitrogen oxide into water-soluble ions. This is achieved through a photocatalytic coating that is applied to the base mineral of the shingle. These granules are blended with traditional granules to ensure the delivery of optimal color and design.

“The roofing granules are a first for residential asphalt shingles. The new 3M smog reducing granules will help roofing manufacturers develop high quality, aesthetically-pleasing shingles that can turn any roof into an active smog reducing catalyst, essentially becoming smog’s worst enemy,” says Frank Klink, senior laboratory manager, 3M.

A Larger Purpose

The smog reducing granules were introduced in early Summer 2018, just before the announcement of 3M’s Sustainability Value Commitment, made at the Dec 5 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24). The company says that a Sustainability Value Commitment will accompany every new product beginning in 2019.

“Sustainability is at the core of 3M—but we’re looking to do more,” said John Banovetz, Chief Technology Officer, 3M. “We are proud to formalize our commitment to this next step in innovating for a sustainable future.”

The commitment includes sustainability methods like recyclability, reusability, energy, water savings, responsible sourcing, and renewable materials. 3M has always been at the forefront of sustainability efforts including participation in the Pollution Prevention Pays program and has been listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 19 consecutive years.

Marketing Budget Creation for the Small Construction Company

Creating a marketing budget for any business is difficult, but the construction industry has more competition and overhead than almost any other landscape, making the process exponentially more difficult. Many times, construction business owners spend thousands of marketing dollars without ever knowing what is working and what isn’t. This wastes both time and money and leaves business owners feeling frustrated. However, a well-organized marketing plan can help identify your business goals, track customer knowledge, and facilitate a higher ROI. In order to create a balanced, productive marketing budget, use these expert tips.

Learn Your Funnel

In order to create an effective plan, you must first know your customer base. This information can be easily tracked online with programs like Google Analytics and can tell you exactly where your customers are going, what’s bringing them to your site, and when they are completing the conversion or sale.

Man Looking Over a Marketing Plan

A Great Marketing Plan Promotes Your Business Effectively and Continuously.

Take a look at these metrics for in-depth information:

  • Interactions Per Visit: Tells how many interactions your visitor had before leaving
  • Bounce Rate: Defines the number of visitors that only visited one page before leaving
  • Session Duration: Reports how long each visitor was on your site
  • Direct and Assisted Conversions: Shows which efforts lead to each conversion

Know Your Competition

Research your competition’s marketing efforts including their website, social media, and any other platforms. Study which methods seem to be working best and take note of productive strategies that you can implement. When performing your research, consider these points:

  • What marketing efforts are they using?
  • What keywords are they implementing?
  • Are they on social media channels that you’re not utilizing?
  • What content seems to be the most popular?

Know Your Operation Cost

When planning any business budget, it’s important to know what your average project costs. This includes product used, time spent bidding, planning, and completing the job, and any equipment usage or rental use. Once you know what your average job costs, you can effectively decide how much marketing costs should be for a specific period of time. Marketing should be around 10 percent of your overall budget. For instance, if a $400 repair service costs you $200 to complete and your goal are to complete 20 repair projects per month, then your expected costs and profit are each $4000 for the month. With this in mind, you can set an effective marketing budget with built-in measurement metrics.

Know Your Goals

When creating a marketing plan, it’s crucial to know your business objectives. What do you want to accomplish in the next year? If increasing your air conditioning repair business is your main goal, then heater marketing efforts would not be the way to go. Create marketing efforts that align with your business goals and help you reach them.

Common Marketing Efforts for Construction Companies

Even after you have your marketing budget, deciding where to spend your marketing dollars can be difficult. In today’s landscape, online marketing is King and should be the number one marketing outlet used by just about every type of business. Construction is no exception to this rule. There are multiple ways to market your business online, from organic optimization to social media coverage and even syndicated content.

Google Ads

Google Ads

Advertising with Google helps you reach your exact target market with a predetermined budget and plan. This platform allows you to create unique marketing campaigns easily to get in front of just the right people. It also offers in-depth analytics for accurate evaluation and revision.

Social Platforms

Social Platforms

Each social platform offers a paid marketing option for businesses. These options help get your content in front of the right people with customized demographic and psychographic targeting as well as analytics metrics to show you exactly what’s working.



Syndication efforts are designed to distribute your content more effectively and involve another site displaying your original content. This directs visitors back to your site for increased traffic. While more difficult to measure, pixel tracking and Google Analytics are both great helpers.

Because of the intricate nature of the construction business and the never-ending competition for clients, creating a productive marketing plan is essential to the success of your business. Your plan should be intricate, multifaceted, and detailed, leaving little room for error or deviation. When you need a design that works, the professionals at Contractor Webmasters can help you create a viable, productive marketing plan for your construction business that generates leads and higher ROI than ever before. Receive expert advice, guidance, and direction from experienced marketers that know the construction landscape. Call us today at to learn more.

Electrical Updates

In the Know

Electrical Contractor Looking at Energy Plant

Get the Information You Need to Stay at the Top of Your Field.

Be the first in your field to find out about the news, products, and materials that are causing a spark in the electrical industry.


Luis Ramirez, Chief Operations Officer at Dialight

Find out how the installation of LED lighting in commercial settings can help prevent toxic risk from Mercury and UV radiation.

OSHA, Industry Stakeholders Renew T&D Safety Partnership

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has resigned its Electrical Transmission and Distribution (ET&D) partnership agreement with industry stakeholders for another five years. Concentrating on best practices and proper safety training within the industry, the partnership will affect every worker in the industry.

Upcoming Industry Events

Upcoming Industry Events

People Participating in a Conference

Construction Events Like Conferences and Expos can Help Create the Connection You Need for Success.

As a member of the Contractor’s Society of America, you have access to our industry calendar to keep you up to date on all construction industry trade shows, conferences, and other events.

Groundbreak 2018  NOVEMBER 13-15, 2018


“With 80+ educational and thought-provoking sessions, the only Innovation Lab in the industry, and huge celebrity keynotes, you can expect three days of career-boosting, business-building fun.”

2018 Hardi Conference  DECEMBER 1-4, 2018

JW Marriott Austin, AUSTIN, TX

Every December, HARDI hosts its Annual Conference, the main event in HVACR distribution. The major 4-day event for HARDI members brings together distributors, manufacturers and other vendors ready to drive their businesses forward. While at conference, attendees have the opportunity to grow their professional networks and expand their industry knowledge from top experts providing relevant and unique perspectives.

IDEAL National Championships  DECEMBER 2 – 3, 2018


See if you have what it takes or just watch the great competition while picking up new styles and techniques from the industry greats.

AHR Expo  January 14-16, 2019

Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA

“The AHR Expo is the world’s largest HVACR event, attracting the most comprehensive gathering of industry professionals from around the globe each year. The Show provides a unique forum where manufacturers of all sizes and specialties, whether a major industry brand or innovative start-up, can come together to share ideas and showcase the future of HVACR technology under one roof.”

Construction Resources

WEBINAR:  Sustainability and Health for Residential and Commercial Construction

Take a look at the growth trends for green construction and building products.

A comprehensive study of green roof performance from environmental perspective

Li W.C., Yeung K.K.A. Centre for Education in Environmental Sustainability and Department of Science and Environmental Studies, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Received 27 February 2014; accepted 20 May 2014

Green roofs have been established for over 100 years and they have been become one of the key elements in urban area in the past few decades. Many scientific researches focus on its cooling performance, efficiency and survival rates of plants. This article provides an overview mainly from two aspects, the vegetation on the green roofs and its benefits toward the surrounding environments. Vegetation is the key element in installing green roofs. It also provides some factors in choosing suitable plants on rooftops, factors including species that are drought tolerant, solar radiation tolerant, and cooling ability of plants. In addition, green roofs play a critical role in improving the urban environment by enriching the biodiversity, delaying the storm peak to the drainage system, diminishing the runoff quantity, purifying the air pollutants as well as the runoff quality.

Common Gas Furnace Problems

HVAC Technician Addressing Gas Furnace Problems

Ignoring Maintenance is Never a Good Idea

It’s getting to be that time of year again. You feel the chill in the air, and begin mentally preparing yourself for the cold of winter ahead. Well, you can just turn up your heat and be comfy cozy all winter long, right? As you go to turn on the furnace, you find that it’s not working as it should.

Gas Furnace problems are a common occurrence this time of year. Some furnace fixes you may be able to do yourself, while others you might need to call in a specialist. In this article we’ll go over some of the more common problems you could encounter with your gas furnace.

Lack of Maintenance

As any professional HVAC technician will tell you, a lack of maintenance on your equipment is going to quickly diminish the efficiency of your furnace. There are a number of things that can affect your furnace from neglect, such as dirty filters and obstructions in furnace area.

Although it might seem like common sense, this is often overlooked. People get busy and don’t realize the issues they could be creating by allowing clutter to pile up around the furnace area. With clutter comes dust, and with dust comes a dirty air filter. After reading this article, if you find yourself removing the clutter around your furnace, be sure to vacuum around it regularly as well!

Furnace Is Blowing Cold Air

There could be many deeper problems to why your furnace isn’t producing heat, but one of the most common reasons could be that you simply need to reset your circuit breaker. After you’ve reset your circuit ensure that your thermostat is set to at least 5 degrees above room temperature. This part might sound silly, but also check that your thermostat is set to heat instead of cool. You’d be surprised how many people overlook this!

Furnace Isn’t Producing Enough Heat

If you feel the air coming out has some heat, but it’s an insufficient amount, it’s very possible your filter is dirty. Replacing the air filter, while being the easiest maintenance chore, is also a quite inexpensive fix.

Replacing your furnace filter is a quick task that we can help guide you through.

  • Locate your filter – On some furnaces the filter is located on the intake. The ones located in a intake will look similar to a grate, typically on the wall, ceiling, or floor. Other filters are located on the furnace itself.
  • Check your filter – To can find out if your filter needs to be changed by holding it up to a light. If you can’t see any light shining through, it’s a sure sign it needs changed. Another dead giveaway is the smell of dust each time your heater turns on.
  • Replace your filter – Before replacing your filter, be sure to turn your furnace off! There shouldn’t be any air coming out. Filters are made to trap dust and other dibres flowing through only one side, so be sure to insert it in the right direction.

Note: If you’re using a used filter, ensure that it’s clean and in good condition.

Debris In The Burner Flames

A quick look at the flames will give you the answer to whether your burners need to be cleaned or not. A clear blue flame means they are burning clean and free of debris. If the flames are burning with a lot of yellow color in the flame, it’s time for a cleaning! Opening the furnace and using a shop vac to clean out the debris should do the trick. Be sure to turn off your gas and furnace and allow time for it to cool off before cleaning.

After you’ve done some troubleshooting and still haven’t found the issue with your furnace, be sure to contact an HVAC contractor. Regardless of a furnaces age, there are possible safety hazards guarding gas-related technical issues. The analysis of an expert will provide the best course of action to take in getting your furnace up and running correctly.

Construction Resources

Mechanical Properties of Ultra-High Performance Concrete

Mohamadtaqi Baqersada*, Ehsan Amir Sayyafia, Hamid Mortazavi BakbaPh.D. Student, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA.b Ph.D. Student, Department of Civil Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran.

During the past decades, there has been an extensive attention in using Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) in the buildings and infrastructures construction. Due to that, defining comprehensive mechanical properties of UHPC required to design structural members is worthwhile. The main difference of UHPC with the conventional concrete is the very high strength of UHPC, resulting designing elements with less weight and smaller sizes. However, there have been no globally accepted UHPC properties to be implemented in the designing process. Therefore, in the current study, the UHPC mechanical properties such as compressive and tensile strength, modulus of elasticity and development length for designing purposes are provided based on the reviewed literature. According to that, the best-recommended properties of UHPC that can be used in designing of UHPC members are summarized. Finally, different topics for future works and researches on UHPC’s mechanical properties are suggested.


Maureen E. Puettmann Research Associate and James B. Wilson Professor Department of Wood Science and Engineering

This study compares the cradle-to-gate total energy and major emissions for the extraction of raw materials, production, and transportation of the common wood building materials from the CORRIM 2004 reports. A life-cycle inventory produced the raw materials, including fuel resources and emission to air, water, and land for glued-laminated timbers, kiln-dried and green softwood lumber, laminated veneer lumber, softwood plywood, and oriented strandboard. Major findings from these comparisons were that the production of wood products, by the nature of the industry, uses a third of their energy consumption from renewable resources and the remainder from fossil-based, non-renewable resources when the system boundaries consider forest regeneration and harvesting, wood products and resin production, and transportation life-cycle stages. When the system boundaries are reduced to a gate-to-gate (manufacturing life-cycle stage) model for the wood products, the biomass component of the manufacturing energy increases to nearly 50% for most products and as high as 78% for lumber production from the Southeast.
The manufacturing life-cycle stage consumed the most energy over all the products when resin is considered part of the production process. Extraction of log resources and transportation of raw materials for production had the least environmental impact.

Marketing for the Construction Industry

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6 Steps to an Effective Construction Marketing Plan

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