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Basics of Home Footings and Foundations

Based in Austin, Alan Erickson is an established homebuilder who creates custom floor plans that reflect clients’ needs and vision. Among Alan Erickson’s areas of extensive knowledge is setting the foundation of a residence.

There are three basic foundation types, with the basement style common in colder places such as New England. Also the most expensive option, it features subterranean concrete walls that provide support for the building. Warmer locales tend to have slab or crawl space foundations. The latter feature concrete footings under the ground’s surface, and short concrete walls above surface, which the house lies directly on. They are particularly common in the Pacific Northwest.

The most common type, concrete slab foundations feature poured concrete reinforced by rebar. Footings are created through forms made of lumber, with rebar added between the faces of the forms to strengthen the concrete and the forms securely staked to the ground so that they don’t shift as the concrete is poured. A critical element throughout the concrete curing process is that the forms do not move or settle. After this process is finished, the lumber that makes up the forms is removed. At this point there are several options, including cinder block and mortar courses, or a concrete wall cast through the use of wooden forms. Slab foundations also feature compressed gravel layer along the perimeter, which provides drainage.

Boat Modifications for Wakeboarding

Alan Erickson is an Austin, Texas, entrepreneur with an extensive track record of building quality custom homes. An avid water skier, Alan Erickson enjoys going on family outings where he drives the boat and teaches others to ski and wakeboard.

Wakeboarding often involves performing flips and other tricks, so a large wake is important. This is created by the boat, which churns up a wake with its movement through the water. This creates a moving ramp that the rider uses to launch into the air.

Most wakeboarding boats have rear “v-drive” engine placement next to the transom, which makes the back of the boat heavier and generates a larger wake. In addition, they may be fitted with ballast tanks that weigh the vessel down. Automatic filling and emptying features in these tanks help regulate the boat’s weight and ensure its right for the water conditions.

The vessel may also have a metal wedge installed behind the propeller, which provides shape and structure to the wake. With these features, as well as specialized hulls, the wake created by a single, mid-sized boat can be dramatically large.

Exploring the Various Types of Western Saddles

Active with the Home Builders Association of Austin, Alan Erickson leads a custom residential building company. Competing at Western equestrian events with his wife, Alan Erickson has had several horses that have garnered significant prize money.

One of the essentials of Western riding is proper gear, and this begins with the saddle. Employed in team roping events, the roping saddle has a strong tree, or base on which the rest of the saddle is constructed. This heaviness allows it to withstand intense forces as the rider chases the calf at speed. Meanwhile, suede or roughout seats prevent sliding. The saddle is hung forward and the horn is built tall, thick, and strong, to stand up to the force exerted by the roped calf.

A cutting saddle, used in cutting events, has a thin, tall horn that is easy to grasp when cattle are worked. Meant for easy grasping, the horn runs the risk of breaking off when heavy force is involved. The saddle is designed for substantial movement, allowing the horse to comfortably move as the horse and rider together demonstrate the steed’s skills in handling cattle.

Lighter in weight, a barrel saddle has a distinctively round skirt that helps with aerodynamics in races. The higher cantle and deeper seats also assist in securing the rider around tight turns at speed. The horn tends to be thin, with an emphasis on sturdy gripping. Barrel saddles also come with a variety of safety features, such as a breast collar and back cinch, which help prevent rider slippage.

Tips for Choosing a Custom Homebuilder

There are several moving parts to custom-building a home from the ground up. So, an expert’s guidance is often vital to getting results that match your needs. When looking for a custom home builder, pay attention to their experience.

Experience is an important trait your homebuilder should possess. Once you’ve narrowed potential candidates to a few people, inquire about their experience. Find out how long they have been building homes. You should, however, keep in mind that experienced contractors don’t always come cheap.

Because anyone can claim to be an expert, do not just take their word for it. Request for their portfolio and ask to talk to their past clients. Talking to their past clients will reveal two important things about a homebuilder. One, you will be able to ascertain their expertise. Two, you’ll find out their overall conduct. Past clients can reveal important details, like how it is to work with the homebuilder in terms of communication and collaboration.

A homebuilder may be the expert in building homes, but they should also listen to you. Working with a homebuilder who is a poor communicator, high-handed, and doesn’t follow directions is difficult.

You may still need other subcontractors and vendors, and some homebuilders only work with their subcontractors, like electricians, roofers, and painters, plumbers. If you’re not hiring your own subcontractors, choose a homebuilder who only uses experienced and professional subcontractors.

Ask your builder to list all their subcontractors and vendors who will work on your project. Then conduct due diligence to understand who they are, their past works, and their past client’s overall satisfaction with their work.

The builder must be properly licensed. States like Texas do not require homebuilders, handypersons, or general contractors to have a general contractor license. However, Alaska and Arizona require all contractors to have a general contractor license. Contractors who install fire sprinklers, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), or elevators do.

As you scout for a home builder, pay close attention to the fine print. This includes such things as warranties, insurance, and bonding. Choose a homebuilder with straightforward warranty terms. Understand what their warranty covers and for how long before entering into any contract.

Like a warranty, a surety bond offers another layer of protection should your homebuilder fail to deliver. Most states require all contractors to be bonded. The Texas contractor license bond protects you from financial losses due to substandard work. So be sure to ask your prospective homebuilder for their bond number and certification beforehand.

Choose an adequately insured builder. Adequate insurance should cover their company, their employees, and you and your property against accidents or losses. If, for instance, one of your builder’s employees or subcontractors damages your property during construction, liability insurance should cover the damage.

Custom homebuilding involves a significant investment. So you want to ensure your investment is taken care of by choosing a homebuilder with what it takes to bring your dream of owning a home to live. Interview three to four candidates to give yourself a chance to choose the right builder. Seek out a second opinion if you have to, especially when dealing with the fine print.

History of Water Skiing

Water skiing is quite a popular surface water sport, with over 11 million participants in the United States. A skier, attached to a fast-moving boat, glides through the water’s surface. The sport, which requires agility, endurance, and strength, was developed in 1922.

Historical recounts point to Ralph Samuelson as the first person to water-ski in 1922 when he decided to use two planks of wood as skis and a clothesline as tow ropes. Samuelson tested his ideas for several days on Lake Pepin in Lake City before he eventually discovered that the best way to ski on the water is to lean backward while pointing the tip of the skis upward.

After that, Samuelson’s brother Ben drove him at 19 miles per hour to test Samuelson’s idea.
He first tried using a barn door as a ski, barrel staves, and even snow skis, and then settled on using two strips of lumber with leather bindings attached to them. Samuelson then dedicated his time to teaching people how to water ski. He brought water skiing into the spotlight several years after its discovery when he went around performing water ski shows from Michigan to Florida for over 15 years. The American Water Ski Association later recognized him in 1966 as the first water skier in history.

Fred Waller obtained the first patent for water skis in 1925. He developed them using kiln-dried mahogany, mimicking the type of wood used to make boats at the time. He called them “Dolphin Akwa-Skees.”

In 1940, Jack Andresen pioneered freestyle skiing, leading to the patenting of more water-skiing equipment. Don Ibsen founded the Olympic Ski Club a year later, in 1941. Ibsen was also one of the sport’s earliest equipment manufacturers and played an essential part as a showman and promoter of water skiing. He joined Florida’s “Water Ski Hall of Fame” in 1983.

Water skiing became internationally known when Dick Pope Sr., famously called the “Father of American Water Skiing” and founder of Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, wanted to build a different look for his water skiing theme park. To draw attention, he collated pictures of water skiers featured at the park. Soon enough, the pictures began appearing in magazines between 1940 to 1950, garnering worldwide recognition.

He also became the first person to perform a jump successfully. He was recorded jumping over a wooden ramp for a 25-foot distance. His son, Dick Pope Jr., later went on to invent bare-foot skiing in 1947. He then joined his father as a hall of Famer in the Water Ski Hall. Because of the contributions of father and son to the sport of skiing, Winter Haven has now become an important skiing landmark and is home to several major ski schools.

Water skiing continued to grow and attract many participants. Soon enough, water skiing contests and competitions were created, and the activity made it to the Olympics stage in 1972 as an exhibition event. The first ever National Ski tournament was held in 1974, and the National Intercollegiate Water Ski Championships were launched in 1979.

The sport is now recognized internationally, drawing different investors, enthusiasts, and excited audiences from different parts of the world. There are now over 900 official water skiing events that take place worldwide.