Improving Home Value With A Retaining Wall

Generally there are two reasons for building a retaining wall on your property, which are to either prevent erosion or simply for landscaping purposes. Regardless of the reason why, this type of structure will invariably add value to your home as well as enhancing the appearance of it. The key is to build the structure appropriately for your needs.

In the past, it was a common practice to use discarded railroad ties stacked horizontally to hold back eroding hillsides. These are rarely used today due to environmental concerns as well as because to build a lasting wall you’ll require some engineering on it. Critical to the design is size of the retaining structure needed and drainage conditions. If you’re removing a significant volume of earth to widen a garden for example, you may need a piling or anchored wall to support the load behind it.

If stopping erosion is the only reason, you may not need any supporting structure at all. Instead, a wide variety of geosynthetics are available to use in sheets to provide mechanical stabilization of the soil. Layered straps, soil nailing and other techniques also work well depending upon the scope of the problem and the physical size of the project.

One of the most popular types of retaining wall designs incorporates the use of artificial stone to build expansive, yet beautiful structures that rival any botanical garden! These materials allow for flexible designs suited to any size landscaping project and will last for years with very little maintenance. Combined with exterior lighting, stone pathways and a careful selection of plants and flowers, you’ll turn your garden into a fantasy land!

Depending upon your own needs and taste, retaining walls can cost a small fortune. Do it yourself projects will usually cost $10 to $15 per square foot, while those installed by a contractor may run double that price. For a typical home garden where there are no structural issues, plan on spending in the neighborhood of about $3,000. The more complex the design, the higher the cost, so budget accordingly.

You may be required to obtain building permits, engineering or architectural drawings and your municipality may want to inspect your work at different stages of construction. Be sure to check zoning regulations in your area as well – different regions have different building codes for retaining walls and may limit your choices. Because you’re increasing the value of your home, it may have an impact on your property taxes as well!

Last of all, most home centers provide landscaping design services to help you develop a plan and a budget for building a retaining wall on your property. Take advantage of these free services whenever possible – it will save you time and effort over figuring everything out yourself!

The Narcissist is Pea Green With Envy

Most of us can admit to having certain emotions: sadness, love, fear, surprise, anger, joy. We may not express these feelings openly but we are able to acknowledge them in ourselves and reveal them to those close to us.

One emotion that remains difficult for most of us to admit, even to ourselves, is envy. Envy is an intense resentment of an advantage (lifestyle, physical appearance, social status, wealth, creative gift, etc.) that is enjoyed by another person. This is combined with a strong desire to possess what that person has. We keep envy in the back room. Most of us do not share our envies, even with family or friends. We are embarrassed when we envy someone. We often keep it a secret from ourselves.

“There is no one more envious than a narcissist. They covet the beauty, youth…and worldly power of competitors. They plot to get…(what) belongs to someone else. Their envy is venomous.” Narcissistic envy eats into him/her. He is determined to get back, surpass and defeat those who have what he wants and feels that he deserves. The roots of narcissistic envy go back to serious inadequacies in the mother/child relationship. As a result of this dysfunctional relationship, the young child experiences a strong aggression that takes the form of envy. The child learns that he cannot depend on anyone despite his facade of superiority, perfection, grandiosity, and self entitlement. The narcissist makes up for his inability to have a genuine relationship by desiring what others have. He devalues other human beings, especially those he views as having more social and financial advantages, or prestige than he has.

The narcissist is relentless. He breaks all the rules to get what he wants. He will ruin professional reputations, disrupt marriages, psychologically and financially sabotage business partners—do whatever it takes to surpass someone else. A common pattern with the narcissist is to pursue a woman or man, marry them and discard them after he finds that they are tarnished and imperfect. The narcissist moves on to a more attractive, adoring partner. This cycle of pursuit, satiation and discarding is endless. Beneath all the bravado—the elaborate mask of superiority, grand delusions, and haughty disdain of others, lies an insatiable hunger for what others have. This burning in the gut cannot be soothed.

Why Does My Shoulder Pop – Is it Serious?

People will often come up to me and ask why their shoulders pop when they move. Most of the time the answer is simple. The typical reasons this happens are:

1. An inflamed muscle or tendon moving and because it is inflamed and bigger, it could make a popping sound or feel like a popping sound. There can be no pain with the pop.

2. A muscle or tendon moving.

3. A ligament (connects bone to bone and helps hold the bone in place) is just moving out of place a bit. There is not pain with the pop.

4. Postural problem leading to poor motion in the shoulder.

5. A broken bone. Bones don’t just break. There has to be some trauma to the bone.

6. A torn muscle or ligament. Muscles and ligaments don’t just tear. There has to be some trauma to the muscle or ligament.

7. A dislocation. Again, bones rarely dislocate without trauma.

8. Bursitis. There are sacs of fluid in the shoulder that help lubricate. These can get inflamed and cause popping and pain.

9. Arthritis. Usually people talk about bone spurs (build up of calcium that looks like a spur). This is part of


10. Joint inflammation because of some other reason.

Most people have popping with no other signs or symptoms. They have full range of motion and no pain. This usually means #1, #2 or #3 above. This is usually no big deal and can be dealt with through stretching, strengthening and massage. It should just be watched and checked on from time to time. Some people have popping with no pain that never goes away and if there are no other symptoms, and other reasons like poor posture and arthritis have been checked into, it is generally just the way their muscles and ligaments move over each other- just the way they are built.

If people have pain with the popping and/or other symptoms what to do about it depends on:

Where is the pain?

Where in the movement does the pain occur?

Was there trauma?

How bad?

And so on. This needs to be checked out thoroughly by an orthopedic doctor, a physical therapist or chiropractic physician that is skilled in dealing with shoulders.

Installing Aftermarket Head Units

Upgrading the sound system is usually one of the first modifications attempted when we talk about car customization. The best place to start is with a good head unit. If you plan to install it yourself, read on for some technical tips from our experience installers.

You will need a few tools to do the job right, so start by collecting some screwdrivers (flat head and phillips head), a socket set, wire cutters, wire splitters, butt connectors or heat shrinking sleeves, electrical tape, zip ties, solder and a soldering iron, and some patience.

The first thing I would do before installing I would suggest buying the stereo wiring harness for your vehicle application. This will make the installation easier for you if you are a beginner, and it allows for easier replacement of the stock radio (if you choose to sell the vehicle in the future) and swapping or upgrading to a different aftermarket head unit.

Begin by disconnecting the negative battery cable from the battery. This will ensure that you do not accidentally cross any wires and burn out a new piece of equipment. Next, remove the old head unit. If you need to see how this is done on your specific vehicle, you can look up your vehicles application on This is a great resource for seeing pictures of how to remove the head unit. Once it is loose, disconnect the wiring harness and the antenna from the head unit and remove it completely.

There are two types of wiring harnesses you can get. There is the universal wiring harness that connects to your vehicles existing wiring harness, and has the unfinished wire ends that connect to the color coded wires of your new head unit. There is also a wiring harness that has a harness on both ends, and just clicks in place on both sides. These are the easiest to install, but can be harder ot find to match your vehicle to the head unit. Most wiring harnesses are the universal type, so we will focus on those. If you have obtained the wiring harness, you will notice the color coded wires in the back of the head unit. The wires on the head unit and wiring harness should match. The head unit wires and the wiring harness wires will be partially spliced ​​for easy installation. There are several good ways to connect the wires. One way is to use butt connectors, which crimp the wires within a connector. These can be picked up almost anywhere that sells / installs head units, or at Walmart, etc. My favorite way requires a soldering iron and heat shrinking sleeves. Twist the wires together tightly. Apply just enough solder to weld the two wires together. Now fold them over parallel to one of the wires. Slide the sleeve over the connection and heat it with a heat gun or good hair dryer. I have had to rewire or repair systems where butt connectors were used, but this could be installer error, and not a problem with the connectors themselves. I have never had any of the soldered connections fail.

Once all the connections are made, and the sleeves heated and shrunk in place, I like to take a zip tie and tie them all together. Clip the excess zip tie for a clean finished look. Connect the wiring harness of the head unit to the wiring harness connected to the vehicle. Plug in the antenna (you may find you need an antenna adapter in some applications). Now slide the head unit in place, but do not attach it yet. Reconnect the negative battery cable and turn on the head unit (make sure the key is turned to the ACC position). It should be functioning properly at this point. If you plan on adding an amp, or have purchased one for this setup, turn the unit off and connect the RCA cables. Run them through the dash to the floorboard and to the amp (more on how to successfully do this in future articles).

Opening a Kitchen Wall to Create a Pass-Through

Are you tired of being stuck in the kitchen cooking while your guests and family enjoy time together in the adjacent room? If so, you may want to consider opening a kitchen wall to create a pass-through. Pass-throughs are an area of the wall that has been cut out the kitchen and the adjacent room to create a window-like opening. They are rather easy for the experienced do-it-yourself homeowner to tackle, but there are definite pros and cons, as well as safety issues to consider.

The Benefits

The benefits of creating a pass depends on how you use your home. If you entertain a lot or like to feel connected to those in the next room, a pass allows you to do that. It opens up both rooms and creates a lighter and airier floor plan. Pass-throughs also allow cooks to pass food easily from one room to the next. They are relatively inexpensive to create if the right wall is chosen for the pass-through design.

The Drawbacks

It may seem like there are no drawbacks to creating something that opens and lightens up a room. Unfortunately, just like with any home improvement project, there are always drawbacks to changing the structure of a wall. With a pass-through, the biggest drawback is that both rooms will be significantly altered to accommodate the length and height of the opening. It can be less hassle in a living room or dining room where wall cabinets do not come into play, but in a kitchen the location of existing cabinets and appliances can make all the difference. If your kitchen is limited for space and there is really no wall that is not being used by cabinetry or a large appliance, a pass-through may prove to be more difficult to install than it is worth. Another drawback is that it limits the privacy of each room. No longer can you have a private conversation with female guests in the kitchen while the men are watching a sports game. With a pass-through, conversations are bound to be overheard from both locations.

Safety Issues

Cutting into the drywall and creating an opening is not as simple as it may sound. Be sure to check for any existing electrical cords or plumbing that may be running through the wall in the location where the pass-through will be located. Cutting into the existing drywall will be a messy business and you do not want to start, only to find that you have to patch the wall because a pipe is running along that area. Also be careful that the spot where you cut is not a load bearing wall for the house. If you are concerned about removing the wall studs, consult with a professional builder and consider hiring a contractor to install support joists if needed at the top of the pass-through.

Dry Wall Patching – 5 Steps to Successfully Repairing a Hole in the Wall

Drywall patching requires patience and persistence. I am going to break the process down easily so you will be more informed before you start your next dry wall patch.One thing you must consider when working with drywall is the DUST. If you are sensitive to the drywall dust or gypsum you may want to get a particle mask, safety goggles or gloves and wear a long sleeve shirt for protection. Do not forget to protect any home furnishings that you want to keep dust free, too!

Step1: prep the hole or area to be patched.

If the hole or area to be patched has loose wall board paper you will need to remove the loose paper and gypsum. Now if the wall board paper wants to continue tearing up the side of the wall, a way to stop this is the take a razor knife and cut back from the loose area about an inch or so. What you are doing is scoring the wall so when you tear of the loose paper it will come to the scored line and not tear further causing a larger area to need patch work. If after you have removed the loose paper and the gypsum board underneath is crumbled and barely hanging to the wall, you need to knock out all the loose gypsum. Loose paper and gypsum will cause the drywall compound to not bond strongly and may create a bubble you will see only after coating with compound. As part of the prep, you may want to square up the hole so you can more easily cut the piece of sheetrock that will fill the void.

OK so the area is prepped and now we will need to move to step 2, which will instruct you on how to properly attach a piece of sheetrock cut to fill the hole in your wall or ceiling.

Step 2: back framing the hole to attach the sheetrock you will cut to fill the void.

Just like with new construction you will need to have wood framing to screw the sheetrock into. To explain, I will use an example patch area of ​​one foot by one foot. You will need to cut a 2×4 into two 16 "lengths. You will need to gather a cordless or electric drill and about a dozen 1¼" wood screws. Take one of the 2×4's you have cut and slide it in the hole and behind the existing sheetrock, along one side of the hole. The reason the 2×4 is longer (16 ") than the 12" hole is because we will extend it a couple of inches beyond the top and bottom. So now you have a 2×4 inside the wall on one side, the 2×4 needs to be laying flat against the inside of the wall, it will not be turned so the 4 "width of the 2×4 is flat against the inside, this will give us a larger surface for attachment as apposed to the standard way of framing which would be with the 2 "width facing the sheetrock. You will want to eyeball, best as possible the 2×4 and split the difference of the board width between the existing sheetrock and where you will attach the piece of sheetrock you will cut for the patch. Now that the 2×4 is held in the correct position you will need to screw the 2×4 into the existing drywall by holding tightly to the board and screwing into it through the face of the existing sheetrock. You will put two screws along the edge and one on the top and bottom of the existing sheetrock to strongly secure the 2×4 to accept piece of sheetrock you will cut. Once you have completed one side, repeat the same procedure on the other side. So when you have finished back framing you now have a strong frame to attach the patch piece of sheetrock. * Note – if you have a hole to patch where there are framing, electric or mechanical issues in the way that keep you from sliding the 2×4 behind the wall to screw down the side, you can screw in the top and bottom of the 2×4 and this will be sufficient. You may also consider attaching the 2×4 back framing across the top and bottom of the hole as apposed to attaching the 2×4's on the sides, just use the same instructions of attachment for the sides or top and bottom.

Now that the prep and framing are complete next we will cut a piece of sheetrock to insert into the framed hole in step 3.

Step 3: take a measurement of the hole and cut a piece of sheetrock to fit and secure it.

It does not have to fit super tight but it will need to fit and be screwed to the back framing you installed. You should put 2-3 screws down each side attaching the piece of sheetrock you cut to the framing. * Note- all the screws will need to be "set" below the surface of the sheetrock but not deep enough that the screw head tears the paper face on the sheetrock, unset screws will show and interfere with the next step. ** Note sheetrock comes in two thicknesses for most residential construction -1/2 "and 5/8." ½ "is normally on the interior walls / ceilings and 5/8" is used on underside of stairs and in the garage.

Well you're making progress and you have filled the void with sheetrock, now we will move on to the coating or finishing phase of the dry wall compound (mud) explained in step 4.

Step 4: coating the patch with drywall compound (mud).

As I was saying in step 3 the piece of sheetrock you cut to fill the hole does not have to fit super tight. If the sheetrock you cut has a gap around the border / joint of it and where it meets the existing wall board, you should pre fill the area before applying the drywall tape. So just take a little compound and fill in the edges and smooth the excess flat wit the wall, allow to dry. Next is to apply the drywall tape so that after we are all finished there will not be a crack around the joint of the patched hole. For patch work I like to use a "mesh" or "fiber" tape, it provides a stronger hold and the mesh tape is much more forgiving than regular drywall tape, in the since you do not have to pre mud the wall to adhere the tape. The mash tape has a sticky backing, so all you do is cut the mesh tape to the length you need, stick it on the wall with the middle of the mesh tape running right in line with the joint or crack. The mesh tape should always run past the joint at least an inch. Repeat this process for all four sides of the patch. Next apply a coat of compound around the perimeter of the patch, over the mesh tape. The mesh will be slightly visible after only one coat. * Note – If you apply to much compound (mud) you will have a hump in the surface. Allow this coat to dry, sand lightly, mostly to knock of any knife edges that dried in the compound and could cause the next coat to build up to much. You do not want to try and mud the patch in just 1 coat, it is better to apply a moderate / thin coat allow to dry, sand and coat again. After all the coats (at least two) have dried and you are satisfied that the surface is coated evenly, sand the mud to even the surface. * Note – a less than perfect coating job can be smoothed out with sanding. Sanding along the outside edge of the mud too, will blend the patched area better into the existing surface. A really neat trick is after you have sanded the patch, take a wet sponge or rag and "wash" the outside mud of the patch blending it even better into the existing surface, this trick will help you avoid seeing a mud line around the patch when it is completed. If your home has a smooth texture, this is the last step, your ready to paint. If you do not have a smooth texture you will need to read on.

Only one more step and the drywall part of your patch will be complete, texture. We will discuss various textures and how to apply the in step 5.

Step 5: there are many textures and you must first know how to identify your existing texture before going forward.

Older homes may have a swirl, crows foot, hand or smooth texture. Newer homes for the most part use smooth, orange peel, knockdown and hand textures. For a crows foot you will need a crows foot or stomp texture brush. For swirl texture you may have to consult a dry wall supplier store for the correct texture brush or experiment with a few different brushes. For a hand texture you can use a dry wall knife or trowel. All of the above mentioned textures require a tool or brush to apply drywall compound to achieve the texture. The next two textures can be purchased in a spray can, orange peel and knock down. * Note – with all textures it is good to get an old piece of plywood or cardboard and experiment first to find the right amount of pressure, thickness of mud, technique and set up time to create the right look to best conceal that a repair was ever made. As always if you texture the wall and are not happy with the results you can was the texture of immediately with a wet sponge of rag, allow to dry and try texturing again or sand of a bad texture if you are not happy with it after it has been allowed to dry. * Note – Knockdown texture size can be manipulated by letting the sprayed on texture set up or dry for less or more time depending on the desired look.

We have discussed the 5 steps needed to professionally repair a drywall patch. 1) properly prep the area to be patched. 2) back frame the opening. 3) size and cut the sheetrock to fill the opening. 4) apply mesh tape and mud to smooth the surface. 5) select and apply appropriate texture.

So go out and "get your drywall on". You can check out my article on painting walls if you need assistance with the painting. Feel free to leave a comment about any other subject you would like me to write on pertaining to drywall. Please check out our website,, it is all about our construction finishes.

Lighting For Your Kitchen And Cabinets

Kitchen lighting

Kitchen lighting is a form of home lighting specifically for the functional purpose of a kitchen. In the kitchen several requirements need to be met and these must be aided by precise lighting. Thus kitchen lighting is mostly task lighting and ambient lighting and less of decorative lighting. Good kitchen lighting, from an aesthetic and functional standpoint, incorporates both ambient and task lighting.

From the perspective of a professional lighting designer, the kitchen is one of the more interesting and versatile projects one can tackle. Filled with numerous nooks and crannies, cabinets and appliances, shelves and other specialized areas such as islands, kitchens can present more lighting challenges than any other room in your home.

Start with the task areas. These are best lit with bright, shadowless light. Fluorescent tubes are particularly well suited for this. You want to get the fixture close to the task area so as to get maximum light concentrated on the area you wish to work. In kitchens this would be counters, sinks, and tables. Spot lights and directional lights also provide task lighting in kitchens. For pantries or other closets, small Under Cabinet Lights provide good illumination. They can be mounted inside the closet above the door header to provide glare free lighting on the closet contents.

Ambient light is the general, overall light that fills in shadows, reduces contrast, and lights vertical surfaces to give the space a brighter feel. Fluorescent tubes are well suited to the job of providing ambient light. They provide broad, even illumination and their efficiency makes it possible to fill the space with light without turning it into an oven. Incandescent down lights are more dramatic and give a brilliant white light but require several fixtures to avoid shadows in a kitchen.

Direct lighting is achieved by using conventional recessed lights, surface lights or light fixtures that are on a pendant or chain. These types of lights work well to provide bright lighting for work surfaces and general purpose lighting in the kitchen area. Rope lighting and small recessed lights are budget friendly.

Add a layer of accent lighting. You may be lighting artwork, architectural details, collectibles, or a food presentation area.

Kitchen occupancy sensors can be used in place of expensive complicated 3-way switches in kitchens with multiple entrances. If the sensors can “see” all the entrances from their mounting location, they will turn on the lights automatically whenever anyone enters the room from any direction.

The importance of kitchen lighting is often overlooked. The traditional kitchen has been replaced by a modern one where people interact in quietude over the counter. Thus kitchen lighting is evolving with the needs of modern households.

Cabinet lighting: make your cabinet attractive as never before:

When it comes to interior, cabinet décor is a matter of high attention as beautiful cabinets make the place more attractive specially kitchen. Normal type of lighting has a problem of shadows and reflections and it hampers the quality of light. There are under cabinet and cabinet lightings having different types of uses and specialties. Cabinet lighting has a variety of old and new-fashioned lights with a great variety. Polished with brass and silver the lights look more attractive and they make the cabinets look brighter. These days there are a lot of lights having a great finishing touch with a variety of colors. There is a great lighting including ambience lights and halogen lights that are used for enhancing the quality of cabinet brightness.

Types of cabinet lighting:

The types of lights depend upon brightness, consumption of voltage, color and temperature. There are some adjustable lights that can be moved in a full circular motion. Some people have a problem of heat from the lighting so for them lights with an effect of florescence can be of a great use. Like the halogens radiate heat and create a problem for the people who cannot sustain heat these are a convenient option. There are some lights that have a brightness adjustment effect and they are very useful in each time of the day. Another good point is efficiency of energy and flickering free technology that can cut down maintenance cost. The life of lamps is more due to usage of xenon and hence they are worth of their price.

Usage of cabinet lighting:

Most of the cabinet lighting is used fro display of things or to provide a sufficient amount of light for normal working. Most of them are used in the office for desktops, at hospitals, studying rooms or library, bathroom closets, bedroom shelves, nooks and corners along hallways and stairways, living rooms, family rooms and anywhere else where a little brightness is required. For the kitchen installation one thing should be kept in mind that it should be in front or near the cabinet. It will be beneficial for providing the exact amount of required light with an added elegance of brightness to the kitchen cabinet. Hence by the usage of these tips you can enhance your cabinets.

Restricted Access Barrier System (RABS) – Will RABS Eventually Become More Common in Cleanrooms?

The Restricted Access Barrier System (RABS) is a separative enclosure with a purpose of mitigating microbial contamination risk in aseptic manufacturing facilities. Isolation technologies achieve this by separating personal from the aseptic environment and limiting personnel interaction with sterile materials. RABS involve clear barriers with glove ports (leak tested gloves – minor interventions) and doors that may be opened for maintenance (major interventions).

RABS is a recent innovation in isolation technologies and while there are limitations, it holds key advantages. The main advantages of RABS over other isolator technologies is, the technology is relatively low cost, few validation requirements and it allows flexibility of access.

Evolution of RABS

In the early days of aseptic processing, gloveboxes were used to provide separation between the operator and “sterile field”, providing greater control over microorganisms. In the 1950s, use of HEPA filters allowed development of clean rooms, where gowned personnel could operate equipment resulting in much greater throughput. However, isolation technology was reintroduced in 1980s as it was recognised as providing superior contamination control.

Isolators were perceived as inflexible and had added requirements of leak testing and decontamination. Partial barriers were also used to provide a degree of separation in cleanrooms. This evolved into the restricted access barrier system.

Advantages of Restricted Access Barrier Systems vs. Isolator Technologies

RABS provides contamination control with added advantages over isolation technologies.

  • The main advantage of RABS is that it allows flexible access for equipment maintenance where necessary.
  • Lower initial capital investment. Operational costs may be higher due to some additional gowning requirements.
  • Lower validation requirements – this may change as validation requirements for RABS are not yet defined.

Limitations of Restricted Access Barrier System

  • RABS are not as effective as isolators in contamination control. This is because isolators provide a measurable pressure differential while RABS rely on air overspill. Further isolators are frequently decontaminated.
  • While RABS do allow access via glove ports (minor interventions) and doors (major interventions), some areas may be difficult to access (depending on design).
  • Limited human interventions are a risk to advanced aseptic processing security.
  • RABS cannot be used for cytotoxic products as containment is minimal.

The Future of RABS?

In the near future the Restricted Access Barrier System will become more common in cleanrooms since it offers cost effective contamination improvements while still allowing human interventions. However, any form of intervention reduces control over microorganisms. While RABS interventions are controlled (with validated recovery times etc), they still pose some degree of risk. Advancements in flexible robotics, in-process control, equipment self diagnostics and self-correction, information technology etc may lead the way to next level of contamination control without human interaction. This will lead to obsolescence of barrier systems such as RABS. Too soon to plan for this yet though!

Embellish Your Writing With Famous Quotes And Sayings

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."

– George Bernard Shaw

Nothing can explain the deeper meaning of life than a wise man's quotation. Quotes are a way to express a lot in a few words. If you are a writer and want to make your writing impressive and appealing, employing the right quotes and saying at the right place will produce the best effect. It is an effective way to lend an authoritative tone to your writing. You can engage your readers in the basic thought more efficiently than you could otherwise do using your own words. You can find various famous quotes and sayings online that will suit your writing and thoughts.

How to Use Famous Quotes and Sayings

Using the right quotations in your writing is very important, otherwise, they will only prolong the piece without adding any actual value to its meaning. So, before integrating someone else's words into your writing, keep in mind:

* Whether the quote fits properly within the context of your writing.

* Whether it elucidates the message of your writing without making it more confusing.

* Whether it is in coherence with what you have said before or after it in your writing or speech.

Famous Quotes and Sayings: Some Basic Rules to Employ Them

Using somebody else's words to beautify and clarify your own words is perfectly legal. However, there are certain rules you must follow while using them:

* If you are incorporating famous quotes and sayings in the same word order in your writing, make sure that you keep them within quotation marks.

* Always state the author of the quotations whenever you use them. It makes their use legal while lending credibility to your writing.

* It is also recommended that you state the source from where you picked up the quotation. It gives an air of authenticity to the quote you are using.

Benefits of Manufactured Stone Veneer

Manufactured stone veneer is a popular item for both exteriors and interiors. When you see homes with beautiful stone facings, you do not know if it's real stone or manufactured, which is the point. Manufactured stone is virtually indistinguishable from real stone because of its top quality design and craftsmanship. It's created through a process that gives it the look and feel of real natural stone. But manufactured stone veneer comes without all the headaches that using real stone can give you.

Real stone is the heaviest material you can use for things like house exteriors and interior design, too. All that weight creates problems. First of all, you can not just slap real stone up on the outside of a house or an interior wall. A concrete base is necessary to support the weight of the stone and create the right surface for it to adhere to.

The concrete base adds even extra weight, so for use on an interior wall or accent you have to make sure the wall and the floor can withstand that weight. Even just using natural stone on a fireplace can mean reinforcing the floor or worse – discovering that it's simply not safe to do so because it can not be reinforced properly for some reason.

But you can use manufactured stone veneer without those worries. The manufactured veneer weighs far less than natural stone. Using it on a fireplace should not require any structural changes at all. And it's non-combustible, just like real stone, so it's perfectly safe to use, too. You also do not need a concrete base or backing to use manufactured stone veneer inside or outside. It can be installed on almost any surface. That cuts down the weight and the prep time, so installation takes less time and costs less, too.

Despite the lower cost, you'll end up with the look of real, natural stone that can fool anyone. You will not have to worry about your facing, fireplace, interior wall or accent looking fake or cheap. With the different colors and styles of manufactured stone veneer that are available today, you can have the look of almost any type of natural stone you want for a fraction of the price.

Rough-hewn stone, smooth river stone and several other options are available in various shades to fit into your decor and work with your sense of style. You can design around the beautiful manufactured stone veneer you choose, or choose one of many styles that will work perfectly with your current decor.

The look of stone is the look of quality, and will raise the perceived value of your home as well as its actual value. And stone is not a fad or just a trend. It's been used in home design since ancient times and will never go out of style or look old and dated. Manufactured stone veneer really does supply all the beauty of natural stone without the cost, weight and installation problems, so it's hard to imagine why anyone would use anything else.

Ceiling Panels And Their Use In Interior Spaces

Using ceiling panels in interior is a great way to create high quality and functional ceiling spaces. These panels can be both functional and aesthetically important.

There are many uses of panels such as carrying light fixtures to providing special purpose for example acoustic, noise reduction and soundproofing.

Ceiling panels come in a variety of materials such as made of cork, wood, metal etc. These panels are also suitable for almost all types of roof shapes such as truss, flat, vaulted.

Let's have a look at the most common functions of these panels used for interior lighting.

1) In the first type the entire ceiling area is covered by using the selected ceiling tiles or plans using a square grid. Metal ropes are used to "hang" the ceiling panels from constructed ceiling at corners of the grid. Then depending upon the panel material the panels are screwed to this grid from bottom.

The main function of this type of paneling is to carry light fixtures. This is used in a very large column less space such as an auditorium or large office space. The grid layout makes it easy to maintain and
service in the future.

2) In the second type the panels are used as secondary light source. Instead of carrying the light fixture with them, these panels only receive light from other lighting sources and reflects evenly in the entire space. For this purposed they have a very glossy finish to increase the amount of reflection. The shape and size of the panels or whether to use a single or multiple panels is very carefully worked
out depending upon the number and location of direct light sources.

This type of paneling works best for small office spaces such as conference halls, cabins, residential living room etc. Since these panels also becomes a part of the entire design form, a very careful
thought must be given about the theme of the design before installing them.

3) In the third type ceiling panels are used very creatively by creating levels. This requires a substantial ceiling height in order to play with levels and allow a good "head room" below the lowest point of the ceiling. In this type the lower level ceiling panels carry the light fixtures and throw direct light on the upper level ceiling panels so that they can distribute it evenly in remote area of ​​the space.

Light fixture can also be used to direct on the walls to create a "mood". the biggest advantage of this type of system is that the light source is hidden from direct vision and thus creates a very smooth and uniform lighting in the interior space.

4) There is one more way these panels can be used in interior spaces for distributing light. Instead of using them on ceiling they can be used on walls to reflect direct sunlight evenly.

If used creatively on walls that receives direct sunlight, two functions can be easily achieved. a) Decreasing the intensity of sunlight b) Reflecting it to remote interior spaces using proper

But unlike an artificial light source the direction and intensity of sunlight constantly changes in a day. To cater this the panels can be made "adjustable" to serve the changed day conditions.

I hope this article was useful to create a spark of imagination in your mind.

Copyright Shrinivas Vaidya

Hardwood Flooring

Do you want your house flooring to be elegant? Do you want to walk on a floor that suits the style you desire and reflects the kind of your personality? Then get that hardwood flooring of your choice.

Your Style, Your Floor!

How would hardwood flooring suit your style? Well, hardwood flooring has been a choice of many people who want a classic feel in their houses. It is elegant and can give a rustic country look as well. It could give your urban home a rural motif that could make your mood more relaxing when you go home from work.

Moreover, real wood flooring comes in different colors and styles that could really go well with your choice. It has already developed overtime from the simple brown color in different variations.

When you want a plain floor, try installing planks. This kind of hardwood flooring gives you wide pieces of planks. Should you choose this style, you could save energy in installing because you only install a number of woods and could also save you money.

If your home is small and you want it to look bigger, install smaller strips of hardwood flooring. The strips are only three inches or less in size.

Alternatively, single piece real wood flooring can give you a more solid look in your house. This kind varies in thickness and can last long years. It is also easy to change or refurnished when needed because it is only one piece.

The parquet flooring gives you a tile look on your floor. Through this kind, you can make patterns in your floor. It comes in wide variety of shapes and colors like that of its ceramic counterpart.

Caring For Your Elegant Floor

Since hardwood flooring is indeed a major attraction in your house, it as well a major investment. For it to last for long years, it has to receive proper care. Other than regular cleaning or dusting, it should also be maintained and refurnished as needed.

Use hardening oil, not floor wax as used with cement floors, in maintaining your hardwood flooring. It could make your floor shinier and sturdier. Ask your hardware stores to recommend you specified wood wax. Apply such regularly like every one year or 18 months.

Dragging heavy furniture on your hardwood flooring can give it a lot of scratches and damages. To avoid these, you can apply three coating varnish. It protects the wood from possible scratches and makes it more durable. However, it is best that you carry the furniture than dragging them or protect the lower surface with rugs or cloths before dragging them.

Though wet mopping is a good way to clean floors, do not do it on your hardwood flooring. Vinegar and bleaching agents are also good cleaners, but they are not for your floor, too. Water and vinegar may be the worst enemy of wooden floors. Water loosens the wood fibers and makes in weaker. It could also make the floor swell on its edges. It is not recommended to use wet mops rather use a mister and a dry mop to clean the floor.

On the other hand, vinegar contains a strong acid that could easily cause discoloration to your hardwood flooring. Use vinegar and you immediately loose your floor's elegance.

The floor of your house somehow reflects what's inside it and the people living in it. As such, it is best to invest in a floor that suits your style and installing hardwood flooring could be your best choice. It is stylish, it is elegant!

Toyota Fortuner

The Toyota Fortuner is a SUV based on the Toyota Hilux. This great car was first assembled in Thailand only, however, due to its popularity it has gone to many other countries as well. This is considered to be a very reliable and comfortable SUV and one that you need to experience to note the difference. There are many SUV cars in the roads these days and it is therefore extremely important to be able to see the difference that they have on the roads.

The Toyota Fortuner was recently known for its tendency to roll over easily, however, this is considered to be a problem that most of the SUV have anyway and not a manufacturing problem. When you are able to experience a Toyota Fortuner, you will be able to see the difference. There are many people that are very dedicated to this special model and they consider it to be very durable and comfortable. It is also very important to note that this particular model is strong on rough terrain and that is perhaps these kinds of cars are very popular in countries where the road conditions are not up to the mark. In fact, we could come to the conclusion that these kinds of cars are better off the roads that on the roads.

The big wheels of the car and the four wheel driving can prove to be a bit too much for the ladies of the club, however, it can be considered to be an excellent choice for the macho men that love to be on the rough terrain at all times. You will also have to be very careful with the brakes. Big wheels react differently to brakes in comparison to small wheels. Therefore, this may not be the kind of car you want to take for a test drive around the center of the city in the evening hours.

The Toyota Fortuner comes with a diesel engine and the engine has a lot of power at 120Kw and fuel consumption is very efficient making it a very wonderful car to choose for long distance driving, which is not going to make much difference to your budget and your mileage as well.

Toyota has been able to make a lot of improvements in their car manufacturing, and one of the most important improvements has been on the comfort that you can derive while driving a Toyota Fortuner on any kind of roads.

Could You Be Hurting Your Blacktop Surface by Seal-Coating Every Year?

In the past decade as our workforce loses out to foreign competition, many people have decided to go into business for themselves. A very easy and lucrative business is asphalt sealing. A person can get started with as little investment as a couple hundred dollars and no experience. This has led to even more problems in an industry that is already marked with scars from bad ethics and scrupulous scams. Until wide spread use of the Internet, consumers have been limited to educating themselves regarding pavement maintenance through the actual installers. The problem is, most of the installers have little knowledge themselves.

Lets explore and offer some answers to the most common questions:

1.) Q. Should seal coating be performed on an annual basis?
A. No. Sealing your surface too much can lead to many problems. Many seal coating installers will lead you to believe otherwise. However, the first two coats of sealer applied to your asphalt are what really protect it. Anything after this is usually for cosmetic purposes. Sealer applied annually tends to crack and flake after about 10 years of annual applications. This may influence the owner to resurface prematurely. To sum up, too much maintenance is not a good return on investment. Other problems caused by over sealing are tracking, creating slippery surfaces, and a smaller balance in your checkbook.

2.) Q. Is it better to apply sealer in hot weather?
A. While this is true for paving, it's not appropriate for sealing. Remember, asphalt can get so hot under the hot summer sun; it can nearly burn your skin. This also causes the sealer to dry too quickly. When sealer dries too quickly it can peel, flake, or get a streaky finish. If you must apply sealer in temperatures above 90 degrees, it's a good idea to spray the surface with a light mist of water first. This will cool the surface considerably. Ideal air temperatures are between 50 and 80 degrees.

3.) Q. Sealer is all the same, why should not I choose a less expensive bid?
A. There are far more variables to the seal coating industry than consumers realize. Most directly influence the differences in quoted prices. First off, sealer is water based. Therefore it can be diluted to save money, or not diluted to provide a more superior product. Unfortunately, there is hardly any way to tell what the water content is in sealer. Most applications will have an average of 10% -25% water dilution rate. This is acceptable. Consumers should choose a reputable contractor. Usually a good installer will be more expensive because he does not over dilute his material, he may use additives which greatly improve the sealer, he has all the required insurances and licensing to be in business, pays his trained employees a fair wage to do a good job, and will stand behind the work. Shoddy contractors almost never have any insurance, offer a low price to get a large volume of work, hire cheap inexperienced labor, dilute the material heavily, and will never offer any guarantees once paid.

4.) Q. Surface cracks always come back, so why bother filling them?
A. Inexperienced, or unethical contractors will shy away from filling cracks. It is important to fill cracks especially in climates that are subjected to freezing temperatures. Water can cause damage to pavement if permitted to get down into the pores of blacktop. Qualified installers will know exactly the best solution to treat cracks.

5.) Q. Why do I need to seal my surface. After all, the interstates do not get sealed.
A. Although your surface may be comprised of similar materials as the highway, it is subjected to much different uses than a highway. Highways do not get sealed because they carry a large volume of high-speed single direction traffic. This has a polishing effect on the surface, which will naturally repel water from being soaked into the pavement. Your surface is subjected to slow moving, heavy loads, or constant maneuvering of vehicles. Asphalt can realize a longer lifespan by sealing because it keeps water or damaging chemicals from penetrating into its pores.

6.) Q. Can I save some money by doing it myself?
A. At one point, some courageous homeowners (and very few commercial property owners) will try to personally seal coat their pavement. Stop for a second and add up the total costs you will incur by undertaking this project. Sealer by the pale costs 4-5 times more at improvement stores (and usually is not of the same quality). Tools available to homeowners are often expensive and not up to the task. Figure on ruining a whole outfit from your shoes all the way to gloves. You may have to persuade somebody to help you, which could cost additional money. On average this will take you four to five times longer than a professional. On a 1,200 square foot driveway you can expect to fork out around $ 300.00 for the supplies listed above. That does not include what you would make hourly at your job. Plus it is highly doubtful that you would do half as good a job as a professional. By today's rates, most professional jobs will range between $ 180.00 and $ 320.00.

7.) Q. Should the sealer be applied by spray or squeegee?
A. Here is another reason you should rely on a real professional to come up with a solution for your specific needs. Both application types are suitable under the right circumstances. There is no "one size fits all" method of seal coating. A true professional will determine the process based off of age, degree of deterioration, climate, expected use, budget, term of ownership, obstacles, and how many coats already exist on the pavement.

The main point of this article is to influence the consumer to research and make an educated decision when maintaining asphalt surfaces. Do not make an impulsive decision based solely on price. The first thing you should do is be sure your contractor has an upstanding report with the BBB. Make sure they are well established by investigating whether they have a local advertisement in the yellow pages or a website. It also would not hurt to get several bids, and check references on all of them. Keep in mind you usually get what you pay for.

A well-paved blacktop surface can last 20+ years if maintained on proper intervals. Save money by hiring a reputable, paving or sealing contractor. They can develop a strategy to maintain your pavement. Spending a little more now, can save you a lot down the road.