How To Build Up Your Niche

You've probably heard this before: building your niche is one of the most important things that you could do to generate more traffic to your website and make money online. While we have seen a lot of people become rich and successful, there are also several others who have failed due to lack of a good plan and a robust niche market. No matter how great or affordable your product is, if people do not know where to find it, then all your efforts will be futile. Here are some quick pointers on how you can attract potential customers to visit your site:

Strike while the iron is hot. It 's always a plus to feel passionate about your product. If you personally like your product, it makes for better testimonials and makes your articles more sincere. But marketing is not about what you want, it's about what your customers want and need. You need to be able to find a hot customer base that will instantly generate customers and not a lot of competitors.

Trust will get you there. Once you are able to find your target market, it's time for you to make your online presence felt. Joining discussion groups, forum threads and starting a blog will help pique the readers' interest and feel compelled to visit your site. Make sure that you only sensible and intelligent comments on these forums. The Internet user has become a lot smarter now, and they can tell if what you're saying is a sincere comment or a prelude to a sales pitch.

You are as strong as your weakest link . You've probably already heard about back linking and SEO. One of the best ways for you to be able to establish your niche is by inserting several links in your posts and in your websites. Try to read up on SEO and effective keyword strategies to really make the most out of your business.

That's what friends are for. Social networking site Facebook has 500 million users and growing. Do not underestimate the power of social media in promoting your product. Creating a Facebook fan page and updating posts on Twitter will also help attract more customers to your website. Just make sure that you are able to update them regularly, follow up on customer inquiries and add more "friends" into your virtual circle. If you are able to do this effectively, expect your sales to grow in a matter of weeks.

If you've already done most of the things listed here and you're still not getting the results that you want, maybe it's time to go back to the drawing board and rethink your options. Remember that this is not going to be an overnight success; you need to have a lot of patience and determination to succeed. The tips above are not meant to be done only once; if you feel the need to revisit your plans, you can tweak your strategy to fit your needs. In that way, you do not just build on your niche, you also keep them there!

A Summary of the Novel "The Green Mile"

Any summary of the novel “The Green Mile” by Stephen King has to include a bit about the famous horror novelist, himself. He published this novel in 1996 as a serial novel, and the first edition actually came out in six small, paperbacks, which were later made into one novel. King is most well known for his horror novels, so as this summary of the novel “The Green Mile” shows, this book, set in the 1930s, is a departure from some of his other works.


The summary of the novel “The Green Mile” includes the plot and setting. The story takes place in 1932 on the E Block (Death Row) in Cold Mountain Penitentiary in Georgia. It is narrated by the main character, Paul, who is the captain of the prison guards who preside over E Block. “The Green Mile” of the title is the corridor between the cells of the cell block that leads to the execution room. The corridor is covered in green linoleum, hence, the “last” or green mile the inmates take to their death.

The story follows John Coffey, a large, black inmate convicted of raping and murdering two young white girls, and the other two inmates on death row, along with the guards who watch over them. Coffey is special, as Paul discovers, and he has magical healing abilities that become apparent. He befriends a small white mouse, who he names Mr. Jingles, and heals the mouse when the brutal guard Percy Wetmore tried to kill it. He also heals Paul’s kidney infection, and later, Paul spirits him out of the prison to heal the warden’s wife’s brain tumor. Coffey “transfers” this brain disease to Wetmore, the sadistic guard who the inmates and staff dislike. Wetmore never recovers and spends the rest of his life in a mental institution.

Eventually, Paul discovers that Coffey is exceptional in many areas. It turns out he did not murder the two girls, another inmate (William Wharton) did. Coffey does not want to be pardoned, and dies in the electric chair because he cannot bear the cruelties of real life. After his death, Paul discovers that each of the people Coffey has healed live extraordinarily long lives. Paul is 108 at the end of the book, and Mr. Jingles is 64. They have no idea how long they will live, and the novel ends.


A summary of the novel “The Green Mile” includes the characters in the novel.

Paul Edgecombe – Paul is the main character of the novel. A prison guard, by the end of the story he is an old man narrating this part of his life to a friend who is writing his memoir.

John Coffey – A nearly 7-foot-tall black man, a convicted murderer awaiting his death sentence on death row in the prison. He befriends a white mouse and heals people of their diseases.

Percy Wetmore – A sadistic prison guard who everyone dislikes. He torments the prisoners, tries to kill Mr. Jingles, the mouse, and deliberately botches an execution where the inmate suffers terribly. He keeps his job because he is related to the governor.

Eduard Delacroix – A Cajun man convicted of arson, he is essentially a coward. He is the man who dies a horrible death at the hands of Wetmore.

William Wharton – Another convict, it turns out he is the one who actually committed the murder attributed to John Coffey. He is wild and frightening, and attempts to disrupt the prison as much as he can before he dies.

Mr. Jingles – The white mouse that lives to be 64 and is befriended by John Coffey.

Get Value For Your Money With a Telescoping Ladder

Telescoping ladder provides utmost flexibility to its users. It can be used both for indoors and outdoors. Regardless of how low or how high you need the ladder to be set up, a multi position ladder can definitely adjusts to your needs. This defies the need to purchase multiple ladders with different heights. Start saving by investing in functional and multi-purpose Telescoping ladders, now!

A Telescoping ladder is easy to transport and to store. It can be folded as low as 2 ½ feet and can weigh as light as 20 lbs, making it easier for you to hide it in your trunk or even your closet. This collapsible feature of this type of ladders made it as the most preferred ladder by household and even professional users.

A Telescoping ladder has shocked the market with its amazing features. Traditional ladders can not compete with this top quality equipment. One of the best features of Telescoping ladders is its capability to be converted into several shapes that will allow you to reach areas that a traditional ladder is limited to do.

There are a lot of telescoping ladders available in the market. It is best to inspect their features before you start posting your orders.

Regular Telescoping Ladders

These ladders are usually made of aluminum. They are adjustable to a maximum height of 15.5 feet and can be easily stored since it can be folded as low as 37.8 inches. You can easily carry this around since its total weight is only 35 lbs. Despite this Telescoping ladder's weight, it can support a maximum load capacity of 250 lbs. There are different variations of these ladders and you can choose from several height extensions, weight, shapes and workload capability. The price depends on the style and other specifications.

Telescoping Multi-ladder

This type of telescoping ladders usually costs between USD 100 to USD 150. The price greatly depends on the ladder's height. Variations of height are from 13, 17, 22 and 26 foot. You can commonly find the 13 foot multi-ladder. This multi-ladder weighs a maximum of 28 lbs and can support a maximum work load of 300 lbs. With its weight and work load capacity, this type is convertible. You can easily convert this to a 3 to 5 foot stepladder or 1-2 foot scaffold. This will provide you with much flexibility at a very low cost.

Combination Ladders

This type can be an 8.5 feet stepladder and can be extended up to 10.5 feet. You can adjust the other side of the ladder in one-foot increments allowing you to be able to use it in stairs and uneven surfaces. This ladder uses state of the art technology that allows it to be converted from a 10 feet ladder to an easy to store package. You can also change the height of this ladder in just a few seconds. It is also OSHA and ANSI standards compliant. This is usually sold at around USD 370.

Purchasing a telescoping ladder may be more expensive than buying a traditional ladder. But when you start to inspect its features, you will learn that it will definitely give you more savings. It is better to purchase convenient and multi-purpose telescoping ladders than spend on multiple ladders with different height and functions.

Enhance Your Walk-In Closet Design

You are lucky enough to have a walk-in closet in your home. It is because this type of closet is a lavish yet practical solution to cramped and cluttered closet and to the annoyance they usually bring. Walk-in closets offer a plethora of storage options. So if you are someone who has to fight against the junk messing up your closet, try to come up with a good and functional walk-in closet design and apply it in your existing walk-in closet.

Advantages of Walk-in Closets

1. They are really big. Usually, walk-in closets are big enough so you can comfortably walk into.

2. You have a wide range of walk-in closet design options. Such type of closet can be outfitted with shelves for your books or folded wardrobe. It can also house shoe cubbies, tie racks and belt racks. It can accommodate several garment racks where you can hang your clothes. You can also mount hang bars and hooks to hold your robes, hats and other like items. And if you want to free-up space in your room, you can even place the drawers and dressers inside the walk-in closet.

3. Walk-in closets give you the chance to be creative. Benches and islands can even be positioned inside huge walk-in closets to make it feel like a dressing room. Truly, when you own a walk-in closet, the sky’s the limit.

4. Also, walk-in closets have a room for the appropriate lighting and also for mirrors, which allow you to see yourself from every possible angle.

5. Walk-in closets can also provide your vanity table a place to stay.

6. You can open up your walk-in closet into your bathroom so you can dress yourself up before going to your bedroom.

If you don’t have much time to create your own walk-in closet design, you can purchase closet organizers that are available as kits from home improvement centers. The said organizers include virtually all the things that you need in organizing your closet such as shelving, hardware and other components. Closet accessories can be obtained separately. If your walk-in is really big, then you should purchase more than one kit. Though closet organizers still need to be assembled, the job is rather simple.

Another option to achieve the walk-in closet design that you want is to purchase closet organizer systems. The said systems contain pre-assembled pieces that need to be mounted. For a built-in look, they can be positioned on the floor. But if you want the floor area to be clean, you can have them mounted on the wall.

Displaying RSS Feeds

Your visitors will be able to read the latest news as it happens, but they will be able to subscribe to your feed and read it on their desktop, cell phone, web browser, or at a website offering them the ability to keep up to date with several feeds at once. As the publisher of the RSS feed, webmasters determine the content that will be sent out to the subscribers.

For some webmasters, it is easier to syndicate content instead of coming up with fresh content. What this means is that they add an RSS feed to their website and subscribe to others RSS feeds that will display on their website. Therefore, if you have a website pertaining to technology, you would find RSS feeds that provide technology news. The headlines or short blurbs would appear on your website in the RSS feed, thus providing your readers with up to the minute information.

Of course, you will have to decide the best way to display the feed on your website that will enhance your design instead of destroying the effect you desire.

JavaScript is one of the easiest ways to display RSS feeds. In many cases, you will find a small snippet of code that you place on your website and that is it. The way it works is that when a visitor arrives to your website it will detect the visitor and send information to the feed, thus real time information. On the other hand, if you want the keywords from the feed to be grabbed by search engines, JavaScript is not the way to go, as search engines cannot read this type of scripting.

There are other options on the internet that will allow you to grab the code and place it on your website beside JavaScript that can be read by search engines. The websites offering these scripts allow webmasters to customize the feed so it will better fit their website thus making it more pleasant to your visitors.

Another option is Rss2html.php this is a script that uses HTML to display the feeds. HTML is recognized by search engines, thus the engines will be able to index the fresh content faster and more precise.

Whatever script you decide to use should provide your visitors with up to date content as well as being pleasing to the eye. The idea is to bring fresh content to your readers while providing search engines with the data they need to give you the ranking you deserve.

Budget Quotations Vs Contract Bids

We are contemplating a comprehensive renovation of our existing office space, and would like to get some idea of the cost. Should we be getting multiple bids?

Yes, you should eventually get multiple construction bids, but that is not what you need right now!

If you are planning commercial construction or renovation, there are two types of construction estimates. You need to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of both. A “budget quotation” is a rough estimate of the costs of construction which is prepared without a lot of detailed information on the quality or type of materials. A “contract bid” is a price for which the contractor is prepared to build, and is usually based on a complete set of drawings and/or outline specifications.

What you need at the moment is a budgetary quotation, and obtaining a quotation from just one reputable contractor will usually suffice. Why would anyone want a budget quotation? Our company recently provided a budget quotation to a Huntington businessman who was interested in expanding his building. An architect had prepared a single page plot plan showing an outline of the proposed addition on the site. That’s all there was. But it was enough for a budget quotation. In this case, a budget quotation helped our client make a GO/NO-GO decision. Will he be able to finance the addition? Will the additional carrying costs and taxes be more than offset by the additional business that can be booked? Our client did not want to bear the cost of a full set of architectural drawings before having an understanding of the scope of the project.

For the budgetary quotation, a contractor will need to have a reasonable idea of the demolition involved, lineal footage of new sheetrock, number of interior doors and level of finish (carpet, wall coverings, ceiling etc.) When our firm provides budgetary quotations, they are not a rough guess! We will break down the budgetary quotation by trade, and show you our assumptions and their associated costs. Now you have a fairly good idea of the cost of the project and can begin to make some intelligent decisions about the feasibility, scope or specifications of the project.

Unlike a budgetary quotation, a contract bid should be based upon very tight specifications (down to the last doorknob) and a complete set of plans. So once you have made the decision to move forward, an architect (or in some cases, a space planner) should be hired to prepare drawings and specifications. Only when those drawings are complete do you ask at least three reputable contractors to bid the work. Because the drawings reflect the work down to the last detail, there is no room for guesswork on the part of the contractor. If these drawings and specifications are not done, the result will be construction bids that vary widely based upon what each contractor believes you want. So a complete set of plans is the last place where you want to skimp!

If price is not that much of a consideration, you can safely skip the budgetary quotation and go straight to construction drawings. But on any major project never, but never, skip the construction drawings and multiple construction bids!

Tips to Clean Hardwood and Laminate Floor

The floors of your home are just as important as every other part of the home. Unfortunately, many people find that it is hard to successfully clean and maintain the floors particularly when they have hardwood and laminate floors.

In fact, there are frequent complains by people who vacuum regularly and even use extra accessories like steam mop and Bona mops that these equipments tend to leave more dirt on the floors and form swirly dirt circles. So, how do you clean hardwood and laminate floors? How can you get them to produce their characteristic shine and maintain their luster?

Vacuum Frequently

The first thing you need to do to get clean hardwood floors is to vacuum frequently. Once a week is usually okay. If you have the time, do it more than once. Hardwood floors don’t just lose their shine in a day. It takes a while. Vacuuming helps prevent that.

Avoid Using Vinegar for Hardwood

Some people typically recommend vinegar and water for cleaning hardwood floors. They say it helps it maintain its shine. This is a very bad idea. If anything, vinegar dulls hardwood. For laminate floors however, vinegar and water gets excellent results. Why this happens is yet to be determined. But, just be sure to avoid using it on hardwood floors.

If you must use anything to clean your hardwood floors, use hot water and tea bags. Here’s how that works. Boil the water and drop 2-4 teabags in it. Allow if boil for a few minutes. Then pour the tea into a bucket. Using a rag or towel, immerse in the bucket and wring out until the cloth is damp. Use the damp towel or rag to wipe the floor first, then use a mop to clean. Once it dries, the floor should recover its shine.

Avoid Washing

There’s really little or no benefits that comes from washing the floors. People often recommend washing. That doesn’t work one bit. If anything, it’ll leave your hardwood and laminate floors looking dull. So, avoid washing.

If you must clean the hardwood floors, a mop and water will do just fine. For laminate floors, be sure to use just a drop or two of dish soap, insert the mop and wring out until it’s just damp. Then, mop the floor with it. If you’re up to it, use a J-cloth, get on your hands and knees and scrub properly.

Hire a Laminate Floor Cleaning Service

If you have tried everything, aren’t seeing any great results or just don’t have the time and energy to explore which cleaning liquids or options work best, simply hire a laminate floor cleaning service. A good cleaning service will know what cleaning liquid to use to clean all types of floors and get the maximum results. Not just that, getting once saves you a lot of time, energy and effort. You don’t even have to be there when they’re doing the cleaning. You could go out and come back to meet your floors shining and sparkling.

A Clean Spray Gun is Worth Gold – Properly Cleaning Your Paint Gun

Another important step in auto painting is to properly clean and maintain your tools and equipment. This article is going to emphasize properly cleaning your spray gun.

You Made It This Far

One of the common problems that I have seen as an instructor is students trying to paint with pattern problems. An improperly cleaned paint gun can cause a number of problems, which could have been prevented if the spray gun would have been properly cleaned the prior use. You spent hours repairing and prepping this car, don’t let a dirty spray gun ruin it for you.


It is really simple to prevent many of the spraying problems by proper cleaning. The key is to clean it each time that you use the spray gun. There are different cleaning systems, but they are all designed to remove all coatings from inside and outside of the gun. Once the gun is clean you can wipe it dry and store it for the next use.

No Lunch Breaks

Another thing that you don’t want to do is to finish painting a car and decide to go to lunch before cleaning the gun. If you do, it may be too late. All catalyzed products have a pot life. This is the time you have once the chemicals are mixed together before it starts to harden. Many of the coating that we use have a 30 minute or less pot life. Therefore, if you finished clear coating a car and decide to clean up and go to lunch, you may come back to a gun full of jell. This makes it very difficult to clean the gun. It now may require a full tear down and thoroughly clean each part. No lunch breaks, clean it immediately after each use.

Cleaning Procedure

Cleaning procedures will vary depending on what type of gun cleaner you have, but I think there a few basic guideline to follow.

  1. Always keep safety first. Wear gloves, eye protection, and a paint respirator to protect yourself from the chemicals.
  2. Poor all left over coatings into an approved container. This may be a recycling system or a container like a 55 gallon drum. If you store this waste, you must treat it like hazardous waste. You will need to have a company like Safety Clean haul it off for you.
  3. Clean the tip and fluid nozzle thoroughly with lacquer thinner and a brush. This is where most of the problems are caused from.
  4. Clean the remaining parts of the gun with brush or put into gun washer.
  5. Put a little clean lacquer thinner into the cup and put the lid on and shake. Then pull the trigger allowing the thinner to run through the gun.
  6. Once it is empty, dry with a clean cloth.
  7. Now it is ready for storage.

Every Step Is A Crucial Part For The Professional

If you will properly clean your gun after using it each time, you will not have many of the spray gun problems. We’ll talk about the different problems and how to correct them in another article. However, properly maintaining and cleaning your tools and equipment is a crucial part of this business. If you want to be the best, you must learn to perform every step properly and to the best of your abilities. That is what it takes to be a professional in this industry.

by Donnie Smith

Dropped Objects

It is common knowledge in the construction and marine industries that dropped objects present a very real danger to worker safety. In one case investigated by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a construction worker was standing under a scaffold while a worker and three sections of a ladder were being hoisted above him. One of the ladder sections came loose, falling to the earth and striking the worker on the ground in the head. That worker was not wearing a hard hat and subsequently died from his injuries.

This story probably does not surprise us because we consider the large and heavy pieces of a ladder to always be fatal. But were you aware that something as small as a 90mm bolt could be equally fatal if dropped from a distance of six stories? It's true. If we plug the numbers into the scientific formula to determine velocity and force, that small bolt dropped from six stories would be travelling at approximately 80 km / h with the force of 49.5 kg. If that bolt struck a man on the head it would probably kill him.

Heavier objects obviously need less distance to cause injury or fatality. A claw hammer can kill a man at a height of just two stories while a sledgehammer only needs one. The point is, given the right distance and weight, just about anything dropped from height could cause injury; most can even cause death as well. That means preventing dropped objects at the work is of utmost importance.

Begins with Risk Assessment
A safe job site begins with a proper risk assessment by a certified inspector. And in case you did not know, risk assessments are required by law for any UK job which involves working at height. Risk assessment takes into consideration the type of work being done, how employees access work at height area, who will be in the vicinity of the job while on the ground, the specific tools being used, how they will be used, the weather conditions, and any other factors that could adversely affect the work environment.

Though it's impossible for any risk assessment to think of everything, the best inspectors are those that can visualise all of the most common problems as well as many of those that are uncommon. By analysing the potential of as many hazards as possible, the risk assessment is designed to give site planners the proper parameters for designing safety systems. If a risk assessment is done poorly, site planners are ill-equipped to do their jobs.

This makes risk assessment one of the key components to preventing injuries or property damage from dropped objects. The necessity of such assessments should never be underestimated, nor should the findings of the inspector ever be taken lightly. Even site planners who believe the inspectors are being too picky should still heed all warnings and plan appropriately. When it comes to safety it is better to be too cautious than not cautious enough.

Safety System Planning
Safety system planning should utilise as many preventative measures as possible without putting undue burden on workers trying to complete their tasks. Typically there will be four things utilised to maximise safety. The first is a tethering system which keeps all tools and other loose objects firmly affixed to some sort of anchor so that if dropped at height they can not reach the ground. The second system is to use enclosed workspaces as often as possible rather than simply open air scaffolding. Third, catch systems are placed underneath scaffolding just in case something does make it past the first two barriers.

Finally, one of the most important things that can be done to prevent injury from dropped objects is to prevent individuals from walking around or underneath any working at height area. Unless it's absolutely necessary for workers to be in close proximity, an area should be cordoned off with some sort of barrier to prevent individuals from getting too close. That way, if all the other systems fail the worst that could happen is property damage to the building. If no one on the ground is walking near the job there is no risk of them being injured or killed.

Worker Implementation
The final piece of the dropped objects puzzle is worker implementation. After inspectors have completed their assessment and planners have developed the safety systems, is up to supervisors and workers to deploy safety systems according to plans. The deployment begins with setting up scaffolding and collective systems properly. Cutting corners in order to speed up the process is always a recipe for disaster. Instead, workers need to be thorough to make sure everything is set up according to standards.

With the work area secured and scaffolding properly erected, workers who will be going up to do the work must ensure their tools are properly tethered to their safety harnesses, their tool belts, to their person or some other fixed anchor point. When a worker requires more tools than he can carry in a tool belt, he will often use a stationary tool bag or box that is permanently affixed to the scaffolding or cherry picker. Tools placed in those bags and boxes are also tethered for safety.

In addition, when a worker needs to retrieve a tool from a stationary bag or box he must practice safe procedures such as hooking his own tether to the tool before he unhooks it from the bag or box. In this way a tool is never left untethered and can not be dropped to the ground. Tool tethering systems are only as effective as the employees who use them. Those who practice proper tool safety find that tethers work wonders in preventing dropped tools. Workers who are careless are more prone to accidents.

Be Sure You Are Educated
Dropped objects are a source of workplace injuries all over the UK. Fortunately, they do not need to be. That's why various Regulations and worker safety advocacy groups are pushing so hard to educate companies and workers about workplace safety issues. The more all of us are educated regarding the facts of dropped objects and worker safety, the more safe we ​​will all be.

If you are company owner conducting any work at height activity, it is your responsibility to make sure both you and your employees are properly educated. The government makes working at height regulations freely available and downloadable from the Internet. Furthermore, there are many worker advocacy groups and safety organisations willing to provide education for you and your employees. Then gather your workers and make sure they are all properly trained before you begin work.

Company owners that fail to educate themselves and their workers will be held responsible if their actions result in an accident. It is not worth the risk; either in terms of physical injury or the financial ruin of your business. Proper education and deployment of safety systems should be a top priority if your company conducts any working at height.

Hiring A Roofing Specialist for Your New Roof

If you are a home owner, you understand the benefits of owning your own home and the challenges home ownership brings. Along with home ownership comes home maintenance. The fact is that with time and also depending on where the individual lives, there will be damage that the roof will sustain which will eventually cause damage to it. In this case, no one should ever hurry up with hiring a roofing specialist, as there are some things they will need to know before doing so.

No one can deny that roofing is a significant home renovation so people will generally spend a lot of money on this project. But regardless of the costs which people will generally be ready to pay, they will need to ensure that they will delve into working with the right company. Even if it will take some time in order for people to be let in on the best roofing company for their needs, they will realize that in the long run, the time they spent and maybe stress they were let in on, will be all worth it. If going with a cheap and unprofessional roofing contractor, the mistakes will soon start pointing themselves out. There are so many advantages to choosing the best contractor, that everyone will be positively empowered just when hearing them.

First of all going with qualified professionals will let buyers in on the peace of mind they require for when they spend so much money on something like roofing. This is because everyone wants to benefit from good services that get the job done in time and in a professional manner. For many people, their house is also the most expensive asset they have and they like to know that they are spending cash on a valuable investment.

There are also some benefits that a new roof will bestow on the house. First of all, it will make it more energy efficient and working with someone who understands this, will ensure that the buyer will get the best bang for their buck. Each home is different and so are the roofing systems. That is why working with a professional who is aware of these aspects is going to only provide good and long term results.

If the new roof will be of high quality and also new, it will significantly improve the quality of the home. Most of the times repairing a roof is costly and it will take time as well and it's certainly not the same psychological comfort that people get when they will completely replace their roof. If the home will also be put out for sale, its price will grow very much, just because of this small investment. The roofing contractor can also help individuals with the decisions to take if their goal is to improve the home for afterwards getting it on the market for sale.

Last but not least, there's no doubt that working with a good roofing specialist is going to give people confidence and the peace of mind they need when considering such large projects. With a job well done, the home will look amazing and will have an increased price on the real estate market, should the owner decide to sell it.

Common Materials for Roofing

Here is a list of a few types of roofing you can use for your home, with a small description along with a few pros and cons.

Composition Shingles – These come in a large selection. With a choice of brands and colours. Composition Shingles are more affordable and they are very versatile, being very adaptable to certain applications. Installation is quite easy and in some cases can be nailed over an existing roof and they require very little maintenance. However they do not have a long life span like certain other materials do and have been known to blow off in stormy weather.

Metal Roofs – These are becoming more popular, especially in the form of Standing-Seam steel roofing, for residential homes and houses. Metal roofs are durable, low maintenance and more importantly fire retardant. Another benefit is they are very energy efficient, reflecting heat. They are also made up mainly of recyclable material. Steel roofs weigh very little and can be placed over existing roofs, which stops the need of excess material going into landfill. Metal roofs are slightly more expensive then most other roofing materials, however they do have future benefits and maybe more cost efficient.

Wood Shake Roof – This is a nice natural looking roof with character, with its variety of pattern, colour and thickness, wood shake offers an individual roof. They help insulate the attic, adding some energy benefits. On the down side a wood shake roof needs proper maintenance and repairing, otherwise the life span will be very short. Rot and mould can be a problem too. Wood shake is also very tricky to install so you will need to rely on your contractor for this.

Slate – This is an expensive choice of roofing, however they do have a long life span, are low maintenance and a great fire protector. You will not need to worry about mould or rot with this type of roofing. Slate comes in a range of sizes and colours. The cons to this type of material is the weight of it and how fragile it is, making maintenance a little complicated.

Roofing Tile – Tile has a good life span and it will not rot or burn. However some of the tiles can be a little fragile so like Slate can be hard to perform the required maintenance on, however low it may be. Roofing Tile is more expensive than some of the other roofing materials and can be quite heavy, this being one of its main draw backs.

Building a Brick Barbecue Pit

Building your own brick barbecue pit does not take that much expertise. Most of the work is common sense, and following a plan, most homeowners can achieve very impressive results with a little planning and basic understanding of what makes that barbecue work for the homeowner, bearing in mind different factors which are too individual to list. For example, the following elements have to be considered before even laying the first brick.

* Availability of suitable space.
* Availability of grill parts and sizes
* Number of people the grill is to cater for
* Personalization of needs.

Suitable space.

The first consideration has to be where the grill will be built, bearing in mind safety and convenience factors. For example, it would be unwise to build the pit in an area where wind is high and the barbecue exposed to inclement weather conditions. A little protection from strong winds helps the efficiency of the barbecue.

A barbecue should be located in a convenient place where you can access all the food easily, and nearness to the home is a great idea, though look carefully for where fumes may enter the home, placing it adequately away from open windows. Look also for the growth in the garden as having a barbecue in a bushy area may present fire hazards. All of these may seem common sense, though mistakes in the planning stages can spoil the whole experience.

Measure areas which you are considering and allow at least 60 inches by 90 inches, since this will give you space for the pit, and also for a table next to the pit to keep implements and things needed during the cooking process. Often people forget about the ground next to the actual pit, and it is wise to have a stable base upon which to stand those essential items, instead of relying on bumpy ground.

Grill parts.

In different parts of the world, grills and associated parts will vary in size. Since you are building a barbecue to take these parts, it is essential to establish what size of grills and trays are available in your area as this will help you plan the correct dimensions.

Size of barbecue.

Deciding on the number of people being catered for is also essential, since this helps you to determine the size and number of grills to be used.


In the planning stages, draw your design on paper, and think of all those extras which will make the use of the barbecue easier for you. Here, you can add hooks for utensils during the build process, and knowing what you want to add before building helps you to plan correctly, and to use the strength of the mortar to hold these pieces in place.


The first stage of the build is to ensure that you have a solid foundation. Here building a slab of around 60 by 90 inches, allows room for the pit, and also room for a small table which will hold all of the bits and pieces needed during the barbecue process. The slab should be about 6 inches thick, and the sides can be shuttered with timber framing until the cement slab is dry, giving the base a great edge.

The mix used for the base would be 2 parts sand to 1 part Portland cement, and for additional strength, 2.5 parts gravel. When laid inside the mold of wood formed into a rectangle, the slab can be tamped into a nice flat surface and left to dry. Using a plank to tamp the surface and even out the top edge really does make it smooth enough to take the brickwork to follow.

Planning the brickwork.

For this procedure you will need the following tools:

* Trowel
* Spirit level
* Cold Chisel
* Mallet
* Chalk

These tools are essential since the spirit level helps you to establish the smooth and even laying of bricks and the cold chisel helps you to cut bricks evenly and is very easy to use. The mallet helps you tamp the bricks into place.

The bricks should be soaked in water, the night before laying, and not immediately before laying, since what happens is that if the bricks are too dry, they soak in the mortar and the mortar can fail, though if too wet, tend to encourage the mortar to stain the surface of the bricks, which gives unsightly results.

Lay the bricks onto the base in an attempt to establish what pattern works for that first "U" shape. Lay a couple of courses dry and mark this on the base, so you know where to start. It's always a good practice, because this gives you guidelines for the eventual laying of the bricks in mortar. A "U" shape of approximately 33 inches square will work well.

Laying the bricks in mortar.

With a great mix of 3 parts sand to one part cement which is not too runny, lay the bricks which form the foundation work. After laying several layers of bricks, always clean out the joints with a pointing trowel as you work, so that the cement does not stain the brickwork. As each course is laid, use the spirit level to establish that the course is correctly laid, and this should be placed not only in line with the bricks, but over the corners to establish that all walls are flush with each other.

In many instances of bricklaying, lines are used to establish that the brickwork is even. On a small project such as a barbecue, this is not really necessary, since a long spirit level will do the same thing. Any bricks which are too high should be tamped into place with the mallet, and the level checked again. It is worth checking this on all courses, since uneven layers of bricks will mean that the integrity of the brickwork is at risk, and will look unprofessional.

Corners are very easy to establish with alternate whole bricks laid in opposite directions to solidify the corners, and this is the best place to start the work. Those bricks which need cutting need a simple chalk mark and then can be hit with the cold chisel with a sharp movement, which will cut them relatively straight, facing any uneven edges neatly out of sight, so that at the corners and ends, all bricks have finished surfaces. Do not forget to build in those hooks for utensils as you work your way up the courses laid.

Once the "U" shape is completed, we now have to build an interior skin of bricks to take the grill and cinder area of ​​the barbecue. Measurement at this stage is critical since you are creating a ledge for the grills, and whether this is single or double grill, the brickwork will have to hold the rods which support the grill and cinder tray in place. Try it for size and check that your supporting wall will indeed allow you to slide the grill into position once the rods are in place, and also the tray which holds the cinders. A little bit of flexibility of fit is wise, to enable safe removal of the trays for cleaning.

The inner skin of bricks extends out beyond the original "U" frame and can be made to measure easily allowing for different grill sizes. Lay a floor of bricks though here a dry run will help you determine which cuts need to be made in advance. Place the grill supports into the mortar during the inner brickwork process and try the grill and cinder tray for fit before the cement is hardened, so that adjustments can be made before the cement dries.

After the cement is almost cured, use a hand brush on the cement to ensure that the mortar is neat and tidy and has a great brushed finish. When choosing those utensils to suit your barbecue pit, stainless steel looks great and will not rust.

Now all that is left to do is to wait for the sun to shine, move your table of food and condiments into the space left beside the barbecue, and get ready to light your first outdoor barbecue to treat family and friends to their favorite outdoor foods .

Making Durable Brick Steps

Whether it is for a house, a building, or any other edifice, the usefulness of having brick steps need not be overstated or emphasized. However, the lack of knowledge of proper building has led to the construction of poor models.

To get those brick steps to work properly and last a lifetime, you will need to make sure that you have the right tools, accessories and materials in hand. The difficulty that arises from their construction starts with the lack of planning and material gathering, so this is an aspect that must not be overlooked.

The following are the materials you will need to create the most durable brick steps possible.

First you must make sure that you have plenty of brick, and that they are of good quality, preferably they should be made of clay and baked in the sun. To make sure they are top notch, get some from a reputable dealer. Next get some cement (Portland), concrete blocks and some mortar. The quantity of these materials will depend on how many steps you plan to make, so be sure you have it laid out beforehand.

You will also need some 2 x 4 stock, nails, some reinforced bars, a tool for pointing; you also need a hammer specially designed for use on bricks, and a screed and trowel. A screed is a strip that is laid against the wall or floor for applying materials. A trowel is a tool with a handle and a metal blade used to scoop or spread material.

Step one is to lay the foundation for the brick steps, and you do that by using the 2×4 stock to determine the size. Next get some of the Portland cement and put it inside. Make sure that you mix it thoroughly. When you are finished, use the reinforced bars to help the cement adhere.

Now you have to level the cement mixture, and you do that by using the screed. At this point measure the length from the base up to the porch; note this down as it will determine how tall each brick step has to be. That is why it is important to make sure that you have a good supply of the materials so you will not run short.

It's crucial that the bricks do not mix too much with the mortar, so make sure to dampen them a few hours before use. Once they are ready, put half an inch of mortar into the cement, and use the screed to align it properly.

Put the bricks in the mixture, making sure that you leave some space to put in the mortar (use the trowel for this task). As you go on to create the brick steps, use the screed to ascertain that everything is level.

Finally, you should remove some of the excess material that may have gotten there. Do this before the entire mixture gets too hard. Once you have eliminated all the other surplus mortar or cement, let it dry for awhile. When thoroughly hardened, the bricks steps are now ready for use.

Careful planning and a slow and steady hand are they way to create some brick steps that will not only last but be a beautiful addition to any building.

Best Flat Irons – Money Saving Tips

As flat irons are advised by many professional hair stylists, they are in high demand today. Lots of companies are manufacturing flat irons, to suit different types of hair. Some of the leading brands of flat irons are Sedu flat irons, GHD flat irons, Chi flat irons, T3 flat irons, Murphy Richards flat iron and the list can go on.

Using of flat irons are not only preferred because it gives you very good results, but also because it can save a lot of money when compared to the other hair straightening methods. If you walk into a salon, to get your hair straightened, it will cost you a lot, but when you use a flat iron, it works out much cheaper, because once you purchase a flat iron, it can be used "N" number of times, if you can maintain them well. Flat irons are available in a wide price range. The price of a flat iron can range anywhere from $ 20 to $ 200 and above, depending on the type and brand you are looking for.

If you are a fashion freak, then flat irons is the best, as you can change your look any time you want, and flat irons will do the trick in just a second. Using a flat iron is also very simple. Flat irons are more durable and reliable. You can pick up a flat iron in any of the branded stores, or you also have an option to buy them online. There are websites, which sell all the brands of flat irons. They just charge a small amount for shipping. You also have an option to pay through your pay pal account if you have one. Buying a flat iron, which can be used many years and does a better job than a salon, is any day better than rushing to the salon every time you want a different look.

Make Your Motorcycle Helmet a Great Look

With so many different styles, materials and colors available today, purchasing a motorcycle helmet can be pretty confusing. On top of this, there are many more helmet manufactures on the market today, such as Scorpion, AGV, Thor, Nolan, etc, so you really need to shop around in order to see everything that is now available.

Of course, the right helmet is the one you like enough and that is comfortable enough that you'll always be sure to wear it. Many riders choose a helmet that looks good on them or that matches to the colors of their bike and that's a good way to choose, so long as the helmet is well constructed and meets all DOT and Snell approved.

There are three basic types of motorcycle and motocross helmets: full face helmets, half helmets, and skullcaps.

Full face helmets are just what the name implies: they fit around your entire head and face. These offer the most protection and are frequently the choice of those who ride the more powerful sport bikes. These bikes have some serious horsepower and speed, making it all the more important to have maximum protection in the event of a crash, yet they must also be comfortable. Most of them contain a venting system to keep air flowing in, plus a quick-switch face shield that allows you to quickly change from a tinted face plate to a clear one. Due to the size of these helmets, it's common to see them decorated with custom graphics and bright colors. These are great helmets to individualize to your particular style and taste. When choosing a full face helmet, make sure it fits snug enough that it can not be turned when it's on your head.

Next, let's look at half helmets. A half helmet does not cover your entire head and face like a full face helmet. They cover only the top and sides of your head and frequently come with a face shield to keep dirt and other flying objects out of your face (and teeth!). If the helmet has a visor but no face shield, you can also wear goggles to protect your eyes, although goggles will not protect your nose and mouth. Half helmets are the most common choice for people who ride cruiser bikes, as they allow you greater visibility and more of a sense of freedom. Like full face helmets, they can be found in a variety of colors and graphics.

Last, we have the "skullcaps". These are helmets that cover only the top of your head and they seldom have visors or face shields, for obvious reasons. While these helmets tend to be most popular with riders belonging to clubs, they offer the least protection and frequently are not DOT or Snell approved. You can frequently find them emblazoned with the insignia of the club to which the rider belongs and / or with wild and sometimes controversial graphics. These helmets will do nothing to protect the side of your head or your face, so consider this choice carefully and with full knowledge of the potential for injury in the event that you have to lay your bike down while on the road.

The bottom line when selecting your motorcycle helmet is to pick one that you like and will good about wearing, is DOT and Snell approved, fits snugly and does not turn on your head, and is comfortable enough to wear hour after hour on the road .