What Are The Different Types of Fireplace Mantel Shelves?

Fireplaces, heat providers aside, are great to look at. They live up to their status as the focal point of your room, if not your entire house. How you accessorize your fireplace, however largely affects the overall look of your interior decorations. This is the reason carefulness is needed when you decide to spruce up your hearth like for instance, adding a fireplace mantel.

When deciding on a mantel shelf, there are many elements to take into account, starting off with the material. Here are four common materials used and how each of them fair, both functionality and decorative wise.


Among the fireplace mantel shelves, wood types are the most common. They work well in traditional looking homes and blend really nicely with almost any interior designs. Wood mantels offer many options when it comes to decorating. Oak, a superior type of wood, for instance is both classy and versatile.

Typically wooden mantels are affordable. Its cost is one of its main attractions. Even expensive solid wood shelves like those made of oak don’t cost as much as those made of stone. Wooden mantels come in different wood types which include maple, cherry, Douglas, hemlock, alder, pine, just to name a few. They come in different finishes like black, distressed cherry, and primed. There are also unfinished wood fireplace mantels which are great for people who have yet to decide the best shade for their mantel to match their home interiors.

However, one major drawback for wooden mantels is that it’s highly flammable. If you’re thinking of a wooden mantel shelf, make sure that you consult with your local building officer and fire safety code department for the safety regulations specifically on the desired measurements allowed from a wooden material to your fireplace.


Stone mantel shelves whether made of limestone, marble or granite are great for aesthetic functions. Home builders prefer stones simply because they give many options as they come in a variety of colors and textures. They are both beautiful and functional. Moreover, they can also be treated in several different ways providing more diverse choices that will surely match any discerning taste. It is likewise fireproof and durable, making it the best material for a mantel shelf. It is also relatively low on maintenance. It usually just takes a soft cloth to wipe it clean.

On the other hand, stone mantel shelves are generally more expensive than other options. It can also be difficult to install which makes installation cost higher than normal. For those who prefer stones but can’t afford it, there are actually cheaper alternatives which will give you the same stone façade. There are kits that you can buy in many home improvement stores or even through online shops. They look like the natural stone mantels but are much easier and cheaper to install.


Metal is best known for being versatile. It goes well with almost any kind of designs most especially the modern or contemporary look. You don’t have to worry if your metal mantel shelves will clash with the rest of your interiors because chances are, there is always something in your room thats made of metal. Appliances alone are generally made of metal.

Metal mantel shelves made from stainless steel, solid bronze, brass or aluminum among others. They are known to keep up their pristine look despite many wear and tear situations. With their bold lines and intricate craftsmanship, they are ideal for electric-powered fireplace. Also, because of their flexible features, metals can offer non-conventional shapes and forms, providing more unique designs than other available options.


Perhaps next to wood, bricks are the most obvious choice for a mantel shelf. They are simple, functional and very affordable. If you are into Romanesque and country feel, bricks are definitely great options.

Despite their simplicity and functionality, bricks, also have some drawbacks. They’re limited when it comes to color and texture options making it difficult to find one that matches the design you have in mind. To solve this limitation, tiles are often the ideal substitute for bricks.

Measurement and Prices:

When selecting a mantel piece, material and dimensions are crucial factors to consider, along with price. In terms of measurements, most chimney pieces come in standard sizes. The average width ranges from 60-72 inches while height averages from 4.5-16.75 inches. They are also made available in custom sizes. Prices on the other hand can start from around $100 to as much as or over $500.

Before purchasing a mantel piece, it is always a good idea to shop around to compare prices as well as designs. Get accurate measurements and see safety measures. Installation of conventional mantel shelves is generally made easier by adjustable brackets. However, for more complex types, you might consider hiring a contractor. With the right fireplace mantel, you will surely have a more enjoyable fireplace experience.

Learn How to Interpret the Top Three Types of Body Language Smile

Did you know that a smile can be used to convey many and different kinds of inner feelings. From big and broad smiles to enchanting smiles, from polite courteous smiles to fake smiles, from shy smiles to lopsided uneven smiles. Many nuances of emotion can actually be displayed by this simple gesture.

A recent research has identified the three main kinds of smile, each on its own connoting a different type of emotion. With a little practice, it is possible to distinguish between the Heartfelt Smile, the Gloomy Smile and the Counterfeit Smile as they all need different use of facial muscles to be performed.

1 The Heartfelt Smile

This is known as the straight from the heart, genuine and sincere smile. The true and impulsive feelings of pure joy, gladness, happiness, amusement and pleasure are spontaneously expressed through this smile.

The facial muscles will raise the corners of the mouth, while both the cheeks will be lifted up and at the same time retracting the skin around the eye socket inwards. The stronger the emotion gets, the more distinct this muscle action will become. This heartfelt smile normally only last between two-thirds of a second to four seconds and it is very seldom held longer than that.

Basically this kind of smile is divided into three categories that consist of the simple smile, the upper smile and the broad smile. The simple smile will appear when the mouth turns up while the lips remained closed. It denotes a personal private pleasure and it is most often seen when people are smiling to themselves.

The upper teeth are usually exposed during the upper smile. Combined with a simultaneous eye contact, this is the most common smile used by people when greeting one another. As for the broad smile, both the upper and lower sets of teeth will be exposed, this smile will normally grow broader and broader until it becomes a laugh. Eye contact is very minimal during this type of smile.

2 The Gloomy Smile

This type of smile can be easily defined by its asymmetrical, lopsided and wry shape. Half the mouth will look like smiling while the other half frowning at the same time. This smile is usually displayed in front of others by someone who is conceding failure, defeat or unhappiness.

3 The Counterfeit Smile

A counterfeit smile is also more asymmetrical compared to a sincere and genuine smile, and it is an intentional gesture performed to mislead and deceive others. This kind of fake smile usually last longer than a heartfelt smile, and more time is needed for it to spread across the face.

Many examples of the counterfeit smile can be seen from the faces of inexperienced actors, shady politicians, dishonest salesmen and all those other people whose job requires smiling all the time.

So how do you actually distinguish and differentiate a counterfeit smile from a genuine straight from the heart smile? The most noticeable giveaway is from the eyes, which will squint, crinkle up and becomes narrower when the smile actually comes from the heart genuinely. On the contrary, the eyes will remain the same and unaffected when someone is smiling falsely to hide away negative emotions. Always start by observing the corner of the eyes for smile lines, and then check closely at the mouth area for a raised upper lip and a flat square lower lip.

Most people will be able to notice and sense the discordant expressions between a real heartfelt smile and a fake counterfeit smile. A fake smile will only be able to cover up the negative emotions for a short period of time, for it creates an uneasy and constrained feeling within the observer who may instinctively know that something is wrong and amiss. The fact is when someone is truly smiling from the heart, the facial muscles around the eyes cannot be brought under conscious control by the mind, thus making the mouth the only part which can lie.

How to Properly Put a Greeting Card in an Envelope

Until someone recently asked me if there was a proper way to put a greeting card into an envelope, it had not occurred to me it was not common knowledge. With the exception of the times when I receive a greeting card that is not properly inserted. It is then just a fleeting thought before reading the message and admiring the pretty artwork of the card.

Have you ever thought about it? Did you know there was a proper way to place a card in an envelope? If not, you will be happy to know it requires little thought to present your greeting card in the best possible manner. Once you know the proper way, because it makes so much sense, it will quickly become very natural to you.

First of all, your card needs to be face up when it is opened. I know many think the front (face) should be facing the front of the envelope, like they would wrap a gift. Just the opposite is true. The card should be pretty, front, side up to the envelope opening so the receiver can enjoy the card before even removing it.

Second, the card should be placed into the envelope so that is not only face up but ready to opened and read. If the card has a side fold, opens from the side, the fold of the card should go into the envelope first. The recipient of the card will turn the envelope over so the envelope flap is right side up, open the flap, slide the greeting card out and be able to look at the front of the card without needing to turn it over first.

If the greeting card you are sending opens from the bottom, the fold is to go to the top of the envelope. Slide your greeting card into the envelope with the opening going in first, or to the bottom of the envelope. Of course, the card front is still to be face up to the envelope opening. Because we tend to open an envelope with the flap vertical to us, the recipient will need to turn the card a quarter turn to read it.

While placing your greeting card into an envelope properly may go unnoticed by the card recipient, an improperly placed card probably will be noticed. Because it is so simple to do and remember how, why not present your card so it is delightful before it even leaves the envelope?

As a hand-made card maker, this is just the last step in putting a smile on someone’s face letting them know they were thought of that day.

5 Simple Steps to Install a Great Security Fence Around Your House

Almost everyone is unanimous about the fact that every home and office these days needs some kind of security. Criminal activities have become the norm which is why every homeowner is taking extra measures to deter intruders and burglars. But it’s easier said than done because, in most cases, thieves will still find a way to break into your house.

But that’s not to say that you can’t do anything about it. Technology has advanced to a great level which has helped a lot in minimising thefts and burglars to a large extent. But depending on advancement equipment is not the only option out there as simple services are still productive.

Fencing has become an essential part of home security

Fences, for instance, was effective decades ago is still effective today. One of the main components of fencing, however, is a post. Without proper posts, your fences will never be robust and durable. Besides supporting boundaries, they also prevent trespassing, deter intruders. But to effectively install them, you have to follow certain steps which include:

Select the Type of Steel Fence Posts and Purchase Them

  • Pick between various sorts of fencing equipment: There are posts whose top and end are formed as a T, Y or a star. You additionally need to choose the width of every component. This will rely on the length of the wall and the gap you might want to leave between one and another. When you settle your choice, buy the quantity that you require
  • Start digging: Immediately start digging a hole in every spot where you want to set your fences. It is best to utilize an automated digger as this will accelerate the work. Every gap ought to be no less than 2 feet deeper.
  • Fill the hole: Obviously, you can’t leave the holes that you have dug empty; you have to fill it with certain substance like gravel or dry cement.
  • Place the fencing: Continue by placing the components in every gap. Squeeze everyone down so that it incorporates with the ground and particularly if the posts are not heavy. After that, you have to ensure that it gets balanced out so that it provides enough stability and security.
  • Bind everything together: After you put everything in place, it’s time to seal it up using cement. Distribute the cement around the hole and let it dry so that it provides the stability you are looking for.

These simple steps will help you install a fencing that will keep away thieves and burglars to a great extent.

Medical Penlights

Every doctor has a few small instruments they keep in their pockets in all times, and medical penlights are one such example. These are tiny flashlights used to illuminate the eyes, nose, throat, mouth, and ears of a patient, which allows the doctor to do his job better. Nurses, EMT’s, and other medical professionals also carry and use these diagnostic penlights, as they make the job of checking on a patient much easier.

These penlights are small, lightweight, and very convenient to carry. The light works well because it comes out in a small beam that is directed right to the target, making it much easier for the body to be seen. The darker places of the human body must be lit up in order for the professional to do his/her job correctly. For the eyes of a patient, the light can help check pupil size and dilation. It helps to have a well lit mouth and throat for a patient who may be suffering from a cold or similar illness. The ears can also be checked for foreign objects and other abnormalities with these medical penlights.

Diagnostic penlights are not only easy to carry, but they are also simple to use. Most come with a small button or clip on the base that will allow you to quickly turn the light on and off. Those that come with a clip tend to be better for those with pockets. The clip can attach to the clothing to prevent the pen from getting damaged or lost by slipping out of the lab coat or scrubs. These penlights run on batteries. Some allow the user to replace the battery when it dies, while others are disposable and just need to be replaced after being used for a while.

There are many brands of medical penlights on the market. It should be noted that not all of these products are created equally. Some come with very low performing lights or batteries, meaning they will need to be replaced frequently. Others are more intricately designed and come with parts that will allow it to be used for years. They tend to be offered in a number of different colors. Buying these items in bulk will usually secure you a more affordable price.

As you can see, the need for medical penlights in a hospital setting is great. It is recommended that every doctor carry one of these devices to make it easier for him to check on his patients. The light is an important tool in diagnostics, as it can help a person see the dim areas of the mouth, nose, ears, and throat. There are a number of different brands and styles available when it comes to diagnostic pens. Selecting those of higher quality will allow you to save money and look more professional with a penlight clipped to your pocket.

Asus ROG Strix X99 Review

Gamer’s Edge

The Asus ROG STRIX X99 is a part of a series of motherboards from Asus that is running the powerful Broadwell-E HEDT CPUs. These motherboards come with a host of features to both enthusiast and overclockers.


Asus ROG Strix X99 motherboards come with RGB Lighting, cooling management, and expansion slots. It has a whole series of colors to choose from as well as configurable lighting effects. To reinforce expansion slots, ASUS makes uses of a novel technology termed SS or Safe Slot that uses a metallic frame for every PCI-e expansion slot in order to add extra strength to each slot and prevent them from potential damage. The new motherboards will provide a ton of features to overclockers and enthusiasts who will be running Broadwell-E HEDT CPUs.

In fact, the latest Broadwell-E processors from Intel can function with the prevailing existing X99 motherboards, by means of an effective firmware update. The X99 incorporates several advanced features that support the latest storage, I/O, as well as connectivity capabilities. It will also feature the latest LGA 2011-v3 socket to support Broadwell-E processors. These features make the ROG STRIX X99 Gaming motherboard extremely powerful.


Some new features on the motherboards include RGB Lighting, expansion slots reinforcement and cooling management. RGB Lighting is becoming increasingly common on motherboards, and ASUS is avidly pursuing this trend on all their latest products. The motherboards will feature several colors to select from, and lighting effects to configure on the boards.

The ROG STRIX X99 Gaming boasts of the essentially monochrome theme that the company began using since recently and seems real splendid. This unique motherboard comes with a black and orange color scheme, in order to impart to the whole thing an attractive copper touch. The X99 also features RGB lightning so that users are able to transform colors over its I/O panel as well as internal heatsink with considerable ease.


The Asus ROG Strip X99 is equipped with an eight 8 Phase Digit+ III VRM that is effectively powered by an 8 plus 4 Pin power connector. The board comes with no less than eight DDR4 DIMM slots that can run memory with extremely high speeds of a maximum 3333 MHz. The expansion slots have 4 PCI-e 3.0 x16, 2 PCI-e 3.0 x1 slots as also a single M.2 slot down at the bottom of the PCH heat sink. To add a touch of color, the PCI-e expansion slots boasts of small LEDs which can be configured through using RGB effects. As to storage options, there are 10 SATA III, one U.2 port, one SATA Express and 1 U.2 ports.

Then there are Ethernet, Wi-Fi Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, USB 3.0, USB 3.1ports, 2 internal USB 3.0 connectors, and many fan ports too, for effective adjustment of fan speed depending on their positions.


With all its powerful features such as Broadwell-E HEDT CPUs, gamers can have an exciting time with the Asus ROG Strix X99.

The Most Important Food to Avoid During Pregnancy

Along with the many food groups that you should include in your pregnancy diet to make sure that you and your baby get the proper nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for healthy growth and development, there are also several types of food that you should avoid during pregnancy. These are foods that have a higher risk of being contaminated with bacteria or parasites, and since pregnancy causes a woman’s immune system to become slightly compromised, foods that may have been eaten before pregnancy without worry could now be a health risk.

The top foods to avoid during pregnancy are:

* Unpasteurized Milk

* Soft Cheeses

* Raw Eggs

* Raw Meat & Undercooked Poultry

* Deli Meats & Hot Dogs

* Pate

* Raw or Seared Fish and Fish That Contain Mercury

* Smoked Seafood

* Game Fish

* Raw Shellfish

* Unwashed Vegetables

* Alcohol

* Caffeine

Unpasteurized Milk

Unpasteurized milk can carry bacteria such as listeria, a bacteria that’s found in soil and stream water. Listeria can cause listeriosis and can cross the placental barrier which can cause miscarriage, preterm delivery, infection to the baby, and possibly death to the newborn. Contracting listeriosis from listeria is rare, but pregnant women are more more susceptible.

Soft Cheeses

Soft cheeses, such as Feta, Brie, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Camembert, blue-veined cheese, and Mexican-style cheese that include queso blanco or queso fresco are not safe to eat during pregnancy because they are made from unpasteurized milk. Unpasteurized milk can carry bacteria such as listeria (mentioned above). When in doubt, check the label on the cheese to make sure it states that it’s made with pasteurized milk.

Raw Eggs

Eggs are a great source of quality protein. The yolks also contain choline, an essential amino acid that’s helpful for brain development and the formation of the neural tube in the early stages of pregnancy. However, in raw form they can potentially contain salmonella, which pregnant women are more susceptible to contracting. Order your eggs scrambled rather than sunny-side up or over easy during pregnancy. And avoid foods that are made with raw egg, such as raw cookie dough or cake batter.

Raw Meat & Undercooked Poultry

Raw meats and undercooked poultry could contain coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella. While it’s said to be relatively rare, these can can cause stillbirth or other serious health problems. Be sure to cook your poultry all the way through and your meats between medium to medium-well so that there isn’t any pink showing. Remember to always wash your hands thoroughly after handling.

Deli Meats & Hot Dogs

Deli meats and hot dogs are said to be unsafe to eat during pregnancy because they’ve been known to be contaminated with listeria, a bacteria that’s found in soil and stream water. Listeria can cause listeriosis and can cross the placental barrier which can cause miscarriage, preterm delivery, infection to the baby, and possibly death to the newborn. Contracting listeriosis from listeria is rare, but pregnant women are much more more susceptible. Even if deli meats and hot dogs have been been properly refrigerated, unless they are heated until steaming hot, it is not safe to eat them during your pregnancy. But if you must, you should also wash your hands thoroughly after handling. You’re safer to just avoid them altogether.


Pate can carry bacteria such as listeria, a bacteria that’s found in soil and stream water. Listeria can cause listeriosis and can cross the placental barrier which can cause miscarriage, preterm delivery, infection to the baby, and possibly death to the newborn. Contracting listeriosis from listeria is rare, but pregnant women are much more more susceptible.

Raw or Seared Fish and Fish that Contain Mercury

Fish that contain high mercury levels and that should be avoided include king mackerel, shark, swordfish, tilefish, and albacore tuna. However, canned light tuna contains much lower amounts of mercury, but it should still be eaten in small portions and in moderation – no more than once a week. Mercury consumed during pregnancy can have negative effects on fetal brain development. It’s best to avoid sushi during pregnancy as well since uncooked and even seared fish is more likely to contain bacteria or parasites than cooked fish.

Smoked Seafood

Smoked seafood, such as smoked salmon, trout, whitefish, tuna, cod and mackerel could be contaminated with listeria, a bacteria that’s found in soil and stream water. Listeria can cause listeriosis and can cross the placental barrier which can cause miscarriage, preterm delivery, infection to the baby, and possibly death to the newborn. Contracting listeriosis from listeria is rare, but pregnant women are much more more susceptible. These types of seafood, often labeled as lox, nova, smoked, kippered, or jerky, are only safe to eat during pregnancy as an ingredient in a cooked dish or casserole.

Game Fish

Game fish are fish caught for sport in local lakes, rivers, or streams, such as trout, salmon, bass, pike, bluefish, and walleye. The concern is about pollution that could be in the water and contaminate the fish. Check with your local health department or the Environmental Protection Agency to find out which waters are safe to eat from.

Raw Shellfish

According to the Food and Drug Administration, raw shellfish, which includes oysters, clams, and mussels are responsible for causing the majority of seafood borne illnesses. These illnesses, including Salmonella and other types of bacterial, parasitic, and viral infections can be serious for anyone, not just pregnant women. Cooking can help to prevent some of these types of infection, but not algae-related infections associated with red tides. It’s best to avoid raw as well as cooked shellfish during pregnancy.

Unwashed Vegetables

The only reason vegetables are on this list is because they should be thoroughly washed before eating. Unwashed vegetables could be contaminated with toxoplasma, a parasite that can be found in soil and can cause an infection that, although relatively rare, can cause stillbirth or serious health problems.


Drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth and is the leading cause of birth defects. Alcohol exposure before birth puts the baby at risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) which can include any of a slew of problems ranging from learning disabilities to physical abnormalities to disorders of the central nervous system.


There are studies that show that caffeine in moderation (under 300 mg a day) is OK and others that show it could be related to miscarriage, preterm labor, low-birth weight, and withdrawal symptoms in newborns for the first few days after birth. With inconclusive evidence, it’s best to avoid caffeine during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. However, know that caffeine is a diuretic, which means that it increases the frequency of urination which can cause dehydration and calcium loss. It’s also a stimulant, which means that it also increases blood pressure and heart rate. It also can also contribute to heart burn. None of this is ideal, so it’s best to avoid caffeine during pregnancy.

Quality Aerospace Tooling – The Right Step for Efficient Aircrafts

Aerospace tooling involves various complex process required in aircraft manufacturing right from conception to delivery. It is very important for those in the aviation sector to get its tooling systems from the apt service provider. Only then, can you expect to get the right solutions in aircraft designing and its overall functioning.

So, how would you know whether a firm dealing in aerospace tooling system is genuine and is just right for you? Well, here are a few things for you to consider that prove very helpful in the long run. Always make sure that the firm you are ordering your aircraft parts etc from, have the requisite expertise for giving you just the best. This includes a team of experts that have hands on experience in various projects like electro-hydraulics, programmable logic controls, motion control analysis etc.

If you are ordering online then you should ensure that the aerospace tooling firm has the right solutions to fulfill your needs even during tight deadlines. This is important as inability to meet deadlines would affect your business. Even quality is one thing which is to be constantly maintained for compromising on this would risk business, life and property in the crucial aviation sector.

So, get tooling systems only from quality production firms for assured and smooth operation of any mechanical production line. A good and experienced team dealing in aerospace tooling systems would take proper care to analyze your needs and then provide solutions as per your customized requirements. This means designing and fabricating these tools in composite component fabrication and assembly line jigs that come in various sizes, to suit user specifications. Aerospace tooling does not just stop at manufacturing the required tools, it also mean designing, building, installing and fine tuning the system as well. Some manufacturing firms even offer to even train the operators, if the need arises.

Additionally, the firm should have the ability to support a huge number of projects from large machining parts to small tolerance parts etc. supporting a wide variety of materials including Invar, Titanium, Inconel and composites is the hallmark of a good and reliable aerospace tooling manufacturing firm. Remember these and you can never go wrong while ordering these tooling systems.

University of Virginia (UVA) Cavaliers – Nickname Explained

The University of Virginia Cavaliers share a nickname with the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA franchise but that is where the similarities end. The explanation for the University of Virginia Cavaliers nickname actually involves a story of historical significance to the region.

Located in Charlottesville, Virginia the school with a total student population of close to 20,000 is often referred to simply as UVA for short (based on the post office state abbreviation VA for Virginia). The orange and navy blue now worn by the Cavaliers first went into effect in 1888 when athletic teams representing the college used to square off with local YMCA teams for lack of more formal competition. Many people are interested to learn that in the earliest days of collegiate athletics playing games against local YMCA groups was the norm all over the country. In fact, the University of Kentucky basketball program that currently has the most wins of any college team in history began their success with a single victory in the 1903 season against a YMCA squad (the UK team finished a disappointing 1-2 in that first season).

The origin of the Cavaliers nickname comes from what was going on in this region of the world during the seventeenth century when England was involved in a civil war that pitted supporters of the Parliamentary system of government against King Charles I who asserted absolute power in terms of rule. The use of the word Cavalier predates the formation of the United States of America with a very similarly spelled version of the word being used by William Shakespeare in his famed Henry IV play. Shakespeare chose the word to describe a swashbuckler who was not unlike the current University of Virginia mascot that is a sword wielding fellow on horseback. Before being penned by Shakespeare in the final years of the sixteenth century the historic nature of the word Cavaliers dates back to the Spanish word caballeros (translation: horseman) which is actually a derivation of the Latin term caballarius -which has a similar meaning as the Spanish term.

With a solid foundation of the etymology behind the term Cavaliers it is important to understand how it relates to the Virginia program in Charlottesville. Before the days of the American Revolutionary War the modern day state of Virginia was known as the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Commonwealth of Virginia had a reputation of being home to a great many loyalists that were very supportive of the British Crown. When the University of Virginia officially took on the name the Virginia Cavaliers in 1923 it was to pay homage to a bygone era when during the tumultuous seventeenth century British Civil War the good people of the Commonwealth of Virginia aligned themselves with the Royalist supporters who were often referred to as Cavaliers.

The next time you are watching the University of Virginia Cavaliers square off against the University of North Carolina Tar Heels (the oldest rivalry in the South – dating back to 1892) feel free lean over to a buddy and impress him with your thorough knowledge of the seventeenth century British Civil War and the subsequent role that era played in the eventual selection of the UVA Cavaliers nickname.

Refinishing Hardwood Floors Without Sanding – Opt For the Cheap and Easy Way

Refinishing a hardwood floor is what comes to your mind once you complete your purchase of hardwood floors. How much does it cost to refinish hardwood made floors, is what you think again and again. After making an expensive purchase once again investing on it, is something which no one would want. Then refinishing also needs to be done.

Refinishing hardwood made floors without sanding is what I am talking about. Sanding is indeed an expensive process which not only involves the cost for the polish but also has an additional cost of professional labor which comes along with it. So, opting for an alternative to sanding as long as your hardwood floor is concerned is no bad choice you are making.

Going by the easier way: refinishing the floors

When you have already decided it is the cheaper way that you are going to take. While refinishing your hardwood made floors this time round. Then it is best to avoid sanding. Starting from curing to buffing to putting that last coat with the hardwood finisher like polyurethane.

You can do everything on your own. Saving that hefty amount you can now get your requirements shopping done in one of your nearest local hardwood dealer’s or hardware shop. Once you get all your things. Refinishing hardwood made floors without sanding following a few instructions can give the perfect professional touch to your floors.

The procedure

Carefully try to inspect the wood first to check for holes. If you find any hole, use a wood filler to fill them. Then you must carefully rub off all the dust from the surface of the hardwood floor. Refinishing hardwood floors is not that a problematic work but then doing it correctly with precision is all you need to get the desired results.

Coming back to the refinishing part again; it is curing the holes, or getting their colors matched with the color of the hardwood surface is what has to be done. Once you are done, it is time for you to relax until you go for the last few steps, which is only when the color has dried off. Refinishing hardwood floors without sanding.

After your floor has completely dried up it is time for buffing using the buffing machine or more conveniently sand paper. It is now time to coat gently the whole hardwood floor surface using polyurethane.

The coating must not be thick and has to be done using very soft strokes. It is only after twelve hours or the sooner the surface is dried that you can bring back all your furniture and use the floors like before. Refinishing hardwood floors without sanding is indeed one of the most convenient procedures for all of us.

Sump Pump Review

What Factors Should Be Reviewed?

There are eight major factors to consider when comparing sump pumps: mechanism causing the sump pump to operate, material used in construction, operational capability, dimensions, size of discharge, protection against spherical solids or sludge, energy consumption and manufacturer’s warranty.

1. Mechanisms Causing the Sump Pump to Operate

What Are the Different Types of Mechanisms?

Sump pumps operate when water triggers the mechanism that activates the pump.

  • Tether floats hang freely from the side of the pump. As the water raises so does the float which triggers a switch that activates the pump. When the water level drops the float lowers to the side of the pump.
  • Vertical floats have a ball that moves up and down on a vertical rod. As the water surrounding the pump raises, the float also raises and triggers the switch and hence activates the pump. When the water level lowers the ball lowers.
  • A diaphragm is a membrane, located on a drum shaped mechanism on the side of the pump, which is sensitive to water pressure. As the water level raises, the water pressure increases and the diaphragm becomes concave, thereby activating the switch to turn on the sump pump. When the water level drops, the switch turns off.
  • A probe is sensitive to water pressure and the pump is activated electronically.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of the Different Mechanisms?

  • The tether float gets obstructed from movement easier; the switches require more frequent replacement, however, the pump is cheaper.
  • The vertical float is protected against obstruction of movement; the switch requires more frequent replacement than a diaphragm or probe but less than the tether float. Some brands offer the ability to change the switch without removing the sump pump fom the pit.
  • A diaphragm and probe are very dependable and require less service.

2. Materials Used in the Construction of Sump Pumps

What Are the Different Materials Used?

  • Thermoplastic: Outer casing is made of a hard, durable plastic.
  • Cast iron and stainless steel or cast iron and cast aluminum: The outer casing and bolts are made of metal.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of the Different Materials?

  • Plastic weighs less and is cheaper.
  • Cast iron, stainless steel and cast aluminum last a lifetime, weigh more and are constructed to handle heavy duty usage. This material is more expensive.

3. Operational Capacity

What Are the Volumes at Which Pumps Can Discharge Water?

  • Generally the higher the horse power (HP) the greater the volume of water that can be moved per minute (or per hour) at a specific height.
  • HP ranges from ¼, 1/3, 4/10, ½, and ¾.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of HP Capability?

  • High horse powered pumps keep up with heavy flow of water into the pit.
  • Low horse powered pumps use less electricity.

4. Dimensions of Sump Pump and Pit

  • Each sump pump has unique measurements.
  • A sump pit with an 18″diameter basin or larger provides the greatest flexibility in selecting a sump pump.
  • A tether float requires a larger diameter-based pit than a vertical float or diaphragm pump.

5. Size of Discharge Port Diameter

What Are the Different Sizes?

  • Some are garden hose or 1 ¼ inches in diameter.
  • The standard size is 1 ½ inches in diameter.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of the Different Sizes?

  • The smaller the discharge port diameter the smaller HP the pump should be.
  • A size of 1 ½ inches is required to handle heavy volumes of water.

6. Protection Against Debris, Sludge, or Spherical Solids

  • Most pump cages are built with a cage bottom that concaves causing particles to run off.
  • The capacity to handle spherical solids varies by pump: ¼ inch to ½ inch.

7. Energy Consumption

  • Some sump pumps are registered as energy efficient.
  • Other manufactures are redesigning their pumps to be more energy efficient.

8. Manufacturer’s Warranty

What Manufacturer’s Warranties Exist?

  • No warranty
  • One to five years
  • Lifetime limited
  • Full lifetime

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Warranty?

  • No warranty may mean manufactures are very confident of their product’s quality.
  • The purchase price of the pump may be higher because the cost of a warranty is included.
  • Limited warranties will not pay the entire cost to fix or replace faulty parts.
  • The length of warranty is usually based on the length of time most of the pumps are known to operate without failure.
  • Lifetime warranties indicate the company is confident of how long the pump will function without failure.

How Can You Determine Which Sump Pump is Best for You?

The following situations are provided to help you make your decision.

A. Do you have a sump pit diameter under or over 12″?

  • The Basement Watchdog sump pump regardless of HP is the smallest pump in width (6 to 7″).
  • If the pit diameter is under 12″, the Simer 1/3 HP and Little Giant 1/3 HP will fit.
  • If the pit diameter is 18″, you have most flexibility in model selection.

B. Does your sump pit get much water during heavy rains?

  • If not, a 1/3 HP will be sufficient.
  • If yes, a 3/4 HP is recommended.

C. Do you want to exchange a faulty float/switch mechanism without having to remove the entire pump from the sump pit?

  • The Basement Watchdog sump pump float/switch mechanism is attached to the discharge pipe thus by unclamping it you can raise it up, exchange the faulty switch, lower the cage into the pit and clamp in onto the discharge pipe.

D. Do you get a lot of heavy rain casing your sump pump to run continuously for hours?

  • The larger horse powered models (3/4 HP) are built for continuous operation. This includes Basement Watchdog, Flotec, Little Giant’s Big John and Wayne.

E. Is sump pump durability important?

  • The 3/4 HP pumps for Flotec and Wayne have full lifetime warranty.
  • The 3/4 HP pump for Simer have a limited lifetime warranty.
  • Little Giant pumps have no warranty.
  • The pumps under 3/4 HP have warranties varying from one to five years.

F. Is float switch failure of concern?

  • The Little John IntelliSwitch diaphragm, and the Wayne Switch Genius are the longer lasting switch types. The Basement Watchdog has two switches so if one fails the other one begins operating.

G. Is energy consumption of concern?

  • To date, the Basement Watchdog uses the least amount with only 3 to 4 amps depending upon the amount of HP.

H. Are you concerned about sump pump switch failure and have an 18″ diameter pit or larger?

  • Installing two sump pumps will provide added peace of mind. Two Basement Wasthdogs would fit. That would provide four operating switches with three years warranty per pump.
  • One 3/4 HP Flotec or Simer with one Basement Watchdog would fit.The Flotec and Simer offer lifetime warranties. The Basement Watchdog has two switches and you don’t have to remove the pump from the pit to change them as you would with other pumps.

The Basics of Pipe Welding and How to Quickly Improve Your Pipe Welding Skills

Pipe welding requires a lot of patience to learn but if you follow three rules you will find your welds will improve in just a few hours of practice. The three rules are:

  1. Always find a comfortable position that you are able to sit, kneel, or stand with a good view of the weld joint.
  2. Whenever possible lean on the pipe or anything else that will stabilize your body and hands.
  3. Relax and never rush into welding the pipe.

Comfort is the key to welding pipe. Before jumping into the weld, find a position that you are able to sit, kneel, or stand comfortable without getting any cramps or shaking. I hate to say it but welding pipe is a lot like yoga! Many welds require the use of odd body positions and you must be able to hold them for the time that you are welding. When finding a body position you need to get comfortable and then visualize making the weld. Practice the weld without actually welding. This will prepare you mentally and physically for the position you will need to be in. At the same time it will expose any areas of the pipe that may give you trouble accessing before the actual welding of it.

Lean on anything to stabilize your hands is one tip that will improve the appearance of your weld instantly. This is extremely important when taking an on-site job test or pipe welding certification. On-site pipe welding tests are typically done with short pipe coupons and many times they get to hot to lean on. The solution in this case is to use a vice grip or C clamp to lock onto the pipe. This will give you something that is not burning hot to lean on and at the same time give you full control over your welding technique.

Patience and relaxing are the golden rules when welding pipe. Rush a weld and chances are you will either make a less than perfect weld or even get fired for poor quality. If you ask anyone who has been welding pipe for a long time they will tell you to always take your time.

Eye Floaters Treatment – Eliminate Eye Floaters With a Simple and Easy Solution

Learn eye floaters treatment in simple and natural ways. End your frustration of spider webs, clouds or fogs, moving dots or squiggly lines that move around and float around in the field of your vision. Follow these amazing tips to help eliminate those annoying eye floaters.

Eye floaters can be very irritating and annoying, but there are no safe and proven methods to get rid of the symptoms caused by vitreous syneresis or posterior vitreous detachment. Not to worry because there are simple and natural ways to clear your vision effectively.

What is eye floater?

Eye floaters are deposits or condensation in the vitreous jelly of the eye. An eye floater can appear as floating spots, or black dot that will move around when you move your eyes.

As you get older, a substance known as vitreous, that is similar to jelly in texture, starts to become more like a liquid. In this case, fibers within the vitreous glue together then float continuously around in the vitreous cavity. Your will see these as floaters, shadowing the retina. Diabetic retinopathy, eye trauma, complications from cataract surgery and nearsightedness may further increase risk.

Below are eye floaters treatment that will help to clear your vision

Step 1

Warm your hands by rubbing them together, then lightly press your palms against your eyes for about 10 seconds. Repeat this process about 5 times. Do this everyday to gradually eliminate floaters in the eye.

Step 2

Tilt your head so you face the ceiling. Look ahead and roll your eyes around in a circular clockwise motion, then change to counter clockwise motion. Repeat this exercise ten times in each direction.

Step 3

Hold a pencil in front of your face at arm length. Look at the pencil, and then slowly move it towards you until it is about 6 inches away from your eyes. Continue to focus at the object. Do this relaxing massage 10 times daily to reduce floaters in the eye.

Step 4

Slowly massage your temples with your thumbs knuckles with circular motion, forward and backward. Do this 20 times in each direction. Very gently do the same thing on your forehead between the eyebrows and on each side of the bridge of your nose.

Non-Toxic Window Blinds

A little known reality of home décor is the fact that some items in your home contain toxic substances that can actually have a negative impact on the health of you and your family. Carpet, upholstery, and even window blinds are just a few of these items, so it’s important to know what you have in your home and whether there is any risk to your health. Fortunately, there are a wide range of environmentally friendly products that do not contain unnecessary chemicals, and non-toxic window blinds are one example. Aluminum blinds, honeycomb cellular shades, and bamboo shades are examples of non-toxic window blinds that are safe and have minimal impact on the indoor air quality of your home.

Of course, homeowners don’t always realize that they need to consider safety when purchasing new blinds, and oftentimes, their main concerns are style and affordability. Still, even non-toxic window blinds are constructed from a variety of materials making them an excellent choice regardless of your style preferences or budget. Let’s discuss some of the most popular varieties of non-toxic window blinds.

Aluminum Blinds

Aluminum window blinds are a hugely popular choice for homeowners because they are affordable, durable, and available in a range of colours and styles. Indeed, aluminum window blinds are the most common non-toxic window blind found in homes today. Because they are long lasting and lightweight, these flexible window coverings stand up well in any condition. They resist corrosion, they are easy to clean, and they provide excellent light blocking. Moreover, their low cost is a real bonus.

Honeycomb Cellular Shades

Another variety of non-toxic window blinds are honeycomb cellular shades. Constructed from a series of hollow cells designed to trap air, these blinds are durable and make an excellent choice when it comes to energy efficiency. Each cell in these blinds is made from non-toxic cellulose fibres that are bonded through an environmentally-friendly process known as spunlacing. Instead of using chemical binders, spunlacing utilizes a stream of fast-moving water that essentially binds fibers into a non-woven fabric. Honeycomb cellular shades have an incredibly soft feel without compromising strength.

Bamboo Shades

Among the most common choices for a clean, contemporary design, bamboo shades are popular because they are stylish, durable, and non-toxic. Made from all natural bamboo sometimes in combination with other types of grasses, bamboo blinds can be constructed without the use of chemicals, though this isn’t always the case. If you want to install bamboo shades in your home, make sure to find a manufacturer that processes their blinds without the use of harsh chemicals. Instead, find a manufacturer with green certification and who ensures that their shades are toxin-free.

The main benefit of non-toxic window blinds is their impact on the air quality of your home. Unlike less environmentally-friendly alternatives, non-toxic blinds will not release unsafe chemicals into the air in your home making them the safest options especially for young families.

Australian Bluestone Vs Imported Bluestone

Australian Bluestone has a very good reputation as a high quality product. It has a particular shade of grey/blue which is unique and has a low iron pyrite content which means it does not experience much or any colour change over a period of time. From a durability perspective there is no practical difference between imported and local Bluestone. It is useful to listen to David Attenborough’s YouTube video on the formation of Basalt (which we call Bluestone in Victoria) to gain a broader understanding. The price of Australian Bluestone is much higher than the imported varieties.

Some re-sellers like to report they are selling Australian Bluestone and give it a local name of one of our South Eastern Melbourne suburbs, however there is no Bluestone quarry in this area and the product sold is usually Chinese. Buyer be beware!

Most good Bluestone is usually imported from China, although there are some imports from Vietnam. The quality, cut, colour and porosity of the Chinese material is as good as the best in the world. The author of this article selected Chinese Bluestone for his own home.

Another major advantage of the Chinese Bluestone is price, it represents outstanding value for money, and provides an excellent long term investment due to the durability of the stone.

About Bluestone

Bluestone is the local Victorian name for Basalt, which means a volcanic rock. Bluestone is a very hard and durable stone. It has many qualities making it an outstanding paving solution. There are also many different qualities to examine before buying your Bluestone, (in other words not all bluestone is the same).

  • Colour. The colour of bluestone varies, and this also helps determine the final price. Generally the attractive blue/grey type costs a little more than the flat grey varieties.
  • Type of finish. The surface of the bluestone tiles can be sawn which leaves it with a rougher and more non slip surface. It can also be honed which makes it smoother and generally brings out the dark colours. Bluestone can be honed right up to a semi polished or polish finish, due to the inherent hardness of the stone.
  • Distribution of “cats paw.” Bluestone has little holes in the surface which were created as the hot volcanic rock cooled down. Some types of Bluestone are very compact (without any small holes); although this is not always considered an advantage aesthetically as the final result may be too plain for some applications. Cats Paw is a word used to explain a pattern of slightly larger holes running through some of the tiles and is generally considered very attractive when it is present in the right quantity.
  • Thickness. The thickness of the stone helps determine its longevity, after it has been fixed into position. Some companies will suggest a 15mm thick Bluestone for exterior use, however we suggest 20mm should be the minimum thickness for external use. 20mm Bluestone tiles perform well in driveway applications and general landscaping as its additional thickness and therefore strength, allows for expansion and contraction and improved impact resistance. We also stock 30mm tiles for commercial applications, when a thicker tile is required.

Bluestone is used effectively for driveways, patios, pool surrounds and interior applications. Bluestone is a traditional stone and has been used in Melbourne since our inception and due to its colour and quality is used extensively in modern building applications.