Rio Architecture – Flamengo's Art Deco And Louis Sullivan Buildings

Rio de Janeiro is famous for its beaches and night-life, but what about its architecture? Do you know that the city has a district called Flamengo with innumerous art déco buildings? Many buildings were constructed in the late thirties and forties. Flamengo also has some design buildings that follow the eclectic style, similar to Chicago's Louis Sullivan. Until the 1950s, Flamengo and Catete were the principal residential zones of Rio's wealthier middle classes and that may be the reason why some of these landmark buildings were constructed here. Some of the art pearls include the famous Biarritz, Flamengo "little Castle", Tabor Loreto, and and even a Carioca version of New York's legendary Dakota building Let us now walk through some of these living treasures.

Biarritz Building: Perhaps the most well-known building in Flamengo district is definitely the Biarritz Building, located at Praia do Flamengo, 268 (268 Flamengo Beach). Considered an art-deco masterpiece in Rio, the Biarritz has its construction finalized in the beginning of the 40's, being a copy of an existing building in Paris, on Montaigne Avenue. This art-déco landmark was designed by French architects Auguste Rendu and Henri Paul Pierre Sajous, who designed two other art deco structures in Flamengo: the Tabor Loreto Building (Flamengo beach corner with Paysandu) and the Saint Trinity Church (located at Senador Vergueiro Street ) built in 1938. Some of the reasons for Biarritz's elegance fame include its rounded balcony with its yellow awning and imposing marble entrance hallway. The Biarritz has 2 apartments per floor and a unique winter garden in Rio designed with a lovely water fountain.

Seabra Building: Designed by Italian architect Mário Vodret, from the Instituto Profissionalizante de Roma, the Seabra Building, aka the Carioca Dakota, was finalized in mid 30s, the second building at Flamengo Beach. The Seabra Building is considered the most "ghostly" in Brazil, with its eclectic architecture mixing the Moorish, the Gothic and Tuscan elements. Experts identify Seabra building's lines with Chicago architect Louis Sullivan The building has 4 apartments per floor and a facade that greatly resembles the famous Dakota building, John Lennon's home in New York. A legend says the Portuguese Commendatore Gervásio Seabra commissioned Vodret the building after falling in love with the architecture of a castle in Tuscany. The building's psychedelic entrance was built to haunt: floors with several designs made of Italian marble, different wall paintings finished with whale oil and immense iron luster.

Flamengo "Castle" – Castelinho do Flamengo: Designed in 1916 by Gino Copede, it had its plan signed by Francisco de Santos, since Copede was Italian. Originally, it was the residence of the Portuguese construction mogul Commendatore Joaquim da Silva Cardoso. The building, which sometimes is referred to as the haunted house, shows eclectic art-nouveau architecture mixed with gothic and baroque lines. Neverheless, the Italian tension stands out, with a high slate-roof-tiled tower. Abandoned for several years and damaged from a fire, the building was restored by the City Hall and from 1993 on, the Castelinho do Flamengo has held the Cultural Center Oduvaldo Vianna Filho, (doing honor to the Brazilian playwright). Today the Castelinho do Flamengo offers rooms for video exhibits and theatrical performances, a coffee bar, and a video library with 1800 movies in its catalog.

Tabor Loreto Building: Taking over the corner of Praia do Flamengo with Rua Paissandú, the project of Henri Sajous articulated the two facades of the building through the cylindrical volume of the corner, which was furnished with glass and grated with delicate ornamentations, smoothing the encounter of the two'portions of the building. The result is an elegant and proportional set of lines.

Paysandu Hotel: This is another epoch building worthwhile paying a visit. The Hotel façade and the hotel hanging sign could not represent more the art deco style. The hotel reached its popularity peak in the fifties, when it accommodated Uruguay National Soccer Team during the 1950 World Cup in Rio. Uruguay ever won the cup adding prestige to the hotel. Botafogo, one of the most traditional soccer teams in Rio, also used to Paysandu Hotel to prepare for its important games. Mythical soccer player Mané Garrincha and Nilton Santos were frequent guests of Paysandu Hotel.

These are only some of Flamengo's architectural gems. Other art buildings in the neighborhood include the Modern Art Museum, Julieta de Serpa teahouse and the outstanding twin buildings Hicatú and Itaúba at Senador Euzébio street. Visiting Flamengo, if you are careful enough, you will be able to find a pearl in every walk, apart from its natural beauties. If you love architecture and art, try to settle in this charming neighborhood on your next trip to Rio. But do not forget to bring your camera along! Original photos of these buildings in Flamengo can be found at Belavista's Rio Carnival Blog.

Simple Job to Solder Copper Pipes

In the event you find yourself face to face with leaking pipes, it is not too difficult a task to repair them so long as you adhere to a few simple instructions. Safe to say, knowing how to sold copper pipes is not a simple matter of sticking two pieces of pipes together. Firstly, you need to pick pipes of correct size and thickness. Pipe size typically goes by outer diameter size. By subtracting its thickness, you then arrive at inner diameter size. Other than size, copper pipes are also available according to type or need of installation. Its weight is determined by its thickness, so determining its strength. Copper pipes to be installed outdoors or into heavy-set walls are the strongest, followed by those for regular and light installations into commercial and residential sites. There are also special copper tubes for refrigeration.

Once you have selected pipes of correct size and thickness, your next task is to select the fittings if applicable. Available in various sizes, these adapters come as elbows, tees and crosses to suit all directions of your installation needs. They also come in useful when one pipe is threaded whereas the other is smooth. If pipes differ in size, there is an adapter to be the intermediate. Pipes and adapters in hand, you then move on to type of solder. This functions as the filler material between pipes or pipe-to-adapter. Being copper pipes, the experts recommend lead-free solder. As these pipes are normally used to transport water, it is to everyone's best interest to avoid lead leakage into the water supply. Next on the list is solder flux. This is smeared on both surfaces prior to heating and soldering work. Due to the nature of material, acid-free solder flux is recommended for use with copper to avoid acid corrosion.

By this time, you should have a pretty full shopping basket. Since this is a project on how to sold copper pipes, you need a heat source. Ideally, an acetylene or propane torch is best suited for this job as electrically heated devices such as soldering irons do not generate sufficient heat onto copper pipes. Anticipating a possibly messy and hot job ahead, have some dry rags and water nearby. It is important to work in a well-aired environment as solder can release toxic gases once heated.

Thoroughly clean the inside and outside surfaces of the pipes with a wallpaper. Apply the solder flux onto the cleaned surfaces and assemble them. Move the flame in constant and slow strokes along the assembled areas. Touch the solder tip onto the joint. If adequately heated, the solder melts and is absorbed into the joint. Continue the process until the joint is fully filled with solder. Spray a light mist of water to speed up the cooling process. Once done, flush well to remove excess flux and solder as well as check for leaks.

Free Energy From Home Made Solar Panels

As the entire world turns more to green energy sources such as wind and solar power, environmentally conscious homeowners are turning in ever increasing numbers to producing energy from solar panels. Many have already discovered that home made solar panels are not only a cost effective option, but can be built and installed by the homeowner and save thousands of dollars compared to systems installed by contractors.

Solar panels can easily be put together and installed by anyone using only simple hand tools. There are numerous guides and manuals available that will walk you through the building and installation process. The key to a successful installation is having a proven blueprint to follow that will take you step by step through the entire process.

Many people are pleasantly surprised to learn that there are no special tools or complicated technical procedures involved. The whole process is really a lot less involved and demanding that most people think.

With the ever unstable conditions surrounding the traditional energy sources such as fossil fuels, many people are finding that it is more practical to employ the free and renewable energy from solar and wind power.

While it is true that having a contractor install a solar power system in your home is a very expensive matter, building and installing home made solar panels is actually a very inexpensive alternative. You can easily source solar panels that will provide sufficient power for your home at a cost far less than you think. Efficient solar panel systems can be built for about $ 200.

By knowing what type of panels are best suited for producing your own energy and the proper methods of actually building the system, you can produce enough free energy to power only a few small appliances or your own home. Some people have even been able to produce enough power that they are completely energy independent.

Building home made solar panels and other renewable energy systems is a great way to save on your utility bills, and also a terrific family project that everyone can be involved in. With the proper knowledge, you can begin to utilize the power from solar or wind energy in as little as one weekend.

Spirit – What You Get When You Combine a Rare 4-Socked Shield With Four Common Runes (Part 1)

Spirit is a cheap Runeword that can be used either in a Shield or a Sword. Requiring four common Runes, Spirit is an affordable Runeword designed with casters in mind. Whether you create it in a Shield or Sword, the mods common to both items are a caster's dream come true. Let's examine how viable the Spirit Runeword is for a caster.

Stats for Shield Only:

Cold Resist + 35%

Lightning Resist + 35%

Poison Resist + 35%

Attacker Takes Damage of 14

A Spirit Runeword in Shield offers very good bonuses to your character's Cold, Lightning and Poison Resistance. (total of + 105%)

However, it should be noted that there are only three Shields in the game that are capable to have four sockets: Monarch, Aegis and Ward. Out of these three, the one with the lowest Strength requirement is Monarch, which requires a Strength of 156 to equip.

That is a rather high strength requirement for casters. If you are planning to reach a Strength score of 156, the Unique Shield Stormshield offers even more Resistance bonuses: + 60% Cold Resistance, + 25% Lightning Resistance, and + 35% Physical Resistance, which is harder to come by then Elemental Resistances . Not only that, but Stormshield also offers 25% Increased Chance of Blocking and the + 35% Block Rate mods, both of which are very important for casters, who usually depend on Blocking to save their lives due to them being more fragile than melee characters .

The good thing about Spirit is that you can equip it at Level 25, while you have to wait until Level 73 to use Stormshield.

Stats for Sword Only:

Adds 1-50 Lightning Damage

Adds 3-14 Cold Damage 3 Second Duration (Normal)

+75 Poison Damage Over 5 Seconds

7% Life Stolen Per Hit

Casters benefit the most from the Common mods on both a Spirit Shield or Sword. A caster wielding a Spirit Sword will enjoy all mods common to both Spirit Shield or Spirit Sword. The mods that are specific to a Spirit Sword will be of minimal use to a caster, since they all rely on actually physically hitting the target, and by their very nature, casters preferring to cast spells rather than wade into melee.

Unlike the Spirit Runeword in a Shield, even a low-level Broadsword requiring a Strength score of 48 can be used to create the Runeword in.

Summary:

Spirit is a very, very affordable Runeword for low-mid level casters. The mods common to both a Spirit Shield and Spirit Sword really benefit casters a lot. The Spirit Shield lacks a bonus to its blocking chance, something a caster really needs to keep herself alive. The Spirit Weapon is a good caster weapon, even though some of the mods will be less useful, as they require you to actually hit an opponent and thus wading into melee, something most casters avoid.

Still, for all its little detractions, Spirit is a great Runeword for low-mid level casters and can act as placeholders until they find something better.

Rough Openings For Doors

One of the most important parts of framing walls is getting
the rough openings right. Items that determine what the
height of One of the most important parts of framing walls is getting
the rough openings right. Items that determine what the
height of your opening will be are floor finishes and the
use of underlayment. Door widths will stay constant with the
size of a standard door.

In new construction most doors are hung after the floors are
installed. This allows flooring contractors (tile, hardwood,
vinyl, laminate) to lay their flooring products without
making tricky cuts around door jambs. It also makes for a
neat and clean door installation. Exceptions to this are
carpeted floors. Doors are hung before the carpeting is
laid. When doors are hung in carpeted areas, its a good idea
to shim them up 1/2 ", putting a shim under each jamb leg.
This eliminates the need to cut the doors down after the
carpet is installed.

For a 6 '8 "high door (80 inches) I like to frame my rough
opening height at 82 3/4 "
situations mentioned above. If your header material is a
double 2×12, holding it to the top plate will give you that
height.

Rough openings for door widths are pretty much standard. The
rough opening width is 2 inches wider than the door itself.
this allows room for the door jambs which are usually 3/4 "
thick. This gives you approximately 1/2 "of play and shim
room when installing a prehung door. For a 36 "door (3 '0")
the rough opening width would be 38. "Here are the most
common door sizes and their rough openings.

Door Size Rough Opening Size

2 '0 "x 6'8" -26 "x 82 3/4"

2 "2" x 6'8 "-28" x 82 3/4 "

2 '4 "x 6'8" -30 "x 82 3/4"

2 '6 "x 6'8" -32 "x 82 3/4"

2 '8 "x 6'8" -34 "x 82 3/4"

2 '10 "x 6'8" -36 "x 82 3/4"

3 '0 "x 6'8" -38 "x 82 3/4"

To figure the rough opening for double doors or french
doors, take the door size times 2 and add 2 "
common sizes for exterior doors are the 2'8 "and the 3'0"
doors. The 2'8 "is usually used for the back door and the
access door from the garage. That size door for exterior use
is being used less these days because of the size of
appliances and furniture. Exterior doors with sidelights and
sliding patio doors rough openings vary from manufacturer to
manufacturer. These should be verified and gotten from the
supplier.

Getting the rough openings right the first time keeps the
sawzall in its carrying case and having to change the
opening after the walls are drywalled and painted.

Mike Merisko (c) 2006

http://www.sawkerfs.com

World's Top Golf Resorts: Train and Play for Your Vacation!

The finest golf resorts in the United States, Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean can be your choice for your next vacation. Make it a train-and-play golf vacation! So many package deals are available to make your trip much more than a break from your routine. A golf vacation will be a practical experience of improving your golf game, enjoying a phenomenally peaceful and luxurious setting, and visiting a different state or a different country! This planning guide will point you to some of the best-rated golf resorts in the world.

Whether you absolutely book for yourself or through an experienced golf travel specialist, begin your research online where you can find premium golf courses and travel bargains. Rates, resort amenities and golf course details are available. But look further for the packages that include airfare, hotel accommodations and green fees to get your best value. The typical packaged Golf Resort Vacation will include most of these features:

  • Airfare
  • Resort Accommodations
  • Confirmed Tee Times
  • Prepaid Green Fees
  • Shared Cart for 18 Holes
  • Equipment Rental
  • Golf Lessons
  • Meals at Exclusive Restaurants
  • Transfers to the Course
  • Transfers to the Airport
  • All Taxes and Service Charges

Golf courses are planned in lovely surroundings where you can take in sea breezes or views of lush vegetation, and you can combine golf with other resort amenities to provide a well-rounded vacation.

For instance, try one of the many glamorous Club Med Golf Resorts with beautiful fairways in the most unforgivable, inviting locations around the world. Club Med offers deals including the best equipment and golf lessons for all levels! Its locations include Cancun, Mexico, as well as Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Other locations span the world: Turks and Caicos, Mauritius, Portugal, France, Italy, Brazil, Thailand, Morocco, Egypt, Senegal, and in the United States – Sandpiper Bay, Florida.

Scotland has some of the most beautiful golf courses in the world and there are approximately 100 resorts, called "golf hotels," among the 500-plus golf courses throughout the country. Best known are Turnberry, Gleneagles and The Old Course Hotel St. Louis. Andrews. Each of these spa, leisure facilities, excellent restaurants and "golf tuition" packages for all levels.

Mexico has numerous golf resorts perched in luxurious coastal locations. There are golf resorts at Cancun, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos. Also, Mexico has its championship Baja version of California's famous "Pebble Beach" golf resort, called Bajamar, only a few hours' drive from San Diego in Ensenada.

For the United States, check online for some of the golf resorts recommended by key magazines such as Golflink 's which publishes The Top 100 United States Golf Courses. This issue ranks the best out of more than 21,000 public and private golf courses across the country. However, within that one hundred courses, you want to search for the resorts with package programs and golf lessons. Among the top hundred, you will find that the main vacation-destination states with golf resorts are in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas. Let's review these states for their best locations:

  • In sunny, always temperate Florida, Club Med's Sandpiper Bay Golf Academy offers 2-day and 3-day golf courses. The Academy includes all aspects of the game, such as Chipping, Putting, Bunker, Pitching and Lob Shot, Full Swing with Irons and Woods. A video analyzing your swing is provided, as well as an optional video comparing your swing to that of a pro player. Also, the area within and around Miami has regional golf resorts for year-round vacationing. Each resort offers on-site amenities and services, both on and off the course, and minutes away from major Miami attractions, like South Beach and Miami MetroZoo. You will have a multitude of options during a golf vacation here.
  • Arizona has a climate that is suitable for many months of the year and Scottsdale has nearly 200 golf courses, many with the picturesque backdrop of the Sonoran Desert. It is a golf destination with golf schools and pro shops. Here, many resorts offer high-quality accommodations and championship golf courses. Most golf resorts offer packages where hotel guests can have discounted green fees. Also, Sedona, Arizona, offers numerous golf resorts with a mild year-round climate and spectacular red-rock scenic views.
  • In California, Pebble Beach has been known for being a small coastal golf destination nestled in beautiful Monterey County. It is home to the prominent Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Pebble Beach Lodge and the pristigious Inn at Spanish Bay. Each year, golfers return to rub shoulders with golf professionals and experience nature at its finest on the magnificent golf course laid out by leading golf course designers. The harmony of golf layouts and the majestic coast are awe-inspiring!
  • Another golfer's paradise is conveniently located along the south Atlantic coast at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It combines natural beauty and world-class golf on a barrier island 12 miles long and five miles wide. Nicklaus, Palmer and other golf legends have regularly played these championship courses. Since the first course opened at Sea Pines in 1961, there are now emerald links at Harbor Town and outstanding courses in Bluffton, as the Hilton Head area has become a major golf center. It is legendary for its spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, scenic marshes, and maritime forests with abundant wildlife. The temperate climate and year-round sunshine also makes Hilton Head Island the perfect place to tee off.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, is quietly emerging as one of the United States' fastest growing golf destinations amidst the glitz and glamor of its casinos. The city's huge convention center and innumerable hotel rooms make it a natural haven for large-scale golf events. With the year-round sunshine and mild temperatures, and plenty to do after a full day of playing golf from gambling to seeing entertaining shows, this golf destination will continue to grow.
  • CNN ranked Austin, Texas the No. 1 city for golf in its Golf.com of 2010. Framed by the Texas Hill Country, Austin's golf courses are among the best in the United States. The region is highlighted by the Wolfdancer Golf Club which was named No. 2. 56 in Golfweek 's top 100 resort golf courses in 2009. In addition to being a great contemporary music city, and home of numerous celebrities, Austin offers vacationing golfers great barbeque, an idyllic, year-round climate and luxury accommodations.

Your best package deal will be at all-inclusive resorts, where air flight, lodging, meals and golf activities are rolled into one price. On the other hand, consider traditional hotels and resorts in the locations recommended. With a little online planning, one of the finest golf resorts in the world can be your affordable choice. Enjoy the location, the exploration of the region while you improve your golf game and provide a joyful, well-rounded vacation for your family and loved ones!

(c) 2012 Elizabeth McMillian

Magnifying Lamps For Better Illumination While Doing Crafts Or Reading

Using magnifying lamps can greatly improve the overall lighting and focus of doing any tasks whatever. Light is such a simple concept that it's sometimes surprising to know that your home needs different kinds of illumination for the different jobs and things that you do at home.

One always thinks that the lighting from a ceiling light fixture or a normal sconce on the wall is enough for doing things like reading, working, cooking, etc. However in most cases that is simply not true. The general lighting that the overhead sources give are there merely for basic lighting to find your way around the room when it's dark outside. However it can not be used for focused and pointed illumination that a particular crafty or very minutious work needs to have.

To improve the experience that you get from hobbies you do at home like craftwork, needlepoint and reading, the magnifying lamps were created by clever manufacturers. These kinds of lamps make all the difference, and the truth is, it's always for the better. Curling up in your favorite chair and opening a book to read can be a task that needs effort for someone who has problems with their overall vision. It's hard enough to get books and newspapers with a font that is easy to see, but with the magnifying lamps that you can put on your table or near your reading spot, the joy of reading and doing craftwork at home is rekindled. People finally find themselves doing again things that they have not been able to do in years because of bad lighting.

Even if you have a full spectrum reading light, it's still hard to increase the size of the text of what you're reading. You no longer have to strain your eyes when dealing with small fonts and detailed work if you have a lamp that has a magnifying feature. Most magnifying lamps also have a greater light output than normal lamps. It's built to hold itself in place, and the bulbs are easy to replace if they burn out. With less eye strain for when you're doing needlepoint, crocheting or reading, you do not have to deal with the head or migraine that comes after the eye strain.

You can pick a floor stand model or just a desk stand model, depending on your needs. The designs are sleek and of high performance for a better illumination in anything you do. There are even models that you can hang from your neck on a pretty string and use the lamp anywhere you go. Or you might find a model that you can easily use over your regular reading glasses. The options are almost unlimited here and they cater to any tastes and needs. Using magnifying lamps has changed the world and it has helped people with vision problems dramatically through the years.

Interior Design Secrets for Selling Houses

New concepts in Interior Design Psychology are helping home sellers net more money in today's competitive real estate market. Therefore, it's worthwhile to spend time planning the changes that will help your home sell for the highest price.

Develop a general design plan, keeping your target market and budget in mind. Your overall design plan really depends on supply and demand. How many houses are for sale in your area? How many houses sell each week? Is the selling season cold, warm, or hot? Is it a seller's or buyer's market?

If the market is moving fast and buyers are lining up to make offers for homes in your neighborhood, you can do less. But whatever your answers to the above questions, you'll still need to do a few things to make your home stand out from the competition.

Know Your Target Buyers

Think about your neighborhood and the buyers purchasing homes near yours. Are they purchasing their first home or moving up? This will be important to your marketing and design plan, since the psychological needs of the two types of buyers differ considerably.

First-time homebuyers seek to control their own environment by owning, rather than renting. Their psychological needs include:

Safety and security

Sense of place or connection

Comfort

Self-control

Move-up buyers often enjoy those benefits, too, but they're generally more interested in finding a larger home with more amenities for their comfort, self-esteem, and feelings of prestige.

Once you've determined your potential buyers, you can begin making improvements to your home that will attract them.

Budget Concerns

Spend money only on items that will make a difference in your sales price. Of all repairs, fresh paint is the best investment you can make. New kitchen appliances, upgraded bathroom features, and updated lighting fixtures will usually give a good return for your money, as well.

Sometimes, hiring professional help is worth the extra expense. Professional painters work faster and will often cost less than day laborers. Tile installers, carpet layers, and electricians also know their trades and will do a better job than most day labors.

Contractors should have their own disability and liability insurance – ask for a copy with your contract. Get everything in writing – including work to be completed, costs, lists of specific materials to be used, time for completion, and payment schedule.

Exterior Design Psychology

Choosing the right colors to paint your home will make a huge difference in your paycheck at closing. Look at the other homes near yours and choose complementary colors.

Did you know that the exterior color of houses selling the most quickly is yellow, but the wrong tone or shade of yellow can kill a potential home sale? Avoid yellows with green undertones and bright yellows, and choose pale yellows with creamy or beige shades instead. Warning: colors look darker on huge exterior expanses than they do on the little

paint chips you see in the store.

Color Combinations

Paint stores offer many brochures, showing various combinations of exterior paint colors, but most of them also feature combinations include three colors. Limiting your paint selection to only two colors will limit your income potential.

Think fun colors for a fast sale. Think "Disneyland Main Street," where every shop is painted in glorious multi-color. Using a third or fourth color on the exterior can add definition to your home's details. Use gloss or semi-gloss paint on wood trim.

Psychology of Exterior Paint Colors

Take the ultimate sales price of your remodeled home into account. Certain colors, especially muted, complex shades, will attract wealthy or highly-educated buyers, whereas buyers with less income or less education will generally prefer simple colors.

A complex color contains tints of gray or brown, and usually requires more than one word to describe, such as sage green or forest brown, while simple colors are straightforward and pure. Generally, houses in the lower price range will sell faster and for more money when painted in simple tones like yellow and tan with white, blue, or green trim.

Interior Design Plans and Secrets

Create a list of work and materials you'll need for each room and then estimate the time you think it will take for each task. The more planning you do before you begin, the more time and money you'll save.

Psychology of Interior Paint Colors

Daring to use color instead of bland white walls will increase your profit potential. Did you know that Lynette Jennings tested people's perception of room size and color? A room that was painted white appeared larger to only a few people in the survey, compared to an identical room painted with a color, and the perceived difference was only about six inches! Because most people look better surrounded by color, a colored wall also makes them feel happier, and buyers will choose to buy the house that makes them feel happiest.

Entryways should bring the exterior colors of the home inside. Repeat variations of the exterior shades all the way through your home, which will make the entire home seem to be in harmony. As an added bonus, if buyers love the exterior colors, they're going to like the interior colors, as well.

Spending time planning your home's sale, rather than just listing it and then taking your chances, will net you more money, and faster!

Best wishes for a profitable, quick sale.

(c) Copyright 2014, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved

Are All Vapor Barriers Created Equal?

This is an excellent question. It is important to know that not all plastics are created equal. For instance, that 4 mil and 6 mil Construction grade polyethylene sheeting in the construction aisle is the lowest grade of polyethylene sheeting available on the market at any given time. It is made from up to 25% post consumer recycled goods, reground resins, and the absolute least expensive resins that can be bought from any source in any location across the globe. These films are not guaranteed to be pinhole free, and can have quite a few defects that are acceptable in this type of film. The quality control for this type of film is the lowest in the plastic's industry. While it has been an acceptable practice to use quite a bit of this type of plastic sheeting in the past as vapor retarders, that has been changing over the last couple of decades to a very large degree.

Today most experts feel very strongly that engineered films specifically designed for use as vapor retarders should be used as vapor retarders. These products are made from 100% virgin resins, and have excellent quality control. Most are tested to a standard called the ASTM E1745, which is the standard for vapor retarders in contact with soil or granular fill used under concrete slabs. These materials are engineered not to deceive in this type of application, whereas most construction grade poly will begin breaking down almost immediately and will have lost most of its structural integrity within 2 years. How many times have you dug up plastic sheeting in your life that is just destroyed from being buried in the ground ?.

It makes some difference what part of the country you are in, what kinds of humidity levels are common in your region, whether or not your home has a good quality vapor retarder under the slab, territory, or in the crawlspace. If you already have an excellent vapor retarder, then the one you use under your hardwood floor is far less critical. If you are putting a hardwood floor over a damp crawlspace, and use a poor quality vapor retarder, you are asking for a lot of problems with the hardwood flooring, and will likely suffer problems with buckling, warping, noisy flooring, lots of expansion and contraction, and often finish problems, just to name a few.

Should you be in an area where Radon is prevalent, or methane, then the use of a barrier with capabilities to retard these gasses becomes important also. Again these films are engineered to have a very tight cell structure capable of keeping these very small molecules from passing right through the membrane. These gasses, and to a very large water vapor vapor pass quite easily through the cellular structure of common construction grade polyethylene (aka Visqueen).

If one wishes an even better vapor retarder, then one might want to contact a plastics company specializing in vapor retarders so you can find out which is most suitable for your application. The vapor retarder is fairly inexpensive insurance for having a great experience with a hardwood floor as compared with what can be a nightmare experience when the wrong product is used.

Advantages Of Using Battery Powered Christmas Lights

Battery powered Christmas lights have become the most popular choice for holiday decorating in the last few years, and for good reason. Consumers see the many benefits to using them. The most common ones used today are LEDs. These come in two styles, traditional electrical Christmas lights (incandescent bulbs) and battery powered Christmas lights. Battery powered Christmas lights give a bright white light, and they produce a better color than standard bulbs. They use much less energy, and last much longer than standard lights. They use 90-98% less electricity than incandescents, and they will last 16 times longer.

The most common battery powered Christmas lights are the string of lights, which can be all white or multi colored. However, they are available in many other shapes and styles and can be used for indoor decorating or outdoors. These LEDs run on various types of batteries, depending on their size and how many lights there are on the string. Most of these run on AA, 3A, C or D batteries.

One tip is to consider using rechargeable batteries to save even more money. These LEDs come in many different forms, shapes, sizes and colors. Make sure when buying them that you are aware of what type of use they are designed for.

The outdoor versions are more durable and weather proof. You do not want to use indoor lights outside. The strings vary in length. However, another advantage to the battery powered Christmas lights is the fact that you can combine many more strings together to create whatever length is necessary. Traditional strings are limited to usually just three strands. Anything more becomes a fire risk. Most battery powered Christmas lights strings are used for decorating the Christmas tree, wreaths and other indoor uses.

Outdoor string battery LEDs can be used to decorate your homes exterior, landscaping and the yard, and because you can combine several strings you should have no problem covering everything you want. Best of all, since battery LEDs do not require any cords, you don’t have to run miles of extension cords to an outlet. No cords to trip over, become disconnected, and no major drain on the electricity.

Battery powered Christmas lights are easier to use since they don’t require an outlet. You can set them up anywhere you please, and there is no need to hide power cords out of sight. No need to worry about someone tripping over an extension cord running along the floor. No unsightly tangles of power cords.

They are ideal for hanging wreaths. Again, you will have no cords running out of the wreath to an outlet. The most popular use of battery LEDs is the Christmas tree. They make it easy to set up the tree because you do not have to position your tree so that it is close to an outlet. These LEDs also do not burn hot, and do not plug into the wall, eliminating a fire and safety hazard.

You can purchase battery powered Christmas lights that are fireproof. These will not get hot and pose a threat to catching your tree on fire. Battery lights last much longer than standard incandescents, are more durable, safer, and cost much less to use. This is why more and more consumers are choosing to use these lights for holiday decorating.

Kitchen Remodeling

Are you excited about a kitchen remodeling project? Or, are you simply trying to find out if you can afford one in the first place? The kitchen is the center of your home. It is where people will meet and talk. You will prepare the food you will feed your children there. And, those smells will stay with them for many years to come. When you create your kitchen, it is important to make it a comfortable and good quality working environment.

Before dreaming big takes over, you need to find your budget. This may not be the fun part of remodeling the kitchen but it will keep you in line when you get out there to begin looking at materials and appliances. Will you be able to remodel the entire kitchen or will you just purchase specific elements? What fits within your budget?

Once you have an established budget, you can begin designing your kitchen. Many people choose to use a designer to help with this. If you would like to do this, you can find many people who are willing to help. In fact, many of your large home improvement stores offer this service as well as providing the needed materials. If you would like to do the designing, by all means you can and should!

You will find that in the beginning it can be boring taking the measurements and looking at different materials. But, when it begins to come together it will become fun. Here are some things that you will want to think about:

* Wall coverings, painting, wallpaper, tile

* Flooring

* Appliance, replacing or keeping the old

* Cabinetry

* Countertops

* Lighting and ventilation

* Windows and window treatment

* Accessories

When designing a kitchen, you can change any or all of these features. The way they work together is completely up to you. Look for color patterns and appliances with the same texture and color as well. Some choose stainless steel while others enjoy fabulous colors.

To make your kitchen remodeling go as smoothly as possible, it is wise to use carpenters, plumbers, and design specialists to get it done right. A small difference of an inch in the materials can cause all sorts of problems.

In any cases, the kitchen that you design should be usable to you and your family. It should make you happy to be in the kitchen, thinking of the memories that have gone by or those that will happen. It is the foundation of many homes and there should be a great room all around!

Fireproof Home Safes – Be Prepared For the Worst

Many people go through life thinking, "That could never happen to me." Even when statistics show that a person will likely get into a car accident more than once in his life, for example, people still think, "Oh, that could never happen to me." Then, when it happens, they are confused and unprepared.

Yes, it is nice to assume that certain things will not happen to use. Nobody wants to think of their bodies deteriorating or their homes being hit by a storm or a flood or their homes burning down. Your future may seem brighter if you ignore the possibilities of disaster, but when that disaster hits and you are unprepared, the future is far from bright.

I am not saying that you need to go out and get hurricane insurance if you live in Nevada or anything silly like that, but just be prepared. Do not go out driving if the weatherman calls for a blizzard … do not go walking alone at night – these are examples of simple precautions that you can take to protect yourself. Another is to get a fireproof safe.

It is hard enough to know that you've lost your home, furniture, and clothes in a fire … and these material things can at least be replaced. But what about photographs or negatives? Children's drawings? Heirlooms? Jewelry? These things can not easily be replaced: they can not be replaced at all.

There are other ways to protect these things than just with a fireproof safe, of course. You can, for instance, put your will or the deed to your house in a safety deposit box. You could also keep your photographs at home in an album and your negatives at the bank – that way, if something happens to one of the buildings, you'll still have a backup.

With digital photography these days, it is even easier to ensure safekeeping of your photos – you can print some out, save others to disks, save them to your computer, or even put them online so that you can access them any time, any where .

Nonetheless, a fireproof safe is also a good idea for protecting your valuables – you do not have to take an extra trip to the bank just to take a look at them.

Fireproof safes also protect your valuable from burglary, too. Fireproof safes are not just for valuables with sentimental value, but also for items of monetary value, too, of course. Your items may technically be safest at a bank, but the nice thing about a fireproof safe at home is that you can access it whenever you want (as outlined).

It is important to know that most fireproof safes are more likely just fire-resistant, not fireproof. And some fireproof home safes are more fireproof than others. Make sure to check the rating of your fireproof home safe before you buy it.

What a Gasifier Does and Why Gasifiers Are Suddenly Cool

The first gasifiers were known as gasification retorts and they have been around for well over a century providing our town gas supplies from coal. In basic terms they involve a container in which combustible fuel is heated, driving off flammable hydrocarbon gases. These gases are then scrubbed in filters to remove particulate matter and any corrosive chemicals, before being plumbed into anything from the towns gas supply to a modified carburettor to fuel a standard internal combustion engine.

Gasifiers are available now. They are proven technology. They can and are helping in the war to reduce gas and electricity prices, and the magic thing is that the same principle can be applied to many fuels other than coal.

These systems are capable of producing electricity from any biomass source. They may use any fuel in some, such as coal, petroleum coke, residual oil, oil emulsions, tar sands, and / or other similar fuels. Gasifiers produce a gas which is commonly known as syngas. This gas is used mostly where it is created to power a gas turbine. Gasification uses chemistry and high temperature and pressures to change the way the coal or other form of solid carbonaceous (fossil) fuel produces heat. In other words instead of burning the fuel outright, a gasifier part burns the fuel due to the presence of only a limited amount of oxygen and creates a fuel gas.

One gasifier, for example, is a device that has been developed by TERI (The Tata Energy Research Institute in India) for use in the drying of cardamom. The gasifier uses briquettes that are made from firewood and other types of biomass and turns them into a gas that burns with a clean smokeless flame.

In another example a gasifier is the key component in the Ag Bio-Power Energy System, but it is not the only component. In the patented configuration of the system, solid wastes containing metals and other non-combustible materials are burned separately while a gasifier is used as a scrubber for the polluting emissions because gasification is so good at burning out these substances.

It is reported that Household and Commercial Waste can also be gasified. In this case combustible gases are used within the system for increased efficiency and high temperature combustion than is archived in an incinerator. After gasification the residual of thermal decomposition is cooled and rough particles such as metals and non-combustibles are separated by means of a vibrating sieve and magnetic separator. The separated fine particles are mostly ash and carbon content, and these particles can then be crushed and sent to the final furnace for vitrification, where they are turned into essentially a form of glass, purely binding in any toxic substances, out of harm's way, for ever.

Combustible waste from industrial production processes which is reported to be suitable for gasification includes textile waste, wood scrap / trimmings, plastic scrap, and non-reusable solvents. Textile waste can consist of excess yarn, thread, cloth, carpet, or any other fabric. Combustion temperatures of 1500-1600 ~ F and heat release rates of about 400,000 Btu / cu ft / hr are possible and give heat transfer rates reported to be larger than those of conventional pulverized coal boilers.

Some of these technology providers are claiming cell microturbine combinations which are possible which have the potential to achieve up to 60 percent efficiency and near-zero emissions. On top of that they say that fuel flexibility enables the use of low-cost indigenous fuels, renewables and waste materials. Even, for example, experts say briquettes produced from agricultural residues can be used in some gasifier models.

Some gasifier plant is now also being developed which is based on fluidized bed technology with the possibility of the common and low cost availability of practically zero emissions release systems achieving high efficiencies using a host cheap, locally produced, renewable fuel sources.

Now, we think that this is pretty cool, when at present all we can see is rapidly rising gas prices and practically no alternatives for me and you, but to pay them.

Reducing energy demand, especially in the sense of better insulation for heating homes and offices, is of course, more of a potential for saving CO2 emissions, but that's not what what we are discussing in this article.

We have been here before, as well, in that in the mid to late 1970s, when it was believed that there was going to be a shortfall of oil due to the formation of OPEC, fuel prices rose excessively. At that time also there was an expected decline in supplies, and considered effort went into developing alternatives. But, those efforts came to very little, as in real terms the alternatives were still more expensive than the oil and coal based alternatives. This time around that is no longer the case, so expect to hear about more suddenly "cool" energy solutions, but which are also very "hot" indeed – at the same time!

How to Texture a Ceiling Or Wall

For creating the stipple effect onto your ceiling, a "square brush" which contains "flexible rubber prongs" over the surface of the face side of the tool; is used to lightly; "bounce" off, the textured surface.

You can also create the same effect, if you roll onto the surface, the texture mix, and keep on rolling over this until a stipple is finally achieved.

The depth on the "finished texture" pattern depends on how thick the consistency of the texture powder is mixed, plus also, how thick you apply the mixed texture material onto the surface to be textured.

To create a final "uniformed" finish, you must make sure that you roll out the applied texture as evenly as possible onto the surface; and keeping it the same depth / level, through the whole ceiling.

A lot of new build establishments favor a stipple, broken leather or swirl pattern, usually a stipple pattern can be done quickly, and as texture coating dries out reasonably white does not need painting afterwards, so saving both time and money for the contractor.

In this section I'm going to take a look at the stipple pattern for its uniform, soft or heavy finish; and the speed at which it can be done.

To achieve this finish, the prepared surface / area to be textured onto has to be as "flat and as level as possible" (Otherwise, any discrepancies and uneven surfaces will show through afterwards).

As this pattern requires the final mixed texture material to resembble a thick emulsion type of paint, I find this one of the messiest patterns to do also.

Mix up a bucket of texture powder, (thick first to get out the lumps).

After letting the thickly mixed texture rest for a few minutes in the bucket, add small amounts of cold water into the texture mix to thin it out.

Then transfer this mixed texture material into the large roller bucket ready for application, and mix once again, using the bumper tool, or drill with the mixing attachment.

When adding cold water to mix down the texture coating to the required consistency, just add a little at a time, as it is not advisable to add powder at this later stage.

The finished product should now resemble thick emulsion paint.

Next step: Decide where to start the pattern onto the ceiling.

Usually, when trying the stipple effect the best place to start is furthest away from the room door entrance.

1: Using the large paint roller, attached to the pole / handle, dip the roller head completely into the bucket of mixed texture, to completely cover the roller head. (You can also use a small roller for application if you want.)

2: Lift the roller out and give it a little shake to get rid of the residual, and then sharply offer the loaded roller head to the ceiling surface.

3: Start along the wall edge of the ceiling, (when using the roller, and always extend your straightened arms upwards, and away from you). With a light but firm pressure, pull the roller towards, and above you, to spread the material onto the surface, (rolling on may take a little practice to get right, but this method is used to roll on for any ceiling work.)

4: When you've rolled the texture onto the ceiling, (about 3 foot area coverage) load the roller once again, and roll it onto the ceiling, next to the area that you've just covered.

5: Continue this method until a large area has been covered with the texture mix, probably a third or even half of the ceiling, depending on the size of the area to be covered.

6: When you've completed this; and using the roller again, (but do not load it with texture mix this time), continue to roll out, in the opposite direction of the applied texture, to even out (spread out) the texture coating already applied to the ceiling, otherwise you'll have an uneven finish when you come to stipple it: the thickness of the texture on the ceiling should be about half an inch in depth.

7: The next step is to prime the stipple brush with the mixed texture coating, you can use a large or small stipple brush; but you will get a more uniform pattern with a large brush, especially if your texturing larger surfaces, making sure a wooden handle is attached to the large stipple brush so that you can reach the ceiling height.

Below is a quick summary:

1: Apply the texture to the surface.
Rolling on about a third or even half of the ceiling).

2: Take the roller, (but do not load it with texture mix this time).
Roll out onto the ceiling, in the opposite direction of the applied texture to 'even out' the texture already there: otherwise the finished pattern will look uneven.

The next step is to prime the stipple brush.

3: Attach a pole / handle to the stipple brush and hold it so that the soft rubber bristles are pointing upwards.

4: Load the roller head with the texture mix, and gently roll this small amount across the surface of the stipple brush, (the rubber bristles) making sure that you do not squash down or flatten the rubber bristles; once covered with texture we are now ready to stipple the covered area.

5: Stand directly benefit the area to be textured, start along the ceiling / wall edge then lightly bounce the stipple brush onto the ceiling to create the desired effect.

7: Continue stipping and bending onto the covered area.
(Going to the room door entrance to take a look every now and again, and do not forget, what you can see, so will others-make any adjustments as necessary)
continue rolling onto the ceiling, and stippling until complete.

8: Finally, run an inch sized brush around the perimeter of the ceiling to wall line to create a tidy border, and not forgetting the center rose light also, to tidy up.
You can also use a small stipple brush to create this design, but if you're using the large brush, it looks easier to create a more uniformed finish.

The stipple pattern can also be created by just rolling the texture coating onto the surface and then keep rolling the mix out with the roller head until a stipple type pattern is ever formed.

If you want a heavier stipple effect, mix the thick texture down with cold water as normal but do not add as much water so that you are left with a thicker consistency in the bucket, and then roll this mixture onto the surface, thickly.

A heavy stipple is great for lacing back (flattening slightly) to create an "anaglyptic" looking effect.

Laminate Flooring Advantages and Disadvantages

Most Americans have no idea what laminate flooring is, although they are often aware of Pergo flooring. Well, Pergo is to laminate floorings what Kleenex is to facial tissues. As the first company to create this type of flooring and sell it in the United States, their name has become conspicuous with laminate flooring in the minds of many consumers. That being said, there are over 30 other brands of this type of flooring available as well.

Laminate flooring is typically made up of three separate layers: a tough aluminum oxide wear layer with a photograph of wood, stone, or brick adhered to the underside of it; a core or "carrier" usually made of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) which is a processed wood product that is very moisture resistant; and a final layer of plastic laminate back to seal the entire piece against moisture and potential pests.

Laminate flooring is a cost-effective and easy to care for alternative to genuine wood or stone surfaces. Being more tolerant to moisture, it can more be used in bathrooms or other areas where moisture may pose problems for other flooring materials – as long as the manufacturer's warranty includes moisture coverage. Because of its simple tongue and groove attachment pattern, it can be used in any room of the house, provided that there is a concrete, plywood, or other firm floor surface below it.

Laminate floors do not stain, fade, dent, or warp like real hardwood floors, although they have a similar cost. They also often include lifetime warranties against most problems and defects. If your home has significant foot traffic (including children and / or pets) then a laminate floor will hold up much better than a comparable wood or even tile floor, and be considered less expensive than stone flooring materials.

If you have a lot of traffic in your home and plan to stay there for some time, laminate flooring may prove to be the best value for your money because of its long life, durability and excellent warranty coverage. It is not the least expensive flooring option, so it is always important to weigh the costs and features against your needs. If you want the look of hardwood but have a sub-floor that is incompatible with real hardwood floors, laminate flooring may be the choice for you!