Epoxy Floor Vs. Urethane Mortar Floor for Food and Beverage Facilities

Urethane mortar floors (a/k/a cementitious urethane flooring or urethane cement flooring) excel over epoxy floor systems in food & beverage plants for many reasons; this USDA accepted flooring material reduces downtime, is durable in hostile environments with thermal shock, and withstands heavy impact and damaging chemical agents. For new construction, urethane concretes can be applied to 10 day old concrete, thus eliminating the typical 28 day wait for curing concrete. Use of polyurethane cement mortar systems has now surpassed once standard epoxy floor coatings and vinyl ester flooring systems such as Tufco flooring, in these special need environments. Products such as Ucrete, Flowcrete, PurCem, and CastorCrete are gaining substantial market share. Tufco flooring has even developed a urethane mortar floor system. These floors may be found in industrial kitchens at food & beverage processing industries such as meat/poultry, dairy, seafood, bakeries, breweries and all beverage processing. Poultry flooring and brewery flooring endure some of the most severe conditions for industrial flooring. Urethane mortar flooring can even withstand years of hard service in these areas.

Compared to epoxy floors, urethane flooring products have enhanced resistance to impact and abuse from dropped pots, steel parts and utensils in industrial kitchens and food plants. They handle repetitive scraping and scratching better than epoxy, acrylic and competitive systems. They are extremely beneficial in plant areas where steel wheels are used, such as bakeries. Urethane mortar floors are used as waterproof flooring, providing a “bathtub effect” in areas of the plant requiring a waterproof floor. They are non slip when wet, and provide a permanent non slip texture, due to the integral large, hard wearing aggregate, throughout the thickness of the floor system.

Cementitious urethane mortars have a similar modulus of elasticity and thermal coefficient of expansion to that of concrete. When applied over concrete, brick or tile, this prevents delamination when the flooring is stressed due to thermal conditions. These food grade floor materials withstand hot spills and repeated thermal cycling (hot washdowns, steam cleaning, etc.) without breaking down. In addition, moisture and cool temperature tolerance allows for installation on cold (above freezing), damp concrete surfaces, often found in operating food plants.

Cementitious overlays have very little odor, since there are no VOC’s. This means that there is no risk to open food products. Urethane concrete mortars can be applied next to fully operational food processing areas, eliminating the need to shut down an operation to resurface the floor. One pass installation with no primer coat required, means that many floor restoration projects can be completed over weekends, with no costly production downtime. Additionally, urethane cement flooring has excellent all around resistance to chemicals used in food & beverage plants.

The most durable urethane mortar floor systems are typically trowelled, and are applied at ¼ to 3/8 inch thickness, and provide a seamless matte finish. These trowel applied urethane mortars have physical properties that are twice that of concrete. Self-leveling “slurry” systems were originally developed for contractors that were not able to install the urethane mortar floors. These systems typically applied a 1/8 to 3/16 inch thickness. They provide a heavy duty surface in areas which require a high gloss, urethane or polyurethane concrete top coat, maximum cleanability, and high aesthetics. Applications consists of screeding, broadcasting with natural quartz aggregate, and top coating. They are available with a novolac epoxy topcoat, which allows for installation in chemical storage areas, with concentrated spillages. These systems may also be finished with colored quartz or vinyl chips.

The original system, Ucrete HF, is an FDA type USDA flooring, USDA approved, trowel applied urethane, and is the original system (has been around for more than 40 years). It has withstood the test of time in the harshest environments. The trowelled ¼ inch system offers the highest level of durability with a lifespan of greater than ten years. The only drawback of urethane mortars, is that they are slightly more expensive upfront, than epoxy; however they offer long term performance and the maximum return on investment.

The Painter’s Brush

The brush of a painter is an important tool through which the artist wields his power and expresses his emotions. The canvass, the oil, and all the other painting media are important too, but these leave the artist when the work is done.

Only the paint brushes stay, faithful and willing to participate in the making of the next masterpiece.

The stiff brushes are used for the majority of painting tasks and it comes in three shapes: the round, the flat and the filbert. For all ye art beginners, filbert is a shape that is rounded at the base and tapers to a point at the tip. Stiff brushes are made of hog bristles but there are also synthetic bristles available that can make acceptable results. Naturally, many painters prefer the genuine article.

The soft brushes are used for putting in fine details. Painters agree that the best soft brushes are the ones made of sable. Since sable brushes are expensive, there are substitutes available. But the brush strokes made using these replacements are not as good as the ones made by the sable-made soft brush.

There is also a kind of brush made of either sable or hog hair. It is called a fan-head brush and it is needed to seamlessly blend paint on the canvas.

We have heard of painters not taking a bath during a painting marathon, and there are painters known for having chaotic studios. But many painters liked to be organized and the most cared for of their tools are the brushes. Besides, many painters believed, though no scientific data supports this, that used but well cared-for brushes perform better than new ones.

The first rule in caring for paint brushes is to never use them to mix paint. There are painting knives to do this task. Another important thing to remember is to never stand the brushes, especially the soft ones, with the point down in the jar. Those expensive hair or bristles are sensitive and may be bent permanently.

When a painter mentors you to place just the right amount of paint on the brush, he wasn’t thinking about saving the paint. He was trying to save the brush. Too much paint on it will clog the ferrules, the part that holds the hair or bristles together. If clogged, you have to clean it and cannot avoid parting the hairs. If done too often, the brush ultimately become useless.

Lastly, brushes should be cleaned as soon as you are done using them. You may use turpentine with soap and water. For soft brushes, these can be dipped in milk and allowed to dry for a couple of days. Remember to keep the tips up.

Tips For Shopping An Appropriate Chandelier

Chandeliers are customarily installed only in foyers or dining areas of grandiosely elegant homes, supposedly a housing interior embellishment exclusive to the rich. Elaborate chandeliers that comprise of cut crystal or glass have been considered as status symbols, a signature of affluence. These shimmering fixtures are classically massive, intricate and ornate, often making them suitable as centerpieces for a room. However, modern interior designers have been employing chandeliers of a wide spectrum of sizes and shapes for adorning almost any type of home, irrespective of dimensions and splendor. The aesthetic quality of chandeliers can render an inviting atmosphere and an arty accent to any home space. Chandeliers have been popularly hung over living areas, sleeping quarters, breakfast nooks, and kitchens in addition to traditionally familiar places.

These days, chandeliers do not necessarily have to be sophisticated or classy. Besides the conventional formal-type crystal chandeliers, one can now find stained-glass teacup, colonial, revival, and various other contemporary varieties of chandeliers for embellishing home interiors. While some of these contemporary designs remain to be expansive, spanning at least eight feet in diameter, others can be found no wider than two to three feet in diameter.

Chandeliers can cost a lot of money irrespective of their particular style. Thus, it is quite important to find one that appropriately accentuates your home. Top chandelier designers recommend home owners to choose a chandelier that harmonizes with the time period and overall architectural motif of the house rather than getting trendy and selecting the current fad in style. For an average home owner, buying a new chandelier every time decorative tastes evolve is really not a luxury.

When shopping for chandeliers, the first aspect to consider is the size of the room where it is meant to be hung. Fortunately, there is a general rule of thumb that will guide the appropriate choice. The chandelier should follow a simple proportion rule: approximately two inches in diameter for every foot of the room's total width. For example, if the living area is fifteen feet wide all in all, the appropriate diameter of the chandelier should be about 30 inches. But take note that the complexity of the chandelier can also project the illusion of being large – an extremely elaborate one will appear larger in the room than it actually is. Hence, one can also make the necessary adjustments to the estimated diameter to take this factor into consideration.

The second aspect to take into account is the height as well as the structure of the furniture in the room. Suppose that a certain tall hutch is fixed in the living room. It is not advised to hang the chandelier directly above this piece of furniture because it will render a cluttered look to the room. In relation to this concern, there must be enough gap for head space so that running or bumping into the chandelier when crossing the room will not occur.

Another aspect to consider is if the chandelier is meant to be hung above a second centerpiece in the room, such as a dining room table. The dimensions of the chandelier should be in proportion to that centerpiece. Another rule of thumb to abide by is to select a chandelier size which measures approximately a third of the diameter of the centerpiece.

The last aspect to be accounted for is lighting. If the chandelier is planned to be the primary source of light in an area, its brightness should be sufficient to shed light uniformly to the whole area. Furthermore, the chandelier's brightness should not overwhelm a second light source. Way to get One over this quandary is to install a dimmer switch That Allows adjustment to the amount of light the chandelier Gives off. One can also utilize table lamps, floor lamps, and corner lamps to aid in illuminating the room.

Are Overweight People Lazy?

Are You overweight? Believe it or not, when you were born, your parents did not get to choose your size. Your parents didn’t get to choose your sex, hair color or any other physical characteristic that makes you ….you. They didn’t choose your weight either, or your bone structure. They just couldn’t take over that job; it was hard enough bringing you into the world.

Being overweight seems to be a pre-determined fate for so many Americans. An estimated 64% of Americans are considered overweight. That equates to over 125 million people that are overweight and need to loose weight. Or you can call a spade a spade, which equates to over 125 million FAT Americans, which also means that there are a lot of very unattractive Americans.

Supposedly having too much body weight has been the result of you being lazy, unhealthy, unhappy, selfish, greedy, and unattractive. NO, it hasn’t been the result of any of those reasons! Overweight Americans are often some of the most tenacious career-conscious individuals. They are overworked and often fall into weight problems because they are working long hours, without enough rest and exercise! Approximately ½ of the other 36% of thinner adults choose to condemn those Americans who aren’t as fortunate to have a fast metabolism and the luxury of time to exercise. These very adults have the time, because they also find the time to ridicule the other 64% of the population that need to lose a few pounds.

This all may sound a bit harsh, but suck it up! The slogan ‘Thin is in and Fat is Out’ needs to go right back out the door with the aerobics instructor that brought it in. Sure, if you have a weight problem, you know you have a weight problem. It is not something you don’t have the intelligence to see. See Barbie, while you were on the beach with Ken, the fat chics were getting an education! Being overweight is still considered one of the biggest sins someone can do to their own bodies , but what about the people out there with true medical problems that prevent them from being thin.? They still fall into the thin person’s stereotype of a FAT LAZY person? The sad truth is that people who are exceptionally overweight allow others to ridicule them about their weight. The misconceptions that people who are overweight won’t work, are overall lazy people, unhappy, unattractive is a load of bull.

Just take a look around you; Some of the most beautiful women in the world are either overweight now or have been at some time in their life. LOOK AT OPRAH! She is gorgeous, but she wasn’t always the size she is now, but she was still a pretty happy woman, not to mention a huge success. If you look in the “heftier women magazines” you will find more beautiful women than what you find on the runways of New York, it’s a fact.

Whether we want to hear it or not, the fact is that “grown-ups” still act like children to get ahead in life. It really is the “take the camera off of me and point it over there at someone else” approach. Think of your girlfriends. You likely have one in the bunch that is as cute and prissy as can be, but whenever she isn’t getting the attention from the opposite sex, she will inevitably draw attention to your weight. Don’t pay it a second thought and here’s why. Even though you could get into a dirt throwing contest and bring out all of her faults, (for example that she really wears a lot of make-up because she needs it!) there’s no point because it really doesn’t matter. So you might be overweight, big deal, you are a beautiful person inside and out. Can anyone thin top that?

Get Weather Resistant Outdoor Fireplace Tools

Your outdoor fireplace tools will depend on the type of fireplace you have, gas or wood. With a wood burning fireplace, you need tongs, poker, brush and a shovel as well as a stand to keep them handy and something to hold the wood. There are sets where the stand that holds the wood also holds the tools, cutting down on clutter while keeping everything at your fingertips.

The thing you must remember when you are buying outdoor fireplace tools or any other accessories is that, unlike a fireplace inside the house where it is protected from the weather, it will probably be exposed to all the elements. You will want to choose what materials the tools are made out of carefully, such as stainless steel which is durable and rust proof. Wrought iron is proven to withstand moisture, sun, and temperature change, but you should read all the instructions and qualities before buying any type of tools.

The Outdoor Cooking Authority website is full of good advice about all kinds of cooking, from an open campfire to the outdoor kitchens and everything in between including fireplaces. You may decide to buy more accessories for your fireplace instead of tools when they explain how to cook different types of food in it. The truth is, more people are looking to their patio for a place to go and relax and eat, and the barbeques that used to be for camping or special summertime holiday dinners are now much more common.

Your outdoor fireplace tools should be durable and weather resistant, with a minimum of tongs, poker, and brush and shovel if it is a wood burning fireplace. The rack to hold the wood is a great idea, but not something you need immediately if you cannot buy everything at once. A screen to keep hot embers from falling out is much more important.

What Is The Best Handicap Stair Lift?

If you’re handicapped a stair lift can really give you back your independence. But the cost of a handicap stair lift is expensive so before you part with your money you should make sure you buy the best stair lift for you. Here’s a quick review of stair lifts for the disabled.

There are two basic types of stair lift; the straight stair lift and the curved stair lift. These further divide into electric AC mains stair lifts and DC battery operated stair lifts. First off, do you require a curved stair lift? The price of a curved stair lift is many times more expensive than a straight stair lift. And most stair lift manufacturers only make straight stair lifts. These manufacturers will tell you that you can use two straight stair lifts if you have a middle landing, however you should bear in mind that you will have to get on and off the stair chair lift twice; this may not be so easy, depending on your handicap, especially when changing stair lifts on a small interim landing.

Until recently just about all stair lifts for the disabled were powered from mains electricity. This had some problems: the units were noisy: they had a trailing cable, which could be easily tripped over; the ride action was somewhat ‘juddery’; and you couldn’t use it when there was a power failure. Most new handicap stair lifts are battery powered. You get many advantages with a battery stair lift: quiet ride; smooth ride; no mains wires and easy to install; and you can use it when there is a power outage.

However, there are some advantages to main power. With an electric stair lift you can use it as much as you like; battery operated stair lifts need to be recharged. So, if you think you might use the handicap stair lift more than 20 times a day, then you could consider an electric stair lift.

The following manufacturers make handicap stair lifts for straight stairways only.

The Acorn Superglide 120 stair lift is a very good battery powered unit. You get many features as standard; safety sensors to stop the chair when it encounters an obstacle, fold up seat and flip up foot rest, swivel seat, and a directional paddle switches that are operated by the lightest touch and can be used easily by those even with limited dexterity. You also get a choice of safety belts; inertial reel lap harness comes as standard – you have to pay more for a fixed 3-point shoulder harness.

Finally, Acorn also manufactures the Superglide Perch Stair Lift. This perch stair lift is especially useful for those who have only limited movement in their knees – it’s also ideal for stairways that are narrower than normal.

Summit stair lifts are designed to be cheap and easily installed. The company makes electric stair lifts and not battery. You get many of the features that come with the Acorn; however the controls on the Summit stair lift are not ideal for the disabled. Also, you don’t get a safety belt. If your disability is such that you have limited use in your hands or you need to be secured with a safety belt, then you really should consider the Acorn; the price of its disable stair lift is more than that of the Summit stair lift but you do get a lot more features that are better for the handicapped.

If you need a curved stair lift then you’re probably best is considering either a Bruno stair lift or Stannah stair lift – both of these companies also make excellent straight stair lifts.

All Bruno stair lifts are battery powered. The company makes the Bruno Electra-Ride III Curved Rail stair lift. You get a retractable safety belt; optional wrap-around parking so the chair doesn’t occupy too much space on the landing; and it can carry up to 350 lbs. All in all, the Bruno is an excellent stair lift for the disabled.

Stannah is a UK stair lift manufacturer who supply handicap stair lifts all over the world. The Stannah 260 stair lift is its curved stair lift. This stair lift is ideal for the disabled. The arms come with integrated controls that operate at the lightest touch – you can also get a joystick option if you prefer. You get a manually operate swivel seat as standard but there’s also a powered swivel option. The stair lift comes with 9 sensitive safety edges to detect any obstacle and stop the chair. Finally, the chair travels along a unique dual track that is very elegant in design.

The Stannah stair lift is a little more expensive that the Bruno handicap stair lift but it is worth paying that little bit extra.

The above four stair lifts all work well for the disabled. For a straight stair lift, the Acorn Superglide stair lift is your best option. For a curved stair lift, the Stannah stair lift is my recommendation. Whichever model of handicap stair lift you choose make sure it has the features you need.

Nonprofit Board of Directors Elevator Speech – 4 Easy Steps to Promote Your Organization

One indicator of a well-run nonprofit organization is whether or not the board members, staff, and volunteers consistently and personally promote the organization throughout the community. In part, this is accomplished by dozens of informal conversations (elevator speeches) that are delivered by people involved with the organization to help build awareness of the organization’s value.

The outline, below, lists and describes each of the four steps and provides some optional statements that can be used to construct an elevator speech. Of course, you can customize these statements or add others with which you are more comfortable. During orientation, each board member, staff and volunteer should be encouraged to develop his/her own elevator speech and to incorporate it into everyday conversations with family, friends, and business colleagues.

Step 1: Opener – Starts the conversation/States the need.

1. Have I mentioned that I’m involved with /on the board of xyz organization?

2. Are you familiar with xyz organization?

3. Have you heard about the xyz organization?

4. Did you realize that (definition of local need) right here in our town/county/state?

Step 2: Mission – Explain what the organization does/how it serves the “need.”

1. The mission of xyz organization is……

2. We focus on….

3. Our major work includes…..

4. You may have seen the newspaper article about our project/fundraiser/volunteer drive…..

5. We serve x (# ) clients and provide them with ___________

Step 3: Personal Involvement – Links the speaker to the organization.

1. I’ve been involved with xyz since ______ (year)

2. I enjoy being a part of xyz organization because…

3. I am proud of our work because…

4. I am especially excited about our recent project/accomplishments…

5. I first got involved with xyz organization when…

Step 4: Learn More – How can the listener learn more about the organization?

1. We have a great web site (———.org) where you can learn more about our projects and programs.

2. If you’d be interested in learning more about xyz I’d be happy to tell you more about our achievements/accomplishments.

3. Xyz has a monthly information session and I’d love you to be my guest and attend one of these sessions. 4. Could I drop off a written brochure to you – or send you one in the mail?

5. We are always looking for volunteers/board members to help us with…

6. Would you be interested in learning more about xyz organization?

All board members, staff and volunteers should be encouraged to construct an elevator speech that they can be personally comfortable delivering throughout the community.

Personalised Number Plates in South Africa – What Are Your Options

Personalised number plates are slightly different in each country. Regulations as to what combinations of letters and numbers are permitted, and how many of each, vary widely, and so does the cost of purchasing a personalised registration number. Whether you want one for fun or for business branding purposes, it makes sense to check out whether your brilliant idea will be allowed in your area.

In South Africa vehicle registration numbers are defined by province, so no matter what personalised number plate you choose it will bear the two letters indicating the province that issued the plates at the end of the number. The plates can have 1-7 numbers and letters in any combination, which gives you loads of space to create a unique, fun or hilarious tag for your car.

Costs vary according to province

When choosing your unique number you do need to check the regulations and costs for your province. Some provinces charge the same whether you want just one letter or seven, while others are cheaper for 4-7 letters or numbers and charge over the odds for single numbers or letters. The Western Cape is the fiercest in charges when it comes to single characters, so that it really does become a status symbol to show off the number plate 1 – WP. If you only have a limited budget, and live in the Western Cape or Gauteng, you can have fun dreaming up 4-7 letter words that express your personality or sum up your business, as these are the most affordable options in these provinces.

Purchasing from another province

It is possible to purchase plates from another province, if for example your chosen name or number is already taken in your province, but your vehicle would have to be registered to an address in that province and the license fee paid there annually.

Annual license fees

Bear in mind that the annual license fee for personalised number plates can be significantly higher than the standard license fees, so check out what this cost is likely to be in your province before purchasing the plates themselves. You don’t want to commit yourself to an annual fee that you can’t afford and have to abandon the plates after only a year. The annual license fee may be higher for single character plates and more affordable for longer plates, so this would also be an important factor in determining your choice of personalised number plates.

Special registration numbers

The cheapest option of all is to go for special number plates. These have three numbers followed by three letters or vice versa but are only available in Gauteng.

Pellet-Stove Part I

If you are looking for a cheaper way to heat your home in winter months, you may thing of a lot of different options that are out there. One of these options is the pellet-stoves. These pellet-stoves is just one way that you are going to be able to make your home a little warmer in the winter and it less costly than some of the gas or oil furnaces that many people use to heat their homes today. The pellet-stove would be a good alternative to some of the high heating bills that many are paying now.

Another great thing about the pellet-stoves is that they give off a beautiful color of flame when it is burning strong. This means that if you have a pellet-stove in your family room or living room you will be able to see the beautiful colors of the flame when you are sitting down to relax for the night after a long day's work that you already put in. The pellet-stove is going to mainly burn little pieces of wood that end up looking like a piece of rabbit food. That is how they came up with the name pellet-stove because of the way that the wood looks that is being burnt.

When you think of a pellet-stove you may want to think of all the money that you are going to be able to save when it comes to heating your home in the wintertime. In addition, you will be burning an item that is not going to hurt the environment when it is heating your home. This is because the wood that is used is a part of the natural resources of nature so that you will not be harming the environment at the time of use. Another good point of the pellet-stove is that the pellets that are used for burning is made from different scraps from contractors when they are building another home.

If you are looking for a way to save some money in the winter and you do not want to hurt the environment either when you are heating your home. You are going to want to take some time to look at all the different pellet-stoves that are out there to choose from. You are going to be able to find one that will heat your entire home and still keep the environment safe. These are even good if you are looking for a way that you would be able to just help heat of a small area of ​​the home without turning up the heat even more. They will look great as a fireplace in the living room for those chilly nights or even for a romantic night with your loved one.

Find more info about pellet stove on [http://www.all-about-pellet-stove.com/]

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using an Induction Cooker

Solar cookers are definitely the most energy efficient way of cooking our food as it uses a renewable source of energy that is both very environmentally friendly and free. However, this technology is still in its infancy which still has a number of inconveniences and disadvantages that would make it quite difficult to have this used for everyday cooking in our modern society.

However, one cooking technology that is now fast gaining popularity may just be the next best thing. This is known as the induction cooker. However, does it really provide more advantages to make us right away make the change from our traditional cooking stoves and electric flat tops?

To better answer this question, it is best that we look at the different advantages and disadvantages of using this cooker.


• Safety. The traditional gas stove we have expose us to an open flame apart from the gas leak that can occur if the device is not properly used or maintained. As for electrical powered cookers like the ones with the heating coils we are exposed to the coils that burn red when used. These can prove to be safety hazards that one can easily do away with induction cookers. The induction cooker would only be activated when in contact with a material that has enough ferrous content so even if you place your hand on it while it is turned on, you will get no response from it.

• No Wasted Heat. In gas powered cookers, less than half (40% to be exact) of the energy it consumes gets used for cooking as opposed to induction cookers which use around 84% if the energy it consumes to cooking.

• Accurate Heating. You can adjust the heating of the induction cooker instantly and it provides a steady and accurate amount of heat.

• Aesthetics. Unlike the gas the leaves a byproduct that you can see around the stove area, this one does not have one just like any other electric powered cookers. However, the nice ceramic top and the hidden cooking element make your counter top looks cleaner than the old traditional cookers. Furthermore, it takes up less space giving you more room to work on or more storage space for your kitchen.


• Ferromagnetic Materials Required. You can only use cooking vessels with ferromagnetic materials in it. You cannot use regular Pyrex, copper or aluminum pans. This is due to the fact that the electromagnetic system of the cooking element gets activated when in contact with cooking tools made of substantial amount of iron. However, you can always purchase the induction disc to work like an adapter to allow you to use non ferromagnetic cooking vessels on it.

• It is powered by Electricity. Although this is not necessarily a disadvantage but can prove to be one should electricity outage is rampant on your area.

• No Flames. This can be a disadvantage only the perspective of those who loves to cook meals that require charring of certain ingredients in open flames.

The induction cooker can have its disadvantage but generally when it comes to energy efficiency and safety, this is a good cooker. Furthermore, although this is a new technology, it does not cost that more than your traditional cooker and can be bought at a reasonable price.

Pre Insulated Duct Panel

We are living in a world where adverse climatic change has resulted to extremely high levels of global warming. These effects have not spared the mankind, animals, fish, plants, and non-living things. Most modern houses cannot be said to be comfortable to live in without some proper level of thermal insulation.

The architects of bungalows, skyscrapers and even small houses have taken necessary measures to reinforce the buildings so as to shield those meant to shelter inside from excessively high and low temperatures.

Effective insulation helps keep warm air out and cold air in during warm months. During cold months, the opposite applies hot air in and cold air out. Over the years, sheet metals (for example galvanized steel and aluminum) are the most common insulating materials used on buildings. But, these metals are disadvantageous because their prices keep on fluctuating from time to time. Thanks to the booming construction sector. In addition to that, when ferried in large amounts, they can be extremely heavy and costly. To counter the drawbacks posed by the massive usage of these metals, fiberglass duct panels are commonly used.

The fiberglass has insulating properties that are far much more superior to that of galvanized steel or aluminum. However one of its major limitations is cost. Fiberglass is more expensive. Both galvanized steel, fiberglass and aluminum have found numerous applications in industry today, their cost kept aside. To reduce construction costs and at the same time maximizing the quality of their structures, architects and engineers have resorted to using materials that are less costly and convenient. Under these conditions insulative forms have come into great play. This latest technology on the construction industry has greatly alleviated the burden of erecting quality structures to owners since they are the ones who bears the cost. For the rental properties the case is even worse since, the higher the construction costs the more expensive they become to those wishing to rent or lease them.

Of the most commonly used materials in the design of foam duct panels are, polyurethane and phenolic foam. Their weight is considerably lower and they are more affordable as compared to fiberglass, galvanized steel and aluminum. These foam duct panels can be used as wall, ceiling, air duct and floor linings. They are capable of being made rigid or flexible depending on the purpose the building will serve. They can therefore be easily manipulated and constructed to suit the specifications of the architect. To reinforce the insulative properties of the phenolic foam duct panels, they are properly lined with thin coat of aluminum say, twenty five micrometers for the interior and two hundred micrometers for the exterior uses. Phenolic foam is a type of plastic resin that is entirely composed of aldehyde and phenol as its primary constituents. Phenolic foam duct panels can be installed either in the interior or on the exterior of a building.

Although sheet metals are good in offering structural insulation, foam insulating products have exhibited some better additional benefits as compared to the former. One major fact is that, their performance on resisting fire and moisture is withstanding. The foam produces very little amount of non-toxic smoke consisting of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide gases in the rare event that it gets burnt.

How to Select Your Decking Materials

There are many decking materials available today from wood, composite (wood-plastic blend) and vinyl/plastic. Wood tends to have lower initial cost but more maintenance effort and cost, especially if the desired color is not the natural weathered color. Wood looks like wood. Composites tend to be in the middle to high end in initial cost, lower on maintenance effort and cost, and good for color retention. Composites do not look exactly like wood. Vinyl/plastic tends to be the highest in initial cost, longest in expected service life, lowest in maintenance cost and effort, and great for color retention. Vinyl/plastic also does not look exactly like wood.


Most decking installed in the U.S. is wood and most wood decking is treated pine. Treated pine is treated to prevent rot (CCA has been phased out and has been replaced now with ACQ & other treatments). These are acronyms for the chemicals in the treatments. The wood most commonly treated is southern yellow pine. The nature of the wood itself, not the treatment, makes it prone to twisting, splitting, warping and splintering. Some other woods in use are cedar, redwood, IPE, Tigerwood, Massaranduba and Garapa.


Composite decking is a distant second in popularity after wood but is now more popular than ever in new deck installations and re-decks (re-use old deck framing and replace old deck boards and railing with new composite materials). “Composite” means that the decking is molded or extruded from a secret formula that is a mixture of wood and plastic or vinyl. The wood is a wood flour of various grinds and species. The plastic is most often polyethylene or polypropylene. There are different ratios of wood to plastic and different mixtures of recycled & virgin plastic. All of these things affect performance characteristics. Composite decking is available in regular plank, tongue & groove, grain finish, solid colors, and mixed colors.


Vinyl/plastic decking is becoming more popular and is primarily taking market share away from the composite deck segment. Decking profiles are typically plank but with a few manufacturers offering a tongue & groove. Vinyl/plastic decking is available in a grain or smooth finish, solid colors, and mixed colors.



” Wood looks like real wood and the initial cost is much lower with pine but not necessarily so with some of the other woods

” Wood weathers and changes color – requires periodic cleaning and staining to maintain a color other than the naturally weathered color

” Southern yellow pine splits, cracks and splinters over time

” Exotic woods like IPE, Tigerwood, Massaranduba and Garapa are more expensive but do not split and crack like pine.

” Wood must be replaced (usually before other materials) at some point which varies with exposure, maintenance and luck

” Wood requires some maintenance for best performance and service life – usually pressure washed to get clean

” Maintenance costs time and/or money and can offset any initial cost savings.


” Initial cost is significantly higher than pine, but similar to the exotic woods

” Longer service life

” Lower maintenance cost and effort than wood – usually cleaned with a pressure washer or a chemical solution wash & flush

” No painting, staining or sealing

” No splinters

” Variety of colors

” Variety of textures – embossed wood, grain, grooved, smooth

” Mixed colors and grains

” Hidden fasteners

” May grow mold and mildew in the wood component – can be difficult and troublesome to clean completely

” May stain – cleaning methods vary with type of stain and wood component


” Initial cost is usually the same or higher than composites

” Longer service life

” Least amount of maintenance and effort – usually cleaned with a water hose

” No painting, staining or sealing

” No splinters

” Maintains original look and color long term

” Variety of colors except for dark colors like brown

” Variety of textures – embossed wood, grain, grooved, smooth

” Mixed colors and grains

” Hidden fasteners

” No mold or mildew

” No stains


There are many factors to consider when selecting your decking materials:

” Aesthetics – color(s), finish, width, hidden fasteners, etc.

” Style – regular plank vs. tongue & groove

” Service Life

” Resistance to stains, fading and mold

” Resistance to splitting, cracking and splintering

” Maintenance

” Initial Cost

” Warranty

” Special Features – waterproofing area below

The material that is right for you is the one that has the best overall package of features that are important to you.


Based on such factors as cost, warranty, maintenance, durability, product integrity, as well as having the entire deck built out of the same product (visible parts) and the overall look of the deck. the following top brand of materials are recommended:


” Pressure Treated Southern Yellow Pine


” Tigerwood

” Massaranduba

” Garapa


” TimberTech (timbertech.com)

” Trex (trex.com)

” Evergrain (evergrain.com)

” Monarch (monarchdeck.com)


” TimberTech XLM (timbertech.com)

” Trex Escapes (trex.com)

” Azek (azek.com)

” Veka (vekadeck.com)

” TanDeck (tandeck.com)

Personal Budget – 7 Guidelines That Will Help You Plan a Working Budget

Setting up your personal budget requires a hands-on approach. The following guidelines will help you plan a working budget to undertake this journey.

1. Gather all your financial details. That will include all of your bank accounts, credit cards and insurances papers – anything to do with your personal finances. These details will be needed to start your budget.

2. List all sources of income. This includes salary, rental income and regular dividends and interest.

3. Categorise your expenses starting with your commitments – list each item under headings such as:

  • Home: mortgage or rent.
  • Association and professional fees.
  • Insurance: health, motor vehicle, home, contents and life
  • Education costs
  • Day care and child care
  • Loans: car loan, student loan, bank fees and interest
  • Land tax or rates.
  • Other payments required as a commitment: motor vehicle licensing.
  • Investment – yes commit to your future and pay yourself!

4. List necessities – again list each item under headings:

  • Food, groceries, gas (petrol), home maintenance, security.
  • Utilities: gas, water, electricity, rubbish disposal, phone costs
  • School lunches, household supplies, car maintenance, internet service, dry cleaning, monthly parking.

5. Other expenses. Personal everyday expenses covering: lunch at work, snacks, coffee, drinks, newspapers, magazines, batteries, postage. Family and personal allowances: parties, entertainment, weekend outings, movies, concerts, other entertainment and events, home improvements and decorating, magazine and other subscriptions, dining out and fast food. Also include: clothing, hobbies, personal recreation, books, CD’s, manicures, hair care, alterations, shoe repair, personal and family gifts, gardening, film processing, video rentals, sports and gym, donations, computer software and other related items.

6. Once you have all your expenses listed add the total expenses and deduct these from your income. You will need to convert everything to monthly or weekly. This means that bills that are paid once a year must be divided by 12 to get the monthly figure. Convert quarterly payments to an annual figure then convert this to monthly. It is important that you include bills that are paid other than monthly to ensure that the money is available when the bill is due. Place the money in an interest bearing account.

7. Do you need to tweak your budget? When you deducted the expenses from your income was there any money left or did you find your expenses were more than your income? If your situation is the latter you will need to do some tweaking. The commitments cannot change. As for necessities you may be able to cut down on food expenses and find cheaper providers of utilities or try to save costs by being conscious of switching off lights etc. But it is the other expenses category that has the most capacity for tweaking as many of them are not needed and can be reduced or cut out. Review your budget regularly to make sure it is still working for you.

The time to start a personal budget is now and these guidelines are designed to make sure that your budget is truly a working budget — one that works for you!

Role of WCDMA in 3G Mobile Communication

Introduction to 3G:

The Third Generation (3G) will be digital mobile multimedia offering broadband mobile communications with voice, video, and graphics, audio and other information.

The mobile communications industry has evolved in three stages, and correspondingly three generations of mobile phones have emerged thus far. Each one has provided more flexibility and usability than the previous ones.

o (1G) Analog: Analog phones helped to make voice calls inside one’s country without roaming facilities.

o (2G) Digital mobile phone systems added fax, data and messaging capabilities as well as voice telephone service in many countries offering worldwide roaming.

o (3G) Multimedia services add high speed data transfer to mobile devices, allowing new video, audio and other applications (including Internet services) through mobile phones.

3G, based on WCDMA technology, will bring these incompatible standards together.

Features of 3G:

1. With 3G, the information is split into separate but related packets before being transmitted and reassembled at the receiving end. Packet switched data formats are much more common than their circuit switched counterparts.

2. The World Wide Web (WWW) is becoming the primary communications interface. People access the Internet for entertainment, services, and information collection, the intranet for accessing enterprise information and connecting with colleagues and the extranet for accessing customers and suppliers. These are all derivatives of the World Wide Web aimed at connecting different communities of interest. Information and other resources are being stored in remote Web servers, which serve the various needs of human beings through Web browsers at their ends.

3. Speeds of up to 2 Megabits per second (Mbps) are achievable with 3G. The data transmission rates will depend upon the environment, the call is being made in, however, only indoors and in stationary environments that these types of data rates will be available. For high mobility, data rates of 144 kbps are expected to be available.

Implementation of WCDMA in 3G:

Wideband Code-Division Multiple-Access (W-CDMA) is one of the main technologies for the implementation of third-generation (3G) cellular systems.

The implementation of W-CDMA will be a technical challenge because of it’s complexity and versatility. The complexity of W-CDMA systems can be viewed from different angles: the complexity of each single algorithm, the complexity of the overall system and the computational complexity of a receiver. W-CDMA link-level simulations are over 10 times more compute-intensive than current second-generation simulations. In W-CDMA interface different users can simultaneously transmit at different data rates and data rates can even vary in time. UMTS networks need to support all current second generation services and numerous new applications and services.

Different modes of operation in WCDMA:

In WCDMA, there are two different modes of operation possible:

o TDD: In this duplex method, uplink and downlink transmissions are carried over the same frequency band by using synchronized time intervals. Thus time slots in a physical channel are divided into transmission and reception part.

o FDD: The uplink and downlink transmissions employ two separated frequency bands for this duplex method. A pair of frequency bands with specified separation is assigned for a connection. Since different regions have different frequency allocation schemes, the capability to operate in either FDD or TDD mode allows for efficient utilization of the available spectrum

Key Features of WCDMA:

The key operational features of the WCDMA radio interface are listed below:

1. Support of high data rate transmission: 384 Kbps with wide area coverage, 2 Mbps with local coverage.

2. High service flexibility: support of multiple parallel variable rate services on each connection.

3. Both Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and Time Division Duplex (TDD).

4. Built in support for future capacity and coverage enhancing technologies like adaptive antennas, advanced receiver structures and transmitter diversity.

5. Support of inter frequency hand over and hand over to other systems, including hand over to GSM.

6. Efficient packet access.

WCDMA Technical Specifications

Multiple Access Scheme: DS-CDMA

Duplex Scheme: FDD/TDD

Packet Access Dual mode: (Combined and dedicated channel)

Multirate/Variable rate scheme: Variable spreading factor and multi-code

Chip Rate: 3.84 Mcps

Carrier Spacing: 4.4-5.2 MHz (200 kHz carrier raster)

Frame Length: 4.4-5.2 MHz (200 kHz carrier raster

Inter Base Station synchronization: FDD: No synchronization needed

TDD: Synchronization required

3G mobile communication Technology with WCDMA:

Providing good in-building coverage plays an important role in attracting and retaining mobile subscribers. Ordinarily, coverage from the macro network extends into buildings but should be complemented by dedicated in-building systems. Greater data capacity and the ability of third-generation networks to provide high-speed data services increase the demands put on the cellular network. Subscribers have great expectations regarding third-generation services.

Therefore, when introduced, the new services must (at very least) be available everywhere second-generation services can be found. Notwithstanding, many third-generation networks deployed to date have been designed primarily to provide good coverage in outdoor environments-not inside buildings. As a consequence, users of early implementations of wideband code-division multiple access (WCDMA) rate third-generation services poorly compared to second-generation services.


The major advantage is increased capacity through more efficient use of the spectrum. Greater capacity enables the WCDMA wireless network to handle higher call density at a lower cost. Implementation of WCDMA improved the voice quality, system performance and Mobile battery life.


1. Rakesh Arora, “Recent advances in wireless data networking”.

2. Hans Beijner, “The Importance Of In-Building Solutions In Third-Generation Networks”.

3. Juha Korhonen, “Introduction to 3G Mobile Communications”.

4. Ramjee Prasad, “Towards a Global 3G System”

5. Jeffrey Bannister, Paul Mather, Sebastian Coope, “Convergence Technologies for 3G”

6. MR Karim, Mohsen Sarraf, “W CDMA and Cdma2000 for 3G Mobile Networks”

7. Keiji Tachikawa, “W CDMA Mobile Communications System”

8. R Ramachandran, “Evolution to 3G mobile communication”

Smart Window Replacements – Control the Sun With a Switch

We seem to be a culture that loves to fix the word “smart” into new technology advancements and there’s no shortage of tech that is just that. While these tech advancements often sound more like science fiction, they’re growing every popular and there’s no shortage of these types of advancements for the home. The most prominent now is smart glass – which acts like a solar light switch for the home. Instead of relying in window treatments to block light this advanced replacement window automatically controls the level of light penetration into the home.

How does Smart Glass Work

Smart glass is often referred to as switchable glass. The windowpanes within smart glass window replacements will dim and brighten – and how they allow light through depends on the style of smart glass you have installed. Some work by flipping a switch to control the tint with adjustments to control the level of opacity.

Other smart replacement windows can operate without any manual adjustment, responding to light levels similar to the way treated sunglasses respond to sunlight. This is called photochromic technology. The benefit to the use of photochromic tech within your window replacements is that it requires no manual operation and uses no electricity.

Another system – though slightly less popular – are window panes that do not response to manual operation or light levels but instead are made with thermotropic panes. These replacement windows will dim according to the heat levels that are read by the glass. The downside to this as well as photochromic window replacements is that you have no control over the level of light in your home. There’s also the problem with winter months where thermotropic windows won’t tint properly and photochromic technology will act as a radiant barrier preventing solar energy from heating the home through the replacement windows.

Improving Smart Glass with Suspended Particle Devices

Switchable glass replacement windows isn’t a new technology, it’s been on the market for several years and has had the opportunity to be improved upon. The advancement of chemical engineering for smart glass allows improved switching methods on panes that have manual operation. A similar advancement is in suspended particle devices where a conductive glaze covers the panes of glass in window replacements. When denied an electrical current the elements block the light and remain opaque until a switch is tripped. When the circuit completes the particles line up and become transparent, allowing light to pass through.

Liquid Crystal Replacement Windows

The same stuff that’s found within the displays in your digital clocks, DVD displays and laptop screens is also put inside of replacement windows. This works similarly to SPD technology with panes remaining black and white. Add current and the liquid crystal aligns to let light pass through. If you remove the current the window panes go solid.

Why Advanced Technology for Window Replacements?

If you can get the same effect by hanging curtain, why invest in technologically advanced (and often expensive) window replacements? Unlike traditional drapes and blinds which allow solar energy through no matter how well they’re closed, smart window replacements are designed to dramatically minimize heat gain – and you’ll never have to vacuum or wash your smart glass. The electrical use of the window replacements is minimal and often covered by the utility savings. A smart choice for any window replacement project you have on your home improvement list.