How To Mix Concrete In A Wheelbarrow

So you have decided to make some concrete and you think that using a wheelbarrow and a shovel may be the best method for you to mix it together. While this may be correct, there are other viable options for mixing your concrete that you may want to consider. Of these methods you can mix concrete using your hands in the bucket, a square shovel on a piece of plywood, or in a bucket with a drill and whip attachment which is similar to a paddle.

Of all of the concrete mixing methods mixing in a wheelbarrow with a shovel is one of the most physically demanding. If you intend to mix your concrete in a wheelbarrow then you should not have very much concrete to mix. If you plan to mix more than a few bags of concrete then you should strongly consider renting a concrete mixer from a local hardware store. A concrete mixer rental can be as little as $30-$50 and can save you a huge amount of backbreaking labor.

If you have already decided that a wheelbarrow and shovel is the way you need to go, then a few expert hints and tips can help you to make hard work much easier. The first thing that you need to know is that you should be using a spade shovel not a square shovel for mixing your concrete. The next most important tip is to thoroughly spray down the inside of your wheelbarrow with water as well as spray down your shovel with water prior to starting your mix. This will help to lubricate the wheelbarrow and prevent the concrete powder from binding in the corners.

One of the single most important things that you must do when the mixing concrete in a wheelbarrow is ensure that the wheelbarrow remains balanced at all times. This means that your workstation must be completely flat and the wheelbarrow must be balanced securely and not wobbly from a broken support or flat tire. Concrete and water are both extremely heavy and as you mix them in the wheelbarrow the three points of contact with the ground can leave a little to be desired. It is very easy for a wheelbarrow full of concrete to tip over and it is definitely heavy enough to cause physical injury to anyone adjacent to it. Always be sure to work safely and prevent unnecessary injury even from items as simple as a wheelbarrow and a shovel.

While overwatering your concrete is generally a very bad idea as it will completely compromise the finish strength of the product, overwatering can be the secret to mixing concrete in a wheelbarrow easily. The idea here is that you want to add about half to two thirds of your dry concrete mix into a wet wheelbarrow, and then add more than the amount of water that this concrete will need. This will turn the concrete into a soupy substance that you can stir similar to how a which might stir a cauldron, as opposed to snapping your shovel in half trying to lift, turn and mix underwatered concrete.

The secret is to slowly add more dried mix at the and to firm up your concrete mix. If you do this correctly you should be able to achieve a perfect, thick and well mixed concrete mixture with out the backbreaking labor involved with lifting and turning dry concrete mix. You cannot truly appreciate how much easier this method is than dumping a bag of dry concrete into a wheelbarrow and spraying it with water, until you have tried it for yourself.

If you plan to mix concrete in your wheelbarrow on multiple occasions then it becomes critically important that you clean your wheelbarrow out well after each mix. If you allow the concrete to dry inside of the wheelbarrow it will make mixing much more difficult in the future, it will make the wheelbarrow heavier, and it will allow dried concrete to flake off into your new mix the next time you are mixing a batch. Even if you are mixing multiple batches in a row, you should spray the sides of your wheelbarrow down with a garden hose in between each mix. This will make sure that concrete from the first mix isn’t drying on your wheelbarrow as you are working on mix number three or four.

Another tip is to put down a tarp or plastic underneath of the wheelbarrow in a large area around where you will be working. Especially when making wet mixes the concrete will be inclined to splash out of the wheelbarrow on occasion. By having the plastic down this creates a safe work area where the concrete can not damage anything allowing you to focus on the task at hand. If you plan to transport the freshly mixed concrete in the wheelbarrow. Be sure that you have not splashed any wet concrete on to the tire that may leave marks as you wheel the wheelbarrow off of the plastic tarp.

A final tip about mixing concrete in the wheelbarrow is to choose a suitable wheelbarrow for the application. You will want a wheelbarrow that is made of metal as plastic wheelbarrows will allow the sharp edge of the shovel to scrape and scratch the plastic off of the sides. This would result in little plastic pieces inside of your concrete mix which would be undesirable. You also want to choose a wheelbarrow that is fairly heavy duty as concrete is extremely heavy. You also want to choose a wheelbarrow with high sides that will help prevent the concrete from splashing out during the mixing process.

What is a Body Lift and Who Gets One?

A body lift is an enhancement procedure that enables post bariatric and gastric bypass patients to excise excess skin after tremendous weight loss. It also involves a series of smaller cosmetic surgery techniques that are geared to sculpt and tone the body. Although anyone can undergo a total body lift, gastric bypass candidates and those who have lost a massive amount of weight fairly quickly benefit the most from such a procedure.

This is because those who were once extremely overweight or morbidly obese often have to contend with mounds of heavy flesh as a remnant of their immense weight loss. Far from just merely being aesthetically displeasing, this skin can be prone to infection and uncomfortable.

A body lifts’ primary function is to excise this skin. During this extremely detailed cosmetic surgery, stubborn fat may also be liposuctioned out. Underlying musculature is then reshaped and the skin is pulled taunt over the body’s contours.

There are several types of body lifts available for individuals who want his type of cosmetic surgery, and they fall in the category of an upper, mid, lower and total or total body lift.

Upper body lift

The name of the lift of course corresponds with the area of the lift, for example, arm and breast lift surgeries are often a part of the upper body lift. With the arm lift, doctors remove the hanging flesh of the upper arms that are affectionately known as ‘bat wings’. This skin seldom regains its elasticity and can’t be dieted and exercised away. With the right technique, an arm lift can be performed where the scars are well hidden so you can wear regular tops and shirts without fear of surgical scars showing.

Breast lifts or augmentation can also be a part of an upper body flit as well. The upper body lift procedures you decide on will greatly depend on what your needs are after your weight loss.

Mid body lift

The mid body lift employs cosmetic surgery methods that excises the skin on the abdominal region and back areas. The more common mid body lift, called the belt lipectomy, removed saggy skin and sculpts the abdominals and back. In this way, the waistline is trimmed and smoothed out.

Also called a torsoplasty, a surgeon of some skill can not only make sure skin is removed, but can arrange underlying musculature and tighten the skin so there is little to no evidence that you ever had loose skin over any part of your body. The areas targeted by a mid body lift are the abdomen, love handles, back, buttocks and thighs. Cosmetic surgery areas like the buttocks and thighs are also included in a lower body lift.

Lower body lift

Cosmetic surgery on the buttocks, hips and thighs is often included in a lower body lift. In this procedure, fat is liposuctioned and skin cut away. After sculpting the target areas, the incision sites are sutured and sewn. A mini tuck or full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) may be needed to give the lower body lift the support it needs to tighten.

Compression garments will then be worn during the several weeks of recovery and well after.

Total body lift

A full or total body lift often combines all of these surgeries which are performed over a period of several months. The costs can vary depending on what type of body lift you get, but conservative estimates for a partial body lift are $8,000 to $15,000 and total from $25,000-$50,000 dollars.

Many cosmetic surgery practices offer financing deals, so be sure to comparison shop before settling on a doctor to perform your partial or total body lift surgery.

Commercial Elevators – Are They Safe?

Whether you are a business owner considering installing a commercial elevator in your office building or other establishment or just an individual or patron who simply rides on elevators frequently, you may be wondering whether or not commercial elevators are truly safe. In most cases, commercial elevators are completely safe. However, there are certain signs you can look for to know whether or not a particular elevator is one that you should use. Being aware of these signs will help keep you out of a potentially hazardous situation and will enable you to take steps to keep others safe as well.

It must first be mentioned that accidents can occur on any elevator – even the most expensive or well serviced ones. Just like any other machine, elevators can encounter problems. They may break, fall, or get stuck. Fortunately, however, each state has an authority that licenses or certifies elevators for use and that checks for obvious safety violations or problems that may pose a risk to passengers.

The existence of these agencies is the reason that there are far fewer elevator related accidents, injuries, and deaths in the United States. It is also important to note that these agencies do not just perform one check and then write the elevator off as “safe” or “compliant with all standards.” Instead, frequent checks are performed, usually every few months and no less than twice per year. Elevator owners are responsible for correcting any problems that exist before they can keep or obtain a certification.

Any elevator that is operating in a building in the United States must legally have been certified by the local or state board. The next time you are in an elevator, check for a small placard or sign that contains the licensing information. There will be numbers on this sign that identify the elevator, and if you have any issues or concerns with this particular elevator, you can report it by writing down or remembering this number. In the rare case that there is no sign, you are in an elevator that is operating illegally, and you should take steps to report the building or establishment to the appropriate authorities.

Without proper installation, care, and general maintenance, elevators can be a very dangerous thing. You should never ride in an elevator that has not been certified, as this can pose a serious risk to your safety. If you are a business owner and are considering installing an elevator, make sure you research, understand, and carefully follow all regulations in your particular state.

Not doing so could pose a risk to your clients or patrons and can result in hefty fines and fees or even exorbitant legal costs to you. Everyone has the right to feel secure when they ride in an elevator, so it is imperative that everyone work together to keep these machines comfortable and, above all, safe.

Car Cloning And Number Plate Theft

Car cloning is the vehicle equivalent of identity theft.There are as many as 10,000 cloned cars on UK roads, but still many people are still unaware of the problem, and even the police admit they don’t know the true scale of it.

How does it work?

There are various ways of cloning cars, most popular ways involves getting hold of other number plate (or illegally printed number plates) and using them on cars that the plates aren’t registered too.

The vehicle registration mark on a number plate is the key piece of information that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) use to look up keeper details on a vehicle record.

Stolen number plates are used on vehicles, by those who don’t want to be found out when they commit such crimes as:

speeding

illegal parking

not paying congestion charges driving away from a petrol forecourt without paying not paying for parking tickets or speeding fines

‘disguising’ a stolen vehicle

The Most Common Ways This Is Done:

Criminals make a ‘clone’ of another car by replacing the number plates on their car with the stolen registration plates from an almost identical vehicle of the same make, model and even colour.

When the owner of the cloned car realises that their number plates have gone, they go to the trouble & expense to replace them, unaware that the cloned vehicle is now being used under its new identity for a load of law-breaking activities.

These activities can range from getting away without paying for parking tickets, speeding fines as well as driving off a petrol station forecourt without paying. They can also be used in more serious crimes including organised crime and potentially, terrorist activity.

Many people have only discovered that they are a victim of this crime when they have suddenly started to receive parking tickets for places they haven’t been, or other fines or endorsements that have nothing to do with them.

As the onus is on them to prove their innocence, many victims have been left in the difficult situation of paying up or letting the issue go to court, simply because they cannot prove it wasn’t them who carried out the infringement.

Wendy Rowe, boss of leading vehicle security company Retainagroup explains:

“The owner of a cloned car who receives fines, charges, penalty points or is accused of stealing fuel or involvement in more serious crimes has the difficult task of proving that he or she is innocent. I wonder how many have just taken the hit and accepted a fine or penalty points rather than challenge the system?”

“If the car is used as a getaway vehicle or in a ram raid, there will be a further victim of the original crime. And if you’re unfortunate enough to ‘buy’ a cloned vehicle, you’ll find that you don’t own it and that you can say goodbye to the money. Even a vehicle provenance check will not necessarily reveal a clone.”

What can we all do to stay 1 step ahead of cloners?

Make it hard for them to get your number plates off, make sure your plates are attached with clutch head screws & caps & double sided adhesive tape.

If you notice your number plate has gone don’t just presume it must have fallen off on the road, report it to the police straight away this will prove that you reported the theft should your car be cloned and your registration be used at a later date.

Explanation of Woodburning Stove Terms

What do the terms: Primary air, Secondary air/airwash, Cleanburn and Tertiary air all mean with regard to woodburning and multifuel stoves?

Many years ago in the mid 19th century, long before the days of global warming discussions, stoves were being widely produced in Europe as cast-iron boxes with many chambers, designed with a firebox in the bottom chamber. Air entered the stove in many cases at the base of the fire bed to ignite and burn the fuel. This was known as primary air.

Primary air is still used today in multifuel stoves as a controllable inlet at the base of the stove door. It is the primary or main combustion air inlet into the stove chamber under the fuel bed .The air ensures good ignition of fossil and non fossil fuels and if not controlled by the inlet control will cause the multifuel stove to burn fiercely. Multifuel stoves up to more recent years had only solid cast-iron doors, as pyroceramic glass was not available. All stoves with glass had those little strips, which I am sure many can remember, or mica, which yellowed over time.

As our woodburning and multifuel stoves advanced, with panes of pyroceramic glass and better fuel combustion a requirement to reduce emissions, secondary air was developed.

Secondary air

Secondary air is an extra addition of air through an inlet or inlets above the stove door. The secondary air exit vent is close to the angled baffle plate at the top of the fire chamber, and angles downwards appearing as a narrow vent above the stove door and glass This introduces a stream of warm air just as the unburnt gases rise to pass the baffle plate, and enter the gas exit chamber. The warm air ignites them, thereby giving a secondary burn with more heat and less emissions. The secondary warm air from the vent flows downwards behind the glass to the top of the fire bed, also aiding in secondary combustion and presenting a warm air film over the glass. This hinders the smoke from blackening the glass. As the temperature in the fire chamber rises and the secondary air flowing downwards behind the glass gets hotter you can see the hot air visibly clean the glass. This action is called airwash. Woodburning stoves work best after initial ignition by only using this upper controllable inlet, as they burn differently than stoves that burn fossil fuels. The secondary air inlet should also be used to control multifuel stoves, once the fire is well established, with the opening up of the primary air inlet again when more fossil fuel is added or if the fuel is not combusting well.

Cleanburn or preheated secondary air

Cleanburn is really preheated secondary air. The secondary air as opposed to entering the woodburning or multifuel stove at an inlet or inlets above the door is very often brought up ducts from the lower back of the stove. The air is partially fed into the lower part of the fire chamber and rest of the hot air, is ducted above the stove door to a similar exit vent as described above, near the edge of the baffle plate. It again flows down over the door so give a hot airwash and into the fire chamber as hot secondary air. The next time you have a good look at a stove you will see the same channel just inside, above the door on both secondary air and cleanburn stoves. The difference being the clean burn stove will normally have its secondary inlet control at the base of the stove. This preheated secondary air ignites some unburnt gases in the lower and upper parts of the fire chamber, which burn off at higher temperatures than the direct secondary air can achieve. The glass usually stays super clean with preheated secondary air systems.

The result of the cleanburn or preheated secondary air is a much better combustion and lower emissions from a woodburning stove.

Tertiary air

Tertiary air further compliments the cleanburn system as a third air intake, which I have seen working superbly in Norwegian woodburning stoves and modern/contemporary woodburning stoves with large burning chambers. The air is normally drawn up the back of the stove via a series of chambers and is then injected into the back of the upper fire chamber through small steel jets. The jets of superhot air ignite the remainder of gases that will only burn off at very high temperatures. . The emissions from these stoves as long as good seasoned wood is being burnt are very low with co emissions in some cases lower than .0.09 vol% at 13% CO2. Many of these contemporary/modern woodburning stoves carry the Din + standard for high combustion and low emissions.

I hope I have made this woodburning stove jargon a little more clear.

These triple burn stoves as I like to call them tend to be in the more expensive range. I suggest that as long as the woodburning stove that you purchase has the obligatory CE Approval or a Din Standard Approval you will be purchasing a good stove with acceptable emission standards. Always burn the recommended fuels to achieve these emissions with a chimney that is regularly serviced and a properly well fitted and maintained woodburning stove.

Buying the Best Slow Cooker Online

Slow cookers have become a must have item in every kitchen. The best tip for buying the best slow cooker online is to shop at what is considered one of the best and most reliable online shopping stores; Amazon.

Here are the top 6 Reasons for buying the best slow cooker online:

  • You can take your time and do comparisons between brands
  • You can find out which is the bestseller
  • You can read real reviews from people who have bought and used the product
  • You can get the best available pricing
  • The item will be delivered to your door
  • Money back guarantees are honoured

One of those best selling and best value ones on the market right now is the Hamilton Beach 33967 Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker. It is a sensational product that will make the home cook's life a lot easier and at less than half the price of a regular stainless steel saucepan.

The real benefit is in the name, Set and Forget. Set it up before you set out for the day and forget about it until you come home; to a hot ready meal. Just thinking about it makes people feel better.

Winter time is slow cooking time making it the best time to buy one. Coming in from the cold to a hearty bubbling pot of home cooked tasty comfort food is what everybody wants after a busy day. Everything seems to work out better when a hot and tasty dinner is ready. Slow cookers make it happen.

I especially like the rich stews that leave luscious puddles of sauce on the plate that need to be mopped up with slices of superb Continental style bread. Winter time also means Holiday season. These times are busy enough without the stress of daily meals for the family to worry about. Use your slow cooker to ensure your family always has a tasty dinner on hand to help cope with the hectic times and all those social commitments that Holiday Season brings.

One handy hint is to make an extra batch of food in the slow cooker and separate into individual meals for freezing. Considering the Hamilton Beach 33967 Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker holds 6 quarts, you will find a full batch will produce around twelve large servings. Imagine having 12 meals always at hand in the freezer ready for any member of the family to quickly reheat and enjoy?

Do not fret that the slow cooker is only to be used to churn out large volumes of food, all though it is very good at doing just that. You can make smaller batches, just put it less ingredients, it is very versatile. It is a very attractive unit even for those cooks who like very clean benches free of cooking paraphernalia. It is a modern stainless steel piece that cleans (read stays shiny) beautifully.

The Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker is not just an appliance for busy working mothers, although naturally busy working mothers love them. All types of households use them and enjoy them.

Singles love them just as much because cooking for one can often be difficult. Singles are less inclined to make themselves an elaborate meal but do not want to exist on sandwiches or omelets during the week. But do not think that when summer arrives the slow cooker must be put away. It will be just as appreciated then.

Coming home after a sweltering day to a tasty chili or a tender chicken casserole is a great way to beat the heat. And the kitchen does not heat up. Take it with you on your vacations. Sure cookouts and salads are fantastic but not needing to worry about making dinner after being out all day on the beach is also fantastic.

How to Build Your Own Solar Panels

Do you live in the desert or somewhere sunny?

In fact, you do not have to live somewhere sunny these days as the technology has advanced so much. So even if you live in England, now could be the time to build your own solar panels?

Here are a few tips that might help you decide whether it's a project you might like to undertake.

Depending on your skill level, you can either build the project from a kit, or build it completely from scratch. You will need some basic carpentry and electrical skills.

First, have a search on the internet for potential suppliers. For example, there are numerous kits you can purchase from a certain popular online auction website. You will also find that there are there are many suppliers who will offer everything that is required to complete the job, as well as plans and advice on the assembly process.

You probably have all the tools needed to build your own solar panels already in your shed somewhere. These include a saw, hammer, soldering iron, knife, screws and screw drivers.

To construct the frames for the solar panels, you will need some wood, woodscrews etc, and mounting brackets to attach it to your roof. To save time you can get the wood cut for you at your local supplier. I do not know about you, but I find it impossible to saw two pieces of wood to make a perfect ninety degree join.

You will need pre-tabbed photo-voltaic cells and the tab wiring to connect them. Some glue, solder and flux, plastic sheeting to cover the lid of the housing, as well as blocking diodes to stop current reversal.

The next step is to stand back from your house and have a good look at your roof to decide where to mount the panels. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you should mount it on the south side of your roof. If you are Down Under, then it will need to be mounted on the north side.

The panels will need to be slanted at 30 degrees to collect the optimum solar energy. Obviously there should be no trees or anything else in the way that will block the suns rays from the panel.

The solar panel configuration required is usually 6 by 6. Join the cell tabs with the wire and add the blocking diodes and cable to connect it to the storage battery. Cover with the plastic lid, seal the whole unit with silicone grouting and you're done

Mounting the panels on the roof should occur after some insulation has been applied to the rear of the housing, and to make the unit really efficient you need to paint the housing black.

Introduction To Angry Birds

A lot of you have heard about a game called Angry Birds. This article is an explanation of the game, the concept and the phenomenon behind it. Rovio Mobile is this application company in Finland. After a discussion about Bird Flu and Swine Flu, the company developed this story about pigs stealing eggs from birds and how it causes chaos between the two.

Angry Birds is definitely Scandinavian. The bird is a beloved creature there and this game taps into that mindset. The game centers around a handful of different characters. The object of the game is for you to send birds off in a slingshot to knock off pigs from a variety of structures. In other versions of the game, there are also macaw birds and marmosets.

THE HEROES

The RED BIRD is your main character. There’s nothing fancy about this bird. When you fling the cardinal, it will typically break glass or one wood beam. It doesn’t work at all against stone planks or blocks, so avoid those at all costs. The BLUE BIRD works predominantly against glass. Once you launch these birds, you can tap your screen again and this bird will split into three smaller blue birds. Your best bet is to focus on glass blocks or possibly a wood plank that you can have all three birds target. By doing that, the impact sometimes will topple that wood plank and create an opening.

The WHITE BIRD has a few good uses. It’s a bigger shaped bird that will drop an egg on a target if you tap the screen. If you choose not to drop the egg, it will barrel into most structures for bonus damage. The BLACK BIRD is also referred to as the “bomber bird”. Probably the most destructive of all birds, this bird will plow through all structures. The bonus is that you can detonate it and cause even more explosions for collateral damage.

The CUCKOO BIRD is two conjoined birds that fly in an erratic way. They take out more blocks than a normal bird, but other than that, they don’t serve much use. The GREEN BIRD is considered the “boomerang” bird and can be shot forward or in reverse, which is nice.

THE VILLAINS

The GREEN PIGS are just your normal adversary that take one hit to knock off their perch. The JUMBO PIG takes 3 hits. You can tell where you are at, in terms of knocking them out, based on the number of black eyes. Each hit constitutes a black eye and a step closer to knockout. The ARMY PIG has a hard hat on and is more difficult to eradicate. There are also MARMOSETS, also known as monkeys, and large white MACAWS, which require multiple hits to knock out.

The addicting element to this game is that you have to achieve three golden stars for each stage. You can advance with one star, but three stars is what everyone is after. There are loads of secret levels and aspects of the game that keep you enthralled and entertained. Each type of bird and pig has their own quirks and mannerisms that make the game fun for all. The materials used in the creation of each structure all have a significance because not all birds can topple that particular material. I’ll write another article regarding what Rovio Mobile is doing to further its brand and engage its customers and fans. The success of this franchise is remarkable and an interesting study.

How to Make a Business Plan Template

A good business plan template contains two main parts. A narrative followed by a series of financial worksheets. The narrative part of the business plan template embodies all the details and the strategy of the business plan and is further divided and subdivided into various sections. It is highly recommended that you work on creating a business plan template in a systematic way to avoid missing out on the inclusion of important facts and points.

Answering the question of how to make a business plan template begins by the realization that the first step is the creation of a rough draft, where you end up with a set of notes on each and every topic of the template. The next step is to work on these points and edit them to create a professional narrative that has a smooth flow. The purpose of creating the template is not to speed up the process of deriving the final business report but thinking about your business in an intelligent, smart and planning fashion. While going through the various facts and ideas, you gradually get involved in looking at ideas and business models in a more critical way. Though this process may initially appear to be a waste of time, the process of creating the template also has the power to prevent a poor decision that could prove to be a disaster in the long run, if not properly addressed upfront.

There is a generic template that is available for all types of businesses. To make a business plan template, you need to modify the standard template that is suitable for your industry and business. The style of writing, the overall organization and the presentation of the ideas is what makes a good business plan template. Creating a template involves a significant amount of research, re-thinking and planning. Detailed notes regarding the sources of information and the underlying assumptions that support the financial data and information must be kept carefully for quick and easy reference as and when needed.

To make a business plan template usually begins with the name and the details of the owners of the plan. This is followed by a table of contents that constitutes an executive summary, a general description of the company, the products and services the company offers, the marketing plan, the operational plan, and the management and organizational structures. These elements complete the narrative part of the business template. The financial part of the template should contain a financial statement, startup expenses and capitalization details, and a complete financial plan that encompasses the goals of the company.

The answer to how to make a business plan template is to create an organizational structure that will allow a company to present its assets, ideas, strategies and goals in document form so that a reader will be lead to the desired conclusion.

Nordictrack Freestrider FS5i Review – Pros and Cons of the Most Affordable Freestride Trainer

The Nordictrack Freestrider is a new breed of elliptical trainer that gives you the ability to set your own stride. This is something that traditional crosstrainers cannot do because of the limitations of their design.

The Freestrider used to come in two models: the original FS7i and the premium FS9i. However starting just under $2,000 made the FS7i a bit cost-prohibitive for some buyers.

But now there’s a more affordable option – new for this year – the FS5i Freestrider.

It’s a bit more simplified than the other models but it also comes in around $400 less than the FS7i. So is it right for you? Here’s a review of the pros and cons of the Nordictrack FS5i to help you decide:

Pro #1 Set Your Own Stride

The FS5i comes with the main advantage of the Freestrider design: mainly the ability to set and change your own stride. So you can do short stair-climbing motions, longer jogging strides or even longer hurdling type motions.

While most traditional elliptical trainers give you around 18 – 20 inch strides, the Freestrider FS5i can give you up to 38 inch strides, which is incredible.

This helps to more fully work your leg muscles and you can end up burning more calories overall in less time.

Pro #2 Center Drive Design

Again, like all of the Freestride trainers, this is a center drive design. This means that instead of one large flywheel out front or in back of the pedals, you get two smaller flywheels on either side of the pedals.

This has the advantage of having you stand more upright on the machine with less leaning on the arm bars. This feels much more comfortable for most people and again, can result in more calories burned since the machine isn’t shouldering your weight.

Pro #3 Tablet Holder Above the Console

You can attach your tablet above the console and surf the net, watch your favorite shows or connect to iFit LIVE (see below) while working out, which is a great little option to add more entertainment to your workout.

Pro #4 iFit LIVE

The Nordictrack FS5i is iFit compatible. iFit connects your elliptical to the Internet. From there you can track and map your workouts over time and set new goals.

You can also download new workout programs to your trainer. You can even run famous world trails – from Hawaii to Paris – and watch real life landmarks pass you by in the tablet screen.

You’ll basically never get bored with all of the things you can do with iFit LIVE.

Pro #5 Compact

The FS5i trainer is also more compact than a traditional elliptical trainer. So if you have a smaller workout area, it’s a great choice.

Pro #6 Bright Backlit Console

The dual color console is bright and backlit with a scrolling message board to lead you through your workout. There’s also an iPod dock with speakers to listen to your favorite tunes as you workout.

So those are the pros – what about the cons?

Con #1 Dual Color Console

The FS5i doesn’t come with the full color console or the built-in web browser that the other two models carry. Still, if you have a tablet that you’re going to use to surf the net or connect to iFit, you may not really care about this.

Con #2 No Incline

The other two models have incline, which changes the slope of your elliptical pathway. The FS5i does not have this feature.

Con #3 No Handrail Controls

While you can control the resistance from the console area, there are no resistance controls on the moving arm bars – which do come with the higher end models.

Bottom Line?

The Nordictrack FS5i Freestrider is a new more affordable crosstrainer coming in about $400 less than the standard Freestrider trainer.

It’s a bit pared down in terms of the luxury extras that you get with the other models. However overall, you still get the main benefits that people like with this Freestrider: the ability to choose your own stride and the low impact, center drive design.

Would You Like to Expand Your Front Porch? It’s Time You Thought About That

Many of us plan to stay in our homes longer than we originally planned. So making our home as comfortable as it can be is an obvious next step. You can increase your home’s value, add additional living space and make it more fun! How? Start with your porch! Why the porch?

Porches are usually very cost effective to build or enlarge compared to adding a room addition. Turn your existing porch into a fabulous screen porch and you can enjoy it considerably more. In some locations you will be able to use it year round. If you have a large porch, then you have the option to partially screen one end and leave the other open.

What about small porches?

With a little effort you can expand your small porch into one that is more usable. It can totally redefine the look of your home and immediately add sensational curb appeal. Is your current roof line too steep to continue it over the porch area? You can easily link a shallow pitched roof to a steep one by using dimensional shingles. Extending the roof to shade the front windows will reduce your cooling bill in the summer and make your home more comfortable.

Some compelling suggestions to consider

  • Make It Match: Choose porch railings, porch columns, and trim to match the existing style of your home. If your home is square and boxy use straight-line balusters and square or rectangular columns. Make sure your columns don’t overpower your porch , but at the same time you do not want them to look too weak.
  • Multiple entries: If you elect to have a large wrap around porch for multiple entries into your home, then use your walkways and landscaping to direct people to the front door. Likewise, you can do the same for a homeowner’s private entry into a study or dining room
  • Trim: Aside from the normal porch columns and balusters, you have many options for brackets, corner beads, corbels, finials, and cornices. All of these can add tremendous personality and define your porch. Don’t forget to use these trim pieces around your door and windows on your porch to make a bold statement.

Adding or enlarging an existing porch can add real value to your home and be very aesthetically pleasing. It’s cost effective, a great DIY project in most cases, and will be the focal point for entertaining and relaxing. Your neighbors will be envious! Oh, and don’t forget to add the porch swing!

Stainless Steel Wire Balustrading

If you've been thinking of how to improve your outdoor or indoor features then there are many things that can help to create a more aesthetic appearance and that can make a big difference. One option is balustrading. Balustrading is when you have the small roundish pillars around your area (perhaps a patio or a terrace) which hold up railings and walls. These are often stone themselves and will tend to be ornate and well decorated. You will often find these in Roman architecture and they are a far more attractive way to create a side rail than just using a small wall which lets in less light and has no detailing. If you have balustrades around a patio terrace overlooking a nice garden, then it can feel like sitting in a wine garden in France, a large manor house from a period drama, or a scene from Romeo and Juliet.

The great thing about balustrades is that they are relatively easy to install yourself and that they can be something great to do as DIY for your home. Not only will they look great, but when people ask about them you can proudly tell them that you installed them yourself.

When you do this you will essentially buy the balustrades first and these will be the large concrete pillars that curve outwards. Look for ones that fit your d├ęcor and that have a decoration that you appreciate. From here you should then look into fitting them into place and that means that you will need to attach them to both the patio where they will be standing and the rail that they will normally be used to hold up. To do this you will use stainless steel wire and this will go down through the middle in order to essentially skewer the balustrade into place. If you do it lightly this will then mean that you are able to twist the balustrades round even once they are installed but that is up to you.

Stainless steel wire is the best option for this because it is the most sturdy and the most versatile. It will bend if necessary and at the same time it is relatively cheap and easy to find. You should buy a large role of stainless steel wire and then cut off each piece as you need it to feed through the balustrading. Do bear in mind that it can be a good idea to buy extra to avoid running out or for if anything should happen to your balustrades.

Stainless steel wire is useful as it will not rust and it will not easily snap. This is very important when you consider that the role of the balustrades is to hold your banister up – if they broke this would fall down and if they were on an elevated region this could cause someone who was leaning to fall and hurt themselves.

As well as using balustrades for your outdoors, you can also use wooden ones for staircases and there are many other applications.

Pros and Cons of Installing Dimmer Switches

An easy way to save money in the home is to install dimmer switches for the light fixtures in various rooms. This project can typically be completed in just a few hours and can dramatically change the entire look and feel of a space. Of course, as with any home improvement project, switches for lighting fixtures have their various pros and cons.

Benefits of Dimmer Switches

The biggest benefit to the dimmer switch is that it saves money. Dimming a light in a room can save anywhere from 10 percent up to 90 (or more) percent on your electric bill for that light fixture. This is because they reduce the amount of electricity sent to the light fixture, thus directly reducing how much money is spent on the electricity. To maximize savings, consider installing more eco-friendly light bulbs such as compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs into the ceiling fixtures and any other fixtures that may be on the dimmer switches.

Another huge benefit to installing one is that the homeowner has ultimate control over how much light is in the space. This can be extremely beneficial for setting the mood or brightening a space for a family gathering.

They can also be installed to work together with remote controls. Remote controls can change the lighting in the room for various light fixtures with the single click of a button, creating ultimate control for home lighting.

Furthermore, they also lengthen the lifespan of the bulb. When the lights are dimmed, even by very little, it extends the overall life of the bulb. For example, a light fixture with a traditional incandescent bulb may last less than a year. However, installing one onto that same light fixture with that same incandescent bulb can easily extend the bulb’s lifespan up to three or four years.

Lastly, dimmer switches can be installed in every room of the home: bedrooms, bathrooms, the dining room, living room, kitchen and beyond. They can be used on a number of different light fixtures: lamps, track lights, ceiling fixtures, bathroom lights, pendant lights and even under cabinet lighting or wall sconces.

Negative Aspects of Dimmer Switches

Perhaps the biggest negative of the dimmer switch is that it may not necessarily work with all the lights in a home. When installing them, it is a must that owners research their existing fixtures to see if a dimmer switch is safe to use with the fixture. If the owner plans to install new lights, this is typically less of a problem as they can simply purchase a light fixture that will safely work with the switch.

Secondly, since installing a switch is electrical work, some owners may not feel safe or be comfortable handling electricity, even when the power is shut off (which it must be). This may require the owner to contact a professional and pay for an hour or two of work to have the professional install the dimmer switches in the desired rooms.

In short, dimmer switches offer more benefits than negative aspects. They save money and give ultimate control over a home’s lighting, so it’s hard to see why anyone wouldn’t want to install one!

Lisp Problems and Cures: How to Get Rid of Your Lisp Forever

One of the most common speech and language difficulties that affects both children and adults alike is the common lisp. Lisping is a mispronunciation of the silibant /s/ and /z/ sounds, and can be attributed to any of several different causes. Some lisps are the result of an oral deformity or injury, which causes the /s/ and /z/ sounds to become skewed. Many lisps, however, are formed early on during childhood out of habit, as a result of stress, or for attention, and can last into adulthood if left untreated.

There are four main kinds of lisps:

  1. The Interdental Lisp, or Frontal Lisp, in which the tongue protrudes between the front teeth, creating a /th/ sound where an /s/ or /z/ sound should be.
  2. The Dentalised Lisp, in which the tongue presses against the front teeth or rests against them (but does not protrude between them).
  3. The Palatal Lisp, one of the more uncommon lisp forms, wherein the tongue comes into contact with the soft palate, which is located at the far back part of the roof of the mouth.
  4. The Lateral Lisp, sometimes known as a Wet Lisp, or Slushy Lisp, because the air flows over the sides of the tongue, creating a slushy lisp sound.

Both interdental (frontal) lisps and dentalised lisps can often occur in young children under the age of five, who are still learning how to produce the /s/ and /z/ sounds correctly, and these lisps often go away on their own. However, if the lisp persists beyond age five, then it could be a true speech problem that needs to be assessed and treated.

Most people who have lisps are easy to understand when they speak, but many suffer a great deal from constant embarrassment, teasing, self-consciousness, and frustration at not being able to produce certain sounds the way that they wish to. One of the main questions that people with lisps ask is, “Is it really possible to get rid of my lisp forever?” Fortunately, the answer is yes. It is possible to get rid of your lisp, and with proper time, effort, and treatment, people are successful in overcoming even the most severe lisping problems.

The best way to truly get rid of your lisp forever, without having a relapse, is to be extremely diligent in your efforts, no matter what kind of program or treatment you’re following. Speech Language Pathologists can help you to assess what kind of lisp you have, and provide a series of treatment sessions to help you to eliminate your lisp over time. However, be forewarned: this route, while usually effective, can be very expensive. The initial evaluation alone may cost a few hundred dollars ($300-$500), and for each hour-long session afterward, you can usually expect to pay around $50- $80, over the course of several months or more of treatment.

There are also numerous self-help programs that you can try, with the goal of being able to get rid of your lisp on your own at home. The important thing to remember is that if you go this route, you must be self-motivated and push yourself to practice on your own, if you truly want to see results. Using a self-help program is usually much less expensive than consulting professional help. A self-help lisp program might cost between $100- $150 in total (or sometimes as little as $70-$80), as opposed to possibly paying as much as $600-$1,000 or more for sessions with a Speech Language Pathologist. Therefore, it would be advisable to invest first in a good quality self-help guide or program to see what you are capable of accomplishing on your own, at a much lower cost. If you find that you are unsuccessful on your own, the next step would be to seek professional treatment.

Remember, the method that you use to get rid of your lisp is not as important as the result, (which is, of course, to speak clearly, confidently, and lisp-free). But in order to attain that result, you’re still going to have to do the work. If you are prepared to put in the necessary time and effort, then you have a high chance of success. However, if you can’t get yourself to practice, do your exercises, and be open-minded with a positive attitude, then even the best Speech Language Pathologist in the world can’t help you. Getting rid of your lisp forever is possible, but in the end it’s up to you to make it happen for yourself. Be diligent, don’t become overwhelmed with frustration, keep trying, learn from your mistakes, and soon you’ll be another one of the many people in the world who has freed themselves from their lisping problem once and for all.

Purchasing Guide to Pop Up Gazebos

If you are reading this, I think we can take it for granted that you have an interest in pop up gazebos and that you are probably thinking about investing in one.

In recent years there has been an explosion in companies offering pop up gazebos. I speak to a broad spectrum of people who come to us looking to purchase a pop up gazebo. They generally all have one thing in common – confusion. This is an unfortunate side effect of the way our competitors and ourselves push our products. We approach the strategy of product description from a technical perspective and with so many different specifications on the market, how can the buyer truly know what product is going to fulfil their needs?

With this Buyer’s Guide, I am going to arm you with as much knowledge as possible to enable you to make an informed decision.

When you decide to commit your hard-earned money, I want the choice you make to be the right choice for you.

That final choice may see you choosing not to buy from us, but this guide is crammed with the reality behind the technical jargon and I will use my years of manufacturing and retail experience to help you along the purchasing path.

Definition of a Pop Up Gazebo

There are many phrases that encapsulate the term pop up gazebo. Some of the more popular ones are:

Instant Canopies

Easy Ups

Pop Up Marquees

Promotional Marquees

Gazebos

Instant Shelters

And many more…

Although the term “pop up” is defined as to appear suddenly or unexpectedly, in reality the pop up gazebo should perhaps be referred to as a folding canopy. The frame and roof cover need to be opened up – with some effort required – rather than perhaps a structure that pops into shape by itself.

The structure consists of a one piece framework that is manufactured from a concertina of metal in the roof, held together with either metal or plastic joints and ending in 4 or more telescopic legs depending on the size – more about this later. In essence though, the framework should not require the user to assemble any parts and does not require any tools to use.

The framework then requires the placement of a fitted roof sheet to provide shelter and in some cases a set of sides, if the structure is to be used outdoors and in inclement weather.

Uses

There are many applications for the pop up gazebo. Some of the more popular are as follows:

Smart Repairs

Market Stalls

Trade Stands

Product Promotion

Work Tents

Promotional Marketing Tool

Hospitality/Catering

Sports Clubs

Motorsport/Biking Events

Camping and Caravanning

We have many enquiries from people who want to know if the application they have in mind for their canopy is achievable. From theatre productions, furniture storage, first aid tents, ski huts and a cover for the garden BBQ, you are only limited by space, budget and imagination!

The Purchasing Path – Where To Start

We have established what a pop up gazebo is and what you can use it for.

Now to the nitty gritty.

You have decided that you are interested in obtaining a pop up gazebo. It might be for the garden, it might be for a business venture. You will approach the purchase with an idea in mind and then you will start to search the internet for appropriate companies from whom to purchase.

The majority of pop up gazebos are purchased over the internet through mail order. Unless the customer has come from a referral or they have seen the pop up gazebo in use, it is very likely that the majority of prospective buyers will never have seen the gazebo until it is delivered to their door.

As you surf through the various definitions of pop up gazebos and the various companies that supply them, you will rapidly discover that one picture of a pop up gazebo looks very much like another. This makes it very easy for the customer to fall foul of some companies, who like to trade on the customers’ confusion.

In an attempt to differentiate between the pop up gazebos, you then research the individual specifications.

You will then be overwhelmed by facts and figures. From the size and type of metal used in the framework, the manufacturing process of joints, the way the structure is fitted together – including the size of nuts and bolts, the Denier or weight of the cloth used in the roof and sides, the various certificates applicable to that material and that is before you even consider size, colour and whether or not printing would be an option.

It is easy to become confused, but let me explain, in easy steps, what you need to consider. I will also explain a little about the manufacturing and design decisions.

Firstly I will start with a breakdown of each of the components of a pop up gazebo – framework, roof and sides and we will look at the different specification types and the pros and cons of each.

I will then go on to investigate what questions you need to ask and point you in the right direction when you are ready to make a purchase. Once we have clarified all of that and you are confident in what you have learned I will go on to discuss the personalisation of the canopy for those who wish to use the pop up gazebo as a marketing tool.

Specifications – Framework

The framework of a pop up gazebo is the single most important part of the whole structure and should be given the most consideration. Like your own skeleton, the framework supports the “skin” and it needs to be strong enough to provide strength and stability and to fulfil your requirements, light enough to be portable and it should be easy to fix – without the need for major surgery – if it suffers a breakage!

A pop up gazebo is manufactured from two main metals – steel and aluminium. This metal is used for the legs and for the roof struts.

As a general rule, and at the time of writing, steel is cheaper than aluminium, whilst aluminium is lighter when compared like for like.

Originally pop up gazebos were manufactured from steel. Over the last few years, aluminium has become the raw material of choice.

Steel framework is usually square or rectangular in shape. It can be as small as 25mm in diameter and as large as 32mm. It is not normally larger than this as the framework would be too heavy. The inside wall measurement is 1mm or less.

Aluminium can be manufactured into square, rectangular or hexagonal shapes. Technically, a hexagon is stronger than other shapes. Again the diameter of the legs varies from 30mm to 50mm. For example, if the diameter of the hexagonal leg is classed as 50mm, then this is from flat face to flat face. Some state a 60mm diameter, but this is a measurement taken from the point of a hexagon shape to the opposite point. In effect, they are both the same size leg. Again the wall thickness varies from 1mm to 2.5mm.

So to the pros and cons of each framework.

Steel– generally used on leisure or budget range pop up gazebos

Cheaper to buy because of the price of the raw material.

It is heavier.

Degrades over time with rust.

Coated with a galvanised or powder coat finish which can mark with use.

The square and rectangle shape is considered less stable.

Aluminium– generally used on commercial grade pop up gazebos

More expensive to buy

Although on a like for like basis aluminium is lighter, a pop up gazebo that has 50mm diameter legs will be a heavy piece of kit. Many people think that it will be lightweight, but unfortunately, you cannot have an extremely strong frame that will stand up to the British weather without compromise and that compromise is usually the weight!

Framework is stronger with a thicker wall thickness

Finish on the metal maintains its’ appearance longer

Other Framework Considerations

The other points to think about with the frame are:

Transportation

Height

Portability

Framework fixings

Transportation– Most potential buyers need to consider how they are going to transport the pop up gazebo. Unless the gazebo is going to be stored on-site, a vehicle will need to be used to get the structure to where it needs to be. Therefore, you need to ask how large the gazebo is when it is packed and check to ensure that you can fit this dimension into your vehicle.

Height– Many people use a pop up gazebo to cover another object. Whether this is a hot tub, display shelving or people, you need to ask what the minimum and maximum heights of the pop up gazebo are when it is erected. Most frames are telescopic, in that there is an inner leg and a larger outer leg. The inner leg slides in and out of the outer leg and can be fixed into various positions by a push or pull button principle. From the minimum height there are usually several increments to increase the height.

Portability– As the larger frame sizes can be quite weighty, you need to think about how you will move the canopy into position. Many come complete with a wheeled carry bag in which you can pull the frame and roof cover around. Alternatively, you will need at least a couple of people to manually handle it.

Practically speaking, you also need to consider your own physical strength. If you are in reasonable health and can exert yourself physically, then moving the structure around and erecting it should not be too much of a problem. A minimum of two people helps in most cases. However, if you are on your own at a commercial venue such as a show or market, it may be necessary to enlist the help of fellow traders, in exchange for a cup of tea. Alternatively you may need to purchase a lighter framework e.g. a 40mm frame instead of a 50mm frame and compromise on strength for independence.

Framework Fixings– All pop up gazebos are put together in different ways. They all have different shaped bars, different heights and lengths and also different fixings. Throughout the framework, the various components will be joined together with either nuts and bolts, pop rivets or pins and caps.

The best fixing, which allows easy replacement of parts, is the nut and bolt system. There is a technical trademarked term which is Nylock Nut. This is a nut, which when tightened creates a thread in a nylon insert. This prevents the nut from “vibrating” away from the bolt during movement. The frame moves in the wind and the Nylock system prevents the loosening of the frame fixings. This is something that you should look for when purchasing.

One last point is the pole that creates the peak in the roof. This can be solidly built into the structure of the roof truss, which means that it does not move when erected. Alternatively, the peak pole can be built around a spring mechanism, which means that when the wind blows around the roof structure, there is a certain amount of give in the roof. This prevents ripping of covers and makes the structure more stable in windier conditions.

Framework – Summary and Questions You Need To Ask

As a general rule, aluminium is used on commercial pop up canopies and steel on budget ranges.

You need to consider the weight of the framework as this impacts on its’ usability, portability and strength.

If you are a trader, do you have someone that can help you to move, erect and dismantle the structure if required?

What is the overall length of the gazebo when packed?

What is the minimum and maximum height of the pop up gazebo when erected?

How is the framework joined together?

Does the gazebo supplier offer a warranty and under what circumstances does the warranty become invalid?

Does the supplier have a full range of spare parts if the worse should happen?

Is the roof peak pole static or is it built on a spring mechanism which allows for movement of the roof with the wind?

Specifications – Roof Cover

The roof cover is the second most important part of the assembled structure. It is this cover that will protect you from the elements.

There are several types of material used to manufacture the roof covers, but the main ones are polyester and PVC.

Polyester is a synthetic fabric, which is graded by Denier or by weight. Denier is a unit of measure for the linear mass density of fibers or the measure of density of weave. The higher the Denier rating – the thicker the material. It can also be described in gsm or grams per square metre which is the weight of the material. The heavier the cloth, the denser and thicker the fibres.

Polyester material is not waterproof, so when used as a roof cover it needs to be coated to increase the water resistancy. This is done by coating the back of the fabric with either a PU or a PVC coating. The PVC coating is a better quality covering as it generally thicker and longer lasting. Care also has to be taken in the seam work of the roof. As the material is sewn into shape, there will be areas where water ingress can occur. To minimise this the seams can be double stitched over each other and then underneath the seam, a tape can be placed which “sticks” the seam together. With care and effort the roof can become 99% waterproof. If the roof cover is not waterproof, it will be classed as water-resistant or shower proof.

Another problem area can be where the framework touches the roof. This is normally where the top of the legs meet the corner of the roof and rubbing can occur. Again by stitching in a an extra layer of material or a “Rub Zone Marker” any problems caused by friction can be virtually eliminated.

PVC or Poly Vinyl Chloride is a thick plastic material which is usually graded in gsm. Again, the higher the gsm, the thicker and heavier the material. In comparison to the Polyester material it is, by nature, waterproof and it maintains a clean appearance much longer. It is, however, cumbersome when used as a roof fabric and does not fold into the framework as easily as Polyester when the structure is dismantled. It is bulky and can become caught between the cross members of the roof which leads to small “nip” marks in the plastic.

In the majority of cases, PVC roofs will be plastic welded instead of stitched. This is where two pieces of plastic are effectively melted together which forms an impenetrable bond where water cannot pass. Overtime though, PVC can breakdown and become brittle. This is due to exposure to the elements on a regular basis and it will take several years for this to occur.

Another consideration for the roof cover is fire retardancy. Increasingly many show/market organisers and local authorities are insistant that a structure meets as many fire retardancy regulations as possible. The main one to look for, if this is applicable, is that the material used meets British Standard BS7837:1996. This does not mean that the material is fireproof. It simply means that it will burn slowly enough to meet stringent standards. This type of material will also always be more expensive than a non fire-retardant fabric.

The last main thought is how is the roof sewn together. If we look at a roof cover that is made to fit a 3M x 3M framework, the roof has usually been cut into several pieces that are then sewn together. The roof is made up of two main parts – the roof face and the roof valance.

The roof face and valance can be made out of the same piece of material. When a roof is manufactured in this way there is no seam running between the two, alternatively the valance can be sewn onto the roof face as an additional piece.

Where the roof has been manufactured with the face and valance in one continuous piece, rain water can collect at the lower roof face. This is because the roof face is not pulled taut by the extra weight of the sewn on valance. This is much more of a problem on thinner fabrics. The water reservoir will stretch the fabric allowing the water to penetrate the fabric, it will create weight on sewn seams around the roof, which can cause splitting and it will also allow dirt to settle on the roof which can rub against the fabric causing pin holes.

Cleaning the roof material will always be an issue and as a supplier it is a very difficult one to answer. With a polyester material, obviously the lighter the colour chosen, the quicker the material will show the dirt. A pressure washer can be used to “blow” the ingrained dirt away, but we would suggest using the lowest setting first and stubborn stains should be treated with a detergent or washing up liquid and a brush.

If the roof is a PVC material it will simply wipe clean and will stand a much higher setting on the pressure washer.

Whether the material is Polyester or PVC, wherever possible it should not be packed away wet or damp. I know that this is difficult when you come to the end of a wet day trading and it is still raining as you put your equipment away. However, as soon as it is possible the roof cover should be dried either bu hand or stood out on a pleasant day. This will prevent mildew and mould growth.

There is a hearty debate about whether a roof cover should be left on the framework once it has been fitted. It is much faster to erect the structure if the roof cover has been left on and it prevents pulling on seams and corners as well. However, unless you are transporting the frame and roof in a secure bag, I would strongly recommend removing the cover. When dismantled, the frame can rub against the roof cover, especially during transportation and this will result in holes.

Roof Cover – Summary and Questions You Need To Ask

Check the type and grade of material the roof cover is manufactured from.

Is the fabric shower resistant, water-resistant or waterproof?

If required does it come with a fire retardancy certificate?

How are the sewn seams sealed?

Does it have Velcro double stitched all the way around the valance and if so what thickness – this is relevant for the fitting of the sides?

Are the roof face and the roof valance separate pieces of material sewn together?

Does it have reinforced areas where the frame rubs against the roof?

Can replacement roofs be purchased at a later date to “refresh” the appearance of the stand?

Specifications – Side Sheets

The sides will, in most cases, be offered in the same material as the roof cover, i.e. Polyester or PVC.

Some companies offer thinner grades of side sheet material than the roof cover. This can be both beneficial and disadvantageous. It is useful because the sides must be lifted into place and if they are thinner they do not weigh as much. They will also be cheaper and replacement cost will be less. However, if they are too thin, they will tear easily and if they are too cheap, they will not have many of the features found in the more expensive sides, which can be of huge importance when using the pop up gazebo for commercial purposes.

Sides can be purchased individually or as a complete set. They come in different specifications.

Plain panel

Windowed panel

Zipper doorway panel

Half side panel

Panoramic side

Mesh side

Most are self-explanatory.

The plain panel is a side made from a plain piece of material.

The windowed side can range from a large rectangular clear area to a small “mock paned” affair. Some of the larger windowed panels have an interior blind or blanking piece which can be rolled down to cover the see through area.

The zipper doorway panel has either a single or a dual zip. If there is a single zip then the two halves created are pulled back and held in place with ties. If a dual zip, the whole doorway area rolls up and is again held in place with either ties, Velcro or buckles.

The half side panel can be used as a skirt or front for a table. It is simply a panel of material, which sits at half height from the floor. It is attached to the gazebo legs with a bar and clamp system.

A panoramic side is the same as a windowed side except that the window can be either half or two thirds of the side area. A mesh side is the same as a panoramic side except that instead of using clear PVC, a mesh or netting is used instead. These are more common in garden gazebos to prevent the entrance of insects or in hotter climates to allow the passage of a breeze whilst keeping out bugs.

Most sides are interchangeable in that they can be placed anywhere on the structure. Some people would use the zipper doorway as the front panel so that it can be zipped closed if the structure is up over a few days. Others use it as a side or back panel so that they can enter and exit the structure to obtain stock from a nearby holding area such as a van.

Sides are attached to the roof and framework in a number of ways. Good quality gazebos will have a minimum of a 5cm deep area of Velcro sewn onto the valance part of the roof and this will run around the whole roof area. The sides will then have a corresponding amount of Velcro sewn onto the top edge which, when joined together will be the main area for the attachment of the sides. There can then be velcro ties to thread through the side roof bars, Velcro to wrap around the legs and in most commercial quality canopies, each side attaches to its neighbour panel with a corner zip. The more areas of attachment, the more secure the sides will be.

Each side, regardless of type, can then have a series of features to improve functionality.

A PU or PVC coating on the inside for waterproofing.

A PVC side skirt at the bottom of each side. As the legs of the structure can vary by almost 15 ” in height due to the telescopic nature, a skirt sewn along the bottom of the sides can serve several purposes. Firstly, whilst the legs are on the lowest setting, the skirt can be fixed flat to the ground to prevent the wind from blowing inside the structure. The skirt will have several eyelets to allow the passage of a tent peg to hold the panel in place. Secondly, as the height increases with each change in upward increment, the sides will move upwards as well. Without a skirt, there would be a gap created at the bottom of the side panels. The PVC skirt also helps in keeping the sides cleaner by acting as a mud guard.

Plastic or metal buckles sewn on to the outside of the panel, which a guy rope can be threaded through to pull the sides taut and fix to the ground.

A UV retardant coating to prevent colour fade in sunlight.

If the stand is to be used for commercial purposes, and will include display shelves, racking or tables, thought should be given to how tight the sides are. If the sides are too baggy, then they will move like a sail when the wind blows. This will cause a whiplash effect, which, if display features are near the sides, will result in stock and merchandise being knocked over. Although tight sides will be slightly more difficult to assemble, there will be less strain on seams and they will give a tidier appearance.

Side Sheets – Summary and Questions You Need To Ask

If you are using your pop up gazebo for business purposes, you need to consider the interior layout of the canopy, so that you can determine, what and how many sides are required.

Get as many features as possible for your money, but make sure that you get as many fixing points as possible to ensure that the sides are stable when erected.

Do the sides come in their own carry bag?

Do the sides have a PVC skirt and if not, do the sides reach the floor when the frame is positioned on its highest setting?

When the sides are attached to the frame are they loose or taut?

Can replacement sides be purchased at a later date to “refresh” the appearance of the stand?

The Purchasing Path – Final Considerations

We have investigated the reality behind the jargon and the pros and cons of different raw materials and features.

The other main considerations are as follows:

Uses

Budget

Size

Uses

When someone calls me to discuss the requirements they have for a pop up gazebo, I will always start the conversation with this question. This is the starting point in making any decisions.

There are three main areas of usage

Garden/Leisure

Occasional Commercial

Frequent Commercial

Garden/Leisure

If the prospective buyer says that the pop up gazebo is for the garden, it usually means that they want a pop up canopy as a weather shelter. This will allow them to continue to use the garden when it is very sunny – use as a sun shade – or when it is raining. The structure will be used occasionally and a lightweight steel frame with water-resistant covers would probably suffice.

Occasional Commercial

If you fit into this category, you will probably use the canopy anywhere from a couple of times a year to a couple of times a month. You need it to promote your business and/or to shade you from the elements whilst you work. This could be as a vehicle repair person, a market trader, a promotion company, a sport club or a car booter. You will require a sturdy framework, but one of industrial strength proportions may be too much for this level of use. You will also require waterproof covers.

Frequent Commercial

If you fit into this category, you will be using the canopy day in and day out, in all weathers and all year-round. If you are wanting a pop up canopy to stand up to as much use as possible, then you are going to require the strongest framework and covers that you can purchase.

What is your budget?

It is important to have a realistic budget in mind. For example, if you are looking for a top of the range pop up gazebo for regular use, then it will cost more than one from the garden section of a popular High Street catalogue.

Size

Instant pop up canopies are available in a variety of sizes. The size is determined by the length of the cross bars in the roof structure.

As a general rule the three main sizes that are sold are 3M x 3M, 3M x 4.5M and 3M x 6M. This is for three reasons. Firstly when sold as a trade stand most operators require a 3M (approx. 10′) frontage, so these are multiplied accordingly. Secondly, each of these sizes requires the same size cross bars, which cuts down on manufacturing costs. Thirdly, these are the most popular sizes requested.

If you are looking for a size that differs from these standards, then it is highly likely that you will pay a higher price for it. Increasingly, we are seeing a move towards 2M bars which creates 2M x 2M, 2M x 4M, 4M x 4M, 4M x 6M and 4M x 8M stands, as show organisers change their frontage charges, but anything “out of the ordinary” would require costly tooling and mould fees and unless you are requiring several hundred of a particular size, it would not be commercially viable to produce.

I hope that this brief guide has been both informative and helpful in the decisions that you need to make before purchasing a pop up gazebo.

If you want a pop up gazebo for commercial purposes then be successful. Stand out from all your competitors. Be admired for your choice.