Florida Keys Real Estate

Adventurer Ponce de Leon and fellow Spanish chronicler Antonio de Herrera discovered Florida Keys on May 15,1530. Key West has a party atmosphere. The bars and clubs are visited by a large number of tourists every year. The weather conditions and the beaches are a big part of the Florida Keys attractiveness as a Spring Break destination. Beautiful beaches that face waters and stretch miles across the coast line and a subtropical climate are perfect for diving, kayaking, sailing, wave running and swimming.

Being a spot of such great tourist interest, real estate in the Keys is very expensive. While the housing market along the shoreline of the Keys is tight, properties in outlying areas are quite affordable. One-bedroom condominiums start at $ 245,000. Small single-family homes start at $ 300,000 and run into the millions. Larger estates with ocean frontage and spectacular views can go for $ 3 million or more.

Million-dollar properties are quite commonplace in Florida Keys. Land cost for new development has tripled in many cases, and density has gone from 25 to 20 units per acre. The population of retirees, baby boomers and second-home buyers are making strong demands for properties on or near the water in the Florida Keys. This boom in demand has allowed sellers to name their own prices and terms.

The housing areas of the Keys are emerging as a more upscale market than ever before. The supply of homes for sale is increasing. The hurricane is responsible for the buying frenzy of residential lots that are zoned multi-family for purposes of condo development. The landowners are still undecided, as to whether they will rebuild or sell the properties damaged during the hurricane. However, in both cases, prices will be higher than ever when the waterfront properties are put up for sale.

The months of August and September saw a slight fall in the real estate sales. Nevertheless the market is bouncing back now.

Speed ​​Dating Vs Matchmaking

There has been a lot of discussion over which is better: speed dating or matchmaking? Sure, both can lead to lasting romantic relationship, but there are positives and negatives to both. Speed ​​dating is obviously not as safe and controllable as matchmaking. Yet matchmaking is not spontaneous and sporadic. We'll take a few moments to compare and contrast the two in order to give you a basic premise on each so you can make the best decision for yourself.

As stated before, speed dating is spontaneous so can be off the cuff and adventurous. For those who are not "OCD" with planning and organization this would best suit their fancy. Speed ​​dating is also very appealing to the social butterfly because it transpires in a group of people actively interacting in a friendly environment. It's a light and fun atmosphere, conducive for sparking conversations and keeping things moving.

Some of the downsides to speed dating is it does not warrant for deeper, longer lasting relationships. Things tend to stay shallow and empty of intimacy. There's also drinking involved. This can lead to unwise decisions that you may regret after the social gathering has ended. In speed dating it's very common for people to still put up a façade. You do not really know if the person you're talking to is being honest and genuine. There's not enough time to get a good impression of the person. Another aspect of speed dating is the ability for someone else to take away your person of interest because of the amount of competition. Most people will simply be interested in the best looking guy, which is very shallow. Lastly, it is not structured very well, which leaves a lot of room for the unseen. Most things in life operate the best in some sort of boundaries and this leaves too many aspects open-ended.

Matchmaking on the other hand is much more safe is structured very well. With matchmaking there is a preliminary screening process to ensure a highly level of safety. Personalities are screened which will help determine compatibility with a person you may be interested in. Also when a couple is matched it's not just based on one opinion, but a mutual agreement of two people's preferences. One great benefit of matchmaking is the constant ability for people to search for you. This creates greater opportunities for you otherwise impossible.

The "human factor" has to be taken into consideration. With matchmaking, you are able to get a much better "vibe" on someone else. You're able to use your human intuition to see if there is any potential. Matchmaking also gives you the ability to use your dates feedback for future success in finding that someone. This approach also focuses on long term relationships instead of casual dating. You will be given the opportunity to search for someone you could see yourself with for long time. Anyone who's paid a matchmakers fee is serious and is not interested in shallow, flybys. Lastly, matchmaker enables the individual to talk to a lot more people. It would take a long time to meet 100 other single people you might be interested in. With matchmaker you will be able to talk to that same amount in a week!

There are benefit and sacrifice in each approach to dating. Take time to evaluate your heart and see which fits you the best. If you're someone who's simply casually dating then speed dating might be your best choice but if you're looking for a serious, long term relationship, you will be more satisfied with matchmaking. Either way, you will live and learn till you find the approach that works best for you.

Do it Yourself Computer Repair Hassles

Do it yourself computer repair allows you to do perform immediate repairs for your usual computer problems. However, this task requires you to have a thorough understanding of the details of your computer hardware and software. If your confidence at doing this task lies on a few pages of how-to and repair manuals, there is a good chance that you might do more harm than good in correcting the problem. Although performing do it yourself repair gives you the power to make the final decision in your every move, it may not be the best decision to make.

The Do-It-Yourself Type of Computer Owners

It is understandable for self-reliant people to perform a do it yourself repair. While it dictates the speed as well as the efficiency at which the adjustments, updates and all necessary troubleshooting tasks will be done, it also helps yield huge savings in doing simple to complicated computer repair jobs. However, just like any form of repair, you need to first understand all the nitty-gritty stuff about your computer. You need to be knowledgeable about computers.

Simple Computer Repairs Made Easy

Simple computer problems like virus and worm attacks and slow operations can be remedied with routine maintenance tasks. To restore smooth and quick responding computing operations, you need to maintain regular schedules of defragmenting your hard drive, running disk cleanup, installing or updating anti-virus software and data backup and recovery applications. These maintenance measures are helpful in preventing your computer from crashing. They are also crucial in keeping all your files and programs protected against the usual attacks of annoying spyware, malware and computer worms and viruses.

How to handle more complicated Computer Troubleshooting

You need to have the correct tools to do computer repairs. In addition to hand tools like screw drivers, solder irons and others, software like anti-virus and registry mechanic programs are also considered computer repair tools. These tools can be used to perform minor repairs to simple and common computer problems like installing updates and upgrades to existing programs, correcting registry problems, installation of hardware and software accessories and more. However, when it comes to dealing with more complicated problems, which mostly involve software and file problems like system recovery, corrupted files, automatic shut down and more, you really need to consult with an experienced computer repair technician to avoid further damage or loss of data.

Once your computer crashes, you need to have an idea of what could have happened before you perform a do it yourself repair. Never attempt to fix and correct any problem that you know nothing about. Try studying, reading and understanding various repair manuals. But if you want to confidently restore your computer to its smooth humming condition, consider finding an on-site computer repair technician.

Why Professional Computer Repair Services

Having well-trained professional computer technicians fix your computer eliminates the guess work on computer repairs and instantly restores your personal productivity. Instead of becoming a slave to the ever changing study of basic computer repairs, online computer repair services provide you with an affordable and practical option to troubleshooting your computer problems regardless of the extent of its difficulty.

Professional Repair Services for your Convenience

It is nice to have the right skill and knowledge to perform a do it yourself computer repair. However, you need to consider that allowing a pro to do these repairs can help you save time and money as they are fully trained in handling all types of computer problems. More importantly, it will save you from the confusion and frustration of possibly doing improper or unnecessary repairs. Thus, you get all these solutions at affordable costs.

Main Components of Solar Panel Kits

Solar panel kits are being utilized by a lot of people these days. It is a product that can help you build a system to power up items like phones or even make certain appliances in the house function. It will surely help in lowering utility costs and promotes a greener environment. Basically, the systems come in different sizes and power capacities. What is usually found inside the DIY kit? Here are its main components.

One of the components of solar panel kits is a guide or the instructions on how to build the system. If you are on a tight budget, you can purchase a kit which contains only the manual or instructional images or videos. It is known to be the cheapest. The guide not only provides information on the set-up but also on the parts needed and where to buy them. You have to remember that a DIY kit with great quality equates to an easy and detailed guide.

Solar cells which are made from silicon wafers found in the kit are known as one of its valuable items. A solar energy system will not work without it. A single solar cell is not capable of a large charge to power up your gadgets. It requires a lot of cells which come in panels. These panels are placed under the heat of the sun to generate a certain amount of voltage.

Another important component of a solar panel kit is its wirings. You need the wires that will serve as channels of the electric charge from the solar cells to a device or rechargeable battery packs. You do not need to have electrical engineering skills or knowledge to configure the wirings. All you need to do is follow the manual so that it will lead to the right circuit.

Lastly, some kits would include soldering materials or tools. You need these materials in order to wire the solar energy system properly. It would include a solder, soldering iron and some even include the flux. You might also want to have other welding tools in hand to make your system more flexible.

These are the main components of solar panel kits. These are the items that you would usually see inside the kit in order to build your solar energy system. Some kits may lack or have certain items. The contents of the kit would totally depend on its price and supplier.

Baby Proofing Your Home

Getting caught up in the excitement of having a baby can end when you arrive home and realize it is not baby proofed. There are sharp edges, stairs, doors, and all sorts of other horrors for a curious baby to explore. Well, take a deep breath, and realize that your baby will not be able to move for a couple months. You have a little time to baby proof your home.

Baby Gates

Baby gates are a necessity. They enable you to close off a room of the house that can be designated as a baby safe area. Baby gates will also secure potential hazards like open stairways. It is important to get the right kind of baby gate. On that mounts to the wall and swings open is great.

Small Objects

Babies like to put things in their mouth. It's natural. This is one of the ways they learn about the world. That being said, make sure that any choking hazards are removed from the baby's reach. If you do not know if something is a choking hazard, assume that it is.

Lock Cupboards

Purchase some cupboard locks for any cupboards that you do not want your baby getting into. These are generally cupboards that contain cleaning supplies or chemicals, sharp objects, or anything that could be deemed dangerous.

Electrical Sockets

Make sure that you cover all electrical sockets. The baby will naturally try to stick their finger into the socket. That would not be a good situation. It is important to buy an electrical socket that will not come off easily. This might be a pain for you, but you do not want one that comes off in your baby's hands.


Put bumpers on all sharp edges in the house. This will prevent your baby from falling into furniture and hurting themselves. They will fall, and fall a lot, so be prepared to baby proof your home with bumpers.


You can purchase coverings for your door handles to prevent the little buggers from getting into rooms they are not supposed to be in. This can be a great way to allow yourself easy access to a room while baby proofing the rest of the house.

Baby Monitors

Baby monitors are a must. While the baby is napping or playing in another room, you should keep your baby monitor nearby to listen for if something goes wrong.

Get a Second Opinion

Finally, after you have finished baby proofing your home, get someone to look the house over for potential hazards. A second set of eyes are more likely to find something than you are. This should generally be someone who has had children in the past.

After getting someone to double check your baby proofing skills, and you have received the OK, your heart rate should return to normal because you can rest assured that your baby will be a little bit safer because of your hard work.

Fantasy Sports – Why I Love Opening Weekend

In honor of the Major League Baseball opening weekend, I decided to take a moment today to reflect on why I love the start of the season in each of the sports that has a fantasy game I enjoy.

By this point in time, the vast majority of fantasy leagues have completed their drafts and are waiting in anticipation of the first pitch. While this may seem like the time that fantasy sports games start to the casual observer, that is far from the truth.

You see, fantasy games can be a year-round activity for the hard core player. I know many a fan who follows nothing but football or baseball every single month on the calendar. On the other hand, there are players like me. These are folks who play every major fantasy sport, which conveniently enough, just happens to touch on every month of the year.

Typically, depending on just how interested you are in a particular fantasy game, you may put in a couple of days researching who to pick, or you may be preparing for months. Some of us even continuously prepare for future seasons while we are not even finished with the one under way!

The most competitive and savvy players will spend at least a few weeks doing their research for the season. Many of them keep their own projections or download these stats from one of many websites that offers their take on prognosticating actual numbers. They spend time debating and splitting hairs between whether to take a rookie second baseman with a new starting job or an established shortstop with a track record but minimal upside.

Finally, at some point within the last few weeks heading up to opening weekend, they draft their team or teams. Believe it or not, the date of the draft is a HUGE event for the fantasy sports aficionado! You spend all this time preparing, figuring out when you have to draft certain guys to get them before someone else does, and mapping out how you want to approach the draft itself, and this is the day when you finally know what you're going to battle with.

But it's not over there. You spend the next week (s) until the season starts re-evaluating the selections you made. Oftentimes, your last pick or two are expendable if someone else better comes along. So you have to watch new developments and react in a way that will best position you to compete.

Obviously, with all this prep and hard work, the anticipation heading up to the first day of games can be nearly unbearable some years. I know I completed all of my serious drafts by last weekend, and the last week has been great, but there's nothing like the games actually starting.

Anti-fantasy sports naysayers may call this a waste off time, but many a fantasy player has compared either the draft itself or opening weekend to Christmas morning. Y'know, that excited feeling you got when you were a kid when you walked into whatever room "Santa Claus" left his gifts in? It's a lot like that.

So in honor of the first round of a long 162 game season, I'll take this chance to say it for myself … "Play Ball!"

DIY Vermicomposting – A Worm Farm on a Budget

Have you wanted to set up a home worm farm, but been put off by the high cost of purchasing one of the neat “designer label” multi-tiered “vermicomposting” kits, promoted by garden centres and mail order companies? Well, let’s cut through the crap! – ITS ACTUALLY NO SECRET !!! -You can easily make your own DIY three bin kit for a just a few dollars and your worms will be as happy as little pigs in the yellow stuff, with no big bad wolf in sight. Moreover, you don’t need to be an expert handyman to achieve this!

  • Hardware stores, supermarkets and camping outlets sell tough, general purpose black (opaque) plastic storage containers for a very reasonable price. These are usually tapered so that they can be nested to facilitate stacking on the retailer’s shelves and come with a “snap-fit”ce lid. For your worm farm, you will need three of these tapered containers (but only one lid). For a simple home worm farm I would advise going for 12 gallon (45 litre) containers. Typically, they will be about 15 inches deep (400mm). You can go smaller, if you want.
  • In the first storage container, drill a 3/8 inch (15mm hole), centrally placed, in the side of the bin, just above the base. Insert a ½ inch (12mm) cheap plastic barrel or irrigation tap (with washers) into your hole and tighten fast with lock nuts – make sure you get a good seal – test by filling the container with tap water. This container is to be the lowest one in your stack and will retain the highly nutritional “worm tea” leachate, that will start dripping down from the composting bins above. Worm tea is a valuable liquid organic fertilizer, that can be diluted and used directly on your organic vegetables.

The two upper bins will actually hold the worms. They are to be identical and are prepared as follows : –

  • Drill a pattern of ¼ inch (6mm) holes across the entire base of each container for drainage and to allow drainage and the upward migration of the compost worms, these holes should be regularly spaced at approx two inch (50mm) centres in either direction.
  • For aeration, drill two rows of ¼ inch (6mm) holes at two inch (50mm) centres, in a continuous band around each of the bins. This band of holes would be about four inches (100mm) below the top rim of the bin.
  • It is not essential to drill holes in the lid, which is closed tightly over the upper bin. as you should get enough air through the sides.
  • You first set up the lower (sump) bin on bricks or blocks, allowing enough space to tap off the fluid from beneath it. Choose a shady location for the worm farm (in a shed or garage, if you are subject to frosts).
  • The second and third bins are “nested” within each other and dropped into the sump bin. To maintain a working space for the worms, and for accumulation of compost, you need a few spacers or packers of about six to eight inches height, between the two upper bins and some smaller packers of about four inches in the lower (sump) bin. You can use wood blocks or sealed food jars for packers. The packers also prevent the tapered worm bins from jamming together.
  • To prevent “nasty bugs” from squeezing in between the bins, you should close (caulk) the small gap between them with strips of shade cloth, or mosquito netting.

Now you are ready to go into production. Space prevents us from giving fully detailed notes here for the fine points of operating the system, such as choosing and feeding your worms, eradicating pests and maintaining the worm farm etc – you can visit our website for this information. However, just make sure that you cover the following points: –

  • Set up your worms in the top bin with a good (damp) fibrous bedding (or even shredded newspaper) and after a few days you will be ready to start feeding in your kitchen scraps. Cover the food with more bedding material to discourage pests and keep the lid closed.
  • Make sure the worm farm is never allowed to dry out, by sprinkling water over the bedding periodically, if there is not already enough moisture coming from the food scraps.
  • When the top bin has been fully productive for a while, the worms will multiply and compost will be start accumulating from the worm castings. When the quantity of compost is meaningful, stop putting feed into this bin and swap over the upper two bins by putting bin No 2 to the top of the stack, with bin No 1 now in the middle. Set up this new top bin with clean bedding, a small amount of the old castings and immediately start feeding your kitchen scraps into it. The worms will naturally migrate upwards towards the new food source, leaving the lower bin with only a few stragglers and ready for the harvesting of your compost within about three weeks after the swap.
  • All you need to do is to keep repeating the process of alternating the top two bins on a regular basis, taking out the compost, whenever it accumulates, and tapping off the worm tea from time to time. Use both products in your garden and grow delicious fully organic vegetables and stunning roses. Sit back and enjoy the fruit of your labours – your worms are doing most of the work anyway!

To see a detailed diagram of this simple worm farm, as described, and some illustrative photos, you can visit our web site at http://www.working-worms.com/

Happy worming!

Build Your Own Pool – What to Think About Before You Start

Who wants to have his own swimming pool most certainly ponders if it should be an above ground pool or an in-ground pool and where exactly it should be built. You think of whether the pump and the filter should be in the house or if a utility shed or a bigger pit next to the pool should be built. It is also a big question, if a coping or a roofing is needed. If you think you do need a roofing or a coping you have the choice between a great variety of models. You also may think of adding it later when you have saved some money for it. You may also want to have a hydro-flow system and illumination equipment.

If some day you finished building your own pool to your liking and you enjoy the amenities of your own pool, you might have surprising and unwelcome visitors from the police, the building inspection or the public water supply. To circumvent this, you should get some information and negotiate a bit before you start to build your own pool.

First you should inform yourself, if it is allowed to build your own pool at your place of residence. If there is water shortage now and then it is absolutely possible, that you are not allowed to build your own pool. It is also possible, that you are allowed to build a pool, but usage – especially filling with water – is restricted. This depends on your location and can be asked for at your municipal administration.

Notably if you want to build an in-ground pool you may run into further legal obstacles. At some places you are allowed to build a swimming pool without further ado. Then at some places this may be subject to report whereas at other places you have to apply for a permit.

The difference is as follows: Is the construction subject to report, you have to go to the municipality and report your project. Eventually you also have to submit a plan. The project will be filed and you can begin to build your own pool as you have planned. Is the construction subject to approval, you have to submit your plan to the competent authority. They review the specifications and they approve it or not or they call for modifications. It is also possible that you have to hold a construction negotiation with your neighbors, where they are allowed to call for modifications. This also depends on your location and can be asked for at your municipality. By the way you can ask if the construction of a swimming pool affects the tax on land and buildings or tax on assets.

You also have to clarify the question where you can dispose the water. Even if you live in a place, where you can use your pool all the year round you have to empty the pool once a year to thoroughly clean it. Because of the chemicals in the water it is forbidden in some places to drain it into the sewerage. Also you should not drain it into a river or a lake. In some places it is only allowed to let it seep away on your own property. But that is exactly what is forbidden elsewhere to protect the ground water. This depends on where you live and can be asked for at your municipal administration or at the public water supply.

To prevent having trouble with your insurance company afterwards you should make sure that your pool and the coping or roofing are also insured. In dependence on your location you should ask, if damage caused by hail, storm, flood waters, mud flow, avalanche, land slip, snow pressure and – if necessary – vandalism is covered.

Thus there is a lot to think about before you can start to build your own pool.

Green Pool Lighting – Watts Happening

The modern world is an electrified world. The light bulb, in particular, profoundly changed human existence by illuminating the night and making it hospitable to a wide range of human activity. The incandescent light bulb, invented in the late nineteenth century is widely credited to Thomas Edison. Great invention without a doubt. As with most inventions, however, the light bulb was only made better. Fluorescent bulbs, then compact fluorescent bulbs, and now…the LED bulb! Several decades later, LED lights are now standard issue for stoplights and taillights…and pool lights!

Ed Hammer invented the first Compact Fluorescent bulb in the early 70s, at the height of the energy crisis. Compact fluorescent bulbs,. or CFLs are a must around the house. At a cost of under $5 each, they can save hundreds of dollars per year on your electrical bill. But not only do they save you money, using compact fluorescent bulbs in place of incandescent bulbs reduces your demand on the electrical grid. Coincidentally, Thomas Edison is also credited with the design of the US electric grid, or the interconnected nature of electrical power flowing around the country. Reducing demand on “the Grid” means that less resources are used to create power, with less pollution as a result.

Now, what I really want to talk about is using LED bulbs in your swimming pool. Invented by Nick Holonyak, in the 1960s, LED bulbs use less wattage, usually under 10 watts. That’s a lot less than a 500 watt bulb! LED pool bulbs also last nearly forever! A light emitting diode won’t burn out like the tungsten filament in a regular bulb. LED bulbs are also much brighter! Lower wattage means fewer amps required to operate your lighting around the pool. This means less energy consumption and less dollars flying out of your pocket.

Sure LED pool bulbs are more expensive, but how many times do you want to change that bulb? Not only are they brighter, but most LED pool light bulbs have the ability to change colors, by flipping the switch. Go from cool blue to hot red in an instant! 7 colors can be used on the ColorSplash LED bulb, or set it to cycle between all colors. Available to fit most pool and spa lights, the price on LED pool bulbs has come down a lot in the last few years. They were around $350 each, but are now under $200 for the LED pool bulb and just over $100 for the spa bulb. Expected life span is 100,000 hours! You can even use them indoors.

Other ways to save energy include solar lighting. Not very bright, but very Free! With no demand on the ‘ol Grid! Solar Accent Lighting is great for outdoor or pathway lighting, or for creating a glow around the pool. Floating solar pool lights are an easy alternative to wall installed traditional pool lights, and work great on above ground pools. Using CFL bulbs on the patio or porch lights is a great way to be green, especially if you leave these lights on late into the night. Installing timers on these outdoor lights can also turn your neighbors “green” with envy and appreciation.

Belief Barrier Bashing

Early this morning I was in the midst of what felt like light sleep but lots of dreaming. I kept on running into these opaque barriers that were blocking me. These barriers kept me from seeing things, they blocked flow, they closed things in. I felt myself getting frustrated in my dreams and at some point I woke from the struggle. I laid there kind of searching for some insight or awareness about what was going on.

Then as clear as a bell, I saw that these barriers where my thoughts/beliefs that were limiting me. I have acquired these belief barriers through my social conditioning and my false interpretation of incomplete information. They are primarily the creation of my false thinking and often manifestations of fear. I have been struggling lately with feeling that something was getting in my way, blocking me from being fully open to the rich flow of abundance of the universe. I know that there is a richness of love and inspiration I have tapped into. But I felt the flow of money was blocked and that there was more I needed to open to.

Now I see that belief barriers have plugged up the flow in some areas of my life. I then closed my eyes and visualized removing all the barriers from whatever channels of abundance were blocked. I imagined a river that was blocked by a dam but then the floodgates were fully opened and the river flowed freely again. Can you hear the rush of the freed river and the freed abundance flowing?

I took those barriers and piled them up and took a sledgehammer to them until they were smashed into little pieces. They seem like some kind of plastic so I imagined taking then to the recycling center so they could be remade into something useful.

I have now freed myself from my faulty thinking, any blocks to my heart, any blocks to an abundance of money, any blocks to awareness and anything else that might get in my way from creating the life I know is right for me. These barriers are all self-created, almost all unconsciously. WARNING: Please be careful not to judge yourself harshly because of how you have limited yourself. That would miss the boat. The most positive and powerful thing to do is to open your heart and love you as you are. Self-love is a great smasher of belief barriers.

Fire Proof File Cabinets Key Usages

There are an extensive number of benefits in using fire proof file cabinets, and I will try to cover as many as possible to convince you the importance of owning at least one at your home or office. Recognising that fireproof file cabinets do not simply store your paper documents could already change your mind about not owning one.

You can own one of these cabinets for a wide variety of reasons. These cabinets can be used to store several types of files, the legal as well as letter sized ones. Since you are purchasing a few, there is no point wasting the valuable and rather expensive space. In fact, you could literally pack the entire cabinet with all your worldly goods which you wish to keep intact in times of a fire.

Documents that you could keep in them are passports, marriage certificate or divorce papers, social security information, birth or death certificates, home title deeds, home loan document, insurance policies, mortgage papers, stocks and CFD scripts, business partnership legal documents, customers contact lists, precious moments captured in photos, video and digital data documents and much more.

Most fireproof file cabinets have similar look and function and many people see them as more of office equipment than office decor at your home office. That said, you can use them as space dividers instead of the usual shades and partitions. This could literally help you visually and officially divide up your office and your personal home space. This is especially important when you have to make the best of yoru tiny space between home and office.

If you have chosen the metal version of fire proof file cabinets, try using it as a metal board for putting up photos, time schedules, reminders and important messages. If you have a fax machine or printer, you could stack it up at the top of the cabinet as you can then save quite some money as well as space too.

How to Wallpaper a Room

How to wallpaper a room preparation include painting the moldings, doors, windows, ceilings and others. Remove and scrape existing wallpaper. Some papers will take some elbow grease to remove. One may need a steamer ready or handy. Wash painted walls. Put up a wallpaper liner or primer first or at the beginning or start or when or where the existing wall is darker than the incoming wallpaper. The walls shall be sized accordingly. Height of wall shall be measured from baseboard to ceiling in several different areas to get the average maximum height. Add about or 4 inches to the maximum height measurement.

Hold wallpaper up to the wall, align pattern as needed or wanted, add 4 inches and cut. Line up the second strip with the first strip patterns, mark each at bottom and top and cut.

To align the wallpaper parallel or vertical to the wall, mark a plumb line on the wall. Plumb line or device or tool or instrument can be improvised by a piece of string (the minimum length shall be the height of the ceiling) Immerse the string with colored chalk and attach weight to one end. Fasten or hang the string from the top of the wall at the ceiling or from the crown molding while the weight hang down towards the floor. Fasten both end and snap the string against the wall to mark a straight line from floor to ceiling.

Pre-pasted wallpaper shall be soaked in a tray of lukewarm water according to manufacturer’s literature. Get the paper out of the water onto the worktable and fold the strip with the pasted side inside making a smaller fold at the top and a larger fold at the bottom. Sit the strip for the suggested amount of time in the manufacturer’s literature for the water to soak in and the paper to be pliable. Lay the un-pasted wallpaper strip face down on the worktable. Evenly spread adhesive onto the paper with a pasting brush from the center to the edges. Repeat the above instructions for the folding and booking.

Start the hanging of the wallpaper at the remote or conceal place or space in the room behind a door or where the shelf will be located or placed or at the edge or joint at door frame and wall. Align the top section of the wallpaper strip with the plumb line allowing 2 inches overlap at the ceiling. Smooth-en the strip with a brush from the center, to the edges deflecting any air pockets. Unfold the bottom section maintaining or checking the alignment with the plumb line, and repeat the above. Sponge off the un-pasted with clean water as needed or later. Cut the excess paper at top and bottom with blunt work knife.

Repeat the same for the second strip making sure the two strips barely or rarely touch without overlapping. Smooth-en the seams with a seam roller. Continue or repeat the “How To Wallpaper A Room” process for the rest of the strips.

You Can Be a Cruise Ship Owner Even If You Are Not Rich

Unlike fractional ownership of aircraft and houseboats, fractional owners of a cruise ship can all use the ship simultaneously. There is plenty of room for you and the other owners to live on the ship any time you want, or all the time. You can use it as a full-time residence, and so can the other co-owners.

The first obvious benefit of shared ownership is acquisition cost. There are many cruise ships on the market in all price ranges, sizes, ages, and conditions. There are many smaller and older cruise ships available for less than one million dollars. At the lower end, some smaller cruise ships in fair condition can be acquired for about $250,000. At the highest end, the biggest new mega cruise ships now cost about $500 million to build.

Do the math. If one hundred buyers pool resources in exchange for a percentage of ship ownership, the acquisition cost will be divided by that same number. One percent ownership of a $250,000 cruise ship would cost a mere $2500 for ship acquisition. At the other end of the scale, one percent ownership of a brand new mega cruise ship would cost five million dollars.

There are some other figures that must be tabulated into the total cost of ownership. Acquisition cost is first and foremost. The next figure is the cost to put the ship in service. On an older ship this cost may be higher than the acquisition cost. On the other hand, the cost to put a ship into service can be much lower if you were to get a good deal on a ship that already meets the international standards for ship safety, especially SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea). Maintaining compliance with Chapter II SOLAS 74 amendments is cost prohibitive for some older ships and they are typically scrapped instead of being refurbished at great expense. There is a very important SOLAS implementation date coming up on January 10, 2010. On that date all commercial international ships will be required to be in compliance with the new fire safety codes. The most important new codes deal with the use of combustible materials in the ship. It will be expensive to replace all combustible materials in ships with non-combustible or flame resistant SOLAS compliant materials that meet the new safety standards. This will result in many ships being sold for scrap metal.

The looming SOLAS 2010 implementation date offers both perils and opportunities. The biggest peril is the possibility that the expense to bring a ship into full compliance with international standards will be greater than the value of the ship. However, there is a silver lining in this cloud. This pending SOLAS implementation date has already started to show up as a primary factor in the asking and selling prices of ships on the market today.

SOLAS 2010 also offers a tremendous opportunity for those who may prefer to have a very large houseboat instead of a commercial ship. Ships that are not in compliance with SOLAS 2010 are now selling for a song (inexpensively). A cruise ship can easily be converted into a megayacht with the stroke of a pen. Privately owned yachts, not in commercial service, and not carrying passengers or cargo for hire are exempt from many of the SOLAS requirements. Operating costs are also lower for a private yacht. It cost less to register, flag, and insure a private yacht. Megayachts can be flagged and classified for unlimited service. That means that a megayacht can go practically anywhere you want it to go. There is one major drawback to registering a cruise ship as a private yacht. You cannot use the yacht commercially. This cuts off a potential revenue source.

There are many decent cruise ships for sale at prices of less than one million dollars that would make good private megayachts. For example, take the ‘VERGINA SKY’ is a ship that I have personally inspected and so I can talk first hand about it. The asking price was $750,000. Here are the specifics of the ship in a nutshell:

Current Name: Vergina Sky

Ship Details: Built: 1971 in Japan – totally rebuilt 1992 in Greece

Dimensions: LOA 97.8m x LBP 82m x beam 14.6m x draft 4.49m Dwt: 500 on 4,49 GT/NT: 4,668 / 1,717

Description: Pielstick 2 x 8400bhp, twin screw, bow thruster, 3 x 500kw generators, 16 knots, 2 saloons, restaurant, 3 bars, casino, duty free shop, disco, swimming pool, 120 cabins for 318 guests. Lying Greece

My Comments after inspecting the ship

This is a well built little ‘Pocket Cruiser.’ At just over 320′ in length overall, it is a small cruise ship. Many experienced cruise passengers prefer smaller more intimate cruise ships for a variety of reasons. This ship can go places where the big cruise ships cannot reach, such as shallow draft ports and even many rivers. It has an omni-directional bow thruster and can turn on a dime (relatively speaking of course). I have carefully examined this ship from the engine log to the ultrasound hull report. This is a sound and safe little cruise ship. It is also a very fuel efficient and economical ship. My first time on this ship was in the middle of the summer in Greece when it was very hot outside. The ship is fully air conditioned and it was cool and comfortable inside the ship. I checked the engine room to see how many generators were running. I am happy to report that all the electric and air-conditioning requirements can be met by running just one of the three Daihatsu generators. These generators are very economical to operate in terms of fuel consumption and maintenance.

I was able to negotiate with the owner, John Kosmas and get some concessions. I got the price down to $500,000. And at that price, he agreed to bring the ship into compliance with SOLAS 2005 and also to include new paint topside. The ship was fairly well furnished even including bed linen, but the ship had been laid up for years. Its most recent service was in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Cruise ships that trade exclusively in the Mediterranean and Black Seas tend to have smaller cabins and fewer amenities than the typical cruise ships that frequent the Caribbean. The bottom line is that this ship was an economy model, not a luxury model. When I was inspecting the engine room, I asked for the engine log. When I opened it I noticed all the entries were in Greek. I was able to discern some dates and other data that told me when the ship was last in service, but I could not read the Greek entries so I handed the engine log back to the ship owner, and told him “It’s all Greek to me.” Being Greek, Mr. Kosmas failed to find the humor in that.

Let’s look at the numbers on this ship. 100% of the acquisition cost would have been $500,000. 1% thus = $5000. One hundred buyers could own one percent each. There are 120 cabins so each co-owner could have a private cabin with 20 cabins left over. However, these cabins are a bit on the small side. Every cabin does have a bath and shower, but the size is just too small to be comfortable for most people, especially if the owners intend to live onboard full time. On a ship this size I would recommend that there be no more than 60 joint owners so each can have two cabins and will have the option of converting those two cabins into a two room suite. To keep the numbers simple lets say that this ship has 50 buyers who each buy 2% of the ship. Buy in cost per owner would then be $10,000. If there were only ten buyers, then the acquisition cost per buyer would be $50,000. $50,000 will not buy much of a house on land, but on this ship it would buy 10% of a ship like the Vergina Sky and twelve cabins that could be converted into a fairly large home.

At the economy end of the scale, a co owner could buy 1% of an economical cruise ship for about $5000. However it is not necessary for all co owners to have equal shares in the ship. Ownership can easily be divided up into 1% increments. If one buyer wanted 5%, then his cost of acquisition would be $25,000. He would be entitled to 5% of the ship’s cabins, and would have five votes on operations and management of the ship, such as itinerary planning.

Before becoming a joint owner, it would be imperative to find other people who have similar goals. I would suggest composing a preliminary DCCR (DECLARATION OF

COVENANTS, CONDITIONS AND RESTRICTIONS). You can do this before you even shop for a ship. Write your version of how you envision the shared ownership of a cruise ship as it should be. Then see if you can find some people who agree with your goals and your DCCR, subject to some revisions and concessions to accommodate other joint owners.

Step One: Determine if you and your family have the desire and financial capability to become joint cruise ship (or megayacht) owners.

Step Two: Find others who agree with your concept for shared ownership of a ship.

Step Three: Shop for a ship. This is the fun part.

Step Four: Buy a ship.

Step Five: Put the ship into service.

Even if you are not rich, you can afford to jointly own a cruise ship. But then comes the next logical question: Why would you or anyone want to live on a cruise ship? Who would this be suitable for?

If you are retired or otherwise have a stable income from a dependable source you probably can afford to be a cruise ship co-owner and live full-time onboard a cruise ship. If you work in a field where you can work from home online, then you too can probably afford to become a co-owner of a cruise ship. Most modern ships have satellite Internet service available 24-7.

Operating a cruise ship is expensive. The expenses include the cost of fuel, labor, maintenance, repairs, spares, food, port charges, insurance, technical management, shore management, registration, and the other costs of operating the ship. At first glance these costs may seem expensive, but in reality the cost of living at sea is actually a bargain considering what you get based upon what you pay. The best value does not always translate to the cheapest price. If the ship is well managed, the management will seek the highest quality goods, services, and labor at the very best global value. If the owners are dissatisfied with either technical or shore management, they replace them.

If there are many other co-owners of the ship to split the operating expenses of the ship, it can be affordable for those with a moderate level of income, such as a retirement check. I do have specific operating cost figures but I won’t bore you with that data. The bottom line is that it would not be prohibitively expensive for a middle-class average person to be able to afford to own a fraction of a cruise ship and be able to afford to live on the cruise ship full-time if they elect to do so.

For comparison purposes it is noteworthy that you have expenses in land based housing too. Those expenses include property taxes, homeowners insurance, maintenance and repairs, yard care, and utilities. Additionally you have transportation costs and of course food costs. Most people also spend money on entertainment too. When these expenses are added up the maintenance fees for living aboard a ship are comparable.

There are actually some savings resulting from living aboard a ship. The ship’s executive chef buys food and kitchen supplies in bulk for the ship and can get better prices than the average shopper. Other savings result from the large freezers and the mobility of the ship giving the food service management the ability to stock up on supplies in countries where prices are low. Some crew and owners may choose to fish for leisure. This can supply some fresh food at even lower costs to the owners. Labor savings are realized when the crew is hired based upon the best global labor rates. The laws of supply and demand drive prices down in some places in the world. Proper ship management can capitalize on these disparities. All the savings would be passed on to the cabin owners resulting in an economical cost of living similar to what you could expect to spend with a conventional home. Ship management should have accounting transparency will all books (financial records) open and available for any owner to inspect. Also ship management should submit all financial records quarterly to an outside auditor for the peace of mind of the owners. Anybody in the chain who spends any of the ship’s operational funds should also be periodically audited. For example, a good way to audit the executive chef would be for one or more of the live-aboard co-owners of the ship to go to the food market district of each port of call and they should try to haggle and get a better price for the same food than the price the executive chef was able to acquire. If the executive chef cannot find better deals than the ship’s co-owners, then the executive chef should be given his walking papers. The executive chef position is a vital position on a cruise ship. This is a position of trust because he will bill the food he buys to the ship. He must never be tempted to accept bribes from vendors or suppliers. Therefore, he should know that he will be routinely audited and any substandard performance will result in termination of his employment.

The biggest value of all onboard cruise ship is in labor costs. The better cruise ships tend to be labor intensive, providing passengers with unrelenting attention and extravagant pampering. The hotel staff on all cruise ships provides the basic services including food preparation and serving, laundry, cabin stewarding, entertainment, casino operation, beauty shop operations, This is one area where I would prefer to not scrimp because of the very good value in these services due to the low cost of international labor. I would prefer to go beyond the level that most cruise ships go in the area of spas. Land based luxury and specialty resort spas are very expensive, but the exact same level of service, professionalism, skill, and treatments can be provided on a cruise ship at extremely low cost. Labor is the key and the primary reason for most of the expense of spas. Labor is a tremendous value on a cruise ship because the cruise ship managers can choose workers from the global marketplace where it is easy to get the best value for the money.


Spa treatment is customized for each client. Spas commonly offer services such as:

Soothing massage therapies, skin and body treatments drawing from European and Eastern principles, expert hair and nail services, and a full menu of therapeutic treatments utilizing a deep-cleansing facial at the start of the program, as well as a series of detoxification and contouring wraps, lypo-reduction wrap, as well as marine mud and herb wraps. Massage Therapies including: Swedish Massage, Shiatsu Massage, Deep Tissue Treatment, Maternity Massage, Therapeutic Foot Massage (Reflexology), French Hydrotherapy Massage.

The healing therapies include a variety of massages, reflexology, facials, firming and many other body treatments. Plus a wide variety of services and wellness programs specially designed to meet the individual’s needs and desires. A full service salon offers all manner of hair treatments (including a certified colorist), as well as a variety of manicures, pedicures, and ‘facelifts’ for your hands. Extensive skin care includes: Age Management Therapies including, Glycolic Facial, Anti-Aging Facial Peel, Microdermabrasion; Facials including: Aromaplasty Facial, Teen Facial, Gentleman’s Facial, Nutrisource Facial, Regulating Acne Facial, Vitamin “C” Skin Renewal Facial; Body Treatments including: Decleor Sauna Mask, French Hydrotherapy Massage, Andromeda Salt Glow, Mummy Mud Mask, Seaweed Body Wrap, Safe Sun Treatment, Herbal Wrap; as well as various hair and nail treatments.

Additionally, spas also can facilitate weight reduction programs, and even administer physical therapy. In short, you can be treated like a king, on the budget of a pauper.

Labor Costs – International competition provides the most value to the ship owners.

On paper it seems to make good sense to man the ship with a Philippine crew. I love the Philippines. I have been there several times. English is still widely spoken and usually spoken quite well. The people are usually friendly and happy to see foreign tourists. A large percentage of ships worldwide are manned by crews from the Philippines. The Philippine government has a pretty good structure and system to facilitate the export of Philippine labor. In spite of how attractive it seems on paper, I would recommend NOT hiring a crew from the Philippines. Philippine workers tend to be envious of others, and especially of everybody else’s wages. They tend to think they are getting the raw end of the deal. It is rare to find a Filipino who is happy with his employment. While I am sure there are many good employees from the Philippines, there are more who are dissatisfied than satisfied with their employment. There seems to be a cultural anomaly in the Philippines where people feel that employers are bad guys. I would hesitate to recommend a crew from the Philippines in spite of the apparent advantages on paper.

My recommendation (for what it is worth)

I do know something about what I am writing about here. I am the former President of Adventure Spa Cruise. My advice is not just uninformed ranting. Back to the point now, the second best manning nation for a ship is India. I highly recommend India for the medical staff and the entire hotel staff, including the spa, and every other position except the deck and engineering. The labor costs in India are very attractive. I would also recommend using an Indian based manning agency. It is best if the ship’s owners do not have to deal with every employee issue or concern. The manning agency takes the pressure off the ship’s management, and their service is very reasonable. Indian employees tend to make better employees than do Filipinos. Indians also speak English, albeit not quite as well as Filipinos. I know Americans tend to get all worked up when someone uses a broad brush to paint an entire ethnicity. I love the people from the Philippines, but as employees they tend to be more problematic than do Indian employees. I realize that this statement is politically incorrect, and these days that might get me thrown in jail. I usually do not worry so much about being politically correct. I call it the way I see I and I let the cards fall where they may, and hope I can stay out of jail for speaking my mind.

All deck and engineering positions should be filled with an all Ukrainian crew. The ship will realize the most value for the money with Ukrainian deck and engineering staff. The Ukraine has a long maritime history and tradition. Maritime training and standards in the Ukraine are among the best in the world. Ukrainian deck and engineering staff are as good as or better than any other, but the cost of their labor is a very good value. The labor for deck officer and engineering staff are governed by international agreements, including STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers).

Putting a cruise ship into service

After acquiring the ship, it will require some more investment to put it into service. At this point the joint owners will need to reach some agreements on many points. The cost of putting a cruise ship into service as a megayacht (very large private yacht) is much less than putting the ship into commercial service. However, if you can afford to buy a ship can easily meet SOLAS 2010 requirements, and can afford to flag and register it as a commercial ship then you can use the ship commercially to produce income and ROI (return on investment).

There are many marketing options for a commercial cruise ship. If the owners use no more than half the cabins, then that will leave sufficient means to produce enough revenue to at least pay for operating costs, and possibly produce a profit above operating costs. I will just briefly touch on some of the options available for marketing cruise ship capacity.

1. Conventional cruises. There is a trade-off here. You can produce revenue by providing conventional cruises. This will require that the ship have an itinerary that suits the commercial cruising market.

2. Freight and cargo. Some cruise ships have enough cargo capacity to produce some revenue by booking freight.

3. Assisted living. A cruise ship is well suited for assisted living, including crew and facilities. The going rate for assisted living in the average city in America is higher than the average cost of a cruise of the same duration.

4. Timeshares. This is an option not available to conventional cruise ship operators but could be facilitated if your co-owners agree to this type of marketing to fill cabins not used by co-owners. I will not go into the figures here, but timeshares tend to be high profit sales. There is a good chance that if the joint owners use no more than half the ship’s cabins for their own personal use, the remaining cabins could easily produce more than the total amount all the joint owners combined have invested.

Ships that would easily meet SOLAS 2010 tend to cost a bit more money to buy up front, and cost more to put into service. So I will give you couple of examples.

The Orient Venus is one of my favorite high-end ships. The specs:





GRT: 21,884 TONS

DWT: 4,863 TONS ON 6.50 M

LOA x B x D : 174.0×24.0x8.7 M




FUEL TANKS CAPA: IFO 1,500.4 M3 /MDO 87.30M3










My personal assessment of the Orient Venus

It is a late model and beautiful ship. It has many highly desirable attributes for a residential ship. It is a high end luxury cruise ship with an extraordinarily high tonnage to passenger ratio. This is very important for a residential ship. More living room and more space per passenger is far more essential for a residential ship than for a conventional cruise ship. When passengers are only on a ship for a short time, they can tolerate cramped living quarters, but when they live year-round on a ship, the extra space is quite valuable. The owners have been trying to sell this ship for $22,000,000. That may seem like a high price, but when you divide it by the number of cabins (195) the asking price per cabin is $102,564. This price is in line with what you would expect to pay for a condominium. The last word I got from the owners is that they will sell the ship for $18,000,000 now ($92,307 per cabin). The cabins are all “outside” cabins and are large. The ship can accommodate 606 passengers and a crew of 120, for a total of 726 people.

Several ship brokers have this ship listed. I usually do not talk to ship brokers. I prefer to talk directly with the ship owners. I am in contact with the owners of the Orient Venus. I could probably get this stunningly beautiful ship for less than $15,000,000 today, and get some concessions and extras thrown in to boot.

Another example of a high end ship that would make do well as a commercial cruise ship, plus accommodate a hundred or so full-time live aboard co-owners is the Dream Princess, originally named Song of Norway.

GRT: 22,945

Max Draft: 6.7 M in sea water

Length: 194 M.

Total No. of Cabins: 538

Total No. Of Beds + Berth: 1280

Outside Cabins: 346

Inside Cabins: 192

Cabins size range: SQ. M: 11 -18.

Main Engines: 4 Wartsila Sulzer – 18,000 HP.

Service Speed: 16 Knots.

Public Rooms:

Main Dinning room – “King & I”- about 500 pax.

South Pacific Lounge about 400 pax.

My Fair Lady Lounge about 500 pax.

Bars- 5

Self Service Restaurant on the swimming pool deck

Large Swimming pool



Duty Free Shops


8 passenger decks

extensive outdoor areas

Ship was redecorated / refurbished extensively during 2005.

The asking price on this ship is $31 million USD. Divide the asking price by the number of cabins and the average cost per cabin would be $57,620. Of course some cabins are better than others so co-owners would have to agree of the shared usage before agreeing to the purchase.

I have some bad news for the ship owners and some good news for you. This ship will not sell for the asking price.


Ship fuel is cheaper than automobile fuel for a few reasons. There are no road taxes on ship fuel of course and also it is different fuel. Ships main engines usually run on IFO180 or IFO380. Generator engines tend to be more finicky and commonly require diesel (MDO), which is still cheaper than automotive diesel. IFO 180 and 380 costs much less than MDO, usually about half the price. Ships consume a lot of fuel. So fuel cost is a major concern. I have some suggestions. If I were a co-owner of a ship I would be willing to invest a little more in the ship to increase fuel efficiency, and thus lower operating costs. There are many things that can be done to increase fuel efficiency. I would start with hull resistance. There is a new silicone-based paint from International Paints that when applied to the hull reduces amount of resistance in the water sufficiently to result in a 3 to 5% decrease in fuel consumption. A similar coating for the propellers also has been proven to increase fuel efficiency.

In addition to hull and prop coatings, there is an even more promising way to achieve dramatic fuel savings.

There is a company called Kiteship that has developed and produces kites for racing sailboats. These sailing kites do not require a mast. The kites fly high above the vessel, attached by cable and controlled from the vessel. Dave Culp of Kiteship has done a technical feasibility study on fitting a very large kite onto a conventional cruise ship. This would dramatically reduce fuel consumption. It would convert a fuel guzzler to a “green machine.” This is tantamount to converting a powerboat into a sail boat. The design of a cruise ship limits the amount of sail that a conventional ship can safely accommodate. A cruise ship lacks the ballast of a sail boat. If used in addition to the main engine(s) the kite will increase fuel efficiency. If the kite is used to pull the ship with the main engines shut down the ship’s speed will be reduced substantially. However, in this case, not only would the ship save IFO (main engine fuel) but also save MDO (generator engine fuel). If the kite were pulling the ship unassisted by the ship’s engines, then the propellers could be used to propel the ship’s generators without firing up the diesel generator engines. Even if the ship were traveling very slowly in the water, the propellers would turn in reverse if freed from the main engines. This is a very simple and easy task for the ship’s engineer to accomplish. In other words, the ship can be pulled by the kite, and that motion will push the ship’s propellers providing power to produce electricity and power the air-conditioning without using any fuel. The trade-off is a loss of speed and also some tacking is required, further reducing actual speed. What’s the rush? Why not go for maximum fuel savings? The salient point is that a high flying large kite can pull a cruise ship. If I were a co-owner of a cruise ship I would hope to find like minded co-owners who would be receptive to using such state-of-the-art technologies to save fuel.

There are hundreds of cruise ships on the market but I will just mention one more here. This cruise ship has RO/RO (Roll-On, Roll-Off) capability. This would be very convenient for live aboard owners who want to bring their “toys” with them. The garage deck will accommodate 6 to 8 trucks, or 60 to 80 cars. That converts to a lot of co-owner toys such as motorhomes, travel trailers, campers, cabin cruisers, ski boats, jet skis, sailboats, houseboats, bass boats, motorcycles, ATVs, cars, and trucks.




SOLAS 2005/2010 FITTED








GRT 12637


























Cost per cabin based on asking price, $71,739. This ship will sell for less than asking price. It is already SOLAS 2010 compliant. It would cost very little to put into commercial service.


Becoming a co-owner of a cruise ship is not a far fetched idea. It is practical and feasible if you are able to find like minded people who would be willing to share the expenses.

Overhead Drilling in to Concrete

All concrete anchors require holes. So if you want to attach a hanger or secure something to a concrete ceiling overhead, drilling into concrete is a fact of life. Traditional methods include climbing a ladder with a hammer drill, setting up scaffolding or renting a scissor lift. Fatigue and muscle strain from repeatedly drilling overhead can lead to injury to the neck, back and shoulders. Safety should always be a major concern when an operator is performing a strenuous and labor intensive job for long periods of time.

Several patents have been filed dating back to 1984 for machines like “overhead drill jig” and “Jig assembly for drilling vertically upward”. There was even a University of California study funded through national labor and safety grants. As a result, there are several machines being marketed. These machines are designed to drill holes from ¼” to ¾” in diameter for commercial building trades (fire sprinklers, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, suspended ceilings and data communications).

The most expensive of these tools comes with a special drill cradle, a mobile base, a winch system to push the drill against the ceiling and a vacuum system to reduce dust. There is one model that drills two holes at once, a set distance apart. These tools are bulky and require preparation and planning to set up. However, they definitely make the job less onerous. These tools retail from around $2,000 to $3,500.

A less expensive alternative places the hammer drill at the end of a telescoping pole, which is then lifted to the ceiling by hand or with a foot pedal. These tools were designed to fasten suspended ceiling wires to concrete ceilings in Canada on jobs where powder actuated tools are restricted. They have proven to be versatile and commercial grade, able to withstand the punishment of high volume jobs.

The most economical of the telescoping poles uses a ceiling probe to switch the hammer drill on and off. As the probe is depressed against the ceiling, it pushes the trigger of the hammer drill, thereby activating the trigger. This mechanism eliminates the need for a remote switch and allows the operator to hold the tool securely with both hands.

Beware of tools that do not place the hammer drill directly against the ceiling. Hammer drills are engineered to impact and rotate a carbide bit at a speed that drills a hole efficiently in hard concrete. When you put a long extension between the hammer drill and the ceiling, you lose efficiency and will eventually destroy the extension tool.

What Is The Difference Between Laminate Flooring and a Floating Floor?

What is a floating floor? I get this question often from customers because someone has told them they should get it. But, they don’t understand what a floating is.

Technically, a floating floor means that it is “floating” on top of the floor below it and is not directly secured to the floor (i.e. no nails and no glue). Instead it is held down or secured around the edges of the room – the base molding/shoe molding and transitions. This is often used if it is going over an existing floor or on top of cement – more about this later. Now, because the floor is floated and not secured to the floor there tends to be a bit more movement in the floor – you especially see and hear this in laminate floors and it’s more noticeable if it was poorly installed.

Given the definition, there are many types of floating floors as you’ll see below, so anytime someone tells me they want or think they need a floating floor, I need to dig a little deeper to make sure I’m understanding their wants and needs because there are many types of floating floors. (Plus sometimes someone tells me they need a floating floor and when I get to their house I discover that they don’t need a floating floor).

1. Laminate floors -Laminate floors are floating floors. Laminate is fake – it looks like hardwood, but it’s not – it’s a digital picture of hardwood and it clicks together. (There are also versions that look like tile) One of the advantage of laminate is that is less expensive than hardwood – both material-wise and labor-wise and it can often be placed on top of existing flooring without needing to rip it up, so this saves more money in labor.

2. Some engineered hardwoods are floating floors. Hardwoods can be installed 3 ways: 1) nail down (if there is plywood there), 2) glue down (engineered only) and 3) floated (engineered only). Some hardwoods are specially made to click into place just like a laminate does (they are easier for do-it-yourselfers and some can be installed over radiant heat). You click them into place and once they clicked, they are locked into place. The other option for non-clickable engineered hardwood is to glue the joints of the hardwood. Either way, both options require underlayment underneath the hardwood just as you would use for a laminate.

3. Cork is a floating floor. They come in interlocking pieces (usually 1 ft x 3ft) and click together just as a laminate does.

4. Some vinyls are floating floors (but most aren’t). Usually vinyl is glued down, but some of the more recent fiber floors that have some fiberglass and extra cushion for your feet can be glued or floated. If they are floated, they just lie on top of the floor and are secured along the base molding or cove base along the walls and cabinets.

So, after all of that, why would someone want a floating floor? Here are some of the reasons:

1. They want to save money by not ripping up the floor. Instead, they just want to go on top of it.

2. They have asbestos tile on the floor and it would be dangerous/illegal to remove that (or very costly to have an abatement company come in and professionally abate it).

3. They have a floor where glue will not adhere to it well (e.g. epoxy floor or floor w/ lots of ridges and not a flat surface.

4. They are putting hardwood on top of radiant heat (and hence need to avoid adhesives and nails).

Here are some reasons why customers mistakenly THINK they need a floating floor.

1. They don’t have plywood or it’s going over a cement subfloor. This is the most frequent area of confusion. While floating floors definitely will work over cement, you do not need to do a floating floor. You can, but you also have the option of doing an engineered hardwood and gluing it down. So, be sure to understand your objectives and your budget before ruling options out.

2. It’s below grade/in a basement. Floating floors can work in the basement, but other floors can also work so this is where it’s necessary to understand the objective of the room, moisture issues and budget.

3. There is a moisture issue. Well if there is a moisture issue, this should prob. be addressed first. Or, if you are not going to make any changes, then pick the appropriate floor that will work with moisture. Hardwood, laminate and cork are no no’s if you have a moisture issue. Many customers mistakenly believe that laminate is waterproof, and I have news for you…it’s not. It’s made w/ hardwood shavings, so if you are concerned about hardwood and moisture same goes for laminate. If there is a moisture issue, consider vinyl or tile.

4. They have a sloping or uneven floor. Hard surfaces don’t generally work well over uneven floors regardless of whether it’s hardwood, laminate, or tile. it’s best to level these out first, but the floor prep will cost you more money. If budget is a concern w/ the leveling, the consider a more flexible surface such as vinyl, carpet or rubber.

I know there are a lot of issues to consider and I suppose this is why it’s best to consult a professional. Everyone’s situation and budget is different. Frequently, I will narrow down to the 2 or 3 choices that could work for my customers and price them all out and then let them decide what works best with their needs and budget. I’ll always add in my 2 cents (or sometimes even a nickel).