The Types Of Tiles You Could Choose From

There are hundreds of different materials to choose from, from porcelain to vinyl and ceramic to stone. The type of tile that you choose will depend on the area of your home that you intend on using it. Here are the most common options available.

Ceramic

Ceramic tiles are clay based and are normally white or red. Clay is purified after it has been quarried and then dried out to make a powder. The powder is injected into moulds and get pressed before it is fired at a high temperature. The raw tile is then screen printed and a layer of glaze is applied before it is re-fired. The glaze can either be textured, Matt or gloss. Ceramic tiles are normally used as wall or feature tiles, but are sometimes used in flooring as well. These tiles are easy to cut, as they are much softer and this makes them cheaper than other types of tiles. There are a variety of ceramic tiles available for both domestic and commercial use. Glazed Ceramic tiles do not need any special maintenance or sealing.

Porcelain

Glazed and full-bodied tiles are the two types of porcelain tiles available. They are manufactured in different ways and are used in different areas of the home. All glazed porcelain tiles can be used on walls and floors in domestic spaces. They also do not need to be sealed and do not need special maintenance. The color in full-bodied tiles runs from front to back. These types of tiles are available in three types of finishes. Some are suitable for the interior and some for the exterior of your home. Double pressed porcelains are more common than others at the moment.

Composite Stone

Composite Stone or engineered stone are mainly manufactured in Italy and China.They are mostly made from Stone, Cement, Resin and some additives.They come in honed, polished and Matt finishes. The surfaces can be textured in a few ways and does need maintenance. Many manufacturers will not include a warranty on these products because the surfaces can be damaged by UV exposure. They need to be sealed and maintained regularly.

Natural Stone

Natural stone are products which are created by nature. The stone slabs or blocks can be cut into the desired shapes and sizes, and can be finished in a number of different ways. The color and texture of stone is random, because it is a natural product. Stone is sometimes filled to correct the natural faults and defects. If it is done correctly, it will blend in with the natural texture. In general, they need to be sealed and maintained regularly.

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaic is used for shower walls,kitchens and bathrooms. There are a range of exciting products available on the market today. Glass mosaic products do not need to be sealed, nor do they need regular maintenance.

Essential Tools Used In Gardening

Gardening is an outdoor activity that many people find to be more than a simple hobby. Some people perform gardening because they want to create their own great looking lawn. Others use it as a therapy, will others do gardening because they want to have their own harvest of fresh produces like vegetables, herbs and flowers. Regardless of what the reasons are for gardening, one important thing remains and that is for every gardener to have and use the essential tools to get the job done right.

A shovel is an essential tool in planting. It is used to dig the soil, work the ground and move the unwanted dirt from the earth. It is a tool that is frequently used when gardening thus in buying, always choose for the best possible and affordable quality so you are guaranteed that you can use your purchased shoved over a long time. A flat-headed spade is also another must have for a gardener. Typically a gardener needs one shovel and one spade yet for starters, the spade may be adequate.

Plants need water to survive and thus they need to be watered properly using a watering garden tool such as a garden hose. Hoses come in variety of lengths and diameters but the 5/8 inch-diameter is sufficient to supply water to most lawns. Sprinkler attachments may be added to the hose while a reel may be used when putting away the hose. An automatic sprinkler may also be used for watering. Sprinklers come in various styles and features. A simple sprinkler may be enough for small-sized lawns while special-featured sprinklers go well with larger gardens. There are sprinklers with whistles, bells, timer or adjustments for spray patterns.

A pair of pruning shears is yet another essential garden tool. You may buy cheap shears if on a tight budget and if just starting on the garden. However, since these shears are inexpensive, it means that they may also be of low quality that you will need to frequently buy new ones for replacement. Buying expensive yet high quality shears is a better investment. Care for the shears properly and they will surely last longer.

A rake is also another basic gardener’s tool. Most people will say that metal-tined rakes are the best due to durability. Yet if the price matters, there are less expensive rakes made of plastic or wood.

The trowel is also a handheld tool in gardening. It is used to dig small holes when planting. It may also be used to scoop the earth onto pots and it may also be a tool for removing the weeds. One of the best trowels to have is those made of steel covered with carbon and whose handles are made of wood.

A broom is an essential tool for sweeping and collecting dry leaves on the ground. A leaf blower is a more expensive yet chic alternative to a broom. A lawnmower is used for trimming and maintaining the turf. Mowers come in many types and features. A manually operated mower is great for a small lawn but a bigger lawn may have great used for more sophisticated lawn mowers.

Boys – The Broken Pillar

Men are pillars of the society. Men give protection, lead and give security. With this in mind we never realize that men also need protection. Our society today is protective of the girl child. Boys are merely neglected yet they need protection as the girl if not much more. Young male children must be raised, guided, and disciplined. They need security that is provided by both their parents and the society.

In Kenya today, many boys are penurious through various ways which include:

  • Dropping out of school: Though the number of boys registered in school is relatively higher than that of girls the rate of school dropouts in boys cannot be ignored.
    • In areas where parents value basic educations here are higher chances of boys dropping out compared to girls. Many children lack parental guidance. Due to peer pressure and lack father figures boys end up dropping out of school. Lack of father figures, one may ask. Children mainly from poor families have fathers who are alcohol and drug users. Many locally brewed substances are available at low costs in the village. Many young men end up in the illicit brews dens and drink all day. The money they make is all drained in alcohol. These are the father figures young boys have to look up to.
    • The other reason for school dropouts is the lack of school fees. As much as the school fees is highly subsidized in Kenya by the government offering free primary and secondary education there are several school needs that are not included in the free education scheme. School going children must have school uniform and have writing materials which, if not provided result to missing school days and eventually dropping out.
    • Young boys from pastoral communities drop out of school to follow rites of passage. In rural Kenya boys go through rites of passage into adulthood and immediately take on more responsible roles including starting up a family.
  • Drug abuse: Drug abuse is rampant among adolescents. Peer pressure often found fault. Young male children are introduced to drugs at a young age and mostly to smoking. Smoking boys are heroes in their peer group. To keep up the status and pressure many boys start smoking and are eventually introduced to hard drugs as marijuana. When you start doing drugs, addiction is paramount; you become a slave to the drug. All your income and energy is directed to the drugs and their availability leading to lack of self-worth and eventually death because of drug overdose, diseases or suicide.
  • Absent parents: When parents are absent through, divorce, death or at work, children lack security. Men give protection. A boy whose father is absent, ends up feeling compelled to protect his siblings and his mother. With no father figure to look up to and guide, the boy grows up in a wayward character has no morals since he does not trust his mother guide the man in him. When he is a full-grown man, he cannot offer protection neither security for he was not protected neither given security.
  • Grow up with uncertainties: When parents separate children mainly blame themselves for the breakup. Boys carry the burden in their minds of filling the gap left by their father. Their siblings look up to them for provision. Boys become victims of circumstances and end up doing anything including joining gangs. Others in pastoral communities are obliged to take care of livestock at an early age and miss out school and being children as they take on more responsible roles. They grow up not finding, themselves and discovering who themselves.
  • Most aid and donor funded organizations focus mostly on girls. Many schools that offer a home environment are girl oriented. Female children get protection from early marriages, sexual abuse and female genital mutilation (female circumcision). Many boys who make the young girls pregnant are required to marry the girls or take-up the duty of rearing the children while still in their teenage. In many cases of teenage pregnancy, female children are given counselling and the boys are exposed to stigma. When we concentrate so much on the girls at the cost of the boy, the question is who will marry the nurtured girls if the boys are not nurtured

In protecting the future generation we need a holistic approach to protecting our children. Boys the pillars of tomorrow, protect them today.

DIY – Building Field Stone Columns

My husband and I wanted to add a little curb appeal to our house by taking our plain old front porch posts and adding field stone column bases and beefing up the posts into columns. We wanted a little curb appeal. We got a LOT of curb appeal! And we did it ourselves.

This project initially came to mind because the soil in our San Diego yard is VERY rocky and we have tons of field stone that has been dug up over the years from various projects. We thought, why not use it?! We began by looking for professional stone masons to do the job since we did not know how to. What we found was that the few people we called did not know how either. I am sure there are folks out there who still do this kind of work but we could not find them. I think since most people use cultured stone, stone veneer or concrete these days to simulate real field stone it is just not cost effective any more. That brings us to the second thing we realized; even if we had found someone, after doing the work ourselves and seeing the time it takes, we probably would not have been willing to pay what a professional would need to charge. It would just be too expensive. So if you want the look of real field stone columns (you can tell the difference if they are not) you can do it yourself cheap, but it will take some time and effort. But wow! The look is worth it!

We did some practice projects first which only reinforced the fact that we did not know how to do this. They just did not look right. We realized from looking at other people’s columns that the important thing was that the corner stones needed to be stacked on top of each other to make the column a square. We found a simple diagram on line that showed how to install guide lines at the corners of where you want your columns to be so you can follow these lines and keep your corners straight.

The following instructions are not meant to be exhaustive, but rather to give you a good idea of how the project will go and what it entails. You will need to do more research on the technical details you may need to know before being able to complete this project.

You will first need to determine what diameter you want your columns to be and how high you want them to go. Ours are approximately 18 inches per side and about 3 feet high. You must begin by pouring concrete bases for your columns to rest on for sturdy support. Then if you are building around existing wood posts as we were, you must waterproof the posts. We used roofing tar. After the guide lines are in place, (we used simple string lines taped in place from floor to ceiling. Be sure they are at at true vertical!) the stone work can begin. It is really quite simple but does take attention to detail and time. My husband and I worked as a team and we each had our jobs to do.

Mix up a batch of mortar, you will need enough to set two courses of stone for each column (2 high) and you will want the mortar to be on the thick side. Two courses of stone are all you can really do at a time or the weight of the stone and mortar will place too much pressure on what is below it and cause it to squish out. We did 4 columns and started by just working on 1 until we felt we knew we were doing a good job. After that we worked on the remaining 3 simultaneously, doing 2 courses on each of the three at at time. Between courses the mortar must set for several hours before laying the next course on top. You will quickly become familiar with the mortar and how it feels and behaves as it is setting and will be able to judge when it is time to set the next courses. Also refer to the instructions on the bag.

On the bottom level use a trowel and lay a base of mortar for your first course of stones to set in. An inch or two of mortar is sufficient. Choose your stones (they should be at least softball size or larger) and place them carefully so that the corner stones line up just inside the string and the other stones are nicely spaced and with attractive sides facing out. Then begin to fill in all around them, packing the mortar without moving the stones. Be sure to get all the air pockets out and add enough on top of your first stones to place your second layer. Feel free to use much smaller stones to fill in the interior areas that will not be seen.

While working, do not worry about getting mortar on the outside of your stones. Keep a bucket of clean water and a sponge nearby and as long as you wipe the residue off within a half hour or so you will have no problem. You will find as you work that there is a certain artistry to this work and you can work with the mortar blending and shaping it for quite some time as it dries. In the same way, blending the mortar between the courses is easy and when you are done and all the mortar is set it will be impossible to see where one course of stones ended and another began. The mortar blends perfectly.

After you have set your first 2 layers of stones use your hands (always wearing gloves as you work, the mortar is very caustic to skin) to shape the mortar and push it into place where you want it as it dries. After the mortar has begun to set, work with the water and sponge smoothing the mortar and shaping it and cleaning off the outsides of the stones so they do not have a film on them. In this way you will proceed with all the courses of stone until the columns are as high as you want them to be. When you reach your desired height be sure to have the top be as level as possible and then add capstones of some type to give it a finished look. We used travertine tiles attached by building a jig to hold them in place while the mortar dried since we had to work around an existing post.

For our final step we beefed up the posts by wrapping them in 1 x 6 lumber, and trimmed the tops and bottoms with 2 x 2 lumber. Be sure to prime and paint all wood surfaces to protect against rain and water intrusion.

This is a great Do It Yourself project. It can be time consuming, each section of work may take a couple of hours when you take into account mixing the mortar, laying the stones, doing the finishing work and cleaning your tools, but the results are satisfying and well worth it for this classic look.

The Gaiam Yoga Mat

Yoga is an exercise that almost everyone should take up sometime or another. Yoga will build your strength and flexibility if you decide to do it on a regular basis. Another fantastic aspect is the inner peace it will bring to your mind. To get the very best yoga exercise you need a proper yoga  mat . One of the best ones on the market is the Gaiam yoga  mat .

The Gaiam yoga  mat  is made by the company of the same name. It is based out of Colorado. Their tagline is “Lifestyle Company.” The main thing that comes to mind when speaking of a these items is the fact that each and every one is made up of recycled material. They understand that a yoga  mat  won’t last forever, so they make quality  mats  out of recycled materials. This is a huge plus in the world of yoga.

They come in a variety of shapes, colors and thicknesses. To purchase the one that is right for you, it is best to think about your body type, along with how intense your yoga workouts are going to be. A  mat  that is at least 4-millimeters thick is usually the standard for most yoga enthusiasts. However if you are a very thin person – or someone who is more on the fragile side, then it is ideal to look into thicker ones. Of course Gaiam makes several designs and thicknesses, so you will have more than enough to choose from.

The company offers several different options to purchasers. If you are a web shopper no problem, simply visit their website up and take a look around. More often than not you will also come across some great discounts on the  mats . Gaiam yoga  mats  have a feel and texture unlike any other yoga  mat  available. The traction available on these products is second to none as well, providing excellent traction even the slipperiest of floors.

There are tons of product options available to people who participate in the art of yoga. These  mats  are second to none, and we hope that this article helps sway you to at least take a look at the different  mats  that the company has to offer.

How to Clean Oriental Carpets

A home just seems incomplete without the perfect carpeting or rug. Rooms that have bare floors are less inviting and not as comfortable. Oriental carpets and rugs are used to complete a room and give it an elegant and fashionable look. These types of carpets and rugs can be a very costly item to buy for a home. While finding the perfect rug may not be that difficult, keeping it requires work and commitment. When you buy from a retailer they will often tell you how to clean Oriental carpets or recommend resources where you can learn this information. All rugs need to be cleaned periodically to keep them looking well and increase their longevity. Remember that cleaning may not be an easy task but must still be done. When you are learning how to clean Oriental carpets and rugs, be sure to find out the most effective and least time consuming methods available.

How to Clean a Persian Rug – Not all Rugs Are Cleaned the Same Way

Maybe you have already tried to clean an Oriental carpet or rug at home and had disastrous results. This is because all web instructions are the same but don’t fit every type of rug. Each type of rug has specific guidelines, rules and tips that apply to only that type of rug. Attempting to clean some carpets and rugs on your own can sometimes end up as a very costly mistake. Different cleaning methods must be used for each type of rug and only an expert that has familiarized themselves with specific types of rug cleaning can tell you what methods are safe. Call a professional that knows how to clean a Persian rug before doing it yourself. They can tell you if this is something you should do or if professional cleaning is the smarter choice.

How to Clean a Wool Area Rug – Home Cleaning

Some Oriental carpets and rugs can be cleaned at home. Remember to consult with a professional company for information on how to clean a wool area rug before actually attempting home cleaning. Oriental carpets and rugs are very fragile and should be handled and cleaned with care. It is very important to educate yourself on the appropriate cleaning methods and techniques for the type of rug or carpet you have. Gathering information on how to clean a wool area rug can help the process go smoothly and increase the chances of an undamaged rug after cleaning. Lay the rug on a flat surface outside and vacuum both the front and back. A mild detergent or liquid soap can be used for cleaning. Take a soft brush and rub the carpet lightly in a straight line. Scrubbing too hard can damage the fibers. This process requires you to be careful and precise. The choice comes down to price or convenience. Doing cleaning on your own can cost less if no damage is done but takes time and work. Having commercial rug cleaning done may cost a little more but protects your rug and frees your time for other things.

How to Make a Braided Spiral Rug

Here we have another wonderful project using strips of fabric. Recycling is so important in today’s world. All you need are strips of fabric from old shirts, jeans, bed linens, tablecloths or curtains. You don’t need any other special equipment. As you work you can change the colors creating unique effects. You can create subtle color changes or bright and dark contrasts. Try coordinating colors with other color themes in your house.

Materials:

8-10 assorted fabrics of similar weight.

Scissors

Pins

Needle and thread

Safety pin

Backing fabric according to the size of your completed rug,

Basic Method:

1. Cut or tear the fabric strips into 2 inches wide. Now hand stitch the strips end to end with right sides facing. Make 3 long strips each measuring 40 inches.

2. Fasten the ends of 3 strips together with a safety pin. Hook the safety pin over a cup hook which is screwed securely into a flat surface such as a wall in your basement, garage, or studio.

3. Start braiding near the safety pin. Bring the right hand strip over the middle strip and then the left hand strip over the new middle strip. Continue braiding, turning the raw edges under as much as possible until you have about 8 inches of fabric left. Secure the loose ends with a pin. Remove the safety pin from the top and taper the beginning of the braid stitch neatly to conceal raw edges.

4. The tapered point will be the center and now you can start winding the braid around in a spiral. Stitch it together as you go using strong thread. Work with the spiral flat on a table and try not to pull the thread too tight or the rug will pucker; we want a nice flat rug.

5. Every 2 ¾ inch sew through the braid and back again to secure it to the spiral.

6. When you get near the end of the braid add more strips of fabric and braid them. As the rug grows you can change colors.

7. When your rug grows to 28 ½ inches in diameter taper the strips for the last 8 inches. Braid, and then stitch a tapered point as at the beginning. Keep your stitching neat throughout the project.

8. Now place the rug on a backing fabric and cut around the rug shape leaving an extra ¾ inch. Lay the rug face down and pin the backing fabric on the back turning ¾ inch under. Back stitch across the backing fabric, sewing from the centre outwards.

9. Now sew the backing fabric to the edge of the rug using neat stitches.

Different Types of Holiday Accommodation

Are you looking for action, adventure or plain relaxation to get rid of all the stress from work? Then a vacation in one of the most sought after destinations in the world is your best choice. There are plenty of things to see and experience from outdoor adventures, tours, wine tasting, dining, wildlife viewing to shopping. However, before you can enjoy all these amazing things you must plan your accommodation first.

How to find the best accommodation? All you need to do is decide whether you want to relax by the beach, next to a lake, or close to an important city in order to enjoy the urban life. After you take your pick, there are plenty of accommodations to choose from. Here’s the list:

Hotel – There is an array of hotels from popular world-class establishments to small country pubs. If you want to explore the city, the museums and the shopping centers, staying at a hotel nearest to them is your best option. Most hotels are stylish, unique and come with multiple rooms which may vary in size and type. On the other hand, country pub hotels are clean and stylish with pleasant facilities.

Apartments – They are found all over the country and offer guests the comforts of being at home while on vacation. Apartments are a great choice when travelling with the whole family or group of friends since it can cater up to 6 people. It also includes a kitchen, living room, dining room and 1-3 smaller rooms closed off from the living area.

Self Contained Accommodation – Like the apartment, a self contained accommodation offer the same comfort you get from home while on vacation. Commonly referred to as your own home away from home, it provides all the privacy you need and desire. There are plenty of self-contained accommodations that have one or three bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, lounge and laundry area.

Holiday Parks– This is perfect for back packers or campers. Holiday parks also known as camping grounds can be found in towns and rural areas. They are generally family oriented and come with playgrounds or recreational facilities. A holiday park can be a cabin, permanent caravan, flats or motels.

Luxury – There are plenty of luxury accommodations for those who want to live on high standard or high level service and luxury. They range from exclusive resorts, secluded beach or Lake Front lodges with superb facilities, exceptional food and extremely high professional service.

A vacation in one of the most beautiful countries in the world is not prefect without experiencing the kiwi-friendly hospitality and quality accommodation. With so many fantastic attractions and activities to fill your day, you need a comfortable place to help you relax and have a good night’s sleep.

Glenwood Springs Lodging Is Sure to Leave You Satisfied

If you’re a travel freak like me, you’ve stayed in all kinds of hotels, motels, inns, cabins, bed and breakfasts, and hostels. Not many, though, have the Colorado feel like the Hotel Colorado and the Hotel Denver in Glenwood Springs. What do I mean by “the Colorado feel”?

For starters, it doesn’t get much more Colorado than Glenwood. You’re surrounded by beautiful mountain in every direction you look and you’re in close range of some of the best ski resorts and hot springs you’ll ever find.

But what gives a hotel the Colorado feel? First, let’s talk about the Hotel Colorado. It was built in the late 1800’s for no other reason than for total for some of the most elite Colorado and beyond had to offer. It has been a favorite destination for everyone from President Roosevelt to the Unsinkable Molly Brown and Doc Holliday. It was a symbol of elegance during an exciting time in the history of not only our nation, but of Colorado itself.

Keeping this history and purpose for the hotel in mind, stepping into the Hotel Colorado is like stepping back in time. Every room was designed to reflect the style of 19th century Italy, from the hand-picked artwork to the furniture and imported wall paper. You almost feel as if you’re walking among some of the most important figures of our time.

When it’s time to dine or sit and enjoy a good bottle of wine, you’re definitely in the right place at the Hotel Colorado. On site, you will find Baron’s Restaurant serving up some of the finest cuisines imaginable. This historic hotel is the perfect setting for an evening of fine dining and special company. You’re guaranteed to thoroughly enjoy this culinary experience.

The Hotel Denver shares the same sense of history and adventure as the Hotel Colorado with very unique and luxurious accommodations. The location of the hotel, now 7th Street but once called Riverfront, was once the home of many bars and even a red light district before the prohibition. It’s quite a different scene today, but every bit as artistic and beautiful.

A favorite aspect of the Hotel Denver is the selection of so many unique styles of elegant accommodations. The Cupola is the largest room the hotel has to offer, but that’s not the only reason it’s special. It also has a private rooftop hot tub! It doesn’t get much more rock star than that. Other unique rooms in the hotel include the Penthouse with a private deck and hot tub with an unbeatable view of the town, and six other varieties of accommodations including a simple Value Room with only the bare essentials, but still very cozy and welcoming.

Both of these world class hotels are within close proximity to the hot springs pool, hiking trails, the Glenwood Canyon Brewing Company, white water rafting, shopping, fine dining, and some of the best skiing and snowboarding Colorado has to offer.

So where are you planning your next getaway? Glenwood Springs is only 157 miles from Denver and even closer to most towns on the western slope. Chances are, the lodging alone is enough to keep you coming back year after year.

Housing Market Bottom – Price-to-Income Ratio Estimates

One method used to evaluation residential real estate prices is the price-to-income ratio. Since people borrow the vast majority of the funds necessary to purchase residential real estate, and this borrowing must be financed from current income, the ratio of house prices to rent is a useful barometer of market valuation.

Since incomes and rents are closely related, evidence for the Great  Housing  Bubble that appears in the price-to-rent ratio also appears in the price-to-income ratio. National price-to-income ratios are quite stable. There has been a slight upward drift with the decline of interest rates since the early 1980s peak, but from the period from 1987 to 2001, this ratio remained in a tight range from 3.9 to 4.2. The increase from 4.1 to 4.5 witnessed from 2001 to 2003 can be explained by the lowering of interest rates; however, the increase from 4.5 to 5.2 from 2003 to 2006 can only be explained by exotic financing and irrational exuberance.

If national price-to-income ratios decline to their historic norm of 4.0, prices nationally will fall 9% peak-to-trough, bottom in 2011 and return to peak pricing in 2014. A 10% decline and a nine year waiting period would be difficult on homeowners nationally, but the magnitude and the duration will not be nearly as severe for most as it will be for homeowners in the extreme bubble markets like Irvine, California.

The volatility in price-to-income ratios caused by bubble behavior is clearly visible in the historic price-to-income ratios from Irvine, California. During the coastal bubble of the late 80s, in which Irvine participated, the price-to-income ratio increased from 3.7 to 4.6, a 25% increase. In the decline of the early 90s, price-to-income ratios dropped to a range from 4.0 to 4.1 and stabilized there from 1994 to 1999 before rocketing up to an unprecedented 8.6, a 115% increase. This new ratio was achieved by the extensive use of exotic financing, in particular negative amortization loans that rendered the new ratio inherently unstable.

If house prices in Irvine decline to the point where the price-to-income ratio reaches its average of 4.2, a ratio higher above this historic range of stability between 4.0 and 4.1, prices will decline 43% peak-to-trough, bottom in 2011 and return to the peak in 2029. The magnitude of this decline would be catastrophic to homeowners who purchased during the bubble. Twenty-four years is a long time to wait for peak buyers hoping to get out at breakeven.

Using the price-to-income ratio is a good predictor of the market bottom. The stability of the price-to-income ratio is more variable than the price-to-rent ratio, but it is still quite stable. The ratio deviates from its tight range only when irrational exuberance takes over a market. One such time was during the financial mania, the Great  Housing  Bubble.

Cover Meter

A cover meter is a device to determine the precise concrete cover and to pinpoint the exact location of the rebars in the concrete. The cover depth of the concrete has a major impact on those processes that lead to the corrosion of the rebars. Hitting a rebar while boring into reinforced concrete can destroy the drilling instrument or even weaken the concrete structure.

Trying to avoid rebars, however, can be a tedious and difficult process. Therefore it is vital know the cover depth and the precise location of the rebars before starting the maintenance work. Since the eddy-current principle with pulse-induction is the most economical solution, most cover meters are based on this principle.

In the case of double layer arrangements of the rebars it is suggested to start the location with the first layer. If the layers are too close to each other, it is likely to be impossible to locate the bars of the second layer.

For precise determination of the bar diameter it is important to verify that there are no unnoticed influences that could falsify the result. Therefore it is recommended to select a place on the structure where there is sufficient spacing between the rebars. It must also kept in mind that the cover depth of the concrete influences the accuracy of the cover meters. The accuracy of the cover meters decreases with the depth of the concrete cover.  

The standards BS 1881:204 (Testing concrete. Recommendations on the use of electromagnetic covermeters) and the DIN 1045 (Guideline Concrete, reinforcement and prestressed concrete structures) can be applied to the cover meter.

Gymnastics – Balance Beam Tips

Gymnastics is a difficult sport as it is. Competing on four different events against hundreds of other people in front of hundreds of people is not every person’s idea of fun. Gymnasts indulge in that challenge of showing off their skills. The greatest challenge of the four events for many gymnasts is the balance beam.

What is the balance beam? The balance beam is a beam lifted four feet off the ground and is 16 feet long and four inches wide. When the beam was first invented, it was simply a wooden beam. Gymnasts focused more on the dance aspect back in the day instead of tumbling but in today’s age a lot of the focus is on the tricks performed on the beam such as the front tucks, back tucks, and ariels.

Female gymnasts compete on beam doing all kinds of flips, turns, leaps, and jumps but how exactly do they do it? Following a few of these tips will help you to master the beam.

TIP 1:

In order to do well on the balance beam, you want to make sure you can execute the skill on the ground first before you try it on the beam. Building your confidence on the ground first is a must before performing your skills on the beam.

TIP 2:

A gymnast must not be afraid to get hurt. I have fallen off the balance beam many of times doing leaps and turns. You have to build your confidence up and know that you are not going to be the best every time and that you are going to fall off. It happens.

TIP 3:

Use the mats until you are comfortable. You didn’t jump up in start walking in a day; you had to hold on first. Using the mats will help build your confidence. The more you start to land your tricks with the mats, the more comfortable and confident you get. After you start repeatedly nailing your skills, take the mats away.

TIP 4:

Ask for a spot. Your coaches are there to help you. They want to see you mask your skills. So do not hide away and be embarrassed. Believe me; you will be thankful you asked for help now instead of going to a competition unprepared.

TIP 5:

When performing a skill on the beam, take your time. Do not ever do a trick if you are not physically and mentally prepared for it. The beam is too tiny to rush on and could cause serious injury.

TIP 6:

Chalk is your friend. Beam makes a lot of people nervous which causes their hands and feet to sweat. Using chalk can help to prevent slipping off the beam no matter if you are just standing or if you are doing a skill.

TIP 7:

Always watch your surroundings. For example, do not do a cartwheel while someone is running underneath the beam. The beam is already scary enough.

TIP 8:

The beam requires a lot of core muscles. The whole time you are on the beam, you will want to keep perfect posture including a straight back, chin up, and on tip toes. Holding this posture will keep you on the beam a lot longer than just standing like you would on the ground.

TIP 9:

Practice makes perfect. Practicing your skills over and over will get you the results you want. You will master a skill as long as you stay cool, calm, and confident.

The balance beam can be terrifying but using these tips will help you to get over the fear and make the beam your favorite event. Like any activity, it all takes time to become the best you can be.

Best Architectural Software

This is a short review of some of the best architectural software.

Autodesk products: AutoCAD, 3ds Max, Revit

AutoCAD is essential and the most used architectural software. It is 2D and 3D CAD design tool, but commonly used for 2D architectural designing. From version 2007, every new version is big improvement in 3D modeling, significantly improving the work with solids and rendering. There is special version for architects – AutoCAD Architecture, which combines tools for architectural drawing with familiar AutoCAD working environment.

3dsMax is one of the most popular 3D modeling, rendering and animation software. With 3dsMax you can create complex 3D architectural models from 2D plans. It is good idea to use 3dsMax in conjunction with AutoCAD: simultaneously taking advantages of powerful 3dsMax modeling tools and AutoCAD precision.

Revit Architecture is the solution for parametric modeling (Building Information Model). By designing the building model in 2D, 3D or both simultaneously, you can create plans, sections, and table layouts. Autodesk Revit can be used independently or in conjunction with the AutoCAD. The main difference between the Revit Architecture and AutoCAD is that Revit works with 3D parametric architectural models.

Graphisoft products: ArchiCAD, Artlantis

Similarly to Revit Architecture, when you create building in ArchiCAD, you don’t draw and cut lines like in AutoCAD. Instead, you virtually create walls, set doors and windows and add other building elements. Every element has smart architectural parameters that you can change anytime. The most basic element in ArchiCAD is wall. Other architectural elements (stairs, beams, columns…) are intelligent 3D objects also. It is parametric variable, and you can easy adjust it.

Artlantis is not ArchiCAD plug-in but the stand-alone rendering application developed especially for architects and designers. By default, ArchiCAD has installed the Artlantis export plug-in so you can export the model in the Artlantis file format. You can transfer the geometry, textures, perspective cameras, the sun, lights and layers.

Rhino 3D (+ Grasshopper 3D)

Rhino is different from most 3D packages and it is more like a CAD program. It is well-known that AutoCAD is designed for mathematically precise construction. However, problem is when the object is not only for simulation, but also for the visualization and representation. For this reason Rhino is good choice if you need a modeling tool that is both accurate as CAD, and that has a good visualization.

The best-known and most popular plug-in for Rhino is Grasshopper 3D (ex Explicit History). Grasshopper is primarily created for exploring various forms with parameterization and algorithms with minimal knowledge of programming and scripting, but you need a lot of mathematics knowledge.

ProgeSOFT progeCAD

ProgeCAD offers a fully compatible dozens of times cheaper replacement for AutoCAD. ProgeCAD user interface is very similar to AutoCAD one. Menus, toolbars, status bars and shortcuts are almost the same. For that reason, AutoCAD users will not have problem to work in progeCAD.

Also there is Architecture version, cheaper replacement to Revit and ArchiCAD. ProgeCAD Architecture is of 2D and 3D architectural tool that uses DWG as the native format in conjunction with BIM approach. ProgeCAD Architecture offers a library of 2D and 3D parametric objects and blocks.

Conclusions

There are two largest competitors in CAD world – Autodesk AutoCAD and Graphisoft ArchiCAD, and they are commonly used CAD software by architects.

When you create model in AutoCAD, obviously you render in 3dsMax, and when you create model in ArchiCAD you render in Artlantis. 3ds Max is much harder to learn than Artlantis.

ProgeCAD is dozens of times cheaper alternative to AutoCAD, but with less comfort. Also progeCAD Architecture is cheaper alternative to Revit and ArchiCAD.

3ds Max is more focused towards video industry and effects, which do not require high precision. In contrast, Rhino’s focus is on model’s precision and therefore only uses NURBS technique.

How To Handle TV Mounting

There are many different ways to get your TV on your wall, but what is the best way when performing TV mounting? This all depends on which type of TV you are trying to mount. Many different ways exist, mainly dependent upon the fact of whether or not you have flat screen or an older tube type television.

In the case that you have an older model the mount, in all reality is very simple. Kits are sold at most if not all department stores and electronics stores as well. Different kits will give you the ability to mount coming flush out of the wall, or components allowing you to mount your TV in a corner. Both have most of the same parts with changes in certain components depending where you would like to mount your TV. Most commonly they include a bracket that will extend from the wall sturdy enough to support a large base which your TV will sit on, allowing you to watch in comfort wherever you would like.

But if you have the much more common and frequently used flat screen TV you may ask which route do I take for my TV mounting? In this case you mount your TV in pretty much the same fashion as you would an older tube television but the way you mount them varies greatly along with the component you use to do this. Flat screen TVs are made with certain grooves in the back of them allowing them to mount with mostly brackets made specific for the TV. For mounting flat against the wall, the bracket will be secured into the wall with bolts then the TV must be fit onto the bracket. At times this can be difficult and you may require some assistance as you must lift your TV to a high position and then be able to position it properly so it will set down flush on the bracket. The same principle allows when mounting your TV in a corner except that it will have some type of extension allowing it so sit away from the wall while still being able to sit on the wall mount.

There are a couple important considerations to take when choosing a mount for your TV. Most important is the weight rating, as stepping away from a piece of equipment that costs thousands of dollars which is left hanging on a wall by your handy work is quite scary. This information can be gathered by reading the ratings on the kit you purchase.

What is another important consideration when TV mounting? The answer is light. When mounting your TV be sure to choose a mount that will allow you to adjust the position of the TV at least a few inches in either direction to compensate for any glare you may experience from lighting sources.

By thinking on these steps to mounting your TV and the other considerations to be aware of you can have your TV mounted and enjoying your perfect picture in the perfect place in no time.