How To Correctly Build A Tile Shower Floor Pan

The most important part of the entire shower project to get right is absolutely the floor pan!

And, not surprisingly, this is where most do-it-yourselfers, make a mistake, try to make a shortcut, or just flat out get it wrong. Building the floor pan incorrectly can lead to leaking, of course, but also mold growth underneath the tile and mortar bed if a proper “pre-slope” isn’t installed. But, I don’t want to get ahead of myself, I’ll cover all the details how to do this later in the article. Let’s start here: What is a shower pan?

The term “pan” originates from when contractors used to install a copper pan in the base of where the shower was being built.

The “Before”:

The use of the copper pan transitioned into using 4 lb sheet lead (weighs 4lbs per sq ft, giving it that name), because it’s very malleable and could be shaped easily on site. A contractor could measure up the size needed, go out to the garage or driveway, bend up the corners as needed with a 2×6 and rubber mallet, folding corners over each other and overlapping so all the edges were at the top. Weighing 4lbs per square foot, it was quite a chunk to lug through the house, but could be done with two guys, and it could be folded in on itself, since it’s so malleable, in order to get through tight hallways and around corners.

Using the rubber mallet again, they would hammer an impression of the drain into the lead, giving a mark to cut out the drain hole. Once the hole was cut out, the drain flange could be attached, making a watertight seal. An adjustable shower drain was then threaded into the flange, and pea gravel placed around the weep holes to protect them from the deck mud that was installed next. Deck mud is a dry cement, wetted just enough to let the cement hold shape, allowing it to be packed in creating the slope needed for water to flow toward the drain.

The “Pre-Slope”:

Here is where many who take on the task of building their own shower, without any experience doing so, go wrong. The pre-slope is a slight slope of the floor draining toward the shower drain, created with dry-pack cement before the shower pan is installed. Despite what you may think, water can and will penetrate all the way through the tile, mortar and concrete above the shower pan, making its way down to the shower pan. In the absence of a pre-slope below the shower pan, the pan will be flat on the floor surface, keeping any of that water in the concrete from percolating down and into the weep holes of the shower drain. When the concrete remains moist, mold growth will occur over time, eventually causing considerable damage.

To create the pre-slope on a plywood surface you must first lay down a layer of felt paper (isolates concrete from floor movement), then staple down a layer of Metal Lath. Mix cement with enough water to get it to hold shape, and pack it down creating a slope from 1/8″ thick at the drain, up toward the shower edge at a slope of about 1/4″ per foot. On a concrete floor, the felt paper is not needed, concrete can be directly applied to floor.

Some point in between The “Before” and Now:

Labor time was greatly reduced when the use of vinyl membranes replaced the old lead pans. It can easily be rolled out, shaped into place in the shower, excess liner folded over itself in the corners, folded over the front shower curb, and a CPE bonding adhesive (in a can like PVC cement) used to seal up patches over corners. A newer kind of Tile Shower Drain was used with the vinyl membrane, like the one shown to the left.

The rubber membrane is to be wrapped up the wall NO LESS THAN 3 INCHES above the intended finished height of the shower threshold (curb or dam). Before wrapping the membrane up the sidewalls, install 2×10 board pieces between studs to give a solid support to the liner and places to nail the liner to the wall. No nails or other fasteners are to be used anywhere except along the top perimeter of the pan liner, in order to prevent eventual leaks from occurring at the nail holes.

After the pan liner is installed, metal lath can be wrapped around the shower curb, which is made of 3 2×4′s nailed one on top of the other creating a 4.5 inch high threshold, and cement packed into the lath and on top of it, shaping the concrete into a smooth squared off surface for tile to be applied to.

I always go an easier route, however, and use the Kirb-Perfect product made by Mark E Industries: a plastic a product easily assembled to form a cage around the lined shower threshold, instead of forming the metal lath.

Concrete board, 1/2″ thick 3′x5′ sheets, can then be measured, cut, and installed on walls using weatherproof screws (to keep rust stains from coming through grout later on as regular screws rust). The concrete board should be installed leaving a 1/2″ space between it and the pan liner, pressing the liner on the wall against the studs and 2×10 boards.

The Actual Concrete Slope:

Once the threshold is finished, create the concrete slope inside the shower pan liner, being careful to make the surface as smooth and even as possible to allow small floor tiles to lay better when tiling. A chalk line can be made around the concrete board on the walls for a guide line, giving about a 1/4″ – 1/2″ slope per foot up from the adjustable shower drain to the shower walls.

Again, I take the easier and quicker route, using Mark E’s Quick Pitch kit, which includes a plastic ring to place around the shower drain (protects weep holes from being filled by concrete), and slope plastic sticks that fit into the ring and are placed around it to radiate out to the corners and sides. They can easily be cut to length with tin snips or a saw. This gives me a perfect pitch every time, and fast!

Now: The Next System MOST People Will Transition To:

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the method I just explained to you. It is still used my the majority of contractors and, at this point, is the least expensive route to go. However, as you probably know, new technologies are coming along every year, revolutionizing ways things have been done in construction for decades and centuries.

A system I use now, when homeowners have a bigger budget, utilizes products made by a German brand named Schluter. They have competitors in their market, but they have led the way and own most of their market share. Their products all work together to make a completely waterproof shower, and can be installed much quicker than the old system just explained.

Schluter contends that even if your properly install a shower with the old system as I just described, water can still stay in the concrete for a prolonged amount of time causing mold problems. With their system, the floor and walls are waterproofed with a plastic membrane and there is no exposed concrete to absorb water below the tile. Water that goes through the tile will drain directly along the plastic membrane to the drain.

Here is how it works:

First, once plumbing and all else is ready, install concrete board to your walls, from floor to ceiling. I purchase Schluter’s Kerdi Shower-Kit that has almost all you need to build a waterproof shower ready for tile. The first item out of the kit to use is an expanded polystyrene shower base. It’s already built with the correct slope, all you need to do is cut the foam (quite easy to do) to fit the opening. Mix a batch of Thinset and apply with notched trowel to the subfloor, then set the shower base firmly into the mortar.

Next, you can set a Schluter Bench in place where desired, which is basically a big block of expanded polystyrene, and it too can be cut to fit the space quite easily. This is not included in the shower kit, so many times I still build my own bench with treated 2×4′s and concrete board.

In the shower kit is a product called Kerdi, a plastic sheet with bright orange fleece webbing adhered to both sides. The plastic membrane waterproofs the shower, and the webbing provides binding contact surface for ThinSet to adhere to on both sides; one side to the concrete board wall, and tile on the other side.

Apply the 3″ wide Kerdi Strips on all corners with ThinSet. After all corners are sealed, apply the Kerdi to the walls, and bench if you have one installed.

One Key Point About Applying Kerdi to Concrete Board Walls: Mix the ThinSet thinner than usual, pancake batter consistency, because otherwise the concrete board will suck the moisture out of the ThinSet before it ever sets up, and the Kerdi will peel right off!

Next, insert the included Shower Drain disc into a generous amount of ThinSet in the center hole and glue onto drain pipe below the floor. Then clean off excess ThinSet that oozed up through the holes around the ring of the disc.

Now install, with ThinSet, a piece of Kerdi on the floor, cutting out a hole for the drain. Then install the included Schluter Kerdi Shower Curb, cutting it to length, and setting with ThinSet. Again, this is easy to cut and install because it too is expanded polystyrene. Once it is set, install a piece of Kerdi up and over the shower curb, and seal corners with Kerdi-Kereck, also included in the shower kit. Also, at the openings around shower valves, install included Kerdi Seal pieces

Now you have the newest and best way to build a Shower Pan finished, and ready for tile!

… But we’ll save that for the next article! Get to work!

The Ultimate Guide To Drilling Porcelain Tile

The installation of porcelain tile is becoming an increasingly regular task for the modern day tiler. Customers desire the look of natural stone, but require the extra durability that porcelain tiles offer. With porcelain tiles being non-porous (impervious to water) and virtually maintenance free, they are the perfect solution for the progressively popular wet-room styled bathrooms.

With porcelain being one of the most popular choices of tile material available, and with the trend for porcelain tile set to continue, tilers have had to adapt their working methods and tools to be able to cater for the demands of their clients. Until recently, a large number of tile fixers have shied away from the installation and drilling of porcelain tiles due its perceived difficulty.

However, drilling holes in porcelain tile is not difficult! Using the correct methods and the best tools for the job, it is possible to achieve perfect cuts in a matter of seconds.

Recommended Equipment for Drilling Porcelain Tile

  • High quality diamond core drill bits
  • Carbide pilot drill bit – only required if you’re drilling large diameter holes (13mm or larger) and don’t have a suitable-sized (8mm) diamond drill bit
  • Masonry drill bits – included with quality tile drill bits
  • Water cooling equipment
  • Electric drill Clear safety glasses / goggles
  • RCD breaker

Identifying the Size of Hole to be Drilled

The first step is to correctly identify the size of hole to be drilled. This is very important, as the diameter of the hole to be cut dictates the method that you will use to drill into the tile.

The majority of holes that are 10mm and under in diameter will be drilled with the tile already fixed to the wall. Conversely, the majority of holes over 10mm in diameter will be drilled into the tile before the tile has been fixed.

When drilling holes that are 13mm or larger in diameter, make sure that the tile to be drilled is placed in a tray that will collect the waste water that is produced. Ensure that scrap tiles or another similar material is placed under the tile that is being drilled. This will help to halt the progress of the drill once it has finished drilling through the tile.

Before drilling tile, ensure that you are wearing the correct safety equipment, including safety glasses or goggles. Ensure that you are using a residual current device (RCD) to help prevent electric shock.

Drilling Small Diameter Holes (10mm or Smaller) with Diamond Cores

1. Mark the center of the hole to be drilled into the tile by using a marker or a sticky drive pad.

2. Attach the appropriate diamond core bit to the electric drill and ensure that there is a constant supply of cold water that is being directly aimed at the diamond core i.e. by using water cooling equipment.

Note regarding water cooling… It is important to ensure that there is a constant supply of cold water directed at the drill bit in order to keep the diamond core cool and to help remove any debris that may have built up whilst drilling the tile. It is not advisable to try and cool the diamond drill bit by using a hand held aspirator or drilling through a wet sponge. These methods will not keep the drill bits cool enough, and will drastically shorten the life of the drill bit.

3. Ensure that the drill is in “normal” mode and set the drill to between 1000 and 1500 rpm. If you have marked the tile with a marker it is best to drill into the tile using a method called “leaning in”. “Leaning in” ensures that the drill will not slip and wander off center as you begin to drill into the tile.

How to “lean in”… To “lean in”, simply start the drill at an angle, as soon as the drill bit has started to cut the tile, slowly bring the drill into a vertical position. Ensure that sufficient pressure is being applied (tile dust should be evident in cooling water) and rotate slowly until you have cut the perfect hole. As you finish the hole, you will notice that the tone of the drill will change.

Using sticky drive pads… If you use a sticky drive pad, it is unnecessary to use the “leaning in” method. Simply start the drill in a vertical position and the sticky pad will ensure that the drill does not slip. Once you have finished drilling the tile, simply peel off the sticky drive pad.

4. Because the majority of small diameter holes will be cut into tiles already fixed to the wall, it will be necessary to drill a fixing hole behind the tile. Replace the diamond core with the appropriately sized masonry drill bit and set the drill to “hammer” mode. Use a slow speed for drilling into hard materials to ensure that the tip doesn’t overheat. Ensure that the drill bit is frequently withdrawn in order to stop a build up of dust.

Drilling Small Diameter Holes (10mm or Smaller) with Carbide Bits

1. Firstly, mark where the hole will be drilled, on the tile, using a marker.

2. Attach a carbide drill bit to your drill. Ensure that there is a constant supply of cold water that is being directly aimed at the selected drill bit i.e. by using water cooling equipment.

Note regarding water cooling… It is important to ensure that there is a constant supply of cold water, in order to keep the drill bit cool and to help remove any debris that may have built up whilst drilling the tile. It is not advisable to try and cool the drill bit by using an aspirator or drilling through a wet sponge, these methods will not keep the drill bit cool enough, and the drill bit will burn out.

3. Set the electric drill to between 700 and 900 rpm. Make sure that the drill is in “normal” mode.

4.Push the carbide drill bit gently into where you have marked the tile until you hear a cracking sound. Start drilling from a vertical position with sufficient pressure and don’t stop until you hear a change in the tone of the drill. As soon as you hear the change in the tone, begin to ease off.

5. Because the majority of small diameter holes will be cut into tiles already fixed to the wall, it will be necessary to drill a fixing hole behind the tile. Replace the carbide drill bit with the appropriately sized masonry drill bit and set the drill to “hammer” mode. Use a slow speed for drilling into hard materials to ensure that the tip doesn’t overheat. Ensure that the drill bit is frequently withdrawn in order to stop a build up of dust.

Drilling Large Diameter Holes (13mm or Larger)

1. In order to cut holes that are 13mm or larger in diameter, it is necessary to first drill a pilot hole. The pilot hole will act as a locater for a large diamond core and will help you to drill a perfect hole in porcelain tile.

2. Attach an 8mm carbide drill bit or 8mm diamond bit to your drill. Follow the instructions given above for either “Drilling Small Diameter Holes (10mm or Smaller) with Diamond Cores” or “Drilling Small Diameter Holes (10mm or Smaller) with Carbide Bits”, depending on whether you are using diamond cores or carbide drill bits. Leave out the final step in either case as you won’t be drilling a fixing hole behind the tile.

3. Now that the pilot hole has been cut, it is possible to drill the main (large) hole. Attach the appropriate diamond core and ensure that there is a constant supply of cold water (see water cooling information in the previous sections of this article).

4. Diamond cores that are larger than 13mm will require an adapter with pilot pin that locates into the pilot hole that has been cut previously, to ensure the perfect hole will be made.

5. Starting the drill vertically, begin to drill in a circular motion with sufficient pressure until the tone of the drill changes. Drilling holes into porcelain tile should take seconds not minutes. If it is taking you minutes, it is likely that you are not applying enough pressure or that you are using an incorrect setting on the power tool. See video below.

Best Tools for the Job

In order to drill perfect holes in porcelain tile, it is extremely important to use premium quality drill bits.

Armeg have been producing innovative, high quality drilling solutions for over 30 years and Armeg’s PTC (Porcelain Tile Cutter) range is at the forefront of tile drilling technology.

The Armeg PTC Diamond drill bit range boasts diamond core drill bits that are capable of cutting hundreds of holes in all grades of porcelain. They feature thin wall, continuous diamond crowns for and fast and efficient cutting and an extended life. These diamond cores are not to be confused with short-life diamond grit alternatives. Not only do these diamond drill bits cut porcelain, they also cut materials such as marble, granite, travertine, slate, quarry tiles, ceramic tiles, natural stone and limestone.

The Armeg PTC Carbide drill bit range comprises of excellent porcelain tile drill bits that are capable of cutting 15-25 holes in grade 5 porcelain, or 50+ in lesser grades of porcelain. These carbide drill bits boast non-slip start-up thanks to diamond-ground tip geometry.

The Armeg PTC Soft Tile drill bit range is ideal for drilling softer tiles such as ceramics and travertine. They feature point-ground tips to help reduce slippage and wander.

Armeg Tile Drilling Accessories for use with Armeg PTC drill bits include: water feed pump kit, water feed adapters, water feed clamp & drive/piloting guides to ensure non-slip start-up with small diameter diamond cores. Armeg SDS Plus tile removing chisel also available in this range.

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Timber, Laminate and Bamboo Flooring

(1) Laminate Floors

Laminate floors can be the cheapest option. Made from HDF with a paper decorative layer, a wear layer and a backing layer. Laminate floors have improved vastly in the last few years.

Advantages:

* Scratch resistant

* Hard to deep scratch

* Fade resistant

* Hard to dent

* Click together and are relatively easy to install DIY

* Quick to install

* Damaged boards can be replaced

* Easy to remove when renovating

Disadvantages:

* As they are laid floating they can sound hollow when walked on in hard shoes (this can be

minimised with a good underlay)

* Do not look as good as real wood

* The joints can swell if water is left over their joints too long (this can be minimised by

purchasing boards with waxed edges)

(2) Engineered Floors

Made from 3 ply or multi ply with the top layer a pre-finished wood veneer. Usually cheaper than solid wood but more expensive than laminate.

Advantages:

* They are more stable than wood and resistant to cupping

* Quick to install

* Can be laid floating or stuck down

* Can be installed DIY

* Floating boards with click system can be replaced

* Look more natural than laminates

* Some can be re-sanded a few times

* When laid floating easy to remove when renovating

Disadvantages:

* When laid floating they can sound hollow when walked on in hard shoes

* Very easy to dent

* Some wood species are susceptible to high heel marks

* Have little resistance to deep scratches

* Will damage with excess moisture

* Can fade in sunlight

(3) Strand woven bamboo

The newest type of bamboo flooring.

Advantages:

* Hard to dent

* Hard to deep scratch

* Can be laid floating or directly stuck

Disadvantages:

* May not be able to be re-sanded

* Can cup if exposed to moisture

(4) Bamboo vertical/horizontal

The original type of bamboo flooring usually directly stuck.

Advantages:

* Pre-finished

* Can be re-sanded

* Does not sound hollow when walked on

Disadvantages:

* Will dent easily

* Will deep scratch easily

* Cannot easily replace boards

* Susceptible to high heel marks

* Expensive to remove if renovating

* May cup if exposed to moisture

(5) Solid wood

Probably the most expensive option as all the labour is done on site, not at a factory.

Advantages:

* Can be re-finished

* Deep scratches and dents can be sanded out

* Solid underfoot

Disadvantages:

* Cost

* Will dent

* Will deep scratch

* Boards may cup

* Can fade in sunlight

* Some species are susceptible to high heel marks

* Expensive to remove if renovating or water damaged

Lumber for Building a Chicken Coop

In this article we will feature on the types of lumber used in building a chicken coop. The reasons we use certain lumber rather than others will also be explained in this article to give you better insight of why we do things rather than just do it.

Lumber

With lumber you can choose what is called select lumber or common lumber. First select lumber is Grade A lumber and it doesn’t matter if it’s pine, redwood, oak, ash, fir. It is still considered select lumber if it has minimal amounts of knots and has a tight grain. This lumber is usually used for finish work projects like furniture, cabinets, finish molding, you get the idea. Common lumber can be of any wood type but it is usually a non-finish grade quality. Common lumber is the framing type lumber you will most likely be using when you’re building a chicken coop. There are 5 common wood classifications and the first three are available in your hardware stores.

The No. 1 are the better quality stock with minimal knots, No.2 are a little less in quality but are still useable and No. 3 are a little less in quality and can still be used, but I would recommend going through the lumber pile yourself before settling on the lumber you are going to use. The surest way to get the best lumber in the pile is by hand picking the lumber yourself. This will allow you to get the best lumber for building a chicken coop.

Checking Your Lumber

When you’re a first time buyer, or anytime you buy lumber when your building a chicken coop, you need to check your lumber for bowing. Pick up your piece of lumber from one end and look down to the other end and you will see a bow like a bow and arrow it’s a curve that you don’t want when building. A twist is checked for the same way. Pick up your piece of lumber and look down to the other end and you will see a twist in your lumber. A twist is not a good thing; you don’t want that piece. A crown is a little different than a bow, because the curve you will see when you look down your piece of lumber will be from the grain side, which is the thinner side of the lumber, not the flat wider part of your lumber like the bow.

Pressure Treated Lumber

There are different types of pressure treated lumber. The most common are Waterborne, Creosote, and oil-borne. By putting the lumber through a process which forces the chemicals into the wood that will help protect the wood from termites and various types of insects that can destroy the wood when used outdoors.

When using pressure treated lumber when building a chicken coop, I would recommend only using the pressure treated lumber at the base of your coop where it will get damp and be food for termites. Using these tips, you can now pick good lumber for your coop, making sure your project will go much smoother.

Board Appreciation – Three Quick and Easy Ways to Thank Board Members

Many articles address the topic of appreciating nonprofit donors but few authors seem to write about saying thank you to board members. Yes, they are generally donors and get thanked for their donations (I hope!). But who thanks them for all the time and talent they bring to an organization? In my experience, this important task belongs to the executive director. Why? Because he or she works with the board regularly, sees first hand all they contribute, and knows how their work helps the nonprofit achieve its mission.

As a former executive director, I know that there is limited time to take on extra tasks but I also know how much board members enjoy sincere appreciation (don’t we all?). Try these three quick and easy ways to thank your board members.

Send a handwritten thank you note

You can do an individual note of appreciation to each member on an annual basis, such as Thanksgiving week. You can also send notes when a board member has done something you especially appreciate such as identified new volunteers, chaired a successful fundraising event, or presented a well researched report at a meeting. Once you start looking for things to appreciate in your board members, you will see how many there are. In this age of emailing and texting, I have found that board members greatly appreciate these handwritten notes.

Do “Three Minute Spotlights”

Make it a habit to begin each board meeting by recognizing one member by talking about what that person has contributed to your nonprofit. You can select a member because that person recently did something extra, like getting an unexpected article in a regional newspaper, bringing ten guests to a special event, or working with staff on a grant proposal. At other times, you may recognize a member who has received a community award or received a promotion at work. If nothing notable has happened recently, do a general appreciation of a board member citing how he or she has helped your organization over the past few months.

Have a “Board Member Spotlight” in your newsletter

Most people like seeing their picture and a complimentary article in print and your newsletter is the perfect place to put one. Make sure that you send an extra copy to people that the honoree would appreciate seeing it (such as the boss of a corporate volunteer). You can save time by basing the article on the “Three Minute Spotlight” noted above.

I know how easy it is to be overwhelmed by the innumerable tasks a busy nonprofit leader faces each day. I also know how much better any nonprofit organization can function when Board members feel truly appreciated for what they do. In the words of Albert Schweitzer, “Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.”

Lisps in Children: When to Start Lisp Speech Therapy

Although lisps among young children are fairly common, this issue can still be a source of concern for many parents. The main fear is usually that the lisp will never go away, and that it will potentially become a source of ridicule for the child. This concern is valid; the unfortunate truth is that while society tends to find children with lisps endearing and cute, teenagers and adults who have not managed to get rid of their lisps are often teased and made fun of, and sometimes suffer from self-esteem issues related to their speech impediment.

Make sure to identify whether what your child has is indeed a lisp, or rather some other sort of phonological speech impairment. Lisping is defined as a misarticulation of the silibant /s/ and /z/ sounds, and may fall under the categories of interdental/frontal, dentalised, palatal, or lateral lisps, depending on the placement of the tongue and how the sound is produced. So, what is to be done if your child has a lisp? Many parents are uncertain as to when to start lisp speech therapy, or whether they should “wait it out” to see if the lisp goes away on its own.

Firstly, it’s important to take your child’s age into consideration. It’s not uncommon for some young children to lisp up until they are four and a half or five years old. This is because they are still mastering their articulation skills, and the silibant /s/ and /z/ sounds will often come out sounding either a little bit muffled, or like a /th/ sound. If your child is under the age of five and has a lisp, you could consider scheduling an assessment of your child’s speech with a speech language pathologist, who would be able to determine whether treatment is necessary. However, if your child is already beyond kindergarten and still speaks with a lisp, then it’s important to take action as early as possible, before the lisp becomes a deeply rooted habit that becomes harder to break. Lisps in children beyond the age of five are not considered part of normal speech progression.

Aside from your child’s age, there are other factors that shouldn’t be ignored, as they may contribute directly to your child’s lisp. For example, a missing front tooth, a new retainer or set of braces, or an oral injury could be causing the lisp, in which case treatment may not be an immediate necessity. In the case of an oral deformity, however, it may be necessary for your child to have professional assistance.

Lastly, you should also evaluate whether there is a possible non-physical reason behind your child’s lisp. Lisps in children have been known to form out of habit, from imitation of others, as a reaction to stress, or as a way to seek attention. Lisp speech therapy seeks to identify the source of the lisp, and arm your child with games, tools, exercises, and goals to eliminate the lisp over time.

Lisps in children are often identified early-on, usually by parents or teachers, and can be corrected with proper practice and treatment. The best thing that you can do as a parent is to become as informed as possible, and aid your child patiently and encouragingly so that they don’t become sensitive, overwhelmed, or frustrated. Even if your child is well into elementary school, or is already a teenager, it’s not too late to get them started. There are even grown adults who are completely successful in eliminating their lisps through lisp speech therapy and diligent hard work.

One of the best first steps you can take is to inform yourself further through a good lisp-stopping guide, and to help your child practice the basic exercises that will get them on the right path to proper pronunciation. If you do this early on, you may save yourself the need to pay for expensive professional lisp speech therapy sessions (which can cost between $50-$80 per hour, over the course of several months to a year or more. There is also the cost of up to $300-$500 for the initial assessment). An informative guide should only cost about as much a single session ($80 or less), and is a good stepping stone to aid you in helping your child. Remember, especially if your child is young, then you as the parent will have a very important role in motivating and encouraging your child, and keeping them on track so that they can be as successful as possible in eliminating their lisp altogether.

Crane Hire Services Can Help a Small Construction Company Immensely

Every nook and corner of the globe is witnessing huge developments when it comes to the infrastructure facade and in such milieus crane hire service providers are making a killing out there in terms of fiscal benefits. Hiring crane service providers with their hydraulic crane, all terrain crane, mobile cranes and an assortment of other heavy lifting machines are emerging as a hot favorite amid construction companies and contractors which rightly deem that this is a cost effective way in contrast to actually buying these heavy duty machinery.

The flexibility and resourcefulness of the hydraulic crane have made them all the rage among contractors. Especially small construction companies will find hire services to be of optimum usefulness. Apart from proffering resourceful hydraulic crane, all terrain crane, mobile crane and tower crane services; these crane hire service providers can save you loads of time and resources which would have otherwise gone into maintenance bills, staffing problems and other dilemmas pertaining to back up and support.

The fact that these cranes need to be handled by trained professionals and crane hire services have their own drivers takes the load off construction firms to staff and re staff human resource. This also means additional value added benefits as the construction firms can save their backs from costly insurance claims in case of any misfortunes on site. You will also be amazed to know the fact that crane hire companies carry with them essential maintenance parts and spare parts in case there is some minor sustenance work which crops up at the most unsuitable of time.

The best place to search for crane hire services is of course the World Wide Web with its vast accessibility and the potential to proffer you with intricate details pertaining to various facades associated with it. There is an assortment of rules and guidelines governing the construction facade and hiring crane services can make you focus on core business activities without taking any hassles associated with such stringent aspects.

The hydraulic crane is a very green and nature friendly machinery which is noise free and produces less pollution. Thus hiring it can also give you the leverage of doing your bit for nature. But before you plunge into any process involving decision making as to which crane service provider to choose; it is imperative to do a back check on the firm’s profile, its history, testimonials of satisfied clients and their inventory.

Brazing 304 Stainless Steel Alloy Without Silver Bearing Filler Metals

In these tough economic times many commodities are increasing in cost. This is especially true of the precious metals such as silver, gold and platinum. As of this writing (August 2010) silver is trading at $18 per ounce! That is remarkable since just seven short years ago, in 2003, it was nearly down to $4 per ounce!

Now you might be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with brazing?” Well if you are brazing stainless steel, everything. You see many of the recommended alloys for brazing stainless steels have varying percentages of silver in them because this lowers the melting point of the filler metal to around 1100 degrees Fahrenheit and flows very thin to get into the tightest spots. The other advantage is the higher silver alloys provide color matching of the stainless alloy being joined. The main disadvantage is the cost of these special brazing alloys. Some are $90 or more per pound. A suitable substitute must be found. For a strong high tensile strength joint, there are nickel silver alloys containing no silver at all. They are actually copper alloyed with small amounts of nickel. These alloys are only slightly more expensive than the regular bronze brazing alloys and melt at a little lower temperature.

For artistic purposed though, really high strength is not need so long that BOTH sides of the joint are completely wetted by the filler metal. With 304 or any other stainless alloy this can be a nearly impossible because at the temperature that bronze filler metal melts( around 1700 F), stainless steel forms a tenacious skin of chromium and nickel oxides which cannot be removed by commonly available acids like zinc chloride, hydrochloric, or sulfuric acids. They need a powerful and reactive flux containing fluoride. These are commonly available in half pound jars and are called high temperature brazing fluxes. They contain the typical borax along with varying percentages of potassium fluoride. These are toxic chemicals that demand the utmost care and respect in there handling. Unlike many typical brazing operations, such brazing clean mild steel, we will be using a lot of flux. This flux immediately dissolved oxides as they form keeping the metal shiny and the bronze flows right into the joint with ease. The fluoride component also allows for easier flux removal when the brazing is done. Just run under hot water with a wire brush.

How to Choose the Best CPU Motherboard Combo

Finding the best CPU motherboard combo is a tough decision to make. This article will help you by giving you ideas on how to be smart in choosing the best motherboard CPU combo.

The first thing we have to consider in finding the best processor is the type of socket. Today’s most popular socket being used by intel is socket 1366. This socket supports the intel i7 quad core and the latest 6 core for your future upgrade. Of course you don’t have to choose the older socket like the LGA1156 and LGA775 because there’s no one is going to use it in the future. Although there is a core i7 version of LGA 1156 but still the LGA 1366 is the best choice.

Second is the price difference. Intel 6 core priced at $999 in a few months expect a big price drop on this processor. It’s not a good idea buying this tag price for now and the best thing to consider is a quad core processor. Core i7 960 3.22MHz is at $569 which is still high and core i7 950 3.06MHz is available for only $289. Therefore, Core i7 950 is the best buy.

After we have chosen the right processor we have now to select the best motherboard that supports your processor. Here are some things to consider in choosing the best motherboard.

The type of memory you have to choose should be DDR3 either dual channel or triple channel. Dual channel uses 2 memory sticks and triple channel needs 3. But triple channel motherboard can be run using only two memory sticks. The latest memory speed out there is at 1600 MHz and I suggest you go for it if your chosen motherboard supports that.

If you’re planning to build a gaming PC choose a motherboard that supports both ATI CrossFireX and Nvidia SLI. Choose a greater number of ports Such as the USB and SATA ports for your future expansion needs. And also don’t forget the speed of the ports for faster data transfer like USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s.

Since we have chosen the core i7 processor socket LGA 1366, the best chipset that supports this processor is the X58 and the P55 chipset is design only for processors with socket LGA 1156. The best cpu motherboard combo is that it truly meets all your needs and really worth the price you pay.

Are the Spots on My Ceiling From Water Damage?

There’s a very good chance, that if you have spots on your ceiling that are larger than a baseball, you’ve got a water leak somewhere and it needs to be fixed as soon as possible. I’m not suggesting that every spot on your ceiling is going to be from water damage.

If you’re the only one living in the house, this might be the case. If you’re not the only one in the house, make sure that someone else didn’t throw something on the ceiling, before continuing with your inspection. One of the worst things that you can do to a contractor is call them out to your home, only to find out that you’ve wasted their time.

Most water damaged ceilings that are painted white or even unpainted acoustic ceilings, will have light yellow spotting. In other words the spots will have a yellow or gold look to them Often larger spots will have rings of dark yellow around them.

If you do have a large water damage spots on your ceiling, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check the area below for damage. If you have a wood floor, this water leak could cause the wood flooring to buckle up and if you have carpeting, you could find yourself with a mold problem.

You need to fix these leaks as soon as possible, to prevent further water damage to your ceiling and the rest of your home. I have seen a small roof leak that could have been fixed with one metal shingle for under $20, damage a small section of a home.

I’m not going to tell you how much it actually cost to repair the damage eventually, but any intelligent homeowners should have a pretty good idea. This isn’t the situation that you want to find yourself in, ever.

Brick Paver Bedding Material And Its Purpose

Bedding Sand Material and its purpose.

Bedding Material (Types)

When selecting a bedding sand material, there are four general characteristics that should be considered.

1. Gradation of material

2. Particle Shape

3. Hardness

4. Moisture content.

The proper gradation of bedding sand ensures the sands ability to allow for proper drainage and will become dense under compaction. Bedding material under all paver application should conform to ASTM C 33 or CSA A23.1 specifications.

The bedding sand particles should be sharp and symmetrical. Non-symmetrical particles will not compact properly and may have a tendency to cause uneven settling over time. Bedding material particles should also be free of any foreign matter. Such as larger pieces of rock and dirt / organic material.

Pavement failures can result from a bedding material that is to soft. Bedding sand material should contain durable particles that are derived from crushed aggregates / rock and will not break down under repeated traffic loads. Soft materials, such as stone dust or mason sand, should never be used as a bedding material. They often contain soft particles that will deteriorate over time and do not compact uniformly. The hardest bedding material that is available should be used as your bedding material. So check with your local suppliers, to see which bedding material products they carry. Limestone screens can be used, but may contribute to possible efflorescence issues later with your paving products.

Frozen or saturated bedding sand should never be installed. Bedding material that is too dry will not compact properly. If your bedding material is dry, then small amounts of water added to the material will help with the overall compaction.

As noted in Section 2, Bedding material should never be used to fill in any larger variations in the base course. Variations in the base course should be properly filled with a suitable base material and compacted.

Bedding Material Purpose

The Bedding Material generally has 3 functions:

1. Bedding material can ensure a consistent final elevation for the paver surface.

2. It helps effective load transfer between pavers.

3. It can act as a drainage medium.

When bedding material is installed, it can accommodate minor / subtle variations in the granular base course. The standard construction tolerances allow for maximum base deviations of 3/8 in ( 10mm ) over a 10 ft run. When the bedding sand material is properly installed, it can accommodate for these minor variations.

The effective load transfer between the pavers is a very critical factor in the overall success of your project. The applied loads are distributed from the individual pavers to the surrounding pavers through the sand between the pavers. During the compaction of the pavers, the bedding sand material will fill the bottom portion of the joints between the pavers. With the final application of jointing sand to the surface of the pavers, the sand will fill in joints from the top down and will ensure the proper structural integrity of the paver system.

After installation of the pavers, a fair amount of water can drain down through the joints and filter into the bedding sand material. Over time the joints between the pavers will fill in and become sealed and only allowing smaller amounts of water to filter through to the bedding sand. The ability of the bedding sand to compact tightly and still allow water to drain during the early stages of the paver application is very important to the overall success of your project.

Bedding Material Thickness

Bedding sand material should be spread and screeded to a consistent thickness of 1 in to 1 1/2 in ( 25mm to 40mm ) after final compaction.

Frozen and saturated bedding material should never be installed. Excessive bedding sand material over 1-1/2 in can and will create the risk of inconsistent compaction and an uneven paver surface over time.

Setting your final grades

Before you start to spread and screed your bedding sand material, you should set your final elevations / grades on your project. This can be achieved by attaching a string line to your grade stakes that you set prior to your base installation. The grade stakes should already be set with your final paver elevations. The top of the string line will represent the top of the paver surface and the finished grade on your project. This will also provide you with a reference line to inspect the positive pitch / slope for surface drainage. Remember that a minimum of 1 in per 10 ft run is recommended for effective drainage.

Screed Rails and Screeding Bedding Materials.

Once you have your final elevations set, you can set your screed rails and begin screeding your bedding material. Screeding bedding sand material is typically done by using 1-1/4in to 1-3/4 in ( 30mm to 40mm ) pipes that are set on top of the compacted gravel base. Set the initial screed rail on top of the compacted base material just below the string line so that the screed rail runs parallel with the string. The top edge of the screed rail will represent the finished elevation of the bedding sand material. By taking a paver and resting it on top of the screed rail it should match your finished paver elevation. With the paver on top of the screed rail, it is best to adjust your screed rail so the paver elevation sits a little higher then the finished elevation of the paver. This is to compensate for compaction and settling. With your first screed rail set at the proper elevation you can now set your second screed rail at the same elevation. Set the second screed rail parallel 10 ft apart from the first rail. Once you have both your screed rails set, you can place a straight edge or 2 x 4 strike board across both rails. Make sure you use a level on top of the straight edge or 2 x 4 strike board to ensure that your second screed rail is at the same elevation as the first rail. On areas that are typically wider then 10 ft, an additional screed rail can be set parallel to the existing rails. This will help prevent the straight edge or 2 x 4 strike board from bowing in the middle.

With the screed rails set, you can begin to fill the area between the rails with your bedding sand material. The preferable thickness of the bedding material should be at 1-1/4 in (30mm). This thickness should be consistent throughout the whole project. With the bedding sand material between the rails and in front of the straight edge / strike board, you can now begin to screed your bedding material by pulling the material down the length of the screed rails. The bedding sand material after screeding should be free of any irregularities and voids. If any do exist, they should be filled and screeded a second time. The finished layer of bedding material should be smooth and consistent.

With the bedding material screeded, do an overall inspection of the area before you move the screed rail. After your inspection, the screed rails can be moved and their depressions should be filled with additional bedding sand material. Use a trowel to finish off the surfae so it blends into the existing bedding sand material. Always screed a large enough area to stay well ahead of the paver installers. After the sand has been screeded it should not be disturbed, even pedestrian traffic can do damage to the screeded bedding material. Only screed enough material for the amount of pavers that you will install in a days time.

Paver that are sand set should always be set on a loose, un-compacted layer of bedding material. The pavers once installed can be compacted with a vibratory tamper. this will set the pavers into the bedding material.

Paver installation and Edging to follow soon.

Mounting Brackets For Flat Screen TVs

Choosing a new plasma or LCD flat screen television can be a long process. Technological advances mean that there are a lot of factors to consider when making a choice. For many of us its totally baffling.

So, after possibly months of deliberation and goodness knows how many visits to the electrical dealers, you finally get your new flat screen delivered. This is the point at which quite a few people suddenly realise that they haven’t given a single thought to where they are actually going to put this lovely new TV. The old TV stand certainly won’t do the job.

Two main choices face you at this stage and they are – floor or wall?

There are some very smart TV stands available now if you want to have your TV in a corner of the room. Many have cable management which helps to keep everything tidy. However wall mounting your screen can free up a significant amount of floor space, especially if you have opted for a large TV.  It is certainly worth considering.

If you do decide to go for wall mounting then you will need to get the right mounting brackets. Flat screen televisions are heavy items and it is essential that they are properly secured. They can be a serious hazard if the job is not  done correctly.

Basically there are three types of mounting brackets for flat screen TVs.

Fixed brackets are relatively easy to install but you cannot adjust the angle of the screen. As the name suggests they are fixed. This is the cheapest option generally speaking.

Tilting brackets are also fairly easy to install but may cost a little more than fixed brackets. The advantage of these is that they allow for vertical adjustment of the screen. This gives greater flexibility about where you view the screen from. In other words you can lie on the floor or sit in a chair and adjust the angle accordingly. 

Articulated mounting brackets for flat screen TVs offer significant advantages over fixed and tilting. The angle of the screen can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally as the screen can be moved away from the wall when required. Despite this they are unobtrusive when the screen is returned to its basic position. Some of these brackets even allow you to move the screen around a corner!

As you would expect articulated brackets cost more. When you consider though how much you have spent on your new TV it may be worth the extra to get the very best out of it.

With any of these options you should obviously only attempt to do the job yourself if you are absolutely sure that you are able to do it properly. If not then get advice or get someone in to do it for you; there is no shortage of small firms who will do this type of installation for a reasonable cost. 

Do Not Let The Hammer Hurt You

Have you ever been injured when hammering or heard of people getting injured when hammering?

Although the hammer is just another commonly found tool in any toolbox, it could put you in harm’s way if used in a wrong manner and carelessly. Hammers are infamous for inflicting thumb and finger injuries. There is an estimated figure of about 50,000 Americans seeking medical treatment annually due to hammer injury. That is the reason why it is important to practice hammer safety.

A safe hammer is an excellent hammer; you should treat your hammer with care and respect. Practice makes perfect unquestionably applies to hammering.

Besides always remembering to wear your safety glasses when hammering, there are some other common rules that you should observe for maintaining a high level of safety in hammering:

1. Ensure your hammer handle is not loosely attach to the head.

2. Avoid striking your steel hammer on a hard steel surface. It may cause small bits of steel to fly and hurt you or someone.

3. Avoid using the handle of your hammer for striking, and never use it as a crowbar. It may cause the handle to crack which could cause a cut or pinch to you.

4. At all times strike the surface evenly – avoid glancing strikes.

5. At all times put on your safety goggles.

6. Avoid striking your hammer with or against another hammer.

7. Throw away your hammer if the hammer face is chipped or mushroomed.

8. Avoid using your steel hammers on concrete, stone, or hard metal objects.

Georgia O’Keeffe – The Legend of Modern Abstract Art

Georgia O’Keeffe or Georgia Totto O’Keeffe was an American painter, who revolutionized the concept of modern abstract art. Born on November 15, 1887 in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, Georgia O’Keeffe grew up in Virginia. She graduated from the Chatham Protestant Episcopal Institute in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1904, and studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago (1905) and the Art Students League of New York (1907). She later moved to Texas and headed the Art Department at the West Texas State Normal College in 1916. The charm of the barren landscape caught O’Keeffe’s fascination, tilting the balance of her artistic skills towards capturing the beauty of the valleys and plains that surrounded her.

Georgia’s paintings drew up a close-up view of desert flowers, backdrops, cow skulls, and Calla Lilies. Her work won her a passionate audience. Her artistic brilliance was first noticed in her charcoal drawings of bud and flowers in 1916. Ace photographer and art gallery director of 291, Alfred Stieglitz, whom Georgia later married, exhibited 10 of her drawings in the same year. She had the knack of capturing and representing natural beauty in her own distinct ways. April 1917, O’Keeffe held her first solo show at the art gallery, 291.

1920s witnessed some of the best artworks of O’Keeffe. Her first large scale flower painting, “Petunia, No.2 (1924),” was first exhibited in 1925. She canvassed the buildings of New York in “City Night and New York–Night (1926)” and “Radiator Bldg–Night, New York (1927).” In one of her painting, ‘The Black Iris (1926),’ she magnified a flower beautifully, giving it a startling and an unusual look. Later in her career, O’Keeffe introduced different patterns of the sky, which she observed during her travels by air. Her mural, ‘Sky above Clouds (1962-63),’ is one of her largest illustrations.

Georgia O’Keeffe finally settled down in Abiquiu, New Mexico, after her husband’s death in 1949. She continued to fascinate the world with her emotive and simple paintings of exotic southwestern landscapes. By the time her illustrious career ended with her death in 1986, Georgia had carved a niche for herself and had left behind a legacy, which became a major source of inspiration for the other artists.

O’Keeffe always maintained that anything around her that came to her notice and intrigued her, she simply brought to the canvas. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts by the National Endowments of the Arts Washington, DC in 1985, which was presented to her by President Ronald Regan. She was also awarded the Medal of Freedom, which is the nation’s highest civilian honor. The National Institute of Arts and Letters awarded her a Gold Medal for Painting. She also held the distinct honor of being the first woman to exhibit her art at the Museum of Modern Art.

Does Thigh Lift Surgery Work? Thigh Lift Cost and Fees

In general, a thigh lift surgery is more common in women than it is in men. The reasons for this are that in women the thigh region is a common place for the collection of fat cells over many years. As a matter of fact, when surveyed, many women insisted that out of all the things they could change on their body, the thighs would be one of the first. The thighs in particular have a habit of harboring sagging and loose skin as well as the most dreaded thing for women, cellulite.

Many women are bothered by their thighs and it has even been known to prevent them from wearing shorts or even a bathing suit. The thighs rub together every time you walk and are particularly susceptible to sores for just this very reason. Many women will go out of their way doing exercise or anything they can in order to loose the excess fat cells located in their thighs. It is for these and many more reasons that thigh lifts are so popular and will continue to increase in their popularity. A thigh lift in general can help all of these types of conditions and more.

A thigh lift cost varies and can range anywhere from $2,000 all the way up to $9,000. The variation in the approximated cost of course has to do with how much fat you have in your thighs and want to have removed. The obvious is that the less fat you may have also means the lower the costs. These costs may also vary depending on your location and the competition between different plastic surgeons in you area.

A thigh lift not only can help you loose the hard to drop weight from the inner thigh region, but it can take care of the sagging skin and cellulite that has given you so many issues over the years. In return, you will be able to wear bathing suits and short again as well as receiving an improved self esteem from the procedural outcome.

Remember that when deciding to have a thigh lift, you must have realistic expectations from it. A thigh lift is not a cure all for your weight problems and much like a liposuction it carries with it many associated risks.