Outdoor Solar Lighting – Solution to Exterior Illumination Needs

Outdoor solar lighting definitely solves the problem of brightening up the exterior areas of your homes such as the garden, the yard, the patio or even the path ways, without the use of expensive electrical power. These exterior lights are what should be utilized in order to make sure the place is brightly lit and that the surroundings in our property as safe as possible. Definitely we home owners would want to assure the security of our homes from bad elements, which is the reason why we have to install such solar outdoor lights.

Needless to say, the best economical way of illuminating our patios and gardens are outdoor solar lighting. The fact is that many intelligent home owners would not think twice about using such illumination gadgets because of the budget benefit that they can enjoy from these lights. Remember, what is being used to power outdoor solar lights is the sun, which is free energy, right?

There is no need to worry about the gadgets being connected by potentially dangerous electrical cords to an electric source as there is no need for such power in the first place. This means no long, pesky wires and need for the electrician. The only requirement that is important is to find the best location in your outdoor areas, where the sun rays fall at their maximum.

Always remember that outdoor solar lighting requirements full exposure to the rays of the sun. The solar panels of the lights will collect the energy from the sun and convert them into power that the lights will need to run during night time. You have to check and make sure direct sunlight falls on the lights for the longest time during the day possible. When evening comes, you can enjoy bright illumination at no cost at all.

Home LED Lighting – Advantages And Disadvantages

With all of the media attention given to environmental issues these days, it is widely known that the electricity that we use everyday is contributing toward harmful greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. If you believe in global warming, then you realize this is one of the issues that is exacerbated by these greenhouse gas emissions. While some people lead their lives not worried about these issues, there are many people who are making the small contributions that they can toward alleviating this problem. Using LED lighting is one of these methods.

For those out there who have never heard of it, LED stands for Light-Emitting Diodes and is a type of low emission lighting that doesn’t contribute to these problems. The only problem is that it is not yet a part of the mainstream lighting market, but it is growing fast. Like anything of this nature, this type of lighting does have its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages include:

  • A very low energy consumption level. This contributes directly to savings on your light bill!
  • Lasts much longer than traditional lighting. It has been known to last up to 50,000 hours. That’s way more than any other available lighting type.
  • Can easily resist thermal shocks and vibrations. Normal light bulbs are useless when you drop or bump them. Not LED lights.
  • Great for spotlighting due to a directional distribution. All of the light molecules can easily be sent in one direction without losing energy.
  • There is no infrared lighting from LED lights. And there is no UV radiation, which is better for you and the environment.
  • Contains no mercury making it safer.
  • Cool to the touch so no need to worry about burning or turning off the lights for 30 minutes before you change them.
  • They make great colored lights from anywhere on the light spectrum

Disadvantages include:

  • A very limited variety and selection for your home compared to other types of lighting.
  • Hard to find in smaller towns where consumers may have a smaller interest in this lighting alternative.
  • Significantly more expensive than regular lighting and not budget conscious.
  • Not good for residential flood lighting. You will need extra equipment to make this work
  • Although they are available in many colors, the quality of the colors is not quite as good as with regular lighting.

LED lights can be a very useful tool in your home, especially if you are environmentally conscious or want to save money in the long run. These savings can really add up. If you were to run a single reading lamp with an LED bulb 12 hours a day for a year, it would cost less than 50 cents, and you wouldn’t have to replace the bulb. But even though they give off more light than a standard bulb, you will still need more of them pointing in many different directions to light up a room because the light is very directional.

And in the short run, LED lighting is not nearly as immediately affordable as traditional lighting. The cost problem becomes worse if you are changing out the existing lights as opposed to starting new. So whether or not these lights are of good use in your home depends on how you feel about them, and whether or not you are willing to make the necessary investment.

History of the Jersey Barrier Industry

The importance and necessity to deploy concrete median Jersey barriers along traffic routes is no longer a debatable issue, as numerous studies and researches have amply demonstrated their functionality. From the very first time that the California highway authorities used the concrete Jersey barriers, along the Grapevine Grade, on the US route 99 in the year 1946 until date, the Jersey barriers have been instrumental in averting head on collisions and reducing fatalities on roads. The next important phase of deployment of the concrete barriers was in 1955, when the New Jersey State Highway Department developed and used the barriers to divide highway lanes. From then on, other state highway authorities recognized the importance of deploying the barriers and several states adopted these measures to advantage, on their roads and highways.

The concrete barriers underwent several changes in designs and specification in sizes from the early F-shaped barrier, constant slope barrier to the Ontario Tall Wall, California K-rails and the plastic barriers that are becoming increasingly popular. The earliest concrete barriers were not very tall structures; just 18 inches high, but as time went by, and vehicle designs changed and taller vehicles hit the roads, so did the heights of the barriers. Today we have median concrete Jersey barriers that are 3-5 feet tall. The basic design remains, as parabolic curved surfaces on either side as this has proved effective in redirecting the errant vehicle back into the traffic stream and minimizing damage in the event of an accident. Shea has been a pioneer in the production of precast concrete products since 1949 and their latest product is the J-J hook concrete barrier, which according to the company is extremely simple to assemble that, “Two men and a truck can install 6000 ft, in one shift.”

With the success of rotational molding and the use of plastics becoming commonplace, hundreds of new and cheap products for daily use were introduced in the markets. Huge plastic items like storage tanks for fuels, chemicals, and water, marine and recreational products, specialty furniture, and Jersey barriers were some such products that caught peoples’ fancy, as these items were lightweight yet strong, durable and easily portable. Several companies successfully created plastic barriers that were lightweight but used as barriers when ballasted with water, sand or any other ballast material. These companies have taken the functionality of the barriers to newer levels and today the barriers also function as crowd control barriers, force protection and anti-terrorism safety devices, and to cordon off gate approaches, construction zones, traffic control, airport security, air shows and race tracks.

Yodock Wall Company, Inc. a family based business, is a top name to reckon with in the plastic Jersey barriers and barricades industry. Manufacturing top quality barriers and barricades, this company serves several industries like traffic control, airport maintenance, military and Homeland security and general construction.

Armorcast Products established in 1966, has multiple manufacturing capabilities and they manufacture plastic Jersey barriers and other protective enclosures using rotational molding. Their safety and security barriers and barricades bear their logo, Guardian. Other companies that are relatively new entrants in the field of plastic Jersey barriers are Remcon Plastics Inc.,that entered the safety products market in 1990 and Rhino Safety Barriers incorporated in the year 1999. Both companies have introduced innovative designs and have products that comply with NCHRP 350 standards.

OTW Safety products sell their barriers under the Smart Jersey Barrier brand name and the company has been designing, testing, and manufacturing Jersey barriers since 1993. A market leader since 1988, Rochester Rotational Molding manufactures colorful Jersey barriers as well as accessories for the barriers like solar powered barricade lights and incandescent plastic barricade lights. With several such key players in the business, we can look forward to new, innovative designs and highly functional Jersey barriers.

7 Ideas on How to Use Wallpaper Within Your Home (Other Than on the Walls!)

Thinking of using wallpaper in your home other than on the walls?

Like to create a wow factor with wallpaper?

Do you want the flexibility of being able to change the wallpaper frequently?

Fabulous wallpaper can be expensive. Read our tips on how to make a little go a long way.

1. Place a long strip wallpaper horizontallly along your kitchen splashback and protect it with glass or perspex. It will be so fabulously individual and different..

2. Attach wallpaper to furniture, for example, a chest of drawers, a table top or the inside of a wardrobe. Apply two or three coats of clear varnish (not polyurethane as it will yellow it) to protect the wallpaper, sanding gently with a very fine sandpaper between coats of varnish.

3. Use wallpaper to provide lovely visual interest at the back of some shelving or in a glass-fronted unit.

4. Wallpaper within the panels of your interior doors. This looks amazing, especially if the panels are a reasonable size within the door.

5.Place wallpaper within large frames such as Ikea’s large Ribba frames and hang onto the wall. Another advantage of this is that they are easy to change whenever you get bored of them. You could have matching wallpaper within the frames and on the inside of your wardrobe – all for the cost of one roll of wallpaper

6. Wallpaper your shelves – along the top, front and underneath. Don’t forget to varnish to protect the wallpaper.

7. Cut out bird shapes from the wallpaper and adhere to the wall for a little subtle drama.

Stone Fireplace Surrounds – Naturally Durable Type That Requires Less Maintenance

A fireplace surround is a covering put on the outside walls of fireplace. It can be carved into any form of you choose. It can vary from modern to traditional designs and is available in different shapes. Some are ready made, while others are custom made. In some cases, stone fireplace surrounds function very much like traditional fireplace mantels.

Stone is a viable material for constructing an outdoor as well as indoor fireplace; as it is long-lasting and non-combustible. This resourceful material can be well-shaped and designed to suit any setting. Stone is a popular material as it works well with underfloor heating, retaining the heat and thereby making it a very cost-effective choice. It is a naturally durable type of floor covering that requires little maintenance and looks extremely elegant almost forever. Stone fireplace surrounds are an inexpensive way to add elegance and style to your room. The ideal place to find it is in stores that deal with fireplace equipment.

What Should You Consider Before Buying a Stone Fireplace Surround?

o The most vital factor to consider before you buy one is size and position of your fireplace. It is compatible with specific shapes/sizes/types of fireplaces, so identify what shapes/sizes/types those are before you buy.

o Choose a company that has been in the business for making these surrounds for a while. Also, find a manufacturer that offers a wide variety of surrounds so that you can get some ideas if you don’t know the exact type of stone fireplace surround you want.

o Find as much information about the different types of materials available. If you want stone, find out what types of stones are used. If you want wood, check out what types of wood are available.

o If you opt for customized piece, keep in mind that the more customization necessary, the longer it will take to get your fireplace surround built and completed.

o When choosing a stone fireplace surround, pay close attention to the details. You want to make sure the surround you select will complement your mantel and fireplace.

So as you can see, stone fireplace surrounds have a lot to offer; but there are some details you need to consider before you buy. Consult this guide and you’ll have a better chance finding a surround that will compliment and accentuate the style and elegance of your fireplace.

Decorative Ceiling Tile

Decorative ceiling tile is an item you might want to consider for your next remodeling project, or even for a new home. Many individuals do not realize that the ceiling is noticed by others when they come into your home. Think about it when you are in a new environment don’t you look up as well as around to become comfortable with your surroundings. Don’t you want to make sure that your ceiling matched the design and feel of the room you tried so hard to create, remember to tie in your ceiling to complete your room design and feel!

When choosing a decorative ceiling tile for your home, take the following into consideration.

First do you want a different color for your ceiling tile other than white, if so you want to make sure that your ceiling tile will enhance the appearance of your room by complimenting the colors of the room. You want to make sure that your tile color selection ties in well with the colors of the room and you get the desired effect for the room which you are remolding or creating. Try choosing a different shade of your room color or a different color altogether to much of the same color you will find becomes

Doing this will make sure that all of the colors that are in the room you are redecorating or remodeling will all tie together in the end. Be sure that you do not choose the same color for the ceiling tiles that you will have on the walls. When you have too much of the same color in the room, you will find that it can be domineering and takes away from the feeling and comfort of the room.

Do you want to go with ceiling tiles which has some sort of a design on the or just a plain ceiling tile? Should you decide to go with a design keep the design toned down you don’t want to make the ceiling a focal point you just want to make it tie into your design thyme. Having a design or decoration that is complex may be to much and ultimately ruin your room deign that you were after. You don’t want a design or decoration on your ceiling that you will regret later.

Decorative ceiling tiles can be found wherever other ceiling tiles are sold. Taking the above points under consideration when you are deciding on your ceiling tiles for your home will insure that your room design is complete and balanced. Once you have your decorative ceiling tiles installed you will be glad you made the choice to go with a decorative tiles and you will then be able to enjoy them for years to come.

Reviews on Bamboo Flooring

Reviews on bamboo flooring, generally speaking are in favour of the product. Bamboo has gained a reputation as an eco-friendly and a highly renewable source of material. Bamboo is classified as a grass and it is the fastest growing plant on Earth. There are many species of bamboo with the primary species used in manufacturing flooring and plywood being Moso bamboo.

The Moso bamboo can grow an amazing 47 inches in 24 hours and grow to a height of 78.5 feet in about 40 to 50 days. It takes only about three to five years to mature versus the 20 to 120 years it takes hardwood to mature. Reviewers further favour bamboo because once the bamboo is harvested there is no need to replant. The bamboo roots sprout new shoots the following rainy season. In addition, unlike traditional hardwoods which are harvested after 40 to 60 or even more years, bamboo can be harvested 3 to 5 years. Furthermore, the root structure has the ability to hold the soil in place preventing soil erosion.

Floors made of bamboo offers a large variety of designs ranging from vertical bamboo, horizontal bamboo, carbonized bamboo and natural and scraped bamboo. Reviewers are in favour of floors this type of flooring because it is extremely environmentally friendly. Bamboo is a perfect solution to the problem of conserving trees and forests. More and more people are opting for floors made from bamboo because of its visual appeal. It is on a par or may even be better than hard wood when it comes to looks and appearance. It adds a warm and homey feel to a room and is very pleasant to look at. Bamboo plants are like midgets when compared to the massive hardwood trees but looks can be deceiving as it is in the case of bamboo. Floors made of bamboo can be equally strong, if not stronger than hardwood flooring. Bamboo is water and moisture resistant and is an ideal flooring option for kitchens and dining rooms. However, one should take care not to leave water lying on the floor for prolonged period of time. If water seep into the floor, both bamboo and hardwood floor will swell and weaken.

Reviewers however, also point out a few of the less desirable characteristics. The floor is prone to scratches and discoloration. Direct exposure to sun may cause discoloration on the floor surface but this is not limited to only to floors made of bamboo.


There are many reasons why some bamboo hardwood flooring is softer than others. Bamboo flooring should be made from the Moso species to achieve optimum hardness and the bamboo must be at least five years old before harvesting. Do not settle for anything less. Ultimate hardness is archived when seven years old bamboo is harvested. There are some manufacturing processes which make the flooring softer. One such process is called Carbonization. It refers to a heating process that changes the bamboo to an amber color. This also will lower its Janka rating. The Janka rating is an internationally accepted rating scale for hardness in flooring. Bamboo flooring will scratch because the bonding material between the bamboo fibres is less strong than lignens in old wood.

Traditional bamboo floors Janka rating is from 1,300 to 1,600 Pounds-Pressure on the Janka rating. For durable long lasting floors woven strand bamboo with aluminium oxide multi-layer finish is recommended for higher rating. For example, Premium Green, Morning Star’s strand bamboo and Build Direct’s Yanchi brand offer strand bamboo with a 3,000 Janka rating. It cost more than lesser quality flooring but a wise man always pay first; he knows paying later costs a lot more money. If you go with prime products like those listed above you need not worry.

Natural bamboo is light in color. If you want a more durable flooring and like a light color floor, choose the lightest color bamboo. Natural bamboo floors come in planks. You can install the planks by nailing or gluing them. If you like the natural bamboo but wish to have a darker color then choose the stained bamboo. To achieve darker colors the natural bamboo planks are stained with different colors so you can get the strength of natural bamboo and the color of your choice. You can see many fine or thick lines in this floors. In the horizontal grain bamboo you can see fine long lines in the vertical grain bamboo you will see interesting small little stripes.

In the horizontal patterns, flat layers of planks are placed on each other and glued together. In the vertical pattern, long thick planks are glued to each other in one layer, enhancing the fine nodes of the wood. One of the benefits of solid bamboo floors is that they are stronger than red oak and less expensive than most other hardwood floors. This type of flooring can also be floated on a sub-floor. There are many types of floors for you to choose from. Take the time to research the one most suitable for your needs.

Do your research before you decide to purchase your bamboo or hardwood flooring. Look for established brands to make sure your flooring is genuine, meets quality standards and follows all of the environmental guidelines. Most of the bamboo floors are produced in countries that don’t have many regulations for manufacturers to follow. Visual imperfections, contraction and extension are some of the issues you may have to contend with if you buy low quality flooring. I am adding some of the well known brands to the names I have above. You may pay a little more for higher quality but you will save yourself a lot of headaches and enjoy a beautiful worry free floor for years to come. The more trusted names for your list are Ecotimber, Stepco and Teragen. High quality bamboo floors installed and cared for properly will last a lifetime.

How to Build Your Own DIY Waterfall – Pump, Plumbing & Waterway Basics

Building your own waterfall can be a rewarding experience however dealing with water can be tricky so you must arm yourself with as much information as possible in order to build something that you will be happy with.

Minimum flow rates

For every inch of width of your waterfall you should have a minimum of 100 to 150 gph (gallons per hour) of water supplied by your pump. Example waterfall: if you want the top bowl in your waterfall to have a 10 inch wide area where the water rolls over and down your waterfall, you would need a pump that can supply 1000gph. Additionally you need to understand how pumps are rated to ensure that you get the desired effect that you are looking for. There is an efficiency loss in the movement of water through pipes and you will need to account for this to make sure that your waterfall receives the water flow it needs.

Pump ratings and Head loss

The maximum rating for your pump, say 1000gph, refers to a pump with zero head pressure. Head pressure refers to the weight of the water that the pump is lifting and pushing. If the pump has to lift the water a long way it will produce less gph. Simplified, the pump will have a rating that refers to the amount of vertical climb the water will need to make. It will supply a chart in the pump specifications which states the zero head pressure gph, but also the gph to expect with one foot of vertical lift, or two feet of vertical lift, or five feet of vertical lift and so on.

Fittings cause head loss also

Another factor in this equation is fittings such as ninety degree elbows, forty five degree elbows, and bends in the pipe or valves also will increase the head pressure. A pump that has to lift the water one foot, but also through a series of four or five 90 degree elbow fittings will have significantly less gph than a pump pushing through a straight run of pipe.

The height and width of your waterfall will determine your pump requirements

For this reason you need to determine how high your pump will need to push the water to reach your top bowl and also how wide you want the spillway in your top bowl to be. This will give you an idea of what size pump you need. Assuming the same 10 inch wide spillway and a vertical climb of five feet to reach the top bowl, you would need to find a pump that can produce a minimum of 1000gph with a head of 5 feet. This means that the label on the pump would likely be around 1250 gph referring to the zero head pressure rating for the pump with a performance of about 1000gph with five feet of head.

Calculating head pressure from pipe fittings

It is recommended to take into consideration that you will have fittings, bends and restrictions in your plumbing to have it reach from the pond up to your top bowl so this will also increase the head pressure. In larger applications the number of bends in the pipe, length and fittings being used are all calculated to determine the exact head loss for the water to reach its destination. For smaller applications like your waterfall this calculation is unnecessary. When building your plumbing from your pond to the top of your waterfall try to use as few fittings and bends in the pipe as reasonably possible. Especially try to avoid having fittings back to back like two or three ninety degree bends in a short section of pipe. Fittings and bends in short succession because more head pressure than the same number of fittings spaced out further. For simplicity do not calculate the number of fittings that you will use to build your waterfall, but instead oversize your pump by a minimum of ten percent.

Now the whole plumbing equation together

If you have a 10 inch waterfall and a lift of five feet, and you account for 10% additional flow being lost in the fittings and pipe run you would conclude the following.

1000gph at a head pressure of five feet will be a pump advertised with a higher flow rate like 1250gph, again referring to the zero head pressure. To account for your fittings you would need 10% more flow, or another 125 gph more than the pump rated for 1250 gph. This means that the minimum pump rating you would consider would be 1375 gph. Round this number up to 1400, or maybe even 1500 gph rating as pumps are typically sold in increments of flow rate and you most likely will not find a 1375 gph pump.

The reason that you need to consider this at this stage is because you need to determine what size of pipe to run in your waterfall form from the pond to the top bowl. If you have estimated the flow rate that you will need to accomplish the scope of the waterfall you are planning you can find the pump that you will need to accomplish this from your local hardware or pump supply store. The type of pump best suited for most DIY waterfalls is a submersible pump. It will need to sit directly in your pond and as a result a black pump is better than a light colored one which will be highly visible. It is possible to use remote pumps like what a swimming pool might use but this will increase the difficulty of installing the plumbing system considerably as well as increasing the project cost as well.

Once you locate the pump that you will use for your waterfall you can now begin to install the plumbing system as well as consider details like creating an electrical chase to allow the cord from the pump to be installed out of sight as opposed to hanging out the side of your pond.

Full Tilt Poker Sit and Go

Ever since the SNGs have become popular, Fulltilt Poker has been one of the most popular internet casino sites that feature online Poker. The SNG’s of FTP always ask for more, but at the same time there are unique methods that need to be learnt before staking at the various tables at the Full Tilt Poker. First and foremost knowing the reasons for trying your hand out at the Full Tilt Poker is absolutely important.

Why would you choose FTP?

1. FTP is a world class poker room and is actually second only to Poker Stars. The SNG’s are always filled with people at all times. There is a wide variety of poker tournaments and tables with varying buy in options at the Full Tilt Poker.

2. FTP offers lucrative bonus rates in the range of 600$ up to 100% bonus with a simple code for referral. Playing the SNG’s on a regular basis can ease out almost as much as 42% of the fees. This site also features among the best SNG bonus offers and there are also the reload bonus options and the Club VIP option.

3. The SNG leader boards at FTP always pays back the high staking players with high volumes and buy in options. The top graded players featuring among the top 20 are always rewarded with extra bonus rates and cash options.

4. FTP has commendable software with enhanced graphical options, smooth accessibility and lack of server crashes. Both the single table and the multiple table SNG’s are equally enjoyable.

The SNG satellite events are always at full throttle at the Full Tilt with provisions for the Satellite World Series and the innovative token system.

Simultaneous Evolution – Retractable Awnings in Europe and the US

Awnings have been common for more than 2000 years; retractable awnings have been around for almost 150 years. While the history of using awnings stretches far back in Europe and retractable awnings are commonly used there today, they’re rare in the United States – despite the fact that retractable awnings were invented in the US. This uneven adoption has led to an exposure of design options in Europe – intricate frames, new types of retractable frames, bold colors, and luscious patterns – while America, treating awnings as a practical afterthought, has stayed more conservative.

A Quick History

Some form of awnings has been around for millennia, starting in Egypt and the Middle East and spreading across the Roman Empire. Most of those were fixed canopies of mats, skins, or fabric bolts hung over poles. In the mid-1800s, shop owners began using movable awnings, which simply bunched up the fabric when it was taken down. In the latter part of the century, they began rolling awnings on a tube, cleanly retracting them and keeping the fabric safe. With minor variation, this is the same basic design used today on lateral arm retractable awnings.

Retractable awnings were quick to catch on in Europe, from open air markets to apartments and homes. In fact, the classic lateral arm awning is called a California Style Awning in Europe – and a European Style Awning in the US. Now, the retractable awning market is decidedly driven by Europe. Millions of retractable awnings are sold there annually and are found on the majority of homes and businesses, even being considered in the architectural design process. The highest quality manufacturers, most innovative new designs, and emerging trends are coming from European companies.

By comparison, the awning market in America has been limited to mainly commercial buildings. Substantially fewer awnings are sold in the United States yearly – less than 50,000 – so the market, according to the Industrial Fabric Association International, is only about 2% saturated. There’s room for a change.

Different Reasons for Using Awnings

Various factors have come into play for why Europe has, for nearly a century, been consistently integrating retractable awnings into architectural plans. Many of the initial reasons were cultural; prevalent open air markets had contributed to a long history of fixed awning use, so it was a natural transition to easier to use and longer-lasting retractable awnings.

More practically, though, the widespread use of retractable awnings comes down to cooling and energy efficiency. Europe has very high energy costs and, because of many old homes and flats, most residences do not have air-conditioning systems installed. Therefore, European homeowners have had an imperative to find inexpensive, effective cooling and efficiency products – and one of the most effective methods for controlling interior heat is retractable awnings.

In addition to the practical reasons, Europe has had a long aesthetic tradition with awnings, so retractable awnings are a natural part of any home design, and that organically led into creative and adventurous designs, which made using awnings even more appealing.

The US, on the other hand, has had historically cheap and accessible energy, with widespread air conditioning and central air systems. Combined with suburb-motivated home designs, neither energy nor aesthetics has given a compelling reason to include retractable awnings on homes as a standard practice. Energy shortages and price increases in the 1970s, though, did begin bringing retractable awnings to the popular mind as a functional solution for energy efficiency.

Differences in Style

The different reasons for retractable awning use in Europe and the US have produced different emphases on style. Because awnings had a stylistic influence in European history which transitioned to efficiency uses, European awning fabrics and designs tend to be more dramatic and flamboyant. For example, European fabric lines average about 400 fabric designs, while American lines average 200. Color choices in Europe tend to be lighter and brighter.

American homeowners, approaching retractable awnings as a functional addition to a house, without the stylistic background, tend to be conservative, choosing fabrics in blacks and grays in sedate stripes and staying with more traditional frame styles.

That is starting to change, though. More and more American consumers are asking about vibrant colors or patterns – like florals and even paisleys – when they look at awning fabrics, and more exotic designs are starting to come over from Europe, at least for high-end use. As energy efficiency becomes more common, it could become more natural to look for stylish, as well as functional, solutions, which will broaden the retractable awning market even more.

What the Future Holds

As energy efficiency continues to be a growing issue for American homeowners, retractable awnings will be a new opportunity to explore. Based on the experiences and widespread effectiveness observed in Europe, there are exciting changes in store for American markets in the next few years: new architectural design integration with new construction, wildly expanding fabric choices and styles, new retractable awning designs, and natural energy efficiency.

Asphalt Paving Equipment in the Construction of Driveways

Installing a smooth driveway at home is important for a lot of reasons. First of all, it is for safety purposes. Driving on a smooth runway keeps your vehicle from any damage and of course lets you see where you are going to. Secondly, it provides a better view of your house and adds value to your property. In making driveways, you need the aid of the construction industry. You can always have to options which are asphalt paving or concrete paving. Either of the two will provide you with the driveway that you need.

However, the use of an asphalt paver in making driveways is much more preferred than concrete paving due to its advantages. First of all it is much cheaper than with the use of concrete. You can always look for a contractor who can provide you with cheaper deals when it comes to making roads. Together with the contractor, you can make plans as to how you will make smooth driveways possible. If you r road has no major damages then you can spend a little amount than doing excavation and paving it with asphalt afterwards.

The second benefit that a driveway with the use of an asphalt paving equipment can do to you is that it can withstand the tests of cold temperature. It is less prone to cracking and damages. Cracking can lead to major troubles which can be very dangerous for driving when not attended to. Since it is smoother in texture, it is easier for you to remove piles of snow during the winter season with the help of snow removing equipments.

The use of asphalt pavers in making driveways also allows you to form another layer which you cannot do with the use of concrete. It permits you to make patterns as you wish it to be before it dries up. The construction is faster because as you start early paving on a certain date, you can already use your driveway as it dries that very same date. It is already possible for you to use it without hassles of doing detours in some way.

Lastly, maintenance is possible due to the fact that they can be layered again at some point in time when there will be damages on the roads. As long as asphalt paver suppliers will continue to create machines for this task and as long as the roads are properly monitored, then smooth highways and driveways is always a possibility. The initial cost is cheaper and maintenance is also within your budget.

The use of asphalt pavers in the building of driveways for your home has a lot of benefits. It is a cost effective plan and will surely provide you with good quality roads. Your pavement will provide you convenience when it comes to driving, safety on your vehicle and most of all beauty to your home. Consider the option of using asphalt as the material for the construction of your driveways at home and asphalt paving equipment to do the tasks for you.

Home Bridge Construction Loans – Providing You the Funds You Need to Construct Your New Home

Are you planning to sell your old home and build a new one? If you are, then you may need to get some funds to construct your new home. However, you need to face the fact that selling homes today can be quite difficult. So, how will you be able to construct your new home if you can’t sell your old home as fast as you can? Without selling your home, you will be faced with a dilemma where you will never have enough money to buy a new one.

Today, it is now possible for you to get the funds that you need in order for you to construct your new home even before you sell your old home. By taking out a bridge construction loan, this will be able to cover both the homes you are selling and the home you want to construct.

The great thing about bridge construction loans is that it is quite easy to qualify. The reason for this is that most lending companies know that you will only be obligated on both properties on a limited period of time.

You need to understand that bridge construction loans or home bridge loans are short term loans where it will only require you to pay one monthly payment and one closing payment. To make it more convenient, most bridge construction loans have low interest rates compared to other types of mortgages.

These are the things that you can benefit from with bridge construction loans. With it, you will be able to get the funds you need to construct your new home before you even sell your old home.

How to Assemble Rubbermaid Sheds

Thinking about buying a Rubbermaid shed? I will tell you just what I did to get my outdoor shed up and functional. Oh the instructions may look like a piece of cake but if I knew what I’m about to tell you it would have saved me so much time. I hope this helps you with the assembly of your outdoor Rubbermaid Shed.

First off, why did I decide to get one of the Rubbermaid sheds? Well let’s just say my work space was getting a little over crowded. I love to buy stuff, and I was running out of space to put it in. So after a lot of research I found that for me the Rubbermaid shed would do the trick.

My very first tip is make sure you have at least one other person helping out on this project. Don’t do what I did, get help don’t try to take it on yourself. My back still hurts just thinking about it. So get a friend or two to give you a hand on this one.

You do need to know your way around tools. If this is your first attempt at a do it yourself project then you might want to start with something smaller. The instructions tell you to use a stepladder, so do yourself a favor get a 6 ft ladder. It will make things so much easier. Remember my back, yea that is one thing that really made it hurt.

Make sure you put your shed on level ground. It is the first thing the instructions tell you and the first thing I didn’t do. Mistake number one, without level ground nothing lines up right and makes things so much harder. After about 2 hours of fighting with my new Rubbermaid shed I went back and read the directions again and took the time to make some level ground. Dig out the area about 3-4 inches down and put down some gravel rocks. This will allow any water to drain.

The directions say that Rubbermaid sheds can be assembled in 60 minutes. Well I’m not so sure about that. But with the right amount of help and right tools it can be done in less than 4 hours for sure. I’m going to say thing again “read the directions”. They are step by step and give you the proper way to assemble. My first attempt I didn’t even get all the parts out of the box before I started. Now with a bad back and some cut up hands I type this out to help the next person trying to assemble one of these outdoor sheds.

Now if you didn’t listen to anything I said in this report about getting some help, make sure you do when you try to put on the roof. Even with my friends help this was a bit of a pain. One person would have a very hard time trying to install the roof by themselves. Also, try to pick a day when it’s not too windy. Wind is not your friend.

All in all the Rubbermaid sheds are durable and have a vinyl siding look to them. Plenty of space inside for your tools. If you’re thinking about purchasing an outdoor shed then the Rubbermaid storage shed is a great choice. Just make sure you follow the instructions and get a few friends over to help out. It will save you time and money in the long run.

Mounting an Action Camera for Snowboarding

Every year millions of snowboarders head to the slopes for their fix of snow-fuelled fun. While historically all that was needed was a board, boots and some warm clothing, many modern riders now consider technology as a standard, even essential addition to their toolkit.

Action cameras in particular have become an increasingly common accessory amongst boarders, allowing them to capture every moment of their ride, meaning memories can be saved and relived time and time again.

The progression in HD action camera technology means that these small, lightweight devices can be attached to almost any part of the riders body, or helmet, giving riders the option to capture footage from a number of different perspectives.

Making a decision on where and how to mount an action camera comes down to a number a factors – the type of camera being used, the style, or perspective of footage looking to be captured and the riding style of the user. So for those planning on capturing some riding footage this winter, here are some options;

Helmet mounts

Helmet mounts come in several different forms and will appeal to different riders depending on the model of camera and type of helmet they’re using. Users of the popular GoPro HD Helmet Hero cameras, or the new GoPro HD2 range will be particularly spoilt for choice, with a number of options available.

The GoPro Vented Helmet Strap Mount is a popular choice with snowboarders due to its ease of use and relatively small price tag. This mount simply straps securely through the helmet vents and can be removed via a quick release mechanism, allowing easy access to the camera.

Similarly, the GoPro head strap mount is a quick-release style mount, but instead fits over the helmet, as apposed to through it. This is a good mount for riders who wear a helmet without vents.

For an altogether different point of view, the GoPro Front Mount attaches to the front of the helmet, like a headlamp, and can be extended to face back at the rider to allow for self-portrait videos and photos. This is great for riders who want to interchange between point-of-view and documentary style recording.

Goggle mounts

Goggle mounts are a common choice for snowboarders, especially those seeking that ‘point-of-view’ footage seen so often in professional snowboard movies. The camera sits on either side of the goggles and follows the rider’s eye line as they ride, meaning nothing is missed.

The goggle mount is more commonly used with the smaller, more streamlined models of action camera, such as the Drift HD and Contour HD. Both Contour and Drift offer their own goggle mounts that has been specifically designed to fit their products.

A Goggle mount is an ideal option for those who ride without a helmet, but equally appealing to those who require constant access to their camera, perhaps between short periods of filming.

Head strap mounts

Of course, there are riders who choose not to wear a helmet, and also those to prefer to wear sunglasses to goggles. For these people a head strap mount is the best option. These straps can be easily adjusted meaning they can be worn over hats and beanies without any trouble.

Almost all action cameras will come with a mount of some description when purchased, however, be sure to look at the range of mounts on offer if you’re looking for something in particular. No matter what type of action camera mount you choose, it’s always important to ensure it’s suitable for your camera model and sporting activity.

7 Things You Can Do For Your Hammertoes and Why

Putting toes and hammers together often results in some major misfortune. So, as you might imagine, the condition called hammertoes isn’t really an ideal state for the digits of your feet. (Although really, it’s hard to say whether the name came about because the toes resemble hammers, or simply look as though they’ve been hammered.) When you have hammertoes, the joints of one or more toes become semi-permanently or permanently bent, making the middle joint of the toe jut up, just as if your toe had decided to take on the shape of a tent. Hammertoes often start out flexible, meaning you can still bend the joint-it just tends to revert to the crooked position when you leave it alone, although they do become inflexible over time. As the condition worsens, the joints become locked in place, which is not the way joints are supposed to behave.

Hammertoes may have several causes, but most commonly come about due to muscle imbalances. The tendons pulling the toe inward may be stronger than the ones that pull the toe straight, thus resulting in a toe that’s bumped up in the middle. Hammertoes (or a tendency to develop them) might have been something you inherited from your parents (or grandparents, or third cousins), although they may also be caused or exacerbated by wearing shoes that scrunch the toes up into a small space (i.e. shoes with tiny little toe boxes and/or high heels-the usual lineup of suspects). They may also develop due to an injury, such as a break in the toe, or arthritis.

Some people may not experience uncomfortable symptoms until their condition is a little more advanced. However, the first sign that something’s up is the visibly obvious bending of the toe upward at the middle toe joint, making the toe look like a hammer or a claw. This may be followed by pain or even corns on the top of that pointed toe joint (caused when your shoe rubs against the raised toe), and calluses on the ball of your foot (they form because the base of the toe is now jutting down abnormally and putting extra pressure on the ball of the foot).

As things get a bit more severe, the joint itself may begin to feel stiff and painful, and it may become inflamed (red, swollen, warm to the touch). Eventually, you may not be able to move the joint very well, or at all.

It’s a good idea to go in to see your podiatrist when your toes begin to take on that hammer-like or clawed appearance, especially if you’re finding it painful to walk because of the condition. Your podiatrist will likely make the diagnosis by examining your foot visually, and may test the joint for flexibility and pain. He or she may also suggest X-rays in order to get an insider’s look at what’s going on in your foot.

Treatment options are varied, and depend a great deal on how far progressed your hammertoes are.

1) When the joint’s still pretty flexible, it may be possible to treat the condition entirely without surgery. This will likely be accomplished by your podiatrist prescribing orthotics (fancy shoe inserts designed specifically for you) that will help correct the imbalance in your foot that’s causing the hammertoes.

2) Your podiatrist may also try taping the toes (that is-he or she will put tape on the toes, not take the toes in for a session in a recording studio) in order to straighten them and provide additional support.

3) Exercising your calves and toe muscles will also help provide additional strength and stability for your foot.

4) There are also a few things you can do to relieve some of the painful symptoms that come with hammertoes. You could try using pads to reduce the pressure on the tops of your toes: hammertoe pads or corn pads may be available over the counter, but you may want to avoid the medicated ones-the acid in the medication may be harmful, particularly to those with circulation problems.

5) If your toe joint is swollen and inflamed, you can try applying ice (20 minutes on, 40 minutes off, and always use a thin towel between the ice and your skin) or taking anti-inflammatory medication (ibuprofen, or you can talk to your podiatrist about a cortisone shot) to reduce inflammation.

6) Also, (and this may be an obvious one, but it’s a method some people ignore), you should probably ditch the shoes with the tight toes and high heels. Give your toes plenty of room in the toe box (about half an inch past the end of each toe) and avoid heels over two inches (and lower, if possible), since they tend to squish your toes into the end of your shoe.

7) If doing all that doesn’t really seem to help, or if your toes have gotten to the point where they refuse to bend at all (the stubborn little things), then it may be time to consider surgery. Your podiatrist knows a lot of options and can discuss which ones will be most likely to fit your particular needs.

Recovery time will vary, depending on what treatment method you use. But, if all goes well, you can once again have toes that resemble toes, and not something you find in a greasy toolbox.