Introduction to Stone Paneling

Paneling is the process of covering the wall from desired components like wood or stone. Others use plastic for economic reasons.

Paneling makes the original set up of a room more comfortable. This insulates the room from its original walling like solid stone or dull wood. Many people install paneling for the purpose of decorating.

There are many kinds of paneling that varying on the material used:

– Wall paneling

– Decorative wall paneling

– Bamboo paneling

– Stone paneling

– Bead board paneling

– Brick paneling

– Knotty pine paneling

– Vinyl wood paneling

– Real wood paneling

– Painting paneling

– Tongue and groove paneling

– Wallpapering over paneling.

There are also two styles of paneling:

o Raised paneling style – This is the oldest and the finest style. This is made of premium wood veneers with natural variation.

o Ceiling paneling – This style has a different appearance because it is made of various materials. It is commonly used in interior decoration. It provides decorative finishing, and sound and heat insulation. This is the style of paneling that can be cleaned easily. It can be made of wood, metal, fiber or any other materials.

Stone paneling is suitable for both indoors and outdoors. It is perfect in creating wonderful water features. Stone panels have varied textures, with four basic colors – charcoal, white quartz, ochre, and ivory.

Natural stones create a sense of timeless elegance. This type of panel is very durable.

Stone paneling comes in modular form. They can be installed easily and fast on sound surfaces. It is beautifully- textured and it can produce an innovative design for any space. It can however give a hint of roughness. Stone panels can be a stunning wall feature because of its aesthetical pleasing lines. Such panels are suited around pools and spas, inside your kitchen, in bathrooms, offices, in your small shop, bar or in café. It is best for cladding a brick or in block concrete wall.

Stone paneling provide not only great looks but also the functionality of real masonry stonework. The products used in stone paneling have the following qualities:

– It is more durable.

– It is cost effective.

– It is fire and ultra- violet resistant.

– It is waterproof.

– It is insulating.

– It is maintenance free.

All of these can be done with stone paneling. Although a bit expensive, stone panels last for a long time.

Cedar Planks For Grilling Salmon

Have you ever tasted the rich, woody flavor of cedar planked salmon? The salmon cooks in its own juices, soaking up the aroma of the wood-it is a taste experience you should not miss. Plank grilling, a process that infuses food with a delicate, smoky tang, has become quite popular in recent years. Despite its current trend status, using cedar planks for grilling is a technique whose provenance we can actually trace back to American Indians in the Pacific Northwest; centuries ago, they staked slabs of wood strapped with game or fish next to their campfires to cook.

It kept the food tender and clean. Later on, European explorers adopted the method adding their own spices and seasonings to the mix. Today planks are favored particularly for grilling fish, e.g. cedar plank salmon; however, the method works well with meats too.

Using cedars planks for grilling is an easy affair – the trick lies in soaking the wood in water beforehand; keep the plank submerged for at least half an hour, two hours maximum. This step is de rigueur, as you risk burning the entire plank and your dinner should you omit the plank bath. You can purchase any type of wood, as each will impart its own uniquely timber flavor. If you use cedar planks for grilling, which pairs exceptionally well with salmon, you’ll encounter an aroma of sweet charred spice. Cherry wood planks convey a smoothly sweet pungent flavor, while woods like alder and hickory are fuller, more pungent.

Plank grilling is a great way to cook Alaskan caught fish. The method is hassle free and keeps the delicate fish from falling apart and burning. Many plank grilling sets are pre-assembled and ready for purchase; however, if you do choose to make your own plank, remember to buy untreated wood. And now you’re ready to use cedar planks for grilling salmon!

Sample Roofing Contractor Business Plan Outline

Is it worth writing a lengthy business plan for your roofing startup? Business plan preparation can be time consuming and many entrepreneurs are tempted to go ahead without one unless they really need it to prove the viability of ideas to partners or investors.

Your roofing business won’t be a huge, complicated business for a few years anyway so why bother? Well, while I would not suggest that you spend months writing a 100 page report, it could be useful for you to have a 10 to 20 page document on your PC that can be your company blueprint for success. You can make changes to it as you slowly learn more about the business.

It will be the key document that sets out exactly how your business is run. If done properly you should basically be able to hand this document over to somebody when they buy your business and they can take over with very little of your time needed to explain things to them.

Here is a brief business roofing business plan template to give you some ideas on how to put your own together.

Contents Page and Executive Summary

This should be a summary of your entire roofing business plan. If you will be presenting the plan to interested parties then let them know the contents. Include a basic summary of your plans to start a roofing business. Outline the opportunities that you see in the market and what you plan to do in order to capture a piece of the pie for yourself.

Background in the Roofing Business

Prove to yourself or others why you are cut out to go into this business. List details on your education and any relevant experience that you have had in the roofing industry or in business in general. Outline your reasons for wanting to start a roofing business.

Mission Statement

Set out your company mission or philosophy in a few words or a short phrase. Try to think about what you want to achieve with your business apart from profits. You should be driven by a desire to deliver a quality service to people in way that satisfies them and provides great value for them while still allowing you to meet your goals. What kind of products and services do you want to deliver? How will you be different from all the other roofing companies?

Business Goals

Set out the goals that you have for your business in its first few years. Set realistic targets that you know are attainable so that you won’t be discouraged if you don’t meet them. Success can be measured by a number of metrics such as the total number of roofing jobs completed per month, the percentage of leads that become new customers or the productivity of your employees for example.

Startup Requirements

List down all of the products and services that your company will offer and then set out a list of equipment and inventory that you will need to get started. If you need to buy a truck then you will be looking at minimum startup costs of around $20,000.

Startup requirements will also include compliance costs. Depending on what state you are operating out of you may need a contractors license, insurance, bonding or to comply with a number of other relevant regulations.

Don’t forget that as well as purchasing all of the necessary roofing equipment you will also have to purchase materials for your first job. Clients will typically pay a large chunk of your total invoice upon completion of the job so you will have to foot the bill until you get reimbursed when they pay their invoice in full.

Structure, Ownership and Management

There are four basic options to consider for your business structure and they include sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or limited liability corporation (LLC).

Outline how your business will be owned and make a note of the various parties that may have an ownership stake.

Set out a management structure so that there is no confusion among those involved with the business as to who is responsible for managing each part of the business.

Marketing Plan

Identify your target market both by location as well as other demographic factors and describe the kind of people or properties that make up your target market. Include the results of any market research that you do or local industry statistics that you are able to gather.

Set out a detailed plan for your roofing business marketing. This should include how you plan on getting enquiries, converting them into new accounts and maintaining them over the long term. It should also include brand development, pricing, advertising, a sales approach and other marketing methods.

Competitive Analysis

Write up profiles of your main local competitors and try to understand how they run their businesses. Borrow and adapt characteristics of their business that work and look for weaknesses in their business models that you may be able to capitalize on. Figure out how you will differentiate your brand from theirs in a way that allows you to stand out in the market.

Operations

Include details of the day to day operations of the proposed roofing business. Make a note of your office location, business administration and record keeping systems, plans to hire employees and procedures regarding roofing installations or repairs.

Financial Analysis

Outline some of the methods that you could use to obtain financing for your new venture.

Create a spreadsheet that shows anticipated cash flow forecasts over the first few years of business for a variety of scenarios. You can then determine how profitable you think the business will be in a number of different economic climates.

You will be able to find many free business plan examples online but it can be harder to find a specific sample of a roofing business plan. There are some business planning software programs that you can buy but they are usually just generic business plans that have been adapted anyway.

Unless you can persuade other roofing business owners to share their plan with you then you really have to look at templates from other industries and model your roofing business plan on them.

DIY Handrails For the Home

Do you have plans to build a deck anywhere on your house? How about the swimming pool area? Don’t forget that garden, terrace or patio; they’ll benefit from installation of a handrail system, too.

Let’s talk about some of these applications for DIY handrails in your home. The staircase issue is a major one. As you know, safety is a huge concern whenever steps or stairs are involved. If you have staircases that do not have handrails on them, there is considerable risk of falling while ascending or descending them. This can be a huge liability to you in regard to your family, friends and other visitors to your home. Installation of a stainless steel handrail system would serve dual purposes; it would provide the safety needed to protect against falls and it would allow a design improvement that would complement your d├ęcor and change the look of the room.

If you have a staircase which is in need of repair, the same safety concerns apply. Replacing the existing railing with a brushed stainless steel railing would increase the safety potential as well as improve the staircase’s aesthetic value. You could incorporate this improvement into a room remodel that modifies the decorating theme.

Another use for DIY handrails, and another safety concern, is the perimeter of your swimming pool. If you own a swimming pool, you accept a considerable burden for the possibility of unintended “guests” (humans or animals) who wander into your pool area (for whatever purpose), accidentally falling into the pool and possibly drowning. Installing a steel handrail system that incorporates either glass or wire rigging would secure your pool area in a safe and attractive manner.

How about the deck you built on the house last year? Or, even the one you’re planning to build this year? You can add safety as well as a clean, classy look to your deck with the addition of a DIY handrail system. The brushed stainless steel finish combined with wire rigging looks great with any wooden deck and it is safe and secure for you, your family and your guests.

These DIY handrails are available in modular systems that are easy, safe and quick to install. You can design your own look by combining the steel with stone, glass or wire rigging. Use these systems in any area in which a handrail could be utilized and provide safety, first and foremost, with elegance and style as a bonus.

Starburst Deck Railing For the Contemporary Design

Put Some Variety in Your Deck

Decks and porches have risen in popularity in recent years with more people spending their spare time outdoors, whether relaxing and cooking out with the family or entertaining friends. The deck is a place everyone likes to relax on warm sunny days. Decks are built in more than the traditional style today. A popular style for those that enjoy a contemporary look is the starburst deck railing. Starburst deck railing is also the railing of choice for those that want a little more privacy.

Starburst Railing Design

For those that are unfamiliar with the looks of the starburst railing design, it’s a unique design where the balusters are arranged in a way that makes them look like spindles are coming from the center of the bottom railing. They fan out as they go up to the top rail. They have a very distinguished look and are often used in combination with other railing styles.

Although wood or wrought iron are the most commonly used materials for the starburst railing design, other materials such as aluminum are also used. If you are making your own starburst railing design, you’ll find that it is quite easy using wood as the material for your construction. The first step is using screwing 2″X2″ wood spindles next to each other in the center of the bottom railing between each post. Make sure they are evenly spaced along the top rail. Certain building codes may apply in your area so check these out before you begin your construction. For instance, most codes require no more than 4″ between the bottom rail of your starburst and the deck floor. There cannot be more than 4″ between the spindles either.

Using Starburst Railing Designs With Other Designs

There are many variations you can use when creating a starburst railing design. One version involves fixing the bottom ends of the spindle to the periphery of the wood and shaping them in a half circle, which is fixed to the bottom rail. The shapely spindles on the top are attached to the top rail to portray the starburst shape. Make the cap rail large enough for drinks, glasses or ashtrays.

Starburst rail designs are beautiful whether they’re used as a style on their own or in combination with other styles. The starburst deck railing can be added to a basic deck to give it a more contemporary feel and look. Although you may like the appearance of the starburst deck railing, the amount of starbursts you’ll use will be determined by the size of your deck.

Construction Materials for your Starburst Deck Railing

As we said, wood and wrought iron are the most commonly used materials for starburst deck railings in addition to aluminum. Aluminum is great because of its strength and durability. It’s also very easy to maintain. Wrought iron and wood railings seem to blend harmoniously with any decorating style. Since your Starburst deck railing will be outdoors, the most important factor in selecting your material should be the resistance to certain weather conditions such as extreme heat, humidity and moisture.

Safety With Glass Railings

Glass Railings

Glass railings look beautiful and add luster to your decor. It is possible to fix up a glass railing all by your self and that too with minimal costs. The article gives you the details of working with glass railings

Safety With Glass railings

Storing and transportation of Glass: The transportation of glass and glass railing require some care. If care is not taken while transporting, all that you get the end of the job, a shattered glass with possibility of injury if handled carelessly. Take the following precautions while transporting and handling the glass items like glass railings and glass sheets:

  • The glass should never be transported horizontal. The glass plates and sheets should always be put in vertical position. If you transport the glass items horizontal, all that you might get at the end of journey is glass dust.
  • The glass should be packed nicely so that it can withstand the transportation. Special packing material is available in market for this purpose.
  • The bumps shall be minimized while transporting glass railings. The speed of vehicle should be reduced to minimize or avoid the damage.

Safety While Handling Glass Railings

Your safety is as important as the safety of the glass railings, in fact more important. While handling glass or glass railings make sure that you wear hand gloves. It is also important to use sufficient number of persons so each one handles the load he/she can safely carry. In case this is not done and the load carried by one person is transferred to other person quickly, it has a domino effect and the glass item being handled will get broken at the same time the shards of glass can injure many persons at the same time.

Safety While Fixing Glass Railing In Position

The fixing of glass railing is a delicate affair. Any mistake while fixing glass or the top railing will damage it. Specialized materials have been developed so that the glass becomes fixed in its place and there is no possibility of shifting the glass once it is fixed in position. Rubber grommets, rubber shoes, and beading around the glass are used and are very effective.

Types of Glass Railings

Glass railings may be just the top balustrade, or complete sheets of glass used instead of any other metallic supports, or figurines in various forms on the staircase with the top railing made of glass. The imagination of the deck designer [http://www.deck-porch-railings.com/deck-railing-designs.html] is the only restraint. The glass railings can take many forms and in each form, it adds to the beauty of the space, it covers.

Care of Glass Railings

The glass requires little care; just wiping the dust is sufficient in most cases. The toughened glass is used in most glasswork used in public place. The life of glass is infinity and it is not affected by most acids and alkalis. The only acid that can affect glass is hydrofluoric acid. Since this acid is not in common use, the only care you might have to take is avoiding the company of boisterous children bent on breaking glass items.

Glass Figurines

Glass railings etched with glass figurines look very good. The work is done with hydrofluoric acid or with help of grinders. The artwork and geometrical forms are normally done with etching and straight lines can be done with grinders.

Glass railings add to the atmosphere of the showroom and reflection from glass adds to the atmosphere of any area where it is fixed.

What Is an Ethernet Switch?

An Ethernet switch is a networking device that is used in almost all data networks to provide connectivity for our networking devices. Prior to the invention of the Ethernet switch, our Ethernet data networks used either Repeaters or Hubs to build Local Area Networks.

Before Ethernet Switches, a lot of networks used coaxial cable for local network connections, in a network topology that became known as a bus network. The most common bus networks used two early Ethernet cabling standards, which were the 10Base5 and 10Base2 coaxial cable standards. The 10Base5 networks were often referred to as Thicknet, while the 10Base2 networks were known as Thinnet. All network devices such as computers and servers were connected to a segment of cable in what was known as a “shared environment”, or more commonly a collision domain. This type of network relied on data being broadcast across the media to all connected devices.

The invention of the hub made it easier for devices to be added or removed from the network, but an Ethernet network using a Hub was still a collision domain, where collisions were way of life. Ethernet network interface cards were designed to use CSMA/CD and detect and deal with collisions. Unfortunately collisions do have an effect of slowing down a network and make that network less than efficient. A Hub is said to be a Layer-1 device as it has no real intelligence, and in fact it is really just a multi-port repeater, with data entering one port being duplicated when sent out the other ports. The reference to Layer 1 is to the bottom layer of the OSI 7 Layer reference model.

The Hub was eventually replaced by the Ethernet switch as the most common device in Local Area Networks. The switch, which is a much more efficient device, is said to be a more intelligent device than a Hub because it is able to interrogate the data within the Ethernet Frames, whereas a hub just retransmits the data. With Ethernet, we use 48-bit MAC Addresses when labelling specific physical network interfaces, and an Ethernet frame of data contains both the Source and Destination MAC Addresses to enable data to be routed and switched from one specific physical interface to another.

An Ethernet switch has 3 main functions, which are:

Address Learning

Forwarding and Filtering

Loop Avoidance.

Address Learning

When a data frame enters through a port on a switch, the Ethernet Switch reads the Source MAC Address and adds that address to a MAC Address Table. This table is often referred to as Content Addressable Memory (CAM). Within the table the MAC Address is associated with the physical port on the switch to which the network device is attached. The switch now knows which port to forward data to when an Ethernet frame arrives from elsewhere in the network, because it checks the destination MAC Address, and looks for a match in the table. The Destination MAC Address is therefore used by the Ethernet Switch to forward data out of the correct port to reach the correct physical interface.

Forwarding and Filtering

When a switch receives an Ethernet frame, it will read the Destination MAC Address in order to determine which port to forward the data out of. When a switch receives an Ethernet frame with a Destination MAC Address that is not referenced in the table, it floods that frame out of all ports in an attempt to reach the correct physical interface. If the correct device responds, then the switch will now know where that MAC Address resides, and is therefore able to add that address to the table for future reference.

LoopAvoidance

Almost all modern switches run a protocol known as the Spanning-Tree Protocol, or STP. STP was originally a proprietary protocol developed by DEC, but is now an IEEE Standard known as IEEE 802.1d, which was later revised to IEEE 802.1w (Rapid Spanning-Tree Protocol). The role of Spanning Tree is to detect and manage loops in a network, which can be a big problem by allowing duplicate frames to be delivered, and cause the MAC Address Table to become unstable. In severe cases network loops will cause a network to be over subscribed and eventually be overwhelmed by the amount of data. Spanning-Tree allows network designers to build redundancy and resilience into a network, safe in the knowledge that any physical or logical loops created will be managed by the Spanning Tree Protocol.

You will hear the terms Layer 2 and Layer 3 Switch, what do they mean?

A Layer 2 Ethernet switch operates by performing like we described in the previous paragraphs. The Layer 2 name comes from the fact that it operates at Layer 2 of the OSI 7 Layer Reference Model. This Layer is often referred to as the Data-Link Layer, and it is the layer that Ethernet is described, and where MAC Addresses are used.

So what is a Layer 3 Ethernet Switch?

A Layer 3 Ethernet Switch combines the features and functions of a basic Layer 2 switch, with features normally associated with a Router. In fact, it is probably easy to describe a Layer 3 switch as a switch and a router combined. A Layer 3 switch will have either a number of fixed Ethernet ports that have layer 3 IP Addresses associated with them, or more commonly, configurable ports that can be Layer 2 or Layer 3 as desired. All but the smallest home consumer Layer 2 switches allow the configuration of VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks), but are not able to directly route traffic between multiple VLANs. In order to do this, the addition of a Layer 3 device such as a Router would be needed. A Layer 3 switch can perform this function in addition to tradition Layer 2 switch functions.

When purchasing an Ethernet switch, you need to determine what its role will be in the network, and whether or not Layer 3 functions will be required. Normally a Layer 3 Ethernet switch will be more expensive than a comparable Layer 2 device, so it would be an unnecessary expense to employ a Layer 3 switch when a Layer 2 switch would suffice.

Ethernet switches have evolved since the first simple devices were introduced, and some have a lot of additional features and support a wide range of ever increasing network protocols. Some of these features and protocols will be discussed in future articles.

Lace Frontal Wig Guide

Lace frontal wigs are a great asset for any woman who wants to have the natural look of a lace front wig but is not yet ready to give up her fabulous weaves. If you are just trying out lace wigs or just cannot part with your favorite weave brand, a lacefrontal is a nice introduction into lacewigs. This guide presents a brief overview of what there is to know about lacefrontals.

What is a lace frontal?

A lacefrontal is similar to a front lacewig in many ways. The lace is around the perimeter of the hairline to provide a natural looking appearance. The main difference is that a lacefrontal is solely a piece that can be installed from the hairline up to the crown of the head. Many lacefrontals are shorter than this providing only 3 to 5 inches of lace.

The lacefrontal also achieves everything that other lacewigs do. High quality human or synthetic hair is installed on most lace frontals. These are also cheaper than many full lacewigs and front lacewigs because they are half the size.

Why should I consider a lace frontal?

A lace frontal is a great purchase for women seeking more natural looking weaves but do not want to commit to the full lacewig. Many women are fans of their hair weaves and extensions minus the unnatural hairline or scalp. With a weave, you have direct access to much of the scalp unlike a lacewig where you must remove the entire unit.

A lacefrontal is also a good option for women suffering from thinning hairlines or at the crown of their head. If you have a thick head of hair, you do not want to add on a full lacewig. Many women like to think of a lacefrontal like a spot treatment for their hair. Place it in the spot that needs it most, no more and no less.

How is a lace frontal installed? Can I do this myself like a lace wig?

A lace frontal is best installed by a professional since more advanced weaving and hair extension techniques are also employed. If you are very well versed in lacewigs and hair weaving, then this is something that you can most likely do. If you are only good at one of these skills, you will need professional help.

A lace frontal is installed like any other lacewig around the hairline area. For the back half, some stylists choose to directly integrate the lace frontal into the extension through braiding techniques while others prefer basic blending of the two units.

By using this guide, you can better acquaint yourself with lace frontals. Whether you are a weave or extension lover for life, it never hurts to try something new. As always, make sure to seek professional help if you are unsure about lacewig application and using lace wig hair products.

Parking Signs Rules – Is Your Parking Lot Compliant?

Using standard highway signs in your parking lot not only makes sign recognition easier and commands authority, it is now the law. Effective January 16, 2007, the Federal Highway Administration requires roads on private property that are “Open to Public Travel” to use the same sign design, sizes, and reflectivity as the highway signs.

This includes roads within shopping centers, parking lot areas, airports, sports arenas, toll roads and other similar facilities. Any road that is privately owned but where the public is allowed to travel without access restrictions including bike paths and recreational facilities must use the highway sign standards.

Parking lot owners and managers may reduce their exposure to costly lawsuits by updating their signs to the highway sign standards or phase them in as the old signs are replaced. There is a manual of standard sign designs named the MUTCD, (Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices). Most sign companies are familiar with the MUTCD or you can find them online.

Beyond the MUTCD, there is little guidance for the number and placement of parking lot signs except logic and common sense. The need for parking lot signs is largely related to the number of parking spaces and the facilities use.  A large shopping center with many pedestrians and high vehicle turnover will require more signs than a small business park.

MUTCD signs are available in different sizes and reflectivity. The size of the sign required is related to its viewing distance. A larger sign can be seen from further away. As a rule of thumb, the sign’s letter height should be one inch for every 50 feet that it is required to be seen from. For example, if the sign needs to be read from 150 feet away, you should have at least a 3-inch letter. Larger is better.

The reflectivity of a sign is how bright it is when headlights shine on it. As light bulbs come in different brightness, 60, 75 and 100 watt bulbs, signs are available in engineer grade, high intensity and diamond grade reflectivity. Diamond grade reflective is the brightest. Traffic signs should be at least high intensity reflective.

Since parking lots are the one place where pedestrians and motorist freely roam, right of way signs are very important for safety. It is safest to place a sign anywhere a potential conflict may occur.

Right of way signs are Stop (R1-1), Yield (R1-2), Keep Right (R4-7), Do Not Enter (R5-1), and Pedestrian Crossing (W11-A2).  These types of signs are typically used on the access driveway from the highway, along the building frontage, parking islands and for any ring roads. Any signs that are on the state highway’s right of way must be the same size required for that highway. Stop signs on the state right of way are typically 30 inches. Because speed traveled in a parking lot is slower, stop signs can be smaller, typically 24 inches.

Pedestrian crossing signs are found at crosswalks and paths connecting to the building frontage. Bicyclist signs should be treated similar to pedestrian signs.

Speed limit signs should only be used on a ring road and are typically ignored and difficult to enforce against motorist infractions. Speed limits should be on 5 mile increments per MUTCD. In smaller parking lots it is unlikely that speed limit signs would be needed because vehicles don’t have enough space to travel at high speeds.

As for enforcing motorist violations, unless parking lot signs are installed as a result of engineering studies and certain criteria are met, enforcement of violations by motorist is impractical.  There is also the Model Traffic Ordinance which provides provisions pertaining to police enforcements of traffic regulations on private property, which in a nutshell, is impractical.

Parking signs make it easier for visitors to know where the right spot to park is. This makes it convenient for them to get from their vehicle to a walkway or the facility. Some facilities will reserve parking spaces for special use, for example, Expectant Mothers, Employee of the Month, Clergy or Doctors. Parking signs are typically 12″ x 18″ and should be placed no more than 150 feet apart when placed in series. If attached to a barrier or post the parking signs should be engineer grade reflective.

No Parking signs inform motorist where they cannot park. Fire safety dictates that Fire Lane signs are posted along the frontage of a building and near fire hydrants.  Other no parking signs are found near loading zones and intersections to provide an unobstructed line of sight for motorist. No truck signs are sometimes used because trucks are large and can obstruct the free movement of vehicles.

Handicap Parking signs are used to designate areas reserved for the disabled typically found nearest the building. The handicap parking sign uses the blue wheelchair symbol on the sign. Each state has different requirements for the size and wording of the sign. Some laws require the space to be van accessible and specify fines for violations. It is best to check with the local zoning office for the requirements as they vary widely.

Property Management signs are used to designate areas or notify of rules and policies of the parking lot. Aisle marker signs placed on light poles help visitors remember where they parked.  Not responsible for loss or damage of property signs may reduce tort liability of the parking lot owner. No Loitering, No Trespassing, No Soliciting, and No Skateboarding signs are used to express management’s policies.

Dress Up Your Home With Brick

A brick facade can dramatically change the look of your vinyl home.  And, the cost isn’t as expensive as you might believe. 

If you’ve been thinking about doing some home improvements, but aren’t quite sure what and don’t have a huge budget, then adding a brick front is the perfect solution.  A new brick face will make your home look considerably better and help to create a fantastic first impression.  A brick building front will also add value to your home, when it comes time to sell.

Any good realtor can tell you that even a small improvement to the front of your home can/does make a huge difference in the sale process.  Something as simple as adding a new flower bed or an updated mailbox can add value to your property.  A low-cost, yet huge impact upgrade item, such as a new brick facade can literally add thousands of dollars to the sale price of your home!

Adding brick to either the entire front of your home or to just a portion of the home will make your vinyl house look more valuable and more sturdy.  Brick facades are not expensive and, if done properly using the correct materials, last a very long time with no maintenance.

Your neighbors will definitely notice the difference.  If you put a new brick facade on your vinyl home, along with the many compliments you will receive, you will most certainly see several others in your neighborhood do the same thing.  In fact, your neighbors will likely come to you for advice on adding a brick facade to their homes.  This effect can help to increase the overall property value of your neighborhood.

How to Solder Jewelry – Learn the Basics

Learning how to solder will give you the freedom to incorporate sophisticated components and connections into your jewelry designs. As a jewelry artist it will give you the freedom to create more sophisticated and intricate works of art. Here are some basic concepts that can help you get started. Before you begin your journey, you will need to gather some basic soldering tools and equipment:

Torch: This is one of the most important staples to have in a well equipped jewelry studio. However, soldering brings many different elements that are too important not to discuss on this article. I strongly recommend that you begin by taking a basic jewelry fabrication class, which allows you to learn the intricacies of the technique.

First and foremost is SAFETY. When you first start making jewelry, you have a natural fear of the fire, yet as you continue your work the fear will disappear and carelessness may take its place. To prevent accidents, become knowledgeable on the maintenance and care of the soldering equipment you own.

• Spend time learning the soldering techniques that come with the equipment you purchase – Talk to the people that set your tank and ask for specifics on how to transport and care for the tank and components.

• Learn everything you can about your equipment – most manufacturers today include detailed safety instructions. Read them carefully and don’t wait until things fail.

• Check with your insurance agent about proper coverage. You home insurance may not cover you home business.

Another important element is the ENVIRONMENT in which you work with fire. Proper ventilation is essential. Because the expense involved in setting exhaust systems people neglect including the right ventilation needed when using a torch. When money is an object consider the following alternatives:

• Install an exhaust hood that is powerful enough to create a positive flow of air away from you and direct it to the outside vent.

• Another alternative is an open window with a fan on the opposite side of the room. This will give you some ventilation while you solder. The drawback is that the air flow may blow your flame.

• Another appropriate alternative and safeguard is the use of a respirator – yet it may be uncomfortable to wear.

Now let’s talk about flame proofing the station where you are planning work. The entire area needs to be covered with non-flammable materials. High fired ceramic tiles are a good choice to protect the work area. Do not solder on top of them, use a charcoal block or non-asbestos pad on top of the tile. Jewelry supply companies sell a soldering pad in several sizes.

It is important to understand of the materials used with this type of equipment. The gases we use for soldering are, by their very nature flammable and thus considered dangerous. These include:

o Acetylene

o Propane

o Natural gas

o Hydrogen

o MAPP

o Oxygen

Now for the equipment:

• Become very familiar with all your soldering equipment, and maintain it on a regular basis.

All torching equipment sold today is factory and safety coded:

• Red hose for fuel

• Green hose for oxygen

The connections are also coded:

• Fuel fittings have a left hand thread and are marked with a groove on the screw nut.

• Oxygen fittings are right hand threads and don’t have a groove.

Maintaining the torch equipment:

• The number one rule is USE NO OIL – when mixed with gases it becomes explosive.

• Have the equipment checked by an expert at the place where you buy the gas. Make sure there are not leaks.

Torch Safety Basics

• Install safety ventilation.

• Practice regular maintenance on all the equipment: Tanks, hoses, heads, regulators, tips, and valves.

• Know your equipment and materials.

• Protect yourself and the environment.

• Keep your soldering area neat and clean.

• Secure large tanks on a cart to a wall.

• Open valves slowly

Following these basic soldering instructions will ensure that you purchase a torch that will last a long time.

Now, let’s look at the other elements needed when soldering metals.

Fluxes: serves as an agent that allows the medium to move freely on the metal.

Different types of flux can be used with different types of materials and temperatures.

Borax: the most commonly used. It comes in a cone and sits in a ceramic dish..

Auflux:: Is a general – purpose flux that comes in a liquid form.

Tenacity 5:: This flux comes in powder form and is mixed with water to form a paste. It can withstand higher temperatures.

The other component needed to solder metal is the actual solder.

Solder: This is the elements that actually joins the metal parts together, it is available in easy, medium, and hard and each one has a different melting point. You can also purchase it in sheets, snippets and wire. You can also purchase solder in both silver and gold.

These are just some of the basics to explore before you decide to explore soldering metals in depth. The most important thing to take into consideration when learning how to solder is a clean and safe environment.

Lead Free Solder – Some of it’s Characteristics and Problems and How to Deal With Them – RoHS

Since the RoHS legislation came into force in Europe the nature of electronics manufacturing, and soldering in particular has changed forever. RoHS compliance and lead free solder presents many new challenges to businesses involved in pcb manufacturing.

No-one seriously disputes that lead free solder is healthier for everyone involved in pcb assembly, but unleaded solder does present certain problems. Lead free solder does not flow as easily as leaded solder and the soldered joints on a pcb board look different on a leaded board, when compared to a board built using lead free solder.

The first thing you will notice is the lack of top fill on your through-plated pcb boards. It is rare to get more than a 75% fill on your pcb boards.

The second thing you will notice is that your lead free solder joints are not as shiny as the old style leaded joints that you will have been used to. This is simply down to the actual mix of lead free solder and should not be a cause for undue concern.

Does lead free solder melt at the same temperature as leaded solder?

No! Unleaded solder will melt at a higher temperature, the exact temperature will vary depending on the solder mix you choose to use. One common mix is 99% Tin, Copper 0.7%, and Silver 0.3%. This melts and flows without much difficulty at 275 degrees.

Preparing to use lead free solder for the first time.

Who has to use unleaded solder?

Almost all electronics assembly will have to be done using lead free processes. (See my article on RoHS compliance for more details).

What about soldering equipment?

It is very likely that most of your soldering equipment will need either replacement or adjustment to prepare it for lead free service.

At the very least your soldering irons will require new tips to avoid contamination issues, and you may find that you need to replace the entire soldering iron if you find it has trouble reaching the new higher temperature that is required for lead free soldering.

Bigger soldering equipment such as a wave soldering machine will probably need to have their soldering baths replaced and you may want to consider replacing the flux you use, as the pcb boards that you will now be soldering will be lead free as well.

Solder pots and other hand operated solder equipment can either have their baths replaced, or for a cheaper option you could try emptying them of solder, cleaning the bath, and coating it with a layer of oxide paint. Once it is dry you can fill your bath with new lead free solder and you are ready to start soldering again.

Laptop Repair (Power Sockets)

Power Jacks/DC sockets Ever moved the laptop and forgot you had it plugged in to the mains? Had it on your lap an the dogs tripped on the cable stretched across the room? Or the kids been tugging on it to get a go of the latest game?

Every time the power cable is pulled against the socket on the laptop it stresses the solder joins that connect the socket to the mainboard inside, if these break at any time, even a fine crack will case problems your laptop will stop charging and eventually switch off when the battery power runs down. Usually if your lucky and the break isn’t too bad you can move the plug into a certain position and hey presto the power is back on (I’ll come back to this later). Other times no amount of wiggling around of the plug will help and you’ll have to get it repaired. Worse still the centre pin of the socket breaks and the whole socket needs replacing. If any of the above happen to you, forget phoning the manufacturer to have it repaired under warranty, they won’t cover it, they class it as misuse, and they’ll probably quote you for a new motherboard, in a lot of cases costing nearly as much as the laptop itself. Still there’s always accidental damage cover on your home insurance. You’ve got some haven’t you? Worst comes to the worst just search for “power socket repairs” on your favourite search engine, there are plenty of independent laptop repair companies that will glady resolder a new socket for a lot less.

Going back to the slightly loose socket that when you wiggle the plug you can make it work scenario, let’s take a moment to have a look at what’s happening here. The fact that it works when the socket is in a specific position tells us that the break in the solder connection is now connected, and when in another position it’s disconnected, so what happens when we move it around, well each time we make the connection by wiggling, we cause a spark to arc across the break, which in turn causes heat to build up and a certain amount of burning to occur. Eventually what will happen is that the arcing will cause a hole to be burnt in the systemboard where the solder join is and one day it just won’t turn on anymore and the likelihood is that it will then need the systemboard replacing. The moral here is get it looked at and put right sooner rather than later.

Five Steps to Opening Your Own Dance Studio

Opening your own dance studio is an exciting process, but there are certain steps that need to take place to insure success. Sharing your love of dance will take you a long way, but a dance studio is a business, and like any other business, you will need to plan and design diligently, get the word out, and keep things running smoothly once you have opened the doors and are living your dream. The following steps will help you strategize your way to a profitable new dance business venture:

1. Prepare your plan. First, you will need to pick the right location. Naturally, you will want to find a place that is in the commercial center of town, with ample parking. If your studio is located on a busy street in the center of town, you can capitalize on foot traffic, because people will see it when they walk or drive by, especially if you have an eye-catching sign and a nice-looking studio. Consider how much space you will need for dancing, and make sure your studio has good natural light, a restroom, and enough space to create a dressing room and waiting area.

Decide what type of classes you will want to offer, to which age group(s), and how often, which will help you begin to sketch out a class schedule. Another option is a dance studio franchise, because they can save lots of time and energy by offering their valuable expertise in choosing a location, marketing, and name brand recognition.

2. Design your studio. What sort of look and feel do you want for the dance studio? If you have decided to specialize in teaching ballet classes to young girls, you might paint the studio in feminine pastel colors that young girls adore, like pink or lilac, and decorate with murals, ballet costumes, or inspiring, beautiful dance posters. Whatever your theme, the end goal is to make the studio a place where people will feel comfortable and want to return over and over.

The physical layout of the studio is also important. Most studios have a reception area, where students check in and pay for classes, a changing area, a restroom, and a waiting area for friends and family members to sit and watch class, if they desire. Many studio owners create an area for a boutique that sells dance apparel, dance videos and music, dance equipment and supplies, and dance-related gift items.

A well-planned dance studio requires the proper dance equipment, such as sprung wood flooring, mirrors, and a sound system. If the studio is not already fitted with a dance floor, you will want a spring wood floor. This is a special type of floor that has cushioning to protect dancer’s joints, and can be purchased as a kit or professionally installed. Most studios also have floor to ceiling mirrors installed along the front wall of the studio. If you need ballet barres, you can either attach them to the walls or purchase freestanding ballet barres. Your sound system needs to have enough power to fill the space. It should also have a port for instructors to hook in mp3 players or computers that contain playlists for class.

3. Marketing and promotion. Getting the word out is a vital part of getting students. You will need an appealing logo to put on all of your print marketing materials, including business cards, letterhead, brochures and flyers. Be sure to offer new student incentives on all of your marketing materials. New students are much more likely to come to your studio if you offer the first class for free, or give them special discounts.

Be sure to promote online, too. Your studio should definitely have a website with class schedules, pricing, your bio and photos. Consider listing your business with local business directories, schools, and in dance-related directories.

4. Network to increase visibility. A successful dance studio owner knows that a big part of their business involves creating good relationships with their students and the public. Creating community will always help you to find students and help students find out about you. Joining a business network group can add to your business. Other groups, such as parenting groups or church groups can also helpful.

A grand opening with free demonstrations, lectures, and giveaways can help draw attention to your studio. Some instructors offer workshops at community centers, or perform at local events.

5. Keep up with the business of your business. There are several administrative duties for every studio owner. Obviously, bookkeeping is mandatory. Mailing lists, class schedules, and information management can be time-consuming, and many studio owners opt for studio management software to keep track of it all efficiently.

Your music collection is the inspiration that drives your classes, so you will need to keep looking for new music often. Add new songs by searching online for options. Listen carefully to each song before you decide to download the music, and then arrange your songs for each class by creating a playlist on your MP3 player, iPod, or computer.

Going after your dream of opening a dance studio can be exciting, fun and profitable, provided you take the time to properly plan, design and run your business. Sharing your love of dance is wonderful, and earning a great living makes it priceless.

Odds Of Scoring A Hole In One

A hole in one is a very rare kind of achievement in golf terms, which professional golfers wish for. It is the most difficult and rare achievement when the golfer holes the ball from the teeing ground in one single stroke. It is considered a once in a lifetime achievement by many people and does have its credentials.

Golfers consider a hole in one to be the ultimate trial of their skills and techniques. It is one of the historic moments when a golfer strikes the hole in one and actually has its origin in the phrase “reaching the hole in one shot.” Hitting the hole in one shot is often the test of their professional life; which, if passed, makes them the happiest of all to celebrate a victory. Many professional golfers are extremely close to their target but miss by just a few centimeters.

The odds of striking a hole in one vary depending on a lot of sources and numbers used for calculating the odds. Generally, people have no idea of the true number of aces made every year. Numerous sport organizations do track every significant ace that?s made, but not each and every ace is reported making them very difficult to track. A lot of ambiguity appears when aces are counted.

Many reputed magazines and golf digests have made their own surveys and pegged the odds at 1 in 3756 for a professional golfer and 1 in 12,750 for an amateur. These assumptions and calculations differ from magazine to magazine, and it’s very difficult to arrive at a common figure. Some golf clubs have pegged the odds as 1 in 33,000, while other newspaper columns have put the odds as 1 in 45,000.

Various sources make their own assumptions on the basis of their calculations and surveys for the odds of making a hole in one. A look at these figures gives an idea of how difficult or extraordinary this feat is in the golfing world.