Plastic Wall Paneling and Food Preparation

The food production industry requires high levels of cleanliness and care to be taken during production and distribution in order to maintain the quality levels and safety of the food once it reaches the mouth of consumers.

This extends to any area where food is handled, prepared and cooked including the kitchens in restaurants, hotels and canteens as well as places of work including hospitals, schools and offices. The rooms need to be designed and decorated with cleanliness in mind, fulfilling the health and safety requirements necessary and protecting the employees within from any risk.


The floors should be covered in a non-slip material to prevent any falls at work. This will also ensure that no food lands on the floor or dirt from the floor comes into contact with any ingredients. The floors need to be cleaned twice daily as it is likely that small food particles will become logged in the rough surface of the floor. You can purchase non-slip lino specifically designed for use in kitchens.


Plastic wall panelling is the best way to uphold the health, safety and cleanliness of an area in which food is prepared or produced. The smooth surface area allows for easy cleaning as any spills can be wiped off quickly. The materials used in plastic wall panelling can resist anti-bacterial chemicals so the walls can be disinfected daily and their heat-resistant properties means that they will not lose their quality if they come into contact with boiling substances.

Work Tops

Ideally the worktops in a food preparation area should be made from stainless steel as this is the safest surface on which to work with food. Unlike wood, the smooth surface is not a friendly environment for bacteria and viruses and with every wipe these bodies are removed. The strength of the steel can also withstand sharp knives and hot pans so they will last for a longer period of time than other materials.

The perfect area in which food is prepared and produced should have wipe clean surfaces with nowhere for bacteria and germs to hide, the materials on the walls, floor and work tops should be heat resistant and strong against sharp knives, anti-bacterial chemicals and other kitchen instruments.

The Plank Exercise for Beginners

Have you spent your entire life doing crunches with no results to show for it?

Then maybe it’s time to stop. Crunches that require spinal flexion are not only ineffective but they are unsafe to do. Another option exists – another exercise that eliminates the excess stress on the spinal column and works your core all the way around. The plank exercise is the solution. Planks work wonders. The plank is an effective isometric hold that elevates the stabilization and power of your core (and we’re all aware of how important it is to have a strong core).

Follow these steps to execute a proper plank hold:

  1. Begin by finding a soft surface and lying face-down,
  2. With your body fully aligned from head to toe, balance on your elbows/forearms and toes,
  3. Keep your abdominals tight by contracting them and the objective is to hold the plank for as long as you can or for a certain training time.

Nothing to it! Sounds simple right!? Try it out and let me know how it went.

Beginners often find the plank exercise quite eye-opening as it quickly exposes any weaknesses in the core. Keep practicing and utilizing this exercise. The more you use it, the longer you’ll be able to hold the plank and thus the stronger your core will become.

Plank variations you can Integrate

The Side Plank (advanced)

The side plank is great for the obliques (lateral part of your core). To properly perform this variation, you need to turn to one side and balance yourself on your lower foot and lower elbow. The body has to be aligned the whole time. Target both sides of your core by performing the exercise on both sides.

The Modified Plank (for beginners)

If you are a beginner and you’re struggling to hold the plank for more than twenty seconds, then this plank variation is for you. The modification is very simple – instead of balancing on your toes and your elbows, you are to balance on your knees and your elbows. This makes the exercise less challenging but is a great starting point. Once you can hold a modified plank for a minute, you can move on to a regular plank.

The plank is the most effective and safe exercise for developing a rigid core. Start off slow, use the plank variations if needed and keep practicing. You’ll be shocked by the results!

Workers Compensation Retrospective Rating Plan

Using a simplified definition, a retrospective rating plan (retro) is a pricing plan available in which your workers compensation premium is developed, in its final form, by the losses sustained during the policy period.

First let’s go over the components of a retro:

Maximum Premium: This factor represents the percentage over and above the standard premium, which can be collected in the event of adverse loss performance during the policy period. Example: A $50,000 policy with a 1.25 (125%) maximum could potentially be billed $62,500 if you had a high claims amount. This factor is part of the negotiating your agent should do on your behalf. It is subjective and set by the underwriter.

Minimum Premium: This factor represents the ultimate return to the insured in the event you had no losses. Example: The same $50,000 policy with a.60 (60%) minimum premium would pay only $30,000 in premium if you had no losses. This factor is in direct correlation with the maximum. The higher the maximum, the lower the minimum and visa versa. In other words, take more risk get more reward, take less risk get less reward.

Loss Conversion: This factor represents the cost the insurance company is going to charge you to administer the claims you incur. Example: The retro is issued with a 1.10 (10%) loss conversion factor and you incur a $10,000 claim. The insurance carrier will calculate this claim as $11,000 ($10,000 x 1.10 = $11,000). This factor is also negotiable and set by the underwriter. This factor has a direct correlation with the minimum. The higher the loss conversation factor the lower the minimum premium and visa versa.

Tax Multiplier: Because retro’s deviate from the standard policy pricing, which has the premium taxes the insurance company pays included in the premium the tax multiplier is shown separately on the retro. This factor is set by the state and is not negotiable.

Now that we have covered what the “factors” represent, here is an example of how a retro is calculated. In this example we will use a $100,000 standard premium and $40,000 in losses the following factors (The factors vary by insurance company these being used are only an example):

  • Maximum: 1.25
  • Minimum.50
  • Loss Conversion: 1.10
  • Tax Multiplier: 1.07

$100,000 (standard premium) x.50 (minimum premium) = $50,000

$40,000 (losses) x 1.10 (loss conversion factor) = $44,000

$50,000 Minimum Premium + $44,000 losses plus conversion factor = $94,000 premium

$94,000 premium x 1.07 Tax Multiplier = $100,580 final premium

In this example the final premium after the calculation was not above our maximum premium of $125,000 (standard premium x maximum premium factor) so the final premium remains as calculated.

Because the losses were high in relation to the premium size this retro did not work in favor of the policyholder costing $580 more than a standard policy would have. However, using a total claims amount of $22,000 following the same calculation formula the final calculated premium would have been $81,620 saving you $18,380 on your workers compensation policy.

Summarizing this example, the maximum risk to you would be to pay an additional $25,000 towards your workers compensation but your potential savings could be $50,000.

There are two types of retro plans, these plans are identical and differ only in the manner in which they are billed:

Incurred Loss Retro: Under this plan you pay in your standard workers compensation premium each month. The benefit to this program is the policyholder does not have to put up collateral.

Paid Loss Retro: Under this plan you pay in your minimum workers compensation premium each month plus the losses that were incurred that month. This plan can have a significant cash flow advantage to the policyholder but often times the insurance company will require collateral.

As you can see, retro’s can be a valuable tool in reducing your workers compensation cost but do come with some risk. You should work with an insurance agent that is experienced in retro’s to decide if one is right for your business.

How to Install Iron Or Metal Balusters in Wood Handrails

As promised I am putting forward information on the installation of iron balusters. During the day, one of the most common questions I get from customers is the how to of iron baluster installation.

Many building codes require three balusters on a tread to comply with the 4″ sphere rule. Check with your local code officials if you have any doubts about your stair’s compliance.

First, I let the customer know that the very last thing in balustrade installation is the iron balusters. It simply works well to install the newel posts, handrail, treads and risers first. Once installed layout the balusters on the floor and use a level to plumb up to the handrail center and mark the connection at the center bottom of the handrail. Using a ½” paddle or spade bit one can drill upward 1″ deep into the handrail. Using a 5/8″ paddle bit drill a hole no more than ¼” deep into the floor. Once these are drilled out the bottom of the handrail can be sanded with an orbital sander and the complete balustrade system can be stained and finished. Once the stain and finish is completed one can begin installing the iron balusters.

One of the following two tools is recommended for cutting iron or metal balusters: a power miter box with a metal cutting blade, or a portable band saw. My preference is the portable band saw. It works cleaner, is more portable, and doesn’t cause sparking as does the power miter box (or chop saw).

Turn the baluster upside down and set the round dowel top into the hole in the floor, holding the baluster plumb to the hole under the handrail. Mark the baluster with a pencil, measure up 3/8″ minimum and that would be the cut mark. Note that you are cutting off the bottom, not the top, of the baluster. This ensures proper alignment of the design elements.

For gluing the installer has two options: Epoxy or construction adhesive. My personal preference is construction adhesive as I have more control over the product and, if it gets messy, wipes away easily and can also serve as a caulk around the iron. Epoxy comes in the mixing tubes and doesn’t always mix properly. If it gets messy and dried, removing the epoxy also removes the powder coating on the iron. Some carpenters prefer and have their own control over epoxy. I do not. I find construction adhesives easier to work with.

Squeeze a small amount of the adhesive into the hole under the handrail. The adhesive is thick and slow and will not drain back out, giving time to complete the installation. Make sure the shoe for the iron baluster is slid up while installing. Push baluster’s round dowel up into the ½” hole under the handrail and then drop it into the 5/8″ hole in the floor in a bed of additional construction adhesive. Square off the baluster’s alignment then drop the shoe down to the floor. If the shoe comes with a set screw, use an Allen wrench to tighten it. The glue in the handrail hole will settle around the baluster creating a perfect seal. Once the glue has dried the baluster will be well secured, even helping to strengthen the handrails load.

When installing 5/8″ iron balusters the process is identical, one only needs to drill a 5/8″ hole under the handrail and a ¾” hole at the floor. 5/8″ iron is ideal in remodeling work, when replacing wood balusters. Most installed wood balusters have a 5/8″ hole under the handrail and a ¾” hole at the floor. If replacing wood balusters with ½” iron it is usually recommended to install shoes under the handrail to cover a small square peg in a larger round hole. The use of wood or cabinet screws helps to lock the baluster in, serving as both a wedge and forcing the baluster on center.

Round 5/8″ iron or metal balusters can be installed without shoes simply by drilling a 5/8″ hole into the handrail and into the floor and following the same procedure outlined above.

I have been asked about making the holes square. It is possible with a little more work. To cut the square hole in the floor or handrail, drill a round hole in the wood the same size at the baluster’s overall width. Then chisel out the hole to make it square. Another option is a “mortising bit.” I have not used one of these but have spoken with carpenters who have. Their comment tends to be that this method is a “pain in the you know what.”

A Word About Iron Balusters

Throughout the 1970’s and early 1990’s, wood balusters were the prominent feature in remodeling and new construction. Wrought iron was used primarily in the first time home buyer market, but it was a complete iron balustrade (newels, balusters, rail, and shoe rail).  

The transition from wood balusters to iron began in the mid-1990’s. At that time I thought this was only a phase that would quickly come and go. I was dead wrong.  

Iron balusters exploded in demand and to date have not diminished.    

In the beginning the only available powder coatings were a matte phosphate, flat black, primed, and silver vein. Matte phosphate is raw iron coated to keep it from rusting. Flat black had a sandy texture, allowing it to receive any oil based or acrylic paints.   Silver vein was a texture black and silver speckled coating.  

As time progressed, other colors became available: satin black, nickel (satin and antique), oil rubbed bronze, copper patina, copper vein, and oil rubbed copper.  Bronze and copper accents have become the most popular in design, as the colors worked well with oak, American and Brazilian Cherries, as well as the darker hardwoods such as walnut and mahogany. Style choices became more numerous. Now one has the chance to be totally creative.   

Iron balusters are 43″ or 44″ in length, which will accommodate almost any situation. They are designed to be cut from the bottom. The top has a 3/4″ or 1″ long dowel for installation into the handrail.  

Sizes of iron balusters vary from 1/2″ to 9/16″, 5/8″ to 3/4″. They come round or square, solid iron, tubular steel, or stainless steel.  

The shoes available for square iron balusters (optional for round) are designed to cover a square peg in a round hole filled with epoxy or construction adhesive.   Generally shoes are used on the floor, but can also be used under handrails, especially in remodeling when replacing wood balusters requiring the need to cover a 1/2″ square baluster in a 5/8″ round hole.   Shoes come with or without set screws.  

How to Build DIY Staircases and Balustrades

Some DIY staircase and balustrade starter tips

First and foremost, make sure you measure everything correctly; otherwise you will encounter problems down the line. Walls and floors must have good strength and be able to the hold heavy weight of the staircase. Check that the area is square and level and adjust accordingly. It is important that you have some prior experience of working with tools and have common sense using levels and spacings. Also, do not over tighten screws and bolts.

Steps to follow, when building a DIY staircase are:

o Measure area, floor- to-floor, length and width of stairs

o Select style of timber, colour, shape, etc

o Hire an experienced carpenter if you do not know how to drill, power saw, level and who has an assistant who can help him, whilst installing

o Cut stringer to length and bolt to floor and top beam

o Adjust stainless steel s assemblies to correct spacing

o Screw treads (steps) to stainless steel assemblies

o Varnish timber work i.e. central spine stringer and steps

o Cover up and protect timber treads

o Fix balustrade posts/stainless steel type posts to steps

o Once installed stainless steel posts, must fit the adjustable saddles to take the handrail

o Cut to length timber or stainless steel handrail and fix to saddle

o Screw handrail to posts

o Screw glass clamps to posts if you have a glass balustrade

o Screw 13 mm bar holders to posts, if you have a bar balustrade

o Fix 10-12 mm glass to glass clamps/template may be needed

o Fix 13 mm stainless steel tube to bar holders

o Cut to length with a grinder and fit bullet ends to tubing

Some of the most common mistakes people make when building a DIY staircase

The most common mistake that people make is that they do not research sufficiently and rush into starting and end up carrying out a poor quality job. Or they hurry too much and do not take the time to do the job properly, and do not follow basic setouts before cutting. Another typical mistake is that they use blunt drill bits, saw blades and poor tools. Also, amateurs fail to use thread lock glue on the bolts, which is required for a sturdy staircase.

How to Install a Stair Rail

You first step will be to measure the location of your railing. Measure from the top of the landing, all the way to the bottom of the stairs and then add 2 feet to that measurement. The rail material you need purchase should be this length.

Some other items you need to get are 90 second epoxy, a 2×4 (about 4 foot long) and some brackets for your handrail. You will need two of them at the top of the stairs, one every 4 feet along the rail and one at the bottom. Now, you are ready to go buy your railing. There are different varieties to choose from, some are oak, pine or poplar. You can shop around for the best buy, to help save yourself some money.

When you are ready to begin installing your rail, you will need to locate your studs with a stud finder and mark them, about 3 feet above the stairs. Then, you will need to cut your railing to the proper length. To do this, you will want to use a miter saw to cut a 45-degree angle on one end. Rest this end on the floor and lay the rail down on the stairs and mark where the railing is touching the top stair. Now, cut a 16-degree angle at the mark you made on the railing. Make sure the rail joint fits and then cut a 45-degree angle at the opposite end of your shorter piece.

Apply a thin layer of your epoxy on both rail section ends and hold them together until it starts to set up. Make sure you allow the epoxy to harden for at least two hours, minimum. After it has dried long enough, you can line up your handrail with your marks you made on the wall at 3 feet, then mark under the rail where each stud is. Finally, you can cut some returns and attach them to your railing ends with glue and tack nails.

Stair Banisters and Handrails for Your Home

Banisters are not just for security purposes, they play an important role in jazzing up the home interiors. The term ” banister” is often used interchangeably with “handrail” which precisely refers to stairways.

Stair banisters are railings installed at the side of staircases of which their main function is for preventing serious injuries or death from falling. They are everywhere and we come across of them almost everyday, and anywhere. From the very simple pipe mounted on the wall to avoid falls, to the complex structures, banisters come in assorted and in a lot of styles. The type of stair banisters used in every home and building gives emphasis to the style of architecture.

Nowadays, styles and materials are quite modern and slight, not like the stone and concrete used in the olden times.

Your staircase, is always the first thing people will see in your home. They give attraction, pride and joy for your home especially if the styles and the materials used rhymes so well with your interior decors. Many times the staircase is given less priority when people think of improving their homes, but it should be known that staircase banisters create a dramatic and eye-catching effect.

As people go up into the upper floors, the spectacular handrails of the staircases can add an exceptional feature to the home.

With the availability of materials and designs, you may be inspired to design your own banister through your own work of art. Wooden stair banisters whether in traditional or current styles will always give a charming effect to your home. Wrought iron was also thought of as one material to be used for outdoor railings due to its water resistant and durable properties. It has even become very popular for custom designing of stair banisters inside the homes.

The versatility of wrought iron makes it easier to work it into complicated designs for stair banisters. One of the fashionable style today, is to have a wooden banister handrail with wrought iron balusters. This gives an exceptional and modern look without being expensive..

With modern houses today space has always been the concern. The common option to this is a spiral or a helical staircase with a spiraling banister. You can have your own design from the simplest to the most complicated one. You can also build a beautiful stair banister around a staircase that is curved. It does not matter whether your banister is all wood, a combination of wood and wrought iron, or all iron. As long as they get well with your internal decor they will create grace and elegance to your home’s entire atmosphere. I seriously encourage everyone to give importance to your staircase designs as your plan for your home improvement. Banisters will do a lot to make your home look elegant.

Switch – By Chip Heath and Dan Heath – Complementary Considerations Part 2 – Motivate the Elephant

Business mavens, Chip Heath and Dan Heath released their new book entitled, “Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard,” (Broadway, 2010) in February. The authors address change at the individual, organizational and societal level. Change involves the brain’s emotional and rational side. The Heath brothers identify the overpowering emotional factor as the Elephant.

The rational, decision-making component is secondary and sits atop the Elephant as the Rider. When conflict between the two exists, the Rider is inherently the underdog. To make lasting change, the Elephant and Rider need to unite. Also key is having a clearly defined Path. Following is the second article of three offering complementary considerations on each of the change triad’s components. Here, the focus is the emotional Elephant.

MOTIVATE THE ELEPHANT-Emotional, Instinctive, Instant Gratification.

Find the Feeling. Most business change initiatives begin by focusing on strategy, structure, culture, systems, etc. Behavioral change is most successful when it speaks to people’s feelings. It’s widely believed that most change happens in the order of ANALYZE-THINK-CHANGE. Most change situations involve ambiguity and uncertainty. Doubt stalls the Elephant, and the Rider’s analytical prowess isn’t enough to overcome its reluctance. Most successful change efforts follow the SEE-FEEL-CHANGE sequence.

The authors describe a manufacturing manager eager to educate executives about the company’s poor purchasing habits. The organization was using 424 different kinds of factory gloves bought at varying costs. The manager could have made his case using an Excel spreadsheet. Instead, he dumped comprehensive glove samples, replete with price tags on the table’s center. When the leaders saw the waste, their emotional Elephant was motivated to make purchasing changes.

Shrink the Change. Starting an unpleasant task is always harder than continuing it. Produce changes small enough to make victory all but inevitable. For example, clean a disorganized room for five minutes a day. View small wins as milestones that are within reach. This applies to individuals and organizations. When you achieve early success you’re engineering hope, which is vital to a change effort. Hope is excellent Elephant fuel. Small successes can be powerful in helping people believe in themselves. Don’t look for the quick, big improvement. Instead, seek daily small advancements. That’s the way change happens and when it does, it lasts.

Grow Your People. Any new quest, even ones that are ultimately successful will involve failure. The Elephant hates to fail. To keep the Elephant motivated towards a long-term goal, create the expectation of failure, not in the destination itself, but during the journey. Your ability to live a “growth mindset,” vs. a “fixed mindset” impacts your success in life. Fixed mindsets tend to avoid challenges. Growth mindsets believe abilities are like muscles and can be built up with practice. They’re prone to accept more challenges despite the risks of failure. The business realm rejects the growth mindset. Instead it defines only two stages: plan and execute. Results are pivotal, with a learning or practice stage ignored. To create sustained change, embrace a growth mindset and instill it in your team. People will persevere only if they perceive falling down as learning vs. failing.

The authors acknowledge that change isn’t always easy. When change works it tends to follow a pattern. People will change with clear direction, ample motivation and a supportive environment. The Rider, Elephant and Path need to align in support of the switch. Visit the authors at

What Causes Frontal Headaches and How You Can Get Rid of Them Effortlessly

Frontal headaches are something that a great many of us get, but very few of us understand and know what to do about it. The goal of this article is to clear up as much of that confusion and misinformation as possible. We’re going to look at what causes frontal headaches (the three main causes to be specific), and also how to get rid of these front of head headaches, regardless of what is causing them. To start off with him, here are the main causes headaches at the front of the head:

1. Sinuses

If you have any kind of sinus problem, it almost always causes a headache, be it within minutes or a few hours later. If you have a cold or some other kind of congestion problem, the best thing to do is to take a decongestant as well as a cough suppressant in order to get over the cold as quickly as possible. If you have allergies that are causing your sinus problem, try and avoid things that provoke your allergies. Putting a hot wet cloth on your face can help alleviate your frontal headaches, as well as can sitting in a sauna or just taking a hot shower. Sinus problems may seem like a strange warning for a headache, but you’d be surprised at how often it starts this way. Don’t ignore it!

2. Tension

This is one of the biggest causes of frontal headaches. Muscles become too tense in the head and neck, essentially pulling on the front of the head and causing very annoying headaches. To get rid of these headaches, try putting an ice pack or a hot pad on the back of your neck. Which one works better will be different for each person, but one of the two almost always helps. A good message may also relieve these headaches; so if they’re getting unbearable see if you can talk your spouse or a family member into giving a quick neck rub. If you have to, tell them you’ll return the favor when they are done.

3. Dehydration

Definitely one of the most common causes of frontal headaches. You may think you drink enough liquid to stay adequately hydrated, but there are many beverages that simply do not help to hydrate your body — even though they may quench your thirst. For example, coffee and soda actually dehydrate your body because of the caffeine in them, which acts as a diuretic (decaf obviously doesn’t have this effect). You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and if you drink anything caffeinated throughout the day, try drinking slightly more water to counteract the dehydration. While this may seem like a simple and nearly effortless fix (and it really is), you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes when it comes to your frontal headache pain.

As you can see, there are a variety of different causes for frontal headaches. But even with that being the case, it is usually pretty easy to figure out which of these causes is the culprit. Once you have figured out what is causing your headache, it should be no problem at all to get rid of the headache. In fact, not only will you be able cure your frontal headache pain using the methods described above, but you’ll also be able to GREATLY reduce the overall number of headaches that you experience. So in a nutshell, figure out what is causing your headache, decide on which method to use (there are plenty), and then KEEP using the method until frontal headaches are no longer an issue!

Why Road Frontage on Commercial Property is So Valuable

How many feet of road frontage does the property have?

This question is among the most important when assessing the value of commercially zoned property in a city or county. For some, the reason as to why this question is so important may seem rather obvious. However, there are multiple reasons why investors, developers, builders and business owners want to have large amounts of road frontage on their commercial properties.

For business owners, it is best for them to have their stores located conveniently to their customers. If they are on a main highway or road, they will have great visibility to the traffic going by. This can quite possibly bring customers into their stores that they normally wouldn’t see through their normal marketing. Also, a customer new to the location can find the store much more easily when in the line of sight. Visibility on major road frontage is a huge advantage for the business owners and their stores.

Another reason why business owners like to have their stores along major road frontage is because of the ease in which customers can enter and exit the property. If they are forced to drive through large parking lots, wind behind other major stores, and park on a land locked parcel, there is a possibility that the customer would go to a more easily accessible competitor.

Now, this may be pushing it a little, because a business should be able to bring customers in on its own through effective marketing and good business practices. However, it is definitely more pleasant to access a place of business that is right by the road, rather than search your way through parking lots, other businesses, and who knows what else. The easier the access, the more enjoyable the experience is for the customer.

The two main reasons for business owners to have their stores on major road frontage are visibility and ease of access. Let’s look at why investors, developers, and builders all want the properties they are involved with to have the greatest amount of road frontage possible.

These three people, investors, developers and builders, are the foundation for commercial real estate. They have the money; they have the vision, and they, ultimately, are responsible for building our communities.

More often than not, these people will choose properties to invest in that have the most amount of road frontage, or create the roads so that the office complexes, retail centers, and strip malls have the visibility and ease of access that business owners look for in a profitable commercial property.

The underlying advantage for these investors to develop and build properties with major road frontage is the fact that these commercial properties, known as out parcels, are far more valuable than the land locked in parcels behind them! The difference between these property values can be quite drastic.

For example, recently I was assessing a 56 acre raw tract of land in Rome, GA. It had over 2,000 feet of road frontage on a major highway! The front of the property was zoned commercial, while the back was zoned multifamily. After speaking with the broker and looking at comps (comparable sales), it was clear that the out parcels would be valued at approximately $600,000 an acre developed. (They could be worth more if we were able to get national brand stores on the property). However, those in parcels, without the road frontage, would only be valued at $225,000 per acre. This is a $375,000 decrease in value simply because those in parcels are a few hundred feet away from the actual highway.

This news greatly cut into my overall profit margin.

Not all cases are this extreme. However, it is always true that an out parcel will be more valuable than an in parcel. That is why investors, developers, and builders all want property with major road frontage. It is simply more valuable!

Business owners and investors alike will gladly choose a property with major road frontage over a land locked parcel, or a parcel with little to no road frontage. Use this important fact when you assess properties and the value that they hold.

Types of Curtain Wall Facades

You know when you enter a beautiful, spacious museum or hotel lobby and there is this incredible stone wall design that catches your eye? That is a curtain wall. It obviously doesn’t involve the type of curtains you put in your living room, nonetheless the name remains, and these fabulous works of art continue to span the globe wherever notable structures are found.

And what type of facade can you create for your space? The possibilities are endless, and even companies that engineer these amazing wall designs will tell you that the challenge to create a feature with a material they have never used, or a design that seems impossible, is an exciting opportunity.

Metal – Metal facades can be created with materials such as brass, copper, aluminum, or silver-nickel, to mention a few, and are commonly assembled to create incredible abstract designs. Since metal is generally very heavy, most metal facades consist of a thin coating of metal that is mounted to a “substrate” like melanine, laminate, fiberglass, concrete, or porcelain.

Glass – Glass facades are basically what you see in a downtown area–those glass paneled skyscrapers. Those are a form of “glass facade.” Inside a corporate lobby, along a wall, floor-to-ceiling glass is an attractive addition to an ambience with all kinds of tempered, frosted, or crystal clear glass panels, sometimes paired with a water feature.

Stone – Stone facades are everywhere. They are on residential houses–you know those cottage-looking chimneys with the rounded river rock? They are fairly expensive if you use real rock, but many builders nowadays use the composite type that looks like stone. Of course, stone is actually used, but it is much more expensive. Stone curtain wall design is one of the most common ways to dress up a space and does not even need to coincide with a fireplace or water feature. Many developers pair stone with copper or bronze for a modern rustic look or stainless steel for a very modern look.

Soldering Copper Pipe

Many older homes have copper pipe and if you need to fix a leak of any kind you will have to do some soldering. There are other ways to make these repairs, but in this article we will focus on the skill of soldering.

You can only solder copper with copper or copper with brass, everything else will not work therefore you would have to use a MIP or FIP. Which stands for male iron pipe threads and female iron pipe threads. Once these fittings are attached you can then use black iron or galvanized pipe to complete your joints.

Back in plumbing school we learned a method that worked well for soldering, therefore this will what I am going to write about today.

First thing you need to do is make proper measurements. Measure twice and cut once. When you cut into the pipe you need to use a proper copper pipe cutter. These come with a cutting wheel and two guiding wheels to help you get a perfect edge to solder with. You can use a hacksaw if you have to, but if your edge is crooked you may not get enough of a bead of solder through the joint to make a leak free seal. Sure it might last a week or two or maybe even a year, but in time this can fail.

Now you need to clean the pipe. There are two types of pipe cleaners out there, and both are pretty much the same. One is a plumbers sand paper that has a paper backing and the other is more of a mesh. In both cases these are called emery cloth.

Take your emery cloth and clean the pipe. This is more of a scraping than cleaning as small particles of copper will come off. Not like if you were using a file, but a little does come off. Now you need to do the same thing with you fitting. If the fitting is too small to get your finger or thumb into then use a pipe fitting cleaning brush. These are small wires that point outwards in a circular fashion at the end of the brush.

Now that your fitting and your pipe is clean you need to apply some soldering flux to the outside of the pipe and to the inside of the fitting. This also helps to clean the copper as you heat it, but is also meant to help the solder flow while you are soldering the copper pipe.

Oh, by the way, I am using the term copper pipe quite loosely here, in actual fact the term is called copper tube. There are three types of copper for plumbing, tubing, tube, and pipe. The long straight lengths you see on trucks and in your local hardware store are tube, while the coils come in longer lengths and are more used for gas fitting where it is against the code to solder. In these cases the gas fitter would use flared fittings to join the pipe. The tubing can be used for water lines in which case compression fittings are used. You may have seen these on dishwashers and ice makers. Real copper pipe is threaded and not soldered and is used for industrial purposes.

Before you start to solder the copper pipe you will need to have the right kind of solder. If you are soldering a joint for a vent or drain then you can use 50/50 which is 50 % tin and 50% lead. Do NOT USE this on water lines. Also not recommended for heating systems as the melting temperature is lower than other types of solder. For water lines you can use 95/5 tin/antimony or lead free solder. Both are lead free just have different names.

Now let’s get soldering, make sure you have proper ventilation and some sort of fire resistant material is you are close to anything flammable. Turn on your torch and point the blue part of the flames tip at the joint you want to heat up. Now touch the joint from time to time with your solder to see if it is hot enough yet. Once the solder starts to melt you should pull the torch back a little so you do not over heat the fittings.

Make sure you get a good bead of solder all the way around the joint. In school it was mandatory to wipe the joint, but in reality nobody ever does.

If you have problems soldering because there is water in the line you will need to get all of the water out to make a proper joint. There are tools that allow you to solder on a valve with water in the line but these are expensive and can only be used to solder on a valve, MIP or FIP to tie onto later.

A quick fix if you can solder fast is to shove a slice of bread into the pipe and poke it up the pipe as far as you can. If the leak is small this should give you anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes to get the job done. If the leak is bad enough that the bread does not hold for thirty second you may have to get someone in to freeze the pipe. If the bread holds the leak for more than 3 minutes then most likely you could have used a hotter torch and kept the steam back while you soldered the copper pipe.

The reason you cannot solder with water in the line is because when water expands to steam there is an increase in volume of about 1700 times. Even if the joint did get hot enough a lot of times this increase in volume causes steam to push the solder out of the joint. Watch your eyes in this case as the solder will spray and is very hot.

I hope this helps you one you copper soldering project.

Soldering Iron – The Many Uses of This Tool

A soldering iron is a tool that has a number of valuable applications. The general concept behind the tool is that a metal which has a generally low melting point can easily be used to join together other solid materials, such as metal or glass. The connecting metal, called the solder, commonly consists of a combination of tin and led, but can also be a combination of a variety of different metals. The solder can also come in a variety of sizes, which provides options for projects that require a stronger bond. The strength of the iron used will depending on what solder is used. In general, soldering differs from the technique of brazing, because of the low melting point of the metal used. It also differs from welding, as the two conjoining metals are not being melted together, and are merely connected through the same medium. However, this technique and its tool are definitely not limited to one application.

Soldering can be used to create a bond without the chance of destroying the two connecting materials in the process. In terms of electronics, this has been a way for electricians to create conductive connections between fragile wires or circuit boards. The soldering iron provides a tool capable of delicately connecting the two metals without the worry of destroying the fragile parts. This is why the solder has also been used in the delicate art of jewelry making and repair, because two precious metals can be bound together without any fear of being damaged in the process.

Yet the versatile soldering iron can also be used to seal a space between to sizable masses that is both waterproof and, if intended, permanent. This is why the plumbing industry has used the tool for years to seal copper piping that is commonly used in today’s plumbing industry. The seal is reliable enough to offer a permanent solution, but if modifications are needed it can easily be undone. This sturdy soldering has also been used when creating stained glass windows or art pieces, by allowing the person to join two pieces of colored glass with a thick soldered bond.

This illustrates how the task will determine the size of the solder and the strength of the iron. Electricians and jewelers will be using a different solder and lower heat soldering iron to complete their jobs, while a plumber or someone creating a stained glass window will have to use a thicker solder and higher powered iron. Yet, even the iron itself has been used in pyrography, which uses it to artistically burn an image on wood, or plastic welding, which is a crucial part of many industries. Clearly, this versatile tool can be used to fulfill the needs of professionals and artisans alike.

What is Error Number 0x800CCC0E and How to Fix It?

Error Number 0x800CCC0E happens when there is a problem with Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express or Windows Mail. Error 0x800ccc0e is usually caused by a conflict with Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) servers while using your E-mail program. The exact error messages may look like:

SMTP, Port: 25, Secure(SSL): No, Socket Error: 10051, Error Number: 0x800CCC0E

SMTP, Port: 25, Secure(SSL): No, Socket Error: 10060, Error Number: 0x800CCC0E

SMTP, Port: 25, Secure(SSL): No, Socket Error: 10061, Error Number: 0x800CCC0E

What causes Error Code 0x800ccc0e?

Error code 0x800CCC0E is triggered because Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express or Windows Mail is not able to make a proper connection with the SMTP server and therefore you are not able to send E-mail messages. Fortunately, error number 0x800CCC0E is quite easy to fix.

How To Fix Error Number 0x800ccc0e ?

In order to fix error number 0x800ccc0e, you will need to make sure that your e-mail account settings are correct and that PORT 25 is the port used in the SMTP area – unless specifically told to use another port by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). It’s possible your ISP has started to block the standard Outgoing Mail Port (25). You may need to consult your ISP’s support pages to get the SMTP e-mail settings.

You can also get error 0x800ccc0e messages when you have anti-virus or firewall software enabled on your pc. Turn the anti-virus or firewall off for a moment and try to send your email again. If it works then the security software is the problem and you will need to contact your ISP for help.

Other Solutions to Windows Errors and Slow PC Performance

Many computer errors are usually caused by corrupt or missing Windows Registry data after removing or installing programs. The Windows Registry is the engine of the Windows operating system. Without it, Windows would not be able to run.

When you install and uninstall software the Windows Registry gets overloaded with “junk” information, which can cause errors and slow down your PC performance.

The best thing you can do, to stop your computer from getting more error messages or further registry corruption, is to repair and clean your Windows Registry.