Drywall Texturing – How to Make it Fun and Easy!

For years, home improvement shows have inspired many home owners to bypass hiring professionals to complete their home renovation projects for the opportunity to save money and learn a new skill. Learning how to repair drywall or texture drywall has never been easier with the advent of the internet and stores such as the home depot which offer courses on just about everything including drywall texturing. You can also find many books that teach about drywall texturing made easy. The art of texturing is something that takes a little practice but can be easily learned. As with most things, a few good tools and some patience can produce some impressive results.

First of all, for drywall texturing made easy, find the right tools. To get started, you will need a straight-edged trowel and pre-mixed drywall joint compound. Taping and mudding your drywall is only necessary if you need to replace a damaged sheet or install corner beads. Depending on the type of texture that you choose, it is possible that you may also need a spray or a roller. Sprayers are easier to use and will provide a more consistent finish. Either way, it is probably best that you use whiche works best for you. Although there are many finishes to choose from, keep reading for a discussion of the three most popular, which are the knock down, popcorn, and orange peel finishes.

Knock down is a raised texture that looks similar to stucco. It is far less noticeable than a popcorn finish, which was hugely popular back in the 70's. To accomplish this particular finish, start with a trowel. Using the trowel, liberally apply the joint compound to the wall, forming high ridges which you will "knock down" with the trowel as it sets up. In contrast the popcorn style, the compound will not be flipped and and will be left more pronounced. The popcorn finish is wonderful for hiding your drywall's imperfections. Sand can be added to the compound to create a rough texture. Finally, the orange peel texture is one that consist of various "blobs" of texture that are sprayed on with a sprayer. The resulting texture looks, approbably like the texture of an orange peel. No matter which texture you choose, if you perform the drywall texturing made easy correctly, it is sure to add a lot of charm to your home.

Certaldo Alto, A Beautiful Medieval Town in Tuscany

Certaldo Alto is a medieval town in Tuscany located halfway between Florence and Siena. This ancient town has preserved its medieval look and with its red brick buildings it glimmers like an old terracotta pot on top of a hill under the hot Tuscan sun.

Certaldo was a feudal town belonging to the Alberti Counts. Of particular interest is the Pretoria Palace and the house of Giovanni Boccaccio, the famous author of Italian literature. It is also famous for Mercantia in July, a medieval street theater with street performers and musicians coming from all over the world to participate.

But my favorite event is the medieval dinner which is held during June. Tables are laid along the brick paved street and the locals host a medieval fest fit for kings and queens. The menu includes dishes of antique Tuscan cuisine with the highlight being baked pig's knuckle which is served on a large wooden cart carried by two men. The staff and many of the guests wear medieval costumes which you can hire from a local shop.

Visitors can also find craft shops and restaurants of great charm where you can enjoy incomparable views of the beautiful Tuscan countryside. One of my favorite craft places in Certaldo Alto is the Artesia where I attended a class for painting ceramics in the majolica style. One of those experiences that I will cherish for the rest of my life. There is also a wonderful cooking school where you can learn the art of making some delicious Tuscan dishes.

Among the places to visit in Certaldo Alto is the Pretorio Palace. It is positioned at the top of the main street (Via Del Boccaccio) and in the late twelfth century it was the former residence of the Alberti Counts. The facade of the building is made of old bricks topped by battlements. On the right hand side there is a clock tower which was built in the fifteen centry. The surface of the wall is studded with badges and plaques made of marble and stone, each of them representing the coats of arms of various noble families.

You should also pay a visit to Casa del Boccaccio, where the famous medieval Italian writer lived (although some dispute whatever he actually lived there). The house was purchased by the Marchioness Lenzoni, a friend of the Leopards, who restored the building after Byron came for a visit and lamented about its state of neglect. Unfortunately the house was destroyed in the last world war, but it has now been lovingly reconstructed to its original state.

If you are visiting Tuscan or staying in one of the nearby villas, do put Certaldo Alto on your itemary. You can reach Certaldo Alto by walking up a steep cobbled road which takes you to the hill top or alternately taking the fun from the main town center. There is also a back road which takes you to a car park located just behind Certaldo Alto.

His Most Famous Painting (The Study For This Sovereign Life) – Jim Dine

Jim Dine (b 1935) is a well-known American 'Pop' artist (painter, sculptor, printmaker, illustrator, performer artist, stage designer, and poet) of the twenty century. 'Pop Art' is a form of 'Contemporary Art' that derives its ideas from commonplace to unique material objects, such as packaging of products, advertisements, comic strips, and photographs of celebrities. Dine has repeatedly used customary and familiar objects of personal significance in his paintings. These objects typically are bathrobes, hearts, birds, flowers, hands, or tools. The painter depicts his popular 'heart' in his most famous painting, "The Study for This Sovereign life" too, which gained fame as his best creation of all time.

"The Study for This Sovereign life," measuring 48 "X 73", is a work of oil and sand on canvas, and was created in the year 1985. The diptych has a blue background and a rope like string divides it into two sections . On the left side is a deadly skull, and on the right side is a bright red heart. In spite of its depiction of the abominable skull, "The Study for This Sovereign life" is passionately filled with brilliant colors. A splendid contrast is created, as the blood red hue is set against radiant blue color. The painting takes on a dazzling sheen, as a tinge of striking orange and green shades are added to it.

Despite being known as a successful 'Pop' artist by the world, Jim Dine often defiates the insipidness and the inexpensive nature of popular art. He does this by creating vivid paintings that are fused with passion and the common experiences of daily life. He believes that he is too subject to fall in the genre of 'Pop Art,' and that 'Pop Art' is a mere facet of his style of painting. According to him, the popular images of daily use are not the subject of his drawings. They are just a part of his landscapes. His real interest lies in creating personal images, such as paintings depicting his own palette and brush, his studio, his experiences as a painter, his other paintings, color charts etc. In short, he is fond of portraying simple objects from his own life in his work. His paintings such as "The Study for This Sovereign life" are therefore a mode of personal expression.

Dine's work has been highly appreciated and admired in many parts of the world. Apart from the United States, his pictures and sculptures have found a place in various museums across Europe. The great amount of recognition received by "The Study for This Sovereign life" has made it a masterpiece of historical significance.

Maintenance of Crystal Chandeliers

If you have a crystal chandelier, then you may enjoy its elegant look. But you should also think that you have to properly maintain the look of the chandelier if you want it to be kept elegant.

When it comes to cleaning a chandelier, this can be more difficult than the other lighting fixtures. With the materials that are used for this, you can find it more intricate and even delicate in such a point that keeping it always clean can be a hard thing but you should know that this is a necessity. You have to keep your chandelier clean or else it may lose its appeal.

However, if you are about to clean it for the first time, then you may feel that this may be too much of a challenge. The material is too delicate so you have to be very careful in handling it. For many individuals they would prefer to ease the task of cleaning through getting the services of a professional crystal chandelier cleaner. Although this option can be good, you should also consider that you will have to pay for these services so you have to spend an amount of money. If you do not want to spend, then you should try learning the proper way of cleaning a crystal chandelier.

You should also remember that this is an electric furniture so you have to handle the wirings properly. This is not only because you have to make sure that the material is not damaged but also to ensure that you are safe when you are cleaning it. If you did not clean it properly especially the part with the wirings, then there is a chance that it would not lit up. Although you may think that it would be better to simply let the chandelier be, you should still keep it cleaned. This is needed if you want a good looking crystal chandelier and not a piece of junk that is hung in your ceiling.

For you to be able to clean the chandelier, you should know how it is done. You can start with reading more articles about it so that you will know how you can clean it properly. There are many articles in the web and you can read them for free. You can learn from them so that when it is time to clean your crystal chandelier , you will already know how it should be done. This would need some of your time since you will have to learn about it. You should also know how to do it so you will have to exert extra effort in cleaning and maintaining it clean always. Through this, you will have a well maintained chandelier that you can enjoy more.

Unique Wedding Favors For Casino Themed Weddings – Personalized Playing Cards, Spade-Shaped Cookies

Themes are arguably indispensable in weddings nowdays. Themes give a memorable factor to every wedding and with the right one, a wedding can be buzz worthy even weeks afterward.

A casino themed wedding is a fun, refreshing take on matrimony's and one which suits upbeat or offbeat couples. A casino theme may signify leaving a bachelor or bachelorette's life for both members of the couple; the last hurrah to singleness for the bride and groom to celebrate with their friends and loved ones. For those who dare indulge in casino themed weddings, here are a few celebratory decorating ideas to dazzle guests with.

A casino theme bought to reflect money, a touch of elegance even and more than a hint or two on gambling. For starters, turn aisle runners and table runners into stand-out decorations by embedding monograms. Choose fonts that are very Vegas-chic. Berry, crimson, persimmon and black are some colors to consider when picking out aisle runners.

To highlight tables, a classic centerpiece like glass vases, personalized with a monogram or casino icon with the bride and groom's names, should do it but make them more casino-oriented by choosing deep red roses to fill the vases. Silver diamond shaped tea light holders would make elegant Touches to a casino wedding but make sure that the table cloths are in Vegas colors, black and red, for example, to bring the focus back to the theme. For a more prominent casino centerpiece, make use of edibles: Fill a red bowl or platter with Las Vegas or poker theme cookies. These are cookies shaped in dice, cards, spades, diamonds, and hearts, to name a few. The cookies make for unique wedding favors too.

Tie linen napkins, in black and red colors, with a diamond ring for a classy, ​​casino look. Personalized beverage napkins are welcome additions to emphasize the theme too. Choose shades of red, black and some bright greens, for a little variety, for the beverage napkins. Have them printed with casino icons like playing cards, dice, martini or champagne.

Place wine cork candles in the mouths of wines being served each table to provide a romantic glow, sprawl a few matches personalized with Vegas icons on each table for guests to re-light the candles when necessary, these matches make for unique favors as well. Match the wine cork candles with wine cork place card holders. When picking a place card, throw in a poker icon to play along with the casino theme. Serve wines and champagne casino style by personalizing wine labels and wine glasses and champagne flutes with casino icons.

For unique wedding favors, lavish guests with custom printed wedding poker chips, dice keychains or personalized playing cards . The personalized playing cards are great gifts to male guests and they make great decorations when sprayed neatly on the tables. Pack these gifts in Vegas theme favor bags and hash tags that say "Lucky In Love" near the names of the couples, for a sassy way of reminding guests of the wedding's essence.

How to Shovel Snow Faster

Shovel more often

Use a push style shovel

No dah, right? Nobody wants to shovel more than they have to right? But would you rather shovel more often and save time or wait till you have a mound of snow to plow through and risk hurting your back?

With a little planning and a little effort, winter shoveling can be a lot faster.

When it begins snowing you never know if the snow will be easy or difficult to shovel. As soon as there is a couple inches on the ground get out there and shovel it off. Reasons

  • First it will be very easy shovel
  • You will see where all the obstacles
  • Makes precedent shoveling easy

By getting out there early you will do less work, than if you wait. Lets say a large snow storm is dropping snow. If you wait to dig out, the snow could be really heavy. You will not be able to see where your driveway ends and the grass begins. The snow could get trampled down which means you'll have to spend time removing that packed snow.

Sure you'll do more snow shoveling but it will take you far less time overall and you can then grab your favorite warm drink and watch others struggle to dig themselves out.

I've tested this myself and found that it was much easier and spent a lot less time shoveling. I have plenty of time to treat the driveway and sidewalks and kept them clear all winter long. I had no more back pain or sore hands. And found my neighbors following my same plan to their delight.

This will also give you an opportunity to earn a bit of cash as well, helping other people dig themselves out. Add a snow plow to your vehicle and you can be done plowing in no time. Look for a good used snow plow.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Elevator Pitch

Everyone who started out job searching has had to face the prospect of coming up with their elevator pitch. This guide will tell you how.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about an elevator pitch.

Q. What is an elevator pitch?

A. Quite simply an elevator pitch is a short description of what you can do and how this benefits others. Good elevator pitches last around 20-30 seconds and contain enough creativity and information to make them memorable. It used to be the traditional way business associates introduced themselves to one another and answered the question What do you do for a living? If all they had said was I am an (accountant, lawyer, consultant, or whatever) it only tells the listener what you are, not how you help others.

Q. What makes up a good elevator pitch?

A. An elevator pitch is made up of the hook, delivers and benefits. To create an elevator pitch you need to come up with each component separately and then weave them all together. As you got through creating each piece, resist the urge to make it sound polished until you have all three pieces and can wordsmith the whole pitch in one go.

Q. What is the hook?

A. The hook is a catch phrase which sole purpose is to get someones attention. It is written in a way to grab the listeners attention, for example I turn the world green grabs your attention better than I am a gardener. Here are some other examples: Midwife – I bring life into this world, Nutritionist- I teach people how to have in front of food, IRS Agent- I am a government fund-raiser or Pilot – I shrink the globe.

Q. What is the purpose of the hook?

A. The hook is designed grab the listeners attention, begs the question how do you do that? and helps create a bridge to the next element.

Q. How do I go about creating my hook?

A. There are a number of ways you can approach this, our suggestion is to complete this sentence by filling-in-the-blanks:

I am the _____ (line of work you are in) that ______ (hook).

Q. What is the best follow up to the hook?

A. Once we have the hook we need to answer the how do you do that? question we had earlier. This is the deliverables piece and here are some examples: I facilitate off-site strategy development sessions for non-profits. or I develop brochures, annual reports and flyers for mid-sized companies. Or I specialize in writing ads for the banking industry.

Q. How do I create my deliverables sentence?

A. Again there are quite a number of ways to approach this, and we suggest you come up with your own deliverable sentence by completing the fill-in-the-blanks sentence:

I ____________ (action verb followed by your deliverables) for the ____ (your target market).

Q. Do you have examples of benefit statements?

A. Draw up a statement that covers the benefits of what you provide. To get your creative juices flowing here are some examples (accountant) I help companies stop overpaying on their taxes, or (marketing consultant) I help companies plan for growth, or (writer) I put a companies story into words.

Q. How do I create a benefits statement?

A. Use this fill-in-the-blanks sentence to help structure your benefits statement:

I help ________ (audience types) with / to _________ (benefit).

Q. Will I need to polish and wordsmith my three statements?

A. You have probably noticed that when you read all three sentences together they are clunky and do not flow well. The last step is to polish the whole pitch so it sounds crisp, clear and flows easily. This is just a case of trial and error and you may find you come up with several possible elevator pitches.

Once you have your elevator pitch try them out at your next networking events, see how people react to them. You may find you will spend a few weeks trying out different versions before you find the one that works the best.

It is going to take a little effort and time to come up with a good elevator pitch, but once you have it, you will find it an invaluable tool in your job search In addition to creating a great first impression, it will be coming a conversation starter, lets people know how they can best help you, and lastly gets you to focus your job search on what you are really looking for.

House and Door Name Plates

Door name plates provide basic information about a house, building, or room. Usually these are few inches long and some inch high plates with some letters and numbers on. There are some types of name plates we need to know about.

House name plates are normally hung on a house walls and indicate house's number and sometimes they show the name of a family living in a house.

Door name plates are hung on a door, usually in a height of our eyes. With these plates, we can number or mark different rooms in hotels and shops or simply name rooms of our house, such as 'living room', 'kitchen' and also name your children's room by their name.

Office name plates are just a version of door name plates, since they are only used to indicate office and work. They have huge impact on office self-presentation and must see look professional.

Desk name plates are very similar to usual door name plates, but are simply put on a table. They are more often used on worktables and present an employee behind a desk.

Very expanded are industrial name plates that are massively used at work in factories and on machines. In firms they usually provide work instructions, warnings and movement restrictions. Tagging machines and innovations with name plates that provide product information is very much helpful for potential customers.

Various name plates that must be attached on a door or wall require binding agents. There are two ways of installing a name plate. You can choose between adhesive agent and use sticker design or mechanical agent and use screw design. To provide three-dimensional effect there are multiple sided plates which can be seen from a larger angle than single-sided door name plates.

In manufacturing door name plates various materials are used. In most cases metal and similar materials are used. Metal is very appreciated due to its hardness and quite impressive resistance to different weather conditions. It can be made in a way that it reflects light and therefore increases visibility even in the dark. Natural materials such as wood and slate are common too, although should be protected with protective lacquer to avoid unwanted decomposition.

All About Wood Stoves

Today the heating option of a wood stove is unduly the most economical, flexible and undeniably the most popular. One of the primary reasons for this is that a wood stove does not need a huge amount of space, provided the space is where a chimney may be properly routed. The majority of people choose their family room on the main floor of their home for ideal placement.

Central heating is created to heat the entire house, with each room receiving the same heat benefits, but a wood stove is considered to be a space heater, so this is why it should ideally be placed where a family congregates. Granted some people do use wood stoves to heat the majority of their homes, however then placement becomes even more important, and one must install some form of blower to disperse the heat. Generally this is not always a recommended use of a wood stove.

Purchasing the right size stove is essential, as you do not wish to purchase an oversized stove that will make the space too hot. Nor do you wish to use one that is too small, as this may lead to stove damage by over-firing in order for it to keep up with the heat demands put upon it. You should educate yourself all about wood stoves prior to shopping for one.

Designs of wood stoves today will allow them to be used in any settings. For instance if your home is a period piece you may desire to have an old style black pot belly stove. But if your home's décor leans more towards a more modern and contemporary design you'll be glad to hear that wood stoves now come in an array of designer colors that are painted on or even enameled. Your interior decorator will have a myriad of ideas as to which type would fit your home décor best.

All new stoves have some sort of built in shielding for placement on wooden floors or near combustible walls, however keep in mind that the more a wood stove is shielded, the hotter it will burn and then give off more heat. Many wood stoves that are completely shielded also are equipped with convection fans that enable the heat to be pushed into other sections of your home, which greatly reduces your energy costs for heating.

Newly advanced wood stoves are not only more efficient but they produce about 90% less smoke. Ignition is much simpler in these, and they tend to burn more completely as well. In addition, let's face it, humans have loved to watch a fire burning since time memorial, so the majority of new stoves comes with a window that even has a self-cleaning air-wash system.

Now that you know all about wood stoves, you will realize that no matter which kind of wood stove you select, it will bring years of peaceful warmth to your home and family as well as reducing your home heating cost. New wood stoves are highly reliable and have beautiful craftsmanship to fit into your home. You will find that not only are they available in colors now, but in flat top construction or modern designs too!

How Many Pots of Coffee Does 1 Pound of Coffee Yield?

Sometimes it can get perplexing to determine how much coffee you are going to get from a bag of freshly ground coffee beans. First of all, it is important to understand that all coffee must be freshly ground before brewing, otherwise it will go stale. When coffee beans are freshly ground, they begin to go stale within 30 seconds! The best course of action would be to purchase a simple kitchen grinder that you can use to freshly grind your coffee beans so that your pot of coffee will be as premium as possible.

When ordering or purchasing freshly roasted coffee beans, it is important to purchase the right amount. Coffee is a perishable item, so if you purchase too much, the beans will go stale within up to two weeks after being freshly roasted. On the flipside, if you purchase too little, you may run out and not get your daily fix to make it through your workday!

When it comes to brewing, 40 ounces of water within your coffee machine will brew seven 6 ounce cups for 40 ounces of water. With this ratio, 1 pound of fresh coffee beans should brew 30 pots of coffee at 40 ounces per pot. This is also something that needs to be taken into consideration depending on how you like your coffee. Many people add more coffee grounds to their coffee before brewing to make a stronger cup of Joe. The best rule of thumb to use is to always go stronger in your brew process because you can dilute a strong cup of coffee, but you can’t change a weak cup of Joe after it has been brewed.

When it comes to purchasing coffee, it is always best to purchase beans that are freshly roasted. The important thing to keep in mind is that these beans will begin to go stale within up to two weeks, so it is ideal to purchase from an online retailer that sells beans that are freshly roasted the day that they ship. The other alternative would be if you have a local roaster in your area that you can conveniently purchase coffee beans from whenever you need them.

One other thing to take into consideration when you are calculating how much coffee you will get from a pound of coffee beans is that you probably will not always be brewing a full 12 cup amount to fill up your coffee pot. It is much better to brew a smaller amount so that coffee is not left sitting on the burner to become bitter if you are not going to drink it all at once. The best recommendation is to use up to 3 tablespoons of fresh coffee grounds for every 8 ounces of water, which again, is a little stronger than the average coffee drinker makes their daily Java. This is the proper strength and consistency used for coffee brewing, and it will allow you to have continual freshness and flavor in every cup that you drink.

Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring – Important Things You Need to Know

Luxury vinyl plank flooring is considered by many to be the perfect blend of style and functionality. Current styles by major manufacturers have never look better and more realistic. Luxury vinyl planks also offer in many cases a more durable and tougher floor than other options such as hardwood and laminate, especially when it comes to handling scratches and water issues. If you are one of the many consumers considering luxury vinyl wood looking planks, there are several things you will need to know when choosing your floor.

Not all luxury vinyl flooring planks are created equal. There are quite a few differences between construction styles among the major manufacturers. Backing systems can vary between brands. Some luxury wood vinyl plank floors have residential warranties and others have a commercial warranty as well. Other differences include the vinyl plank water proof or water resistant? Is the plank UV stabilized to prevent fading? Does the luxury wood vinyl plank you are looking at have a built in mold and mildew inhibitor? Also, some major manufacturers even certify their luxury vinyl to be hypo-allergenic. You can also compare thickness as a relative concept for durability. The basic, entry level products start at around 2 mil thickness progressing up to 6 mils. The key thing here is that not all luxury vinyl planks are built the same.

Price can vary extremely amongst styles and brands. Prices can range from $ .99 per square foot to $ 5.00 a square foot. If your budget is limited and you need to go with a cheaper, entry level luxury vinyl that's fine. Just make sure that the price point you are paying matches the thickness and wear layer of the product you are looking at. You will see 2 mil products discounted in the lower range and work up from there. The important note to remember here is to make sure that you are comparing apples to apples while shopping a specific price range.

Luxury vinyl planks have two basic installation methods. The predominate method is using a full spread adhesive. This is the most common type of application and is not recommended as a do it yourself project. The other installation type is a self adhering type. Do not confuse this with peel and stick. Peel and stick are a lower grade of vinyl and will almost always come up and usually have to be replaced within 3 years. The peel and stick types stick directly to the floor. The true luxury vinyl planks that are self adhering, stick to each other, not the floor. These luxury vinyl planks usually have a lip on two edges and a recessed lip on the other two edges that have a factory applied glue. You use the lips to glue the tiles together and not the floor. Currently Konnecto, Armstrong Luxe, and some styles by Amtico are the only valid offers with this type of self adhering, do it yourself installation system.

There are several finishes available in luxury wood looking vinyl planks. A smooth finish is what most consumers are familiar with. However, you can get a more realistic floor by using a plank that has a ribbed, hand scraped (simulated) or finish with registered embossing. These finishes give the plank a more wood look and style by adding texture to go along with the color and wood species. If you have not seen a sample of a luxury flooring vinyl plank with registered embossing, make sure you check one out before you make a final purchase, it's pretty impressive.

Various Handrail Materials

Some homeowners may not give proper attention to handrails but this tiny detail in your deck railing also has a big contribution to the overall functionality and style of the deck. Handrails are purposely designed to provide safety to homeowners as they climb to the deck. Apart from this, they also provide greater style to the deck and railings as well. You can easily find a handrail that covers both style and functionality without compromising its cost. With the advent of technology today and the gaining popularity of deck and outdoor living, manufacturers have found ways to let ordinary people afford the elegant and functional handrails and other deck components.

Today, handrails are made from various materials so you can have the freedom to choose of a handrail that would blend with your personal style and your needs as well. Some of the materials used on handrails today include wood, iron, steel and aluminum. All these offer many advantages so you just need to properly and meticulously study all these materials in order to reap the best benefits.

In the early days, handrails are only made from simple pieces so they are often ignored by many, giving greater importance on the appearance of the deck and railroads. They are just simple pieces of pipes that are installed next to the walls, stairs, and ramps. But today, you can find handrails that are made from steel, wrought iron, aluminum, wood. Apart from this, handrails of today are elaborately designed. Homeowners can now choose from the excellent array of designs and materials of handrails. Even contractors and architects can help you find the best design in order to complete the look and feel of your stairs.

For those who are still novice when it comes to choosing the handrails wherever for stairs, balances and other applications, there are some considerations or factors that one has to know including the local regulation, cost, maintenance, design and a lot more. To know the codes of your area, you may consult to the accessibility standards that are included in the Americans With Disabilities Act or the ADA for the stairs and ramps. In most cases, the recommended dimension of the handrail is already included and the height should be between 34 "and 38".

Handrails today are offered in steel, brass, glass, wood, banister and balustrades. Some actually prefer to use handrails that are made of metal while others want to have a more elaborate design such as the ones made from glass, iron and wrought iron. Meanwhile, the balustrades were once made from concrete and the cut stone are now made from materials that are light weight.

The metal handrails are preferred by homeowners who want their handrails to last a lifetime. You must know that wood and glass may easily break or succumb to damage. And the wrought iron can be relatively expensive and may need regular maintenance so this is not a practical choice.

As a conclusion, handrails must be durable and attractive enough so you can achieve full satisfaction.

The Do's and Don'ts of Installing Stair Railings

Stairs are made up of several important components. These are the railings that include the posts and balusters as well as the handrails. Without them, a staircase would not be complete and functional.

Why the need for the stair railings and handrails? It is because they ensure the safety of people using the stairway. All types of people are protected when these fixtures are present. Toddlers learning to walk can make use of the railings as their guide. Teenagers ascending and descending the stairs two steps at a time will also be safer. Those with health conditions such as people suffering from back and knee problems as well those with disabilities and not to forget the old folks can depend on the stair railings for support.

Various types of materials can be used today in creating attractive railings for staircases. One material can be utilized on its own but a combination of two or more is also possible depending on one's personal style. Examples are a mix of wood and wrought iron, brass and wrought iron or wood and brass. For an indoor staircase such as in your home, it's best to use wood or wrought iron. The stone and pure metal type is ideal for outdoor use.

If you have small children and old people in the home, always prioritize safety over the aesthetic aspect of your staircase. What's important is they have the right support while moving up and down the house.

Railings should be installed in the entire length of your stairs. Whether you have one running in one direction, two directions or a spiral type, continue the railing up to the landing portion. You can also extend the handrail a few inches more from the bottom step to provide more support for those descending the stairs. This can either be straight or curved hanging on the style of your staircase. Just make sure that the end part is rounded to keep it safe. Another option is to install a post at the end of your handrail to keep it sturdy.

The topmost part of a stair railing should have a handrail. This should at least be 34 inches in height from the floor. It can go higher up to 38 inches. For small children, a lower height is advisable. Other than putting the handrail on the railing, you can freely install another one on the wall at the other side. Remember, however, that it should be at least one and a half inches away from the wall to give your hand enough room to hold on to the rail.

The balusters also known as guards are another vital component of a stair railing. These need to be properly spaced approximately three to four inches so that no small child can get through it. They can be installed right on the treads of the stairs while the uppermost part is attached to a handrail.

So remember these basic steps when you decide to remodel your stairway or create a new one for your home.

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 "" paddle or spade bit one can drill up 1 "deep into the handrail. Using a 5/8 "paddle bit drill a hole no more than" "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 does not 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.

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 does not 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 "" 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 discharged 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 "" 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" "hole at the floor. If replacing wood balusters with "" iron it is usually recommended to install shoes under the handrail to cover a small square peg in a larger round hole. 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 above 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 tend to be that this method is a "pain in the you know what."

How to Dress Up Your Stairway

Out of all the areas in our home, probably the area that receives the least attention is our stairway. The reason for this is probably because it is a boring area being as there is not much we can do with it. If ones want to be creative though there are a few things, you can do to give it a bit of interest.

To begin with, it depends on which stairway you are tackling. Is it the one leading to the upper level of your home or the lower level? You can address them both a little differently.

The Upper level stairs.

This is the stair area that is in view and is more open. Here you have to keep your creativity something in check making sure it flows with the rest of the house. You really do not want to make it the focal point but you do want it interesting. The challenge here is really making it tie in with the area, which is probably the hallway. There are staircases however, that run directly off a room such as a living room or kitchen for example.

Assuming the stairs that we are dealing with are running off the hallway, then the walls that the stairs are butted up against will most likely be the same as the hall walls. You do not want to put anything on the stairs or the railing that is going to be a hazard.

If the walls are neutral, consider using stair runners of carpet that are bright and bold in a floral pattern. This can really add some pizzazz to a once a boring set of stairs.

For the wall on your left going up the stairs, consider using various sized framed mirrors. This will create the illusion of a much larger area, which is beneficial to a narrow hallway.

If you have stair rails, set a flowerpot to the side of the stairs at the bottom and let ivy twine its way around the stair rails. Do not let it wrap around the banister itself though. This is quite an eye catcher.

The Lower level stairs

You can be a little funky here if you like as in most cases there is a door leading down the lower level stairs. Here you could create a collage of pictures on the walls and paint the stains in some unique geometric designs. Here you can let your creativity run wild.