How to Choose and Match Brick Veneer For New Construction and Additions

My neighbor spent well over $200,000 to add a beautiful addition to her traditional brick veneer Cape Cod home. But when the masonry contractor put up the brick he failed to even come close to matching the color of the mortar to the original part of the house. Even worse the new bright white mortar clashes with both the new brick and the old. The house now has a garish and jarring appearance and the cost of repair is prohibitive.

Brick veneer is the most durable and beautiful material that will protect your home from the elements. Brick is virtually maintenance free and will last for generations. Living in the Detroit area it is plain to see the brick in all the dilapidated buildings is still in beautiful condition and in most cases can be salvaged and reused. Brick veneer is more costly and you will have to live with your choice for as long as you own your home. If you’re planning an addition or building a new home the money, time and effort invested in choosing the design, brick, mortar and most importantly the contractor will be returned many times over in long-term value.

These are some ideas to consider when choosing or matching brick veneer

• Cost: maybe it would be better to sacrifice square footage for quality and beauty

• Design: Long, high walls need to be broken up with a vertical course of brick, a ledge of stone or by brick that varies in color and texture. Design in offset walls with interior or exterior corners to give vertical definition to the house.

• Use “offset” (brick that protrudes from the wall in patterns or randomly)of bricks to create interest

• Make the addition narrower or wider than the existing home for interior or exterior corners to make brick and mortar matching easier

• How does the house fit into the neighborhood? A traditional styled house needs darker reds and more texture with gray mortar. Fieldstone, granite or sandstone can be used carefully

• Contemporary houses can use whites, blushes or neutral colors and smooth to glazed brick. Mortar can be bright white

• A skilled and experienced mason will take the time to try out various mixtures to match the mortar. Remember it is the SAND in the mortar that must match. Ask to see other work the mason has done and be prepared to pay a little more

• There are many sizes and profiles of brick available. We have a ranch house built on a slab in our neighborhood that used long, low profile brick with a subtle wavy texture. Along with a double-hip roof and deep eves this house would be the envy of Frank Lloyd Wright himself!

• Design the roof and gutters so the downspouts can be used to hide the seam between the old and new brick. There are many decorative gutter and downspout products available. Visit a local siding and gutter supply house

• A faux copper downspout with an elegant leader head (or conductor) can be used to hide a seam too

• Many faux half columns are available in various metal and paintable materials

• Use high quality beveled horizontal or battened vertical siding carefully in your design

• More and/or larger windows, entry doors, shutters and small round or octagon shaped windows can be used to breakup large brick walls

• Be careful using brick up into gables. Because of the roof slope at each end of the brick courses, the careless mason will loose his way; the vertical joints will not line up and the wall will have an undulating and amateurish look. A small window high in the gable would be good in this circumstance

• And remember to choose your roof shingles and materials at the same time. As an example, using a metal roof on an addition can be a way of making the addition “compliment” the original house instead of trying for an exact “match” (for the few of you that are self-confident, brave and daring you can use a combination of materials and design to “contrast” the original house; I’ve seen it done and to wonderful ends!)

And finally a special mention when using stone. A cobblestone cottage looks the way it does because it’s a cottage! A cottage is a small house. A large stone house must be very carefully designed. Avoid long, tall walls of stone veneer.

Mixing stone with brick veneer can produce a pleasing effect. Try to imagine you are building your house on the ancient ruins of stone fence or an old country manor. The lower corners, some around the entry door and a few randomly chosen places in the wall are all that is needed.

Brick has been made in local kilns using clay dug up from nearby river banks for centuries. The brick you find made in New England may clash with landscape of the house you build in Texas. The same is true if you use that blush pink brick that you loved in Florida for a house built in Wisconsin. The brick must be from the same origin as the house. Contemporary or traditional; single story ranch or two story colonial; split-level or townhouse; new construction or addition, all need the appropriate brick veneer to enhance long term value and style.

New Insulation – Make Sure You Have the Proper Vapor Barrier to Prevent Attic Moisture

Nightmare calls from homeowners that have just had insulation installed and are realizing that they have serious problems with moisture condensing in their attics is a regular occurrence in the winter months. It seems that insulating contractors are out there just blowing in insulation without regard for moisture migration. Many seem to think it is not their problem. Homeowners try to increase the efficiency of their homes by installing more insulation in their attics. Contractors are happy to sell their insulation. The problem starts in the cold days of winter when the home is closed up and heat is running.

Moisture migrates through the walls and ceilings of the home and right through that new insulation! The moisture condenses on the back side of the roof deck and it rains onto that new insulation. Mold and mildew follow if the problem is not fixed in short order.

Make sure you get the straight story and the right job so that you will not become another sad homeowner that has mold, mildew, moisture, frost and rot festering in the attic.

One great opportunity to assure proper Air-Sealing of your attic is at the time you decide to replace the insulation. Too often new insulation is overlaid over the old material. Although this is acceptable in some cases, it can cause major problems. When there are airpasses that allow conditioned space air to enter the attic, an overlay will cause a greater disparity in pressure that may lead to major moisture problems in the attic. The best approach is always to remove the existing insulation and Air Seal and install new insulation.

The real dangers to this situation are the ruining of your insulation and the sunset of mold in your attic. To ignore these facts and go ahead with an overlay of attic insulation is to risk major health risks and expensive repairs.

Once mold has taken hold, everything should come out, but only through the use of a qualified mold remediation company. Mold must be contained and removal of the roof should not be done until the mold issues are resolves.

There is a lot of information on the internet that will help you in fixing this problem.

The same causes that result in increased interior attic moisture, frost on nails , etc., also causes ice dams on the eaves of the home.

Ice dams can cause major leaks in the winter and spring. The ice is caused by uneven melting of the snow and ice and blockages are formed on the eaves of the roof. Ice Dam prevention is not that hard to achieve.

Essential Violin Accessories

Every violin player needs some accessories to play well and to perform consistently under the spotlight. Obviously none of these are necessary to actually play the instrument, but truth be told, if you do not have a few essential items along your violin, you will be behind each other player who does. So do not let it happen to you! Here are some essential violin accessories to add to your arsenal that will improve your playing ability and keep you on top of any piece you play.

Most important of all, get dark cloth wrapped rosin. Rosin is essential, and you do NOT want to buy the cheap stuff. The reason why is simple. If you pay 5 dollars for rosin and it lasts you two years, which is a short period of time for rosin, you will end two long years of using rosin that does not provide your bow with good grip. What purpose does that serve? Instead of spending 5 dollars, spend 15 or 20 on quality cloth wrapped dark rosin that will provide you with good results for years to come. It's only a few dollars more and you will have that rosin for a long time.

Then you need a good metronome and tuner! This is not an option. Metronomes are essential and you should never be without one. Whether it's slow practicing scales or putting it up against your beat on the important piece You're going to be performing in two weeks, you need to have a solid metronome with good features and a loud beat. This may be annoying to use at first, but you will get over quickly, especially if you want to succeed and play more effectively and with less practice time. Get yourself one!

If you plan on playing in an orchestra, you will most definitely need a mute. Mutes are small pieces of rubber that cling to the bridge of the violin and silence some of the light overtones played by the strings on the violin. This produces a much more mellow, quieter sound that a lot of orchestras use in various pieces, particularly in romantic and contemporary era music. Definitely a must for someone who plans on being in an orchestra.

But no matter how many accessories you have, not a single one is more important than having a fine teacher and a good method on learning how to play violin. This is very, very important and can create a critical difference between one violinist and another. Do not allow yourself to focus too much on the details of violin playing and forget about it!

Fireplace Screens: Safety and Beauty With Wood Burning or Gas Log Fireplaces, Vented and Ventless

Fireplace screens are beautiful accessories to enhance safety in wood burning and gas log fireplaces

Fireplace screens are some of the most useful and beautiful fireplace accessories available and can often include fire tools like a poker, tongs and clamps as a part of the fire-screen design. A fireplace is very often the focal point of any room it graces and the gentle warmth of the fireplace, flickering light and aromatic smoke are part of the attraction. However, gas log wood burning fireplaces also house an open flame and certain safety precautions are necessary to keep sparks contained within the fireplace and to keep young fingers and inquisitive pets safely away from heat.

Fireplace screens can serve as spark arrestors for the wood burning fireplace and as decorative items or they can help protect a hearth floor area from rolling logs moving around as flames burn off a wood stack in the case of sturdier types of screens. Most screens are made of metal such as brass or more commonly wrought iron or steel. Since fireplace screens are subjected to the full heat of the fireplace they must be made of durable materials.

Perhaps the most common type of fireplace screen is the mesh spark arrestor made of finely wrought interlinked chains, which are hung from a rod suspended from the lintel inside the fireplace opening. The screens can be drawn shut like a curtain when needed or opened when the fireplace is not in use. While these screens will not stop a rolling log they will protect areas outside the hearth from flying sparks from popping wood sap. One of the greatest advantages to mesh screens is that they require no extra space or braces and do not extend past the flush face of the fireplace.

Another very common type of fireplace screen is made of iron, brass or steel and mounts in front of or on the hearth free-standing in front of the firebox. These fireplace screens can be a simple flat screen, might be free standing on leg-brackets and could be the more common three-sided screen. Three-sided screens have a center section that spans the width of the fireplace. The two sides are hinged to turn at a thirty to forty-five degree angle thus holding the screen plum straight up. The fireplace screen can have fireplace tools, candles and all manner of artistic décor built into the design.

The flat screen fire-screen can be made of one, two, three or four panels. It might fold up neatly when not in use or may be so aesthetically pleasing that hiding it is undesirable. While a fire-screen serves a clearly defined use-value when used in conjunction with a wood-burning fireplace most homeowners who own gas log fireplaces also use fire-screens. The fire-screen serves as an obstruction to children and pets but is often purchased for its decorative qualities.

Fitting a fireplace screen such as the flat panel variety may be relatively easy, as they are not designed to fit flush to the fireplace and can easily over-lap the fireplace width and still look attractive and serve the function of containing sparks on one side and fingers on the other.

Not all older brick or cement fireplaces are of a consistent size because most of these fireplaces are built on site as custom designs. While newer fireplace designs are fitted around a standardized firebox, older fireplaces were built custom on site. Newer fireplaces that are customized inside the home use a steel firebox with insulation, heat shields and fire brick already installed. The fire box can be built into a mantle or into a wall of the home with little to no safety features necessary for full functionality. Even ventless gas fireplace fire boxes come with a spark arrestor curtain, chain-mail screen to add to the illusion of a wood burning fireplace with the convenience of a gas log installation and remote control use.

Custom fireplaces will have inconsistencies in width, height and fireplace depth. While fireplace screens are produced in standardized sizes, not all fireplaces will be that exact and the fire-screen may over-shoot the size. Spark arrestor curtains can be custom made for specific rods to fit inside any custom fireplace opening but free standing fireplace screens are available in standard finished and colors.

When selecting a fireplace screen most often the room décor, and style and fitting the size of the fireplace are primary considerations. A fireplace screen can be as ornate or as simple as the style of the room dictates. A fireplace screen can add to the beauty of a room while assuring that the unprotected floor or carpeting is safe from flying sparks and the fire itself kept apart from curious pets and small children.

Boom in Real Estate Taking a Bricklayer’s Career on a High Growth Trajectory

Bricklayer’s job is today hailed as one of the modest remunerative career depending on the experience and qualification.

The excellent way to becoming a bricklayer is by completing a 3 year apprenticeship program. The program might be sponsored by a contractor or a union. What is desirable is a diploma from high school and this is especially for those who wish to become apprentices. One condition that must be satisfied is that the apprentices must be of seventeen years in age. They should be equipped with a degree of certain manual deftness and should also possess a satisfactory eye for straightness. The on the job training is accompanied with the three year program with classroom instruction of 144 hours at least each year. Formal qualification is not mandatory but employers give preference to people with on site experience. You can get the job through an apprenticeship scheme in collaboration with a building firm. Availability of Apprenticeships will hinge on the local market jobs and the skills employers need. To become eligible for apprenticeship you may need to have vocational qualifications like Diploma in Construction or Edexcel Introductory Certificate, which contains options for bricklaying.

The nature of bricklayers work is to build walls, fireplaces, chimneys and other fortresses made of brick. They also build and repair tunnel linings, chimney stacks, and decorative stonework as archways. It can range from commercial development to a house extension. They work with cinder blocks and concrete, marble, tile and terra cotta. Terra cotta constitutes a ceramic material that is used for decoration. Bricklayers can involve in both maintenance and construction work. Under maintenance, they repair existing edifice or structure.

A bricklayer can expect to earn up to 15000 pound per year. The remuneration depends on the skillfulness of the employee. Qualified bricklayers can expect to earn between 16000 Pound to 23000 Pound Per Year. And experienced bricklayers-instructors included can earn a minimum of 30000 Pound Per Year. Besides the regular and conventional pay overtime and allowances can add to the income. Negotiation can be worked out by the self employed bricklayers.

The working condition can be considered as quite daunting as to normally work 39 hours per week from Monday to Friday though overtime is a usual phenomenon to meet the deadlines. Protective equipments are a necessity in this kind of work to defend you from these physically challenging jobs.

Attachment Disorder’s Early Pioneers: Bowlby and Robertson

For some adoptive and foster parents, attachment theory is a new concept though it was first described in the 1950’s. In a London hospital, psychiatrist, John Bowlby and social worker, James Robertson, studied the effects of children under the age of three, separated from their mother. In the 50’s, long hospitalizations and excluded parents were a common practice even though it was common knowledge in the community that children, especially under the age of three, were “changed for the worse” when they returned home. Robertson stated, “A hospital experience has dangers of emotional trauma for the young child.” Bowlby and Robertson identified three stages for separated children: Protest, Despair, and Denial/Detachment.

  1. Protest – The child expects mom to respond to his cries. When she doesn’t come, the child is heartbroken, visibly upset and searches for her.
  2. Despair – With mother’s continued absence, the child gives up hope, becomes withdrawn and quiet, and becomes what Robertson called, “settled-in.”
  3. Denial/Detachment – The child shows more interest in his surroundings and seems happy which Robertson saw as a danger sign. In actuality, the child is merely making the best of the situation. Robertson noticed, “When his mother comes to visit, he seems hardly to know her, and no longer cries when she leaves.” Once the child returns home, and if his stay was long, he seems to not need any mothering at all. His relationships are described as shallow and untrusting.

These three stages occur for any young child separated from his mother over a period weeks, and sometimes even in a matter of days. Bowlby and Robertson were able to witness firsthand the effects of a child being separated from his mother. Parents whose children suffered early abandonment did not witness their child’s separation but can imagine and understand their child’s trauma and fears.

Because of this early separation, foster and adopted child will have current events that trigger past experiences of loss or abandonment. Let’s look at the example of Jacob, 8 years old, adopted from Colombia at age 2. Jacob was taken to the orphanage several days following his birth. The orphanage was in a poor area; it had a few broken toys, shared clothes, and meager food for the children. Jacob’s adoptive parents, Julie and Ron, know his tantrums occur when he has things “taken away” and especially when he loses food as punishment. This year in school, his teacher’s behavior plan was to take away tokens from misbehaving children. Jacob’s parents know this will trigger his old trauma and without delay, they talk to the teacher. Luckily, the teacher understands the significance of Jacob’s early loss and she changes the classroom behavior plan. Now, the children earn tokens when they mind their teacher.

Bowlby and Robertson were pioneers in identifying the three phases leading to attachment difficulties. Their work has been invaluable in understanding how to prevent attachment difficulties. Although we may not be able to prevent all children from early separation and loss, Bowlby’s and Robertson’s work provides a backdrop of comprehending the three phases children experience when they suffer from neglect, abandonment or loss.

1 Robertson, J. (1958) Young Children in Hospitals. New York.: Basic Books.

How To Install Blown In Attic Insulation

Scenario:

I have just completed an addition to my house. I’ve heard that blown in insulation is better than batts since covers the joists completely and leaves no open areas. Do you have any do it yourself suggestions?

Solution:

Yes you are correct. Blown in insulation is better that batts when installed properly as it does seal the attic better.

First you need to measure your attic area that you plan on insulating. Most attics require a value of R-30, R-38 or R-49, depending on your climate and location. Once you know the square footage of your attic you can determine how much insulation you’ll need by simple looking on the chart located on the bag of insulation.

Before you get started you will need to determine what materials you will need. Assuming your home has recessed lights, ceiling and bathroom fans and eave vents you will need the following tools and materials:

Loose Fill Insulation

Cardboard Baffles

Flashing

Duct Tape

Staple Hammer and Staples

Utility Knife

Ladder

Insulation Blowing Machine (Available at your local rental store)

The attic will need preparation before you can actually blow insulation into it. Make sure you are wearing a dust mask, protective goggles and a long sleeve shirt. Recessed lights must have flashing installed around them leaving a open space of at least four inches from the flashing to the light. Using a utility knife cut a piece of flashing of the correct length and form it into a cylinder shape, securing the edge with duct tape. Place over recessed light leaving a four inch open area. This allows for the heat to escape. Use the same process for any vented kitchen or bathroom fans in the attic area.

The next step is baffles. This is a chore nobody enjoys. The baffles need be installed by using your staple hammer and install them where the ceiling joists intersect with roof rafters. Make sure you only install the baffles over the vents and that they are high enough so the vents won’t get covered with insulation. Now that you’ve installed you might want to climb out of the attic and give you back a much needed rest.

The next step of preparation is to make a dam around the attic access hole. The easiest way is to cut a few extra cardboard baffles into lengths of about 4 inches above the amount of insulation you plan on installing. Simply staple them around the perimeters of the access hole. This will allow for a uniform depth in the insulation you are blowing in.

So you don’t have to keep crawling in and out of the attic it’s best to have another person outside helping you load the insulation blowing machine. Hint: If you’re using fiberglass insulation have your helper add about a cup of water per bag, spreading it over the top after its loaded into the machine. This will help cut down static electricity when you are blowing the insulation and it will lay down more evenly when installing it. After the bag of insulation is loaded into the hopper it will take several minutes before the next bag is needed. Don’t let your helper be lazy. Have him get on the ladder and pull excess hose out of the attic for you so you don’t get tangled in it.

I’ve found blowing insulation into the attic is a simple process. Start and the far ends of the attic. Going back and forth make sure its level and smooth. Make sure to get all areas of the attic and don’t fill any vents or recessed light areas. Take a tape measure with you and check the levels once in a while. As an example, if your installing an R-38 of fiberglass insulation you would want it to measure 16 inches deep. As you work your way back near the attic access make sure your helper is getting that excess hose out of the way. When you get to about 6 feet from the access hole stop the machine so you can get on the ladder. Once on the ladder finish installing, making sure to bring the level evenly against the dam you previously built.

The final step is to place a piece of batt insulation in the access hole and carefully put the attic hole lid back into place. Now your done! Stay out of that attic as much as possible from this point as loose fill insulation that has been stepped on or crushed looses it’s R value.

Foods That Make You Grow Taller and Improve Height Growth

If you find yourself shorter in height than most other people around you, it is time for you to act promptly to eat a diet that is full of protein, calcium, calories, and amino acids. These ingredients in diet work to change your metabolism to engineer growth of your bones, muscle mass, and thus improve height growth. If you are at an age where growth is ongoing but is at a slow pace, these elements in your regular food will speed up the assimilation of your flexible cartilage to stretch and turn into solid bones and in that process to increase your height. If these cartilages become hardened without gaining any length, your body loses the potential to gain further height. However, if you are past puberty and you are stuck at a height that is shorter than the normal height to which you could grow, you need the same kind of foods that make you grow taller as for those who are still going through their puberty and seeking to improve height growth.

There are the following kinds of foods that make you grow taller:

  • Organic coconut milk, fresh coconut and virgin coconut oil are a source of good fat that your body needs. Avoid fats that cause obesity and sluggishness to make you slow in your routine activities.
  • Skimmed milk is a good source of calcium that is essential for your bones to grow and become strong. Avoid homogenized milk, which is bad.
  • Take plenty of fresh vegetables like asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, lettuce, zucchini, onions and tomatoes. All these are a good source of amino acids that support your immune system and boost metabolism.
  • White of eggs, chicken, tofu and soy-milk are a good source of protein that make your body grow and gain muscle mass.
  • Organic maple syrup and raw honey are the best sweeteners that provide your body the right amount of calories. Avoid aspartame, saccharine and high fructose corn syrup. A limited amount of calories gives you energy to do your routine exercises to grow taller as it does not cause obesity and sluggishness.

Besides the above, other foods that make you grow taller include organic unsweetened coca powder, black or kidney beans, chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds and various other nuts.

You can easily improve height growth by including the above items in your regular diet. All the above foods are readily available in the stores and you should keep these handy in your kitchen.

How to Build a Wooden Chest

Every home needs a chest. Chests have a timeless beauty that makes them suitable for heirloom gifts. Chests have many functions, from storing clothing, blankets and linens, toys, keepsakes, or simply for decoration. Children also love chairs for hiding treasure and playing games. If you're thinking of making a chest, no matter what its purpose, then you've come to the right place. There are a few basic steps that you should follow and a few safety issues that you should be aware of before you begin. There are many designs and embellishments for wooden chests, but today we will discuss the basics for you.

1) Safety first, as always. Chests look great and provide storage for numerous items, but you do not want your chest to become a hazard to children. So, to begin this article, we're going to discuss how to make your chest safe for people of all ages. Invest a little in slow closing hinges. Solid wood items are very heavy. If the top can slam down, it can smash someone's fingers or injure a child in multiple ways. Your chest should also have air spaces to prevent suffocation. Toy boxes generally have a two inch clearance underneath the front of the lid so that a child trapped inside can breathe and call for help. Taking these two extra steps can help you to avoid future tragedies.

2) You will need two large sheets of cabinet grade plywood, 3/4 inches thick. Cut two pieces, 14.5 x 48 inches wide using a circular saw. These pieces will be the front and back of your wooden chest. Cut two more pieces, 14.5 x 24 inches. These will be the sides of your chest. Now is a good time to cut an air slot on the front if you wish. Use the piece that will be the front of the chest. Leave each end of the top edge at 14.5 inches tall for four inches in from each side. Trace a line about two inches down from your marks and cut out a 40 inch section that is 2 inches wide. You can slope the opening so that it looks nice and clean. This cut out section will not show much when the chest is closed.

3) Cut another piece, 24 x 48 inches for the bottom of the chest. Use a nail gun or wood screws to affix all five pieces together. You can use blocks for legs to keep the chest up off of the floor. Go ahead and put them on while you have the chest upside down. If you want, instead of screwing or using a nail gun to connect the pieces together, you can use a wood dowel to create a strong dowel joint. Use a hardwood dowel if you're using a hardwood for your chest.

4) Cut the top piece one inch bigger than the bottom piece, 25 x 48 inches. It should overhang your air vent by about an inch, hiding it from first glance. Attach your slow-close hinges, sand, stain, varnish and you're done.

Using Rocks As CO2 Sponges

Researchers studying peridotite rock in the Middle Eastern country of Oman say the material could have been an amazing absorber of carbon dioxide.

Peridotite is found in abundance in the Earth's mantle, about 12 miles down and under the Earth's crust. Large chunks of the rock make their way way to the surface as the crust moves and shifts. While the scientists making the discovery studied a large field of peridotite in Oman, the material can be found in various places around the globe, including in the US

The study, which will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that peridotite reacts with CO2 at surprisingly high rates. The reaction forms a solid carbonate like limestone or marble. Researchers involved in the study feel that the process can be sped up to even higher rates with drilling and injection of CO2 into the rock.

"This method would afford a low-cost, safe and permanent method to capture and store atmospheric CO2," said geologist Peter Kelemen, lead author of the study. Keleman estimates that the Omani peridotite field, which is about the size of Massachusetts, is naturally absorbing between 10,000 and 100,000 tons of CO2 every year.

Although scientists have long known that peridotite will react with CO2, plans to transport it to power plants where it could be exposed to smokestack gasses proved unwieldy or too expensive. But the extremely high reaction rates occurring naturally means that CO2 could instead be shipped to peridotite sites to be absorbed, and at a much lower cost.

By simply boring into the surface of exposed peridotite and pumping in heated water that is saturated with pressurized CO2, researchers are confident the reaction process can be increased 100,000 times or more. Through this process, scientists predict that the Omani peridotite field alone can absorb about 4 billion tons of CO2 annually, which equates to about 13 percent of the total amount humans send into the atmosphere.

One possible drawback – the cracking and expansion of peridotite deep under the Earth's surface from pressurized CO2 and from the formation of new carbonates could result in micro-earthquakes. But Kelemen said they would be nearly imperceptible.

How Does A MIG Welder Work?

The Metal Inert Gas or MIG welder has been developed since the 1940s and has become the choice way to weld. It uses a procedure called gas metal arc welding (GMAW). It is a reliably simple process. It uses a welding gun to control the feeding of a wire, also known as the electrode, and distributes a stream of inert or semi inert gas over the join to protect the process.

These days the most common gas to be used is the semi inert gas known as carbon dioxide as this is check and works effectively on most metals. Gases such as argon is also used when working on metals such as aluminum as it produces fewer splatters, giving a better finish.

The GMAW process has many more benefits compared with other types of processes. One of these advantages is that the gun has a trigger to control the electrode, allowing you to have more control and position the tip without the danger of striking an arc by accident. Once it is in the place you want, all you have to do is flip down your helmet and pull the trigger.

The shielding gases which are either inert (for a better result) or semi inert (cheaper) are used to protect the join and smooth and clean the joins. That way there is no need to clean off any slag. The process also allows work to be performed at reduced amps, so it can be used for thinner metals and sheet metal. A DC current is always used for this as using alternating currents does not provide a steady arc reducing the effectiveness of the job.

It also lets you adjust the amps, the voltage and the wire feed speed allowing you to have total control over the weld result. There is a valve on the handle that can control the flow of gas as well.

If you want you can also use a MIG welder even without the gas to shield the join. The process is called flux cored arc welding (FCAW). This process uses a wire that has a hollow core that is filled with flux to produce a clean join. This allows you to work outdoors as you dont need the shielding gas. As a result, the flux core wire is hotter and can be used for thicker joins. A resulting problem is that you will need to clean the slag from the join.

MIG welders are used to join tin, zinc, copper, aluminum, tin, brass and steel. There are also a lot of different configurations of MIG welding wires to choose from. It allows you to get the best combination for almost any situation. If you are on a limited budget and only want to purchase one welder and still be able to work on a variety of metals, the MIG welder is seen by many as the best one to go with.

Drainage in Large Containers

All containers need to be given adequate drain, but you must take extra care with winter containers to avoid damaging the bulbs. Choose a soil based potting compost or soil mix or use a peat based compost and add extra grit, in the ratio of approximately three parts compost to one part grit, in the ratio of approximately three parts compost to one part grit.

Before planting you need to place a layer of broken pots or polystyrene or Styrofoam at the base of the container, which will help to give extra drainage in periods of continued wet weather.

The drainage layer will also help to prevent the roots of the plants from blocking the drainage holes, which are sometimes too small in relation to the size of the pot.

Wooden containers will often rot. To slow down the process, add a lining of plastic sheeting, which will retain the moisture in the compost and keep the dry wood on the inside. Make holes in the base of the plastic to match the holes in the container base.

The lining also helps minimize moisture loss through evaporation in late spring when the container may be in danger of drying out. Position the shrub or the cornus so that it sits just below the rim.

Plant the daffodil bulbs, base down, nose up, close to the edge of the barrel, so that the tips of the bulbs will be at an historical depth below so level of three times their own height, allowing for a 5cm or 2in gap at the top of the container.

Add more compost, and then plant the skimmias and heucheras on opposite sides of the barrel. Fill in the gaps with more compost to within 2.5cm or 1in of the rim. Plant the pansies around the edge. Water it well.

Natural Timber Preservation and Why it Works

Why We Know What Petri-Wood Can Do For You ?

Scientific studies conducted by Dr. Robert Adams of Baylor University in Waco, Texas support the claims as noted in his 1992 publications. In the Cedarcide Dow Corning Technology, Silanes, a derivative of Quartz, are cross linked to the Cedar Oils. They provide moisture protection to the cell walls of the wood. This technology is considered NANO and the delivery of Cedarshield's treatment solution is actually instrumental in the penetration of the hydroxyl group molecular structure where upon entry, it becomes a water scavenger, completely eliminating any free bound water in the wood. The hydrogen tail of the molecule is then collapsed and no further moisture can enter the wood's cellular structure, thus leaving the media 100% dimensionally stable. An objective which is not obtainable with the kiln dried methods of wood preservation.

The "Absence of Moisture is the Absence of Issues" relates Glassel, the World's Leading Cedar Oil scientist. Without moisture, there can be no expansion and contraction, no warping and no decay or insect attack. "The science of the invention of these products actually triggers the petrification of wood" quotes Dr. George Jenkins of the University of New Brunswick, noted Canadian wood scientist.

Texas A & M University's C. Wayne Smith, who heads up the Archaeological Preservation Research Laboratory in College Station, Texas, for the conservation of artifacts and recovered shipwrecks was asked to comment on the use of these Cedarcide and Petri-Wood preservation products in Railroad Ties, Utility Poles, Deck-Dock-Fence materials. His reply was "It is like the SILVER BULLET the timber industry has been waiting for". Scott Miller, Application engineer for the Dow Corning Corporation totally agreements with Smith.

These products and treatments are fast becoming the leader in wood preservation because, after treatments are applied, there is no further need for re-applications and the timbers treated are fully guaranteed against fungal attack, rot, decay, insect attack and even attack by beavers , for periods of up to THIRTY YEARS, depending on the treatment applied.

One application triggers the early stages of wood petrification. It also triggers the immediate exodus of both free and bound water in the fiber structure and cellular make up of wood. The wood is no longer subject to moisture, either as air borne moisture or in liquid form. Expansion and contracting of the wood ceases and total dimensional stability is obtained, eliminating warping, splitting and cupping of wood as it ages. The end result of the treatment renders the wood 100% insect, decay and water resistant, forever. Unlike Thompson Water Seal and other proprietary coatings currently being utilized worldwide and only last for short periods of time, these Cedarcide and Petri-Wood products penetrate deeper than any known alternative and what's more, they actually continue to work for extremely long periods of time without any need for re-treatments or special conditions. They are quite simply the BEST AVAILABLE on the planet.

You always had a choice in wood preservation. Now you have the BEST choice ever offered anywhere.

Cansco Environmental Solutions Inc have the expertise, the experience, the ethics and the professionalism to provide you with straight and honest advice on any aspect of timber issues and problems. They believe in doing whatever ever they can to help our environment and save trees from being fooled in the process and this is the main reason that they are International Distributors for a wide and varied range of all natural products, together with being Specialist Timber and Remedial Treatment Contractors.

Framing Exterior Walls With 2 X 6

Framing the exterior walls with 2 x 6 studs instead of 2 x 4 can definitely add to the price of the home. In addition to the cost of the lumber, you also have an increase in the labor, insulation, window and door trimming.

The advantages for using 2 x 6 in the exterior walls would have the additional structural strength to the building and the ability to use thicker insulation in the walls.

One of the only reasons I can think of for using 2 x 6 on your exterior wall would be the installation of thicker insulation. 2 x 4 walls will insulate with R-13, which is about 4 inches thick and 2 x 6 will insulate with R-19, which is about 6 inches thick.

The additional 2 inches will be a 50% increase over the 2 x 4 wall. 50% is a lot, dealing with anything. Imagine if you got a 50% increase in your annual pay this year. This would not be anything to complain about, would it.

2 x 6 also has advantages when you are drilling holes for plumbing pipes, electrical wires or heating ducts. Often plumbers and electricians drill large holes in 2 x 4 walls, taking a little bit further away from the structural strength of the home. Some plumbing pipes for example are 2 inches in diameter, drilling this whole through a 3 1/2 inch 2 x 4, only leaves you three quarters of an inch on each side if the whole is drilled exactly in the center.

Drilling a 2 inch hole in a 2 x 6 will leave you an inch and three quarters on each side. In other words if you subtract 2 inches from 5 – 1/2 inches, the thickness of a 2 x 6, you still have a 2 x 4 left over. 2 x 6 framing also gives you 50% more lumber and structural strength in the home. Again this might not sound like much but it is a lot.

If you live near a busy road or highway, you could use the 2 x 6 framing, only on the exterior walls that separate your living area from the noisy road. The thicker the wall, the tougher it is for the sound to travel through it.

The biggest problem with most home builders is the additional cost and this is coming right out of their profit. Most homebuilders, especially the larger ones, depend on every penny they can to survive in the long run. It's an extremely tough business to be in.

If you're building your own home, give some consideration to using 2 x 6 if you live in areas where the temperatures are extremely cold or hot. One of the only reasons to frame the exterior walls with 2 x 6 is the ability to use more insulation and this would cut down utility costs. If you live in a moderate climate, where utility bills are not astronomical, it would not be cost effective, for you to use 2 x 6.

Insurance for Coach Houses Is Available!

Owners of Coach Houses, are having a tough time finding Home Insurance for their property due to the fact that Coach House Home Insurance is not readily available. Insurers tend to back away from the risk because of the technicality of the liabilities surrounding the garages underneath property, leased on permanent leaseholds.

There are usually 1 or 2 garages leased on permanent leasehold to neighbours and this can cause all sort of disputes surrounding the Legal Liabilities of these shared access arrangements and lease hold agreements. The leasehold agreements tend to be on 999 year contracts, with the neighbours/tenants of the garages contributing to the cost of the buildings insurance.

If you own a Coach House – don’t despair! Whilst many insurers do shy away from the risk and will not offer cover – there are some Home Insurance Providers that are very tuned in to the legal liabilities of such arrangements and offer competitively priced home insurance.

A simple Google search will put you in touch with the right people who can offer you Home Insurance quotes at a reasonable price, without sacrificing on the Legal Liability protection needed to protect you.

Coach Houses are becoming increasingly popular to house builders, as they can build more homes in less space – so it is about time that more insurers looked into creating insurance policies to cover these risks – whilst insurance is available at affordable prices, it is not widely available, and choice of insurance provider is greatly reduced.

Something to watch for! When you purchase your insurance you will need a break down of the buildings insurance premium, excluding any additional extra’s you have included on your policy to suit your own circumstances- for example contents Insurance or home emergency cover. In order to claim a percentage of the buildings insurance back from neighbours leasing the garages – you will need to be clear about the cost of the buildings insurance element alone to avoid conflict. You can ask your insurer for a breakdown of costs for this purpose.

Finally, when it comes to buying any Home Insurance or Coach House Insurance, be as vigilant as always when it comes to reading the small print and understanding fully what you are, and are not insured for. Property Owners Legal Liability is the part of the policy especially critical for any home owners, but especially Coach House property owners, but this does not mean that you should sacrifice any other important elements of your Insurance. Stay focused, and take advice on what you should expect to be included!