What Type of Cremation Urn Do I Need? Alternative Suggestions for Urns

What Type Of Cremation Urn Do I Need To Store The Ashes of a Loved One?


Alternative Urn Suggestions

The type of urn you choose for a loved one is based on Personal Choice rather than ‘Need’. When choosing an urn, many people will choose something that would appeal to their loved one with many choices based on their favourite colour, sporting team, hobby or trade.

Urns come in all colours, shapes, sizes and material so your choices are far from limited.

The majority of manufactured urns are made from either brass, marble and timber but can also come in pewter, ceramic, bio-degradable cardboard and a variety of other materials.

Really any airtight container can be used as an alternative to the more common manufactured urns but if it’s 100% security you’re looking for then you can’t go past the steadfastness of the brass urns.

Most brass urns have an extra long threaded lid in either the top of the base of the urn to safely secure the ashes without the worry of spillage, dampness or other foreign matter from getting in. In addition to this, you can be sure that your urn will survive should it succumb to a nasty fall off its resting place thanks to that curious cat or the kids sword fights. These urns can also be sealed with a water-resistant glue prior to tightening making them almost 100% protected from any outside elements.

Urns made of marble are visually stunning and also very sturdy but there is the risk of breakage in a fall. Marble urns in general, don’t have screw top lids and are more likely to have a lid that fits snugly into it’s opening. This can be glued for added security but I have come across many people who prefer not to use glue to seal the urn. Most people prefer to have that option of being able to open the urn for whatever reason. Some like to add items to the urn while others have been known to add the ashes of an extra family member in the same urn. Some marble urn styles have a threaded opening in the base.

Timber Urns, more commonly known as Ash Boxes, are an old favourite of carpenters, cabinet makers and builders for the obvious reasons. War Veterans and RSL members also lean towards the timber urns. Many timber ash boxes have a purpose-built section for mounting photos, medals and other keepsake items which make them highly suitable for the purpose of displaying War Veterans medals. Timber Ash Boxes usually have a base opening which is fixed in place with screws. They are very sturdy and strong but it’s advisable to keep the ashes within a plastic bag to prevent any possible leakage of dust particles and to stop dampness from getting inside. The drawback to a Timber Ash Box is the unlikely event of it being subjected to fire.

Keepsake Urns are smaller versions of all the types of urns I’ve mentioned above. They are commonly used as ‘sharing urns’ meaning that the ashes are divided and distributed into several keepsake urns, usually one for each member of the family. Keepsake Urns are also suitably sized to hold the ashes of a very young infant or small pet.

Cremation Jewellery is a new concept whereby a small amount of ashes (usually less than a teaspoon) is placed inside a specially made pendant and worn on a chain as a beautiful piece of jewellery and the perfect way to keep a loved one forever near to you. Cremation Jewellery pendants come in all sorts of shapes and designs, some of the most popular are hearts, crosses, angels, wings, tear drops and miniature urns.

As I stated earlier, many types of containers are suitable for holding the ashes of a loved one, you may find you want to separate yourself from tradition and use your creative imagination.

Here are some suggestions for alternative cremation urns:

The wife of a gentleman that made his own home-brew used an antique beer keg to house his ashes

A clock-makers wife kept his ashes inside the casing of a an old mantle clock that he was very fond of.

The widower of a wife who loved going to the beach, bought a plain timber box then adorned it with shells from her favourite beach.

The children of a fireman used a vintage fire extinguisher to house the ashes.

While these ideas may not suit everyone, they are a broad guide-line to some of the many options that are available when considering what and where to house the ashes of a loved one.

The final decision must always be one that makes you happy.

Final Note: It’s always a good idea to keep the ashes in a plastic bag before placing them in the urn or container. This gives the ashes added protection and can prevent spillage from some types of urns that don’t seal completely airtight.

 For detailed instructions on how to fill an urn, please see my article How To Fill and Seal A Cremation Urn

For more information on cremation urns or ash boxes online I highly recommend The Classic Urn website.

January 2011

Split System Air Conditioning – The Age Consideration – Should I Repair it Or Replace It?

One of the basic factors to consider when deciding to replace your old air conditioning system is that of Age. The old adage, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is not always the best, and in the case of older cooling systems that attitude can be costly. Let’s say your old cooling system, be it Air Conditioning or Heat Pump, is a 13 year old 8 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, the standard by which cooling systems are rated) system. Just because it is still running does not necessarily make it a good thing.

How can that be? Well, first off, let’s explore the efficiency. Today’s minimum standard is 13 SEER. Each numeric rise in SEER rating is equal to about an 8% increase in efficiency. So, replacing your 8 SEER system with a minimum 13 SEER will reward you with nearly a 40% efficiency increase. That means that you can potentially lower your cooling utility bill by 40%. A simple calculation will show you that every year that you keep your old system because it is running, is costing some pretty big money.

Then there is the issue of pure age. Are there units running today that are 20 years old? Sure. Is that normal? No! The fact is a 15 year life span for motor driven split cooling systems is about all that can be expected. As a matter of fact, the ARI (American Refrigeration Institute) reports to its HVAC professionals, that 13.72 years is the current average maximum life of residential cooling equipment built today (2006 report).

Just like people, an Air Conditioning System ages. And just like people, moving parts wear out, weather and time effect the structure, and the older they get the more expensive they are to maintain and repair. But, unlike people, they can be replaced and doing so before the time comes that maintenance and repair costs start eating into your pocket, can be a good financial decision. One of the hardest decisions that homeowners are faced with when it comes to their older cooling systems is “should I repair it or replace it”. Don’t waste too many brain cells on that decision. If your unit has given cost effective service, but is starting to require frequent repairs and is approaching the last quarter of its normal reasonable lifespan……Replace It!

Air Conditioner Thermostats

A thermostat is an apparatus for maintaining the temperature of a system within a particular range by directly or indirectly controlling the flow of heat energy into or out of the system. All air conditioners have thermostats that can be manually operated or automatically preprogrammed to work at regulating the room temperature. There are many ways in which you can use an air conditioner thermostat effectively.

One of the most successful yet economical ways to reduce your air conditioning costs is to adjust the thermostat setting on the air conditioner. The savings are more noteworthy when you set your thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. For each degree you raise the thermostat setting, you reduce seasonal cooling costs by 7 percent to 10 percent. In doing so, you can use ceiling fans in addition to the air conditioner and thus, save a lot of money.

Most centrally located air conditioner thermostats are equipped with two fan settings, ‘on’ and ‘auto’. When the thermostat setting is set to ‘on’ the fan runs constantly and when it is set to ‘auto’ the fan runs only during cooling cycles when the air conditioner compressor is in use. When the air conditioner is in use all day, the cooling compressor only operates about 50 percent of the time, that is, for about 12 hours. The extra fan operating time that occurs when the thermostat is set to ‘on’ can add roughly $25 to monthly air conditioning bills. Using the ‘auto’ setting, alternatively, saves energy and money because the fan operates fewer hours. Besides achieving energy and cost savings, the ‘auto’ setting also promotes more comfort by offering better humidity control as moisture removed during the cooling cycle is re-circulated back into the home while the compressor is off.

Thus, thermostats play an important role in the cost and function of an AC.

Diversity: IBM versus Monitor Company – What Can We Learn?

A question for executives to answer is whether they are on board with diversity in their organizations’. Taking a cursory view of diversity at IBM versus Monitor Company, one sees an outward projection at IBM and inward projection at Monitor. The executives of these two global business giants do not have a shared strategy of diversity.

In a 2006 article, Melissa Jenkins1 reported the findings of 120 HR professionals from Fortune 1000 companies. These professionals used terms to define diversity as “direct impact” and “competitive edge.” The statistics she encountered include 79 percent believe diversity enhances corporate culture. Seventy-seven percent reported diversity improved recruitment and the same percentage said diversity improves worker morale. The largest percentage, 91 percent, found diversity helps keep their organizations competitive. How do these statistics relate to IBM and Monitor?

This comparative analysis considers circumstances, as they existed, when the original authors wrote their case studies. Therefore, this report is only a snap shot of realities then. A future study may interpret events differently based on new data.

The Companies

International Business Machines is the long name for IBM known globally for mainframe and PC computers; however, IBM is more than computers. IBM is software, IT services, servers, business consulting, and a host of other operations related to technology. From the IBM web site, http://www.ibm.com, we read,

At IBM, we strive to lead in the invention, development and manufacture of the industry’s most advanced information technologies, including computer systems, software, storage systems and microelectronics.

We translate these advanced technologies into value for our customers through our professional solutions, services and consulting businesses worldwide.

In the end, IBMers determined that our actions will be driven by these values:

o Dedication to every client’s success

o Innovation that matters, for our company and for the world

o Trust and personal responsibility in all relationships

These statements support the claim of IBMs outward projection on customers and relationships.

Monitor Company is a global group of consultants with expertise in vital areas of leadership and management. They work in business networking, innovation management, market-to-customer, regional competitiveness, and executive development. Monitor appears driven by individual relationships between consultants and clients and individuality appears the norm in internal affairs. From the Monitor Company web site, http://www.monitor.com, we read,

Monitor is structured as a group of companies, each of which aspires to link cutting edge intellectual property with a diverse array of human, technical, and financial assets in the service of helping our clients compete and win in their marketplaces.

Throughout our history, we’ve been blessed with customers who not only found value in our services, but were committed to our success and growth. We benefited immensely from the patience and commitment demonstrated by our early, relationship clients and from the spirit and hard work of colleagues dedicated to building a firm which could offer both highly competitive services and a highly collegial work environment. Our proudest accomplishment remains our ability to attract and retain so many talented individuals, and our highest ongoing priority is sustaining an environment which will continue to attract a diverse pool of accomplished individuals.

Reading the first quote, one can argue Monitor has an outward projection, yet reading the second quote suggests an approach to clients from an inward position.

Diversity Positions

IBM and Monitor are very different organizations but have many similarities. Both companies offer technology services, business consulting, and both are global. With worldwide operations, both have personalities representing international flare. With international flare, both have issues with diversity management.

The IBM stance is that diversity is an investment in the future of customers and the future of business, business development, and business diversification. Diversity did not receive lip service from the top rather it received commitment. The IBM diversity decision came with total buy-in from the top. Discussion of its implementation at IBM comes in future paragraphs.

At Monitor, diversity discussions started from survey results during their tenth anniversary year. The company commissioned a global Definition of Purpose exercise intent to learn Monitor’s “vision of itself as it grew into its second decade” (Grant 1994, pg. 2). The surprise result was how uncomfortable people felt in the homogeneous climate of Monitor. Establishment of diversity programs at monitor launched slowly from bottom up.

Implementation at IBM

Thomas2 wrote of his interview with IBMs Lou Gerstner about IBMs business turnaround in the mid 1990s. IBM had an aggressive human relations and EEO management system in place. What Gerstner discovered is that the equal employment opportunity program attempted to ignore differences rather than maximize them. What Gerstner recognized is the IBM customer base is diverse but leadership in the company did not reflect its customers.

IBM made a “significant philosophical shift” in implementing diversity. The tradition at IBM was to minimize differences. Gerstner and his primary implementation partner, Ted Childs, vice president of Global Workforce Diversity, needed to tell the entire organization that the shift was a strategic goal. To implement the departure from the old position to the new, IBM (Childs) selected Bastille Day, July 14, 1995. According to Childs, Bastille Day was appropriate because of its “historic day of social disruption.

We were looking for some constructive disruption.”

Gerstner and Childs with the assistance of Tom Bouchard, senior vice president of human resources, established eight task forces, each having 15 to 20 senior managers from eight different demographic constituencies. Within specific constituencies, the senior managers gather data on personnel trends, labor trends, and customer market trends. As these teams did their research, they discovered many similarities that became “The Vital Few Issues: Employees’ Biggest Diversity Concerns.” Now the task forces had areas from which they could begin exploring areas for business development.

As these senior managers began to think diversity, they began acting diversity. Within their specific operations, subordinate managers did not ignore these senior managers’ actions. Subordinate managers’ resistance soon shifted to the view that diversity is good for operations. IBM now has “pillars of change” including, demonstrated leadership support, engaged employees as partners, integrated diversity with management practices, and linked diversity goals to business goals

Implementation at Monitor

Monitor Company began to recognize diversity following a ten-year anniversary definition of purpose survey of the organization. Several members of the organization proposed Diversity Mentor Program that met with resistance. Reframing the proposal to as an Advisor Network, the firm’s Diversity Network gave empowerment to proceed. Monitor did not have full commitment at the top to diversity management rather it took a bottom up approach and resistance followed.

A significant event coming through director and senior manager level changed the focus of diversity. Women in these roles began to open up on issues of sexual harassment from clients and internal insensitive comments for co-workers. Kaplan, legal advisor and CFO, had a personal interest in matters of sexual harassment and harassment in general. Using a directors meeting, he expressed his concerns by relating how women in director and senior management roles actually felt, sharing how difficult it was for them to speak out.

Key players in the Advisory Network included Rotenberg, a gay employee with a long history of business success going back to his teens; he is also of Jewish faith. Also, Basden, an African-American noted the lack of minorities when he joined the company. Another is Singh-Molares, of mixed Indian and Hispanic decent. Born in Europe, he grew up in Manhattan where he attended the United Nations International School.

Grant3 writes in her analysis that Basden did not feel that directors understood diversity and that change was not likely. In a quote, Basden related that directors “don’t see the problem, physically don’t see the problem, mentally don’t see the problem.”

Writing of Singh-Molares, she quotes him as saying he sometimes feels different but not uncomfortable. Speaking on behalf of hiring practices, she quotes him that Monitor hires people with the special needs of the company, not hiring someone who will fail. “It doesn’t help [minorities] and it doesn’t help us.”

Another key members discussed by Grant is Martineau, a director, one of the first women hired by Monitor. She became a director in 1991. She felt like she had to be one of the “guys” while being the “first” female director. She explained in a board meeting that she often felt sexually harassed by clients. Further, she explained feeling like others considered women as disabled if they became pregnant. She described gender-hurdles at Monitor as external to the organization.

Firstbrook, is a senior manager, also a woman, and holds an engineering degree. She explained how difficult it is for a woman engineer to get ahead in a male dominated career. She supported Martineau’s position of external pressure relating how men perceive women giving consulting advice.

The Advisory Network had support; however, most consultants felt they would not use it. Rotenberg asked for time allocation for the work of the Advisory Network and received notice to work it as a collateral assignment.

The organization already had Professional Development Advisors for employees that were “formal and institutional.” They felt the Advisory Network should be “informal and personal.”

Armed with a new sensitivity, Fuller, the founding director, accepted the role of diversity as a tool to improve performance at Monitor. He issued a statement that began, “There is not a lot of dissent in our management ranks about whether we ought to be doing [something about diversity]. There is only anxiety…” Fuller, quoted by Grant, commented that because of his position, he feels separated from the rest of the organization and by virtue of is background is not qualified to execute “some of the tactical aspects of managing diversity… What I can do is act as a sounding board and I can as something of a sponsor.”

In the final assessment, Monitor did acquire top-down buy in to diversity management and from previous attempts at bottom-up diversity management, the Diversity Network became a reality with Fuller and Martineau overseeing its implementation.


IBM, from the most senior level, recognized the value of diversity as part of the culture. Further, they recognized their customer base was diverse and internally, they had to reflect their customer base to expand it into new areas and products. IBM became very successful at reinventing itself in its global market. Hoyle4 tells us that a clear-shared vision pulls people into a change process in a way that makes the vision happen. Hoyle shares four principles of persuasion that leaders need to employ in order for visionary change to occur. At IBM, Gerstner had these skills.

1. Identification Principle: Like cause and effect, addresses personal fears, hopes, and desires.

2. Action Principle: Either sponsored or by personal proof of a value of something, people will not buy in.

3. Principle of Familiarity and Trust: Acceptance of ideas comes through those we trust or regard and credible.

4. Clarity Principle: The idea must be clear, not confusing, not open to several interpretations

Monitor, it appears, was unconsciously unaware of the need to manage diversity even when facts began to emerge from its internal Definition of Purpose survey. Applying the four points above to Monitor, one concludes it was not prepared to take steps until reality from senior managers and directors manifested themselves in a directors meeting. Maxwell5 writes that leaders need to slow down, work at the pace of the organization, and be involved and engaged in dialogue at all levels. Fuller admitted feeling separated from the organization by position, although admitting he felt bad about that.

The title of this paper asks what we can learn. Organizational culture has formal and informal processes that link values and beliefs. IBM and Monitor possess both these links. Entering either company, a new recruit begins a socialization process and builds informal relationships while becoming more comfortable in their roles. Finally, over time, people naturally tend to one role or another that serve the organization in some formal or informal way6.

IBM learned the value of diversity linkage is economic. Improving their organizational population diversity opened new way of think about and serving a diverse customer population. Monitor learned that although it has highly motivated people in a good work environment, they needed to explore their vision of diversity. Emerging leaders often had differing views of what diversity meant. It became apparent that proponents of different advisory groups needed to link their resources for the greater personal and organizational good.

Another view of the two organizations is the value placed on individuals and groups. IBM operates in a manner that supports teamwork and group effort to accomplish goals. Monitor has an individual consultant/client operation valuing the effort of the consultant in a relationship to satisfy client needs. Observation of the diversity climate at IBM versus Monitor is an example of open climate versus closed. IBM projects outward to identify diversity needs and Monitor projects inward.


IBM improved its heterogeneity and improved its economic bottom line. Monitor seems to remain more homogenous yet sensitive to diversity of its population seeking to recruit more people from different backgrounds. In both cases, the organizations recognize equal employment opportunity and diversity do not ignore differences. Instead, they champion differences. IBM is more successful at maximizing them.

IBM, with its much larger reach in the global community learned the strength of diversity to cast light on customers and cast light internally. The IBM business commitment did not change because of diversity; rather it embraced other truths and other traditions to improve business. Monitor, intentionally or unintentionally, cast shadows on diversity; they seemed insecure with it or feared it, they denied it to themselves giving it evil properties. Their final acceptance of it came only after most senior members made it an open issue.7

In diversity and globalization, it is important to acknowledge the two sides of human nature. Confucius said, “Human beings draw close to one another by their common nature, but habits and customs keep them apart.”

A Brief Introduction to Wedding Dress Styles

Every woman in the world wants to look fabulous on her big day. This needs great efforts to achieve the effect. One of the most important aspects is the wedding dress. Today I’ll going to introduce the major wedding dress styles and help you to choose the wedding dress style which flatters your body most.

Generally speaking, there are five major bridal dress styles in terms of the silhouette of a dress. They are A-line/Princess, Empire, Mermaid/Fishtail, Ball Gown, and Column.

A-line or Princess line dress can be called the most ideal and most populous one because it almost suits every one. The A-line dress is characterized by a shape that is fitted around the bodice and flows out to the ground with the outline of uppercase A. This kind of dress can slimmer your waist and flatter your bust. Due to its classic and simple style, the A-line dress can be worn in any occasion, varying from a quite backyard, a traditional church ceremony to a beach wedding ceremony. In a word, A-line dress is pretty versatile, you can stand out your strong points of body or hide those of which you are not so pound by add simple modifications to neckline, waistline or fabric etc.

An empire dress features a shape with a raised waistline and a virtually straight line past the hips. It is especially appropriately for those bridals have a small bust or a broad waist. Like the A-line, the empire dress is also very versatile. The sleeve on an empire dress ranges in length from a long, bell sleeves for a chilly winter wedding to a sleek, sleeveless terrific design for an outdoor summer ceremony. Light fabrics such as chiffon, silk contribute to a graceful and romantic effect.

A column dress, also referred as a sheath, is fitted with a straight skirt. It tends to hug the body so that it shows all curves. There are many ways to change the overall look of a column dress. Different necklines, sleeve length, skirts length and fabrics can give a totally fresh look of the dress. A willowy bridal bride, tall or short, in a column dress is definitely the focus of the wedding. Due to its design, a column dress is not a good choice for those plump bridals. Besides, the bride in a column dress may have constrictions on your movement such as sit and dance.

The ball gown has a full skirt and is most suitable for a large and traditional. Trains are perfect with the ball gown, both cathedral length train and brush lent train. A ball gown can flatter your from head to toe if you have a full bust and a small hip. But for those petite bridals, it not wise to wear a ball gown dress because it make you smaller and seem to disappear into skirt. Anyway, the A-line is a better choice for petite bride.

A mermaid dress, also known as hourglass, is tightly fitted to the body from chest to knee. This is a pretty sexy look which highlights the curves of a woman. So bridals need to be very confident to their figures and be sure that you are comfortable to sit and walk in a mermaid dress. What’s more, brides also need to pay attention to the under wears beneath the dress for it’s likely to reveal the outline of under wears, which makes brides come to an embarrassing situation.

After you have a general idea about the dress styles in terms of silhouette, it is much easier to pick the perfect dress on your big day.

Innovative Uses of Door Mats

Door mats characterize homes and have been a part of households since ages. Choosing the right door mat is equally important as well. Keep in mind the territory that you live in while choosing a door mat. Ranches and farms are the best places to invite dirt and mud into your homes than urban dwellings. Countryside roads do not have pavements or sidewalks hence it becomes really messy when it rains. You door mat should be a perfect balance of beauty and usefulness because there is no need to have a mat that looks great to have but does not work well in keeping the dirt away from your dwellings. So what are the uses of door mats? Let’s have a look.

Usually doormats are placed on the steps and are the first things that people come across while on their way to their homes. The main aim of door mats is to emphasize the beauty of the home as well as prevent any kind of dust or dirt from entering. Several respiratory diseases like sore throat, asthma etc, are caused due to impure air. Moreover virus, bacteria and fungi that float in the air enter through the dust particles that gain entry into our homes. A good mat at your door can drastically reduce the chance of these kinds of allergens from entering your home.

Choosing the right kinds of mats can also prove to be a great money saver. People suffering from respiratory symptoms have to spend a lot of money on their cures. Visits to the doctors, medicines and even appliances like air purifiers and de-humidifiers cost you a lot of money. You can save yourself from the wrath of such unnecessary expenditures just by taking some simple preclusive steps to deter the amount of dust from entering your home and perhaps the cheapest ways to do this is to invest in a good quality doormat.

Good quality doormats save you the time that you expend in cleaning up your house. It is a proven fact that tidying up your home can take up a lot of your valuable time. Be it vacuuming your house or mopping and scrubbing, these can be arduous tasks and costly as well because detergents can cost you a lot of money. Bigger houses can make matters even worse, especially when home owners are unable to clean up the house themselves and have to hire up cleaning agencies. This tends to append your house cleaning expenditure thus adding to your woes. Summing it all up a good quality doormat can work wonders for your home and save you money at the same time.

Cork Flooring Vs Carpet – Which Is Better?

When it comes to choosing the right flooring solution for your household it can be a daunting task. There are some many different types of flooring it can make your head spin. Generally, most people end up going with carpet in rooms such as the living room and bedrooms. However, we’d like to compare another flooring solution to carpet, and it’s called cork flooring. This short article is going to compare these two flooring solutions and help you the consumers decide which will be better.

First, you’d assume that carpet with padding would be the most comfortable solution. Actually, cork is quite comfortable; this is due to its cellular structure. Cork material actually has hundreds of millions of honey comb like structures. These structures contain up to 90% gas and provide comfort to anyone standing or laying on them. These also help insulate; meaning temperatures will be easier to maintain and also allow some sound reduction.

Second, carpet isn’t anywhere near as durable as cork. Carpet can easily be damaged and stained and will show wear and tear after a few short years. However, the same cellular structure of cork that we talked about earlier actually makes it very durable. Cork can survive daily and high traffic use. In fact, cork can actually be compressed over 40% and return to its normal shape without damage; just think of a cork stopper in a wine bottle, it’s the same effect.

Third, carpet is terrible if you have pets. It can trap pet hair and dander and make it hell for someone who has allergies to pets. However, cork flooring does the exact opposite. Cork is proven to be anti-allergenic and makes it quite simple to clean up pet hair and dander with a simple broom and vacuum. Trust me, you’re friends with pet allergies will be grateful that you got a flooring solution that doesn’t drive their allergies nuts when they come over.

However, cork floors due tend to cost more than carpeting, this is due to the fact that carpet is widely available and cheap to manufacture. But, unknown to most consumers cork flooring is actually an eco-friendly product and sustainable natural renewable resource. This sadly is the reason cork costs more than carpeting; it can only be obtain from the cork oak tree that is located only in parts of Africa and the Mediterranean area. Plus, vendors always tend to charge more for so called green products, since certain customers will only buy green products.

Either way you look at it both carpet and cork floors have their own pros and cons. Hopefully this article gave you a basic idea on which solution might be best for you. If you’d like to learn more about cork flooring then visit the links below. They will help educate you more on this amazing flooring product and further consolidate your choice on what’s best for your household. So, if you’re ready to learn more then click on the links below.

Tips For Choosing Runner Rugs For A Hallway

Hallways are a part of the home. Many homeowners decorate their hallways, but others tend to leave it bare. Actually a really simple way to dress up your hallways at home is by using a floor rug that is just the right size and shape for a narrow area such as this. What you need are runner rugs. How can you get the best sized runner rugs for hallway areas at home?

In order for you to get the best sized runner, there is a simple trick or rule of thumb that you can follow. This trick will make sure that you not only get the best length for your hallway, but also the best width. By following this simple method, you will be able to get runners that frame your hallway perfectly.

First of all, you need a tape measure and a pen and a piece of paper for some easy calculating and for noting down the best length and width that you need. Now, measure the area of your hallway. Get the exact width and length. From here you can do the simple math. From the width of your hallway, subtract 4 inches. So if your hallway is about 40 inches wide, your perfect runner width would be about 36 inches. This will give you a nice 2 inches of space form the runner to your wall on both sides.

The same applies for the length, although you may need to subtract more inches here. From the length of your hallway subtract 22 inches. What this will do is give you a nice 11 inch of space at each end of your runner. The space between the runner and the wall will give it a nice framing effect. It will also ensure that the runner does not overwhelm the hallway area.

The above rule of thumb will give you perfectly sized runner rugs for hallway areas at home, no matter how big or small your hallway is.

Carpet Stretching – All You Need to Know (To Not Do It Yourself)

Why Carpet Stretching is necessary:

Carpet stretching is, generally, done in two different situations: During the initial installation and for a carpet repair. The initial stretch, during installation, ensures that the carpet is taught, secure, and even across the entire floor covering. Taught carpet will stay in place and stay smooth and flat to the floor where it belongs.

What causes carpets to ripple or buckle:

  • Poor installation: The carpet may have been improperly installed. In most cases of a bad installation the installer didn’t use a power stretcher properly or at all.
  • Excessive wear due to traffic: Sometimes a carpet will need to be re-stretched because of wheelchairs, walkers, tricycles, etc. Even when installed to perfection it can become loose from excessive wear.
  • Sliding heavy furniture: Carpet is made of layers of fabric. When heavy furniture slides across the carpet it’s likely that it will cause rippling.
  • Latex: if the latex holding the backing together deteriorates it’s called delamination, the carpet essentially loses its grip on itself, resulting in buckling and loss of fiber.
  • Improper padding for carpet type. Certain pile types require specific padding types; if these are paired improperly, the right amount of grip and support may not be present, resulting in carpet buckles. Make sure you consult a trained professional or manufacturer’s guide when purchasing carpet so you get the right padding to accompany it.

If your Carpet is Rippling:

(to stretch or not to stretch)

If you have carpet that looks more like the ocean than a flat carpet, you may have a problem. As soon as it begins to loosen up and become rippled, it wears faster. The bigger the ripples, the faster the ripples grow. This is because carpet is designed to lay flat and not move at all. When you walk on carpet ripples it causes the carpet to move up and down, further loosening it.

If your carpet is loose it’s time to take action. In most cases, carpet stretching can fix the ripples and buckles, and there’s no need to waste money replacing the carpet because of how it lays.

Carpet stretching is a common type of carpet repair that essentially involves pulling the carpet up from around one or more edges of the room, re-stretching it to proper tightness, cutting the carpet to the proper length, tacking back down into place and finally tucking it in along the edge.

Like any type of carpet repair, stretching carpet is more involved than it seems to be. Stretching carpet isn’t just a matter of smoothing out ripples and re-securing, or pulling at the edges by hand as you would a bed sheet. Carpet stretching comes with its own tools and techniques that help you do the job right.

Essential Carpet Stretching Tools

A professional who repairs carpet for a living will have all of these tools on hand. If you decide to try and stretch carpet yourself, most or all of these tools should be available for rental or purchase at a relatively reasonable price. Even contracting out your carpet stretching is far more cost-effective than replacing the carpet, so either way, these tools, in your hands or someone else’s, save you quite a bit of money.

Partial list

  • Knee stretcher. A knee stretcher, also known as a kicker, is a special tool that has a grip on one end, to attach to the carpet, and a pad on the other end, for you to ‘kick’ with your quadriceps, (do not kick with your knee!
  • Power carpet stretcher. In the trade we usually call this too our stretcher. The stretcher is the most important tool for stretching carpet. It’s specially designed to adjust to any size room and help stretch carpet much more effectively than anyone could do by hand (or by knee). A power carpet stretcher features a very long pole with a carpet grip on one end, a wall brace on the other, and a handle lever in the middle. Don’t even try to stretch a carpet without one. This is the most expensive tool most of us carpet people have.
  • Carpet or slotted blade knife. Involved in almost every carpet repair task you can imagine, a good carpet knife will never let you down. In the case of carpet stretching, the knife is used to trim excess carpet from the edge after it’s been pulled tight.
  • Staple gun. An industrial carpet staple gun isn’t a regular staple gun. The staples are far narrower so that they fit between the nap. Carpet staple guns aren’t always necessary for carpet stretching, but it’s good to have on hand just to make sure. Because a properly stretched carpet is pretty tight, the tack strip alone may not hold it down satisfactorily, in which case the staple gun eliminates any doubt.
  • Stair tool. A chisel like tool used for tucking carpet in after cutting it to the right size.
  • Awl. Looks like an ice pick, used to dis-attach carpet from the tack strip
  • Hammer.

Carpet Stretching: Do Your Homework First

It’s important to keep a few other things in mind when your carpet repair task is to stretch carpet.

Just as carpet manufacturers specify the appropriate padding type for individual carpet types, so they also specify appropriate carpet stretching methods and amounts. What’s right for some types may not be appropriate for others. For example, tufted carpet with a jute fiber backing needs to be a bit tighter than tufted fiber with a synthetic fiber backing. And some woven carpets will stretch in one direction but not the other. Consult manufacturer instructions or a carpet repair specialist so you have all the facts before you get started. After all, knowing what you’re working with is just as important as knowing what you’re doing.

The following is an over-simplified tutorial. If you don’t already know what you’re doing then you will be better off just hiring a pro. If you decide that you want to tackle stretching your own carpet I suggest that you take your time, use your head, keep your blades sharp, don’t try to just kick it tight with a knee kicker and most of all be careful.

Carpet Stretching Technique

The first step is to empty the room of furniture. If you really know what you’re doing then you can probably work around some furniture but if you’re a novice I suggest that you do yourself a favor and empty the room.

Determine which direction the carpet needs to be pulled. In most cases the carpet only needs to be pulled one direction.

Remove any metal strips that will be in the way. Some flat metal strips need to have nails removed. Another type of metal strip is called a clamp down metal. To free the carpet from the clamp down metal, pry it open (just a little bit) with a flat chisel or a stair tool. There are too many different types of metal strips to describe here so you’ll just have to figure it out.

Use an awl to lift the edge of the carpet. Go to a corner of the room and poke the awl right through the carpet about 6″ from the wall. From here you will be able to pull the carpet up. If you don’t have an awl you can probably use a pair of pliers.

Now it’s time to unpack the carpet stretcher. Set it up so that the foot end is up against the baseboard and the head is a few inches from the wall that you are stretching towards. The power stretcher is more than strong enough to rip carpet so be careful to only stretch the carpet just enough to remove the wrinkles (and maybe just a little bit more). Over stretching carpet isn’t a good idea because you will create ripples going the other direction. So again, only stretch the carpet as much as you need to in order to remover the ripples.

Use the kicker to make small adjustments.

Start at the center of the room and stretch the carpet at a slight angle towards the corners. Each time you push on the handle of the power stretcher you will pull the carpet.

Cut the carpet from the back using the slotted blade knife. You should cut it so that it is still going to belong enough to tuck into the groove between the tack strip and the wall. If you cut the carpet a little bit too short, you can probably stretch it a little bit more. If you cut it too long to tuck it in properly, then just cut some more.

Before moving on to the next area, push the carpet into the nails that stick out of the tack strip. If the carpet is hard to get it to stick to the tack strip then use the carpet staple gun.

If you use the staple gun, be sure to get the point of the gun down between the nap so that you are only stapling the backing to the tack strip and not stapling the nap down. Continue across the room stretching, cutting, tacking and tucking. Replace any metal transitions and viola!

15 Acne Scar Home Remedy Treatments

Acne scars are the marks which are left after the acne has occurred. These are more often occurred on the face and are a major problem for both men and women. There are various treatments for removing acne scars such as collagen injections, dermabrasion and laser treatment.

These treatments are very painful and expensive that one cannot afford so there are number of home remedies available for both men and women to get rid of acne scars and they are:-

  1. Make a sandalwood paste and add rose water or milk into it and apply on the acne scars. Keep it whole night and wash it with cold water in the morning.
  2. Cucumber juice can be applied on the face and wash it after 15 minutes as it will tighten the pores.
  3. Make a paste of sandalwood powder and black gram dal and apply on the acne scars, keep this the whole night and wash it with the cold water in the morning.
  4. Tomato can be rubbed on the scars and leave it for 15 minutes. This will reduce open pores and blackheads and good for oily skin.
  5. Ice cubes can be rubbed on the face for 10-15 minutes.
  6. An egg yolk can be applied on the scars and leave it for whole night or 20 minutes.
  7. Turmeric paste mixed with chana dal powder or wheat flour is the effective home remedy for removing scars. Haldi powder mixed with sugarcane juice can be applied on the scars to remove it.
  8. Multani Mitti Powder mixed with honey, carrot juice and garlic and make it a paste and apply on the acne scars for 20 minutes and wash it with luke warm water.
  9. The milky juice of unripe papaya can be applied on the scars.
  10. Lemon juice mixed with rose water can be applied on the scars for half an hour and wash it with fresh water.
  11. Garlic juice with three parts of water can be applied on the face to clear the spots, boils and scars.
  12. Toothpaste or Calamine lotion can be applied on the scars before going to bed.
  13. The lime juice mixed with milk and glycerine is an excellent home remedy for removing acne scars and black heads.
  14. Groundnut oil mixed with the lime juice can be applied daily on the acne scars.
  15. Vitamin E oil and various face washes can be applied on the acne scars.

One can apply these home remedies on the acne scars as these remedies are cheaper and safer and most effective natural treatment that cannot cause any harm to the person.

Come and read some of out whey protein shakes articles. The real way to stay healthy is through a quality diet and supplement plan. Find out more now.

Cabinet Protection Saves Builders Money

Of all the fixtures installed in a home or business during remodeling, wood cabinets are one of the most expensive. Because these cabinets can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, builders must be very careful to prevent surface damage which can occur from dropped tools, paint splatters, and other construction accidents. Stained wood cabinets can be manufactured from both soft and hard woods with varying degrees of durability however all wood cabinets can be scratched. Using temporary surface protection to protect fine cabinetry and millwork can save residential builders, commercial builders and remodelers thousands of dollars in replacement and repair costs.

There are several types of cabinet protection currently available. Cardboard protection with tape or plastic fasteners is designed to protect cabinets during transport and construction and is made from fluted cardboard. This type of cabinet protection is not ideal for protecting cabinets that have already been installed, as it is not resistant to liquids and tends to need reattachment during longer periods of use. Also, the cardboard cabinet protection is heavy and expensive to ship.

Adhesive Films are also available through a few select vendors. These thin, 2.0 mil films are applied by rolling out the film and then providing surface pressure to hold the film in place on the cabinet. In addition to easy installation, these films also provide some degree of scratch protection. Unfortunately, these films do not have a good reputation in the industry as they are noted for leaving adhesive residue on cabinetry and have been largely discontinued. Adhesive residue can be extremely difficult to remove and obviously results in low customer satisfaction ratings.

Adhesive foam protection is another option for protecting fine cabinetry and millwork. The impact-resistant polyethylene foam protects against dings, scratches, and even some dents caused from construction activities. It provides easy installation as it is also applied by applying pressure to the adhesive side and rolling out the foam. It is commonly sized at 30″ and offers perforations every 12 inches so that no cutting is necessary. Although this method of protection is more expensive than other methods, it offers the highest rating in customer satisfaction.

Although there are pros and cons for each of these temporary surface protection methods, protecting newly installed cabinets is ultimately less expensive than leaving them unprotected. To learn more about your options for protecting fine cabinetry and millwork, contact your local surface protection experts.

DIY Decorative Twine Balls

Make your own Decorative Twine Ball

I saw this craft idea on The Nate Berkus Show last week and decided to give it a try. Here are all the things that you need:

The project is a bit messy but it is just white glue so it cleans up easily.



~Ball of Twine or Jute or String

~White Glue mixed with equal parts Water

~A bowl or plate to hold the Glue

I mixed the glue and water with a whisk. Then I cut off a large piece of string- I didn’t measure- I prefer trial and error to actual mathematical calculations!

I dropped the twine into the glue and water and let it soak for a minute or two.

Then comes the messy part. I used a plastic cutting board to contain the drips and started wrapping the wet twine all over the balloon. The twine tended to slip and slide but I kept wrapping it and tried to cover the balloon evenly.

I set it down on the cutting board and let is dry a bit. I picked it up and cleaned the glue off the cutting board several times. Once it had stopped dripping I set it on a glass overnight so it would continue to harden.

In the morning- I broke the balloon and was left with this ball. Okay so now what? You may be asking. Good question!

These can be stacked in a wooden bowl or on a tray. They can be covered in glitter or painted. Make a variety of sizes and use them as sculptures or hang them like paper lanterns or use them in your Wedding Centrepieces.

The same technique would work with lace, string, jute, raffia, yarn or thread. Experiment with different materials and stack them all together for an interesting look.

Aortic Valve Stenosis – Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Aortic stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the aortic valve, mainly because of congenital causes, age related degeneration and scarring due to rheumatic fever. This results in hypertrophy of the heart muscles, gradually resulting in a decrease in cardiac output and heart failure. Chest pain, fainting and breathlessness are common symptoms of this condition. In a majority of the patients, dilatation of the valve or surgical valve replacement is the only viable option.

Ayurvedic treatment of aortic valve stenosis is initially aimed at reducing the immediate symptoms of the condition. Medicines like Yograj-Guggulu, Triphala-Guggulu, Medohar- Guggulu and Trayodashang-Guggulu are used to reduce the strain on the heart muscles. Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Gokshuradi-Guggulu and Punarnavadi-Qadha are used to reduce the work load on the heart.

Medicines like Laxmi-Vilas-Ras, Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) and Abhrak-Bhasma are used to strengthen the heart. Laxadi-Guggulu and Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu are used to improve the function of the aortic valve. In addition, medicines acting on the’Rakta’ and ‘Mansa’ dhatus (tissues) of the body are also very useful for this condition. These medicines include Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Patha ( Cissampelos pareira), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Triphala (Three fruits), Nimba (Azadirachta indica) and Kutaj (Holarrhina antidysentrica).

Ayurvedic treatment, taken for a long duration, can reduce the symptoms of this condition and prolong the survival of affected individuals. While this treatment is mostly indicated for patients who cannot resort to surgical procedures, it is also very useful in the pre-operative and post-operative stages. Ayurvedic medicines can be taken in addition to standard therapy given for this condition.

Muscles Only Relax When the Brain Says So

 What is a knot? A knot is when the sufferer feels tension, and reaching his hand to touch the spot, he feels a raised lump of muscle.

What is the lump made of? If he rubs it back and forth, it feels crunchy, as if there were some substance in there. This crunching has lead many to guess that there are “calcium crystals” in there. When this image is believed, clearly the way to cure the knot would be to “break up the crystals.” This requires “stripping,” “breaking,” and generally mechanical forces from outside the body to “tenderize” the meat of the muscles, like one of those wooden mallets used by thrifty cooks to tenderize cheaper cuts of beef. Of course, after mechanical force is applied from outside, he feels sore the next day. This is why he is advised to “drink lots of water.” But what if a knot is not made of crunchy crystals?

I believe a knot is nothing but smooth muscle, raised to a wrinkle because it is pulling so hard. It is like rope that you twist and twist, until finally the fibers kink in the middle.

Why do I think this? Any muscle will soften in seconds when the person’s brain changes its mind. After thirty seconds of softening, when I rub the muscle back and forth, there is no more crunching. If there were crystals there, where did they go? If nobody broke any crystals, how did they soften?

If instead, knots are only muscle fibers kinked from tension, then when the brain stops signaling it to “pull”, the kink naturally flattens out without any mechanical force from outside.

The nice thing about relaxing muscles from within, is that there will be no soreness afterward. There will be soreness after “crystal breaking” or any mechanical force intended to break something in the muscle. When you intend to break something, something will break! Soreness includes bruising of the skin, bruising of the muscle, and little bits of broken muscle fiber. Of course you need to drink more water for a few days that the immune system needs to clean up the broken fibers and heal the bruises. On the other hand, when muscles relax from within, there is no need to drink more water because nothing was broken.

How do muscles relax?

Muscles respond only to brain decisions. (Well, that’s mostly true. There are mini-brains in the spine that can also signal muscles to contract or relax temporarily. But after the spinal reflex is finished, the muscle will return to the last instructions the brain gave.) Muscles relax for good only when the brain commands them to relax.

In the absence of new signals from the brain, muscles will continue to do as they were doing. Muscles will actively contract (or “guard”), day and night, even after death, if this was the last command heard from the brain. (for this reason, animals who know they are about to be killed tense up, and the meat–which is only muscle–will still be contracting when it gets to your plate, you’ll be eating millions of “tense up” molecular messengers sent from the animal’s last thoughts to its muscles.)

We need to figure out what the brain wants, so that it will choose to relax.

Here is what does not work: Lengthening muscles by force. The brain knows that force is being used and so it will subconsciously choose to relent temporarily, returning to its previous tension settings by the time the person wakes the next morning. Worse, the brain now subconsciously mistrusts whomever used force to overcome its guard.

How To Invoke The Brain To Relax The Body

If we want the brain to freely choose relaxation, then it cannot be forced to change.

Instead of forcing change, why not agree with the brain? When you find you can’t rotate your head to the left, don’t force it! Turn your head to the easy way. Contract lightly in the directions of comfort for about twenty seconds then gradually let it return to neutral. Do this a few times a day. If your body wants to go into a curled or bent position when you sleep, allow the body to go where it wants and help it. Get into a pool and let the body bend and curl in any direction it wants.

When it feels it has been heard, the brain feels honored that someone has taken the time to listen without judging the guarding as bad. It feels supported that someone is on its side and actually wants to assist its plan.

How Does It Work?

Once the brain sees that its limbs, joints and muscles are in the fullest contortion of guarding, (something happens within and) the guarding releases like magic. What happened? Maybe the brain has a sense of humor and needed to see how silly the guarding really looked when it was allowed to do what it planned. Maybe the most guarded position is a secret key that unlocks the double-lock vault where the tension was originally stored. Maybe it is just a playful time that allows the brain and body to lighten up. Maybe the symbolism of guarding as far as one can go, wears out the original command and it simply runs out of steam. Probably all of the above and more reasons too.

The Importance Of Immediate Feedback

Every muscle treatment I give, I ask the person, “Hey this muscle is softening, do you feel it?” Before the question, her brain had monitored relaxation only subconsciously. When a person has enough experiences noticing her own muscles relax, she gains conscious influence over her own muscle tension. Soon enough, she no longer needs outside assistance from a massage therapist, she can relax her own muscles from within, all by herself.

Complaints That Benefit From Invoking Brain To Relax Muscles

(please understand I am not a Doctor, I am not licensed to diagnose, and I am not saying that any disease would be “cured.”) Relaxation From Within Helps With:

  • Aging (triggers PNS parasympathetic nervous system) gives back years of quality living, healthier skin, nails, hair, better digestion, lower heart rate, better blood pressure, lower anxiety, deeper breathing, etc.

  • Asthma, Allergies, Histamine Reactions, Chemical Sensitivity, Hyper Sensitivities

  • Athletes: those specific cramps at mile 22, low back pain for black belts (psoas muscle), Tendinitis (relax the muscle attached to that tendon), Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow, etc.

  • Atlas and Axis: by relaxing obliquus inferior and superior muscles that were jamming these two joints

  • Brain: TBI brain injury, Stroke, MS, ALS, Encephalitis, Lyme, etc. (by boosting brain-muscle communication, intra-brain communication is enhanced)

  • Dancers (psoas)

  • Emotional Release (release not in outbursts, but gradually and constantly leaks away, a gentle rivulet of release), PTSD, “Shell Shock,” automobile accident trauma, major surgery (traumatization can reside for decades after anesthesia and surgery), past life trauma (encapsulated in pearl gray capsules in the hippocampus and medulla oblongata, regulated by the centrum and the cerebellum)

  • Fatigue, CFS, Fibromyalgia, Candida, etc. (reducing muscle tension without the next-day soreness, ends the pain-spasm-pain loop)

  • Hip Rotators and Shoulder Rotator Cuff (tendons heal faster when no longer under tension from muscles)

  • Irritable Bowel or Poor Digestion (colon has spiral muscles that need to relax to move the food smoothly and effectively)

  • I-T band (which is the common tendon of the Tensor Fascia Latte and Gluteus Maximus muscles)

  • Job-Related Injuries, Stress, Overuse Injuries, Tendinitis, Carpal Tunnel (more likely wrist extensors), Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, tingling in the fingers, numbness, (pectoralis minor, scalenes, atlanto/axial joint, subscapularis), Sciatica, Bursitis, pain down the leg, numbness or tingling in the foot (piriformis, pectineus, TFL) (muscle tension restricts vein, artery and nerve flow)

  • Low Back Pain: (relax the lumbar sidebenders and psoas)

  • Lumbar Rotation, sometimes diagnosed as rotoscoleosis: (tight psoas muscle can rotate lumbar spine)

  • Type “A” personality, SNS (sympathetic nervous system) always on, “Fight Or Flight,” Adrenaline Junkie, High Blood Pressure, Hypertension, Cold Hands and Feet, Sweaty Palms, Anxiety, Tongue Tied, Butterflies In Stomach, etc.

  • Yoga Practitioners and Teachers: overstretching injuries, low back pain (psoas,) loss of hip medial rotation (piriformis too tight, TFL too weak)

We live in a generation of dramatic change. Force never really worked well. We never really needed to depend on an Authority Of Healing to fix our knots, kinks, and ailments. It is time to use the gifts within.

Real Stone Thin Veneer Labor Numbers and the Speed of the Job – Mason and Customer Perspectives

From just a glance at the title, one might think that what is good for the mason is contrary, or in conflict, with what is good for the customer. In this article I am going to try to rationalize why that is NOT true – why the Win for One party is NOT the Loss for the Other party.

In reality, the dynamics in the entire market of real stone and real stone thin veneer have changed, and life can be a win – win for all involved.

Here’s what I’m talking about…

First of all, it’s hard for me to understand why the cost of labor to install real stone thin veneer would be any different than the cost to lay manufactured stone thin veneer (but there seems to be some margin). If you break manufactured stone to make it fit you have a problem hiding the chopped off end; whereas if you trim real stone thin veneer you don’t have that problem. The guys that are good at it tell me they can lay an equivalent amount of either real or fake stone thin veneer in a day. The only thing I can think of is that some contractors may charge more to lay real stone thin veneer because of the “perceived value” of the final job. Obviously, real stone thin veneer (especially high quality; with natural tops, bottoms and ends) will look like a full bed depth job in real stone. There’s no comparison between that look and fake. Since customers generally pay a little more for real stone thin veneer than fake, I’m guessing some contractors will try to get whatever the market will bear. My prediction is that when the amount of people accustomed to and experienced in laying real stone thin veneer, becomes equal to the amount of people experienced in laying fake, I think we will definitely see the labor rates come down.

I believe a lot of this has to do with just understanding reality and mostly boils down to education. What needs to take place is a paradigm shift in people’s thinking. Once experienced masons are enlightened that the philosophy that I am trying to impart upon them is a win / win / win / win situation, I am hoping a light bulb will turn on and we’ll all live happily ever after.

Here’s what I’m talking about in true numbers. The day your average mason realizes the following facts and converts the numbers into acceptable logic we will see labor rates fall.

Installation time for real stone thin veneer is just about the same as it is for manufactured (fake) stone thin veneer.

The average mason can lay approximately (4) times as much thin veneer in a day as full bed depth stone. Normally this equates to 160 feet per day versus 40. As a side benefit, the customer is elated that the “mess” of labor is at his home or place of business is only there for 1/4 of the old time-frame.

Logic has it that if a masonry installer wanted to make the exact same amount of money per day installing thin veneer versus what he used to earn installing full bed depth ledge, that he could (should) charge ¼ of the price.

Just a little deeper: If one mason laid 40 sq. ft. of real stone full bed depth ledge in one day and charged $25 per sq. ft. the labor bill for the day would be $1,000.

In the same vein, if that same mason laid (4) times as much thin veneer in a day (real or fake), and charged ¼ of his normal rate, or $6.25 per sq. ft. for labor, his labor bill for the day would be the same $1,000.

If $1,000 per day was acceptable earnings for installing full bed, why wouldn’t $1,000 per day be acceptable for installing thin veneer? And, why should there be any difference between whether the thin veneer was real stone or fake stone? The question is just like why would a painter charge differently to paint with green paint versus to paint with red paint?

The mason wants more?: charge 1/3 of old rate, $8.33 per sq. ft. and earn $1,332.80 for the days’ labor.

As a disclaimer: the above numbers are just for illustration purposes. Labor rates are diverse across America and certain places cost more than others because of many factors.

Also, I’m the first to agree and say that all masons are not created equally, and you get more or less what you pay for. The final look of the job depends upon the installer – not the stone, not the architect, and not the person paying the bill. The three later variables and parties can have all good intentions, but the same stone will look different depending upon the expertise of the installer.

Just like I am trying to share my thoughts and knowledge, I think if stone quarriers, stone fabricators, stone wholesalers and stone retailers work together, we can teach people in the installation trade how to better analyze this equation as well.

First, they need to understand, accept and be pleased with the logic of the numbers. Carefully stated, it’s easy, not offensive. Hopefully I’m accomplishing that goal here because I have a goal for this message to be read by that group. The group (masons and thin veneer installers) is important to the very essence to what I do for a living. Even though some “do it yourselfers” will install real stone thin veneer, the majority of the work is still being done by professionals.

Second, they need to know how to actually install real stone thin veneer. I envision “How to” classes by the stone yards who take the lead to be instrumental. Anything well understood is perceived easier to do, and is in reality, easier to do.

Third, everyone needs to understand the concept of everyone winning.

I want the mason to understand he is winning. He will earn just as much money, or more, installing real stone thin veneer, as anything else he does.

I want the mason to understand that if he is running a crew, that his crew can do more jobs in a year because each job is going 2 – 4 times as fast. This actually means that his company could double, triple or quadruple gross revenues. This logic is equal for the installer running solo.

I want the mason to realize and remember that he’ll get more jobs if his rates are more reasonable. The cost of the job is materials plus labor. When labor decreases the total cost of the job decreases. The less the total cost of the job – the more jobs that will be done because of the larger number of people that will be able to afford to have the work contracted. With budgets being tighter than ever, a larger number of potential customers is obviously a big plus in today’s economy.

The quadruple win?

The ultimate consumer is paying less and getting more value for his expenditure, and more customers are getting stonework.

Positive “word of mouth” advertising is created – the best type! The mason is actually earning more money than he did before.

With more jobs being done, the Stone Yards and Building Material companies are selling more thin veneer to their contractor customers.

And my selfish reason for educating – we, the quarrier and fabricator will sell more stone to our dealers.

If the current work pool of masonry contractors does not understand nor embrace my philosophy (and the philosophy shared by many piers that I respect), then my prediction is that, we, as a group, will be teaching a new group of people to install.

I believe that “if installers of real stone thin veneer do not become more competitive, other people will enter the labor market, learn their trade and take their business away.” People move towards jobs. Therefore, if masons in premium markets do not catch on, I warn – watch out!

Build with real stone and build forever…

There is no doubt that the market is moving from a tolerance for fake stone to a preference for real stone. Further, my contention is that some people, like tile setters for example, will learn the trade and lay real stone thin veneer for less money than the guys that are controlling the market today. Additionally, with the weaknesses in the economy, and the desperation of other tradesmen, maybe several other types of contractors will look at laying real stone thin veneer at a $5- $10 per foot rate and be happy with the money they are making.

This is all positive news, if you didn’t receive that feeling from your first read of this article…read it again! (please)