The difference between cast and malleable iron

The owners of Architectural Ironmongery Ltd would like to explain the difference between malleable iron and cast iron ironmongery. The products we sell from Kirkpatrick are all malleable. We feel that we need to explain this due to the cheaper cast iron products that are now are arriving in the country, many of which are identical in size, shape and general appearance. The difference is that cast iron will break. The name Kirkpatrick Ltd has been synonymous with the production of high quality malleable iron builders's ironmongery for over 140 years.

We keep an extensive range of their Black Antique and Plain Gothic styles at our shop in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, all available by mail order. Kirkpatrick's malleable iron products are hand-made in the their foundry in Walsall using greensand casting process. At this stage the castings are hard and brittle and cannot be hammered, so they are subjected to a heat treatment known as 'annealing'. In this process the castings are surrounded by an inert haematite ore within iron drums and loaded into ovens of six to eight tons capacity. The ovens take about two days to reach the annealing temperatue of 980 C. The castings are then soaked at this temperature for around 80 hours, after which they are allowed to cool naturally.

During this process the carbon structure of the iron is changed. The resulting castings are no longer hard and brittle, but soft and malleable. After shot blasting and grinding to remove any rough edges the castings are then assembled into finished or semi-finished products. Following assembly a rust proofing finish may be applied and a two-coat paint process is carried out, before being passed for final inspection.

By choosing Kirpatrick malleable iron products you can be confident that you are getting a product which is both functional and highly decorative and one that, well maintained, will give many years of service and pleasure. Have a look at their products on our website http:// arciron. com

Materials for building window shutters

Shopping for window shutters can become confusing because of the huge variety of materials used and promoted as superior. The construction methods of a shutter unit, including the materials used, contributes greatly to the overall cost of shutters purchased. However, a well-constructed unit made out of high-quality materials will also last longer and look better than something less than ideal. Following is an outline of various woods and synthetic materials that are often used in building shutters. Basswood Shutters (Tilia Americana Linnaeus, or the American Linden) Basswood is absolutely the best wood for building window shutters. The Basswood tree can be found from Quebec south to Delaware and the Atlantic coast west to Eastern Kentucky with an average height of 65 feet. Basswood is a renewable resource and careful forest management ensures tree harvesting is done responsibly, balancing growth with removal. Each year the United States grows about twice as much hardwood as it harvests. Basswood shutters are very straight and has a fine uniform texture with an indistinct grain. Basswood machines well and is easy to work, and screws and glues well and can be sanded and stained to a smooth finish. It dries fairly rapidly with little distortion. Basswood has fairly high shrinkage but good dimensional stability when dry. Popular uses for basswood include drafting tables, broom handles, carvings, turnings, furniture, moldings, millwork, musical instruments, woodenware, food containers, and surfboards. General Basswood shutter characteristics: Does not warp Lightweight yet very strong Uniform grain for a beautiful stain finish Low in resin and tannin which may bleed through finish Renewable resource which is replenished as it is harvested Superior gluing and finishing properties. Oak Shutters Oak shutters are very heavy. Oak shutters add much weight to window jambs and screws require pre-drilling. Oak shutters are not suitable for painting. Oak shutter louvers tend to warp. Maple Shutters Maple shutters are very heavy. Maple shutters add much weight to window jambs and screws require pre-drilling. Maple louvers are hard to tension uniformly. Poplar Shutters Poplar shutters mill and paints well. Mineral streaks and a green color make poplar unsuitable for staining. Poplar is moderately heavy for shutters. Poplar is widely available, but less costly. Poplar is best used for millwork and trim that is nailed in place. Popular produces a lesser quality shutter. Cedar Shutters Cedar shutters mill and finish nicely. However, color varies greatly for staining. Cedar is soft and can dent and scratch easily. Tilt bar staples do not hold well. Cedar shutters work wonderfully for exterior shutters. The outstanding durability and resistance to decay of incense cedar makes it ideal for exterior use where moisture is present. This wood gives long service with little maintenance in such as mud sills, window sashes, sheathing under stucco or brick veneer construction, greenhouse benches, fencing, poles, trellises, and shutters. Incense cedar is also used extensively for exterior siding because it is dimensionally stable and holds paint well, in addition to being durable. Oh, yes, and bugs hate it! Alder Shutters Alder is our second choice for shutters. Alder is a smaller tree so only shorter lengths are available, thus tall shutters require finger joints. Pine Shutters Pine is a softwood. Many different species and grades of pine is available, so quality tends to be inconsistent. Synthetics, Plastics, Vinyl, Fauxwood, and Poly Many synthetics incorporate "wood" in their name, but most contain no wood - usually called faux wood or poly shutters. Made from stock size components with few, if any, custom options. Come in limited white colors, and cannot be stained. Look, feel, and sound like plastic. Relatively new product so limited customer satisfaction experience. Synthetics are less costly to manufacture. Heavy and tend to sag. All synthetics are manufactured from nonrenewable resources.

Hidden hazards in pools and hot tubs

As more kids enjoy the warm weather with a dip in the pool, it's important for parents to be on guard against one of the leading causes of accidental death in children: drowning. Fortunately, there are a number of ways parents can keep their kids safe-and new legislation may help. The legislation will encourage states to require protection-such as fencing and devices that reduce drain suction-around pools and hot tubs. Every year there are 2,400 pool-related drownings from various causes among kids aged 1 to 14. Many parents do not realize that one of the most alarming dangers to children in pools and hot tubs is drain entrapment, which occurs when a child's body or hair gets attached to an underwater drain in a pool or hot tub. Drowning is the biggest accidental-injury related cause of death among children 1 to 4 in the U. S. It is the second biggest killer of children ages 1 to 14. In 2002 alone, 838 children died as a result of accidental drowning-enough children to fill a small primary school. Safe Kids Worldwide, with help from Johnson & Johnson, works to teach families how to prevent drain entrapment. They offer these tips: • Warn children about the dangers of drain entrapment and teach them to stay away from the drain. • Install equipment to prevent entrapment if you own a pool or hot tub. Protective measures include anti-entrapment drain covers, multiple drains in new construction and a device to automatically release the suction and shut down the pump, should entrapment occur. • Actively supervise children around water and have a phone nearby to call for help in an emergency. • Ensure your pool has four-sided fencing. It is estimated that proper installation and use of four-sided fencing could prevent 50 to 90 percent of all childhood residential swimming pool drownings or near drownings. Also use a self-closing, self-latching gate to prevent a child from wandering into the pool area unsupervised. Hot tubs should be covered and locked when not in use. • Install a door alarm, a window alarm or both to alert you if a child wanders into the pool area unsupervised.

Is a landscape architect really necessary

Many people feel that when they are ready to design a landscape, that a landscape architect is necessary. They do not feel that their natural tastes or inclinations are “correct,” and they feel that they may irrevocably ruin their yard if they try something on their own. While it is true that some people may cause irreversible damage to their homes when they try their hand at design without a landscape architect, what they do not realize is that their problems have very little to do with design. A landscape architect will not actually install your features or plant your flowers, trees, and shrubs. That is up to you. You either have to do it yourself or hire someone to follow the plan drawn out by the architect. So, the question becomes whether or not you really need the help of a landscape architect to design your home environs.

Landscape architects can be very useful when it comes to using space. A square deck may save you money, but it may look out of place, and it may not be as usable as you would like. This is where a landscape architect can help. She or he can look at your available space, and suggest possible uses for it. These architects are experienced in combining utility with attractiveness, and it may be worth your while to spend $50-$200 for a consultation or two. It really depends on your budget, and whether you can afford such expensive advice.

The architect may also be able to give you ideas for walkways, fences, and patios. However, it is important to note that most landscape architects are not gardeners, and many of them are not experts in plant care. When working in a certain area, many landscape architects make use of commonly used plants that are widely known to grow well in a particular region. This means that you may end up with a design that, rather than being personal, looks very similar to other designs. Also, your architect is not going to be able to instruct you on what you need to do to amend your soil if the plants recommended will not flourish with the make up of your soil.

Plus, many architects specify mature plants in their designs. This is because they are visualizing the attractive completed project. Mature plants cost much more than smaller plants, and such specifications may price you out of your landscape project. The fact of the matter is that most people can determine their own preferences for landscapes by drawing out their own plans. With the help of local urban planning Web sites or a local university’s plant specialist, it is possible to discover which plants thrive in your climate. Additionally, you can browse online to find plans for a variety of projects and flower gardens. If something looks comfortable and attractive to you, then there is no reason why cannot incorporate it into your landscape design. The key is trusting in your own taste.

Something that can be a lot less expensive than hiring a landscape architect to consult with and then to design your yard (the whole process can cost upward of $800-$1,000), it is possible to use software. Many stores sell this software, and it is available online. It is fun to use the software to figure out various possibilities for your home, and some of them even come with information like what you need for a specific design, and approximate cost estimates. This software not only provides great amusement, but it can also be helpful as you try to figure out what you would like to do about your landscape.

Landscape architects can be very helpful. They can help you determine feasibility and show you how to best utilize a space for beauty and function. However, these services do not come with a hefty price tag. An argument can be made for saving money in the long run, but unless you have a massive project undertaking, the services of a landscape architect are rarely completely necessary. You can sketch out your own ideas, or you can make use of software.

And, as the average do-it-yourselfer does not often participate in a complete landscape overhaul, he or she is more than qualified to design for his or her own small landscape improvement projects

Home renovation and maintenance in the fall

: "By doing a little preventative maintenance now, you can prevent minor problems from escalating into a major headache in the spring," Felton said. "Minor repairs done now can prevent air and moisture penetration from attacking the structural integrity of your home down the road," he added. Cleaning the eavestroughs in the fall, for example, can prevent ice damming in the winter, where moisture is forced up under the roof's shingles during winter's freeze-thaw cycles. "Our roofing contractors are always busy in the spring, fixing damage and leaks that have occurred because of ice damming," Felton added. Here are some home maintenance jobs that should be on a homeowner's winterizing checklist: " Clean eavestroughs after the last leaves have fallen. Run a garden hose and check that they are draining properly and that downspouts are operating and directed away from the home's foundation walls. Check for leaking or damaged gutters, downspouts and hangers. Remove rust and patch the gutters with roofing cement.

Caulk leaking seams and make sure pop rivets are secure. " Check the roof for trouble signs such as broken or missing shingles, cracked, buckling or curling shingles, or bare spots where the granular coating has worn off. Check flashing around vents, skylights and chimneys. Look for pieces that have peeled back and for cracked caulking that could allow moisture penetration. " Have the chimney cleaned and check the exterior structure for worn flashing, loose bricks or crumbling mortar. " Have your furnace cleaned, inspected and safety checked. Depending on the system, you will need to have the furnace vacuumed, the filter changed and the pilot checked. " Check for blockage of attic louvres by wasp's nests and put sheet metal, wire screen or wood over any openings, including under the eaves, to prevent animals from nesting. " Remove and store your window air conditioner.

Make sure to clean the coils and filters and cover loosely for the winter. If you are leaving the air conditioner in the window, put a weatherproof cover over it to protect it during the winter. " Clean your lawnmower and other garden tools before storing. Give all the metal parts of your tools a wipe with an oiled rag to prevent rusting. Drain the fuel from gas-powered machines and run the engine until the lines are clear. Drain the oil and replace it. Clean caked-on grass and debris. " Check doors and windows for proper caulking and weatherstripping. Do the draft test: hold a lit candle and run it along the seams of doors and windows. A flickering flame means your heating dollars are going out the window.

Check the bottoms of doors for a snug threshold seal or door sweep. " Make sure your fireplace is in safe working order. Check that the damper opens and closes smoothly and fits properly to prevent heat loss. Check inside the fireplace to make sure no bricks are loose or broken. If your fireplace is smoking excessively, check the chimney for fallen bricks. Installing a chimney cap can cure a smoking fireplace by improving the draft. " Drain exterior water lines, hose bibs, sprinklers, and pool equipment before the first major freeze. Caulk around pipes where they enter the house.

" Clean your barbecue and store it in a protected place for the winter. Never store propane tanks indoors. " Clean patio furniture and store, loosely covered, in a dry place. " Wash windows to let in the maximum heat and light during cold winter days.

Doing your fall chores can make your life easier come spring, when you would rather be fishing than fixing winter damage. There are a lot more tips included on Home Renovation Contractors on the official Homeserviceclub website.

Ten tips for decorating a christmas tree

Now that it’s the holiday season everyone is busy thinking about his or her Christmas Trees. There are tricks and tips to help you create a unique look that fits in your home and adds sparkle to your holiday celebrations. Whether real or artificial, a little imagination can take that blank canvas and turn it into something really magical that will brighten your whole holiday season. You can start by looking for ideas on the trees you see in public places like malls or hotel lobbies. These are great places to get ideas that you can easily bring to your own tree. Here are some great tips for creating a beautiful tree 1.Your tree will stand in you room till the holiday season ends so it should have a visual impact. The space in your room will determine the size of the tree you can have. This is important to consider especially if you want to enhance your ornaments. 2.Decide on the overall look you like. The more branch tips your tree has, the more ornaments and decorations are needed. If you want your tree to have an informal look, select a tree that has long needles and upswept branches. If you want something more formal, select a tree that has down swept branches and with short needles. 3.Pay attention to lighting. There is a general rule in deciding the number of lights for a tree — a one foot tree should have about 40-50 lights. The simplest thing to do is buy a pre-lit tree, no mess and easy storage. But if you do the lights yourself, hang them inside the tree, for a twinkling effect. Stringing the lights on the outer edges, over the tips of the branches won’t look right. Remember to keep the amount of light uniform, without and unfilled spaces. 4.Add garland. Whether you choose traditional garland or beaded garland, you can get a great look. If you want traditional, swag your garland from the top to the bottom, and also around the back of the tree. The swag of your garland will depend on the width of your tree. Twist the garland at the tip and it should be smaller as it reaches the top of the tree. Another style is to double swag your garland and form it into a spiral garland. Some prefer using ribbon that falls from the top of the tree down along to the bottom. 5.Use fillers. You must use fillers in order to give the tree an enchanting look. Some people don’t do this but it is a great way to give your tree a new look. 6.Choose a color scheme. Use a single color or two complimentary ones to give your tree a coordinated, decorator look. Try traditional choices such as red and gold, or something different like pink and white. Use ornaments of these colors and keep the garland in the same color family as well. 7.Dare to be different. Decorate according to what you like, even if it isn’t the “traditional” way. Use your favorite hobby, ornaments collected on vacations, or old style bulbs to create a look that’s truly your own. This will create a unique, personal holiday expression that is sure to be a conversation starter. 8.Don’t forget the handmade ornaments. No matter what style you are trying to achieve, the hand made ornaments of your own childhood, or those of family members can be wonderful additions to any tree, and compliment any style. 9.Cover the base of your tree with a colorful tree skirt so that the gifts underneath will rest on a pretty background. This makes the packages look even more festive, and looks good after the presents are unwrapped too. 10.Top it off. Use a star, an angel or a large bow — whatever suits your individual taste.

Can you buy good cheap adjustable beds why not

Adjustable beds no doubt come in a wide assortment of models, styles, and a plethora of amazing features. Unfortunately, adjustable beds are also capable of causing severe bleeding of the average person's bank account. If you love the advantages an adjustable bed can provide for you and your loved ones, there is an alternative to buying a brand new shiny product. Cheap adjustable beds, or should I say, cheaper adjustable beds, are available from a number of different sources. In this article I will try to highlight a few sources where you can start your quest for the perfect adjustable bed at the perfect, or at least, affordable price. I would definitely try looking in the classified ads of my local newspapers for used, second hand adjustable beds. I tried this myself in the local papers here in Toronto, and I must admit, the pickings were slim, but then again I only did this over a short time frame as research for this article. Hopefully, you will have more luck in your area. Adjustable beds come in two different types, either standard or heavy duty.

For the average person or couple, the standard model is what you should be looking for. One major advantage of finding a good cheap adjustable bed in your local area is that you will not have to worry about shipping costs. If you are a "tire kicker" like me, you will also have the opportunity to go and see, touch, lie in etc., your potential new adjustable bed before you buy. With a little luck, your search could end here. If on the other hand you are unsuccessful with your local newspaper classifieds, there are always online websites like ebay that sell everything under the sun, including used adjustable beds. If you see an adjustable bed that catches your eye and fits your pocketbook, check out the packing and shipping costs. This is very important. Make sure the seller tells you exactly how much it will cost you to have the adjustable bed packed and shipped to your home. Ask the seller what kind of warranty or guarantee he is willing to give you, to make sure the frame and mechanical and or electrical gizmos work properly, to at least ease your mind. Last but not least, if for some reason you are unhappy with the adjustable bed when you receive it, ask the seller what will it cost you to ship the item back so you can recoup your money, Find out all this information before you even attempt to place a bid on any item. One very important thing to keep in mind if you are looking for a cheap used adjustable bed. Do not even think of getting a second hand mattress. Ughh, the thought of lying on a mattress that was used, and possibly abused, by someone else conjures up thoughts in my mind that might keep me up tonight. So, now you have to factor in the cost of a new mattress. You cannot use a conventional mattress on an adjustable bed. It has to be an adjustable bed mattress because adjustable bed mattresses are specially designed to be flexible and contour to your body, fitting like a glove and easing stress of your spinal alignment. Just as in adjustable bed prices, adjustable bed mattresses come in a multitude of different materials, sizes and prices. If you still have not been fortunate enough to find a cheap adjustable bed using the previous methods, you might have better luck looking for adjustable beds on sale or specials on discontinued models. For this you will have to do research on a site like mine. You will find ads that point to manufacturers of adjustable beds of every price range and variety. You are most welcome to come to ADJUSTABLE-BED-CENTER and check out my sponsors, leave a comment, or just say hello. If you are on my site already; lucky you. Last but not least, "caveat emptor", or, let the buyer beware. A cheap and good adjustable bed is a possibility, but it is ultimately up to you do the legwork, or fingerwork, if you are on the web, to get a good deal. Good luck.

Radiant heating and radiant barriers

If you have a radiant heat system, radiant barrier foil is an ideal way to maximize your radiant heat efficiency. Radiant heat is heat that is transmitted from a heat source through space and a radiant barrier is designed to reflect that heat towards your living space. Radiant barriers are made from materials that are poor at absorbing heat but excellent at reflecting it. A radiant barrier is usually a thin sheet or coating of a highly reflective material, mostly aluminum. An effective radiant barrier must reflect 97% of the heat and in order to perform correctly, the reflective side must be open to an air space. By using radiant barrier foil you can substantial increase your energy savings especially since this foil barrier can reflect so much heat back to its source. By using a foil barrier you will keep your home far warmer than without a radiant barrier.

A few things are important to look out for when buying a radiant barrier. If you’re doing the installation yourself, you should select a tear resistant radiant barrier so your installation will be easier. The best way to test the strength of the radiant barrier is to take a small sample and try to tear it by hand. If it rips apart, chances are it will tear easily and make your installation difficult. The types that don’t tear easily usually have a woven mesh that is laminated between two sheets of foil. Other types of radiant barrier use what is called, a " bubble-pack" between the foil sheets, giving the radiant barrier some added strength. Another thing to check would be the flammability rating. You should select a radiant barrier that has a Class I USB (Uniform Building Code) or a Class A NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) flammability rating.

To make sure, you can always ask your local fire department or building inspector to review your selection or recommend an appropriate product. Be aware that radiant barriers can also be used as vapor barriers, which prevent moisture from passing through them. So depending on where you are using a radiant barrier will determine what kind you use. You don’t want warm air passing through it onto a cold surface and then condensing, this could cause problems. For installation, place the radiant barrier, foil-face up under a sub-floor about 1 to 2 inches below the radiant tubing. To receive the best efficiency and comfort from your radiant heating system some basic rules should be followed; all of your exterior rim joists should be insulated; and insulation should be stapled to the bottom of your joists under the radiant barrier.

Also, keep in mind that radiant in-floor heat will not work properly until the joist space is closed. While radiant barriers are certainly not new on the market, they are an inexpensive yet effective way for homeowners to save energy and money. Radiant barrier materials are continuing to improve and they are becoming widely available throughout North America. With a radiant heat system, a radiant barrier will reflect the heat back into the home, heating your home much more efficiently.

Wood flooring installation guide

Improving your household with hardwood flooring can be a disheartening job, I know I just put in my own hardwood floor. When I chose to finish my floors, I was overpowered with the thought of putting in the floor on my own. But in the real feeling of Diy, I did and here's just what I did so you don't have to be crippled the way I was. First Of All I had to choose the tone of wooden I wanted for my floors. There is also the breadth of each plank, the wood plank grain, and the border - how the wood plank goes with the next plank. Now all of these considerations come together to make either a courtly or casual area. The wider the plank, the more informal the feeling and the more tightly the wooden is separated the more elegant the area will look. Sloped edges also add the impression of elegance in a elegant area. After you've got that down, you want to settle on the type of wood plank for your floors. Oak and pine are the 2 most usual types of wooden flooring. You can't fail with either one. For something a little atypical you can try cherry hardwood flooring. The gloss deepens over time and use into a deep patina, in the proper house this result would be breathtaking. Another sought after type is bamboo wooden flooring. Bamboo is very sturdy and has a compressed grain which appears very symmetrical and even. Wooden flooring in hand, take it directly into your home and let it sit and climatize. This is crucial, permitting the wooden adapt to your house's moisture levels means a longer lasting installation. While this is taking place, put some kind of water guard on your floor; asphalt felt worked perfectly for me. Now you're ready to start the installation. Make sure to allow a 1/2 inch between your boards and the wall, this is for growth and will be buried by your baseboard. I almost always set out a few planks Prior To nailing. Start with your broadest and longest boards, you'll build out from these. Before nailing an adjacent row, rap the row with a rubber mallet to make sure it is good and tight with the adjacent row or you will have break in your wood plank floor. Another expert guideline is to keep the end joints in abutting rows at least SIX inches from one another. If you're using a flooring mallet be careful. The mallet will unquestionably help you put in your floor quicker but if you're not careful you can easily break up or even crush the wooden planks. If you do that you have to poke the nails out and junk the board. Also keep an eye on what you wear on your feet. I had drag marks all over my new wooden floor before I had even finished installing it because of the work boots I had on. Once you reach the end row, you need to use a pry bar to wedge the rows tightly together. Once nailed, you're finished! Brand new hardwood floors for you to love and to heighten the value of your household. Now you can get coordinated reducer strips for space doorways to make your wooden flooring blend effortlessly with the rest of your household.

Outdoor trash cans and ash bins

For any hotel or resort owner, you know how important it is to have the proper receptacles where you need them. To keep your resort looking nice, and to make sure guests are happy, choose outdoor trash cans and bins that hide litter and do not create an eyesore. One important thing to remember when purchasing outdoor trash cans and bins is their location on the property. If you are purchasing a large bin, make sure it fits and won’t be blocking any public areas. Also remember to place trash cans for litter in convenient locations so they are easy for guests to access. People are more likely to use trash can if they can get to them. And this way, it is more likely that the property will remain cleaner and litter-free. Ash cans are another important item to help keep litter off the ground. Save hours of sweeping and picking up trash by placing ash cans in typical locations near doors and seating areas. There are numerous models of trash cans, bins, and ash cans available.

Different materials are used for different outdoor spaces. Choose from heavy duty recycled lumber, treated wood, or metal. Trash cans and bins also use the best design to be attractive as well as function. Stone or concrete outdoor trash cans are another great option.

Stone materials are very durable and will stand up to weathering. They can come in designs ranging from simple to very elegant. Choose to match the style of your property.

Plant hardiness zones

When selecting plants for the landscape, is important to select plants that will grow in your climate. The United States has 10 of growing or climate zones. These zones range from the zone 1 in the extreme northern part of United States, to his own 10, which covers the southernmost part. Zone 1, is for the most hardiest of cold weather plants. Temperatures in zone 1 can reach 50 degrees below 0. Zone 10 on the other hand, is is a more tropical climate. Zone 10 plants only need to worry about cold temperatures of 30 to 40 degrees. Your local nursery or garden center should have plants that are appropriate for your climate zone. however, if you are buying your seeds or plants over the Internet and, or through a catalog, you need to know which climate zone you live in. For example southern Florida, extreme southern Texas, and parts of California, are in Zone 10. the rest of Florida, parts of Louisiana, Texas, and much of California, or in zone 9. Zone 8 covers much of the Southeast from eastern Virginia through the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and much of Texas. Zone 7 covers an area a little farther north than Zone 8. states in June 7th include Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, in parts of Texas.

Zones 5 and 6 cover much of the middle part of United States from the New England states through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, and even much of the desert Southwest, including Nevada. Zone 4 is somewhat colder climates include states such as Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, northern New York State, the Wisconsin, South Dakota, states in the Rocky Mountains, in Montana. Zone 3 includes the cold states such as northern mean, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Zones 1and 2 are mostly found in Canada.

Average minimum temperatures for each zone Zone 1: below minus 50 degrees Zone to:-50 degrees to minus 40 degrees Zone 3:-40 degrees to minus 30 degrees Zone for:-30 degrees to -23 is Zone 5-20 degrees to minus 10 degrees Zone 6:-10 degrees to 0 degrees Zone 7:0 degrees to 10 degrees Zone 8:10 degrees to 20 degrees Zone 9:20 degrees to 30 degrees Zone 10:30 degrees to 40 degrees Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to find a variety of plants that will thrive in your climate zone. And if you are in doubt, talk to your local garden center. The experts there should be able to steer you in the right direction.

Vitrified tiles better than hardwood floors

: Hardwood floors are gorgeous and add a great deal of elegance and charm to a home. But as with many things so beautiful, they are very delicate. Hardwood floors require a great deal of care and maintenance to keep them looking great. And for folks who cannot spare a lot of time to give them the required care, vitrified tiles can be a great option. Vitrified tiles are very attractive too. And unlike hardwood floors, these are very tough - they are much harder than natural stones, and pools of water can definitely not damage them ...

unlike hardwood floors. What are vitrified tiles? Vitrified tiles are made by combining 40% clay and 60% silica in a process called vitrification. The process of manufacture makes them extremely hard and non-porous - a great advantage over natural stones like marble which are porous and hence need a good deal of care. Vitrified tiles are virtually maintenance free and have very good abrasion resistance - which makes them very suitable for use in high traffic areas. And there is another huge advantage vitrified tiles have over most other floors.

The designs on vitrified tiles are printed with soluble salts which are essentially penetrating pigments that penetrate to a depth of 2 to 3 mm below the surface of the tile ... and that means the design is present at depths of up to 25% of the tile's thickness! And the high hardness and abrasion resistance of vitrified tiles essentially means that the design is permanent for all practical purposes. In contrast, some floor polishes exist over the surface of the floor and have little abrasion resistance. But on the other hand, vitrified tiles are not currently available in a great variety of shades - at least not in as many shades as natural stone tiles are. Other advantages of vitrified tiles... Vitrified tiles hardly expand or contract with changes in moisture and temperature - unlike other floors like wood for instance.

This means that they may be used for a joint free application. But instead of a joint free application, it may be better create uniform gaps between tiles by fixing them using spacers and then filling the space with grout. This would especially be recommended when the tiles would be exposed to extremes of temperature - either very hot or very cold. Vitrified tiles are virtually maintenance free. They may be swept clean. But still, it would be better to take a few steps to ensure that they keep looking great for several years or decades... Vitrified tiles - Care and cleaning Using a floor mat at the entrances to minimize abrasive dust being carried in by people would be a good thing to do. This would be true for any floor you may choose to have - whether stone or wood.

You may want to avoid using cleaners with harsh chemicals to clean the floor. Since vitrified tiles are extremely hard and non porous, a damp mop may be good enough to clean the floor. You may also want to clean the grout joints a couple of times a year or so. Also, keeping the grout joints in good shape by scraping out cracked, loose or powdery joints and refilling them would be a good thing to do once in a while. Vitrified tiles can be extremely beautiful and elegant and with the right care and maintenance, can last for a lifetime.

Rid your garden of slugs

Slugs are major pests of horticultural plants throughout the world. They are destructive pests of home gardens, landscapes, nurseries, greenhouses, and field crops. Slugs also pose a health threat to humans, pets and wildlife by serving as intermediate hosts for parasites such as lungworm. Slugs are inactive in cold weather and hibernate in the soil. Heavy mulching and watering, required for productive and beautiful gardens create favorable conditions for slugs. Slugs destroy plants by killing seeds or seedlings, by destroying stems or growing points, or by reducing the leaf area.

Slug feeding may also initiate mold growth or rotting. Slugs feed on a variety of living plants chewing holes in leaves, flowers, fruit and young bark. They are also serious pests of ripening fruits, such as strawberries and tomatoes, that are close to the ground. However, they will also feed on foliage and fruit of some trees favoring citrus. Some plants that are seriously damaged include artichokes, asparagus, basil, beans, cabbage, dahlia, delphinium, hosta, lettuce, marigolds, and many more plants too numerous to list here. To determine if damage is caused by a slug or other insect, look for a clear, silvery mucous trail. Under ideal conditions, chemical baits, containing metaldehyde, can be somewhat effective because this aldehyde paralyzes the slugs and they eventually die from dehydration. However, under cool and wet conditions when slugs are most active and troublesome, they can often recover. And these chemicals are poisonous to cats, dogs, birds and curious children.

Biological control provides an attractive alternative to traditional control practices. Nematodes possess exceptional potential as biocontrol agents for pest slugs. In Europe, a product as been successfully developed from Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita, that is effective against a wide variety of pest slug and snail species and it targets only slugs and snails. It would be a perfect solution for introduction into the US but there are no published records of P. hermaphrodita occurrence in the US. Thus, regulatory issues prohibit it's introduction and marketing in the US. Slugs do play a positive role in the environment. Because slugs are also scavengers eating decaying vegetation, animal feces, and carrion they help in breaking down decomposing materials thus helping to release nutrients back into the soil. Slugs are night feeders so night traps and beer traps are the best ways to catch and trap them. But there are many other methods proven successful. One includes a very common, but not well known, ingredient. For more information: http:// apluswriting. net/garden/slugs. htm REQUIREMENTS FOR REPRINT: You have permission to publish this article free of charge in your e-zine, newsletter, ebook, print publication or on your website ONLY if it remains unchanged and you include the copyright and author information (Resource Box) at the end. You may not use this article in any unsolicited commercial email (spam). You may retrieve this article by: Autoresponder: slugtips@getresponse. com Website: http:// apluswriting. net/articles/slugtips. txt Copyright: 2005 Marilyn Pokorney Please leave the resource box intact with an active link, and send a courtesy copy of the publication in which the article appears to: marilynp@nctc. net

Top five crucial areas covered in a home warranty

: Home warranties vary from one company to the next in a variety of aspects. These aspects include rates, deductibles and also what is and is not covered under the warranty. However, the vast majority of home warranties will cover these five crucial areas in your home. The heating system Most home warranties will cover the heating system in your home. This includes the furnace and the duct work throughout the home. This coverage is important to have because of the large cost associated with having to replace or repair any of the aspects of the heating system. Just the furnace alone can cost you between $1,200 and $3,500 to replace or repair. If there is something wrong with your duct work, that cost could rise even further.

The cooling system Most home warranties will cover the air conditioner in your home, whether it is a built in, central air conditioning unit, or one that's been built in to the wall (an outdoor/indoor one). Air conditioning systems can cost anywhere from $700 to $3,275 approximately, depending on the type of air conditioning system installed in the home. The electrical system Electrical systems throughout the home always have a tendency to go haywire and require some work to be done. A major electrical problem in your home though could cost thousands of dollars. Of course, before you purchase the home you should have an inspector go through the home and inspect it, including the electrical system, so you can be sure that the electrical wiring is up to code. Failure to have a properly installed electrical system, or for it to be not up to code, could result in your home warranty being invalid. The plumbing system Home warranties usually cover the indoor plumbing system including all the pipes and drains. Faucet repairs are not usually covered or included in a home warranty. However, outdoor plumbing, such as the outdoor sprinkler system, outdoor water supplies, spas, pools, and hot tubs are not covered unless you purchase additional coverage to include these items. Be sure to check with the warranty provider if these items are covered, if they are included with the home you are buying or selling.

Major appliances There are many major appliances that are often covered within a home warranty. Most often it is the stove, range, fridge, and built in dishwasher that are included. However, some home warranties include built in microwaves, garbage disposal, trash compactor and washers and dyers in the warranty. You may also find some home warranties will include ceiling fans that are already installed in the home.

What's not included It's important to know that permit fees, and costs associated with hauling away old appliances or debris are not covered in home warranties. There are always differences between home warranty plans, so be sure to read all the policy before you agree to it. Don't be afraid to ask the agent to clarify what is and is not included in the home warranty. Be sure that what the agent says and what the policy reads coincide. If the agent says something different than how the policy reads, be sure to get it in writing. Research and compare When you begin to look for a home warranty, be sure to do your research.

There could be some major differences between different policies from different companies. Most of the differences you will find in the rates that you are charged, the deductibles on claims and the coverage that is offered. Even the smallest of differences can make a big impact on the home warranty and how it meets your needs. Regardless of the home warranty that you choose, be sure that you understand everything that is covered and what is not covered.

You should also talk to the agent about how your policy may be invalid, such as for improper installation or misuse of the item. The agent selling you the home warranty should be able to answer all of your questions about the warranty, its coverage, the deductibles that you will have to pay if you have a claim, and the rate that you will be charged for your warranty. Ensure that all of the major items, as listed above are included as covered in your warranty. You should also ask about renewal, and if your warranty can be renewed at the end of the term. Most often, if it is the buyer who has purchased the home warranty it is renewable, however if it is the seller who has purchased the warranty, it is likely non-renewable at the end of the term.

Garage floor paint does not have to peel

Lifting and pealing paint is too often the end product of a homeowner’s efforts to dress up their garage with floor paint. The problem is worse than having no finish at all. Dirty, dusty, and stained concrete is usually accepted as the standard for home garages, but the eyesore of blisters, pealing, and chipping of a garage floor gone wrong is testimonial to the homeowner's failure. Fortunately, new technology in flooring, when combined with systems for preparing concrete properly, can now avoid disasters that leave garages looking worse than before the treatment. Epoxy flooring is weather-resistant, and unharmed by rain, snow, oil, and flooding. This resistance is due to the fact that epoxy coatings, unlike paints, come in two parts. When mixed, a catalyzing process changes these two parts from a liquid to a permanent solid. In contrast, paints are carried in water or solvent bases that evaporate to leave the finish. If you reintroduce one of those carriers to the surface, the paint often is able to re-dissolve back into a liquid state. Even though painted garage finishes are formulated to resist re-dissolving into their carriers, under stress they can be susceptible to blistering, pealing, and chipping. But water and most solvents have no effect on sealed epoxy surfaces.

Epoxy flooring goes on at the job site and requires no seams, creating a continuous membrane that seals what is above from what is below. These epoxy surfaces have been used in food processing plants for over 50 years now. Mold mildew and other contaminants cannot penetrate the epoxy membrane, and wash off easily. Modern architects often use the flexibility of epoxy flooring to allow spaces to flow together creating expanses of unbroken line. Now the living room and deck patio can appear as a single integrated living space. Exterior gardens and interior upholstery tie together with access walkways provided by colored epoxy flooring. As a result, snow, rain, leaves, and other outdoor changes provide unique variety to the outdoor spaces that can also be enjoyed from the indoor space. Preparation is everything when applying finishes.

You can only expect a surface to stay in place if its substrate is permanent. Obviously, if the substrate crumbles or moves, your surface will move with it. Today, after 40 years of application experience, flooring experts have developed application preparation procedures that help minimize the risk of substrates moving. New floors are especially vulnerable and require extensive preparation. New concrete is dusty for the first few years while the latents of concrete on the surface are kicked, walked, or driven off. Those latents must be removed before quality epoxy topcoats are applied or the topcoats will move with the latents as they break free from the substrate.

One should not rely on retail store clerks to help with a floor that will be used for 10 to 20 years. Factory-direct kits of materials including step-by-step instructions and a 24/7 help line are now available online. With these resources, anyone can put a quality floor down in their garage that will last for decades. Like a car finish, you may get some scratches and marks, but also like a car finish, a little touching up can keep those finishes looking great for decades. Durall Industrial Flooring offers no-cost, no-obligation quotes for its fully customized kits of materials, including all preparation materials and procedures, for installing industrial quality epoxy or urethane coatings at concrete-floor-coatings. com. These beautifully sealed and easy-to-maintain floors come in over 20 colors. The floor finish can be gloss, flat, or satin and may be easily accented with decorative chips. Additionally, the floors may be skid-resistant like emery paper, yet still easy to sweep or squeegee.

For photo examples and more detail, visit concrete-floor-coatings. com For more information, contact Harvey Chichester at harvey@durallfmg. com Phone: 800-466-8910 or 952-888-1488 (24/7)

Ceiling fans some essential facts to consider

The first artificial wind-chill methods as used by animals in nature was duplicated by royalty and wealthy persons of early Assyria and Egypt, who employed slaves or servants waving large leaves to cool them down on hot days. Many centuries later, in 1882, Diehl introduced his invention of the electric ceiling fan. His device was a bubble-blade adaptation of the well known belt driven fan with an in-built electric motor. By the end of the 1880s, the “Diehl Electric" was sweeping the country, and by the late 1920s, no self-respecting restaurant, drug store, ice cream shop, or elegant dining room, was without a ceiling fan as part of their decor and method of ventilation. Ceiling fans can reduce cooling costs. In the summer, a breeze created by a good ceiling fan can make you feel between two and six degrees cooler. There are many ceiling fan designs and styles, and it is important that one considers the following options carefully before purchasing a ceiling fan: Fan Size: It is important that the fan will fit in your room. You must consider the height of the ceiling and be sure that the blades have ample space in which to spin. It is recommended that the blades are no closer than two feet from the nearest wall. Fan Motors: Good ceiling fans have a motor size and precision ground motor windings matched to the length of the blades. This ensures that the fan moves the air efficiently, even with continuous use, and uses less energy to run. If the motor or blades are improperly balanced, vibrations will occur, even at slow speed. Fans that are built for outdoor use have motors that are specially designed to withstand moisture and fluctuations in temperature. Fan Blades: Fan blades come in all sorts of wonderful shapes and patterns. However it is important that the fan blades chosen will offer a balanced performance for a stable operation. Fan blades should be protected with a sealant to avoid the warping effects of moisture. Fan blade pitches range from 8 to 15 degrees - the higher the pitch, the more air the fan will circulate at slower speeds. The number of blades in a ceiling fan ranges from three to five, but this number has little effect on the amount of cool air the fan produces. Fan Mounts: There are three main varieties of ceiling fan mounts – downrod mount, flush mount, and tri-mount. Fan Downrods can come at any length and are specially designed for rooms with higher ceilings, bringing the circulating blades of the fan down into the living space where it is most effective. A flush mount is designed for rooms with lower ceilings, and eliminates the need for a downrod. A tri-mount allows one to install a fan in a room for the best circulation whether there is a low, high or angled ceiling. Patio ceiling fans are another important type of ceiling fan, and although generally less common than indoor ceiling fans, patio ceiling fans are considered important in the warmer, moister regions of the world.

Spring flower gardening

Spring is the time when nature and your garden awakes and comes alive after the long winter. That first spring flower or that first green leave is the sign that winter in coming to an end and that a new growing season has arrived. Spring and Flower gardening is almost synonymous. Spring is the time to interplant perennials, shrubs, roses and plant or transplant your annuals. It’s time to shape up your soil, loosen the mulch around your plants and prune your early blooming shrubs. Rake and remove leaves and debris from your garden.

Without a good planting medium your flower garden will never be at its best. Perennials will save you a lot of work in your flower garden. So keep perennials high on your list. These hardworking beauties eliminate yearly replanting and will still give you that spring and summer color that you are longing for. It’s best to choose varieties that don’t need a lot of staking or frequent division. Notorious sun lovers are daylilies, sedium, and speedwell.

Plants like hosta, fern, sweet woodruff and columbine feel more at easy in the shadow. Flower Bulbs add a splash of color to your spring garden. “Sprinkle” some crocuses, daffodils, and of course tulips between your flower beds. Flower bulbs are almost essential in a spring flower garden.

If you haven’t planted them last spring make sure you do so coming fall. An important part of spring gardening is getting on top of the weeds. Most weeds are fairly easy to control when you start taking them out from early spring on. At that time they still have a shallow root system and because they haven’t bloomed yet they haven’t reproduced either. Taking care of them in spring will pay off big in summer. Spring, its really the growing season, and for a gardener its perhaps the most beautiful and promising time of the year.

Home safety tips arm yourself against the threat of a break in

(NC)—In 1999, Statistics Canada reported that there were approximately 92,485 break and enters reported to police, however, some of these crimes remained unreported. Property crime losses ranged from little or nothing of value to materials costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, burglars can do much more than steal your possessions. They can commit rape, robbery, and assault if they are surprised by someone coming home or pick a home that is occupied. "If you have been a victim of a burglary, chances are that you will be vulnerable to a burglary a second time," explained Patrice De Luca, V. P. of Marketing and Business Development for Protectron Security Systems.

"The burglar will know how easy it was the first time they targeted your home. This experience will forever change your life. However, for a small amount of time and money you can make your home more secure and reduce your chances of being a victim." According to De Luca, many burglars will spend no longer than 60 seconds trying to break into a home. That's why good locks and good neighbors who watch out for each other are big deterrents to burglars. De Luca also suggests these following tips: • Thieves don't like bright lights. Install outside lights and keep them on at night. • Keep your yard clean. Prune back shrubbery so it doesn't hide doors or windows. Cut back tree limbs that a thief could use to climb to an upper-level window. • A high percentage of burglaries involve the theft of newly purchased items, such as, new electronic equipment, computers and TVs. "Thieves are always on the lookout for homes with big cardboard boxes at the curb highlighting new purchases," added De Luca. "It's important to eliminate or break up these boxes into unrecognizable pieces not to advertise new purchases to the neighborhood." Also, don't leave valuables in sight through windows, where they will tempt burglars. • If you travel, create the illusion that you're at home by getting some timers that will turn lights on and off in different areas of your house throughout the evening. Lights burning 24 hours a day signal an empty house. • Leave shades, blinds, and curtains in normal positions. Don't let your mail pile up, call the post office to stop delivery or have a neighbor pick it up. • Alarms can be a good investment, especially if you have many valuables in your home, or live in an isolated area or one with a history of break-ins. • Alarm systems are an effective deterrent. Nine out of ten convicted burglars agree they'd avoid a house protected by an alarm system. • Security system decals and signs are also an effective deterrent. • Make sure your security system includes a loud inside alarm, detectors at all exterior doors, and motion sensors in the master bedroom and main living areas. For more information on home security visit protectron. com. - News Canada

Design concepts for new bathrooms

Remodeling your bathroom doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank or taking out a second mortgage on your home, but what it does mean is a well thought out master plan, some drawings and a calculator. Think in terms of an artist starting out with a blank canvas, he or she has their own unique design concepts for what they perceive as art. Creating your dream bathroom takes on a similar approach in that we must first decide on look we are trying to achieve. With several design platforms to choose from starting with the century old Victorian bathroom that were characterized by claw-footed roll top baths, sculpted pedestal basins, free standing showers enclosures and sometimes a matching bidet. Today’s modern bathrooms are depicted by the ever changing styles from year-to-year. Recent modern designs include sleek, straight and geometric lines with white remaining the prevalent choice in bathroom furnishings sporting ultra mod bath and basin mixer taps in polished chrome. Depending on the size of bathroom, keep in mind that less is best in the way of accessorizing. Over powering the look of the bathrooms with numerous accessories tends to make a small room appear even smaller unless you are utilizing bathroom mirrors which lends way to a more open space. On the other hand when working with a large area, modern bathroom accessories are a welcomed addition to give the bathroom a finished look. Traditional bathrooms tend to focus more on architectural details bringing nature inside.

With the inspired look of wood such as oak, maple, and beech shelves and cabinets, wood finishes enhance the mood by giving the bathroom a warm earthy tone, similar to a country or rustic looking bathroom. Once you have selected the style of bathroom, think about how you will be using the space. When it comes to function and space planning, calculate the dimension of the bathroom this will also help you to decide on the type of bathroom furniture pieces you can place within a designated area. Assess your bathroom storage needs, will you need a bathroom cabinet, shelving or vanity. For smaller bathrooms a minimalist style means honing in on crucial space and utilizing it in order create a clutter free bathroom ensuring the bathroom furniture has strong clean lines and is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Look at several bathrooms designs, with several hundred bathroom design ideas available on the internet choosing a style that fits your style, space and budget can be simple and a pleasurable task. The key element that has to be taken into account is budget, keeping in mind if you are not a do-it - yourself (DIY) person, then it is best to leave the job up to a professionals even though this will cut into your bathroom budget, you are guaranteed the job will be done right. For the DIY’s, making mistakes can be equally costly not to mention frustrating if your plans were not carefully thought out especially when it comes to the plumbing and electrical supply within your bathroom space. According to renovating and contracting firms when homeowners decide to remodel their bathrooms themselves they see a bathroom suite they want, purchase it, and get it home only to run into complications. People forget when transitioning from a standard bath to a whirlpool bath there are several critical factors that must be considered like plumbing, hot water heaters, and floor supports. Bathroom floors are built to bear the weight of a standard bathtub not whirlpool spa baths. Today's custom homes will accommodate most luxury tubs, but floor joists may require reinforcement in older homes if the tub is oversized especially whirlpool baths. Whirlpool baths have the water capacity of up to 80 gallons, if the proper hot water tank is not installed it will result in tepid bathwater taking away the enjoyment and purpose of a whirlpool bath. By creating a blue print to your bathroom remodeling project, you will not only save time, but save money on unexpected amendments in order to compensate your bathroom requirements. Written by Shelley Murphy on behalf of victoriaplumb. com an online retailer of bathroom furniture, steam showers, whirlpool spa baths and bath related products serving the United Kingdom.

Get your act together with kitchen drawer organizers

Kitchen drawer organizers save more than time – they can also save your sanity! Have you ever had one of those moments when you know you just bought a great kitchen gadget the other day, but can’t find it now to save your life? Well, that’s the great thing about kitchen drawer organizers. If you’d had one or two (or more for those of us chronically compelled to misplace things!) and had put whatever it was you just bought into it, you’d have said item right at your fingertips! So, we’ve done the legwork – or rather, surf work – for you and found some cool places to order kitchen drawer organizers online without even venturing away from your home. Kitchen drawer organizers can be found in the multitudes at Stacks and Stacks ( StacksandStacks. com). This site sells everything from silver - and flatware organizers to cutlery inserts, knife trays, expandable in-drawer spice racks, and more.

For just about anything you can put in a drawer to be organized, Stacks and Stacks makes an organizer – in wood, bamboo, plastic, or chrome! Not only does this online retailer sell kitchen drawer organizers, but all other different types of space-saving, organizing goodies for those with an agenda for order. Another place to snag a deal on kitchen drawer organizers can be found at Always Organized ( AlwaysOrganized. com). One favorite is their Perfect Fit drawer organizers that come in three sizes and can be trimmed to fit any drawer – perfect for those odd-sized drawers! And kitchen drawer organizers from the queen of the kitchen herself, Betty Crocker ( BettyCrocker. com), include something not often seen. This site features an all-wood adjustable tray for utensils with a special section for large knives that keeps them separated and in their own protective slots. Other kitchen drawer organizers include one made from heavy-gauge, rust-resistant steel – sure to last a lifetime! Kitchen drawer organizers can be found at many sites throughout the World Wide Web, but if you can’t find what you want at one of these online retailers – well, we’d be surprised.

So quit procrastinating and get organized! Find yourself some kitchen drawer organizers and save time, hassle, and yes, maybe even a little bit of your sanity!

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