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Tips for Better Photo Birth Announcements

It is a very special thing when you are going to give birth to a child. Everyone who is close to you will want to know the great news. For this reason it is important to make a birth announcement that appropriately displays your joy concerning the birth of your new child. There are different ways to do a birth announcement, and which one you choose is up to your discretion. One great type of birth announcement is a birth photograph announcement.

Photo birth announcements are great because they can have a photo of both you and your new baby together. Conversely, some may wish to include simply a photo of the new baby. Either way, people important to you will get to see a picture of your brand new baby. Photo birth announcements are almost more personal than simple words. Your friends and family will feel extra special because not only have you told them about your new bundle of joy, but you have given them a picture of the baby as well.

There are a few tips that can help your photo birth announcement be more effective. One tip is to have all of the information necessary included in the announcement. Many people can accidentally leave important information out of the birth announcement. As a result, the announcement is incomplete and people are left wondering certain things about your baby. Be sure to include the baby’s name, the name of the parents, the time and date of birth, the weight, and the length. All of this information should be very easily visible to the reader. Avoid fancy fonts because they can sometimes be difficult for the older members of your family to read. Sometimes the best philosophy when designing a birth announcement is “simple yet elegant.”

Timing is everything with a birth announcement. As you get closer to the actual expected birth time, you should concentrate on having the birth announcements ready to go. Making addressed enveloped beforehand can be very helpful with the time element. Have the basic outline of the announcement already on your computer so you can edit it and print it off as soon as possible after the birth. The sooner your friends and family receive the news, the happier they will be.

In terms of photo birth announcements, the photo is immensely important. Taking a good photo of you and your baby, or just the baby, can make or break the announcement. Just like any other photo, different angles, positions, lighting, etc. can change the entire effect of the photo. Don’t be afraid to take multiple pictures and choose which one you like the best. You want a photo that will show how wonderful your new baby is, so extra care should be taken. Photo birth announcements are also meant to be displayed, and your friends and family will not have interest in displaying a bad picture of you and your new baby!

Finally, make sure you order your photos from a company that prints very high quality digital photos. High quality photos will make the announcement look more bright and vibrant. The announcement will really be something that you can be proud of. High quality photos are a must these days. Low quality photos can seem like no effort was put into their production. Do your research and find the best company out there in order to print the best photos possible. Birth announcements may seem like they are extremely difficult to do well, but if you follow these simple tips, your photo birth announcement can be the talk of the entire family.

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Find the Perfect Spot to Hang Your Family Portrait

A family photograph can add beauty and life to your home. Where you hang a portrait can either add to or take away from its visual impact. The portrait should be hung where it can be seen, but it shouldn’t stand out like a sore thumb.

If you have the privilege of planning your family portrait before it’s taken, you can choose the portrait colors, frame and layout based on where you plan to hang it. For portraits that have already been taken, you can usually find a great hanging spot in at least one room of your home.

Hang Portraits to be Seen

A family portrait is meant to be adored by your own family as well as guests. The first choice to hang a portrait is usually the living room or dining room, but there are other hanging places you might not realize. Two areas often overlooked are the entrance and hallway. These are where your guests will enter and exit, and they’ll often notice whatever is hanging on the walls. An entrance is where your guests are first greeted by your home decor. Why not greet them with a beautiful family portrait?

Hallways are usually dull or dark areas of the home. You can hang a family portrait on your hallway wall and place two decorative wall lamps on each side of the portrait to draw attention to it. This adds light to your hallway and attracts attention to your portrait.

Another excellent location for family portraits is the wall along a staircase. Staircases have a natural way of highlighting what’s hanging on the walls around them. They provide additional framing for a portrait that makes it even more attractive. If your stairs are in an open area of the home, guests can see the portraits even if they don’t walk the stairs.

Hang Portraits Securely

No matter where you hang your family portrait, secure it well with sturdy picture hooks, and use molly bolts for very heavy portraits. A portrait should be secure enough to withstand any shaking in the room or wall that could cause it to fall. When hanging a portrait near stairs, be sure to hang it where it won’t get knocked down easily while people walk up and down the stairs.

Recreate Old Family Portraits

If you have an old family portrait you’d like to hang on the wall, but it’s just too fragile or worn to hang, you might consider having an oil painting made of the portrait. A skilled artist can bring out the best in any photo. Your family portrait is too precious to waste. You can preserve it as an oil painting on canvas, and transform your family portrait into a treasured work of art.

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How to Choose a Wedding Photographer – 10 Tips For Selecting Wedding Photography

You want your wedding photographer to capture everything that makes your day special, to capture you at your best, to deliver photographs that live up to your expectations. Here are 10 tips for selecting wedding photography that you can live with throughout your new life together.

  1. A reputable wedding photographer should have a physical location. A physical location where you can find them when you need them and where you can meet with them safely is important. Brick and mortar wedding photography studios build trust within the community and with their clients. If your wedding photographer does not have a local address (not a PO Box) that they will share with you, it’s a good reason not to trust them. They might work out of their house, but do you know where that is? A physical office or studio is paramount to them being trustworthy. Would be you be willing to have a random stranger come to your house, or for you to go to their house? It’s safer and more reliable to choose a wedding photographer with a studio or office you can visit and where you can find your photographer.
  2. A good wedding photographer should help make your day go more smoothly. Aside from a dedicated wedding planner, your photographer is the only vendor who is going to be spending the entire day with you. A good wedding photographer should make things easier for you. They should solve problems. Your wedding photographer should be flexible. They should be able to adapt and thrive in difficult situations. Find out more about their abilities and ask about a difficult lighting scenario, bad weather, or other catastrophe and find out how they dealt with it in the past.
  3. You need your wedding photographer to be focused on you. When you meet with any wedding photographer for the first time, do they ask about you, get to know you, and find out what you want? Or do only they talk about themselves and what they do? Find a photographer who is willing to spend time getting to know you so you know they understand you and your needs. This is the best way to find out if they are a good fit for you.
  4. Your wedding photographer should be knowledgeable and helpful. They should offer suggestions about options you have for different things, provide advice on scheduling and setup, be full of ideas, and be ready to make your day and your planning easier. A good photographer is big on planning. Your photographer should work with you before an engagement session to select clothing and location. Your wedding day photography should be scheduled as part of your day rather than as an afterthought. Photography does not have to be inconvenient – it can be a fun and integral part of your day.
  5. It might sound strange, but not all wedding photographers are the same and not all photographers are a good fit for every client. If your wedding photographer meets you and finds out about what you are looking for and then tells you that they don’t think they would be a good fit for you, it might be surprising, but it’s nothing personal. Wouldn’t you rather a professional be honest about this than trying to change to meet your needs? Sometimes photographers realize that what they specialize in is not the same thing a client wants. Photographers don’t want to make you unhappy, and if a wedding photographer thinks you might be happier with a different style of photography or with a different situation, we will tell you before you book so you are not disappointed later.
  6. Price is NOT the most important factor when choosing a wedding photographer: You definitely get what you pay for. Photography is like anything else in life: You get what you pay for. It is not logical to think you can hire someone for little to no money and get the same results you would get if you had spent twice what you paid. Price is normally a factor when it comes to quality. Photographers who charge more are usually backed by their reputation, their brand, and their experience. You should also understand that your photographs will become the lasting memory of your wedding day. There are two things you should spend money on for your wedding, it should be your venue and your photography. People will probably not remember the food, you will only wear your dress once, and most of the other things are not huge investments anyway (flowers, music, makeup). You will look at your wedding photographs regularly – perhaps even every day – for the rest of your life. Shouldn’t your wedding photos be great?
  7. Your wedding photography studio should be insured and licensed as a legal business. Many venues actually require insurance from vendors working there. Camera equipment is expensive and you should make sure your photographer is fully insured by a reputable insurance company to make sure you are protected. Many photographers are just individuals with cameras and maybe a slick website. Make sure your photographer is backed by a legal, legitimate business.
  8. Your wedding photographer should have backup equipment and a backup plan. Mandatory: Cameras with two slots for memory cards that can be written to simultaneously in case one card fails, backup cameras and lenses, a data backup plan including offsite backups, and a disaster plan. Protect your investment. If your photographer only has one camera, it’s not enough.
  9. Multiple photographers with your package are much better for you than having just one. Your wedding photographer should have multiple photographers on staff in case someone get sick or God forbid injured. A lone photographer cannot be in enough places at once to possibly cover a wedding day adequately. For all but the smallest weddings, your wedding photographer should have at a minimum a photographer and assistant/second shooter. Anything less and you will be missing out on important moments, angles, and opportunities.
  10. Your wedding photographer should NOT dump a disc of photos on you and disappear after the wedding day. Some photographers will sell you a disc of high resolution photos, give them to you, and that’s it. Your wedding photographer should provide value-add services and products after your wedding day – for example, photo books or albums, photo prints, and wall art. Other services you should look for are in-studio viewings and selection, retouching and editing services, and gift options. A photographer that shoots photos for a disc is going to give you a result that is a completely different set of photos than a photographer who is shooting with an album in mind or to create artwork. You are going to get a much better selection of photos from a photographer focused on artwork and an heirloom album than one who is going to shoot-andburn a disc for you and call it a day. Will you really want to spend time and money designing your own album? Probably not. Make sure your photographer provides you with personal usage rights for the images, but you do not need raw files or ultra high resolution photos if your wedding photographer designs for you an amazing photo album, gives you a disc of JPG digital negatives, and offers print, artwork, and design options after the wedding. Consider what you really need and talk to your photographer about what they provide.

If you choose a wedding photographer who you get along with, whose portfolio or example photographs you enjoy, who offers products you want, and whom you feel you can trust, your wedding photography experience should be a positive one.

Photography is one of the most important decisions you will make for your wedding, and you owe it to yourself and your future legacy to invest in selecting a good wedding photographer instead of just the cheapest photographer you can find.

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Tips On How To Start A Wedding Photography Business And Become A Successful Wedding Photographer

A wedding photography business is one way to earn extra cash from your photography and you may even develop it as a full time career.

Here are tips to help you start a successful wedding photography business.

Business Name

A good business name is a requirement to make your business become a reality. Come up with a good name that will best describe the kind of photography that you do. Remember that this name will become your brand name and the same name you will use to advertise your wedding photography business. Make it sound and look professional. Research the name thoroughly to make sure it is not being used by another business already.

Portfolio

You may think you are a very good photographer but it does not mean people know about it. In order for your wedding photography business to grow you need a portfolio of your work. The best advertisement for your business is the quality of your work. You need to print photos that will describe the kind of photography you do. Make sure that your portfolio is a complete description of your wedding photography and make sure you to add your recent work.Couples who are looking to hire a wedding photographer always want to see good quality. You can also make a mock up album of a full wedding that way a couple would know what to expect in their wedding album and give them ideas on what photos will be taken. To start your wedding photography business you will need to do your first wedding. That’s where your friends or family come in handy, ask around if someone you know is going to get married and offer your services as the wedding photographer. That will build up your reputation as a wedding photographer and build yourself a portfolio at the same time doing good favor for a family or a friend. If this is your first wedding assignment treat it as such you would plan to charge a regular client. You may still charge for supplies such as printing and framing. But do not charge for your professional fee as their wedding photographer. It is a way of thanking them for letting you take their wedding photos.

Price List

Oftentimes photographers undervalue their work. The best way to find out is research on what is available in the market. Know the prices and wedding packages by photographers who are into wedding photography business. The Internet is the best place to do a market research. Check the websites of wedding photographers. It will give you an idea what to charge your clients at the same time be able to size up the competition. Like any other business, reputation is very important. A would-be wedding couple if to choose between someone who had done more weddings at the same price you are asking would think twice about getting your wedding photography services. As you become more established, you can start charging more for your professional service. Keep competitive by giving the would-be wedding couple their money’s worth.

Website

It is important for any business to have an online presence much more for a wedding photography business. The cost of getting a domain name is minimal and there are sorts of deals you can get from website hosting services that will make it very easy to make your website even without the help of a professional web developer. It is a good place to display your work and couples will have the chance to view your portfolio without the need to set up an appointment.

Business cards

Create a good business card which clearly defines your wedding photography business. Make yourself an uber business card, something that looks professional and shows some of your best photos as a wedding photographer. Include all important information such as your contact information, website and social network credentials such as your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Make it easy for clients to find you.

Advertise

Always remember to advertise your wedding photography services. If no one knows about you regardless how good you are, your business will suffer. To get known, you’ll have to do some advertising. For a wedding photographer the best way is to attend local bridal fairs or bridal shows. It usually cost some money to pay for a booth but you will have the exposure to a potential market looking for wedding photographers. Be prepared with your portfolio; bring a calendar to know your yearlong schedule and availability. Depends how serious you are about your wedding photography business, you may advertise in bridal magazines too. The more people see and hear about your work as a wedding photographer the better for your wedding photography business.

If your wedding photography business becomes successful it can earn your extra money to help bring your photography skills to a higher level. You can use the extra cash to buy more sophisticated photography equipment.

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SEO Training Courses: Taking Your Business To The Next Level

Today, website owners and web developers are realizing the importance of SEO training courses. The truth is, if you want to drive more traffic to your website, you need to learn how to properly optimize your site. In order to do this, you must be fully equipped with the latest SEO techniques and information that will guide you along the way. For information on a search engine optimization consultant click here.

The Importance of SEO

There has been an increasing number of websites you can find online. With this, the competition to get on top of search engines is getting tougher. A lot of website owners are doing their best in order to increase their site’s traffic.

Search engine optimization, also known as SEO, plays an important role in driving more traffic to a particular website. SEO is considered to be a complex subject but with ample knowledge and skills, anyone can properly optimize a website. To effectively optimize a website, you need to learn the basics of SEO and everything you need to know about it.

Why Take SEO Training Courses?

Latest SEO Information and Techniques – If you want to become knowledgeable about SEO, you can find a lot of resources online for free. However, you cannot fully rely on these resources because they could be outdated ones. With this, taking an SEO course is the best option you can do. You’ll be ensured that with a course on SEO, you’ll only get the latest SEO strategies and information.

Personalized Training – One of the best things about taking a course on SEO is the opportunity of obtaining a personalized training in which you are guided with a step by step learning.

Less Expensive Than Hiring An SEO Company – Today, there are a lot of websites which hire an SEO company to help them reach the peak of success. However, opting for this kind of option can be quite expensive. With a good SEO training, you are ensured with a personalized training at an affordable price.

A Deeper Understanding About SEO – When you want to learn more about SEO, you can always do a self-study by doing a research online. However, SEO is full of technical terms which you are not yet familiar about. By taking SEO training courses, you’ll be able to grasp a deeper understanding about what SEO is all about. A course on SEO will definitely guide you along the way.

If you own a website, it is indeed beneficial to take an SEO training course for you to be well-informed of the latest SEO techniques and information. This way, you will be able to know how to effectively optimize your website. Knowing the most effective SEO strategies can be your edge among other website owners. If you are looking for a reliable SEO course, there are a lot of SEO training courses you can find online. With this, you’ll be able to find a reliable SEO training course to answer your needs.

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How Much to Pay for SEO Services?

The question comes up often. Many people have been burned by SEO Services, but many have also been rewarded by SEO Services. Like any business transaction or purchase you should only spend your money when you feel comfortable. Your comfort zone should pull from various dependencies, such as how well do you know this business, how long have you been doing business with this person or entity, what is your first impression, how do you personally feel about this person or entity ability to provide this service, and how well have you done your homework.

The truth about SEO services is that it is normally not hard work, but that doesn’t mean its easy. It still takes time, dedication, effort, strategy, technique, method, skill, and experience to perform quality SEO services. Anyone can use SEO services because it is within your reach to learn, but not everyone can apply sensible strategy to make SEO work. That is why SEO engineers are needed to accomplish the almost impossible, but the question is how do you know you are making the right choice and not overpaying for SEO services?

I can honestly say for the most part SEO service providers are on the up and up who want nothing more than to do professional business and provide quality SEO services. Identifying every shady SEO service may not be possible, but I have some recommended advice which should help anyone get a fair and quality rate for SEO services.

– Set yourself a “realistic” marketing budget and goal

– Shop around

– Don’t buy until you feel comfortable

– Remember “cheap does not always mean better”

– Ask for references / referrals / portfolio

– Verify references / referrals / portfolio

– Ask for statistical growth and progress reports

Set Yourself a Realistic Marketing Budget and Goal

This simply mean do not kid yourself and think you can pay $200 and overnight you will make thousands. Instead, create a budget depending on your marketing needs, competitive industry, projected outcome, and length of time. If you are looking for your website to rank in the Top 10 search engine result page for a particular keyword or keywords then expect to pay in the thousands, often times tens of thousands, for quality, professional, and reliable SEO services, almost always depending on the competitiveness of the keyword. If you want to rank in the top 10 for the keyword “Google”, this in most cases impossible, but I am sure there are some SEO companies who will accept the challenge, but will charge in the thousands if not millions to attempt this insane marketing goal.

Shop Around

Find the most appealing SEO services and compare those to other competitive SEO services. Don’t settle for “cheap” or “inexpensive”, but settle for “effective” and “strategy”. Anyone can do SEO work, but not everyone can improve results using SEO services. This is because, SEO is about technique and strategy. It’s not about just throwing thousands a links around the web and sitting back waiting for the explosion. Its actually a lot more complicated than that, as it is about having strategy, technique, and competitive edge. You must find SEO services which live by this principle and can offer you the strategic road map you need for success.

Don’t Buy Until You Feel Comfortable

You should always feel comfortable with entrusting your money into an SEO service provider paws. If you have special needs such as you want to sign a contract, you want a specific pay schedule, or you have any questions, make sure you get answers and are comfortable with the projected outcome then move forward. I personally suggest getting a contract which outlines the projected outcome and any other bullet points, then also exploring the consequences or possibilities if the projected outcome is not met.

Remember “Cheap Does Not Always Mean Better”

This is a buyer beware notice. When someone offers $20 SEO services or even $200 SEO services, I would say “buyer beware”. There may be a handful of highly skilled SEO providers who can offer you SEO services at a discount or for extremely low rates, but most of the time these providers either do not know their service worth or know exactly what they are doing, but may have had a lucky streak. You will have to pay top dollar or aggressively, yet still affordable for quality, strategic, and experienced SEO services. SEO engineers is what I like to call them. These are SEO’s who understand the SEO concept, who pioneer SEO methods, and who don’t always follow the trend, but know the trends.

Most of the SEO engineers are not going to be cheap, but well worth every dollar spent. If you take into consideration other marketing and advertising platforms, such as television broadcast advertising, print advertising, large tradeshow/fair booth advertising, etc. internet marketing and search engine optimization cost peanuts compared to these other advertising methods and have a farther audience reach. SEO services can easily cost between $5,000-$25,000, it can even be much more than this, depending on your needs, but this is far more inexpensive and cheaper than other advertising platforms. So, next time you think that SEO service cost too much, think about the other methods of advertising and their rates, along with return on investment (ROI). SEO services come out on top every time when compared against these other advertising platforms.

Ask for References / Referrals / Portfolio

Any SEO service provider should be able to point you to their qualifying work. SEO service providers should be able to present you with affectionate websites which they have performed SEO work on. This can even be the SEO service provider personal website, they should be able to point you to their rankings in the search engine as well as some result driven SEO work within the site or across the web.

Verify References / Referrals / Portfolio

Verifying information is not always easy or accomplishable. You should attempt to reach out and verify what you can. If a shady SEO business was going to scam, then I am sure this is where they would start, with testimonials. I suggest verifying what you can, but don’t get overwhelmed with referrals because it may be the shady SEO business giving self praise. I actually have some good verification tips, but that’s another article all within itself.

Ask for Statistical Growth & Progress Reports

The SEO service campaign should include periodic progress/performance reports so you can track your website progress. Tracking your website progress is important in many ways. First, it tells if the SEO engineer is doing their job. Second, it tells you if the SEO methods, strategy, and technique is working or not. Third, it tells you how well the search engines are reciprocating your SEO efforts. And lastly, it tells you how much progress is being made and at what rate. All of this advanced reporting information and trend tracking can give you an overview of your website potential while giving you the opportunity to design or redesign your landing pages to increase your return on investment (ROI).

Okay, to wrap it up, just be sure you stay out of shabby internet neighborhoods and when making any online transaction, do your homework first. Also, remember “cheap does not equal better”. Think about it, would you rather pay in the thousands to one SEO company for quality SEO work, which will produce results and increase your website overall performance or would you rather pay cheap $200 to many different SEO’s who don’t ever really give you the results you deserve. If an SEO engineer can increase your website sales and exposure by 80% without your site ever reaching the top 10 search results then you still got a good deal. This is the effect of skilled and experienced SEO services. The only difference between your website and the websites in the top 10, is those websites have SEO engineers working for them who understand SEO.

For information on SEO consultant in UK click here.

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How to Sell Your House to a We Buy Houses Real Estate Investor – Can They Really Solve My Problems?

So you need to sell your house but you are on short time constraints. By you being stuck in a bad economy and Realtors selling houses slower than ever how in the world are you going to be able to sell an unwanted house? Well welcome to the New Year ladies and gentleman. In the new decade you have several options selling your house. Now you can sell your house to your local We Buy Houses Real Estate Investor that will put cash in your pocket within 30 days.

Selling your house to a We Buy Houses Investor is a fast, hassle free, straight forward, no strings attached a way to sell your house in any market. Selling to a We Buy Houses Real Estate Investor can be the answer to all of your real estate problems. It does not matter if you live in Baltimore, Virginia, Prince Georges County, Washington DC, Florida, California or surrounding areas. We Buy Houses Real Estate Investors can buy your house in any area/any condition. You will literally get a offer within 24 hours.

When you sell your house to a We Buy Houses Real Estate Investor you will benefit because…

1. You can sell your house usually within 30 days

2. You sign a short, no hassle, straight to the point contract and as soon as you sign that contract you will find yourself at the closing table collecting your check in no time.

3. You can sell your house in its as-is condition. We Buy Houses Investors love to do the dirty work. They deal with houses filled with trash, cracked windows, damaged roofs, fire damaged, inherited houses, any situation, they know what its like to be in a messy situation! A+ Neighborhood Homebuyers is a full service real estate investment company based in Baltimore, MD that buys five to ten houses a month. They have helped homeowners in Washington DC, PG County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Woodlawn, Randallstown, Owings Mills, Fort Washington, District Heights, Northern Virginia,Toledo, Ohio, and Harrisburg, PA.

4. You can sometimes avoid unwanted fees. Liens, property taxes and code violations are no problem for We Buy Houses Real Estate Investors. They successfully buy houses and usually pay all the unwanted fees at settlement to put more money in your pocket at settlement. We Buy Houses Investors mission is to help you put your problems behind you they will do anything in their power to make the process easier for you. It does not matter if you live in Maryland, Virginia or Washington DC, in most situations they will pay off any unwanted or hidden fees that were placed on your house.

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What’s Over Your Head Is Important! Why Should I Care? Roofing

Why is Roofing important?

Keeping your roofs and guttering in good condition is very important. It is your property’s main defense against the elements, and a very important part of its overall value. Neglecting your roof will cause damp conditions that will quickly bring about decay and expensive structural damage, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry! We usually think of calling a roofing contractor when we notice a leak in the ceiling or some missing tiles, but they can also be hired to provide many other services.

Keeping a tight “lid” on your building is important for blocking out water and moisture infiltration that can quickly lead to costly repairs if left unchecked.

Assess your roofing materials and determine if they can make it through another winter. Inspect flashing and other points of entry where water damage can occur and where warm air can escape. Your roof can also be a good indicator for how well your home is doing with energy loss. One quick and easy thing to do is to clean out your gutters to ensure that water can flow off and away from your home.

Keeping a tight “lid” on your building is important for blocking out water and moisture infiltration that can quickly lead to costly repairs if left unchecked.

Assess your roofing materials and determine if they can make it through another winter. Inspect flashing and other points of entry where water damage can occur and where warm air can escape. Your roof can also be a good indicator for how well your home is doing with energy loss. One quick and easy thing to do is to clean out your gutters to ensure that water can flow off and away from your home.

Types of Roofing

Pitched roofs are the most common types of roofs. The pitch of the roof is a measurement of how steep the roof is which determines how quickly the water will run off of the roof. Roof pitches are typically measured by an equation called the “rise over the run” and is figured in the number of feet that the roof rises in a 12 foot horizontal run. A “12/12 pitched roof” means that the roof rises 12 feet in a horizontal run of 12 feet and results in a 45 degree angle. A 12/12 pitch is regarded as quite steep because it is impossible to stand on without some kind of support. A 3/12 pitch roof is regarded as quite shallow, and is the minimum pitch at which most roofing products will successfully shed water. Most pitched roofs are between 4/12 and 8/12 in pitch. At 1/12 pitch or less, a roof is considered to be “flat”.

The most common type of roofing material for pitched roofs is composition shingles. However, there are many other types of roofing available including wood shingles and shakes, metal, slate, tile and other more exotic materials.

Flat roofs are roofs with zero pitch or with pitches so low that the water runs off too slowly for overlapped type of roofing materials to successfully shed water. Because the traditional types of roofing materials used on pitched roofs are not effective, different types of roofing materials have been developed to deal with this problem. For many years, that was limited to tar and gravel and flat seamed soldered metal. However, in the last twenty years or so, many new types of flat roof systems have been developed, including plastic, rubber and modified bitumen roof materials. The most common of these in use today on residential homes is modified bitumen. This material is made by combining asphalt (bitumen) with various chemicals whose purpose is to prolong the viable lifetime of the asphalt product. These chemicals fall into two basic categories, the first of which is elastifiers, whose purpose is to keep the asphalt flexible, and the second, UV blockers, whose purpose is to stop ultraviolet light from degrading the product. In combination, these chemicals greatly extend the lifetime of the asphalt. This material comes in large rolls which are then melted together to form one uniform sheet of material across the flat roof. Although tar and gravel is still used to some degree, it is fast disappearing from use because the modified bitumen is both cheaper and more effective.

What to know about roofing materials…

Since the dawn of history, man has been attempting to protect himself from the rain and the elements. The first materials used were those that were readily at hand, such as slabs of rock, wood, and thatches of grass. In many respects, roofing today is not a lot different, except that basic improvements that have been made in these same materials. One of the best roofs available for using a house is slate. Similar in all respects to the slate that has been used to roof houses throughout Europe for hundreds of years. Houses are still roofed with wood shingles and fired clay tiles. Another basic roofing material, asphalt tar, has been refined into the composition shingle that is the most prevalent roofing material in America today.

Every roofing material has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. The proper material for your roof can best be judged by weighing those strengths and weaknesses against your particular needs and budget allowance. Composition shingles come in a variety of different styles, colors and warranties. The most common and least expensive shingle has a 20 year warranty and is known as the strip shingle or the 3-tab shingle. The second most common composition shingle is the 30 year dimensional shingle. This shingle is also referred to as the laminated shingle or the architectural shingle. It carries a 30 year warranty and is distinguishable from the 20 year shingle by its thicker, heavier look which was designed to imitate the appearance of wood shingles. The laminated shingle also comes in 40 and 50 year versions which are each slightly thicker than the 30 year shingle but are otherwise exactly the same in appearance.

Although the strip shingle and the laminated shingle account for 95% of all composition shingle roofs there are numerous alternatives including hail resistant shingles and specialty shingles.

3-tab composition shingles are by far the most commonly used shingle in America. They have a 20 year warranty and are the most inexpensive roofing material available. Their chief attributes are low price, ease of application and wide selection of available colors. Their disadvantages are relatively short life expectancy and their plain, unadorned appearance. This roof appearance consists of identical 5″ X 12″ rectangles repeating endlessly across the roof. This unfortunately tends to exaggerate and highlight any variation in the pattern caused by a high rafter or sag in the decking.

Laminated shingles start off with much the same construction as a 3-tab or strip shingle but then an extra layer of material cut into a saw-tooth pattern is glued on (or laminated) to the exposed portion of the shingle. This makes the shingle thicker and longer lasting. In addition, multiple variations in the saw-toothed give the shingle a varied thatched-like appearance so that the roof does not show any repeating pattern. This combination of extra thickness and random appearance is much more successful in hiding the defects in the roof deck and is one of these shingles main attributes. While these shingles are considerably different, as a class, from the 3-tab shingles there is little or no difference in appearance between the 30, 40 and 50 year versions.

Hail resistant shingles also come in both 3-tab and laminated styles. However the 3-tab style carries a 30 year warranty and the laminated style carries the 50 year warranty. These shingles do not appear any different to the naked eye from the regular 3-tab and laminated shingles. However they are manufactured using a special asphalt called modified bitumen, which contains 2 types of special chemical modifiers known as elastifiers and UV blockers.

Specialty Shingles – Although specialty shingles only account for 2-3% of the composition shingle market there is a large number of different types and styles to choose from. There are shingles embossed with a wood grain, shingles designed to look like slate, extremely heavy and thick shingles, shingles with multiple layers of laminate and even copper plated shingles. Because of the large number of available specialty shingles it is not practical to deal with all of them here.

Tile is the most common, prestigious roofing material used in Texas and the Southwest. Tile roofs can be divided into 2 basic subgroups; concrete tile and clay tile. Concrete is the most commonly used tile material in the U.S. today. It is extremely durable in comparison to composition shingles, And although not as durable as clay tile typically only costs half as much as a clay tile product.

Concrete tiles come in a variety of brands, styles and colors. Styles usually consist of several variations of 3 basic types. Those are large barrel, small barrel and flat, although some companies do make a fourth variation called a bar tile. The large barrel tile sometimes referred to as the Spanish or villa style, is meant to duplicate the Spanish barrel tile in appearance. The small barrel tile sometimes referred to as the Mediterranean style has 2 small barrels on each tile as opposed to the one large barrel on the Spanish style. The flat tiles typically come in 2 basic variations. The shake tile which has a very rough textured surface is meant to be reminiscent of wood shakes and the slate tile which had a smooth surface. All of these tiles come in a large variety of colors and mixture of colors. Most of these colors are produced by baking on a glaze. Some of the more natural colors are produced by dyeing the concrete. The dyed concrete tiles also known as color-through tiles are only available in a few colors. However these tiles are not as likely to change in appearance through weathering as glazed concrete tiles.

We hope that this article has been of some help in making your decision on roofing. Using a qualified Cypress roofing company is very important also so make your choices carefully.

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Tiling Your Home – Hiring a Tiler

If you are not one for DIY or simply do not have enough time to take on your tiling project alone, the best solution would be to hire a professional tiler to complete the job for you. By hiring someone, the only thing you’ll have to do is select and buy your tiles. Tilers will generally pick up the rest for you and take the stress away from having your home refurbished and when we lead busy lives, this is a great solution to our DIY problems.

Finding your tiler can also be easy. Asking around your friends or family should always be the first point of call as recommendation from people you trust is worth more for your piece of mind than hand picking a number from the phone book. Many of us have at some point had a professional in to do the odd bit of work so someone, somewhere will be sure to know of an ideal man for the job.

If you have asked around the people you know and are still at a loss as to hiring a tiler, the next step would be looking online for a reputable tiler working in your area. Once you have compiled a list of tilers from your area, give each and every one a call to get quotes for the job. Prices may vary dramatically so it’s a good idea even if it is a little bit time consuming.

Once you’ve decided on your tiler, invite him into your home to have a look at the area that requires tiling to give him an idea of the size of the job. This will enable him to give you rough time scale as to how long the job will take to complete and, of course, the cost.

Ensure you get a price for the job confirmed before work commences. This will alleviate any problems that may arise later when it comes to finalising your bill with your tiler. Some jobs can take longer than anticipated but so long as you’re not getting charged for the unexpected, it shouldn’t cause you too much distress.

Finally, if you are the one purchasing the tiles, make sure you buy enough to complete the whole job. There is nothing worse than hiring someone to take away the stress of tiling for you and then having to rush around collecting more tiles from your supplier. Also, a good point to remember is that tiles come in batch numbers and there is always a possibility that by the time you go back to the tile store, they will have your tile but in a different batch number to the tiles you have already purchased. Buying tiles from a different batch can result in the colours and textures slightly varying.

For information on a commercial tiller in London click here.

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Infrared Sauna Heaters – Questions to Ask Before Purchasing an Infrared Sauna Or Infrared Heater Kit

If your looking to purchase an infrared sauna, the most important thing consider is the type of infrared heating technology that is being utilized.There are many infrared saunas on the market, but if it does not have good heating technology, why own one. The reason for using an infrared sauna is for the health benefits. This is why you want to find a company that offers an infrared sauna that has superior heating technology, and understands the importance of the positioning of the infrared heaters as well.

Below is a quick checklist of questions to ask before considering to purchase an infrared sauna. If they do not fit between these guidelines, then I would think twice about buying one.

What is the surface temperature of the infrared heaters?

Finding out the surface temperature of the infrared heater is one of the most important questions to ask before buying an infrared sauna. This is important because the size of the infrared wavelength is determined by the surface temperature of the infrared heater. It is scientifically proven that the lower the surface temperature of the infrared heater, the longer the infrared wavelength will be, and the higher the surface temperature the shorter the wavelength.

What kind of heating element is used to heat the sauna? Is it carbon or ceramic?

The two main types of heating elements that are used in infrared saunas today are carbon and ceramic. To get the most out of your sauna, it is very important that the infrared heat is directed where it is needed most, the core of the body. Many of the traditional carbon heaters produce high quality infrared heat, however they do not produce a lot of it. It is also not directed on the body, but rather the sauna cabin itself. These heaters do work well in lay down units or where the infrared heat is a few inches from the body, but not in a large sauna cabin. It is very important that the heaters are made and positioned properly to heat the core of the body and not just the air around you as infrared energy heats the body directly…not through the air. On the other hand, ceramic infrared heaters produce quality infrared heat and a lot of it. However, since the surface temperature is higher, the length of the infrared wave is shorter and not as therapeutic. The best thing would be to find a infrared heater that offers both carbon and ceramic heating elements.

Does the infrared sauna offer infrared heaters that are positioned in the front and back of the body?

It is very important to find an infrared sauna that offers both back and front heaters. The main key to effective detoxification is heating your body and most importantly raising your core body temperature. Your bodies core houses your cardiovascular, immune, and lymphatic systems, all playing an important role in infrared therapy. Many of the infrared saunas on the market today only offer only back heaters. While this does heat the bodies core, it is not as beneficial as having heaters positioned properly in the front core and the back of the body. Having infrared sauna heaters in the front and back will help you get the most out of your infrared sauna.

Does the infrared sauna use reflected heat?

There are many sauna heaters on the market that are thin and made with a single rod with a reflector behind it. When compared to a large panel far infrared heater, the single rod often produces lower quality far infrared heat for a couple reasons.

1. The single rod must run at a higher surface temperature just to produce sufficient heat to warm the sauna cabin. Now remember, the higher the surface temperature the less effective the infrared heat will be.

2. Since these infrared heaters have a small surface area, they usually have a metal reflector behind them. It is scientifically known that if a wave passes from one medium to another, the wave changes. This means that the infrared heat that is reflected will be diluted.

So when your looking for an infrared sauna, make sure that it does not use a reflector.

Does the manufacturer offer a lifetime warranty?

Make sure that you ask about the warranty and how long the infrared heaters will be covered under warranty. You may come across manufacturers that say their sauna has a lifetime warranty, but later find out that the infrared heaters are not included in the lifetime warranty. There are companies that offer a complete lifetime warranty, meaning that they cover all parts of the sauna: wood, heaters, electrical, controls, etc…this is a good way to determine the quality of the sauna, as the company will only want to warranty a good product.

For infrared sauna heater parts click here.