Posted In:How To's Archives - Pligg

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3 Qualities to Look for in a Great Access Door

November 13, 2017 - By 

Having a great access door means more than just providing entry for plumbing or electrical units. It can offer safety and security when used as a safe.

There are many purposes you can use an access door for but it ultimately ends up being an easy way to conduct necessary maintenance repairs. Whether that’s what you intend to use it for or want to convert it into something else, we have advice on the qualities a good access door should have.

Ready to find out what they are? Here we go!

Hidden Hinges

Concealed hinges are great if you’re wanting the door to be flush with the wall. That way, it doesn’t stick out awkwardly.

They also come in handy if you’re using your door as a safe. When the hinges are located within the door itself, it’s impossible to be tampered with. Crooks looking to gain access won’t find a way because they can’t locate the hinges.

Not only do they offer security when used that way but they’re easy to install. Whether you do it yourself or have a professional do the install, most concealed hinges work like a puzzle. All that needs to be done is to click one piece inside the other.

Fire-Rated Access Door

Since most doors are used to conceal electrical units, it’s best to invest in a door that’s fire-rated. Why?

If a fire were to happen, one that’s fire-rated limits the amount of smoke that’s produced. Also, it has properties that prevent the fire from spreading past the doors.

These types of doors prove themselves useful because when installed, it creates a tight seal against the wall. When used in the kitchen, for example, the material it’s made out of won’t become hot to the touch. All that’s heated inside the door won’t transfer onto the door itself.

Companies like Best Access Doors understand consumers want to keep their home protected. Therefore, they offer a wide variety of fire-rated access doors.

Can Withstand the Elements

Most doors can be used indoors and outdoors. While it’s great to have one that can do both, it’s best to consider the type of weather in the area you live in if the door will be on the exterior of your home.

If it’s strictly indoor, sticking it outside won’t put it to good use. It’ll slowly deteriorate from the outside elements.

Harsh winters or even blazing sunlight can cause damage. When shopping, be sure to pick up one that’s specifically for the outdoors.

It can also withstand mildew and warping caused by weather. It’s worth the investment so you don’t have to replace the door three years from now.

Wrapping Up

When picking out an access door, it’s best to remember these three qualities. Your door should be able to withstand the outside elements and keep your valuables safe.

Whatever you decide to use it for, make sure it fits your needs. There’s plenty of options to choose from so you won’t be stuck with one that’s useless.

For more information on a plethora of topics, check out our recent blog posts!


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Everything You Need to Know About Hardwood Decking

November 13, 2017 - By 
hardwood decking

If there’s a better option for a deck than hardwood decking, we couldn’t tell you what it is. The strength and beauty of hardwood is without match, and its durability seals the deal for anyone considering hardwood as a deck building option.

Hardwood decking provides the best long-lasting alternative to synthetic materials or softwoods. It boasts a natural beauty that gets better with age, much like a fine wine.

Nobody can deny the durability of hardwood. As an example, the hardwood Ipe Decking used on the Coney Island Boardwalk lasted 70 years. When torn down, the wood was re-used on other products.

If you’re looking to create an unforgettable outdoor oasis for your house then hardwood is where you should start.

Here’s everything you need to know about DIY hardwood decking.

What Type of Hardwood to Choose

The first step is choosing the right hardwood for your project. Here, we’ll break down 5 of the most popular options so you can choose the right one for your project.

If you’d like to know what other types of hardwoods are available, then give this a click!

1. Ipe Wood

This is the most popular decking option for builders using hardwood. Color options range from olive-brown to dark brown. Some even have a blackish tone.

The wood grains vary widely.

Ipe wood will provide a gorgeous, long-lasting deck. It’s incredibly hard and will last over 40 years with the right installation and care.

If you live in a harsh environment with extreme weather, you can’t go wrong with Ipe wood.

2. Garapa Wood

This is the second most popular hardwood solution.

Grarapa decking features a beautiful golden brown to light yellow color. As it begins to weather, it turns a silvery gray.

The best part about Garapa is that there’s no need to apply an annual sealer. It’s naturally resistant to decay, rot, scratches, splinters and even fire.

Also known as Brazilian Ash, its moderate cost makes it a great alternative to Ipe or Teak hardwoods.

3. Massaranduba

This type of hardwood is one of the most durable timbers on earth. It’s a very cost-effective sub for Ipe decking in many applications.

It has a straight grain and reddish-brown hue. Some people refer to it as Brazilian Redwood.

If you’re looking for a Mahogany appearance, Massaranduba is a great way to go.

4. Cumaru (Brazilian Teak)

Cumaru provides a long-lasting, cost-effective alternative for hardwood decking.

It glows in a warm and attractive golden-brown color that’s unmatched by most hardwoods. It also ages gracefully and is long-lasting.

Cumaru has a similar density as Ipe but at a much more moderate cost.

5. Teak

Teak surpasses most all other woods for outdoor use. True teak decking, known as Tectona Grandis, has natural oils which completely eliminate the need for sealants or preservatives.

It’s the most expensive hardwood option but is also the highest quality. It’s so high quality that it’s used on many luxury yachts.

If you’re looking to build a one-of-a-kind deck, Teak is the best material.

Choose the Right Profile

The decking profile you’ll use will depend on the fasteners you’re using and the location you’re installing the deck.

Standard Decking

Use this profile for face screwed decking. Then, plug it to give your deck a completely seamless look.

Pre-Grooved Decking

Use pre-grooved decking when you want to allow hidden fasteners to be installed so that the decking boards don’t show any of the fasteners.

Tongue and Grooved Decking

Use this profile for porch flooring or when your deck will be covered. It should only be used when you aren’t concerned about water drainage.

How to Choose the Right Fasteners

First, note that all hardwood decking requires stainless steel screws. You’ll also need to pre-drill each hole due to the hardness and density of the wood.

Stainless Steel Screws

No matter what type of hardwood you’re using, employ stainless steel screws. The wood is going to last 40 or more years, so you’ll want your screws to last just as long.

In addition, other fasteners cause discoloration and staining in hardwoods.

Use stainless steel screws for hidden fasteners, face screwing and if using wood plugs.

Wood Plugs

When face screwing, wood plugs can be used. You’ll need to counter-sink each screw to allow you to cover the head of each screw with a wood plug.

Typically the wood plugs will then be planed or sanded to be smooth with the deck surface.

Hidden Deck Fasteners

When you’re using pre-grooved decking, you’ll want to use hidden deck fasteners. They’re used to clip the decking boards to the span and are almost completely hidden by the deck grooves.

Sanding and Finishing

Once your deck is installed, you’ll want to consider treating it will an oil-based finish. That’ll depend on the hardwood you’ve chosen and the look you’re going for.

How to Sand and Seal Your Decking

First, you’ll want to seal all of your fresh cuts with AnchorSeal. Then, spot-sand as needed. It’s not recommended that you do orbital sanding because it will leave unsightly circular scratches in the wood grain.

Finishing

If you’re OK with your deck developing a natural “silvering” color, you don’t need to worry about finishing. Your deck will still last many, many years.

However, if you’re looking to keep the wood coloring of the original hardwood you should look for a penetrating oil-based finish that’s transparent. It should also have UV protection.

Before you apply, clean and brush your deck’s surface to remove all dust and dirt. Then apply several transparent coats and you’re good to go.

Maintenance and Care

One of the best features of hardwood decking is that it’s very low maintenance. However, you can still help improve its appearance and make it last longer.

The Best Way to Clean Your Deck

A couple times per year put together a simple water and soap solution and take a stiff brush to your deck. This will keep is shining like new.

Pressure washers are rarely recommended for a hardwood deck. When it’s time to rinse, a garden hose and spray nozzle will work just fine.

Refinishing

When you need to remove stains or age from finishes, look for a commercial cleaner that’s made specifically for hardwoods.

When refinishing, make sure to clean the deck thoroughly before you start. Some finishing products may not need to be stripped off the deck prior to applying a new coat. If you have questions about this, contact the product manufacturer.

Hardwood Decking is the Way To Go

With all the options, durability and beautify of hardwood, it’s difficult to see a better option for your new deck.

If you learned from this article, take a look at some of our ebook downloads that can further expand your knowledge base.

Good luck with your deck project!


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5 Moving Checklists to Help If You’re Moving to Tampa

August 24, 2017 - By 
tampa

The word is out about Tampa Bay. In fact, according to a recent article in WalletHub, Tampa ranks number 14 in the best cities to live in the entire country!

That’s the highest of any city in Florida, leaving popular destinations like Miami (which came in at number 54) in its dust.

One of the only downsides of moving to Tampa is that it’s a bit of a hassle getting there. However, with the help of a moving company, you can cross that downside right off of your list.

And speaking of lists, here are five checklists, organized by timeframe, that will help you prepare for the big move:

1) Two Months to Go

Get to know the area. Sure, you’re moving to Tampa, but there’s so much more to it than just the city. They call it “The Bay Area” for a reason. Research other awesome places like St. Petersburg and Ybor City.

If you have kids or plan to some day, get to know the school systems, particularly in your neighborhood. Consider the decision between private and public schooling based on what you’ve been able to determine.

Leave behind clutter. While a moving company will help you with the boxing and hauling process, two months out is a great time to start sorting your stuff into piles of what you plan to bring to your next life, and what you can do without.

2) One Month to Go

Take care of clerical business like an official change-of-address with the Post Office. Do this now. It may seem early still but the next 30 days are going to fly by.

Now is a good time to have the realtor assisting with moving to Tampa send you measurements for the new place. As you begin the packing process you are going to want to know if it’s worth bringing a couch that will never fit through the door.

Find a new primary care physician in the Tampa area and have your records transferred over to their office. If you see specialists, you may want to repeat the process for them as well.

3) Two Weeks to Go

Not to judge, but you probably should have done this already but it ought to be said: If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to give your two-week’s notice to work.

Get a routine car repair. Get the oil changed and the tires rotated, especially if moving to Tampa means a long drive. Keep in mind that Tampa is the fifth most humid major city in the country. Make sure your car is equipped to handle that.

Now is a good time to get on the same page with professional movers, particularly ones who are used to the process of moving to Tampa.

4) One Week to Go

You should hopefully be finished with packing up the house by now. With one week left now is the time to pack your actual suitcases.

Add specifics to boxes to help the moving company like “fragile”, as well as the rooms that the different boxes are meant to go in.

Do a major trip to Goodwill or another charity organization. Donate everything you don’t need that you wouldn’t consider trash.

5) Moving Day

Take stock of everything. Count all the boxes. Make a list of all the furniture. Check this list again in Tampa.

Go over everything above once more to be certain you’ve forgotten nothing. Consider doing this the day before as well.

This is sappy, but take a photo. This will always be your home, no matter how many you have in the future.

The Move to Tampa

The transition to Tampa is an easy one. Between the year-round summer weather, the museums, and the booming job markets, this should be a pretty easy place to find your footing.

With the right attitude, the right checklists, and most importantly the right moving company, your move to Tampa will be a breeze.


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How to Create Your Own Digital Manual

August 3, 2017 - By 
manual

In a digital age, what happens to non-digital information?

Most often, it gets ignored! These days, most people will hit Google the first time they encounter a problem – even when it’s their health!

But that’s a good thing if you can take advantage of it. By offering digital manuals online, you extend the promotional reach of your company.

That’s why we’ve put together some points to consider for creating an effective digital manual.

Determine Your User

The single most important step in writing a successful manual is knowing your user is.

First, create a single sentence that defines who your user. This can be something as simple as “Users of Plantronics Headsets“. This short scope will keep you focused on answering your users’ questions.

Without thinking about your user in advance, you risk drifting off-topic. You may find yourself answering questions outside the scope of your intended purpose.

Create a Logical Outline

Knowing your user should help you create your structure.

Without a logical outline, you’ll just be winging the content. Your guide won’t have any rational flow. A good user guide works step-by-step, beginning to end.

Build a general contents page first. Write down all of the topics you want to cover in your manual. Then rearrange these topics into their most logical pattern. You may find yourself having to shift a section as you write the manual, but creating an outline at the start will give you a structure to work from.

Make It Visual

There’s nothing more boring than a manual without images. And what’s more, images will help your users understand the content!

Words without a visual guide can be hard to follow, so consider using the right images to highlight key points and hold your users’ attention. With a digital manual, you can offer full-color images and even links to videos! It’s a lot harder to do this with a traditional manual, and that’s one reason digital downloads are outpacing physical media.

Diagrams, step-by-step images, and tables are all great ways to present your information visually.

Make It Easy to Access

If you’ve gone through all the trouble of creating a manual, you want your users to see it. If users can’t find your manual, you’ve wasted your time creating it.

Especially in an age of short attention spans, where you display something is as important as what it contains. Make your user manual very easy to find. Link it from the product page, or even your main page if appropriate. Make sure the link includes the word “manual” and the name of the product.

This kind of forethought not only helps your users, but it builds their confidence in you. Making this information easy to obtain gives your users a positive attitude toward your company. How many times have you been frustrated by trying to find something on a website? That feeling translates into frustration with your company itself.

Create a Digital Manual Now

As you can see, creating a digital manual doesn’t have to be complicated. By keeping these points in mind, you could create one easily and improve your promotional reach.

Be sure to follow our blog for up-to-date digital hints and tips!


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5 Tips For Growing Marijuana Indoors

July 12, 2017 - By 
growing marijuana

With marijuana becoming legal in more states each year, many people are choosing to start growing their own plants.

Growing your own marijuana is a fun way to watch the process from start to finish. It allows you to know the quality of your marijuana. It’s also relatively simple and inexpensive to get started!

If you’re thinking about starting your own operation, check out these five tips for how to grow marijuana indoors!

1. Set the space

Before you can start growing marijuana in your home, you need to set up your growing space.

Whether you plan to grow one plant or one dozen, you’ll need to create a dedicated space that helps to control the environment around the plant.

There are several ways to create a space in your home. If you’re growing several plants, you may want to dedicate an entire room to them. It would need to be a room with doors that close, as well as ventilation or a way to add it, and electricity for heat lamps.

If you aren’t dedicating an entire room, you might choose to purchase or build a grow tent.

A grow tent features reflective interior walls that help to reflect light and keep your plants warm.

2. Think ahead

While buying seeds and setting up your space, it’s important to carefully consider how many plants you’ll have.

Even if you think that you’ll have many plants in the future, it’s a good idea to start small.

This will give you a chance to set up a space that functions well, and lets you learn the in’s and out’s of growing before you have several plants on the line.

Keeping your numbers small doesn’t necessarily meaning that the space that you grow in should be. When planting, think ahead, and remember that marijuana plants will flower and double or even triple in size.

3. Order the right seeds

Choosing and buying seeds for the first time can be a challenge. There are many different quality seeds and options out there.

If you are learning how to grow marijuana for the first time, you may want to start with feminized seeds. These are guaranteed to grow into female plants.

If you don’t buy these, you’ll have to go through the process of sexing your plants once they begin to grow, and may end up throwing out several male plants.

4. Give your plants some air

Ventilation is key when growing marijuana indoors.

If your growing space isn’t properly ventilated, it could lead to several health problems for your plant, including developing insects like spidermites. While you can treat these with insecticides, it’s easier to stop them before they start.

A window or duct in your growing room, along with a fan, will help keep air circulating and keep your plants healthy.

5. Be conscious of the smell

Marijuana plants have a strong smell. While this may not bother you, if you live in a neighborhood, this could be a problem.

To help reduce the smell and keep from bothering your neighbors, you’ll want to add an air filter. The filter should be installed in front of your fan to cut down much of the scent.

Start growing today!

With a small investment of time and money, along with these five tips, anyone can learn how to grow marijuana indoors!


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Caught With Your Pants Down? What to Expect During a Drug Test

June 30, 2017 - By 
whizzinator

You spent weeks – maybe even months – searching for your next job. Then you got called in for an interview, and you nailed it!

Your dream job is right there within your grasp. The only thing standing between you and that first big paycheck is…the drug test.

Even if you don’t use recreational drugs, the idea of submitting to a pre-employment drug test is intimidating. However, since 57% of U.S. companies require drug screening from new employees, chances are you’ll face it eventually.

What types of drugs are employers testing for? And what can you expect during your screening session?

Read on to find out!

What Drugs Are They Testing For?

Most employers will order either a 5-panel or 10-panel drug test.

A 5-panel drug test looks for the following:

  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Opiates (heroin, codeine, morphine)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • THC (marijuana) – even in states where it’s legalized!

The 10-panel drug test also looks for these common painkillers and prescription drugs:

  • Propoxyphene
  • Methadone
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Amphetamine

Is it possible to “beat” a drug test? To be sure, many have tried.

Methods include diluting urine or providing someone else’s urine. Some have even created synthetic urine with devices such as the Whizzinator.

However, providing tainted or fake urine is highly illegal, with penalties ranging from fines to jail time. For this reason, it is highly NOT recommended to try it!

(Worried about painkillers showing up in your urine test? Try some of these natural pain remedies instead!)

What to Expect During a Drug Test

Well, the big day is here. It’s time to step into that clinic and provide the urine sample that will determine your professional fate.

The process will probably go something like this:

  1. Smile nervously at the receptionist as you present identification. This is to verify that you are actually you.
  2. The collector will ask you to remove unnecessary layers of clothing (coats, jackets, etc.) and empty your pockets. Basically, she has to be sure you’re not planning to tamper with the collection process.
  3. In most cases, you’ll have privacy while you urinate. However, if the collector has any reason to think you might tamper with the sample, she may assign a same-sex observer to accompany you.
  4. The collector will give you a sealed container with measurement markings and a wide mouth. Before you touch it (or yourself), be sure to wash your hands to remove any trace chemicals on your skin. This could adversely affect the test results!
  5. Once you’ve filled the cup, the collector will examine it for any signs of tampering. She’ll also check the temperature and make sure there’s enough for the ordered tests.
  6. You and the collector sign paperwork stating that the specimen is correctly labeled. You also sign off that there were no issues during the collection process.
  7. Exit the clinic and give a big sigh of relief. It’s over!

Depending on where the clinic processes the test (in-house or sent to a lab), it may take a few hours or a few days to get the results back.

We know it’s difficult, but be patient! And try not to worry.

You’ll pass that test with flying colors and be on your way to your new job before you know it!