Home Improvement – Picking the Proper Flooring

You have finally come to the realization that the floor on which you have been walking for the last ten or fifteen years has served its purpose and it’s time to get something new. The choices are almost endless, so where in the world do you start? To quote the famous architect Louis Sullivan, “form follows function”, which is a fancy way of saying, how it looks depends on what it is supposed to do.

First the Room, Then the Flooring
Let’s start with the room for which you are planning your new floor. Some rooms are easier than others. Flooring for your entry way, living room, bedrooms and hallways can be anything that works with your d├ęcor and design. Carpet is most often favored in bedrooms, especially in kid’s rooms and colder climates. If you are looking at bathrooms, something water resistant and easy to clean is your best bet, especially if you have very young children. Kitchens are in much the same category as bathrooms, but since they are usually the hub of activity and the center of many designs, their flooring choice is far more critical. As we look at the different choices, you will start to get some ideas about what surface would best suit your needs.

Carpeting
Carpet has lost some of its popularity to hard surface flooring in the last ten or fifteen years, but it is still a strong contender. From cut pile to berber to frieze and even commercial, the choices are plentiful even before you get to color. Carpet softens the look of a room and keeps bare feet insulated from cold winter mornings. Playrooms and kid’s bedrooms benefit from carpet’s excellent padding and sound deadening qualities.

Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood floors have a look that never gets dated but they can have a serious impact on your budget. Like all hard surface floors, they will require daily maintenance. Hardwood flooring in bathrooms is definitely not advised. If you like the look of wood but not the price, consider laminate. The technology behind this flooring has improved greatly over the last decade. There are some brands that are indistinguishable from real wood unless they are examined very closely. Another advantage to laminate floors is that they are fairly easy to install. Handy homeowners can save money on installation by doing it themselves. There are a few brands that have good water resistance, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

Ceramic Tile and Stone Flooring
For the best combination of wear and beauty, tile and stone are hard to beat. Tile comes in every color of the rainbow and some mimics natural stone very well. Grout can be tedious to keep clean, so dark colors and regular sealing are highly recommended. Natural stone has a beauty that is unequaled by any other surface. Due to the fact that most stone is very porous, sealing is very important. Some stone is very soft (like marble), so get a professional opinion when choosing your flooring. Tile and stone can be installed DIY, but large areas, large sizes and vertical applications are best left to the pros.

Vinyl
Vinyl flooring is generally the most cost effective flooring available to the homeowner. Although it is less expensive, there are some brands and styles that look so much like wood, stone and tile that you have to touch it to tell the difference. Vinyl is an excellent choice for kitchens, bathrooms and high traffic areas due to ease of cleaning and water resistance. Like tile, vinyl installation can be a do-it-yourself project but large areas and seaming are better done by professionals.

Start with the room, add in the use and lifestyle and then work towards your design goals guided by your budget. With all of the choices available to you, there is sure to be a flooring choice that scores high in almost every category. Do your research and get recommendations from friends and professionals. After that, happy shopping.

Cheap Family Health Insurance

The cost of buying health insurance is high. There are many families who cannot pay the high premiums, and therefore do not insure themselves or their families. Many other families feel that they are healthy and do not require a health insurance policy. Calamities can strike anytime and then, they realize how important it is to have insurance, even if just in case of an accident.

People, who cannot afford health insurance are often eligible for low-cost health insurance policies. Health insurance means protection against any accidents, diseases, and viral infections. Getting a health insurance does not mean buying expensive policies. One can also opt for cheap and low budget health insurance plans.

There are many companies that offer a cheap health insurance plans. But apart from companies, there are also many local insurance agencies that give low-income families, a complete package for securing their health. Some of these local agencies offer health insurance that covers dental, eye care, and emergency care. Some insurance companies just offer health insurance coverage.

Many insurance companies consider situations and give the best, correct, and cheap health insurance policies that suit the needs of the family, and also come under the specified budget. It is very important to compare the best health insurance deals, to get the cheapest policy compared to the rest.

The Internet is regarded as one of the other choices, to look up for the cheapest plans relating to health insurance. Many companies advertise online to promote and encourage families, to take cheaper and low cost health insurance plans. People can request online for the best quotes available and can compare the two. It is always advisable to take the quotes, compare them with the others available and then opt for the one that suits the needs of a person.

Getting Great Deals on Gift Cards With eBay

Gift cards make great gifts! The only problem with giving gift certificates as a gift is that you will often have to pay more for it than it’s worth. Why would you have to pay more than the gift card is worth? Many companies often charge a small free for the gift card, you may also have to pay tax on your purchase. I don’t know about you but paying $26.50 for a $25 card to Old Navy just doesn’t sit well with me. On the other hand the only other option is to attempt to pick out a gift that the recipient may or may not like. The good news is that there is an easy way to get discounted gift certificates and save some money.

There are a few discount gift certificates sites online that provide you with a few dollars savings on certain gift cards. I personally have found that the savings on the gift cards when using online discount card sites is very insignificant and their gift certificate selection very small. An even better place to get great deals on shopping cards online is the online auction website Ebay. eBay constantly has hundreds of auctions for a great variety of cards. You will find that you can get certain gift certificates for a steal!

Here are some tips for getting the best price on gift cards on Ebay:

  • More expensive gift certificates can usually be bought for a deeper discount.
  • Bidding on auctions that end at off times (late at night or early in the morning) will help you avoid last minute bidders that will inflated the cost of the gift card.
  • Gift cards for local stores ( a store that can’t be found all over the country ) have a lot less bidding competition.
  • If possible, avoid bidding on auctions right before the holiday season. Bidding on gift cards is much more popular during the holidays.

If you follow those few simple tips, you should be able to get a great deals on perfectly good gift certificates. Good luck!

Are There Any Free Online RPG Games Worth Playing?

Players of computer games have never had it so good. We live in an age of immersive graphics, great soundtracks, amazing sound effects and even professional Hollywood actors performing voice acting for animated characters. Can the variety of free online RPG games ever compete with this kind of product?

All good marketing comes back to one essential feature – serve the needs of the customer. So what does a player of an online game really want? If a person plays a role playing game (RPG) then are their needs really any different to a person that plays a first person shooter (FPS)? What unites the players of most online games is a desire for escape. This can be a few minutes of harmless fun manipulating blocks in games like Tetris, or it can be mayhem and carnage in games like Grand Theft Auto, but the basic desire is the same – escapism. The desire to do something different than you might otherwise do in your daily life.

Players of the free online RPG games are also looking for an escape from the daily grind, but they need something more too. Obviously they are looking for value and a free game certainly gives this in abundance. Players of this type of game are also looking for an opportunity to see a character they have created grow and change. This is probably what sets this market apart from FPS games. In an FPS you will frequently have inventory, character attributes like Strength, Health and so on, but the character never really develops. Charging around in Wolfenstein never makes the character physically fitter, shooting their gun never makes their aim truer and so on. If the desire of the player is to be involved with their character then a FPS game will most likely never serve this customer need.

However even the most diehard player of RPG games will sometimes look for a change of pace and perhaps the so called “god game” genre would present a new challenge. If growing a character and watching them develop was fun, then surely doing the same for a town would be even better?

One of the free RPG games online that fills this need is Evony. There are many free online RPG games that are kind of lacking, but Evony offers a lot to do and also allows you to interact with others players and not just a computer program. While not a true RPG game as the scale of the game goes far beyond the scale of an individual, Evony does allow the development of heroes and allows you to equip them so they are better at their chosen tasks.

Perhaps the biggest advantage offered by games such as Evony is that they are free to play. With many online games charging monthly subscriptions this can soon add up, but a free to play browser game with no installation required does offer a unique charm. At the very worst there is nothing to lose by trying them out.