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PREPPING your lawn for the BY ZACHARY CORMIER RED DEER EXPRESS If you own a home in Red Deer and haven’t started getting your yard ready for winter, now might be a good time to start. According to Dan Gervais, the operations manager at Maple Bay Maintenance Ltd. in Red Deer, the ideal time to start preparing your lawn for winter is anywhere from mid-August to mid-September. “The primary things that we do with that is power raking or de-thatching, whichever you prefer to call it,” said Gervais, adding the other major thing is to do a fall fertilizing. “The primary reasoning for that is to keep nitrogen in the ground. It helps to enhance fall colour and to increase the chlorophyll content. More chlorophyll means increased photosynthesis.” That’s important, because it makes the grass less susceptible to freezing. “It’s the same as if you imagine if you put a bottle of water in the freezer versus a bottle of juice in the freezer, the juice is going to take longer to freeze. So that’s our whole point in that.” The increased nitrogen in the ground also promotes deep rooting, which means the plants will grow in the spring with deeper, healthier roots. For those with water features or irrigation systems in their yards, Gervais said as soon as the temperature drops below freezing, that’s the time to clear all of the irrigation lines and shut them all down.

winter season “You don’t want anything freezing underground,” he said, adding that for water features and fish ponds, he covers them with a couple of feet of straw or hay to keep them insulated for keeping the fish in the feature over the winter. He also noted that fish can be kept in most water features over the winter as long as they’re over 4 ft. deep.

“Some people take them out. It’s really preference and the size of your pond. But the same thing, shut the pump off, drain it. You don’t want any freezing or cracking in your lines or your pumps.” Preparing your yard for winter is important for a number of reasons, chief among them being the lawn will be in a much better and healthier position come

springtime, but also because anything done in the fall will reduce the amount of clean up work that needs to be done when the snow melts. “Especially with leaves. Either rake, vacuum or you can also just mulch them as long as you’re doing that early enough and they’ve got time to break down.” Unfortunately for people who procrastinated on doing prep work, the cut off for doing most of that fertilizing, raking and clean up passed when the first snowfall of the year hit. “Once you’ve got snow on the ground and everything’s wet, unless you get it to dry up, you’re kind of playing a little gambling game there,” he said. One of the things that you can do if the snow melts and the grass dries between now and when the ground freezes over for the winter is cut your grass. “Make sure you’ve got it cut before it snows. Usually try to go two-and-a-half inches,” Gervais said. This is because if the grass is too short, there is no support or insulation for the crown, or growing point of the plant and if it is too long it can become matted, which encourages winter diseases such as pink and grey snow mold. But if you’ve been on top of things and have already prepared everything for winter, you should be in good shape for next year when the time comes to get your lawn ready for spring in a few months.



PROS and CONS of purchasing a home in the fall

FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT So perhaps circumstances have deemed it your time to purchase a new home. We have all heard of the brisk spring market but what can you expect when you look to buy in the fall or winter? Let’s take a look shall we? I will warn you all that the ‘S’ word is going to be used. That’s right, we will be talking about snow. Always look on the bright side of life, as the song goes, so let’s start with the pros. 1. Fall is a really pretty time of year. The upside is that you will be able to look at your potential new backyard before the snow hides any flaws. You will also get the chance to peek through the trees as the leaves fall to know just what your view will be throughout the winter when those same trees are bare. 2. The natural light of fall is very comparable to the winter light. You will be able to see your new home as it will be through the winter, at its least vibrant. This is a true benefit in my opinion. You are seeing the property in its truest and most naked form. 3. The fall market is generally slower. This means less chance of competing offers on the property. The sellers may be more motivated to negotiate on the details such as the price or possession date. 4. You will be shopping with cer-


PIKKERT tain features in mind. This time of year reminds us that winter is indeed coming. Energy efficient furnaces and windows, a garage built for two, in floor heat and a myriad of other features are at the top of the list when you shop in the fall. Given how long the winters can be here and how much it costs to heat your home for those long months, this can be a great benefit. 5. And finally, if you move in before the holiday season you get to enjoy your new home all decked out while snuggled on the couch in your PJ’s. And now the cons. Remember, you were forewarned that we would be discussing snow. 1. The snow can come quickly and when it does it can be very hard to get a true sense of the land once it is covered. You will not be able to determine how well the yard was maintained or what level of ongoing maintenance will be required for the landscaping. If you are purchasing a home with pets you may even want to negotiate

Setting up a basic Maybe nobody in their right mind would call you a great handyman, but you can take heart in one thing: you’re not alone! There is something that can improve your chances of doing a job right the first time, however. Investing in a few good quality basic tools can help you do the job in a timely fashion without constantly having to borrow your neighbour’s tools. For the budding handyman, here is a list of what your first toolbox should contain: • hammer (not too heavy nor too light, with a rubber handle)

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• tape measure (at least 25 feet / 7.5 metres) • level (at least 9 inches / 23 cm) and a set square • hand saw or circular saw • miter box (for cutting angles) • box cutter knife • set of screwdrivers or screwdriver with multiple heads or power screwdriver • long-nose pliers, cutting pliers, clamping pliers, and locking pliers • adjustable wrenches, ratchet and socket set, and Allen key • sandpaper and sanding block • safety glasses, gloves, and protective mask • hot glue gun • work apron or tool belt Avoid buying packaged sets of tools. It is far better to take the time to choose each tool individually, according to your needs. A tool has to be of good quality, ergonomic, and adapted to you. Don’t hesitate to try them out in the store. For bigger, more infrequent jobs, keep in mind that it is possible to rent a wide range of tools, such as a bench saw, miter saw, jigsaw, router, biscuit joiner, stapler, sander, compressor, and the like.

for the cost of poop clean up for the spring. 2. Given the snow, you may not be able to determine if the traffic near the home is lighter than usual due to adverse road conditions. 3. You will have to view the potential properties much earlier in the day to be able to see the property in the natural light. 4. The inventory is much lower in December and January given first the preparation for, the enjoyment of and the recovery from the Christmas season. 5. Lawyers and lenders often close or operate on greatly reduced staff during the holiday season. Any glitch to the mortgage funding may not be addressed until business as usual resumes in January. 6. Moving in the winter when it is -40C give or take with the wind chill and when the snowdrifts prevent the moving truck from getting closer than a half block make moving during the winter less than ideal to say the least. Yikes, that’s all I have to say about that. So there you have it. The pros and cons of buying a home during the fall or winter. Pam Pikkert is a mortgage broker with Dominion Lending Centres – Regional Mortgage Group in Red Deer.

DIY toolkit







The second annual Red Deer Home Renovation & Design Show is set to take place in the City this weekend. Presented by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association - Central Alberta, the show will take place Oct. 21st-23rd at Westerner Park. The Red Deer Home Renovation Show will provide attendees with ideas for new and improved products and services. More than 80 exhibitors will be on hand including experts on roofing, flooring, bathroom and kitchen renovation, doors, windows, home decor and more. “This year’s show has a major design theme. Attendees will find numerous booths and displays related to interior and exterior design ideas. We also have a number of local and national speakers related to interior design that will be on hand doing presentations and answering questions. HGTV’s Jo Alcorn will be at the show and speaking to attendees Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday at 12:30 p.m.,” said Brandon Bouchard, president of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association - Central Alberta. “In addition to the diverse group of vendors and professionals presenting this year, we are also introducing an ‘Ask the Experts’ booth where local construction and design experts will be on hand to answer any questions the attendees may have. A full schedule of the experts and times will be available at the show. Experts in the fields of roofing, closet/or-

ganization, flooring, mold/asbestos, cabinetry, and plumbing/heating, to name a few, will be answering questions without the worry of a sales pitch.” As mentioned as part of the Red Deer Home Renovation & Design Show, Alcorn from HGTV’s Home to Win and Critical Listing will be speaking twice throughout the weekend. According to the Red Deer Home Renovation & Design Show’s web site, “Jo has earned her reputation as a design expert. She has developed a diverse client base and is proud to be able to provide style and continuity for a wide range of personalities and décor preferences. To add to her credentials, she is the Style Editor for Canadian Home Trends Magazine, and has a monthly column in the Toronto Sun. Further, she has been teaching at Humber College North Campus since 2010, developing young minds of the industry.” Meanwhile, Bouchard said he encourages Central Albertans to take in the show. “Whether you’re looking for a contractor, DIY ideas, or design inspiration, there will be something for everyone to see. It’s always a good place to find new innovations in residential construction.” General admission to the Red Deer Home Renovation Show is $5 for adults, $4 for students, $4 for seniors ages 55 and up and children under 12 are admitted free with an adult. For more information, check out www.

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Today’s trend of the


BY KALISHA MENDONSA RED DEER EXPRESS Tiny homes have made giant waves in housing trends and have become a popular option for potential home-buyers. There are a wide variety of styles, sizes, amenities and customization that can be made to a tiny house to make it feel like home. Calgary-based tiny home builders Serenity Acres Tiny Homes are one of many Albertan companies that are working to make the trend a reality for potential owners. Owner Ashley Baptiste said he’s excited to be helping people make a move towards

“A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO REALIZE THAT THE WAY WE’VE BEEN LIVING ON THIS PLANET IS NOT SUSTAINABLE.” ASHLEY BAPTISTE more sustainable living. “A lot of people are starting to realize that the way we’ve been living on this planet is not sustainable. More and more people are starting to make a shift towards

something that will benefit the world long-term, and this is a way to do that,” Baptiste said. “Tiny houses take a lot less energy to heat and maintain. Throughout the life of the home, it will be a lot more energy efficient to maintain than a traditional house. There are a lot less materials that go into it and we try to make the most out of every piece of wood and material that we use on the house. We also encourage people to use recycled material wherever possible. It’s usually worth a little extra time to try to

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Where to Start


hen you are ready to purchase a new home, one of the first steps is to take a close look at the builders in your community. Who you buy from can be almost as important as what and where you buy.  Home building companies are highly varied.  Some build only a few custom homes each year, while others build hundreds of homes and whole new communities. Each company caters to specific types of home buyers and their needs.

Your new home buying experience and satisfaction depend on finding the right builder for you. A great place to begin looking is  Most new home buyers begin their search online. This can also provide you with insight into each home building company – there area of

specialization, history, experience, and so on. Use your online research to develop a list of builders and homes you want to learn more about, then take the next step—visit the company’s model homes or call the builder for an initial discussion. There are a number of reasons we recommend that you focus your

• Membership in the Association is voluntary. Members agree to the CHBA’s Code of Ethics, which is based on principles of fairness, integrity and consumer satisfaction. • Being a professional new home builder means constant learning. Through the CHBA, members can keep up to date on technological advances, regulations, products and materials, financing, design and so on-in short, what they need to know to provide home buyers with the best and latest in the marketplace.

search on home builders that are members of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association: Membership in the CHBA is a strong indication that a new home builder is a professional, dedicated to the business of home building, committed to customer satisfaction and in business for the long term.

• Managing a successful home building business means understanding what’s going on in the community, and how it might affect the industry and consumers. Association members have access to wide range of information to keep them informed and up-to-date on important community development issues.

Simply put, membership in CHBA is the sign of a home building professional.

• Home building requires teamwork that involves the skills, and expertise of many suppliers and trades. Builders who belong to the CHBA have ready access to a network of professional companies and individuals providing services to the residential construction industry.

For more information on the advantages of buying a new home or for a contact list of our CHBA Central Alberta Members visit

refurbish materials and keep those from landfills.” Tiny homes can be converted from shipping containers and even dumpsters, but most people prefer to build to suit their needs.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2016 The homes are often on a wheeled platform for easy maneuvering, but homeowners can also keep their homes in a single location if they find one that works. “The number one concern for people is where to park the home. People have to work out where they’re going to live, usually either by making an arrangement with someone who owns land or by purchasing land themselves. That’s certainly one of the challenges that comes with a tiny house,” Baptiste said. He said one of the biggest benefits to owning a tiny home is the lack of a mortgage. “You can afford your own home without having to commit 30 years of your life paying for it,” he said.

Another benefit Baptiste mentioned is being able to downsize from accumulated clutter and life a life focused on the things that matter to individuals and families. “When we’re designing a house, we talk a lot about what is important in terms of lifestyle, pets and growing families, and we design the house specific to those requirements,” Baptiste explained. “As well, people don’t have to lose any of their regular amenities, they’re just changing their space. Everything that people have become accustomed to in modern society - dishwashers, washing machines, those types of things - can be implemented into a tiny house.”

Is your home ready for the fall? Fall doesn’t just involve colourful leaves, rainy days and Halloween candy; it’s also the time to close the pool, caulk windows, clean gutters and the list goes on. In fact, preparing for fall involves a great many jobs. Here are a few of them. • Put away deck furniture and the barbecue, unless it’s set up to be used year round. Drain and store garden hoses and turn off any outside taps. • Close the pool. Drain partially, so the water level is about 30.5 cm (one foot) below the skimmer basket. Disconnect and drain all the pipes and bleed the pump before storing it for the winter. • Clean gutters and make sure they drain properly. • Inspect the roof. Make sure skylights, roof shingles and seals on chimneys or vents are in good condition. Do any necessary repairs. • Have your chimney cleaned and your fireplace inspected to prevent fires. Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working well, and then change the batteries (they should be replaced every year). • Examine the foundations and the exterior siding, and fix any cracks to prevent water or air infiltration. • Check the slope of the ground and make any modifications to ensure that

rainwater drains away from your home. Check the sump pump to avoid any unpleasant surprises during heavy rainfall or the spring melt. • Check your deck or balcony. Make sure railings and steps are safe, and replace rotten or damaged planks. Check if the deck is adequately lit and take advantage of the mild weather to replace bulbs in outdoor fixtures. • Inspect doors and windows. To keep cold and damp from entering the house, replace damaged seals and weather stripping. Take this opportunity to remove window air conditioners, if you have any. Remove bug screens to prevent condensation and maximize the amount of winter sunlight entering your home. • Check all air outlets (central vacuum, dryer, range hood, etc.) and make sure the vent covers close properly. • Clean the filters of your air exchanger and heating system. Vacuum inside any furnace registers. It would also be wise to verify that the heating system is working properly. In fact, fall is the perfect time to have it checked out by a professional. • Clean the garage floor catch basin. If it connects with the house plumbing, make sure the automatic valve closes properly.

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We Value What You Value




ReStore offers all kinds of ways to

BOLSTER HOME UPKEEP BY MARK WEBER RED DEER EXPRESS If you find yourself with something around your house that you don’t have a need for anymore, chances are Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore will gladly take it off your hands. ReStore is dedicated to recycling and reselling quality new and gently used building materials. The store is located at the local Habitat for Humanity office (4732 - 78A Street Cl.) ReStores also help to keep thousands of tons of usable goods out of landfills every year. Locally, about 400 tons has been kept from being dumped into the landfill over the past 12 months. “(Those materials) have come here - people have been able to donate it,” said Brian Brake, executive director of the local Habitat for Humanity. “And we profit from it by being able to use the proceeds from our sales to help people, especially in these difficult times.” Indeed - every item is donated and the profits go towards Habitat for Humanity Red Deer Region Society’s home building program and restoring hope to low-income working families. Habitat for Humanity’s first ReStore was opened in Winnipeg in 1991. Habitat for Humanity Red Deer Region Society is part of an international, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting homeownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty. Organizers and volunteers build homes in Red Deer and the surrounding areas and offer them to select low-income working families through a no-downpayment, interest-free mortgage program. Homeowners are chosen based on three main criteria - that their existing accommodation is considered to be below acceptable standards. They must be willing to con-

tribute 500 hours of ‘sweat equity’ towards building their own home or other Habitat activities. These volunteer hours must be completed prior to moving into a Habitat home. Families must also be employed and have the ability to pay a mortgage and maintain a home. Meanwhile, the inventory is always changing as donations come in, but you can generally expect to find windows, doors, paint, hardware, lumber, tools, lighting fixtures, furniture and appliances. “It’s primarily furniture, building materials of any kind - many projects out there have things left over such as tile, some flooring or siding. Anything like that that is leftover. We have people coming here looking for small portions of things to finish small, local jobs,” said Brake. “We are always open for donations.” As to the history of ReStore, Brake said that when Habitat first launched in Canada back in 1985, “There was no element of it initially that created income. “So they had to find a way to put together an ongoing income source that would cover the cost of running the Society, and then to augment the cost of the builds. They started creating retail stores that would specialize in the recycling of building products,” he explained, adding that today, there are 96 of these stores across Canada. “Last year, they did $55 million in sales,” he said. On the local front, the Red Deer ReStore, which was established in 1999, is the only one in a total of five local counties. They moved into their their current location, on Red Deer’s northern edge, in 2002. “We came here primarily to get the space to create a

proper ReStore,” he said. Over the years, there has been steady expansion as well. Brake also noted that when he took on the role of executive director, one of the key goals was to improve Restore and bolster the sales so more income would flow into the organization as a whole. “We went to work right away on finishing the expansion,” he said. “On our ReStore, we’ve had two major additions put on the store. One that we opened in May of last year which was about 5,000 square feet, and on the 21st of October this year, we’re opening a new cold storage facility.” This building will be used to house materials currently placed in the ReStore yard, which will make shopping in the winter months much more enjoyable for customers. “It’s a 3,000 square foot steel building that’s been put up by volunteers.” Several local companies have also lent a helping hand in bringing the project to fruition as well. “So it will bring us up to about 16,000 square feet - we’ve doubled in size over the past year.” As for the event on Oct. 21st, there will be dignitaries and special guests onhand along with a ribbon-cutting and a pancake breakfast. It all gets underway at 9 a.m. Meanwhile, volunteer help for Habitat for Humanity - on a number of fronts - is always needed as well. “We’ve taken in 260 new volunteers in the last 12 months,” he said. For more information, check out

The well-thought-out


Remodelling a kitchen — now, there’s an ambitious project that has to be carefully plan ned down to the smallest of details. After all, you’re not going to do this again anytime soon! So, before you set to work on this exciting project, here are eight tips for creating a functional kitchen that will meet all your needs for years to come. 1. Aim for a user-friendly room: Make sure that all elements are close to hand. 2. Create well defined zones: Group elements together in five distinct activity zones (cooking, washing, storage, preparation, and daily provisions) to make your kitchen user-friendly. 3. Provide adequate storage: Plan sufficient storage room for everything so you can leave worktops free for what they’re supposed to be used for: working. 4. Build cupboards right to the ceiling: Full-sized cupboards mean

lots more storage space and a lot less dusting. 5. More drawers: Exchange the lower cupboards for drawers, which give much easier access to their contents, including things hidden right at the back. Install oversized drawers for even the garbage, recycling, and compost. 6. Include a spacious work surface: Be sure to plan a zone specifically for food preparation, ideally a kitchen island, and make certain that it is big enough to spread out all the ingredients of a recipe. 7. Build-in your appliances: Camouflage the microwave oven by building it into a cabinet or under the island. 8. Install well designed lighting: Don’t skimp on light. Install lights in the ceiling and under the cupboards, as well as dimmers, which are perfect for changing the atmosphere at a moment’s notice.

Habitat ReStores are retail stores that accept and resell quality new and gently used building materials. Every item in the ReStore is donated and the pro½ts go towards Habitat for Humanity Red Deer Region Society’s homebuilding program and restoring hope to low-income working families. ReStore also helps reduce our environmental footprint by providing an opportunity to reuse and recycle materials that would otherwise end up in the land½ll. Donating to the Restore is easy! Anyone can donate to our Restore, located at 4737-78A Street Close, Red Deer, Alberta T4P 2J2. We will thankfully accept reusable building materials that you no longer want or need! If your items are too large to bring to the store yourself, we will happily arrange a pick-up from your home, free of charge. To arrange a pick-up, please call 403-309-6080 ext.1. Discover what it means to make a real change. Shop, donate or volunteer at our Restore! This ad is sponsored by the Red Deer Express




October renovations? What a

GREAT IDEA! If summer is made for relaxing, and settling into a new school year takes up much of September, October is the ideal month to undertake some renovations. If you’re still unsure about fall renovations, here are a few arguments to convince you. If dark and cloudy fall days give you the blues, the best remedy is to get busy. Take advantage of the fall to repaint walls and ceilings in warm, energizing colours. Has your family been asking for a second bathroom for ages? Give them this luxury as a Christmas gift. By starting the work in October, it will be ready by the time you-know-who climbs down your chimney. October is also an ideal month to do any necessary outdoor work, such as repairs to the roof or the siding. The weather is perfectly

October is the ideal month for renovation projects

comfortable for working outside without being inconvenienced by the heat of summer or the cold of winter. If you realize that the work is urgent, do it now instead of putting if off until the spring. The best thing is to take the bull by the horns and replace everything as soon as possible. You never know what Mother Nature has in store for you! Another advantage of October renovations is that construction workers in the various trades are not nearly as busy at this time of year as they are in the spring and summer. They will likely be in a position to help you carry out the project you’re ready to undertake.

Convinced? Just make a plan, get your tools and get to work!

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Fall is the time to

GET READY for the holiday season

The holiday season is officially upon us. Thanksgiving has whipped past leaving us all in a sea of leftover turkey and potatoes as we begin to look forward to Christmas - but not quite yet! There is still time to prepare and gather your thoughts before the madness hits. How did you manage during Thanksgiving? Was there a houseful of happy content people staying out of your way while you prepared the meal or were people under foot and under your skin the whole time? The perfect solution for company woes is to create the ultimate, can’t resist guest bedroom. I guarantee if you have an ultra luxurious guest room prepared in your home your guests will spend more time in said room and less time in your kitchen testing your gravy every five minutes. They will emerge ready for a good meal and jovial conversation after resting in your fabulous guest bedroom. Think about the most divine hotel you have ever stayed at and try to recall why it was such a favourite. Many guest rooms are neglected dumping grounds for our old mattresses and furniture and often a collection of our clutter. Take a fresh approach to your guest room by giving your visitors a decadent place to lay their heads. Even if a new mattress is out of budget, ensure that your guests have a selection of foam or



WYSE feather pillows and add memory foam or down topper to your existing mattress. Sheeting should be comfortable and fresh smelling so it’s a good idea to not leave a guest bed made up for long periods of time but to put clean linens down just before arrival. Give your guests places to put items; whether they are staying overnight or for a week it is a great kindness to have a drawer empty and unfilled hangers swinging in the closet which will invite them to put some of their personals away. Inexpensive lush bathrobes and slippers are another fantastic way to say ‘come in and relax’ to everyone you host. If at all possible, have a television or Internet access in your guest bedroom which will allow people to unwind and have some down time after travelling or too much visiting with Uncle Ned. Most drug stores now carry a wide variety of travel-sized toiletries which can be a nice little welcome for company. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to see a collection of soap, toothpaste and lotion

waiting for them upon arrival? Even when staying with family it can be uncomfortable to ask for personal hygiene items from your host if you have forgotten them. An over the top indulgence would be a mini fridge filled with water, juice and snacks or even a single serve coffee machine for your guests to serve themselves in the early AM - wouldn’t that give you a little more free time in the morning? The comforts that are important to you are also important to your guests. Quality blankets, adequate heat or cold and room darkening blinds or curtains all add up to very comfortable and happy guests. Depending on the season you can include treats such as instant packages of a spicy pumpkin drink or peppermint hot chocolate. These can be left in the room and changed out as seasons come and go. If you are extremely energetic you might consider a jar of cookies or even small snacks such as nuts or granola bars. Put this on your fall ‘to do’ list and create a welcoming retreat for upcoming guests, you know they are on the way. Take some time this fall before life speeds up to embellish and beautify your guest room. Kim Wyse is a freelance designer in Red Deer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Designer/Ask a Realtor’.

How to be a painting pro Changing a room’s décor can be as simple as giving the walls a new coat of paint. At least it can be, if you know all the tricks that will result in a professional looking finish. First of all, it is crucial to prepare the room thoroughly. This step, which often takes more time than applying the paint, is essential in order to achieve an impeccable final result. Start by removing any large pieces of furniture and any objects that could be damaged by paint splashes. Plates around light switches and electrical outlets should also be removed, as well as any light shades. Next, protect the floorcovering with old sheets or a

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tarp. Ensure that any furniture that cannot be taken out of the room is well protected. Run a strip of masking tape or paint tape along all edges where there is a risk of getting paint, such as moldings, windows, and door frames. All surfaces have to be prepared before starting to paint. Fill any holes and modify any imperfections with wall putty and sand the walls smooth. Clean the surfaces to be painted

and leave them to dry so that the primer and paint will adhere properly. Before getting started on the actual painting, it’s a good idea to get some advice from a home painting specialist. He or she will be able to tell you if you need to apply a coat of primer first and then calculate how much paint you will need for your project. This advice can save you time and money. Now the time has come

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to put some colour into your room. Start by carefully applying paint along all edges with a brush: that means corners, window and door ledges, and at the top of walls along the ceiling. All you’ll have to do after that is to coat the rest of the walls with a roller in an up and down, down and up motion. Leave this first coat to dry and then apply a second coat, or even a third one if necessary.

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Looking ahead to planning your

GARDEN SPACE next year

BY KALISHA MENDONSA RED DEER EXPRESS Re-Think Red Deer has a number of initiatives that can help homeowners move towards a more sustainable lifestyle, from urban homesteading tips to large garden projects that can be scaled to suit any living space. One such initiative lies at the Piper Creek Restoration Site, where Re-Think Red Deer is preparing a special edible food forest for Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. The food forest will feature 150 edible species of plants and flowers and homeowners can easily take note of that to bring the idea into their own home or small gardens. “Our 150th anniversary project is going to be our biggest food forest in Red Deer. It’s a perennial food forest and pollinator garden. What’s exciting about it is first of all, it’s a bit larger, but more than that we have some very cool techniques that will be utilized that can be brought to people’s homes and yards,” said Martin Scholz of Re-Think. “We’re excited about people in the City coming out to see what’s going on. Through the various events surrounding the planting of the pollinator gardens in spring of 2017, people will see that

these principles don’t have to be applied in an acreage - they can be taken home and used in a small yard or even a balcony.” Pollinator gardens are designed to specifically attract species of pollinators - bees, butterflies, birds and more - and are a simple way to change up a garden or yard. The goal is to create a space for pollinators to thrive, often while creating an aesthetically pleasing space. Food forests and community gardens are available throughout the City, and offer a great glimpse of the many varieties of plants and foods that can be grown in

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2016 Central Alberta. Popular foods include carrots, potatoes, onions, berries and apples. As well, a large variety of herbs can be grown indoors for small homes such as apartments or condos. “We’re trying to show people that growing food, worm composting, pollinators - all of these things can be brought into small homes and apartments. These techniques can really help us grow food in small spaces,” Scholz said. The 150th anniversary food forest will take up 15,000 sq. ft. - but Scholz said this is not a necessary

size for people to start their own gardens or pollinator spaces. “We’re happy about what we’re going to demonstrate out at the Piper Creek site, because it can be scaled either up or down to suit everyone’s needs.” Over the years, Re-Think Red Deer has lead a number of other initiatives that can be taken into one’s home. These include Garbage-Free February and ideas from the Eco-Living Fair. As well, they offer insight into urban homesteading and how to get started in re-thinking one’s everyday lifestyle.

Renovating soon? Plan, prepare, execute An urge to renovate is hanging around your house? Don’t let yourself get carried away by starting the work without taking all the necessary precautions. First of all, it’s essential to check if you need a permit from your municipality. If such a permit is necessary, you will also be ensuring that the work which you want to carry out conforms to current municipal regulations. Moreover, don’t hesitate to ask for the advice of the people you know who work in the construction industry as well as salespeople at specialized businesses in your area. In this way, you can learn all about the latest materials and accessories available on the market. Those new types of floor coverings or supplementary heating systems could make your project easier to carry out and, possibly, save you some money. Also, by visiting reliable websites linked to the field of residential renovation, such as Canada Mortgage and Housing

Corporation (, you’ll be able to collect lots of very useful information for yourself. This could include planning your project stepby-step as well as different ways of renovating your home to cut down on heating costs. What’s more, if you’re thinking about giving this work to a contractor, be sure to contact the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (http://www. to ensure that your contractor has the necessary qualifications. Also, make sure that even the smallest details are mentioned in your contract. At the end of the day, you will avoid all those unexpected and unpleasant extras.

We never forget to help. Even when they forget to ask. Forgetfulness is one thing, but if you have a loved one who is forgetting more and more every day, we can help. Whether it is a safe, comfortable environment or round-the-clock care and support, our Memory Care Program gives you peace of mind that is unforgettable.

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Fall home INSPECTION TIME Winterizing a lawn mower Your faithful friend, the lawnmower: it your trusty steed once or twice a week all summer long, helping you to keep your lawn impeccable. After showing such loyalty, the least you can do is to give it a bit of TLC before putting it away for the winter. Late in October, after the lawn has been cut for the last time, remove any remaining gas and store it in a suitable container. Next, empty the gas tank, flexible rubber feed hoses, and carburetor by letting the mower’s engine run until there is no fuel left. This is a particularly important step, as the additives in unleaded gas tend to settle over long periods of disuse. This sediment can obstruct the carburetor jets when you fire up the mower next spring. The oil from the crankcase of the motor should be emptied into a storage container. This job is best done when the oil is still warm and liquidy. Clean the crankcase with some gasoline and fill it with new oil up to the

recommended level; this will prevent condensation and rusting from occurring inside. Don’t forget that oil with a viscosity grading of 20-40 is the best one for your lawnmower. If the exterior of the lawnmower is made of steel, you could coat it with some non-polluting cooking oil. The wheel axels should be greased, the blades sharpened and greased as well, the air filter cleaned or changed if necessary, and the spark plug cleaned. A metal lawnmower should also be inspected for any rust spots and, if necessary, touched up with a suitable paint. The inside of the chassis might benefit from being coated with oil in order to protect it, and the bearings and the cables should be lubricated. After thoroughly hosing down the lawnmower, including the underneath of course, be sure to store it in a dry place for the winter. After all this care, it will be sure to give you another season of faithful service next year!

Maintaining heating systems The maintenance of a home heating system varies according to what type of fuel is used: oil, electricity, or gas. An oil furnace and electric baseboard heaters should have annual checkups, while a gas furnace need only be checked every two years. Because of their complexity, the maintenance of oil and natural gas heating systems should be left to professionals. Many people believe that electric baseboards need very little maintenance, probably because electricity is often described as “clean” energy. Late in the fall, however, when the baseboards are used for the

first time, you may notice a burning smell emanating from them. That smell is the result of an accumulation of dust over the summer; it burns, right there on the heating elements. Little attention is given to the smell, as people consider it to be a minor problem and think that there’s no need for alarm. Unfortunately, that dust becomes carcinogenic when it burns — perhaps we’d spend more time cleaning baseboard heaters if we knew that! Simply vacuuming the inside and outside of the baseboards is all that’s necessary in order to solve this problem. If the windows in your

home tend to fog up, you should be aware that it is not caused by a problem with your heating system. It happens because the heat in your house fails to reach the windows. Bug screens should be removed to allow warm air to circulate more freely. It’s also important to air out the home, even during the winter. Don’t worry about losing heat; if you let humidity build up in an extremely airtight home, it becomes very difficult to heat anyway. As often as possible, leave the fans working in the bathroom and in the kitchen stove hood to evacuate surplus humidity.




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Special Features - Fall Home Improvement 2016