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October 2017

A Special Section From

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2 Fall Home Improvement

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The various ways to repurpose dressers One of the benefits to becoming a skilled do-it-yourselfer is the chance to embrace projects that can breathe new life into objects that others might designate for the trash or donation pile. Renovating such items can save money and provide an entirely different purpose for the object. After upgrading design styles or moving, there’s a good chance the average homeowner has a spare dresser or chest of drawers he or she may no longer use. Repurposing such furniture can make for an enjoyable weekend DIY project. With a change of color, removal of drawers or a few minor modifications, dressers can be transformed in many different ways. Here are a few ideas to get started. • Television stand: Sand and paint or stain the dresser to match the color scheme of your living room or family room. Remove the top row of drawers from the dresser to have cubby space to house electronics, such as cable boxes or DVD players. The remaining drawers can hold movie collections, spare remote controls, gaming systems, and much more. • Serving bar: Paint the dresser in an eye-catching shade and make sure to seal-coat it with a finish that is impervious to moisture. If time or budget allows, attach a piece of glass or tiles on top of the dresser to create a water-resistant, strong surface area. Store various serving glasses and cocktail accoutrements within the drawers. Place a few bottles of your favorite spirits and a decanter on a decorative tray. • Storage shelving: Remove the drawers from the dresser and turn it into a storage mecca by using stackable plastic containers in spaces once

occupied by the drawers. Keep craft supplies, collectibles or anything else you can think of inside. • Kitchen island: Small dressers can be repurposed into kitchen islands with a few modifications. Install casters on the feet so it can be moved around when necessary. Place butcher block wood or stone on top so you’ll have a sturdy cutting or preparation surface area. Hooks hung on the side can hold frequently used kitchen utensils. • Changing table: Turn an older dresser into a changing table for a new baby. In addition, add a cushioned pad and some decorative trim to serve as a frame that keeps the pad in place. The drawers will keep wipes, diapers, onesies, and other supplies at the ready. • Bench: Remove the top drawers from the dresser. Add a piece of plywood to make a seat. Use the removed drawer faces on the inside back of the dresser since this area will now be visible. Paint the entire piece or stain it as desired. Fashion a cushion for the seat, and the bench is ready for an entryway or wherever you have space. Before discarding an old dresser, think of all the ways it can be transformed into another useful piece of furniture.

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Corral Entryway Clutter The entryway to a home is the first thing guests experience when coming inside. It also can be the first place residents drop their belongings after long days at school or work. As a result, entryways can quickly be consumed by clutter. Taming such messes takes a mixture of ingenuity and planning. Homeowners hoping to clear their entryways of clutter must first decide what they want to get out of the space. Will it simply be a decorative spot with photos and other home decor on display? Or is functionality the primary goal? Once that decision has been made, take inventory of which items, such as shoes, keys, umbrellas or coats, need to be in the area, which don't (i.e., old mail). To make things more organized, rearrange the former while removing the latter. Next it is time to assess storage needs and what's already available. Userfriendly storage items may need to be purchased to make the room as functional as possible. The following ideas also can help bring order to the space.

pose, outfit another room or area that also can do the job. This can be a laundry room or mudroom area. Install shelves, a bench, cabinets and hooks. Just be sure this space is close enough to the entryway to make it useful. • Go vertical. An easy way to keep things neater is to remove items from the floor and embrace vertical storage. Shoe racks, hooks for purses and a cabinet for coats may do the trick.

Clutter can accumulate in entryways. But some simple adjustments can quickly revamp the space to make it neater and much more functional.




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• Create a command center. Create a central location where items are neat, orderly and within reach. Use a bulletin board, dry-erase calendar or something that can house schedules and important notices. Hooks can hold keys, chargers and more.

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• Keep it covered. Covered bins can serve as a seating area and also a place to store shoes, hats and scarves.

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• Create cabinet space. Store items in cabinets so they are organized but out of sight. This way belongings are not just left on an entryway table.


• Create another drop zone. If the entryway is too small to serve its pur-




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4 Fall Home Improvement

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tured-finished flooring to improve stability underfoot. Promptly remove snow and ice from driveways and walkways. For those who live in cold climates, heated concrete can help melt precipitation before it accumulates. 3. Make needed repairs

5 ways to make homes safer Injuries that occur around the home contribute to millions of medical visits and tens of thousands of fatalities each year. Falls account for the largest percentage of home accidents, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that around 30,000 fallrelated fatalities occur each year in the United States. Many home accidents are entirely preventable when proper caution is exercised.

Repair loose floorboards and pull carpet taut if it has started to stretch out. Address cracks outdoors and ensure that patio stones, bricks and pavers are secure and level to reduce tripping hazards. Fix areas of the landscape where water may pool and freeze, creating potential hazards. 4. Declutter all spaces Remove unnecessary items and furniture from rooms to free up more space to get around. Be sure there are no obstructions in walkways, entryways and near doors. Keep staircases clear at all times. 5. Invest in assistive devices Handrails, grab bars, nonslip stair treads, and many other devices can make homes safer for people of all ages and abilities. Outfit cabinets and closets with organizers that put frequently used items within easy reach. A sturdy step stool can reduce the risk of injury while reaching for items stored on high shelves.

As homeowners prepare for home-improvement projects, improving safety inside and outside the home should be a priority.

Taking measures to reduce the risk of falling around the home is a worthwhile home improvement project.

1. Improve lighting One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of falls is to improve lighting around the home. The National Institutes of Health state that adequate lighting is important at entrances to the home, stairways, hallways, and other frequently traversed areas. Make sure lighting fixtures are using the highest wattage light bulb allowed. Artificial lighting sources become even more vital in fall and autumn, when natural light is less abundant in a home. In addition, install lighting outdoors by the front door, over the garage and where garbage pails are stored to facilitate safe passage.




2. Eliminate slick surfaces Improving traction around the house also can minimize falls. Throw rugs and runners can be made more secure with nonslip rubber backings. Bath rugs can reduce slipping on wet surfaces in the bathroom. Also, nonslip mats can be used inside of showers and bathtubs. Use shoe trays to reduce puddling from melting snow or rain runoff in entryways. Mop up spills quickly, and consider the use of matte- or tex-


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Dos and Don’ts for Second Floor Laundry Rooms

As unenjoyable as it can be, doing laundry is a necessity. Fresh clothing not only looks and smells good, it is essential to personal hygiene. One way to make the process of doing laundry go more smoothly is to consider moving the location of the laundry area. According to the National Association of Home Builders, more homeowners are moving their laundry rooms upstairs so they don't have to transport laundry baskets up and down the stairs. Before moving their laundry rooms, homeowners should take steps to safeguard their homes, and that may involve finding the ideal location for the new room. Find space for an upstairs laundry room and then consult with an engineer to be sure that the plan is feasible. An engineer and an architect can assess if a home is structurally sound enough to handle the weight and vibration of an upstairs laundry. One of the biggest concerns with regard to moving a laundry room upstairs is the fear of flooding or leaks. There are certain steps to take to minimize these risks. Experts advise installing an easily accessible water shut-off valve. Turn off the valve when the washer is not in use. Also, steelbraided washer hoses are more sturdy than standard hoses and are less likely to burst. Homeowners also can place the washer in a drain pan, which will catch overflowing water and drain it through a pipe. Some areas may require a floor drain as an alternative. Homeowners also must recognize that noise can be a problem with upstairs laundry rooms. Front-loading appliances may cause more vibration and movement than top-loaders. However, some front-loaders are designed to be quiet. Antivibration pads may help with vibration issues.

Laundry can be a cumbersome chore. In homes with more than one story, clothes are put in a hamper, carried down to the washer and dryer, where they are then cleaned, dried, folded, and taken back upstairs to be put away. The entire process can be inefficient, which may contribute to why so many people delay doing laundry for as long as possible.

___________________________________________________ Before moving their laundry rooms, homeowners should consult with contractors to ensure things go smoothly.

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• Worn shingles: Shingles should lie flat against the roof, so any that appear to be buckling or turning up are damaged and in need of repair. A single damaged shingle does not require a full roof replacement, but inspect all the shingles nonetheless. Another indicator of shingle problems can be found when cleaning downspouts or gutters. If the gutters and downspouts contain lots of shingle granules, the roof may soon need to be replaced.

Potential indicators of roof trouble… With regard to home repairs, homeowners may be able to delay some projects until the weather permits or they find room in their budgets. But other areas, including the roof, may demand immediate action. Few homeowners give the roofs of their homes much thought until a problem arises. But learning to recognize potential indicators of roof trouble can help homeowners prevent potentially drastic situations down the road. • Light: Homeowners with attics in their homes can inspect the ceilings inside the attic for signs of holes or leaks. Light peering through the top of the house indicates a hole or leak, as does stains or streaks on the ceiling.

• Moss: Moss on a rooftop may give a home character, but that added character is costly. Shady areas of a roof can be susceptible to the growth of moss and fungi because moisture can be trapped in such areas. If possible, remove moss or fungi from a roof with a stiff brush or hire a professional to do the job instead. Moss may come back even after brushing it off, so homeowners should keep an eye on areas of their roofs that get little sunlight. In addition, trapped moisture can be very harmful to a roof, so it may be wise to exercise caution and have roofs with mold or fungi growths inspected. • Age: Another indicator of roof trouble may be the age of the roof. Even if there are no visible signs of damage, homeowners whose roofs have some years under their belt may want to consider replacing them. Asphalt shingle roofs typically have life expectancies of 20 to 25 years, while roofs installed over existing layers of shingles may need to be replaced after 20 years. ______________________________________ Recognizing minor roof damage before it escalates into a larger problem can save homeowners substantial amounts of money.

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Millwork can add appeal and a classic feel Homeowners are discovering that architectural accents can go a long way toward improving both the look and value of their homes. When renovating a space, the term "millwork" may be mentioned by designers and contractors. While it might be a mystery to some, millwork can give rooms unique looks. Millwork refers to items traditionally made from raw lumber in a sawmill. Examples of millwork include crown molding, base trims, door frames, window casings, chair rails, and paneling. Cabinets may also classify as millwork. Used for both decoration and to increase the functionality of buildings, millwork comes in various types. Generally, millwork is fabricated in two ways. Stock millwork tends to be mass-produced commercial items. These low-cost items are interchangeable and may be widely available at retailers, including home improvement centers. Custom millwork is a product that is custom designed and produced for individuals and special building projects. Sometimes referred to as "architectural millwork," these pieces may be more ornate and made-to-order. Homeowners who want to match a focal point of a home or an existing style often turn to custom millwork. Between the 15th and 18th centuries, ornate millwork was largely reserved for royalty or the very wealthy. Skilled carpenters would hand carve each piece, taking weeks to finish most projects. Eventually, millwork became more commonplace. Distinguishing one property from another today could mean turning back to the more distinctive designs of Continued page 8.

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Millwork can add appeal and a classic feel continued… the past.

Must-have kitchen remodel features

Homeowners looking for ways to enhance their properties can embrace millwork to achieve a luxury feel without a sizable investment. The first step is to choose millwork that will coordinate with the era and style of a home's existing decor. Ornate millwork in an overly modern house may seem out of place. The millwork should match the architectural theme of the home.

Homeowners looking to renovate often see room for improvement in their kitchens and bathrooms. The National Association of Home Builder's Remodeling Market Index Survey, which measures conditions in the remodeling market, indicates that, in 2015, the two most common remodeling jobs were bathroom remodels (81 percent) and kitchen remodels (79 percent). According to HGTV and Statistics Brain, a new kitchen remodel for a kitchen measuring 12 by 12 feet may cost homeowners anywhere from $17,000 to $37,000.

Although some do-it-yourselfers can successfully install prefabricated millwork, for custom designs and a truly seamless look, it is important to have millwork professionally installed. Individuals should research carpenters who specialize in millwork and verify their license and reputation through a consumer protection agency. Popular types of millwork include crown molding, corbels, wainscotting, and custom bookcases. Homeowners may not realize that millwork can be added to spaces of all sizes to give them an air of sophistication. Although millwork was traditionally formed from hardwoods, eco-friendly homeowners can now find millwork crafted from synthetic materials and even reclaimed woods. Millwork can add that special touch to the interior or exterior of a home. Learn more by visiting

Before investing so much into their remodeling projects, homeowners should think carefully about the features that will improve their time spent at home. When planning a kitchen renovation, homeowners may want to consider the following upgrades to make the room more enjoyable while improving its functionality. Oversized sink

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Although high-efficiency dishwashers are popular, deep sinks to soak soup pots or woks are still useful. Deep sinks may be preferable to double sinks, especially for homeowners who use lots of kitchen tools when preparing meals. Soft-closing hinges

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When replacing cabinets (or just the hardware), consider installing softclosing hinges and slides on doors and drawers. These devices eliminate slamming and caught fingers, reducing noise and injuries in the kitchen. Foot-pedal water operation When outfitting a sink, think about foot controls, which are popular in doctors' offices and hospitals. Turning on the water with the tap of a foot can reduce the transfer of pathogens to faucets from hands during food preparation. These pedals also free up hands for other tasks. Bottom's up People likely spend more time raiding the refrigerator than the freezer on any given day. Rather than having to bend down to seek out that favorite flavor of Greek yogurt, choose a model with the fridge on top and freezer on the bottom, especially if anyone in the household has mobility issues. When shopping for refrigerators, French-door style units may offer even more access, making it easy for homeowners to slide fruit trays, sheet cakes and other large items into the fridge. Extra lighting

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A kitchen should be a balance of form and function. A combination of overhead lighting, decorative lighting and task lighting can illuminate all areas of the space effectively. Appliance garages Architectural and design resource Houzz says that appliance garages are popular kitchen additions, too. Set at countertop level, these cabinets allow people to keep small appliances plugged in but tucked neatly behind closed doors. Kitchen remodels are a sizable investment, and renovations can be customized to make the kitchen more hospitable for all in residence.

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Fall Lawn Care Tips Spring and summer may be the seasons most often associated with landscaping and lawn care, but tending to lawns and gardens is a year-round job. If lawn and garden responsibilities dip considerably in winter, then fall is the last significant chance before the new year that homeowners will have to address the landscaping around their homes. Fall lawn care differs from spring and summer lawn care, even if the warm temperatures of summer linger into autumn. Homeowners who want their lawns to thrive year-round can take advantage of the welcoming weather of fall to address any existing or potential issues. • Keep mowing, but adjust how you mow. It's important that homeowners continue to mow their lawns so long as grass is growing. But as fall transitions into winter, lower the blades so the grass is cut shorter while remaining mindful that no blade of grass should ever be trimmed by more than onethird. Lowering the blades will allow more sunlight to reach the grass in the months ahead. • Remove leaves as they fall. Much like apple-picking and foliage, raking leaves is synonymous with fall. Some homeowners may wait to pick up a rake until all of the trees on their properties are bare. However, allowing fallen leaves to sit on the ground for extended periods of time can have an adverse effect on grass. Leaves left to sit on the lawn may ultimately suffocate the

grass by forming an impenetrable wall that deprives the lawn of sunlight and oxygen. The result is dead grass and possibly even fungal disease. Leaves may not need to be raked every day, but homeowners should periodically rake and remove leaves from their grass, even if there are plenty left to fall still hanging on the trees. • Repair bald spots. Summer exacts a toll on lawns in various ways, and even homeowners with green thumbs may end up with a lawn filled with bald spots come September. Autumn is a great time to repair these bald spots. Lawn repair mixes like Scotts® PatchMaster contain mulch, seed and fertilizer to repair bald spots, which can begin to recover in as little as seven days. Before applying such products, remove dead grass and loosen the top few inches of soil. Follow any additional manufacturer instructions as well. • Aerate the turf. Aerating reduces soil compacting, facilitating the delivery of fertilizer and water to a lawn's roots. While many homeowners, and particularly those who take pride in tending to their own lawns, can successfully aerate their own turf, it's best to first have soil tested so you know which amendments to add after the ground has been aerated. Gardening centers and home improvement stores sell soil testing kits that measure the pH of soil, but homeowners who want to test for nutrients or heavy metals in their soil may need to send their samples to a lab for further testing. Fall lawn care provides a great reason to spend some time in the yard before the arrival of winter.


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Lead is a naturally occurring element found in the earth’s crust that can be toxic to both humans and animals. Lead can be found in air, soil and water, and human exposure to lead can often be traced to human activities, such as the one-time use of leaded gasolines and previous use of lead-based paints in homes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that lead also may have been used in ceramics, pipes, plumbing materials, and even some cosmetics. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of lead is its potential effect on children. The still-developing brains and nervous systems of children are more sensitive to the harmful effects of lead because their bodies absorb more of it than the bodies of adults. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the use of lead in house paint, on products marketed to children, including toys, and in dishes or cookware was banned in the United States in 1978. However, lead may still be found on toys imported from countries that have not yet banned lead. In addition, toys and collectibles that were produced prior to the ban in the United States may still contain lead that can be harmful to children and adults. Parents who suspect their children have been exposed to lead can speak with their youngsters’ pediatricians, who may order blood tests to check for lead exposure.

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What to do when a project stalls Upon embarking on a home improvement project, homeowners who have never before lived through such undertakings are often told to expect their projects to take more time than initial estimates suggested. Unforeseen complications can compromise project timelines, and some homeowners may find their projects stuck in neutral. Stalled projects can make life at home difficult, and homeowners may feel helpless with regard to getting a project back on course. But there are ways for homeowners to get stalled projects back on course. • Start off on solid financial footing. It’s important that homeowners who want to upgrade their homes enter the home improvement process with a realistic grasp of their finances. Many home improvement projects stall when homeowners run out of money. Homeowners can avoid such unfortunate situations by only beginning a project they know they can afford. Whether funding a project with a loan or savings or a combination of both, homeowners should make an honest assessment of what they can afford to commit to a given proj-

ect. If the amount of money available does not add up to the estimated cost of the project, delay the project now or you might be facing a stalled project down the road. • Honestly assess whether or not you can finish the job. Do-it-yourselfers may have the abilities to complete a project, but they should not let their pride get in the way of their ultimate goal, which is the completion of the project. In addition to money, time or lack thereof, is often the culprit behind stalled projects. Homeowners with full-time jobs, families or both may not be able to find the time to complete a job in a timely fashion. If the project has been stuck in neutral and no sudden windfall of free time is on the horizon, start contacting contractors to finish the job for you. • Ask for help. There’s no shame in asking for help to complete a project. Some homeowners may underestimate the scope of a project until it’s too late. Asking family, friends or neighbors for help might be the only way to get a stalled project back on track. Certain home improvement projects may not require advanced skills, and even friends or family with little or no home improvement experience can pitch in to complete such projects. When more advanced projects stall, homeowners may want to hire contractors to complete the work. If budgets have not left much room for hiring a contractor, homeowners can perform some of the labor on their own. • Be mindful of permits. Some home improvement projects require permits, and these permits often have expiration dates. Homeowners must keep permits in mind when projects start to stall, recognizing that they may need to reapply for permits if projects go unfinished for especially long periods of time. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Stalled home improvement projects can be a nightmare. But homeowners can address such delays in various ways to get projects back on track.

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Create more closet space without major renovations

closet space. Apart from moving to a new residence, homeowners or renters must evaluate the space they have and make some more efficient choices in how they utilize available areas. Clear out clutter The first step to more closet space is to eliminate unused items. Clothing that no longer fits or items that can be stored elsewhere should be removed from the closet. Donate as much as possible. Some organizations will even pick up donations at your convenience. Upgrade hangers and rods Replace existing hangers with slimmer, more uniform alternatives that more easily fit into your closet. In addition, remove empty hangers, which are likely just taking up space. Consider dual closet rods if space will allow them. Hang the second rod below an area reserved for shorter clothing to achieve a two-tiered design. Grouping short items together also can free up valuable floor space. Stack taller Many closets are as tall as the ceilings of the rooms where they're located. However, the upper area may go unused because if it is not easy to reach. Install shelving above the closet rod with small swing-out style cabinet doors to offer access. In such areas, store seasonal items that you won't need to reach for each day. Keep a step stool close by for easy accessibility.

Closet space is at a premium in many homes and apartments. Many older homes were not built to accommodate large wardrobes, while rental properties are often designed to maximize living space at the expense of storage. Closets vary depending on the size of the home, but many tend to be a minimum of 24 inches deep so they can store garments without the clothes brushing against the walls. Bedroom and hallway closets can be four feet in length or more. Walk-in closets are the largest options, but such spaces tend to only be available in modern homes or custom-built properties. It is not always practical or possible to undergo renovations to create more

In small rooms, homeowners may want to find another way to utilize vertical space. A loft bed, which raises the bed up to a level where it might be on the top bunk of a bunk bed, will free up plenty of storage space beneath the bed. This can be turned into a floor closet. Create storage for small items Bookends, bins, boxes and drawers can be used to contain items that don't easily conform to closets. These may be purses, scarves, ties, and more. Don't overlook the possibilities of hanging items on the wall inside the closet or on the back of closet doors. When finishing closet makeovers, be sure to install lighting inside the closet so items are more visible.

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wrapping your windows will also help retain warmth.

Your fall to-do list!

Now is the time to prepare your home for winter. A few simple suggestions will help you save energy while decreasing your utility bills. Stop Energy Loss with Doors Insulation strips work great around doors and can be applied easily just like sticky tape to help prevent unnecessary cold air from entering your home. Also makes sense to use a draft guard on the bottom of your door’s interior. Well Insulated Windows Cracks around window frames are a popular escape point for warm air. Check for weak points around your windows by running the palm of your hand around the edge of the frame. Patch the weak points with some type of sealant by squirting it on and smoothing it over. Consider Double Pane It might be worth investing in double pane windows if you haven’t already. This could save you hundreds of dollar on your utility bill. Use Window Coverings Closing blinds or curtains after dark traps in the warm air and prevents drafts, especially if they have thermal backing for added warmth retention. Shrink

Fill Floor Gaps Most homes have gaps between the skirting board and the floor, and if you have floorboards there’s likely to be a few gaps between them too. Silicone sealer works great to fill the gaps, and putting a rug down isn’t a bad idea either. Insulate the Attic One of the most efficient energy savings options is to make sure your attic or loft is wellinsulated. There are a variety of insulation options available for your home or garage. Cover Cold Walls If you have a concrete wall in your home with no or bad insulation, it’s a good idea to add insulation and cover with plasterboards or sheetrock. • Run ceiling fans in reverse • Shut off your outside water source • Flush out your irrigation system • Give your heating system a tune-up • Insulate pipes & seal ducts Spread FertilizerLeaf removal isn’t the most glamorous of fall tasks, but it’s certainly necessary for your lawn’s health. Raking will also help to remove thatch, the layer of dead grass on top of the lawn, which can prevent water and nutrients from reaching the roots. Aerate to Refresh the Lawn Aerating the lawn allows air, water and nutrients to reach down to the roots. Spread Grass Seed If you live in northern climates, this is the season to spread cool-weather grass seed. The best time to foster new growth is when daytime temperatures are between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue to Remove Debris Leaf removal isn’t the most glamorous of fall tasks, but it’s certainly necessary for your lawn’s health. Raking will also help to remove thatch, the layer of dead grass on top of the lawn, which can prevent water and nutrients from reaching the roots.

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Sweet Seasonal Treats for Fall (Family Features) Crisp fall days call for flavorful desserts that warm you from the inside out. There's no better way to capture the flavor of fall than with dishes that celebrate traditional seasonal favorites like cinnamon, spice and tart, juicy apples. These desserts are perfect for fall, and a secret ingredient makes them quick and easy so you have plenty of free time to work up an appetite and earn an extra bite (or two). Apple butter is more than just a spread for toast; it's a versatile ingredient that can enhance your favorite recipes. With Musselman's Apple Butter, made the old-fashioned way for perfect texture and a deep, rich flavor, you can make it simple to satisfy your craving for a taste of autumn at its best. Find more fall tips and recipes perfect for sharing with your family at

Caramel Crumble Bars 1 box (15 1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix, dry 1/2 cup butter, softened, plus 2 tablespoons, divided 3/4 cup Musselman's Apple Butter, plus 3 tablespoons 1 egg 1 package (11 ounces) caramels, unwrapped 2/3 cup walnuts, chopped 2/3 cup flaked coconut, sweetened 2 tablespoons butter, melted Heat oven to 350 F. Grease 13-by-9inch baking pan. With electric mixer on low speed, beat dry cake mix and 1/2 cup softened butter until mixture is crumbly. Spoon 1 cup cake mix mixture into medium bowl; set aside. Add 3/4 cup apple butter and egg to remaining mixture. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Spread evenly into pan. Bake 20 minutes, or until starting to brown and top is set. Place caramels, 2 tablespoons butter and remaining apple butter in

microwavable bowl. Microwave on high 3-4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth and melted. Pour caramel mixture evenly over partially baked crust. If caramel has cooled and set, microwave 1 minute until soft and pourable. Combine walnuts, coconut and 2 tablespoons melted butter with reserved cake mix mixture. Mix until crumbly. Break up topping and sprinkle evenly over caramel. Bake 16-18 minutes, or until topping is starting to brown. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

divided 1/2 cup brown sugar 2 frozen pie crusts, defrosted 1 egg white 2 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 cup powdered sugar 2 tablespoons milk Heat oven to 350 F. Grease 9-by-13inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place diced apples in large mixing bowl. Add apple butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and brown sugar. Mix until apples are evenly coated. Place one pie crust in bottom of greased pan. Slowly stretch out crust to cover pan's bottom. Cut some edges off, if necessary. Spread apple filling evenly over crust. With rolling pin, roll second crust to make it same size as pan. Place second crust on top of apple pie filling and tuck down edges to cover. To make topping: In small bowl, whisk egg white until foamy and brush over crust. In another bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over crust. Bake 50-60 minutes until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly before cutting. To make glaze: In small bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk and remaining vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cooled bars and serve.

Easy Apple Pie Bars Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 1 hour Servings: 20 Nonstick cooking spray 7 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced 1 cup Musselman's Apple Butter 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract,

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The potentially harmful effects of mold in your home

ous ways. Roughly a decade ago, the Institute of Medicine found sufficient evidence to support a link between exposure to indoor mold and respiratory tract issues, such as coughing and wheezing in people who were otherwise healthy. The same report found that mold may trigger asthma symptoms among people with asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a disease in which the lungs are inflamed when a person breathes in certain dusts he or she is allergic to, in people susceptible to that condition.

The presence of mold in a home is a sight few homeowners want to see. In addition to being unsightly, mold found in a home can be unhealthy.

Some people who do not have a preexisting condition can still be sensitive to molds. When exposed to mold, such people may experience symptoms like nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation.

While certain cleaners may prove effective at removing mold, homeowners who want to remove existing mold growths and prevent future growths may benefit from gaining a greater understanding of mold and why it grows inside homes. What is mold? Mold is a blanket term used to describe fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. Many species of mold exist, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that some estimates suggest there may be more than three hundred thousand different species of mold. Common indoor molds include cladosporium, penicillium, alternaria, and aspergillus. Which conditions promote mold growth? Homeowners may notice that mold tends to grow in specific areas of their homes but not in others, and that's because molds grow best in certain conditions. Warm, damp and humid conditions, such as those found in poorly ventilated bathrooms and basements, make ideal breeding grounds for mold. What are the effects of mold exposure? Molds are a natural and resilient part of the environment, but mold growth indoors should be addressed and avoided. Mold spores are tiny and invisible to the naked eye, and when these spores attach to wet surfaces, they begin to grow. Once these spores begin to grow, they can then affect people in vari-

How can exposure to mold be decreased at home? Adequate ventilation is arguably homeowners' best friend with regard to reducing mold exposure at home. Control humidity levels in areas of the home that tend to be warm and humid, such as the kitchen and bathroom. Install an exhaust fan in the kitchen and bathroom and a window in the bathroom if yours does not already have one. The CDC recommends that humidity levels be no higher than 50 percent throughout the day, and an air conditioner and dehumidifier can help you keep indoor humidity levels in check, especially during the summer when humidity levels tend to be their highest of any time during the year. When renovating your home, remove any existing carpeting from bathrooms and basements and toss out soaked carpets or upholstery as well. If painting will be part of your home renovation projects, add mold inhibitors to paints prior to application. Mold that grows inside a home is unsightly and potentially unhealthy. But concerned homeowners can take several reactive and proactive steps to reduce existing mold growths and prevent them from returning in the future.

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Chimney maintenance a part of home safety

Carbon monoxide can be scary, as it is virtually invisible without a proper detector. The National Vital Statistics System says that, in 2015, 393 deaths resulted from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning in the United States. When carbon monoxide is breathed in, it builds up quickly and combines with the blood, reducing the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. The Canada Safety Council says that body tissue and cells can’t function without oxygen. Chimney fires are another potential byproduct of poor chimney maintenance. The Chimney Safety Institute of America notes that chimneys expel the byproducts of combustion, including smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbon, tar fog, and assorted minerals, which can condense on the inside of the chimney flue. The residue, called creosote, is highly combustible. With the right conditions, a chimney fire can occur. To avoid chimney fires and other risks, take these precautions, courtesy of CSIA, HomeAdvisor and Popular Mechanics. • Have chimneys inspected annually and properly cleaned by a professional chimney technician.

As temperatures drop and thoughts once again turn to lighting fires and sitting down with a good book, it’s important to revisit chimney maintenance. Even though chimneys do not require daily upkeep, regular maintenance efforts help chimneys operate safely and prevent deaths and injuries while protecting homes from fire. ______________________ Various problems can arise when chimneys are not well maintained. Such problems include chimney fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and early failure of the chimney and heating sources that the chimney vents.

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â&#x20AC;˘ Make sure tree branches and other obstacles are cleared away from the top of the chimney. â&#x20AC;˘ Use seasoned hardwoods that have been split for several months to a year. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Greenâ&#x20AC;? wood creates more creosote.

Continued page 17.

16 Fall Home Improvement

October 8, 2017 Chisago County Press/SEARCH

Tips for staining wood Staining wood can transform the look of everything from fencing to decking. While wood can be beautiful in its natural state, staining can protect the wood and complement landscaping and other home design elements. Staining can seem like a simple project, and that is often true. However, certain woods, such as pine, cherry, maple, and birch, can be difficult to stain. Boards with attractive grain patterns also can absorb stain differently, resulting in blotching and uneven tone. Before beginning a staining project, it is important for homeowners to test the stain chosen on a sample piece of wood to see how the color and absorption turn out. This gives homeowners the chance to understand what they’re dealing with and time to make any necessary accommodations to achieve a more even look. Begin by gathering the necessary supplies. A pair of latex or vinyl gloves will protect your hands. Drop cloths will catch any drips or spills. Safety goggles and a dust mask provide protection if sanding is required prior to staining. If sanding is necessary, homeowners will need an orbital sander, hand sander and sandpaper. Start with the coarsest grit sandpaper and move to a higher grit for a smooth finish. Wood that is covered in paint may need to be stripped prior to

sanding. Follow the directions carefully when using chemical strippers. Natural bristle paint brushes are handy for oilbased stain applications. Synthetic paint brushes can apply water-based finishes. Many do-it-yourselfers find that foam brushes or paint pads are the most handy because they provide a smooth finish and there’s no need to clean up the brushes afterward. Many professionals recommend using wood conditioners or pre-treaters so that the stain will not leave blotches on the wood. This is especially important for homeowners who determined their wood is prone to uneven color absorption. Allow the conditioner to dry according to product directions. Stain should be applied so that it is evenly coated. Wipe off the excess to get the preferred color. Apply more stain as necessary to get the desired color. Many stains only offer color, so you’ll need to apply a finishing coat to protect the wood. Otherwise, look for a product that combines stain color and a finish to save time. Remember to remove knobs, hinges, and handles from a piece before staining, as the stain may affect the color of any metal hardware and damage it.

Staining wood can transform the look of everything from fencing to decking. While wood can be beautiful in its natural state, staining can protect the wood and complement landscaping and other home design elements.

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Chimney maintenance a part of home safety continued From page 15 • The top-down method of building a fire produces less smoke. This means using larger pieces of wood on the bottom and the smallest twigs and kindling at the top. The fire will burn from the top and down, igniting the wood beneath as it goes. • Put a cap on the chimney to keep out rain, snow and small animals. • Keep fires small; otherwise, the intense heat may damage bricks and mortar in the chimney. Repair any damage promptly before lighting another fire. • Open the damper and fireplace doors so that air supply flows freely and can vent the smoke promptly, reducing residence time in the flue; otherwise, creosote can form. • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms throughout the home and routinely check the batteries. _________________________ Learn more about chimney maintenance and find a certified chimney sweep at

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Barn doors bring rustic charm to any decor Barn doors in the house seem to be having a bit of a moment right now (just ask any dedicated Pinterest user.) And for a good reason. Their rustic charm brings warmth to any home, plus a sliding door is also a practical choice that saves more space than a traditional swinging door. And with Johnson’s Series 200 Wall Mount Sliding Door Hardware, you can install your sliding barn door in less than an hour. But the true genius of Johnson’s Wall Mount Door Hardware is its chameleon-like versatility. It works well in any room of the house – whether it’s a bathroom, laundry room, bedroom or office – with any type of door – glass, metal or wood, up to 400 lbs. Johnson Hardware seamlessly blends into any décor style so if you decide you’ve had enough of the reclaimed wood look and are ready for a sleek industrial chic expression, you can replace the door without replacing the hardware.

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Fall home improv 2017  
Fall home improv 2017