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Spring 2011

Clayton Valley

Home

Improvement Guide · · · · · ·

Is it worth it? Some high payback home projects, page 4 Front yard bling —ideas for creating curb appeal, page 8 Paint and personality – understand the psychology of color, page 12 Feed your dirt for a greener garden, page 15 Low maintenance décor – don’t give up pretty for practical, page 16 Create a salon style wall of art, page 18

A Clayton Pioneer publication


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Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

Index to Advertisers All businesses in this guide are locally owned and operated Page

Cleaning Services Diablo View Cleaning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-8300 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 The Maids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .798-6243 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Flooring Abbey Carpet & Floor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .686-9901 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Flooring City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .680-8220 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Heating & Air Conditioning Big Air Heating & Air Conditioning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .687-7942 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Connolly HVAC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .288-1408 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Landscape Design and Maintenance Earth Blend Mulch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .250-0334 Diablo Lawnscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .381-3757 Keenan/Heinz Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .288-0159 Nichols Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-9955

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Painting Contra Costa Painting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .676-8713 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 J & J's Final Coat Painting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .625-5849 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 RAF Painting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .687-8881 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Plumbing Belfast Plumbing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .457-5423 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Recycling Recycling Center & Transfer Station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .682-4518 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Remodeling and Home Projects Bill Peck Home Improvements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .687-9786 Clayton Furniture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .686-2299 Clayton Valley Frameworks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-6066 Foam & Cushion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .827-3640 Golden State Granite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .825-5888 Insite Design & Build . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .689-6460 Moose Metal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .676-6667 R & M Pool, Patio, Gift & Gardens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-0207

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Storage Rodie's RV & Self Storage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .672-4600 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Tree Service Waraner Tree Experts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .250-0334 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 The Clayton Valley Home Improvement Guide is published by the Clayton Pioneer, 6200 Center St., Suite H, Clayton, CA 94517 and distributed to 13,000 households in Clayton and Concord. To advertise in the Clayton Pioneer or in the next Home Improvement Guide, call (925) 672-0500. www.claytonpioneer.com


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Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

2011

Is your

Home-renovation project really worth doing? Maybe you’ve watched one too many home improvement shows. Perhaps you’re still stinging from that holiday guest’s comment about how your kitchen countertop has seen better days. Or maybe you’re just really tired of the same old, same old every day. Whatever the reason the remodeling itch has settled into your brain, before you bring in a contractor - or pick up a hammer - you should consider two important questions: How will you fund your project? And will it be worth it in the end? A little research and credit self-assessment can answer both questions. In

addition to pulling your credit report to see how likely you are to qualify for good loan terms, you should consider the potential resale value of the improvement, how it will improve your life and if it will enhance your enjoyment of your home. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to evaluate the potential resale value. Kitchen and bathroom remodels, adding a deck, or finishing a basement or attic are all popular renovations because they upgrade the most-used rooms in the house or add living space. In terms of resale value, here are some popular projects with high pay-


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Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

backs. The figure shown is how much of the cost you can expect to recover on resale: 

Adding an attic bedroom . .83.1 Adding a wooden deck . . .80.6  Minor kitchen remodel . . . .78.3  Major kitchen remodel . . . .72.1  Basement remodel . . . . . . .75.4  Bathroom remodel . . . . . . . .71 

percent percent percent percent percent percent

- Remodeling Magazine’s 2009-2010 Cost versus Value Report:

Keep in mind that smaller remodels, while costing less than major jobs, can still have a major impact on how your home looks and feels. For example, simply replacing that old front door with a steel version can cost around $1,000 but offers a return on investment of nearly 129 percent, according to the report. Another factor to consider when weighing the value of any remodeling project is how it will affect your quality of life in terms of financial security. It’s important to be sure the cost of the project won’t be a financial burden that detracts from your enjoyment of the results.

To help understand your current credit status and how it might affect your remodeling loan terms, obtain a copy of your credit report. Websites like CreditReport.com can provide you with a credit report with your paid monitoring membership. Obtaining your credit report and monitoring your credit can help you identify any inaccuracies or errors that might lead to higher interest rates, and also catch and resolve potential fraud quickly. You’ll also find tips on the website for understanding your credit, and tools such as a credit score tracker to help you anticipate how certain financial decisions like financing a remodel - might affect your credit. Remodeling projects will likely remain popular as homeowners continue to stay put in a still-sluggish real estate market, experts agree. With some careful planning, budgeting, research and credit insight, you can ensure you reap the most financial and personal value for whatever renovation you decide to undertake. - Source ARA

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2011

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Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

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Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

Creating a welcoming atmosphere to a front yard is an important element of curb appeal. It is what invites our family, friends and other visitors in. Container choices, flowering plants, ornamental trees and outdoor dĂŠcor can lend themselves to your walkways and entries, thus expressing your individual style.

Containers create drama Containers, whether they are grouped or set out individually express your unique style. Place them under a window, adjacent to a walkway or on a landing. When choosing a vessel, be sure not to go too small. Go a little bigger than you think you need. A large container will support more plant life and will take longer to dry out. Consider the trim color of your home, or a contrasting shade of the house color when choosing your vessel.

2011

The container itself becomes a part of the curb appeal – even before plants are installed. Colorful, glazed ceramic containers are a favorite among Clayton Valley residents. Although slightly more expensive than plain pottery, the vast color choices allow for more individual design expression. Group your containers to create a purposeful entry or landscape. Groups of three or even five create quite an impact. Create excitement at the entry by framing the front door with urns.

Flowering shrubs for color and substance Finding flowering, hardy plants for Clayton Valley front yards and containers is easier than you think. Group your needs into two categories. Do you want an accessory plant to highlight an established bush


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Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

or tree? Or, do you need a foundation plant to soften a wall or highlight a window? Accessory plants are the flowerpower types. Moonshine Yarrow has flat clusters of golden yellow flowers, Tiny Monster Hardy Geranium creates a pillow of dark green leaves and bright magenta flowers. Pumpkin Pie Arctotis has shiny, orange, daisy-shaped flowers. All of the plants are proven winners in our Clayton Valley climate. Foundation plants create landscape interest year ’round. The sweet pea shrub called Polygala blooms purple blossoms nearly all year. Phormium Platt’s Black, a lovely New Zealand flax, has dark red, arching foliage. The brilliant pink fringe flower of Loropetalum Burgundy, also called Chinese witch hazel, delights twice a year.

Nothing so lovely as a tree And don’t ignore the ornamental trees when planning your landscape. They provide vertical interest adding appeal to all sorts of front home elevations. Purple Pony flowering plum trees add foliage and flower interest that can reach 8-10’ tall and up to 6’ wide. They are fruitless and deciduous.

Add some real drama to your front yard with a Viburnum. The lovely snowball bush grows to 15’ tall giving forth white flower clusters in the springtime and striking fall color.

Finish with a flourish Finish your front yard design with the ornate touch of a fountain, birdbath or wall grille. These bring a commanding focus to an area. The sound of trickling water adds a peaceful touch to a courtyard. Or put a birdbath in a shady spot under a group of trees. Iron wall grilles accessorize and draw the eye to a large wall area. Since these features are individually chosen they represent the homeowner and add a personal touch to the curb appeal of the property. Elements of curb appeal are individual. Containers, flowering plants, ornamental trees and garden décor all add to the welcoming feeling of a Clayton Valley landscape. These touches create a setting – an invitation to look at. They are the kind of yards that welcome you. Find Nicole Hackett in the nursery at R & M Pool, Patio, Gift and Garden, 6780 Marsh Creek Road in Clayton. Read her Garden Girl column in every issue of the Clayton Pioneer.

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Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

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Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

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Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

2011

often favored the blues and greens When I paint green, it doesn’t mean grass; when I paint blue, it doesn’t mean sky. found in nature, colors that have an – Henri Matisse emotional association with peace, harmony, and tranquility. “In these trying Skillful interior decorating is largely economic times, paint colors in these an artistic endeavor, but there’s some same hues can help calm our nerves at science involved also, and none more home,” says Zimmer. important than the psychology of color. Blue, which often ranks at the top “Color psychology can help you of surveys exploring “favorite” colors, choose paint colors that create the has been shown to slow pulse rate and right mood in a room, affecting not just your own feelings, but those of lower body temperature. The implicaeveryone who enters the space,” tions for interior painting — blue is a according to Debbie Zimmer, color terrific color choice for bedrooms, but expert at the Paint Quality Institute. less so for dining rooms. “In fact, paint color is so powerful that it can influence not just our state of Green, also among the most popumind, but even our physiology,” she lar colors, is a little more versatile. says. While it, too, has a soothing effect, it The ancient Egyptians, Native also represents renewal, youth, and Americans, and many other peoples used color to heal. In doing so, they vigor. Because it is calming, green


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Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

paint is a good color choice for bedrooms. And since it’s the color of many appetizing fruits and vegetables, it can work in dining rooms, too.

There’s no equivocation with red. It bespeaks energy and excitement, actually raising the blood pressure and making the heart beat faster. Because red is associated with desire and passion, it’s a perfect paint color for dining rooms and adult bedrooms. But it is wrong for children’s rooms, says Zimmer. Yet, ironically, pink – a very light tint of red – is one of the most calming colors, and is a fine choice for a baby’s room.

Yellow is a great interior paint color. Like sunshine, it imparts happiness, hope and optimism. Studies have shown that the brain actually releases more serotonin when the eye takes in yellow – creating positive psychological vibes. Yellow can even stir our creative juices. What better color to use in a master bath or dinette to get your day off on the right foot?

Orange is also a happy color. More attention-getting than yellow, orange has an energy and warmth about it. Muted shades are useful in many parts of the home, but vivid tones may appear raw and flamboyant. Zimmer’s advice: “Orange is clearly not the color of calm, so it’s best to bypass it when painting a bedroom or any other area where you want to relax.”

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Purple is a tricky paint color wherever it’s used, but it is the overwhelming favorite of adolescent girls, according to Zimmer. She suggests that you reserve use of this color for your daughter’s room to create a winwin situation: “Odds are, she’ll love it, and you can take comfort in purple’s proven ability to stimulate brain activity,” she says. No discussion of paint color would be complete without mentioning the “non-colors”, black (the absence of light, and thus, color) and white (the confluence of all the colors in the spectrum). According to Zimmer, black is a great accent color indoors or out, imparting elegance, formality, and sophistication to a paint color scheme. But don’t get carried away with it, she cautions. Too much black can be depressing. White, on the other hand, conveys peace, simplicity, and spaciousness. It can provide a crisp finish to almost any paint job by adding sharp contrast to the wall color. Used throughout a room, it can give the illusion that the space is bigger than its physical dimensions. “Color psychology should play a role when selecting an interior paint scheme, but it’s only one factor to consider,” says Zimmer. “Personal color preference should be given at least as much weight.” Choose colors that you love, and you won’t go wrong.


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2011

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Your Mow & Blow guy is KILLING your garden! You think you are getting a good deal ‌ but what you end up with is dead soil that cannot support plant life with out chemical fertilizers, bare dirt where your groundcover was, mismatched Irrigation that is costing you twice as much in water as it should and shrubs that look like PomPoms! We create long term beauty for your garden by focusing on the soils health and managing Irrigation / nutrients / resources as we utilize modern and old style horticultural practices. Keenan/Heinz offers a team of experts who can turn your home or commercial landscape into a beautiful, healthy ecosystem. C27 Lic # 959127

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Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

Joseph Heinz Keenan Heinz Landscape The idea of feeding your plants was conceived about 60 years ago just after WW ll. It was the beginning of modern living and was sold to us as the way mankind can control nature by the use of chemicals. During this past 60 years of using synthetic nitrogen in an effort to directly feed plants we have come to understand that these fertilizers are inefficient, require pesticides and fungicides to perform their phenomena and are wasteful of hydrocarbon resources for their manufacturing. Let’s reset our clocks, go back in history, and garden like our great-grandparents did. They knew that there was life in the soil, and they nurtured it. They composted and would never have thought about putting poisonous chemicals in the soil where they were growing their gardens. There is so much life below the ground it is amazing. An acre of healthy topsoil can contain about one ton of bacteria, one ton of fungus and two tons of other living microorganisms. It is these living microorganisms that are the source of soil fertility. By building large populations of microbes in soil you can increase fertility naturally. These microorganisms will start storing nutrients from decomposed organic matter in the soil in the form of stable carbonstructured nutrients. A rich healthy soil does not need fertilizers. A rich healthy soil will make for healthy plants and reduce or eliminate the need for pesticides. With natural fer-

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tility you get slow steady nutrition to the plant, not the over stimulated growth that synthetic fertilizers give and that attracts the unwanted insects and various diseases. Plus, you need to prune less. So, less work for you and less green waste going to the dump. A rich healthy soil will require less watering. It will be able to store more water and will be host to a variety of fungi that connect to plant roots and help them soak up more water and nutrients from the soil. The structure of the soil improves and there is more surface area for water to hold on to. A rich healthy soil will give you the best veggies you have ever had or the most prized rose bloom without leaving a toxic dump as your legacy to your grandchildren. Did you know that up to 80 percent of the synthetic fertilizer you put onto the soil is not taken up by the plants? Over time, the unused fertilizer ends up in the water system and starts flowing downhill. Envision the number of homes in your neighborhood using chemicals then start multiplying by the number of neighborhoods in the town and the number of towns in the county and the number of counties in You can start feeding your soil with mulch. Mulch, mulch, mulch! Start adding this good stuff to your soil. Go to www.Stopwaste.org. Or, just ask grandma how she did it. Joseph Heinz is owner of Keenan Heinz Company retail store in downtown Concord. He a horticulturist and oversees the company’s newly started landscape division.


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Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

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Practical Doesn’t Have to Mean had a $20,000 budget for minor remodeling and decorating. “We have one very active 2-yearold,” Juliette says. “We wanted things she couldn’t destroy.” It’s easy to fall in love with colors, fabrics and finishes that look and feel elegant, but some materials are as impractical as they are pretty. Consequently, more and more consumers are rethinking their beige velvet couches or wall-to-wall carpet in off-white. Practical and low-maintenance were Juliette’s watchwords. But, sensible décor doesn’t mean

Photo by: John Savarese Photography

Growing families and a continuing work-at-home trend often mean the need for more space. That darling 1950s bungalow that was so cozy in the early years, soon becomes cramped with children and office needs. But, that move up to more space can cost. Adapting the new space to family needs may mean kitchen upgrades, a home office and kidfriendly decorating. When Juliette and Stephen Coulter recently made the move up to a 1970s ranch house in the Clayton Valley, they


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Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

you must resign yourself to a boring home. Practical doesn’t have to mean ugly. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind as you create a hassle-free home:  Everybody knows white and other light colors are a bad idea if you want to mask dirt, but you may not know that the opposite extreme is just as troublesome. Very dark colors show dirt and streaks, too, so stick to midrange colors.  As a rule, the busier the better. Solids will show dirt, scratches and other imperfections much more than plaids, florals and other prints. Bear that in mind as you select upholstery and wall covering. Consider wallpaper with intricate patterns, or mix paints for an uneven texture. If you choose paint, use enamels, which are washable.  Fabrics are terribly important, especially for high-traffic areas. Avoid silk, linen- and/or velvet-covered furniture. It doesn’t hold up well to wear. Synthetics are the most durable but aren’t as soft. For a happy medium, consider a synthetic blend. Whatever your decision, make sure the fabric is tightly woven for better stain resistance. And cover it with Teflon or some other finish to repel moisture.  Flooring choices will be different depending on your priority. Hardwood floors are easier to keep clean, but they may not be the softest surface for accident-prone kids or crawling babies. For carpets, stay away from wool. It looks wonderful but is

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expensive and hard to clean. Nylons and blends can give you the same look without the headaches. For an alternative to hardwood floors, take a look at synthetic materials that simulate wood but are easily mopped.  All woods are not created equal. Maple and oak are harder than pine, for instance, so they’ll resist scratches and nicks better. Don’t fret if you like a wood that’s not a good fit. You can cover wooden dressers and tabletops with glass to bear the brunt of everyday abuse. Also, the right stain is an effective way to masquerade one wood as another.  Glass has advantages and disadvantages, so give it some thought before you use it. Obviously it shows dust, streaks and fingerprints, but it also wipes clean without a lot of fuss and doesn’t chip easily. Wood, on the other hand, is less forgiving of, say, a ring left behind from a cold glass of water.  A matte finish on walls, metals and woods is generally superior to a glossy finish. The latter shows fingerprints and is less forgiving of scratches and other flaws.  Stay away from intricate, ornate carving, which is lovely but hard to clean.  If all else fails, buy furniture that’s distressed to begin with. That way, newer flaws blend right in, and they may even increase a piece’s character. Antiques are perfect because they’re already used, and that’s the whole point. © CTW Features


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Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

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Simple Rules For Displaying Your Jan Weiss Clayton Valley Frameworks When a friend recently asked me how she should decorate a long white wall that carried from the living room into the dining area, I suggested a salon style which is commonly seen on large walls. In the salon style wall décor, several pieces of art – some small, some large, all with a common denominator, are arranged together to cover a large space. The common denominator can be the genre or the material used in the framing such as all silver metal or all black wood. Your custom framer can suggest frames that will complement each other and

take your art to a whole new level. Choose a mixture of sizes – often seen in galleries; allowing even the simplest pieces to get some love. I have seen vintage postcards framed and displayed in salon settings and it makes for a distinctive style statement. Or, instead of using a variety of smaller images in the salon style, try displaying one very large piece of framed art. How about a framed canvas that is four feet, or even six feet long? Imagine how your home will look with this confident creation. A large piece of art is an investment and a personal reflection of your good taste so avoid making a spontaneous

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Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

Art Collection purchase— instead review several galleries or online art print sites. Consider your living space —is the space for entertaining or is it a quiet space for reading or yoga? Entertainment areas scream for bold bright colors and bursts of black and white; quiet spaces calmly ask for blues and greens in soft tones or muted photos. Do you have high ceilings? This presents a challenge because hanging art at eye level ends up leaving a tremendous amount of open space above the art. For high ceilings choose vertical pieces and save horizontals for rooms with standard ceiling heights. Have fun and try different variations

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in displaying your collection. In the right place surrounded by equally adventurous pieces even the most unusual or benign creations have their space – they simply need to be treated with dignity, which is what happens when an item is framed and displayed properly. Jan Weiss is an artist and co-owner of Clayton Valley Frameworks. For more advice, email her at jan@the artplanet.com.



Carpet  Tile Green Products



Laminate

Custom Work  20+ years of experience Locally owned and operated All work done by our team  We do not use subcontractors Come see us or we will bring our mobile showroom to you

UP TO $300 OFF

Call store for details (925)

680-8220 52 Golf Club Rd. Pleasant Hill Near Sunvalley Mall

www.FlooringCity.com


20

Clayton Pioneer Home Improvement Guide

2011

Rodie’s RV & Self Storage

Save Money Move Your Goods & Toys to Rodie’s If you compare these prices you’ll store with us! Unit size

Per Month

5’ x 4’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$29 5’ x 10’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$49 10’ x 10’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$99 8’ x 20’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$139 10’ x 20’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$169 Other sizes available, up to 8’ x 40’ units

       

Hi-Tech Security Computer Controlled Gate Access Video Camera Surveillance Drive Up Units 7 am - 7 pm Access 7 Days 24 Hour Guard Alarms on Individual Doors Moving Boxes & Supplies for Sale

Visit our website:

www.RodiesStorage.com

8863 Marsh Creek Rd., Clayton



925-672-4600

Clayton Valley Home Improvement Guide  

The Clayton Pioneer's guide to home improvement services.

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