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A Special Section of the DAILY HOME

Beautiful Potting Benches 6 Trends in Hardwood 2 Seven Steps to Healthy Soil 4 Perfect Paint How-To 8


home & garden

2 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, May 22, 2011

Do-it-yourselfers

‘LOC-in’ latest trend in hardwood floors

“This product addition presents customers with a user-friendly installation product for multi-story developments, basements, and is an ideal choice for the do-it-yourself market,” explained Michel Collin, Marketing Director of Mercier Wood Flooring, one of North America’s leading hardwood flooring manufacturers. This innovative engi-

neered wood flooring with a 2G LOC features a 2mm sawn veneer of hardwood in either red oak or hard maple bonded to an HDF core. Solid wood will expand or contract with heat and moisture, whereas engineered wood flooring, because it’s made of cross banded layers of wood, offers more dimensional stability, Collin explained. In fact, for the past several years Mercier has offered its customers the widest variety of choices in the country allowing them to design their floor the way they want, thanks to their exclusive Design+ program. This year to answer the consumer demand for wider board designs, Mercier’s has added a 5” option to its LOC category in classic Red Oak and Hard Maple. According to designer Nancy Soccio of Dolce Design in Montreal, consumers will appreciate these classic hardwoods made available in the popular wider options. “Red oak is a classic choice. It’s a hardy, noble wood that

adds soothing warmth to your home with its pink highlights. While hard maple is more pale and uniform,” she added. “It’s dense, finely grained look combines harmony and wellbeing to any decor.” There are also established trends in wood flooring fashion that will continue to forge ahead, according to Collin, and these are the movements towards pronounced colour variations and rare exotic species. “Our exclusive line of exotic species from South America, for example, is sought after

by discerning homeowners for its stylish rich natural shades blended with the inherent hardness and durability of exotic woods.” For the dark wood floor enthusiasts, Collin said Mercier has developed beautiful new rich stains for its Heritage product line: Graphite and Macchiato for solid, engineered and LOC versions in varying widths. More information on the latest trends in wood flooring is available at www.mercierwoodflooring.

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Tip 10 — For ease of maintenance, order windows with vinyl frames. With vinyl window frames like those from Simonton Windows, you never need to worry about upkeep such as the scraping and repainting hassles you have with wood frames. Vinyl windows resist rot-

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Tip 3 — If you live near an airport or in a busy neighborhood, request laminated glass or doublepaned windows to help reduce noise transmission into your home. Tip 4 — For hard-toopen window locations (such as above a kitchen sink) replace existing windows with a Garden window. This mini-greenhouse style features dual, fully-operational casement side windows that crank open to bring air and sunlight into the room. As a bonus, you can grow small plants on the shelves or use the space for displaying collectibles. Tip 5 — If your home was constructed before 1978, make sure to hire a window replacement expert certified in lead safe renovations (see www.simonton.com/leadsafe <http://www.simonton.com/leadsafe> ). Many homes built prior to 1978 had paint on the exterior

Tip 7 — Comparison shop before purchasing replacement windows. Make sure to research a company’s history, industry achievements, the product warranties and the reliability of the product line before investing in windows for your home. Tip 8 — Make certain to purchase windows with sturdy, easy-to-operate locks to secure windows in the home. For added security, order impact-resistant glass in windows. And, for

decorative appeal on the inside of the home, consider the hardware options of Brushed Nickel, Oilrubbed Bronze, Polished Brass, Dark Bronze and Antique Brass in the Decorum by Simonton product line. Tip 9 — Make sure the replacement windows you select meet or exceed industry standards set forth by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) and the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). These tests assure that the windows meet stringent qualifications for thermal, air, water, operating force and structural performance.

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Tip 1 — Request ENERGY STAR® qualified windows and doors for your home to help lower your energy bills and qualify for tax incentives from the government. Tip 2 — Select vinyl windows with unique options, like those found in the Decorum™ by Simonton series, to add style and decorative appeal to your home. With this product line, you can choose exterior window frames in Brick, Tan, Pine, Driftwood, Cream, Chocolate and Bronze. You can even request interior frames in woodgrains of Antique Cherry, Contemporary Oak and Maple.

and in the window cavities that contain lead so it’s critical to use a qualified window contractor to remove that paint when windows are replaced. Tip 6 — Consider replacing older Single or Double Hung windows with easier-to-operate Casement windows. These crank-open windows are less stressful on aging backs and hands because they require no lifting action. Slider windows also operate easily and can be a good option.

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(MS) — According to experts in the hardwood flooring industry, the hot trends for this year will be wider board floor designs and easier to install options that you simply “LOC” into place. The recent innovation in the flooring industry that continues to gain momentum with designers, builders and do it yourselfers alike is the Mercier Wood Flooring “LOC” product category. It’s an engineered floor that does not require glue or mechanical fasteners to install using a locking system optimized for low cost of production and superior installation characteristics.

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home & garden

THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, May 22, 2011 — 3

Fight insects a more natural way Enjoying the outdoors when the weather is pleasant can become bothersome if biting insects are part of the equation. However, not everyone wants to rely on chemical repellents to keep bugs at bay. There are some greener options that may be adequate for most daily situations.

Skip the bug zapper. Some natural products are effective at repelling pesky insects. bite, but males may hang around and swarm when a female is nearby. Black flies need running water to feed larvae, so they differ in this respect from mosquitoes and other insects that grow from larvae in sitting water. Biting occurs during the day and may intensify before a thunderstorm. Repelling Insects The standard bug repellent is one that contains the product DEET. It was originally developed in 1946 for military use, but some have questioned its safety. The EPA says it has been associated with seizures in children, but this claim hasn’t been fully substantiated. Still, many people prefer to look elsewhere for their repellents, preferring natural products. There are oils that can be extracted from different plants and herbs that provide shortterm protection against many biting insects. Citronella is one of the more effective natural repellents. It has been used for more than 50 years as an insect repellent and as an animal repellent. The oil is taken from dried, cultivated grasses. Pure citronella is most effective against bugs, more so than the synthetic varieties used

in many candles. Citronella is safe for human use and produces no threat to the environment when used correctly. It is generally applied to the skin and may cause mild irritation if used in abundance. Because some people find the smell of citronella off-putting, it can be mixed with lemongrass oil to minimize the smell. Lemongrass may also be another natural insect repellent. Rosemary and cedar can also be tried as insect repellents. These are two other aromas that bugs find offensive. Individuals who spend time in the yard may want to plant rosemary nearby in garden beds to help repel insects in that respect. Rosemary is also multifunctional, as it is commonly used in cooking.

Gardening enthusiasts often enjoy extending their gardens to their interior of their homes. Much like exterior plants, interior plants can succumb to dehydration and overwatering. Many times, men and women with interior plants wait too long to address a plant that could be suffering from dehydration or overwatering. For a plant that’s dehydrated, don’t wait for the stems and leaves to begin wilting. If a plant has been overwatered, don’t wait to address the issue until mold or fungi is growing on the surface of the soil. These are obvious signs of plants that are dehydrated or have been overwatered, but they’re also late signs of those problems. There are earlier indications of each of these problems that, when noticed quickly, can help save interior plants from suffering.

Seal it tight. Use an insulation/air barrier to seal up cracks and penetrations that allow hot air to invade the living space, carrying with it unwanted airborne irritants. Spray foam is an effective option because it’s sprayed on as a liquid and then expands to seal every nook and cranny so that no air can pass through. Spray foam makes it easy to get a tight fit around wall openings, such as windows, electrical/cable service entry points, and light fixtures. Some spray foam products, such as the ones offered by Icynene, are air barriers. Icynene also offers a 100 percent water-blown product, making it an even healthier option for homeowners.

Ventilate right. Once the leaky areas have

* Root rot. The roots will soften and turn brown and possibly begin to smell bad if a plant is overwatered. * Mold forms on flowers. Moldy flowers have likely been overwatered.

Watering a plant can be tricky. Some plant owners water too much, hurting the plant as a result. If a plant is being overwatered, it might begin to show the following signs. * Leaves are falling off at the same time. When a

* Standing water in the container’s underliner. A properly watered plant will make use of all its water. Standing water indicates it’s getting too much.

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of ways. Plant enthusiasts should be on the lookout for the following signs of dehydration if they suspect their plants are suffering. * Slower leaf growth. If the plant is taking longer than normal to grow to its full capacity, that could be due to dehydration. * Leaves or flowers are dropping prematurely. If the plant or flower’s leaves are dropping earlier than usual, this could indicate dehydration.

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Individuals can experiment with these herbs and oils to produce a product that works for their repellent needs.

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or installing a HEPA filter. Sealing tight and ventilating right are the two most critical steps to breathing healthy indoor air, no matter what the quality of the air outside may be. More tips for a healthy home can be

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When summer temperatures soar, homeowners tend to seek refuge in their homes by closing the windows and relishing the air-conditioned space. Believe it or not, a retreat indoors may not alleviate symptoms or offer much comfort if the air from outside is invading the home. Home occupants are not protected from outdoor allergens and humidity unless these seasonal preparations have been checked off the to-do list:

been sprayed and sealed, homeowners should check with their insulation contractor to see what changes they might want to make to their HVAC system to improve efficiency and ventilation. This may be achieved through downsizing their system, introducing a ventilation system,

plant has been overwatered, its old leaves and its young leaves will fall off at the same time.

Signs of Overwatering

Signs of Dehydration Dehydration can manifest itself in a number

How to improve the air quality in your home (MS) — Canadians live in anticipation for warm weather and sunshine. Yet, some summer days can be difficult to enjoy when overtaken by smog and humidity, especially for those who suffer from asthma, allergies or other sensitivities.

* Leaves become translucent. If light can pass through the leaves the plant might be dehydrated. * Discoloration. Leaf edges become brown and dry out while lower leaves curl and yellow when a plant is dehydrated.

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Biting Insects Mosquitoes, biting flies and other insects can be a nuisance when the weather warms. Though many bites create a mild reaction that subsides after a few days, some insects are harbingers of serious diseases. Malaria and West Nile virus are just two of the many maladies that can be hiding inside of the common mosquito. According to Mosquito. org, only female mosquitoes feed on blood and bite their victims. The males feed on plant juices and nectar. Females need blood to feed their eggs and reproduce. When a mosquito bites, she injects chemicals to prevent blood from clotting and reduce pain. Afterward, however, these same chemicals can cause topical irritation. Like mosquitoes, female tabanids, or horse and deer flies, also bite. Most prefer warm seasons and the warmth of daytime, but some species are most active at dawn or dusk. Tabanids bite deep and hard, potentially causing a lot of irritation. Especially in early summer, swarms of small black flies can make life difficult for those who venture outdoors. Again, females of this species

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Home & garden

4 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, May 22, 2011

Keep soil healthy through season

There are many items around the house that may seem relatively harmless, but have the potential to be quite dangerous if consumed or if they enter the eyes, nose, or get on the skin. Here is a list of many of the items that should be kept away from children,

who are very susceptible to poisoning due to their inquisitive natures and small stature. Ammonia, Air Fresheners, Antifreeze, Bleach, After-Shave Lotions, Insect Killers, Carpet/Upholstery cleaners, Colognes/Perfumes, Fertilizers. Dishwasher Detergents, False Fingernail Removers, Gasoline, Disinfectants, Hair Remover, Glues, Drain Cleaners

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Gardeners can take several steps to maintain soil health. * Use well-drained soil. Well-drained soil will dry fast and enable oxygen to reach the root zone, helping build stronger roots as a result. Plants with strong roots are more likely to survive severe weather. * Use compost. Compost can prove very beneficial to soil health. Organic compost is typically loaded with nutrients that, upon maturity, feed the soil and promote soil health. Biodegradable items like grass clippings,

leaves and even excess food like apple cores can strengthen the compost. Even worms, which break down compost quickly and add nutrients, can be a valuable addition to organic compost. * Don’t bash bacteria. Bacteria is often seen as a formidable foe, but some bacteria can actually promote healthy soil. Bacteria decompose plant matter, releasing the nutri-

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Myths about your cooling system!

MYTH: It’s mid summer and your air conditioner is off. Wouldn’t setting the thermostat to the lowest temperature setting cool the house faster? FACT: Doing this when you first turn your air conditioner on is counterproductive. It will cool to a lower temperature than you need and use more energy. Plus, the room won’t cool any faster this way. MYTH: When replacing your system. Wouldn’t the largest size system get the best cooling? FACT: Does a glove that’s too large keep your hand warmer in the winter? In the same sense, if your air conditioning is too large, it will kick on and off to adjust the temperature just right. Plus cost more to operate. MYTH: When you leave for work, you will save money by cutting your air conditioner off! FACT: When you return home and cut the system on, it has to work twice as hard, putting extra work on the system to cool the home down. Try using a programmable thermostat to slightly lower the temperature while away. MYTH: It’s time to replace your system and you have had the same size system for years. Wouldn’t you just need a price on the same size your currently have? FACT: Most systems are sized incorrectly. The problem is you don’t know this until you receive your energy bill, have to replace a couple of compressors or have a heating and air contractor at your-house more times than you can count. Most local cities now require contractors to perform room by room load calculation on your home to determine 100% the correct size you need. This will save you a lot of money on your energy bills and prevent future breakdowns of your system. 276918

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A lush lawn and garden is a part of many homeowners’ dream home. A lawn that emanates green and a garden that’s home to succulent vegetables is desirable to homeowners across the country. Of course, such lawns and gardens take time and effort, and a host of factors will determine if a lawn and garden is something homeowners should be proud or ashamed of. One such factor is soil health. Healthy soil helps deliver food and water to plants, allowing them to thrive and add aesthetic appeal to homes. To maintain healthy soil, homeowners should consider the following tips. * Get the soil tested. When addressing soil health, it’s best to first get the soil tested. A soil test will show which type of soil you have as well as its makeup and structure, and just how good or bad it currently is. Such tests can also reveal if the soil is missing any essential nutrients. Some soil tests can be conducted by novice green-thumbers, while others are best left to the local agricultural bureau. These tests are a good investment, as they will remove the guesswork from fertilizing. Without a soil test, many homeowners end up overdoing it when fertilizing, which can prove a costly mistake. Take a soil sample a few months before you plan to plant or landscape to give yourself enough time to apply the test’s recommendations to your lawn and garden. * Avoid wet soil. When soil is wet, don’t walk or drive over it and keep the kids out of the yard. When wet soil is walked on or driven over, the soil gets packed down, pushing out air and making it more difficult and sometimes impossible for water to pass through the soil. That makes it hard for roots to grow. Gardeners who plan to plant this gardening season should wait for the soil to dry before planting.

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home & garden

6 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; THE DAILYâ&#x20AC;&#x2C6;HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, May 22, 2011

Potting benches can make gardening more fun, efficient For The Associated Press

One of Karen Angelucciâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favorite gardening tools is the wood potting bench her father made for her. The big poplar bench has shelves for storing pots, nails on which to hang utensils, and a large work area, said Angelucci, of Lexington, Ky., an author of gardening books. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have to have room to work and create,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Potting benches tell the character of a person. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why mineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s large and messy.â&#x20AC;? Gardeners use the benches primarily for potting flowers and small seedlings. They can help you become more efficient, said Robin Pokorski, secretary for the National Garden Clubs. She likes having all her tools within armâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reach when sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s potting plants. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do without it,â&#x20AC;? said Pokorski, who lives in Los Angeles. Pokorski chose a plastic bench because she felt it would hold up better under the California sun. Potting benches are available in many materials

from wood to vinyl. Building one can be an easy do-it-yourself project, said Lou Manfredini, Ace Hardwareâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Home Expert, in Chicago. Here are some things to consider before buying or building a potting bench: LOCATION Put the bench in a shady spot so youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not working in direct sun, experts recommend. Consider whether to incorporate the bench into the landscape or hide it behind a garage or shed. Remember that a potting bench can get messy and cluttered. SIZE Think about what size plants and pots you will be using, and how much workspace you will need. HEIGHT Make sure the work area is at a comfortable level. You donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to have to bend down or reach up. STORAGE Some benches come with shelves, drawers, or utensil hooks for storing or displaying gardening tools. Consider hanging tools on hooks so they

arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t sitting in wet drawers after it rains. MATERIAL Pick a material suited to your climate. Many benches are made from cedar or redwood, which can withstand the elements well. Plastic and recycled materials also hold up well in sun, rain and snow. WHEELS Some benches have wheels so they can be moved around the yard. If you intend to roll yours around the lawn, make sure it isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t too heavy to push. COST Prices vary widely. A do-it-yourself bench could be constructed for as little as $30. A number of gardening websites offer plans for building potting benches. Store-bought benches start at around $100. APPEARANCE Benches come in many styles, from rustic to country cottage to simple and functional. If the bench will be visible from a patio, deck or house window, you will need to consider whether it blends

with the look of your house or yard. ACCESSORIES Potting benches can be outfitted with many kinds of equipment. Some have sinks that can be rigged to outdoor spigots. Others have leaves or shelves that can be folded out to create extra work space. Some come with boxes to store soil or catch it while you work.

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Soil

From Page 4 tive value into the soil,

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They might not add aesthetic appeal, but slime molds do serve a practical and important purpose in maintaining healthy soil. * Pests can be an ally to healthy soil. Some garden pests like mites, millipedes and centipedes are incorrectly assumed to be enemies of healthy soil. In fact, such pests can vastly improve soil health. Mites consume dead leaves and additional plant matter, enabling bacteria to more effectively release nutrients into the soil. Millipedes and centipedes are also beneficial to soil, as their droppings improve both the soilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s texture and fertility.

4. Living rooms: Homeowners who do not desire a formal living space are eschewing living rooms for all-purpose rooms that provide a better place for the family to gather. If a person prefers the TV be separate from a sitting area, then two distinct rooms still may be needed.

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and can also break down chemical pesticides. So while bacteria is bad more often than itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beneficial, some bacteria are quite useful, particularly when it comes to healthy soil. * Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be scared off by slime. Like bacteria, slime has a bad reputation. However, veteran gardeners understand that reputation isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t warranted. Slime mold is ugly, and many new gardeners see it and instantly assume itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bad for their garden. However, slime molds are good for the soil, helping break down dead wood and leaves.

2. Carpeting: Although a little over half of all homes still have carpeting, wood floors, tiles and vinyl products are gaining ground over the once staple of interior design.

to decline in popularity. Many new home manufacturers have nixed skylights from their designs. Improperly installed skylights tend to leak and can be maintenance nightmares.

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now being passed over for larger desks in family rooms or bedrooms. Kitchen desks tend to be small and are more likely to collect clutter than provide a viable working space.

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Housing trends come and go. Just think of those avocado-colored stoves from the 1970s or the formica bedroom sets of the 1980s. The woodburning fireplace was a must-have home accessory in the early 1990s, but now it is losing ground to pellet stoves and greener options. Here are a few other housing trends that are going out of style and making room for newer designs.

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THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, May 22, 2011 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 7

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Experts say adding color and taxture to their roofs is one of the ways baby boomers are most apt to add personality to their homes.

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RELIABLE Baby boomers embrace color, TERMITE all the way up to the roof & PEST &PEST CONTROL No matter what kind of pest is However, they often havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fully developed that style so they tend to play it safe. Since they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t often see their current home as being a permanent residence, they tend to use more neutral colors to keep their home more â&#x20AC;&#x153;sellableâ&#x20AC;? in the future. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The good news is that todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s homeowners are not waiting decades to embrace colors and add their personal touch to their homes,â&#x20AC;? says Smith. â&#x20AC;&#x153;While they may focus on â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;splashes of colorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; such as a red entry door or green shutters on the home, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re positioning themselves for larger color commitments in the future. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Again, the Color Designer tool is a terrific way for these individuals to explore color on a larger part of the home such as the roof, so that they can gain confidence as they age with adding more color overall to their

homes.â&#x20AC;? To meet the growing color demands of baby boomers and other aged homeowners, DaVinci Roofscapes introduced several new color blend options in early 2011. These include: â&#x20AC;˘ Milano â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Light Gray, Medium Gray, Dark Gray and Dark Purple colors in the single-width ValorĂŠ Slate and BellafortĂŠ product lines. â&#x20AC;˘ Cambridge â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Light Brown, Medium Brown, Dark Stone and Dark Tan colors in the single-width ValorĂŠ Slate and BellafortĂŠ product lines. â&#x20AC;˘ Sedona â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Medium Terracotta, Dark Terracotta, Light Clay and Dark Clay in the single-width ValorĂŠ Slate and BellafortĂŠ product lines. â&#x20AC;˘ Sabino â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Dark Mountain and Medium Autumn in the singlewidth ValorĂŠ Slate

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; When it comes to baby boomers, forget about bland lifeless colors. According to national color expert Kate Smith, todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s homeowners in their 40s and 50s are throwing off their vanilla lifestyles to embrace colors on their homes and roofs as a way to express themselves â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the past, older individuals and couples tended to stay with more conservative colors for their homes, but all that changed with the aging baby boomers,â&#x20AC;? says Kate Smith, chief color maven and owner of Sensational Color. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Many young adults of this era donned a more conservative appearance that spilled over to their homes during their 20s and 30s. By the time they moved into their 40s, they were ready to return to the more self expressive days of their youth. One of the first places they turn to show off their personal style is their home.â&#x20AC;? Smith believes that adding color and texture to the roof is one of the ways baby boomers are most apt to add personality to their homes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The roof color doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to be dramatic, just different than everyone else in the neighborhood to reflect their personal style,â&#x20AC;? says Smith. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Even a classic like the Castle Gray blend of synthetic slate roofing tile from DaVinci RoofscapesÂŽ makes a distinct statement when the material is a step up from what other homes are sporting in the area. More colorful blend choices, like DaVinciâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Aberdeen or Weathered Green selections are being embraced with more frequency by aging baby boomers who wish to add their mark on a structure.â&#x20AC;? DaVinci offers a wide spectrum of 49 colors in synthetic shake and slate roofing tiles. The company also has 28 unique roofing color blends as standard options. Homeowners of all ages can use the free on-line DaVinci Color Design Program (located at www. davinciroofscapes.com <http://www.davinciroofscapes.com> ) to select roofing colors and blends, along with getting personalized color consultation assistance. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With age comes the confidence of knowing your own taste and style preferences,â&#x20AC;? says Smith. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This makes DaVinciâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Color Designer a great tool for baby boomers to use when making a roof decision. They can view every possible color combination on slate and shake tiles or choose to have their own personal custom roof color created.â&#x20AC;? According to Smith, todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s younger homeowners are giving themselves permission at an earlier point in life to express their style.


home & garden

8 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; THE DAILYâ&#x20AC;&#x2C6;HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, May 22, 2011

The 7 deadly â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;sinsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; of exterior painting

According to Debbie Zimmer, spokesperson for the Paint Quality Institute, these are the seven sinful painting practices that can punish paint performance:

2. Failure to properly prepare weathered wood. Painting bare wood that has been exposed to the elements for even a few weeks can lead to cracking and peeling after only a year or two. Zimmer says this problem can be avoided by thoroughly sanding the weathered wood, then priming (see sin #3), before applying any paint. 3. Failure to use a primer. Almost any exterior paint job will benefit from a coat of primer, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s especially important to prime wood that has not been previously painted. The same holds true for any wood that has no paint â&#x20AC;&#x201C; either because it has peeled or flaked off,

or because of rigorous scraping and sanding during surface preparation. 4. Failure to correct a source of moisture behind the wood. According to Zimmer, moisture seeping behind the paint can result in blistering and peeling. Careful caulking can resolve most of these issues. Among the areas to check are open seams at corner joints and anywhere windows and doors abut the walls. Splits or cracks within the siding should also be sealed with paintable siliconized acrylic caulk. If any wood seems structurally unsound, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wise to call in a pro to make sure it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to be replaced. 5. Failure to apply paint at the proper spread rate. Paints perform best

when applied at the recommended spread rate. Trying to economize by either thinning paint or applying it in too thin a coat can invite a variety of early paint failures, most notably, cracking and peeling; it can also result in greater susceptibility to mildew formation. 6. Failure to apply latex paint in the right weather. Applying latex paint when the outside temperature is very cold can keep it from adhering properly; on the other hand, applying it in extremely hot weather can impair the durability of the paint film. Painting when rain is expected within 24 hours or so, or when heavy dew is expected, can also lead to early paint failure. 7. Failure to use the correct type and quality of exterior paint. It goes without saying that too. Turn off the gas and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no messy cleanup, no worrisome lingering embers. Firepits.inc has the elegant, 10-inch Blue Rhino gel fire pit with a bronze finish; place several around a large outdoor area or pool. Dress them up with river rocks, also available from the retailer. Some prefer the real wood-fire experience, and there are many choices available. A steel or copper basin with a decorative cutout provides some evening entertainment, as the flames silhouette the patterns crafted in the metal.

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outside surfaces should be painted only with exterior paint. But the type of paint used is important also. According to Zimmer, top quality 100 percent acrylic latex paints provide the best overall performance ... and the best protection against premature paint failure when applied to properly prepared wood surfaces. â&#x20AC;&#x153;These paints cost somewhat more than run-ofthe-mill exterior paint, but they last a lot longer and often require fewer coats,â&#x20AC;? says Zimmer. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That makes them a relative bargain for cost-conscious homeowners.â&#x20AC;? If you want your paint to last, cast off that care-

less attitude and follow good painting practices. Your reward will be a long-lasting exterior paint job in the here and now. For more advice on the right way to do exterior painting, visit the Paint Quality Institute website at www.paintquality.com.

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LARCHMONT, N.Y. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Our first fire pit was a simple metal bowl, like a giant wok, perched on a metal stand. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve enjoyed many pleasant evenings sitting around a crackling blaze, finding humor in the incongruity of a campfire in the middle of suburbia. Marshmallows have been roasted, songs sung. The pit becomes evening entertainment, everyone intently watching the dancing flames. But in the few years since fire pits hit the market, designers have really begun to, well, design them. Now you can have one built into your dining table. Add a grill and host a teppanyaki (Japanese barbecue) supper. Or you can coordinate the pit with the rest of your backyard decor. Sleek, powder-coated models are more furniture than utility. And with a variety of flame sources to choose from, you can now place your fire pit just about anywhere, including small balconies and swimming pools. Take, for example, the coffee-table fire pit designed by John Xochihua of Portland, Ore., with a laser-cut, powder-coat steel top thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sleek and chic. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Since fire is completely organic, I wanted to bring asymmetry and organic shapes into my design,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When you combine a fire element and a table, there are many more design considerations. The table becomes interactive, a focal point, a place to gather, much as fire has been for millennia.â&#x20AC;? Rick Wittrip of Lebanon, Tenn., has designed the Third Rock

fire pit, which has fire emanating from cutouts where the continents would be in a world globe. The piece was featured at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Wittrip says he incorporates his skills as a welder, builder and carpenter, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vision leading the way. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m designing, I keep in mind that the fire pit is all about warmth and companionship,â&#x20AC;? he says. Both Wittripâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and Xochihuaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s designs are at homeinfatuation.com. At DancingFire.com, the Fire Dancer fire pit ticks a lot of boxes: Its portability and propane fuel source allow it to be placed anywhere in the yard. You can build it in with rock or brick, or keep it transportable. A 20-pound propane bottle keeps the fire going, and a quick turn of the dial shuts everything down. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re installing a gas pit, consider using one with glass rocks; single or multicolored glass looks amazing lit by the flames, and since no carbon is produced by the gas flame, they stay looking sparkly. Check out firepitsglassrocks.com for options. PureModern.com has several fire pits that would suit a contemporary backyard or balcony. Germanmade Commoto stainless steel fireplace, designed by Carsten Gollnick, is a sleek and functional apparatus. The Sienna outdoor fireplace includes decorative concrete logs and lava rock, but operates on gel fire. One canister lasts for two to three hours, and extras can be stored in the base. The Outdoor Fire Bowl also uses Real Flame nontoxic fire gel, which is odorless, and produces no ash or soot â&#x20AC;&#x201D; perfect for urban environments or

areas where no-fire restrictions may be in place. Put the lid on these pits and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re done. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the beauty of the gas fire pit,

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1. Failure to smooth rough edges on old paint. Good surface preparation is vitally important when doing any kind of painting. After scraping away loose, flaking or peeling paint, the old paint that remains will probably have rough edges. If these edges arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t sanded properly, the new paint

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Exterior painting is a great way to maintain and beautify the wood siding on a home, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to do things correctly. Commit any one of seven painting â&#x20AC;&#x153;sinsâ&#x20AC;? and you may suffer the consequences: a shortened life for your brand new paint job.


home & garden

THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, May 22, 2011 — 9

Making the most of light in your home It’s a request that designers hear constantly: Bring more sunshine into my home. Whatever a person’s taste, “I think almost everybody wants to maximize the light in their living space,” says HGTV host Genevieve Gorder. Natural light can bring out the beauty of fabrics and furniture, and seems to have an intangible impact. The conventional wisdom is that “if you have a room that’s very sunny and packed with natural light, people use it more, and they’re happier in it,” says designer and decordemon.com founder Brian Patrick Flynn. It can be challenging to increase the daylight in rooms with small windows. But with the right mix of paint colors, fabrics, furniture and mirrors, homeowners can maximize the sunlight in even the darkest rooms. Gorder, Flynn and Betsy Burnham of Los Angeles’ Burnham Design share some tips and tricks for helping the sun to shine brightly in any home: REFLECTIONS All three designers recommend mirrors. “It makes a space feel bigger,” Flynn says, “and if the space has a view and you put a mirror on the wall opposite the window with that beautiful view, you’ve doubled the light, doubled the view.” The idea of mirrors can make clients nervous. “People can think it sounds a little ‘70s or dated, but not if it’s an antiqued mirror and if it’s

COOL COLORS Many people try to maximize light by painting a room in a pale color. But the choice of shade is important. Yellow-based shades, even if fairly pale, can warm up a space. “I see newly built homes where the developer has chosen a yellow throughout and it’s such a mistake. Somehow it closes it in or warms it up too much,” Burnham says. “You want cool tones,” she says, like “blue-grays and taupes that are shades of off-white with a little blue in them. It can really chill things out.” Metallic paint colors also work well. Gorder likes to use paint with a reflective, metallic finish on ceilings, especially in dining rooms. She prefers shades that look like brass or pewter. It’s a trick many hotels use, she says, to softly amplify light.

MINIMIZING DARK PIECES “Instead of big, dark wood pieces of furniture,” Burnham says, “try something lighter and airier, like a glass-topped piece with a metal base.” That allows you to see the floor, drawing attention to a light-colored rug or pale wood flooring. In decorating a woodpaneled living room in a Tudor house, Burnham “kept all of the antique pieces and old sofas, but we recovered everything in different fabrics that were all white to off-white. It completely changed the room,” she says. “It was friendlier, modern and lighter.” Gorder recommends doing the biggest pieces in a room, such as sofas and love seats, in light colors. Then she advises bringing in brighter or deeper shades for smaller pieces of furniture. USING ILLUSION Some design choices don’t increase the actual light in a room, but they make the space feel sunnier. Cotton and linen fabrics in soft colors evoke cool summer breezes and sunny days at the beach, while “heavier fabrics, like velvets or brocades or even chenilles, sort of weigh a room down,” Burnham says. Gorder agrees: Using sheer and cottony fabrics in pale shades, such as “light smoky purples that are barely there,” she says, “lightens and brings a sense of joy, and with that emotion comes a sense of lightness.” Another trick Gorder uses: “Flank your windows with window treatments that go way beyond

Conquer sidewalk cracks Most homeowners can identify with the dilemma of a cracked sidewalk. In addition to being a safety hazard, a cracked sidewalk can also be an eyesore. Whether strolling to the backyard garden or walking to your home’s entryway, a cracked sidewalk can catch your eyes for all the wrong reasons. Fortunately, repairing a cracked sidewalk isn’t very difficult. • Enlarge the crack. The first thing to do when repairing cracks that are bigger than a hairline crack is to enlarge the crack. Use a chisel and hammer to enlarge the crack along its entire length. • Undercut the crack. When repairing a crack, you want to undercut the crack. Undercutting means you will be making the crack wider at the bottom than at the top. When it’s time to lay new concrete, undercutting will help create a stronger bond between the new concrete and the old. • Remove loose material. Once the crack has been undercut, remove any loose material, then brush the cleaned area with a wire brush to be sure no residual materials are still there. • Apply a concrete adhesive. A concrete adhesive isn’t a necessity, but it will help the new concrete

hold when the time comes to lay it down. Once the adhesive has been brushed into the undercut area, allow it to dry until it has a slightly sticky feel. Homeowners who prefer not to use a concrete adhesive should moisten the area that needs repairing with water. Just moisten the area, as you don’t want any standing water on the area that needs to be repaired with new concrete. • Apply the concrete as directed. When using a pre-mixed concrete patch, all you will likely need to add is water. For larger cracks, some homeowners prefer to mix their own patch. When mixing your own patch, you will likely need to add sand and/or gravel. Follow the cement manufacturer’s instructions if mixing your own patch. • Tightly tamp the patch into the undercut area. All areas should be completely filled. • Smooth the repaired area down. As the mixture starts to set, use a trowel or wooden float to smooth down the repaired area. • Allow the repaired area to dry. Give the repaired area a couple of hours to dry. After roughly two hours, cover the repaired area with boards or plastic sheeting. • Keep the area covered. The repaired area

should be kept covered for roughly five days. During this period, wet the repaired area once a day. This allows the concrete to cure.

the top of the window, all the way up to the ceiling,” she says. That makes the window look larger, making it seem as though the room has more access to sunlight.

have an expert come and give you an estimate” on adding skylights. If all else fails, Flynn says, you can embrace a lack of light. Choose a dark paint for the walls

WINDOWS AND SKYLIGHTS Some window treatments, such as Roman shades, block sunlight even when they’re technically open. Burnham suggests using “really tailored, simple draperies on rings on an iron rod, and maybe have a wand to push them back.” Draperies hung that way are easy to open fully, so “you can clear the windows during the day, and it can still be private at night.” Even sheer curtains hung behind draperies can limit sunlight. So try hanging a single drapery, rather than a double set. Also consider adding a skylight or two. “Don’t think it’s not appropriate just because you don’t have a super-modern house,” Burnham says. “I worked on a 1920s house in L.A., and put in a skylight in keeping with the period and the other windows in the house.” “It doesn’t cost anything,” she points out, “to

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and dark furnishings, he says, and then accessorize with lamps, ceiling fixtures and “tons of metallic pieces that will bounce all of the artificial light around the room.”

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For The Associated Press

just a small part of your room,” Burnham says. If you’d prefer a mirror that isn’t antique, Burnham suggests having a large one expertly framed. It can be hung on a wall or, if it’s quite tall, propped up against a wall and anchored at the top. Smaller mirrors can be used anywhere. Line the backs of bookshelves with mirrors or arrange several on one wall. “Ikea has bunches of mirrors, 8 inches by 8, that come in packs of 10 with stickies on the back,” Flynn says. “If you stick them on your wall, left to right in a diamond pattern, it’s so beautiful and really affordable. You can go across an entire wall.” Also consider furniture with glass, chrome or mirrored accents.

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• Use LOCAL Professional Contractors – You will be best served by local contractors who know this area and will be here in the future. • Contractors should be licensed and insured - Your contractor MUST have a license with the State of Alabama Licensure Board if the cost of construction is over $10,000.00. New construction home builders MUST have a license with the State of Alabama Licensure Board and have Workers Compensation Insurance. • Most professional contractors don’t require large sums of money up front - Beware of those who do. The Home Builders Association of Greater Calhoun County Recommend These Builders: Gary Angel

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Don James

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Sam Almaroad

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Kennith James

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Mark Almaroad

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Michael Kilgore

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Chris Birchfield

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Winford C. Martin 256-831-4511

Bryan Booth

256-310-0704

David Mason

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Roger Borders

256-237-8047

David Miller

256-237-0661

Jeff Bradshaw

256-591-1525

Jimmy D Miller

256-835-1480

Phil Champion

256-310-2116

Josh Moses

256-435-9672

Johnny Cochran

256-310-3733

Randy Nettleton

256-310-2771

Daniel Cofield

205-965-6917

Tim Pate

256-310-2393

Ty Corbin

256-310-6699

Lee Patterson

256-310-7843

Don Crider

256-892-0585

P. D. Pritchett

256-435-9257

Hoyt G. Davis, Jr.

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Phillip Pritchett

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Jerry Gill

256-237-4105

Tony Porco

256-310-1912

Jonathan Heathcock

256-892-3523

Larry Reams

256-249-3653

Ronnie Helms

256-831-3667

Donnie Sills

256-310-5258

Terry Helms

256-236-3388

Donald Sills

256-831-7070

George Hicks

256-362-9383

Bobby Smith

256-282-3433

Wallace Higgin

256-831-5052

Tony Waddell

256-310-3242

Omega Homes

256-831-5965

Butch Welch

205-369-5617

Clyde Huckeba

256-591-7747

Jason Williams

256-310-3164

For a complete list of sub-contractors and contractors go to:

rebuildcalhouncounty.com or call (256) 237-5266

286438

By MELISSA RAYWORTH


home & garden

10 — THE DAILY HOME, Talladega and St. Clair counties, Ala., Sunday, May 22, 2011

Using shears, cut down any dead grasses, stems and stalks from spent perennials that overwintered. Remove any dead wood and broken branches. Be careful not to trim spring-blooming shrubs because some flowers bloom on year-old stems and this can cause the plant not to flower. Perennials that aren’t flowering as well as they used to or have dead centers may need to be divided to promote stron-

ger growth. This should be done in early spring before the plant blooms or late fall before the winter arrives. Dividing plants and replanting not only grows the garden, but also it is a healthy revitalization for the plant. Gardeners who prefer to take a laid-back approach to gardening may appreciate the ease with which a beautiful and easy-to-maintain landscape can be created with perennials.

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Hostas are perennials that thrive in partial sun and shady areas.

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Perennials are a gardener’s friend every year. In essence, they have the staying power of shrubbery but are more delicate in nature and often appealing to the eye. There are perennials for every season, soil type and sun exposure. Perennials come in a wide variety of blooming flowers or attractive foliage. Chances are if a homeowner wants to add perennials to the garden, there is a variety available that will fit his or her needs. Here are some perennials that can be added to the garden: * lavender * ornamental grasses * asters * chrysanthemums * irises * poppies * milkweed * goldentufts * anemones

* columbines * daylilies * peonies * hostas Once perennials are in place, there is relatively minimal maintenance that is required. The tune-ups that may be needed are some deadheading to promote new and stronger growth and some cleaning

up after winter before the new blooming season takes place. Once the early spring season arrives and the ground is not too muddy or rain-soaked, clear out any leaves and debris that have gathered around where perennials are located. Gardeners can also till the mulch or soil in these areas to aerate the planting beds.

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(1) FINANCING AVAILABLE TO QUALIFIED BUYERS. NOT ALL BUYERS QUALIFY. MINIMUM PURCHASE PRICE REQUIREMENT APPLIES. SEE STORE OR CUBCADET.COM FOR IMPORTANT DETAILS. MINIMUM MONTHLY PAYMENTS REQUIRED. VALID ON PURCHASES MADE BETWEEN 2/1/11 – 6/30/11. TRANSACTION FINANCE CHARGES MAY APPLY. SEE YOUR CUB CADET RETAILER FOR DETAILS OR GO TO CUBCADET.COM FOR FULL DISCLOSURE. FINANCING SUBJECT TO GE MONEY APPROVAL. PROGRAMS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE. * Product Price — Actual retail prices are set by dealer and may vary. Taxes, freight, setup and handling charges may be additional and may vary. Models subject to limited availability. **See your local dealer for limited warranty details and information. Certain restrictions apply. † as rated by engine manufacturer

286398

Gardening is often seen as an art form to men and women with a green thumb. Once the landscape is designed, homeowners may not want to change much from year to year. That is where perennial plants can be an advantage. Designing a landscape and keeping the garden looking beautiful can take a keen eye. It also may require a lot of time and commitment. If home gardeners have to replant items year after year, gardening can become timeconsuming and expensive. Turning to perennial plants and flowers to serve as the anchor for a home garden can make the process easier. Perennials are plants that live indefinitely. In terms of flowering plants, perennials will bloom

Bettye Kelley, Manager 286386

Margaret Williamson, Manager

Specifications and programs are subject to change without notice. Images may not reflect dealer inventory and/or unit specifications. Cub Cadet Commercial products are intended for professional use. © 2011 Cub Cadet 3PV_Q

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Daily Home - Home & Garden