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September 26 and 27, 2020

HOME IMPROVEMENT

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Mark II sees steady business, despite COVID PAGE 4


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September 26 and 27, 2020

OPTIONS ABOUND WHEN SHOPPING FOR HOME SIDING

Home improvement projects run the gamut from minor repairs to complete overhauls. Replacing exterior siding is one of the most significant home improvement projects homeowners can undertake. Such a project can give homes a completely new look, which is why choice of siding is such an important decision. Homeowners have many siding options to choose from, and the following guide can help them make the best choice for their homes.

choice of wood, must be considered before making a final decision.

Fiber-cement siding

The home improvement television network HGTV notes that fiber-cement siding has grown in popularity among homeowners in recent years. This material does not require much maintenance and it’s non-flammable and resistant to termites. HomeAdvisor notes that fibercement siding can create the look of wood, stucco or masonry, making it a versatile option capable of creating various looks. In addition, fiber-cement siding is known for its durability, with some Vinyl siding products coming with warranties lasting Vinyl siding is easily maintained and as long as 50 years. among the more budget-friendly siding options. According to the home imWood siding provement resource HomeAdvisor, vinyl siding is made from a PVC plastic that Homeowners have many choices if does not rot or flake. Siding professionals they prefer wood siding on their homes. note that the technology used to create Cedar, cypress, fir, pine, and spruce are vinyl siding has changed considerably in just a handful of the many wood siding recent years, making this option more options homeowners can choose from. diverse than traditional vinyl siding. So HomeAdvisor notes that cedar shingle homeowners turned off by the potentially siding offers a natural look that blends plastic look of vinyl siding might be sur- well in wooded and waterfront landprised at how different modern vinyl sid- scapes. Wood clapboard siding is aning looks compared to the vinyl siding of other popular option, though it tends yesteryear. to require more maintenance than ce-

Stone and stoneveneer siding

dar shingle siding. Homeowners who want wood siding should discuss their options with an experienced siding professional, as many factors, including the

Many homeowners fall in love with the natural appeal of stone, but the price tag, which tends to be costly, may not be as awe-inspiring. HGTV notes that stone can be difficult to add to an existing home, and doing so may drive the price up even further. Stone siding is durable, and there are many options, including solid stone and natural stone cladding, that make this an option capable of providing an array of looks. Stone-veneer siding is less expensive than natural stone and also comes in an array of styles. As is the case with wood, stone siding options are so extensive that homeowners are urged to discuss each one with a siding professional before making their decisions. These are just a handful of the many siding options homeowners can choose from. Siding can give homes a competely new look, making choice of siding a significant decision worthy of careful consideration.

TIPS FOR PLANTING FALL VEGETABLES Tending to backyard vegetable gardens can fill many hours of enjoyable downtime in the great outdoors. What’s more, the bounty produced by such gardens provides healthy, fresh foods to gardeners and their loved ones. Although spring and summer are widely seen as the peak of gardening season, the mild temperatures of autumn can be a prime time for planting vegetables as well. Certain late-season treats like carrots, kale, spinach, and turnips can thrive in fall gardens. Many different foods are quick crops that can go from seed to table in about six weeks. When sown in early fall, these vegetables will be ready to put on the table for mid-October feasts. Beets, green onions, broccoli, and cabbages can be planted in late summer for fall harvest. Gardeners who live in hardiness zones eight through 10 (the southern portion of the United States) can plant fall vegetables as late as December. Many of these plants can tolerate light frost, which may even help sweeten the vegetables. A handful of unique factors need to be taken into consideration when planning fall vegetable gardens. ✦✦The summertime location of the garden may still be adequate, but be sure to choose a location that gets eight full hours of sunlight per day.

✦✦If using an existing garden site, clear out any detritus from summer plants and any weeds that have sprouted. If you are planting a new garden, remove any turf before tilling the soil. ✦ ✦Amend the soil with sand, compost, manure fertilizer, and any other nutrients needed depending on the types of vegetables you intend to grow. ✦✦While fall vegetables can be grown successfully from seeds, it may be more time-friendly to work from larger transplants, advises the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. ✦✦Some plants may need a little protection as they grow if temperatures begin to dip. Cover with a blanket, cardboard box or plastic tunnel to insulate. Remember to water according to the vegetables planted and to keep an eye on readiness for vegetables. Turnips, beets, rutabagas, and carrots can be dug out when the roots are plump and crisp. Vegetable gardens need not cease when the last days of summer vanish. Fall produce is delicious and can be easily planted and harvested even after the first frost.


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Does it seem like your hamper is always full and the washing machine is running constantly? You may not be imagining it. Laundry Butler for You, a wash, dry and fold service, says the average household washes 50 pounds of laundry a week and 6,000 articles of clothing every year. Families with children at home are doing laundry most often, and those with pets may find there is ample laundry to wash as well. With so much laundry being generated, homeowners may want to consider paying extra attention to the space in the house where their clothing is being cleansed. Laundry room renovations may not top homeowners’ priority lists, but it may be time to give these rooms another look.

to be energy-efficient and could have easier to fold matching items like socks. innovative features that help fit with your laundry lifestyle. Purchasing frontThink about a utility sink loading models also can free up design Many washing machines drain out space, as you can install a counter didirectly to waste pipes in the floor or rectly above the units, saving room for wall, but you also can opt to have them other items like drying racks. empty into a utility sink. This sink also a convenient place to handFigure out your room needs provides wash items, clean tools or paintbrushes, A laundry room need not be lim- or store items that perhaps you do not ited to laundry only. Many homeown- want to bring into a bathroom or kitchen ers make large laundry rooms catch-all sink. spaces that can serve as utility or mud rooms, pantry overflows, or off-season Include some flair storage areas. Consider the functions This utilitarian space need not be boryou want the room to serve and include ing or bereft of design elements. Mirror those ideas in your designs. your home’s style in the laundry room, and include wall hangings, plants, acAdd some natural light cent items, and even task lighting. Play If possible, include a window in your up certain features with a bold floor tile laundry room. Natural light can help or brightly colored walls. make the room more enjoyable. It also Updating laundry rooms can be a can help you identify stains on clothes great way to make doing laundry more that need to be addressed and make it enjoyable and efficient.

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LAUNDRY ROOM RENOVATIONS YOU’LL LOVE

Assess your equipment If your appliances are aging, a laundry room renovation can start with an investment in new appliances. New models have large capacity loads, tend

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THE GAZETTE, EMPORIA, KANSAS

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MARK II SEES STEADY BUSINESS, DESPITE COVID By Adam Blake

adam@emporia.com

While the COVID-19 pandemic served to disrupt regular day-to-day operations of many businesses across the country when it first appeared in mid-March, some industries saw an increase in activity which continues even six months later. Emporia’s Mark II Lumber, according to co-owner and sales representative Aaron Trelc, was one of the fortunate few. Over the last months, the biggest obstacle for the store hasn’t been figuring out how to properly socially distance or sanitize so much as it has been in finding materials to keep stocked. “Manufacturing obviously took a hit with COVID with a lot of them laying people off or running half shifts,” Trelc said. “They weren’t producing what they had been and maybe set their production targets a little bit too low because every-

body seemed to think the economy was going to start moving slower. Early on, we saw that the economy was actually very strong. As far as our industry goes, people were really starting to have the time and the desire to begin working on projects inside and outside of the house. Demand was higher than anyone forecasted, and as a result, we started to see shortages.” While staff have been able to adapt to the “new normal” and have stopped seeing the severity of shortages that were present in the spring, it’s not uncommon for material purchases requiring shipping and special transport to experience delays. Still, Trelc hopes that those looking to update their indoor and outdoor spaces take full advantage of the important fall season. “The beginning of fall is really a time where people should consider finishing Please see Mark II, Page 5

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MARK II

finalized yet, but they’ll be in the paper and on our social media as soon as we finalize them, so I would encourage people to be on the lookout. “A lot of people don’t know that we also started a flooring department this year. We keep some luxury tile, vinyl and carpet in stock here and we can work with people on installation for some of that flooring as well. We also have three lines of cabinets, which I kind of think as a good, better, best type of situation. We really have all sorts of stuff that will help us to assist people with both their indoor and outdoor plans.” For information on sales and upcoming specials, visit www.markiilumber. com or search for the company on Facebook. Mark II Lumber also offers supply delivery and contractor consultation services. For a free estimate, call 620-3420218.

From PAGE 4 those projects that are going to be important for the winter months,” Trelc said. “You can’t really predict the weather in Kansas, so it’s best to get started sooner rather than later. It’s important to make sure you close up any drafts that are coming into your house, looking at your house’s insulation situation and making sure that you have a way to ensure water moves away from your property. Waterrelated issues are where you’re going to see some of the most costly and damaging problems that could occur.” Those that have already finished home exterior and yard-based projects still have a reason to browse Mark II’s stock, Trelc believes, seeing as staff are beginning preparation for several upcoming sales. “After some of our decking goes on sale this fall, we’re going to shift focus to things like windows and more interior based items,” he said. “Those sales aren’t

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September 26 and 27, 2020

ESTABLISH WINTER HABITATS FOR BACKYARD ANIMALS Preparing a property for winter involves putting away lawn furniture, raking leaves and removing any annual plants that have shriveled up and spent the last of their energy. It can be tempting to want to clean up completely and leave a blank slate in the yard. But by doing so, you may be robbing wildlife of the resources they need to overwinter. The nature and conservation resource In Habitat says plants and animals depend on one another to survive. During the winter, animals may struggle to find adequate shelter and food, especially when there is a lack of sufficient plant matter available. In turn, these animals may actually take up home in people’s residences, turning into pests in the process. Bats, field mice and even opossums and raccoons may move indoors into attics or basements, leaving behind waste and damage if they can’t find adequate These tips can help local wildlife when the temperatures dip. shelter outdoors. Homeowners concerned about potential pest infestations can take steps to en- ✦✦Leave parts of the yard wild. Animals can make a nest in leaves or piles of sure animals have places to bed down and brushwood. Just make sure piles left escape the cold in their yards this winter.

✦✦Consider planting animal food sources prior to winter. Plants like elderberry, holly, mulberry, sumac, and crabapple will grow in colder months and animals can enjoy them as a vital food staple. ✦✦Don’t forget water sources. Provide access to fresh water and replace as needed if the water freezes. For homeowners with fish ponds in their backyards, use a hot pot to melt a hole in the top of the pond and allow gases that have accumulated underneath to escape. This allows oxygen to reach fish and frogs in the pond. ✦✦Leave bird, squirrel or bat houses in the yard. This is a fun and crafty project that can ward off winter boredom while also providing a safe place for local wildlife to shelter in winter. out are away from the home so curious critters don’t try to get inside. Leave the task of tidying up shrubs and garden borders until spring, as shrubs can be dense areas to hide for both insects and animals.

Animals and insects need some extra help staying comfortable when cool temperatures arrive. Leaving some clean-up tasks for the spring ensures that there are plenty of backyard habitats available to local wildlife.

SAFE AND EFFECTIVE WAYS TO CLEAN UP LEAVES to work up a sweat after raking for Removing leaves from the yard is a awhile. Layers can be peeled off so as task that homeowners must perform each not to get overheated or risk hypotherfall. Thousands upon thousands of leaves mia from sweating in chilly temps. can drop from a single tree. Multiply that by the number of trees on a property, and ✦✦Pay attention to your posture while raking. James Weinstein, chairman it’s no surprise the task of leaf cleanup of the Department of Orthopedics at can seem so daunting. Furthermore, not Dartmouth Medical School, recomall leaves are shed at the same time, so mends forming a wide base with the several cleanup sessions may be necesfeet and holding the rake slightly sary before the last leaf is banished from toward the end of the handle with the yard. one hand three-quarters of the way Just like removing snow, leaf cleanup down the handle from the other. Do can be a taxing job if done by hand. For not twist the spine; move your entire people unaccustomed to exercise, cleanbody. Avoid overuse of muscles on one ing up leaves can turn into quite a workside of the body by switching sides out. According to the Discovery Health periodically. Calorie Counter, raking leaves for one hour can burn nearly 292 calories. Shoul- ✦✦Do not try to rake or blow leaves on windy days. Wind will only make the ders and arms will feel the burn. Raking task that much more difficult, which leaves is considered moderate physical could lead to overworking oneself. activity, similar to brisk walking. Those who find themselves straining or out of ✦✦Avoid overfilling bags. For those who plan to mulch and bag leaves, remembreath should take a break, and these tips ber that compressed leaves can get also make the job safer and easier. heavy pretty quickly. Do not over-fill bags, as they can be hard to move or ✦✦Wear layers when cleaning up leaves. bring to a recycling center. It may be cool at first, but it’s easy

Using a leaf blower to push leaves into piles will reduce the strenuousness of the task, but leaf blowers can be heavy and noisy and gas-powered blowers can produce a considerable amount of exhaust. Raking leaves can be quite a chore. It is important that homeowners take steps to prevent injury while cleaning up leaves in their yards.


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SIGNS YOUR GUTTERS ARE IN NEED OF REPAIR professionals now install gutters with hanger brackets. Why the change? Spikes loosen over time, leading to the gutters hanging off the home. That can contribute to serious issues if left untreated. Gutters hanging off the home need not necessarily be replaced, but rather secured to the home, ideally with hanger brackets instead of spikes. Brackets hook into the front of the gutter and are then screwed into the fascia of a home. A professional who specializes in gutter repair can perform this task relatively quickly, and it’s an inexpensive yet highly effective solution. GUTTER SEPARATION: Gutters that are no longer fastened together can leak and contribute to issues that affect the home’s foundation, siding and appearance. Clogs and the accumulation of debris can cause gutters to separate because they are not designed to hold too much weight. Replacement of separated GUTTERS HANGING OFF THE HOME: Gut- gutters may or may not be necessary deters were once installed predominantly pending on how big the problem is and with spikes. However, many industry the condition of the existing gutters. If

Fall is a great time to tackle projects around the house. The weather each fall allows homeowners to make improvements to their homes’ exteriors without worrying about extreme heat or cold, while interior projects like painting are made easier because homeowners can open the windows to allow for proper ventilation. Fall also marks a great time to prepare for upcoming projects that can make winter work that much easier. For example, fall is a great time to take stock of your gutters so you can address any issues before leaves begin to fall or the first snowstorm touches down. Compromised gutters can contribute to water issues in basements and adversely affect a home’s foundation if not addressed immediately, so it behooves homeowners to learn the signs that gutters are in need of repair or replacement.

replacement is not necessary, separated gutters may be remedied by securing the joints, another relatively simple and inexpensive fix. PEELING EXTERIOR PAINT: Paint that appears to be peeling off of your home may indicate that water is seeping over the edge of the gutter closest to your home. When that happens, water is coming down the side of the house, causing the paint to peel. In such instances, replacing the gutters is often necessary. BASEMENT FLOODING: Not all signs of deteriorating gutters are outside a home. Many a homeowner has been flummoxed by flooding in their basements, and such flooding can be caused by aging, ineffective gutters. That’s because deteriorating gutters sometimes allow water to leak near the foundation of a home, contributing to basement flooding. Fall is an ideal time to inspect gutters and have any issues fixed before leaves begin to fall or harsh winter weather arrives.

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Basements may not be go-to hangouts during spring, summer and fall, when many homeowners spend more time on their patios and decks enjoying the great outdoors. But as winter approaches and the great outdoors becomes less welcoming, basements once again become popular places to relax and spend time with loved ones. That’s why fall is such an ideal time to address mold issues in a basement. According to WebMD, exposure to mold can irritate a person’s eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. That’s true whether a person is allergic to mold or not. Even people who are merely sensitive to mold can experience sneezing and runny nose, and some may even develop red eyes and skin rash if exposed to mold. Reactions are much more severe for people with mold allergies, who may experience shortness of breath or suffer from asthma attacks if exposed to mold. Molds require moisture to grow, and basements may provide ideal growing conditions for mold. Mold spores cannot grow without moisture, so dehumidifiers can help homeowners effectively reduce the risk of mold growth in their basements. WebMD advises homeowners keep indoor humidity levels, which can be measured with an inexpensive instrument known as a hygrometer, below 60 percent. In lieu of wallto-wall carpeting in basements, install concrete floors and area rugs to make mold growth less likely. Basement floors also should be routinely inspected for leaks, as leaks can promote mold growth. Address leaks promptly if any are found.

Profile for The Emporia Gazette

Fall Home Improvement  

Fall Home Improvement