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SPRING e m o H ovement Impr 2014

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Pros vs. Cons Kitchen Redesign

Make a plan for garage organization


March 2014

SPRING Home Improvement

2 — MARCH 2014


Spring Home Improvement 2014

2 Things to consider when shed shopping 3 Basement versatility 4 How to choose a builder 5 Pros and cons to including an island in a kitchen redesign 6 Ideas on restoring secondhand furniture 7 Make a plan for garage organization 8 Sealing a driveway can extend its life 9 These insects can harm your home 10 Give your home an energy makeover 11 How to repair and replace window screens

Produced by JG-TC (Mattoon Journal Gazette & Times-Courier) 700 Broadway Avenue E. Ste 9A Mattoon, IL 61938

(217) 235-5656 Publisher: Carl Walworth Advertising Director: Tammy Jordan

Things to consider when shed shopping

Connie Anderson, Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .238-6828 Shannon Davis, Senior Sales Consultant, Mattoon .238-6831

Storage sheds can be invaluable for people who do not have a garage or basement in which to store their outdoor tools and equipment. Sheds also can be a boon to anyone looking to increase the storage space they have at home. Prefabricated and made-to-order sheds are available for all different budgets and storage needs. Buyers also can choose among build-tosuit kits that can be ordered online or from various retailers. One of the first decisions homeowners need to make when shopping for a storage shed is how much space they need. Think about what you need to house in the shed. Will it hold shovels and the patio umbrella, or will it need to be larger to accommodate a lawn mower?

Will Pearson, Arthur/Effingham Retail Sales . . . . . . . . .238-6834 Karen Collier, Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .238-6821 Rob Scheffer, Charleston Retail Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . .238-6838 Sherri Aldrich, Auto/Real Estate Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . .238-6832

Layout and Design: Laura Kazmer Advertising: To place a display advertisement, call (217) 238-6821 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays or email To place classified advertising, call 238-6828 or 238-6821 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

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Knowing what you intend to use the shed for will enable you to pick the appropriate size. Another thing to consider is how long you plan to use the shed. If this is merely a transitional storage building to bide your time until your garage renovation is complete, you may not need an expensive structure made of top-of-the-line materials. If you have a long lifetime planned for this shed, you will want a durable structure and might want to increase your budget. Before buying a shed, find out if your town, city or province has any zoning rules about sheds. You may need to plan a trip to the municipal building and learn the building codes about erecting a shed. In order to protect the safety and integrity of the area, many towns and cities have specific zoning and building laws that need to be followed. A shed of a certain size may require a permit to be built, and knowing this information in advance can save you from taking down the shed and redoing the work at a later date. Once you know the building codes, you can begin to shop around for a shed. Sheds can vary widely in price. A small, vertical lean-to shed may start out around $350, while a larger, more intricate structure can cost between $2,000 and $3,000. Cost may play a role in the shed you ultimately choose, especially if you are on a fixed budget. Available materials also should be studied when buying a shed. While an aluminum shed may not be the most aesthetically appealing option, aluminum sheds tend to be affordable and durable. Wood sheds are available in all different styles and can be very attractive. How-

ever, they will have to be maintained to prevent rot and insect infestation. Wood sheds also can be expensive. Vinyl sheds may be the best of both worlds, as they are often durable and require little maintenance. Some sheds even enable you to build or add on different components at a later date, so you don't need to start out with the elite model at the outset. When shopping, consider if you have the skillset to assemble the shed yourself. You can save a considerable amount of money when buying a kit and assembling the shed yourself. Having a shed built off-site and then delivered, or hiring a carpenter to come and build a shed, may cost you just as much in labor as in materials. Keep in mind that sheds displayed in a warehouse store or outside at a home improvement retailer may seem smaller than they will when erected in your yard. Measure your space carefully to ensure that the shed will blend in and not be an eyesore in the yard. Shrubbery can be planted around the shed to help camouflage it, and the shed also can be color-coordinated with the house to make it appear more cohesive. The foundation of the shed also needs to be considered. Sheds can rest on cinder blocks, poured concrete or crushed stone. Check with the shed manufacturer as to the best foundation material, and factor that expense into your purchase. An attractive, functional and affordable shed can be an asset to a home. It provides extra storage space for outdoor equipment, which can free up room in a garage or basement.

SPRING Home Improvement


MARCH 2014 — 3

Basement Versatility These days every inch of space in the home counts. So, when considering building a new home, it makes sense to consider building both "up and down" to maximize your living space. "Basements are like 'found space' in the home because they're so versatile that you can make a well-built basement an extension of your living areas," says Jim Costello, president of Superior Walls. "To maximize basement space, it's critical to construct the area below ground with a pre-cast insulated foundation system that's energy-efficient and damp free. This way the basement area is a welcoming, active part of the home rather than a 'dump all' storage area." Costello recommends constructing a basement with Xi wall panels. Each precast foundation panel is constructed with a concrete face shell, backed by 21/2-inches of DOW Styrofoam insulation. Steel reinforced concrete walls create a permanent barrier against sidewall water penetration, making the basement system damp-proof. "These foundation systems are very popular with homeowners because you can create

door and window openings in them to access natural light," says Costello. "By making the right decisions at the time of construction to use pre-cast insulated foundation systems,

homeowners are making a longterm investment in their family's happiness and in the resale value of their house." For more information visit

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SPRING Home Improvement

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How to choose a builder Whether the kids have all grown up and moved out or if the kids are on the way and it's time to expand a living area, building a new home is an exciting, yet often agonizing, experience. The reasons for building a new home are many, but regardless of the reason, the process of choosing a builder should remain the same. Andrew Nadalin, president of Pace 2000 Inc. and a fourth generation builder and craftsmen, offers the following advice to prospective homeowners with their eyes set on building a dream home to call their own. * Look for a builder with a solid reputation. A builder's reputation speaks volumes, but it doesn't have to speak for istself. That's because a builder who has spent years providing personal service, innovative design and quality workmanship will no doubt have a host of happy former customers ready and

willing to offer their input. If during the interview process a builder appears reticent to share his work or experiences with previous customers, this should be a red flag. Reputable builders will be proud of their work and more than willing to show it off. * Find a builder who is flexible. You will be paying to build your home, not the builder's home. A builder should be flexible and ready and willing to meet your needs, no matter how unique they might be. * Look for a builder who does more than build. A good builder should do more than just build. A builder should provide a network of qualified professionals to make the process go more smoothly. This network should include real estate and building consultants, interior designers, architects and engineers. Such connections can provide peace of mind and will also illus-

trate that a builder is both respected in the community and is intent on ensuring your home becomes the dream home you envision it to be. * Don't build on the cheap. Buyers who plan to build their own home are in the unique position to ensure their home is as safe and high-quality as possible. This isn't always the case when buying a resale, so make the most of your opportunity and use only topof-the-line construction materials and features and choose a builder with experience in working with such materials and features. Building on the cheap could prove disastrous in the not too distant future, so don't sacrifice on quality when building a new home. More information on selecting the right builder is available online at

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Pros and cons to including an island in a kitchen redesign Homeowners planning a kitchen remodel are no doubt considering whether to include a kitchen island in the new design. When the space allows, an island can be a fine way to enhance the look of a kitchen and impart an upscale appeal. Interest in kitchen islands has grown steadily for the past several decades. Introduced in the 1970s, islands became a popular place for guests to congregate and provided extra counter space for meal preparation and entertaining. The suburban migration led to bigger homes with larger kitchens. Through the 1980s and 1990s, homes grew even larger, and islands became a popular feature of kitchens across the country.

The increase in foodbased programming on television has also contributed to the popularity of kitchen islands. As more people dabble with preparing their own gourmet meals, kitchen islands have become more convenient. Although there are many benefits to an island in the kitchen, there are also some disadvantages to kitchen islands. Weighing all the options can help homeowners design a kitchen layout that is functional, affordable and practical for the space they have.

Pros Arguably the most significant advantage to having a kitchen island is the added space it provides. Many

times islands are built with cabinetry that matches the rest of the kitchen design, and those cabinets provide storage space for pots, pans and other kitchen tools. Islands may double the storage space available in the kitchen. Kitchen islands are also advantageous when preparing meals. Kitchen counter space can be easily gobbled up by toaster ovens, rotisserie cookers, microwaves, coffee makers, and various other countertop appliances. These appliances can take up valuable real estate that's sorely missed when preparing meals. An island can be used solely for cooking and preparation, and some homeowners have incorporated cutting boards and a

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Homeowners should question whether a kitchen island is a practicality for their renovation projects. clearance issues when the prep sink into the design of refrigerator door or cabinet the island. doors are open. For homeIslands also can be cusowners who find space is at tomized according to a homeowner's needs. Instead a premium in the kitchen, an island may not be the best of simply having cabinetry idea. However, a rolling isbeneath the counter, some land that can be moved into opt to have a wine cooler or even a bookshelf for keeping position when needed, then stored in a convenient, outcookbooks within reach. An of-the-way location might be additional small dishwasher or beverage refrigerator may a viable option. Depending on the combe tucked into the design of the island. For others, the is- plexity of a kitchen island, its installation may extend the land may be a makeshift amount of time required to kitchen office space. complete the kitchen renoCons vation. This can prolong the Expense is a leading neglength of time needed to ative factor with regard to a complete the work. Running kitchen island. The addia gas or electric line and tional material necessary plumbing to the island may and the labor involved in inrequire a major overhaul and stallation may bust some demolition. homeowners' budgets. StaKitchen islands are poputionary islands can cost sev- lar components of home deeral thousand dollars to signs. Before homeowners install, and this is money a engage in any kitchen renohomeowner may be better vation that may include the off investing elsewhere. incorporation of an island, In smaller kitchens, an isthey should know the advanland may be impractical betages and disadvantages. cause of the space limitation. Islands are typically at the heart of the kitchen and may interfere with walking space or cause

SPRING Home Improvement

6 — MARCH 2014


Ideas on restoring secondhand furniture Men and women furnish their homes and apartments in various ways. For some, home furnishings are an extension of their personalities, while others prioritize budget over style when furnishing their domiciles. Secondhand furniture has long been used to furnish homes and apartments. While young people working with tight budgets and living in their first apartments might be the most likely to rely on secondhand furniture, such items are not exclusive to recent college graduates and young professionals. Homeowners with a love of antiques or those who simply can't resist thrift store bargains also are likely to lean on secondhand furniture. Used furnishings range from expensive high-end antiques to bargain bin chairs and couches found in thrift stores or purchased online. Pricey antiques often come fully restored, but that still leaves legions of shoppers who need to bring their secondhand furnishings back to life. The following are a few ways to do just that. * Embrace your inner Picasso. A fresh coat of paint can go a long way toward stylizing secondhand furniture. Items that have been

through a lot before making it to your home may benefit from some sanding before receiving a fresh coat of paint. Once items have been sanded, smoothed and cleaned, apply some primer before dusting off your paintbrush. Primer makes it easier for the fresh coat of paint to bond to the furniture, making it less likely that the new coat will chip or crack in the months to come. After applying primer, the painting can commence. Two to three coats should be sufficient to give the item a fresh new look. Allow the item to dry for several hours before showing it off and putting it to good use. * Upgrade old upholstery. Old chairs and couches tend to have ample wear and tear. But such items are still useful as long as their bones are still sturdy, even if cushions have flattened out and fabric is suffering from tears or stains. Reupholstering old furniture can turn inexpensive but worn down older items into seemingly brand new pieces at a fraction of the cost of new furniture. According to Better Homes and Gardens magazine, the following supplies are necessary to successfully reupholster furniture: - needle-nose pliers

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- camera or notepaper and pencil - marking pen - scissors - staple gun and staples, 3/8- or 5/16-inch - 1/2-inch batting - upholstery fabric (chairs typically require 5 yards) - straight pins - 5/32-inch welt cord - sewing machine - upholstery-weight thread - tack strips - fabric glue, optional - upholstery tacks or nailhead trim, optional - black breathable fabric for the underside of furniture Reupholstering furniture can be a tedious process, and one novices might want to leave to the professionals. The cost of reupholstering secondhand furniture bought at a garage sale, thrift store or private seller online is likely still less expensive than buying a new piece, so you might still

make out in the long run. If reupholstering proves too expensive but the furniture still has ample and comfortable cushioning, consider employing a slip cover to hide stained or torn upholstery. Slip covers are typically inexpensive, and they can be purchased in various colors. * Wash away years of wear and tear. Restoring secondhand furniture can sometimes be as easy as washing away years of wear and tear. Old chests of drawers, dressers or armoires might just need a good scrubbing to look as good as new. Before cleaning older furniture, remove the old wax with a stripper bought at a hardware store. Old coats of wax can prevent cleaners from reaching the surface of the furniture, so they must be removed for cleaning products to be effective. When cleaning old

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furniture, it's a good idea to solicit advice from antique dealers, who can help you avoid damaging the piece even further. A small amount of dishwashing liquid mixed with warm water can be used to gently clean old wax off of furniture. When applying such a mixture, be careful to avoid soaking the item or letting the mixture pool on its surface. Work slowly, gradually cleaning small areas one by one and wiping them down with a damp cloth to ensure wax and other residue has vanished completely. Once the item has been thoroughly cleaned and been given ample time to dry, you can apply a new coat of wax. Older furniture can be both practical and chic, and there are many ways to bring such items back to life without breaking the bank.

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SPRING Home Improvement

MARCH 2014 — 7

Make a plan for garage organization Spring cleaning plans are on the minds of many once the weather warms up. Many homeowners feel a sense of renewal in the spring, when the desire to clean house and get organized becomes a priority. Garages are often targets for homeowners hoping to target clutter. Once a space reserved for cars, garages are no longer strictly for vehicles, used instead to store items that simply do not fit inside the home or a backyard shed. Organizing the garage is typically a weekend or several-day project. Here's how to turn a garage from a cluttered mess into a space suited for storing items of all shapes and sizes. * Enlist a helper. Organizing a garage is a significant undertaking that is best tackled with two or more people. Enlist a helper to make the project less intimidating. * Decide what is important to keep. Start the organization process by clearing out the garage and taking inventory of what you have. Items that have not been used for several years can likely be tossed. Make a pile of what will be kept and then put the rest at the curb or donate useful items to charity. * Give thought to where you want to store particular items. Tools and items that are used more often should be stored within reach or where easily visible, while items that are not used as frequently can be stored higher up. Think about how you operate in the garage. Recycling bins can be stored closer to the door into the home, while bicycles and skates can be nearer to the garage door for easy access. * Group like items together. Categorize items that will be kept. Garden tools, camping gear, sporting equipment, and automotive

supplies should be categorized and stored in their own areas of the garage, determining if certain items can be stored inside the home to free up garage space. Grouping items together will make them easier to locate in the garage. * Move boxed items into clear storage containers. It's much easier to see what you have when it is stored in clear containers. Some containers are interlocking or stackable, making it much more convenient to store items vertically and free up more floor space. * Invest in vertical storage systems. Moving items from the floor and putting them on shelving or behind cabinets can make the garage more organized. Hooks and bins also can be used. Employ a peg board full of hooks for oft-used tools or other items you need at the ready. * Leave space for hobby and work areas. Garages are where many improvement projects begin or where hobbies, such as woodworking or crafting, take place. Leave

space for these tasks and hobbies. * Give the space a fresh coat of paint. Some garages are dingy and dark. Bright paint on the walls and floor can open up the space and, when combined with more lighting, can make it lighter and brighter. Garage organization is a

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common spring cleaning project. But it shouldn't be reserved for this season alone. Periodic checks of the garage and straightening up

can keep a garage clean and organized throughout the entire year and make yearly spring cleaning much more manageable.

8 — MARCH 2014

SPRING Home Improvement


Sealing a driveway can extend its life way should only be sealed every two to three years, depending on its condition. Sealants are just coatings, and adding too many layers can cause the sealant coatings to crack and peel away. Sealing a driveway is a labor-intensive process that's best left to professionals. These professionals have the knowledge of technique and the right tools to get an even, thin coating of sealant. Remember, a driveway should not be walked or

Driveway sealants preserve the look of the driveway and can make the surface durable and impervious to stains. Installing an asphalt or a concrete driveway can be an expensive undertaking. To preserve the fresh, new look of the driveway, have the driveway sealed and then routinely seal it to keep it looking pristine. A good sealant can keep a driveway looking new longer and also can rejuvenate the appearance of an older driveway. Sealant can be compared to car wax. It provides an outer coating that will repel stains, stop UV rays from fading the driveway and help to protect against cracks and driveway degradation. Over time, asphalt driveways will begin to fade in color and the stone and rocks used in the asphalt

mix will appear more prominent. By sealing the driveway, a homeowner can maintain its original dark color. Another reason to seal a driveway is to reduce the chance of freeze-thaw damage. This type of damage results when water penetrates the surface of the driveway and then expands as it freezes. The expansion can cause cracks and fissures, as well as compromise the soil underneath the driveway, making it sink or become unstable. Sealed driveways help to keep water beading on the surface of the driveway, rather than being absorbed into the driveway material. When water no longer beads on

the driveway, this is often an indicator that the driveway needs to be resealed. There are some guidelines to follow when sealing driveways. When starting, sealant should not be applied immediately after the driveway is poured. Concrete needs to cure for a period of up to one month before sealant should be applied. Fresh asphalt contains oils that eventually evaporate. The oils are what makes fresh asphalt pliable and soft. Once these oils evaporate, the asphalt gets harder and more durable. Sealers can prevent evaporation and may make the asphalt permanently soft. After the initial base application of sealant, the drive-

driven on for a minimum of 24 hours after sealant is applied. Weather conditions also can influence the amount of time it takes for the driveway to cure. Having the driveway sealed prolongs its durability and appearance. It also can make the driveway less prone to staining and cracking, making this project a sound investment.


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SPRING Home Improvement


MARCH 2014 — 9

These insects can harm your home Homeowners looking to prevent their homes from becoming a meal or nesting site for potentially harmful insects may know to keep watch for termites during the year. But termites aren't the only insects that can damage a home. There are a few other pests that can bore through the wood of homes and structures, potentially causing considerable damage. People can familiarize themselves with these other wood-boring bugs and recognize the signs of infestation. * Carpenter ants: These insects get their name because they prefer to nest above ground in wooden structures. Unlike their smaller ant cousins, who make intricate colony systems underground, larger carpenter ants prefer tree stumps, lumber, subfloors, or even roofs. They don't use the wood for food, and can establish residence in just about any solid housing material, including rigid foam insulation. * Powderpost beetles: Though termites might have the most name recognition, according to, powderpost beetles are potentially more destructive to seasoned wood. Wood boring powderpost beetles spend most of their lives as larvae (woodworms) in wood, where they

tunnel in search of starch and other nutrients they need. They can cause all sorts of structural issues if they damage beams and other major components to homes. * Carpenter bees: These large bees resemble bumblebees, except they have a shiny black abdomen instead of a furry one. Carpenter bees bore symmetrical holes in exposed wood, where they lay eggs and in which larvae grow. Although the bees' holes are superficial and rarely cause much damage, birds in search of larvae for food, such as woodpeckers, may peck at wood containing the larvae and cause more significant damage. 213 N. 33rd Mattoon, IL Call for

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SPRING Home Improvement

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Give your home an energy makeover

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Renovations that take inventory of energy use and strive toward efficiency have grown increasingly popular over the years. Homeowners fed up with high utility bills want to conserve costs, and there are a number of ways to revamp a home to be more energy efficient. The first step in a home energy makeover is to find out where your home is losing money. Certain municipal and environmental agencies offer home assessments, during which they will do a complete walk-through of your home and highlight areas that can be improved. Private companies also perform energy audits on a home. They may be able to point out appliances, windows or landscaping issues that could be compromising the efficiency of a home. These people may have a more intimate knowledge of insulation ratings and window efficiency ratings than the average homeowner. In addition to having an energy audit on your home to save money on utility bills, a professional audit may make you eligible for tax incentives and rebates. That can mean even more savings and may even increase the value of your home. Until a thorough energy assessment can be made, there are some easy and rel-

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atively inexpensive fixes any homeowner can undertake to help improve energy efficiency. * Clean air filters. Trapped dust and debris in a filter makes furnaces and air conditioners work harder. Once filters are free from dust, air can blow more smoothly through the system. * Plug leaks. Air leaks could be sucking energy out of your home and money out of your wallet. Once you find any leaks, you can use weather stripping and caulking to seal up breaches and save energy and money. * Invest in insulation. Install high-efficiency insulation in attics and between walls to prevent energy loss and keep more warm or cool air in the home. A well-insulated house requires less heating and cooling to keep the temperature indoors stable, and that translates to less money spent on utilities. * Swap out light bulbs. Switching bulbs from incandescent to more efficient LED or CFL bulbs can save money in the long run. By making a few simple changes, homeowner can increase their energy savings around the house. Investing in an energy audit and makeover can pinpoint key areas that need improvement.

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SPRING Home Improvement

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How to repair and replace window screens the screen into the frame. 6. Continue around the edge of the frame, pulling the new screening taut as you go. This helps to keep it free of wrinkles. 7. Once you have inserted the spline all the way around, cut it off from the spline spool and push in the edge. 8. Use a razor knife or sharp scissor to cut off the excess screening, being careful not to dislodge it

from behind the spline when cutting. 9. Replace the screen in the window. In the case of small tears in a screen, a complete replacement may not be necessary. Home improvement stores sell screen patch kits. Some work by cutting out a piece of patch that is attached to an adhesive backing and sticking it over the hole. Other patches are small, woven wires that can

be threaded through the hole in the screen. A really small hole can be mended with a drop of clear-drying glue. The same method of screen replacement can be used to replace screens on screened-in porches, aluminum doors or sliding patio doors. Just be sure to purchase replacement screening that will fit the dimensions.

The basics of cleaning windows Window screens can let fresh air into a home while preventing insects and outdoor critters from making their way inside. But screens are far less effective at keeping critters out of a home when they're damaged. Addressing such damage is typically an easy do-ityourself project, one that begins with gathering the right materials, including: * new screening, either synthetic or aluminum * a rubber spline * a screen rolling tool * a razor knife or sharp scissor * measuring tape * masking tape * a screwdriver or an awl Once those materials have been gathered, the process of replacing or repairing damaged screens is rather simple. 1. Measure the area of the window to determine how much replacement screening you will need. Remember to leave extra room in your measurements so you have slack to make the new screen fit taut. The measurement will also help you determine how much spline you will need. 2. Remove the screen from the window frame. Some windows do not have removable screen frames, and you will have to work on the screen in its upright position. 3. Use the screwdriver or awl to pry the edge of the existing spline that holds the screening material in the frame. Pull out the old spline and remove the damaged screening. 4. Measure the new screening from a replacement roll. Lay the screening down on the frame, ensuring there is overhang on all

sides. If necessary, use masking tape to temporarily secure the screening to the frame while freeing up your hands. This also works if you must replace screening vertically and cannot remove the window frame and make repairs on a flat surface. 5. Take a new piece of rubber spline and push it into the edge of the screen frame, securing a corner of the new screening to the frame. Continue to press the spline around the perimeter of the screen frame firmly into the groove with the screen rolling tool, which looks like a small pizza cutter. This effectively secures

After a long winter of snow and ice, many people are ready for the warmth and sunshine synonymous with spring. But dirty windows can block that sunshine from finding its way into a home. Washing windows can be quite an undertaking, particularly in those homes with many windows on multiple levels. However, there are several time-saving tips available that can cut the work considerably. * Save window washing for a cloudy day. Otherwise, the warmth and sunlight may dry the cleaning solution too quickly and you will be left with streaks on your win-

dows. * Vacuum windowsills and tracks first to remove a good deal of dust and debris. This will reduce the amount of dirt you smear onto the windows while cleaning them. * Use a combination of a sponge soaked in cleaning solution and a squeegee to get really clean windows. The squeegee helps to prevent streaks and cut down on the time it takes the windows to dry, all the while helping the windows to sparkle. * Window screens may be the culprit behind dingy windows. Hose down the screens with water to clean

them, using a mild cleaning solution if water is ineffective. * Working with a partner can make the task go much more quickly. One person can clean the exteriors of the windows while the other does the interiors. * A mild dishwashing liquid diluted in water can cut through dirt and grime. For stubborn dirt, wash windows with diluted ammonia or vinegar. * Use a glass-cleaning tool to clean hard-to-reach windows. A telescoping cleaning tool and pad can make it safer to reach windows that are high up.

SPRING Home Improvement

12 — MARCH 2014

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