HOME IMPROVEMENT 2021
HOME IMPROVEMENT Local painter gears up for exterior painting jobs l
THE DAILY GLOBE • YOURDAILYGLOBE.COM
SATURDAY, APRIL 10, 2021
By P.J. GLISSON
BESSEMER – Although snow is still melting, painters such as Ron Roscoe already have been getting calls to book exteri-
or painting jobs. Roscoe, who runs Northland Painting in Bessemer, said some residential and commercial residents contact him months in advance. “They
want to make sure they get on the schedule,” he said. In an interview last week, Roscoe said he moved here from Oregon in 1993 and set up his business in that same year.
His experience, however, goes back for more than four decades. “I’ve been doing this since high school,” he said, recalling that he and an old buddy, Bill Pahre, accepted a job at far more modest pay back in the day. “Our first job was $300 for labor and materials for a ranch-style house in 1976,” he said, adding of his friend, “He was as rusty as I was.” They studied directions and managed not only to succeed in their objective, but also to set stakes in a life-long career. “I really enjoyed the work,” said Roscoe, adding that within a few years he also learned that the trade “runs in my blood.” His parents had divorced when he was seven years old, and his relationship with his father had been estranged for many years afterward. However, at the age of 21, he re-connected with his dad and was surprised to learn that he also painted houses. At that point, he benefitted from his father’s experience as well. Roscoe’s expertise grew over time. “After awhile, you can cut in without taping off,” he said, but added that some situations must be taped no matter what. Recently, he even contributed some artistic flair to the Wakefield-Marenisco K-12’s maker space, which houses the district’s newlyinitiated Fab Lab Program. The highly-graphic room features a dramatic main wall anchored by the image of a cardinal, which is the school mascot. Don Sidlowski, who was the consultant for that entire creation, contributed a lot of the room’s stencil work but called Roscoe to help bring some of the detail to life. “I submitted them a proposal, and (Superinten-
AS MANY painting jobs are moving outside with better weather, Ron Roscoe of Northland Painting shared these photos of a recent painting project of his at the Wakefield-Marenisco School, including the school’s new makers space or fab lab, short for fabrication laboratory.
dent) Jason Gustafson accepted it,” said Roscoe. The painter explained that reds are “one of the most difficult colors,” requiring multiple treatments to get the shade just right. “It took four coats, so it came out real good,” he said. Roscoe said that opportunities to be part of graphic design are not common, but he also painted the upper portion of the Miner’s Mural on the corner of McLeod Avenue and Suffolk Street in Ironwood. He provides general painting services throughout the Western U.P. and northern Wisconsin. “I do a lot at Lake Gogebic, Presque Isle, Mercer and Ashland,” he said.
And although spring inspires building owners to think about exterior painting, Roscoe said that requests for interior painting come in throughout the year. “Whenever people need something done, they call me,” he said. He concluded that persons who are not confident in doing a project themselves should call a painter or a carpenter, “depending on what they’re doing,” and get an estimate. As he put it, they might decide it’s worth it to hire out the job, especially when they get a sense of the worker face-to face. After all, he said, “A lot of time people hire, not just on the estimate, but also on character.”
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Planning is king for spring projects, beyond are expensive but they last longer.” Homeowners usually find that the most important decision bathroom projects is the tile selection as the materials, styles, quality and cost vary greatly from non-slip laminates to textured stone, , Muzzy said. Granite countertops are popular for kitchen projects as well as composite flooring that is stronger
By TOM LAVENTURE
IRONWOOD – Springtime offers inspiration and motivation for home improvement but an area contractor encourages the planning to start much earlier. The availability of contractors is limited during a busy construction season and people are encouraged to do their own projects, as long as they know what they are doing, said Don Muzzy, of the Ironwoodbased Don Muzzy Construction. Contact the contractor with an idea for an initial consultation and a quote, he said. It’s also a way to find out if the contractor can get a better deal on materials and design costs to compare, he said. “Once we know what the client wants then it’s easier to provide a quote,” Muzzy said. The homeowner should know when to reach out for consultation or to have specific work done to ensure everything is built to code to avoid the time and cost of having to repair or remove something. “You want it to pass inspection,” Muzzy said. When searching for someone to do specific work make sure they are
ment or addition, he said. There is growing popularity with metal shingle roofs and metal panel siding, he said. The materials and options have improved but it’s really about the lifetime warranties, he said. “The warranty transfers with the sale of the house,” Muzzy said. “It’s more expensive but it will last a lifetime. They are also easier to repair and replace sections when they are damaged.” These metal shingles come in many colors, styles and textures, said Heather Muzzy, wife and co-owner. Metal shingles were popular but the newer materials
are longer-lasting and offer more in terms of style and selection. “The regular metal roofs were all black,” she said. “This offers variety and is what people are looking for in metal shingles.” Other popular projects include porch and deck additions, Don Muzzy said. Composite materials are an option to wood that is still more expensive as the logging and sawmill industry continue to work at meeting demand after COVID19 pandemic shutdowns slowed production. “Composite materials offer a variety of colors and styles,” Muzzy said. “They
6 steps to organize a home office
(METRO) – Remote working has become popular in recent years, but the “working-from-home” economy bloomed exponentially as the world was forced to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom, as of summer 2020, 42 percent of the United States labor force was working from home full-time. The need for home office spaces has increased as more people work from home. Many people have retrofitted various spaces around their homes into areas to get work done. More organized home work spaces can increase productivity. Individuals can follow these guidelines to create effective, organized home offices. Begin with the desk The desk is the primary spot where work will take place. The right desk accessories can provide visual appeal and also serve practical purposes. Have cups for holding pens and pencils, baskets and bins for larger items, and store whatever you can elsewhere so it does not lead to clutter on the desk. Store wireless printers in a cabinet or even on a bookshelf
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A BESSEMER roof shines with new metal shingles that were recently installed by Don Muzzy Construction. The increasing variety of color and designs that are now available with metal shingles and metal or composite siding are becoming popular choices for homeowners. licensed and insured, he said. That protects everybody, he said. Planning spring and summer projects should start months prior to construction, he said. Contractors need to fit projects into construction season calendars which tend to fill up quickly after January. “The time to call is two months ago,” Muzzy said. Popular spring improvement projects include new roofs and siding, Muzzy said. The most popular indoor projects include renovating bathrooms and kitchens but people also like to build the occasional “man cave” in the base-
so it doesn’t take up real estate on the desk.
Organize paperwork Figure out a system that works for you to help tidy up papers you choose to save. While some papers can be scanned and stored as digital files, color-coded file folders can organize statements and other important documents. This makes it easy to find the folder you need when looking for certain documents. Charging station Repurpose certain
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Printing station While you’re moving that wireless printer elsewhere, designate a space to serve as the central printing hub. This way children who need to print assignments for school will know where to go as well. Printer supplies like extra ink cartridges and printer paper can be kept in decorative storage boxes nearby. Increase your shelving Shelving can help keep items organized and off the desk in home offices without closets or drawers. Look for shelves that blend in with decor but are sturdy enough to be functional.
and easier to maintain, he said. Garages and decks and fences, are other popular summer projects, he said. It’s important to know what you want to do with a project and what it will be used to help ensure the right items and materials are selected. For more information, contact Muzzy Construction at 906-932-2482.
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items, such as a desk organizer, into an easily accessible electronics charging station where phones and tablets can charge at one time.
Make essential binders HGTV suggests making binders that can store the most important papers for easy access – even in an emergency. Set up a binder for automotive paperwork, including repair receipts, a medical binder where key medical records are kept, a binder for manuals for devices in the home, and one to store financial planning documents. These organizational tips can help remedy common problems around a home office.
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Essentials for a bathroom remodel
(METRO) – What began as a utilitarian space for personal sanitation has, in modern times, transformed into one of the most coveted rooms in the house. Bathrooms have become a place to relax and unwind, and new bathrooms are on the tops of
many homeowners’ wishlists. Bathrooms can be as lavish as budgets allow. Wish lists can include everything from luxurious soaking tubs to rainfall showerheads to chaise lounges to televisions or home entertainment sys-
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tems contained in the space. Those contemplating their own bathroom renovations may draw inspiration from the following features. –Hot water recirculation system: Few things can be as disappointing as desiring a hot bath or shower only to find that the hot water tank has been drained. The home remodeling company Normandy Remodeling says that water recirculation systems provide on-demand hot water. In such systems, hot water may continuously run through the pipes or there may be a pump underneath a sink. Either way, one needn’t wait for the water to warm up any longer. –Double undermount sinks: Bathroom time is at a premium, especially when people must prepare and leave the house together. Rather than jockeying for position around a single sink, dual sinks enable more breathing room and time efficiency. Undermount sinks are easy to
clean because there is no lip around where the sink meets the vanity, preventing the accumulation of grime and gunk. –Glass-free shower: Soap scum and water deposits can form on shower doors, even for homeowners who are diligent with cleaning. A sizable shower prevents water
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spray and affords the ability to forgo glass doors or curtains, thereby cutting down on cleaning and making the room feel more modern. –Multihead shower: When redoing the shower, account for various shower heads so that the water can cascade across the body more completely. This provides a spa experience at home. –Touchless faucets and soap dispensers: These aren’t just for public bathrooms anymore. Touchless faucets and dispensers are more sanitary and convenient.
–Separate toilet room: A shared bath almost necessitates this type of set-up. The toilet is housed inside its own small space and closed away from the rest of the bathroom. It’s more private and convenient this way. –Heated flooring: You need not worry about stepping out of a warm shower onto a cold floor when heated flooring is part of the equation. This option is available in various flooring materials as well. Remodeling a bathroom boils down to certain coveted features that can really set a space apart.
Simple ways to improve kitchen pantry
(METRO) – People have been spending more time at home in 2020 than in years past, and certain projects around the house have become a priority. One home improvement idea that serves the double benefit of creating organization and making cooking at home more efficient is to reimagine the kitchen pantry. A pantry is a room or closet where food, beverages and linens or dishes are stored. Pantries can be highly useful spaces that provide ancillary storage in kitchens. Many modern homes are equipped with pantries, but older homes may require some modification to create more useful pantries. Whether starting from scratch or modifying an existing pantry, these tips can help projects go more smoothly. –Maximize vertical storage. Utilizing vertical areas can help increase storage capacity. Build in extra nooks by investing in undershelf storage baskets. These baskets can instantly create designated areas for different types of ingredients. Homeowners also can look for ways to use the inside of cabinet doors or add extra shelves on walls or in eaves. –Consider your needs. Figure out which items you would like to store in the pantry and then shop for corresponding storage systems. For example, storage solutions may feature wine bottle racks, baskets for potatoes and other produce, shelving for small appliances, and even pull
out racks for baking pans or cutting boards. –Use clear storage. Put ingredients in clear, airtight containers of similar dimensions so that you can easily find items you need. Transfer bulky items, like cereals and baking supplies, to storage containers for uniformity. –Store bulk items elsewhere. Bulk shopping can be cost-efficient, but bulk items can quickly eat up real estate in the pantry. Designate another area for non-perishable bulk products, like paper goods or canned items, such as in a garage or utility room. –Pull out drawers are convenient. Pull-out drawers can reduce the need to seek and reach for items. These drawers conveniently roll out so items in the back can be accessed without disturbing foods in the front. Drawers can be custom built for any pantry space. –Make it accessible. Think about who will be PANTRY
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5 HOME IMPROVEMENT Custom cabinets provide homeowners with choices SATURDAY, APRIL 10, 2021
THE DAILY GLOBE • YOURDAILYGLOBE.COM
By RICHARD JENKINS
MERCER, Wis. – Whether the cabinets are intended for the kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere else in the home; it doesn’t take long talking to Nick Schoenhard to realize that custom cabinets provide homeowners with plenty of options. Schoenhard, who operates Wisconsin Woodsmith out of his shop in the Mercer industrial park, said one of the biggest benefits of custom cabinetry is the flexibility in sizes compared to the cookie-cutter options available through big box stores. “They’re all in 2- to 3inch increments (at stores),” Schoenhard said. “With me, I can do anything that is desirable for the customer. So if they want something that’s (an) odd size, odd shaped; that’s no problem.” If the cabinets are going in a home being built, Schoenhard said the process often begins with him creating a rough design and cost estimate based on the blueprints he received.
If the cabinets would be part of a remodeling project, Schoenhard said he generally meets the customers in their home – often creating the initial versions of the design right there at the kitchen table. The customization Schoenhard is capable also helps during remodels as it allows him to make cabinets that fit into the existing spaces and the oddities they can contain. “With me doing everything custom, I can size it accordingly. If I get into an old home and things aren’t plumb or level, or the geometry isn’t right, I can make it custom to them,” Schoenhard said. After the size and location has been determined, Schoenhard said customers can choose the material the cabinets are made of. He said hickory and knotty alder are among the most popular choices at the moment. Customers can also choose the style of the doors, drawers, hardware and other features; as well as any accessories – such as pull-out garbage cans,
dog food containers or organizers of other kitchen items – they want incorporated into the design. “Whatever you want for accessories, we can incorporate into your kitchen layout,” he said. There’s also the selection of what stains will be used, with Schoenhard providing a catalogue of Sherwin Williams paint samples to ensure the stain colors work with the painted walls once the remodel or construction is complete. As people have begun to take up hobbies, such as home improvements projects, over the last year during the pandemic, Schoenhard said customers can even choose how much of the project they want him to handle. As he has the right equipment and software
for the more technical stuff, he can build the cabinets and hand them over for installation or finish the entire process. “So if they want to redo their kitchen, I can do the hard technical stuff; and say they want to assemble and stain it, paint it – finish it that way – I just provide them the components,” Schoenhard said. “If they don’t want to do all that work, I can just (complete the project) start to finish for them.” Schoenhard started Wisconsin Woodsmith four years ago after moving to Mercer. Along with customer cabinetry for bathrooms and kitchens, Schoenhard said he also does CNC machining, millwork, some metal and plastic works, spray finishes and more. As with the cabinetry,
Sod vs. seed: Which is the best option?
(METRO) – A pristine lawn can be the finishing touch to a landscape and add significant value to a home. According to a joint study by the University of Alabama and the University of Texas at Arlington, homes with high curb appeal sell for an average of 7 percent more than similar houses without inviting exteriors. When it comes to establishing a lawn, homeowners have two key options: starting from seed or installing sod. Each comes with its share of advantages and disadvantages. Which option makes the most sense for a given lawn will boil down to various factors, including homeowners’ budgets.
Seed Seed is the first thing homeowners may think of when planning a lawn. Seed is an inexpensive, easily installed option. Plus, garden centers sell a variety of seeds specific to particular regions and climates. The home improvement resource Fixr says seed will cost an average of 24 cents per square foot installed compared to $1.29 for sod. That affordability compels many homeowners to turn to seed. However, seed can take up to two years to produce a lush lawn and it requires high maintenance in the initial months to establish the grass. Seed also requires greater soil preparation, including tilling to loosen soil and keeping the lawn well watered until the grass is hardy. Weeds also may
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taking items from the pantry. Put children’s snacks on the bottom pantry shelf where they
he said the customization he features helps him when making moldings or other millwork. Not only can he make moldings to fit the newer style, but he can also grind his own knives for the millwork machines that replicate and match the detail in the older wooden baseboards still found in old homes. Although the business is still relatively new, Schoenhard said he likes the work so far. Regarding the pandemic, he said coronavirus has had an impact but it’s not necessarily all
bad. “In a way, it seems like it helped because it seems like a lot of people are leaving the work office and working from home,” he said. “The Mercer area is kind of a vacation area, it seems like there’s more and more people that are moving up to their lake homes and working out of their lake homes fulltime.” For more information on Wisconsin Woodsmith, Schoenhard can be reached at 715-209-2418 or Wisconsinwoodsmit h@ gmail.com.
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mix in with seed more readily, meaning weed prevention becomes an additional task.
Sod One of the advantages to sod is that it can produce an instant lawn. When time is of the essence, sod will produce a complete lawn nearly as soon as the sod is laid. Sod can be used to mitigate soil erosion, as it works faster than seed, which needs to establish a root system to keep soil in check. Also, sod does not require as much soil preparation as seed. The potential disadvantages to sod are its cost and the time it takes to install it, particularly on a large property. In addition, sod will require careful maintenance for at least the first two weeks until the sod takes stronger roots. It can be an expensive mistake if can reach them, and then organize other shelves for adults in the home. A pantry remodel can add valuable storage space and make one of the busiest rooms in the house operate more efficiently.
sod doesn’t thrive and new pieces need to be installed. The Family Handyman says sod tends to be sunloving and may not work in shadier areas of a property. Sod and seed are the
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two main options for lush lawns. Each has its perks, and homeowners can speak with a local lawn specialist to determine which option is best for their lawn.
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Affordable features to consider when revamping kitchen
(METRO) – Kitchens are popular gathering spots in many homes. That popularity is reflected in various ways, including how many homeowners choose to remodel their kitchens. A 2019 report from the home renovation and design resource Houzz found that kitchens were the most popular room to renovate in 2018. Homeowners considering kitchen remodels should know that the Houzz report also indicated that spending on kitchen
remodels increased by 27 percent in 2018. Homeowners concerned by the cost of remodeling a kitchen should know that there are ways to give kitchens a whole new feel without breaking the bank.
Appliances Consumer Reports notes that luxury home buyers expect high-end features, including professional ranges and built-in refrigerators that match the surrounding cabinetry. However, many main-
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stream brands offer “faux pro” features that can equal more expensive alternatives. Consumer Reports even notes that many budget-friendly faux pro appliances outperformed their high-end counterparts in terms of reliability. Countertops Countertops tend to capture the eye’s attention when walking into a kitchen. Outdated and/or damaged countertops grab that attention for all the wrong reasons, while updated countertops made from today’s most popular materials provide that wow factor homeowners seek. If granite is a must-have, Consumer Reports notes that homeowners can save substantial amounts of money by choosing granite from remnants at the stone yard. If marble is your ideal countertop, save money by choosing a domestic product as opposed to one
imported from overseas. Cabinets Custom-built cabinets may be a dream, but they tend to be a very expensive one. Such cabinets are designed to adhere to the dimensions of the kitchen, and Consumer Reports
refinishing them. If the cabinets must go, stock units or semi-custom cabinets can provide a new look without busting the budget. Kitchen remodels can be expensive. But there are many affordable ways to revamp a kitchen.
Buyer’s guide to home air conditioning
(METRO) – Few experiences provide as much relief as walking into a cool room on a hot summer day. Air conditioning systems make such experiences possible, and homeowners’ decision in regard to which one to install in their homes is significant. Homeowners may not know where to begin in regard to finding the right air conditioning system for their home. According to the Air-Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute, the best systems provide steady, dependable performance for many years when sized correctly for the home. Correct installation and routine maintenance also can ensure homeowners’ air conditioning systems withstand the test of time. Size needs When shopping for new air conditioning systems, homeowners must consider a host of factors to ensure they get the best match. The AHRI notes
that the home’s age, the number and quality of its windows, how well it’s insulated, the number of stories it has, and its square footage are among the factors to consider. Homeowners can benefit from working with trained technicians who can investigate each of these factors and recommend the correct system. The AHRI recommends homeowners ask their technicians to per-
form a Manual J analysis, which is a standardized formula that can help homeowners get the perfect system for their homes. Energy efficiency Energy efficiency is an important consideration when purchasing a new air conditioner for a home. Energy rates vary depending on where a person lives, but rates remain pretty high across the board.
The Energy Information Association notes that residential electricity rates increased throughout the United States by about 15 percent between 2009 and 2019. An energy-efficient unit can help homeowners save considerable amounts of money, so homeowners can ask their technicians to recommend energy-efficient units that suit their homes. A unit that adequately cools a home without consuming a lot of costly electricity should be every homeowner’s goal. The U.S. Department of Energy employs the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, or SEER, to inform consumers about the efficiency of each air conditioner. This rating is noted on the Energy Guide® label on each unit, and the higher the number, the more efficient the unit. Home air conditioning systems are costly. But the right choice of unit can keep homes cool without costing homeowners a fortune in energy costs.
Consider a generator before next power outage
(BRANDPOINT) – Chances are, you’ve been through it - when severe weather hits, there’s nearby construction or just out of
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notes that they can cost tens of thousands of dollars. If that estimate would bust your budget, examine the current layout of the existing cabinets. If the layout is fine but the cabinets need work, you can give them a whole new look by
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venience for your family, especially since everyone is spending more time working and schooling from home these days, but it can actually be unsafe. You may need to heat or cool your home so it’s livable, someone in your family may rely on home medical equipment, and you want your refrigerated food to be safe to eat. Power outages have been increasing due to extreme weather events, plus more people staying home - sometimes causing an overload in energy demands. Being able to cope with unexpected power outages is crucial to your family’s comfort, wellbeing and safety. You may think you’re ready for an outage because you’ve got plenty of flashlights and batteries. Maybe you even have a portable charger for your phone and electronic gadgets. But think about all the items powered by electricity in your home. Even if you have a gas stove, you need electricity to safely ignite it. You rely on your modem to provide internet and even phone connectivity. And the longer the outage lasts, the more you’ve got to worry about. What your family really needs is safe, reliable backup power. Choosing a generator When extreme weather events hit, you don’t want to be one of the many people running to the home improvement store to try to snag the last generator on the shelf. The truth is, you actually have two choices when it comes to generators – a portable model or an automatic standby generator. Either one can help
you during an outage, so it’s a good idea to know the difference between the two.
Portable generators Having a portable generator handy gives you an easy-to-use, low-cost option which offers you some peace of mind in case of a temporary outage. One benefit to portable generators is that they can be used for a variety of outdoor activities like camping and tailgating. Portable generators supply enough power for a handful of individual products or systems in your home, like your refrigerator or lights. They are manually operated, which means you need to be home to get them started and keep them fueled throughout the power outage. In addition, to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, you need to be sure your portable generator is placed at least 20 feet away from your home outdoors, and not inside a garage or screened-in porch. Having a carbon monoxide detector in your home is a highly recommended safeguard. When using a portable generator, make sure all the systems and appliances you’re backing up from your home are plugged in with properly rated extension cords that run from your home outdoors to the portable generator. Standby generators For a more permanent solution, you could choose to have an automatic standby generator permanently installed outside your POWER
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Many things to consider for proper lawn care By MEGAN HUGHES
HURLEY – With spring comes warm weather and outdoor projects for a lot of households. Jeff Pisco and Dan Thomas of 4 Seasons Lawn and Property Services shared some insights with the Daily Globe on the importance of yard care as the warm weather comes around. One of the tasks people dread with the annual thaw is the inevitable cleanup that follows, but in order to keep the lawn healthy, keeping it clean is the first step to success. Clearing debris such as fallen branches, old leaves and pine needles will give the grass a better chance at growing in lush. Pine needles are especially notorious for killing grass, said Thomas. “Pine needles are very acidic,” said Thomas “If you ever notice around pine trees, you’re going to see there is nothing growing underneath it. That’s because of the pine needles.” When asked what kind of debris is most difficult to clear, Pisco said pine needles were the worst. Cleaning up debris is a
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DAN THOMAS, left, and Jeff Pisco of 4 Seasons Lawn and Property Services stand in front of some trees outside of their office. task that takes time, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. “You will never get everything.” said Thomas. During the summer months, 4 Seasons recommends fertilizing your lawn at least twice. Once in early summer, and another time in the later summer months — July or August. “It just depends on how it’s growing, and what area you are in.” said Thomas. “Your ground should be between 60 to 65 degrees, that is when grass will start to grow. You want to get your fertilizer on then.”
Regular mowing is important as well, but it is recommended to keep an eye on how short the grass is cut. “We typically cut to three inches” said Thomas “Then we gauge it from there. If you get it lower than that, and then if it gets hot, or dry, it’s going to burn.” “Different grasses will grow better than others,” said Thomas, discussing how soil types effect growth. When asked about what other challenges that make yard work difficult,
Thomas said “The seasons. The long winter and the thaw.” He said the long wait can be difficult for people. “You really want everything to be dried up from the winter,” said Thomas. A challenge living in the U.P. is dealing with the annual snow plowing, and it’s effects the property. While many private plow operators take precautions to prevent damage to the yard, it isn’t uncommon to have a few holes in the grass from where it gets torn up from tires or plow blades. “Last year nothing froze, and we had all of that snow early,” said Pisco about the weather. He said that caused some issues with grass damage. He recommended filling the holes with similar soil if possible, but in some cases one might need to top it off with topsoil before re-seeding with the grass, and then, if necessary, adding mulch. Thomas and Pisco offered a variety of other advice for those looking to take on seasonal projects, such as: –Wait to plant a gardens until after Memorial Day,
as heavy frost killing plants is less of a worry. –Preparation of projects is the most lengthy step of a project. The more thought put into a project, the better chances of success. The same goes for not rushing the work. “Lawn cutting is not rocket science. The longer you take, the better it is going to look,” said Thomas. –Mulch can be used to retain moisture in the soil, and is useful around key points of the yard, like the garden and around the base of trees. 4 Seasons specializes in yard care, landscaping and other projects. The company employs varying number of people depending on
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How to choose the right indoor lighting
(METRO) – Lighting in a home serves both practical and aesthetic purposes. It’s easy to maneuver around a well-lit home, reducing the risk of slips and falls, and the right lighting can help homeowners create their desired ambiance, which typically changes depending on which room you’re in. When choosing lighting for their homes, homeowners must walk a fine line between appearance and functionality. A fixture in the foyer that instantly impresses visitors likely won’t prove as awe-inspiring if it’s installed in the living room. When choosing lighting for a home, some general rules about what works in each room can help homeowners make the most informed decision. Kitchen Kitchens are often the busiest room in a home, so lighting here can be especially important. A kitchen often benefits, both practically and aesthetically, from different types of lighting. For example, pendant lighting above kitchen islands can make meal preparation easier and safer, but such lighting likely won’t work in breakfast nooks and informal dining areas in the kitchen. Recessed lighting works best in such areas. In kitchens with no island, under-cabinet lighting can be used to illuminate countertops and simplify meal preparation.
Dining room Many people enjoy the look of chandeliers in formal dining rooms, and such fixtures can be installed directly above the dinner table. The interior design experts at Better Homes & Gardens advise hanging chandeliers roughly 33 inches above the table in dining rooms with eightfoot ceilings, adding three inches for each additional foot above eight feet. Darkened dining areas may be ideal in restaurants, but homeowners may want to split the difference at home and choose dimmable chandeliers for their dining rooms. This allows home-
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home, similar to a central air conditioning unit. These generators can power everything in your home, and they run on propane or natural gas supplied from your home, with no refueling necessary.
the season, with the spring and summer being a busy time. Based in Hurley, the business operates in Iron and Gogebic counties. While they have a variety of equipment that makes their job easier, such as zero-turn mowers, trailers and other items, Pisco and Thomas agreed one doesn’t need fancy equipment to have a nice looking yard. “Anyone can do it. It’s just educating yourself and getting some basic equipment,” said Thomas. For more information about 4 Seasons Lawn and Property Services, visit their website 4seasonslps.com.
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owners to dim the lights for romantic dinners but turn them up for family gatherings with lots of people around the table.
Living room Adaptability also is important in the living room, where homeowners may host anything from movie nights to book clubs to parties for the big game. It can be a tall order to accommodate such a wide range of activities, and many homeowners come down to deciding between recessed lighting and track lighting. If the living room currently has neither style, homeowners should recognize that it will cost considerably less to install track lighting than recessed lighting. Better Homes & Gardens notes that flexible track lighting provides ambient, task or accent lighting, and track lights can even be moved to change lighting schemes at any time, making them a budget-friendly option for homeowners whose living rooms are multi-purpose spaces. Recessed lighting also works well in living rooms, especially ones with low ceilings. That’s because recessed lighting is installed into the ceiling, meaning it does not take up any visual space in the room. That can help living rooms feel bigger. Bedroom The home improvement experts at BobVila.com note that bedroom lighting should provide enough light when getting dressed, but also be able to be toned One big advantage of an automatic standby generator is that you do not need to be present to start up and operate the system. When the power goes out, an automatic transfer switch shifts power from the main utility to your generator within seconds – whether you’re home or away.
down as residents prepare for their bedtime routines. Both portable and installed lighting can be used in bedrooms to serve these various functions. Recessed fixtures that dim can ensure there’s ample light to get dressed in the morning, but they also can be dimmed at night as residents try to get ready to sleep. Portable nightstand lights can make it easier for
couples sharing a bedroom, allowing one person to stay up and read while the other goes to sleep. Homeowners have many options and many needs when choosing lighting for their homes. A professional consultation with a lighting expert or interior decorator can help homeowners find lights that provide both practical and aesthetic appeal.
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How to design a fitness room at home
(METRO) – People exercise for many different reasons. Exercise can improve one’s appearance, reduce the risk for illness, alleviate stress or anxiety, and even help pass some time. Exercise is often a social activity, but in the wake of social distancing guidelines issue in response to the COVID19 outbreak, many people have found themselves looking for ways to exercise at home. Building a home fitness room has never been a more timely project, and such a project can continue to provide rewards even when life returns to some semblance of normalcy. Here’s how to successfully stock a home gym. –Find a dedicated space. A home gym will be limited by the amount of space that can be devoted to workouts. Possible fitness room locations include a spare bedroom, a garage, a basement, or an enclosed patio. Measure the space so you can pick and choose equipment that will fit. Leave some floor space empty for movement
exercises or mat activities. –Keep the space bright. Darkness can sap energy levels, so invest in mirrors and adequate overhead lighting to make the space inviting. Natural light can make the exercise area more enjoyable. –Consider the flooring. New flooring can protect against damage and make an area more conductive to working out. Rubber mats can offset echoes and reduce the noise of running on a treadmill or setting down heavy weights. –Use space-saving equipment. A home gym space will likely not be as expansive as the space inside a traditional fitness center. Thankfully, many activities do not require a lot of space or equipment. Classic exercises like squats, lunges, push ups, and sit ups require little gear but still produce results. Figure out which equipment you like the most and invest in two or three key pieces. Dumbells of various weights, a medicine ball and a yoga mat can be all you need to
create a versatile, effective workout. A TRX system and a door-mounted pullup bar also are great spacesaving options. –Have a TV hookup. A home gym may benefit from a smart TV that you can use to stream workout
videos or catch up on the latest news while running the treadmill or using the stationary bike. A home gym is beneficial year-round, and can be especially valuable when social distancing guidelines are put in place.
How to prevent bathroom slips and falls
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(METRO) – Bathrooms can serve as sanctuaries, providing a warm tub to soak in after a long, weary day or a private place to retire for a few minutes of peace and quiet. Bathrooms also can be dangerous places, as various groups warn that most slip and fall accidents that occur at home will happen in the bathroom. The combination of hard surfaces and moisture from sinks and showers can create dangerous conditions. Furthermore, bathrooms tend to be small spaces, so should a fall occur, it’s more likely a person will hit various surfaces on the way down. The risk of falling in a bathroom increases with age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seniors over age 65 have a 25 percent chance of falling in the bathroom. Seniors generally have less flexibility and balance than younger people, meaning falls can be
life-threatening. Bones easily can become fractured and internal bleeding may occur in serious cases. Bathrooms can be made more safe in a few simple ways. –Keep the bathtub clean. Soap residue or other grime can contribute to slippery conditions in the shower and tub. Cleaning these surfaces frequently can improve traction. –Declutter the space. Remove extraneous items from the bathroom that can pose as tripping haz-
Homeowners need to be aware of possible radon
(METRO) – Products billed as “allnatural” or “organic” are increasingly popular among consumers. That’s understandable, as organic foods have been linked to a host of health benefits. For example, a 2014 metaanalysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that organically grown crops contained more antioxidants and were less likely than conventionally grown crops to contain detectable levels of pesticides. But as beneficial as all natural can be, it’s important that people recognize that not all naturally occurring things are good for their health. Radon is a radioactive gas found in the soil. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, radon forms when the radioactive metals uranium, thorium or radium break down in rocks, soil and groundwater. People are constantly exposed to radon because it comes naturally from the earth. However, when that exposure exceeds certain
levels, the consequences can be severe.
Radon exposure Many people are exposed to radon from breathing it in through the air that comes through cracks and gaps in buildings and homes. The CDC notes that, because it’s naturally occurring, radon is always present in the air. In many instances, radon is present at levels that are harmless. However, homeowners, building owners and business owners should have radon levels checked periodically to ensure that the levels present in the air are not posing a threat. Levels can change, and levels can vary from home to home. But the EPA notes that testing for radon is both inexpensive and easy. Cancer risk According to the CDC, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking. People
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ards. –Choose the right bath mat. Bath mats can contribute to slips and falls. For those who cannot live without them, choose a mat with slip-resistant backings and add doublefaced tape for added security. –Limit moisture. Use a weighted shower curtain or install shower doors to prevent water from getting on the floor. Mop up any water or additional condensation to help dry the bathroom. Install an
exhaust fan to help vent moisture that can condense and accumulate on the floor and fixtures. –Improve bathroom lighting. Make sure lighting in the bathroom illuminates all areas. –Wear non-slip shoes. Wearing non-slip shoes when in the bathroom can reduce the chances of slipping on wet floors. –Install a walk-in shower or bathtub. These lipless fixtures can assist those who have difficulty entering a standard tub or shower. Grab bars also can help with maneuvering in and out of the shower area. –Use a raised toilet seat. A raised toilet, or one with a special seat that reduces the distance one has to go to reach a seated position, may help prevent falls. Any individual with a health condition that causes vision disturbances or difficulties with balance should work with a doctor to find a resolution. These conditions may contribute to falls.
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9 HOME IMPROVEMENT Property drainage key concern for homeowners SATURDAY, APRIL 10, 2021
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By CHARITY SMITH
HURLEY – Drainage is a “big” issue with landscaping in the Western Upper Peninsula, and northern Wisconsin, according to Jeff Levra of Northern Breeze Landscaping in Hurley. “A lot of people have water issues when the snow melts,” Levra said. “It runs in their basements. It runs in their foundations, across their driveways or wherever.” Often the homeowner’s the only solution, according to Levra is to completely re-landscape the yard. He said it’s not an easy fix. It’s a big job to re-slope the terrain of the property away from the house and other structures so the water drains away. Levra said he had “a lot” of these type of projects last year. “Everything is drainage, everything,” said Levra. New home owners should be aware of poten-
tial drainage issues, he said, adding a lot of houses are built too low in the yard. “The land is higher and the water just runs right into the house,” he said. Those building a home should consider the high point of the property, so the water will drain away naturally. Some of the homes in the area are built too close to one another, Levra said. In those cases there is not much a landscaper can do, he said, but rain gutters can “help tremendously.” “Everybody should have rain gutters,” said Levra. Without the gutters, the water comes off the roof and “just pounds right into the ground” near the foundation. Gutters and downspouts can direct water away from the house. Patios and sidewalks are another common spring home improvement project, Levra said. “It’s something you
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JEFF LEVRA of Northern Breeze Landscaping stands next to his skidsteer, one of various pieces of equipment he uses in his business. probably want to do right away so you can get your summer going right off the bat,” said Levra. He said that many people choose to put in concrete or stamped concrete patios and sidewalks, but
he said, in his opinion, brick pavers are the better option. He said he did his own brick paved patio and sidewalk, and while such project takes more time, he likes the way it turns out. Brick pavers are a lot of
work because they require digging, leveling, proper sand, insulation, and other materials, Levra said. He said the problem with stamped concrete is that once it cracks, it’s done; while with the brick
pavers, if one brick gets damaged it can be replaced. “You don’t have to start from scratch,” he said. Brick pavers come in a wide variety of prices and there are many different layout patterns for patios and sidewalks. “They make some pretty fancy stuff,” he said. Pavers or not, concrete is still a staple of the construction business, though, as last summer, Levra said he spent a lot of time prepping areas for concrete slabs to be poured for garages and sheds. He said he already has some clients lined up for garage and shed projects for this year. According to Levra, people should start thinking now about their landscaping projects now. The sooner they line up the work, the sooner they can get outside to enjoy their new patio, sidewalk, garage or shed.
Exterior lighting can add ambiance to a property
(METRO) – The value of the right lighting in a home is undeniable. Lighting can instantly transform a room and create the ambiance homeowners are looking to establish. Though it might be mostly seen as a way to create mood inside a home, lighting also can do much for lawns and gardens. Backyards have come a long way over the last several decades. Once reserved as play areas for children and stomping grounds for the family dog, backyards have become oases for homeowners and their families. Outdoor living areas are wildly popular, and no such area is complete without exterior lighting. In fact, a recent report from the National Association of Home Builders found that 85 percent of home buyers want exterior lighting, making it the second most desired outdoor feature (patios topped that list). Exterior lighting can
have a dramatic effect on landscaping, and estimates from the online financial resource Kiplinger.com suggest such lighting is inexpensive, with installation averaging roughly $67 per fixture. When installing exterior lighting around their landscapes, homeowners can keep various tips in mind to create a relaxing, aweinspiring mood on their properties at night. –Consider uplights. Uplights are installed in the ground and direct light up at a tree, focusing on its trunk or canopy. This creates a dramatic effect that makes it possible to enjoy majestic trees at night just like you might when spending time in the yard during the day. –Focus on trees. Many homeowners already have exterior lighting lining their walkways and patios, but focusing on trees can create an entirely different look. Though it’s possible
to install exterior tree lighting on your own, landscaping professionals with lighting experience know which fixtures will pair most effectively with the trees around your property and how to arrange them for maximum effect. –Opt for warm light. Warm white light creates an inviting feel around the property. The exterior lighting experts at Utah Lights acknowledge that choice of lighting is up to homeowners but also note that, in situations with lower levels of ambient light, such as in exterior lights around a property, people typically prefer warmer light. That’s because warm light tends to be easier on the eyes and directs attention to the features of the landscape, which is many homeowners’ goal when installing exterior lighting in their yards. –Utilize a timer. Modern exterior lighting timers make it easier than ever to
control the lights outside a home. Many such timers even adjust for the changing seasons and the shift-
ing hours of daylight. That means homeowners shouldn’t have to tinker with the timer once it’s set.
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Tankless water heaters trending in 2021
(BRANDPOINT) – Tankless water heaters are gaining popularity as these modern systems make a home more comfortable, save space, lower costs and provide eco-friendly benefits. The problem with traditional water heaters is they have a holding tank that heats a specific amount of water. When that water is not being used, it sits there being heated, which wastes energy. On the flip side, when in use, when the hot water is gone, it’s gone. It doesn’t matter if you’re mid-shower, mid-bath or mid-laundry load. The pandemic has people researching new solutions to their household issues. Here are some of the top reasons why this option is trending for 2021: –Tankless heaters flash-heat water when you need it, and turn off as soon as you turn off the faucet or shower. That means water is heated instantly and heated only when you need it. Tankless heaters are designed to save energy, which saves you money and protects the environment. –With a tankless water heater, you get to enjoy an endless stream of hot water because it’s heated through a compact yet powerful system that mounts on a wall. Once the demand for hot water no longer exists, the tankless water heater automati-
cally shuts down. Choose the right size tankless and you’ll always have hot water when your family needs it. –Usually about the size of a carry-on luggage bag, tankless water heaters can help you reclaim space compared with large tank-type heaters. These compact systems can be conveniently located in a utility room, garage, attic, basement or closet. –Traditional tank water heaters can build rust and sediment inside the tank after years of use. This material can end up in the water that you use in your home. Since tankless options do not store water and heat it only on demand, you get fresh, clean water every time without worries of sediment. –The upfront cost of getting a tankless can be defrayed thanks to possible local, state and federal tax credits. Check out energystar.gov for more information. Once installed, a tankless will help lower your energy bills, helping you to further save money. Finally, tankless water heaters have double the lifespan of their tank-style counterparts, which significantly impacts savings over time. With new demands on a home’s comfort and its systems, a tankless water heater is a smart investment that will pay off for years to come.
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Marenisco business specializes in tree removal, trimming By P.J. GLISSON
MARENISCO – Jake Allen describes the 2008 onset of his Marenisco business as a fairly humble start. “It was just me and one other guy with a pickup truck,” he said of his operation known as Jake’s Tree Removal, LLC. “Back then, I was just climbing,” he said, and added of the aerial experience, “I kind of liked that aspect.” Allen, who spoke with the Globe at the end of March, described his family, in general, as “all tree cutters.” As he put it, “I’ve never done anything else since I was 15 years old. This is kind of my passion.” Now age 31, he said, “This will actually be my 15th year climbing trees. Meanwhile, his business has grown considerably. “I’ve spent years tailoring the perfect set-up to make it efficient,” he said. Allen’s fleet of specialized equipment now includes a 65-foot bucket truck, an 85-foot spider lift, one large grapple truck, one large track loader skid steer, three mini skid steers, a rubber track stump grinder, a 15-inch diameter chipper, and a mini excavator. Each piece of equipment works in cooperation with another to allow Allen and his staff of six full-time employees to tackle each job with as much precision as possible. According to Allen, the bucket truck and spider lift allow them to access the topside of high trees. The mini skid steers, which can fit through 33-inch gates, push smaller debris from lawns to roads. The large track loader skid steer accomplishes the same task, but with bigger branches and/or bigger sums of debris. Once cut-offs are pushed to the road, a gigantic arm from the grap-
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WORKING AS A team last year to trim one of the Gogebic Range’s many tall trees are, from left, Christian Brunelle and Jake Allen of Jake’s Tree Removal, LLC in Marenisco. ple truck snatches up the brush, tosses it into the truck bed and pushes it down to maximize space for subsequent drops. Another option is to pulverize sticks with the chipper. Finally, Allen said the mini excavator helps them to accomplish any number of miscellaneous tasks, such as creating trails through the woods or pulling out stumps or forging culverts. The collection of equipment helps Allen and his team to tackle anything from preventative trimming to stump grinding. The young entrepreneur said many homeowners wish to have old or dis-
eased trees removed from their property. Some owners fear that large trees or massive branches may fall onto nearby buildings, especially when high winds, lightning or other storm conditions make them vulnerable to collapse. Other folks worry that large root systems may threaten nearby driveways or foundations of nearby buildings. “A lot of people have trees next to their foundations,” said Allen, and that might result in roots pushing into the foundation or closing in on underground utilities. Root systems also sometimes disturb the paving of nearby drive-
ways. Assessing potential problems is an important first step. “We do a 100% free property evaluation and risk assessment,” said Allen. Once the issues are clarified, he said he and his team can judge which is worst and then offer the most economical solutions. In many cases, he claimed, it is not necessary to remove a whole tree. “Sometimes we can just do a crown reduction,” he said or, he added, “If you have large limbs going over a roof, they can be trimmed back.” In fact, he assured, “We do a lot of preventative trimming for people – tons of it.” Allen said they also are trained to judge dangers relating to age, disease or proximity. Even the type of tree must be considered. “Certain species are more susceptible to falling over,” he said, citing poplar, basswood, white pine and white birch as examples. Allen’s employees also can do “bore tests” to determine rot. “We can take essentially a core sample,” he said, adding that afterward, “We just cap it with a wooden plug. It’s a small wound that heals over time.” Allen also pointed out the importance of knowing the best time to take action, as well as the appropriate degree of action. For instance, he advised, “Spring time is not the best time to trim oaks.” In addition, he warned of trimming, “If you cut too much at once, it could kill the tree.” Allen said his licensed and insured company addresses both residential and commercial work, and although he runs a successful operation, he said, “It’s not a get-rich scheme.” As for how the work is timed, Allen said the snowiest, coldest months are a great time to engage
in added training, annual inspections and the tending of any related needs. And, of course, he and his employees also assess and plan for the coming season. “Usually,” said Allen, “from March to December, we’re pretty busy.” During this time of year, he said, while referring to governmental weight restraints on vulnerable
spring roads, “We are working now, but it’s kind of here and there because of the road restrictions.” Despite all of the modern equipment now part of his company, Allen concluded cheerfully that one aspect of his business hasn’t changed since he started it. “We specialize in professional climbing techniques,” he said.
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