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Simple strategies to stay on trend in your garden

(BPT) – Life is just better with the perfect accessories, isn’t it? A modern space looks amazing with a bright rug and your favorite piece of art. At work, strategically placed plants and family photos breathe life into any cubicle. Accessories enhance your home and add personality. But what about your outdoor living space? A beautiful garden is easy to create and can fit into any size footprint. Gardening with a variety of textures and colors brings an instant wow factor. Best of all, you don’t have to commit to a single trend. You can change trends with the seasons, adding bold, colorful new looks throughout the year. This guide will show you how. Spring into gardening This is where it all begins, when that first breath of fresh spring air brings life to your garden.

to give your outdoor area a simple facelift everyone will notice.

Because spring days – especially mornings – can still be frustratingly cold, you’ll want to start your garden off with a hardier flower that can withstand the cooler mornings and warm afternoons. Cool Wave Pansies have the resilience you need to keep your garden looking great


throughout the early spring until those warmer temps finally arrive. Planting these durable flowers is easy and they don’t require constant care. But what if you don’t have a large space? No problem! Add these beautiful blooms to hanging baskets and patio containers

Solutions for summer Summertime is full of party possibilities, so why not use your garden to make your event the envy of your stylish friends? Wave Petunias are perfect for Mother’s Day and the Flying the Flag combination of red, white and blue is a must for the Fourth of July. It’s easy to get creative for any event with Wave Petunia’s Plug & Play Combos because they make tailoring your garden for any occasion a breeze. This is also a great time of year to branch out and add some fun new twists to your already amazing garden. Fresh herbs and tomatoes, anyone? The Italian Bistro container recipe gives you the best of both worlds - a beautiful patio statement and delicious summer salad, all in one pot.

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JAKE’S TREE Service, of Marenisco, has equipment that allows a worker to reach the top of an 85-foot tall tree.

Marenisco tree removal business enters 10th year By RALPH ANSAMI



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MARENISCO – Jake’s Tree Removal of Marenisco, entering its 10th year as a business, offers a longtime passion for its owner. Jake Allen said Monday he has worked at tree cutting since he was 16 years old and he started the business in 2008. He now employs four full-time workers. “I’ve always enjoyed the job,” he said. It’s not a busy season for the company, as the road limits that have been placed on area roadways restrict the business because the bigger equipment can’t be hauled to job sites. When the crew can’t be out on jobs, Allen handles compiling estimates of the work ahead. He removes trees for both homeowners and some commercial businesses in both Michigan and Wisconsin. Fully insured, he gets a lot of work in Ironwood and the Vilas County area.

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Last year, early March w a s already a busy season for the workers, but Jake Allen t h i s y e a r winter has hung on into April. A remote-controlled machine with carbide chewing teeth is available for stump removal. Allen has a wide range of equipment, including two aerial lifts, one that extends to 85 feet. Allen is always adding machinery to the business and has three Skidsteers. He said spring is a good time for homeowners to get out and check their trees to make sure they haven’t died, or are about to fall over. Do-it-yourself is often not a wise practice when it comes to handling tree problems, especially in small spaces, as he is often called to mop up botched projects. There can be from two to five workers on a job, as the occupation is too dangerous to have a single employee responding. Allen’s team works a six-day schedule in the spring and summer. The crew also stays busy cutting firewood, which is delivered in eightfoot loggers’ hardwoods cords, unsplit. The company specializes in dangerous takedowns, preventative thinning and clearing, and storm damage emergencies. Professional pruning and hazardous removals are also available. “Our climbers are skilled at tree climbing and rigging techniques to ensure professional service, but at a price that won’t break the bank. Our staff is trained in professional pruning to ensure the proper health of your tree,” he said. For more information, call 1-906-364-3398.






Proper care needed to keep wood floors fresh

(BPT) – Although most people envision their dream home with shiny wood floors, many consumers are unaware of the best way to care for them, according to a 2017 survey conducted by the National Wood Flooring Association. “Not surprisingly, many homeowners are unsure of the best way to effectively and quickly clean hardwood floors. Some believe mopping with a bucket of water and a cleaning solution is best while others occasionally sweep or vacuum. Many cleaning methods can hurt rather than help a floor, for example, even a ‘damp’ string mop can leave excess water on a hardwood floor, and we know that water and wood don’t mix,” said Bona U.S. Director of Marketing Cate Vanegas. The key findings in the online survey, conducted in October 2017 by Public Opinion Strategies, found that just 24 percent of consumers answered “sweeping” as the correct way to clean wood floors. This answer was closely followed by 19 percent who believe using a soap- or oil-based cleaner is best, and 12 percent who believe using water and vinegar is the best solution. Bona suggests using a larger mop head for faster cleaning, and one with large cartridge of cleaning solution. Some of the mops have a pressurized cartridge that dispenses the perfect amount of solution designed to care for and sustain hardwood floors. Lifestyle and design blogger Jennifer Rizzo recently refinished her wood floors, and notes the simplicity firsthand: “After all the dust bunnies are cleared away, I use a Bona spray mop to clean my floors. It’s odorless, non-toxic and doesn’t leave any

residue. It also leaves my floors looking beautiful.” With an estimated 25 million homes in the U.S. with wood floors, understanding how to clean them is essential to maintain and protect the investment. Try the following tips to keep your hardwood floors looking beautiful. –Regularly: Dust/sweep. While using a broom can be effective, it also just pushes the dirt around, so using a microfiber mop

or cloth is the best daily defense against scratches and surface damage. –Often: Dust and mop. After a quick spin around the floor to grab dust, use a microfiber pad mop and residue-free, neutral cleaner. Look for third-party certified cleaners that will be healthier for your floors and your family. –As needed: When scratches pop up or the finish looks dull, consider a recoat or refinish to keep floors durable and beauti-


ful. Ask an outside contractor for a waterbased finish and dust containment system to ensure the job is VOC and toxin free. –Things to avoid: Water and vinegar, soap-based cleaners, wax or steam cleaners. Vinegar (remember, it’s an acid) and water will damage and dull the floor’s finish, while soap and wax leave residue. Steam cleaners put heat and excessive water on the floor, which can lead to cupping and long-term damage.

Healthy at home: 5 ways to prevent a life-changing fall

(BPT) – Most of us who are aging hope to live comfortably and self-sufficiently at home well into our golden years. And, of course, we wish the same for our parents. The good news is advancements in healthcare and other technology are increasingly allowing aging Americans to live longer at home. The bad news is many are unable to continue to do so once they take a serious fall at home, injuring their hips, heads or other body parts. That’s an all-too-common problem: One in four Americans age 65 and older fall each year, and falling once doubles their chances of falling again, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falls also are the number one cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. “We treat many older patients who lived happily and productively at home until they tripped and broke a hip,” said orthopaedic trauma surgeon and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons spokesperson Lisa Cannada, MD. “A broken hip or other fall-related injuries make it difficult for people to live at home again without assistance of some kind and loss of independence. With a little foresight and planning, many of these injuries could be prevented.” Several steps can be taken to prevent debilitating falls from ever taking place. Consider how the following tips may help you or your loved ones hold on to the comforts of home for a longer period of time: –Recognize your risk. A number of health issues can make you or your parents more prone to falling, ranging from arthritis to neurological conditions to vision or hearing loss. Various medications, the use of alcohol or simple dehydration may also affect your ability to safely navigate your surroundings. But the more you’re aware of such possible hindrances, the more you can plan for them. –Optimize your health. Take responsibility for staying as healthy and fit as possible by remaining active, drinking enough water, limiting alcohol, avoiding smoking and eating a healthy diet with plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Annual physicals, eye exams and bone densi-

ty tests are recommended. Make exercise a priority, and choose something that you enjoy to maintain your bone health and coordination. –Fall-proof your home. Walk through your home and that of your parents to identify and fix possible hindrances such as slippery surfaces, inadequate lighting, cluttered pathways, unsecured rugs, electric cords, loose flooring, etc. Consider installing grab bars in the shower, securing loose rugs with slip-resistant backings and installing bright motiondetector lights. You also might move clothes, kitchenware and other everyday gear within easier reach. The AAOS and Orthopaedic Trauma Association offer additional tips in this Falls Awareness and Prevention Guide. –Wear the right shoes. Limit footwear to well-fit-

ting, low-heeled shoes or slippers with rubber or other non-skid soles. Also watch for untied shoelaces. –Maintain an action plan. If you live alone, have someone check on you daily. If you do fall, you may avoid further injury by using your arms to protect your head instead of trying to break your fall. If possible, fall on your side or buttocks and roll slightly. If you can’t get up after bracing yourself on a wall or furniture, call a friend, relative or 911 for help. Finally, consider wearing a medical alert device 24-7; you never know where and when you’ll need emergency help, and your cell phone may not always be available. Many aging Americans are able to enjoy long, productive lives in their own homes instead of turning to other accommodations.

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Silent destroyers: Tips to spot termites, prevent infestation

(BPT) – There are many reasons that termites have gained the nickname “silent destroyers.” Five billion reasons, in fact. Termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage in the U.S. each year. If left unchecked, they can silently chew through the structural stability of a

home, eating away at wood, flooring and even wallpaper. To make matters worse, the damage they leave behind is not typically covered by most homeowners’ insurance policies. How to spot termites Spring is prime time for termite populations as they emerge in search of new

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Termite or flying ant? Many people will see termite swarmers in homes during the spring and mistake them for flying ants; this can end up being a costly mistake. Winged termites have a straight waist, straight antennae and their wings are equal in size. Flying ants, on the other hand, have waists that are pinched in the middle, bent antennae and two sets of wings, with the top set being larger than the lower. Termites are also most likely to swarm in the spring, while flying ants may swarm at various times of the year. It is not always possible for an untrained eye to spot evidence of termites, but homeowners should keep a look-out for a few key signs

that can help them identify a termite infestation.

Signs of infestation Mud tubes - Subterranean termites, the most destructive termite species, build mud tubes to provide moisture while they travel between their colony and food source. Mud tubes are most often found near the home’s foundation. Wood damage – Termites tend to eat wood from the inside out, so wood that sounds hollow when tapped often signifies a termite infestation. Homeowners should also look for blistering pieces of wood. Frass – Drywood termites produce wood-colored droppings as they eat through infested wood. If a homeowner finds a small pile of what looks like pellets inside or outside the home, it could be a sign of a drywood termite infestation. It’s a good rule of thumb to have your home inspected for termites once every two to three years, and every year if you live in the south or in warmer climates. If termites are suspected, a pest control professional will be needed to eliminate the problem.

Termite prevention tips The good news is that

there are plenty of ways homeowners can help protect against termites, while in turn, protecting their greatest investment – their home. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers this termite advice: –Eliminate or reduce moisture in and around the home, which termites need in order to thrive. –Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and exterior AC units. –Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles. –Replace weather stripping and loose mortar around basement foundation and windows. –Divert water away from the house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. –Routinely inspect the foundation of a home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), and wood that sounds hollow when tapped.


–Monitor all exterior areas of wood, including windows, doorframes and skirting boards for any noticeable changes. Remove dead trees and replace rotting wood. –Maintain an 18-inch gap between soil or mulch and any wood portions of your home. –Consider scheduling a professional inspection annually. Wood-boring insect damage is not covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. –Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house. Termites cannot be controlled with do-it-yourself measures. If you suspect a termite infestation, contact a licensed pest control professional immediately to determine the extent of the problem and receive a recommendation of an appropriate course of treatment. To find a local, qualified pest professional, visit

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structures to invade. Termite explorers, referred to as swarmers, will look for hospitable homes, and are particularly attracted to structures that may have sustained damage from severe winter weather or have dead or decaying wood on the property. Once these swarmers have determined a home to be a good fit, it’s likely that they will settle in and begin a new colony, growing into a full-blown termite infestation over time.

(BPT) – If you love the idea of being a landlord, and don’t mind being on duty around the clock, buying an investment property may be the wealth-building option for you. Property values have enjoyed a steady increase over the decades. That’s why real estate has earned its reputation as a sound investment that builds wealth and credit. Most people, however, don’t have the quantity of cash on hand to purchase a house or apartment building outright. Still, if becoming a landlord means taking out a 30-year mortgage, the monthly payments from the tenants should be enough to service the loan and build equity for you, while leaving some cash flow so you can maintain the property. If buying investment property sounds like a step you’d like to take, here are some credit considerations every investor needs to know. Be mindful of the inquiry stage Once you decide to pur-

chase an investment property, it’s important to do everything you can to make sure your credit score stays as high as possible until the loan is approved and signed. Your goal is to land the best possible interest rate, because even half a percentage point can add tens of thousands of dollars of total interest payments to a 30-year loan (and affect your wealthbuilding abilities). During this time, things like continuing to make ontime payments on your existing loans can be helpful in maintaining your credit score. However, sometimes people unintentionally lower their credit score when they’re actually trying to be fiscally responsible. For example, when shopping around for the best mortgage rate, keep in mind that multiple inquiries can have a negative effect on your credit score, especially if you don’t have a long credit history. Fortunately, many credit bureaus recognize that you may be comparison shopping, so make sure you do this within a

defined time frame of 3045 days.

Keep credit utilization low When maintaining a property, having access to credit can be helpful because it lets you make repairs and keep things in good living condition for your tenants. One thing that can affect your credit score is the amount of credit you’re using. Unfortunately, keeping a higher balance could result in a lower credit score. As a rule, keep your credit utilization at 30 percent or less. For example, if your credit card has a $5,000 limit, the balance should not get any higher than $1,500. Throughout the billing cycle, keep an eye on the balance, and pay it down when you can.

Keep a cushion of cash It happens. You get that call about a water leak, and before you know it, you’re spending your Saturday evening pricing plumbers, searching for one whose overtime rate is only in the range of mildly outrageous. Being a property manager means expecting the unexpected, and one of the best ways to be ready is to have enough cash at the ready to take care of these problems. Build an emergency fund in your savings account, and keep your

credit paid down so you always have that cushion to fall back on during any crisis.

Beware of low, no-interest financing When it’s time to replace the oven range or a refrigerator, one of those “no payments, no interest for 18 months” deals can seem like a lifesaver. It sounds like a great deal, but these alluring promises are designed to play a psychological trick on you. Because you don’t have to pay yet, it doesn’t really feel like spending money when you’re making the purchase. However, once the interest-free promotional period is up, a double-digit interest rate often kicks in. If you don’t have the cash to pay off the balance or make payments, you could end up with penalties that can affect your credit score. Before you sign on, always read the fine print. Before you invest, do your research on credit scores and know your pros and cons. More than 8.5 billion credit scores compiled by VantageScore Solutions were obtained and used in the U.S. between June 2016 and July 2017. Whatever your stage in life, the market offers many options for those who wish to build their wealth through investing in real estate.

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Remodeled store ready to help spring projects By IAN MINIELLY

IRONWOOD – Melanie Colassaco, floor manager at Forslund Building Supply said, “Spring unearths the ugly.” As the snow recedes from peoples yard, decks, and roofs, what is often left is the havoc of a

long Michigan winter on the exterior of peoples homes. Colassaco said she has been fielding a lot of inquiries about decking, both treated lumber and composite decking material. People are placing orders and getting ready

for the temperatures to warm up so boards can be replaced, decks can get stained, or a new deck can get built. Once the road restrictions are off, Forslund’s expects to begin delivering all the backed up orders people are waiting on, especially for those

Ian Minielly/Daily Globe

Forslund Building Supply in Ironwood recently remodled its sales floor. The store continues to offer doors and windows, as well as many other items needed for home building and improvement projects.

with planning new additions. The road restrictions are holding up the delivery of trusses and building supplies for the planned additions. Besides decking, Manager Keith Johnson said people come in looking to replace windows, siding and roofs most springs. The winters play havoc on homes and many homeowners are looking to replace and upgrade those elements of their homes during the spring and summer. Another option many people look at during the spring is a home addition or garage. He said the store has already been busy fielding calls and filling orders for each of these projects. Forslund’s recently went through a remodeling of its sales floor, rearranging the aisles. They carry a full line of plumbing and electrical supplies, from sinks to shower heads and fuse boxes to electrical tape. They also carry windows and doors, paints and stains, tools and hardward, and multiple sheds

of lumber, shingles and insulation. Johnson said most people have an idea of what they are looking to do when they come in and Forslund’s can work with those plans and ideas and turn them into functional designs that satisfy building code requirements and can even recommend different contractors in the event people want to hire

Now is the time to schedule your

Summer Projects



Great lawn begins with great engine

(BPT) – As the days grow longer and the snow begins to recede, homeowners will once again venture outdoors to get their yards and lawn into tip-top shape for summer fun. But just like your lawn has been hibernating over the long winter, so too has your lawn mower and other small engines. Even if you properly winterized your mower, there are a few things you’ll need to do to ensure it works like it should. To get there, follow these five steps. 1. Freshen up with a new tank of gas. It only takes 30 days for the gasoline in your mower to start to break down, which can harm your engine. If you have any gas left in the tank from the fall, empty it with a siphon and fill the tank with fresh fuel straight from the gas station. For optimal results, use ethanol-free gas

(E0). 2. Don’t forget to check the oil. A new season means new oil. This will ensure your motor will run smoothly and it will go a long way to prevent overheating. Be sure to check the owner’s manual to make sure you put in the right kind of oil and the proper amount. 3. Two components to clean and replace. Along with keeping your mower fed with fresh gas and oil, at the beginning of each season there are two components to either clean or replace: the spark plug and the air filter. To inspect the spark plug, simply clean the area around the cylinder and use a wrench to remove the plug. Check for any damage or black coating, and if the plug appears damaged, replace it. As far as the air filter goes, it’s best to start each season with a new one. Consult the owner’s manu-

al for reference on how to do this and always consider using genuine parts from the manufacturer. 4. Sharpen the blade. A dull lawnmower blade rips and tears blades of grass in your lawn, making them more prone to disease and discoloration. A sharp blade helps promote a greener, fuller and healthier lawn. Most local hardware stores or smallengine shops offer blade-sharpening services. 5. Maybe you need a new engine? If you’ve gone through all the maintenance tips above and you’re still having problems with your mower, it’s probably time for a new one. When making a purchasing decision, focus on the most essential component: the engine. Ideally, you want an engine that offers minimal maintenance, easy starting and smooth, effective operation.

Marrying households: 7 savvy moving tips for couples

(BPT) – If you’re planning a wedding or you’ve just tied the knot, congratulations! Combining two households can take considerable planning and preparation, especially if both parties own troves of treasured possessions. As you are getting ready to make the transition into a single house or apartment, consider how the following suggestions may make your move easier. –Pare down possessions. Take an objective look at your collective furniture, household goods, clothing and other items. Where do you see duplicates? Whose decor are you more likely to use? Are those old clothes you’ve had since high school really worth keeping? Now is the time to be generous in donating unneeded items to a local charity (or selling them on Craigslist). –Nix the shopping blitz. Although those wedding checks and gift cards are burning a hole in your pocket, postpone your purchases until after you move to avoid hauling them. –DIY on the moving. Rather than shelling out a small fortune hiring a moving company, simply rent a truck. As a rule of thumb, seek 150 cubic feet of space for the furnishings of each room in your present house; that means a 12- or 16-foot rental truck should accommodate the contents of a small apartment or condo. –Invest in packing supplies. This is not the time to skimp by using flimsy containers, newspapers and cheap tape to pack up your treasured belongings. Save yourself time and frustration later by picking up sturdy boxes, labels, tape and bubble wrap from your truck rental store so you can ensure everything arrives at its destination safe, unbroken and easy to

unpack. –Many hands. Invite friends and family to help you with your move as many hands make light work. You can spring for pizza and beverages at your new home afterward. –Learn how to load. In general, heavier items

should go in the back of the truck, with lighter items in front and on top. –Practice makes perfect. Driving a moving truck is different from driving a car or pick-up. Take time to familiarize yourself with the mirrors needed to navigate turns.

someone else to do the work. Jim Cross, who is involved in contractor sales at Forslund’s, showed the Globe a hand drawn idea for an addition from a recent customer, which Cross turned into a finished building plan. He said he can take a hand drawn plan or idea and turn it into a workable plan for contractors and other customers.


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Rent vs. own: Which is right for you?

(BPT)–If you’re thinking of buying your first home, you’ve probably wrestled with the decision to rent or own your home and for good reason. Owning a home is a big commitment. With it comes a lot of responsibility and a long-term financial relationship. But which is right for you? To answer that, let’s lean into the facts.

But as the housing market has recovered, it has experienced some growing pains. With a sharp increase in demand, housing supplies are being strained. This means, among other things, that prices are going up. For families and individuals still recovering financially, finding affordable housing options can be difficult. This applies to home sales and rentals.

Housing market Good news! Since the depths of the recession, the housing market has made a heroic comeback. That can be attributed to a number of factors, including a drop in unemployment and a stronger economy.

Making a decision With rental and sales markets heading toward record highs, the decision falls back to what is best for you. Specifically, what is financially feasible. Let’s look at the basic

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numbers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median gross rent paid from 2012 to 2016 was $949 monthly. Compare that with the median selected monthly owner costs with a mortgage, which was $1,491 over the same time period. Then there are utilities. The median monthly electricity cost for renters in 2015 was $82, with owners paying $117. For piped gas, the median amount renters pay monthly is $42, while

(BPT) – Think of all the items you replace regularly – your cellphone, lightbulbs and even your toothbrush. But when was the last time you replaced your smoke alarm batteries, or even the alarms themselves? It’s easy to overlook, but the time to think about fire safety is now before an emergency strikes. Many assume that because they have smoke alarms in their homes, they’re protected in the event of a fire. In reality, smoke alarms need to be installed, maintained and tested regularly to ensure they’re working properly. That effort includes knowing how old smoke alarms and their batteries are, as neither lasts forever. While smoke alarm lifespan and sensing technology have improved in recent years, the fact remains that all smoke alarms – even hardwired and sealed battery models – expire after 10 years. “According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms or from missing or dead batteries,” said Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert. “Just like other household duties, it’s important to make sure alarm maintenance and replacement and escape planning and practice become a regular, ongoing part of your family’s routine.” Here are some ways to

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owners pay $58. For renters, it is wise to carry renter’s insurance. Some landlords will also charge maintenance and other fees. Utility costs will also vary depending on the quality of the structure and materials used as well as size of the rental space. Homeowners will pay property taxes, insurance and an estimated $500 annually for routine maintenance, according to the Census Bureau.

Owning a home At a glance, it may seem that renting is the lower cost option. But there are certain benefits to homeownership that may offset the additional regular costs. According to the Tax Policy Center, the primary benefit to owning a home is imputed rental income. Simply put, making a monthly payment on a home that you own is like paying rent to yourself. While that money is not

Beyond the numbers Homeownership provides a variety of benefits beyond the numbers. For many people, a home is the largest investment they will ever make. The upgrades, work and care put into the home that you own can add value to your investment. It also adds a sense of pride knowing that it is yours. “Having a place to call your own, a place to return to at the end of the day, makes life better,” said Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc. President Eric Hamilton. “You can see it from the moment they make the decision - that sense of pride. It’s a lifechanging event and a memory that will last a lifetime.”

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ensure your family is best protected from fire. –Count the alarms – In most cases, one alarm isn’t enough. In fact, the U.S. Fire Administration, recommends smoke alarms be installed inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement, as well as one carbon monoxide alarm on each level and in each sleeping area. A quick and easy way to remember is one on every level and in every bedroom. –Install them properly – Does your alarm ever sound when cooking? Chances are, you’ve installed the alarm too close to your appliances. An easy way to reduce false alarms and maximize coverage is to take a moment to review manufacturer guidelines and install alarms in the proper loca-

Call 811 before digging for outside project

(BPT) – With spring having officially begun, many eager homeowners and landscape professionals across the country will roll up their sleeves and reach for their shovels to

start projects that require digging this season. Calling 811 is the first step toward protecting you and your community from the risk of unintentionally damaging an underground

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tions. Smoke alarms should generally be installed at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms. It’s also recommended to install smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings. Remember, smoke rises, so high placement provides a direct path for detection. Lastly, don’t install smoke alarms near windows, doors or ducts, where drafts might interfere with their operation. –Get complete coverage – In general, there are two types of fires – quick flaming and smoldering. Today’s smoke alarms are effective at detecting both but use unique technologies that make them better suited for particular locations within the home. The NFPA and other safety advocates recommend installing dual-sensor alarms as they provide the

best potential for early detection of all types of common household fires while helping to reduce the number of non-emergency alarms – all while providing a decade of protection without the need for costly and ongoing battery replacement. –Install and maintain – Having smoke alarms is only one part of the story. In order to function properly, all alarms must be regularly inspected and maintained. Make sure to test the alarm, by simply holding down the test button, at least once a month. Also, when testing, it’s important to clean the alarm to remove any dust or debris. This advice holds true even for newer alarms, which feature 10-year batteries, as well as hardwired alarms that feature a battery backup. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. –Plan your escape — Maintaining alarms is essential to every household, but what about your escape route? Unfortunately, recent research indicates that just 25 percent of families have an escape plan that they practice regularly. To develop an effective plan, walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Identify two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Practice your home fire escape plan at least twice a year and make sure to plan a meeting spot. 302 E. Main St., Ashland, WI 54806

line. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a free call to 811. Installing a mailbox or fence, building a deck and landscaping are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after making a call to 811. Calling this number connects you to your local one-call utility notification center. Here’s how the 811 process works: 1. One free, simple phone call to 811 makes it easy for your local one-call center to notify appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig. Call a few days prior to digging to ensure enough time for the approximate location of utility lines to be marked with flags or paint. 2. When you call 811, a representative from your local one-call center will ask for the location and description of your digging project. 3. Your local one-call

center will notify affected utility companies, which will then send professional locators to the proposed dig site to mark the approximate location of your lines. 4. Only once all lines have been accurately marked, carefully dig around the marked areas. There are nearly 20 million miles of underground utility lines in the United States, which equates to more than a football field’s length of utilities for every person in the U.S. Your family depends on this buried infrastructure for your everyday needs including electric, natural gas, water and sewer, cable TV, high-speed Internet and landline telephone. With that much critical infrastructure underground, it’s important to know what’s below and call 811 before digging. To find out more information about 811 or the one-call utility notification center in your area, visit






5 top trends for kitchens in 2018

(BPT) – It’s your home’s focal point. The site of some of your best moments and the base of operations for entertaining – it’s your kitchen, and no room in your home is more valuable. A magnificent kitchen defines a home, and bringing your kitchen to this level means capitalizing on today’s top trends. Many of the trends that will define kitchens for the year appear first at KBIS, the kitchen and bath industry convention held every year in January. More than 600 brands attended this year’s event, and here are the five trends that stood out from the show and are sure to dictate kitchen styles for the rest of this year and beyond.

Can-do appliances As home chefs have become much more refined, the need for kitchen appliances capable of delivering to these expectations has increased. Signature Kitchen Suite, the new-to-the-scene luxury brand, for example, debuted the first-of-its-kind pro-style range with builtin sous vide for the ultimate in precision cooking. The range is among the most versatile available with two extra-high burners that deliver 23,000 BTUs of cooking power and two ultra-low burners

to maintain temperatures as low as 100 degrees. This appliance is also Wi-Fi enabled, which means you can monitor and control your kitchen wherever you are. Unique backsplashes The tile backsplash still has plenty of staying power, but the latest trends are upping the wow factor of this kitchen mainstay. From mirrored glass and backlit onyx to decorative sculptures, the kitchen backsplash is becoming the statement piece of any kitchen and a unique way to express your own style and taste. Matte black finishes The standard appearance of kitchen fixtures is taking on a darker tone in 2018, as matte black finishes are flourishing in a big way. This elegant, luxe appliance finish complements any kitchen and is also designed to conceal fingerprints and smudges. This smooth, low-gloss design option enhances any style kitchen, from modern to farmhouse, traditional to contemporary and every style in between. Design elements Long a place of functional purity, the kitchen is getting a dramatically artistic makeover in 2018.


Designers from one side of KBIS to the other were showcasing lavish kitchens complemented with unique patterns, angles and texture choices. You simply wanted to go out and touch and savor every single detail they offered. The takeaway? It is possible to enjoy looking at your kitchen as much as you enjoy working in it. Smarter kitchens New Wi-Fi enabled appliances are helping people control their homes in new ways, allowing for greater convenience - either through the touch of a button on their smartphone or via voice commands through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Want to preheat the oven before you head home from work? Done! Need a fresh batch of ice before company

arrives? You don’t even have to get up. Forget to turn on the dishwasher? No problem. Choose a cycle and turn it on from virtually anywhere. Smart home leaders like LG have also teamed with food and recipe services such as Innit and SideChef to better assist home chefs with planning, shopping, preparing and cooking delicious meals. Taking your kitchen to the next level The latest and greatest innovations for your kitchen were on display at KBIS, but bringing them home is up to you. Need more renovation inspiration? Check out new virtual design tools to experiment with different styles and appliance combinations to create your dream kitchen. You may just find a whole new look for your kitchen.

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Map it out Prioritize the projects you’d like to tackle first. Whether it’s painting the living room, replacing the kitchen countertops or retiling the bathroom, the project will be much less stressful when you have solid planning behind it. Set a realistic schedule, gather your supplies in advance and be sure and review instructions before starting. If you’re making an improvement for a special event or out-of-town guests, give yourself ample time to complete it so you’re not adding stress to the project.

Find creative ways to cover costs Make a budget for your project that includes a list of expected expenses and add padding for the unexpected. Assess what funds you have available, and if you don’t have enough, consider a savings plan so you can avoid paying interest and fees on a credit

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5 musts for a low-stress, on-budget DIY home project

(BPT) – Owning your own home is a life accomplishment for many adults, and keeping it looking sharp and adding your personal touches brings a sense of pride. It seems there are always things you want to improve, so don’t let a limited budget or lack of know-how hold you back from dreaming. There are plenty of ways to enhance a room or remake a space without breaking the bank, along with many resources out there to show you how. With a little research and a weekend or two of elbow grease, your budget and your abilities are more than enough to take on many smaller jobs. When you’re done, the satisfaction you’ll experience from a successful DIY project will give you plenty of motivation to start the next improvement. Before you launch your plans, here are a few tips for an affordable and stress-free DIY project.

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card. To speed up your progress, grab your change jar and bring it to a Coinstar kiosk where you can select cash or a no-fee eGift card from retailers including, Lowe’s, Home Depot and Sears. You’ll be surprised at how quickly a jar of coins can add up to purchase needed supplies on your list. Learn through many available resources If you’re like most DIYers, you’ll find online videos and home improvement websites are great sources for how-to tips and information. And if you’re a novice, take advantage of the vast information that’s available at your fingertips and review several sources so that you completely understand the process and are confident before your dive in. Don’t be afraid to tap friends, family members and neighbors who have completed similar projects, as they can be good advisers and may even offer to help! You can reward them by inviting them back to your newly improved home to just relax and enjoy.

Keep it light Doing DIY projects with a spouse or a family member can be fun if you take the right approach. When working alongside each other, it’s all too easy to take a frustration out on each other. Two-thirds of

those surveyed in a recent Coinstar survey said they do projects with others in their household, and 65 percent said they got into a disagreement during a home DIY project. Minimize tension by creating clear expectations and give everyone a defined role. Take needed breaks and acknowledge accomplishments along the way. Keeping things calm and positive ensures everyone feels good about their contribution.


do go wrong. If you make a mistake, do your best to correct it and don’t beat yourself up. Focus on the fact you’re making progress in getting your house just the way you want it and saving money by doing it yourself. Next time, you will be that much more proficient! According to the survey, 90 percent of homeowners say they feel a sense of pride after completing a DIY project. Pat yourself on the back and plan your next DIY endeavor! To learn more about how Coinstar can help you find the cash you need for your next DIY project, visit

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HOME IMPROVEMENT Containers offer options for gardening enthusiasts





WAKEFIELD – Even when spring is long and cold and wet, it still inspires many people to dream of buds and blooms taking form in their very own back yard. One way to make the

dream a reality is with a container garden, and people such as Mandy Lake of Wakefield can help. Lake, who is a master gardener with a degree in genetics, said choosing the right home for your plants is part of the process. Containers may be

made of materials such as acrylic, fiberglass, concrete, or terra cotta, and Lake said you can choose “whatever works for you.” “Be sure you can lift it,” she warned. Beyond that, she said to choose a size appropriate for the intended contents. She said a 12-inch pot may be fine for one tomato plant, but you’ll need a slightly larger one if you want to add additional plants. In addition, said Lake, “It’s important to have drainage holes.” Otherwise, she said to place styrofoam peanuts or gravel at the bottom of the pot to aid drainage. A plate under the bottom is an added option. Beyond that, Lake said you need to decide whether you want a container with vegetables or flowers and whether their access to sun will be limited or generous. Containers typically are filled with a “thriller, filler, spiller” approach, said Lake. She defined a “thriller” as a higher, spikier plant that serves as the centerpiece of the pot. An example would be a patio-sized cherry tomato, she said. Lake described “filler” as the plants surrounding the centerpiece, and they might include “lettuce, a pepper plant, and one or two of your favorite herbs.” Finally, she said, a “spiller” is any sort of frilly plant that goes along the



(BPT) – Technology is trending in home design and decor this year, and some of the most dramatic, futuristic and fun tech trends are showing up in the bathroom. From glass doors and windows changing from clear to opaque with the touch of a button to toilets

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edge and spills over the pot as it grows. Filler also might spill, she said. “It’s important to use a potting mix, not potting soil,” said Lake regarding the planting process. Weekly fertilizing is also key, although some can go without it for 10-14 days, she said. According to Lake, container gardens typically are placed outside. “You’ll water a plant less on the ground,” she said, but added that hanging a container is fine as long as plants get enough water to compensate for the extra wind to which they are subjected. “Trellis boxes are another option,” said Lake, who added that select items such as a Red Robin cherry

tomato plant will grow inside next to a window. Lake said sunlight is an important consideration in placing any container garden. “A lot of them need at least eight hours a day,” she said of the sun, but it does depend upon the plant. “Lettuce doesn’t like sun so much,” she said. “Cukes love the sun. Peppers love the sun.” She assured that it’s possible to combine a sunloving tomato plant with lettuce if the lettuce is placed on the side of the container that catches the least sun. Beyond that, she said mindful growers also will move their containers as needed to avoid excessive sun or to protect them from


transforming the whole experience of going to the loo, it’s all about high-tech tricking out your oasis. Here are four tech trends that will take your bathroom into hyperspace.

Privacy glass Glass blocks are opaque but let in some filtered light; blinds or shades get in the way. The answer? Privacy glass. It is an ultrafuturistic special adhesive film that’s cut to fit your existing glass doors and windows. Tap an app on your smartphone and transform your glass from opaque to transparent instantly. (Alien technology? We can

neither confirm nor deny that.) It gives you privacy when you need it and lets the sun shine in when you don’t, and eliminates the need for shades or blinds, giving your bathroom a sleek, clean look. High-tech toilets This is not your father’s WC. Toilets today offer technologically advanced features like sensor-operated seats and lids, night lights, deodorizers, selfcleaning technologies and heated seats. New on the market is a toilet with a electronic bidet seat that is a coup de loo that leaves you cleaner and more refreshed than

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sinking temperatures. “Everything is sensitive to temperatures,” she said. “If you know it’s going to be cold, cover your plants or take them inside if you can. It’s an investment, and in one night it can be wiped out by frost.” Lake said people who buy their plant in May have a willingness to coddle them through the changing temperatures of spring. Many people don’t buy until early June, she said, and assured that regular tomatoes planted in June probably will be ready to pick by early August. Lake and her husband, Chris Lake, own Lake’s Flower Cabin in Wakefield Township. For more information, call 906-3640669.

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you’ve ever felt after a bathroom break. Operated by remote control, it’s completely hands-free and offers comfortable, warm, aerated water to cleanse, warm air dryer and heated seat. No need for toilet paper. High-efficiency toilets with dual flush are now easier to install and leave no visible cords or hoses. This elegant design features high-tech innovations to make your life cleaner, healthier, less complicated and more beautiful – autoopen/close seat and lid, electrolyzed water to keep your toilet bowl hygienic without harsh chemicals (better for the environment and your pocketbook), and in-bowl deodorizer. New dual-flush technology can clean the entire bowl and rim with 360 degrees of cyclonic rinsing action. Its highly glazed surface is smooth down to the nano level, preventing matter from adhering to its surfaces. High-tech warmers While a warm bathroom floor isn’t new, some manufacturers are taking it up a notch by making it digital. These systems feature a mat that’s installed under your tile. It’s Wi-Fi enabled and connected to a digital thermostat that you control from your smartphone. Make your towels toasty, too, with a towel warmer. Pop your towel into what looks like an ordinary bathroom cabinet, but it’s really a hidden, stainless steel warming drawer, and your towels will be toasty by the time you’re finished with your shower.

Digital steam spa You don’t need a major remodel to get a steam shower. There are kits for that. They’re digitally operated steam generators that even include aromatherapy features (think eucalyptus steam when you’re stuffy with a cold). The bathroom is the place where you start and end your days, your oasis for renewal. With these new high-tech products, you can design your perfect retreat.






Soil workshop to be held in Mercer By RICHARD JENKINS

IRONWOOD TOWNSHIP – Whether you have a green thumb or not, the Mercer Library is looking to give you an extra edge this upcoming planting season, hosting a program on soil health next week. Darrin Kimbler, a horticulture educator with Iron County’s University of Wisconsin-Extension office, will talk about what constitutes good soil and how to take a soil sample at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Mercer Community Center. It’s important to understand the various factors that determine how healthy soil is, according to

Kimbler, and what can be done to improve a plot of land’s productivity. “Soil fertility is part of that, soil structure is part of that,” he said, adding the effect organic matter has on soil is also important to understand. Kimbler said he plans to discuss the different components of soil – including sand, silt and clay – and how the makeup of soil can determine what grows well and what needs to be done to improve productivity. Kimbler will also discuss how to take a soil sample, which can be done through Iron County’s UW-Extension office. The basic garden soil tests are $15 a sample,

according to Kimbler, while agriculture tests cost more as the results are more detailed. “Lawn and garden is pretty much a fairly straight-forward, simple (test). They’re going to assume annual crops are turf,” Kimbler said. “The basic things they give you are pH (to determine if soil is acidic or alkaline), phosphorus levels, potassium levels and percent organic matter in your soil. “And then they’ll give you recommendations on how to fertilize to improve that.” Agriculture tests usually cover larger areas and include crop-specific recommendations, he said.

While soil content is a major factor to soil health, Kimbler said soil structure is equally important. Soil which has been compacted is less likely to grow anything, according to Kimbler. “You can have beautifully fertile soil,” he said, “But if you’ve been parking a truck over it, or it’s a pathway, it’s not going to grow anything because that pore structure – or aggregate structure – has been destroyed.” Naturally beautiful soil is relatively uncommon in many parts of Gogebic and Iron counties. Most of the soil in the area is lacking phosphorus and potassium and is

Hidden leaks can damage home, boost water bills, harm environment

(BPT) – Home water leaks waste 1 trillion gallons of water per year, and 10 percent of American homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons of water a day, according to the EPA. Fixing easily detectable leaks like dripping faucets and malfunctioning toilets can reduce water bills and water waste. But what do you do about the leaks you can’t see? Hidden leaks can be dangerous. Leaking pipes within walls can cause mold. Dripping faucets behind appliances can be a fire hazard. Leaking irrigation can cause significant lawn damage. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In a national study of more than 300 homes, intelligent-water industry leader Phyn found that 17 percent of homes have some type of leak. Of those leaks, half were from a broken toilet flapper. This type of common leak wastes 800 to 1,100 gallons of water each day! Uncovering hidden leaks is important for your budget, your safety and to protect your property investment. Here are some ways to easily detect hidden leaks so you don’t have to worry: Proactive inspections: Look where hidden leaks commonly occur before you see signs of a problem. Early detection could prevent costly damage. Even new homes need this approach, since human error during construction could lead to hidden leaks later. Inspect systems: First check your irrigation system by walking around the yard, looking for signs of leaks, like puddles of water or depressions in the ground near sprinkler heads or lines. Also, inspect around your water heater for moisture. Remember to watch the water meter, too. An unexpected spike in a water bill could indicate a problem. Technology: New advancements help detect leaks using intelligentwater technology, such as the Phyn Plus smart water assistant + shutoff. Installed right after the meter on the main water line, this device analyzes your home’s water use by measuring tiny changes in pressure at 240 times per second. This allows the device to shut off the water automatically, so the owners can rest assured that they won’t come home to surprise water damage from a burst pipe. Keep age in mind: Older homes have older pipes and systems that may be more prone to leaks, so it’s important to keep close attention on your home as it ages. That being said, new homes aren’t immune to water leaks. You may have heard stories of new homeowners hanging a picture on their wall, only to find a puddle on the floor the next day right below where the nail had

acidic due to low pH levels. “It means it’s great for blueberries, it’s lousy for growing about anything else as far as the pH is concerned,” Kimbler said. He said it was rare for his office to get a sample that didn’t need to improve one of those categories unless a property owner has already been adding fertilizer and making other

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punctured a pipe. Pipes and soldering can fail at any time, whether your home is brand new or 100 years old. Use the pros: When in doubt, hire a professional to get expert insight and workmanship. For example, the Uponor Pro Squad is a group of authorized, intelligent-water special-

ists, dedicated to installing and servicing the Phyn Plus. Pro Squad members have been trained and certified to provide an expert installation experience, ensuring the quality and workability of the Phyn Plus device. It’s important to detect hidden water leaks in your home.

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improvements. Tuesday’s program is sponsored by the UWExtension office, Mercer Public Library and the Mercer Seed Library. Registration for the event is appreciated, and can be made at the library or by calling 715-476-2366. For more information on soil health, contact Kimbler at 715-561-2695.

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Barn doors a beauty to inside spaces

(BPT) – Barn doors moved out of the farmyard and into the house a long time ago. Recently, however, they have become an even more popular and useful feature in residential design. It’s not hard to see why. “Many homeowners hear the term ‘barn door’ and think of reclaimed, rustic wood, which may not be a look they’re interested in,” said Linda Jovanovich of the American Hardwood Information Center. “But contemporary barn doors offer many more aesthetic choices than their traditional image suggests. We’ve noticed a trend toward the use of solid, finemilled hardwoods like walnut and cherry for sliding doors, which not only gives them satisfying heft but is also a great way to bring the warmth and character of natural wood into an interior.” New York-based interior designer Laura Bohn agreed. “I’ve installed hardwood barn doors in many projects, both in the city and the country,” she says. “They provide a lot of deco-

rative interest, particularly hung in pairs. I’d choose a clean, sophisticated design in a subtle wood like maple or birch for an urban interior. Poplar planks painted a cheerful color, or characterful woods like hickory and cypress would be better for doors in a country house.” Along with their decorative qualities, barn doors often provide a functional alternative to conventional swing doors. “Barn doors, either singly or in pairs, offer a simple and effective way to divide large spaces –a kitchen from a living-dining area, for example,” said Laguna Beach, California-based designer Lisa McDennon. “They can create instant separation and privacy in even the most open-plan house, which allows for greater flexibility in daily use.” “A traditional door can use up to nine square feet of space, which is a lot in city apartments where every inch counts,” said New York-based designer Glenn Gissler. “A barn door only takes up a sliver of floor, making it a terrific solution in tight situa-

tions such as hallways and narrow rooms. You just need enough adjacent wall footage to slide the door over.” Barn doors offer economic advantages, too. While pocket doors have similar space-saving benefits, installing them requires wall reconstruction – a messy and expensive business. Because barn doors run on hardware installed outside the frame, they need no such preparatory construction, saving time and money. And the tracks themselves are part of the doors’ decorative appeal. “There’s a terrific selection of barn-door hardware available,” Bohn said. “Use sleek, high-tech tracks in brushed aluminum or satin-finish stainless steel for a modern urban vibe. For a more rustic or industrial statement, think blackened iron or raw steel, both of which look powerfully graphic against natural or painted wood.” Visit for more about residential design trends and other applications and products using American hardwoods.


Don’t re-roof until you do these 5 things

(BPT) – With spring officially arriving, home improvement season is swinging into full gear. Fair warning to homeowners looking to hire a professional, 2018 is predicted to be a record-breaker. A recent study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University projects home improvement spending will approach $340 billion this year - the strongest gain for remodeling in more than a decade. Among the costliest of projects is roofing, a large expense with serious implications if put off or improperly done. When you add 2018’s remodeling demand with the much-talked-about skilled labor shortage, on top of the recovery from last year’s hurricane season, homeowners could be tempted to jump right into major home work, all without doing their homework first. As this could prove costly, consider the following before anyone sets foot on your roof:

Check contractor qualifications Choose a local, reputable contractor. These contractors should have the best knowledge of local building codes, state codes and required certifications and licenses. Ask the contractor to see their certificate of insurance before stepping onto the roof. Consider going the extra mile and choosing a contractor certified by the manufacturer of the shingle the contractor installs. Improper installation is considered one of the major reasons roofs fail

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Determine layover or tear off Many times, contractors will push for a removal of all existing shingles, or a tear off, over adding another layer of shingles on top of an existing roof, a layover. Although a complete tear off is more expensive due to increased labor costs, there are some advantages. “When you tear off, you get a chance to look at the roof deck and repair any deteriorating wood or substrate,” said Rick Taylor, longtime roofing contractor and a trainer for shingle manufacturer TAMKO Building Products Inc. Typically, doing a layover is more economical, although homeowners need to discuss relevant factors with their contractor, including local building code requirements and implications for the manufacturer’s warranty. Research the warranty It is important to understand the warranty specific to the roof product you have installed. Educate yourself on requirements for installation, including whether a shingle layover is applicable (as mentioned above). “Some shingle manufacturers won’t warranty the roof unless it is a complete tear off,” Taylor said. “TAMKO is one that actually does have the option to warranty a laminated shingle applied over one other

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Check the weather It may seem obvious, but a simple check of the weather before starting a roofing project could prevent a big headache later. Avoid starting a project with wet plywood or underlayment, or when the forecast indicates a strong chance of rain. Also, many manufacturers of asphalt shingles, the most popular form of roofing in the U.S., do not recommend installation in belowfreezing temperatures or in excessively high temperatures. Careful consideration of these steps during your next home exterior project could save you from costly and lengthy rework years later.

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Assess ventilation needs Inadequate roof ventilation is another major culprit behind premature roof aging. There are a variety of options for roof ventilation; however, it is generally recommended to incorporate proper ventilation into the original re-roof, rather than add it later. The recommended ventilation depends on the size and architecture of the home, but when done correctly, the air inside the attic should be near the same temperature as the ambient temperature of the air outside it.

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layer of 3-tab shingles.” Other warranty concerns to consider include proper installation, the required steps to register your roof after installation and the time period allowed for transferring that warranty to future owners of the home.

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Submitted photo

MODERN ARTISTRY allows for concrete designs that simulate a wooden deck, as shown in this example by Nathan Borth, owner of Graystone Studio Concrete.

Growing with the Northwoods since 1937

Submitted photo

“UNIQUE” CONCRETE construction such as the deck shown here is an example of the work done by Nathan Borth, owner of Graystone Studio Concrete in Ironwood.

Greystone Studio Concrete offers solid deck options By P.J. GLISSON

IRONWOOD – It used to be that concrete was concrete, a practical product consisting of gravel, sand, cement and water. Now, however, creative technology allows this simple material to transform into modern artistry. On a local level, nobody knows this better than Nathan Borth, owner of Graystone Studio Concrete in Ironwood. “We can create things to look like stone, or we can make things look like wood with endless color options,” said Borth. “They’re many options of color and many options of texture.” For example, said Borth, it is now possible to construct a concrete deck that mimics both the texture and color of a wooden deck. “Things are constantly evolving, and there are always new products,” said Borth, whose aim is to achieve a balance between “what’s new and trendy and what’s tried and true.” Whereas old-style concrete generally had a matte surface, Borth said new options include a colorful, glossy sheen. Moreover, he said, you can apply the new look on both new and old surfaces. “You can take a 100-year old concrete floor and pol-

ish it out to create a unique, one-ofa-kind, durable, longlasting flooring,” Nathan Borth s a i d Borth. Once the job is done, he said, “We recommend resealing to maintain color and surface every two years.” According to Borth, another option is to rejuvenate an existing seal. Borth is in his third season as a full-time business. He grew up in Ironwood. After home schooling, he earned a degree in criminal justice from Gogebic Community College. His experience with concrete work started when he was still in high school, and it remained his first love. “When I was 15, I started working for a small contractor,” he said, “and that’s all I’ve ever done is concrete projects.” Borth used to do commercial and industrial work on the East coast, and in Alaska, South Carolina, and Washington. Since moving back here about five years ago, he and his wife Shanna have added three children.

Borth, who is one of nine children himself, has hired two of his brothers to work with him: Josh Borth and Levi Borth. Nathan Borth said that, although he did not have any formal education in business, he’d been told by various people that he’d be good at running his own operation. “I’d kind of always contemplated it,” he said. “I don’t come from a family that runs businesses, so it was kind of an unknown to me. It was a scary step.” He said that he’s learned how to run a business by “picking other people’s brains” and remaining open to “constant learning.” Beyond that, he said, “It’s all about being flexible and rolling with the punches” because “daily surprises” always occur. “I’ll go to any extent to make a project look topnotch,” he said, emphasizing that customer service is another essential objective. Borth said his wife also plays an integral role in the success of the business. “Without her the paperwork would be in disorder,” he said. “She keeps me on task.” He added, “She loves that I’m passionate about what I do. Really, sometimes I’m too passionate. It’s about finding a balance between work and family.”

Borth likes that his kids are already interested in the business. “My son (Rohan) wears suits and sweatshirts that say Graystone Studio, and if you ask him where he works, he’ll say Graystone Studio.” There hasn’t been any trouble so far in getting business. “Most of the summer is already full,” said Borth, who enjoys the potential it holds. “At the end of the day,” he concluded, “I love to look back and see what you can create with your hands and have every project you create be unique and a piece of art on its own.” For more information, call Borth at 906-285-9022 or check his Facebook site.

Whatever you need for your building project, from top–roofing shingles, to bottom–hardwood flooring, inside–drywall, to outside–sidings, decking, garage doors and more–Pukall Lumber has it all! Stop by or give us a call, we’re here to help. WE OFFER CABINETRY FOR ANY BUDGET.

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Scandinavian decor offers clean, modern look

(BPT) – As homeowners look for ways to refresh their spaces, Scandinavian style has become ever more prominent and popular among designers and interior decor experts. The clean, modern, minimalist aesthetic shows up in interiors and exteriors, from streamlined furniture to low-maintenance landscaping. Here’s how to achieve a Nordic look in your own home:

“Slow design� and minimalist decor Perhaps the most common association with Scandinavian style is minimalist decor. Less is more when it comes to decorating, and the concept of “slow design� focuses on fewer, higher

quality pieces collected over time.

Melding indoors and out Scandinavian style incorporates materials that meld indoors with outdoors - natural woods, slat walls, leather accents and greenery. “Cottage culture� architecture style draws on these influences and makes interiors feel like cozy cabins in the woods. Functional furniture: Storage and good looks Another key aspect of the Nordic style is hardworking, functional furnishings. A piece can be beautiful and also have utility - like eye-catching shoe racks and shelving, or built-in bed storage that creates a unique frame.

Cool, natural tones and light woods in flooring Scandinavian style incorporates natural tones of whites, grays and light browns. Pale wood and whitewashed floors create a clean, spacious look. That look can be achieved with oak and maple styles, as well as wood-look tiles and laminates


with wood graining. Retailers like Lumber Liquidators, who regularly publish seasonal trends reports, have an array of cooltoned flooring options to choose from, such as Dream Home X2O Misty Morning Oak, a waterresistant laminate with a soft seashell tone and realistic oak graining.

If homeowners want to be on trend with Scandinavian style in their home, the key is updating with clean, modern and lighttoned accents. Functional furniture will help you organize your space and efficiently use the room. Finish off the room with sunny wood grain flooring and your Nordic look is complete.

2018 remodeling trends that boost your home’s value

(BPT) – Remodeling can add value to your home while also making it more livable, but not all remodeling projects are created equal. While the choice to remodel is individual, there are many studies that show some projects return more on your investment than others. Fortunately, some of 2018’s leading remodeling trends also have great ROI. Bathroom additions Adding a bathroom can add comfort and convenience for current homeowners, plus catch the eye of potential buyers. A bathroom addition recoups about 60 percent of the cost, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value report. A top trend in 2018 is adding bathrooms to unique spaces, meaning not letting existing plumbing limit your options. This

might include adding a small powder room on the main floor or adding a full bathroom to the basement where there is no current drainage.

Home exterior updates You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and this is true for houses as well. With this in mind, homeowners are focusing their efforts on the house exterior in 2018. Some exterior remodeling projects can be costly and time-consuming, such as replacing siding and windows or redoing landscaping. To get a big visual bang for your buck with great ROI, consider replacing your garage door. The average garage door replacement job cost is $3,470, according to the Cost vs. Value report, plus it has a whopping 98 percent cost recouped at resale.

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Some of the most popular technological enhancements for the home include smart lighting controls that

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Spring Home Improvement 2018  
Spring Home Improvement 2018