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REGISTER-PAJARONIAN s 4HURSDAY s &EBRUARY   — 0AGE 


0AGE  ˆ REGISTER-PAJARONIAN s 4HURSDAY s &EBRUARY  

Mercury Metals in Watsonville works in all things metal Versatile shop builds variety of metal projects By ERIK CHALHOUB OF THE REGISTER-PAJARONIAN

Mercury Metals’ motto, “If you can draw it, we can build it,” describes the shop perfectly. “I open the door and it’s a new job everyday,” said Eugene Milburn, owner of Mercury Metals. Milburn, who took ownership of the shop with his wife Cheryl in January 2007, said the shop sees nearly every type of metal work project possible, from home projects such as countertops, sinks and spiral staircases, to commercial jobs such as food processors and waste water facilities from Carmel to Santa Cruz. The shop also does a lot of repair work, Milburn said, such as tractors. “There’s nothing we haven’t done,” Milburn said. Mercury Metals has a full machine shop, with computer numerical control and manual mills. The shop also has a press brake, which serves as a 90-ton press, among other equipment. Mercury Metals works in all types of metals, including aluminum, stainless steel, copper and brass. The shop has 10 employees. Milburn’s daughter Brook works in the office and welds, and son Andrew works in the machine shop and powder coats. Mercury Metals recently began a powder coating business, Grizzly Powder Coating, in Santa Cruz, to work alongside the metals shop. Any task that walks in the door will receive attention in a timely manner, Milburn said, adding that Mercury Metals always puts its customers first. sss Mercury Metals is located on 169-2 West Beach St. in Watsonville. For information, call 7688045. Grizzly Powder Coating is located on 397 Coral St. #B in Santa Cruz. For information, call 818-1593.

Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian

Bill Nelson uses a 90-ton press brake to fold a piece of galvanized steel Monday at Mercury Metals.

On the cover

Spiral staircase by Mercury Metals.

Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian

Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian

Eugene Milburn, owner of Mercury Metals in Watsonville, demonstrates how to use a computer numerical controlled mill Monday.

Alex Solis uses a grinder to shape a small metal ring.


REGISTER-PAJARONIAN s 4HURSDAY s &EBRUARY   — 0AGE 

Homeowners’ emphasis on energy efficiency grows

(ARA) — Even in a volatile economy, homeowners are making home upkeep a priority. While the number of projects annually had been on the decline in recent years, a study from BuildFax, a resource for building, remodeling and repair information, found remodeling activity was up in 2011 over 2010. Additional data shows homeowners are opting to invest in what matters most with projects that benefit their wallets, personal comfort and the environment. Know the facts Before buying anything, shoppers are taking time to learn

more about the products they put in their homes. For one in four consumers, knowing and understanding what makes up general household products is important. As options continue to increase, this attention to research is key to finding efficient products that offer maximum value. For instance, homeowners will find that a few newer home insulation products that help provide greater energy efficiency also boast new sustainable formulations. Owens Corning EcoTouch insulation is made from 99 percent natural materials, contains a minimum of 58 percent recycled content

and is verified formaldehyde free. Energy-efficient essentials According to the 2010 Home Improvement Research Institute Trends Program Report, reducing household energy usage and bills through energyefficient improvements continues to be the No. 1 reason homeowners make home improvements. That same report also indicated six out of 10 consumers need help identifying what they can do to be more environmentally conscious. “Now is the right time to make efficiency improvements around the home because homeowners

will see an immediate impact on their monthly utility bills, and will reap even greater benefits in the long term,” says Frank O’Brien-Bernini, chief sustainability officer at Owens Corning. “According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings use more energy in the United States than either transportation or industry, accounting for the consumption of 40 percent of our nation’s energy resources. On a more granular level, the primary use of energy in a home is for heating and cooling. In many homes, excessive energy is wasted through poorly sealed and insulated attics, walls and

ductwork — all problems that can be solved by handy do-ityourselfers or through experienced contractors.” The Home Improvement Research Institute reports roughly one in three homeowners plans to purchase more energy-efficient doors, windows or HVAC systems in the coming year. Sealing all openings around doors and windows can help homeowners make the most of their investment. Air ducts should also be inspected to ensure they are clean, are free of leaks and holes and direct air to the right spaces. Recycling 101 While recycled content is commonly focused on, recyclable materials are also important. Often with home improvement projects, old materials are thrown out and replaced with the new. What many homeowners may not know is that many building materials and appliances are recyclable. Recycling is a better solution for the environment, and may be less costly than taking material to a landfill. “There are more recyclable materials on and in a home than you might first assume. Millions of tons of shingles torn off from roofs end up in our country’s landfills each year. Fortunately, the technology now exists for all those shingles to be recycled instead,” says O’Brien-Bernini. “In 2009, Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt, LLC formed an alliance with Heritage Environmental Services to create a Shingle Recycling Program with roofing contractors to make recycling convenient, cost-competitive and differentiating and have since recycled more than 90,000 tons of asphalt shingles.” Homeowners looking for more information about shingle recycling and other types of recycling can turn to Earth911. com, with whom Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt, LLC recently also formed an alliance. The site hosts the largest and most accurate recycling directory in North America and provides information about what materials can be recycled as well as lists of recyclers in local markets. For more tips on efficient home improvements, visit www.OwensCorning.com.


0AGE  ˆ REGISTER-PAJARONIAN s 4HURSDAY s &EBRUARY  

Make your home stand out with new exterior trim

(ARA) — With the housing market showing its first signs of improvement in years, many homeowners hope to attract interested buyers this spring. Replacing old or damaged exterior trim is a great way to freshen up your home today and make it stand out among others tomorrow. After location and price, curb appeal is one of the top factors for choosing a home. Curb appeal sells 49 percent of all homes, according to the National Association of Realtors. In fact, even before putting your home on the market, your realtor often will recommend ways to make it look its very best from the street. The evaluation process starts as soon as buyers pull up. “Exterior trim that is cracked, rotted, peeling or falling apart gives a bad first impression,” says Bob Merrill, president and CEO for Chicago-based CMI, which makes MiraTEC Treated Exterior Composite Trim. “Homes with beautiful exterior trim have that wow factor that attracts buyers. Making a good

first impression can be the difference between getting a signed contract and keeping the ‘For Sale’ sign in the yard.” Inspect your trim Spring is an ideal time to inspect your home’s exterior trim. Walk around your house and look at the trim around your windows and doors, at the corners, and near the roofline. Warning signs of potential problems include peeling or blistering paint, green algae, warped boards, and spongy or soft spots. Check for termite damage too; they cause more damage to U.S. homes than fire, floods and storms combined. If the trim is damaged beyond repair, the only solution is replacement. Depending on your carpentry skills, replacing exterior trim can be a do-ityourself project, but it is often best to hire a local contractor or remodeler. One option that has become a preferred choice among homebuilders and remodelers is a treated exterior composite trim called MiraTEC. This engineered wood trim is

ideal for nonstructural applications, such as roofline fascia, window and door trim, corner posts and porch trim. Find the right trim Although traditional wood trim often looks good when installed, it can split and swell, and is prone to knots and defects. Other materials, like PVC and fiber cement trim, may be difficult to install and also have performance limitations. With a clear cedar, woodgrain texture on one side and a contemporary smooth finish on the other, MiraTEC trim is ideal for many home styles from historic to modern. It looks and handles like wood, and is coated with a mildewresistant primer, making it easy to paint. MiraTEC is very durable and it resists moisture, rot and termites. Before you put your house on the market, take a good look at your exterior trim. If it doesn’t look inviting at first glance, replacing it now could help make your home stand out on the block. To learn more, visit www.miratectrim.com.

169-2 West Beach St., Watsonville 768-8045 sales@mercmet.com


REGISTER-PAJARONIAN s 4HURSDAY s &EBRUARY   — 0AGE 

Small, quick repairs have a big impact on your home’s curb appeal — and value

(ARA) — As the weather continues to warm, you might be thinking about some of the home improvement projects you put on the back burner during the winter. As you once again consult your to-do list, it’s the perfect time to think about a few small projects that can greatly enhance your home’s curb appeal. Where does a smart homeowner start? The answer: Begin with a few small projects that are guaranteed to greatly enhance your home’s curb appeal. Whether you’re preparing to sell your home, or are simply trying to protect your investment and make it easier on the eyes, there are a few common improvements that can give the exterior of your home a quick and easy facelift. Start with the driveway Repaving or reconstructing your driveway entirely can be a time consuming and expensive task, but for most homeowners, this can be avoided with some annual maintenance. If you neglect your driveway, cracks can quickly grow into potholes, which can cause it to lose its aesthetic appeal and pose a safety concern. A few hours work each year can greatly extend the life of your driveway.

Sakrete U.S. Cold Patch is a reliable option for every type of driveway repair because it can be used during all seasons and has a much longer shelf life — up to five years — than most pothole re-

HHI

HARGIS HOME IMPROVEMENTS All Phases of Remodeling and Repairs

www.hargishomeimprovements.com

pair products. Because it’s made without kerosene, there’s no odor or mess, yet it’s strong enough to win praise from road repair professionals and contractors alike. Using a product like U.S. Cold

All phases of remodeling and repairs. Improving Homes and Lifestyles Since 1981. 722-6104

CA State Lic. #508203

WATER STREET STEREO 125 Hangar Way, Suite 140, Watsonville, Ca 95076 phone: 831.427.1604 email: info@waterstreetstereo.com web: waterstreetstereo.com

Patch is simple: You just sweep the area, pour in the patching mixture and roll over it with a car tire. However, it is important that you completely fill the affected area and tamp it well to prevent future

damage during freezing and thawing. More information on repairing cracks and potholes can be found at www.uscoldpatch.com. In addition to maintaining your driveway, here are a few other projects that can greatly contribute to your home’s curb appeal: s !DD SOME LANDSCAPING FEAtures along the edges of your driveway. This adds a point of distinction between the pavement and your lawn, giving it a more inviting look. s #HECK YOUR MAILBOX FOR winter wear. If it’s seen better days, consider replacing it. Otherwise landscaping around your mailbox can add extra appeal. If you live in a colder region, be sure to use resilient plants, as this area can take a beating from the snowplow. s 2EPLACE YOUR HOUSE NUMBER and worn hardware on the front door, and consider a fresh coat of high-gloss paint on the door in a classy color, such as black. s%ARLY SPRING IS AN EXCELLENT TIME to trim trees and other vegetation before they begin to sprout leaves. It’s easier on your plants, and it’s easy to identify branches that need to be trimmed.


0AGE  ˆ REGISTER-PAJARONIAN s 4HURSDAY s &EBRUARY  

Easy seasonal changes refresh and revive your home

(ARA) — Spring’s new growth and warm sunshine provide inspiration for renewal in our lives. It’s a time to pack away the sweaters and boots for lighter layers and brimmed hats. Homeowners should embrace this same mindset — one where you pack away the heavy textures and colors of winter in favor of breezy fabrics and fun decor that inspire a fresh feeling in your house. Break out of the winter gloom by making some simple changes to your home with bright, fresh decor. Here are the top trends in interior decorating that capture the optimistic feeling of springtime, without having to spend a lot of time or money. 1. Color your world happy To uplift your mood and give your home a new personality, color should be the first thing you address. Paint is an easy and affordable way to dramatically change a living space. Spring’s hot color palette includes rich hues of blue and turquoise, vibrant pink and orange tones, and soft greens and neutrals. Visit your local Lowe’s for inspiration from the paint color studio that allows

do-it-yourselfers to identify the “hot” paint colors of the season and even pick up samples of each hue to try at home. Feeling adventurous? Dabble in some vibrant shades inspired by the flora and fauna in your region. Love the bright red of blooming tulips? How about the rich blue of the sky at the noon hour? Try picking one thing and paint it that bold color - a single wall, a door,

or even a piece of furniture. Watch as the entire room suddenly comes to life. 2. Mix in light and fresh decor Making small changes to your home’s decor is a great way to refresh the interior, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money. Window treatments are a great place to start - replace dense fabrics with airy options that beg to blow in the warm breeze. Next, store away existing rugs and replace with ones that feature bright colors or botanical designs. Dark accent pillows can be replaced with fluffy, colorful options that add life to dated couches and chairs. Seasonal decor changes are simple and can be swapped out year after year. 3. Bring the feeling of “green” indoors The buds and blooms of spring are a big reason it’s such an inspirational season, and houseplants are a great tool for awakening that sense of nature and bringing the outdoors inside. Houseplants make any room look more luxurious, and they are natural air cleaners, awakening the senses

of spring’s fresh air. Good, lowmaintenance indoor houseplants include the peace lily, spider plant and snake plant. Interior decor can also reflect the natural feeling that indoor plants provide. Coordinate pieces that feature nature’s elements, such as a leaf motif on a lamp shade or a beach scene on a piece of wall art. These elements, while subtle, will work together to provide a seamless update to any drab decor. 4. Cut the clutter Of course any home refresh is not complete without some cleaning. Don’t let spring cleaning overwhelm you — start small and go through any clutter, sorting into piles to use, store, give away and throw away. A good dusting goes a long way too, so be sure to hit all the surfaces with a damp cloth. Shine up mirrors, which will reflect that beautiful spring sunshine to brighten and enlarge the feeling of the room. To stay on top of your organization and home management, create a MyLowe’s profile at www.lowes. com/mylowes. While there, you can create a virtual version of your home for easy project planning.

You can add items you need or save ideas that inspire you to your profile for easy reference, making it simple to keep track of your to-do list. Millions of people are currently using the program to make home project management simple. Changing your home to reflect the seasons is easy with a few basic steps and a little creativity. Remember to embrace the feeling of spring, and the inspiration will come naturally.


REGISTER-PAJARONIAN s 4HURSDAY s &EBRUARY   — 0AGE 

Choose the right homeowner’s insurance for your lifestyle

(ARA) — Are you a first-time home buyer? An established homeowner? An empty nester? Whatever stage of life you’re in, it pays to make sure you have the right insurance — and you’re not paying for coverage you don’t need. Homeowner policies can be customized to fit to your lifestyle, so you’re not automatically paying for coverage on home upgrades you don’t have, such as security systems, expensive jewelry or antique collections, says Charles Valinotti, senior vice president with insurer QBE. He says regardless of lifestyle stage, there’s one type of coverage

everyone should have — insurance to replace possessions in their homes. “If the home is destroyed, contents will be replaced at today’s value.” Here’s a summary of other essential insurance coverage to fit your lifestyle: When you’re new to homebuying You’ve closed the deal on your biggest purchase yet and you need sufficient protection, even though you don’t have many belongings. You’ll need insurance for the structure of your home, as well as against common disasters, such as fire, severe storms, vandalism and theft. Extra liability insurance is a good idea in the event some-

one is hurt in your home. “Remember to add coverage as you make improvements costing more than $5,000 or add TVs, computers, stereos and furniture to your home’s inventory,” says Valinotti. When you’re an established homeowner You’ve moved into a home that fits your family’s needs and is filled with belongings you’ve acquired — such as family heirlooms, artwork and expensive jewelry or rugs — that typically aren’t covered by a basic homeowner’s policy. Make a home inventory video to document your personal property and keep the video in a safe place away from

your home, like in a bank safety deposit box. “Established homeowners should consider buying an insurance policy ‘floater’ or ‘rider’ to cover these special items,” Valinotti says. When you’re an empty nester Not only have your children moved out to work or attend school, you’ve scaled down your lifestyle. Valinotti suggests that now is the time to reassess the value of your home and your possessions. “If your children have taken their things with them, such as furniture, laptops or televisions, you may need less coverage than you did before,” he says. Thinking about

Watsonville

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starting a home business now that the kids are gone? If you work at home, you may need a supplemental liability policy that covers your work-related activities. If you decide that you’re finished with your homeowner responsibilities and want to rent an apartment or condominium, remember: You still need insurance coverage. Valinotti recommends talking with your insurance agent about what protection is essential for your specific stage of life. “That way, you’ll be sure to have enough coverage to return to your current lifestyle should you experience a major loss,” he says.


0AGE  ˆ REGISTER-PAJARONIAN s 4HURSDAY s &EBRUARY  

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