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n o s Sea SPRING 2014

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A supplement to the Kent and Auburn Reporter KENT

AUBURN~ .com



EnergyEfficient Window Treatments



You can choose window treatments or coverings not only for decoration but also for saving energy. Some carefully selected window treatments can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Window treatments, however, aren’t effective at reducing air leakage or infiltration. You need to caulk and weatherstrip around windows to reduce air leakage. AWNINGS Window awnings can reduce solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows. You can use an awning to shade one window or have an awning custom-made to shade the entire side of your house. In the past, most awnings were made of metal or canvas, which need to be re-covered every five to seven years. Today, awnings are made from synthetic fabrics such as acrylic and polyvinyl laminates that are water-repellent and treated to resist mildew and fading. Whatever the fabric, you should choose one that is opaque and tightly woven. A light-colored awning will reflect more sunlight.


Awnings require ventilation to keep hot air from becoming trapped around the window. Grommets (eyelets) or other openings along the tops and sides of an awning can provide ventilation. The awning may also open to the sides or top to vent hot air.

The 2014 Spring Home Improvement is a special section published May 30, 2014 by the Kent Reporter and Auburn Reporter. Publisher: Advertising:

You can roll up adjustable or retractable awnings in the winter to let the sun warm the house. New hardware, such as lateral arms, makes the rolling up process quite easy.

Polly Shepherd Tamie Beitinger, Marie Skoor, Nicole Schultes, Carol Bower Julie Black

Cover & Layout:


BLINDS Window blinds—vertical or horizontal slattype—are more effective at reducing summer heat gain than winter heat loss.


r You








INTERIOR BLINDS Because of the numerous openings between the slats, it’s difficult to control heat loss through


May 30, 2014

During summer days, you should close draperies on windows receiving direct sunlight to prevent heat gain. Studies demonstrate that medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gains by 33%. Draperies also stay cooler in the summer than some other window treatments because their pleats and folds lose heat through convection. When drawn during cold weather, most conventional draperies can reduce heat loss from a warm room up to 10%. Therefore, in winter, you should close all draperies at night, as well as draperies that don’t receive sunlight during the day. To reduce heat exchange or convection, draperies should be hung as close to windows as possible. Also let them fall onto a windowsill or floor. For maximum effectiveness, you should install a cornice at the top of a drapery or place the drapery against the ceiling. Then seal the drapery at both sides and overlap it in the center. You can use Velcro or magnetic tape to attach drapes to the wall at the sides and bottom. If you do these things, you may reduce heat loss up to 25%. Two draperies hung together will create a tighter air space than just one drapery. One advantage is that the room-side drapery will maintain around the same temperature as the interior space, adding to a room’s comfort. HIGH-REFLECTIVITY FILMS High-reflectivity window films help block summer heat gain. They are best used in climates with long cooling seasons, because they also block the sun’s heat in the winter. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE



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DRAPERIES A drapery’s ability to reduce heat loss and gain depends on several factors, including fabric type (closed or open weave) and color. With such a wide variety of draperies available, it’s difficult to generalize about their energy performance.



EXTERIOR BLINDS Exterior roller blinds are usually made of wood, steel, aluminum, or vinyl. They’re mounted above the window, and side channels guide them as they’re lowered and raised. When you lower these blinds completely, their slats meet and provide shade. If partially raised, the blinds allow some air and daylight to enter through windows.



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interior window blinds, but the slats offer flexibility in the summer. Unlike shades, you can adjust the slats to control light and ventilation. For example, when completely closed and lowered on a sunny window, highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45%. They can also be adjusted to block and reflect direct sunlight onto a light-colored ceiling. A light-colored ceiling will diffuse the light without much heat or glare.


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a room while blocking some direct radiation. However, they won’t provide much insulation against heat loss in the winter.


The effectiveness of these reflective films depends on: • Size of window glazing area • Window orientation • Climate • Building orientation • Whether the window has interior insulation

Solid shutters will decrease both heat loss and summer heat gain. These insulating shutters consist of wood panels, a vapor barrier, and sometimes a decorative covering. If you fit them tightly against a window frame, they’ll provide an insulating air space between the shutter and the window.

Silver, mirror-like films typically are more effective than the colored, more transparent ones. East- and west-facing windows, because of their greater potential for heat gain, can benefit more from these films. North-facing windows won’t benefit from them, and south-facing windows may benefit somewhat, but the benefit could be offset by the reduction of heat from the winter sun.

You can combine shutters with other window treatments such as draperies for greater insulating ability. STORM PANELS A storm panel added to a single-pane window can reduce winter heat loss by as much as 50%. They are also less expensive than double-glazed windows. You can add them to the exterior or interior side of windows.

These films have some overall disadvantages: • Loss of interior light or visible transmittance • Impaired outside visibility • Extra care required for cleaning • Reflections These reflective films are available to apply yourself over existing windows. Some window manufacturers also make reflective glazing or glass. INSULATED PANELS An insulating window panel or pop-in shutter typically consists of a core of rigid foam board insulation. You can push or clip it into the interior of a window. The panels are made so that their edges seal tightly against the window frame. Seals can be made from magnetic tape or Velcro. No hardware, such as hinges or latches, is required. Insulating window panels have R-values between 3.8 and 7. They are also fairly inexpensive, whether you buy a kit or make your own, but you will need space to store them when they’re not in use. MESH WINDOW SCREENS Mesh window screens can diffuse solar radiation, reducing heat gain in the summer. Screens should be mounted in an exterior frame and should cover entire windows. They are particularly effective on east- and west-facing windows.

The awnings on this home shade the windows and generate electricity. | Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/jhorrocks

one of the simplest and most effective window treatments for saving energy.

can help reduce heat gain and loss in your home.

Shades should be mounted as close to the glass as possible with the sides of the shade held close to the wall to establish a sealed air space. You should lower shades on sunlit windows in the summer. Shades on the south side of a house should be raised in the winter during the day, then lowered during the night.

Interior shutters need a clear space to the side of the window when they’re opened. They also require hardware that is fastened to the window jams or trim. Properly designed exterior shutters may provide the best possible window insulation system. They offer several advantages:

For greater efficiency, use dual shades—highly reflective (white) on one side and heat absorbing (dark) on the other side—that can be reversed with the seasons. The reflective surface should always face the warmest side—outward during the cooling season and inward during the heating season, and they need to be drawn all day to be effective. Quilted roller shades and some types of Roman shades feature several layers of fiber batting and sealed edges. These shades act as both insulation and air barrier, and control air infiltration more effectively than other soft window treatments.

OVERHANGS Properly sized and installed roof overhangs can most effectively shade south-facing windows from the summer heat. If oriented properly, overhangs will allow the sunlight in through the windows during the winter, providing more warmth to a house.

PLEATED OR CELLULAR SHADES Several manufacturers have designed two- or three-cell pleated or cellular shades with dead air spaces, which increase their insulating value. These shades, however, provide only slight control of air infiltration.

SHADES When properly installed, window shades can be

SHUTTERS Window shutters—both interior and exterior—

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• Weather protection • Added security • No use of interior space • No thermal shock to windows if left closed Exterior shutters must be integrated into your home’s architecture. Their mounting, drainage, and hinging will require special consideration, and it’s easier to address these design issues in new construction. Most exterior shutter systems include a mechanical crank, rod, or motor to allow operation from indoors. This can help encourage daily use of the shutters, and may be required by local fire codes. Roll-down metal exterior shutters are often used as protection against storms and/or vandalism. While metal shutters provide protection against these hazards, they don’t provide much of a barrier against air infiltration and heat. Like window blinds, louvered shutters work best for summer shading. Movable or fixed louvers allow ventilation and natural daylight to enter

Heat-shrink film, however, doesn’t wrinkle. This type of flexible film adheres tightly against the seal as it’s heated using a hair dryer. Interior storm window panels should go up before the heating season and come down before the cooling season. They are more useful for windows with awnings or for those that crankout, where it’s difficult to use an exterior storm window panel. Unlike exterior storm window panels, interior panels don’t have to be custom-made to fit windows, though custom-made ones are available from some window suppliers. Therefore, interior panels usually cost less. You can purchase interior panel kits from building suppliers or hardware stores.

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INTERIOR PANELS Interior storm window panels consist of flexible (like polyethylene) or rigid plastic. Rigid plastic panels are typically mounted using Velcro, magnetic, or snap-in seals. You can easily install the flexible type in window frames using snap-in retainer seals or double-faced tape. Despite their ease of installation, interior panels are usually not as clear as their rigid counterparts. Flexible panels may also wrinkle or sag after installation.

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EXTERIOR PANELS There are two types of exterior storm window panels: single and combination. Single storm panels are made of glass, rigid plastic, or plastic sheeting. You typically put them up in the fall and take them down in the spring. A combination panel consists of two windowpanes and a permanent screen over the window. In the summer, you can slide one of the panes up and the screen down for ventilation. Exterior storm window panels need to be custom-made.



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Tips to Start Composting for Your Garden (StatePoint) It doesn’t matter if you’re a gardening novice trying to supplement your dinner table with some home-grown veggies or an entrepreneur that earns a living off the land, composting is a simple way to go green and help save the environment. You don’t have to be an environmentalist to compost, either. Compost, which is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled and used for fertilizing soil, is great for your garden and will help reduce landfill waste. In addition, composting in your home garden will help you save money. Composting can help improve the quality of your garden. “Using compost means crop,” says Brett L. Markham, author of your garden will be more “The Mini Farming Guide to Compostcost-effective because you will have to ing,” the latest in his Mini Farming book spend less on fertilizers, insecticides, series. and fungicides for a given harvest of any

Across the country people are embracing the concept of self-sufficiency and preparedness, “mini farming” anywhere, from rooftop urban gardens to suburban backyards to larger land plots. Growing food is easier than ever and composting is a huge part of this movement. Markham, who also has written the bestselling “Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre” as well as mini farming guides to fermenting and vegetable gardening, offers these gardening tips to get started on composting: • Composting is a natural form of recycling, so use food waste, grass clippings, coffee grounds and even paper as compost. Just be sure to shred the paper first to speed up the process. • Start your compost pile in a convenient spot, and make sure it is semi-shaded and well-drained. • Add bulking agents such as wood chips to accelerate the breakdown of organic materials, allowing the finished material to fully stabilize and mature through a curing process. Add leaves, straw, or hay along with grass clippings or green manures for plenty of bulk.

• Each layer should be no more than two inches so that the grass clippings or leaves don’t get matted down to form a layer impermeable to air. • Keep the compost moist. Either water it yourself or let rain take care of it. The compost should be moist, but not soaked. • Cover the compost pile to help retain moisture and heat. This will also help prevent the compost from being overwatered by the rain. • Turn the compost pile with a shovel or a fork to aerate the pile. It is important to water the pile as you turn it as well. Turning the pile adds oxygen to the compost which is necessary to get the most out of your pile. • Once you add the compost to your garden, you’ll be ready to start planting in two to five weeks! You can learn more about composting, mini farming, and self-sufficiency at www.   Composting is the first easy step to helping the environment while growing your own food. So make the most out of your garden, and start digging!

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Welcome One And All By Tresa Erickson Nothing says welcome home more than an inviting entrance. Take a step outside your front door. Does your entrance say welcome? Is the front door appealing? Is there a mat for people to wipe their shoes on? Is there a doorbell or doorknocker for people to let you know of their arrival? To find out just how welcoming your entrance is, pretend you are a visitor. What do you see? Take some photos. Things tend to look differently in photos. One of the easiest ways to dress up a home’s entrance is with paint. Could your front door use a new coat of paint? How about your porch? Before you get the old paint cans out of the garage, consider if it is time for an update. Instead of black or brown, maybe you could try a bolder color for your front door. Red, blue or green can make a real statement and pull visitors’ eyes immediately to your front door. Add some new hardware to your door and a new coat of paint on the porch floor, and your entrance will really pop. Lighting is a must in any entrance. Is your entrance well lit? If not, perhaps it’s time to add some lights, or at the very least, replace the ones you have. Exterior

The Countertop Dilemma

lighting comes in a wide range of styles and finishes. Brighter, more energy-efficient lighting will do wonders for your entrance and your pocketbook. Accessories are another good way to dress up an entrance. A welcome mat is a must to keep dirt out of the home. A wreath will help dress up any space, as will statuary and plants. Depending upon how large of a space you have, you might even be able to add some furniture. A bench works great for visitors needing someplace to rest their bags while they wait for you to answer the door. If you have a path leading up to your front door, you might want to examine that area too. Is there anything you can do to add interest, such as installing lighting or planting some flowers. Anything you can do to dress up the walkway will add to the welcoming feel of your home. There are hundreds of things you can do to make the entrance of your home more welcoming, and they don’t have to cost you a bundle. A new wreath or doormat can really perk up the space. For further ideas, browse online or consult a professional.

Quartz. Granite. Glass. Tile. Stainless steel. Laminate. The list goes on and on for countertop materials, overwhelming some homeowners and making it difficult for them to select the right one for their kitchen or bathroom. If you are in this boat, don’t despair. You can select the right countertop material with a few pointers. Of course, budget will play a big role in your decision. If you have some money to spend, you may be able to go with more costly options, like quartz or granite. If you are on a tight budget, you may want to concentrate on less expensive options, like tile, stainless steel and laminate. You must consider your lifestyle, too. Do you have children? Then you will want something that stands up to lots of wear and tear. Do you cook all of the time? Then you may want a material that could be found in a commercial kitchen. You should consider your personal preferences and design style as well. Do you like the look of stone? Then by all means, select granite or some other natural stone for your countertop material. Do you like the look of glass or stainless steel? Then, go for it! Once you have narrowed your choices, do your homework and research the materials you like. Find out what each costs and what restrictions are in place. Can you cut vegetables and put hot pans on the material without damaging it? Can you roll dough on it? Find out if the material is stain-proof and what kind of care it requires. Will the juice of acidic fruits stain the material? Does it have to be sealed? Granite is one of the most durable countertop materials available. You can cut foods on it, place hot pans on it and roll dough on it. It must be sealed from time to time, however, and costs quite a bit to install, unlike tile, which is relatively inexpensive. You cannot cut foods or roll dough on tile, and neither granite nor tile is stain-proof, unlike quartz, glass and stainless steel. Keep in mind as you are shopping that you can combine materials in your kitchen. You can use granite for the majority of your countertops, marble for the baking area and butcher block for the island. Of course, the more materials you use, the more likely the cost will rise. Shop for countertops with care. Do your homework and make the right choice for you. You will be living with your countertops for years to come, so don’t throw caution to the wind.

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Harder Than Granite By Tresa Erickson You’re in the middle of remodeling your entryway. Gone are the crusty old wallpaper, tarnished brass light fixtures and soiled carpet. In their place are a warm shape of taupe, classic rubbed bronze fixtures, and...well, you haven’t quite got to the flooring yet. You’re leaning toward tile, and your friends have suggested you go with porcelain tile. Unlike most other types of ceramic tile which are made of red or white clay fired in a kiln, porcelain tile is composed of special porcelain clays and minerals, including feldspar, and fired in a kiln at a higher pressure, making it exceptionally hard30% harder than granite to be exact. It is denser than other products, frost-proof and highly stain-, scratch- and water-resistant. Some lines are even slip-resistant. Virtually indestructible, porcelain tile can be used almost anywhere-low- and high-traffic areas indoors and out. It comes in a variety of styles

and colors. In fact, the color of porcelain tiles goes all the way through, unlike the color of traditional tile which is baked on. Porcelain tile comes in three basic finishes: matte, unglazed and highpolished. Unglazed porcelain tiles work best for outdoor applications and require sealing. Porcelain tile absorbs very little water, making it easy to care for. Once installed, porcelain tile floors require just an occasional sweeping and mopping. Spills may be wiped up easily with a damp cloth. Because it can withstand a lot of wear and tear, many people are now using porcelain tile in their homes and businesses. The tile has definitely gained in popularity in recent years, and you should give it a look before selecting tile for your entryway. It might just make the perfect fit for your foyer.

Seven Tips to Make Home Painting Projects Easier Painting your home yourself? Don’t be intimidated. “Whether you’re a rookie or an experienced do-ityourselfer, anyone can produce professional-looking results efficiently with the right techniques and tricks,� says home improvement expert Lou Manfredini, a regular contributor to NBC’s Today Show. Here’s seven tips to help make your home painting projects easier: 1. Even a steady hand is liable to make mistakes and drip. Protect your furniture and flooring with drop cloths. 2. Good masking is necessary for sharp, clean paint lines. Be sure to use tape designed to remove cleanly from the particular surface with which you’re working. 3. For a smoother finish, clean and dust the surfaces you’re painting and sand them down before getting started. 4. Don’t forget to wear a respirator to protect your lungs from fumes and sanding particles as well as safety eyewear, especially if you are painting overhead. 5. For wall repairs, skip traditional patching products as they’re susceptible to water absorption and liable to shrink, crack and flash, or show through the finished painted wall. 3M makes a spackling and primer in one that eliminates the need for priming called 3M Patch Plus Primer. 6. Paint separates over time, so always mix your paint when you open a can, and do so periodically as you go for better color and texture consistency. Always use higher quality paints for professional results. You get what you pay for. 7. Load rollers and brushes with the proper amount of paint. Too little paint will make you inefficient and too much paint will have you dripping. You’ll get a feel for the right amount of paint for your tools through a bit of trial and error. Without cutting corners, you can learn to paint your home yourself quickly and precisely. 




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May 30, 2014



expensive than polycarbonates. Although polycarbonates offer high impact resistance, some yellow with age.

A skylight can provide your home with daylighting and ventilation. When properly selected and installed, an energy-efficient skylight can help minimize your heating, cooling, and lighting costs.

More expensive skylights are usually glazed with glass. Glass is more durable than plastics and does not discolor. Glass used for skylights must be “safety glazing,” a generic term for both tempered and laminated glass. Tempered glass is the most impact resistant, and laminated glass is fabricated with a thin layer of plastic embedded near the center of the glass. Both keep the glass from breaking into large, sharp pieces. Skylights are often made with a tempered glass on the exterior side and a laminated pane on the interior side. This arrangement gives maximum impact resistance while protecting occupants from falling shards of glass.

SKYLIGHT DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS Before selecting a skylight for your home, determine what type of skylight will work best and where to place it to optimize its contribution to your home’s energy efficiency, daylighting, and ventilation. SELECTION It’s a good idea to understand the energy performance ratings of skylights so you can select your skylight based on the local climate and your home’s design. For labeling energy-efficient skylights, ENERGY STAR® has established minimum energy performance rating criteria by climate. These criteria don’t account for a home’s design, however, so if you’re building a new home or planning a major remodel, take advantage of the opportunity to incorporate your skylight design and selection as part of your whole-house design. The physical size of the skylight greatly affects the illumination level and temperature of the space below. As a rule of thumb, the skylight size should never be more than 5% of the floor area in rooms with many windows and no more than 15% of the room’s total floor area for spaces with few windows. You should also consider a skylight’s position if you want to maximize daylighting and/or passive solar heating potential. Skylights on roofs that face north provide fairly constant but cool illumination. Those on east-facing roofs provide maximum light and solar heat gain in the morning. West-facing skylights provide afternoon sunlight and heat gain. South-facing skylights provide the greatest potential for desirable winter passive solar heat gain than any other location, but often allow unwanted heat gain in the summer. You can prevent unwanted solar heat gain by installing the skylight

Skylights are located on the roof, so they can result in unwanted summertime solar heat gain | Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/PaulaConnelly and wintertime heat loss. Manufacturers use various glazing technologies to reduce these in the shade of deciduous (leaf-shedding) trees or adding a movimpacts, including heat-absorbing tints, insulated glazing, and able window covering on the inside or outside of the skylight. Some low-emissivity (low-e) coatings. Some manufacturers even install units have special glazing that help control solar heat gain. a translucent insulation material between several glazing layers to create a more thermally efficient assembly. GLAZING Skylight glazing is usually either plastic or glass, although other OPERATION AND USE glazing technologies may be used for solar heat control. Depending Most homeowners install skylights to provide daylighting and/or on the performance you expect from a skylight, you may choose ventilation. Recent developments in skylight design use sun-trackdifferent types of glazing for different skylight locations throughing, open-sided cylinders; large lens-like elements; or mirrored out your home. reflectors mounted adjacent to a conventional skylight to provide A skylight can provide lighting, ventilation, views, and sometimes emergency egress.

daylighting without daytime heat gain or nighttime heat loss. Such a skylight may connect to a mirrored pipe or “light pipe” with a diffusing lens that mounts on or is recessed into the ceiling of the room below. Most tubular skylights have this feature. These skylight designs do not, however, provide views or ventilation.

Plastic glazing is usually inexpensive and less liable to break than most other glazing materials. However, plastic surfaces scratch easily, and they may become brittle and discolored over time. Many plastics also allow most of the ultraviolet (UV) rays in (unless the glazing is coated with a special film), which increases fading damage to furnishings. Acrylics and polycarbonates are the most commonly used plastic glazing. Acrylics are weaker but less




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summer. Their small size also minimizes their impact on a home’s architecture.


Skylights can provide ventilation as well as light. Ventilating a building with an operable skylight releases the hot air that INSTALLATION naturally accumulates near the ceiling. Ventilating skylights usuEven the most energy-efficient skylight must be properly installed ally open outward at the bottom, and some units vent through to ensure that it achieve its energy performance, so it’s best to a small, hinged panel. Skylights may be have a professional install your skylight. In addiopened manually with a pole, chain, or tion to following the manufacturer’s guidelines, crank. Automated units with electric motors it’s also important to consider slope and moisture WHAT DOES THIS or pneumatic control during installation. MEAN FOR ME? devices are also available. Some models incorporate moisture sensors to automatically SLOPE close the skylight when it rains. Larger skyThe slope or tilt of the skylight affects solar heat • You can brighten your lights that can be used as emergency exits gain. A low slope will admit relatively more solar home and provide venare sometimes called “roof windows” and heat in the summer and less in the winter, exactly tilation by installing a are located within a few feet of the floor. the opposite of what is desirable. SHAPES Skylights are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most common shapes include rectangular, circular, oval, diamond, triangular, multi-sided, and tubular.

skylight. • Proper installation is important to a skylight’s energy performance.

Non-rectangular units usually use plastic glazing, but higher quality ones use glass. The glazing can be flat, arched, domed, pyramidal, or “warped plane”—flat on the low side and concave in section on the high side. Of these, the pyramidal, arched, and domed shapes offer flexibility for positioning, because their raised design allows light to enter from more extreme angles than flat or warped plane units.

As a general rule of thumb, you want to achieve a slope equal to your geographical latitude plus 5 to 15 degrees. For example, the optimum slope for a south-facing skylight in Columbus, Ohio, at 40o north latitude, is 45o to 55o. At least one skylight manufacturer makes a prefabricated, tilted base that increases the angle of a skylight above the roof. MOISTURE CONTROL Water leaks are a common problem with improperly installed skylights. Avoid water leaks by:

The slope or curvature of the glazing also helps to shed moisture and leaves. These skylight designs also do not require the additional framing needed to slope a flat skylight for proper drainage on flat or low-slope roofs.

• Mounting the skylight above the roof surface • Installing a curb (a raised, watertight lip that helps to deflect water away from the skylight) and flashing • Thoroughly sealing joints • Following the manufacturer’s guidelines

Tubular skylights are smaller than most other skylights. They consist of roof-mounted light or solar collectors, which increase their daylighting potential without the need to increase their size. Because the rooftop solar collector has a small surface area, tubular skylights minimize heat loss in the winter and heat gain in

It is also prudent to apply a layer of sheet waterproofing over the flanges/flashing of the skylight. This is generally installed under the finish roofing material as an aid in protecting against ice dams. Avoid water diversion devices such as roof crickets or diverter strips, as they often create more problems than they solve.

New Roof Needed By Tresa Erickson - When you bought your home some years ago, you gave little thought to the roof. It was in good condition, which the inspector confirmed, and that was the last time you gave it any thought until now. Time has taken its toll on your roof, and leaks have started to occur. You could patch it, but the best course of action would be to get a new roof. Depending upon where you live and the style of your house, your old roof could be made of various materials. Asphalt is the most common and can be found on roofs all over the country. Older, more rustic homes may have wood shakes, while Spanishand Italian-style homes may have clay tiles. If you live on the East Coast in a historic home, your roof may be slate. If you live in a Victorian or contemporary-style home, your roof may be metal. If you live on the beach, you may have a fiber cement roof, which can withstand the salty air and winds. In the majority of cases, homeowners select the same material for their new roof as before. That way, they can stay true to the style of their home. Sometimes, however, it may make better sense to switch materials. Although cheaper, asphalt would not look right on a Spanish-style house with an original tile roof. However, if you live in an older home with a slate roof, you may want to go for a less expensive asphalt roof, which is lighter and easier to maintain. To determine the route you should go, speak to your roofer. They should be able to advise you on the best choice of roofing material for your area and style of home. If you’re handy, you may be able to replace your roof yourself. Most homeowners, however, find that it is easier to hire a roofer. If you choose this option, make sure you shop around. Don’t select the first roofer you speak to. Get estimates and references and check them out. Find out exactly what is included in the estimate, how long the job will take and what you can expect. Select a roofer with experience who will do a quality job. Having a new roof installed can be expensive, so make sure you choose someone who will do it right the first time around. You don’t want to have to pay for additional repairs. You want your new roof to last a long time. Select the right roofing material for your home and the right professional for the job.


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May 30, 2014


Preventing Drainage Problems in and Around Your Home and Lawn



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(StatePoint) Drainage problems in and around your home are not just an eyesore, they can cause costly damage, health issues and “surprise” repair costs in the future. “The causes of excess water and flooding are numerous, and nearly every part of the country can be affected any time of year,” says Ryan Larsen, a civil engineer. “Luckily, you can take steps to prevent these issues from cropping up, as well as permanently solve current problems.” Known as “Dr. Drainage” at NDS, Inc, a nationwide leader in landscape drainage solutions, Larsen is offering timely tips for spotting and addressing home drainage issues: YOUR YARD Low points can easily turn into “water reservoirs,” forming muddy puddles that can potentially attract pesky insects and even destroy your lawn. If improperly addressed, this can eventually cause serious property damage. You can prevent lawn drainage and landscape drainage concerns by optimizing the grading of your yard. Additionally, consider replacing impermeable surfaces, such as concrete, with materials that can absorb water, such as a vegetable garden, or gravel. A catch basin can be added to collect excess rainwater and irrigation. Above all, it’s crucial to collect excess water away from the area and disperse it in a safe manner. Your best bet is to install a drainage system. BASEMENTS AND CRAWL SPACES Rainwater runoff from your roof or landscape soaks into the ground and often collects near your home against basement walls, crawl spaces, or in the soil beneath your home’s foundation. Basement and crawl space flooding can lead to mosquito

breeding, termite damage, dangerous mold and mildew growth, or worse, your foundation settling and cracking. Damp, musty smells and wet walls are signs that water is getting into your basement or crawl space. Don’t ignore the problem or attempt a quick-and-dirty solution that won’t correct the situation long-term. Certain temporary fixes can actually make the problem worse. Luckily, there are do-it-yourself drainage kits available, such as Flo-Well and EZ-Drain, which are usually better performing and easier to install than a traditional, gravel dry well or French drain. However, when dealing with more complex drainage issues, consider hiring a contractor. “Just be sure to check online ratings and references to ensure you’re going with someone qualified and experienced,” stresses Larsen. NEIGHBOR RUNOFF Water flows from higher to lower ground, so drainage problems are likely if your property is lower than neighboring properties. In general, neighbors are not responsible for water runoff onto your property unless alterations to their landscape have changed the natural flow of water. This unsuspecting threat can cause a variety of serious drainage problems. Larsen recommends visiting for free resources and videos, product recommendations, installation instructions, and links to local home improvement retailers where you can find the right tools. To speak to “Dr. Drainage,” directly, call 888-825-4716. Ignoring standing water in and around your home won’t make the problem disappear. By investing a moderate amount of time and money into smart home drainage solutions, you can help protect your property long-term.





DAN SCHULTZ 253-833-1041 License #BIGSKCI009CO 1053641


May 30, 2014



Kent Reporter | Auburn Reporter

Refreshing Reinventions By Tresa Erickson It is not uncommon for homes built in the 1970s to have paneled walls. Paneling was quite popular then, but not so much anymore. If you have paneling in your home, do not despair. You can reinvent it with a little elbow grease. Here are some ideas. Paint is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to reinvent wood paneling. You can go with any color you want, and depending upon the look you are after, you can fill the grooves or leave them unfilled. If you are looking to create stripes, for example, you might want to leave the grooves as are and use them as a guide to mark off the stripes. After a light sanding and cleaning, you will be all ready to prime and paint. If paint is not your thing, perhaps wallpaper is. Wallpaper comes in a variety of texture and patterns. You can use almost any wallpaper you want, and the prep work is fairly easy. Just fill the grooves with joint compound, sand, clean and apply liner or sizing and the wallpaper. Plaster is another option, but it will take some time to do. There are many types available for novices. For the best

results, you should prime the paneling, attach the metal lath and apply the plaster as recommended. Depending upon your needs, you can create a smooth, glossy finish or an earthy, flat finish. Love the look of your paneling? Keep it and give it an update with a new finish or new trim. You can sand, stain and varnish solid wood paneling just like you would any solid wood furniture piece. You can even use stencils and painter’s tape to create a pattern. Laminate wood paneling is a bit more difficult, but can still be sanded and stained. The stain may not penetrate evenly, however, so you might want to experiment in a corner first. You can create any number of patterns on paneling with molding. Just cut the trim, nail it to the paneling, putty the holes and paint or stain the trim as you see fit. None of these ideas appeal to you? Check online and at your local hardware store for further suggestions. And remember, if nothing appeals to you, you can always remove the paneling. Just be aware that what you uncover may not be in the best of condition. Installing new drywall can be time consuming and costly.

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Home Improvement - 2014  


Home Improvement - 2014