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Articles: Hiring A Contractor Reducing Heating Cost Trees More Than A “Green” Topic


From The Editor 5 Hiring A Contractor 9 Reducing Heating Cost 11 Trees 13 Home Decorating On A Budget 15 How To Change An Air Conditioning Filter 18 10 Reasons To Plant Trees...Now! 20 Buying Green Windows and Doors 22 Profiting From The Green Movement 24 Barter Is Smart Business 27 Interior Painting 101 30 Fixing A Leak 33 Time To Refinance Or Buy? 36 About Downtown Greenville 35 Buying Furniture 41 The Push For Greener Homes 44 Cleaning With Lemons 47 The Beauty of Modern Floor Finish Products 49 Staging Your Home For Success 51 Selling Your Home 54 Minor Cracks Become Big Headaches 57 South Carolina First 59

Contents


From The Editor Buy Local Promoting local business is as simple as having other company’s business cards or brochures posted on a board in your store. In an effort to promote your area, we are distributing decals that say “Check us out at www.HomeImprovement.sc,” in hopes that local shoppers will visit the site to find local restaurants, clothing, specials, coupons and more. We are doing our part, so please join us, and promote your local merchants, and everyone will benefit!

Buy

Top Ten reasons to Think Local Local - Be Local – Help Local Businesses

1. Buy Local -- Support yourself and South Carolina. Many studies have revealed when you buy from an independent, locally owned business in the your own area, rather than a nationally owned businesses, considerably more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses. Local businesses continue to strengthen the economic base of the local community. These include case studies showing that local owned businesses generate a premium in enhanced economic impact to the community and our tax base.

2.Support Local Area Community Groups:

Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller area business owners than they do from large companies.

3. Keep Your Area Unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun -- all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind local businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character. Local tourism businesses also benefit. “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” ~ Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust.

4. Reduce Environmental Impact: Locally owned businesses in your area can make more local purchases requiring less transportation. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.

5. Create Additional Jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in the community, provide the most jobs to local residents. 6. Receive Better Service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products and services they offer, and take more time to get to know customers. Cont. next page

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7.Invest

in Your Community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, and they are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.

8. Put

your

Taxes

to

Good Use:

Local businesses require a relatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering your area.

9. Buy What you Want, Not What Big Advertising Budgets Want you to Buy: A South Carolina marketplace comprised of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products and services based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, promises a much broader range of product choices.

10. Promote Local Prosperity: An escalating body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character. Larry Local Editor in Chief


CEO Dennis Stewart Editor In Chief Larry Local Creative Director Daniel Holliday Art Director Amy Coats Web Developers Matthew Coats Administration & Marketing Vivi Morillo Angie Woods

carolina media SERVICES

carolina media SERVICES

WWW.HomeImprovement.SC oNLINE mAGAZINE

Copyright Š 2009 Carolina Media Services. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. 3290 Ashley Phosphate Road Charleston, SC 29418 Phone: (843)720-9604 Fax: (843)725-4734 Info@HomeImprovement.sc www.HomeImprovement.sc


Important Tips on Hiring a Contractor Whether you are hiring a contractor for a major renovation, or a minor remodeling job, choosing the right contractor is the most important decision you will make. Take your time and be thorough. The initial call: As a homeowner, you can hire trades people directly, saving the markup that a general contractor charges for his services. But if you’re planning an extensive project, such as adding a room or entirely remodeling a kitchen, you’ll probably want a general contractor. Call several and pre-qualify them on the phone by asking the following four questions:  Can they handle your job and time frame?  Can they provide references of satisfied customers?  Do they have plenty of experience with jobs like yours?  Are they licensed and insured? If they answer “yes” to all of the above, request a meeting and ask them to bring along names and phone numbers of satisfied customers and, if possible, photographs of successful work. Interviewing general contractors: When the general contractor arrives, look for clues to his or her professionalism. Are they wearing a uniform or dressed appropriately for their trade? Is their truck well maintained? Does it have a permanent company sign on the door? During the meeting:  Discuss all of the work you intend to have done.  Review any plans or drawings you have.  Ask for suggestions about changes that might save you money.

 Ask the contractor how many jobs he or she may have ongoing at a given time, in order to get an idea of how much direct supervision your job will receive.  Ask for proof that he or she is licensed or certified and is insured against worker and liability claims.  Ask each contractor candidate to prepare a bid (a price quote) in writing for the job. This process often takes several days. Beyond the bids, there are still several important considerations that can make or break your project:  What is the chemistry between you (and your spouse) and the contractor. It’s crucial that you hire as a general contractor someone who will listen to what you say and with whom you can work out problems. If, during the selection process, misunderstandings repeatedly crop up between you and a contractor candidate, you’re probably better off hiring someone else.  How financially solvent is he or she? You can call bank or credit references to find out. If you get the impression that the contractor will be stretching to hold on from one payment to the next, this may spell future problems.  Again, be sure the contractor you choose is licensed, insured for worker’s compensation, property damage and public liability.  Don’t let price be your determining factor. Quality workmanship is the key to your satisfaction and well worth the money and time when it comes to your castle.


Money Saving Tips To Reduce Heating Costs If you live in South Carolina, heating costs take a big bite out of your monthly budget during the winter months. Due to the rapidly escalating costs of heating your home, you may be paying twice as much to heat your house as you did just 5 years ago. If you want to cut your heating costs significantly, try these money-saving tips: • Have an energy audit done on your house, identifying areas where heated air is leaking out. • Check around doors, windows, fireplaces, and other areas that may feel drafty. Use caulk, weather stripping, door sweeps, plastic, and other appropriate means to close off any leaks. • If your house is poorly insulated, adding additional insulation will pay for itself in reduced heating costs. • Minimize your use of ventilation fans such as bathroom fans and kitchen hood fans in winter. A bathroom fan can suck all the heated air out of the average house in little more than an hour. • Don’t heat areas of your house you don’t use regularly, such as guest rooms, and your finished rooms over the garage. Close heating vents or turn back thermostats in these rooms and close the doors for a reduction in heating costs. • Turn down the heat and use space heaters to heat the room you spend the most time in.

• Keep your furnace, heat pump, or other heating equipment in top operating condition. • Dirty filters reduce the efficiency of your furnace or heat pump. Poorly tuned units are inefficient and use more fuel. An annual maintenance agreement is well worth the money to ensure that your equipment is properly maintained and will last as long as possible. • Don’t turn your thermostat up above the desired temperature. It won’t heat up any more quickly and will make your furnace work harder. • Install a programmable thermostat to raise and lower the temperature at pre-set times. • Check the temperature setting on your hot water heater. If you have a dishwasher, your water should be heated to 120 degrees. • If your water heater is in an unheated space like an unfinished basement, wrap it in an insulation blanket to prevent heat loss. • Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. Most detergents are made for cold water. • Open the blinds and curtains on the sunny side of the house when the sun is shining and close them as soon as the sun goes down to retain the solar heat.


H2O: two parts Heart and one part Obsession. www.HomeImprovement.sc Online Magazine | 2009 12


Trees More than just a “Green” topic Every time development occurs, there goes the trees. This is the source of many debates, state laws, local ordinances, law suits, and public opinion. There have always been 2 aspects to the issue, the first being beautification, and the second is improving the environment. A third area we are learning more about is the economic impact the trees may have. Trees help to trap pollutants, like ash, pollen, smoke, and even dust. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful gases, and replenish the atmosphere with oxygen. Trees also reduce runoff of water from storms and help to reduce soil erosion. There is also no doubt that trees help save energy to both businesses and homeowners by keeping the surrounding areas cooler in the hot South Carolina summers, and also providing a windbreak in the winter.

What else do trees do ?

 Trees increase your property value.  Trees have a positive impact on tourism.  Trees have a positive impact on apartment rentals.  Trees have a positive impact on economic development. Several towns across South Carolina have taken steps to increase the community awareness of how trees have such a vital role in both beautification, while helping both the environment, and the economy. The town of Irmo has recently planted over 1,500 trees of different varieties, and part of the price was paid for by federal, state and local funding, as well as private donations. Since the town has been landscaped and added trees to its centrally located park, an office park, office complex, and townhomes have been built nearby. Maybe the saying “ If you build it, They will come” also now applies to trees!


Home Decorating on a Budget If you are looking to spruce up your home or even a room, and you don’t want to invest a lot of money, the following tips will help you do some affordable interior decorating.

1. Try rearranging the tables, chairs, and other furniture.

Pull the furniture away from the walls and position it at new, more inviting angles, and you may change the look and dimension of your room.

2. Attack your art. What was

in years ago, may be an eyesore today. If your room is large, make sure you art or pictures fit on the wall or in the surroundings.

3. Paint one wall your favorite accent color. The color can be as

bold or as subtle as you like. Just make sure the surrounding room complements the color. Now, hang a new picture or piece of art on the wall that has the same or similar colors. You’ll be amazed at how often your eye is drawn to that area of the room.

4. Bring plants inside. Plants always add a touch of newness to any room. If you don’t have a green thumb, silk plants and trees will do the trick as well. Look through some magazines to get ideas on using plants to decorate.


5. A new area rug is a great way to soften a room. Find one

that complements the room, but also has a touch of jazziness to it. Put it at an angle under a coffee table or dining room table.

6. Make a framed picture collage on the wall. If you have a few frames that don’t look good together, refinish or faux finish them.

7. Update your bathroom fittings/fixtures. By coordinating new bathroom fittings with your current fixtures and adding vanity lighting, you can completely change the appearance of your bathroom.

8. Light up your room with new lighting. You can mix and

match lamp bases and shades for a hip new lighting solution in any room.

9. Faux finishing a room is a great way to create a totally new look with little expense. Several finishes are available to

work in any room.

10. Depending on the size of your room, wallpapering and adding borders is a great alternative or addition to painting. Several types of wallpaper are available based on where it will be used.

11. Consider adding some additional crown trim. The cost of most trim is very reasonable, and if you are considering painting the room, why not add the additional touch.


The hours of folly are measured by the clock, but of wisdom no clock can measure. William Blake (1757-1827) www.HomeImprovement.sc Online Magazine | 2009 17


How to Change Your Air Conditioner Filters Changing the air filters in your home or office air conditioning units is one of the least expensive things you can do to maintain your cooling system. Dirt and air pollutants can damage your health and damage the equipment requiring expensive repair or replacement of the system. Follow these simple steps to change your air conditioner filter: Step 1: Locate your furnace and your air-conditioning unit, and the filter compartment. This compartment is normally covered by a strip of metal that slides in and out of place. You also may have filters in the ceiling or along walls throughout your house. Step 2: Determine the size of the air filters that need to be replaced. The sizes are noted on the side and usually appear as 16x24x1 inches and other similar sizes. This represents the length, width, and thickness of the filters. Step 3: Purchase replacement filter(s) in the sizes required for your system. There are a variety of filters to choose ranging from the inexpensive standard spun glass filters to pricier synthetic polyester fibers.

Step 4:Consider high efficiency filters if you live in warmer, dustier climates as they do more than just capture dust particles. The high efficiency filters can trap tiny particles of dust, pollen, mold and other irritants. Step 5: Use a black permanent marker when you change the filter. When you slide up the metal guard, note the direction of the air flow marked on the side of the old filter and draw arrows in the same direction on the metal guard. This way you will have no question which direction to insert the new filter. Step 6: Replace high efficiency filters at least 4 times per year. Read the manufacturer’s label as most recommend changing your air filter on a monthly basis. (High efficiency filters do have a longer life expectancy than the less expensive spun-fiber filters).

Step 7:Discard the old filter.

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In our lives there is bound to come some pain, surely as there are storms and falling rain; just believe that the one who holds the storms will bring the sun.


Buying Green Windows and Doors

The most important element to consider when selecting windows and doors is how they will affect the energy values of the home. If you are spending money to replace windows and doors, you should consider the long term costs associated with them. Making green choices for windows and doors can reduce your home’s impact on the outside environment and decrease the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your house. Over a number of years, these costs can be significant. In South Carolina, we have to deal with hot, humid summers, and cold winters. This makes your decision even more critical when buying windows and doors, when you are trying to conserve energy. Inefficient windows are one of the largest sources of heat or air-conditioning loss, because of their low insulating ability and high leakage rate. Installing energy efficient windows can help save 25 percent to 50 percent of the energy used to heat and cool homes. The most important factor is to look for windows and doors with Energy Star ratings, meaning the product has met strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy. Without these ratings, you cannot tell if the products you are buying are energy efficient. Windows and doors can warm or cool a home, letting heat in or out, depending on their age the amount of air that they let leak out. Installing new windows and doors can reduce the amount of cool or heated conditioned air released into the outdoors. Replacing windows and doors with innovative options can help cut utility bills and make your home more comfortable. Another way to minimize heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter is through sealing and insulation of your doors and windows. Insulation can be improved by inserting argon gas between panes, utilizing dual panes for windows and by using dual glazes on windows. This is not only a green practice, but it also will save you money on heating and cooling. Door Decision Help  Fiberglass doors are more energy-efficient and require less maintenance than some other materials.  To attain a properly functioning door, carefully choose the contractor who will install it. Installation is a stronger influence on how well a product functions than its brand name. Window Know How  High-performance windows will easily offset the carbon emissions associated with a higher carbon footprint.  Rebates, tax deductions or low- to no-interest loans for green remodeling may be available in your area. Consult with your local energy company, the state or federal governments or local accountants to uncover what is available in your area.  The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) rating measures the amount of heat from sunlight a window lets in. The U-factor is another calculation of how well heat moves through material; it is the measurement of the quality of insulation and its ability to prevent the movement of heat. Three Window Types  The first is less energy-efficient than Energy Star.  The second is a widely used, Energy Star-rated window, with a U-factor of 0.35 or lower. This type always has a low-e coating.  Less common is a high-performance window, which dramatically exceeds Energy Star ratings. The last category includes high-end brand names and could have up to three times the efficiency of Energy Star. Windows with a fiberglass frame and triple glazing fall into this last category.


Profiting From the Green Movement People in South Carolina are active in “going green” and doing their part to save the environment, save money and promote the local economy in the process. There are many green initiatives in the state from local blogs getting the word out to green businesses, green home builders and homes, recycling programs, as well as, organizations designed to promote South Carolina agriculture and SC products. Surely you have heard the buzz on going green and if you want to start getting involved and doing your part, here are some tips to get you started:

• Avoid letting your car idle - Every second you spend idling your car’s engine means needlessly wasting gas, as well as, adding wear and tear on your vehicle. Idling over 10 seconds wastes more gas than is needed for startup. Overall, Americans idle away 2.9 billion gallons of gas a year, worth around $78.2 billion.

• Turn off your computer -

Save energy and wear and tear on your machine by shutting down your computer when you are done using it and in the evenings before you leave work. You’ll save an average of

$90 of electricity a year. The Department of Energy recommends shutting off your monitor if you aren’t going to use it for more than 20 minutes, and the whole computer if you’re not going to use it for longer than two hours.

• Ask your power company about green

- More than half of all electricity consumers in the U.S. now have the option of purchasing green power from their local utility. Find out how you can purchase green power by visiting the Department of Energy’s state-by-state list of providers. You can also check with your own utility to see what’s available. Palmetto Clean Energy is a local South Carolina green energy program http://www.palmettocleanenergy.org/default.asp energy

• Keep sensible tabs on your thermostat -

It is to your benefit to pays to pay close attention to your thermostat, since most South Carolina households spend 50 to 70% of their energy budgets on heating and cooling. For every degree you lower the thermostat, you’ll save between 1% and 3% of your heating bill. Do the same thing in reverse with air conditioning.

• Wash your clothes in cold water

- An easy way to clean green is to turn the dial on your washing machine to cold. Most laundry loads do not require hot water, and 90% of the energy used by washing machines goes into heating the water. The higher the water temperature, the higher the cost to you and the planet.

• Enroll in online billing - Save natural resources, as well as late fees, by registering with online bill-paying options. Paperless billing not only saves trees; it also reduces the fossil fuel


needed to get all those billing envelopes from them to you and back again. Plus, you’ll save money on stamps.

• Get rid of junk mail - Approximately 100 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water are used to send junk mail to Americans annually. You can eliminate 75% of unsolicited mail by registering on the Mail Preference Service on the Direct Marketing Association website (for a fee of $1). Within 90 days, most unsolicited mail will stop. • Print on both sides of paper - Most software programs give the option

for double sided printing, but yet most still print only on one side of the page. Consider this: the U.S. alone uses 4 million tons of copy paper annually, about 27 pounds per person. Save dough and South Carolina landfills.

• Carpool! - If your commute to work is 25 miles each way and at least

half is in typical stop-and-go traffic, you’ll save roughly 10 percent of your monthly carbon emissions by carpooling. Not to mention saving money on gas!

• Buy Certified South Carolina produce - The Certified South Carolina

program is a new, exciting, cooperative effort among producers, processors, wholesalers, retailers and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) to brand and promote South Carolina products. Our goal is for consumers to be able to easily identify, find and buy South Carolina products.


There is hope for any man who can look in a mirror and laugh at what he sees www.HomeImprovement.sc Online Magazine | 2009 26


Barter Is Smart Business

Barter is a form of trade where goods or services are traded for other goods and/or services, without cash being exchanged. Barter normally replaces money as the method of exchange in times of monetary crisis, or when the currency is unstable and devalued by hyperinflation.

Raise Efficiency

What Are The Benefits of Barter? Barter Can Bring New Customers: This enables you to expand your market and maintain your cash-paying customers. Barter Conserves Cash: Barter generates new customers because buyers are encouraged to pay with their products or services and save cash. Simply put: If you had to make a purchase for $1000, would you rather write a check or pay with an equal amount of your product/service at its normal selling price to a new customer? Most businesses prefer to barter and keep cash. Barter Raises Profitability: Barter customers pay retail prices and fees, so you get the full value of your goods and services. Barter Moves Surplus Inventory: Retailers must keep their inventory moving and our customers

shop for the most up to date merchandise each season. Carolina Barter Exchange can deliver you buyers to move excess inventory, eliminating the advertising costs and heavy discounting otherwise needed to achieve this goal.

Service Business: Increase billable hours! If you are not at 100% capacity 12 months a year and you can handle new customers, Carolina Barter Exchange can help you fill your free time with new business opportunities. And now you will have trade dollars to purchase the products and services you need. Hotels: Suppose you have 10 vacant rooms at $100 a night and you need a new brochure for $1000. Barter provides a way for you to buy your brochure, fill your rooms (at your cost), and maintain your cash. Networking Increases Your Customer Base: Barter customers will bring you all the cash referrals that your current clients bring. You will increase new cash paying-customers, as long as you give your barter customers the same great services and pricing you offer everybody else.

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Get Virtually Anything! Recent year statistics: • The common dollar amount of commercial barter rose to $1,927. • Merchants accounted saving an average of $32,700 using barter and saw and average cash flow raise of 18%. • 1 in every six businesses participated in at least one barter transaction for the first time with intentions to do more in the future. • 1,845 new corporations had barter transactions surpassing $100,000. • 74% of all Fortune 500 companies utilized barter-up a whopping 14% from last year. • 93% of all small business owners (less than 25 employees) report trying barter with a positive result.

Carolina Barter Exchange (CBE) is the fastest growing barter company based in South Carolina. CBE has representation in all 46 counties including Charleston, Columbia, Hilton Head Island, Myrtle Beach, and Greenville. CBE is the fastest growing trade exchange in The Carolinas. CBE helps its member companies enhance their businesses through exchange of products and services instead of making cash disbursements. Some examples of the products and services we offer include: advertising, printing, travel and vacations, auto repairs, restaurants, caterers, art and custom framing, office equipment, medical treatment, computer services and more.


We’ve created entirely new cabana spaces. They’ll be totally furnished places to chill. David Simpson www.HomeImprovement.sc Online Magazine | 2009 29


Interior Painting 101 The key to painting your walls as cleanly and professionally as possible is to paint in an orderly, systematic way. Whether you’re painting a multi-paneled door or a flat expanse of wall, the painter needs to go about their task from one step to the next, with no shortcuts. In South Carolina, you need to be careful to use a primer that is mold resistant, as most of the state is subject to very humid weather about three fourths of the year.

Step 1

Sand the woodwork. Clean any dirty woodwork with a basic household cleaner then sand with a 120-grit sandpaper. This includes any old paint that might be present, as roughing the surface will allow the new paint to adhere. Sand any bare wood in order to remove uneven surfaces, level any wood filler and round off sharp edges. To sand a flat surface, press the sandpaper with your fingers so that the surface reaches into slight depressions that a sanding block might have missed. With moldings, use a sanding block or sponge that is soft enough to conform to the molding shape. When finished, dust the woodwork off with a cloth or soft old brush, then wipe with a clean cloth.

Step 2

Priming: For bare plaster walls, coat with an oil based or all purpose acrylic primer. Use a primer also on walls that are a darker shade than the one you will be applying. For drastic changes, such as from white to dark red or brown, use a shaded primer that has been tinted with a small percentage of your final color to avoid having to paint too many layers. Be sure to prime bare, sanded woodwork to ensure adhesion of the final coats. Allow the primer to dry overnight, then sand gently with 220-grit sandpaper. Clean again with brush and damp cloth before applying the final coats.

Step 3

Fill in holes. After applying primer, you may have noticed several holes in the wall or surface you’re painting. Using a lightweight spackling compound, fill in the holes with the putty knife and allow to dry. Once dry, spot paint with primer. For woodwork, fill nail holes with a water-based wood filler (this allows for wood shrinkage) and allow to dry before sanding.

Step 4

Caulking. Caulk all gaps between woodwork and walls. If you pull the caulk gun along smoothly as you squeeze the trigger, you’ll get a much more even fill. Be sure to use only as much caulk as needed to fill the gaps and no more. The flow can be controlled by easing or increasing pressure on the caulk gun trigger. Finally, smooth the caulk into place with a damp forefinger.


Step 5

Paint the ceiling first: Cut in along the edges of the ceiling by applying a band of paint the width of one paint brush (2 – 2.5 inches wide). Concentrate on making the line straight and even without masking tape. Mistakes can easily be wiped off with a damp cloth. After you’re finished cutting in, dip a roller mounted on an extension pole in the roller pan, which should be filled about half way with paint. Roll until the roller is evenly covered, then start by rolling in one corner of the ceiling and paint in three foot square sections.With a brush or pad, apply a 2- to 2 1/2-inch-wide band of paint along the edges of the ceiling; this is called “cutting in”. Try to make straight, even lines without masking tape. Wipe away any mistakes away with a rag.

Step 6

Paint woodwork: Paint the first coat of final color onto the woodwork and let dry. When dry, sand with 220-grit sandpaper, then brush off and wipe with a clean cloth. Apply the final coat of paint. To avoid painting on glass, such as when painting around a window, hold the edge of a 6 inch wide putty knife between the glass and the wood, paint right up to the putty knife on the wood and you’ll avoid getting any paint on the glass. If you do get paint on the glass, wipe it quickly with a damp cloth.

Step 7:

Paint the walls: Now that the ceiling, trim and woodwork are dry, cover the top of the baseboard molding with blue painters masking tape. Cut around the window and door trim first, then cut in along the baseboards and ceiling. Using a roller extension pole, paint the walls using the same three square foot sectioning method you used for the ceilings. When the paint is dry, remove nubs with a putty knife. For a glossy sheen, sand the dry paint with 150-grit sandpaper, then brush and wipe with a damp cloth. Roll on the final coast and remove the masking tape as soon as the paint has set. Most home improvement stores have special blue painting tape that comes off a lot easier than masking tape.


Fixing a leak Every homeowner should be familiar with basic repairs, and fixing a faucet leak is one of the most basic. Even though the following steps might seem complicated, its really as easy as taking a simple mechanism apart and putting it back together again – just pay attention for the bits that look worn or broken and take them to the local hardware store. In South Carolina, True Value hardware stores are incredible value, as the employees seem to be far more knowledgeable than in most chain hardware stores: plus, most of them offer free popcorn when you visit. Faucets built with a rubber or composition washer close on a metal washer seat. Often, the washer can harden, or becomes worn, which causes the faucet to leak. A quick-fix approach would be to tighten the faucet to stop the leak temporarily, however, this only increases the internal damage to the faucet. Step 1: Turn off the water Before anything else, turn off the water. The shutoff valve is usually beneath the sink or faucet fixture. However, if you can’t find it there, turn off the water at the main house shutoff valve which is usually located in the basement, utility room or under the house in the crawlspace. The hot water can be turned off at your hot water heater. Step 2: Take the faucet apart Take the faucet apart by removing the handle. Loosen the Phillips-head screw, which is usually beneath a decorative cap in the center of the handle. If you have to use pliers (usually the cap either unscrews or snaps off when you pry it with a knife blade), pad them first with electrical tape or cloth in order to protect the finish. Next, lift or pry the handle off its broached stem. Unscrew the packing nut beneath the handle, exposing the rest of the stem. Remove the stem by rotating it in the “on” direction. It will thread out. Reinstall the handle if you have difficulty turning it. Clean chips from the faucet cavity, but do not use harsh abrasives or a file. Step 3: Examine the parts and replace Next, examine the stem. If the threads are worn or corroded, take it with you to a hardware store


so you can purchase the correct sized replacement. The washer, which is located on the lower end of the stem and held in place by a brass screw, should be thick and flat. If it is either squeezed flat or has a groove worn into it, replace the washer by taking the old washer to the hardware store and asking them to give you an exact replacement. If the brass screw is damaged, replace that as well. Step 4: Replace the washer If your faucet needs frequent washer replacement, it probably has a damaged washer seat. The seat should either be refaced with a seat-dressing tool or replaced entirely. A seat-dressing tool is not costly. Use the tool according to the manufacturer’s directions, placing it in the faucet along with the packing nut. Then rotate until the seat is smooth. Some washer seats can be unthreaded and replaced. However, if the seat simply has a round hole through its center and no slots, it is not replaceable. In this case, dress it with a seatdressing tool. To replace it, you’ll need a faucet seat wrench, which comes with a combination of square and hex heads to fit most faucet seats. Turn the washer seat counterclockwise to loosen, clockwise to tighten. Add a little silicone rubber sealant (RTV) or pipe joint compound around the threads of the seat before you install it to make it easier to remove during future repairs.

Step 5: Putting it back together again

Following this seat and washer service, your faucet should be like new. Put the parts back together in the reverse order of taking them apart. Spread a bit of petroleum jelly or silicone grease on the threads of the stem to lubricate the faucet’s action. If the faucet leaks around the stem rather than from the spigot, install new packing. You may want to install one of the newer nylon-covered or graphite-impregnated packings–their lubrication allows the faucet handle to turn more freely. Wrap one turn of this packing around the stem just beneath the packing nut. Use three complete wraps if you’re applying string-type packing. Some stems use O-rings, rather than packing. For these stems, replace the O-ring with a matching one to stop a leak. Hand tighten the packing nut, then tighten it another half-turn.


“What is my loftiest ambition? I’ve always wanted to throw an egg at an electric fan.” Oliver Herford quotes (1863-1935) www.HomeImprovement.sc Online Magazine | 2009 35


rate with the tax advantages of a mortgage, and you have an incredibly cheap way to build wealth, but you better act now.

Time to Refinance Buy !?

or

Right now, mortgage rates are at their lowest level since 1971. Think about that. Twenty-five years ago, homeowners were paying as much as 18% on a 30-year fixed. Today it’s just a little over 5%.Combine that

Real estate guru Barbara Corcoran has already seen a tremendous surge in refinance applications – more than triple the average – and the number of people getting approved is astronomically higher as well, she says. But that doesn’t mean the low rates are a panacea for the ills of the housing market. It is only once home prices start to go up that we will finally see a light at the end of tunnel, Corcoran says. Until that happens, we are still going to have to crawl out of this mess. “[Low interest rates are] a not a lifesaver,” Corcoran says. “This is just a helping hand.”

David Kittle, chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association, has this advice to homeowners looking to refinance: Do it. Don’t get greedy searching for another quarter-point. Lock in rates now. He is seeing applications soar over 125% just since Thanksgiving due to the low rates. Of course, you should only refinance if it saves you at least 3/8 on the rate and if you plan on staying in your home for at least four years, Kittle says. Along with good credit, proof of income and money by means of a down payment or equity in the home, there are certain things every homeowner needs regardless of interest rate levels.

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About Downtown Greenville Greenville’s downtown is going through revitalization that has occurred over the past 25 years. The redevelopment has concentrated on a vision to have “a thriving Downtown which is recognized nationally as an example of a ‘state-of-the-art’ community in which to live, work, and play...which serves in itself as a national attraction.” Due to the devotion of many throughout the Greenville SC community, Downtown is alive and thriving as the home to offices, shops, restaurants, entertainment, and many residents. Downtown Greenville SC is the paramount business center of the upstate accounting for over one-third of the total office space in the Greenville/ Spartanburg metropolitan area with almost 3 million square feet

and the biggest concentration of headquarter offices in the region. Recently, Downtown Greenville has developed into a dining and entertainment Mecca for the city. With more than sixty restaurants and pubs centered around Main Street, Greenville’s Downtown offers the greatest saturation of dining choices in the entire Upstate South Carolina area. Visitors to Downtown Greenville can enjoy, in addition to great dining, a year-round series of special events tailored to the season and appealing to almost every taste. From April through September, weekly concerts ranging from folk to jazz entertain guests three nights a week while larger Downtown


celebrations signify the coming of each new season. With almost 200 event days a year, Greenville leads the region in hosting visitors. Since the Downtown is a hub for business, culture, and entertainment, not surprisingly it has also become one of the most sought-after residential districts in and around Greenville. In coming years, the exclusive benefits of living Downtown will attract more and more residents, giving the Downtown Greenville area an even more well-rounded character.

Downtown Greenville has long been the cultural center for the region, including the Peace Center for the Performing Arts, the Greenville County Art Museum, the Greenville County Library, and a number of private galleries and theatre venues. In addition, there is fun for the entire family in Downtown with several parks, events, the zoo and the new BI-LO Center arena.


“He who wants to warm himself in old age must build a fireplace in his youth� German Proverb


Buying Furniture Furniture shopping is one of the biggest decisions you will make this year. Many rooms can cost you a month’s salary, so it is important that you get it right. Here are expert tips to help you in your furniture-buying ventures.

Decide exactly what you need Are you doing a single room or the entire house. If you are doing a living room, you will save time, money and frustration by drawing up a room plan. There is only so much furniture that will fit in a 20ft. by 20 ft. room, so get out a pencil and paper and take an inventory of what you will keep, and what you need to buy. If you are keeping a book case, that is important . Make a Floor Plan Get out a tape measure and measure each wall, and the door and window openings. You are going to make a layout of the room where 1 foot of a room equals an inch on paper. This will let you mix and

match different sizes of furniture when you are in a show room. Mix and match different sizes and styles When it comes to mixing and matching furniture, the key is to blend the furniture with the rest of the room. The floor plan lets you configure the sizes, but you have to figure out the styles. Use the floor plan for what it is intended. It will let you figure out where tables, couches, chairs, footstools, and book cases belong. If the size of a couch changes, this will affect all other pieces in the room. Mix and match patterns and colors First pick your style, and next pick the colors. If you are dead set on a single color, you may limit yourself. If you are on a budget, you may have to go with what the store has in stock. If the furniture you are looking for is “standard” in size, the colors and patterns will be an important decision. The larger the floor plan, the easier it will be to assist


with you color coordination. Make sure you know what colors you want for the room, and if you have blinds or curtains that you are keeping, make sure that you consider them. Quality vs. Quantity- How well is it built? The first thing you should do when looking at furniture is look at it from the bottom up. This means turning the furniture over to see what you normally can’t. Solid construction is vital to good quality in furniture. Cheap or pressed wood should be very evident. So should sloppy craftsmanship. If it doesn’t look like it could withstand normal wear and tear, it probably won’t. If the sofa needs to last at least 10 years, and you want good furniture, spend a little more time to make sure it suits your long-term needs.

Are you Budget Buying ? If you are budget buying, your choices may be limited, so shop around. If you are buying for a particular room you want to showcase, you may want to decide what your budget is, and prioritize the pieces of furniture that are the most important to you. If you decide that a sofa and table is the most important items, then start there.


The Push For Greener Homes Builders and remodelers in South Carolina are leading the charge to provide eco-conscious solutions for home remodeling projects, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Faced with the fact that climate change threatens the health of our planet, homeowners are compelled to ask how they can make a difference. Green remodeling practices have become more popular as homeowners cope with ever-increasing energy costs, health concerns and diminishing natural resources. There are many misconceptions about the value and cost of building and remodeling to meet “green� standards.

Efficient Heating & Cooling With dramatic increases in energy costs becoming an annual occurrence, many homeowners have come to realize that building in an environmentally friendly way also means making smart decisions that translate into financial savings. New insulation technologies, such as spray-in cellulose insulation, is made from 80 percent post-consumer recycled newspaper and will effectively seal homes from harsh heat and cold. Thermal solar energy is a non-polluting energy source that is easily captured and used for water and space heating. Although solar water heaters can be expensive ($1,000-$4,000), they can show paybacks of four to


eight years. Space heating systems can vary from $800 for wall heaters to over $3,000 and more for large central systems. Qualified remodelers can help homeowners choose the right combination of insulation and energy-saving heating and cooling systems to reduce their energy costs.

Reducing Water Consumption Many parts of South Carolina are now experiencing rising water costs and seasonal water shortages due to diminishing supplies. Selecting the right appliances, such as water-conserving washers, dryers and dishwashers, and installing low-flush toilets and showerheads can reduce the amount of water needed and help trim water bills. In addition, approximately 8,000 gallons of water per household each year are lost while waiting for hot water to come from the tap. Positioning a home’s water heater as close as possible to the points of use for hot water will help conserve this valuable resource.

Healthy Indoor Air Homeowners today are concerned about maintaining a healthy indoor environment, particularly if they have sensitivities to airborne irritants. Modern building materials, such as construction adhesives, paints and treated woods, can have toxic VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that adversely affect indoor air quality. Today, there are new non-toxic materials that will improve the overall health of a home. Air filters, such as those installed in a home’s central HVAC system, can also im-

prove the quality of indoor air.

Sustainable Materials Reduce the environmental impact of your remodel by choosing construction materials, including flooring and countertop materials, made from local or regional sources. There are many products on the market today that are either made of recycled materials or produced in an eco-friendly way. “Green” surfaces, such as reclaimed hardwood, bamboo flooring and recycled glass countertops leave a lighter footprint on the environment.

Quality Over Quantity Many homeowners today are opting for slightly smaller homes in exchange for smarter planning and design. Several industry experts agree that the quality of your home will not only conserve the environment, but also save the homeowner over the life of the home.

Recycle Construction Waste Eco-conscious builders and remodelers recycle as much project waste as possible during a home building or renovation project. You may want to suggest to you builder that they do their part for the environment.


Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine. Saint Thomas Aquinas www.HomeImprovement.sc Online Magazine | 2009 46


Cleaning with Lemons

Today, lemons are an absolutely priceless addition to any household pantry. Not only are they great for helping with your digestive system (drinking the juice from half a lemon in four ounces of water in the morning is a great way to “flush the system” and prevent fluid retention) and have a multitude of culinary uses, the lemon is also an excellent natural little cleaning agent. Cleaning Laminate Counter Tops And Bread Boards Most of these “recipes” for cleaning involve nothing more than cutting a lemon in half and, if you have any cuts on your hands, slipping gloves on beforehand. To clean a laminate countertop, all you need to do is take a lemon half and rub it into the counter. This not only cleans the counter, it disinfects, as well.

For Cutting Boards

Rub the lemon half over any stains in the cutting board and the acidic lemon juice will bleach the stains away.

Cleaning Copper

To clean tarnished copper, cut a lemon in half and press the half in a plate of salt. Scrub the salt-covered lemon half on the copper until the salt runs out, at which point, simply reapply salt and continue until clean. This solution works great, but only as long as you use a good quantity of salt.

Cleaning Brass

This cleaning solution only works on solid brass. Do not use on brass plated items! The acid will eat the plating off and leave dark splotches. The best way to tell if you have brass plating is to look at both sides of the item. If one side is brass and the other is black, then it’s plated. To clean the brass, simply squeeze half a lemon over the brass, then rub the lemon half over the item until clean. Removing Rust From Clothing Rust stains are incredibly difficult to remove, unless you know this recipe. It’s surprising how easily this mixture removes a well-embedded rust stain from just about anything. Squeeze half a lemon over the stain, then sprinkle cream of tartar over the stain: enough to cover the mark. Rub the powder into the stain and let the mixture sit for at least 20 minutes. Then wash in a regular load of laundry. Lemons As a Laundry Whitener Cleaning with lemons works great for whites, but not on colors. Make sure you are only washing whites when using this recipe. Take one whole lemon and slice it in thick sections into the washing machine. Fill the wash with water, and then add clothing. Wash as usual.


The Beauty Of Modern Floor Finish Products

No more dust. No more fumes. Dust containment systems and

Floor Finishing Products For Healthier Home Application Newer … safer … wood floor refinishing products are restoring confidence among homeowners with projects that never seem to make it to the top of the home renovation list. The modern hardwood floor finishing products are waterborne. They have no harmful fumes, are virtually odorless and nonflammable, yet feature superior durability over their solvent-based counterparts. Homeowners can now plan restoration and maintenance wood flooring projects without those lingering concerns, and the new safer finishes will not change color over time. When used in conjunction with environmentally responsible dust containment systems, the usual reluctance to the mess, and the generally unhealthy downtime that in past years accompanied such improvements, is virtually eliminated. Particularly for those with allergies and other breathing problems who may, additionally, be worried about lingering air quality, the news has never been better.

environmentally responsible floor finishes now offer an

easier, healthier way to beautify wooden floors.

A Safer Environment for Homeowners and Hardwood Flooring Contractors The environmental focus of industry leaders has been key to the development of products and services which features dust containment, waterborne finishes and floor care products that meet these stringent airquality standards and testing protocols for indoor products. An industry independent, non-profit organization, the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) works to improve public health and the quality of life through programs that improve indoor air quality. Current health assurances relating to the dust and fumes associated with traditional hardwood floor refinishing are met in two important ways. First the latest dust containment systems connect the sanding

equipment to a high-powered vacuum, which extracts the dust generated during the sanding process. But dust containment is only half of the equation when it comes to maintaining indoor air quality. Using an environmentally responsible floor finish is the other. “Refinishing hardwood floors with waterborne products and sanding with dust containment equipment creates a healthier environment for not only the hardwood flooring contractor, but the homeowner as well,” according to Marilyn Black, Ph.D., of Air Quality Sciences, a third-party indoor air quality testing company that was part of the GEI team. Courtesy: Home Improvement News and Information Center

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Never look backwards or you’ll fall down the stairs. Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) www.HomeImprovement.sc Online Magazine | 2009 50


Staging Your Home for Success Every seller wants her home to sell fast and bring top dollar. It is not luck that makes that happen. It is careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home that will impress home buyers that have many options to choose from. Here is how to prep a house and turn it into a marketable home.

on the walls, and they can’t do that if yours are there. You want buyers to say, “I can see myself living here.”

1. De-Personalize the Home.

Most people collect an amazing quantity of junk. If you haven’t used it in over a year, you probably don’t need it. The saying what’s one man’s junk, is another man’s treasure, only applies to second hand thrift stores. • If you don’t need it, donate it or throw it away. • Remove all books and pictures from bookcases. • Pack up those knickknacks. • Clean off everything on kitchen counters. •Put essential items used daily in a box that can be stored in a closet. • Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.

Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can’t see past personal artifacts, and you don’t want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos

2. De-Clutter!

3. Rearrange Bedroom Closets and Kitchen Cabinets. Buyers will open closet and cabinet doors. Imagine what a buyer believes about you if they sees an organized closet. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well. This means:

4. Rent a Storage Unit. Homes show better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Since your bookcases are now empty, store them. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room’s purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don’t want buyers to see rooms that are large and spacious.

5. Remove/Replace Favorite Items. If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances, chandeliers, or fixtures with you, remove them


now. If a buyer never sees these items, they won’t want them. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.

6. Make Minor Repairs. If you know a home inspector, ask them to look at your house to see what a potential buyer would see. • Replace cracked floor or counter tiles. • Dress up the fireplace. • Fix leaky toilets and faucets. • Patch holes in walls. • Fix doors that don’t close properly and kitchen drawers that jam. • Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls. • Replace burned-out light bulbs.

7. Make the House Sparkle! • Wash windows inside and out. • Add flowers. • Change the entrance ( new doormat). • Water the lawn. • Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior. • Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks. • Polish chrome faucets and mirrors. • Clean out the refrigerator. • Vacuum daily. • Clear the counters.

• Wax floors. • Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures. • Bleach dingy grout. • Replace worn rugs. • Hang up fresh towels. • Bathroom towels look great fastened with ribbon and bows. • New shower curtains.

8. Check Curb Appeal. A buyer may not even get out of their car because if they do not like the exterior of your home. You never get a second chance to make that first impression. • Keep the sidewalks cleared. • Mow the lawn. • Paint faded window trim. • Plant flowers or group flower pots together. • Trim your bushes. • Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.

9. Get a Second Opinion. Ask a friend or your Realtor for an honest opinion as to anything that they believe distracts a buyer. An ugly doghouse in the back yard, or your favorite trinket on the front door may have to go! www.HomeImprovement.sc Online Magazine | 2009 52


There really are some incredible chandeliers on the market now. The designs are a lot softer and warmer than they used to be. I think the overriding design factor that most homeowners are seeking is something that says their home is warm, inviting and comfortable. Susan Humphress


Selling Your Home You Need Curb Appeal

One of the quickest and most obvious impacts you can make on your home is fixing up the front; an aesthetic improvement which real estate brokers commonly refer to as “curb appeal”. In the world of marketing, it’s statistically been shown that the label is 90% of your sale. If people are initially impressed, they’re more likely to keep a positive attitude about the whole product. This applies across the board, not just when selling your home, but also as a way to impress friends and family and visually bring up the quality of your neighborhood. What’s even better is when you can say that you did all the improvements on your own. Fancy Up The Lawn Having a full, healthy front lawn suggests that you not only care about your home and are willing to work on the details, but it also implies that you have quite the green thumb. However, even if you can’t keep a cactus alive, it’s still not as difficult as it may seem to maintain a healthy lawn. The first step is to determine which type of grass works best for your lawn. In South Carolina, if you have a well-shaded area, St. Augustine, Zoysia, Centipede and Carpet

Grass are the way to go. For sunnier spots, try St. Augustine, Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Rye Grass and Tall Fescue. As for maintenance, gardeners will often select both a slow release and a fast release lawn fertilizer so that the lawn will maintain its healthy glow over a longer period of time. A combination of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, usually comprised of bonemeal and organic compost, are ideal additives for maintaining a healthy lawn, as together, they enrich from the blade to the root. Pure mushroom compost has also been recommended by many gardeners as an excellent lawn additive as it provides plenty of all three key components and is long-lasting. In general, turf grasses need about 3/4” — 1” of water per week to maintain green color and active growth. However, during certain times during the summer when high temperatures are the norm, you should allow lawns to naturally slow down in growth during those extreme conditions. You may let the lawn go almost completely dormant in hot weather.


Spruce Up Your Siding This could include anything from a fresh coat of paint to an all-out siding replacement. Depending on where you live in South Carolina, the salt water content of the air can have some very deleterious effects on your home, as can prolonged exposure to the full sun. For this reason, many homes along the beach use stained cement fiber boards and solid wood siding, as they are both incredibly durable and as long as their stained, they may never need to be painted. Many types of cement fiber board come with a 50 year guarantee and a lot of the older homes on some of South Carolina’s barrier islands have wooden siding that has lasted over 100 years and still look like new. Stucco, a combination of cement and other material such as sand or crushed shells, is a classic southern finish and cedar shingles, also known as “shakes” are known to be long-lasting, repel insects and turn a beautiful shade of silver as they age. For the classic South Carolina home, though, you can’t go wrong with wood (or wood-like) siding, a

Charleston Green accent and subtle, spring colors. For a list of colors approved by the Charleston Historic Society for historical homes, visit southcarolinahistoricalsociety.org. The Secret Ingredient Is “Flower” Finally, you can’t do more for creating a friendly, inviting home than by adding flowers. The bright blooms attract the eye and can help to cover up any unsightly spots or “future projects” around the front of the house. South Carolina is in Zone 8 for planting, so check with your local garden shop for flowers that do best in this climate. The best place to buy flowers or any sort of plant for your home is from your local garden store. The owners and employees tend to know far more about local growing patterns and what does well in your area than any chain hardware store; plus, you’re helping to keep a local business alive and the money you spend is far more likely to stay in your community and help other local businesses thrive.


Minor Cracks Become Major Headaches (So Fix Them Soon)

Small cracks and fractures in interior and exterior walls, concrete driveways, patios and steps occur in most homes in South Carolina. Because a home is the single largest investment most people make, maintaining its value and physical appearance is important. With the average median sales price of nearly $177,000 for existing single-family homes, no homeowner wants to witness the depreciation of their home more than normal standard wear and tear. Addressing these repairs early is critical to avoiding more costly and significant damage. This is especially true for major settling. In addition to providing sound horizontal and vertical repairs in surface cracks and fractures, homeowners maximize the aesthetics and appearance of their homes by correcting problems before they have a more serious impact. Causes of the Cracks The main reason is the settling of foundations and other structures. Some of these cracks appear within a year of the home being built, and other times it may take up to 5 years for the settling to occur. The same is true for mortar used in brickwork and

blacktop surfaces around the home. Changes in the weather often cause surface cracks, and this is especially true during significant changes in temperatures. When small fractures are left unattended over time, the expansion and contraction in a surface created by temperature changes will enlarge the cracks. The resulting damage is not only unsightly; it minimizes the use and enjoyment of a particular home feature, such as a fireplace or patio. Small Repairs For small cracks, homeowners can now successfully tackle fractures and cracks to a variety of surfaces with several new user-friendly repair tubes from companies like QUIKRETE, eliminating potentially larger maintenance demands in the future. The hand-squeezed repair tubes allow homeowners to quickly and inexpensively seal cracks in driveways, sidewalks, steps, patios, stucco and brickwork. The repair tubes combine quality repair results with ease-of-use. So, rather than requiring a professional mason or commercial contractor for concrete driveway repair or fireplace brickwork, even homeowners with limited do-it-yourself expertise can address these problems before they become a more significant and permanent issue. Large Repairs For Large repairs, it is best to see a professional foundation repair company, or professional inspection. If you try to repair a crack, and the foundation is still settling, you are putting a band aid on a much bigger problem that may be very costly in the future. Foundation repair companies are experts at stabilizing the foundations to stop future settling.


South Carolina Firsts Like any other State, South Carolina is full of “Firsts”. The following is a list of some of the more popular Firsts, that may be good to brag about, or for use in a trivia game: • First European settlement in South Carolina in 1526 near Georgetown settled by Spanish explorer Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon named San Miguel de Gualdape (Rumor has it that he was the first “Half-back”- that he wanted to be half way back from Florida to New York) • First permanent English settlement in South Carolina established at Albemarle Point in Charleston in 1670

• First steam locomotive built in the United States to be used for regular railroad service “Best Friend of Charleston,” 1830. • First municipal college - College of Charleston, opened April 1, 1838 • First Roman Catholic cathedral in South Carolina Cathedral of Saint John and Saint Finbar Charleston, April 1845 • First state to secede from the Union, December 20, 1860. • First shot fired in Civil War on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, April 12, 1861.

• First opera performed in America - Charleston, February 18, 1735

• The first submarine ever to sink an enemy ship was the H.L. Hunley used by the Confederates on February 17, 1864 in Charleston Harbor against the U.S.S. Housatonic.

• First building to be used solely as a theatre Dock Street Theatre in Charleston, constructed in 1736

• The first state intercollegiate football game took place on December 14, 1889 with Wofford defeating Furman

• First Jewish synagogue in South Carolina (Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim) - Charleston, 1750

• First commercial tea farm - Summerville, 1890

• First free library established - Charleston, 1698

• First Black Baptist Church established, Silver Bluff, 1773 • The Charleston Chamber of Commerce was the first city Chamber of Commerce in this country - 1773 • First public museum - Charleston Museum, organized January 12, 1773 • First business publication - South Carolina Price Current in Charleston, 1774 • The first time a British flag was taken down and replaced by an American flag was in Charleston in 1775 • Golf was first played in the city limits of Charleston. The South Carolina Golf Club was formed in 1786 - this was the first golf club. • First Roman Catholic Church St. Mary’s August 24, 1789, Charleston • First cotton mill built - James Island, 1789 • First fireproof building built - Charleston, 1822

• First black woman to practice medicine in the state was Dr. Matilda Arabelle Evans in 1897 • First textile school established in a college Clemson, 1899 • The first car was manufactured in Rock Hill by John Gary Anderson in January 1916 • First woman lawyer in South Carolina - Miss James M. Perry of Greenville was admitted to practice on May 4, 1918 • First national historic preservation ordinance passed by Charleston city council on October 13, 1931 • First television station WCSC broadcast from Charleston June 13, 1953 • First U.S. Senator elected by a write-in vote Strom Thurmond, November 2, 1954 • First Spoleto Festival held in Charleston May 1977 • First Internet company to bring you the Internet, Streaming Radio, and Online Magazineswww.ONLY.sc ( click here for more information)


Final Words

Do you like my desk? I built it myself. And I have all these pieces left. Leonardo Leonardo (Clerks, 2001)

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Home Improvement - Myrtle Beach Issue