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Advertising Sales - Charla Seeton Ad Director - Shannon Simmons Circulation Manager - Daryl Robinson For more information on the Real Estate Preview Please contact Charla Seeton @ cseeton@empiretribune.com -or-

254-965-3124 702 E. South Loop P.O. Box 958 Stephenville, TX 76401

Phone: (254)965-3124 Fax: (254)965-4269 www.yourstephenvilletx.com


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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Not all wood floors are equal (some aren’t even real wood) By Laura Firszt More Content Now

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hat exactly is a “wood floor” anyway? And what’s the difference between new wood-look materials like engineered wood and laminate? If you’re as confused as most homeowners about the terminology of wood flooring, you’ll appreciate this handy guide.

Engineered wood and laminate Both these hardwood wannabes are assembled in layers. An engineered wood floor consists of a fancy real-wood veneer atop a much lower-grade wooden base, while less expensive laminate is made up of a similar base topped with — get this — a photograph of an attractive wood grain pattern. Like hardwood, engineered wood flooring can be sanded down to remove damaged areas — but fewer times, depending on the thickness of the veneer. With laminate, you can repair small nicks and scratches using filler, but sanding and refinishing is out of the question; its total life expectancy is only about 20 years, compared to a century or more for well-maintained hardwood. What’s to love: Engineered wood and laminate floors look a lot like hardwood, but cost substantially less. They’re also surprisingly simple to install yourself; snap the tongue-and-groove pieces together — avoiding the laborious, hard-on-the-knees nailing procedure that is hardwood floor installation — and float them over your existing floor. Cost: Engineered wood costs more than laminate, for both materials and installation. Aside from that, quality varies a great deal, with corresponding price ranges. A good rule of thumb: The more like real wood a flooring looks, the higher its price tag. Keep it green: Avoid toxic emissions by choosing formaldehyde-free flooring and adhesives low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Hardwood Durable and beautiful, hardwood’s timeless elegance keeps floors looking gorgeous for years … and increases curb appeal very nicely, thank you, should you plan to sell your home. Although hardwood is susceptible to scratching and water damage, you’ll be able to sand and refinish several times over its lifespan. What’s to love: Hardwood comes in a wide range of colors and grains, depending on the species and the way it was cut. Your hardwood floor will develop a richer patina with time. Cost: Hardwood flooring cost depends on type of wood, hardness (measured by the Janka scale), grade and installation. Keep it green: Forest Stewardship Council certification identifies boards from sustainably grown and harvested trees.

Bamboo Bamboo floors have a nice rich, natural glow similar to hardwood, and the price is right. If you have bamboo flooring installed, opt for the higher-priced kind, which compares favorably to maple or oak in terms of hardness; cheaper types tend to dent easily. (High heel aficionadas be warned.) What’s to love: The price is right, and the looks aren’t too shabby, either. Cost: A bamboo floor can cost as low as half the price of a comparable hardwood version. Keep it green: While bamboo is theoretically a sustainable, rapidly renewable crop, check for proof that it was harvested responsibly.

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| Sunday, November 13, 2016

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Simple Steps to Maintain Natural Stone

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Get prepared for winter T

atural stone adds elegance and style to any home. With a nearly endless array of colors, textures and designs, it’s easy to create a one-of-a-kind look for your kitchen or bath. However, without proper care, that carefully selected natural stone may quickly start to show wear and tear. Not only does natural stone lend a beautifully sophisticated aesthetic, it’s generally regarded as a practical choice because it’s more durable than many other materials. However, granite, marble, travertine and other natural-stone and quartz surfaces do require proper care and attention to maintain that luxurious finish. Keep your natural stone in top condition with these tips from the experts at Granite Gold. Clean often. Even if your surface appears clean, the safest bet is to clean it after every meal preparation.

The most miniscule particle could have a detrimental effect on your natural stone. Avoid common cleaners and abrasives. They can break down the protective seal and you could be faced with costly repair or replacement. Also, give special attention to the scrubbing pad you use; many are too abrasive for expensive stone counters and leave unsightly scratches. Seal frequently. Frequently sealing granite countertops and all other natural stone surfaces maintains maximum surface protection, pen­ etrat­ing stone surfaces to provide superior, long-lasting resistance to staining, etching and soil buildup. If you’re not sure whether it’s time to reseal, it’s easy to test. Pour water (about 3 inches in diameter) on the surface and let it sit for 30 minutes. Be sure to do this in several locations, since the integrity of the seal could vary from one area to

another. If the water beads, then the stone remains sealed. However, if the stone is penetrated – signified by a dark mark or ring created by the water – it is time to reseal. Polish regularly. Polishing stone provides two great benefits. First, polishing after cleaning will bring out the stone’s natural beauty. Second, it will reinforce the protective seal and provide ongoing protection against water spots and fingerprints. One time-saving but effective solution after sealing is Granite Gold Clean & Shine, which provides the cleaning power of the line’s Daily Cleaner and the luster from the Polish in one easy-to-use formula. You can find the products nationwide at Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond; check the product locator at GraniteGold.com.

FAMILY FEATURES

he onset and arrival of colder temperatures means that it’s time once again to brace yourself – and your home – for everything that winter weather threatens to throw at you. From cool, drafty air wafting into your house to friends and family bringing snow and sand inside with them, it’s important to remember the preparation to go through before winter strikes. In order to help keep your home warm, cozy and clean throughout the winter months, follow these seven tips to get started:

Check the Roof

With warm days dwindling, it’s never too early to look over your roof for damaged shingles or other various problems. Because winter brings along cold weather and plenty of precipitation, cracks in the roof can cause major issues down the road. If heights and ladders aren’t your thing, try using binoculars from ground level to check things out.

Reverse Ceiling Fans

Clean the Gutters

Keep Out Sand and Snow

Seal Leaks Around Windows and Doors

Stock Up on Winter Gear

After the trees shake loose of their leaves throughout the fall, it’s always imperative to keep the gutters clean of debris. If your gutters fill up with leaves and other junk, the runoff from rain and snow has nowhere to go except in unwanted crevices in your roof. Caulk is a cheap, simple solution to one of winter’s most annoying little habits – sending cold drafts into your house. Look closely as you check around windows and doors for small cracks then carefully seal up the problem.

Install Door Sweeps

Another way to keep warm air in and cool air out is to use door sweeps on the bottom of all exterior doors. A door sweep is a simple device that can be attached to the door frame to help seal the space between the bottom of the door and the floor.

While some ceiling fans require flipping blades, most new fans simply have a reverse feature to make the blades spin clockwise. This easy fix can help pull room air upward and cause warm air – which has risen to the ceiling – to be forced back downward. Rather than sweeping and vacuuming your entryway every evening, place rugs and storage bins close to your front door, garage and any other entrance to the home so that you and your guests don’t track sand and snow into the house when inclement weather hits. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know exactly what each winter will bring. Rather than trying to fight the elements on a snowy day to find salt for your sidewalk or a new shovel to clear the driveway, stock up on these items and other winter essentials long before Mother Nature strikes. Winter can be a pain, especially for homeowners, but staying on top of your preparation and being ready for cold weather’s reach can help make snow season easier to handle. For more tips to get your home ready for winter, visit elivingtoday.com.


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Sunday, November 13, 2016

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Modern farmhouse design spurs revival of board-and-batten

By Jim Weiker More Content Now

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omebuilders are turning the siding industry on its head.

Contractors and architects are breathing new life into vertical board-and-batten siding. Long a staple on old farmhouses and some niche styles such as Gothic revival — check out the siding in the Grant Wood painting “American Gothic” — board-and-batten had long been overshadowed by horizontal lap and shingle siding. But board-and-batten is now dressing up all types of homes, from modest to magnificent, from hip urban condos to suburban additions and rural estates. In Columbus, Ohio, half of the 16 homes featured in this year’s Parade of Homes included board-and-batten, typically as an accent but in a few cases as the main cladding. “It can be used in a broad spectrum of styles,” said Bob Skinner, president of Sierra Custom Homes, whose parade home includes a boardand-batten accent. Traditionally, board-and-batten siding consisted of 10- or 12-inch vertical planks (”board”) stood side to side, with seams covered by narrow strips (“batten”). The siding for years was an inexpensive alternative to lap siding, which required beveled narrow planks. The style started to enjoy a resurgence a decade or so ago with the emergence of modern farmhouse design, said Tim Cook, the

in place of the boards and then covered with decorative batten strips. Siding manufacturer CertainTeed started making PVC board-and-batten siding about 10 years ago and now offers three styles. “The demand for board-and-batten has steadily increased since its introduction,” said Brian Kirn, senior marketing manager for the Pennsylvania-based company. “The drive in the demand is due to shifts in style. Homeowners like the contemporary look and contrast that the vertical accent and contrasting colors provide.” Developer Connie Klema used boardand-batten for six tall, narrow homes she built on Summit Street in Italian Village. “This style goes well with that vertical look,” Klema said. “The board-and-batten played into the tallness and sleekness of the architecture. … It’s like soldiers, standing straight in a row.” Residential architect Richard Taylor, owner of RTA Studio, loves board-anddirector of design for M/I Homes, which has batten for cottages and farmhouses, and used board-and-batten for years in its New he is using the siding on a farmhouse he is Albany communities. designing. “It’s a great look,” Cook said. “Everybody likes But he worries that it could be overused. it.” “It just goes with the times. When Frank The style took a big step forward when Lloyd Wright started to become more wellmanufacturers introduced alternatives to wood known, everybody discovered ledgestone, planks, which can be expensive, time-consumand when Williamsburg was discovered by the ing to install and vulnerable to the elements. Rockefellers, it was panel shutters,” Taylor said. The James Hardie company makes cement“Now it’s farmhouse.” board sheets up to 4-by-10-feet that can be used


Real Estate Preview

Sunday, November 13, 2016

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| Sunday, November 13, 2016

Real Estate Preview

Prepare your home for

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holiday entertainment

FAMILY FEATURES

s the holiday season approaches and you’re tasked with hosting family and friends, it can be a little overwhelming to imagine all the work that has to take place for a successful celebration. However, there’s no reason the host can’t join in the fun. To help keep calm and have your home ready for the party, follow these tips.

Cleaning

More often than not, the first step to readying your home for a house full of guests is to clean. Start by going room to room seeking out trash, recyclables and things that can be stored away – anything to clear up much-needed space. Once the clutter is cleared, work from the top down to clean surfaces, so any dust or debris that hits the floor can be vacuumed or swept neatly away. Remember to steer clear of harsh or highly fragrant chemicals, which may be an irritant to some guests.

Upgrading

Don’t try to sneak by with old appliances this time around. Instead, upgrade your most important resources throughout the house in order to find success when it comes to playing host. For example, swapping out your old, cluttered refrigerator for a Whirlpool French Door Refrigerator with industryfirst infinity slide shelves is a useful way to create more space in the kitchen. Its pantry-inspired layout lets families fit and find all their edible favorites. Every section, shelf and bin in the refrigerator was redesigned to deliver smart organization with panoramic shelves and unique features to store 30 percent more than other leading French door bottom mount refrigerators. Perfect for a big shopping run before a party, the refrigerator features dedicated spaces places like the Treasure Bin, Platter Pocket and Small Items Bin to give maximum visibility and easy access when it’s time for the food prep to begin.

Planning

Staying organized and having a precise plan are vital to putting together the perfect night with family and friends. Make sure to nail down the specifics, such as the number of guests, what food will be brought, what needs prepared in advance and what can wait until the big day. Making lists and involving others in the family to help can make a seemingly insurmountable volume of work feel instantly manageable. As you think through your plans, remember to anticipate the unexpected and have an emergency party kit on hand to quickly respond to pitfalls, like spills or broken glass, before they derail the festivities.

Decorating

With all the energy you put into planning and upgrading, don’t overlook the importance of taking time to make your home shine with a creative touch. Go festive with holiday-specific decor or keep it classic with timeless decorations placed throughout the home to make it really sparkle. For close family and friends, consider adding personal touches like mementos of holidays past. Or go with a themed approach with similar colors and textures that you carry throughout the house. For more ideas to upgrade your kitchen, visit whirlpool.com.


Real Estate Preview

Sunday, November 13, 2016

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more than 2,000 markets. The findings reveal that while the national average listing price for a sample size home of $320,120 can buy a similar home in nearly 1,300 markets across the country, there are some major outliers on both ends of the price spectrum. In Detroit, the country’s most affordable market, the average listing price of a sample size home is less than $65,000. However, in Saratoga, California -- the most expensive market -- that same size home costs nearly $2.5 million, fueled by the region’s high-tech enterprise.

Buying a Home? Don’t Underestimate ‘Location, Location, Location’ StatePoint

f you are in the market for a home, you are probably weighing a Irange of factors, including size, amenities and architectural style. But experts say that the old adage “location, location, location” should never stray from one’s thoughts.

“Location not only affects your daily life in countless ways, but it also has an unquestionable influence on the current and future value of your home,” says Charlie Young, president and chief executive officer for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Young points to The Coldwell Banker Home Listing Report, billed as the most extensive home price comparison tool in the US, as a good place to begin your research. The report, which can be found by visiting bit.ly/coldwellbanker2016HLR, analyzes the average listing price of more than 50,000 four-bedroom, two bathroom homes on ColdwellBanker.com between January 2016 and June 2016 in

But Young says not to view home prices as a yardstick for quality of life, “You can find a great place to live in most markets. In fact, Detroit has been experiencing a renaissance in the last few years. An invigorated community, culture and a resurgence of young professionals, is making it an affordable, viable city in which to settle down and build roots.” Another major location factor homebuyers should take into consideration is the local school system. Even if you don’t have a child in the family, schools can play a major role in home value.

But remember, location matters beyond pure finances and can affect every aspect of your life, like the length of your commute, the presence of parks, the walkability of the surrounding area, and the relative safety of the neighborhood. Other factors to consider may include doing a bit of research. How large is the community and does it fit with the type of place in which you want to raise your family? Will your new home be situated near key shopping destinations for daily staples like groceries, dry cleaning and other necessary services? Will your new community wind up costing you more in local taxes or other municipal fees? A bit of advance checking can help you make the best choice for your needs. So while you are counting bathrooms, admiring a newly shingled roof or imagining yourself enjoying a prospective property’s pool, don’t forget location and its potential impact on your lifestyle and your wallet.

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