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Spring Home Improvement




Spring Home Improvement Cheshire Chamber of Commerce 10th Annual Home, Garden, and Business Expo

Event Showcases Local Products And Services by John Rook Herald Staff


wning a business these days must feel much like riding a rollercoaster, with extreme drops followed by only small rises. As such, every business is looking for different ways to reach their customers. There is, of course, advertising and word of mouth, both of which still offer a good “bang for

the buck,” but owners are also looking for a way to reach out directly to the public. This Saturday, April 10, the Cheshire Chamber of Commerce will sponsor an event that offers just that type of opportunity. The 10th Annual Home, Garden, and Business Expo, which will take place at Cheshire High School, brings together a variety of businesses to showcase their products and services to an interested and discerning crowd. Vendor booths


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representatives to give interested residents a clear picture of what services are available. “People have questions,” said

Marino. “We are big believers here of one-on-one interaction, so that we can explain exactly what we do.” Robin Whitwright, co-owner of Paws Pet Resort in Cheshire, has been attending the Expo for several years and stated that the exSTANLEY EMOND #3 - Composite perience has always been positive and rewarding. STANLEY EMOND “We get to meet new customers and we get to meet up with current customers,” said Whitright. — 26 28 Years in Business — “They come by and tell us how



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will be set up throughout the morning and early afternoon with representatives from a variety of companies, retail stores to oil and gas companies to specialized service businesses, demonstrating what they have to offer and answer any questions from the public. “It is a wonderful way to reach our target audience, which is residents of Cheshire,” stated Karen Marino, director of admissions and marketing for Highlands Health Care Center. “We believe this is a great venue and the Chamber always does a great job of promoting business in town.” Highlands Health Care Cencall for at terPlease has been in corrections Cheshire since 203-317-2308 - after 5 pm call the 1970s203-317-2282 and is known to most in Ad#:STANLEY town and the surrounding EMOND #3reDate:11/14/09 gion.Pub:S&R However, Marino admits Day:SAT Size:1X3 that, while people might know Cust:RJ/FRAN Last Edited theBy:DWILLIAMS name, they may not know on 11/14/08 exactly what the health careTag cen10:03 AM. Salesperson: Line: Color Info: ter provides, and the Expo allows

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their pets are doing. It is great for us and something we really enjoy.” Echoing Marino’s sentiments, Whitright admitted that, while Paws has been open for several years, “many people still don’t even know we are here.” Raising that awareness is paramount at the Expo, Whitright insisted, and the business donates a pair of gift baskets to be given away as prizes each year, and provides demonstrations as to the kind of care offered pets at their facility. However, the best kind of advertisement that comes out of the Expo, Whitright said, remains word of mouth. “The best is to have current customers tell potential new customers what a great job we do (at the event),” she stated. “You can’t beat that.” Mike Toth, owner of Total Tree Care and Arbor Oil, who has been attending the Expo for the last five years, admits that the majority of people he sees at the event are current customers, meaning that it doesn’t help drum up a lot of “new business.” However, Toth still describes the experience as “very rewardSee EXPO, page 23

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the cheshire herald, April 8, 2010


Spring Home Improvement

Maintenance Checklist For Homeowners 444


or most people, buying a home may be the biggest single investment they ever make. As such, it’s an investment you’ll want to protect. Older homes especially, and new homes as well, need regular maintenance. Here is an annual checklist of areas that need to be inspected to keep your home in top condition. Exterior Maintenance 4 Gutters and downspouts need year-round attendance to make sure they are operating properly. Improper water drainage can ruin a foundation and cause other costly damage. 4 Window and door caulking should be secure. If it’s missing or pulling away, it could lead to water infiltration and eventually damage the substructures. 4 Check the grade around the foundation. Over the years dirt

may settle and a layer of topsoil may need to be added to maintain a slope away from the house. Don’t allow low areas to remain and collect water. Fill them immediately. 4 Check for broken or missing roof shingles. The roof is your home’s defense against inclement weather. Keep it in top form. 4 The only sure way to stop a leak in a rooftop vent is to replace the flashing. If you see what looks like a sloppy mess of tar around the vent it usually means the flashing was not replaced. 4 Chimney mortar that is crumbling or missing should be replaced. Holes in the mortar will allow water to seep in, causing further damage. Keep all your receipts for permanent home improvement projects such as new siding. You’ll need them for documenting warranty claims and replacement

costs for insurance purposes. Interior Maintenance 4 Keep the caulking around the tub and sink in good repair. If deteriorating, it could leak water into substructures. 4 Bathroom flooring that is cracked or does not fit tightly against fixtures can allow water to seep through to the subfloor. Even if you’ve never had a toilet or tub overflow, condensation from it can be enough to cause damage over time. A soft, spongy spot in the floor is an indication of water damage to the subfloor. 4 Check your basement for peeling paint on exterior walls. Does the basement smell musty? Are mold and mildew present on exterior walls? These are all indications of moisture in the basement. Take steps to stop moisture with dehumidifiers, sump pumps and de-watering systems in addition to the exterior maintenance methods mentioned above. 4 Tub surrounds should have grout and tiles intact. Missing grout or loose tiles can lead to wall damage from water. Pay particular attention to the area around fixtures. 4 In the kitchen, water causes the most damage. Check around

the edge of the sink where it meets the countertop. Does it have a good seal? Next check where the countertop meets the backsplash. A leak there could cause wall or cabinet damage. 4 Walls and ceilings are prone to mildew if not ventilated properly. Look for irregular brown spots. A brown ring can signify water damage; a thorough investigation is needed to locate the leak and repair it. 4 Electrical boxes should be in good repair at all times and free from rust. If you notice a rusty panel, call an electrician immediately and don’t touch it. It is a good idea to keep all the maintenance manuals for appliances, furnaces, water softeners, fans, wood burning stoves, etc. They contain valuable information on operation and safety.

Many have problem-solving areas for the homeowner and contact information for parts and supplies. Be sure to return the warranty card if one is provided. Keep these manuals in a filing cabinet where you can get your hands on them in a hurry if necessary. All homeowners should keep emergency contact information handy as well. Know how to reach your plumber after hours. Keep the phone numbers of electricians, heating and cooling professionals, and handymen on one list so they are easily accessible. Also include emergency medical assistance phone numbers, such as doctors and poison control. Protect your money by protecting your home. No matter how long you plan to live in the house, good repair will aid in appreciating its value.

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Spring Home Improvement

Blown Fuses Or Circuit Breakers? No Big Problem


fairly common problem in American homes these days is too many electrical appliances. The more we get, the more power they draw and the more likely they will break a circuit or blow a fuse. Once they’ve done this, though, how do you fix it? To begin, unplug or turn off the appliances that were running in the area when the circuit or fuse was overloaded. Now, go to your fuse box. This may be difficult if you have never been to your fuse box. In most cases, your fuse box will be in either your garage or basement. You can get a clue as to where to start looking by examining the nearest electrical pole and seeing where the lines run into your home. Should your power be run underground, it’s time to start looking. The box should be metal or plastic, roughly a foot or so long, and hanging from the wall. It should have a large pipe or cable

running out of one end into either the ceiling or the ground. When the box is opened, you should see one of two things: a set of fuses or a set of circuit breakers. Fuses in the box look like small glass circles. They are screwed into the box in sockets, much like a light bulb in a lamp. When too much power is being drawn, the fuse blows before the wires can overheat. While this may inconvenience you, the electrical fire it prevented probably would have inconvenienced you more. To replace a blown fuse, you must be careful to use the exact kind of fuse that you are removing. The information is usually written on the part of the fuse you will see as you examine it. If you do not have any spare fuses, it is a wise idea to take the blown fuse to the local hardware store so you can find the exact type of fuse for replacement. While shopping, you may want to pick up more than you need so

that you have spares for the next time or in the event of a severe electrical surge. If you are looking at a box of on-off switches, your house uses circuit breakers. Rather than blow, a circuit breaker is merely tripped. This is the electrical equivalent to the emergency brake in your automobile. It is usually easy to tell which circuit breaker was tripped. When a circuit breaker trips, it doesn’t have to be replaced. The circuit breaker is still in good condition in most cases and just needs to be flipped back to the “On” position. Once you have done this, power should be restored to the area. If your appliances are still on or plugged in, the circuit breaker will turn itself back off, as you are still drawing too much power. If the power being drawn is manageable, the circuit breaker will stay on. Now that you have found your box and know how to restore elec-

tricity, there is one more thing that you should do while you’re there. If your fuse box is not already labeled, you should consider doing so now. Turn off any appliances in the house that would be harmed by losing power in mid-operation. This particularly applies to computers. Then turn lights or some form of electrical device on in each room so you can determine what areas are affected by each switch. With a circuit breaker, this process is relatively easy. You flip a switch to “Off,” go search the house until you find the area without power and then label the space next to that breaker in either permanent marker or white out, depending on the color of your box. For fuses, the process works much the same way. Be careful with the fuses, though, as they are glass and can shatter if they fall as you are playing hide-and-go-seek with your electrical system. Once you have finished labeling your box, you should make a paper copy for your records. Use phrases like “north bedroom” rather than “Mary’s room” to make the diagram more timeless in the event of different rooming arrange-

ments. If you ever sell the home, be sure to pass on the diagram to the new owners. Now that you know a little more about your fuse box and you have it labeled, you should be fully prepared to face the aftermath of an electrical storm or a new highpowered appliance. Blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers will no longer pose a problem for you.

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Spring Home Improvement

Fun Trips And Events Planned By Parks And Rec


ign up now for these Parks and Recreationsponsored trips and programs. Call (203) 2722743 for more information. Registration forms for trips are available at the Cheshire Parks and Recreation Department office located at 559 South Main St. next to Cheshire High School, or online at parkrec. Spots are disappearing so register fast. Big Apple Visit Start spring vacation off with a trip to the Big Apple! Cheshire Parks and Recreation Department is offering a trip to see Lady Liberty on Saturday, April 17. The trip includes a bus ride to and from Battery Park and a ferry ticket to get to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The bus will leave from the Youth Center at 7:15 a.m. and departs from Battery Park at 5 p.m. At 5 p.m., the group will board the bus for South Street Seaport and depart from there at 7 p.m. The trip costs $55 for those under age 18 and $65 for ages 18 and over. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Fishing Derby Reel in the fun at the Steven Hovarth Memorial Fishing Derby

on Monday April 19. Bring all the necessities—rod, bait, bucket. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. at Mixville Recreation Area, 1500 Notch Rd., and fishing begins at 10 a.m. All children age 16 and under are welcome to be a fisherman for a day. Stay for an awards ceremony for the largest fish; trophy presentation begins at 11:30 a.m. Go Fly A Kite Love a blustery day? Come join the fun from 10 to 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 20, during spring break for Cheshire Parks and Recreation Department’s Go Fly Your Kite event. Everyone is invited to Bartlem Park, 520 South Main St. Just bring yourself, a smile, and your kite. Register at the field on April 20 and enjoy the free sky-scraping kite competition. Toyz Toy Store of Cheshire will be sponsoring and donating awards for largest kite, smallest kite, longest tail, best homemade kite, and best overall kite!

the Zoo, which leaves at 8 a.m., and from the Zoo at 4 p.m. The trip costs $35. Wednesday is “donation day” so visitors pay what they wish. Some attractions and rides may cost a few extra dollars so you may want to bring a little spending money. Touch A Truck Every kid loves to honk the horn, so come to Touch A Truck from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursday, April 22, at Bartlem Park and let the kids hop behind the wheel of a huge truck. All ages are invited and encouraged to bring a nonperishable food item to be donated to the Cheshire Food Pantry. The parking lot will be packed with dump trucks, fire trucks, and much more. We hope participants will stick around until 11:15 a.m. when the free raffle starts for everyone to enjoy.

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Quinn Baron enjoyed a nice sunny day on the swings at the Kids in Motion Playground recently.


Bronx Zoo Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! The Cheshire Parks and Recreation goes to the Bronx Zoo April 21. Get a chance to see exotic animals from all over the world. The trip includes a bus ride to

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Spring Home Improvement

Learn How To Find ‘Good’ Wood For Each Project


o you’ve planned out your home improvement project and are headed to the lumberyard. You know just what you need, or do you? While a grocery list of lumber may be perfectly acceptable for some projects, other high-profile projects may require some higher-quality wood. When walking into a lumberyard, it helps to know just how to find the “good” wood. The first test is one that you should do no matter what project you’re working on. This is the test in which you “sight” the board. Sighting the board consists of looking down the length of the board at one end to try to discern any visible bend or twist in it. You should also look for knotholes, dark circles in the wood. During cutting, these can cause big problems as they are harder than the rest of the wood.

Also look for cracks and wane, untrimmed wood along the sides of the board. This test should help you discern any visible warps or problems with the cut or quality of the wood itself. After the sight test, you should consider the grade of the lumber. Grading is dependent on the type of wood. Hardwoods and softwoods each have a different grading system. Generally speaking, hardwoods are defined as deciduous trees that lose leaves in the fall, and softwoods are coniferous trees with needles in place of leaves. For hardwoods, there are four grades of lumber. The best in appearance is FAS, which stands for “first and seconds.” These boards must be at least 6”x8’ and have 83% or greater usable material on one face. Keep in mind that “usable material” is an average of the entire board. There may be one section that makes up much of the 17% of defect or that 17%

may be spread throughout the board. Select (Sel) has the same quality as FAS, but the board only has to be 4”x6’. After Select and FAS are #1 and #2 Common (#1 Com and #2 Com). Each of these boards must be at least 3”x4’. #1 Com must have at least 66% usable material, and #2 Com must have at least 50%. Softwood uses a similar but slightly different scale. Given that softwood is often used for trim and decorative purposes, softwood has a five grade scale. The finest softwood is C Select, which is almost entirely clear of defects. This is followed by D Select, which has a bit of toleration for small knots but retains a very fine appearance. After the Selects come the Commons, numbered one through three. These are rated by the size of their knots. The smallest knots are in 1 Common and the largest in 3 Common. Now, when you get to the lum-



beryard with this grading scale, how can you tell what you’re looking at? The lumber industry has made this easy for you. At the end of each board should be a stamp. At the top left should be a symbol representing the number or symbol of the mill at which the board was produced. Below that should be a symbol of the grading organization that examined the board. At the top should “Sighting the board” consists of looking down its be an abbre- length from one end to discern any visible bend or viation of the twist. Also check for knotholes and dark circles. grade of wood (i.e., CSEL). Below that should be that you don’t always require stamps describing the moisture the highest quality boards. You content of the wood and the type should also look into the stability, density and durability, as well of wood you have. By using all of this information, as the grain and type of wood. If you should be able to select the you need more assistance, ask the highest quality boards for your customer service representative project. However, keep in mind at the lumberyard.

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Spring Home Improvement

Turn A Basement Into Comfortable Living Space


urning an unfinished tertainment space, each will have basement into a com- its own special requirements for fortable living space lighting, storage and seating. can be a rewarding Both spaces should be comadventure. Whether you need the fortable and cheerful. One of the extra space to accommodate an hardest elements to incorporate office, entertainment room or for into a basement is natural lightgrowing children to use as bed- ing. Every effort should be made rooms, you’ll need to set a finan- to include windows in the plan, cial budget and especially in a bedroom so the ocplan accordcupant doesn’t feel ingly. like they are living Planning in a cave. If typical for function small-sized baseis the most ment windows important exist, enlarge step in the them. A good remodelrule of thumb ing process. to rememGather evber is this: A eryone who window area might use should be the space at least oneand ask tenth the size them to of the room. make a list To decorate, of elements use light-colored they would paneling and paint so the like included into the new space won’t seem dreary. Don’t space. Choose common elements forget the trim work either. Moldfor corrections at 203-317-2308 - after 5 pm call andPlease decidecall if they will fit into ing around the perimeter of the 203-317-2282 the budget. Once an overall plan ceiling or a chair rail can add a Date:02/25/10 Day:THUSeatis set,Ad#:1148271 look at each Pub:PLAINVILLE piece of the special detail to a basement. Size:2X3 Cust:PERRONS FLOORING AMERICA Last Edited puzzle one at a time. For example, ing should be comfortable and By:JPASINSKI on 2/18/10 1:30 PM. Salesperson:850 Tag if the basement is to be divided arranged in groupings. Include Line:HOME SHOW Color Info:FULL between bedroom space1148271 and en- - Composite plenty of storage space for games,

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sports equipment and books. The space under the stairs can be fit with shelving for storage if closet space is unavailable. Do try to include a closet in a basement bedroom. For entertaining, you might want to consider the addition of a wet bar or a small kitchen. Use apartment-sized appliances and fixtures that require less space. Cabinet space for storage and countertops for food preparation and serving will be needed as well. Lighting adds atmosphere to a room. In a basement with a dropped ceiling, recessed lighting is attractive for general illumination. Floor or table lamps should also be provided for reading or handiwork. Add a hanging lamp

over a game table for cards or craft projects. The electrical requirements of the space will depend on how it is used. As a media center, you’ll want ample outlets for a television, VCR player, DVD player and stereo. If a computer with Internet access will be used in the bedroom, you’ll need ample electrical outlets there, too, along with a phone jack. Don’t forget a smoke alarm. If you choose the type that is hard-wired into the house, be sure to mention it to the electrician. Carpeting is a good choice as flooring for a basement. It adds warmth and muffles sound. Select a texture, color or pattern based on your personal style of decorating or preferences of those using


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the space. Be sure to figure a good carpet pad into the budget. Basements usually have easy access to plumbing, so consider installing a full bath. It will get more use than you ever imagined. A fireplace also makes a cozy addition to a basement room. Consult with your contractor as to feasibility and cost. You may be able to work it into your budget. Basements are naturally cool, so depending on where you live, air conditioning may not be necessary; however, heating will be important in colder climates. Ask a heating professional to look over your space and explain to them your plans for finishing the basement. They may recommend See HVAC, page 16

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Spring Home Improvement

Making Repairs To Damaged Drywall Can Be Easy


Your son is playing catch with his friend in the living room for the third time this week. You start to tell him to take it outside when he misses a catch. It flies past your head, just misses a vase, and you now have a baseball-sized hole in your drywall. What are you going to do? For starters, don’t panic. Yes, your son is probably in trouble. No, it’s probably not worth yelling about. Your son can probably even help with the repairs. It may not be fun, but it may serve as a more appropriate punishment than three weeks without television. Repairing drywall can be quite easy if you know what to do. Here’s how to patch the hole without having to hang new drywall. To begin, measure the width and height of the damaged area. With these measurements, you can do several things. One option

is to get a drywall patch. This is a piece of drywall with adhesive that you can cut out and stick to the rest of the surrounding drywall. It can serve as a quick or long-term fix, depending on the extent of the damage. Another way to deal with drywall damage is to make your own patch. Using a utility knife, cut out a square or rectangle around the hole, keeping the cutout as intact as possible. Place the fragment over a new piece of drywall and trace the outside edge. Cut your replacement slightly larger than the square in your wall to give you room to negotiate. It’s better to have a patch that’s too large than one that’s too small. Now, get a small piece of wood the same width as the patched area, but a few inches longer. This will serve as your patch support. At this point, it’s a good idea to form some kind of handle on the patch support, either with a dry-

wall screw or a small nail, to give you something to hold onto to. Slide the support into the hole and drill it in place using drywall screws. Apply some drywall putty around the edge of the patch area and place the patch in. Using a drill, place a couple of drywall screws through the patch to screw it into the drywall support. Once the patch is in, you need to cover it with some drywall compound. Try not to overdo it—use just enough to cover the patch and a few inches to each side. When the compound is dry, sand down the area and apply the compound a second time. When

the second application has dried, sand down the area again and check to see if the wall feels like one continuous smooth piece. If so, you can repaint or replace wallpaper on that part of the wall. If it’s not quite smooth, use the compound for a third application under the same guidelines as the first two. A slightly easier solution for smaller dents like those made by door handles is drywall tape. Lay the tape across the hole and


spread some compound over the tape. The compound will ooze through the mesh tape into the hole in the drywall, and once it has dried, it will form a new solid piece of drywall. Then all you’ll have left to do is the sanding and re-sanding. No matter which option you choose, if all goes well, your wall should look like new. And more importantly, your son will have learned not to play ball in the house...for now anyway.

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Spring Home Improvement

Leaf Disposal Available Joseph Michelangelo, director of the Cheshire Public Works Department, announced that the Town will be providing a container for the disposal of leaves only at the Solid Waste Disposal Facility (Transfer Station), located at 1286 Waterbury Road, to accommodate Cheshire residents who wish to dispose of leaves in the spring. Residents must show proof of residency by presenting a valid Connecticut driver’s license at the gatehouse prior to entrance into the Transfer Station. Leaves must be placed in biodegradable paper bags or removed and deposited loose from any plastic bag or container. This provision will be strictly enforced. Leaves may only be placed in these bags. No other yard debris or grass clippings will be accepted. There is no charge for this service. The container will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the following Saturdays: April 10, April 24, May 8, and May 22.

Hillside Gardening Presents Special Challenges


ou’ve got a green thumb, and it certainly shows. Your home is filled with plants of all types, and your yard is lush with vegetation. You’ve devoted many hours to creating a beautiful lawn and garden and have tackled almost every part of your landscape, except for that small hillside near the creek. You planted grass there, and you mow it regularly, but that’s as far as you have gotten. As with any garden, selecting the right plants for the environment is important. There is a risk of erosion with a hillside, so you will want to make certain that you

select some plants that will help keep the soil intact. Deep-rooted plants will work well for that as will some groundcovers. As you are selecting plants, take their light and water requirements into consideration. If the hillside is shaded and wet, then you will want to select plants that can grow in low-light, moist conditions. If it is sunny and dry, then you will want to select plants that can grow in sunny, dry conditions. Once you have zeroed in on some plants for your hillside garden, you will need to devise a plan for their placement. Since you are

dealing with a hillside and want to prevent erosion, you may want to try terracing. Using stone blocks or some other material, you can create a series of terraces in the hillside. The plants will sit flat on the terraces, allowing you to water them easily and more efficiently. If you have trees in your hillside garden, you may want to create a moat around the bases to prevent water runoff. Depending upon the severity of the slope, you may need to take additional measures to prevent erosion. You may want to build a retaining wall or add some boulders or rocks, both of which will retain the soil. To complete your garden, you may want to add a few decorative touches, like a bench or a statue. Gardens can be created on hillsides. It just takes a little time and thought. Put in the effort, and you’re sure to be pleased with the results.




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Spring Home Improvement

Renew That Stained Driveway


ake a look at your driveway. Is it stained with oil, grease and moss? Is the appearance of it starting to drive you crazy? Don’t replace it. Give it a good cleaning and see if that won’t do the trick. You could have many more years left in your driveway and save yourself the hassle and expense of replacing it. No matter how hard you try to keep your driveway stain-free, sometimes it just doesn’t work. Animal and pest residue, along with oil and transmission fluid leaks, and other accidents can leave any driveway a mess. If you have stains on your driveway, take these steps to clean it: 1. Purchase a bag of cat litter and scatter some of it on each stain on the driveway. 2. Cover the litter with newspaper and let it stand overnight. 3. Remove the litter and dab some non-bleaching powdered

laundry detergent onto each stain. Moisten the detergent enough to make a paste and let it stand overnight. 4. Remove much of the detergent paste, add some water to the remaining paste and scrub the area with a heavy wire brush. 5. Rinse off the detergent paste and allow the sun to fade away any remaining stains. 6. Once all of the stains are removed, power-wash the driveway and cover it with an exterior sealer that will not break down under the ultraviolet rays of the sun. You will have to reapply the sealer to your driveway at least once a year, but hopefully, it will repel stains for months to come. Depending upon the area where you live, you may also have some moss on your driveway. You know that combination of bacteria, mildew, and mold that grows in damp areas with little sunlight and makes the driveway slippery

on wet days. To get rid of the moss on your driveway, you need to use a strong bleach solution and follow these steps: 1. Sweep off the driveway. 2. Hose down any vegetation next to the driveway to protect it from burns from overspray of the bleach solution. 3. Don safety glasses and gloves, and make a mixture of one part bleach to two parts water. 4. Pour the bleach solution into a pump sprayer and saturate the mossy areas of the driveway. 5. Let the bleach solution stand for 15 minutes and then scrub and rinse. 6. Repeat the procedure as often as needed. With any luck, you will remove most of the stains and moss from your driveway and it will stay clean for quite some time. You won’t have to spend a fortune on replacement and can put the money toward something else.

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he most effective way to protect your gutters is to keep them clean. With most houses, this means that, several times each year, someone must carefully get up on the roof, balance themselves as they clear the debris from the rooftop, wobble atop the ladder as they trowel out the leaves, sticks and shingle debris, check the downspouts for clogs and buildup, then hose the roof and gutters again. Every season, thousands, if not millions, subject themselves to this task. Should you find this ritual to be as exhausting as most Americans do, there is a fairly simple solution. Gutter guards can do a pretty good job of minimizing your work. They vary in effectiveness, and none of them will keep all of the grime out, but if you do your research, you can find some that will do a better job than others. As you shop for gutter guards, be careful to look for guards that install and uninstall easily. Whether you install gutter guards or not, you will still have to check your gutters regularly to ensure they are clean and clear for proper water control. Even with guards, you will inevitably still have to clear off your roof, clean your gutters and run water through them, but the guards should be able to help reduce how often you do the chore to a more tolerable level.

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Spring Home Improvement

Public Works Department Has Begun Sweeping Streets Director of Public Works Joseph Michelangelo, would like to advise all residents that the Town of Cheshire began sweeping sand from Town roads on Monday, April 5. Sweeping operations will begin in the southwest corner of Town and will progress throughout the Town during the next several weeks. A map of the areas to be swept is posted in the Public Works Department at Town Hall. Residents are asked to sweep sand from sidewalks, driveway aprons and grass strips into the street prior to street sweeping by the Town’s

contractor. The Town will not be providing any other opportunities to collect this excess sand. Please remove basketball hoops or any other obstruction from the right-of-way and refrain from parking vehicles on the street when sweepers are in your neighborhood. Sweeping operations are expected to be completed by May 28, weather permitting. Contact the Public Works Department at (203) 2716650 should you have any further questions or concerns or the Public Work’s Website www. for further details.

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Spring Home Improvement

Skylights Offer Many Benefits

W Josh Morgan/Cheshire Herald

Time To Build That Dream House With the weather turning warm and spring in full bloom, many residents are getting started on construction projects.The work might be as simple as fixing up a garage or building a new shed, or as complex as completing their future home, just like this house (above), which is being constructed on Sherwood Lane.

Spring Clean-ups  Mowing  Mulching

hen building or remodeling your home, one thing you are likely to consider is your lighting options. Whether you are looking for an energysaving light source, something a bit more natural than fluorescence, or a room with a better view, skylights may be the solution. Available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, skylights can meet a number of demands from consumers. You may be asking, “Why should I put a hole in my roof?” Well, there are several benefits. For one, natural sunlight has been proven to provide Vitamin D and help fight depression. On top of that, well-placed skylights can help cut down on your heating and cooling costs throughout the year. Skylights can also cut down on your electrical bills by providing

you with light courtesy of Mother Nature. Finally, skylights can provide a more natural feel within your home by providing another view of the outside. Now that we’ve established a few good reasons to put a hole in your roof, what are the risks? Well, for one, you’ve got a big hole in your roof. If your skylight is poorly installed or poorly manufactured, you could have leaks. If your skylight is not durable, you could have to replace it after a few years for something sturdier. Also, depending on your placement of the skylight, you may not maximize your light and could actually lose money on your heating and cooling costs rather than save it. It is important to consult a proSee SKYLIGHTS, page 18

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Spring Home Improvement

Brighten Up Your Garden With Color Palette


ou like to take short walks through your neighborhood and admire all of the lovely flower gardens. You especially like the color-coordinated gardens with striking reds and yellows, pale pinks and purples, and bright blues and whites. This year, you’d like to coordinate the colors in your flower garden and really make it stand out. Selecting an appropriate color palette depends upon many factors. First, you need to decide the purpose of your flower garden. Do you use it primarily for cuttings? If so, then you’ll want to plant flowers in colors that suit the interior décor of your home. Do you use it to accentuate your landscape? If so, then you’ll want

to plant flowers in colors that complement the exterior of your home. Do you use it just for your own enjoyment? If so, then you’ll want to plant flowers in colors that suit you.

Perhaps you want to be surrounded by your favorite color, recreate the look of your grandmother’s flower garden or design a soothing place to relax. While you are selecting colors to use in your flower garden, keep in mind the moods they will invoke. Bright colors in general tend to be less calming than pale colors. Red, for example, will bring

vivacity and energy to the space, while blue will calm it down. If you are looking to create a certain mood in your garden, make sure you select the right colors to do so. Bright purple blooms may not create as tranquil of a space as lavender ones. The time of day also affects color. Close your eyes and picture y o u r flower garden. Do you see it in the early morning, mid-afternoon or early evening? Certain colors look better during certain times of the day. Pastels, silvers and whites show well in the early morning and late evening, bright colors in the afternoon, and blues in the early evening. Taking these factors into consideration, you should be able to come up with a few color palettes. The next step is to research what flowers in those shades will bloom at the same time. You’re

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attention to the bloom times listed on the label and make certain the flowers you select will bloom together. Creating a colorful flower garden is not that difficult. It does take some thought, however. Study the concept of color and how it is used in design and landscaping. The more you know, the better color choices you will make and the more likely you will be happy with the results.

not going to get a red and yellow garden if your red flowers come up in the spring and your yellow flowers come up in the fall. With a list of potential candidates in mind, go to the nursery and start trying out color combinations. Play with the various shades of flowers until you get just the look you want. You will find all sorts of shades of red and yellow, and some will look better together than others. Again, pay

See page 23 for some colorful suggestions for your flower gardens.


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Spring Home Improvement

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Spring Home Improvement

Find A Reliable Contractor For Major Projects


ou’re planning to renovate your home. You’re planning to build a new home. You have a major project to do on your home that you don’t think you can handle by yourself. If any of these situations apply, you are

probably in need of a contractor. A contractor, by obvious definition, is someone with whom you’ll have a contract. How do you know that you have found the right contractor? Well, it all depends on how you do your re-

Considering A CARPENTER?

Carpenters generally fall into two categories: rough or finish. Rough carpenters specialize in building homes, framing them and making sure everything is level, square, and plumb. Finish carpenters do the detail work, installing trim, banisters, etc. Some finish carpenters, known as cabinetmakers, specialize in building cabinets and furniture. If you are interested in cabinets, you might want to look for a cabinetmaker or a finish carpenter who has experience in building cabinets. Treat the process for hiring a carpenter as you would for any professional. Ask family and friends for recommendations, browse listings in the newspaper, phone book, and online, and draw up a list of potential candidates. Conduct phone interviews to find out about the carpenter’s skills, qualifications, availability and fees. Discuss the work you would like to have done and see if they are interested. Your phone interviews should help narrow your list. Then meet with each candidate face to face. Ask to see samples of their work. Get a list of references and check them out. Ask what the customer did and did not like about the carpenter’s work. Finally, discuss again the work you would like to have done and ask the carpenter to give you a written estimate. When you hire the carpenter you like, ask them to write up a contract for the work. This will ensure there are no misunderstandings. Work out a schedule with the carpenter and keep in contact with them to ensure they meet your expectations.

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search. When you begin your research, take into account the scope of your project. What projects will you need done? Will they require electrical, plumbing, or other special knowledge? When you begin your search for contractors, start by asking people you know who have had similar projects done. They may or may not be able to recommend someone, but they will probably at least be able to point you in the right direction. In most cases, you can start with the Yellow Pages of your local phone book or by calling the local Better Business Bureau (BBB). Most contracting companies should be licensed through the BBB. Using their recommendations, make a specific outline of your plan and present it to the contractors. If you are working on a largescale project, you may require an architect’s help to draw up your plan. Having a universal architectural plan can help ensure that contractors are all bidding and commenting on the same thing and keep you from getting confused comparing apples to oranges. Also, make sure that the contractors you are considering have workman’s compensation and insurance that covers all of their employees. Without this, you

could be liable for accidents that occur during your project. Once you have talked to your potential contractors for the first time, ask them for references. Check with the people they have worked for and ask them about the quality of their experience. Was the job finished in a timely manner and to their satisfaction? Were they able to work with the contractor effectively? How was communication at the beginning of and throughout the project? All of these are important questions that you should have addressed in tract and to ask for clarification of anything you do not understand. Make sure that all verbal agreements and understandings are included in the contract to solidify definitions and explanations. Keep in mind as you are looking at payment and pricing that you don’t want to give your contractor all of the money upfront, but they may need some funding during

the project. Reserve a portion of the final payment roughly equal to 10 percent of the project until all inspections have been passed and you have proof that all liens are removed from your house. This way, you can be certain your See CONTRACTOR, page 15

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Spring Home Improvement

Tile-Warmers Add Comfort To Bathroom Floors


ne thing that you may not think about as you build or remodel your home is the temperature of your bathroom floor. If you’re using wood or carpeting, this may not be much of an issue. However, if you’re using traditional bathroom tile, you may want to think about just how cold it can be first thing in the morning. If you enjoy the wake-up call that comes from stepping onto a cold bathroom floor in the morning, then tile may work for you.

Frankly, though, for most people, that kind of temperature difference between foot and floor is not pleasing to the touch. Fortunately, now you can say goodbye to that rude aw a ke n i ng that comes from leaving the comfort of your bed for those treacherously cold tiles. Welcome to the world of tile-warmers. As most of us learned early on, heat rises. That is why we build fires low to the ground and heat our ovens from the bottom, not the top. Why would we do any

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differently with our homes? For most homes, though, the heat comes from vents. These vents, while sometimes placed near the floor, generally release hot air directly to the ceiling. In order to get warm air low to the ground, the upper air must often get uncomfortably warm. How does one solve this problem? Well, in the case of tiles like those that are probably in your bathroom, you use tile-warming mats. These tile-

continued from page 7

need any permits or inspections to complete your project. When making an investment additional ductwork and vents. If like this into your home, keep in your basement has any moisture, mind the overall price range of include a sump pump and dehouses in your neighborhood. humidifier in your plan. For wet Will this project price your home out of the market? A real estate Seal Today ... Save Tomorrow! agent may be able to tell you. Experts suggest investing no more ™ than 12% the value of the average home in your neighborhood to Professional Driveway Sealing keep you in a seller’s market. But 400o Hot Pour Crack Repair if you plan to stay in your home for the long term, the satisfaction (203) 697-0880 you 203-317-2282 receive from your renovation call for corrections 203-317-2308 FreePlease Estimates • Since 1983 •at CT Lic #0622386- after 5 pm call project mayOIL be Last worthEdited the investAd#:1151778 Pub:RJ Date:00/00/00 Day:WED Size:3X6.25 Cust:GIACCO Dean Backstrom P.O. Box 627 By:DKRAMPITZ on 3/23/10 12:06 PM. Salesperson:321 Tag Line:AC TUNE UP Color Info: ment no matter what the cost. Proprietor Wallingford, CT 06492 1151778 - Composite


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not underneath bathroom furnishings or near plumbing, and wired to a central switch. Then the tiles are replaced and you have a warmer bathroom floor. By choosing to have tile-warmers installed, you’ll be thanking yourself for years to come. You’ll appreciate them every time you look at your electrical bill and, more importantly, every time you step onto your nice warm bathroom floor in the morning.

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Spring Home Improvement

Coffered Ceilings Can Be Done On A Shoestring


An intricate coffered ceiling design such as the one above would probably require some good carpentry skills. A simplified version—cove molding around the ceiling perimeter—can be achieved fairly easily.

ou are in the process of redoing a room in your home and you would like to do something a bit different with the ceiling. In an ideal world where money was no issue, you would hire a carpenter to install a coffered ceiling. You just love the look of coffered ceilings. However, that is not in your budget, so you are going to have to get creative. You could work some magic with paint, buy some trim and wood, and create your own coffered ceiling. You are no carpenter, but you can create a simplified version of

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he Town of Cheshire is once again providing outdoor compost bins along with a household food waste recycling pail to Cheshire residents for composting food waste and yard waste items. The price is $20 for each set. These can be purchased

at Cheshire Town Hall, Public Works Department, 84 South Main St., Cheshire, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Compost bins will be avail-

able until the Town’s supply is depleted. Should you have any questions, please contact the Public Works Office at (203) 271-6650.

coffered ceiling. To do this, you need to sit down and sketch out a design on paper. Keep in mind that you will be using 1x6s. You can make traditional square grids or work in some curves that you can cut from plywood. Once you have a design, you need to purchase supplies to execute it. Depending upon what you have drawn, you will need some cove molding for the perimeter of the room, several 1x6s and a sheet of 1/4-inch plywood and a jigsaw if you incorporating curves. You will also need a box of finishing nails, hammer, wood filler, caulk, primer, paint, paintbrushes and rollers, and paint trays. Before you install your design, you may want to prime and paint the ceiling if it needs it, making sure you fill in any holes. Let the ceiling dry completely before

moving on to the next step. To install your design, start with the cove molding. Cut all of the pieces you will need. Prime and paint them, if desired, and install them around the perimeter of the room. Fill in the nail holes with putty and caulk around the edges if needed. Touch up the trim with paint. Next, you can work on the actual design. Cut all of the 1x6s. Sketch any curved pieces on plywood and cut them out. Prime and paint all wood. With a helper, install the pieces, fill in the nail holes, and touch up with paint. Caulk any areas that need it. That’s all there is to it. In a weekend, you can create the look of a coffered ceiling in your room on a shoestring budget. Good luck and enjoy.

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Spring Home Improvement

Gazebos Are A Popular Addition To Many Yards


erhaps you’ve admired gazebos since your grandfather built one overlooking a hillside in his backyard. How you loved to play there as a child. You would spend hours sitting on the floor cuddling with your dolls, drinking Grandma’s lemonade and eating her oatmeal raisin cookies. Actually, thousands of children before you probably felt the same way about their family’s gazebos. Originally situated on the roofs of houses as towers, gazebos have been around for thousands of

years. They were quite common in royal gardens in ancient Egypt. In fact, murals depicting them have been discovered in tombs from as early as 1400 B.C. Ancient Romans often included them with their summerhouses on the coast, while Persians created their own version of gazebos known as kiosks. The Chinese often built elaborate gazebos for their gardens, whereas the Japanese created simple versions known as teahouses for rest and relaxation. Starting in the 14th century, gazebos caught on in France and


England. Elizabethan gardens often featured gazebos designed in the same style as the main house. These were used primarily for entertaining. During the late 1700s, many Europeans took a liking to the Chinese-style summerhouses and starting building them in their gardens. Gazebos made their way to the United States in the mid-1800s. Basking in their newfound prosperity, many upper- and middleclass Americans built gazebos on their property. The popularity of gazebos declined in the late 1800s with the addition of large porches to houses. They resurged again in the 1930s as a place to get away

from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, only to decline in the 1940s with the introduction of patios to houses. Gazebos did not become popular again in the United States until the 1980s. Today, they are a fixture, not only in many public parks but in hundreds of yards across the country. Although traditionally hexagon

shaped, they can be designed in a number of shapes and sizes to accommodate the homeowner’s needs. Many even come in kits and can be installed by the homeowner in a weekend or two. Gazebos have been a favorite of gardeners for centuries. They make a welcome addition to almost any landscape, perhaps even yours.

Skylights: Consult A Professional continued from page 12

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fessional when thinking about placement of your new skylights. While installation may be a potential do-it-yourself project, it is always best to consult a professional for their opinion. Once you have discussed optimal placements of your skylights, you will probably have learned a few things. For one, bigger is not necessarily better. It is often more advantageous both for lighting

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and for climate control to have several smaller skylights than one huge one. This allows for regular lighting throughout the home and provides less potential for problems on your rooftop. One solution that has been catching on lately is tubular skylights. These skylights are usually less than two feet in diameter and utilize a system of reflection within a tube to maximize light input. They usually diffuse the light when it comes into your home to help spread it around. While these are smaller, easier to install and less risky in terms of energy, they do not provide the traditional view of a skylight that you may desire.

When considering tubular skylights, keep in mind that they will meet your needs for energy efficiency and natural lighting, but they may not give you the planetarium view that you want. You must think critically about what you want out of your natural lighting. If you want energy efficiency, smaller holes in your roof and natural lighting, tubular skylights may be the option for you. If you want to be more “open” with your skylight options and aim for something with a view, you may opt for traditional skylights. Either way, if you install skylights properly, you will get the benefit on both your electric bill and your bill of health.


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Spring Home Improvement

Counters Scratched? Give Laminates New Life

• Dropcloths • TSP solution • Rags • Old toothbrush • Denatured alcohol • Painter’s tape • 120- and 220-grit sandpaper • Electric sander • Tackcloths • Oil-based primer • Oil-based paint in the colors you desire • Marine varnish or polyurethane • Paintbrushes and rollers • Paint trays Once you have all of the supplies, you can get started. First, cover the floor with dropcloths and remove everything from your countertops. Then follow these directions: 1. Clean the countertops with TSP solution, following the manufacturer’s instructions and using an old toothbrush to get into any crevices. Rinse and let dry.

Choosing Paint: Oil vs. Latex Your kitchen cabinets have seen better days, and while you would like to change them, you can’t afford to do so at this time. You’re going to paint them instead, and some friends have suggested you use oil paint, while others have suggested you use latex paint. You have worked with latex paint but not oil paint. What is the difference between the two? Oil-based paint offers many advantages. It goes on smoothly and covers a lot. It shrinks very little, making sanding between coats unnecessary. It dries slowly, giving you more time to work. It produces a shiny, hard coat that is tough to penetrate and holds up well in high-traffic areas. There are some drawbacks to using oil-based paint. It has a strong odor, making it difficult to work with for some people. Although hard, it will crack over time. It may also fade and yellow. Oil-based paint can be difficult to clean up. You must use solvents. It is also hazardous and must be disposed of properly. Latex also offers many advantages. It is widely available and is better for the environment altogether. It dries quickly and doesn’t yellow. It is also easy to clean up with soap and water. It does swell, however, making sanding between coats on wood essential. For walls, many experts recommend latex. For wood, metal and other surfaces, oil-based might be better. The choice is yours. Research the two options further, discuss the matter with the professionals and make your choice carefully.


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hat kind of countertops do you have in your kitchen and bathroom? Many homeowners have laminate, and unlike some materials, laminate does not stand up as well to wear and tear. It is much more susceptible to damage than harder materials like quartz and granite. Nicks, scratches, and burn marks are not uncommon on laminate countertops that have been around for a while. Not all homeowners can afford to replace their old laminate countertops, however. If you are among them, do not despair. You can still have beautiful countertops simply by painting your old laminate countertops. Painting laminate countertops requires a bit of time, so before you attempt it, make sure you can do without your kitchen or bathroom for a few days. To paint your laminate countertops, you will need these supplies:

2. Wipe the countertops with denatured alcohol to remove any remaining greasy residue. 3. Tape off all surfaces around the countertops. 4. Rough up the countertops with 120-grit sandpaper, being careful not to gouge the area. Remove the dust created with a tackcloth. 5. Prime the countertops and let dry. 6. Sand the primed countertops with 220-grit sandpaper to remove all brush and roller marks. Remove the dust created with a tackcloth. 7. Apply a coat of paint to the countertops. Let dry. 8. Sand the first coat of paint with 220-grit sandpaper to remove brush and roller marks. Remove the dust created with a tackcloth. 9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 until you are satisfied with the results. Two to three coats of paint are ideal. 10. Sand the final coat with 220-grit sandpaper, remove the dust created with a tackcloth and apply several coats of marine varnish or polyurethane, following the manufacturer’s directions. Sand between each coat. This is the basic process for painting laminate countertops. Keep in mind that if your countertops are extremely damaged, paint may not disguise everySee COUNTERTOP, page 21

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the cheshire herald, April 8, 2010


Spring Home Improvement

Paint Adds Life To Ho-Hum Rooms Inexpensively


re your kitchen and bathroom looking a little ho-hum? Could they use a little pep? Why not paint them? Paint is an inexpensive fix for rooms that lack life. Not sure what colors to use? Read on to learn more about the latest color trends in kitchens and bathrooms. In the majority of houses today, the kitchen is the heart of the home. People not only cook there, but gather there to eat and engage in other activities while enjoying each other’s company. The kitchen


is a high-energy, high-traffic room and, to reflect that, many homeowners are now using bright, bold colors on the countertops, walls, and floors. Bright reds and oranges are not uncommon in kitchens these days. Most kitchens can take these bursts of bold color because they don’t have a lot of wall space and feature neutral cabinetry and appliances. Homeowners who aren’t into bold reds and oranges have a variety of other choices. They can stick to warm tones and select a more subtle shade, like copper, henna or ginger. They can go cooler and select an apricot or yellow. They can move to cool tones entirely and select a silvery blue or grayish green. To ensure they select a color they can live with for a long time,

designers advise homeowners to avoid colors used in restaurants. While they might like the colors they see while dining out, they may not like them in their home day in and day out. As for bathrooms, homeowners no longer need to stick to soothing shades of white, gray and blue. They can go bolder and select colors that will say good morning and help them wake up. Because bathrooms in general are smaller and have less wall space, homeowners may choose a really bright color like fire engine red or a rich, deep color like chocolate brown. Homeowners who prefer pops of bold color may select a neutral shade for the countertop, walls and floor and use colorful towels, rugs and accessories. They can even change out their accessories

from time to time to give their bathroom a different look. Homeowners who use their bathrooms for makeup application may want to stick to shades that will flatter their skin tone. Most skin tones have a pink undertone, so warm colors with a hint of pink are ideal for the bathroom. Yellow distorts skin tone, so homeowners should stay away from shades with a hint of yellow. These are just some of the current color trends in kitchen and bathrooms. The choice is entirely yours. If you hate bold colors, go for more subdued tones in your kitchen. If you adore yellow, break the rules and paint your bathroom in lemon. Just make sure that you can live with whatever you choose, or you may be repainting sooner than you think.

Be Sure To Communicate With Contractor continued from page 15

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contractor will finish the job. It is wise to set out in the initial contract just what the contractor will and will not be responsible for, what their working restrictions are, and who their crew will be. By doing this, you will know whether or not the contractor will clean up after themselvesand ap-



ply for building permits, what union restrictions might apply, who is working on your house, and what their qualifications are. With the initial contract signed and verified, all you have to do is take a copy of the contract and store it somewhere safe. Throughout the process, be sure to communicate with your contractor. Let them know any concerns you have or if they are exceeding your expectations. By keeping in constant communica-

tion with the contractor, they will feel more comfortable coming to you if something goes wrong or if they have a new idea. The relationship can also pay off if you have a project in the future for which you need a contractor again. In the end, you just have to be a careful consumer and be conscious of what you are signing when you enter into a contract. Choosing the right contractor can make your building experience easier and more enjoyable.

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the cheshire herald, April 8, 2010


Spring Home Improvement

Cost, Convenience Make Carpet Squares A Good Choice


he carpet in your children’s bedroom has just been steamcleaned, but, this time, it didn’t seem to help much. Few, if any, of the stains came out and the pile is still crushed. Face it. It’s time for new carpet. With your children still in elementary school, you’re not sure you want to break the bank and spend a fortune on new carpet. A less expensive option might be to recover the bedroom floor with carpet tiles. Coming in a wide range of styles and sizes, carpet tiles are easy to install yourself and can be replaced as needed. Should your child accidentally spill juice on a few tiles and stain them, all you’ll need to do is pull up the tiles and replace them. The cost and convenience make carpet tiles a worthwhile option to pursue for many families. Before you run out and purchase several boxes of carpet tiles, do your homework. Find out exactly what is involved in install-

Countertop Care Tips continued from page 19 thing. Using a faux finish technique, however, may help. Various faux finishing techniques are available to recreate the look of stone like marble and granite. Conduct a search to find out what kind of faux finish you would like to create on your countertops, practice the technique on a piece of plywood and then go for it. You could end up with such authenticlooking results that no one can tell the difference. When you have completed painting your laminate countertops, make sure you keep them looking good by using cutting boards and trivets. Don’t slice vegetables or put hot pans directly on the countertops, or you could end up nicking or burning the paint. Be careful with dish drainers as well. Use a tray to catch the runoff from freshly washed dishes. The more moisture countertops come into contact with, the more likely that the paint will bubble. Take care of your freshly painted laminate countertops and they will serve you well for years to come—or at least until you have enough money to replace them.

ing carpet tiles and make sure you can handle the installation. Don’t forget to ask about the pros and cons. Should you have to replace a carpet tile a year later, how well will the new one match up with the old ones? Will you actually be able to see that the replaced tile is new? For some people, there is nothing better than plush carpet installed by a professional over firm padding, while for others, the ease and convenience of replacing carpet tiles themselves overrides that. Once you are certain that carpet tiles are the way to go, calculate the square footage of the room where you plan to use the tiles. This will tell you approximately how many tiles you will need. Make sure you purchase extra for any mistakes you may make in cutting or require later for replacements. After you have purchased the carpet tiles, start prepping the room. First, carefully remove all of the baseboards and store them in a nearby room. Then remove

the old carpet and padding, pull up any old tack strips and throw them away. Sweep, vacuum and mop the floor if needed so the carpet tiles will stick, and prepare to lay the carpet tiles. To lay the carpet tiles, locate the center of the floor and work outward. Remove the backing from the carpet tile and press it onto the floor. Lay another carpet tile next to the center one, making sure the nap or pattern is going in the same direction and being careful not to create a crown or a bump at the seam line. Continue laying the carpet tiles in a square until you reach the outer portion of the room. Depending upon the dimensions of the room, you may need to cut the tiles to fit the perimeter of the room. Measure carefully and cut the tiles as needed with a utility knife. Then press them into place until the floor is completely covered. In just a few hours, you can remove the old carpet and recover the floor yourself with new carpet tiles. Then, the next time a nasty stain occurs, all you’ll need to do is pull up the tile and replace it. No more dragging out the steam cleaner and hoping that you can get rid of an ugly stain.

Josh Morgan/Cheshire Herald

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Spring Home Improvement

Weather-Seal Doors To Avoid Rainstorm Damage


ou look out your window, see pouring rain and remember the last time a storm this bad hit. It took hours to clean up the foyer. As you go to the front door, you see that water is already starting to come in under the door from the torrent outside. The simplest solution to com-

bating water is weather-sealing doors. There are several ways to accomplish this, depending on your requirements, and the process is usually pretty simple so long as you have some basic carpentry skills. One option is to use adhesive weather strips. These strips adhere to the side of the door in order to increase its width

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or height to meet the frame. Foam strips can be excellent, quick fixes for many lesser problems but must be replaced each spring. More durable vinyl options can be purchased, but they will not last long, either. Metal versions can be used as well for a longer-lasting option, but their efficiency depends on your ability to properly work metal with snips. The next option is interlocking strips of metal. These rely on your ability to exactly match two pieces of metal to each other. Some designs are easier to install than others, but even they can be tricky. A small amount of damage to one of the strips can ruin the way the two pieces fit together; therefore, this is not an appropriate solution for rain under the door, but it can work to solve problems at the top of the door. For the bottom of the door,

you should probably use either an adjustable threshold or a door sweep. Adjustable thresholds are devices that screw into the bottom of the door and can be moved up or down to fill the proper amount of space between the door and the floor. Door sweeps, on the other hand, block the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor without actually filling the space. Door sweeps can be found in several varieties, including a number

that automatically lift when the door is opened to allow them to clear carpet or other floor coverings. With the non-automatic models, you must be sure the sweep will clear your flooring when you open your door or you will risk ruining both your door and your carpet. With these options in mind, hopefully you’ll be able to avoid damage from any downpours this season.











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Spring Home Improvement

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Expo Offers Hands-On Demos continued from page 2 ing” and speaks of how the expo allows him and his staff to present different demonstrations that wouldn’t be available at other trade shows. “We have arborists on hand to answer questions and we even ask people to come over and ‘stump an arborist,’” he stated. “It helps because people have a lot of questions, and we can answer them right there.” They also will perform different demonstrations, including drilling into a tree with a special drill, to show people how it can be done safely and effectively. “It is that kind of hands-on demonstration we get to do at this event,” said Toth. The Home, Garden, and Business Expo is scheduled to take place this Saturday, April 10 at Cheshire High School. The event will begin at 8 a.m. with the Kiwanis Colonial Breakfast, which runs until 2 p.m., and is sponsored by the Cheshire Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Town of Cheshire Beautification Committee. There will be a wide variety of exhibits, entertainment, and a food court. For more information, contact the Cheshire Chamber of Commerce at (203) 272-2345.


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2010 Spring Home Improvement Special Section  

HOME IMPROVEMENT Spring Home Improvement April 8, 2010 THE CHESHIRE HERALD, APRIL 8, 2010