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Cole’s Carpet & Floor Covering • Hardwood Flooring • Carpet • Luxury Vinyl • Tile • Laminate • Free Estimates • Expert Installation

Largest Selection of Carpet and Floor Covering in the Area Family Owned & Operated Since 1988 Roger Cole 196 Chase High Rd Forest City, NC 828-248-2095

Make Every Room a Living Room

Come In For A Free Consultation with Roger and Renee (Formerly of Hardin’s Carpet)

C2 — The Daily Courier, Sunday, September 15, 2013 •

How to prevent tip-over accidents

odern conveniences in a home are meant to be enjoyed. However, items such as televisions, appliances and furniture can prove quite dangerous when they are involved in tip-over accidents. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says between the years of 2008 and 2010, 43,400 Americans were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to the instability of televisions, furniture and appliances. Between the years of 2000 and 2010, 293 fatalities were reported, the highest percentage of which were among children ages one to eight. Fifty-two percent of injuries involved only furniture falling. Data from the Brooke’s Angel Wings, an organization that hopes to raise awareness about the dangers of unsecured furniture and televisions, says every two weeks a child loses his or her life to an accident involving unsecured furniture or televisions in the home. Fortunately, tip-over deaths and injuries are preventable. Individuals making improvements around their homes may want to give special attention to renovations that can improve safety in and around the house. One of the first steps to take is securing furniture and televisions to prevent tip-over accidents. One of the single easiest methods to preventing tip-over injuries is to anchor furniture, televisions and appliances to the wall. All furniture with shelves, drawers and doors -- anything that can be climbed or pulled over by curious children -should be anchored into a stud with an appropriate device. Even if an item seems stable or heavy, some simple precautionary measures can help prevent an


All furniture with shelves, drawers and doors, such as the dresser in this bedroom, should be anchored into a stud with an appropriate device in order to prevent tip-overs. injury and possibly save a life. Many different safety devices that can prevent tip-over accidents are now available. Products from Safety First to Kidco to Hangman all offer furniture straps to secure items. However, do-it-yourselfers can use “L” brackets as well as other bolts and hardware that are sturdy enough to hold the weight of a fully loaded piece of furniture. Remember, walls can always be repaired should

damage occur from bolts and straps. But lives cannot be replaced. Flat screen televisions are safer when mounted on a wall than they are when placed atop a piece of furniture. If televisions are on a TV stand, they should be secured to the surface. Homeowners hoping to prevent tip-over accidents can follow these tips. * When loading dresser drawers, put the heaviest items

at the bottom and the lightest items in the top drawers. * Do not put things on top of dressers that may entice children to climb up the dresser. * Keep items you do not want children to have out of sight. * Do not assume children will remember the dangers associated with climbing or always follow the rules. * Don’t forget to also secure computer monitors. * Check safety straps

frequently to be sure they are still secure. * Think about other items around the house that can present a danger were they to fall. Secure everything and anything that is large and could cause injury if it fell down onto a person. Homeowners should not put off securing items around the house. Spending five minutes now can prevent a tragedy later on.

Preparing your home for holiday entertaining H osting a party at home is a cost-effective way to entertain. But inviting friends over can be a lot of work, as the host and/ or hostess is responsible for all aspects of party preparation and cleanup. While party hosts often must wait until the day of the party to tackle many of their responsibilities, they can get a head start on preparing their homes for their guests.

The clean-up

It may seem counterproductive to clean prior to having everyone over, but it is a necessity if you want to present your home in its best light. The goal is to give the home the appearance of tidiness. Every surface need not pass the white-glove test, but attention should be paid to any rooms in the house where guests will be spending time. Begin with the rooms that will be occupied the most. Ensure that they are free of clutter. If you do not have time to put every piece of decor back in its rightful place, simply put misplaced things in boxes or baskets and store them out of sight until you can sort accordingly. Quickly vacuum the main entertaining area and wipe down any dusty surfaces.

While cleaning, pay special attention to the bathrooms, which will be subject to significant foot traffic. Spend ample time cleaning the bathroom because you want to present a clean, sanitary space. In the same vein, make sure the master bedroom is neat. Put on your best comforter and ensure the bed is made. Unless you lock the bedroom door, expect at least one guest to mistakenly wander into the bedroom.


You will want to have enough seats for the majority of guests to be comfortable. Expect at least 75 to 80 percent of guests to be seated at any given time while the remaining guests mingle. Your regular furniture may be able to accommodate a number of guests. If not, bring in seating. It could mean temporarily moving out bulky sofas in lieu of folding chairs. If you will be serving a sit-down meal, then you will definitely need a seat and place at the table for each one of your guests. Buffet-style meals and finger foods are often the best option when table space is limited.

Safety and comfort

Investigate your home

for any potential safety hazards before inviting guests. Repair any chipped concrete on walkways and ensure that railings are sturdy so no one trips or falls. Make sure that there is adequate indoor and outdoor light if you will be hosting your event in the evening. If you will be inviting a person with mobility issues, make sure that the path between the entryway and the bathroom is free of obstructions. If you have a pet, keep in mind that some guests may be allergic to pets or uncomfortable around animals. In such instances, it is better to tuck away your pet in a quiet, out-of-the-way room for both the comfort of guests and the safety of the animal. Keep all exits and windows easily accessible in the event of an emergency. Make sure that fire extinguishers are charged in the event a candle or chafing dish sterno gets knocked over. Have a few seats available outdoors for smokers or those who want a break from the action. Preparing a home for party guests takes some patience and elbow grease. But party hosts can get a head start on preparing their home to make the day When entertaining at home, it’s a good idea to expect at least 75 to 80 percent of your guests to be seated at any given time and prepare accordingly. of the party less hectic.

Safely clear gutters nlike many household chores, cleaning gutters can be quite dangerous, so homeowners should take the following precautions before gutting their gutters of grime. • Don’t tr y to be a hero. If you are afraid of heights, then it’s perfectly alright to hire a professional. • Inspect the


ladder. An unbalanced ladder may not be reliable and should be replaced. • Keep the ladder on stable ground. The ladder should always be planted on a flat and secure surface . • Move the ladder frequently. Overextending yourself is a considerable safety risk, so move the ladder frequently. • The Daily Courier, Sunday, September 15, 2013 — C3

Home improvement projects perfect for fall ome improvement projects can add value to a home and do-it-yourselfers know the sweat-equity that goes into such projects can give homeowners a greater sense of pride in their homes. But no two home improvement projects are the same, and homeowners should know that certain projects are best tackled during certain times of the year. Fall is a great season to work on your house, as the weather is often at its most agreeable once the summer heat has gone and before winter weather arrives. The following are a handful of fall-friendly home improvement projects for homeowners looking to improve their homes.

certain range, and that range is often within 70o to 80o F, which makes fall a great time to install such floors. Colder temperatures can make it difficult for the flooring to dry and bond, which will prove problematic down the road. What’s more, many people entertain friends and family come late fall and into the holiday season, and it can be difficult to do so if you are busy installing new flooring.


Painting projects

Painting is another home improvement project that seems tailor-made for fall. A fresh coat of paint or a new color scheme around the house can give a home an entirely new look and feel. But paint can be pungent and the aromas Roof repair may last if it’s applied at a time Whether you’re repairing of year when it can’t dry while or replacing the roof, fall is a the windows are wide open. great time of year to dust off Paint fumes inside a home can the ladder and get some work make the home uninhabitable, done on your roof for a variety but painting at a time of year of reasons. First and foremost, like the fall, when you can keep fall is ideal for roof work the windows open during and because you won’t have to be after the project, can help air Fall is an ideal time of year to tackle home painting projects. up on the roof with the summer the home out. heat bearing down on you. This But interior painting isn’t it dangerous to be up on the into the home. Whether you to offset the elements, and can make the project move the only painting project roof at all. Addressing leaks in need your windows replaced open windows in the fall won’t along more quickly, which is the fall can prevent damage to or simply need to patch up any make your home’s interior very homeowners can tackle in especially beneficial if you are the fall. Many exterior paints hot or cold like they might if paying laborers to work on the your home’s interior, which can leaks, a proactive approach are temperature-sensitive and mount up if a leaky roof is not to leaky or older windows you were to tackle the project roof. The fewer hours workers need the temperature outside addressed until the following in the fall can save you from during the summer or winter. are fixing your roof, the less to be above 40o F. Paint that spring. unnecessarily high heating bills you will be paying in labor freezes won’t dry properly, come the winter. Addressing Fixing the floors costs. and homeowners might be leaky windows also makes a Window work Wood flooring is a In addition, fixing up the left with a costly and unsightly home more comfortable for its When the weather outside hot commodity for many roof in the fall ensures those mistake on their hands. Fall inhabitants. gets frightful, poorly insulated homeowners. But not all winter storms, be it rain or temperatures tend to be Fall is the ideal time to windows can allow cold air flooring can be added to a snow, won’t find their way amenable to both interior and address a home’s windows into the home. That often home at any time of year. into your home via leaks. A exterior painting projects, just because the temperature has a trickle-down effect on That’s because certain types leaky roof in winter is hard to be sure to check the weather outside tends to be pleasant. finances, forcing you to turn up of flooring employ adhesives fix, as the roof surface could This means you likely won’t the thermostat in an attempt that need temperatures inside forecast before making your be treacherous in the winter have to make much of an effort the home to be within a to offset the cold air pouring first brush stroke. and winter winds can make

Create a lighting scheme that works

ighting is an important consideration in any room, but most especially in the kitchen, where people tend to gravitate and spend a good portion of their time. The right lighting can have a dramatic effect on the functionality of the kitchen, including how the space feels when you enter it. The right blend of lights can create a vibrant mood in the kitchen, while light can be adjusted according to what needs to get done in the space. Establishing a lighting plan in a kitchen requires a combination of different lights. The main focus should be on three distinct lighting types: task lighting, ambient lighting and accent lighting.

as a china set, accent lighting can do the trick. Spotlights can be used to show off collectibles, while a subtle strip of lighting can illuminate a wall of artwork. Many people like to install accent lighting inside of cabinetry to create dramatic focal points. Some homeowners may want to incorporate Under-cabinet task light- decorative lighting in ing sheds light on areas their kitchens. This is where cooks do their prep the use of ornate chandeliers, hanging pendants work. and other eye-catching However, at night, fixtures. Decorative lightambient lighting is creing should be considered ated by different light in proportion to the size fixtures in a room. In of the kitchen. Therefore, the kitchen, overhead smaller kitchens will fixtures are a popular have smaller fixtures and choice for ambient light- vice versa. Decorative ing. A blend of hanging lighting may be the most pendant lamps, chanexpensive type of kitchen deliers and recessed lighting, so some homTask lighting lighting can create the Task light is beneficial eowners prefer to plan anywhere a person will amount of light needed. ahead for the inclusion need to perform tasks that Homeowners should of decorative accents by require close concentration, pay special attention to having the wiring ready such as chopping vegetathe bulbs and fixtures and then adding the fixbles. Task lighting shines they choose, as not tures over time. direct light onto a surface, all produce the same Lighting in a kitchen illuminating it thoroughly, amount of light. Those can be just as important and it can be turned off concerned about energy as which appliances and when it is not needed. efficiency also must other accessories homTask lighting is genergive mind to whether eowners choose for their ally placed above counters the bulbs will use a lot kitchens. Without the and islands where one will of energy or last a long right mix of lighting, the be slicing vegetables and time. Compact fluoreskitchen may not be funcpreparing food. There may cent bulbs as well as tional or inviting. be lighting over the sink to LED lighting are longilluminate dirty dishes. If lasting and do not use as a kitchen has a desk area, much energy as incanlighting above the desk descent bulbs. will make that area more functional. Many task lightIndirect ambient ing designs include lights lighting softens shadows under cabinetry to shine in a room, creating a down onto counters and warm, inviting glow. It eliminate shadowed recess- is an important layer of es. Under-cabinet lighting is light that is often overa relatively inexpensive add- looked in the kitchen. on for existing kitchens. Setting ambient lighting Homeowners can add light- on a dimmer enables ing afterward to focus more homeowners to cast a light onto countertops. mood that is desired when the kitchen isn’t Ambient lighting being used for prep Ambient lighting work. is another name for


all-over lighting that fills a room. During the day, ambient light may stream in from windows and skylights.

Accent lighting

If there are key elements around the kitchen that a person would like to highlight, such

Budget-friendly outdoor renovation H omeowners are increasingly extending their living spaces outside the walls of their homes. Expansive and intricate stonework patios and decked-out outdoor kitchens are the kind of additions many homeowners dream of. Those with unlimited budgets can enjoy just about any look they desire, but many homeowners may not have the money to go all the way with their outdoor living spaces. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to create budget-friendly spaces that are functional, fun and eye catching. Decks and patios are popular gathering spots outside a home, and homeowners have numerous inexpensive options at their disposal when choosing patio materials. And those who can do their own labor when installing a patio can save a substantial amount of money. Instead of higher-priced composite or resin decks, homeowners can go with standard wood, which will need to be stained periodically.

Scaling back the size of the deck means less materials to buy and less labor involved. The cost of patio blocks depends on the material and style. Poured concrete patios will cost less than placed blocks or stones because concrete is less labor-intensive. For those who desire the look of patio blocks without the cost, stamped concrete can mimic the look for less. Homeowners may not need to replace patio furniture, even if chairs and tables have seen better days. A can of spray paint can cover up any rusted areas or spots where paint has peeled off due to exposure to the elements. Updating cushions and purchasing a coordinating umbrella can revitalize the patio’s entire look. Also, ver y often stores run sales to clear out merchandise for new displays. Defining edges of planting borders and refreshing the landscape may be all that is needed to improve the yard. This is easily achieved with

inexpensive mulch and some vinyl edging. While cleaning up the yard, use a pressure washer to clean stains off of siding and patios and create a like-new appearance. End-of-season sales can also be the ideal opportunity to purchase big-ticket items like a pool, a hot tub or an outdoor fireplace/fire pit. Shoppers can learn when stores discount their merchandise to make room for new inventor y and then use these sales as opportunities to save. Sometimes saving means repurposing antiques or items found at garage sales. Thanks to the Internet, people can easily advertise items they no longer need or desire. A person can search for backyard items they need at a deep discount if they are fine with previously used materials. From patio furniture to masonr y blocks to above-ground pools, patient homeowners can find just about any item they may need to upgrade their backyards.

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C4 — The Daily Courier, Sunday, September 15, 2013 •

Give a room a new look without breaking the bank

edecorating a room or an entire house can change the entire feel of the space dramatically. But an unpredictable economy has made many consumers a little more particular when it comes to spending on home decor. Changing elements in a room does not have to be expensive. A few updated pieces or accessories can give a room an entirely new look without breaking the bank.


Paint or stain

measure the piece of furniture you intend to cover. Without the correct fit, even a well-crafted slipcover can look awkward and cheap. Pay attention to the material of the slipcover, so you know it will be durable and thick enough to cover an existing sofa fabric pattern.

Painting a room’s walls a different color can provide immediate results. But furniture also can be painted and stained. Many times older furniture is made from quality wood, not the type of composite or pressboard wood of some less expensive furniture options. That means that finishes can be stripped and replaced with new stains. Turn a dated dresser into something that looks brand new with a new stain color or a coat of paint. Think about painting or staining using foam sponges to reduce the appearance of brush lines.

Knobs and pulls

Breathe new life into older furniture by changing the knobs, draw pulls and handles. Slipcovers Many times furniture comes Slipcovers are no longer with standard brass knobs the amorphous sacks they that can look dated over once were. Slipcovers now time. Using sleeker, more come in all different price streamlined knobs can make points. Spending a little more traditional furniture look can mean getting a style that more modern. Changing pulls is elasticized or form-fitting, from metal to wood can make which will conform to the a room look more earthy or contours of a sofa or love seat. country. Home improvement This is a simple way to cover up stores and accessory retailers an outdated style of sofa fabric stock a wide variety of or a chair that has seen better days. Slipcovers also are a good handles and knobs that can transform just about any piece way to protect new couches of furniture. And what cannot from damage when there are be found in a store can most children or pets in the home. likely be purchased online. To get the right slipcover,


Swapping out curtains, throw pillows and even wall art can easily and often inexpensively transform the look of a room. Homeowners can purchase accessories with bright colors that add a pop of brightness throughout the room and can Changing a lamp shade can provide a pick-me-up for neutral breathe new life into an older design tones. lamp. Older lamps can be given

a new look just by replacing lamp shades. There are many affordable options at discount stores and major retailers. Area rugs can also transform a room with little effort. Bring in a new color scheme with a different patterned rug and carry the pattern to stairways with runners.

Bare minimum

Sometimes less is more, and this can also pertain to home decorating. Revamping a room can be done by subtraction as well as addition. Homeowners can explore the option of taking out a piece of furniture that may be cumbersome and blocking foot traffic. Removing knickknacks from shelves and thinning out the use of collectibles can make a room more airy and inviting. Before money is spent on changing furniture or accessories, people can look into what they can remove from the room to freshen it up. Giving a room a new look and feel can be done without breaking the bank.

Many clogged drains can be taken care of with household items that won’t break the bank.

Tips for unclogging drains logged drains can be a nuisance. And if left untreated, that minor nuisance can turn into an expensive repair. Before you have to call a plumber, there are steps to take that may get water flowing once more.


Bubbles galore

Baking soda has many uses in the home. This versatile product can be used dislodge items in drains. It is better to tr y baking soda when clogs are minor and water drainage is sluggish rather than waiting for the clog to get so bad that water is impenetrable. When baking soda and common household vinegar are mixed together, they form a new chemical called carbonic acid. This acid immediately begins to degrade into carbon dioxide gas, which produces foam and bubbles in the process. This bubbling action can upset the source of a clog in a pipe and dislodge particles that may be causing the water

backup. Baking soda also can be mixed with salt and boiling water to break down grease that may be clogging drains.

Plunge ahead

If a clog is especially stubborn, you may need to use a plunger. A plunger works by forcing the energy you push on the plunger into the surrounding water, which then applies pressure against the clog. Repeatedly forcing water against a clog can move it along until it frees up the drain.

Pop and fizz

Colas are loaded with phosphoric acid, which is more acidic than lemon juice and is also corrosive. This acid will fizz in the drain and break through any greasy, stubborn residue. It’s even effective at dissolving calcium deposits, which may be a byproduct of hard water.

Snake it

Some clogs are more stubborn and

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require some extra elbow grease to fix. A pipe snake can push hair and other debris through the pipes until water can run free. They also can be used to pull the obstacle back up out of the drain. A snake is essentially a flexible piece of wire that is inserted in the pipe. It may have a coarse or wound end to ensnare a clog.

Call a plumber

Unless you feel confident taking pipes apart to check for and clear out clogs and then reassembling ever ything, you may need to call a plumber if the clog will not relent. It may be lower in the system than at house level, especially if there are clogs in multiple sinks or appliances in the home. Multiple clogged drains may be indicative of a more serious problem. Many clogs can be alleviated with simple household items. Serious clogs may require the expertise of a plumber.

How to rake leaves more efficiently aking leaves is a fact of life for many homeowners. Cool autumn weather and less sunlight are signals to certain trees that it is time to shed their leaves. A leafless tree is more capable of conserving energy and riding out the winter successfully. Trees also shed their leaves during periods of drought or if they have produced too many leaves in the summer and need to conserve water. For homeowners, fallen leaves can be an unsightly nuisance that can stain concrete and smother lawns, especially when fallen leaves are not promptly removed. Raking


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is a timely task many homeowners dread. But it is possible to cut down on the time it takes to clear a yard of all those unsightly leaves. • Wait for the majority of leaves to drop before beginning your work. If you start too early in the season, you may end up raking multiple times and that is not time-efficient. • Use the technology at your disposal. If the grass is still growing, you can use a mulching mower to take care of some of the leaves. The mower will shred the leaves and create nutrients for the soil and the lawn. However, once the lawn stops growing you do not want to cut it too short. This is when it is time to take out the rake. A composting vacuum and leaf blower are other ways to make quick work of cleaning up leaves. Although these devices may not be as eco-friendly as a rake, they can significantly reduce the time it takes to clear a yard of fallen leaves. • Remember to rake downwind. It is a good idea to save raking for a day when it is not too breezy; otherwise, you may end up raking the same spots over and over. Handle small spots at one time and rake the leaves into small piles. Then you can easily transfer the leaves to a tarp or bag and set aside for

disposal or deposit them into your compost heap. • Invest in a lightweight leaf rake and a good pair of gloves. Being comfortable while doing the work will make it go more smoothly and quickly, and a lightweight rake won’t be too taxing, while gloves will prevent the formation of blisters. In addition, take breaks to rest and recharge. • Move your feet as you rake so your arms and back are not doing all of the work. Think of it as dragging the leaves more so than just shuffling them around. The more leaves you can gather in one pass of the rake, the more quickly the job will go. • Spread the work around. Sharing the task with others certainly cuts down on the time it takes to clear the yard. Have a leaf-raking party in which members of the household each pitch in before everyone enjoys a well-deserved backyard barbecue. Although raking leaves may not be the average homeowner’s favorite activity, it is a healthy one. Various muscles are worked when raking, which also is a good form of cardiovascular exercise. In fact, a person who weighs 180 pounds can expect to burn more than 350 calories raking leaves for an hour. • The Daily Courier, Sunday, September 15, 2013 — C5

Shade trees naturally keep homes cool eople take many different steps to stay cool when the temperatures rise. A particularly common method to remaining comfortable is turning up the air conditioning and staying indoors. But what about the people who want to be cool and enjoy fresh air as well? Shade trees could be their best allies against the sweltering temperatures. Most individuals will agree that it feels much cooler under a shade tree than it does when standing in direct sunlight. The nonprofit organization Trees Forever says the difference in temperature readings can be monumental. In 2010, roughly 20 volunteers worked with the organization to compare the actual temperature of shaded and unshaded surfaces around a county fairground in Iowa. The volunteers used laser thermometers and took readings from surfaces such as sidewalks, parking lots and grassy lawn areas. The volunteers found differences in temperature ranging from 14 to 55o F depending on the surface measured. That’s a considerable difference and could help a person remain cool. Trees are a practical way to stay cool and are an energy-saving means to keep temperatures down. Planting trees around a property can reduce reliance on airconditioning systems, saving a


person money while reducing dependency on fuel sources. Other live vegetation, including grass and yard plants, can also promote an overall cooling effect, compared to hardscape surfaces that radiate heat. Numerous varieties of trees can serve as shade trees. These are typically deciduous trees that will have leaves during the warm-weather months and then shed them when the cooler seasons arise. However, some evergreens and tropical trees also work well as shade producers in and around a landscape. • American Arborvitae: This slow-growing evergreen is typically used to create tall hedges and privacy screens. It also offers year-round moderate to deep shade when the trees reach maximum height of 25 to 40 feet. • American Beech: This tree offers shade and also edible nuts. It can grow up to 100 feet in fertile, well-draining soils. • Autumn Blaze Maples: These trees are known for their outstanding fall foliage. However, they also are fast-growing shade trees that can cool down any landscape. • Bald Cyprus: The fern-like leaves of this tree provide moderate shade. This cyprus is low-maintenance and has few problems with insects or disease. • Chinese Elm: This rapid-growing tree is excellent

yellow flowers in early summer. The dense foliage will remain on the tree into late fall. • Moraine Locust: This tree is cold-hardy and can withstand urban conditions. It is fast-growing and provides light to medium shade. • Silver Måƒaple: This is the most rapid growing of all maples and will be a large spreading tree. • Tulip Trees: These very large trees are coveted for their flowers that resemble the shape of tulips. This tree should be given plenty of space in which to grow. • Virginia Pine: Because its branches aren’t as close to the ground as other pine trees, the Virginia pine can be an effective shade tree. • White Birch: This tree, also known as the European birch, grows 30 to 60 feet tall and has drooping branches. The smaller leaves offer dappled shade. The peeling white bark can stand out in a landscape. • White Oak: Oak trees make excellent shade trees, but the White Oak can grow to 100 feet tall with a spread of 80 feet in its canopy. It has Shade trees can drop temperatures on a property by several thick horizontal branches degrees, reducing dependency on air conditioning. that contribute to its shade-producing benefits. for screening or providing a trees in southern climates. In Trees in one’s yard can not windbreak. Small, dense foliage northern climates, they may only keep temperatures cool, will fill in about five years, when grow more like a perennial but also provide habitats for it will be good for shade. shrub. birds and small animals and act • Crepe Myrtle Tree: • Little-leaf Linden: This is a as a food source for plenty of Myrtles are fast-growing shade fragrant tree that blooms with creatures.

Painting prep important Shed shopping savvy ainting a home’s interior can give it a completely new look and feel. A fresh coat of paint can make a room feel more vibrant and up-to-date, creating a whole new attitude within the room without breaking the bank. Whether creating an accent wall or painting each wall within a room, painting is a relatively easy and inexpensive home improvement project. But that doesn’t mean painting does not require a little prep work before the project can begin. • Address any holes or bumps on the wall. Holes or cracks in the wall will need to be patched with spackle, which then must dry before the wall can be given a new coat of paint. In addition, sand down any bumps until the walls are smooth and free of any unsightly abnormalities. • Wash the walls. Walls can get dirty, and that dirt may or may not be masked by paint. Before adding a new coat of paint, wash the walls and inspect them for dust. Dust can collect on molding, especially in rooms that get little natural air. When dust has collected on the molding and around doorways and trim, use a damp cloth to wipe it away before adding any new paint. • Apply primer. Primer can serve many functions, not the least of which is its role as a bonding agent between the wall and the top coat of paint. Primer can also help conceal dark colors, prevent stains and increase the life expectancy of the paint job you are about to undertake. • Prepare your paint. Preparing the paint is a simple task, but one novice painters may not be aware of. When opening a new can of paint, stir the paint before using it. In addition, even if you don’t plan to use a roller when painting, do not paint straight from the can, which can be heavier to hold than a small bowl, and a light bowl is less likely to be spilled than a potentially heavy can of paint. In addition, once paint has been removed from the can, replace the lid so dust and other impurities do not settle in the can.


• Purchase painter’s tape. Painter’s tape can be especially valuable to novice painters. Painter’s tape makes it easier to paint smooth and clean paint lines, giving a room a more professional looking coat of paint without the cost of hiring a professional painter. Painting can be an inexpensive and fun way to upgrade a home’s interior. But even though painting does not require the technical know-how of more large-scale home improvement projects, it still requires some prep work and attention to detail to ensure the job is done right.

torage sheds can be invaluable for people who do not have a garage or basement in which to store their outdoor tools and equipment. Sheds also can be a boon to anyone looking to increase the storage space they have at home. One of the first decisions homeowners need to make when shopping for a storage shed is how much space they need. Think about what you need to house in the shed. Before buying a shed, find out if your town, city or province has any zoning rules about sheds. Available materials


Though painting is an inexpensive and relatively easy home improvement project, proper preparation is needed in order to do the job right.

also should be studied when buying a shed. While an aluminum shed may not be the most aesthetically appealing option, aluminum sheds tend to be affordable and durable. Wood sheds are available in all different styles and can be very attractive. However, they will have to be maintained to prevent rot and insect infestation. When shopping, consider if you have the skillset to assemble the shed yourself. You can save a considerable amount of money when buying a kit and assembling the shed yourself. Having a shed built off-site and then

delivered, or hiring a carpenter to come and build a shed, may cost you just as much in labor as in materials. The foundation of the shed also needs to be considered. Sheds can rest on cinder blocks, poured concrete or crushed stone. Check with the shed manufacturer as to the best foundation material, and factor that expense into your purchase. An attractive, functional and affordable shed can be an asset to a home. It provides extra storage space for outdoor equipment, which can free up room in a garage or basement.


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C6 — The Daily Courier, Sunday, September 15, 2013 •

How to make a home handicap accessible any homeowners have found themselves scrambling to make their homes handicap accessible after a sudden injury or illness. In addition, some homeowners have found themselves looking to make adjustments to their homes in anticipation of welcoming elderly, less mobile relatives into their homes. Converting a home into a handicap-accessible space can seem like a daunting task that requires adjustments to nearly every part of the house. While the extent of those adjustments depends on the individual who needs to be accommodated, some of the areas homeowners must address when making their homes handicap accessible are universal regardless of the individual’s condition.

M When using power tools for yard work, be sure to wear protective eyeware recognized by a certified organization.

Powering up arm weekends are prime time for yard work and outdoor projects. To avoid turning tasks into turmoil, be sure to take a few extra moments to ensure the power tools you use are safe. CSA Group, a leader in electronic product testing and certification, offers tips to help ensure the safety of you and your family while doing yard work this weekend.


General tips for yard maintenance

• Ensure products such as electric lawnmowers, barbecues, power tools, ladders, decorative lights, extension cords and safety apparel carry the mark of a recognized or accredited certification organization, such as CSA Group. • Protect yourself by wearing protective eyewear and footwear recognized by a certification organization, such as CSA Group. Hearing protection should be worn when operating loud machinery, vehicles or tools.


• Before mowing, take the time to remove objects in your yard that may obstruct your mower or be flung by its rotating blades. • Never clear an obstruction in a running mower. If the mower is electric, turn off the power and unplug the machine. If it’s gas, turn off the power and make sure the engine isn’t

running and that all safety features have been activated.

Portable power tools

• Never use a power tool that has a cracked casing, loose parts or frayed cords. Ensure all safety guards are in place and in proper working order. • Make sure the tool is turned off before it’s plugged in or unplugged. Always unplug the tool before changing parts like drill bits or cutting blades. • Use only electric power tools that have either a three-prong plug or double insulation with a heavy enough gauge -- or wire size -- to handle the electricity load. Use an outlet with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter to protect against electric shock.

Extension cords

• Check extension cords for wear and damage before each use. Discard any cords that are frayed or have damaged insulation. • Never connect more than one extension cord together. Instead, use a single cord that is long enough to reach from the outlet to an appliance or tool. • When working outside, only use cords clearly labeled for outdoor use. • Never run an electrical cord through a doorway or under a carpet. If a cord becomes hot when plugged in, discontinue use immediately and replace with a heavier gauge cord. More safety tips available at

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A home’s entryways often must be addressed when making the home more handicap accessible. Portable Having to make a home handicap accessible can seem ramps can be an affordable option and are like quite an undertaking for a homeowner. Entryways, bathrooms, water fixtures and closets almost always often an ideal for those require adjustments. Luckily, some of these tasks aren’t who only need to make too difficult to address. temporary adjustments, such as when a resident bathrooms can make may find it difficult to suffers an injury that things especially difficult access faucets on sinks requires he or she spend for people in wheelchairs throughout the home, some 5 in a wheelchair. or with especially when there When the disabilities. Grab are vanity cabinets adjustments Converting a bars should be beneath the sinks. will just be home into a installed in bath Replacing such sinks temporary, handicaptubs and shower with pedestal sinks can a folding stalls and next to improve maneuverability accessible wheelchair toilets. but make sure such might be space can But grab sinks are lower to the necessary, as seem like a bars aren’t the ground than standard the doorways daunting task only adjustment pedestal sinks. A sink might not that’s just a few inches that requires homeowners be able to fit should make in lower than a standard a standard adjustments the bathroom sink is considerably wheelchair that to nearly as they attempt more accessible to doesn’t fold. every part of to make a home people in wheelchairs. When more handicap the house. adjustments Closets accessible. Safety figure to be Closets are rarely treads, which permanent, handicap accessible. can provide a secure, homeowners might Homeowners can slip-free surface on the need to expand the address this issue by floors of showers and doorways in their homes. creating multi-level tubs, can be installed. Contractors typically closet spaces so Add a hand-held shower recommend expanding individuals can place head to the shower stall doorways to at least 32 their clothes at to make it easier for inches, which provides those with a disability to accessible heights. some maneuverability shower. Portable transfer Closet shelves can be when wheelchairs, lowered and doors can seats, which enable which are typically be widened so disabled wheelchair-bound men between 24 and 27 inches persons can easily and women to transition wide, are entering the manage their wardrobes from their chairs to home. Doorways at the In addition, consider showers and bathtubs, most commonly used installing a light inside can be purchased and entryways, including the closet and make sur kept in or near the front doors and doors to the light switch can be bathroom. the bathrooms as well as easily reached from a the individual’s bedroom, Water fixtures wheelchair. will likely need to be An often overlooked Making a home more widened. adjustment homeowners handicap accessible must make when can be a significant Bathroom transforming their undertaking, but many The bathroom might homes into handicapof the adjustments be the area of the home accessible spaces homeowners must that needs the most concerns the sinks make are small in scale attention. Slipper y throughout the home. and won’t take long to conditions common to Disabled persons complete.

2013 Fall Home and Garden  

The Daily Courier's 2013 Fall Home and Garden section

2013 Fall Home and Garden  

The Daily Courier's 2013 Fall Home and Garden section