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5 Good reasons Winterizing 101 to buy the best How to prepare your yard for winter interior paint C METRO SERVICES



aybe it’s the power of suggestion, but just as the leaves begin to turn, many of us get the urge to change the colors inside our homes by doing some interior painting. Which, for most of us, raises the question: What type of paint should I use? Here are five compelling reasons to spring for the best quality coating this fall, courtesy of experts at the Paint Quality Institute, whose mission is to provide helpful information on paints, painting techniques, and color. 1. Better color retention. If you’re painting to change the color of a room, then you surely want your new hue to last. Top quality 100% acrylic latex paint helps keep your colors true to their day-one appearance. Bargain paints? They tend to pale by comparison. 2. Better stain resistance. Nothing can ruin a new paint job quicker than a nasty stain – whether it’s due to a careless spill, dirty fingerprints, or something totally unforeseen. If you spend a little more for a quality acrylic latex paint, think of it as buying some insurance against these color calamities. This type of paint is highly resistant to many of the most common stains, especially in higher sheen levels, such as semi-gloss or high gloss paint. 3. Paint and primer in one. Top quality 100% acrylic latex paint offers an important performance advantage over all lower quality, non-acrylic coatings: Many are “selfpriming” – in other words, they do doubleduty as both primer and paint. Just think how much time and effort you’ll save by having to apply fewer coats! 4. Good adhesion to various surfaces. Should your painting project involve several different materials, such as wallboard, wood, vinyl, or metal (think not just walls, but doors and trim, too), you’ll be able to paint them all with high-end 100% acrylic latex paint. Go with lower-grade paint and you might have to buy several different kinds of coatings, complicating your deciM2

sion-making and possibly adding to the cost of the job. 5. Best overall durability. Let’s face it, while interior painting can be a fun project, most of us are more than happy to put away the brushes and rollers, sit back, and enjoy the new colors for a while. That’s part of the beauty of top quality acrylic paint. It offers exceptional durability, so once you finish painting, your home interior will look great until you again get the urge to paint. If you want to know more about paints, painting and color selection, you may want to visit the Paint Quality Institute blog at, or the Institute’s website at Both are chock full of good advice.

hanging seasons can be tough on a lawn. Always exposed to the elements, lawns can fare especially poorly upon the arrival of winter, a season known for its harsh and unforgiving weather. Even the most perfectly manicured lawn can suffer at the hands of winter weather, causing homeowners to sit idly by and hope spring arrives that much sooner. But as punishing as winter weather can be on a lawn, homeowners are not without recourse. Much like homeowners can take steps to help their lawns survive sizzling summer heat waves during the warmer months of the year, they also can take steps to help their lawns make it through the often stormy weather synonymous with winter. • Don’t procrastinate. Putting off the process of winterizing a lawn can put that

lawn in jeopardy. Lawns will turn dormant the closer you get to winter, and they may reject the nutrients found in fertilizer as a result. Those nutrients will prove valuable once spring weather returns, so start the winterization process in early fall so the lawn has sufficient time to absorb nutrients and strengthen itself for the seasons to come. • Treat trouble spots. Summer can be even harder on a lawn than winter, especially for those lawns located in regions where heat waves and drought are common. In such instances, certain spots on the lawn seem to be hit harder than others, and those spots should get special attention when winterizing the lawn. Check the soil’s pH levels before fertilizing or applying any treatments. Such a test will reveal which spots need the most attention, and Please see WINTERIZING, Page 5

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Make the most of a historical home’s limited space HOME IMPROVEMENT TIME


hen Valerie McGovern retired from the Air Force, she had 23 years worth of household items gathered from her military travels to fit into her modestly sized home in historical Fredricksburg, VA. “Getting the most out of the space I had was priority one,” said the airman turned successful artist. So after seeing pictures of a wall mounted sliding door project, the ambitious DIYer did research to see if she could install them in her home. “I knew what I wanted to do from seeing similar space saving projects in home décor magazines and online galleries, so I did an internet search for “sliding doors” and Johnson Hardware came up several times on the first page. I knew I was on the right track when I visited their website and found exactly the sliding door hardware that I had in mind,” McGovern said. To increase her home’s beauty and livability, McGovern installed space saving Johnson wall mount sliding door hardware across the entire length of the wall. “I was looking to reclaim space in both my bath-

room and laundry room,” said the home remodeling enthusiast who completed the entire project herself. “Installing sliding doors freed up a lot of floor space in the bathroom, which is my next remodeling project. I’m really excited to have the floor space so I can replace the corner sink with a full sink and cabinet.” McGovern mounted the doors using two sets of Johnson 2610F Wall Mount Hardware, covered with a single valance and matching trim that kept the “craftsman” look and feel of her home. It also allowed her to enjoy the artwork on the room’s main wall when the doors are closed. “This set up didn’t deter from the classic home style. In fact, it absolutely brought everything together.” The sliding door to the laundry also provided unobstructed access to a “doggie door” previously blocked by the swinging door. The Johnson wall mount hardware HOME IMPROVEMENT TIME PHOTO even has an adjustable bumper, which Home remodeling enthusiast Valerie McGovern increased the interior beauty and McGovern set to allow one door to always usable space in her historic Fredricksburg, VA home with a creative installation stay open at least 10” so her four-legged Please see LIMITED SPACE, Page 7

featuring two sets of wall mount sliding door hardware. The doors separate her kitchen from the bathroom and laundry room.

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How to invite more natural light into your home



dark home can be dreary and drain residents’ energy levels rather quickly. Natural light has the power to make a person feel more energized, and it also can buoy spirits. As a result, many homeowners want to increase the amount of natural light in their homes. Increasing natural sunlight in a home reduces reliance on interior lighting. This reduces energy bills and lowers the home’s carbon footprint. Natural light also can help people in a home feel happier and more content. According to the National Institutes of Health, some people experience serious mood changes during the winter months. Dubbed seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, this condition may be effectively treated with light therapy. Exposure to more light can alleviate fatigue, loss of interest and sad or anxious feelings. Homeowners looking to increase the natural light in their homes, be it for medical or aesthetic reasons, can do so in a variety of ways. • Keep the drapes open. Opening blinds and curtains as far as they will go allows as much light to shine in without having to do major home renovations or spend any money at all. Homeowners concerned about privacy can install a window film that allows viewing from the inside only. • Clean the windows. Dirty windows obstruct sunlight from entering the home. They also can make a home appear unkempt. Spend a free day cleaning the windows so that they’ll let ample light in. • Install seamless or low-profile windows and doors. Seamless sliding doors enable a large amount of light to enter the home. Such doors can replace an entire wall to brighten up a dark area of a home. The more windows and doors a home has, the brighter it will be. M4

• Take inventory of dark spots. A room may be dark because it simply does not have a layout conducive to brightness. Is a wall blocking light from reaching a portion of the room? Think about changing the room’s layout or even making structural changes to improve light distribution. The addition of a small window on a south- or west-facing wall can greatly improve natural light. Using mirrors can also reflect light where it is needed. • Invest in skylights or solar tubes. Both skylights or solar tubes enable light to enter a home from above. Skylights are larger and require considerably more work to install, while solar tubes are more low-profile and can be put into rooms that do not abut the roofline, such as those obstructed by attic space. The tubular cylinders are installed between the roof and the ceiling and carry light through a reflective tube to the room below. Diffusers on tubular daylighting devices scatter the rays so the light doesn’t cast harsh shadows, and UV filters can help protect furniture from discoloring. METRO SERVICES PHOTO • Trim shrubs and trees. If trees and bushNew windows may allow more natural light to enter a home. es are blocking light from entering your home, trim them to enable dappled light to come through. Deciduous trees that will naturally lose their leaves come autumn can be planted on sunny areas of the property. This way in the summer months they will shade the house and keep it cooler, while in winter more sun will stream in when the leaves are shed. • Create a three-season room. Make a spot in the home where sun will be at a premium. All your fall landscaping needs: A solarium or greenhouse attached to the Double and Triple Shredded Hardwood Mulch, home can be a warm and sunny spot. Dyed Mulch (Red, Brown, Black) Increasing natural light in a home can Playground Chips, Compost Gravel & Sand 11395 Chester Road • Chester, Virginia 23831 Georgia Pine Straw and Wheat Straw improve feelings of well-being and also reduce energy consumption during daylight hours.



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WINTERIZING Continued from Page 2

treating trouble spots now will make spring lawn care that much easier. • Aerate the property. Aerating can help a lawn recover after a long summer and help it survive the potentially harsh months that lie ahead. Aerating, which involves puncturing the soil or removing cores of soil from the

ground, can restore a lawn to health by improving its drainage and allowing more water and air to reach the roots of the grass. Aerating also makes it easier for nutrients to penetrate the soil, which encourages a healthier lawn over the long haul. Aerators can be purchased or rented, but homeowners uncomfortable with the process may want to enlist a professional to tackle the job. Parents of small children who spend lots of time in the yard may need to aerate their lawn more

than most, as heavy lawn traffic compresses the soil, a potentially harmful process that can be reversed via aeration. • Take steps to strengthen the roots. Aerating promotes stronger roots, but homeowners might also want to find a winterizing product with potassium and phosphorous, both of which can strengthen roots. Different types of lawns will respond differently to certain winterizers, so discuss your options with a lawn care professional who can help you find the right fit for your property. • Remove debris from the lawn. Debris left on a lawn over the winter can prove very harmful. Piles of debris left scattered around a lawn can suffocate the blades of grass, leading to long-term damage and a potentially unsightly lawn come the spring. In addition, piles of debris might make good homes for organisms that can damage the lawn. As fall moves into winter, periodically remove all debris, including leaves and branches fallen from trees. • Make the lawn off-limits once the temperatures dip below freezing. A lawn should be off-limits once the ground freezes. Stepping on grass that has frozen will leave noticeable footprints, and walking on frozen grass can kill the turf. When winter arrives, people should avoid using the lawn as a shortcut into and out of your home and stick to driveways and sidewalks instead.

Use these tips to make wood staining simpler STATEPOINT

Are you staining your deck, fencing or outdoor furniture? Before you start any staining project, make sure the wood surface has been properly prepared. Pick a day to work that is between 50 and 90 degrees and when cold or wet weather is not expected within 48 hours. Remember, a staining project can be labor intensive, particularly if you’re working on a large surface. To reduce your project time, team up with a friend. You can speed the process by an estimated 32 percent by having one person use a roller to apply a layer of stain while the other person uses a brush to go over it, according to Flood Wood Care. By using a brush attached to a pole, you can avoid bending over in a way that is stressful to your back and knees. Wood staining is crucial for protecting siding, outdoor furniture, play-sets and decks from damage and deterioration. By following a few simple tricks, you can make this necessary task a bit easier.


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The basics of kitchen cabinet refacing



omeowners who want to give their kitchens a brand-new look without the expense or the hassle of a full-scale renovation often gravitate toward kitchen cabinet refacing. Cabinet refacing is less expensive and more eco-friendly than a full replacement of existing cabinets, and experts estimate refacing costs roughly two-thirds less than a complete cabinet renovation. Refacing involves replacing the doors and drawer fronts of existing cabinets during which the cabinet boxes are veneered to match the wood color chosen for the refacing, while the structure and layout of the cabinets remains unchanged. Essentially the kitchen footprint will remain the same as it was before the refinishing took place. Kitchens are popular rooms in the home and much of the renovation investment made in the kitchen can be recuperated at resale. Homeowners looking to put their homes up for sale soon may find cabinet refacing is beneficial, as it is a relatively

quick renovation that can reap big rewards. Homeowners have options when refacing their cabinets. While some projects, such as stripping off old paint and repainting, can be a do-it-yourself project, refacing cabinets may be best left to the professionals. Veneer work, which is often part of cabinet refacing, is not a skill one can learn overnight, and it often requires the hand of a professional carpenter. Many cabinets can be resurfaced successfully. Older cabinets are prime candidates, as they often are more sturdy than newer cabinets. In general, cabinets can be refaced as long as their substructures are sound. In addition to providing a new look for the kitchen, cabinet refacing is an eco-friendly project. By not demolishing existing cabinetry, homeowners are preventing old materials from ending up in landfills while saving trees from being cut down to construct new cabinets. Refacing also reduces the amount of chemical products used in the building of new cabinets, including stains, adhesives Please see KITCHEN CABINETS, Page 10


Cabinet refacing can transform the look of a kitchen, and such a project costs considerably less than complete cabinet replacement.


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Budget-friendly Outdoor renovation ideas



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 higherpriced 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, very 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

LIMITED SPACE Continued from Page 3

housemates can come and go as they please. “The Johnson wall mount hardware easily handled the original six-panel wood doors, which was great because they would have been difficult and expensive to replace,” said McGovern, who was anxious about getting the doors to line up with the floor and square in the door jambs. “Luckily the door track and wall mount hardware are adjustable, so everything lined up nicely in the end.” The bathroom door needed to be lockable to ensure occupant privacy and comfort. “The Johnson privacy lock was easily adjustable, so I could pull the bathroom door

out a 16th of an inch to make sure it was still lockable from the inside,” said McGovern. “I really enjoyed doing this project on my own; it wasn’t that difficult at all,” reports McGovern. “The instructions were easy to follow from start to finish and I didn’t have any problems. I love the outcome. Everybody who sees my new sliding doors says they wish they could have this set up in their own home.” To learn more about the Johnson Wall Mount Sliding Door Hardware and the sliding door privacy door lock used in this project, or to view other unique applications created by Johnson Hardware customers, visit, call 800387-5664 or follow the Company on Twitter @JohnsonHrdware.


A little spray paint or some new cushions can refresh older patio furniture and give the outdoor space a completely new look. yard, use a pressure washer to clean stains off of siding and patios and create a likenew 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 inventory 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 masonry blocks to above-ground pools, patient homeowners can find just about any item they may need to upgrade their backyards. Though not all homeowners can afford to create the backyard of their dreams, with a little ingenuity and some sweat hard work, homeowners can still create an outdoor oasis.


Home remodeling enthusiast Valerie McGovern increased the interior beauty and usable space in her historic Fredricksburg, VA home with a creative installation featuring two sets of wall mount sliding door hardware. The doors separate her kitchen from the bathroom and laundry room.

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Give your home an energy makeover METRO SERVICES

Renovations that take inventory of energy use and strive toward efficiency have grown increasingly popular over the years. Homeowners fed up with high utility bills want to conserve costs, and there are a number of ways to revamp a home to be more energy efficient. The first step in a home energy makeover is to find out where your home is losing money. Certain municipal and environmental agencies offer home assessments, during which they will do a complete walk-through of your home and highlight areas that can be improved. Private companies also perform energy audits on a home. They may be able to point out appliances, windows or landscaping issues that could be compromising the efficiency of a home. These people may have a more intimate knowledge of insulation ratings and window efficiency ratings than the average homeowner. In addition to having an energy audit on your home to save money on utility bills, a professional audit may make you eligible for tax incentives and rebates. That can mean even more savings and may even increase the value of your home. Until a thorough energy assessment can be made, there are some easy and relatively inexpensive fixes any homeowner can undertake to help improve energy efficiency. • Clean air filters. Trapped dust and debris in a filter makes furnaces and air conditioners work harder. Once filters are free from dust, air can blow more smoothly through the system. • Plug leaks. Air leaks could be sucking energy out of your home and money out


Conduct an energy audit so you will know which areas of your home can be made more efficient. of your wallet. Once you find any leaks, you can use weather stripping and caulking to seal up breaches and save energy and money. • Invest in insulation. Install high-efficiency insulation in attics and between walls to prevent energy loss and keep

How to rid your home of drafts METRO SERVICES

Think about what it might be like if you turned up the heat and then opened all of the windows in your home. All of that warm air would rush right out, and you would be left with a cold home and a hefty heating bill. A home that is full of drafts is inefficient and expensive. And drafty homes are not M10

just a problem when the weather is cold, as air that seeps in when you’re trying to keep the home cool can be an inefficient nuisance as well. Higher energy bills and wasted resources do not have to be tolerated if you simply scour your home for drafts, sealing them to cut energy costs and make the home Please see DRAFTS, Page 10

Sunday, September 29, 2013 The Progress-Index, Petersburg, VA



more warm or cool air in the home. A well-insulated house requires less heating and cooling to keep the temperature indoors stable, and that translates to less money spent on utilitie • Swap out light bulbs. Switching bulbs from incandescent to more efficient LED

or CFL bulbs can save money in the long run. By making a few simple changes, homeowner can increase their energy savings around the house. Investing in an energy audit and makeover can pinpoint key areas that need improvement.

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Keeping your home in shape may not top your daily to-do list, but completing certain small seasonal tasks can save you money, time and the need to complete larger, more expensive projects in the future. “Investing a small amount for preventative fall home maintenance can save thousands in the long run,” Leah Ingram, personal finance expert, says. Don’t know where to start? The following checklist from HomeAdvisor can help homeowners prepare their homes for the cooler months: • Clean gutters: During the year, debris such as leaves and twigs can pile in your gutter. Cleaning them once a year prevents problems

such as water damage, roof damage and flooding. •Service your furnace: A well-maintained furnace can help save on heating costs and prevent the need for repairs. Before temperatures drop, schedule your furnace to be serviced. • Install weather stripping: As fuel and electricity costs continue to rise, keeping your home warm without wasting money and energy is important. Weather stripping your doors and windows can make a big impact. • Winterize sprinklers: Removing all the water that’s in the lines, pipes, fittings, valves, sprinklers and pumps will prevent your equipPlease see CHECKLIST, Page XX


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Continued from Page 10

more comfortable. Drafts are often small cracks around windows and doors, but there are many other places where drafts can form. Knowing some of the less visible spots where drafts come from may help you to seal out unwanted cold air more effectively.


Homes that feature attics with pull-down stairs tend to be drafty. In such homes, a large hole is cut out of the ceiling so residents can access the attic. So instead of thick insulation, these homes may only have a sheet of plywood blocking your interior space from the outdoors, as many attics are directly vented to the roof. To determine if there is a leak, turn on the attic light, close the attic door, and check to see if you can see the light on from below. If you can, then there is a gap letting both the light and air escape. In addition to using flexible rubber around the opening of the attic to better seal the door when it is closed, you can think about adding a thicker, more insulated door.

Dryer vents

The standard home laundry dryer vents outdoors via an exhaust duct. This duct is open to the outdoors, and it may be letting cold air into the home. That’s because there is typically a flimsy flapper made of sheet metal on the outside of the vent to help protect against air infiltration. But over time dryer lint can accumulate at the vent opening, causing the metal flapper to stay open when it should close. Homeowners can invest in dryer seals that close the vent when the dryer is not in use. Not only does this prevent cold air from entering the house, but also it keeps out pests, like bugs and rodents.

Pipes Check pipes that exit the home, such as those that feed outdoor water spigots, as such pipes can let cold air back into the house. The same can be said for waste pipes. Also, check to see if pipes that connect to garages, basements and crawl spaces are not insulated. Use sealant around these pipes to block drafts into the home. Foam insulation can be sprayed into small crevices, where it will expand and harden, blocking off air access. These damp, cool spots are also great places for insects to enter the home. Sealing drafts also may prevent bugs from entering the home.

Fireplaces Although fireplaces often make for deco-

rative and appealing accents to a home, many are not effective sources of ambient heat. They may draw more warm air out of the flue than they bring into the house. When a fireplace is not in use, air can rise out of the chimney and a draft can be felt in the home. Some studies indicate that an open damper on an unused fireplace, even in a well-insulated home, can increase overall heating and cooling energy consumption by 30 percent. If you simply must have a fireplace, remember to always keep the damper shut when the fireplace is not in use and use a glass cover you can seal tightly to further block the opening to the fireplace from your living space. Fireplace plugs, which can keep out drafts during the season when fireplaces are not in use, may also be a worthwhile investment.

Electrical outlets Outlets and light switches can be significant sources of drafts in a home. Check to see that the switch plates are secure. If drafts still come through, then employ outlet draft blockers to prevent cool air from entering the home and warm air from exiting it. Homeowners can address drafts in a variety of ways. And doing so can make a home more comfortable and cut energy costs considerably.

CHECKLIST Continued from Page 11

ment from freezing, expanding and potentially breaking. Hire a professional to attach an air compressor to the system to blow out the water from the lines, pipes and other parts. The service is inexpensive and a professional will know the proper amount of volume and pressure to use to ensure no water is left in the system. • Clean your chimney: Chimney maintenance is not optional. Deadly fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and expensive chimney repairs are serious consequences associated with neglected chimney maintenance. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends all fireplaces, chimneys, flues and venting systems be inspected at least once a year by a pro. • Flush your water heater: Generally speaking, water heaters are fairly reliable, so they usually aren’t top of mind. But flushing your water heater periodically can prevent leaks and promote efficiency. “Hiring a professional for fall maintenance tasks like these is a great idea,” Ingram says. “Use a resource such as Cost Guide to research the average price of a project in your zip code before hiring a pro.”

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Easy bathroom renovations in a space where less expensive flooring like vinyl is adequate. Advancements in vinyl flooring have enabled this affordable material to mimic the look of more expensive materials at a fraction of the cost. When redoing tile on walls and shower enclosures, many domestically-produced tiles rival the looks of more expensive imported alternatives. You may be able to save more by buying tile in bulk and using the remainder in other applications around the house.

Paint Do not underestimate the power of a fresh coat of paint on any room in the house, including the bathroom. Dark, small spaces can be made to look more expansive with lighter colors. Cavernous bathrooms that look empty may prove more inviting with darker hues. Pick a paint that is designed for bathroom application so that it will inhibit the growth of mold and mildew.

Update hardware

A new faucet or some new cabinet pulls can make the room look new and fresh without breaking the bank. Match finishes throughout the bathroom so everything will be cohesive. When shopping for a new shower head, choose a model that also conserves water. This way you will be making cosmetic and energy-saving renovations at the same time.


Handling labor yourself instead of hiring workers can reduce the cost of bathroom remodels considerably. It is possible to buy fully assembled bathroom vanities and install them yourself. Even installing a new toilet is relatively easy with the help of a friend. There are a number of ways to make bathroom renovations a bit easier and more affordable. Even nominal changes can give the space an entirely different look and feel, which can make the room more enjoyable and help improve a home’s resale value in the process.


Covering up what you have in the bathroom is much less expensive and less laborintensive than tearing out existing fixtures and floors.



athroom renovations are second to kitchen renovations on the list of the top remodeling projects to increase home value. The popularity of bathroom renovations and their ability to transform a space has left many homeowners wondering if there are any easy and affordable ways to change the look of their bathrooms. While “easy” is a relative term, there are ways homeowners willing to make certain concessions can keep the work and cost of a bathroom renovation to a minimum.

Resurface When possible, covering up what you have in the bathroom is much less expensive and less labor-intensive than tearing out existing fixtures and floors and replacing

them anew. Resurfacing can extend to refinishing bathtubs to installing shower liners. Those who have unsightly walls or wallpaper that they’re just not ready to remove may consider using wainscotting to cover a portion of the room or even tiling entire walls. It is important to note that resurfacing and covering up items in the bathroom should only be reserved for cosmetic fixes. If something needs to be replaced because it is damaged or mildew-covered, then covering it up is only hiding the problem and asking for more work in the long run.

Scale back on materials One way to save money on a bathroom renovation project is to choose less expensive materials. For example, you may not need to install travertine or marble flooring The Progress-Index, Petersburg, VA Sunday, September 29, 2013




Tips for unclogging drains C METRO SERVICES

logged drains can be a nuisance. And if left untreated, that minor nuisance can turn into an expensive repair. A number of different things can cause drains to clog. Food particles, hair, grease, soap residue, oil, and even a foreign object lodged in the drain can each cause a drain to clog. 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 try 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. Keep your face away from the drain as the

smell of vinegar mixing with the baking soda may be unpleasant. Baking soda also can be mixed with salt and boiling water to break down grease that may be clogging drains. Repeatedly washing this mixture down drains can gently scour pipes and keep water moving steadily.

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. Plunging can be messy, so wear old clothes when plunging. Make sure the head of the plunger is filled with water; otherwise, your work will be for naught. You may want to keep a separate plunger handy for sink work so you are not transferring bacteria and waste from a toilet plunger into the sink, especially in the kitchen.

Pop and fizz Colas are loaded with phosphoric acid, which is Please see UNCLOGGING DRAINS, Page 15

KITCHEN CABINETS Continued from Page 6

and chemically treated wood. Homeowners can choose among wood, veneer, metal, a n d eve n g l a s s d o o r s a s replacements in the kitchen. Coupling cabinet refacing with replacement of old appliances can completely transform the appearance of the kitchen in relatively little time. Many refacing projects go as follows. • Measurements are taken and technical drawings are made so that new cabinet materials can be manufacturered to the kitchen’s exact specifications. • Homeowners choose the type of finish they prefer for the new cabinetry. • Manufacturing takes place, and homeowners will

schedule a time when the work will commence. • Existing doors and drawer fronts will be removed and recycled or disposed of. • If cabinet frames and boxes need to be repaired in any way, some refacing companies will take care of this. • Cabinet boxes and frames are covered in a matching veneer or plastic laminate. • The new doors and drawer fronts are installed, as are new handles, pulls and moldings to complete the look. Many companies specialize in cabinet refacing. Homeowners should request estimates from potential candidates and review workmanship prior to hiring a particular company. Cabinet refacing is often a fast, relatively inexpensive renovation project. It can improve the appearance and functionality of a kitchen in a small amount of time, while also improving the value of a home.

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Bring in this ad and receive an Oil Change for $19.99 (limit 5 quarts) Senior Citizens, Students and Military receive 10% off of all repairs with this ad (Prices may vary for oil filters on certain vehicles).


Sunday, September 29, 2013 The Progress-Index, Petersburg, VA



Things to consider when shed shopping



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. Prefabricated and made-to-order sheds are available for all different budgets and storage needs. Buyers also can choose among build-to-suit kits that can be ordered online or from various retailers. 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. Will it hold shovels and the patio umbrella, or will it need to be larger to accommodate a lawn mower? Knowing what you intend to use the shed for will enable you to pick the appropriate size. Another thing to consider is how long you plan to use the shed. If this is merely a transitional storage building to bide your time until your garage renovation is complete, you may not need an expensive structure made of top-of-the-line materials. If you have a long lifetime planned for this shed, you will want a durable structure and might want to increase your budget. Before buying a shed, find out if your town, city or province has any zoning rules about sheds. You may need to plan a trip to the municipal building and learn the building codes about erecting a shed. In order to protect the safety and integrity of the area, many towns and cities have specific zoning and building laws that need to be followed. A shed of a certain size may require a permit to be built, and knowing this information in advance can save you from taking down the shed and redoing the work at a later date. Once you know the building codes, you can begin to shop around for a shed. Sheds can vary widely in price. A small, vertical lean-to shed may start out around $350, while a larger, more intricate structure

can cost between $2,000 and $3,000. Cost may play a role in the shed you ultimately choose, especially if you are on a fixed budget. Available materials 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. Wood sheds also can be expensive. Vinyl sheds may be the best of both worlds, as they are often durable and require little maintenance. Some sheds even enable you to build or add on different components at a later date, so you don’t need to start out with the elite model at the outset. 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 offsite and then delivered, or hiring a carpenter to come and build a shed, may cost you just as much in labor as in materials. Keep in mind that sheds displayed in a warehouse store or outside at a home improvement retailer may seem smaller than they will when erected in your yard. Measure your space carefully to ensure that the shed will blend in and not be an eyesore in the yard. Shrubbery can be planted around the shed to help camouflage it, and the shed also can be colorcoordinated with the house to make it appear more cohesive. 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.

UNCLOGGING DRAINS Continued from Page 14

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 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. While there are snakes of various lengths, sometimes a small one that makes it

just to the bend of the elbow trap can be sufficient. 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 everything, 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.


While some backed up drains must be cleared by a plumber, homeowners might be able to address some clogged drains on their own. The Progress-Index, Petersburg, VA Sunday, September 29, 2013






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Sunday, September 29, 2013 The Progress-Index, Petersburg, VA



Fall Home Improvement 13  

Fall Home Improvement 2013 Edition

Fall Home Improvement 13  

Fall Home Improvement 2013 Edition