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Special Supplement • Thursday, September 15, 2011

KENNEBEC JOURNAL

MORNING SENTINEL


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FALL HOME AND GARDEN

Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement |

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The sky is the limit when it comes to roofing options

Materials and colors abound BY KRIS FERRAZZA Correspondent

AUGUSTA – When it comes to roofing options, the sky is the limit. Asphalt shingles come in a variety of brands, colors and styles, including everyday shingles and architectural shingles. Metal roofs are growing in popularity, with people choosing from a rainbow of colors to cover their homes, barns and businesses. And now there is a hybrid of the two: metal shingles that offer the appearance of individual shingles but have the durability and light weight of metal. At All-Season Home Improvement Co. in Augusta, the popularity of metal roofing is at an all-time high. Stevens Siding & Window in Benton installs only asphalt shingles and has found a niche market selling snow breaks, aluminum gutters and gutter covers designed to withstand snow as it slides off metal roofing. So it is up to the homeowner to decide: metal or asphalt? Bob Greig, president of AllSeason Home Improvement Co. in Augusta, installs metal and asphalt shingle roofs and said the popularity of metal roofing is on the rise. “The trend toward metal roof-

ing is higher than it’s ever been,” he said, noting that 65 to 70 percent of his customers opt for metal over asphalt. He said the benefits of a metal roof are many. He cited ease of snow removal and a complete lack of ice build up, which can cause leaks under traditional shingled roofs. “Most of the time it comes down to what people feel they like the looks of,” Greig said. And more and more often, the decision is metal, he said. Most metal roofs come with a 35-year finish guarantee that the color will not fade. The durable roofing has proven itself, Greig said, noting he has not had a single replacement on a metal roof for fading in 15 years. The roofing material is coated with seven layers of paint, and there are 18 colors available to customers, ranging from the traditional silver to greens, reds, bronzes and black. Touted for their light weight and durability, metal roofs are expected to last a homeowner’s lifetime, Greig said. “Once they are sealed together, they’re pretty much a lifetime proposition,” he said. Metal roofs can be applied

over existing roofing (up to two layers of asphalt shingles) or attached to a layer of tar paper that has been placed over boards or plywood on a bare roof. The crew at All-Season brings a roll of metal roofing and a cutting machine to the job site and fabricates a custom roof right there, taking measurements and cutting the roof panels to fit. Pieces can be cut in sizes ranging from one foot to 40 feet in length over the course of the project. The fabricating machine is towed behind a pickup truck, he said, and the roofing material is like a giant roll of paper towels. Greig prefers a standing seam metal roof with fasteners used to hold the roof together and in place. No holes are drilled into the roof and all of the hardware is hidden from view. Some types of metal roofing are screwed down, but he cautioned that anytime 30 to 40 holes are drilled into a roof, there’s a chance of a problem with leaking over time. As soon as the temperature rises above 32 degrees, snow accumulation slides right off a pitched metal roof, according to Greig. Also, the roofs are quiet. “A lot of people may have

gone to grandma’s camp on the lake years ago and there was no barrier other than the metal roof, so even if an acorn fell on the roof you heard the noise,” he said. “These aren’t like that.” Metal roofing weighs in at 15 pounds per square, which is a 10by-10-foot area, compared with 235 pounds for asphalt shingles. Greig said a roof that has two or even three layers of asphalt shingles is bearing a lot of weight and is holding in a lot of moisture, which can be damaging. By stripping the old roofing and adding a metal roof, that moisture and unnecessary weight is eliminated. “It might be the reason for saving an old barn,” he said. Customers who want to roof their own homes or outbuildings can hire All-Season to cut a metal roof to fit and then do the labor themselves, Greig said. It is important to be aware of the condition of the existing roof before covering it with new roofing material, he said. Homeowners should also check for soft spots, leaks and other problems. Metal roofs require snow guards over doors to slow down the snow before it comes off the roof. All-Season installs these

guards as well as aluminum gutters. Customers who prefer the look of individual shingles, but like the benefits of metal have the option of metal shingles, which the company has been installing for the last five or six years, Greig said. The metal shingles attach by a series of interlocking clips, and can be added over one level of asphalt roofing, if a homeowner does not want to strip the old roofing material. Greig estimated that pricing differences range from approximately $300 a square for asphalt shingles (installed), to $400 for standing seam metal roofing, and $450 to $460 for metal shingles. All-Season uses CertainTeed SureStart asphalt shingles with a 10-year finish guarantee. It takes a crew roughly three to four days to install an asphalt roof, versus five to six days for metal roofing. Located at 823 Church Hill Road in Augusta, All-Season also builds additions, garages, interior and exterior renovations and more. For information, visit

More on ROOFING, Page 3


Thursday, September 15, 2011

FALL HOME AND GARDEN

| Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement

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Roofing Continued from Page 2

the website at www.allseason.com. Jake Stevens of Stevens Siding & Window in Benton, who only installs asphalt shingle roofs, and said he has found a niche market in the gutters, snow breaks and other accessories required for buildings with metal roofs. “I just got into it this year,” he said. “It’s a fairly big market for me. There are a lot of steel roofs out there.” Stevens said many homeowners do not realize when they opt for a metal roof that the snow will come sliding off that roof and can do damage or pose a nuisance around the home. He said he has seen ranch homes where the snow has come off the roof and blocked the door. Stevens also has repaired decks damaged by falling snow and replaced gutters that were ripped off by snow as it slid off a metal roof. So in addition to installing IKO asphalt shingle roofs, Stevens has been responding to the needs of metal roof customers who did not have appropriate snow blocks, snow breaks or snow fences used to control and contain the snow as it falls

from a metal roof. He also sells and attaches seamless aluminum gutters and gutter toppers, which are covers designed to prevent damage from falling snow. Asphalt shingles continue to be a popular choice among his customers, Stevens said, noting IKO asphalt shingles are readily available and offer lifetime limited warranties.

“Pretty much every lumberyard in the area carries them, and the warranties are good,” he said. “It’s reasonable to expect the average person to get 25 to 30 years on a roof.” Stevens has a particular method he follows when shingling a roof, aimed at making Contributed photo

More on ROOFING, Page 17

Before (bottom) and after (top) photos of Taconnet Federal Credit Unions’ new roof line and siding done by Steven’s Siding and Roofing.

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS Advance 1 Cleaning Service......................15 All-Season Home Improvement Co...........16 Apple Farm Directory................................19 Apple Farm, The ........................................19 Audette's Hardware....................................11 Augusta Fuel Company ...............................7 Bailey's Orchard.........................................19 Bob The Plumber .......................................16 Bob's Cash Fuel .........................................16 Budget Blinds of Augusta..........................15 Campbell's Building Supply ......................12 Cayford Orchards.......................................19 Chore Store, The ........................................18 County Fair Farm.......................................19 Cross Insurance............................................9 Fortin's Home Furnishings.........................20

Furlongs Home & Yard Care .....................16 Gerald MacKenzie Inc. ..............................16 Hammond Lumber Company ....................14 Hammond Tractor ........................................7 Home Improvement Directory...................16 Kent's Hill Orchard ....................................19 Knights Farm Supply .................................18 KSW Federal Credit Union .................16, 17 L.N. Violette...............................................17 Lakeside Orchards .....................................19 LaPointe Lumber Co., Inc. ........................16 Lemieux's Orchard.....................................19 Longfellow's Greenhouse ..........................17 MacKenzie Landscaping............................16 Maine State Credit Union ..........................13 Mason's Lawnmower .................................15

Mason's Lawnmower .................................18 McVety's Hearth & Home .........................11 Mt. Nebo Orchard......................................19 North Country Power Sports .......................9 North Star Orchards...................................19 Rocky's Stove Shoppe..........................15, 16 Sandy River Apple Farm............................19 Shop From Home Flooring........................16 Steven's Siding & Window Co. .................14 Storer & Sons.............................................15 Teague Distributors ...................................12 Trailside Performance................................18 Ware-Butler, Inc.........................................16 Willow Pond Farm .....................................19 Winslow Aluminum ...................................14


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FALL HOME AND GARDEN

Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement |

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Heating alternatives provide options for the coming winter BY DAN CASSIDY Correspondent

As oil prices in Maine heat up and temperatures begin to drop, it may be a good time to consider alternative energy to keep the home warm this winter. There are many choices. There’s a price to pay up front and a person really wants to consider what the best investment is: what the turnaround time is on the initial costs involved in getting the fire going, heating a dwelling and getting the smoke up the chimney. Alternative heating comes in many forms, wood pellet, coal, propane, solar, wood, gas and electric fireplace inserts to name a few. There are many local retailers throughout central Maine. Incentives to convert While the cost to convert to other sources of heat can be rather expensive, one can save on the initial costs by getting a 30 percent federal tax credit. There may be other state and local agencies offering incentives or rebates to further increase savings. Improving a home’s heating system can benefit the owner in several ways. He may save hundreds of dollars in heating costs, improve the value of your home and discover that, without fossil fuels, you can have a renewable source of energy. The Stove Barn, located at 270 China Road in Winslow, telephone (207) 8599773, sells wood stoves, pellet stoves, gas stoves, fireplaces and gas boilers. Owner Wade Bullard has been in business for 10 years and has 20 years experience as an installer. “If the price of oil is moderate or low, we don’t see a lot of (people looking for) alternatives. As soon as it fluctuates more than 25 to 30 cents a gallon, suddenly everybody is looking for an alternative,” Bullard said. Bullard said that this year more people are considering burning wood as an alternative. “I’ve had some people looking at pellet stoves, but the majority are looking at wood stoves,” he said. “The efficiency of pellet stoves is good but the durability is not. They are at best, somewhat dependable. They require a lot of service on the customer’s part as well as on the part of me, being the installer. “You have to be a little mechanicallyinclined to have a pellet stove and work it properly to make sure it runs well,” he

Photo by Dan Cassidy

Several makes and models of gas fireplace inserts, wood and pellet stoves are on display at Rocky’s Stove and Chimney Service.

said. The Stove Barn carries Heath Stone, Napoleon, Endurance 50F, Economizer, Avalon and Morse, along with other makes of stoves. Bullard said that wood is the most sensible alternative because there’s an abundance of wood on the market. Whether a person is on low income, or low budget, wood can be bought at a relatively good price, he said. Gas stoves are quite popular as a heating alternative. Gas is clean-burning, turns on promptly, heats an area quickly, is adjustable and there is no clean-up involved.

wide variety of stoves and inserts including Economizer, Napoleon, Osburn, Toyostove, Monitor, Hudson River, Rinnai, Frigidaire and Empire. “An average homeowner will use between four and four and a half tons of pellets,” Glenn Bernatchez said. “They are clean, easy to handle and easy to store. We only sell Maine pellets that come in four different blends that include hardwood, a 60-40 blend and softwood blend and Coringh pellets that come in a blend and 100 percent softwood.” The biggest part of their business is selling, installing and maintaining pellet stoves. Wood pellet stoves “We do installation and cleaning of Depending on your heating system and stoves,” Mary Bernatchez said. “People the cost of fuel oil, a pellet stove could usually buy between four to four and a pay for itself in just two to three years, half tons of pellets. They store them according to a published report in altereither in their basement, garage or shed. native-heatinginfo.com You need to keep them in a dry area off Monitor of Maine in Benton is an alter- the ground, such as on a pallet, and keep native energy dealer. Located on the them covered.” Bangor Road, telephone (207) 453-2253, the business is owned by Glenn and Mary Bernatchez. They have been in the stove business for 10 years. The store carries a More on HEATING, Page 5

Photo by Dan Cassidy

A load of pellets ready for delivery from Knight’s Farm Supply in Augusta. They deliver pellets by the pallet to customers throughout the Augusta area.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

| Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement

Heating Continued from Page 4

Types of pellets It may sound confusing as to what types of pellets to burn in a stove, but Bernatchez said that they keep track of each stove they sell and suggest the best type of pellet for that stove. Even if a person didn’t purchase the stove there, they will tell them which type of pellets burn best. “A pellet is a pellet, 8,200 BTUs per pound, whether it’s soft wood or hard wood,” said Bernatchez. According to Bernatchez, pellet wood heat has become more and more popular since 2008, when sales really picked up in this area. “They’ve been around in the midwest for more than 20 years,” he said. “They use corn out there.” A brochure, “So You Think you Want a Pellet Stove” at the Monitor of Maine shop, pretty much sums it up: Pellet stoves require daily, weekly, monthly and yearly maintenance. They are supplemental heaters. All pellet stoves are different. All pellets are different. They are convection heaters, not radiant heaters. They require electricity and have moving parts that can break down. Pellet stoves are not for everyone. BUT … They are an inexpensive way to help heat a home. You are heating with a renewable resource and they are less work than a wood stove. Propane the ultimate heating source A propane fireplace is an excellent secondary source of heat and J&S Oil offers propane, installation and service at the Manchester and Winslow locations. J&S Oil, with its corporate office on Western Avenue in Manchester, has seven locations including Manchester, Farmingdale, Augusta, Topsham, Auburn, Waterville and Winslow, where one can purchase and swap small propane tanks. The bulk propane outlets for home delivery of propane are located in Manchester and Winslow. Telephone (207) 622-1609 or (207) 872-2714. “Propane is evolving right now as a secondary resource with the price of oil the way it is,” Kevin Kidder, service coordinator, said. “The biggest is the Rinnai propane heater. It’s saving people a lot more money, cutting down from using their boilers especially when it’s just starting to cool off. Running the heaters is saving them a lot more money on oil.” J&S sells, installs and services Rinnai heaters. They are cool to the touch and are safe for families and small children.

They are dependable, clean burning and some offer programmable thermostats and quiet fans. “They are great for a family room where an entire family hangs out and you want to keep it extra warm and you don’t want to jack up your oil,” Kelly Marie, creative director, said. Propane is a safe product Kidder said that heating with propane is very safe. “With all the technological advances in heating, propane is very safe. There are so many safety devices on tanks now,” he said. Kidder said that heating with propane is very safe. “With all the technological advances in heating, propane is very safe. There are so many safety devices on tanks now,” he said. Installing a new tank and running lines into the house is about a three-hour job, according to Kidder. “That includes setting a tank on a pad, running the lines and installing a Rinnai,” he said. “It takes two men to do that and get it ready to go.” Tanks need to be at least 10 feet from a source of ignition as well as windows, doors and openings. “You can have a window just above a propane tank, but not below it because propane goes down,” he said. “That’s why we can’t place it near a cellar window.” “We sell propane, oil, air conditioning and all that stuff,” Kelly Marie said. “Basically we are a HVAC company. We sell heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment.”

Photo by Dan Cassidy

Propane tanks like this from J&S Oil can be installed for homeowners to heat their homes with gas fireplace inserts, Rinnai heaters and other forms of alternative energy sources.

FALL HOME AND GARDEN

The air conditioning units mount on the wall and are electric. In the spring or fall when temperatures drop, the units will pump in hot air up to 105 degrees. They cool in the summer and warm in the cooler seasons. “They are for heating year-round; it’s just a reliable source of heat. We carry the Daiken brand and they are called a split system, AC with a heat pump,” Kidder said. “J&S is offering customers a $20 J&S gift card to new propane accounts, following payment of their first delivery,” Marie said. “We’ve been told that we have the best propane prices around.” Kidder said that oil efficiency rates are between 85 to 92 percent, depending on what you buy or install, and gas boilers and gas heaters are between 92 and 98 percent efficient. Heating in Maine “People grasp at other sources; traditionally oil is the best way to go,” Marie said. “Eighty five percent of people here in the state of Maine use oil as their main heating source.” Kidder explained. “You have look at it this way, for every gallon of oil you burn, you have to burn almost a gallon and a half of

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propane to equal the same amount of BTUs,” he said. Rocky’s Stove Shop and Chimney Service is owned by Rocky and Barbara Gaslin. The business is located at 2445 North Belfast Avenue on Route 3 in Augusta, telephone (207) 622-3410. The shop carries several varieties of wood-burning and pellet stoves, gas inserts, gas fireplaces, wood fireplaces and coal stoves. They have been in business for more than 30 years, and along with the sales of stoves, they offer installation, chimney inspection and maintenance service. “Right now our best sellers are the wood pellet stoves with the Harman brand being the biggest seller,” Rocky Gaslin said. “They are saving people on fuel and are a lot cheaper than oil. They are one-tenth the amount of work as wood stoves. You vent them out through the wall and you can control the temperature. You just buy a bag of pellets and burn it. You don’t have to dry it or stack it.” Gaslin said the Harman is a very highquality pellet stove.

More on HEATING, Page 16

Study the Options If a person is considering changing from heating the home with oil to an alternative energy source, here a some things to consider, according to a recent CNN Money report and local fire department: 1. Heating oil prices are expected to skyrocket this winter and many homeowners in the Northeast are looking at natural gas as a cheaper alternative. 2. Heating oil prices are expected to increase an average of 31 percent nationwide this winter. 3. Converting to natural gas may not be an option for everyone if you do not live within range of the utility’s network. 4. Although natural gas burns cleaner than heating oil, natural gas prices have risen gradually over the past few years. 5. While wood is in ready supply, there is a downside. You will have to handle wood several times before, during and after burning. Be sure you purchase from a reputable dealer and get what you pay for. A cord of wood measures 4-feet wide by 4feet high by 8-feet long. 6. Wood pellets are clean burning, but there is substantial maintenance with the stove. 7. Loss of power may mean loss of heat if your alternative heating source has an electric fan or auger to transfer wood pellets 8. The silent killer is carbon monoxide. Make sure you place a generator outdoors to vent the deadly fumes away from doors or windows. Do not run a generator inside a shed or cellar. 9. Never use charcoal grills or camp stoves indoors. 10. Do not burn candles during a power outage. “People will light them up to see. Or they’ll have the decorative scented candles. If it gets down to the last half inch stop using it because the heat may crack the glass and have wax come out and catch things on fire,” Dave LaFountain, chief of Waterville and Winslow Fire Department said in a recent press release. 11. Keep space heaters at least three feet from anything that could catch fire including curtains, blankets, furniture, and paper products. 12. If using a kerosene heater, use only proper fuel. Make sure you refuel the heater outside after it has cooled. 13. Have your chimney, wood stove or fireplace insert inspected every year. 14. Keep kindling, paper and décor away from fireplaces and wood stoves. 15. Never use gas or lighter fluid to start a fireplace or wood stove. 16. Never burn cardboard boxes, newspaper or trash. They burn too hot and can cause a chimney fire. 17. Be safe and, when in doubt, call your local fire department to ask questions before starting a fire.


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FALL HOME AND GARDEN

Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement |

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Farmers, hobbyists explain how to grow fresh vegetables indoors this winter BY BONNIE N. DAVIS Correspondent

we can put together planters for their homes.” To grow a wider variety of vegAs the cost of shipping fresh etables, more sophisticated equipvegetables to Maine increases ment is available at Nature’s over the long winter months, Palate Indoor Garden Store in many people do without delicious Mercer. Owned by Doreen Ross lettuce, cooking greens and toma- and Gary Asselin, the store toes; customers buying these employs resident expert on vegitems are often disappointed with etable gardening, Mark Megill of quality and shelf life. Belgrade. Meanwhile, indoor gardening is “I’ve always been interested in on the rise, with options as simple horticulture,” Megill said. There’s or complex as a hobbyist may a big push for organic growing wish to explore. and not hurting the environment “I don’t use any lights, but I with chemicals. There are a lot of have a south-facing greenhouse,” indoor growers doing this for the said Izzy McKay, of Half Moon enjoyment. There’s this one guy Gardens in Thorndike. “Grow who comes in that does awardthings that are good cold germina- winning pumpkins.” tors like kale, spinach and letAsselin said the store has tuces.” options for the indoor gardener. However, McKay cautions that “We put kits together for hydroother vegetables need light as well ponics — lights and everything,” as heat, with drafty windows Asselin said. “Once they have the being too cold for many. system, it pays for itself.” “With tomatoes, you can try “The lights are good for you in digging them up from your garden the winter,” Ross said. “You know — they like warm weather, mid how some people get depressed in 70s to 80s, and they need supple- the winter? That’s what you need, mental lights,” she said. “You can along with the exercise, too.” get full spectrum lights at the According to Asselin, cushardware stores, (called) blues tomers have a wide variety of busters.” options, from minimal expense, to Most herbs need extra attention very expensive. He cautions peoas well. ple to be realistic, since spending “What I typically do is dig up money on a big system and a huge plants from the garden, put them electric bill outweighs any savings in pots and bring them in. They gained from growing lettuce and don’t grow as fast unless you add tomatoes inside. Starting out small heat and lights to simulate the may be the soundest idea, summer growing weather,” although the learning curve with McKay said. “If you get a little Megill’s sage advice makes for a ahead, it will last all year long. trial with few errors. We put together salad bowls and “There’s a common misunderherb bowls to sell; I’ll have them standing that if you are growing in at the Common Ground Fair.” dirt and a pot, it’s not hydroponMcKay sells plants from 2 p.m. ics,” Megill said. “It doesn’t have to 6 p.m. Tuesdays at the Mill to be so confusing. Use a soilless Park Augusta Farmer’s Market; mix and add water with nutrients; from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays that’s all you have to do.” at the Waterville Farmer’s Market; According to Megill, not all and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at hydroponics consists of roots susthe Brooks Farmer’s Market. Call pended in air or water. It also Half Moon ahead of time for spe- includes growing in a medium cial orders at 568-3738. such as sphagnum moss and “People can come to the green- pearlite or pro mix. Humus has house Monday through Saturday, organics, including compost and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. all year manure, to give plants nutrients. round,” McKay said. “We cut fresh lettuce, greens and herbs, or More on INDOOR, Page 7

Photo by Bonnie N. Davis

Mark Megill, at Nature’s Palate Indoor Garden Store in Mercer, has a wealth of information to share with people wanting to try their hand at growing indoor vegetables over the winter.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

| Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement

Indoor Continued from Page 6

However, even pro mix needs supplements — compost, solid fertilizer or liquid nutrients, including fish emulsion or organic liquids geared towards various growth stages. “Some people like to play with all the meters; they have all the bells and whistles and play scientist,” Megill said. “There has been a relationship between plants and soil since the beginning of time. If there are worm casings, manure or especially out in the woods, you find microorganisms or living organics. Hydroponics makes the medium come alive by adding nutrients that attach to the roots and are activated by water, just like in nature; it’s putting Mother Nature back into the soil.” Although understanding the science of hydroponics maybe confusing, both Asselin and Megill enjoy educating customers. “There are no dumb questions. We like to treat people like they’re part of the family,” Asselin said. “I carry medium and high-end systems. Compare it to an Escort versus a Mercedes. I’ve talked people out of buying a $500 system to get a $60 system to learn on.” Starting out with pots and growing medium on hand, then purchasing nutrients from the store is the least expensive way to start, with the addition of a small grow light from a hardware store. Asselin carries small, self-contained units and small lighting systems for beginners. “We want you to be successful. We see the longevity; we look down the road past the sale we’re gonna make today,” Megill said. “We run on developing customer relationships and repeat business. The nutrients cost money, but the information is free.” Although the couple has been in business for a little over three years now, a grand opening is planned for Oct. 29. Asselin expects the event to run from noon to 2 p.m., but it may change. The new, expanded area with displays and a growing room will be finished in time for the open house. WTOS radio station plans to do a live broadcast. Asselin said all customers will be eligible for

one of two giveaways, a 1,000watt and a 500-watt growing system. Customers can learn more by dropping in at the store from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Call 587-4150 for directions or more information.

Photo by Bonnie N. Davis

Half Moon Gardens in Thorndike supplies pots and planters with cooking herbs and greens for indoor growing enthusiasts, says Izzy Mckay. Adding fresh homegrown vegetables to the winter table provides healthy options at a fraction of the cost found at grocery stores.

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FALL HOME AND GARDEN

Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement |

Apple-picking season is just around the corner Fruit is natural, chemical free BY BONNIE N. DAVIS Correspondent

Whether a person is old or young, apple picking and going on tractor rides at a local orchard offer a great way to spend a fall day — with the added bonus of healthy, fresh produce in its most natural state with no chemicals added. “We have over 75 varieties now,” said Jason of Cayford Orchards in Skowhegan. “But the big news is our cider house — we worked on it all summer. It has a type of fruit press from Denmark that runs on water instead of hydraulic fluid. Now we can custom press for others and experiment with our own blends. “We’re still planting old-fash-

Photo by Bonnie N. Davis.

Cayford’s has trees hosting low branches close to the store so youngsters, oldsters and people with disabilities have the opportunity to pick a few apples.

“We have over 75 varieties now. But the big news is our cider house — we worked on it all summer. It has a type of fruit press from Denmark that runs on water instead of hydraulic fluid. Now we can custom press for others and experiment with our own blends.”

ioned winter varieties, which keep nine to 10 months on their own — Black Oxford, Golden Russet and the Esopus Spitzenburg, that was Thomas Jefferson’s favorite apple. There’s too many to name.” In his mother’s family for six generations, Cayford Orchards continues to grow, Davis said. However, the farm hit a bit of a bump in 1968 when his grandfather had a heart attack and could no longer manage the physical

Thursday, September 15, 2011

of toys for kids. “We like to have that one-onone with our customers,” Heather Davis said. “You deal with us, the growers; it’s only us JASON DAVIS, CAYFORD ORCHARDS, SKOWHEGAN. in the store.” Both named after apples, their daughter, Cortland, and son, Ben (Ben Davis is an heirloom variety the Skowhegan Farmer’s Market. of apple), also work on the farm. demands. Running the farm since 1994, “I’ve lived here since I was Customers can learn a lot five,” he said. “When I was a kid, the couple agreed their lifelong about apple varieties, wholesome friendship is one of their secrets I dreamed about climbing trees. treats that are ready for eating, for the successful family busiThis is what I was born to do.” making pies, canning or freezing His wife has fond memories ness. They greet customers — for Maine goodness all year and their dogs — as friends and too. round. make fresh cider available. Apple “My family moved up here in “I see a lot of repeat cus1987; I grew up at the bottom of tasting and weekend tractor rides tomers, especially those with come with smiles. the hill. We grew up here on the EBT and WIC. They come up, Customers needing a break can pick apples — pay for it with hill together -— we were playmates,” his wife and best friend, lounge in the store or on a couch Heather Davis said. She also and comfortable chairs that come serves as the assistant manager of with an amazing view and plenty More on APPLES, Page 9


Thursday, September 15, 2011

| Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement

Supporting Maine’s economy is simple this time of year with the abundance of apples, cider and other products offered by local orchards and farms.

FALL HOME AND GARDEN

Apples Continued from Page 8

Photo by Bonnie N. Davis

Heather and Jason Davis started playing in the orchard as kids, and still do so today, with work and love as a bonus, at Cayford Orchards in Skowhegan.

EBT,” she said. “They take a hayride with the family and go home, make pies and put up some for the year.” EBT and WIC (Women, Infants, & Children) are cards that can be used by families to purchase produce. About 90 to 95 percent of the merchandise at the Cayford Orchards shop is local to Somerset County. “I have products from other local farms and businesses, people really appreciate it,” she said. “I make relish, jams and pickles; I do all the canning for our house and then I bring the rest down here.” A tour of apple farms throughout the state helps customers understand sustainability through buying local. All the growers have picked apples on hand to sell for customers who do not want to pick their own, and many offer refreshments. “I feel now with the way the economy is, if you support local businesses the money stays in town rather than going to an

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overseas bank,” Heather Davis said. “That’s how we live; our wedding wouldn’t have been possible without local business and farmers.” When they took vows at their orchard in May 2009, caterer Billi Barker used breads made from Maine grains, meat from Grassland Farms, Maine potatoes, local greens and Cayford apples. Other local business people supplied photography, an apple-themed cake, and chocolate for 125 dipped apples, flowers and music. “Instead of lighting a unity candle, we planted an heirloom apple tree called Keepsake on the spot we were married,” Heather Davis said. Cayford Orchard is at 121 Hilton Hill Road, just off Route 150 in Skowhegan and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Call (207) 4745200 for information about tractor (apple box) rides, directions and scheduling for school trips. Visit their stand at the Skowhegan Farmer’s Market from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays or at the Mill Park Augusta Farmer’s Market from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays.

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FALL HOME AND GARDEN

Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement |

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Builders get creative during a tough economy Experts talk about ways to cut corners BY KRIS FERRAZZA Correspondent

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and while area contractors may not be desperate, they admit this economy is tough and they are doing whatever they need to do to keep the work coming in and their employees busy. Builders and homeowners alike are getting creative, with construction companies offering unique arrangements to homeowners on remodeling and other projects to keep costs down. Some contractors reported that work on renovations and additions have increased, while new home construction has dipped. They said it is because homeowners are choosing to expand or update what they already have rather than try to sell and move to a new house. One contractor is offering a deal through the end of the year where he will work at cost, with no markup on materials, while others are encouraging customers to shop around for their own materials. Still another gives homeowners the option of helping out at the job site to keep the project on schedule and under budget. Area contractors shared the secrets to their success, which they said requires diversity, doing good work, keeping the cost down and going the extra mile for customers, especially today. Dave Bemis of J.B. Home Improvement in Fairfield can attest to just how tough this economy has been for his business. He said remodeling jobs have been few and far between for his oneman operation. “It’s pretty slow this year,” Bemis said. He said customers only want to pay for the basic necessities, such as replacing or repairing leaky windows. “They’re just replacing what needs to be replaced,” he said. With the few remodeling jobs

he has landed, such as replacing a porch or remodeling a kitchen, he said customers are looking to save money anywhere they can. With increased competition from larger companies, added rules and regulations from state and federal agencies and rising insurance costs, Bemis said it has been nearly impossible to stay afloat. “It’s a dying business,” he said of small businesses like his. “The bigger companies are taking over all the stuff the little guys used to do.” But despite today’s tough times, Jack Donohoe of Devyn Construction in West Gardiner said he still has seen a lot of customers looking to update their homes, build additions and renovate their kitchens and bathrooms. A third generation builder, he credits his success in this economy with doing “a little of everything,” as well as offering competitive bids. Donohoe recently advertised a promotion he is running through the end of the year in which he pledges to do jobs at cost. Projects scheduled as part of this offer will be billed according to the time and materials used, but with no mark-up on the cost of the materials, he said. That means customers can expect to save as much as 20 percent on the cost of materials, which already are reasonable due to supply and demand in the current market, he said. “I also encourage people to find

materials,” he said of his customers, noting homeowners who shop around can find bargains at lumberyards, big-box stores and online. “We’re doing what we can to try to keep prices down,” he said. For more, visit www.devynconstruction.com. Brad Hendrickson of B.H. Builders Inc. in Farmingdale is celebrating his company’s 25th anniversary this year and recalled that when he started, it was just himself and a helper on the payroll and all they did were remodels. “We started with small jobs and I have never forgotten that,” he said. “We are always willing to do that and I believe that’s what has helped us in this economy.” Although today the company specializes in larger, custom-built homes, Hendrickson still encourages customers to call B.H. Builders for any job they need done, even if it’s just a single baluster repair on a handrail. “I tell them, ‘Call me. I’ll do anything. Please don’t hesitate,’” he said. “I like to do that, and we’re willing. That’s been one of my focuses over the last 25 years.” Even with a good mix of large and small projects underway, Hendrickson said it is a challenge to keep three crews of workers going every day. “We’ve rolled our sleeves up and said, ‘We’ve gotta work hard-

er for less,’ and hopefully it’s temporary,” he said. Hendrickson estimated that in the last two months he has had five calls for remodels on baths and kitchens. “That’s a lot. That’s unusual,” he said. Part of the reason, Hendrickson believes, is that homeowners also are choosing to get creative in this economy. Some have chosen to simply remodel or expand and stay in their current home instead of moving, and one customer converted a single-family home into a duplex to generate rental income. “It’s a way to help with the cost of living,” he said. “People are kind of hunkering down and saying, ‘Let’s fix what we’ve got and just live here.’ ” Wealthy customers also are keeping an eye on the bottom line, Hendrickson said. “Even the people who have got the money to do what they want just don’t feel comfortable spending it. They’ve put a lot of projects on hold,” he said. “That’s the environment we’re in.” For more information, visit www.bhbuilders.com. Tom St. Germaine at The Chore Store in Waterville said remodels account for approximately 80 percent of his business, with bathrooms and kitchens topping the list as the most popular room for renovation. “People spend a lot of time in their kitchens and their bath-

rooms, and they also are a big return on your investment when you are thinking of selling your home,” he said. Energy costs and the economy are reflected in the types of projects he is seeing, St. Germaine said. Customers are looking to replace drafty old windows to save on heating costs, and expanding or improving what they have instead of considering a move to a new home, he agreed. “More people are opting to stay in their home rather than sell and move, so we are seeing an increase in additions,” he said. People also are adding family rooms, garages and turning basements and attics into added living space. Putting in replacement windows is another way to invest in a home in a small way while getting a good return on investment, he said. “There’s definitely a payback on that with oil prices as they are, if anybody’s living with old windows,” St. Germaine said. “It’s one of the most affordable ways to improve your home.” The Chore Store not only is replacing old-fashioned windows, but also the older style of insulated, vinyl windows. He said in the last 10 years, windows have become more modern and hightech, with drastic improvements made to the glass and the vinyl More on ECONOMY, Page 11


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Economy Continued from Page 10

jambs. “When they first came out, a lot of them were pretty cheesy,” he said. St. Germaine helps customers prepare a five-year plan for their home if there are numerous areas in need of improvement. He does what he calls “a quasi-home inspection,” in which he walks through the structure with the owner and checks the roof, siding, electrical and other systems. Then he helps customers prioritize projects according to what are their most pressing needs. Next year marks The Chore Store’s 30th anniversary, St. Germaine said, and the company has a customer list that goes back 25 years or more. “They keep calling us back because we do good work, and in this economy, that is the key to success,” he said. The business is now scheduling work into October. For more information, visit www.thechorestore.com. Joe Nestor at Atlantic Building Contractors on Western Avenue in Augusta said keeping project costs under control is key. “We pre-establish a budget and keep within that budget,” he said. ABC designs and builds additions, garages, new homes, kitchens, bathrooms, porches and decks, replaces siding and more. Nestor said he has offered the customer the option of providing “sweat equity” to the job as an alternative way to stay within budget. If homeowners want to pitch in and help the crew from ABC, they are given small jobs to do during the off-hours when the workers are not there, such as cleaning up or making a dump run. “Depending on their age and schedules, I’d say about 50 percent of customers engage in some sort of participation,” he said. Nestor said efficiency on a job is critical to keep costs down, and competition is strong. “You need to be super-competitive about how you put a project together,” he said. The only way to succeed, he said, is to have quality people working in the field, finishing

| Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement jobs in a timely manner and standing by the work done in the past. Nestor said if a customer calls with a concern about something that was done five years earlier; he just goes back and addresses it. “If you don’t give value to your customers right now, eventually you aren’t going to have any customers,” he said. Referrals and repeat business from former customers is the name of the game, according to Nestor. Kevin Violette, president of L.N. Violette Co. in Fairfield, said he finds it ironic that while many homeowners are hesitant to spend money during tough economic times, it really is the best time to do a project because bids are competitive, materials are more affordable and interest rates on financing are low. “There is a great opportunity in this economy,” he said, noting building material prices are 20 percent less than they have been in the last three to five years. “It’s supply and demand.” In addition to the construction business, Violette owns a lumberyard and has approximately 1,000 acres available for sale in subdivisions from Waterville to Belgrade through 10 different companies. He offers turn-key projects, which includes pur-

FALL HOME AND GARDEN

11

“More people are opting to stay in their home rather than sell and move, so we are seeing an increase in additions.” TOM ST. GERMAINE THE CHORE STORE IN WATERVILLE

Chore Store photo

Homeowners are looking to replace drafty old windows to save on heating costs, and expanding or improving what they have instead of considering a move to a new home.

chase of the lot, construction of the home and financing. Violette said demand has been off, but customers can get financing at a fixed rate of 4.5 percent, which could save thousands of dollars in the long run. “I don’t see a lot of people

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capitalizing on these opportunities, and they are going to pay dramatically more for that same product in a few years,” he said. “People will not have this opportunity again in their lifetime. We’re in unprecedented times with this economic situation.”

Violette said the secret to running a successful business in tough times is diversity. “Diversity is key. You just have to do it all today,” he said. L.N. Violette Co. has been operating since 1923. For more, visit www.lnviolette.com.


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FALL HOME AND GARDEN

Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement |

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Buyer beware: How to pick a contractor Get references, ask for insurance, check the laws BY KRIS FERRAZZA Correspondent

FAIRFIELD – When it comes to hiring a contractor for any project big or small, there are a few basic steps homeowners should follow. In addition to discussing price and timeline with potential contractors, people should ask to see proof of insurance, check references and become familiar with the laws governing construction, contractors say. “Homeowners don’t need to be leery of general contractors in general, but they do need to do their homework,” said Kevin Violette of L.N .Violette Co. in Fairfield. Any homeowner or business person considering a remodel, addition or new construction project can take a few basic steps to protect themselves from liability, Violette said. Many do not take the time to do so, but Violette said a few phone calls and a quick visit to a state website could save people headaches and thousands of dollars. The Maine Attorney General’s website at www.maine.gov/ag/con“Rule No. 1, check refersumer/housing/for_contractors outlines 15 points of law to be followed ences,” Violette said. While when hiring a contractor. many customers cannot be bothered to make phone calls to the past clients of a potential contractor, he said the information to be gained by a five-minute phone call could mean the difference between a successful building project and a complete failure. Next, he advised people visit the Maine Attorney General’s website at www.maine.gov/ag/consumer/ho using/for_contractors. He said the site outlines 15 points of law to be followed. He also pointed out that Maine does not license contractors, so the law of the land is “Buyer beware.” That means some builders work without any insurance, and, if someone were to be injured on the job, the liability rests with the homeowner. “Get smart, play smart,” Violette said. “Know the law, follow the rules and ask the real questions, and then you will

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have no problem with your contractor.” He warned consumers to ask contractors to see a certificate of insurance, which is proof that they are insured. They can take that one step further by checking the amount of insurance, since a fall from a roof could be very costly as medical bills mount and other expenses are incurred. And finally, if a customer wants to be completely protected, the homeowner could ask to be named as an additional certificate holder on the insurance policy for the duration of the construction project. That means if the contractor cancels that insurance policy, the homeowner will receive a certified letter notifying them of that change. “It’s free, and all it takes is one phone call,” Violette said. Another area in which homeowners get themselves in trouble, according to Violette, is when they give a contractor a

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Contractor Continued from Page 12

large down payment and no work has been done. He said he has had customers come to him in need of getting a project completed after they already had paid someone else to do the work, but couldn’t get the builder to show up or answer phone calls. “Those that pay up front are at tremendous risk, because now the contractor’s got your money,” he said. Violette said discussion about upfront money is among the first questions a person should ask when interviewing a builder. If they require a down payment, ask why and how much it is. Violette said people should refuse to pay for work that has not yet been done. “It’s like paying and leaving the grocery store without your groceries,” he said. “If it doesn’t make sense to you, don’t do it. Sometimes common sense goes a long way.” When builders are pre-paid, he said an unfortunate scenario can play out where the contractor leaves a job unfinished. If the customer files a lawsuit, they have to pay legal fees, and sometimes the builder is on the brink of bankruptcy. In addition, liens could be placed on the unfinished property if there are unpaid bills for materials. Violette recommends using lien waivers over the duration of the project. This involves asking the contractor to sign off on portions of the project as it proceeds. For example, if 20 percent of the project is complete and paid for, then there should be a lien waiver for 20 percent. At the end, it is paid in full. That protects the builder and the homeowner, to be sure the project is paid for as it progresses, and the homeowner is relieved of responsibility for that portion of the job. The Maine Attorney General’s Office advises people to interview contractors and then check recent references, as well as asking building supply companies and real estate companies for reliable builders. The state also offers a stan-

| Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement

dard contract that can be printed out for use by building contractors and their customers. Written contracts are required in Maine on any home improvement project of more than $3,000. The sample contract provided by the state prohibits pre-payment of more than onethird the total project cost. Any up-front payments should be used for purchase of materials, the Attorney General’s Office advised, and proof of purchase should be provided by receipts. Joe Nestor of Atlantic Building Contractors in Augusta said it can be difficult to compete against the smaller contractors who try to charge less for services, but do not provide worker’s compensation insurance and other benefits. “That’s probably the biggest problem we have,” he said, noting he spends $20,000 or more per year on worker’s compensation and other expenses while others pay nothing. In these cases, a homeowner may choose a cheaper bid only to find out later that the builder has no insurance. That means the property owner is liable for any accident that takes place. “What I’ve found is some people in Maine are willing to take the risk, but not the people from out of state,” he said. Nestor has done work on cottages and summer homes for customers from outside Maine and, he said, they do not hesitate to check for insurance. “The first question they ask is: ‘Do you have worker’s comp insurance?’ ” he said. “And it’s because they have heard horror stories and don’t want to pay medical expenses if someone falls off a ladder or gets hurt.” Violette, whose two sons are the fifth generation of builders in his family, said homeowners should seek several bids or estimates, interview each builder, and then check references and insurance before choosing the right contractor for the job. He warned that trying to save a few dollars by selecting someone without insurance could be a costly mistake. “Set yourself up for a successful, fun project,” Violette said. “It shouldn’t be the building project from hell.” Another easy way to vet a

contractor is to see if the Attorney General’s Office has attempted to mediate any complaints against a particular com-

FALL HOME AND GARDEN

pany by phoning (800) 4362131, or checking with the Better Business Bureau at 8782715.

13

L.N. Violette photo

A model home built by L.N. Violette, located in Fairfield.


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FALL HOME AND GARDEN

Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement |

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall gardening tips BY BONNIE N. DAVIS Correspondent

Correctly putting the garden to bed for the winter may be the single most important chore for producing great herbs and vegetables the next summer. According to Joanne Gorey, of A Page ‘N’ Thyme Farm in North Anson, the process is easy and inexpensive. “We clean out the beds really well, put on fresh manure and then till it right in,” she said. “It works well for any size garden. If I see a lot of wood shavings in the manure or it isn’t broken down enough, I add some garden lime — but I haven’t had to do that for years.” Clinton Farmer Ed Domasinsky had more tips for good soil. “If you add lime in the fall, it takes six months to take affect in the soil,” he said. As an organic farmer and soilplant specialist, Domasinsky said soil is the single most important factor in a vegetable garden. Adding lime during the fall is perfect for spring planting, since it takes six months to take effect. He suggests supplementing strawberry plants with seasoned manure before winter for a better crop in the spring. Izzy McKay of Half Moon Gardens in Thorndike, sells several fall crops at farmer’s markets. She said some vegetables like cooler weather, such as kale, broccoli, spinach, Swiss chard and many varieties of salad greens. Gorey said October is the perfect time to plant garlic for the next year. Use individual cloves and plant with the pointed end up, she said. “We clean out an area, add aged manure — not fresh — and till it in. I do my planting a little differently. I like to plant the cloves about six inches deep and three to four inches apart. I find they get a sturdier stalk and I get huge bulbs,” she said. After planting, Gorey covers the garlic bed with six to 12 inches of straw, not hay. “Then in the spring, you just take off the straw and the garlic

is growing — sometimes it even comes up through the straw,” she said. Winterizing protects the beds from weeds and enriches the soil, giving gardeners a head start for spring planting. Try these additional tips: • For larger gardens, plant a winter crop to enrich the soil. These crops, such as winter rye, enrich the soil as green manure and protect against erosion, weeds and compaction. Be sure to remove in the spring before they seed. • Clean out the existing annu-

als, debris and weeds by pulling out by the roots and discarding or adding to the compost pile. Burn or destroy any diseased plants. • Mulch in layers with leaves, straw, grass clippings, compost, etc., and manure, on existing beds. If planning to start a new bed in the spring, do this step in the fall. • Cut perennial herbs back to a few inches once they have flowered and stopped producing, then mulch with leaves, grass

Contributed photo

Mulching, adding fresh manure and tilling the soil is a great way to put the garden to bed for the winter.

More on FALL, Page 15

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FALL HOME AND GARDEN

| Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement

Fall Continued from Page 14

clippings, etc., to protect through the winter. Parsley can often be found during early winter, under the snow. • By tilling the soil, eggs and bugs come to the surface providing snacks for birds. • Plant garlic and winter car-

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rots now for a head start on spring. • Toss out old pots, starters, stakes and tools; put all garden supplies away for an easier start in the spring. • When planning next year’s garden over the winter, be realistic about the number of seeds required. Most people over order, and buying seedlings in the spring ends up costing less money.

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FALL HOME AND GARDEN

Heating Continued from Page 5

“You have to clean the ashes out about once a month, scrape the fire box out every three to five days and once a year give it a good cleaning of the pipes and exhaust motor. So, it’s a lot easier than shoveling out ashes and loading it three times a day. With this, you only load it once a day.” Installation and service Pellet stoves average between

$2,300 up to about $4,100, according to Gaslin. Rocky’s Stove Shop employs five technicians who install and service stoves. “If there are any issues we take care of it,” he said. “We’ve been selling them for about 18 years. They should last for an average of 30 years.” Rocky’s Stove Shop carries many lines of wood, pellet and gas stoves and fireplace inserts, including Jotul, Harman Stove, HearthStone, Scan Pacific Energy Lopi, Harman and Fireplace Xtrordnair. Knights Farm Supply, located

Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement |

at 2310 North Belfast Avenue in Augusta, telephone (207) 6265715, carries wood pellets and coal. Owner Richard Knight has been in business at the present location for 20 years. “We carry four different types of wood pellets from the Maine Choice Pellets out of Strong, another type of pellet out of Glenn, Maine, and two different type pellets out of Canada Energics, and the other is Spruce Point.” Coal making a comeback Knight said that the business

also carries coal. “The coal comes in two different sizes, nut coal and pea coal,” he said. “Although coal isn’t as popular as wood pellets, we have seen sales in the last couple of years pick up.” Coal comes in 50-pound bags and there are 50 bags on a pallet so that’s 2,500 lbs. to a pallet and customers can buy it in single bags. “People really enjoy the coal heat because it gives out a nice warm heat. It’s better than oil heat. It’s more like wood heat and it’s gaining in popularity. It’s nowhere close to where

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Roofing Continued from Page 5

sure the shingles are attached to a good foundation and everything is done right. “Our policy is we always strip the roof,” he said, adding he inspects the underlying plywood and boards for rot and other problems. “We’ve been to homes where there have been five, six and even seven layers of shingles,” Stevens said. The best approach is to strip the roof, look for

| Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement issues and then check the chimneys, vents and any other breaches.” The crew prepares the surface with an application of ice and water shield and a synthetic fabric membrane. They also inspect or replace the rubber boot around anything that protrudes out through the roof, and then attach the shingles. An average-sized roof takes two to three days with a crew of three to four workers, Stevens said. Having a professional inspect a roof can benefit homeowners, he said, because roofing problems, such as curling shingle

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edges, can offer evidence of insulation or ventilation problems. Stevens often advises customers to install gable vents and ridge vents to help ventilate their homes properly. “Most homes don’t have enough ventilation,” he said.

FALL HOME AND GARDEN “There’s too much heat coming up through there.” Stevens Siding & Window also builds additions, does exterior renovation, interior trim, finish carpentry, doors and other projects. “We’re in a replacement

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world, but we remodel what you have,” Stevens said. Located at 40 Benton Plaza in Benton, Stevens said crews travel within a 25-mile radius of Augusta and Waterville. For more information, call 4538346.


18

FALL HOME AND GARDEN

Heating Continued from Page 16

Center), telephone, (207) 7786566, and is under the co-ownership of Todd Richard and Marty Farnum. Northern Lights has been a wood stove dealer for more than 35 years. “We’ve owned it for 15 years and wood pellets have become a very popular fuel source,” Richard said. “The reason being, you’re paying for convenience, where you load the stove once or twice a day and empty the ashes every two weeks to a month.” Richard said that pellet stoves are really easy to live with and it’s inexpensive heat relative to fossil fuels. “There are a lot of different options like central systems, room heaters and being able to purchase fuels locally,” he said. “People see it as a popular option and like taking advantage of that.” According to Richard, propane stoves are probably the ultimate convenience and they are efficient if a person buys propane right. “They are fairly cost effective, though they are still a fossil fuel, but one annual service is all you need,” he said. Gas good for some Richard said another system that is fairly new is the gasification wood boiler. “They are a significant investment,” he said. “They have outdoor and indoor versions, but if you plan to be in your house for a long time, they are the most cost-effective way to heat. They can heat the whole house and your domestic water as well. “We kind of screen people to see what their daily schedules are like, to see if burning wood is a lifestyle choice — that is storing it, moving it and picking it up and you need the time to do that. With pellets, you’re still storing and moving them around, but much less so than wood, and gas would be the ultimate convenience.” If homeowners were to compare the amount of money they

pay on a heating oil plan to the return on high efficiency, over a three- to four-year period they would reduce their fossil fuel consumption and at the same time would be burning locallyproduced fuel, according to Richard. “I think it gives a good feeling to know they are contributing to the local economy by buying fuel locally, and people like that idea.” Northern Lights serves greater Franklin County, west to the Canadian border, the Skowhegan area and Bethel. “We don’t do that much east, but we do the western fringe of Augusta, Waterville and Oakland, and we do quite a bit of work in Auburn,” he said. Product lines of stoves include Jotul, Vermont Castings, HearthStone, Harman, Heartland gas cook stoves, Regency, and Scan. For boilers they carry Woodmaster. The company also sells wood pellets that are made in Strong and pellets from a hardwood

Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement |

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Photo by Dan Cassidy

Vermont Castings wood stoves include the Intrepid II version on display at Northern Lights Hearth & Sports in Farmington.

flooring manufacturer in Canada. “They are very high quality consistent pellets,” Richard said. Chimney lining service Northern Lights sells, services and does installations. “We do cleanings and we service other manufacturers’ stoves and we perform a chimney- lining service to cracked tile lines and install sleeves or stainless steel to make them safe again. That is a pretty significant portion of what we do,” Richard said. Stove accessories, hearth protection, all the cleaning accessories and any hearth type product, such as screens and fireplace doors, are sold at the store.

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References furnished upon request. Tom St. Germain, Owner - Established in 1982 Fully Insured


Thursday, September 15, 2011

| Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement

FALL HOME AND GARDEN

19

Your Maine Orchards VISIT ONE OF THESE LOCAL ORCHARDS FOR FRESH APPLES AND FALL VEGETABLES

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FRANCIS W. FENTON ORCHARDIST Sandy River Road • Me rcer, ME

587-2563

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549-3536

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20

FALL HOME AND GARDEN

Kennebec Journal | Morning Sentinel | Special Supplement |

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Autumn Home and Garden