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Improvement Guide SPRING 2012 A PUBLICATION

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Gift ideas for the handyman (ARA) - For some families, the local handyman never gets a call because the right man for the job is already at home ready to tackle do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. Show him that his hard work around the house has not gone unnoticed. Whether it’s for Father’s Day, or any other occasion throughout the year, here are a few gift ideas that are sure to hit the nail on the head.

For the dad always working under the hood: If his garage doubles as the family auto shop, consider surprising this mechanic with the gift that every auto repair enthusiast can appreciate an impact wrench. The new Craftsman C3 3/8inch Compact Impact Wrench is small enough to maneuver in close quarters when working under the hood of a car. With 130 ft. lbs. of torque and up to 2,500 impacts per minute, this C3 3/8-inch

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Compact Impact Wrench can easily loosen and tighten the toughest nuts and bolts. It also features an LED light to illuminate dark areas. For the dad who takes on everything: Since he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, make sure dad has the clothes that will keep the rest of him clean. Craftsman Workwear is suitable for jobs from painting to working on engines. Treated with DuPont Teflon fabric protector, the Workwear repels liquids such as water, grease and mud; and spilled paint peels right off. An added bonus - less stains means less washing. For the dad who takes pride in his lawn: Give him a gift that helps keep the grass green, weeds at bay and lawn manicured. The Craftsman C3 19.2V cordless lawn and garden line is battery operated and lightweight, giving dad the versatility he needs to take on outdoor tasks with ease. From chainsaws to line trimmers; and from blowers to hedge trimmers, he’ll have the best looking house on the block. For the dad who is a woodworker: If he is most comfortable in the woodshop, building a variety of projects from scratch using a table saw, router and more, consider the Craftsman NEXTEC Compact Palm Grip Jigsaw. This jigsaw will allow him to cut a variety of shapes in various materials and offers an ergonomic shape and overmold grip for added comfort. Its compact design with a low center of gravity provides further hand-held control. For more information on do-it-yourself projects and top Father’s Day gifts to ensure that you find the one dad wants, guaranteed, visit Craftsman at Sears - the Father’s Day Headquarters.


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Choosing the right mower for you (ARA) - As the weather continues to warm, it’s time to get back outside and start working in the yard again. If your mower is on its last leg, it may be time to invest in a new one, and now is the perfect time to research which unit is right for you. “Whether you have a small patch of grass or sprawling acres of lawn, choosing the right lawn mower can make the task easier and more enjoyable,” says Peggy West, marketing associate for Yard-Man, a manufacturer of dependable lawn equipment. “While it may seem as easy as walking into the store and picking one out, there are several features to consider.” There are two basic choices when it comes to lawn mowers: walk-behind or rider. With different options for each category, you’ll want to consider the size and terrain of your lawn to help with your decision. Walk-behind mowers Walkbehind mowers can be divided into two categories: push mowers and selfpropelled mowers. If your lawn is less than one acre, a walkbehind is a great choice for you. • Push mowers: Offering basic power and performance, push mowers are best for trimming or mowing lawns up to a half-acre. A gas-powered engine provides more cutting power than a reel mower and can cut through taller, tougher grass. • Selfpropelled mowers: Easiest to use and best for lawns with hills or more than a half-acre in size, these mowers are powered by a transmission that propels them forward rather than relying on your strength to push them along. For example, the Ya r d - M a n 12AEB2JA001 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is easy to maneuver, offering smooth cuts with less exertion. Riding mowers Riding mowers are designed for large yards over an acre. Three things to consider when looking at lawn tractors and zeroturn riders are horsepower,

cutting deck size and transmission type. • Lawn tractors: With higher horsepower engines, lawn tractors are better for larger lawns and rougher terrain. They may also have various attachments available and can be used for hauling materials in addition to mowing your lawn. You should also look for mowing decks that are easily adjustable and have mulching capabilities. • Zero-turn riders: For a lawn that is more than an acre with multiple obstacles, a zero-turn rider would be a good fit. The time it takes to mow your lawn can be cut in half, because the zero-turn radius enables quick turns and trimming. In addition, these mowers are fast, so you can quickly cover a large lawn. Once you’ve decided which mower will best meet your needs, Yard-Man offers five simple tips

for keeping your grass looking great all season long: 1. Before you start mowing, make sure to clear the area of any sticks, rocks or other debris to keep them from getting caught in the blades. 2. Keep your grass approximately 2 inches in length, always taking off only 1/3 inch of new growth. 3. Alternate the direction you mow each session. The wheels will create a rut in the grass if you mow in the same direction every time. 4. Mow your lawn in a pattern by mowing back and forth instead of walking in a spiral pattern. This keeps the grass from becoming permanently bent in one direction. 5. Make sure your lawn gets 1 inch of water per week to keep it healthy and growing properly.


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Easy kitchen updates that won’t break the bank (ARA) - It goes without saying that the kitchen is one of the hardest-working rooms in the home. For most, it’s the heart of family life and usually the one room where everyone gathers together. With so much hustle and bustle, it’s no wonder that the kitchen runs the risk of looking overworked. A remodeled kitchen not only reinvigorates the space, but the home overall. This isn’t always easy to accomplish though, as a full-blown renovation can be quite expensive and time-consuming. However, even on a tight budget, there are plenty of ways to spruce up the room without breaking the bank. As dirt and grease build up over time, appliances around the kitchen can appear old and dull. The easiest way to rejuvenate those appliances without spending a fortune on new ones is by giving them a thorough

cleaning. Since the stove is often used most, it’s a good place to start. Clean the entire surface inside and out using a product that is safe for all surfaces. Try Goo Gone Foaming Kitchen Grease Cleaner to cut through the baked-on grease and stuck-on grime clinging to your stove without needing to scrub. Get into every nook and cranny until it sparkles. Paint the cabinets - A lackluster room can quickly become re-energized with a vibrant new color. Repaint the cabinets a lively hue to brighten the space or freshen the existing paint color with a new coat. Update fixtures - Don’t expect that the faucet handles you installed more than 10 years ago will last another 10. In addition to being practical, kitchen fixtures can add style and enhance overall design. Look for fixtures that fit your kitchen motif, whether it’s modern and sleek

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or shabby chic. Change existing hardware - Think of hardware as jewelry for the kitchen. Add new glass or metal knobs, or bars to highlight cabinets and enhance the overall style of the room. If using metal hardware, choose one type and stick to it for a clean, uniform look. Create shelving - Removing cabinet doors to create shelving can provide a sense of openness and additional space. Simply remove cabinet doors and fill in holes with wood filler. Then, sand until smooth and paint as desired. You can also paint the inside of the newly open cabinets as a decorative treatment. Don’t forget about the floor - Update floors without the significant cost associated with new flooring by simply adding a rug. Find a rug that’s durable to high foot traffic, but also complements your kitchen style. Complete all the updates, or pick and choose to make a difference even on the smallest budget. This process will certainly work on other areas of the home as well. Just as with the kitchen, always start with a good cleaning to instantly revitalize the items in your home. To save time and money, use products designed to clean multiple surfaces - including carpeting, upholstery, hard surfaces and more, like Goo Gone Original or Spray Gel formulations. Then, look around to see what can be updated without a complete renovation. Your home will have a fresh appeal in no time. To learn more about Goo Gone products, as well as cleaning tips to undo your messes and revitalize your home, visit www.googone.com.


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Upgrade your outdoor space and increase value of your home (ARA) - Whether you are looking for a way to increase the marketability of your home, or simply looking for a way to make your outdoor space more enjoyable, a deck remodel adds living space to your home and value to your house. And if you start your project now, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy it during the warmer months. Home remodeling is projected to pick up steam by year’s end, according to a recent report by the Remodeling Futures Program at Harvard University. If you’re one of the many considering a home remodeling project, a deck remodel is a simple project that offers more than a 60 percent payback according to HanleyWood’s Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report for 2011-12. Another nice thing about a deck remodel is you can either go all out with a complete redesign, or pick and choose a few small projects that can have big effects in upgrading your outdoor living space. And whichever way you slice it, a deck remodel usually ends up being a lot less expensive than remodeling your kitchen, living room or basement. Where to start When you decide to remodel your deck, one of the first decisions you’ll make is what type of material to use for the job. Composite decking offers a great way to add beauty, while reducing time you’ll spend on maintenance. While composite has always been a low-maintenance option, composite decking providers have come a long way since the last time you may have purchased decking materials. For example, Fiberon composite decking offers capped composite options that closely mimic traditional grains and exotic hardwoods, a far cry from the plain and plastic-looking composite of years ago. With options like these, you’ll get the gorgeous appearance of wood, without splinters, twisted boards and rot. And you won’t be staining or painting it every two years. Plus you’ll have warranties against fading and staining. Whether you’re redesigning a grand deck that dramatically increases the footprint of your living space or simply resurfacing the small deck off your urban condo, composite is a great option. Once you’ve chosen your material, it’s time to decide on the layout. Do you like the existing design of your deck, or are you looking to add a level for a little more dimension? Meet with a deck builder, who specializes in outdoor spaces to go over your plans and get a cost estimate, or visit the Design & Build section at www.fiberondecking.com to use their free tool that facilitates designing your own deck. Other updates to consider Updating the rails on your deck is another great option to add fresh life to your outdoor oasis. New railings offer a way to add color, dimension and character

to your deck. Plus, quality railings are needed for safety around higher level deck elevations. This can either be done in concert with a complete remodel, or as a smaller side project if your current surface is still in good shape. Since your deck connects you to the outdoors and allows you to comfortably enjoy your backyard, consider bringing nature a little closer by adding plants. Deck builders are craftsmen who can easily add built-in planters, bench seating and lighting as part of your remodel. Then hit the garden store to browse their selection of potted plants, weather-resistant

seating and umbrellas. If you already have furniture, adding colorful new pillows or painting wrought iron furniture is often all you need to add new life to your space. Lighting makes evenings more enjoyable and promotes a festive atmosphere or can set the mood just right for a peaceful, relaxing night on your deck. By updating your deck, you’ll be able to enjoy a nice, comfortable outdoor living space and know that you’ll be increasing the attractiveness and value of your home in the process.


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Remodeling your home? Start from the outside in (ARA) - The kitchen and bathroom are at the top of most home remodeling project lists. But homeowners intent on remodeling should also consider investing in the exterior of their homes - maybe even start there. That’s the advice of Sarah Susanka, one of the nation’s leading voices for redefining the American home, and author of the Not So Big House series, a collection of nine books focusing on home design, architecture and remodeling. The reason for investing in the exterior is simple. The exterior should set the tone for your home’s interior look and feel. Also, first impressions really do count to the long-term value of a house, especially when it comes time to sell it. “I firmly believe that the experience we have in living in our homes can have a profound impact on the way we look at life,” Susanka says. “That experience begins the moment we walk, bike or drive up to it, and extends through the transitions we make as we move between the landscape, the exterior and the interior of the home.” The feeling of satisfaction that comes from making your house look good on the outside is experienced at many levels

- from the colors and textures of your home to the quality of the materials used to build or remodel it, to the benefits of those materials in the long term, such as the character they lend, or the ease of maintenance they offer. The good news is that if you haven’t remodeled your house in a long time, there are a number of new, sustainable products that are helping homeowners create exteriors that are both beautiful and green, such as APEX siding and Integrity windows, both made with pultruded fiberglass, a tough, low-maintenance, sustainable material offering a rich selection of colors. “A Not So Big House is not only built better rather than bigger,” adds Susanka. “It is also designed to be a good custodian of the planet’s resources. It’s built to last. Finding green products that also make it easy for homeowners to maintain the home is a big step toward true sustainability. If a house isn’t both beautiful and practical, no matter how green the materials used, it won’t live up to its sustainability goals. People only look after what they love, and beauty is a big part of that picture.” If you’re thinking about remodeling in the near future, here are several more ideas to make the most of your remodeling budget:

Create a master plan. Many homeowners cannot afford to do a complete remodeling. Most do it in chunks. Before you lift a hammer, hire an architect to create a master plan for your home, which will guide your remodeling efforts for years to come. Connecting inside with outside. The interior and exterior of your home need to work together. They need to be integrated and harmonize with one another as you move from the surrounding landscape to the interior, or as you look out from inside your home to the garden beyond. To enhance this connection, think about the first impression you want to give a visitor. Do you want it to communicate comfort? Connectedness to the outdoors? Creativity? Or tradition? All these can be accomplished with thoughtful detailing of the home’s exterior, as well as landscaping. Small changes; huge impact. Small changes to the exterior, such as adding another color to the exterior palette, adding texture such as stone, brick or lap siding, or framing the windows with wider trim boards, can have a huge impact on the look of your home, and make it feel both more expressive and more inviting. Choose sustainable products. It’s important not only to the environment, but to the overall maintenance and longevity of your home. Consider remodeling your house with some of the new, high quality sustainable products that are entering the remodeling marketplace, such as APEX Siding, Susanka’s current favorite find, which is made from pultruded fiberglass, derived from sand. Reduce maintenance and future repairs. Another key to remodeling is to use materials and building methods that are resistant to wear, tear and the elements (rain, sunlight), which reduce the likelihood of needing to make expensive repairs in the future, as well as reducing the amount of time spent on maintenance. Knowing that your home is well protected from the elements is an important part of the overall satisfaction with your home. Mix it up. Many people are afraid to use more than one color on the exterior of their home. That’s why so many houses appear dull and lifeless. Consider using two colors of siding and a third color for your trim boards to add personality and vitality to the exterior. Products like Apex fiberglass siding and trim, and Integrity windows, for example, are available in a palette of rich and attractive colors. Also, consider adding a trim band, or belt line, below main level windows of your home, and using a contrasting color of siding below that band to help ground the house and connect it in with the surrounding landscape. Invest in quality over quantity. Even with a limited budget, try to invest in high-quality products that will look good for the long haul, and will stand the tests of time, rather than buying lower-quality products that may offer the short term benefit of getting a greater share of your remodeling projects done, but which end up looking dilapidated and unattractive in short order. You’ll feel better about the integrity of your home by focusing a significant part of your budget on the bones and outer clothing of your home - the roof, siding, windows, electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○


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2012 Spring Home Improvement Guide  

Your Evansville Thrifty Nickel's 2012 Spring Home Improvement Guide

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