Home Builders Showcase March 2022

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MARCH 2022

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D2 | Wednesday, March 16, 2022





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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16, 2022 | D3

Multifamily housing boosts U.S. homebuilding Supply constraints, labor shortages seen unrelenting By Lucia Mutikani Reuters Washington U.S. homebuilding rose to a nine-month high in December amid a surge in multifamily housing projects, but soaring prices for materials after the government nearly doubled duties on imported Canadian softwood lumber could hamper activity later this year. The report from the Commerce Department on Jan. 19 also showed the housing construction backlog surged to a record high last month, underscoring the challenges builders are facing from supply strains, including labor shortages. Completions tumbled as well. Rising mortgage rates could also restrain homebuilding. “Builders are gladly trying to meet demand, but supply problems and labor shortages are slowing them down,” said Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. “Softwood lumber duties are going to

hurt this spring.” Housing starts rose 1.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.702 million units in December, the highest level since March 2020. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast starts falling to a rate of 1.650 million units. The volatile multifamily housing segment accounted for the rise in homebuilding in December, with starts for buildings with five units or more surging 13.7% to a rate of 524,000 units. There is strong demand for rental housing. Single-family housing starts, which account for the largest share of the housing market, dropped 2.3% to a rate of 1.172 million units last month. Single-family homebuilding soared in the Northeast and Midwest, likely boosted by unseasonably mild temperatures. December 2021 was the warmest December on record, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. The densely populated South, where the bulk

of homebuilding occurs, reported an 8.2% decrease in single-family starts. Homebuilding also fell in the West. Housing starts totaled 1.595 million in 2021, up 15.6% from 2020. But the outlook for home building this year is uncertain. The United States in November nearly doubled the duties on imported Canadian softwood lumber to 17.9% from 9% after a review of its anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders. According to the National Association of Homebuilders on Jan. 18, the aggregate cost of residential construction materials had increased almost 19% since December 2021. The NAHB said higher material costs and shortages were adding weeks to typical single-family home construction times. Prices for softwood lumber, used for framing, soared 24.4% in December after rising 6.9% in November, according to the latest producer price data. Lumber futures have also surged. Stocks on Wall Street were lower. The dollar slipped against a basket of

currencies. U.S. Treasury prices rose.

Huge backlog

The backlog of houses authorized for construction but not yet started shot up 1.1% to a rate of 270,000 last month, the highest on record. Permits for future homebuilding jumped 9.1% to a rate of 1.873 million units in December, an 11-month high. They accelerated 17.2% in 2021. Permits are now running ahead of starts, which should underpin homebuilding in the coming months. Permits for buildings with five units or more soared 19.9% to a rate of 675,000 units. Single-family building permits rose 2.0% to a rate of 1.128 million units. An acute shortage of previously owned homes available for sale is supporting homebuilding, but rising mortgage rates, supply constraints together with higher house prices could make home purchasing less affordable. Housing completions tumbled 8.7% to a rate of 1.295 million units, reflecting a 34.3% plunge in multifamily housing units. Single-family home

completions increased 3.9% to a rate of 990,000 units. The inventory of single-family housing under construction rose 2.3% to a rate of 769,000 units last month, the highest since February 2007. Multifamily homes under construction advanced 2.4% to a rate of 737,000 units. “As long as supply chains remain stressed, builders will struggle to complete projects, slowing sales and likely limiting growth in the supply of new homes,” said Ben Ayers, senior economist at Nationwide in Columbus, Ohio. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.45% during the week ending Jan. 13, the highest since March 2020 and up from 3.22% in the prior week, according to data from mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac. An analysis by another mortgage finance agency Fannie Mae on Jan. 19 showed housing affordability was increasingly becoming constrained, which could limit home sales this year. “We observe an early


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How to cut costs on home renovations Metro Creative Connection Do you still have an avocado green kitchen? Is your living room dank and dark? Perhaps there is only one bathroom for a family of six? Answering yes to any of these questions could serve as the catalyst for a home renovation project. Home improvement projects come in all shapes and sizes — some with huge budgets and others that are more cost-conscious. Regardless of what homeowners hope to achieve with their renovations, a common goal across any price point is a desire to save as much money as possible. Home renovations can be expensive, but there are ways to cut costs.

► Assess the

merit of the project.

Remodeling magazine annually publishes a “Cost vs. Value Report” that lists the average cost and return on investment homeowners can expect of various types of projects. If you’re planning to sell your home soon, it may be best to focus on repairs and renovations that will generate the most substantial ROI.

HOUSING From Page D3

indication of this in recent increases in debt-to-income

► Hire a contractor.

Even avid do-it-yourselfers can sometimes benefit from a contractor’s expertise, particularly for complex tasks. Don’t waste money by trying tough jobs yourself; rely on an experienced contractor who can get supplies for less money and will do the job right the first time. Compare bids from several different contractors and figure out the best value.

► Refurbish

existing features.

Rather than a complete gut and rebuild, figure out where you can revitalize existing fixtures and more. For example, refinishing existing cabinets can save you up to 50% compared with the cost of new cabinetry, according to Angi (formerly Angie’s List), a cost comparison and business review resource.

per square foot. However, a composite or laminate that looks like granite and wears well may be $10 to 40 per square foot. Figure out where you can choose middle-of-the-road materials for maximum value.

► Choose midgrade

► Avoid peak seasons.


Certain materials may be all the rage but they come with a higher price tag. Angi reports that granite counters could be $60 to $100

measures associated with incoming mortgage originations,” said Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae in Washington. Mortgage rates have risen as financial

You’ll pay more to install a deck or a pool right before the outdoor entertaining season. There also may be a premium to get work done right before a major holiday.

markets price in an interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve in March amid high inflation and a labor market that is at or near maximum employment.

Therefore, consult the calendar to find an off time for a renovation and book it then to save.

► Do some prep work.

You might be able to save by doing some of the demolition and preparatory work yourself. For example, you can tear up old carpeting before the installation of new tile floors. Perhaps you can mend and patch up walls before a paint job.

Expectations that mortgage rates will keep rising are drawing buyers into the market. A report from the Mortgage Bankers Association on Jan. 19 showed applications

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Former showroom kitchens and baths often are sourced at a fraction of their recommended retail prices, according to Real Homes, a home remodel guide based in the United Kingdom. Retailers often update their displays and you may score existing showroom items at a discount. Renovations can be expensive, but there are many different ways to cut costs.

for loans to buy a home increased 8%. “This year is likely to be sideways at best for residential home builders,” said Christopher Rupkey, chief economist at FWDBONDS in New

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York. “It will be interesting to see if higher mortgage rates cool the housing bubble in prices because the lack of new supply will likely remain the dominant trend for another year.”

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16, 2022 | D5

Pros and cons to open-concept homes Metro Creative Connection Open-concept homes have become increasingly popular in recent years. An open-concept home is one in which the rooms flow into one another with limited obstruction from walls or other barriers. According to the National Association of Home Builders, 84% of new single-family homes have fully or partially open layouts. While they may seem like a new trend, open floor plans are anything but. Early American homes featured open, often one- or two-room units built around the central kitchen/hearth. This maximized warmth and functionality.

Homes evolved as incomes grew, and soon homes had several smaller rooms with specialized functions. What’s old has become new again. However, before diving head-first into a new home purchase or a big renovation to realize an open-concept dream, consider the pros and cons of this type of setup to determine if it’s really right for you.

Advantages of open floor plans

Open floor plans facilitate the flow of natural light throughout a space and can promote air flow, helping to reduce warm or cool pockets of air in otherwise closed-off rooms.

Open homes make socializing easier, even when people are doing different things. While someone is cooking dinner in the kitchen, he or she can still interact with someone else playing video games in the family room or paying bills in the home office. Entertaining also is easier, as mingling with guests is much more convenient when walls are not getting in the way. A smaller home can feel much larger if it employs an open concept. The square footage is not divided into smaller quarters, which sometimes are rooms (such as formal dining rooms) that are only used a few times per year. This

eliminates underused spaces and opens up sight lines in the layout. The value of real estate has risen dramatically since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and prospective buyers may prefer an open-concept plan because it can help them minimize building costs.

Disadvantages of open floor plans

Open layouts are not for everyone. The same sense of space that occurs when walls are taken down may make rooms feel cavernous and less cozy, particularly in homes with ample square footage. In addition, privacy can be hard to come by when all rooms feed into one another. When the kitchen is

not separate from the family room space, that makes it easy for noise to compromise the area’s comfort levels. There is no hiding from noise in an open floor plan, as sounds from voices, television shows and appliances tend to echo and blend together. And if the home is a single-story layout, those noises from the main living areas also may carry to adjacent bedrooms. Smoke and smells are another thing to

consider. When something on the stove spills over, a small range hood will not be practical for clearing smoke from a large space. Though the aroma of freshly cooked food is enticing, it can make it hard for cooks to keep guests out of the kitchen. Open-concept homes are popular, but homeowners should weigh the pluses and minuses to see if this trend is truly right for them.

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affordable kitchen upgrades to consider

StatePoint Is remodeling your kitchen on your wish list? Afraid of how much it’ll set you back? HomeAdvisor puts the average kitchen remodel price in the $12,567 to $34,962 range. However, you can buck the trend of costly, complicated updates. Consider these three renovations, all of which will improve the look and functionality of your kitchen, without costing you thousands of dollars:

Refresh fabrics

Reupholstering just one chair means shelling out $150 to $600, according to HomeGuide. If that’s beyond what you’re willing to pay, but you’re not ready to replace a beloved set of kitchen chairs, you can update their look on a budget and in just a few minutes with stretchable seat covers. A good choice for families with kids or pets, these covers are typically machine-washable and can be swapped out as often as you like to suit your mood. From geometric designs to citrus vibes to florals, they’re offered in a range of patterns that will look great with any style.

New granite surfaces

Countertops are the most common feature upgraded during kitchen renovations, according to a 2022 Houzz study, which found that nine in 10 remodelers performed this update. The same survey found that 35% of homeowners are splurging to make it happen. If you’ve looked into granite countertops, you probably learned that it can cost thousands of dollars and take months to have them custom-made and installed. Adding this touch of luxury to your kitchen doesn’t have to bust your budget, involve contractors or mean supply chain

hassles. It can actually be an easy, one-weekend DIY project. Using a LuxROCK Solid Surface Granite Countertop Kit from Daich Coatings, you can transform your countertops and island surfaces at just a fraction of the price of a professional granite countertop installation. For about $300, a kit covers 40 square feet of space. This functional and decorative blend of real stone with stunning mineral highlights can be used to give a smooth appearance to countertops, tables or any other surface. And because the authentic stone surface resists stains, heat and impact and is food safe, it’s a great solution for the kitchen. Each kit includes a prime coat, stone coats, clear epoxy and a clear coat finish, as well as all the tools needed.

This revolutionary and exceptionally easy resurfacing project doesn’t require any artistic skills to be a success. Nor does it require technical skills, as sinks, plumbing fixtures and existing countertops don’t need to be removed before application. If you’re someone who likes the flexibility of changing things up every few years, it’s simple to update granite surface colors using another LuxROCK kit when you’re ready. Both this U.S. patent-pending kit and the brand’s textured countertop kits are available online at The Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Optimize your pantry

Pantries are often tucked away, but you can still give them an eye-catching makeover.

For fresh pops of color, paint the pantry door and wallpaper the interior. Group items by height, then use customizable shelving to stretch storage real estate. You may also wish to transfer kitchen staples to uniform containers. This will offer a tidier, more visually appealing look, while helping you make better use of limited space. Whether you opt for mason jars, ceramic canisters, or BPAfree plastic cubes, label containers carefully. It’s the heart of the home, but that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to create your dream kitchen. With ingenuity, you can improve its look and functionality at an affordable price point and in just a weekend.



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16, 2022 | D7

Tips for negotiating with contractors Metro Creative Connection Spring is the season for fixing up a home. Homeowners who aren’t interested in doing the work themselves turn to contractors to ensure the job is done not only to code, but on time and efficiently. After receiving an initial estimate from a contractor, homeowners may wonder if there is any additional wiggle room in contractors’ costs. Certain contractors are willing to negotiate while others are firm in their prices. However, learning the basics of negotiation can put homeowners in position to save money on dream renovations.

Do your homework

Getting the best price typically require shopping

Ask to do a portion

around and not settling on the first bid. Experts recommend getting at least three estimates on the same job — and be sure to let each contractor know that you are soliciting multiple bids. This alone may entice a specific contractor to give you his or her best offer up front. Avoid simply choosing the lowest bid. Look at quality of work, reputation and reviews. If you like a costly contractor more than another, see if that contractor is willing to match a lower bid to win the job.

Pick the right season

As with other industries, home renovation work heats up during certain seasons or times of year. General contractors may be more willing to negotiate for a lower price depending on

Be honest with the contractor about your budget and figure out if there is any way for you to do some of the work to lower costs. The contractor can give you jobs that are within your abilities, which can shave dollars off the final price.

Know your rights and laws

when their busy season may be. Jobs may slow down in winter, for example.

Talk about supplies Even after getting a good bid, you may be able to speak with your contractor

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about lowering costs even more by choosing less costly supplies. Find out if contractors can source materials from a low-cost supplier. In addition, discuss if you can purchase your own supplies.

Understand the laws governing contract language in your state or province. Contracts should also spell out the change order process so that expectations of changes and costs will be known in advance. These are just some of the tactics homeowners can use when negotiating the price of home remodels or improvements.

D8 | Wednesday, March 16, 2022



Tips when painting shutters Metro Creative Connection There are many ways to give a home’s exterior a new look. Though it might not be as grand as replacing siding, repainting shutters affords homeowners a chance

to try a bold new color or simply replace fading colors, and each option can make a home more appealing. Homeowners who have never before painted shutters can consider these tips as they prepare

to begin the project.

► Don’t go it alone.

The most important step homeowners can take before beginning a shutter painting project is to enlist the help of a friend or family member.

Someone to hold the ladder can make the project safer. Enlisting a third individual, working on the ground, who can take the shutters from the person on the ladder may be a wise move as well.

► Remove the shutters.

When painting shutters, homeowners want to remove them from the house. It might seem easier to leave the shutters on and then paint them carefully with a brush, but that’s both time-consuming and a potential safety risk. Some shutters are installed with fasteners that look like screws, but that appearance is misleading and shutters installed in this way cannot be removed with a drill or screwdriver. Homeowners should determine which material their shutters are made from, and then look for a corresponding removal tutorial on YouTube. Homeowners who can’t find one can contact the manufacturer or a contractor to determine the best way to remove the shutters.

► Clean the

shutters prior to painting them.

It’s likely been years since the shutters were last painted, and over that time they’ve no doubt accumulated a lot of dirt and mildew. Homeowners can try a garden hose to clean them, and if that doesn’t work a power washer may be needed. If using a power washer with wooden shutters, be especially careful, as the force of the power washer may damage the wood. Vinyl shutters, like

vinyl siding, can typically handle a strong power washing without being damaged. Wooden shutters also will need to have old paint removed before they can be repainted. The experts at TrueValue note that paint can be removed from wooden shutters with a sander or by applying a chemical paint stripper.

► Prime wooden shutters before painting.

Though vinyl shutters won’t need to be primed unless the old paint is peeling, wooden shutters must be primed before they’re painted. Priming can be a tedious process, so homeowners should leave themselves ample time for this part of the project.

► Rent an airless sprayer to paint the shutters.

Many hardware or paint stores rent airless sprayers, and these can be the quickest way to paint shutters. Professionals typically apply two coats of paint, and the first coat should be allowed to fully dry before the second coat is applied.

► Re-hang the

shutters after they have fully dried.

Only after the shutters have fully dried should they be placed back on the house. Employ the same buddy system when re-hanging the shutters, having one person hold the ladder and another pass each one up one at a time. Painting shutters can give a home a fresh look without costing homeowners a lot of money.



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16, 2022 | D9

Popular kitchen flooring materials Metro Creative Connection Kitchens have long been considered the most popular gathering spaces in a home. That popularity compels millions of homeowners to renovate their kitchens each year, and the return on those investments is often significant. A number of variables, including the value of neighboring homes and how quickly homeowners sell their homes after a renovation, affect the return on investment with a given project. According to Remodeling magazine’s “2021 Cost vs. Value Report,” homeowners recouped roughly 72% of their investment in a minor kitchen remodel at resale. That’s a sizable return that outperformed other popular upgrades, including vinyl siding replacement and wood deck additions.

When renovating kitchens, homeowners will have to consider various components within the room, including the floors. Average flooring costs can be hard to calculate because they depend so heavily on homeowners’ choice of materials. The following are some popular flooring materials that homeowners can consider as they plan to renovate their kitchens. ► Vinyl flooring is popular thanks in large part to its cost. According to the home remodeling experts at HomeAdvisor, vinyl flooring installation is much less costly than other types of flooring. But its budget-friendliness is not the only benefit of vinyl flooring, which HGTV notes is easy to clean, making it an ideal choice for families that routinely confront spills and stains. HomeAdvisor notes that vinyl is the best waterproof material among all kitchen floors.

► HomeAdvisor reports that the average cost to install porcelain or ceramic tile flooring is between $885 and $2,994. That’s less than the average cost to install stone or wood flooring. Porcelain or ceramic tiles can be slippery when they get wet, though HGTV notes that some porcelain flooring tiles have been certified as slip-resistant by the Americans with Disabilities Act. ► It’s hard to beat hardwood when it comes to aesthetic appeal. Hardwood can be especially suitable in homes with open-concept floor plans that already have hardwood floors in surrounding rooms. HomeAdvisor notes that hardwood flooring installation can be costly, which might make it a less realistic option for budget-conscious homeowners. According to HGTV, engineered wood planks may be something to consider in the kitchen, as

these are designed to be less susceptible to humidity and temperature. That’s an important component to consider in the kitchen, where temperatures can fluctuate while meals are being prepared. ► Natural stone tile is another popular kitchen flooring material. HomeAdvisor traces that popularity to its wide variety of styles and price points, which make it a realistic option

for homeowners working with budgets big and small. Stone tiles also provide a unique look because no two look the same, which might appeal to homeowners who want their kitchen floors to create a one-of-a-kind impression. Kitchen flooring materials vary widely. That variety ensures there’s a material for any style and budget homeowners are working with.

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D10 | Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Metro Creative Connection At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many homeowners suddenly found themselves in need of more usable square footage in their homes. Required to work from home due to social distancing recommendations, millions of working professionals suddenly found themselves setting up shop at kitchen tables or islands, in alcoves, garages, or even walk-in closets. Those makeshift offices were never supposed to be permanent, but as companies loosen workplace policies and embrace full remote or hybrid working arrangements, professionals are seeking more permanent home office solutions. Home additions are a possibility for homeowners who need more usable square footage, but add-ons may not be the right option for everyone. If adding on wonÕt work, homeowners may want to look up ... at their attics. Attics with ample space can make for ideal home offices, as they’re away from the hustle and bustle of a home’s main floor. That can make it easier to concentrate when everyone is in the



factors to consider before converting an attic house and reduce the likelihood that video calls with colleagues and clients will be interrupted by kids and pets. Attic conversions are not always possible, and the following are three important factors homeowners may need to consider before they can go forward with such projects.

attics in the case of a fire or another emergency.

3. Climate control

1. Dimensions

Both the renovation experts at This Old House and the real estate experts at UpNest indicate that at least half of a finished attic must be a minimum of seven feet high and seven feet wide and 70 square feet. Requirements may differ depending on where homeowners live, but that 7-7-70 guideline is generally the minimum requirement. An attic that fails to meet such requirements won’t necessarily be a lost cause, but it might be costly to make adjustments that ultimately align with local codes.

2. Access

Access is another aspect that must adhere to local safety guidelines. Many attics are accessible only through pulldown ladders, but that will have to change if homeowners repurpose

their attic spaces. A staircase that complies with local laws will need to be installed, and contractors can work with homeowners to build that and estimate the cost. Homeowners who simply

want to put desks in their attics without going with full-fledged conversions are urged to adhere to local access requirements anyway, as they’re intended to ensure residents can safely escape

Attics are converted to provide residents with more livable space. Converted space is only livable if the climate within the attic can be controlled so it’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter. An existing HVAC unit needs to efficiently heat and cool an extra room. If it can’t, bills might spike because the rest of the home likely won’t be as comfortable, forcing homeowners to adjust thermostats to offset that discomfort. That also could affect the unit’s life expectancy. Before going forward with an attic renovation, homeowners should contact HVAC professionals to determine if attic spaces can be serviced with the existing units and ductwork, or if an alternative arrangement must be worked out to make the spaces livable. Attic conversions can be great ways to make existing spaces more livable. Homeowners considering such projects should pay attention to three important variables as they try to determine if attic conversions will work for them.



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16, 2022 | D11

Different ways to repair a driveway Metro Creative Connection Asphalt driveways do not last forever. Over time, weather and general usage can degrade the driveway surface, resulting in cracks, pitting and more. Ultraviolet rays, salt and automotive fluids also can affect the appearance and functionality of a driveway. An unsightly driveway can adversely affect curb appeal and resale potential. Homeowners have to consider various factors when it comes to repairing driveways. They may have the option of getting the driveway resurfaced, resealed or repaved, and each project is unique.


According to the home improvement price

driveway has minor pitting or cracking, then resurfacing can be a cost-effective strategy, as it may be a $3,000 to $6,000 job as opposed to $5,000 to $10,000 with repaving.


comparison site Kompare It, resurfacing is simpler and faster than installing a new asphalt driveway. With resurfacing, any cracks are filled in to


create an even base. Then a new layer of asphalt is applied over the existing one. That new layer can range in thickness from 1.5 to 3 inches. A heavy rolling machine will then smooth and flatten the layers together. If the

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Resealing a driveway, also called sealcoating, is another repair strategy. HGTV says resealing can be a do-it-yourself project. Resealing helps the driveway last longer. The driveway needs to be clean and dry, with holes and cracks filled prior to sealcoating. Start at the far edge of the driveway and seal that area by “cutting-in” by hand for a neat edge. Afterward the rest of the driveway can be sealed using a squeegee or broom. This project can be completed within two or three days if no precipitation is forecast.


A project best left to professionals, repaving typically involves the removal of an existing driveway and the installation of a new one. The sub-grade layer is essential in the process for a smooth look. Contractors also will assess soil and grading when doing work. The construction blog Main Infrastructure says the new asphalt driveway can vary in thickness between two and six inches, depending on budget and need. The contractor also can advise if fulldepth asphalt application or an aggregate base is practical. Assessing the condition of driveway can give homeowners a better idea about which type of repair project best suits their property.

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Carla Kahle Miller Interior Designer Tel/Fax 320.796.2888 DesignWestLtd.com

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| Wednesday, March 16, 2022

1. Vinyl or aluminum may be best.

Lumber is farmed rather quickly today and solid wood products may not stand up to elements as well as wood used a half-century ago. To avoid rot, vinyl windows often are an affordable and durable choice. Homeowners also have the option of wood windows with aluminum cladding, which are long-lasting.

Tree Service


things to know before replacing windows

Metro Creative Connection The decision to replace windows often comes down to aesthetics and necessity. Drafty windows can reduce energy efficiency in a home, requiring HVAC systems to work harder to keep interiors comfortable. The harder the HVAC must work, the more homeowners will pay in energy costs. Old windows also may be points of entry for water and insects. Despite the importance of windows, Money magazine advises that new windows make up only a fraction of the home’s total exterior “envelope,” resulting in only about 5 to 15% of total energy savings. But there are still plenty of reasons to invest in new windows.



2. Moisture problems indicate windows need to be replaced.

Condensation that shows up as fogging between double-pane windows or on the inside of windows indicates that the windows are starting to fail. If installing a vapor barrier in the basement or crawl space, ventilating properly when showering or cooking, or using a dehumidifier indoors does not remedy the situation, it might be time to replace windows.

3. Windows add curb appeal.

Beyond functionality, replacement windows immediately update the look of the home and can improve curb appeal since they are one of the most prominent features on the exterior of a home. If a house needs an update, replacing windows can be a quick and affordable update.

4. Consider other energy-efficient upgrades.

Sometimes older windows can be salvaged, especially if they are not damaged and only moderately drafty. Replacing panes, sash cords, weather stripping, and even glazing may be less expensive than replacing

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a window. Plus, older homes with attractive windows complement one another. To keep energy bills down, think about adding insulation to the attic and basement — which is a good idea even if you are replacing windows.

5. The wrong windows can adversely affect home value.

The National Association of Realtors says homeowners get about 73% of their replacement window investment back

when they resell a home. But choosing the wrong windows might lower the value of the home. It’s important to match the look of the original windows, including window material and the divided light pattern (the number of panes in each window) with the original windows.

6. Think about soundproofing, too.

When upgrading windows, also think about how certain windows can cancel out noises and make homes more

soundproof. Some windows can help reduce outdoor distractions like leaf blowers or lawn mowers.

7. Proper installation is key to longevity.

Replacement windows are only as good as their installation in many cases. Poor installation and orders of standard rather than custom sized windows could result in poor fitting and seals. Homeowners should carefully vet and review window replacement contractors to find the best professionals for the job.



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16, 2022 | D13

Low-cost ways to revamp living areas Metro Creative Connection Home improvement projects require substantial financial investment. But just because a homeowner wants to bring a fresh look indoors doesn’t mean he or she has to break the bank along the way. Living rooms are some of the most frequently used spaces in a home, and they can use an update from time to time to stay on trend or to make the area more functional for a changing family dynamic. Here are some budget-friendly ideas for breathing new life into living room designs. ► Homeowners should figure out how many dollars they can designate for a living room makeover before purchasing supplies or hiring out the work. Figure out the scope of the remodel, visit stores or suppliers to price out materials, get estimates from contractors, and then plan for some unforeseen circumstances along the way to determine if this type of renovation is affordable. If not, scale things back until the project more closely aligns with your budget. ► Lighter and brighter colors are on trend. A can or two of paint can do wonders for updating a space without a large financial commitment. Pair that new paint color with new window coverings and complementary throw pillows to pull the theme together with minimal expense. ► Tired, outdated carpeting or other flooring can use an overhaul. While solid hardwood flooring may be preferable, there are many types of laminate flooring that mimic

the looks of popular wood colors and styles for a fraction of the cost. Plus, many are sold at home improvement retailers and even at warehouse clubs or online for reasonable prices. Laminate flooring also may be a potential DIY job for a skilled homeowner, saving even more money. ► Fireplaces were once hot commodities, but that popularity waned in the 1970s and 1980s. Homeowners with chimneys may discover a fireplace was boarded over and the bare bones still exist that can be renovated to bring back character. There also are ventless freestanding units that are quite affordable that can mimic the look of a built-in fireplace. ► There’s no need to throw away quality furniture if the fabric is the only thing impeding design. New upholstery or even a slipcover can update designs. ► Rather than adding something to the living room, remove clutter to give the room a more airy feel. This can instantly change the look of the room. Use cord covers to tame plugs for electronics and remove unnecessary furniture from the room. ► Another easy and often inexpensive fix is to change lighting fixtures, including using brighter, more energy efficient LED bulbs, and to assess lighting needs to eliminate dark corners of rooms that can make the space seem drab. Living room spaces in need of an update often can benefit from improvements that go easy on the wallet.

Savoie Interior Design Custom Window Treatment Sale Deanna Savoie

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Residential • Commercial Industrial Wiring

D14 | Wednesday, March 16, 2022



Tips to add farmhouse-style elements to your home design StatePoint When it comes to home design, farmhouse style represents a total intersection of beauty and practicality, making it no surprise that many are embracing this traditional look today. Whatever architectural style your home is, adding key design elements can help you get in on the best aspects of the farmhouse trend. Here are a few renovations to consider:

An updated porch

Adding a front porch or expanding an existing porch will not only add charming farmhouse-style curb appeal, but extend your outdoor living area as well. Be sure to take as much care decorating your porch as you would any other room of your home. Include comfy furniture, like rocking chairs and a porch swing, complete with cushions. Add potted plants for a touch of vibrant greenery, lantern wall sconces for illumination, and outdoor rugs for coziness. Don’t forget the entryway. Make it more inviting with seasonal wreaths and a cheerful welcome mat.

Board ‘n batten siding

Imparting a rustic, handmade quality to any home, even those built-in contemporary styles, “board ‘n batten” is a centuries-old siding design that encapsulates the appeal of farmhouse-style homes. The term “batten” refers to the strip of molding placed across the joint between boards. The resulting look boasts an attractive geometry of strong vertical lines balanced by a sense of texture across the horizontal face. While the look is traditional, you can pair it with the very latest in siding technology. For example, CedarMAX Insulated Siding from ProVia comes in many styles, including board ‘n batten. This complete thermal cladding system offers continuous insulation for maximum energy savings. With five times greater impact resistance than regular siding and a weather barrier shield, this is not just a charming aesthetic upgrade, but one that will improve the comfort of your home for years to come.

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There’s a reason metal roofing plays prominently into the design of authentic farmhouses – they are built to last. That’s truer than ever today, thanks to advances in metal

roofing technology. Offering superior color retention, long-term reliability, energy efficiency and environmental friendliness, architectural-grade metal shingle roofing is an upgrade that can add both beauty and value to your home. In the case of ProVia’s Metal Slate Roofing, which is designed to look like classic quarried slate shingles, you can draw on the beauty of nature in shades of gray and brown, while enjoying proven protection from hail, wind, rain, and corrosion.

Interior touches

Restyle your home’s interior to be farmhouse-inspired with a few renovations. Classic looks include neutral walls, such as matte shades of beige, grays and creams, shabby chic furniture — think wicker, distressed wood and reclaimed lumber — and hardwood flooring. Consider dusting off a few hand-medowns or visiting antique shops and estate sales for oneof-a-kind finds. Above all, be sure to prioritize comfort, warmth, and practicality. To embrace everything that a home should be — an inviting place to gather with friends and family — add farmhouse-style touches to your home, indoors and out.



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16, 2022 | D15



Contact the West Central Tribune’s Sales Team to advertise in any of these upcoming area magazines.


Summer Fun

*NEW* Women’s Magazine

Midwest Wedding




Contact Christie t: 320.214.4317 e: csteffel@ wctrib.com

Contact Rhea t: 320.214.4375 e: ryeadon@ wctrib.com

Best of the Best


Rooted in Agriculture




Contact Christine t: 320.214.4310 e: criemersma@ wctrib.com

D16 | Wednesday, March 16, 2022



C O M M E R C I A L • R E S I D E N T I A L • A G R I C U LT U R E

ThermoSeal I N S U L AT I O N





ThermoSeal Insulation is a certified installer of open and closed cell foam, open blow fiberglass, fiberglass batting and the blow in blanket system.


It means we can help you lower your energy bills with our professional insulation services.




320-905-7773 19768 County Rd. 9 NE New London, MN wskindelien@hotmail.com

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