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2014 Home Garden

2014 Home Garden

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Published by veronapress
2014 Home & Garden
2014 Home & Garden

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Published by: veronapress on Apr 02, 2014
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05/18/2015

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2014
 A special supplement of 
 
2 -
Spring Home & Garden
 – April 2014
Things to consider before downsizing your home
Once their kids have left the nest, many men and women over 50 begin to consider down-sizing their homes. Downsizing to a smaller home can be beneficial for a variety of reasons, including less home to clean and maintain, more affordable utility bills and lower property taxes. But the decision to downsize is rarely black and white, and men and women often struggle with that decision.Perhaps the most difficult part of the deci-sion of whether or not to downsize to a smaller home concerns the sentimental attachment many homeowners, especially those with chil-dren, have to their homes. The home might be too big for your current needs, but it also was the same place where your son took his first steps and where your daughter lost her first tooth. Saying goodbye to a place that was home to so many memories isn’t easy. But there’s more than just sentimental value to consider when deciding whether or not to downsize your home after the kids have grown up and moved out.
Personal finances
Your financial situation merits significant consideration when deciding if the time is right to downsize your home. If your retirement nest egg is not as substantial as you would like it to be, then it would seem as though downsiz-ing to a smaller, more affordable home is a great opportunity for you to start catching up on your retirement savings. But that’s only true if your new home won’t incur any additional expenses that are already taken care of in your current home. For example, your current home may be fully furnished, while a new, smaller home may require you to buy all new furniture because your existing items simply won’t fit. The cost of such furnishings can be consider-able. If you plan to move into a condominium, you can expect to pay monthly homeown-ers association fees, and such fees are often substantial. So while the condo itself might be smaller, the additional expenses associ-ated with the property may end up making the smaller home more expensive and prevent you from saving more money for retirement.
Real estate market
There are seller’s markets and there are buyer’s markets, and ideally you would like to sell your home in a seller’s market. But keep in mind that this might be the same market in which you hope to buy a new home. The nature of the real estate market depends on a host of factors, including geography. If the city or town where you currently live is in the midst of a seller’s market and you are planning on moving to a location where buyers have the upper hand, then now might be a great time to move. But if you currently live in a buyer’s market and hope to move to a seller’s market, then you may end up paying a steep price, even when downsizing to a smaller home. Things may even themselves out if you want to downsize to a smaller home within your current community, but do your homework nonetheless, researching the time of year when you’re most likely to get the most for your home and find the best deal on your next place. The advantage men and women considering downsizing have is that they are rarely in a rush to move out of their current home and into their next one. This gives them ample time to make the real estate market work for them.
Space
How much space do you really need? Once the kids have moved out, couples may feel like all of that extra space is going to waste. But that can be a knee-jerk reaction, and upon a more thorough examination of the space and your needs you may just find that you can put all of that extra square footage to good use after all. If you have always wanted your own art studio, then now might be the perfect time to make that a reality. Always wanted a room devoted to home theater? Get to work on converting your basement from an all-purpose game room to your own private movie theater. If, after considering the space in your home, you find that the extra square footage really is  just upkeep you aren’t especially interested in doing, then you would no doubt like a cozier home that’s less of a responsibility to maintain.Downsizing a home is something many men and women over 50 consider after their chil-dren have moved out. Such a decision is rarely easy, so homeowners should take as much time as they need before making a final deci-sion to move or stay put.
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 April, 2014 –
Spring Home & Garden
 - 3
How to repair and replace window screens
Window screens can let fresh air into a home while preventing insects and outdoor critters from making their way inside. But screens are far less effective at keeping critters out of a home when they’re damaged. Addressing such damage is typically an easy do-it-yourself project, one that begins with gathering the right materials, including:* new screening, synthetic or aluminum* a rubber spline* a screen rolling tool* a razor knife or sharp scissor* measuring tape* masking tape* a screwdriver or an awlOnce those materials have been gathered, the process of replacing or repairing damaged screens is rather simple.1. Measure the area of the window to deter-mine how much replacement screening you will need. Remember to leave extra room in your measurements so you have slack to make the new screen fit taut. The measurement will also help you determine how much spline you will need.2. Remove the screen from the window frame. Some windows do not have removable screen frames, and you will have to work on the screen in its upright position.3. Use the screwdriver or awl to pry the edge of the existing spline that holds the screening material in the frame. Pull out the old spline and remove the damaged screening.4. Measure the new screening from a replace-ment roll. Lay the screening down on the frame, ensuring there is overhang on all sides. If necessary, use masking tape to temporarily secure the screening to the frame while free-ing up your hands. This also works if you must replace screening vertically and cannot remove the window frame and make repairs on a flat surface.5. Take a new piece of rubber spline and push it into the edge of the screen frame, secur-ing a corner of the new screening to the frame. Continue to press the spline around the perim-eter of the screen frame firmly into the groove with the screen rolling tool, which looks like a small pizza cutter. This effectively secures the screen into the frame.6. Continue around the edge of the frame, pulling the new screening taut as you go. This helps to keep it free of wrinkles.7. Once you have inserted the spline all the way around, cut it off from the spline spool and push in the edge.8. Use a razor knife or sharp scissor to cut off the excess screening, being careful not to dis-lodge it from behind the spline when cutting.9. Replace the screen in the window.In the case of small tears in a screen, a com-plete replacement may not be necessary. Home improvement stores sell screen patch kits. Some work by cutting out a piece of patch that is attached to an adhesive backing and sticking it over the hole. Other patches are small, woven wires that can be threaded through the hole in the screen. A really small hole can be mended with a drop of clear-drying glue.The same method of screen replacement can be used to replace screens on screened-in porches, aluminum doors or sliding patio doors. Just be sure to purchase replacement screening that will fit the dimensions.Patios, decks and outdoor entertaining areas often need some TLC. Homeown-ers looking forward to enjoying the warm air again often start their annual chore of readying such areas for the entertaining season in the spring, and cleaning outdoor furniture and entertaining areas is a big part of that process. Very often individu-als turn to pressure washing machines to clean such areas; while pressure and pow-er washers are effective, they also can be dangerous if homeowners don’t prioritize safety when operating these machines.Pressure washing machines come in many varieties, and not all are created equal. Smaller, electric-powered systems may be effective for cars and boats but ineffective at cleaning grime on a house or driveway. Pressure washers also may have hot or cold water supplies. Hot water can help cleaning detergents emulsify dirt fast-er and more effectively than cold water. The cleaning capacity of these machines is measured in cleaning units -- or the water pressure multiplied by the flow rate. The higher the cleaning units, the greater the cleaning power of the device. But more powerful tools also carry a greater safety risk, highlighting the importance users must place on safety when operating such machines. The following are a few safety tips homeowners can employ to ensure their next power washing project goes off without a hitch.* Clear away furniture and any obstacles from the area where you will be cleaning. You want the area to be free of tripping hazards or items that can be damaged by the spray.* Keep children and pets away from the area while the cleaning is taking place. Pressure washers are powerful, and highly pressurized water spray can cause injuries. Slips and falls on wet surfaces may occur, and high-pressure injection can happen when water and chemicals penetrate the skin and cause tissue damage.* Eye and ear protection should be worn at all times when working with a pressure washer. * Many pressure washers work better when used in conjunction with some type of cleaning solution. A combination of bleach and water will help loosen dirt and will require less pressure from the washer. * As you grow accustomed to the power of the washer, it is best to adjust the nozzle to a wide angle fan and the lowest pressure setting to see how effectively it cleans a given surface. Increase pressure accord-ingly as the project progresses. Making the water stream too narrow could cause damage. It takes time to learn the subtle-ties of the machine, so users should allow themselves ample time to grow comfort-able with the machine.* Keep the pressure wand 10 to 12 inches away from the surface that needs cleaning. Make small passes and check the cleaned area, adjusting the pressure and stream accordingly.* Begin in the farthest corner of a deck, driveway or patio and the highest spot of a home. Use slow, even sweeps with the pressure wand, being careful to maintain an equal distance from the tip to the work surface. This helps to ensure even clean-ing and reduces the chances of streaks and overlapping of the pressure spray.* When working on a home, avoid spraying the water at a steep angle under siding or directly into corners. Do not spray under the edges of window or doors. Use caution around dryer and attic vents as well. You may end up soaking the inside of the home or cause water damage unwittingly.* Always use caution when operating a pressure washer while on a ladder. The power of the device can easily compro-mise your balance. If ever you feel uncomfortable using the pressure washer, stop and consider hiring a professional. It is much better to make that investment rather than damage your home or risk injury.CAPTION: Pressure washers have vari-ous levels of power. Some may be effec-tive for washing cars, while stronger set-tings are often most effective at cleaning home siding.
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Prioritize safety when power washing patios and decks

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