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2 “Spring Home Improvement/Car Care”


Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Things That Mar An Automotive Paint Job Things To Look For On
Most people purchase a car for its looks and performance. However, unless the auto is kept in a garage and never driven, it is impossible to keep it in pristine condition. In many cases, damage to the clear coat or enamel paint on the car is something vehicle owners expect. A car owner who decides he or she wants the car to remain in the best shape possible will have to take an active role in maintenance and damage prevention. One of the key things to remember is to never allow any substance to remain on the paint for too long; otherwise the risk for damage increases. Also, it may be very difficult to clean if the offender is allowed to sit on the paint. Here are some other factors to consider. UV light: Just as UV light can affect skin, hair and other parts of the body, it also can affect the paint on a car. UV rays oxidize the paint and cause a white, powdery film to form on the car. Washing the car frequently enough and applying the best quality wax will help keep UV rays from penetrating through the paint. Over sprays: Life does not stop to allow cars to drive through, particularly when it comes to construction zones. It’s possible for a car to be doused in paint spray, tar, concrete, and other chemicals that are routinely used in construction. Do not allow these substances to harden on the car. Rinse promptly with automotive soap. Try to avoid construction zones whenever possible. Rain: Both acid rain and regular rainwater (and other sources of water) can dissolve paint over time. The U.S. Geological Survey has said that water is a universal solvent because it can dissolve more substances than any other liquid. Whenever the car becomes wet, it should be dried with a towel or chamois and not allowed to air dry. Natural substances: Tree sap, bird droppings and splattered insects contain compounds that can erode the paint on a car. Avoid parking under large trees where sap and bird droppings may be prevalent. In

A Vehicle History Report

WASH OF IMMEDIATELY ... Washing off harmful substances promptly can reduce the chances of damage to a car’s paint job.

terms of bug splatter, try to wash it off as soon as possible to alleviate damage. Eggs: Oftentimes, rambunctious children think it is funny to egg a car. However, the enzymes and sulfur content in eggs can cause paint and clear coat to dissolve, leaving white spots in the wake of the egg. Because egg can be sticky and very hard to remove once dried, it is helpful to wash it off as soon as possible. It takes only a few hours for the damage to be permanent. Bleach: Although a bleach-and-water solution is often heralded for its ability to clean many things, it should not be used on a car. Bleach is an oxidizer and it will pit metal and discolor paint. Be careful with pool chemicals as well, as chlorinator is usually regular household bleach. There are many things that can damage a car paint job. Although it’s impossible to shield the car from everything, there are precautions that can be taken.

How To Improve Your Night Vision For A Safer Ride
Drivers young and old know it can be dangerous to drive at night, when vision is easily compromised by poorly lit roads, glare from other vehicles and a host of additional hazards. Such obstacles can easily cause car accidents, roughly one-third of which occur at night. But while external factors like inadequate lighting on roadways or glare from other vehicles can contribute to poor driving conditions, nighttime accidents are often caused by a driver’s own vision. A driver’s visual acuity is reduced by 70 percent at night, a figure that is even higher among older drivers. The human eye is simply not adapted for nocturnal vision, so colors tend to disappear and contrast fades away while driving at night. That reality is why drivers must take steps to improve their vision when driving at night. Fortunately, there are several ways motorists can do just that. Inspect headlight lenses. The plastic headlight lenses used on today’s cars can get increasingly cloudy over time. They tend to yellow and get hazy from the effects of ozone, road debris, pollution, age, and even trips to the carwash. As a result, headlight lenses can quickly become ineffective. But if headlight lenses appear cloudy or yellow upon inspection, drivers don’t have to break the bank with a costly headlight replacement. The Philips Headlight Lens Restoration Kit can restore the lens to “like new” clarity. It’s easy to use and has a UV coating that will protect the plastic from further damage. Frequently check windshield washer fluid. Inclement weather not only makes road conditions unpredictable and often treacherous, but also makes it easy for drivers to forget to check their windshield washer fluid. Popping the hood to check your vehicle’s fluid levels when it’s snowing or just downright freezing outside might not be enjoyable, but it is necessary. Salt from snowy roads or debris blown about from winter winds can easily accumulate on the windshield, greatly reducing visibility. Be sure to check your windshield washer fluid routinely during the winter months, and clean your headlights after driving in inclement weather to remove dirt, film, snow and ice buildup. Replace headlight bulbs. The performance of a headlight bulb dwindles over time, as a bulb’s light output is reduced by humidity, electrical resistance,

DRIVER VISION COMPARISON ... Different headlight bulbs can help with night vision. filament fatigue and general usage. To combat normal wear and tear, experts recommend that vehicle owners replace their headlight bulbs every two years. When replacing headlight bulbs, drivers can upgrade existing bulbs with a new generation of high performance light bulbs that mark a dramatic improvement over the traditional halogen bulbs that are standard on most vehicles. Philips Upgrade Headlight Bulbs are designed to put substantially more light on the road while creating a better beam pattern that is much longer than that produced by standard halogen bulbs. The Philips Headlight Bulbs come in a variety of types that are tailored to meet specific driver’s needs from daily commuters to soccer moms to sports enthusiasts. Even motorcycle owners can benefit from the improved lighting with the Philips MotoVision Headlight Bulb, a special light made for motorcycles that also creates a unique orange reflection so other motorists distinguish the motorcycle from other vehicles. Routinely clean your vehicle’s glass and mirrors. Debris and film buildup on the windshield glass and your rearview and side view mirrors can reduce vision, especially for drivers who smoke inside their vehicles. Make cleaning the glass and mirrors inside and outside of your vehicle part of your routine maintenance. It won’t take very long and it will significantly improve visibility. When cleaning side view mirrors, be sure to properly adjust them to eliminate blind spots.

A vehicle history report can be a used car buyer’s best friend. Whereas in the past buyers bought used cars and hoped for the best, today’s used car buyers can rely on a vehicle history report to tell them all about the vehicle while helping buyers make more informed decisions. When shopping for a preowned vehicle, you should always ask for a vehicle history report, regardless of whether you’re buying from a dealership or a private citizen. If the seller refuses, it’s time to look elsewhere. When a seller eagerly provides a vehicle history report, buyers should examine a few things on the report so they can be more comfortable should they ultimately purchase the vehicle. Number of previous owners: All vehicle history reports list how many owners a vehicle has had in the past. In general, the more owners a vehicle has had, the more risk you’re assuming as the buyer. Vehicles that tend to change hands often are less likely to have been well maintained. In addition to how many owners a car has had, look at who those owners were. Vehicles that were once owned by a rental car company, for instance, were likely not treated very well, as few people care how much abuse their rental car endures. However, a car once owned by a rental agency likely has lots of highway miles on it, and such driving is less taxing on a vehicle than city driving where the vehicle’s engine is stopping and starting more frequently. Specifics: Just because a seller provides you with a vehicle history report does not necessarily mean that report matches up with the vehicle you might be buying. A dishonest seller might try to pass off the history report of another vehicle of the same make and model as his own. This is done to hide a suspect vehicle history or even when thieves are selling a stolen car to an unsuspecting buyer. Check the vehicle identification number, or VIN, on the vehicle to ensure the car you’re looking at matches the car on the history report. In addition, each vehicle history report describes the car, so if the description does not match you might be holding an inaccurate report. Location: The vehicle history report will show where the car has lived over the years. Vehicles that have spent ample time in harsh weather, such as Alaska or another region with a prolonged winter, have likely had their share of weather-related wear and tear, more so than a car driven in warmer climates. While this does not mean past owners didn’t properly maintain the car, some buyers might be wary of purchasing a vehicle that has endured too many harsh winters. Physical appearance: Does the physical appearance of the car match up with its history report? Sometimes a vehicle owner does not report when a car has been in an accident. Owners might do this to avoid higher insurance premiums or to mask the vehicle’s history because they intend to sell the car down the road. If a car exhibits any signs of body work that aren’t on its history report or if the car drives awkwardly but has supposedly not been in an accident, buyers should consider this a major red flag and strongly consider walking away from the vehicle and continuing their search elsewhere. A vehicle history report can calm the fears of a buyer shopping for a preowned vehicle. But even when a report is made available, buyers should still examine the report closely to ensure the vehicle is all it’s cracked up to be.

Phone (419) 636-8925 Fax (419) 636-8669 1302 E. High St., Bryan, Ohio

1302 E Hi h St B

Owner: Rex Hasch

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Slattery Oil Co.
Your Marathon Dealer

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013


“Spring Home Improvement/Car Care” 3

Simple Ways To Add Years To A Vehicle’s Life

Is Premium Gas Worth The Extra Expense?
Filling up at the gas station is an expensive way to spend a few minutes. As the cost of gasoline continues to fluctuate, drivers want to get the most bang for their buck at the pump. Understanding octane and which one is appropriate for certain cars can save drivers substantial amounts of money. When vacillating between whether to choose premium or regular, it pays to read your owner’s manual and it can’t hurt to learn a little about the chemistry of gaso- PREMIUM AT THE PUMP? ... Drivers might be able to skip line. premium at the pump if their vehicle’s engine doesn’t reGasoline is the fuel for quire it. your car. It is available in 87 octane (regular), 89 octane (plus) and 91 octane need premium are those with recommends offers absolute(premium) in most areas. superchargers, which force- ly no benefit. It won’t make Regardless of fuel grade, the feed fuel into the cylinders. your car perform better, go three major octane levels In fact, drivers of cars that faster, get better mileage, or at the pump offer the same require regular who routine- run cleaner.” The bottom line: Vehicle amount of heat energy, say ly fill up with premium gas could be doing their engine owners should read the car automotive experts. What determines the differences a disservice. The higher den- manual that comes with the in gas is the propensity for sity of premium gasolines auto. Stick to the recomthe gasoline to cause a ping could lead to a buildup of mended octane level, and the or knock. This occurs when waste products inside the car should perform as indicated. If a car requires prean uncontrolled burn or an engine over time. The Federal Trade Com- mium fuel, experiment with explosion of the fuel takes place in the engine. Typical- mission has even issued a mid-grade to see if knocking ly, this happens when part consumer notice in the past, occurs or if there is any apof the fuel-air mixture in one stating: “In most cases, us- parent decrease in perforor more of the car’s cylinders ing a higher-octane gasoline mance. If not, enjoy the extra ignites spontaneously due to than your owner’s manual savings at the pump. compression. Higher performance cars require more engine compression to generate more horsepower. Therefore, putting regular gasoline in these types of vehicles may exacerbate knocking and pinging issues. Premium, high-octane fuel is specially designed to burn more slowly than regular, reducing the chances for those small explosions in the engine. Some people are under the impression that premium fuel offers other benefits, such as it contains more detergents to help clean the engine during use. This is inaccurate, and the U.S. government requires a certain level of detergent in all grades of gasoline. Despite these untruths, some people are insistent upon paying $.20 to $.30 more a gallon to fuel up with a higher grade of gas. Typically the higher the price of the car, the greater propensity it will “require” premium gas. Automakers use premium fuel to distinguish their higher-market models. For example, most Toyota models can run on regular, while the Lexus line Buyers of: suggests premium. The same Scrap • Cast Iron • Copper • Brass • Radiators can be said for Honda/Acura models. Premium gasoline Aluminum • Aluminum Cans • Scrap Vehicles garners a higher profit margin for gasoline retailers and Open Daily Monday through Friday 8 to 5 refiners, so there is a definite Open Saturday till 12:00 Noon advantage for them working in cahoots with automakers to push premium gas. While premium gas may reduce some knock and ping in high-performance engines when they are pushed, in most cases vehicle owners will be hard-pressed to tell the difference in performance when filling up with regular or premium. According to fuel specialists at General Motors, the only modern engines that should really

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION ... Routine service and preventive maintenance can add years and miles to a car. Getting more for your money is a popular trend among consumers. As economic uncertainty reigns, smart consumers are looking for the best values in an effort to get the most out of each and every dollar they spend. One of the best ways to stretch a dollar is to take better care of your vehicle. Buying a home and financing a college education are perhaps the only times many consumers will spend more money than they do when purchasing a vehicle. But unlike a home or an education, few people take their vehicles seriously, all too often avoiding vehicle maintenance that can greatly increase a car or truck’s life expectancy. Drivers who want to keep their cars going strong for years to come can do so in a handful of ways. Prevent, prevent, prevent. Preventive maintenance might seem like a boring way to spend a weekend morning or afternoon, but the efforts will be well worth it. Oil changes and filter replacements are quick and easy jobs but pay major dividends over the long haul. Drivers who aren’t comfortable performing these tasks themselves need not worry about costly trips to the mechanic. Routine jobs like an oil change or air filter replacement are relatively inexpensive, and today’s vehicles can go much longer between oil changes and filter replacements. Each vehicle manufacturer is different, so drivers should consult their owner’s manual and adhere to the recommended maintenance schedule. Stay balanced. Balanced tires are tires that will last longer. But an out of balance tire will not only shorten the life of tires, it can also do damage to the rest of the vehicle while simultaneously making riding in the car much less comfortable. When a tire is properly balanced, its mass is uniformly distributed around the axle, making for a smooth, vibration-free ride. However, an out of balance tire shortens the life expectancy of suspension components, including bearings and shocks. Repairs that result from an unbalanced tire can prove costly. Should a vibration occur as the vehicle accelerates (typically, this vibration will be noticeable when the car reaches speeds of 40-45 mph), chances are the tires are not properly balanced. Look good, feel good. The credo of “look good, feel good” isn’t only applicable to humans. In fact, a car that looks good likely feels good as well. Washing and waxing a car regularly helps avoid rust under the carriage and in the wheel wells. The longer a car goes between washes, the more likely it is to rust, and the paint is likely to corrode as well. There is no quick fix to either of these problems, but preventive maintenance, like routinely washing and waxing the vehicle, can keep these potentially menacing issues from ever rearing their rusty heads. Preventing rust and corrosion is also a good way to ensure a car’s resale value does not diminish over time. Get out and drive. Cars that spend most of their life in stop-and-go traffic likely won’t last as long as those that routinely get out and go. That’s because city driving with lots of stopping and going is very taxing on an engine. On a highway, air flow to the radiator, oil flow to the engine and everything that makes a car run is much more consistent, reducing the stress on the engine as a result. Constantly accelerating and decelerating is hard on an engine, while the consistent speeds of highway driving offer a welcome respite to the engine. City dwellers should get out and drive their car on a highway at least once a month for no less than 30 minutes. This is also a good way to get rid of potentially harmful condensation that can negatively impact engine performance. When looking to get more for your money, one of the best ways to do so is to take better care of the car sitting in your driveway

Goebel Wrecking Co.
St. Rt. 34 East of Bryan, Ohio

Stay Abreast Of Vehicle Recall Information
Driving a new vehicle off of the sales lot can be exciting. Brand-new vehicles are supposed to be reliable and free from maintenance concerns. However, sometimes manufacturers recall a vehicle, forcing drivers to visit the auto body shop sooner than they had hoped. According to the Auto Insurance Organization, 390 million vehicles have been recalled since the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act became law in 1966. Vehicles are recalled for a variety of reasons, including poorly performing tires, faulty pieces of motor vehicle equipment and unsafe child safety seats. From 2009 to 2010, Toyota alone recalled 8.5 million cars, the single largest recall in history. It can be disconcerting to learn that your vehicle is being recalled. The uneasiness of driving a potentially dangerous vehicle coupled with the prospect of being without a car can be daunting. Vehicle manufacturers must notify consumers that a recall is in place. But sometimes a vehicle owner may not be aware that there is a recall. In the event of large recalls, like the recent ones involving Toyota and Bridgestone Tires, the story makes the national news. But there are other ways drivers can stay current on recall information to ensure their personal safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is a source of information on vehicle recalls. Their database dates back to 1966. The NHTSA provides information on equipment recalls, entire vehicle recalls, child safety seat recalls, and tire recalls. There also is information on school bus recalls. Individuals can visit and select the categories they want to check. To check recalls on a particular motor vehicle, select that category, enter the make and model as well as the year, and the information about any recalls will appear. Recall information can help save lives and prevent injuries. It is important to be aware of recalls to ensure the vehicle you’re driving is as safe as possible.


Archbold • 419-446-2777
Joseph Beck

4 “Spring Home Improvement/Car Care”


Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Simple Steps To Keeping A Clean Vehicle Interior
Much like curb appeal improving the chances of a sale on your home, having a car that is presented well inside and out may boost the amount of money and potential of a resale on your vehicle. Even vehicle owners who don’t anticipate selling their vehicles in the near future should maintain the vehicles to ensure they are safe and sound. After home and work, a car is where many people spend most of their time. As a result, a vehicle can easily become soiled, scratched or overrun with clutter. Maintaining the interior of your vehicle need not take much time or effort, but it should be done often enough to keep on top of the mess. Here’s how to start. REMOVE CLUTTER The first step in cleaning the interior is to remove the excess items that may have accumulated in the car. Busy families tend to leave toys, books or clothing in their vehicles. There also may be discarded food wrappers or beverage containers. People who commute also may accumulate a number of items in their cars, including business materials. These items should be sorted through and put where they belong before tackling the rest of the cleaning work. VACUUM Much of the dirt and debris that accumulates in vehicles can easily be removed with a vacuum. A shop vac will have enough power to thoroughly clean upholstery and mats. If you do not have one, visit a self car wash. Remove the floor mats and set them on a flat surface. Thoroughly vacuum the mats to clear them of dust, dirt, food crumbs, and any other debris. Vacuum the floor of the car as well as any seat upholstery that may be a catch-all for crumbs. Using a soft-bristled vacuum attachment, you also can remove dust from the vents, speakers and the center console of your vehicle. SPOT CLEANING Spills and stains do occur in vehicles, just as they do elsewhere. Cleaning these stains may require a little elbow grease and a cleansing agent. Most automotive supply stores will sell an upholstery cleaner designed for car interiors. You also can use a mixture of laundry detergent and water applied with a slightly damp rag or sponge. Go over each area that is soiled so you can devote adequate time to each stain. The same process can be used on the vehicle’s carpeting. Use a brush to really clean heavily soiled areas. Leather upholstery can be more delicate than cloth KEEPING YOUR CARS INTERIOR CLEAN ... Routine cleanings to the inside of you car can help keep it feeling upholstery. When cleaning a leather interior, use only fresh, clean and new. products that are designed specifically for leather so as to avoid damaging the interior. cloth. Use caution when cleaning the rear windshield if CONSOLE AND DASHBOARD DETAILING it has a defogger/defroster grid on the window. These A barely moist cloth can be used to clean the plastic wires can be damaged easily. Clean with the direction components of the dashboard and consoles of the ve- of the defroster grid lines. hicle. The goal is to wipe away any dust and any minor stains or sticky areas without saturating important FRESHEN THE CAR electrical components. It is always better to spray polPlace an air freshener or spray a product on the air ish or cleaning agents on your cloth than directly on intake vent to eradicate musty smells in the car. It also the dashboard. In hard-to-reach-areas, consider us- is important to replace the cabin air filter periodically, ing a soft-bristled paintbrush or cotton swabs to clean otherwise you could be breathing in dust and dander in crevices. Wipe down everything with a dry cloth or that is trapped in the filter. towel afterward. These are the basic steps to cleaning a car’s interior. Other detail work can be done depending on your WINDOWS preferences and the make of the car. Routine mainteHaving clean windows is essential to driving safe- nance helps others see you have pride in your vehicle ly. Cleaning the windshield and windows is relatively and can ensure a better return on your investment simple to do with a glass cleaner spray and a lint-free down the line if you choose to sell.

A Fresh Cabin Air Filter Creates Things To Know About Motor Oil ‘Breathing Room’ Inside Your Vehicle
Let’s say you are about to take a long road trip. It’s one thing to have to clean out your car ahead of time to create enough space for you and your family to be comfortable inside. But did you know that you could also help them breathe more comfortably -- especially if some of them suffer from seasonal allergies or asthma? Breathing in dirty roadside air that enters through the vents affects everyone, particularly the most vulnerable -- those that are susceptible to respiratory illnesses. “If breathing clean air is a concern for any reason, checking and replacing the When it comes to taking care of their vehicles, many motorists prefer to be overly cautious. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, there are times when being too cautious can unnecessarily cost you money. Motor oil, and when to change that oil, has long been a point of contention. Many drivers grew up being told that motor oil should be changed every 3,000 miles. However, that myth has been debunked for many of today’s vehicles, which should come with suggested intervals between oil changes. According to, in 2010 the average interval for oil changes was 7,800 miles. In addition to changing a car’s motor oil less frequently, there are other things drivers should know about motor oil. * Oil does not necessarily need to be changed before a long trip. Taking a trip? While it’s good to have your car examined before embarking, if the recommended oil change interval is not up, then you do not need to preemptively change your oil. Such a change is likely unnecessary and will not improve the performance of your vehicle during the trip. * Black oil does not necessitate a change. Conventional wisdom once suggested if the oil on the dipstick is black then it needs to be changed. But nowadays automotive professionals are noting that black oil is doing its job and different additives might be changing the oil’s color. * You can use petroleum-based oil after using synthetic. Another longstanding myth regarding motor oil was that once you use a synthetic motor oil instead of a petroleum-based oil you have to continue using synthetic oil, which is often more expensive than more traditional motor oil, in order to avoid harming the vehicle. Just be sure to use motor oil that meets the standards set forth in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. * Consider an earlier oil change after buying a new vehicle. Sometimes a new vehicle will need an oil change after its first 3,000 miles. However, this does not mean your vehicle will need one every 3,000

cabin air filter should be on every vehicle owner’s list before taking a long trip,” said Chuck Kerrigan, Director of Marketing for Purolator. Purolator is a major supplier of BreatheEasy(R) cabin air filters (www. BreatheEasycabinfilters. com) to the North American aftermarket.

Go Eagles!

A new cabin air filter is designed to protect the vehicle’s occupants from breathing in air that is contaminated with roadside dust, pollen, dirt, soot and mold spores and even noxious gases and odors. Most motorists are not aware that more than 80 percent of new domestic and import vehicles sold in the United States today come equipped with cabin air filters, says the Car Care Council ( node/354), an automotive consumer group. “And, it is even less likely that they know about the important function these cabin air filters perform, and yet, they are inexpensive and usually quite easy to replace,” said Kerrigan.

miles. According to Blackstone Laboratories, who study motor oil, oil samples taken from engines during their initial 3,000 miles of driving had elevated metal levels from the camshafts and pistons. These elevated levels will not necessarily be harmful, but some auto manufacturers recommend a shorter initial interval just to be safe. Honda, however, includes an anti-wear additive in their break-in oil and advises against changing their oil early. Consult your owner’s manual to determine if it’s best to change your oil after the initial 3,000 miles or to let it go until the recommended interval. When Only The Best Will Do

When Do WhenOnly OnlyThe TheBest Best Will Will Do

When Only The Best Will Do


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Wednesday, April 17th, 2013


“Spring Home Improvement/Car Care” 5

Fayette’s Kunkle Providing A “More Affordable” Northwest Ohio Driveway & Parking Lot Option
By: Tristan L. Crowe THE VILLAGE & WAUSEON REPORTER A Fayette businessman is reaping the rewards from his investments in the tree cutting and trucking/gravel driveway repair industries. Although Gahlon Kunkle, 25, has little time to bask in the glory. Kunkle is nearly a one-man show at his newest business, K & K 2 Trucking, LLC, but he does enlist his girlfriend, Vashti Bowers, and his father, Allen, on certain job assignments. However, Kunkle prefers to do things on his own no matter what the work entails, and he shuns the idea of adding employees. In fact, Kunkle does not have a business office. “Having actual employees would take away from the quality I like to ensure to people,” Kunkle said. “When I do things on my own, I know things will get done the way I like for them to be. “I have a staging area where I do the prep work, but since it’s just me, I don’t have the need for an office,” he added. For three seasons Kunkle developed his driveway business into a profitable venture. His previous success, Top Line Tree Service, was started in early 2008. Kunkle began Top Line Tree Service right at the height of the Emerald Ash Borer infestation. He soon found himself busy as he began removing blighted trees or trees downed from the occasional storm. “It’s not entirely seasonal since I can get calls to remove trees damaged in the winter or in summer,” Kunkle said. “There’s always work out there needing to be done.” Yet, Kunkle wanted additional work, something else to satisfy his ambitions and interests. It wasn’t long before he sought to develop his own trucking company, and offer delivery of gravel and resurfacing driveways for clients. Kunkle’s ambitious nature stems from his upbringing, where he was raised on a farm that offered many responsibilities. A hard work ethic was required to survive. “There’s always a job that has to be done when you’re working on a farm,” Kunkle said. “I never questioned it, I just liked to work hard and I always found things to do.” While growing up on the farm, Kunkle realized that he liked being involved with nearly everything. Immediately he began seeking tree removal work, using his father’s trucks and equipment. “My father was the one that kind of helped me get things started,” he said. “He had his own successful trucking business, so I used some of his trucks when I started finding my own work.” Kunkle’s friends in the tree cutting and gravel driveway businesses served as mentors for a period of five years. The lengthy training period gave him the confidence he needed to make his tree service, and later his driveway/trucking business, succeed. Once a client base was developed, Kunkle bought a truck and started finding work. He soon added another truck and additional equipment when he merged into the driveway/ gravel business. “When things started to pick up, I was able to invest in additional equipment,” he said. “I didn’t buy brand new equipment and put myself deep in debt, but got the things I knew I could use to get me started.” Today, Kunkle has two dump trucks and a semi in his arsenal, along with a John Deere Skid Steer and a myriad of other necessary instruments. Kunkle also has a full time job, serving as an operator running the slag plant for Fulton Mill Service in Delta from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. After clocking out of the steel plant, he punches in for several hours of work at either his tree service or trucking/ driveway repair business. “I work until dusk mostly,” Kunkle said. “I get all the trucks ready the night before, get all the equipment ready, and set out for whatever job is out there. “The world revolves around money, so I want to get out there and do whatever I can to find work” he added. Kunkle’s employment at the slag plant is considered a blessing. His employment gave him a chance to learn that the slag stone remnants from Fulton Mill Service’s slag plant would be suitable for resurfacing driveways. “The slag from the plant is really earth friendly,” he said. “The slag doesn’t require having someone like me going to a quarry and blasting for it, all I have to do is deliver it.

SPREADING IT EVEN ... K & K 2 Trucking owner Gahlon Kunkle spreads his time as well as the slag for various drive and parking projects.
“It costs so much to place gravel on your driveway because you have to really dig to get that limestone.” Kunkle delivers tons of different slag blends each month. Requests for the product is growing since many have realized the material holds up just as well as limestone. “It depends on a person’s preference,” he said. “A person may want limestone instead, but overall, the slag is a good product.” Affordability, Kunkle said, is the biggest draw for his driveway business. By using slag, a customer can expect to pay less per ton. “The slag is a recycled material,” he said. “So I can charge less than someone else to do a driveway.” His clients are satisfied with his product. Based on a friend’s recommendation, Scott Sloan, of Heartland Energy USA in Stryker, hired Kunkle to do some driveway work. Sloan said he was looking for a cost-effective alternative for his driveway project. After inquiring on prices, he realized Kunkle offered the best alternative. “He widened the drive and used two different grades for the driveway,” Sloan said. “He redid the existing driveways and parking areas. “The work was done really well, and it was definitely affordable, so I would call on him again,” he added. Kunkle estimates 80 percent of driveways in the Fulton and Williams County regions are unpaved. That statistic, he said, showed promise for his business venture. So far, Kunkle receives daily calls requesting his services. “You have to figure most of the people out here have large driveways, and aren’t going to have asphalt leading from roadway to the house,” Kunkle said. “For most people, it’s too expensive to asphalt a large driveway.” Driveway work can be extensive to minor. If a customer requires a new driveway or parking area, Kunkle will remove the sod to deter grass growth, then place the gravel. “The process doesn’t take a great deal of time, but it all depends on what a person wants,” he said. “I can take a few days to make sure the job is done right.” Minor driveway repairs are also welcome. Kunkle said driveways with washed out areas, or potholes, are an easy fix. “I have to scrape out the bottom of the potholes, then level it out again with the gravel,” he said. “It happens a lot with gravel driveways where there are weaker areas on the turf and it bottoms out.” Despite a busy schedule, Kunkle finds time to donate his services when asked. Recently Kunkle delivered about 800 tons of slag to the Delta section of the Northwest Ohio Rails to Trails Association. Fulton Mill Service provided the slag while Kunkle shuttled and distributed the material to the trail project. NORTA President, Jay Budde, said the Wabash Cannonball trail is an on-going project, requiring some additional gravel and other services to make it serviceable for the public. On Saturday, April 6, Kunkle delivered the slag to the Delta trail portion near State Route 109. Budde said several other local businesses donated their time, spending their Saturday resurfacing the trail. Kunkle enlisted the help of his family to take part in the work as well. “The work he’s done for us here is a real benefit to us at NORTA,” Budde said. “The work is superior quality, and I am glad we were able to connect with him. “It’s the generosity of the community that is making our rails to trails project such a success,” Budde added. Budde said the work from all individuals, including Kunkle, came at the perfect time. Budde had hoped portions of the trail would be completed before the Delta Steel Run on June 1. The race is part of the Delta Sesquicentennial Celebrations, and co-sponsored by North Star Bluescope Steel and Worthington Steel. “To have the trail prepared just before this race is a benefit for everyone,” Budde said. “Without the donations from everyone, this project would not have been completed in time.” Meanwhile, Kunkle is thinking he could evolve into other business ventures, but what that may be is up in the air. “There are so many things you can do out there if you are willing to go out and learn, then get the work,” Kunkle said. “Right now, I have enough to keep me going, but I always keep my options open for other things.” Future customers are welcome to contact Kunkle at 419237-7078. Tristan Crowe may be reached at

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6 “Spring Home Improvement/Car Care”


Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

How To Save On Home Improvement Projects
With the economy still struggling, money is tight for many homeowners. That reality can present a problem to those who want to improve their homes without spending too much money. The cost of a home improvement project depends on a host of factors, including the scale of the project and the availability of materials. Upscale projects like a full roof replacement will set homeowners back a substantial amount of money. In its 2011-2012 “Cost vs. Value Report,” Remodeling magazine revealed that the average cost of a such a project was nearly $38,000. However, a smaller project like a garage door replacement could be completed for fewer than $3,000. When deciding if a home improvement project is within your budget, it’s a good idea to consult such figures before choosing a project. For example, if your home is a fixer-upper, then one project may not be more urgent than another, something that may allow you to choose less expensive projects now while saving money for more expensive projects down the road. It’s also important for homeowners to know that figures such as those in the “Cost vs. Value Report” are just averages. Some projects might cost more than the average, while others might come in well under budget. To ensure your project is one of the latter and not the former, consider the following ways to trim costs off your next home improvement project. * Avoid the DIY movement if you don’t have adequate experience. Many homeowners fall into the DIY trap, feeling they can pull off a project without hiring a professional contractor. While this is an option for those homeowners with home improvement experience, it’s an approach that’s best avoided by those without such experience. Homeowners who decide to go it alone on a home improvement project should know that mistakes are costly. One mistake could have you paying for the same materials twice: once when you begin the project, and then again when you need to hire a contractor after your efforts didn’t work out. A failed DIY project also costs you time, something homeowners hoping to sell their homes post-project cannot afford to waste. * Hire the right contractor. The best contractor for the job won’t necessarily be the one who comes in with the lowest estimate. The right contractor will know how long a project will take and what the materials will cost. The wrong contractor, who might lack the experience of his competitors, might make empty promises that ultimately cost you more money via overrun costs. Find a contractor who comes highly recommended and is willing to provide references and show you his or her past projects like the one you’re hiring him or her undertake. If you hire the wrong contractor, the project may never be completed and you may find yourself in court, where the money you had budgeted for home improvements is being spent on lawyers instead. * Consider supplying your own materials. If you diligently research your project, you should be able to buy the materials yourself, even if you plan on hiring a contractor to do the work. Some contractors mark up the materials as a means of padding the bill. If you research the project and learn about the materials you want to use, you can save a substantial amount of money buying those materials yourself and then hiring a contractor. * Don’t overlook recycled materials. Buying recy- SAVE A LITTLE ... Homeowners can trim home improvecled materials is another way to reduce home improve- ment costs by buying their own materials before hiring a ment costs. Bathroom fixtures, doors, flooring, and contractor to complete the project. lighting are just a few of the materials that are commonly recycled and resold at a fraction of the cost of • HEATING new materials. Shop around for stores in your area or • DRAIN CLEANING peruse the Internet for recycled materials. Homeowners undertaking a replacement project rather than a remod• COOLING ELECTRICAL el might even be eligible for tax breaks if they donate • PLUMBING their old materials. * Choose projects that provide more bang for your • DUCT CLEANING buck. Another way to save is to choose projects that provide a strong return on your investment. The “Cost vs. 24 Hour Service Value Report” compares the cost of popular remodeling Owners: Bob & Beth Tejkl projects with the value those projects retain at resale. If money is a motivating factor behind your project, choose a project that will get you the most money back at resale. While the economy has not necessarily been kind to the home improvement industry, there are still plenty of homeowners looking to improve their homes. Savvy homeowners can do just that and save some money along the way by putting a few strategies to work for them.

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tional, while others may do so to improve their home’s resale value. Some homeowners take on a home improvement project to make their homes more eco-friendly. There are several costeffective ways to make a home more eco-friendly. * Upgrade your appliances. A home improvement project does not have to require the use of a hammer and nails or the hiring of a contractor. A simple home improvement project like upgrading older appliances, including the washer and dryer, to newer, more efficient models can give a home a fresh look while reducing energy consumption. * Add more insulation. Adding more insulation or replacing older insulation used to be an especially laborious process. However, in many instances insulation can now be added or upgraded to a home without any major reconstruction or demolition, reducing the cost of the project considerably. * Install high-efficiency water fixtures. Few people think about how much water they consume over the course of a typical day, but the figures might be eye-opening to those who hope to adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle. According to the United States Geological Survey’s Water Science School, it’s generally accepted that the average person uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water each day. Older fixtures that consume massive amounts of water can be easily and affordably replaced with newer, more efficient fixtures. Today’s high-efficiency low-flow showerheads can provide a strong shower stream while reducing water consumption and are also less taxing on your water heater, reducing your energy consumption. Homeowners can also install high-efficiency toilets that use as little as 1.3 gallons of water per flush. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that installing water-efficient fixtures and appliances would save more than 3 trillion gallons of water and more than $18 billion annually. * Install a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats present another affordable way to improve a home and benefit the environment. Temperatures can be adjusted room-byroom, and the programmable thermostat allows homeowners to control their heating and cooling while they’re out of the house, ensuring they’re not paying to heat or cool an empty house and wasting energy in doing so. Home improvement projects don’t have to be a grand undertaking, particularly when a homeowner’s goal is to make a home more eco-friendly.

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Wednesday, April 17th, 2013


“Spring Home Improvement/Car Care” 7

Make Gutter Cleaning Plant A Self-Sustaining Garden This Spring Safer & Easier
Gardening is a rewarding hobby with thousands of devotees. Backyard gardens provide beauty and aesthetic appeal to a landscape, and they can be a source of homegrown food and a natural habitat for outdoor wildlife. A self-sustaining garden can be an efficient addition to any home, but gardens require upkeep and a certain measure of dedication. A self-sufficient garden is a garden that sustains itself through proper planning and execution and represent a lifestyle where individuals are responsible for producing their own foods -- thus sustaining themselves without the need to shop for produce elsewhere. When planting your own self-sustaining garden, consider the following tips. Start with soil. Healthy soil is essential to a thriving garden. The soil must have the right pH, correct texture and composition, and be full of nutrients. Very often the native soil in yards is not adequate to keep a garden thriving. In such instances, the soil needs to be improved. Adding compost -- which can be produced in the yard as well -- to the soil will enrich the soil with nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Maintain proper soil consistency. Soil that is the right consistency, meaning the optimum balance of sand, clay and actual soil, is another necessity for a self-sustaining garden. The ideal ratio should be 40 percent sand, 40 percent silt and 20 percent clay. Having the right balance of soil can secure root formation and promote proper drainage. Test the pH. Certain plants need a specific pH in order to grow. A neutral pH range is typically ideal for growing vegetables. A pH tester can be purchased from a gardening center. Amend the soil accordingly to get the soil back to its correct level. Know the growing season. Vegetables should be planted during the season in which they will thrive. Peas, beets and cabbage, for example, are cold-temperature vegetables, while cucumbers, squash and melons thrive in warm climates. Plant accordingly so that the vegetables will have the best chances for success. Purchase quality seeds. Use fresh seeds, particularly ones that have been harvested from your own garden the year before, to have the best chances for germination. Or buy seeds from a reputable source, like a garden center or an online retailer who specializes in vegetable seeds. Start seedlings indoors. You may want to work with seedlings indoors so that you can monitor growth and care for them more easily. Then transplant the seedlings outside when they are stable enough for the elements.

USING THE RIGHT STUFF ... Using power equipment to mix up the soils of your garden can help get a better soil mix and speed up the process of getting your garden planted.

THINK SAFETY ... Using the right tools makes gutter cleaning faster and easier. Nobody enjoys gutter cleaning. Yet it’s much more important than many homeowners think. Rain flowing over windows, doors, and siding can rot fascia as well as door and window framing. It can erode the soil around your home and damage its foundation, and also cause a wet basement, mold, and mildew. To help keep gutters operating properly and to protect your investment, try these tips: 1. Think Safety First. Always use a solid, quality ladder to reach your gutters. Safety glasses and gloves are a good idea, too. And watch out for power lines. 2. Use the Right Tools for the Job. In addition to needing something to contain gutter debris, you’ll also need a tool to scoop it out. The Gutter Getter Scoop from Working Products, Inc. is a good option. It’s the only flexible scoop shaped to fit all gutters, plus it will keep your hands away from the debris. 3. Don’t Over-reach. Over-reaching can destabilize your ladder and cause you to fall. Instead, consider using a special tool to extend your reach. The Gutter Grabber is GETTING A GOOD START ... Starting seeds inside is a a cleaning tool on an extension pole that lets you clean up great way to get a start on the growing season. to 18 feet of gutter without moving your ladder. 4. Check the Downspouts, Too. If the spout is clogged, a coat hanger or the handle of your Gutter Grabber can help get the debris out of the spout. Then, use a garden hose to flush out any remaining debris. For stubborn clogs, it may be necessary to remove the downspout and GENERAL CONTRACTORS back flush it with the hose. Covering your downspout with a strainer such as the Gutter Getter Big Top Downspout Strainer will help reduce future clogging, too. 5. Clean Gutters Anytime They Need It. Most homeowners know they need to clean their gutters in the fall. • PRE-ENGINEERED • INDUSTRIAL But once you understand the importance of gutters, you’ll • COMMERCIAL • CUSTOM DESIGN know why its vital to clean them out anytime they get full. • FARM • RESIDENTIAL • PRE-ENGINEERED • INDUSTRIAL Authorized NUCOR Builder To protect the value of your home, keep your gutters clean 419-636-3173 throughout the year. • COMMERCIAL •Edon CUSTOM DESIGN 419-636-3173 - 06559 ST. RT. 34 - 06559 ST. RT. 34 • EDON Gutter Getter products are available at ACE Hardware. • FARM • RESIDENTIAL For more information, call (800) 582-9491 or visit www.


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The kitchen is arguably the most-used room in the house during waking hours. Having a kitchen that is laid out in an efficient manner can improve productivity and make for a more enjoyable experience. Designers often stress having an effective work triangle in the kitchen. The phrase “kitchen work triangle” started with the Building Research Council (formerly the Small Homes Council) at the University of Illinois. The idea came from studies of space usage and the search for efficient kitchen designs. What the triangle essentially means is positioning three key items of the kitchen for efficiency. The stove, sink and refrigerator represent the three main points of the triangle. Having these items spaced accordingly can make work easier. Having them too close together can create a cramped, ineffective room.

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8 “Spring Home Improvement/Car Care”


Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Watering 101: Help Your Lawn Thrive Through The Soon To Come Heat

Basement Finishing - What To Do & Avoid
Remodeling a basement is a popular home improvement project. A finished basement makes the space more functional and, when done correctly, can add a considerable amount of living space to a home. Finishing a basement pays dividends in additional space in a home that doesn’t require the same level of investment as putting an addition on the house. Also, the groundwork for a finished room is already there, as most basements are already set up with a poured concrete floor and some walls, usually cinder blocks. Some electrical components, plumbing and the creature comforts of drywall and a more inviting floor might be all that’s necessary to finish a basement. The process can be labor-intensive, and many people prefer to leave it to a professional contractor. Whatever finishing method is chosen, homeowners should follow the proper procedures when doing the work. DO start with a detailed plan. Measure out the basement and mark any items that cannot be moved, such as a furnace, water heater or pipes. ments. DON’T plan to finish the entire basement. Doing so will leave you without a storage or utility area where you house holiday decorations, tools, luggage and similar items. DO get the scoop on building codes. Knowing what the municipality allows in basement remodeling will help you to customize a plan that is functional, safe and legal. DON’T overlook adequate lighting in your refinishing plan. DO take into consideration moisture issues in the basement. Many basements are plagued by moisture issues ranging from water seepage to condensation forming on walls. These situations may vary depending on the weather throughout the year. Cer-

KEEPING CODE ... An unfinished basement allows homeowners to transform the room into anything they desire. But there are some dos and don’ts to finishing a basement, including ensuring the project adheres to local building codes. tain materials may need to be used to mitigate water issues before finishing can take place. DON’T simply cover up potential hazards, such as mold or mildew. Have them treated instead. Otherwise, you could have a breeding ground behind drywall that could lead to unsafe conditions in the home. DO have a radon test. Radon is a hidden killer that can cause cancer. DO keep the possibility of flooding in the back of your head. Finishing a basement is a job that can add a lot of usable space to a home. Go about the project in the right way to keep within budget and have a room that is safe and functional.

KEEPING GREEN: Effective watering can help a lawn and garden survive the dog days of summer. Summer can take its toll on just about everyone. Even the most ardent fan of summer eventually grows weary of a heat wave, which can make something as simple as walking down the street seem exhausting. While human beings have their ways of surviving summer heat, such survival can be more difficult for your lawn and garden. Certain grasses and plants thrive in hot weather. But when the dog days of summer arrive, even those grasses and plants built to withstand the summer sun can suffer. That’s why watering takes on such importance in the summertime, when grasses and plants need water to avoid drying out and possibly even dying. The following are a few basic watering techniques to help homeowners keep their lawns going strong through the next summer swoon. Water when it’s coolest. Watering when the temperatures are their lowest might seem counterintuitive. After all, homeowners might think their grass and gardens need water most when the temperature is at its highest. But watering when the temperature is cooler decreases evaporation, meaning your lawn will get the water it needs and won’t lose any to steamy conditions that cause evaporation. This is especially important when the amount of water you can use is limited by a drought restriction. You’ll want to make sure the water you can use is actually going to the lawn and not evaporating as you’re watering. Watering in the early morning or in the evening, when the sun is not as strong and the temperatures are generally at their coolest, also reduces the likelihood that your grass will burn. That’s because water attracts the sun, and a lawn that’s wet in the middle of a hot day might attract too much sun and cause the lawn to burn. Recognize that not all plants are the same. How much water a plant needs and how frequently it needs to be watered largely depends on how deep its roots are. A plant with shallow roots won’t need to be watered for long periods of time, but it will need to be watered frequently, whereas a deep-rooted plant like a tree or a shrub will need to be watered for long periods of time but not as frequently. Research the plants around your property to determine the depths of their root systems and water accordingly. Lean on mulch to retain moisture. Mulch is often considered an aesthetically appealing addition to a landscape, but it serves a practical purpose as well. Mulch retains moisture during the hot summer months, reducing the need to water -- a valuable benefit during a drought restriction. Mulch also makes it difficult for weeds to grow, which can keep homeowners from spending hot summer afternoons pulling weeds out of their gardens and flower beds. Strategically locate sprinklers. Sprinklers should be located so no water is ending up on the driveway or sidewalks around your property. Watering the concrete or asphalt is wasteful, and that’s water that could be going toward your plants. When watering by hand, be sure all of the water is finding its way to plants and not on any walkways. Successfully watering a lawn and garden during the dog days of summer can greatly reduce the risk of ending summer with a lawn full of bald spots and a garden filled with wilted plants.

Various Materials Can Be Used To Pave A Driveway
and will need to be replaced. CONCRETE Concrete is perhaps the ideal paving material for the homeowner who wants to express his or her individuality. That’s because concrete driveways can be laid in a variety of colors and designs, adding a touch of personality in a place many homeowners likely thought such expression was impossible. GRAVEL A gravel driveway can give a home a historical look that few of today’s homes can boast. Gravel is an affordable material that requires little maintenance, though weeds FUNCTIONAL & GOOD LOOKING ... A well-maintained can grow through gravel and must be removed to maintain the driveway’s appeal. Washout is a concern for some driveway can add to a home’s curb appeal. who want a gravel driveway, but edging the driveway with a material like timber or bluestone can prevent the gravel When renovating a home, many homeowners look to from washing away should heavy rains fall. increase the home’s curb appeal. “Curb appeal” is a term used to describe how the home’s exterior appears to buyers the moment they pull up to the curb. A home that impresses prospective buyers before they even go inside is said to have a strong curb appeal, and that curb appeal can add significant value to a home. Homeowners looking to improve the curb appeal of their home can do so in a variety of ways. One often overlooked yet effective way to make a home’s exterior more Do you want the security and the peace of appealing is to revamp the driveway. Driveways may not mind that comes with a backup power? be high on a homeowner’s renovation totem pole, but a cracked or unsightly driveway can give prospective buyers Whether it’s to protect your basement the impression that a home has not been properly taken from water damage, keep your heat on care of. When addressing a driveway, homeowners have a during the winter, or to save the food in host of paving materials at their disposal.

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ASPHALT Asphalt is an affordable paving material, which likely plays a role in its popularity among homeowners. Asphalt is also easy to install and requires little maintenance, two additional benefits to homeowners who don’t have much time to install or look after their driveway. Asphalt is made from a combination of concrete, gravel and tar, and though it’s easy and affordable to install, asphalt, as any kid can tell you, can get awfully hot under the summer sun. Asphalt can also crack rather easily, so homeowners must weigh its immediate affordability against the likelihood that perhaps it will need to be replaced sooner than other materials. BRICK Brick is among the more expensive paving materials, as brick is a labor-intensive material to install. But brick allows homeowners to create distinctive patterns that can add quite a bit to a home’s curb appeal. Once installed, brick driveways don’t require much maintenance, though cracked bricks will need to be replaced.

your freezer, we have the solution for you, an automatic generator system. These generator systems can power your entire house or just the necessities. And they will turn on and off automatically even if you’re not home. So give Woolace Electric a call at 419-428-3161 for an estimate.

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Wednesday, April 17th, 2013


“Spring Home Improvement/Car Care” 9

Debunking Common Myths About Carpeting
Carpeting has long been a reliable flooring option to keep rooms looking good and feeling comfortable underfoot. There’s something to be said about having a plush, warm cushion on the floors of a home. Carpeting can help buffer sounds and minimize injuries from falls. Walking around on a padded surface may minimize back and joint pain as well as feel more comfortable when going barefoot. Despite all of the advantages to carpeting, some people continue to avoid it for a variety of reasons, many of which are rooted in myth. The following are a few of the more common myths associated with carpeting. Myth: Carpeting contributes to allergens constantly circulating throughout the home. Fact: Carpeting is actually better at trapping allergens and dust in its fibers than smooth-surface floors. Myth: Carpets pose significant health risks. Fact: There has been no conclusive evidence that carpets present any health risk, particularly of a carcinogenic nature. Myth: Carpet has formaldehyde. Fact: Formaldehyde was removed from the carpet-manufacturing process in 1978. Myth: Mold grows regularly on carpeting. Fact: Unless you have a flood or a leak that is keeping carpeting saturated, mold will not grow during regular use. Many people would like to have carpeting in their homes but are deterred by a handful of enduring myths. Knowing the facts can help homeowners make more informed decisions regarding flooring materials.

Shopping For A Fire Pit

Cost-Effective Fencing Options For Your Property
fer much privacy on its own. But if you are looking at fencing simply as a barrier, chainlink could be the way to go. Picket fencing: A wooden picket fence is another inexpensive fencing material. The pickets can be purchased in various heights, and this fence may be used as garden border fencing or to mark a property line between homes. Spacing the pickets widely apart may cut down on the number that need to be purchased, further keeping the cost down. Bamboo: Bamboo is a rapidly growing grass that produces a hard wood-like material that is used in many building applications. Bamboo wood can be used to build a fence, but the natural plant also can be planted to form a living fence for privacy. Stockade fencing: A stockade fence is one of the more basic wood fencing options. Wooden slats are placed alongside one another to form an effective and affordable privacy fence. Stockade fencing can be stained or painted to preserve it. Many home improvement retailers sell panels of stockade fencing so that you can make fence installation a doit-yourself project. Vinyl fencing: Although vinyl fencing is one of the more expensive fencing materials at the outset (it costs about twice the price of a wood fence), it does pay for itself rather quickly thanks to minimal maintenance. Unlike some other materials, vinyl will not rot or discolor. You also won’t have to purchase stain, paint and expensive cleaners for a vinyl fence. That means once you make the investment, you will have years upon years of maintenance-free enjoyment.

GREAT PLACE FOR GATHERING ... Fire pits have become popular for back yard gatherings and family entertainment. The outdoor fire pit has transformed the concept of backyard entertaining. Homeowners understand how a fire pit can add value to a home and make their yard an inviting place to be on a summer evening or a chilly autumn night. Outdoor fire pits are a relatively new creation that continue to grow in popularity. Once available strictly through specialty retailers, fire pits can now be found on the shelves of many home improvement and big box stores as well as online. Fire pits can add a lot to a home’s exterior entertaining area. Some fire pit styles and materials will last longer than others. Homeowners should assess their needs and the space available before choosing a fire pit for their home. First, homeowners must decide if they want a permanent or portable fire pit. Portable fire pits are freestanding units that can be moved around the yard on a whim. They also can be loaded into the car and taken to a neighbor’s house or even to the beach. Portable fire pits are less expensive than permanent models, and some homeowners prefer a trial run with a portable pit before deciding to install a permanent structure. Portable fire pits are made of metal and usually coated with a fireproof paint. Over time, exposure to the elements can cause the metal to rust or weaken, something homeowners should consider prior to purchase. Homeowners also must consider a fuel source. Wood is a common fuel source for fire pits. Wood can be inexpensive, especially when gathered from around the yard. However, a wood-burning fire will constantly have to be fed with new branches. If you want to have a roaring fire but don’t want to maintain it, then a gas-fueled fire pit is better. Natural gas fire pits can run off of a portable propane tank (think barbecue tank) or be directly connected to a home’s natural gas supply. Now you can decide on the style. Gas fire pits will give you a greater number of design options, but there are still plenty of choices with wood fire pits. From bowl-shaped pits to rectangular-shaped pits to barrel-style pits to chimineas, there are designs to fit most preferences and size constraints. Once you have chosen a fire pit, safety should prevail. Here are some tips to consider. * Keep the fire pit away from the home and objects that can burn. Maintain a safe distance from the fire pit at all times. * The best place to have the fire pit is on hard stone, cement or tile. Portable fire pits can be placed on patio stones in the lawn. * Use a screen to keep embers and sparks from escaping during use. * Keep children a good distance away from the fire pit and always supervise when the pit is in use. * Make sure the fire is completely extinguished before going in for the night. * Do not use any accelerants. * Buy a vinyl cover to protect the fire pit from the elements when not in use.

FENCING OPTIONS ... There are many different fencing materials that can coordinate with a variety of budgets. Fencing serves many purposes. Some homeowners erect a fence for privacy, while others do so to contain pets and children. Because fencing can be expensive, some homeowners look for ways to cut costs, which can be relatively easy, especially for those homeowners willing to consider various materials when erecting their fence. Traditional fences are available in materials ranging from wood to vinyl to metal. Homeowners have other options at their disposal if they prefer a more natural fence. Different shrubs, trees or grasses can be planted to create a barrier between properties or within the property. When choosing a fencing material, consider that even a less expensive material may prove more expensive in the long run if it needs significant maintenance or has to be replaced in just a few years. Therefore, the most cost-effective fencing material may not necessarily be the least expensive one at the store. Here are some materials homeowners can consider. Found material: Repurposed wood or metal can be crafted into a rustic, one-of-a-kind fence. Materials can be found that are no cost, requiring only the cost of labor. Should you build it yourself, this can be next to nothing. Sometimes existing fences on another property can be disassembled and re-built on your own property for little to no cost as well. Chainlink/chainwire: Chainlink fencing is one of the most economical types of boundary fencing. The fencing comes in a variety of diamond sizes and is fixed to galvanized pipes spaced across the perimeter of the property. Although it is some of the least expensive fencing, it does not of-

How To Guard Against Hardwood Floor Gaps
Did you know that the number one registered complaint hardwood flooring experts receive after a wood floor installation is the unsightly gaps between boards that magically appear at the onset of winter? The most common cause of gaps between the boards is Mother Nature. When the weather cools and the heating season begins, the relative level of humidity in our homes becomes too low, causing boards to lose their moisture and shrink. Meanwhile, when the wet and humid days of summer return, the boards expand once again. This regular seasonal expansion and contraction over time is the most common cause of gaps. Gaps can also occur when boards become too humid prior to installation, leaving them with internal moisture levels that are too high when installed. This problem may be caused by a very humid environment at the installation site (wet concrete, moist subfloor, fresh paint) or boards exposed to rain or extreme humid conditions upon delivery and storage. The result is the wood absorbs the moisture and expands before installation. Once installed and ambient conditions return to normal, the wood will lose its excess humidity and shrink, leaving a gap between each board. “Over time, and if left unchecked, humidity will cause gaps between floor boards of even the highest quality solid hardwood flooring,” explained Tom Gormley, President of Avant Guard Flooring. “Especially when consumers choose a stain color on lighter woods like Oak, Yellow Birch and Maple, even fine gaps will show unattractive lighter areas between some of the boards.” Though gaps were once considered a natural occurrence one had to accept when choosing wood flooring, Gormley explains there is now an innovation in gap protection available for consumers looking for the beauty and elegance of quality prefinished hardwood floors without the unattractive off-color gaps that inevitably come with them. Avant Guard Hardwood Flooring, North America’s leading direct buy premium wood flooring manufacturer, has created the new standard in hardwood flooring protection. Called “Contour Guard,” it’s a unique patented contour finishing process that envelops each of its floorboards. With its exclusive gap protection, not only the top but the sides and ends of each precision-milled board are stained. Along with the added benefit of contour guard protection, consumers can now customize and select their flooring choices at home by visiting the site, which gives consumers access to premium high-end flooring they can custom design online. Their floors are then custom-made and shipped directly to their homes in the construction, species, grade, stain color and gloss level of their choosing.

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SALE ENDS MAY 15, 2013

10 “Spring Home Improvement/Car Care”


Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Does Time Of Year How To Repair Unsightly Bald Spots In Your Lawn Affect Roofing Jobs?
Lawn care aficionados know how a single bald spot can make an otherwise luscious lawn look worn down and poorly maintained. A bald spot can stick out like a sore thumb, while several bald spots can compromise a home’s curb appeal. Treating bald spots typically depends on what is causing the bald spot. Bugs, dryness, pet waste and damage from mowers are some of the more common causes of bald spots. The following is a breakdown of these different causes and how best to address each situation so you can restore your lawn to its natural beauty.

ROOF REPLACEMENT ... If your roof needs replaced, typically the best time to do it is as soon as you can, regardless of the season.

DRYNESS A lawn can go dry because of drought in the summertime or during the winter months when there is not much rain or snowfall. Homeowners cannot change the weather, but they can help their lawn avoid becoming the burned or yellowed turf that often results after extended periods of dryness. Fertilizing the lawn during the spring and summer is a good first step. This helps the lawn grow in healthy and thick. Once you have fertilized, don’t cut the grass too short. When grass is cut too short, the soil struggles to retain moisture, which can eventually lead to bald spots if weather conditions are dry. During especially dry periods in the summer, watering might be necessary. You won’t have to water frequently, but be sure to water deeply so the water can reach the roots of the grass. PET WASTE Waste from pets can cause bald spots on a yard. This might surprise some homeowners, but pet waste contains a high level of concentrated nitrogen that, when applied to a lawn, can burn the grass and cause bald spots. Urine is most likely to cause bald spots, but fecal matter can as well. When addressing the problem of pet waste on your lawn, make sure no one else’s pets are the cause of the problem.Neighbors out walking their dogs should be discouraged from allowing their dogs to use your lawn as a restroom. If this does not work, then erect a fence or some type of structure that makes it difficult for other people’s pets to access your lawn. When it’s your own pet causing the damage, address the spots where your pet relieves itself as quickly as possible. Watering the area within eight hours can significantly reduce the risk of lawn damage by diluting the nitrogen levels. Another way to address the issue is to encourage the animal to use various spots in the yard,

LAWN DAMAGE ... Even the cutest pet can contribute to bald spots on your lawn.

rather than continually using the same spot. Flush each area with water immediately after the pet is finished. If the damage is already considerable, remove the damaged grass and reseed the spot. MOWER DAMAGE Sometimes Mother Nature and man’s best friend are not the culprit with regard to bald spots on your lawn. Human error can cause bald spots, too. Dull mower blades or grass that is cut too low can cause bald spots. Fortunately, this is easily remedied. To avoid bald spots, make sure mower blades are sharpened at the beginning of each mowing season, as dull blades damage the grass, which is then forced to use valuable nutrients to treat torn grass, weakening the lawn over time. When mowing, make sure you’re not cutting too low so the soil can retain as much moisture as possible. This will necessitate more frequent mowing, but this, too, can prevent bald spots, as it ensures those parts of the grass that contain chlorophyll will not be removed. Bald spots can turn a pristine lawn into an eyesore. But treating bald spots can be easy and, when done effectively, the lawn can be restored quickly.

There comes a time in many homeowners’ lives when they’re faced with the reality that a roof replacement is necessary. A roof can last between 15 and 30 years, and a person who owns an older home may find the lease has expired on the current roof. Is there a particular time of year that is better for having a roof installed? It depends on different factors, including the availability of a roofing contractor. According to the site, The Average Cost of Things, courtesy of the Home Buying Institute, across the country one can expect to spend $18,000 on average to replace a roof with asphalt shingles. Use of other materials, like tile or metal will cost more than this. In general, those living in big cities tend to pay more than those in rural areas. Because a roof replacement is expensive, it is something that some homeowners prefer to put off until it is absolutely necessary. Others are interested in finding the best rate around and hiring reliable roofers for the job. It’s important to note that there really is no season where roof replacements are off-limits. Most roofers can do the job effectively unless the temperature is below freezing or if there is significant rain in the forecast. In fact, planning a roofing job for the middle of the winter actually may work to a homeowner’s advantage. This is typically a slow time of year for some roofers, and they may be anxious to get work this time of year and be willing to negotiate on price. There’s also a good chance that the roofer will not be bogged down with other jobs, enabling the company to start on a home right away. Some roofers prefer working in the colder weather to sizzling up on a roof under the hot sun at another time of year. Naturally the spring is a prime time of year for roofing projects. After the rainy season, the weather is generally comfortable and homeowners are thinking about the projects they will commence. A busy time of year for home improvement all around, homeowners may find that they have to compete with others for a good date to have a roof installed. They also may be paying top dollar for the work and materials that are in high demand. Another thing to consider during the busy season is that a project may be rushed along in order to move on to the next job or one being worked on concurrently. This may lead to corners being cut or less attention to detail. A person may be limited in their choices of roof installation during the summer. Extreme temperatures can make working on the roof hazardous and uncomfortable for workers. For those who live in a climate where the temperatures generally cause the mercury to soar, choose a cooler time of year. Many homeowners opt to thave a roof replacement in the autumn. The crisp weather and the decline in

home-renovation projects overall can make this a prime time to contract with a quality roofer. If the roof is very much damaged, replacing it before the harsh, winter weather sets in can be advantageous. Some homeowners find they can get a discount on a roof installation if they bundle different renovations together. A contractor may offer a special on siding and roofing together. For those who have the funds, this may be the opportunity to get two jobs done at once. A roofing project is no small undertaking, and homeowners are wise to get several referrals and investigate a variety of companies before settling on one. Review sites, such as Angie’s List, or simply wordof-mouth appraisals from friends and family members can help make choosing a roofer an easier decision.

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