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Home Improvement 2008 Special Section

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  • Quick name the threebest features of yourhomes exterior. If yourelike many people, youllstumble over the answer tothis question.

    Whether youre position-ing your home for a sale ortrying to maintain your placein the neighborhood, youneed a wow factor thatstops drive-by traffic in itstracks, recommends DonZeman, a former contractorand host of the nationally-syndicated radio show,Homefront with DonZeman.

    According to the NationalAssociation of Realtors, 75percent of people in the mar-ket to purchase a house begintheir search on the Internet.A photo of your homes exte-rior on a realtor Web site caninstantly determine if buyerswill visit your home.

    Curb appeal is not amyth, says Zeman. Ifyoure selling your homeand youve got peelingpaint or a sloppy yard,youve lost the potential fora positive first impression.With so many houses forsale in todays market-place, its critical to investin your homes exterior toget potential buyers insideyour house.

    Zeman, an expert inremodeling and homeimprovement products, rec-

    ommends homeownersmake it a priority to have atleast three first glanceenhancements that make alasting impression on any-one looking at your home.

    Enhancement No. 1 Evaluate the condition ofyour siding. While vinyl andcomposite hardboard sid-ings are appealing becauseof their low maintenancerequirements, brick still cap-tures the highest audienceappeal. With todays prod-uct advancements home-owners dont have to investin real brick to gain a terrif-ic brick exterior, saysZeman. Panelized productsmade of recycled gypsumand high-density polymermaterials, like PerformanceBrick panels, can transformthe exterior of a home. And,these panels are for retrofitapplications, so they can goover existing siding to trans-form a home.

    The non-porous nature ofPerformance Brick panelsallows them to resist mois-ture, which prohibits thesustained growth of mildew,mold and algae. Installationis fast and efficient with theoverlapping and interlock-ing panels that are connect-ed with a Fast-Track system.Best of all, you get the lookof Old World, handmadearchitectural brick for a frac-tion of the price.

    Enhancement No. 2 Addcolor and unity to your exte-rior. Make the front of thehome welcoming by addingcolorful shrubs, decorativeflags and potted plants inkey visual locations. Land-scaping should receive spe-cial attention year-round.Trim bushes away from win-dows, add hanging flowerbaskets to front porch areasand spruce up the entrywaywith new brass hardware.

    Enhancement No. 3 Transform a box-shapedhouse into an eye-appealinghome by adding Bay or Bowwindows. Along with pro-viding homeowners withadditional room on the inte-rior of the home, Bay andBow windows add characterto the exterior.

    Imagine a Christmastree as a focal point in aBay window during theholidays, says Zeman.These bump-out win-dows add so much appealto a home. When making areplacement choice, itsbest to go with a highlyenergy-efficient windowthats easy to maintain. Inmy house I put in Simon-ton vinyl windows. Theyended up saving me hun-dreds of dollars each yearon my energy bills andcountless maintenancefees.

    Enhancement No. 4

    Even if you have a focalpoint Bay or Bow window,most homes have a majori-ty of Double or Single Hungwindows. Add urethanecrossheads, mouldings andmillwork around each win-dow to trim them out andmake the windows a stand-out feature on your homesexterior. A simple crossheadand keystone can be addedabove a window in less than10 minutes by any home-owner.

    Enhancement No. 5Replace rotted or agingwooden porch rails and postswith synthetic QuickRail andQuickPost systems. Madefrom a unique multi-layeredPVC composite formula,Fypons QuickRail system willnot decay, warp, fade, chip,splinter or rust. The Quick-Posts are load-bearing Colo-nial-style posts that work withthe railing system and aremade of polyurethane rein-forced with PVC.

    PVC and urethane aretwo exceptionally low-main-tenance products that resistall types of weather condi-tions, extreme temperaturesand never need painting,says Zeman. Year-after-year, these synthetic piecesprovide a home with curbappeal and hours of carefreerelaxation.

    For more ideas on curbappeal enhancements andproduct information, visitwww.homefront.com.

    2 - Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008 Fall Home Improvement 08 LaGrange Daily News

    The addition of colorful flowers, low maintenance windows and weather-resistant railsystems add instant curb appeal to this home.

    First glance enhancements sell your home

    With homeowners jug-gling the demands of workand family, its really nosurprise that theyre turn-ing to lower-maintenancealternatives when theyselect materials for theirhome. Thats why manyhomeowners are selectingcomposite decking whenreplacing their worn wood-en decks.

    While composite decksrequire lower maintenancethan traditional wooddecks, they still need careto look their best. Followthese easy composite deckcare tips from the expertsat Wolman Wood CareProducts:

    Clean and Restore:Consumer feedback andyears of outdoor exposuretesting indicates thatmany types of compositelumber can endure colorloss over time from expo-sure to UV sunlight.Composite lumber, likewood, will also attract dirtand even mildew staining,detracting from the over-all appearance of your

    composite deck. To cleanaway dirt, mildew orother fungi staining, getthe best results by using

    an acid-free, biodegrad-able deck cleaner likeWolman DeckBrite WoodCleaner & Coating Prep.

    DeckBrite is highly effec-tive in removing ground-in dirt, mildew and algaestains, yet its extremely

    safe to use, and wontharm grass, plants orshrubs.

    Its fast-acting foamingaction loosens and lifts dirtand stains in 10 minutes orless. And unlike chlorinebleach and water mixtures,or sodium hypochlorite-based wood cleaners,which can leave a visiblewhite-washed look behind,DeckBrites oxygen-acti-vated formula thoroughlycleans without whiteningor damaging the surface.Plus, DeckBrite preparescomposite lumber for coat-ing, helping to maximizeadhesion and long termwear.

    Beautify and Protect: Torestore composite lumbersoriginal color-rich appear-ance, and to protect itagainst mildew growth onthe coating, an exteriorsolid-hide stain can beapplied to keep deck sur-faces looking their best.Add color and protectionin one easy step by apply-ing a stain that offers supe-rior durability, color

    longevity and maximumprotection against allweather and climate con-ditions, such as WolmanDuraStain Solid ColorStain.

    The best choice torenew composite decking,DuraStain Solid is for-mulated for maximumadhesion and durabilityon composite lumber. Itprovides a 100 percentopaque, long-lastingmatte finish that resistsfading longer than otherstain types. It also pro-tects against mildewgrowth, scuffing andscraping, and structuraldamage caused by waterabsorption, and its per-formance is warranted forfive years on horizontalsurfaces, 15 years on ver-tical surfaces.

    And, since DuraStainSolid is available in two tintbases that yield 22 populardecking colors, or can becustom-tinted to match theoriginal composite lumbershade, its easy to achieveany look you desire.

    Many homeowners believe that composite decks are maintenance-free. While theyare lower maintenance than traditional wood decks, they still need care to look theirbest, so clean, restore, beautify, and protect them.

    Maintain composite decks in two easy steps

    Create colorful concrete countertopsDecorative concrete coun-

    tertops are among the hottesttrends in kitchen design. Yousee them in magazines, onhome decorating shows and insome of Americas most spec-tacular kitchens.

    Love the look of decorativeconcrete, but dont have thebudget to install new coun-tertops? You can still graceyour countertops with therich, warm color and elegantstyle of concrete even ifyoure on a laminate budget.Its easy thanks to new painttechnologies and innovativeproducts like Modern MastersSkimStone Decorative Finishsystem.

    Designed to transformordinary countertops intoextraordinary works of art,the system includes a bond-ing primer, a decorative fin-ish and a protective topcoat,along with an instructionalDVD that guides youthrough the project fromstart to finish. Its easy. Just

    follow these steps from theexperts at Modern Masters:

    Start fresh. Clean old coun-tertops thoroughly to ensureadhesion of the SkimStoneBonding Primer. Once cleanand dry, apply two coats ofbonding primer with a trow-el. It will improve the adhe-sion of the SkimStone Deco-rative Finish and give surfacesa textured appearance simi-lar to raw concrete.

    Apply the color. One of thehottest trends in indoor dec-orating is using bright,vibrant, warm colors likereds, yellows and oranges.Give your kitchen the lookof a Tuscan cafe with Mod-ern Masters SkimStone Dec-orative Finish in SedonaClay, Yellowstone or MinoanRed colors. The rich tonesare sure to add a warmearthy feel to your counter-top decor.

    Or, if you prefer a worn,modern theme, try a deepcolor like Espresso Bean,

    Onyx or Storm. The darkcolors complement stainlesssteel appliances and accentsthat have become popular inkitchen decorating trends.

    SkimStone DecorativeFinish is available in 15 col-ors and each color offers youa variety of 5 shades, sofrom subtly colored coun-tertops to bold pieces offocus, the finishes give youmany options.

    Dont forget the finishingtouch. Protect and enhanceyour countertops with a top-coat. SkimStone NanoTechTopcoats are water-basepolyurethane acrylic protec-tive topcoats designed toprotect your concrete deco-rative finishes and enhancethe color and depth of Skim-Stone Decorative Finishes.

    Before you know it, youllhave transformed your dullkitchen countertops intochic on-trend surfaces thatare as durable as they arebeautiful.

    Forget about installing new c