Categories
Do it yourself gardening Home and Garden Tune Ups Spring yard work Uncategorized

Think Spring on Easter Weekend and Jumpstart Yard Work

Gene and Katie Hamilton
http://www.diyornot.com

A gardening optimist thinks about Springtime no matter what the weather is outside. To get yourself in the mood order a gardening magazine and some catalogs and warm up to the idea that you’ll be digging in the soil in the not too distant future. With that in mind consider these ideas to make the most of your lawn and garden with a list of tasks from Lowe’s Live Nursery Specialist Lester Poole and jumpstart your gardening plans.

1. START PLANNING: Think about the goal for your outdoor space. Is it entertaining, playing with the kids, gardening, or simply relaxing? Once you’ve got that down, draw a map of your property from a bird’s eye view on graph paper. Include your house, existing boundaries such as fences, outdoor utilities such as AC units and heat pumps, existing drains or irrigation systems, and any views you wish to preserve or hide. From there, use tracing paper (and your imagination) to draw your ideas, from a new garden to a gazebo or walkway.

2. GET EQUIPPED: Your tools might not be in tip-top shape after a season in the shed. Check your lawnmower blades, rakes, edgers, trimmers and pruners, and consider replacing them if they’re worn, bent or rusted.

3. DETHATCH YOUR YARD: It’s not uncommon that a layer of living and dead plant matter, known as thatch, has taken over your lawn after a long, cold winter. If the thatch on your yard is half an inch or thicker, it’s important to get out the dethatcher so air, water and nutrients can break though and help your grass grow.

4. FERTILIZE YOUR YARD: The later into the season you wait to fertilize, the less time your lawn has to mature and adapt to the upcoming season’s harsh conditions. Sow seed evenly, then rake it thoroughly to increase your chances of quality germination. You can also aerate your lawn after sowing, which further enhances seed contact with the soil. Springtime is the perfect time to begin fertilizing your shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer.

5. START PLANTING: Any vegetables or flowering plants can be planted indoors now to later be transplanted outside. If you’re eager to start digging outside, seedlings such as petunias, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage and winter peas are frost-resistant.

6. PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED: You can’t predict the weather, but you can keep a watch on your area’s forecast and have protective materials at the ready. Stock up with a few frost blankets to place over tender, newly budding plants in case of a late frost, which help ensure the upcoming season’s success.

7. NIP PESTS IN THE BUD: With spring regrowth comes the pesky emergence of bugs and rodents. To get ahead on pest control, start by checking your home’s wood structures, foundation, and surrounding areas for damage, holes or cracks and standing pools of water in which pests thrive. If you see eggs, insects or other signs of infestation, consult your local Lowe’s gardening expert to determine the best course of action before purchasing pesticides.

Gene and Katie Hamilton
http://www.diyornot.com
Categories
DIY Do it yourself Plumbing repairs

First-time DIY Plumbing Repairs

You’d be surprised at how easy some basic plumbing repairs can be and how much you will save by doing them yourself. We’re not talking major plumbing work that requires the skills and tools of a professional plumber, we’re suggesting need-to-know jobs you can complete without a big investment in tools and materials.

If you’re a homeowner these are life skills you’ll be glad you have that involve repairs and replacements in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry and basement that keep your water systems working, conserve water and prevent water damage. Even if there was no plumber in your family, there’s no reason you can’t learn these simple tasks a homeowner is called on to do. Plus you’ll enjoy saving money and the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

Goof-proof Plumbing Repairs

1. Save 74% and repair a toilet by replacing parts that over time wear out and deteriorate.

2. Insurance agents tell us there’s a lot of claims for water damage due to cracked washing machine hoses. Make this replacement and save 71% for your work.

3. Conserve water and still enjoy a refreshing shower with a new showerhead and pocket a 61% savings for making the swap.

4. If you’ve ever had a flooded basement you know how important it is to replace a sump pump that takes away the water . You’ll save 59% by making the replacement.

5. You can’t afford not to try unclogging a sink drain and save 84% before calling in a pro.

Compare the cost of hundreds of home repairs and improvements at www.diyornot.com.

Categories
DIY DIY deadlines Do it yourself

Beware of DIY Project Deadlines

When a neighbor asked me how long she should schedule to remodel her bathroom before a family party I was quick to respond “as long as it takes.” I’ve learned that a carved in stone deadline (like an anniversary) is not the best incentive to complete an extensive improvement project because it creates added stress to an already stressful project. Having part of a house torn apart is unpleasant enough, it only gets worse with a looming completion deadline.

DIYers are often the worst homeowners for assuming everything will work flawlessly according to the plan with no unforeseen kinks in the process. They believe what they see on the DIY shows where everything is completed in a 22 minute program. Their blinded optimism doesn’t account for Murphy’s Law throwing a wrench in the progress of the work.

Even with well thought out planning, measuring, ordering and installing of new materials you can’t always account for the unexpected. When an old bathroom vanity is pulled away from the wall you might expose plumbing lines that need to be replace or rerouted. A new line for an electrical outlet might not be as simple to reroute as anticipated. More time can be eaten up if a building permit is required. The shipment for new floor tile or fixtures can arrive on time, but when inspected they’re found to be damaged or not what you ordered. Any of these setbacks will add time and money to the job and plenty of frustration.

As you plan any DIY project and do your due diligence, consider doubling the time you estimate because it’s better to be early than late. We have guidelines for the cost and time requirements for more than 350 home improvements at www.diyornot.com. We hope you’ll visit and use the information for your next project.

Categories
Decorating Do it yourself

Surprising Advice about 1st Step of Redecorating from Designers

Is your house showing signs of wear and tear? Wish you had the time and money to redecorate? Don’t. Interior designers have all told me the same thing when I ask what can a homeowner do to improve a room’s appeal without costing anything. The answer: Get rid of stuff. Whether it’s an over-decorated living room, a well used family room, or a cluttered kitchen or bathroom, the advise has always been the same. Pare down the decorations on the shelves and walls, remove excess clutter and eliminate all but the most necessary items on countertops.

I know it works because I’ve done it in my home and seen the transformation when friends have put their house on the market and followed the advice.

For all the day-to-day things a family uses designers suggest containing them in one place, magazines in a basket, toys in a container, flower pots in a grouping. A room, no matter its size looks larger and more appealing when there aren’t countless distractions that catch the eye. When you can see the floor and surfaces in a room its appearance is attractive and welcoming.

We hope you’ll visit us at  www.diyornot.com to compare the cost of doing a project yourself with hiring a pro.

Categories
December Home Maintenance Checklist Do it yourself home maintenance

Home Just-Do-It List In December

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There’s plenty of things to do around the house in December to prepare for the holidays – cleaning, entertaining, gift buying, gift wrapping, not to mention food shopping, tree trimming and decorations.

Before you get overwhelmed take a look at these 6 very basic tasks to keep your home systems working at this very busy time of year.

  • Replace filters in heating system and humidifier
  • Clean out refrigerator
  • Clean range and oven
  • Sharpen cutlery
  • Tune up fireplace or wood stove
  • Inspect indoor and outdoor Christmas decorations and inspect lights and extension cords to see if replacements are needed

If you’re considering any home improvement projects after the holidays. visit us at www.diyornot.com to compare the cost of doing it yourself vs. hiring a contractor for  hundreds of projects.

Categories
Do it yourself garages remodeling

What’s in Your Garage?

Today a garage means different things to different people. It can exist to protect a car or to create a man cave, but for most of us it’s somewhere in between. As young marrieds we didn’t have a garage with our first home so it became a must-have on our list of features for our next one. As we moved from house to house our garages evolved from an old farmhouse garage with a dirt floor designed for a horse and carriage to a luxurious 3-car studio and workshop. A friend has a garage so organized and decked out it’s fit for entertaining, ours is a basic one-car unit we use for storage and workshop. Come bad weather in the winter we pull in the car to protect it from snow or ice and it suits us just fine.If you’re inclined to make better use of the garage you have, here’s a link to garage projects in Garage Overhaul and How Much It Costs. The upgrades give you an idea of what’s involved and the price you’ll pay. No matter how practical or elaborate you make your garage the most challenging part of the job is getting rid of what’s there and organizing what’s left so you can find it. Good luck with that.To learn the cost of hundreds of home improvement projects and compare the price of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor, visit us at www.diyornot.com.

Categories
DIY Do it yourself September Home Maintenance

September Home Checklist

September may send the kids back to school and bring some cooler temperatures but it’s usually a month of transitions from summer to fall schedules and routines. The same is true for your caring for your home. This month there’s not that much heavy work required because the list of items deals mainly with cleaning, maintaining and inspecting systems to assure they’re in sound working order.

  • Replace air conditioner filter
  • Vacuum and clean baseboard heaters, returns and grates
  • Clean rugs and rotate for even wear
  • Inspect door and window hardware and mechanisms
  • Check fire extinguisher
  • Lubricate, test and clean sump pump in basement or crawl space
  • Lay in supply of firewood
  • Clear outdoor vent of lint build up in clothes dryer
  • Trim shrubbery away from siding
  • Maintain lawn and garden beds by watering, mowing and weeding

Find the cost of hundreds of home improvement repairs and upgrades at www.diyornot.com and compare how much it costs to do it yourself with hiring a contractor for the job.

Categories
DIY Do it yourself Plumbing repairs

Easy Plumbing Repairs

You’d be surprised at how easy some basic plumbing repairs can be and how much you will save by doing them yourself. We’re not talking major plumbing work that requires the skills and tools of a professional plumber, we’re suggesting need-to-know jobs you can complete without a big investment in tools and materials.

If you’re a homeowner these are life skills you’ll be glad you have that involve repairs and replacements in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry and basement that keep your water systems working, conserve water and prevent water damage. Even if there was no plumber in your family, there’s no reason you can’t learn these simple tasks a homeowner is called on to do. Plus you’ll enjoy saving money and the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

Goof-proof Plumbing Repairs

1. Save 74% and repair a toilet by replacing parts that over time wear out and deteriorate.

2. Insurance agents tell us there’s a lot of claims for water damage due to cracked washing machine hoses. Make this replacement and save 71% for your work.

3. Conserve water and still enjoy a refreshing shower with a new showerhead and pocket a 61% savings for making the swap.

4. If you’ve ever had a flooded basement you know how important it is to replace a sump pump that takes away the water . You’ll save 59% by making the replacement.

5. You can’t afford not to try unclogging a sink drain and save 84% before calling in a pro.

Compare the cost of hundreds of home repairs and improvements at www.diyornot.com.

Categories
Do it yourself Landscaping

Spring Yard Work

When warm weather arrives many of us feel a burst of energy to get outdoors and shake off being cooped up all winter. Being in the fresh air feels good so it’s an incentive to tidy up the yard and garden. Along with the yard and garden it’s the ideal time to take stock of the exterior of the house and property to see how it’s weathered the winter. Take a walk around the house and look for signs of damage and what needs repair.weathered the winter. Take a walk around the house and look for signs of damage and what needs repair.signs of damage and what needs repair.

Here’s a checklist of little or no skills required – jobs that
will keep your property looking its best.

Lawn and Garden
***Make a clean sweep of the property and remove fallen tree branches, twigs and debris. Use a rake and an old tarp to drag around and collect the debris and dispose of it.

***Give trees and shrubbery a good pruning and thinning to improve their overall health and appearance. Get advice from your local lawn and garden center.

***Pull weeds in garden beds and make a plan for adding new plants.
Give the lawn a dose of fertilizer and a good first cutting with a mower and trimmer looking for bare spots to fill in and weeds to pull.

***Use an edger to manicure the lawn and garden to separate flower beds from the lawn and keep creeping plants in their place.

House
***Sweep patios, decks and walkways and remove debris.
Use a power washer to clean patios, decks, kid’s outdoor equipment and any plastic or metal lawn furniture.

***Tune up the barbecue grill and lay in a supply of charcoal or propane so it’s ready to use.

***Get a bucket, heavy gloves and tall ladder to clean gutters and remove debris and dried leaves. Use a garden hose to flush them out and see that water runs to downspouts and into a splash block to keep water away from the foundation.

***When it’s raining, check out downspouts looking for any leaks and mark the leaks so you can fix them.

To find the cost of hundreds of improvement costs go to www.diyornot.com.

Categories
DIY Do it yourself remodeling

Should You Do It Yourself or NOT?

Here’s a look at which home improvement projects you should do yourself and which ones are best left to a pro.

DO IT YOURSELF
The best projects to do yourself fall into four categories: improvements that involve using inexpensive materials, grunt work that is repetitive and time-consuming, clean up projects and small jobs.

Inexpensive Materials
Painting is the most popular homeowner project because you’ll save more than half of what a contractor will charge and the paint and tools are inexpensive. Compared with $35 a roll wallpaper or pricey ceramic tile a gallon of paint costs $35. Painting lets you learn and practice on the job and if you make a mistake you can paint over it. Miscut wallpaper or tile isn’t so forgiving and it costs a lot more.

Grunt Work
A project like removing wallpaper is a no brainer and will save you a whopping 84 percent of what a contractor will charge. Another tedious but doable job is stripping varnish off dark paneling and you’ll pocket a 75 percent savings. These are good examples of projects a homeowner can tackle because they involve more time than talent and a low investment in tools.

Clean Up
Jobs like power washing a deck will save you almost half of what a cleaning service will charge because your only cost is renting a power washer, the same is true for cleaning carpeting. Outside yard maintenance – mowing, landscaping, overall cleanup work – is another example of you providing the labor, otherwise known as sweat equity.

Small Jobs
You may have no choice but to do a small jobs like repairing a torn window screen or installing a mini-blind because they’re considered a nuisance job to a contractor who can spend more time traveling to your house than actually doing the job.

DO NOT DO IT YOURSELF PROJECTS
Here’s some of the home improvement projects that are best left to a contractor despite how much you can save by tackling them. The projects fall into three categories: messy and disruptive, dangerous and license required.

Messy and Disruptive
If you’re a handy homeowner you’ll be tempted to tackle improvement projects that save you a lot of money, but here’s a word of caution. While you can save 76 percent by hanging wallboard, don’t. It’s a multi-step process you want to get done as quickly as possible to shorten the time your household is in disarray. And the drywall dust from sanding seems to permeate the entire house, it’s not pleasant. Thinking of refinishing your floors? Don’t be lured by saving 64 percent of what a floor refinisher will charge to sand and finish the floor either. The savings are not worth the inconvenience of emptying and storing all the furnishings of a room and the possibility of damaging the floor with the sander. Time is money and the faster these jobs are done, the better.

Dangerous
Roofing is definitely a job for a pro because it’s dangerous, difficult work. Just hauling heavy shingles up a ladder is strenuous even for the most physically fit. Despite the 45 percent saving use your talents and time to tackle projects closer to the ground.

Building Inspector Approval
Hire a licensed electrician or plumber for any work that your local building codes requires an inspection. A pro knows the requirements and has the skill, tools and experience to do the job. Even though you can save 44 percent by installing a surge protection device in your main circuit breaker, you’re better off hiring an electrician. Same is true of plumbing work. You may be able to save money and install a backup sump pump, but you probably don’t have the know-how. Any job that requires approval by a building inspector is best left to a pro.

Compare the DIY and contractor costs of hundreds of home improvements at www.diyornot.com.