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HOME IMPROVEMENT GUIDE: Spring Do-It-Yourself or contractor to the rescue? Home projects might require expert touch

Spring inspires new projects and new beginnings, especially on the home front. Whether cleaning out junk drawers, closets, or replacing bathroom tiles, spring tis the season of home improvement.

However, area contractors warn that although visions of grandeur including sparkling granite and smooth stone tile upgrades in the shower entice any ambitious Do-It-Yourself homeowner, help from a level-headed expert could eliminate potential disasters.

So, how do you know when do-it-yourself could turn into need-your-helpfast?

“Usually manageable DIY projects include painting, changing door handles or replacing simple light fi xtures,” said David Crane of Crane Builders, LLC. However, more complicated and labor-intensive projects might require the expertise of a contractor. “If you need more than two or three subcontractors to complete a job, then you probably need a contractor,” said Crane.

Usually a qualifi ed professional is needed to coordinate the different trades to oversee the project, especially when unforeseen issues arise Crane said.

“There is usually a trickle down effect. You plan on replacing bathroom tiles, but you run into other tasks that need to be done such as taking out the toilet to put in the tiles, upgrading faucets and replacing valves inside the walls for example,” he said.

Simple projects such as light fi xtures can also turn in a laborious undertaking.

“The more in depth you get with electrical outlets, the more dangerous, so you probably wouldn’t want to undertake such a project unless you are experienced and have done it before,” Crane said.

“A lot of people get into the middle of a project and get into the traps of ‘I’m doing this, so I might as well do that,’ which can lead to greater expenses and greater skill level,” he said.

This season, Crane said that many homeowners are planning to build, renovate, or spruce up many different areas of their home including outdoor living spaces, kitchens, bathrooms and master suites.

“Before starting a project, research and planning can go a long way,” Crane said. “Find someone who is the most competent in an area of expertise and build a solid foundation to move forward for a successful project.”

Coax your lawn into a thick green carpet

Even with the concern about the use of herbicides and pesticides, you can still transform your lawn from looking tired-and-tatty into the outdoor oasis you’ve always wanted. Some techniques for lawn care are tried-and-true -- and others are brand new.

Additional quick tips for a fl awless green turf include these steps: Aerate: A lawn needs air, so do rake away the leaves, twigs and debris. Or, take it a step further at the roots with ‘core aeration’ for stronger, longer growth to underground rainwater.

Fertilize: Follow gardening advice and feed the lawn with nutrients four times yearly: two in spring, and two in fall.

Patch Repair: Fix bare spots by ‘overseeding’, a process of planting grass seed directly into the soil of an existing lawn. First, rake, aerate, and cut the grass short; on patchy spots spread a moist layer of lawn soil; disseminate grass seed over the soil; water and keep moist for several weeks while the new grass grows.

Weed control: Use an approved herbicide spray that is formulated to target the weeds without killing the grass.

Posted on: 4/4/2013


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