Demo Day the Responsible Way
Thanks to HGTV, "Demo Day" is often thought of as the fun part of renovation and construction. Owners and celebrity reno stars wield sledgehammers and power tools while kicking down drywall, tearing out cabinets, and throwing building material from second-story windows. The carefree assault on a dated home makes demolition look easy and fun, but there is more skill and expertise involved than you might think.
If you're considering a DIY demo to save money before a renovation, make sure you know what you're getting into, and you are prepared for any problems that may arise.
Safety First: Ensure you have enough safety equipment — steel-toed work boots, safety glasses, hard hats, masks, and work gloves for everyone in your crew. Full coverage, snug-fitting shirts and pants provide protection from splinters, itchy fiberglass, and rusty-nail scratches. Keep a first aid kit handy, and make sure your phone is fully charged in the event of an emergency.
Hidden Hazards: Is there asbestos in your carpet padding or lead in the wall paint? If your home was built before 1978, there’s a good chance some paint in the home will contain lead. Asbestos is trickier – it’s been banned in some common building materials, but is still used in others. When in doubt, test flooring, walls, ceilings, and pipe wrappings before beginning work. The risks from asbestos arise when it is damaged or disturbed and the asbestos fibers become airborne, so wearing a proper respirator and following the correct procedures is crucial.
Work Smart: Does everyone involved know how to use power equipment and heavy tools like crowbars and sledgehammers? Each helper should be cognizant of what is happening around them when the swinging and smashing starts.
Secure The Site: Is the worksite safe? Shut off power when working on or close to electrical systems. Turn off the water main when plumbing is involved. Sites should be secured to keep kids, pets, thieves, and curious passers-by out. Make sure to display "No Trespassing" signs as well.
Plan For Success: Take a close look at the structure and materials to be demolished before you start anything physical. Which way do the joists run? Which walls are structural? Which walls have water lines, electrical wires, or gas lines behind them? Is there anything you want to protect and preserve? If you can't identify structural components, then you certainly shouldn't remove them. Consult a building professional (architect, engineer, contractor) before smashing into your walls, and check with your insurance broker to confirm you are covered for all liabilities before you begin.
Remember the big picture: These are just a few of the things you should consider before beginning a DIY demo. Every project is unique and comes with its own unique conditions and challenges. Take the time to talk to contractors, architects, interior designers, and real estate professionals to learn what should be done before you start, that way you don't end up demolishing your dreams and your budget!
Put Down Roots this Fall!
Spring is often thought of as the best time for planting, but planting in the fall can offer some significant advantages for your plants. Below are some reasons why fall is the best time for planting perennials, trees, and shrubs.
Perfect Planting Weather
The cooler weather of fall is easier for plants and gardeners alike. The ground isn't dry or frozen, and temperatures are mild and enjoyable. Your plants aren't stressed out by extreme conditions, so they acclimate to their new environment quicker. Plus, you can tend to them without excessive sweating or sunburn!
Flexibility and Rampant Roots
There is no need to rush to prevent plants from drying up in their containers or delay because the ground is too hot. You can plant whenever is convenient for you.
As for trees, planting them when they've lost their leaves is actually better because they won't have to exert energy growing leaves and can focus on growing roots. This is the biggest fall advantage - plants can grow better roots, which will allow for gorgeous foliage and blooms come springtime.
Lower Maintenance, Lower Bills
Cooler weather means less frequent watering. You can relax with more free time, a lower water bill, and the knowledge that your plant babies will not shrivel and roast in the heat of the day.
A good tip for planting in the fall is to water the plants in their pots a few hours before you transport them to their new homes. This lets them soak up water and be better prepared for planting. Pre-water the hole they'll be placed in as well.
Devise Your Plant Plan
Fall allows you to see sparse areas of your garden that need more foliage. It is the best time to plan out next year's garden and get a head start on planting. You'll know exactly how the other plants look at full bloom and how much space they take up, allowing you to add pops of color where you know you need it.
Gardening supplies are typically at their peak prices in spring, but prices drop in fall when shops need to clear space and some even close their business for the winter. Fall is a great time to shop for non-perishable supplies, seeds, and even some bulbs. You can often get gardening tools at discounted prices along with some fertilizers, netting, pebbles, and similar things. Watch out for sales on pots and containers too!