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Home Improvement Month Projects

MILLS RIVER, NC - Now is the time for homeowners to roll up their sleeves and tackle Spring projects around the home. Designated as Home Improvement Month, May is when homeowners can take a good look at the interior and exterior of their homes to determine what will be "we can tackle that" projects versus "let's hire a professional" projects.

On the exterior of the house, roofing, siding, windows and door replacements may all need the help of professionals. DIY projects can include new shutters, millwork, trim and landscaping. Moving inside, new cabinetry and flooring may require professional assistance, while painting, moulding replacements and simply plumbing can be done by homeowners as weekend projects.

When To Hire a Professional
"Some projects, like replacing an old asphalt shingle or cedar shake roof, require expertise and should be left to the professionals," says Tim Gentry, vice president of DaVinci Roofscapes. "There are very specific measurements, underlayment applications and safety precautions that go into reroofing a home. Plus, it usually takes a team of installers to complete a re-roofing project as opposed to just a one or two people."

Gentry, a longtime professional roofer who now works with a synthetic shake and slate roofing manufacturer, recommends the role of the homeowner for a roofing projects is to do research and make decisions. "In a homeowner's lifetime they may have to get involved in just one or maybe two reroofing projects," says Gentry. "The best thing the homeowner can do is research their roofing options, carefully choose a roofer with good credentials, learn about the product's warranty and select a roof that complements their home style. After that, they should leave it to the professionals to go up on the roof and do the actual installation work."

Another area of the home where people should rely on professionals is the garage door. "Start by talking to a professional dealer to find out what's new and available," says Jeff Nofziger, president of Haas Door. "There are a lot of new choices in the past few years and they can assist you with style, color, window and R-value options. We also recommend that a professional door installer measures, orders and installs the garage doors to guarantee the right fit and function."

DIY Successes
So when can a homeowner safely "get their hands dirty" with home improvement projects? The basic rule of thumb is that when they have knowledge to safely tackle the project.

"Once the winter weather has passed homeowners can evaluate if their exterior wood trim, millwork or shutters are damaged, warped or split," says Randy Miller with Nu-Wood. "If porch posts, columns or other wood trim products appear compromised, a handy homeowner can easily go in and replace those items with lightweight, low-maintenance polyurethane pieces.

"To speed up the success of the project, polyurethane pieces can be ordered painted in the factory through a Classic Color Program. That means they arrive ready to install right out of the box with simple tools and millwork adhesive. These projects are definitely DIY-friendly."

Another "can-do" project for homeowners is the installation of a decorative glass privacy window in the home. "Weekend warrior DIYers can easily gain accurate window measurements, order and purchase a window and then install it themselves," says Roger Murphy, president of Hy-Lite, a U.S. Block Windows Company. "Most home improvement retailers offer both fixed and operable decorative glass windows that can help add privacy to any room in the home. This is a home improvement project that provides a great deal of satisfaction, along with decorative style, to a home."

For homeowners with a working knowledge of plumbing, replacing a toilet may also be an easy-to-tackle project.

"Replacing an older, inefficient toilet with a Water Sense high-efficiency toilet is such a smart investment," says Adriana Miller, product manager at Mansfield Plumbing. "Homeowners can gain an efficient waste removal system while saving money on water bills by installing a new toilet. There are step-by-step instructions and videos that make this a fairly easy project for a DIYer."

Additional DIY Spring home improvement projects on the interior of the home can include repainting rooms and interior trim work, cleaning and replacing window screens, replacing air filters on HVAC systems and adding tile backdrops to countertop areas.