When home improvements go bad: Six maintenance projects to avoid

by | Apr 27, 2016 | Blog, Home & Lifestyle, Remodeling / Do-It-Yourself Projects

21043918_sIt’s important to stay on top of home maintenance. That’s a statement we can all agree on.

But here’s a surprise: While it’s true that homeowners need to remain vigilant in order to keep their homes in top condition, there are some home maintenance habits that do more harm than good.

In fact, This Old House recently listed the following “home improvement” habits you’d do best to avoid:

Planting trees near driveways and sidewalks: There’s no question that trees can enhance your home’s curb appeal, but if you plant young trees near cement areas, the roots can eventually grow beneath the cement, causing it to rise and crack. This Old House suggests planting small trees (those that won’t grow to more than 20 feet) at least 10 feet from paved areas; larger trees, at least 20 feet away.

Scrubbing a sink with abrasive cleaners: Overscrubbing can dull the finish and lead to detritus sticking to the sink. Use abrasive cleaners sparingly and opt more often for liquid cleanser, such as vinegar or lemon juice, instead.

Using too much mulch: “Over-mulching will suffocate plants, confuse their root systems, and prevent water from percolating into the soil,” warns This Old House. Keep mulch no deeper than 3 inches.

Using glass cleaner on mirrors: Glass cleaner sprayed near a mirror’s edge can compromise the mirror’s reflective backing. Ammonia- or vinegar-based cleaners can also cause a black edge around the mirror. Use warm water and a soft, lint-free cloth instead.

Over-painting: Painting can work wonders on the look of a room. But if you’re painting layer upon layer of new coats, particularly in older homes, the paint will eventually appear thick and may be prone to cracking or peeling. Take care not to overdo it.

Over-fertilizing: Too much fertilizer can cause weeds to grow and pollute local waterways. Experts often recommend limiting lawn fertilizing to twice a year, in late summer and fall.

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