5 Misleading Home Improvement Habits


Home improvement definitely has its advantages and simple upgrades can easily add thousands of dollars to your home’s value. However, it is possible to overdo it. Here are some ways home improvement can be harmful to your home.

  1. Too much light. While lighting is obviously important, both for safety and comfort, using light bulbs (especially halogens or incandescents) that carry too much wattage can lead to overheating. Overheated light fixtures can potentially cause a fire, so always make sure to check the wattage capacity before installing new bulbs.
  2. Planting trees near paved areas. Curb appeal is certainly important and landscaping often adds the perfect touch. But before you plant trees around your walkway, driveway or other paved areas, you’ll want to make sure you know how they’ll develop. Growing and expanding roots can cause cracking, lifting and other safety hazards and/or eyesores that can distract from your overall appearance. If you’re going to line a walkway or driveway with trees, try to plant smaller ones and make sure to leave a 10-20 foot radius around it to protect your hardscaped areas.
  3. Using Glass Cleaner on Mirrors. Store-bought glass cleaner is a cheap and usually effective way to clean your mirrors and medicine cabinets. However, the “black edge” that you see around a mirror’s edge can be the result. Instead, use a damp soft cloth and then quickly wipe with a dry one. If you need a stronger solution, try spraying the commercial cleaner directly onto the cloth rather than the glass and be sure to avoid the mirror’s edges.
  4. Over-scrubbing a Sink. In order to maintain your sink with a scratch-free appearance, try to avoid using abrasive cleaners (cleaners that are made up of grit or grain). Instead, try a liquid cleanser, lemon juice or vinegar for everyday cleaning or even baking soda diluted with water for occasional light scrubbing.
  5. Fertilizing too Often. While we all hope to have colorful, lush landscaping (which may be particularly difficult in areas with watering restrictions!), too much fertilizer can actually have an unintended consequence…weeds! Crabgrass, Bermuda grass, annual bluegrass and weeds all erupt as a result of over fertilizing. And to add insult to injury, the EPA is concerned about nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from fertilizer which can lead to excess algae that pollutes local waterways. So maintain your yards by fertilizing only two-four times a year and try to use fertilizer that is primarily comprised of sulfur-coated urea, ureaform, IBDU (isobutylidene diurea) or controlled-release nitrogen which provide a steadier nutrient supply.