Can We Repair It? We Reply Your Dwelling Enchancment Questions


More time at home over the past 17 months means more time noticing what is wrong or can be updated in your area.

But these improvement tasks can be tricky, and while some can be done on your own, it never hurts to have a helping hand out for a second opinion.

Robert Robillard of “A Concord Carpenter” and Jennifer Nawada, landscaper for the show “This Old House” and owner of Nawada Landscape Designers Inc., talk to us about everything to do with home improvement and gardening. We also take questions from listeners about past and future projects.

Interview highlights

Robillard on supply chain issues affecting home improvement availability

“I think there are many reasons. Some of the most obvious reasons were initially during the winter when we were freezing and Texas was affected. We saw dramatic drops in the spray foam, everything that contained the chemicals of that chemical. ”Because the pipes were frozen after they ran out of emergency gas on their generators [shortages in] Spray foam, solvents, paints, stuff like that … COVID was causing problems with shipping and deliveries. I also think people left the business, people retired. And I also know that some of the factories that made some of the carpentry and renovation supplies for me have closed several times, you know if they closed during COVID or because they had COVID, they had to close down for whatever . Things have just been secured. “

Nawada, how to keep rabbits and other living things from eating your plants

“A dense web will make it easier for them to get in because it will be easier to walk. I think if it is a looser web, tie it back a little, it will be harder to get through. Creatures are tough to control and rabbits are in.” Out of control now, rabbits and chipmunks. So, I mean, putting in a close-mesh garden fence is really the best bet. “

Robillard on the growing shortage of contractors and similar professionals

“There’s a huge skill gap right now. I mean, I’m pretty passionate about it. I write about it on my blog, and I’ve talked about it in some of our videos, and I’ve been an advisory board member at Minuteman Tech there So for every five contractors currently retiring, we have a replacement and the average age of contractors in the industry is 55. So that’s not a good sign. I mean, for years and decades and decades and decades have parents Done that – and this is likely to create a big debate or argument – but parents fooled the professions: “You have to go to college, you have to go to college. You won’t do anything with your life. “And that’s not always the case. And there is a lot of money and there are great careers in the trade. But for three or four decades it has been someone like that in the trades.”

Nawada on trends in residential projects

“I’ve never seen so many requests for swimming pools, plunge pools, dumpsters. People want to stay home and have their own entertainment area.

Yes, [dumpster pools are] a new thing: take old rubbish bins and put them in the ground. There are many codes that work around this. But the pools were huge, as were the plunge pools. These are pre-built pools that you simply drop into a leveled hole or just your regular old-fashioned 20×40 pool. [Pool] Companies are fully booked until 2022. “

Nawada, where to start if you don’t have a green thumb

“I often say container gardeners because it is self-contained. It could be on your deck, it could be closer to you. Sometimes people are afraid to go into their own garden. If you start with a small area, you’re building away from that. Over COVID, a lot of people have started growing vegetable gardens like two by six raised beds. And I say raised beds because you have to know what kind of soil is in them, because you don’t want contaminated soil. So organic soil, reared up, but start with maybe five plants and see how you’re doing. Honestly, just put it in the ground and it will grow. Water them and then you will surprise yourself. And then it’s a whole new life cycle, a whole new beginning, a mindset and something encouraging. “

Robillard on easy DIY projects to try this summer

“Painting is probably one of the easier things, isn’t it? I think another fun thing is the paneling, or what I would call artificial paneling, where you make some kind of astragalus ledge and put it proportionally against a wall and make it look like a chair – rail look, that’s always fun. “