With the return of summer Fridays and a stockpile of unused vacation days, you might be ready to jet off to anywhere but home. But before you pack your bags, consider the long-term benefits of a staycation.
Twelve, 24, or 48 hours of extra free time in a long weekend provides all you need to re-energize, refuel, and recommit to that straggler project on your to-do list.
In fact, devoting your time off to tackling a highly anticipated home upgrade or a lengthier maintenance project can pay off all summer long. Squeeze any of these five summer projects into your time off, and every weekend to come will feel more relaxing.
Painting interior trim
While the weather is nice enough to air out paint fumes through open windows, breathe life into spaces that have grown stale with fresh color.
One way to get a whole-room update for a fraction of the effort: Zero in on the trim. Painting baseboards, chair rail, window trim, and crown molding in either complementary or contrasting tones to your walls really wakes up ordinary rooms and hallways.
Before you brush on your new color, cut the sheen of the old enamel with a liquid sanding product so that the new paint adheres well.
Apply two or three light coats of interior latex enamel paint, allowing a full day of drying time between each. For an ultra-smooth finish, buff lightly with micro-grit sandpaper and follow with tack cloth before each successive coat.
Building a backyard fire pit
A landscaping addition that extends outdoor hours by offering light and heat well into the evening is one you won’t regret — especially when it’s too easy to skip.
Your backyard fire pit doesn’t have to be a large, lavish model picked from a catalog to be entertaining. In fact, you can assemble an attractive one in just a day from a kit with no-cut blocks from your home improvement store.
Set the blocks end-to-end to form a perfect circle, then stack them two or three high and slip on an iron fire pit ring.
All that’s left to do is check your s’mores kit and round up spare seating. Ensure every guest gets a front-row spot by placing chairs a minimum of four feet away from the pit.
Resurfacing the concrete driveway
Concrete driveways are known for their durability, but years of use and exposure to the elements can leave them looking worse for all that wear.
If your driveway flakes or shows fine cracks, one sunny, 80-degree weekend spent resurfacing may help you avoid the cost and labor of completely replacing the hardscaping.
The most time-consuming part is the preparation, which includes a thorough pressure-washing and patching large cracks and holes.
Afterward, you’ll mix a resurfacing product to a semi-liquid form, apply with large squeegees, and then brush it for a consistent finish. Containing a polymer-based cement, a resurfacer forms a strong bond with the existing driveway and adds a layer of protection against future damage.
Just 24 hours later, you can pull cars back into your now like-new driveway.
Organizing the garage
If you can’t pull your car into the garage without bumping into lawn chairs and recycling bins, it’s time to create order out of chaos. Fortunately, these storage strategies take only a day to establish.
- Attach wall brackets to hold lawn tools and folding chairs.
- Install ceiling hooks to hang bicycles.
- Suspend shelves from above to store scrap project lumber and large plastic bins.
- Wherever there’s a blank wall, hang pegboard and a slew of hooks to sort out your small hand tools.
Most importantly, think in sections. Designate one area for gardening items, another for mechanic’s tools, and additional zones for various hobbies. That way, when you need something, you’ll be able to find it — and, after use, return it — quickly, leaving plenty of floor space open to park your car.
Replacing worn window screens
A soft breeze through the bedroom window can be most refreshing on a cool summer night — but not if mosquitoes buzz in with it. Confidently keep out unwanted insects without sealing yourself off from the best of summer weather by ensuring all windows, doors, and porches are free of ripped and sagging screens.
As long as the screen frames still in good shape, you can simply swap out worn or snagged mesh material. Remove the old rubber spline holding the screen in place, position new fiberglass screen fabric over the frame, and tuck a new rubber spline into the crevice using a special screen roller tool.
If you’re replacing screens on windows that face south or west, consider an upgrade while you’re at it: Choosing solar screen fabric filters out the sun’s rays, controlling heat and glare as well as providing UV protection.