Your Place: Spending is up on DIY home improvements

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

The Home Projects Council conducted a recent survey of 507 homeowners, and 45 percent said they planned to spend $1,000 or more on outdoor do-it-yourself home-improvement projects in 2015.

In 2014, just 37 percent of homeowners responding planned to spend at that level.

This yearís survey responses also showed that building projects would be increasing at a greater rate over last year than landscaping, repair and maintenance projects.

The top DIY construction project was building a shed or storage structure, followed by pouring a concrete patio, steps or sidewalk, the survey showed. Next in line were installing a garden pond or bird bath, and building a deck or porch, patio or walkway, the council said.

"While home maintenance projects remain a priority, homeowners are becoming more comfortable and confident with more involved and complex home improvement projects," said Frank Owens, vice president of marketing for Quikrete Cos. and a member of the council.

The survey found that the biggest factor preventing homeowners from attempting or completing an outdoor project was the expense, followed closely by the time required.

Knob and tube redux. Frank Messenger, who served as consultant on all things electrical for my second book in 2007, emailed me after my May 31 article on knob-and-tube wiring in homes for sale and the problems such listings are facing.

"The biggest problem with knob and tube is there is rarely a ground connection, making anything plugged into one of these circuits potentially hazardous," Messenger reminded me ó and now you.

Be prepared. Bad weather is never far away, so it is always time to prepare for that inevitability.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency website Ready.gov offers many tips for preparing for an emergency.

FEMA also offers a free app that is available for download on smartphones.

Itís hurricane season now. For information, visit FEMAís http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes.