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June 6, 2012

Bob Vila’s “Must-Do” Projects for May

Syndicated — May is that in-between month - that time of year when we adjust to the unpredictable nature of spring and get ready to welcome summer with its longer days, warmer temperatures, and unlimited opportunities for outdoor enjoyment.

Being a month defined by transition, May is an ideal time to take care of basic maintenance inside and outside the house. Better to find out now that you have a faulty air conditioner, roof leak, or deck in need of refinishing than to later disrupt the more pleasurable pursuits of summer.

Here are my five top "must-dos" for the month of May:

1. SEAL YOUR DRIVEWAY

We all know that winter has a way of taking its toll on the exterior of the house, but don't overlook the driveway. Damage from the sun, oil and gas spills, rain, wind and fluctuations in temperature all contribute to the breakdown of asphalt over time. As water permeates cracks in the material, it can settle down at the base and compromise the asphalt composition. Cracks filled with water can also freeze, causing expansion in winter and grass outgrowths in summer.

If you haven't sealed your driveway in the past two years, do it now to preserve its good looks and durability. And don't be afraid to tackle the job yourself. It is the perfect DIY weekend project (provided you choose a weekend with no rain in the forecast). Here's how:

Step 1: Prepare the surface. If there are gas and oil spills, clean them with a mild detergent (not doing so will only result in the stains "bleeding" through the sealer). Remove any grass that might be growing in cracks and use an edge trimmer to reduce grass along driveway edges. Repair cracks and fissures with a crack sealer or patch compound. Use a broom to sweep the driveway clean of dirt and hose it down with water. Let dry for 24 hours.

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