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Maintenance DIY

April 2021

Q My pest control company has removed a beehive from my property.  However, the bees have not left, and the residents are complaining about bees inside their apartments. I have sealed every hole, crevasse and crack I can find, yet the bees still find a way of getting in. What is missing or are these bees just too smart?

A We have had a similar problem at one of our properties. We also sealed everything we could think of and still the bees found a way in. You may want to look at your roof vents that service the bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans. The bees come down the vent and go into the voids between the ceiling and roof. Most fan boxes are not sealed well below the fan blades. Once they are in the ceiling, it is easy for them to travel to different units, find a hole and drop down into the apartment’s living area. Because the bees may be discovered in an area far from the original entry point, it is hard to track down where they first came in. We now install screening at all bath and kitchen exhaust vent tubes. The material used is 1/8-inch square metal screening and is attached to the top of the vent tube at the roof level.  Be sure to extract the hive and any honey or you might not only continue to have a bee problem, but an ant issue, too.

Q. I want to update the kitchen countertops at my properties, but I am confused about which material will be best.  Can you review some of the more popular countertop surfaces available? 

A We are lucky today to have so many choices of countertop materials available. The four most popular materials are plastic laminate, granite, engineered stone and ceramic tile.

Plastic laminate, better known as Formica brand, is still the most popular choice for apartment countertops. This is because the choice in colors is almost unlimited and the ease of installation keeps the costs down. With proper care, plastic laminate will last for years; however, it can be easily scratched by knives or scorched by hot pots. Laminate countertops can be easily installed by the average handyman, DIY-er or contractor.

Granite countertops in the apartment industry are very popular, and with good reason: The cost of granite has come down to reasonable levels, and the upgraded look of a granite countertop is substantial. They are very tough and are resistant to staining, scratching and scorching. Granite countertops will need to be professionally installed and sealed periodically.

Engineered stone countertops are almost as popular as granite and are slightly more expensive than granite. Popular brands are DuPont and Silestone. Engineered stone countertops are composed of quartz particles and resins, and the surface is smooth, non-porous and scratch resistant. They require less maintenance than granite. Engineered stone countertops are not DIY friendly and will need professionally trained installers.

Ceramic tile countertops have been around almost as long as plastic laminate. They can be installed by the average handyman, DIY-er or contractor.  They are heat and stain resistant but do require periodic maintenance to keep the grout lines clean and sanitary.

From a management and maintenance prospective, we are finding granite countertops to be the top choice. The price difference between laminate and granite are close enough to warrant upgrading to granite. If you intend to hold onto your investment for a long time, granite will more than pay for itself.

Do you have DIY maintenance questions? Send them to [email protected].