Exterior Care and Maintenance Part 1

Most commercial landscapers use sod to establish a lawn after a building has been completed. Many new homes are left with a barren landscape that the homeowner must tend to. Laying sod is much more effective than planting grass seed. The seeds are often eaten or scorched by the sun and require multiple plantings that lead to unprofessional results. Laying sod is a faster and more effective way to get your lawn started. Sod is tender and must be cared for with dedication, but you will have a plush, full lawn after a few months of work.

Watering Your Sod

Sod should be watered at least 4 hours per day (2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening) for the first two weeks unless there is sufficient rainfall. Each time you water you should give the new sod approximately 3/4″ of water. A good way to measure how much water you are giving the area is to place an empty tuna fish can or anything flat that can hold water and turn your sprinkler on. When the water reaches the top of the tuna fish can or the equivalent on another container you will know how long to run your water for. Most people overestimate the amount of time they are actually watering so if your sod starts turning brown after the second day of watering, you may need to reassess your watering time. You also don’t want to overwater, so cut back if you get standing water. Continue to water at this rate for approximately 12 days or until the grass takes root.


Mowing Your Sod

Let your sod grow for at least two weeks before mowing. Mow the new grass at the highest blade setting.


Fertilizing Your Sod

Sod needs to be fertilized within two weeks with a 100% organic fertilizer. The most common types of organic fertilizer are ironite and milorganite and they can be purchased at any home improvement store. Do not use a chemical fertilizer until the sod has rooted into the ground. Chemical fertilizers can burn the roots of the sod, killing it. After initial fertilization, use 16-4-8 fertilizer a recommended rate in March and September. During the summer use only an organic fertilizer such as those listed above.


Keeping Your Sod Healthy

During the late spring, summer and early fall we require that you put fungus control on your new St. Augustine grass. We can almost guarantee that it will get fungus and we feel it is better to pretreat (but this will not completely prevent) then to potentially lose your new grass because of it. We recommend Scotts Lawn Fungus Control because it is a granule and will stay around longer than a liquid.

If you still experience fungus problems after repeated treatments, especially in saturated areas, you should consult a company to come out that can spray using higher strength fungicide. Do not let the fungus go: you can lose your entire lawn!

St. Paul Inspections Delay Projects – A Letter to Mayor Coleman and the Council

Mayor Coleman & Ward Council Members,

I am a business owner in St. Paul and we are being forced to lay off our workers and leave our clients without working bathrooms while we wait for electrical inspections.  We are running into major delays with scheduling electrical inspections in St. Paul and this is causing our projects to screech to a stop while we wait two plus weeks for electric inspections.  Last Wednesday after several days of calling, our electrician finally reached some one and was able to schedule several inspections for September 9th.  Electrical inspections are booked out about 2.5-3 weeks and building inspections are booked out over a week currently and this time frame is very difficult to work with especially on small projects like bathroom remodeling projects.  On small projects we only have one work of week before needing our first building and electrical inspections.  Every other municipality can normally schedule inspections with 24-48 hours advanced notice.  

As one the largest design/build remodelers in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and currently are in the process of remodeling approximately 10 homes in St. Paul and have quite a few more in the design process that are scheduled to start building soon.  Because of these delays on several projects we are going to be forced to lay off our workers and send them home until the 9th and will miss our guaranteed completion dates which will cost Castle $40 per day per project.  Some of our clients only have one bathroom and depend on Castle to quickly remodel their bathrooms so their life can get back to normal. 

Please help.  I would strongly encourage hiring more electrical inspectors, authorizing overtime, reallocating inspectors, or hiring outside support from the state temporarily to help alleviate the backlog of inspections scheduled.  Alternatively in the past we have been allowed to take photographs of our work and email it to inspectors for approval.  Minneapolis charges twice as much for permits and I would gladly pay more for a permit if we could get better quicker service. The remodeling market is regaining strength and we need your support to help us continue to perform efficiently and gain momentum.   

PS –  I would like to do what I can to help and would consider joining the Business Advisory Committee if I am eligible. 

Loren Schirber

 Owner/Business Manager

362 Snelling Ave. S

St. Paul, MN 55105

Castle Goes to the Fair

Castle Team Members Mark Benzell, Troy Sinykin, and owner Loren Schirber will be volunteering at the  Minnesota GreenStar booth in the Eco Experience.  If you are at the fair we encourage you to check out the Eco Experience find out more about MN GreenStar certification for your remodeling project and say hi.   Team Member Mark Benzell recently finishedCastle’s second MN GreenStar certified remodeling project. 

Typical Project Costs on Castle Website and Financing (or not financing)

One of our missions at Castle Building & Remodeling is to help educate the public about remodeling.  One area of the remodeling industry that is particularly murky and tough to navigate is typical project costs.  Almost daily we receive a call that starts with “We are really early in the process and don’t want to waste your time but we are trying to figure out about how much it will cost if we do ……. to our home”.   Castle Building & Remodeling is proud to roll out a new Project Costs section on our website, designed to answer this question for about 50 of our most common projects.  Each project type has a page that looks like this and is linked to a PDF with a breakdown on project costs by category of work. 

We have also added a page about Financing options Castle offers and a link to resources that provide low interest loans, rebates, and other incentives to remodel.  Interestingly we are seeing a pronounced shift in attitudes away from financing and are seeing a return to the desire to pay cash for home improvements or repairs.  We are still seeing clients who want to do things right and that will last (which can cost more), and then sometimes we are seeing them utilize a credit card to help stretch their budget (or maybe it is just the rewards points they are after).   

Whether you need more info on project costs or financing options offered, please give us a call at 612-789-8509 in Minneapolis or 651-699-4164 in St. Paul.

5th Annual All Northeast School BBQ on August 25th…

Castle’s owner, Loren Schirber had an interesting conversation recently with Kurt Nowacki of Rock Solid Companies, when Kurt approached him about co-sponsoring the 5th Annual All Northeast Community School BBQ.

It was great to hear how Northeast schools, businesses and organizations like PEN and the Edison Community & Sports Foundation are working together on the BBQ.   This Community BBQ will be held at Thomas Edison High School from 3pm to 8pm on August 25th, making it an easy dinner plan since its Open House night!  Everyone is invited!

Castle’s philosophy is that without good schools in our communities, families leave the area preventing continued community growth in local businesses and other aspects of the community. Our schools are a very important part of our community and Castle Building & Remodeling is proud to be a sponsor of the event!

Mark your calendars…we’ll see you on August 25th!