Owning a home and maintaining it’s consistent need of repair and home security is an important job. Many homeowners are intimidated by the prospect of having to do repair work, assuming they don’t have the skills and will only make things worse. While some jobs are beyond the scope of an inexperienced DIYer, there are plenty of jobs that you can do yourself. If you cover these basics, you’ll have money left over to pay for the serious jobs when they come up, and your home will look and function better in the mean time. Add in some pride in doing these things yourself and it’s a perfect situation!
The simplest form of renovation or repair is a fresh coat of paint. While professional painters bring skills and experience to the job, there’s no reason you can’t handle small-scale paint jobs on your own. Paint color can be matched at any of your local hardware stores, and the staff there can help you figure out the finish of your paint at home. Once paint is selected and mixed, you need just a few basic tools: A roller, a pack of fresh roll covers, a square brush, a cut brush, a drop cloth, and some painter’s tape. Painting small jobs is more about taking your time than any special skill – tape off the edges to guard against slips, put a drop cloth down to protect the floor, and paint using either the roller for larger areas or the brush for smaller spaces. The cut brush is cut at an angle to use at the edges and around things like handles or other decorations.
2. Simple Plumbing
There are many simple fixes in the plumbing realm anyone can do. A leaking faucet wastes money and water. Changing a washer in your kitchen or bathroom faucet is as simple as turning off the water (the valve is usually behind or under the sink), using a screwdriver to pry up the headgear, a wrench to loosen the packing nut, and then removing the cartridge and replacing the worn washer with a new rubber one – they sell variety packs of washers at the hardware store so you can be sure of having one that fits. A leaking washing machine can also be simple to repair, before breaking down and calling the pros. Move the washer away from the wall, turn off the water supply, and purchase a new hose from the hardware store. Steel-braided hoses will last longer and often have leak-prevention valves built in to avoid future water damage. Unhooking the old hose and introducing the new one is a simple process that can often be accomplished by hand, without tools. You may need a good pair of pliers for stubborn hose connections.
3. Drywall repair
Both the easiest and most difficult repair job in your home – easy to do, difficult to make it look ‘finished.’ When you have a hole in the wall, determine how big it is. Nail or screw holes or other defects an inch wide or less can usually be filled in with joint compound, available in pre-mixed tubs at the hardware store. Just fill the hole in, let it dry for a day, then fill it again to make sure it’s flush with the wall. If the hole is larger, cut out a neat square of drywall with a small saw or utility knife and purchase a drywall patch. Put the patch in place and cover with joint compound. If the hole is larger than a patch can handle you may want to hire someone. When the joint compound has dried, sand it smooth with a drywall-specific sandpaper or sponge. This is the tricky part – you want the finished patch to be perfectly flush without exposing any of the repair work. If you sand too much, reapply joint compound and try again. Remember, often you can’t readily see uneven joint compound until you paint, so take your time.
These three skills will serve you well and save you money over the long haul. It would be a good idea for homeowners of any skill level to be able to do these three things.
About the Author: John Clow is a homeowner and director at Clow Group Ltd, the largest privately owned manufacturer of access equipment in the UK. The Clow Group have been manufacturing ladders for 100 years and are specialists in work at height ladder safety training. Connect with Jim and Ladders Direct on Twitter @Ladders_Direct.