When it comes to maintenance and repairs, professional labor can often be one of the more costly parts of a homeowner's budget. While many people will opt to save some cash by doing much of the handiwork themselves, not everyone possesses the skills necessary to fix their own homes—even with the help of instructional online videos. Attempting a DIY project without careful preparation and a complete knowledge of the task at hand could actually result in expenses that far exceed the cost of a contractor. Even if you have the experience and know-how, it’s important to consider the time, materials, tools, and permits required for your home improvement project. So, how do you know which projects you can tackle yourself and which you should leave to the experts? We contacted a few professionals to find out.
1)Fixing a Leaky Kitchen or Bathroom Pipe
A DIY fix for a drain pipe may be simply tightening a slip-nut near the P-Trap. If the leak is directly from a hole in the drain pipe, a DIY fix would be a flexible coupling with hose clamps. If the leak is from a drain pipe inside the wall, consider calling a professional.
2)Fixing a Clogged Garbage Disposal
A clogged disposal may be cleared by using a small specialty wrench that fits into a hexagonal opening on the underside of the disposal while the disposal is turned off. You may want to call a professional if this method doesn’t clear the stoppage.
3)Replacing a Faucet
A centerset type faucet is a good DIY job—just follow the faucet manufacturer's installation instructions. A more complicated, wide-spread type of faucet with various hose connections on the underside, however, would be best handled by a professional.
4)Fix a Running Toilet
A running toilet can be comfortably fixed by a DIY-er with a toilet rebuild kit (like this one from Home Depot) from any hardware or big box store. These kits typically contain straightforward and easy-to-follow instructions. If you have a one-piece or specialty toilet, these can be tricky and might need the professional touch.
5)Adding Chimes to Your Doorbell
If you are interested in changing the sound your doorbell makes, consider adding chimes to your existing doorbell system. It is a low-voltage project that doesn’t require the know-how of the pros.
6)Patching a Hole in Drywall
Nearly any homeowner can patch nail holes. Filling unsightly nail holes is an easy way to make old drywall look new. Using a spackle knife, fill in each hole with lightweight putty and scrape the excess off the walls. Wait for the putty to dry and sand the spot down until it’s smooth. Then, paint the repaired spots with a primer. For larger holes in the drywall, cutting, replacing, mudding, taping, and sanding is required and should be reserved for a professional to ensure the seams are undetectable once covered with paint.
Clogged gutters can cause water to pool around the house, leak into the basement, and seep under siding causing some major mold and rot issues.To prevent this kind of water damage, leaves should be cleaned out of gutters every spring and fall. For single-story homes with level grounding around the foundation and an experienced ladder climber—go ahead and handle the task yourself. We recommend doing this project when someone else is there to hold the ladder still and help. If you aren’t up for the challenge of moving or steadily climbing up and down a ladder and clearing debris, then hire someone to complete this important task.
This common household fix can be done by a homeowner who is comfortable with DIY projects. The surface of tile grout is porous, so dirt can get trapped in cracked grout, which leads to discoloration and further damage.
The first step in repairing grout is to choose the right one. Grout choices consist of four different types: sanded, unsanded, acrylic latex, or epoxy. Measure the space between your tiles to figure out which type of grout you should use. If the space between the tiles is less than 1/8-inch, use an unsanded, acrylic, or epoxy grout. If the grout space is larger than 1/8-inch, it is suggested that you use a sanded grout. Also, don’t forget to match the grout color before making your final purchase! The next step is to clean the grouted area. Next, use a grout saw to remove any damaged grout and then dampen the joints with a wet rag. Mix the grout according to the manufacturer’s directions and begin grouting the tile. It is important to fill all the joints completely and smooth over the surface with a damp sponge to remove excess grout. Allow the grout to set firmly and then clean with a damp rag.