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For many homeowners, hiring a contractor for repairs and upgrades is seen as the easier route versus completing the work personally. Some don’t consider themselves to be very handy, while others might not think they have the time. Quite a few projects can be done for significantly less money when completed DIY style and often aren’t the time commitment they’re assumed to be.
This guide will cover common home projects you can accomplish yourself, most of which can be finished in less than a weekend. We’ve included helpful resources and tips that will guide you through the process. Make sure you always reference the directions and manuals for any tools or products you use and when in doubt, consult a pro about your specific circumstances.
Dyeing A Carpet
Whether your carpet suffers discoloration from years of dirty shoe tracks or you’re simply looking for something new, dyeing your carpet can give you a fresh look without the giant cost of replacement. Depending on the area you’re looking to cover, this process could take most of a Saturday, or span a bigger chunk of the weekend for large rooms. Don’t forget to arrange any young children or pets who might be tempted to try to “help.” A sturdy baby gate can prevent unexpected visitors while still allowing ventilation.
Installing Tile Countertops, Backsplash
Tile is an excellent option for both kitchens and bathrooms because it’s easy to clean and maintain. It can also completely transform a room in need of a makeover and with its varying sizes, colors and mix-and-match options, tile can work with any color scheme. A matching backsplash is a great way to spice up that open space below kitchen cabinets or add a little extra pizzazz to a bathroom that doesn’t leave much space for décor.
Installing a tile countertop is somewhat time consuming and can be tedious, especially if you’re using small tiles over a large space. Be strategic when you can: if you’re dead-set on a small tile for a larger space, for example, consider incorporating large tile into the design to save yourself some time and frustration. Save this project for a completely open weekend so you have plenty of time and won’t have to rush. And don’t forget to let your partner know well in advance that the kitchen will be out of service for those couple of days; reminders throughout the week can’t hurt, either!
Installing A Tile Floor
Tile’s durability, easy care and versatility also make it an excellent option for flooring. Installing a tile floor is similar to the counter process, but typically a little simpler since you have more space to work and fewer special angles.
Never underestimate the need for knee pads and regular breaks when it comes to laying a floor. You might think you can tough it out, but your body will thank you if you go easy on yourself. Break up the project into sections, taking breaks in-between to get up, walk around and give your back a good stretch.
Reroofing A Shed
It’s easy to put off repairing your shed’s roof since you probably don’t spend regular time there, but worn out shingles can lead to leaks and, in turn, damaged tools. Even if you don’t use the shed for much, neglecting the roof can cause major structural issues that can cost you big bucks down the line.
Aim for a weekend that’s dry. If it’s rained in the past few days, the ground may still be wet and affect your ladder and the roof itself might be slippery. Pay attention to the wind, as well, to avoid losing your balance in a surprise gust. Make sure there’s someone either at home or a neighbor nearby who knows what you’ll be working on. Since you’ll be working at a height, it’s important to take precautions in case you do fall.
Are you constantly grumbling about a lack of storage space? Does your home have only a few small closets? Install shelving to maximize the space!
Out of display space for your family photos? Are your walls looking a little barren? Install floating shelves for a unique and practical way to spruce up wall space. They can even be a solution to cluttered laundry areas.
Health and beauty products taking over every inch of your bathroom? You can even add shelving to tile walls for maximized storage space!
Patching & Repairing Dry Wall
Perhaps your house is somewhat of a fixer-upper, or maybe a heavy piece of art recently destroyed a big chunk of the wall. Regardless of how it happens, walls get damaged and need to be patched. It’s an especially rewarding process if you have multiple areas around the house that need fixed, it’s simple and typically doesn’t take very long, but it can take a room from looking beaten up to polished.
Keep these tips in mind and don’t hesitate to step back and re-evaluate if a patch seems more complex than expected. Keep in mind that you’ll need to paint over all the spots that you fix, so you may need to have multiple colors of paint ready if you’re doing a house-wide repair!
Installing A Ceiling Fan
In addition to ceiling fans being a low-cost, efficient way of cooling and circulating the air around your home, they’re a great lighting option and come in every style from modern to traditional.
If your budget limited you from buying a more lavish style, spruce it up yourself with some paint or unique accents. Even old ceiling fans can be made charming again with just a few modifications, making them both practical and stylish.
Installing New Cabinets
Adding or replacing cabinets can completely transform a space, whether the need is for better function or an updated look. Doing the installation on your own can be somewhat time-consuming, but it can save you quite a bit of money.
Keep in mind this process will call for all the old cabinets to be emptied, their contents stored, then relocated once the new cabinets are installed. You’ll want to keep the little ones and pets out of the work zone, but make it a family project to replace items on the shelves. Everyone will immediately learn of any changes, if the bowls now go above the sink, for instance and the process will go a lot faster. You can even order some pizza and invite some friends to help!
Installing A Toilet
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It may not be an incredibly common project, but replacing the toilet in a fixer-upper or any home with somewhat outdated appliances can make all the difference. The process itself shouldn’t take you much more than a morning or afternoon, but keep in mind you’ll need to have a disposal plan for the old toilet.
There likely won’t be room to have someone helping you with every step, but consider having someone nearby to hand you tools. You’ll need to work at some awkward angles to get the job done and the last thing you want is to be reaching blindly for your next gadget.
Installing Hardwood Floors
Just about any space can be elevated with beautiful hardwood floor. The installation process is somewhat on the more advanced side and it’s definitely easier with a partner. But hardwood can get expensive and the numbers only grow the larger the space. Saving on installation costs can give you extra money to work with.
Installing Laminate Floors
Laminate comes in so many varieties that it has quickly become the go-to for home remodels. The size and duration of this project depends largely on the space you’ll be working on and the kind of flooring already in place. If it’s carpeting, don’t forget to wear safety gloves, goggles and a mask during removal. Plan ahead to figure out where you’ll take the old carpeting so you’re not scrambling to get rid of it and delaying your project.
Staining The Deck
Outdoor spaces are often the last to get remodeled, but even a basic touch like staining can make a big impact. Staining the deck requires some prep work you’ll need to account for, some of which you can even do early like moving all the furniture and plants, for example.
This is another project that will require you to keep an eye on the forecast. Look for clear skies and dry weather for the day you’ll be working and the next few afterward to give it ample time to dry.
Fixing Window Screen
Screening is a great way to keep the bugs at bay and add wind resistance to the porch, but they see quite a bit of wear and tear. Often, it’s following a nasty storm, so not only are pros likely booked up, they could have increased their rates dramatically due to demand.
Repairing a screen is simple and fast and it can make a major difference in the curb appeal of a home. It’s a great beginner’s project to work on with your child or partner, too!
Laying A Flagstone Path
Stone paths are a beautiful accent to any yard and an easy way to add value to your home. Creating a path can lead your guests directly to your outdoor seating area, through the beautiful colors of your flower garden, or line the edge of your backyard pond. Be sure to consider the walking abilities of your children and adjust the design so it doesn’t become a tripping hazard; for example, elevated, widely-spaced paths might be hard for toddlers to navigate, especially if the stone itself is textured.
Remember, there’s no shame in calling in a pro if you discover you’re in over your head, it’s better to get help now than face major repairs later. If you’re a beginner, start with smaller projects and work your way up to harder tasks. You’ve got your whole life and plenty of home repairs ahead of you to hone your skills!