Home maintenance can be a fulfilling and cost-effective endeavor for homeowners. The satisfaction of fixing a leaky faucet or repainting a room is unmatched. However, it’s essential to understand our limits to avoid causing more harm than good. Here’s a guide to help you determine which jobs you can tackle yourself and when it might be best to call in the experts.
Jobs You Can Do Yourself
- Painting: Whether you’re looking to refresh an old room a new coat of paint can make a big difference, and a painting is a task most homeowners can manage. Make sure to prepare for it properly: choose a right roller and a good brush for making a clean cut along the ceiling and trim, choose the paint with the right finish for the room, repair all holes in drywall and smooth out the patches – take your time, because the result will be a direct reflection of this prep effort too.
- Basic Plumbing: Clearing minor clogs in sinks or replacing a worn-out washer in a faucet are tasks you can often handle with some research and patience. If you are changing a leaky bathroom faucet, choose the one with a pop-up drain cover in the lit rather than a pull-up wand, the latter configuration causes a lot of frustration to homeowners as it disconnects very often with time of use.
- Gardening and Lawn Care: Planting flowers, mowing the lawn, and basic landscaping are activities that not only enhance the environment of your home but can also be therapeutic and very satisfying to see the living beauty you created.
- Caulking and Sealing: Whether it’s in the bathroom or around windows, re-caulking can prevent leaks and drafts. If you need to remove an old cracked caulking, soak it in a silicon-removing solution sold in your local hardware store and then use a good utility knife to separate it from the surface it is on. It’s easy-peasy. For a smooth application of the new caulking line – make a medium hole in the tube (if you are using a tube), apply with even pressure, and then use a smooth clean wet shop towel wrapped tightly around the finger to soothe out a freshly applied line. If you are applying caulking along the drywall, make sure it is a paintable kind, so that you can do the paint touch-up around it and the job will be perfect.
- Hanging Pictures and Shelves: With a level, measuring tape, and some anchors, you can hang décor shelving. Anchors have weight-bearing capacity, so check this specification when choosing them in the store and make sure they are good for the weight of the fixture including its potential load (for example a shelf with an approximate weight of what it is going to hold).
- Changing Light Bulbs and Ceiling Lights: Before you start, always identify the designated breaker for the location of the fixture, turn it off, and test that you turned off the correct breaker. Ensure you have the right type of bulb for each fixture.
- Cleaning Gutters: It’s a slightly messy job, but with a ladder and the proper safety precautions, it’s doable.
When to Call a Specialist
- Electrical Work: Beyond changing a light bulb and existing basic fixture, electrical tasks can be hazardous. If you need to rewire, install new outlets, or handle complex fixtures, you need to call an electrician. If you install a GFI outlet as part of your bathroom remodeling project, a licensed electrician will make sure the wiring is up to code and you are truly protected. As bathroom specialists, we always engage our licensed electrician to do all electrical work for our bathroom renovation projects.
- Major Plumbing Issues: For bigger tasks like a major bathroom renovation, pipe burst, sewage backup, or the installation of new plumbing fixtures, a licensed plumber is the best for the job. A beautiful, newly renovated bathroom can quickly turn into a nightmare and a costly mistake if fundamental plumbing is done incorrectly. A reputable bathroom renovation contractor will always use a licensed plumber for his customer’s projects. You may think you are saving money by hiring a handyman or even trying to fix things by yourself, but in reality is that you will be running a risk of flood and water damage. Often the entire job may need to be gutted and re-done. With an uninsured, unlicensed handyman you may end up paying for these damages out of your own pocket. A reputable company and licensed plumbers offer their warranty and insurance for your peace of mind.
- Roofing: Roof repairs or replacements require specific expertise and safety precautions. It’s not worth the risk to DIY.
- Structural Changes: If you’re considering knocking down a wall or altering your home’s layout, it’s essential to consult an expert – structural engineer and obtain the proper report to ensure it’s not load-bearing or hiding crucial utilities. Sometimes architectural input is needed too if relocation of structural support is involved. The city also requires you to obtain a permit for such work.
- Gas Appliances: Any tasks related to gas – whether it’s a stove, furnace, or water heater – should be left to professionals due to the risk of leaks or explosions.
- Pest Infestations: For more significant infestations, especially rodents or wildlife, a pest control expert will have to examine the property to find all possible entry points and seal them, and also safely remove any animal that might be trapped in the house. For that, a specialist will have the proper tools and techniques.
- HVAC Systems: Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are complex. If something isn’t working, a technician can diagnose and remedy the problem safely.
While there are numerous tasks around the house that homeowners can tackle themselves, it’s vital to recognize when bringing in a specialist is both safer and more effective. When in doubt, always consult a home renovation expert. The peace of mind and assurance of a job well done are worth it.