How to Do Your Own Home Repairs

Calling a contractor to perform repair work on your home, whether large or small, can get expensive very quickly. This is why it pays to learn how to do your own home repairs. By tackling the smaller jobs yourself, you can save a significant amount of money - money you can set aside for large or urgent repairs. Repairing your home yourself is mostly a matter of preparation and knowledge. The guide below will cover some of the key considerations when setting out to handle minor home repairs yourself.


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    Build a small home repair reference library. The crucial first step in learning to tackle home repairs confidently is to read as much as possible. Both Black & Decker and Creative Homeowner produce series of paperbacks aimed at the basics in each area of home repair: electrical work, plumbing, tiling, carpentry, and more. Reading these books before beginning work will help you know what to expect and how to execute each job skillfully.
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    Ensure that you have the necessary tools for each job. Accumulating a solid toolbox is another essential step in making sure you can handle each home repair job as it arises. When purchasing tools, do not skimp on quality if possible. High-quality, durable tools can go a long way in compensating for novice technique.
    • At its most basic, your toolbox should contain both flat and Phillips head screwdrivers, a hammer, pliers, an adjustable wrench, a putty knife, a utility knife, a straightedge and a spirit level.
    • Power tools that are extremely helpful include an electric drill, a handheld circular saw, and an orbital sander.
    • Get the safety devices appropriate to the tools at the time you buy the tool. Goggles, face mask, ear protection and gloves are 'must haves' for loud, rough or dusty jobs.
    • More specialized tools can be bought as the need arises. Drywall and plastering jobs will call for a mud box and a drywall knife, for instance, while a pipe wrench is essential for many plumbing repairs.
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    Solicit specific advice on home repair forums. A major advantage of living in a highly connected age is the ease with which you can find specific answers about any home repair problem. If you are facing a repair that is not covered in a book, or if you simply want a second opinion, post your concern on home repair discussion forums such as DIY Chatroom or
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    Know when to call in a professional. Perhaps just as important as being able to skillfully perform minor repairs is recognizing when jobs are too big for you. Specifically, hazardous jobs like major electrical repairs are best left to licensed contractors. You don't want to lose sleep wondering if you wired something incorrectly or dangerously.
    • You should also call in a contractor when required by law. Removal of suspected asbestos insulation or tile, for example, is illegal in most areas without contacting an asbestos contractor.
    • A further benefit of calling a contractor on large jobs is that their work is often guaranteed. If you are unsure of whether you can replace a toilet flange properly, for example, hiring the job out will give you the peace of mind that comes with a guaranteed leak-free fit.
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  • As with most other skills, your home repair competency will increase primarily through actual hands-on experience. For this reason, you will likely feel comfortable taking on bigger and bigger projects as you gain experience.
  • Remember that most home repairs are best performed with the proper protective equipment, including safety glasses, thick gloves, and a dust mask.

Things You'll Need

  • Home repair books
  • Toolbox
  • Computer
  • Internet access
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Dust mask

Article Info

Categories: Maintenance and Repair