If you own a home, you are going to have home repairs. Houses always need something, whether it’s a project to make it more efficient or more beautiful or a Repair to preserve it as a safe place to live.
Unfortunately, repairs aren’t cheap, especially when they come as a surprise in the middle of the night. Barring those emergencies, though, there are ways you can save money by doing some of the repairs yourself.
Be smart about it. You won’t be taking apart the furnace or plumbing a room unless you have the required skills. But there are a few repairs you can make yourself that don’t require special skills and can save you some money.
While moving furniture in or moving furniture out, it’s not uncommon to take out a chunk of the drywall. Kids can always find ways to damage the walls, and adults make a misstep here and there. The walls suffer from it.
A gash in your wall can be so unsightly, but you can also make it disappear without incurring much expense. You just need to trim away the damaged area and add spackle or any other commercial drywall compound to fill the hole.
Apply in thin layers and allow it to dry before applying more compound. Sand until smooth and then repaint. You will always know where the damage occurred, but others will probably never notice it.
Swap out Your Faucet
Are you tired of replacing washers on your old, dripping faucet? Maybe you are just tired of the way it looks and you want something new. Replacing your faucet isn’t as difficult as it might seem.
In most cases, you can just swap out your old faucet for a new one. The first step is always to shut off the water. You will need some plumber’s putty and some new supply hoses. Don’t reuse the old ones because it isn’t worth the risk of them drying and cracking over time.
Swap out like hoses and valves with like hoses and valves. Form the plumber’s putty into a circle and wrap around the main spigot and attach it to the sink. Attach water lines and test for leaks. Scrape off any excess plumber’s putty.
Replace Kitchen Cabinets
If you know anything about kitchen cabinets, it’s that they are expensive to replace — but most of that expense is the labor to install them. You can save a lot of money by picking out and purchasing the cabinets you want and installing them yourself.
While this may seem intimidating, think about cabinet installation as putting together a series of boxes in the correct order. As the saying goes, measure twice and cut once. With cabinets, you want to take your time and be extremely accurate. Fixing a mistake could mean starting over.
You need tools, but not too many. You need a drill, a belt sander, a tape measure and a four-foot level. You may need some shims to account for irregularities in your walls or cabinets and to ensure the cabinets are installed completely level.
Finally, your cabinets are only as sturdy as the fasteners connecting them to the wall. There are hundreds of different kinds of screws, bolts, nuts, and nails, so make sure you know the difference between them. Using the wrong ones could result in a lot of broken dishes and a huge, costly mess.
Restore Brick Pavers
Decorative brick pavers make beautiful pathways or decorative accents to your driveway, but over time, they require maintenance to keep them in place. The polymeric sand used to fill the gaps between the pavers can wash away or become infiltrated by weeds. It can seem to happen overnight, especially in the spring when everything starts growing again.
Scrape weeds from the cracks and remove any remaining soil with a power washer. If there is no soil, there will be no weeds. Buy a bag of paver sand from your local hardware store and fill in open spaces according to the directions.
After the sand has dried, treat the pavers with a household weed killer. It’s an ongoing battle, so don’t get frustrated. Your pavers will look beautiful as long as you care for them.
Fix the Toilet Lever
If your toilet isn’t flushing right or if the handle no longer responds, it may be time to change out the toilet lever. Toilet levers can become detached from the chain or corrode and wear out over time.
Find a replacement handle kit that comes with additional parts that might be needed. Remove the old handle. Install the new handle and reattach the rods and chain that connect to the flapper and enable the toilet to flush.
The parts are inexpensive, and you will likely only need an adjustable wrench to complete the job.
You don’t always need a professional to make repairs around the house. Plumbers and carpenters command hefty fees for their work — and it’s a good thing we have them when we need them. But there are repairs around the house you can tackle without worrying about any major consequences.
Plus, if you fail at these things, the professionals are a phone call away. Just know the difference between a minor and a major project. Work at your level or at least not too much above your skillset. Have fun teaching yourself new skills and saving money in the process.
Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington