By Derrick Johnson
Home ownership can be a dream come true. The problem comes when you wake up not to your alarm, but water dripping on your head from a roof leak. For the ambitious amateur handyman, some types of home repairs can be a snap for , as the home improvement industry has developed many kits with easy to follow instructions and requiring few tools. Others should definitely be left to the professionals, as they involve dealing with things that could easily cause severe damage or personal injury.
DO try these at home- with proper instructions, that is.
Painting– Even if you have to remove textured paint effects or several layers of paint, it’s not hard to do a paint job that a professional wouldn’t look down on. However, if the building you are working in was constructed before 1978, you may have lead paint to contend with. Testing kits for lead paint are available in home improvement stores. You can use a lead encapsulant paint that will bind the lead in the paint, which can then be painted over with the paint of your choice.
Leaky Faucets– These are usually the result of a worn-out washer, but depending on the style of faucet and the extent of the damage, you may need to replace the faucet. Repairing or replacing the faucet does not require expensive tools, and if it’s a basic compression-style faucet that simply needs a new washer, you can have it fixed in less than an hour, for less than $10. That is, unless you forget to turn off the water. Then your repair time will have to include scrambling for towels.
Unclogging Toilets– If your son thought that his G.I. Joes were part of an amphibious unit, you may be able to fix this without calling a plumber. As gross as it sounds, with many objects dropped into a toilet that are big and solid enough to cause a clog, you may be able to reach in and grab it. Don’t get into a struggle to grab the object- you could wind up pushing it in further. Soft clogs formed by waste and toilet tissue can be partly softened by hot water, removed by plunger or using a snake.
Caulking– If you can draw a straight line, you can caulk. The hardest part is removing any old caulk thoroughly. This is the easiest way to prevent water damage to the area around your tub and prevent drafts.
Tiling– they’re are durable and never go out of style. If you have an old home with tiles that were put in decades ago, they may be all cracked or on the verge of falling out often due to water damage. With tiles there’s lots of styles available to you from creating a mosaic-like effect or a cool, almost clinical look for a kitchen or bathroom.
DO NOT try the following types of repairs at home, unless you are a licensed professional.
Gas: Leave any installation, removal or repair of gas-powered appliances such as stoves and water heaters to the professionals. You could wind up with a gas leak, and as many gas-powered appliances get quite hot, you could do much worse. The TV show “Mythbusters” proved that it was possible for a gas-powered water heater to explode like a rocket and shoot through the roof. You do not want to be the inspiration for a review of that topic.
Removing Asbestos: This insulating fireproofing material tends to be found in older homes but it’s and spaces for industrial use. Exposure to asbestos is something best left to those with the equipment to protect themselves and others, as asbestos exposure can cause severe long-term illness.
Major Electrical Work: Some home alterations involving electricity can be done by amateurs- installing dimmer switches, ceiling fans and the like. But if “rewiring” crosses your mind as you ponder the repair or improvement, call a licensed electrician right away. Any money you could save with a DIY approach will likely be spent trying to replace fried appliances or dealing with an electrical fire.
Structural Changes: Home repair shows make it look like knocking down a wall is something you could do after lunch with time left for dinner. That’s because they have a team of professionals who have not only years of training, but have done their homework on the property in question. They know what to knock down and what they must leave standing to preserve structural integrity. Don’t do it. You could make your home structurally unsound.