Not all home maintenance and repairs should be carried out by a trained and experienced professional! There are some crucial home repairs that you can “do-it-yourself” (DIY) during your spare time. By doing this, you will save a lot of cash, get the opportunity to carry out the work as you please aesthetically, and also as you come together as a family for a common positive cause, you will enhance love and bond in your family.
There are many online blogs and video tutorials that are helpful in carrying out some do-it-yourself home maintenance and repairs, and this is one of the best as it points out things that can be done by a layman with no construction skills.
I am a qualified builder, and I know some of the home and maintenance repairs works can only be done by a professional mason, carpenter, or plumber for quality workmanship. However, in your spare time, you can perform the following home maintenance and repairs with a little assistance from your family members.
1. Painting the interior and exterior of your home
As time goes by, you will notice that some of the beautiful wall and ceiling paints in your home start to fade and come out due to aging. This is home maintenance and repair work that you can carry out with your family to brighten up any space in no time. Exterior painting will require the use of tall ladders or climbing the roof, hence, safety should be paramount.
To paint your home like a pro, you should begin by choosing your color. Should it be a warm or cool shade? A neutral or saturated shade? You can decide to maintain the same color or go through some online interior design samples to decide what you and your family want.
The tools you will need include for the home maintenance:
- Paints (1 liter of paint covers an approximate 10 square meters)
- 2”, 4”, and 6” paint brushes
- Paint roller with extension pole
- Cleaning rags or drop clothes
- Painter’s tape
- And Putty Knife/Scrapper
- Turpentine (in case you’re using oil based paint) Note: Water based paints are highly recommended since oil based paints have an irritating odor and cause headaches or sore throats, hence, always ensure you include face masks and gloves when using them.
DIY painting tips
The above painting materials can be bought at a discounted price in most stores and with proper use, they can be re-used in the future. Just ensure that you wash the brushes and rollers as follows;
- For oil paints, while using the turpentine for thinning, leave some for soaking the used brushes to make sure they don’t harden.
- For water based paints, thoroughly wash the brushed and rollers immediately before the paint dries. Rinse them in a running water and store them in a dry place for future re-use.
It’s good to temporarily relocate your furniture or cover them with a drop cloth or lightweight plastic sheeting. The floor should also be covered until you master the art of painting without dripping the paint to the floor. Begin by scraping the loose paints off the wall and using the sandpaper to smoothen the wall prior to painting.
Leave the doors and windows open to ensure proper ventilation and use ladders with caution.
2. Hanging the wallpaper is a good DIY home maintenance challenge
You may want to replace the existing wallpapers in your home due to their age or just because you want a new color or pattern on your wall. Whatever the case, you can do this by yourself as long as you are keen to check the following steps:
- Have your items ready, that is, wallpapers, paste/glue, and wallpaper brush.
- Begin by removing the old wallpaper and scraping off any adhesives on the wall using putty scrappers and sandpapers. You can use a mixture of two cups of bleach and a gallon of water to totally rinse the wall. Use putty to seal up any cracks or nails/screws holes in the wall.
- Measure the wall to be sure of the wallpaper length to be used. While cutting the wallpaper, you can increase the length by 20 cm for leeway at the top or bottom.
- Using a carpenters level and pencil, draw a vertical line (should be fully vertical) which will guide you in hanging your first strip of the wallpaper.
- Apply the paste to the wall first then place your first strip of wallpaper. Some wallpapers come with glue and it’s important to adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply and appropriate amount of glue or paste from the top to the bottom of the wall.
The wallpaper home maintenance tips
- Place your first strip of wallpaper starting from the top to bottom and press gently using the wallpaper brush or a clean piece of cloth. Leave about 2” of the wallpaper at the top (close to the ceiling) and bottom (close to the floor) and press the wallpaper firmly in those areas until you get a straight visible edge which will make trimming the excess wallpaper easier.
- The professional way is to ensure you align your first strip to the vertical line you drew and press from the middle to remove any wrinkles. You can remove the wallpaper and hang it afresh when the wrinkles fail to smoothen.
- When placing the second strip, maintain the pattern by starting from the middle and ensuring that they don’t overlap. Using a seam roller, avoid pressing too hard at the edges to avoid excess glue from underneath coming to the top. This should be done after about 5 minutes of hanging the wallpaper.
- After hanging the wallpaper on all the walls, you can trim off the excess 2” at the top and bottom using a sharp knife.
You can check a complete guide on hanging wallpapers for full DIY information.
3. Installing a light bulb or tube light
The home maintenance and repairs of electrical repairs are at best expensive. This is mostly because most repairs involving faulty wiring or circuits should be done by a trained Electrician. However, you can perform the following issues as part of your DIY challenge:
- Replacing burnt-out bulbs
- Replacing burnt-out tube lights
- Replacing faulty and hanging sockets
Things to consider in this home repair
It is important to switch off the switches and confirm there’s no current using an electric current tester before replacing any bulbs and tubes. When replacing the sockets, it is advisable to switch off the main switch and ensure proper connections in the socket. The most common DIY electrical tools you should have to include electric tester, insulation tape, pliers, and screwdrivers.
4. Patching a hole in the wall
Filling up holes in the wall is something you can do by yourself. You can use lightweight putty in filling up the holes and scraping off the excess off the walls. When the putty is dry, sand down the spot until it’s smooth then repaint the repaired spot with a primer. For very large holes, say over 2” in diameter, you may have to fill in some broken pieces of bricks and mortar and smoothen the repaired area using a steel float or trowel. Repaint the area and leave it to dry.
5. Cleaning gutters is a home maintenance you can DIY
There’s no need to hire someone to clean your gutters for you. Not unless you’re very committed or are afraid of ladders. You can carry out the work with someone holding the ladder for you to maintain stability and ensure safety. Use a wide trowel to remove the debris and place it in a bucket, carefully handing it down to the person holding the ladder for you to dispose of it. Repeat the process while moving the ladder from one end of the gutter to the next until you finish.
While carrying out the above DIY home maintenance repairs, always observe your safety and that of your family members. When a task seems hard to complete, or the workmanship is not as you had pictured, you can always hire a professional to do the work for you.