23 Home Improvements You Should Never Pay For
These are easier to do yourself than to hire out.
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DIY Home Improvements
Making home improvements on your own isn’t always about saving time and money. It can also be about building your skills and not having to schedule someone to come out your house for a repair or improvement. Plus, it takes the hassle out of finding someone reliable. See some of the home improvements you shouldn’t pay for.
Easy Landscaping Projects
Landscaping doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Rather than paying a landscaper, who might upcharge you for materials, go to your local hardware store or nursery and get some inexpensive pavers or soil to build a nice garden or walkway.
Doing the work yourself could easily save hundreds, possibly thousands, and will add value to your home.
Install a Wall-Mounted Television
Flat panel televisions look great, but exposed cables running down the wall ruin the sleek look and elegant design of a wall mount.
Why it’s a great starter project: Mounting a TV, relocating an outlet, and running cables behind a wall are great stepping stones to more complex projects. And they’ll give you a more advanced understanding of wiring and some basic experience with the crucial skill of fishing wire through a wall cavity. With a little bit of preplanning, you won’t even have to do any drywall touch ups.
What it gives you an excuse to buy: This is a job which can be done with surprisingly simple tools. But to make things go smoother, consider picking up a stud finder, some fish tape and a drywall saw.
Tile a Backsplash
Tiling a backsplash above the counter is one of the easiest ways to upgrade an old, tired kitchen on a tight budget. You can choose from the vast array of handsome ceramic tiles available, including the easy-to-install one we show here—mosaic tiles.
Fix Cracked Grout
Cracking grout in a newly tiled floor is a real letdown after all the work you put into it. The causes could range from a poor grout mix to a lack of expansion joints, to movement of the tiled surface. Although it might ultimately be necessary to stiffen the floor, you can first try using caulk as flexible grout.
Fix a Broken Refrigerator
Simple fixes for the four most common refrigerator problems: an ice-maker breakdown, water leaking onto the floor, a cooling failure and too much noise. Chances are, you can repair the refrigerator yourself, save some money and avoid the expense and inconvenience of a service appointment.
Fix Holes in Siding
Nail holes in aluminum and vinyl siding are tough to repair without replacing the entire piece, but a squirt of color-matched caulk from a siding supplier will fix the siding holes for a lot less money and aggravation.
A leaky or malfunctioning faucet can be fixed or replaced by even a novice DIYer. You can take your faucet apart and clean it out, or if worse comes to worse, replace the faucet entirely in the space of a couple of hours.
A Quick Coat of Paint
Almost nothing is quicker, easier or refreshes a room more than a new coat of paint. Even switching up a bright white for a trendy, bright grey can change your whole perspective and give you a starting point for new colors and decoration. Gallons of paint range from $30-$50, and with primer/paint combinations, you will likely only need a gallon or less to paint an average sized room. Add another $10, and you’ll be set with rollers, paint brushes, and painter’s tape. This DIY repair could potentially save you thousands over the cost of a professional painter.
DIY HVAC Maintenance and Repair
Annual maintenance wards off many HVAC problems. If you do have a failure, you can usually fix it yourself. If your AC unit is working but has become noisy, you can fix that, too!
If it’s your furnace that needs attention, you can perform routine maintenance, and handle simple repairs yourself.
Fix Leaking Plumbing Pipes
There are simple ways to find and stop common water leaks before they cause rot and other expensive damage. You’ll find most of these leaks around bathtubs and showers, drains, sinks and toilets.
A variety of problems can befall your home’s doors, especially older doors that may start to sag, stick, develop drafts or experience other issues. Fixing or replacing a door is well within the capabilities of most homeowners, especially if you have a partner to help out. From installing new weather stripping to replacing the lock, you can handle it.
Drywall is everywhere and it is surprisingly easy to damage. The good news is it’s easy to patch the average drywall ding or hole. Cracks in drywall are also easy to fix.
Many things can go wrong with a deck. Missing screws, warped boards, squeaky nails, wobbly railings, fortunately, many of these problems are well within the scope of the average DIYer. Inspect your deck for seven common deck problems and then repair whatever needs fixing.
Weatherstripping is Easy
If you can see light creeping beneath exterior doors, air is also escaping. Grab a few packages of self-adhesive rubber foam weatherstripping and go to town, sealing any and all doors that lead outside. Weatherstripping already installed but you’re still suffering from a high gas bill? It might be time to replace the weatherstripping installed by the previous owners.
Garbage Disposal Repair
A garbage disposal is a bit scary when it’s turned on and the blades are noisily chopping up kitchen waste. But, if your disposal gets stinky, fear not. It’s easy to clean out the gunk and get rid of the smell. If the splash guard needs replacing, you can do that in 20 minutes! If you need to replace the garbage disposal you can replace it yourself.
You Can Refinish Your Own Hardwood
Intimidated by this seemingly daunting project? Don’t be. If you have the will and a whole day (or two) to yourself, you can refinish the hardwood floors in the major areas of your home. You don’t necessarily need to sand, but if the floor is damaged enough to warrant buffing, check out your local hardware store and rent the equipment for anywhere from 4-48 hours. Here’s how to refinish your hardwood floors.
Fix a Plumbing Leak
Save the cost of a plumber’s house call by fixing minor leaks yourself. Leaks in a supply line tend to be continuous while drain line leaks are usually intermittent. To fix a leaky shutoff valve, a wrench should be all you need. If the leak is along a water pipe, replace the leaky section. For a temporary fix, use repair putty. Leaking drain pipes can also be patched, but it’s better to replace the bad section using no-hub shielded couplings.
Hide Cracks in Ceramic Tile
Tile is hard and durable, but it can crack when stressed. You could hire a pro to remove and replace the cracked tile, but that requires finding a matching tile and someone willing to do a small job. A faster and cheaper fix is to cover up the crack using a color-matching repair kit.
Quiet an Exhaust Fan
Bathroom exhaust fans aren’t supposed to be silent, but they shouldn’t chatter or squeal. If your fan doesn’t turn on, try replacing the motor. If you can’t repair your bath fan, the best option is to replace the entire unit. While installing a new bath fan may damage the finished ceiling, that is fairly easy to repair.
Install Gutter Guards
Gutters keep water away from your house and out of your basement, but they don’t work when they’re clogged with leaves and other debris. Instead of paying an installer for proprietary gutter guards, do the work yourself using the product best suited to your house.
Get Rid of Bare Patches in Your Lawn
Springtime means wedding receptions, graduation parties and open houses. Get your yard in shape by sodding or seeding the bare patches. Allow plenty of time for the lawn repairs to fill in before your yard becomes party central.
Fix a Broken Screen
Broken screens are an eyesore. Tidy up and get ready for insect season by replacing them. It’s a simple way to improve curb appeal while saving yourself some money.