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If you’re a homeowner, it’s almost certain that you’ve been caught off guard at some point by the price of household repairs. Whether it’s a leaky faucet or a broken window, you’re going to pay a hefty fee to have a professional come to the rescue. Handy homeowners often fix a lot of common issues themselves, but for beginners it can be an overwhelming situation. How do you know which projects to tackle alone and which to get help for? Here are a few surprisingly simple DIY home repairs that even a complete novice can tackle.
We recommend checking out the online videos we’ve linked to see how these repairs are done, step by step. And of course, when you’re gathering the materials and tools you need, don’t forget to check out our coupons for Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sears, Elite Tools, and other home improvement stores.
Cracks or Holes in an Asphalt Driveway
This is one of those projects that sounds like it would require a lot of specialized equipment and expert knowledge. It’s actually a relatively easy project to tackle yourself, and you’ll save a lot of money by doing so. Important: This type of repair should only be done in good weather. Wait for a full day of warm, dry weather, and never try to repair asphalt in the winter.
You’ll need to start by cleaning the area thoroughly. Get rid of any dirt or debris, and remove any loose gravel or bits of asphalt. If weeds have sprung up in the cracks, pull them first and also use weed killer to keep them from coming back. Once the area is cleaned, fill any deeper cracks and holes with sand or gravel to ensure a more even surface.
Next, you’ll need to make sure you have the right products for the job. Smaller cracks can be repaired with crack filler. It’s easy to use and can be found at any home repair store. If you’re dealing with a wider crack or a hole in the asphalt, you’ll want to look for asphalt cold patch products. Follow the instructions on the product your purchase carefully, as each brand may be different. Check out this handy video to see just how easy this type of repair can be.
Dripping Kitchen or Bathroom Faucet
A leaky faucet can waste gallons of water if not corrected, not to mention that annoying dripping sound will keep you awake at night. Fortunately, this is normally a very simple fix, and will only cost you a few dollars to repair. Important: Different faucets will have different parts, so the first thing to do is to figure out what brand and style (two-handle, single handle, etc.) of faucet you have. Once you’re armed with this information, head to your local Home Depot or other hardware store for a set of washers and springs.
As with any plumbing repair, always remember to shut off the water first, and be sure you have the right size parts for the job, or you could end up making the problem worse. Here are some examples of how to fix a two-handle or single handle faucet, but you can also search for a video for your particular brand and style of faucet to get more precise information.
When a pipe develops a leak, many people reach for the phone, but with a little know-how, you can often handle this one yourself. Money saving tip: Shut off the water ASAP to avoid a skyrocketing water bill, possible flooding, and further property damage. Important: Be sure that the repair items you used are suited for the size and type of pipe you are repairing and designed for use with potable water systems. Also, be sure any epoxy or other sealants used are completely dry before turning the water back on.
If the hole in your pipe is tiny, often you can simply install a pipe repair clamp, found in the plumbing section of your local hardware store. It’s a quick and easy fix that almost anyone can do, though not considered a permanent solution. For something longer lasting, look for a pipe repair kit, which you can also find at your local hardware store. If a small portion of the pipe actually needs to be replaced, you can often do that too with a special fitting or repair coupling. For a kit or fitting, be sure to read and follow the instructions on the package. Check out this handy video from DoitBest for examples of each of these repair types.
Replacing Door Locks
Believe it or not, as long as the door is not stuck closed, you don’t need to call a locksmith or other professional to replace a door lock. Whether your old lock is giving you trouble, you’re concerned about security, or you just want to refresh the look of your entry, a new door knob and lock is a simple project you can tackle yourself. You’ll just need a few standard hand tools that most folks already have around the house, as well as a new door lock kit. Important: Make sure you install the bevel facing toward the door frame when the door is open. Otherwise you’ll have to take the whole thing apart and start over!
Handy DIY Guides
There are plenty of other home repair and home improvement tasks you can easily tackle on your own, with just a little guidance from the experts. If you’re wanting to learn to be more handy, it might be helpful to pick up some books on home repair and home improvement. Here are a few examples that you might find helpful:
- Black & Decker The Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair: with 350 Projects and 2000 Photos
- Do It Yourself: A step-by-step guide to fixing, building, and installing almost anything in your home
- The Complete Do-it-Yourself Manual
- Household Hacks: 150+ Do It Yourself Home Improvement & DIY Household Tips That Save Time & Money
- The Girl’s Guide to DIY: How to Fix Things in Your Home without Breaking Your Nails (e-book)
Also, remember to check in with your local hardware store to see if they offer free DIY workshops, or other expert advice. You might surprise yourself with how much you can actually accomplish with a little guidance!
When You Can’t DIY the Problem
Of course, it’s very important to understand your limitations. Trying to fix something that is beyond your abilities often leads to more costly problems. For those problems that require a bit more expertise, we recommend calling a professional for help.