Easy Tools to Guide Your DIY Home Repairs

Before the Industrial Revolution, everyone was a DIYer. People made repairs and started home improvement projects on their own, simply because they had to. It wasn’t until more specialties or hobbies were turned into trades that services were hired out to do the job. Now, if something’s broken, you fix it, but only after calling the plumber, carpenter, or technician.

However, DIY is on the uptick for good reason. If you can do it yourself, there’s no need to pay someone else to. DIY repairs and projects save a great deal of money, but there’s also something gratifying and fulfilling about completing a project on your own and reaping the rewards. Uncertainty or fear might be keeping you from taking on your next repair, but there are plenty of resources (on- and offline) that can help you prepare and complete your summer improvement to-do list.

A Good Time to Be a DIY Homeowner

Today, it’s easier than ever to tackle home improvement, landscaping, or other hands-on jobs on your own because of advances in products and technology, and we have the largest support network — the Internet — at our fingertips.

Improvements to products have made DIY much easier, and a great example is the evolution of plumbing. Plumbing used to be time-consuming because most homes were fitted with copper piping. This meant every turn made in the pipes required cutting the pipe, priming it, and then torching or soldering it, none of which are beginners’ projects. Then, PEX tubing was created. It’s a heavier plastic piping that can be bent and cut more efficiently, and anyone can learn how to install it.

The ease with which we can get parts and tools is convenient for DIY homeowners, too. Never has it been easier to get the parts and materials needed to complete a job. The majority of us have a Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards, or other hardware store within driving distance. Before these stores, parts had to be specially ordered from suppliers, and only tradesmen had access to these suppliers. Now, we can drive a few miles and pick these items up. This helps drive down costs and eliminates the need to go through any middleman, whether it be a hired specialist or a supplier.

The Internet has made education on DIY projects and quick fixes more available as well. There are a variety of sites where beginners can learn design and remodeling tips, including how to install tile flooring, remodel a bathroom, build a deck, or rehab furniture. This saves time and money, as long as the online source is trustworthy.

Five Resources for DIY Projects

The ability to access guides, reviews, tutorials, and advice from other DIYers is what makes technology such an asset for today’s homeowner. If you don’t want to leave your house or make a phone call, you don’t need to. These five resources have helped me with past projects and might help you, too.

1.     YouTube: It’s like having your own personal network of instructors teaching you how to complete a new task at any hour of the day. If you need to frame a wall, search for it on YouTube; hundreds of instructional videos are available. Sometimes, a step-by-step instructional guide is the key to feeling comfortable with what you’re doing. Using YouTube to learn something new is a great idea, but be sure to watch as many videos on the topic as possible. Seeing different people’s techniques will help you determine if one way is better than another. Also, make sure the person posting is credible and knows what he is doing before you pick up the electric power tools.

2.     DIYNetwork.com: This site posts videos for DIY jobs as well, and it often has printable step-by-step instructions for remodelers on the go. I personally use this website to help me through many different projects.

3.     Home Depot stores: Sometimes, in-person instruction might be the best route to go, especially for more time-intensive or difficult projects. Visiting Home Depot and asking for a demo can clear up any confusion. A few years ago, my wife and I wanted to stain our concrete floors, but neither of us had a clue how to do it. We found the products for the project at Home Depot and then scheduled a Saturday morning class, where a product representative and a Home Depot expert walked us through the installation. The best part: The demo was free.

4.     Material calculators: These tools are handy for large projects. Take some measurements, plug them into a material calculator, and you’re done. These calculators do all of the hard calculations for you and are easily available online.

5.     Apps: There’s an app for just about everything, and the same goes for DIY projects. There are apps for levels, material calculators, DIY videos, and tutorials. Like many apps, some are great, and some are a waste of time. I would recommend MK3’s apps for DIY projects; two of my favorites are their Wall Framing and Stair Layouts apps, which help visualize projects and measure layouts. If you need help with design, I’d check out the Home Design 3D app.

These resources make it simple to start almost any project you’re taking on. The key is finding what works for you. There are some projects or steps of projects you can learn to handle online, while others require a personal guide at your hardware store. But, as with any project you start, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the tools, skills, and potential hazards of a project. You should know what you’re getting into before buying half the lumberyard.

Once you know, use these accessible tools to get the job done. You have the power to complete any challenge you come across, and now that we live in a DIY age, all the resources we need to handle these projects on our own are at our disposal. Take advantage of them; you’ll save time and money — and, hopefully, learn a new skill to show off to your neighbors.



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