Knowhow-Now Article

Good Sense About Home Improvement

This is a question that constantly faces the homeowner: "Can I do that project myself or should I hire someone?" The answer depends on your skills, your willingness to learn, and how much time you have. But if you like to do-it-yourself, resources for help are more available today than ever before. When you buy supplies at a home improvement and construction store, they will generally give you guidance on how to install what you buy. Even better, excellent instructional videos are available online. Here are some tips on DIY projects you may want to do.

There are two types of projects. One is the regular home maintenance that you know has to be done. The other is repairs. Repairs are often unpredictable and may be on an emergency basis. Emergency repairs such as burst pipes or a leaking roof usually call for professional help. But many of the regular maintenance tasks can be done on your own, with substantial cost savings. These can help head off those drastic repairs you did not see coming.

Tip: Rarely you may find water leaking underneath the sink or possibly from the faucet, but do not try to repair the leak on your own. You can collect the water while you are waiting.

What are some of the maintenance chores you can do yourself? Replacing filters, adding insulation, replacing faucet washers, caulking leaks, re-painting indoors and out, water-proofing your deck--these are all within the capacity of most homeowners. Your income and the amount of spare time you have will often decide which of these are worth your while as DIY projects.

Labor costs for home improvement projects tend to be high, and never before have supplies been so available, often at low cost. These facts inspire many a weekend warrior in the battle for home improvement. But you should always put your own safety first before your enthusiasm about how much money you will save. Stop and think whether you can really do that project safely. This is true especially when it involves electricity, working up on the roof, or plumbing projects.

Tip: If you paint your house, select neutral hues. Neutral colors make a space look bigger.

If you decide you need to hire a professional, other questions arise. How can you find someone who is both competent and won't overcharge for the job? Again, the Internet has offered help for the worried homeowner. There are sites that offer reviews of people doing construction and maintenance work, written by those who have employed them. It is also a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau or a local professional organization for a reference. Never just hire blindly a handyman who has an ad in the local paper. Many elderly people, especially, neglect maintenance and repairs on their home due to a past bad experience with a handyman.

But don't be discouraged about those projects that would add functionality and beauty to your home. Because your home is your home, the place where you spend most of your time, every improvement is worthwhile. The satisfaction of fixing that squeaky door or adding a beautiful new color to your living room or re-facing your kitchen cabinets is immeasurable.

Let these tips guide you. Go ahead with those home improvement projects. When they are completed, you will be glad you did.

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