5 House Repairs You Can Do Yourself (Plus 5 Times to Call a Professional)
Have you ever been to an art museum where an entire room is filled with a single painting of scribble and thought to yourself, “I could’ve done that”? Perhaps you’ve had a similar feeling while you watched a professional fix your drain or adjust a light switch.
Doing home repairs yourself can save you time and money. However, it can also go disastrously wrong, in both a comical sense (i.e accidentally flooding your bathtub) and in a serious sense (i.e destroying the structural integrity of your house).
Before you try and fix something because of your desire to save money and boost your own ego, read this article. We’re going to go over house repairs that you can do yourself, and ones that you should really leave to the professionals.
House Repairs You Should NOT Do Yourself
Let’s start with the bad stuff. The stuff that can lead to you literally burning your own house down.
1. Electrical Repairs
Speaking of burning your house down, don’t do electrical repairs of any kind. Even if you think you know what you’re doing, what if you make a little mistake? You could electrocute yourself, start a fire, or seriously compromise the integrity of your entire electrical system.
2. Window Replacements
Installing a new window can be complicated: you need to have the exact right measurements, understand the structures around the window, and implement safety measures that most DIYers don’t have at their disposal.
A professional will understand the window types and measurements you need for the new window along with having the proper safety and experience necessary to be successful.
This will also avoid creating any leaks or gaps that can lead to serious issues with heating and cooling in the future.
3. Major Plumbing Repairs/Replacements
Fixing a leaking pipe is one thing. But replacing an entire shower system is another.
Major plumbing repairs require expertise that most homeowners don’t have. And if you make a mistake, you could flood your home. This can lead to permanent damage and thousands of dollars in repairs that can be avoided by calling a plumber.
4. Structural Alterations
Anything that could affect the structural integrity of your home needs to be handled by professionals. We know that modern interior design favors open floor plans, but adjusting or knocking down a wall, for example, could lead to a literal house collapse.
Professionals will be able to understand which walls and structures are load bearing, and how exactly to go about these types of large renovations safely.
5. Leaks in the Roof
Small leaks in drains are one thing, but roof leaks are often the sign of more than just an untightened screw. They could mean your roof itself is damaged, that you have insulation issues, gutter problems, etc.
Many homeowners try and fix the leak by simply caulking or sealing it shut. This, however, doesn’t fix the root of the problem and can lead to damage accumulating unnecessarily.
Our advice? Call a professional when it comes to your leaky roof.
House Repairs You Can DIY
Now that you know what you shouldn’t DIY, it’s time to go over what you can do yourself to save some time and money on home repairs.
1. Sealing Simple Leaks and Cracks
We know we just told you not to fix a leaky roof yourself, but that doesn’t mean you can’t seal smaller leaks and cracks in your home. Specifically, you should be able to caulk or seal any leaks around your windows and doors.
Find out more about when you need to seal windows before you start, though. You don’t want to do a repair and spend your own time and money on it unless you really need to.
2. Unclogging Drains
Clogged toilets, bathtubs, showers, and sinks can be easily fixed by you. The cause of these clogs is usually a build-up of hair, food, and grease. While it isn’t the most fun activity, you should be able to easily clean these things out with your hands and a bit of patience.
You can also use store-bought drain cleaners in order to break through tough food, grease, and other types of drain build-up.
3. Patching Drywall
Small holes in drywall, like those made from hanging paintings, you can patch yourself. Simple fill the hole with putty and scrape it down flat. Wait for the putty to dry before sanding it down as flat as the wall.
Then, simply paint over it and, voila! No more hole.
Larger holes, like ones that happen from punching through a wall or from your teenager using a hoverboard incorrectly, should be handled by professionals.
4. Garbage Disposal Issue
Like a clogged drain, a clogged garbage disposal can be fixed by a good DIYer. The sharp blades and loud noises might seem intimidating, but you can usually fix garbage disposal clogs with a specialty tool (a hexagonal wrench).
If that doesn’t work, call a pro.
5. Clean Gutters
Cleaning your gutters is important for directing water and moisture away from your home to avoid water damage, structural damage, mold growth, and more.
You can easily clean your gutters yourself as long as you’re able to keep up maintenance regularly and feel able (and comfortable!) working on a ladder.
Keep in mind that even the house repairs we recommend doing yourself can become more complicated. If the simple fixes or the DIY go-to methods don’t work, that’s not a sign for you to get innovative and try something crafty yourself.
That’s a sign it’s too complicated for the average homeowner. Even though it might cost a bit more money and bruise your DIY pride, it will be better in the long run.
Need some more home maintenance tips? Check out this article for more in-depth advice!