5 perfect DIY projects for beginners

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Do-it-yourself projects at home can save you time and money and can give you a sense of accomplishment. But if you stretch beyond your capacity, they can also leave you with a big mess that you’ll end up having to pay a professional to come and fix. Before starting one, it is important to know what is doable and what to expect along the way.

Here are four key questions to help you determine if you can handle a particular task, along with some projects that are suitable for beginners.

Does this project fit my budget? Tackle a home improvement project may be less expensive than hiring a professional, but budget is still a factor, said Frank Guidry, manager of a Lowe’s store in Clinton, Maryland.

You can use HomeAdvisor, a home improvement resource that connects homeowners and contractors, to get a rough idea of ​​how much you can expect to spend on a project. In addition to service provider listings, the site also has a section you can use estimate costs based on owner surveys. Be sure to factor in expenses for any tools or equipment you will need to purchase or rent.

Your local hardware store is another valuable resource. “A knowledgeable employee can help you compare the costs of different materials and get the most out of them,” said Guidry, who suggested bringing photos of your space and what you want it to look like. once finished.

Home improvement projects you can DIY and which ones you should leave to the pros

Does it match my skills? Staying in your comfort zone for your first DIY project can reduce stress, so be sure to do an honest assessment of your skills. (After all, you know your limits better than anyone.)

Find step-by-step instructions for your project online and see if you’re comfortable with the tools required. “If you were learning to play the piano, you wouldn’t want to try to play Bach right off the bat,” said Mitchell Parker, editor-in-chief at Houzz, an interior design and renovation website. “The same goes for your first DIY home improvement project.”

A smart baseline: “If you know how to do all the steps without googling, this is a good starter project for your skill level,” said David Steckel, a home expert at thumbtack.com and a general contractor.

If you want to stretch your wings a little, learn how to handle the tools and equipment with educational programs such as DIY-U by Lowe’s, which started this year and includes free workshops with home improvement experts. The Home Depot also offers webinars with store associates teaching proper safety measures and skills for specific projects.

Can a mistake seriously damage my house? Some home improvement projects are riskier for DIY than others. Guidry said it’s best to avoid jobs that require complex electrical, plumbing or HVAC work. “I would leave those jobs to professionals,” he said.

Stekel agreed. “I’m a practical person, but I would never replace my own toilet because there are so many things that can go wrong,” he said.

How long will it take? Think about how many hours you’re willing to commit to a project. “Some projects can be completed in an afternoon, while others can take several days or more,” Guidry said. Home deposit has guides to over 1,100 projects, including estimated duration and level of difficulty, and many full-day options are available.

5 home improvement projects for beginners

Paint an accent wall. Painting is one of the most popular projects for DIY beginners – for good reason. “You can always repaint if you mess up or you’re not happy with the result,” Guidry said.

If you are new, you should try to start small. (Instead of taking up an entire room, paint just one accent wall.) And while painting is a quick and relatively simple task, don’t skimp on the prep work, Guidry said. “Whether you need to repair damaged walls, remove wallpaper, scrape off peeling paint, patch holes or simply clean walls, it’s important to take the time to follow these steps to ensure that new paint can continue as smooth of a surface as possible,” he said.

Guidry suggests using a roller alongside a small brush that can reach into corners. Use a drop cloth to protect furniture and areas you don’t paint, suggested Sarah Fishburne, director of trends and design at The Home Depot, in an email.

Replace kitchen equipment. New cabinet knobs and drawer pulls can give an outdated kitchen a facelift, Steckel said. “It’s also very hard to make a mistake unless you’re drilling new holes,” he said.

Guidry agreed that this is a great project for beginner DIYers. “Usually the only tool you need is a screwdriver,” he said. For easier installation, take one of your current knobs or handles to a home improvement store, so an expert can help you choose the right size, Guidry said.

Caulk gaps around windows. Most homes in the United States have significant air leaks, according to Star Energy. These shortcomings can drive up your home’s heating and cooling bills. The good news: you can usually seal leaks by caulk around windows. To find hot spots, slowly wave a candle around the windows; if the flame flickers or goes out, you’ve probably detected a leak. Silicone sealant is moisture resistant, making it an ideal choice for windows.

Stain a deck. Rain and snow can take a toll on wood over time, but staining a wood deck can protect the finish from the elements while bringing out the rich color and texture of the wood. And you can achieve professional-looking results yourself. Start by preparing the surface: sand the wood, then remove dirt and stains using a wood deck cleaner or pressure washer. Once the wood is smooth and clean, use synthetic paint brushes to apply two coats of stain for an even, polished look.

Replace a shower head. While plumbing repairs are often best left to the professionals, removing a leaky showerhead and installing a new one is usually a quick and easy task. Use an adjustable wrench to loosen and unscrew the old shower head. (Some can even be removed by hand.) Next, clean any rust or mineral deposits from the shower arm with a wire brush, wrap plumber’s tape around the threads of the arm, and screw in the new showerhead. If you see any leaks when you turn on the water, carefully tighten the showerhead with an adjustable wrench.

Daniel Bortz is a freelance writer in Northern Virginia.

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