DIY Projects Anyone Can Do
Sprinkler Head Repair – Potential Savings: $10-$25 each Replacing a sprinkler head or two has become a summer ritual for me as our boxer Jazz has an appetite for them. Replacing a sprinkler head is a DIY project that you can do with no prior experience required. You will need to purchase a PVC pipe cutter, cost around $10. The process is simple: remove the old plastic riser, cut a new section and install with teflon tape, and then install new sprinkler head. Tip: Place a piece of PVC pipe around old plastic riser, this will keep debris from falling into exposed irrigation pipe and clogging new sprinkler head.
Interior Painting – Potential Savings: $200+ per room Painting is a DIY project that literally a 6 year old can do, well maybe with a little help. My Pops taught me the key to a good paint job is the prep work. Make sure the surface is clean and primed with a quality primer. If the drywall has cracks or holes, I would advise hiring a drywall expert to make the repairs. There is nothing worse than spending hours painting and still seeing cracks in the drywall. You can literally have the entire family help you paint the walls but the key to a good looking paint job is cutting in the edges. Buy a quality Chinese Bristle paint brush and take your time cutting in the baseboard and ceiling.
Replace Bathroom Faucets – Potential Savings: $75-$200 Replacing bathroom faucets is another DIY project that scares many people. I can tell you from experience you don't have to be afraid anymore. The only special tool required for this project is a basin wrench, which is available at any home improvement store for $20. Replacing a sink faucet can be a little awkward due to limited space. You will need to shut off the main water supply and open faucets to let the water in the lines drain. If you pay attention to how you remove the faucet, installing the new one will be much easier. The only advice I have is buy a quality product like Moen, lifetime replacement is great if you plan on staying in your home, and use braided flex hose so you won't have to worry about leaks. This DIY project can not only save you some money but it can also increase the value of your home.
Stain Your Garage Floor – Potential Savings: $1000-$1500 Staining your garage floor is preferable to painting because paint will eventually peel and stain will not since stain penetrates the concrete. The only reason why most people don't tackle this DIY project is to avoid having to clean out the garage. Look at it this way, it's a great opportunity to throw out unwanted items and make a little money selling the rest in a garage sale. Once you have the garage cleaned out the rest is easy. The process is pretty simple, clean the floor and then apply the stain. If you can use a paint roller, you can stain concrete.
Replace a Ceiling Fan – Potential Savings: $50-$100 Replacing a ceiling fan should be on everyones DIY list. This is a typical project for a new homeowner and is not difficult to do, I have lost count of the number of ceiling fans I have installed. When you consider the average home has 2-3 ceiling fans, this is a DIY project that can you can save money by doing yourself. Obviously when working with anything electrical you need to be safe and make sure the electrical power is turned off at the circuit breaker before starting. Other than a good sturdy ladder and possibly some wire cutters, no special tools are needed. Some tips: 1) Use wire stripper to strip 1 inch of insulation from wires before hanging 2) Measure for the proper length of the down rod carefully, it's not fun paying for the ER bill to suture the lacerations in your forehead and then having to redo the whole project because you bought the wrong size down rod!
Replace Bathroom Toilet – Potential Savings: $75-$150 If you have not replaced a toilet recently you are missing out on a great DIY project. I replaced the toilet after a tile project for my father-in-law and have replaced the wax ring on a couple toilets so I know that this is a job that anyone with a wrench and a little determination can handle. Unless you have a dolly to move the toilet, I suggest you ask someone to help you lift and place the toilet into position. Some tips to make installation a little easier: 1) use a hair dryer to soften the wax ring for a proper seal 2) Install completely assembled toilet to avoid working in tight spaces 3) Use teflon tape on joints to avoid leaks 4) Tighten hold-down bolts carefully to avoid cracking porcelain base.
What DIY Projects have you tackled? Did you save money by doing it yourself and would you do it again?