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And Now For Something Completely Different

As some of you may know, I have had to perform a lot of do-it-yourself home improvements in the last few months.

I’d like to pass along some of the tips I have learned the hardway, because that’s what I do.

When the instructions say they require two people (like when assembling bunk beds from IKEA), it isn’t actually necessary. However, it’s probably easier.

Keep all those hex wrenches you get with your IKEA furniture. 1) You’ll need to retighten your furniture later and 2) You can re-use them for other projects (see later tip).

When doing electrical projects, it is REALLY worth getting one of those gadgets to see if the power is REALLY off. (See next tip).

Electrical panels can be mis-labelled.

When painting a ceiling, get good light and someone to help. Even if they’re just there to keep you sane.

When purchasing replacement “trim” for your tub/shower faucet handle, check what brand you currently have. Each brand uses its own valve and they are not interchangeable. I call this DRM (decor rights management).

Despite research prior to a project, most home improvement projects seem to require 3 trips to a hardware store.

Do research ahead of time. If you’re replacing a tub spout, then google “replace tub spout”. You’ll find out there are different types of tub spout and they aren’t interchangeable. Something that isn’t really obvious when you’re at the big home improvement store. (And who knew that hex wrench would come in handy, but it was needed for the “slipon” style tub spout!).

Everyone needs power tools. Everyone.

Use the right tool for the job. It makes a huge difference. You don’t have to go out and buy every tool out there, but having the right tool makes the job much easier.

If this is all new to you, like it was for me, don’t panic. If you’ve been told your project is a DIY project (i.e. doesn’t typically need professional help) then as long as you can read directions, you can probably do it!*

*I am not in any way saying you can do all home improvement projects and don’t sue me when you electrocute yourself. Do your research and be safe.

  • Roy Rumaner

    I have found that if a project requires and supplies a specific tool that attaching it somewhere on the item is a good way to make sure it will be there the next time you need it. Emoticon

  • Kitty

    So impressed with all your DIY-ing Kathy Emoticon

  • http:randomfort.blogspot.com Jerry Carter

    I’ll second the caution on electricity.

    Best bet is to cut the main if you have access to it. Some apartments or condos will have a sub panel and no main breaker locally accessible.

    Also, if you’re going to install new (as in there wasn’t anything there before you started) electrical outlets or lights, take some time to read up on wiring techniques. For example, you don’t want to run just 14 gauge wire on a 15 amp breaker if you plan to hook up a space heater. Go 12 gauge and a 20 amp breaker so you don’t overheat your lines (fire hazard) and trip your breaker all the time.

    Also bear in mind that a light switch box is not a junction box. Don’t cram a bunch of wire junctions and wiring nuts in there. If the building inspector sees it, he’ll fine you and maybe make you shut off the power and call out a contractor to fix it right on the spot. Maybe. Inspectors vary.

    If you want to sell it later – get your electrical work inspected now or when you’re trying to close on the house – your choice.