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DIY vs. Tradesman Hire: A few easy home repairs every man should master

When Jerry Seinfeld asks Elaine if she was still “Master of your domain?” he wasn’t talking about home repairs. In terms of fixing basic problems in the home, being the master of your domain is something every DIY home owner should aspire to.

Yet, many men don’t know the fundamentals when it comes to repairs around the home.

Today’s man, having to ‘master’ a multitude of software in the work place, along with a Smart phone that contains photo albums and the App for ordering pizzas, is befuddled by a leaking garden hose.

Let me be clear, I’m not saying that modern gentlemen should take on serious work like say, roofing – that calls for the skilled hands of a professionals.

1 man with tools - DIY vs. Tradesman Hire: A few easy home repairs every man should masterIn this example – roofing would be a “no-no” but roof cleaning can be something you can probably take on with a bit of patience.

But, let’s talk specifics and list a few fairly easy jobs every man should know how to tackle.

Freshen Your Home Up With Paint

Painting is probably the easing way to introduce a significant change and refresh your space.

Before you run off to the paint shop to buy rollers and brushes along with cans of paint, step back and have a beer. The key to a successful paint job is in the design.

2 man choosing paint color - DIY vs. Tradesman Hire: A few easy home repairs every man should masterWhen it comes down to the finished look, no matter how well the paint is applied, if it is the wrong color, it will be a DIY disaster!

Don’t try to re-invent the wheel

There are people out there studying this stuff for years. Most people, when it comes to painting, choose white tones. It’s safe, but boring.

Just a few year back, I was painting my apartment and got a color that’s supposed to be a calm, dark tint of yellow.

When applied, it turned out to be sunset orange. I was talking to myself the whole day, complaining about being stuck with an orange living room. But, once the initial “shell-shock” of change subside,  I grew to love it.

Bottom line – be bold, experiment, expect arguments from your partner and get out of your comfort zone.

The budget

When planning the budget for painting a room, or an entire house, don’t just look at the price tag on the paint tin. Surface preparation is the key to doing a good job.

Unless it is a new surface, most walls have blemishes, picture hooks, old paint, chips and dents. There are many types of filler on the market for every kind of surface.

Wipe the wall down with one of many alkali products available.

Mask the tops of baseboards, ceiling cornices, switches and electrical outlets with tape and you are set to go.

3 man paiting room light blue - DIY vs. Tradesman Hire: A few easy home repairs every man should masterDon’t skimp by buying cheap brushes and rollers. A swivel head edging brush will save time in getting a straight line in the corner of adjacent walls.

Before paying for paint, measure the wall area. Read the tin for the coverage per square feet. If in doubt, get the salesperson to work out how many gallons you need to buy. Almost all paint jobs need a second coat to bring up to a professional standard.

Simple Plumbing Tip to Save You Hundreds

Rule number one for any plumbing job, or to simply avoid disaster: know where the shutoff valve is located. In suburban bungalows it is usually near the water line coming in from the street, sometimes next to the meter. In older houses it is often in the basement. Turn it off, then test taps to ensure you have the correct valve.

4 man with wrench plumbing - DIY vs. Tradesman Hire: A few easy home repairs every man should master

Every house, even if you have only lived in it for a few years will need maintenance. You can call a qualified plumber to fix the job, and then wait from them to schedule you into their planner, or buy a few simple tools and save money.

A simple tool box should include:

  • Tongue and Groove Pliers, great for all jobs.
  • A Hacksaw for cutting plastic pipe or nuts and bolts.
  • Metal file to remove burrs after cutting.
  • Basin Wrench, a must have for removing faucets.
  • Pipe Wrench for pipe fittings. To stop damage from the jaws, wrap them in old cloth.
  • Plumber’s Snake or Auger for cleaning blocked sinks, toilets and drains.
  • Plunger, sometimes called the plumber’s mate as this simple tool is often all that is need for a blocked water closet.

In older house with copper pipes turning off a water faucet can cause an annoying banging in lower regions of the house. This is cause by hot water expanding the copper making the pipe hammer against the floor joists under the house. The pipes are kept in place by pipe hangers. Loosen each hanger and put double-sided tape or felt pads sold to stick under the feet of chairs will stop the noise.

It’s no biggies if you don’t have all of these on hand, I do fair amount of work around the house using a multi-tool, my trusted old Leatherman Wave. These things are a Godsend, it’s just a matter of choosing the best one for your needs. I got the Wave after reading a few multi tool reviews here.

One easy-does-it tip

There is nothing more disturbing than a blocked toilet. The answer could be as simple as two plastic buckets of water, a bottle of vinegar, and a packet of Epsom salt.

The acid and alkali, when mixed, cause a chemical reaction making them fizz violently. It is an old remedy but could just be the shot to get out of a messy situation. Pour both in equal half-cup measures into the toilet along with a kettle of boiling water.  Then empty the buckets into the bowl.

Hair and drains

Hair is natures wonder filament. Not much destroys it except fire. Yet manscaping sees hair washed down the sinkhole everyday.

Slow water drainage is cause by grease, hair and soap. Under every sink is a U-bend to trap water and stop sewer gas from entering the bathroom. First and foremost is to reach for a plumber’s mate, the plunger.

5 using pluner on clogged drain - DIY vs. Tradesman Hire: A few easy home repairs every man should masterDon’t be gentle with this tool as the more vigorous the action, the better the result. If that fails, it is time to dismantle the U-bend. Plenty of paper towels and a plastic container saves clean up afterwards.

Wrap a disposable wipe around the nuts and loosen with a pipe wrench. Clean out gunk with a reshaped wire coat hanger. Smear petroleum jelly around the threads and re-assemble.

The Home Repairs Overlooked That Could Cost You Thousands

  1. Clogged gutters. Leaf build up in gutters can be overlooked until that torrential downpour finds water with no where to go but back under the roof and down the living room walls. Make sure water flows along gutters and downspouts. This one is kind of in the middle and it’s no shame if you choose to hire a professional.
  2. While clearing gutters take a look at roof shingles. Cracked and broken shingles could run into expensive repairs. Also look at the flashing around vents and chimneys.
  3. The outdoor deck is joy in summer. But decks need to be cleaned with deck clean solution. Wood stain needs to be repainted on a yearly basis to seal out moisture and stop wood rot.
  4. Asphalt driveways get iced over in winter and blasted from the sun in summer. They should be coated with driveway sealer to extend the life.
  5. Look up your chimney. Make sure the damper is open and look for daylight. If you can’t see light at the end of the tunnel, call a chimney sweep to prevent chimney fires.

You’ll be a hero and with the dollars save, get a free night out with other ‘Lords of the manor’.

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