The Do’s and Don’ts of the Honey-Do List, Part 3: Advanced Tips

We’ve now arrived at the upper echelon of the handyman’s expertise. These kinds of do-it-yourself fixers consider themselves a cut above the rest. These unlicensed, renegade fixers can knock out any typical honey-do list in a day: need new ceiling fans – done, building a pergola for your outside deck – easy, need to reroute your sprinkler system – they know what to do, need new flooring in the kitchen – a piece of cake. They don’t ask questions in hardware stores, they get ASKED questions in hardware stores. That being said, even the finest DIY handyperson needs a tip every once in a while. Besides, how do you think they learned how to do all of those amazing home improvement projects? They had to learn somewhere! We at Maintenance KC are happy to pass our knowledge on to the thriving fixers in our community.

Advanced Home-Fix-It Projects

First, let’s talk about what qualifies as an “advanced tip”. We aren’t talking about what direction to turn a screwdriver, or not sticking a metal tool in a live electrical socket. Advanced tips range anywhere from electrical and plumbing renovations to complete teardowns and rebuilds. It’s those kinds of large-scale projects that separate advanced fixers from the more novice repair people. We’ll be covering some of the tips that will make you a home-fixer pro; prepared and ready to tackle any complicated repair in your home.

The In’s and Out’s of Rewiring 

Let’s get one thing straight, we are NOT telling you how to rewire your home. This is a very complex home update that can be very dangerous and should absolutely be left up to professionals. These tips are for those looking to add an outlet or rewire a broken outlet; smaller home improvement updates, compared to rewiring a home, but still advanced nonetheless. 

So with that in mind, let’s hop in! If you are looking at updating a plug, that means you probably suspect it’s broken, and if one is broken, there is the possibility of more. First things first, take inventory of what needs to be done. You can easily do this by taking a blow dryer or small lamp around and plugging it into each outlet to see which ones work and which need repair. Once you identify an outlet that needs rewiring, mark it with some painter’s tape or unscrew the socket covering to indicate the exact plugs that need fixing. 

Once you have surveyed the entire house, it’s time to take stock of what all is needed. Make a detailed list of all the needed materials and then stay organized! Knowing what you have and what you need, for each part of the job, keeps everything within reach. If something isn’t right, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re missing. Keep track of everything, big and small, including: 

  • Wires 
  • Connectors 
  • Attachments 
  • Zip ties/bundling equipment 
  • Tools 

Knowing what you have, what you need, and what you’re missing is the best way to do an efficient, and more importantly, accurate job. Finally, you are ready to start your job! It would be crazy of us not to remind you to TURN THE POWER OFF before working! If you are EVER concerned about working on electrical work, hire a professional like Maintenance KC. This is definitely a more dangerous job, and there is no shame in making sure it is done right so you and your family stay safe!

Plumbing: When to Leave it Be 

Bathroom demo work and plumbing installations fall firmly in the category of a “dirty job”. We’re talking a few steps above snaking a sink or plunging a toilet. These kinds of plumbing can include hot water heaters, garbage disposals, septic systems, and gray water tanks. These different add-ons and systems all require an expansion of the existing plumbing infrastructure of your home. Something that’s important to remember is that when doing plumbing work, the tools you use are as important as knowing what you’re doing with them. Plumbing is exact. It requires the right length of pipe, fittings, tools, and a variety of other things. It seems like a simple tip, but one of the most important ones no matter your skill level. Know what you need! Using the wrong tools, or taking shortcuts because you think you know what to do, can result in bigger problems and bigger financial costs. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you aren’t sure. It’s always better to double check and get a second opinion than to go in, overzealously, and cause more damage than good. 

Structural and Foundation Changes: The Big Beast of Home Improvement 

It’s something every DIY enthusiast tackles once in their lifetime. Whether it’s fixing drywall that has been damaged or has holes, or if it is tearing down an entire wall in your home, this DIY project takes strong attention to detail and an intimate knowledge of your home’s structure. It can take a lifetime for someone to master the art of sanding, patching, and spackling until they can finish a wall so well it was like there was never even a hole. However, it is a whole different story when you are talking about removing a wall and changing the very structure of a home.

When performing structural repairs or changes, the most important thing to take note of is which parts of your home are load-bearing. Whether it be one or more of the walls or the floor of your attic, the part of the structure that bears all the weight is imperative in any structural repair. Failing to take note of it, and treat it with the appropriate concern, can lead to a total structural collapse. You can determine which walls are load-bearing by finding which way the joists in the ceiling run. Parallel to the joists means they most likely are not load-bearing, perpendicular means they are load-bearing. The same technique can be used to tell if the floor in an attic is load-bearing using their joists. 

Likely, if you are looking to change up the structure of your home and are working on bigger demolition, you are probably looking at needing a permit to begin work. If you need a permit or are unsure if it is safe to tear down that wall, then it’s best to hire a professional. Being the best at DIY is great, but only the true “DIY professionals” will know when to put their tools down and call for a licensed professional to take over.

Best Tip: Hire a Maintenance Professional

These tips are meant to arm you better as an amateur repair person; whether you’re performing your first job or your four-hundredth job. Being the best at DIY is great, but only the true “DIY professionals” are aware of when it’s time to put down their tools and seek help from a licensed professional. At Maintenance KC, we know what to do; whether it’s a basic project or a full-scale renovation. Our technicians are in the business of helping you, and we do the job right the first time. Get a free quote online and watch your problems disappear!

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