drdiy

You Can Do It Yourself!

In Q&A on May 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm

To all my followers: Please pass along my blog address to all your friends and family. I’d appreciate it!

Even if you are not handy, doing home repairs or projects yourself can save you big bucks.

Most homeowners are intimidated into thinking they could never fix anything. I have a friend who doesn’t own a screwdriver. Well, if you are one of those, you’re not alone.

Millions of homeowners are now becoming first time “do-it-yourselfers”. Why? Because they want to get the satisfaction out of building or fixing something with their own hands. Yea- sure! They do it because they can save a lot of money! They also don’t have to take time off work waiting for a serviceperson who may not show up.

How do you know if you can actually do a project? First, start small. Don’t tackle a major addition for your first project.

Read. There are literally hundreds of home repair and improvement books and magazines available at any bookstore as well as library. There are also hundreds if not thousands of pamphlets and brochures on “How To” and most are free or inexpensive and available many hardware, paint and building supply stores. The internet has a tremendous amount of information on how to fix or build things yourself.

Ask questions where you purchase your materials. They generally have someone who can explain what steps and procedures that should be taken. Many of the home centers have classes you can take as well depending on what project you are trying to tackle.

Follow directions. Manufacturers of do-it-yourself projects understand your hesitation and compensate for it by providing excellent directions and instructions with each package. (How come they never provide enough screws?)

What tools do you need? You don’t need all the tools you see on the Extreme Makeover show, but a basic home tool kit should include at least a claw hammer, assorted screw drivers, pliers, wrench, saw, tape measure and assorted nails and screws. As you need additional tools and equipment then you can purchase or rent them.

 Q:

I’ve been told that I need roof vents, but I don’t know how to do it myself and I can’t get a roofer out to do it because it’s too small of a job. What can I do?

A:

Installing roof vents is really a very easy job. That’s why roofers generally only charge about $25.00 for labor and material per vent.

You start by measuring the length times the width of the house (exterior walls) to determine the number of square feet of attic space. You’ll need one free, clear, square foot of ventilation for every 150-square feet of attic. You could make it 1-300 if you have a really good vapor barrier in the attic, but even then I still like the extra vents. Each vent opening is covered with insect screening, which reduces its actual size, so look on the vent where it’s stamped with how much venting it provides. You’ll find those vents at hardware & home centers.

Now for the fun part: Pull up a couple of shingles, cut six-inch diameter holes in the plywood spaced as needed and about one-foot down from the highest ridge. Nail the vents over the holes with some roofing nails and mastic and re-install the shingles if they are salvageable. If not, install new shingles that overlap the vents. To get a clearer picture of what I’m describing, check out the vents on you neighbor’s roof. It will keep you from getting hot under the collar over this problem. About the only problems I see is if you’re afraid of heights.

 Q:

We have a crawl space in our house with a cement floor. We have an odor that is present in all seasons and have found no source of leaks. We installed an insulation barrier on the perimeter walls to keep the family room warmer in the winter, should we also install a vapor barrier over the cement floor?

 A:

You should not need a vapor barrier on cement, but if you have a mold odor then you have a leak. Pull the insulation away and check for moldy, wet insulation. Look behind the insulation especially at the top of the walls especially just beneath where any doors lead to the exterior on the floor above.

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