Every home requires upkeep, and homeowners can save a good chunk of change by learning how to handle home maintenance tasks on their own. But just as a little tool-related know-how can be helpful in keeping your house in shape, it’s also important to understand your own limits, and to hire professional help when necessary.
Homeowners often struggle with the decision between what qualifies as a do-it-yourself project and what should be contracted out to someone with the required skills. The wrong decision can lead to paying professionals for work that could have been accomplished more inexpensively and without strangers traipsing through your house. Here are three projects that might seem complicated, but are actually ideal projects for the do-it-yourself type.
Building a Fire Pit
The process of building a fire pit—especially one that’s safe for families—might seem complex, but the actual construction tends to be much simpler than some homeowners might expect. According to This Old House, a fire pit can be built by the average Joe in about two days, and for hundreds of dollars in savings.
Photo by john.anes via Flickr
Fire pits start with a simple task: digging a big hole. Once you have a hole that is slightly wider and deeper than the finished fire pit, pour in about six inches of gravel that will serve as a foundation—and a fire buffer. On top of the gravel goes a ring of stone or other rocks glued together with an inflammable paste, finished at the top with stone capstones. For extra protection, you can install a steel shield around the interior of the fire pit to keep heat inside the space.
Replacing Your Pool Liner
Pool liners offer both aesthetic and practical services to your pool’s interior, and they can last years—even decades—before they need to be replaced. Whether you’re changing the pool liner because it’s wearing down or because you want a different look, this replacement process is actually simple enough to do on your own, as long as you pay close attention to the process. Browse PoolProducts.com liners to see what options are available, and at what prices. No matter what type of liner you pick out, the installation process is more or less the same.
Photo by rmhauch via Flickr
You’ll have to start by completely draining the pool and removing the old liner. The biggest thing to remember during this process is to not cut or puncture the liner during installation—if this happens, you will create a leaking spot that will require a patch or, in serious cases, an entirely new liner. Unroll the liner and go around the pool sealing the liner to the cement base, then use a vacuum to suck out the air and create a tight hold between the liner and the pool.
Installing Garden Planter Boxes
Garden planter boxes are ideal for avid gardeners not only because of the drainage they create, but because of the ease with which you can fill your garden with the best type of soil. These planter boxes also have a visual appeal when done correctly. The good news for DIYers is that, despite their large size, planter boxes are one of the easiest home projects you can tackle.
Photo by danhurt via Flickr
As Sunset magazine notes, a basic planter box can be built with rough lumber found at Home Depot, Lowe’s Home Improvement or other hardware businesses, as well as some wood screws and enough potting soil to fill the base. All you need to do is cut the pieces of lumber to size, screw them together, situate the box in its proper spot, and then fill it up with soil. You can add netting and other features if you’d like, but this basic product will cost less than $200 and require less than a day to create.