Home Improvements

DIY Home Repairs to Try Before Calling a Handyman

Proper home maintenance is a vital part of home ownership. Regular home repairs preserve the market value of your home, help avoid costly repairs later on, and extend the lifespan of your home.

But a lot of people put off home maintenance because they don’t know what to do. Don’t let home repairs intimidate you. 

Most of the problems you’ll encounter have straightforward solutions you can handle on your own. While some repairs need the expertise of a qualified handyman, there are plenty of others you can confidently tackle alone.

Tools that would be popular for home repairs, like a drill and some drill bits.

Essential Home Maintenance Tasks

There are a few home repairs and maintenance tasks you should be aware of. Staying on top of these repairs will keep your home in a good condition and avoid expensive surprises later on.

  • inspecting the roof
  • cleaning gutters and downspouts
  • checking the foundation
  • testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • inspecting plumbing
  • cleaning and inspecting chimney
  • testing and servicing home safety equipment
  • inspecting electrical systems
  • maintaining appliances

Some of these checks may point out issues that need to be fixed. From there, decide if it’s something you can do safely and correctly, or if you need to hire a pro.

Close up of drill being used to remove door handle

DIY or Handyman?

Deciding whether you can do a job without the help of a handyman involves assessing:

  • the difficulty of the task
  • your skill level and available tools
  • safety considerations

Start by researching the specific job or home repair you’re thinking of. Understanding the process involved will give you a better idea about if you can handle it.

Be honest with yourself about your skill level and experience in similar tasks. If you’ve done similar projects in the past, you can probably handle the new one. 

If you’re unsure of your abilities, start with smaller, less complex projects. This will help you build confidence and develop your skills.

Some repairs like electrical work or roof repairs are hazardous. Think about the risks involved to ensure you have the knowledge and equipment to do the job safely.

Electrical box on an exterior wall. Big electrical home repairs are best left to handymen or electricians.

Make sure you have all the right tools and materials for the job. Any easy way to know if you’re out of your depth is when you don’t have the right tools at the start. Seek advice from friends or family who have done similar repairs; they might provide valuable insights.

Consider the time and effort needed to complete the job. Be realistic about your available time and level of commitment. If the job involves structural changes, major electrical or plumbing work, or poses a safety risk, it’s best to hire a qualified handyman or licensed professional.

If you are willing to learn and are open to following instructions carefully, you may be able to do it successfully without experience. But, in case things don’t go as planned, have a backup plan or know when to stop and call a professional to avoid further complications.

Electrician checking an outdoor electrical box, using the right equipment.

DIY Maintenance

Before calling a handyman for certain home maintenance tasks, you can try some DIY tips and fixes to save time and money. If you encounter a repair that’s beyond your skill level or involves electricity, gas, or major structural components, it’s best to call a professional handyman or licensed contractor. 

DIY is great for small and straightforward tasks, but some jobs require the expertise of a trained professional. Below are some common home repair tasks and DIY tips to try first.

Table with tool on them, only thing in focus is a box of screw drivers. These are one of the best tools for home repairs.

Unclogging Drains

Use a plunger or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to try and clear minor clogs in sinks, showers, or toilets. 

For tougher clogs, you can use a drain snake or auger. This can also help with some bad drain smells.

Fixing Leaky Taps

Replacing a worn-out washer or O-ring usually fixes leaky taps. Turn off the water supply before attempting any repairs to avoid a big mess. 

If you’re unsure where to start there are lots of free online tutorials you can consult before replacing any hardware.

Silver tap with handle pressed flat, indicating it's closed, but there is still water leaking out the spout.

Replacing Light Fixtures

If a light fixture is malfunctioning, try replacing the bulb first. If that doesn’t work, check the wiring connections and switches before considering a replacement. 

You might not want to replace the fixture yourself, but you can make sure that’s your only option before you call a pro.

Row of three exposed lightbulbs with cage-like fixtures around them.

Squeaky Doors and Hinges

Apply lubricant like Q24 to the hinges to remove squeaks. 

If the problem persists, tightening or loosening the screws on the hinges can help.

Replacing Cabinet Hardware

Upgrading handles can freshen up the look of your cabinets or cupboards. It’s a simple task you can do with only a screwdriver. 

Door locks come with detailed instructions that make installation easy so you can also change them yourself. If you’ve lost the instructions, there are free online tutorials that can help you.

Kitchen with brown and white cabinets with striking gold handles. These are the sorts of home repairs you could easily do without a professional.

Fixing Running Toilets

A running toilet can be a nightmare and drastically increases your water bill. Adjust or replace the flapper, chain, or fill valve in the toilet tank to stop it from running continuously. 

If you’ve done all this and it’s still running, your best bet is turning off the water to that toilet and calling a plumber. You’ll still have saved yourself time and money by replacing the items first – this way the plumber can get straight to business finding the problem.

Fixing Wobbly Furniture

You can easily fix wobbly furniture yourself. 

You might have to go through some trial and error to ensure the piece is completely level. But with some patience, you’ll eventually get it right.

Cleaning and Inspecting the Exterior

Clean the exterior of your home regularly and inspect for any signs of damage or deterioration. 

Varnish or oil wooden windows and doors, and repaint as needed. If there’s any structural work, refer it to a handyman.

close up of tool box filled with tools of varying sizes, all which can be used for home repairs.

DIY vs Professional Home Repairs

DIY home repairs aren’t impossible. But to do them successfully, you should carefully consider the task difficulty, your skill level, and other safety precautions. 

If there’s any doubt in your mind, rather contact a skilled handyman to come and help you out. 

You’re in good company