Home improvement projects aren’t only good investments; they can also make your home a more convenient and stylish place to live in. Find out which tasks you can do yourself and which ones need professional assistance.
Thinking about doing a little handiwork on your home? Don’t go straight to the hardware store or hastily pull up YouTube videos on how to do complicated projects alone. First, read about the tasks you can easily do on your own, plus some home improvement projects that experts warn against trying without the experience to back them up.
Painting is one of the easiest, fastest, and most affordable ways to improve your home. Paint over outdated wall colors, repaint scuffed walls, or paint a concrete patio for a touch of color outside.
Be sure to always dust and clean surfaces before painting, especially those that are outdoors, and, if need be, fill and sand any holes. Use primer when covering up very dark or bright paint or when covering up damaged walls. Buy extra paint cans because you may need to apply several coats, especially if you’re making a drastic color change. Also, remember to use the right type of paint for every surface material.
Call an expert if: there are moldy or damaged walls to repair before painting or if you want to paint tall walls.
You can restore many types of surfaces on your own. Finishing patio floors, cleaning metal fixtures, cleaning tile grout, and even removing stains from bathroom appliances are just some examples. Most products found at your local hardware store, like metal-fixture polish or stainless-steel cleaner, include detailed instructions right on the packaging. Trouble may arise if restoration tasks don’t have straightforward instructions.
Call an expert if: you don’t have absolute faith in your DIY skills. Failed attempts to restore expensive surfaces like stone countertops or hardwood floors can cause even more damage.
These projects are especially important if you plan to list your home for sale. Even minor damage can deter buyers, who may perceive scuff marks and stains as signs of unseen damage. Talk to your real estate agent about which areas of your home may need attention. That said, most homeowners can easily fix problems like lifted carpet corners, loose wainscoting, or wobbly ceiling fans with a few simple tools.
Call an expert if: appliances, plumbing, or electrical systems need repair or water damage needs to be fixed. Only professionals have the equipment and expertise needed to handle these risky projects.
You can make small aesthetic improvements, such as swapping door handles or integrating smart home equipment, yourself. It’s easy to upgrade your light fixtures as well. Thankfully, just about all these products come with easy-to-follow installation instructions.
Call an expert if: you want to remodel. Making changes to walls, plumbing, electrical systems, or entire rooms requires professional oversight. Hire a contractor who specializes in residential remodeling.
It’s easy to improve cabinetry in your kitchen and bathrooms, as well as any built-in office or laundry room furniture. Swap out handles and pulls, add soft-close hinges, and even remove details like beading. If you want to update the whole look of your cabinetry, try painting or restaining it. Check out your local hardware store for products designed specifically for cabinets.
Call an expert if: you want to remove or replace cabinets, if changing your cabinetry means making changes to your countertops, or if you find mold or water damage. In these situations, you can do more harm than good if you don’t have professional experience.
Invest in landscaping to boost your home’s curb appeal or add an entertainment space outdoors. For example, plant native flora to save water and reduce maintenance costs. Try xeriscaping if you live in a dry climate. This irrigation-free process involves installing a landscape with stones and desert plants rather than a grassy lawn with great water needs.
Call an expert if: you want to remove trees or large shrubs. A trained professional can do so safely while protecting surrounding plants and structures. Also call an expert if you want to install structures like a wooden deck, pergola, or paver patio.