Improving Your Home with Easy and Inexpensive Weekend Projects

Have an idea for home repair? Not every project requires an expense contractor and you can easily spiff up your space with some of the simple weekend projects listed below:

Replacing a Leaky Shower Head or Sink Faucet

Most shower heads and faucets available today can be replaced in one afternoon with simple tools. Even a relative novice could complete this task. If you’re just replacing an existing shower head or faucet, choose one in the same style you already have: single-handled, double-handled and three-handled. You can find old shower fixtures and faucets at plumbing salvage yards for much less than those you find at a showroom. Then, it’s as simple as shutting off the water supply, removing the old hardware, following the manufacturer’s directions for the new piece and re-caulking the fixtures where they touch the walls using silicon. Allow it to dry before turning the water supply back on.

Be warned, many cities require an inspection of work on new plumbing installations and some even require a certified plumber to install pipes and running water lines, so check before you begin any major work.

Adding Molding

Don’t let this project intimidate you — its not nearly as difficult as you might think. After choosing the appropriate style for you home, let the wood sit for a few days before installing. It will need to expand or contract based on the temperature and humidity in the house, and it’s best to let it breath before nailing it to the wall to avoid cracks and warping. Before making any cuts, make a guide fence for you miter saw. This will help you position the molding in exactly the same place for each piece. Always wear proper safety equipment when working with cutting tools of any kind.

When installing, use finish nails and glue to keep things snug, and work either clockwise or counterclockwise. After the molding is nailed in, smooth it using 100-grit sandpaper and paint with acrylic or enamel. You can paint the molding before you install, but you’ll have to repaint any scuffs due to installation. Just don’t forget to ventilate the room!

Redo Backsplash

A colorful tile backsplash can make a dramatic impact and even improve the resale of your home. Plus, it can be scrubbed of grease and cooking splatters much easier than painted or papered counterparts. Learning how to add a kitchen backsplash is well within the reach of the average DIY-er.

Once you’ve purchased the tiles, prepare the walls by lightly sanding with a course-grit sponge and applying title mastic or quick-set mortar with a v-notched trowel. Once applied, install the tiles before it sets. Work in small areas if you have a large job. Line up the first tile with the edge of the countertop or with a level to ensure a perfectly-aligned finished product. When you reach the end of a corner, you’ll likely need to cut tiles to fit the remaining space. For small jobs, you can use a snap tile cutter. For larger jobs use a wet saw. Each of these can be rented at home improvement stores at a daily rate.

Other easy DIY projects include adding a flagstone walkway or maintaining your spa. These easy fixes don’t require special tools or expertise, can save you money and be completed in a weekend or an afternoon.

When laying flagstone, lay out the shape of the path you want with a garden hose and remove all grass and topsoil 4 inches deep. Fill the path about 2 inches deep using coarse “washed” sand and then set the flagstones according to the stride of the average person. Lastly, spread more sand on top to fill out the extra space and voila! To protect your back during this project, lift smart and wear eye protection and a dust mask when pouring sand.

One of the easiest DIY options on this list is spa and hot tub maintenance. First and foremost, test your water chemistry two to four times per week, and make adjustments as needed. Retailers like Hot Tub Works sell kits to test and treat the water. Always follow the alphabet: first adjust alkalinity, then bromine, followed by calcium hardness and finally the pH balance. In addition, you’ll need to replace the filter every 12-24 months. Clean the filter every four to eight weeks depending on use. Give the spa a full cleaning when the spa is drained. Add fill water often as a skimmer that starts to suck air could damage the pump.

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Author: Average Joe

A 16 year veteran of the financial planning and financial media circus. Lover of hamburgers and ice cream.

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2 Comments

  1. Do it yourself projects can save a ton of money but if they are not done properly they could cost a home owner a ton down the road. A leaky pipe can create a mold problem and rot out cabinets. Crown molding that is not properly installed can actually lower the value of a home. So before starting a job, just make sure you have the skills to complete it.

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