When Jacy Elsesser started investing in rundown homes in Chicago’s South Side neighborhoods, he hadn’t attempted any major building repairs beyond simple home DIY projects. But as he hired contractors, he paid attention and took great notes. After a while, he became an expert at remodeling and reviving homes to turn into rentals.
“I was always interested in learning and improving the houses we were working on,” he said.
After remodeling more than 50 homes, he now hosts the Fix It Home Improvement podcast and uploads a wide variety of instructional YouTube videos to help DIYers accomplish repair projects at home.
Elsesser and another home repair expert shared five simple home DIY projects that should be manageable by even the most novice handypersons. Keep reading to hear what they are, and get tips for how to try them yourself!
Tips for Repairing or Replacing a Screen
Replacing an entire window screen can cost more than you want to spend on home repairs and it can cause unnecessary waste, so Elsesser said you should just fix the holes instead!
“If you have only a couple holes or cuts in the screens in your home, a small patch is a great project,” said Elsesser.
Check out this YouTube video for instructions on how to patch a ripped screen.
If your screen is badly damaged, Elsesser said replacing it is also a great DIY project for beginners.
“If you plan on replacing screens, doing it yourself is a skill that is easy to master once you do one or two,” he said. “It only takes a couple tools and you will save a lot in replacement costs for a whole new screen or professional fees.”
He’s got a video with tips for that project, too!
How to Replace Old Electrical Outlets in Your Home
When Brittany Bailey moved into a fixer-upper home, she became a DIY home repair expert by necessity and hasn’t stopped swinging a hammer since. When asked what simple home DIY projects she’d recommend, replacing old electrical outlets was first on the list.
“It’s an easy project that will keep your family safer, if you have old outlets that don’t hold the plug,” said Bailey. “You should have a basic understanding and safe knowledge of using power tools. And ask for help or research how to accomplish anything you don’t know how to do.”
If you’re ready to tackle this project, head over to her Pretty Handy Girl blog for step-by-step tips!
How to Patch Drywall
Sometimes it’s a little too easy to damage drywall, but thankfully it can be just as easy to fix, said Elsesser!
“The key mistake most people make is not taking the time to apply at least three thin coats and making each coat a couple inches wider than the last,” he said. “If you take your time, the repair will be invisible.”
He has a drywall repair video to show you the steps.
Tips for Repainting Old Cabinets at Home
Anyone who has lived in an older home knows the embarrassment of unsightly cabinets. But Bailey said a fresh coat of paint can go a long way to modernize the most ugly wooden fixtures.
“Paint those dated cabinets and vanities that are still structurally sound,” said Bailey.
She has tips to help guide you on her blog.
And if you’re new to the house painting game, ask for help!
“Ask friends, family or people that have the skills to teach or help you,” Bailey said. “You can offer to pay or treat them to dinner, babysitting or some nice wine.”
Simple Home DIY Projects: How to Install Light Dimmers
After you’ve successfully changed your electrical outlets, consider replacing your light switches with dimmers. Because who doesn’t want some mood lighting at home?
This project can be a bit trickier, said Elsesser, so make sure to check out his YouTube video to choose the right supplies before breaking out the toolbox.
“With dimmer switches, never use a dimmer to control ceiling fan speed, it could potentially cause a fire,” said Elsesser. “Match your dimmer to the type of light bulbs you plan to use and add up the total watts that the dimmer will be controlling.”
Both of our experts agree that any homeowner can become the handyperson around their own home with a little knowhow and a lot of practice.
“Ask, if you don’t know,” said Elsesser. “We all start as beginners. Go to a hardware store or home center and ask questions. Don’t be embarrassed. If you don’t know, you don’t know. It’s important to ask. I’ve learned a lot that way and a lot of (experts) are excited to share their knowledge.”