Author Topic: Home Repair Skillz  (Read 4553 times)

SpecAg08

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Home Repair Skillz
« on: June 04, 2014, 09:39:10 AM »
Hello Mustachian's

I am not a handyman, but I would like to be. What is the best way to learn some basic home repair skills? I was thinking volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, and attending some free Home Depot workshops would be a good place to start.

Any other suggestions?

Zaga

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Re: Home Repair Skillz
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2014, 09:45:25 AM »
If there is something specific you want to learn how to fix, you-tube is an invaluable resource!  DH and I still go there regularly to learn new things.  This past weekend we laid a small patio with some advice from you-tube.

Greg

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Re: Home Repair Skillz
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2014, 09:47:06 AM »
Ask around to your friends to see if you can "apprentice" with them when they do DIY projects.  Experience is really the best teacher.  Don't be afraid to try.  Be relatively safe.

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Re: Home Repair Skillz
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2014, 10:21:30 AM »
I've learned a couple of ways over the years:
  • The internet is a bountiful font of information (and cat photos).  There exists a forum, just like this one, for nearly any type of project you can imagine.  Full of helpful people and expert advice.  Finding it is the trick.  For example: Tiling a Bathroom.  The John Bridge forum is all you'll ever need
  • Offer to help anyone you know who is doing projects on their own house.  I've helped friends, neighbors and acquaintances build decks, plumb bathrooms, and hang kitchen cabinets.  Along the way I've seen them make all the mistakes that I now won't make when working on my own place.  Just make it clear when offering to help that you are grunt labor and you want to learn.  Everyone needs a happy helper on a job, especially one who brings the coffee on occasion.  You only have to work with a professional carpenter once to learn enough tricks to save you hundred of hours of frustration in the future.
  • Borrow home improvement books from the library.  They are great as reference material and as help during the planning stages.  If you are building a deck, check out a couple of deck books.
  • Ask you local building inspector for advice once you have plans.  Usually they are excited that someone actually asks them for help rather than trying to hide from them.  YMMV of course, and it might be worth asking around your neighborhood before putting yourself on the inspector's radar. But a helpful inspector who is personally invested in your project from the start is worth a lot.
  • Just remember that short of replacing your electrical panel or roof, it's highly unlikely you'll ever be in real danger when working on your house.  So just try it!

SpecAg08

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Re: Home Repair Skillz
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2014, 11:25:28 AM »
Thanks all for the tips. Mr. Frugalwooks, that is some good advice.

I am actually renting an apartment at the moment, so it's less about a specific DIY project as it is about general skills. Helping friends is a great suggestion, I'll keep that one in mind. It's a free education and sometimes you get free beer. What a deal!

CarDude

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Re: Home Repair Skillz
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2014, 11:26:39 AM »
Definitely YouTube and forums. It's so much easier to learn to do things today than ever before...I remember when I changed my first timing belt... *totters off into memory lane*

Glenstache

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Re: Home Repair Skillz
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2014, 11:55:25 AM »
Also, take the long view. By that I mean that those skills(z) are something that grows over time and never stops accumulating. You will be slow and make mistakes at first and that is OK. Be willing to make those mistakes, tear them out if need be, and work at it to get it right. 

There are two elements to those skills in my mind: the ability to properly use the tools, and the knowledge to put the pieces of a project together. Things like habitat for humanity will be great for taking the mystery out of a house, plus helping a good organization. A house is nothing more than some sticks, boards, pipes and wires stuck together. Helping with experienced friends will help with the putting pieces together.

Sam Clark's Independent Builder is a great general reference for the big picture of how houses are put together and how to think right. It won't allow you to step out and build a house, but it will provide a good foundation for going to the specialty books on framing, wiring, plumbing, masonry, etc as you need them.

Most importantly, jump in. Each project completed will give you new knowledge and skills making the next project easier, and more efficient. Pretty soon your friends will be asking to help you with projects to learn from you.

frompa

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Re: Home Repair Skillz
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2014, 02:40:44 PM »
I second those who say, just try things that need to be done.  You can consult several sources, both on-line and in books from your library, enough to get the gist of what you need to do for almost any job these days.  Personally, I find reading up on things first an invaluable resource, and if I feel I need more, I'll ask around for friends who might have done the same.  Then I spend a few weeks (internally) wringing my hands over what I'm sure I'm going to fuck up.  Then I get up my nerve and do it.  I've learned rudimentary carpentry and masonry this way.  And these projects, some of which have been pretty big undertakings, have given me the confidence to try other house projects.  Any skills in particular that are calling out to you?

Greg

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Re: Home Repair Skillz
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2014, 02:52:37 PM »
Then I spend a few weeks (internally) wringing my hands over what I'm sure I'm going to fuck up.  Then I get up my nerve and do it.

I've been at this most of my life and that's still how I do it.  I spend what seems like an inordinate time preparing, stocking up parts/materials, running through it in my head etc. and then jump in, the actual task usually is very short.

Hugerat

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Re: Home Repair Skillz
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2014, 10:15:38 AM »
Agree with the other posters that Youtube is going to be your best friend. The hardest part of home repair is getting over your fear that you will irreprably damage something. You won't! My advice, just break something in your house. Now you're forced to repair it! Got some ugly tile in a bathroom, just scrape it up. And if you don't like the repair job you do just scrape it up again. Soon you'll be an expert at laying tile.

FLBiker

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Re: Home Repair Skillz
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2014, 10:20:52 AM »
One thing that helped me was to take a class at a local vocational school.  There's an evening class called "Home Improvement" near me.  It cost $200 and did wonders for both my knowledge and my confidence, especially re: electrical work.  I was a complete novice, and since the class I've installed new fixtures / switches and rewired some old ones.  I never would have been comfortable doing that before.  Like others have said, for me, the big thing was realizing that I wasn't going to do irreparable damage, and that it was OK (and, in fact, necessary) to make mistakes.

Transmatic

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Re: Home Repair Skillz
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2014, 12:44:43 PM »
Ask around to your friends to see if you can "apprentice" with them when they do DIY projects.  Experience is really the best teacher.  Don't be afraid to try.  Be relatively safe.

This is the best advice I've seen posted....and to utilize youtube.

Personally, I've very handy with a wrench, do all my own maintenance on my vehicles and house. However, there are things I don't know about and I'm always wanting to learn. I've got a buddy who at only 25, can do anything. I've tagged along with him on many occasions to hone my skills in plumbing and electrical work (my 2 weakest areas).

I just put a new roof on my house 2 weeks ago instead of letting the insurance company pay a "professional" crew to do it, and that put $4,000 in my pocket for 3 days of work. It wasn't easy work, but heck a monkey can roof a house.

So find a buddy or old guy that is good with his hands and join in and soak up the knowledge. Typically once you do something once from there you can practice yourself and hone your skills. It's truly amazing how much money you can save if you can work on your own vehicle and your house yourself.

Home Depot also offers a few different classes for FREE which you can take to learn to lay tile, do framing and drywall work, etc. So check out your local HD if any of those interest you.

danmartin

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Re: Home Repair Skillz
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2014, 07:29:32 AM »
The good thing about learning home repair is that we can use the infinite sources from the internet and its free. Secondly, we can save a lot of money from home service personnel. It only takes a decision to learn. Thanks for all the knowledge you've shared guys. another day of learning.