With so much DIY expertise and experience here at The Family Handyman, our editors decided to write down their top tips for how to get the best results from your home improvement projects. From plumbing to drywall, our editors weigh in with their favorite hints for DIYers.
Old walls are often crooked and out of plumb. One good method to fix the problem is to add new studs alongside the old ones, making sure the new ones are plumb and aligned. You’ll be glad you did when it comes time to install cabinets and trim.
When you’re doing electrical work, don’t assume that because you flicked a switch or flipped a circuit breaker the power is off— always double-check. Buy a noncontact voltage tester and check all the wires in the box before you do any work—or plan on some melted dental work!
Aside from a hammer, a “beater” chisel is the most useful tool to carry in your tool belt. It’s a scraper, a pry bar and a putty knife all in one. Sometimes you can even use it as a chisel for crude work.
No matter how carefully you plan, it seems like you always need another elbow or extra length of pipe. Save yourself a trip to the store and buy extra the first time. Then return what you don’t use.
No matter how small your drywall job, take the time to carefully confine the dust. While the actual sanding might only take you about 10 minutes, cleaning the fine layer of dust from everything in sight will take you the rest of the afternoon.
Learn a lesson from one TFH editor who poured a garage slab late one fall day. It was cool outside, and he didn’t realize how long the concrete would take to set up. He didn’t finish troweling until about 2 a.m.
Leave a space (reveal) alongside moldings. It’ll give you a little fudge factor and looks better than trying to get trim flush with jambs.
What will you do if you tear off the shingles and a storm pops up? At least if you have a plastic tarp that’s large enough to cover the roof, you’ll have a fighting chance of keeping your house dry.