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
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
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
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
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
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.
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