Do It Yourself or Hire It Done?
By: Danny Lipford
A common dilemma homeowners face is determining whether a project is something they can do themselves or whether they should leave it up to the pros. Here are three home improvement projects and our recommendation on what is and isn’t DIY territory.
Repairing a Sagging Gate
Wooden fence gates tend to warp and sag over time due to exposure to the elements. Reinforcing the gate so it doesn’t sag is a relatively simple DIY project.
One way to reinforce the gate is to add a diagonal support board inside opposing corners of the gate frame. Screw the diagonal support in place to transfer the weight of the gate to the hinge side and keep the gate from sagging. Watch How to Reinforce a Fence Gate to Keep It from Sagging for more info.
Another way to prevent sagging is with a gate kit, such as the EasyGate No-Sag Gate Kit from Homax. The kit comes with four gate brackets with attached hinges and screws, and can be used to build a new gate or repair an existing one.
For a different application of the Homax EasyGate Kit, watch the Checking In With Chelsea webisode Going Dutch, Door Style.
Installing a Tile Backsplash
Many people think laying tile is overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. With careful planning and measuring, installing a tile backsplash, for example, can be a fun DIY project.
Begin by taking measurements of the space to determine what size tiles will work best and how many it will take to complete the project. For a backsplash, choose tiles that are designed for use on walls, which are thinner and lighter than floor tiles.
Next, lay out the tiles and, if needed, mark where the tiles will need to be cut. Try to avoid placing cut tiles in highly visible areas or leaving small slivers of tile on the end.
Now it’s time to install the tile. Apply the thinset mortar or mastic adhesive to the wall with a notched trowel. Place the tiles on the wall from the bottom up so they support each other’s weight. An alternative to traditional mortar and mastic is SimpleMat Tile Setting Mat. It’s a double-sided adhesive that instantly bonds tiles to the wall for quick and clean installation.
Finally, spread the grout over the entire surface using a rubber float at a 45-degree angle. After the grout has set a few minutes, gently wipe the excess off the tile surface with a wet sponge or rag. To simplify the process, use Fusion Pro grout, which doesn’t require a sealer to be stain resistant.
Watch How to Install a Ceramic Tile Backsplash for details.
Servicing the A/C Unit
Some things are better left to the professionals, and your air conditioner is one of them. While you should perform routine maintenance, such as replacing air filters and cleaning debris away from the condenser unit, a certified HVAC professional should service the unit once a year.
If it’s time to upgrade or replace your A/C unit, check Carrier’s Infinity series, the quietest and most energy efficient models they make.
Read Tips for Dealing with HVAC Pros for more info.