5 DIY Skills to Learn This Year

Doing projects yourself around the home saves a lot of money, but it also makes you feel good. That’s why adding more DIY skills to your abilities is a great start to a new year. We’ve come up with a list of some DIY skills that you can add to your expertise this year. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced DIYer, you’re sure to find something new to master.

1. Tile a Floor

One skill you can learn this year that will save you a lot of money if you do it yourself is tiling. Laying tile on a floor or wall isn’t that hard to do—it just looks intimidating. Many home improvement stores like Home Depot even have free classes on how to do it. Most of the tools you’ll need you likely already have, such as a putty knife, trowel, and a level. The only thing you may not have is a tile cutter, which you can just rent on a project by project basis if you don’t want to invest in one. To lay tile, you basically spread mastic onto a floor or wall with a trowel, set the tile on top of it (cutting it if necessary), check to make sure it’s level, and then finish up by applying the grout over the top. It’s truly that easy.

2. Unclog a Sink

A stainless steel sink with a spoon putting baking soda into the drain.

A sink clog is frustrating, but it doesn’t need to also be costly. There are quite a few ways to unclog a sink before making a call to a plumber. The easiest way is to try the baking soda and vinegar method. For this, use one cup each of baking soda and vinegar. Try to get the baking soda as far down the opening as you can and then pour vinegar on top. The bubbling action, as a result of the chemical reaction, will help force the clog out. If this doesn’t work, try using a plunger. If you have a dual basin sink, remember to stop up the side you’re not plunging. Then, add enough water to the sink so that it’s just over the top of the plunger, and begin plunging straight up and down. Still clogged? Next up is to check the P-trap—it’s under the sink and easy to remove. Once you’ve removed it, look inside and remove the clog. If the clog isn’t removed by any of these methods, it’s further down the drain than what’s easily accessible and you’re going to need a snake, or a plumber after all.

3. Fix a Dead Outlet

Fixing a dead outlet in your home can be a bit spendy if you have to hire an electrician to do it for you. That’s why adding it to your list of DIY skills to learn this year is a great idea. If you can strip a wire and turn a screwdriver, you can fix your dead outlet. The first thing to do to fix an outlet that has stopped working is to turn the power off at the breaker panel. This is very important since your safety is on the line. Once the power to the outlet is off, inspect the wiring attached to it. If the wire is still attached, it may just be a loose connection. Simply tighten the terminal screw back down onto the wire and when done check to see if that fixed the problem. If the wire is detached, reattach it by wrapping the end of the wire clockwise under the terminal screw and then tightening the screw back down again. If the wire appears to be damaged, cut off the damaged wire about 1/8 inch in from the end, stripping ½ inch of the insulation. Reattach the wire and tighten the screw. If none of these fix your dead outlet, you should get professional help.

4. Hang and Finish Drywall

A stack of drywall boards.

Doing some remodeling work around the home that includes hanging drywall? If so, this is an excellent skill to learn to do yourself because it’s relatively easy if you learn a bit beforehand. Drywall itself is one of the least expensive and easiest to use when it comes to construction materials, which is great for a DIYer because mistakes won’t cost you a fortune and are an easy fix. What you will need is a strong back, a ladder, and your drill. To get started, hang it using drywall screws, starting at the top of the wall and working down. As for cutting drywall, all you need is a T-square and a utility knife. Score the paper face with the knife and snap it off at the score. Finishing drywall is also simple—tape the seams and joints with drywall tape and mud, sand, and paint. We have a great drywall tutorial for you when you’re ready to start.

5. Patch a Hole

Whether you own your home or rent it, a hole in the wall seems to be something that happens to all of us. That’s why learning how to patch a hole is a useful skill to have. You’ll need some self-adhesive mesh, a putty knife, lightweight drywall compound, and sandpaper. To start, sand the edges of the hole, remove any backing from your wall patch or self-adhesive mesh, and apply the sticky side of the patch to the hole. You want about ½ inch of the mesh or patch to overlap over the hole on the outside. Use your putty knife to apply the drywall compound around the edges and work your way to the center. Be liberal with the compound since you want it to fill in well. Once it’s dry, you can sand it down so that it’s even with the wall around it.

Via Kimberly Carver, DoItYourself.com

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