Let’s face it: Not all of us are handymen. In fact, it’s probably true that most of us aren’t. Luckily though, the following do-it-yourself projects are simple enough to be carried out by even the most inexperienced home-improvers among us. Whether you’re looking for some initial projects to help channel your inner Tim Taylor or you’re just trying to learn more about home construction/improvement, this article is for you.
Paint ‘til You Faint (but not really)
When it comes to painting, the first thing you’ll always want to do is clean the area you’ll be painting. Using a cellulose sponge mixed with some water and mild dishwashing detergent, gently wipe down the area to remove dust, dirt, and grease spots.
After that, you’ll need to tape the trim, window and doorframes with blue painter’s tape, which can be applied up to a week ahead. (However, when you’re finished painting, make sure to remove the tape immediately after painting and before the wall dries, so you don’t end up peeling off any paint with it.)
Next, you’ll need to prime the area. Some people may say that this is optional, but that’s only if you’re OK with a sub-par paint job. After prime time, you’re ready to paint! First, paint the areas where you won’t be able to use a roller, such as corners and around the trim, with a two-angled brush. Next, start painting one wall at a time with a roller. For efficiency’s sake, start in the corner and try to make continuous W shapes with the paint. Finally, apply as many coats as necessary (after they’ve dried, of course), paint the trim, and you’re done!
Tile with Style
Tiling can be slightly trickier than painting, but it can still be carried out with ease. First, like painting, you’ll need to clean the surface with a cellulose sponge, water, and mild detergent. After that, you’ll need to determine whether or not you need to lay HardieBacker cement board — if the floor is concrete, you won’t need to lay the board and can get right to laying the thin set; if it isn’t, then follow this guide for how to first install HardieBacker cement boards. After you’ve laid the thinset, pick out the tile you’d like to use, decide on a pattern, and lay the tile. From there, all that’s left is to let the tile dry for at least 24 hours, and for you to grout the gaps in between the tiles.
Staining Your Deck… in a Sec.
Despite what you may have heard, staining your deck really isn’t that big of a pain (depending on the size of your deck, of course.) But no matter what size your deck is, the steps will be the same. First and foremost, you’ll want to remove everything from the top of the deck. Next, it’s essential to power wash the deck in order to remove any debris from the surface, and also to clean deep beneath the wood. After that, you’ll need to let the deck dry for at least two days to ensure that the wood will be as absorbent as possible for the sealer. Once that’s done, mask off the area you want to stain and pick out a sealer.
When it comes to choosing a sealer, you’ll have no shortage of options. For this guide though, it’s only really necessary to know that sealers are split up into two categories: oil- and water-based. Water-based sealers typically last longer and clean up more easily, whereas oil-based products tend to keep their color better. (For help on choosing what stain to use, check out this page.) Finally, apply the sealer in as many coats as necessary either via spray (then back-roll), or with a simple paintbrush, and let it dry.
For more home improvement ideas, check the sites below for some pretty good guides. As always though, if you’re ever in doubt about anything regarding home improvement, call a professional or local construction company. And excuse our rhyming puns per each section above — they’re our written equivalents of whistling while we work!
Ryan G. is the owner of Cameo Construction, a construction company in Columbia, Mo.