With the ever-growing DIY movement, people are becoming more and more interested in honing their carpentry, plumbing, and electrical skills. As anyone who’s ever tried to fix a leaky pipe or rewire a lamp can tell you, knowing how to do a job yourself can save you a lot of money.
Here are the four important trade skills you need to be self-reliant.
Construction and home improvement
There are many reasons to take on a DIY construction project. For starters, the spiraling cost of home renovations. Kitchens are the most expensive renovation projects with financial investment going up to $14,000.
Bathroom remodeling is also a popular renovation project. Homeowners spend an average of $10,000 on home renovation projects.
Whether you want to save some money or just enjoy the challenge of a good home improvement project, it’s important to have the proper information and tools before you get started.
Here are some DIY home improvement projects you can attempt:
- Building a shed
- Constructing a basic deck
- Building a fence
- Updating fixtures (doorknobs, outlet covers, light fixtures, switch plates)
- Upgrading drawer handles
- Restoring hardwood floors
- Installing a new front door
- Redoing bathroom floor
That being said, some critical projects are best left to the home improvement professionals, such as:
- Installing in-ground pool
- Building complex decks
- Concrete patio
- Sprinkler installation
- Installation of fireplaces
- Constructing waterproof basements
- Complex tile jobs
- Expanding a room
Here are the basics of DIY construction, from planning and preparation to execution and cleanup:
Planning and preparation
Consider how much time you have to spend on your project. This will help you estimate the type and quantity of materials needed and the complexity of the construction. To avoid running out of time, be sure to factor in breaks for food, rest, and sleep.
It is always a good idea to plan ahead by having all the tools that you need ready before starting work. Before making any cuts or drilling holes, for instance, make sure that all tools are sharp and in good working
Use an electric hand drill for most of the drilling work, but make sure that you have an old-fashioned brace and a bit handy. This is in case you need to drill a hole into concrete or other hard materials.
When remodeling your home, it is important to get building permits to make sure the work is done up to safety and code requirements. Most jurisdictions have code inspectors who can make you tear out non-conforming work, which can be a very expensive headache. Always think ahead and make sure the permit process is followed.
Purchasing the materials
It is easy to take on purchasing materials, equipment, and appliances for a renovation project. Items such as tiles, cabinetry, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, and doors can be found at local stores or salvaged from antique stores or flea markets.
While bargain-oriented places are the best places to shop for your DIY projects, you may still need an expert’s advice. A professional can help you know the materials you will need, the sizing, and what the finishing will look like. Make sure you order enough materials to complete the project.
Plumbing is a critical trade that every homeowner should know how to do.
There are a few basic things you can do to develop your plumbing skills:
- First, read about the basics of plumbing. There are a lot of online resources that can teach you the basics. Second, practice fixing simple plumbing problems. This can help you get comfortable with the process and learn what to do if something goes wrong.
- Finally, you can ask someone who is experienced in plumbing to teach you the basics.
- You can take classes at a local community college.
- Online DIY plumbing videos and demos are a great way of learning about plumbing.
- There are also plenty of online forums and discussion boards where you can ask questions and get advice from experienced plumbers.
DIY plumbing tips
It can be daunting, and even a little bit scary, to take on a plumbing project yourself. But with a few simple tips, you can do some basic plumbing projects on your own, without any help.
One of the most important things to remember when doing plumbing yourself is to always shut off the water supply. This can be done by locating the main shut-off valve for your home and shutting it off. If you’re not sure where it is, your local hardware store can help you find it.
Also, you can shut off the water supply to your home on the street.
Always turn off the main water supply before working on any plumbing in your home. You should also know where all of the valves are so that you can turn them off if needed. This is very important because there could be a flood if you don’t know how to shut things down properly.
Before starting any plumbing project, make sure that you are aware of where the shutoff valve is for both hot
and cold water and the main electrical panel. Most of the time, you will find these valves in your basement or garage.
If you are working on a project that involves plumbing fixtures, such as sinks, tubs, toilets, and showers, plan to have a plumber’s snake on hand. This will help you clear any obstructions in the lines. If you need to call a plumber due to an emergency, many services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Some DIY plumbing projects you can learn include:
- Fixing a clogged sink
- Preventing pipes from freezing
- Installing a water filter
- Fixing slow or clogged drains
- Fixing leaky faucets
- Installing a toilet
However, if you are looking to become a licensed plumber, there are a few necessary steps that you must take. The most important step is to complete an accredited plumbing program. This will provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to work as a plumber.
Plumbing license in the United States
To become a professional plumber, pipefitter, or steamfitter, you will typically need only a high school diploma or equivalent. There are vocational-technical schools that offer courses in pipe system design, safety, and tool use. They also offer welding courses, which may be a prerequisite for apprenticeship training programs in pipefitting and steamfitting.
In most states and some localities, plumbers must be licensed in order to practice their trade. The requirements for licensure vary from state to state and locality to locality but often require a minimum of 2-5 years of experience while you need to clear an exam demonstrating your knowledge of the trade.
The majority of plumbers, pipe fitters, and steamfitters learn their trade through a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship program. Apprentices typically receive 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training and some technical instruction each year.
Electricians usually charge between $50 and $100 per hour. Most homeowners pay a total cost of between $162 and $521 for an electrician to visit their home and complete electrical repairs. Rates vary depending on the type of project, license, and experience of the service provider.
Electricity carries enough power to kill you, while small things such as improper wiring can be major fire hazards. So, working with even small electrical jobs is not something to take lightly. While complex electrical projects are best handled by licensed electricians, there are some things you can learn to do.
Replacing a switch -This project will require you to get familiar with a variety of different switches, including double-pole, single-pole, three- or four-way switches. It’s crucial to replace the switch with the correct type for the power and switch to work as intended.
In order to work safely on a light switch, be sure to turn off the circuit breaker or flip the main fuse for that circuit. Once it is safe to work on the electrical box, use a non contact voltage tester to double-check that no electricity is flowing through the wires.
When installing a dimmer switch for the first time, be extra careful. Dimmer switches can overheat and cause a fire. If you’re unsure about what type of switch to use, hire an electrician.
Replacing light fixtures – Replacing a light fixture is a project that most homeowners can handle. Turning off the power and removing the old fixture’s hardware are simple tasks. You’ll then need to find the junction box and separate the wires to remove the old fixture and install the new one. Checking that the mounting brackets are sturdy enough to support the new fixture is important.
Replacing outlets -If an electrical outlet is emitting sparks when you plug your appliances or is hot when you touch it, you will need to replace it. Damaged wires can lead to sparks, so it’s important to test the wires and replace them if necessary. You can test for power flow by checking the wires behind the outlet plate. After that, you’ll need to trim and strip the wire ends, rewire them to the new outlet, and replace the wall plate.
When handling electricity or wiring, you need to be extra careful:
- Turn off the power at your electrical panel for the appropriate circuit. Use black electrical tape over the circuit switch to ensure that no one else accidentally turns the power back on.
- Confirm the power is off with a voltmeter
- Unplug any lamp or appliance before you work on them
Gardening is a great way to improve your diet and reduce dependence on grocery stores. Gardening also has other benefits, such as boosting pride and providing a better-tasting product than what is available at most grocery stores. In addition, you do not have to leave your home to get your recommended vegetable intake. You can easily grow your own veggies at home.
To make your garden successful, you should know what to plant, how to plant, and how to maintain your garden. Start with an easy-to-grow vegetable that is common in your area. Most people choose a tomato plant because they are easy to grow and taste great. After that, expand your gardening skills by learning about more plants that will be successful in your climate.
Before planting vegetables, it is important to think about how much space you have and what kind of vegetables will thrive in that space. Some vegetables need a lot of room to grow, while others can be grown in containers. Deciding which vegetables to plant will help make the most of your space. Another important skill you need when it comes to gardening is composting.
You can use fruits and vegetable peels (and any excessive fruits and veggies you have) for composting. By doing this, you’ll break down the food scraps into nutrient-rich organic matter that you can use to enhance your garden soil. Additionally, you’ll be reducing the amount of food waste that goes into the trash can, and you won’t need to make as many trips to the grocery store.
Every day, we rely on others to complete tasks that we either can’t or don’t want to do. While this may be an easy solution in the short term, it can leave us feeling helpless when something happens, and those people we’ve come to rely on are no longer available.
There are a number of different skills that you can learn in order to be self-reliant. These skills can range from trade skills, like carpentry and plumbing, to basic life skills, like cooking and gardening. If you want to be able to take care of yourself and your family in the event of an emergency, or you just want to be more independent, it is important to learn as many of these skills as possible. These trade skills not only help you save money but make you more confident in your abilities to handle various repairs and installations yourself.