Contractor and TV star Bryan Baeumler tells us which DIY projects the novice renovator should and shouldn’t do.
All homeowners want to make their homes look better. Where most run into problems is in deciding which projects they can tackle. I’ve seen just how much trouble novice DIYers can get themselves into, and, on Leave It To Bryan, I’ve had the chance to teach (and learn) a lot of important lessons about what you should and shouldn’t attempt on your own.
Tiling a backsplash is a great task for the beginner. Start with natural tiles, which are the easiest to cut using a wet saw and generally more forgiving than ceramic, porcelain or glass. The smoother and flatter your wall is before you start, the easier installation will go. Using mastic or pre-mixed mortar is simplest and creates less mess. Be sure to use spacers, and take your time.
Tip: Turn off the breakers for electrical outlets so you don’t get a shock when applying mastic or grout.
If you have the DIY bug, this is the best place to start. Preparation is 95 percent of a successful job: First, you’ll want to fill any holes or cracks with drywall compound, then sand the dried patches smooth and prime them. Caulk all trim and fill any small nail holes with paintable latex caulking, using a slightly damp sponge to smooth and clean the surface afterward. Finally, tape and protect anything you don’t want covered in paint, and you’re ready to go.
Tip: When using a roller, roll toward the arm – you’ll put less pressure on the trailing edge, which makes smoothing out lines much easier.
DO: Click flooring
Floating floors, whether they’re laminate, cork or engineered hardwood, are a snap to install. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the box (they’re usually very clear and easy). Be sure to leave a little space around the edges of the room – a floating floor that’s installed too tightly can buckle over time.
Tip: Keep your joints at least six inches apart for a better look and stronger floor.
DON’T: Touch electrical.
Anyone can apply for an electrical permit, but if you’re not an electrician, don’t play with wires. Improper connections can heat up over time, causing a fire; you could also electrocute yourself or someone else. Bad idea!
DON’T: Work on the gas.
There’s more to hooking up a gas appliance than just making sure the connection doesn’t leak – it has to be properly vented to ensure your home doesn’t fill up with deadly carbon monoxide. Leave any gas work to a licensed professional.
DON’T: Take down walls.
Removing walls and other structural supports should be left to a licensed contractor. It requires the proper permits and an understanding of how loads are transferred and carried. Just because your neighbour did it doesn’t mean it’s okay!