Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

For beginners, do-it-yourself will be easy with planning




Instead of scrapping their plans to repair, remodel and redecorate during a time when every dollar counts a little more than it did before, more women are picking up tools for the first time and doing it themselves.

If you’re one of them, you’re joining a huge club of do-it-yourselfers who take pleasure and pride in fixing and creating things around the house with their own hands and know-how.

Most of us handymen and women started right where you are: without much of a clue. Like we were, you’re probably a little nervous that the roof will cave in if you hammer a nail into the wrong spot. It won’t.

Bolster your confidence as a do-it-yourselfer by making your first jobs small ones that are more forgiving of the mistakes of a beginner. Some suggestions:

• Painting. You might have slapped a coat of paint on some walls or a fence in the past, but this time, paint like a pro. Before you begin, do your homework. Read the labels on paint cans, question the guys at the paint store, call the Rosie on the House show (888-ROSIE-4-U) for advice, read how-to articles about painting and even talk to a painter before you start. You’ll learn that different kinds of paint adhere better and last longer, depending on the surface you’re painting and whether it’s inside or outside. You’ll find that the painting will be easier and the result will be better if you prepare the surface first – perhaps by sanding or priming.

• Caulking. Caulk around the bathtub and shower doesn’t last forever; constant moisture can turn it mushy and moldy, and age can make it brittle. Learn the tricks of the trade for reapplying caulk before you start the job so your work looks clean and lasts longer. Again, read product labels and get advice about which caulk is right for the job. And buy the right tool: A caulk gun will help you do a more efficient job than working right from the tube. A tip: Clean up as you go along; it’s so much easier to wipe off moist caulk than dry.

• Stopping leaks. Leaky faucets are easy to repair: Just remove the faucet, replace the washer and put the faucet back on. Some tips for pro-quality success: 1. Turn off the water to the faucet before you start. In fact, one of the first things you should learn in your quest to become a successful do-it-yourselfer is how to turn off the water to every faucet and to the whole house. 2. Don’t be afraid to remove the faucet. You can simply retrace your steps to put it back together. 3. Once you remove the washer, take it to your local hardware store and ask the guys there to help you find one that matches it so you’ll buy the right size. 4. For a persistent leak that doesn’t respond to a new washer, call a plumber.

By the time you do these three easy repairs yourself, you’ll be well on your way to learning the do-it-yourself basics, speaking the language and feeling like you’re ready for bigger jobs.

Rosie Romero has been in the Arizona home-building and remodeling industry for 35 years. He has a radio program from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays on KNST-AM (790). For more do-it-yourself tips or to contact Romero, go to rosieonthehouse.com or call (888) ROSIE-4-U during the show. The Rosie on the House column appears every Friday.

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