Being Handy is Dandy

Being Handy is Dandy

Being handy is dandy…but let’s face it, many of us were not brought up on the farm where we helped fix the tractor when it broke.

Home ownership can be a Pandora’s box of unknowns when it comes to renovation and repairs. Where do I find this? How do I do this? If you are on your first home and project, steering the ship has become easier with sites like Nextdoor where you can ask your local community for tips on who they recommend. If you are a seasoned do-it-yourselfer, there may not be any tips or tricks in here for you, but hopefully we can add a couple of pointers for everyone.


First up, tools that can make a good housewarming present for that new homeowner… I am putting this in writing because I have a lot of friends who thought the first thing they needed was a cordless drill, and couldn’t wait to show me… that’s one for the veteran handy person. This list will help the average person get started with hanging pictures, tightening doorknobs and most small repairs: 4-in-1 screwdriver, 12 oz. hammer, tape measure (recommend Stanley FatMax), pencil, razor knife, needle nose plyers, regular pliers and an adjustable wrench.


Second… Google it. But watch several videos. I have a go to guy on YouTube that helps me work on my Harley, and I am a better carpenter than mechanic, so don’t trust the first person to show you how to hang or patch drywall. Our company uses professional painters, but for a DIY brick whitewash project and a gold leaf ceiling project at home, I watched about 5 different videos of each one to feel comfortable I wouldn’t ruin everything.


For bigger projects, know your limitations. One of the reasons I got into designing is because I knew I could not produce the high level of carpentry my customers would expect. When I needed a new back stair, I built it myself, but when I needed a new front stair, I enlisted one of our lead carpenters. To some laypeople, they can’t see much difference, but I wanted guests to get a better impression. Once you achieve deckbuilding status… it is very important to remind yourself that construction techniques, codes and science are constantly changing. The most common reversal of fortune we see are basements that have to be removed because a handy person underestimated what happens when moisture, the wrong materials and a mold spore get together. This Old House had a video on proper basement insulating, but remember- if you didn’t grow up turning wrenches it’s OK to enjoy your success and call in the professionals.


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