We go to school to learn, and when it's time to tackle home repairs, there's more to learn. Every homeowner needs basic knowledge of how their home functions in order to perform home repairs, and home maintenance to reduce the need for home repairs.
Do you have the skills, tools and materials to do it all yourself? Even if you hire someone to handle most of your home repairs, you should learn the basics about your home systems like how to turn the water off if there's a leak, or how to reset the breaker (in older homes, replace a fuse) in the electrical box. Once you get comfortable with these systems, you'll learn which repairs you can handle yourself and when it's time to call a home professional.
If you didn't grow up learning how to do home repairs (most women didn't), then you need a good reference book (think of it as your homeowner dictionary, and we've got a glossary too) to help you find the information necessary to handle basic tasks yourself.
Finding Your Favorite Home Repair Books
My favorite home repair book, which I relied on after starting my handyman business is the Ultimate Guide to Home Repair and Improvement (don't worry if the cover changes, as they're always updating).
Wondering why you need a book if we're providing great information here at HomeTipsForWomen.com? My husband is a great “do-it-yourself” handyman because he grew up building things (a boat when he was 12) and helping his father maintain their home. I've helped him with many home repair projects, and he's helped me finish some handyman jobs.
As skilled as my husband is, he's not a pro so when he shops, he buys one of everything! He's learned over the years, that it's easier to return unused materials than run to the store several times during the job.
Home Repair: What's in the Book (or Should Be)?
When I started my handyman business, I had so much to learn that I created a small resource library which is now more like a file cabinet's worth of information. I found 2 or 3 books that I relied on a great deal, to help me learn the concepts, the terminology and the steps to almost any job. Let me tell you what I love about the Ultimate Guide to Home Repair and Improvement (pictured above).
- Starts with safety basics … and you don't want to skip these.
- Reviews tools you'll need, both hand tools and basic power tools.
- Using roofing as a sample chapter (used most my first year running a handyman, home repair business):
- Great diagrams like “Anatomy of a Roof” that are easy to read. They show the multiple layers of the roof from the rafters that give the roof it's shape, to the plywood sheathing that sits on top of the rafters, the water barrier, flashing and shingles.
- Introduction to specialty tools for roofing repairs.
- Overview of different roof types and key concepts related to them, i.e. flat roofs are handled very differently than other styles.
- Common repairs for each type of roofing material, i.e. shingles, slate, clay tiles, wood shingles and metal roofing.
- Other features that affect the performance of a roof from flashing, to skylights, vents, gutters , ventilation and weather related problems.
Start Your Home Repair Toolbox Today
Owning a home is a big responsibility, and a huge financial investment you want to protect. You can take years to build up your homeowner toolbox but the first thing you need is a home repair book you trust and I've been using this one for 10 years now, the Ultimate Guide to Home Repair and Improvement (ISBN-10: 1-58011-316-8 or ISBN-13: 978-1-58011-316-8).
You'll also want to collect basic hand tools for projects like hanging pictures, and wait to buy materials for each project and don't worry, they'll multiply before you know it.
You also want to build relationships with key home professionals, no matter how skilled you are at home repairs. When you've got an emergency, you'll be glad you already know – your electrician (tree falling on your house), plumber (burst pipe), HVAC (annual maintenance for your heating and cooling systems) and of course I'm biased, everyone needs a handyman!