As any homeowner can tell you, owning a house is an expensive proposition. There’s the mortgage to pay every month. There’s homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. There are the monthly utility bills, and of course, there are the incessant repairs and improvements that need to be made to keep your home working and looking great. Plumbers, electricians, carpenters — they all charge high fees to stop leaks, keep lights working, and maintain the structural integrity of your house. It often feels like you’re constantly spending money to have a nice place to live.
While we can’t help you with the mortgage, and we can’t lower your taxes or your bills, we can help you save some cash when it comes to small and even large fix-it jobs. Instead of calling a home repair specialist the next time your faucet drips or your wiring frizzles out, try doing it yourself! There are many websites that offer step by step instructions, videos, and more to give the average homeowner some help in fixing things around the house. Best of all, this help is all available for free.
Where can you find this DIY assistance? Here are the top ten home and repair websites.
This Old House
This well-known home improvement brand may be most widely recognized for its PBS show and its monthly magazine, but the This Old House website is a treasure trove of home improvement and repair help. It features loads of articles and videos to help you fix, maintain, and remodel just about every room in your house and every part of your home’s exterior. There’s also a heavily trafficked discussion section if you want answers from fellow users on specific questions.
The home improvement guru has his own website to impart great and helpful advice to his many admirers. Under the site’s “How To” tab, you’ll find tutorials on how to do just about anything you might want to do around your house. There are also many articles on everything from design inspiration to lawn maintenance to gifts for the home repair enthusiast. You can search for the specific repair you want to do, but you can also spend hours browsing the “Tried, True, Trustworthy Home Advice” all over the site.
Do It Yourself
This intuitive, easy to follow organization on this home repair site helps you find the exact tutorial you’re looking for. There isn’t much in the way of video content, so if you’re a person who really needs to watch someone complete a task in real time in order to feel confident about doing it yourself, this may not be the best site for you. However, the articles are well written and full of instructive photos, which should suit the needs of most DIYers. What’s more, you can look at projects that other site users have done, and when you’ve completed your project, you can post it for others to see. Finally, if you have a specific question or comment, there are discussion forums on just about every home repair topic you can think of.
Self Help & More
This is a site that’s chock full of how-to articles. Whether you’re looking to rewire your electricals, put in some more advanced landscaping, or install new large appliances, you’ll find detailed instructions on Self Help & More. Of course, the site’s creators recognize that sometimes, you simply can’t get the job done yourself. That’s why there’s a number you can call for information on local contractors who can take care of more advanced repairs for you. The site’s discussion boards aren’t used all that often, but they are there if you want to try asking specific questions.
If you find it’s easier to learn how to do things by reading an article rather than looking at photos, Repair Home is a great site for you. The writing is thorough and comprehensive, and there are articles on every type of home job, neatly sorted into subcategories. And, like some other sites mentioned on our list, Repair Home can also help you connect with a home repair professional; it’s all divided by state, so finding the right person is fast and easy. There aren’t a lot of photos on the site, and videos are scarce, plus there’s a lot of (admittedly related) advertising, but if you don’t mind those things, the advice on the site is good and sound.
eHow Home Decor & Repair
On eHow, you can learn how to do just about anything, and the site’s Home Decor & Repair section is full of photo-laden, Pinterest-worthy tutorials for all sorts of little home projects. While you probably won’t find anything too intensive or requiring serious plumbing, carpentry, masonry, or electrical skills, the tutorials that are available on the site will help you make your home more personal and inviting. Examples of recent how-tos include How to Paint a Bathroom Vanity Cabinet, How to Make a Coffee Table with Copper Legs, How to Make a Couch Out of Pallets, and many more.
The site for the popular home improvement show “Hometime” houses an enormous video library of clips pulled from the series. It’s all sorted by topic (kitchens, drywall, flooring, and so on), or you can browse the most popular videos for more common home repair topics. There are also articles and written tutorials on most home improvement topics, along with an online store for buying more extensive videos and books.
Since 1999, the DIY Network cable channel has been airing all sorts of home improvement programming. That’s great if you’re home to watch TV, but if you’re not, the channel’s website has loads of great content to help you with your home projects. There’s an extensive how-to library, a regularly updated blog, and of course, details on all of the network’s shows. The site caters mostly to the Pinterest crowd rather than the toolbelt crowd, but if you’re patient, you can find some extremely helpful repair help.
Better Homes & Gardens Maintenance & Repairs
The magazine that’s an American authority on home improvement has an impressively robust section dedicated to home maintenance and repairs. It’s loosely organized like a Pinterest page, so unless you’re just there to browse, you’ll need to search for your specific project. Still, there are hundreds of articles, all with clear writing, high quality photos, and accompanying videos to help you get the job done. Best of all, you don’t need to be a subscriber to take advantage of this great resource.
From more general topics (like “What Not to Do As a New Homeowner”) to more specific ones (“How to Fix Drafty Windows”), this section of the Houselogic site offers help for projects you’re working on and the problems you didn’t know you had. The site itself is maintained by the National Association of Realtors, and it not only inspires home ownership, but it can be tremendously helpful for current homeowners who want to improve upon their investment.