Q&A: Can a person learn how to remodel their home just from the internet, books, and TV networks like DIY?

Question by john: Can a person learn how to remodel their home just from the internet, books, and TV networks like DIY?
Since you only do it once, maybe twice, can a person just rely on learning repair and remodeling tips from the internet, books and TV networks such as DIY Network?

Best answer:

Answer by kclifer
Those shows show HOW to do it but it takes years of applying the methods to get good at it.

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11 Comments → “Q&A: Can a person learn how to remodel their home just from the internet, books, and TV networks like DIY?”


  1. chicagirl51

    Oct 01, 2012

    Yes you can and you can also sign up for free at http://www.askmehelpdesk.com and get answers from experts who are willing to walk you through your project,


  2. rob s

    Oct 01, 2012

    You can learn a lot from us and watching the DIY shows and books, but nothing beats hands on learning. One project will teach you stuff that will tie into another. Take every thing w/ a grain of salt because there are never 2 projects exactly alike and you ll have to be flexible on all projects. GL


  3. Bob P

    Oct 01, 2012

    no way no how. that is, if you want it done right


  4. mckindle26

    Oct 01, 2012

    It certainly does not hurt to try, if you are an outgoing, determined person. But it is going to take you a lot of time to get things right. It takes years of experience to master these types of skills. Certain things are easy and uncomplicated, while other things are very hard and complex, and hard to learn in a short amount of time. I think the books are the best way because you can read how to do it but also see pictures, and you can read it as many times as you need to get it down. Take your time, do it right, ask for help, and be patient. You can get it done, just remember, slow and steady wins the race.


  5. sensible_man

    Oct 01, 2012

    You can learn the basics. Realize that all the methods you mentioned have a disclaimer somewhere in the medium. TV shows do not show all of the processes needed to actually complete a job that is done right.


  6. Karen L

    Oct 01, 2012

    You can learn from those, though I find most of the remodelling shows teach you practically nothing about how to actually do anything. There is no substitute for just doing it. Start small, don’t be in a rush to get done, don’t be too ambitious, buy or rent the right tools, get advice from anyone who will stand still long enough to give it to you. Some of the big box stores have classes. If you have any friends who are handy, ask to help with their next project. While it’s true that many of us only ever do the same project once which makes it harder to get really good at anything, you’ll find there’s a crossover of knowledge. The more you do, the more you find you can take things you have learned and apply them to the next thing. I still remember how good it felt when I completed the first project which went just like I planned it.


  7. flaffle

    Oct 01, 2012

    We’ve been fixing up our house in this manner for the last four years – yes, it can be done but there is a huge learning curve. Seeing it on TV and in books generally makes it look a lot easier than it really is. The best way is someone showing you in person, than being able to apply that skill in the experts presence to show me what I’m doing wrong or could be doing better. Pick the brains of your coworkers/friend. Bribe them food or beer to get them to come over and share their experiences. When that doesn’t happen, just be prepared to go through a lot of trial and error. Buy extra materials and practice, practice, practice! Anytime you start a new project spend your first days in a non-critical, inconspicuous area.


  8. britishbuilder

    Oct 01, 2012

    Hello John,

    In answer to your question, the answer is a definite yes. Everyone has to start somewhere, and providing you want to learn, there is nothing from stoping you.

    I am a self employed contractor, all of my family is totally useless at home improvements and remodeling, so it was not something that I inherited from any of my family. I just had this burning desire to fix things and make improvements upon my house when I was about 21 years of age, I bought a few basic books that pointed me in the right direction, and through having enough determination and approaching things in a very logical way, I was able to go from strength to strength.

    You may get some contractors who will tell you no way etc, that is because they do not want you to fix your house, when they can charge you $ 70 per hour for just basic common sense stuff.

    This is my own personal recommendation to you, what ever project you decide that you would like to tackle, ensure that you take you time, do not rush anything just to get it done, think about the end result looking really good, instead of nearly good.

    Most home improvements and remodeling projects require the same basic skills and talents. Here is just an example, lets say you wish to cut a piece of wood three feet long, measure the length and make a pencil mark at three feet, then use a square to draw a straight line across the wood, place the wood on your miter saw and bring the blade down to rest on the right hand side of the pencil line, DO NOT START THE SAW AT THIS POINT, slide the wood along until you ensure the blade is on the right hand side of the pencil line, when you start the saw, you know that by leaving the line on the wood, the exact finished measurement with be three feet.

    If you cut on the wrong side of the line, the wood will be shorter than you wanted. This basic tip can be used upon anything you are cutting, whether it be wood, tiles, gutters etc, it does not matter, if you stick to the same process each and every time.

    I am not here to spout off, because I was like you once, I knew nothing about home improvements; I had no teacher and no support from my family. I just started doing basic things, and as time went on, I learned more and more, and as you learn more, you also find ways to pick up speed and still get excellent results every time.

    Many people have a fear of messing things up, so they call in a contractor, but the first thing, is not to be worried or have fear, tell yourself you can and will do it, and believe me you will. Just to give you some further encouragement, when I was 21 years of age, I tiled my kitchen and bathroom, okay it took me about five times longer than a professional would have taken, but hey I learned and saved myself a lot of money, the projects turned out great, and before I knew it, my family and friends were asking me to tile their bathrooms and kitchens to. Before I started my own project, I went to our local tile store and got some tips and helpful advice. Believe or not, less than a year later I started my own wall and floor tiling business and was earning lots of money. As with anything, we all have the ability to learn, even to this day I am still learning, and have been in business for over 27 years.

    Once you become proficient at one project, your confidence will grow, and you find yourself getting more and more ambitious if you have that type of personality, I went from very humble beginnings to getting involved with many other things, I had my own window and door business and employed 17 people, and yes I did go out every day and install windows and doors. Once you have learned to do one project very well, the rest comes easy, and the main key is just very basic stuff, measure mark and cut.

    Do not let anyone tell you that it’s impossible to do remodeling or home improvements without experience, think about any trade, when a carpenter first started, he may have had a complete set of tools, but he would not be classed as a carpenter. You start doing small stuff, look on line, there are many good things out there, from free videos, hundreds of sites with informational products, Home Depot and Lowes have work project days and teach the public how to tackle things.

    Home improvements and remodeling work are so rewarding, although I am a contractor, and do earn a very good living from my efforts, there is a lot to be said for gaining sheer satisfaction from seeing the end result.

    I realize that when I first started it was 27 years ago, but things have not changed, in fact many projects are made so much easier these days due to the advance of great power tools and many companies now supply quick fix materials.

    Too many people sit in front of a computer for a living, and if you gave them a hammer, they would search for the instructions on how to use it. I personally admire anyone who is willing to at least try and tackle things. I am not suggesting that you are now a fully qualified plumber, but just by having a go at things, is a large step forward to leaning and gaining experience.

    I had actually typed out a lot more information than what you are reading now, but unfortunately Yahoo answers was down for a while, and has cut a lot of my reply to you.

    If you would like any information, totally free on home improvements, please contact me, I shall be more than happy to assist.

    Paul Message

    Self employed contractor for the last 27 years


  9. housedocter777

    Oct 01, 2012

    SURE YOU CAN LEARN HOW;but you need a certain level of talent to do these things


  10. www.carpentrypages.com

    Oct 01, 2012

    Yes you can if you indulge yourself in the DIY material particularly books then you will succeed
    Good Luck


  11. Tedruski

    Oct 01, 2012

    These sources you mentioned are a start and do provide a lot of information. As a General Contractor for 30 years and still working today I can tell you the best advice is to start with your smallest project first.
    Be logical. Figure out what needs to come out (we call this Demo – short for demolition). On rooms where there is plumbing,electrical,hvac(heating,ventilation,air conditioning) it is almost best to strip walls down to studs if your are relocating or adding to these 3 areas.
    Use grid paper to layout a top view of the room and cut out to scale pcs. of paper to show fixtures,furniture,etc. Use 1/4″ = 1 foot for a scale.
    If you have a friend in construction, have him/her stop by and give you some specific advice. If not just do your own research.
    * Get all the tools,equipment,supplies you need prior to starting and keep them stored somewhere easy to get to. The biggest mistake do-it yourselfers make is they waste too much time going to Lowe’s to get things. The work is at your home – going to Lowe’s and walking around is fun, but it does not get any work done on the job.
    Don’t buy a $ 300 tool to make 10 cuts for crown molding. Rent it.
    If not you are going to have a shop like I need to keep 5 carpenters in tools all year long.
    There is only one thing that you do not mess with and that is *Electrical. Sure you can replace a light fixture, change a switch, but please hire an electrician for anything else. You don’t need to learn how much it hurts to get shocked doing electrical work-sometimes you don’t get another chance.
    Tv shows have a habit of skipping some parts of the project, or making it appear as though you can remodel a master bath in a weekend.
    Last thought * If you are married,dating, or a family man/woman – expect some interruption in your lifestyle and those around you. Explain that there will be some disruption in the home and that you need to spend time on it so you won’t be able to do some of the other things they are used to doing with you. That can cause some problems sometimes. I have finished a few jobs that homeowners started and left because it caused too much conflict in the home.
    Like I said, you can do it. It will take longer than you think, It will cost more than you think, and some things will be more difficult than you anticipated – but do one at a time and you will be fine.
    If you get in a bind and you need to hire someone to do a few things- fine, that’s not a disgrace to your attempted solo performance.
    Go to it.


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