You Can Do It!

You Can Do It!

You Can Do It!

Yes, you can fix that house. Maybe not everything, but most repairs can be made yourself. If you are homesteading, you ought to be in a state of austerity, anyway, so you should be trying to save dollars wherever and whenever you can. You won’t necessarily be able to repair and fix everything that the house needs, so don’t feel guilty about having to call in a professional to replace the roof if need be. Which is what we had to do. One of the very first repairs to the house. We got here, and the roof was leaking. Badly. But it was only one of many repairs, so we took solace in performing fixes and remodels that we could actually do.

So, we had the pros come in and install a good metal roof. Meanwhile, while they were doing that, we completely rebuilt the pantry. And I am talking about installing four windows. In fact, we made our own windows, wooden windows, from found window sash that we made jambs for. I guess I should say right about here that I am very comfortable with woodworking and power tools. In fact, I rather enjoy using tools, and building things. So to get pine boards and rip them down to size to make window jambs? Not as hard as you think. And, it just so happens that I can sort of speak lumberyard speak. And lumberyard counter personal are pretty good if you have questions or need advice. Don’t ask how to build a shed on a Saturday morning when they are running straight out. But if you catch them on a nice rainy Monday or Tuesday, they will likely spend a lot of time with you. Also, the counter people are usually more knowledgable at a brick-and-mortar store than at a big box. Just my two cents. Your experience may vary.

But, I love lumberyards! I love wood! Nothing more fun than getting concrete, anchor bolts, spikes and two-by-sixes, and building something. I probably inherited this interest from my grandfather. He was always building something. I would tag along.

To install those homemade windows we had to make four corresponding square holes in two walls of the pantry. No problem if you have a reciprocating saw. This tool has proven to be indispensable around the homestead. Other important tools to have are a circular saw, table saw, and cordless drill. We have other tools as well, but these see the brunt of the work.

After the pantry remodel, we then completely tore out the front porch, poured concrete piers, and made an entirely new structure. Then we gutted the back bedroom and bathroom and repaired, washed, and painted the walls, remodeled the bathroom, and installed real wood floors throughout. We are very proud of nice it turned out. Then it was on to a room that had been used as a television room and den. In addition to a new wood floor, we also installed three brand new wood windows that we special ordered from the lumberyard. Again, we saved thousands doing the work ourselves, mostly during the winter when the farm work had slowed down some.

Some areas I do not dabble in, such as electrical or plumbing. I have installed the odd faucet or two, but I will not take on soldering. But I know plenty of homesteaders and homeowners who do.

That first winter, the ice fell off the metal roof and caved in the roof of what was to be our goat barn. This project was our masterpiece! We had to wait till spring to get under way. First things first. The old roof, what was left of it, had to come off. In so doing we discovered rot in the wood of the house. Lots of it. We ended up recycling a steel door to make a new bulkhead door, and put on a whole new roof, one of metal. It was the first time we’d installed a metal roof, but the guys at the lumberyard counter were very helpful in guiding us through the whole project.

Last fall we finally took on a project that had been haunting us: The remodeling of the primary bathroom. We even built our own vanity, with raised panel doors. The wood floor is real pine. This bathroom contains the compost toilet that we had built.

Maybe you don’t have the practice of using power tools that we do. You might be able to learn how to do some repairs and get power tool experience at a workshop or night school. It would be well worth it. Another good source of information and know-how for us is YouTube.

There you have it. At some point a house repair will be needed, so gather the courage and information to get the job done!.

Comment as you see fit!

Stephanie Reiser

About Stephanie Reiser

After many years in retail sales, writing, and part-time editing for a small newspaper in New York, I began studying organic gardening and farming, and animal husbandry. I began to read a lot about homesteading, off-grid living, consumerism, materialism, economics, and economic history.