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  • Writer's pictureMichael Ireland

Can We Fix It? Probably...

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

Tools spread out on a wooden table. Includes Allen wrenches, hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, drill, screws, and other various tools.

I’m not the handiest guy around, but I get by. I’ve changed sink faucets, doorknobs, garbage disposals, light fixtures, and even a toilet. I’ve also got the tools for most projects. They’re literally everywhere! Which admittedly makes them difficult to locate at times. But when it comes to home renovations or any type of serious remodeling beyond painting a wall, I’m out of my element. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty, but I am afraid that I don’t know what I’m doing and could be making things worse. So when my wife and I finally decided to remodel our basement I barely knew where to begin. So I started at the library.

I’d been putting off this project as long as possible but knew eventually something needed to be done. After several minor leaks and a desire to relocate our hobby spaces to larger quarters, I was finally pushed into action. I knew I’d be doing all of the demolition and as much of the new installation as possible to cut costs. It may come as a surprise to you but I’m not a millionaire, so the more I could do on my own to save money the better. Once I decided on a relative course of action, I grabbed as many books on remodeling as possible, particularly regarding basements.

Variety of tools on a white table, clamp is hold two DIY books together

The LYNX! Consortium has no shortage of books on remodeling, renovations, and construction. In addition to the general guides for basement remodels, I also picked up a book specifically on drywall and another on framing. After all, the bulk of what’s to come involves these two processes. While the more generalized books on renovations addressed these in brief, it’s a good idea to get as much foundational information as possible. These more targeted resources gave me some hints and tricks on dealing with out of the ordinary or particularly cumbersome issues that may arise.

While I definitely borrowed more resources than I needed, I found a ton of great information. Yes, there were quite a few books that I flipped through for an hour or so and returned. But there are also items I still have out for continued reference. I also quickly discovered what was most helpful to me when perusing a D.I.Y. book.

  • Detailed Pictures and Illustrations

  • Easy to Understand Steps

  • A Detailed Index

  • Additional Resources or Citations

  • Advice on when to Seek Professional Assistance

Open notebook on a white wooden table with the words "My Plan" written at the top of the notebook

Having easy to understand and well-organized steps is essential. Pairing these with pictures or illustrations of the work being done means nearly anyone can follow along. It’s difficult to remove ‘X’, but avoid damaging ‘Y’, when you don’t understand the terminology being used or have a clue what either thing looks like! Detailed indexes can save you time and headaches when trying to navigate your project. And, listing additional resources, or advising when work may require a professional, is extremely valuable to a novice.

While I’m still in the middle of my remodel, I feel good about the progress I’ve made and the work I’ve done. These resources gave me the basic knowledge to make informed decisions about my remodel. They eased many of my anxieties about the process and gave me direction. I went from being overwhelmed by the scope of the work, to confident that I could at least do something. I’m basically done with the demolition, and ready to have a professional cut my foundation for egress windows. I feel empowered to take on other renovation projects as well. And when it comes time for the next big project around my house, I’ll jump onto the Library’s catalog and find some inspiration.

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