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Old 08-03-2009, 07:44 AM  
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Default Good resources to learn to start repairing homes

Hey everybody!

I'm Xand, and I'm just starting out in the home repair side of things. I've recently been gifted an old house in Portugal, and I've decided that it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend a few years in the Portuguese countryside rebuilding a home that's been in my family for who knows how long! To that end, I want to spend the next few months learning as much as I can about DIY home repair so I have to spend as little as possible on contractors. The building is ancient and hasn't been lived in for almost 40 years, and most likely it will have to be gutted and redone completely (I have only seen pictures, so this may not be the case- I don't really know if the structure is sound or not, but it doesn't look like it).

I guess my real questions are these:

1) What are the most feasible things for me to be able to do around the house? I'm an IT professional, so I'm very comfortable around electricity and electrical wiring. I'm a little handy, but I'm no architect or construction crew; the most work I've ever done on a house was wiring it for Ethernet. What are things I could learn myself in the next year to bring over, and what would be better for me to hire out for safety / complexity problems?

2) Where would the best resources be for DIY home repair / construction? I'd like to learn as much as I can, but I don't want to take a shotgun approach and learn nothing in the process. If there are a few things that people recommend I really learn, fantastic! I'm ready and willing.

Thanks again in advance, and if anyone has questions / comments I would be ready and willing to answer them!


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Old 08-03-2009, 09:18 AM  
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Start with the basics: Plumbing, Drywall & painting, carpentry (i.e.-framing & trim), electrical, mechnical (HAVC), flooring (i.e.- wood, vinyl or carpeting) and masonry.
Safety and complexity depends on your abilities and knowledge. As far as resources, you've already found them here. Once you've actually seen the home, come up with a game plan of what you want to do and we can advise as to what order they should be done in and the particulars of each project. What your asking could be overwhelming to yourself as these are skilled-trades that you just don't pickup overnight and/or learn from a book.

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Old 08-03-2009, 09:42 AM  
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Why no get a digital camera and post pictures of the problems you're facing on local Portugese DIY web sites just like this one. For that matter, except for the small additional time it takes for a signal to travel the speed of light across the Atlantic Ocean, why not continue posting here?

The local plumbing and electrical wiring will be different than here, but I expect the English language is as commonly used in Portugal as it is in France, Germany and Italy, so you're always going to be able to find someone fluent enough in English to help you out, both in terms of understanding the problem and in implementing the solution.
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:55 AM  
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I learned a lot when I got my first home from the Reader's Digest home repair book. I notice that Home Depot also has a decent book out there. These books give you a general idea of the typical scope of DIY repairs and what tools you might need. Your library may have similar books to check out, for free.
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Old 08-20-2009, 12:40 AM  
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I agree with the book situation so you can familiarize yourself with some of the general types of repairs. anything "structural" you would be better off getting a pro on, i.e. foundation problems, load bearing walls dipping/sagging, major roof problems, and the like. You can learn alot by hitting up the DIY site that is local there, and of course keep everyone posted here as there are alot of knowledgable people here...

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