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Budget-Friendly DIY Home Projects To Try Before Calling A Professional

Maintenance and repair services in Singapore can add up. Even the smallest fixes will leave a dent in your wallet. Here are some easy DIY home projects that can help you save hundreds of dollars in the process.

If you are busy at work or with your family, it’s often the easiest solution to call professional help to repair whatever needs fixing in the house. However, some of these ‘small’ tasks are actually very expensive and can result in a big bill. We have put together a short list of things you can do by yourself. This will not only help you save some time but might also be more cost effective.

Key Highlights

  • Fix blocked sink to save around S$120 on repair services
  • Assemble your own furniture to save on total costs - Furniture shops charge 15% of the retail price for furniture assembly
  • Learn basic ways to maintain your car, such as refilling the oil to save around S$110

1. Unblock The Sink

It’s a problem that most of us have encountered. Whether it's the kitchen sink or the bathroom sink - pipes can get blocked very quickly if you don’t pay attention. However, unblocking the sink is something you can do yourself. In fact, it might be faster than calling a plumber. Most sink blockages occur right below the drain, which means you can access it easily. Firstly, stop using the sink and let all the water drain away slowly. Next, clear the area around the pipes below and slowly unscrew the pipe that is right underneath the sink. Remember to use gloves for protection. Use a small metal stick to remove all the hair, dirt, and everything else that might be stuck in the pipe. Then put the piping back together and gently pour some bleach down the drain. Let it react for 20 minutes to unclog the pipe.

2. Assemble Furniture

IKEA and other furniture shops have a bad reputation when it comes to putting together their furniture. Everyone has heard stories about missing screws, broken parts, and incomprehensible manuals. They have managed to turn this weakness into an opportunity and upsell their services. However, assembling furniture isn't too difficult. Ask a friend to help you and you surely will manage to put together anything that comes from these furniture shops. After all, IKEA’s assembly service will cost you 15% of the original retail price.

3. Replace A Broken Smartphone Screen

Regardless of whether you have an iPhone, Huawei or Samsung - the repair costs for smartphone screens increase with every new model that is released. Even though you have protection around your screen, accidents can always happen. Repairing the broken screen of a new iPhone 12 will cost you hundreds of dollars. However, you can buy just the screen online for much less and replace it yourself. Here are the basic steps:

  • Remove all the screws from the base of the phone
  • Apply suction cups and gently lift the display
  • Unscrew the battery connector and the logic board cover and disconnect them
  • Lift, remove, and replace the shield plate

4. Refill The Oil In Your Car

Most people in Singapore are afraid to do any repairs on their cars - even if it is as simple as changing the tyre or refilling the oil. While your local garage will charge you a hefty sum for these services, they are actually not too complicated. In the past, cars were a lot simpler and more mechanical than electronic. However, refilling the oil is something that you still can do by yourself. Follow these steps:

  • Remove the oil cap from the top of your engine
  • Place a funnel inside the hole
  • Pour oil into the funnel until you've added the amount specified by the car manual
  • Close the cap and tighten

5. Paint The Walls (Or Old Furniture Pieces)

Do you consider yourself to be precise and accurate? If so, then there is another way to save extra cash on home improvements. Painting the walls in your house can be costly simply because it takes a lot of time and you will have to pay the painter. A small paint job for a studio might already cost S$1,000. However, if you are just looking to do a simple paint job, you should be able to do it yourself. Talking from experience, the most important (and time-consuming) job is to cover the floor, light switches, and pieces of furniture. Just work slowly and steadily to avoid any spillages around the house.

6. Cover A Small Hole In The Wall

Have you found a big hole in the wall behind some furniture or after removing a painting? There is no need to call your handyman just yet. In fact, head over to your local DIY store or your favourite eCommerce website. Hole-patching kits start at S$35. These kits will have everything you need to patch that hole in your wall - including instructions, tools, and the paste itself.

7. Fix Furniture Scratches

This may seem complicated but fixing furniture scratches is simpler than you may think. If you want to get the scratches on wooden furniture removed, any such service in Singapore will charge you a lot of money for the transportation and scratch removal. However, if you do it yourself, you obviously won’t have to move the furniture. Visit an eCommerce site and check for scratch removal furniture polish. They will only cost you a fraction of the price and will do an acceptable job.

How Much Money Can You Save From These DIY Home Projects?

DIY Home ProjectProfessional CostDIY CostSavings
1. Unblock The SinkApproximately S$120S$8S$112
2. Assemble FurnitureUp to 15% of the furniture retail priceS$015% of the total furniture cost
3. Replace A Broken Smartphone ScreenS$249Starting from S$85S$164
4. Refill The Oil In Your CarUp to S$140S$30S$110
5. Paint The Walls (Or Old Furniture Pieces)S$1,000 for a small studioS$180S$820
6. Cover A Small Hole In The WallS$150 on average for small holesS$35S$115
7. Fix Furniture ScratchesS$100S$15S$85

As the saying goes, “Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.” There are plenty of basic, budget-friendly ways to maintain your home and as a result, save on maintenance service costs. In cases where it’s not possible to DIY the home repair project or if you’re planning a more complex renovation project, consider finding the right home renovation loan. To help you find the best renovation loan for your home improvement project, our analysts have reviewed and analysed the best loans from all of Singapore's top lenders. Click here for the most affordable renovation loans based on your preference of loan amount and tenure.

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Pooja Khandelwal

Pooja is a Content Marketing Lead at ValueChampion Singapore. She is responsible for planning and executing sponsored content projects and building relationships with media partners. In addition, she evaluates financial products for consumers based on quantitative and qualitative analysis. Pooja holds degrees in Economics and Psychology from Rutgers University. Her prior work experience includes founding and leading a content marketing consultancy and working at eCommerce, AI, and B2B SaaS startups in Singapore. Pooja has contributed insights to Tech in Asia, Yahoo!, and many other publications. Connect with her on LinkedIn to collaborate on content.