Where to go for DIY help

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Want to try your hand at tackling a project but don’t know where to begin? Get how-to help from these free resources:

  • In-store demonstrations. Many hardware stores offer workshops by experts who walk you through everything from installing ceramic tile to hanging drywall. 

If you’re tackling a repair, download the product’s repair manual, which often includes illustrated, step-by-step instructions. Though some manufacturers, like Apple and Dell,  offer access to the repair manuals on their Web sites, you may need to search elsewhere to get a copy.

You’ll find vehicle-specific manuals for diagnostics and repair on ALLDATAdiy.com, appliance repair manuals on RepairClinic.com and printer repair manuals on FixYourOwnPrinter.com.

  • Internet chat rooms. Post your DIY questions in an online forum to get advice from other people dealing with the same issues and learn what worked for them. You’ll find some online support forums on the manufacturers’ Web sites, especially when dealing with computer-related concerns; others are run by DIY enthusiasts. For advice on everything from auto repair to home improvement projects, visit the forums on DoItYourself.com and DIYChatRoom.com.
  • Store salespeople. When you’re shopping for parts and supplies, ask the sales representatives for advice. The trained professionals often have hands-on experience in the industry and can share do’s and don’ts for your project.
  • Neighbors and friends. If you’re considering a DIY project, chances are you know someone who has tackled the same job. Ask your neighbors and co-workers to share their “been there, done that” advice.