One thing about owning a home that shocks people who have moved from an apartment is that you are responsible for absolutely everything. The days of calling in the maintenance men to fix stuff for free are over, but there is joy, or at least a sense of accomplishment, to be had in fixing minor repairs yourself. Here are six easy-to-do home repairs.
Patching a Hole With Drywall
A hole in the drywall looks terrible, but it is actually easy to fix. The job only takes 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the hole. Just apply a joint compound with a putty knife, then sand it smooth. If it’s a larger hole, cut a square of pegboard a bit larger than the hole but not so large that it can’t fit inside. Tie a wire to it, smooth compound over it, then put it into the hole. The looped wire should be facing outward. Tie the wire to a pencil and twist it. After the compound dries, snip off the wire and fill in the hole with the compound. To finish, fill it with two to three thin coats of compound, sand, and smooth it with a damp sponge.
Though tile is beautiful, the grout between it can get grungy if it’s not sealed and can crumble away over time. Regrouting an area about the size of an average kitchen backsplash takes about two hours, then you’ll need a half an hour to put in the new grout. Since there’s going to be some dust in the air, you might want to lay down some tarps and open the windows for ventilation. Wear safety goggles and a dust mask. Using a rotary or oscillating tool, remove the grout from between the tiles. Be careful that the blade doesn’t touch the tile itself. Since this is going to result in a lot of dust and grit, vacuum as you go along. Use a flat-headed screwdriver to get out the last bit of grout. Again, be careful of the tiles themselves.
Mix tile grout powder with water until it’s smooth and just pourable. When it’s ready, use a trowel to apply it to the seams between floor tiles. Don’t try to pack it in. You can skip this step if you’re regrouting wall tiles. Use a rubber float at a 60-degree angle then press the grout into the seams. Scrape away the excess. Do this to both floor and wall tiles. Once the seams are filled, remove the excess with a damp sponge. Let the grout dry completely. When the grout is fully dry, buff the haze off of the tiles with a soft cloth. Then, seal the grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Repairing Concrete in the Driveway
If you live in an area with cold winters, the freeze-thaw cycle can cause your driveway concrete to spall, or crack. This is unsightly and a crack can also be a tripping hazard. But concrete repair is also a DIY project. It takes about one to two hours. First, use a hammer and a cold chisel to chip away at the crack in the concrete. Brush away the debris with a wire brush. Undercut the edges of the repair area so that the repair patch can be locked in. Dampen the area to be patched. Make the concrete patching. You can use dry, premixed concrete that you mix with water. The thicker it is, the faster it will dry. If your mixture is looking runny or thin, you need to make the concrete stronger. Tamp in the patching concrete. Pack it in firmly and leave a bit of a mound to compensate for shrinking. When it starts to set up, smooth it over with a trowel. Cover it, and let it cure for a week.
Fixing a Running Toilet
Running toilets are usually a sign that the handle and trip assembly aren’t working the way they should. However, it’s very possible to fix this instead of calling a plumber. Take the top off the tank and lift the float rod. If the water shuts off, that means the float ball isn’t positioned properly. Bend the rod so that it sits a bit lower. Or, you can adjust the set screw on the inlet valve arm to adjust the ball. This should get your toilet back in working order.
Clear a Jammed Garbage Disposal
Besides the inability to work, you can tell there’s a garbage disposal jam by the smell. The first thing to do with the jammed garbage disposal, of course, is to turn it off. Then, find a flashlight and look into the disposal. Never put your hand in it. If you see something that doesn’t belong, find a pair of tongs or pliers, and pull it out. Then, wait 15 minutes, turn on the power, and reset the machine.
Stopping a Leaky Faucet
There are different types of faucets and different ways to shut down leaks. To repair a stem faucet, take out the escutcheon on the handle, and take off the handle. Take off the packing nut with a wrench or pliers and unscrew the stem. Find the washer at the bottom of the stem and replace it and the O ring. Make sure to clean the valve stem with fine steel wool before replacing it and the handle.
These are only a few of the home repairs you can do by yourself. Many other repairs can also be easily fixed by yourself or your family. With a little time and the right tools, you can save a lot of money and improve your DIY skills.
You might also be interested in this article: How to Take Proper Care of Your Tools