Whether you own your home or rent, chances are things will go wrong from time to time. When that happens, most people think it is a good idea to call in reinforcements but in reality most house repairs can be remedied on your own!
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1. Unclog a Toilet
Every homeowner encounters a clogged toilet at one time or another, and while a call to the plumber may be inevitable, a few common tools and supplies can help you banish a clog on your own.
Start by shutting off the water supply valve behind the toilet. This prevents any more water from entering the toilet and makes it easier to tackle the clog without damaging your pipes.
While wearing rubber gloves, add a cup of baking soda to the toilet bowl. Then slowly pour about two cups of vinegar onto the baking soda. The fizzing reaction should break up any clogs and allow the drain to clear. Wait a few minutes before trying to flush.
2. Fix a Leaky Faucet
Leaking faucets can cause damage to your sink, counters, and cabinet base, as well as increase your water bill. With a few household tools and supplies, fixing a leaky faucet is an easy do-it-yourself project.
Before you begin, shut off the water supply valves beneath your sink. If there are no valves underneath your sink, turn off the master supply for your entire house.
Start by removing the decorative cap from each handle with a screwdriver or the blade of a utility knife. Next, remove the handle by unscrewing it with a wrench or loosening with pliers and pulling. Beneath the handle is the stem. Using your wrench, fit it to the large six-sided packing nut and loosen it. Then unscrew with your fingers until the whole stem assembly lifts out.
3. Fix a Squeaky Floor
When someone steps on a floorboard that’s covered by a carpet or other type of flooring, squeaks can be heard throughout the house. The squeaking is caused by movement and friction between the floorboards and either the subfloor or joist.
Sprinkle a bit of baby powder or WD-40 in any areas that are making noise to act as a lubricant and reduce the friction, at least temporarily. Be sure to vacuum up any remaining lubricant afterwards.
If you can access the area where the squeak is coming from underneath your floors, use wood shims to bridge the gap between the floorboards and the joist. You may need to use a drill and a bit of glue to secure the shim. Another option is to use a product like the Squeeeek No More Kit (about $23) from O’Berry Enterprises, which uses specially designed screws driven right through your floorboards and into the joist to draw them closer together without damaging your finish.
4. Fix a Sticky Door
Sticky doors are a common home issue. They can happen due to weather changes, foundation shifts and sinking, and normal wear and tear. Using household tools, you can address these problems and get your door working again.
Begin by examining the door for any scratches in the paint that may indicate where a problem area is located. Also, try running a piece of heavy stock paper around the closed door. Any spots where the paper sticks are areas where there is a lot of friction between the door and frame. Once you’ve narrowed down the trouble spots, take a screwdriver and tighten any loose screws on both the hinges and strike plate. This will help relieve the friction and unstick the door. Also, lubricating the hinges with multipurpose household oil (such as WD-40) should help to smooth out any squeaks.
Over the years, interior walls take a beating. They’re speckled with everything from nail nicks to doorknob dings. When the caulking becomes dingy, it detracts from the look of a clean space and can allow moisture, bugs, or debris to leak in.
Before you apply new caulking, though, it’s important to remove any remaining residue from the substrate. One easy way to do this is by soaking the surface in a caulk remover, then scraping with a plastic putty knife or specialty tool.
Then, be sure to clean the area, and if necessary, scrub surfaces with bleach or an ammonia-free cleaner to kill mildew and prevent mold from growing. When you’re ready, apply a high-quality acrylic caulk with silicone, like Loctite Polyseamseal. This paintable sealant creates a strong, long-lasting seal for tubs and showers, sinks, countertops, windows, doors, trim, and more.