Whether you are new to home-ownership or have been sailing that ship for a while now, here are a few skills every homeowner should know in order to avoid calling an expert every time something goes wrong…
- Fix a leakey faucet: A leaky faucet is usually due to a bad washer inside the handle.
To replace the washer, turn off the water supply valve under the sink. Stuff a rag in the drain so you don’t lose parts, then take the handle apart. Pop the screw cover on top, remove the screw, and pull off the handle. Use a wrench to disassemble the stem, and line the parts up on the counter in the order they came off, so you know how it goes back together. Examine rubber parts or plastic cartridges for cracks, and take the offending piece to the hardware store for an exact replacement. Reassemble the parts you’ve laid out, in reverse.
- Locate a stud: Most studs are placed at 16-inch intervals, so once you know where one is, you can usually find the rest.Start at a corner, where there’s always a stud. Or take the cover plate off an electrical outlet and find out on which side it’s mounted to the stud. From there, measure 16, 32, 48 inches, and you should hit a stud at each go. Eliminate all guesswork by using a thin bit to drill a test hole at the top of the base molding, which you can easily repair with a dab of caulk.
- Pick an interior lock: Your 2-year-old is in the bedroom bawling, you’re out in the hall, and there’s a locked door between you. On the door’s knob or on the plate around it, there should be a small hole that’s made just for this situation. Take a slim piece of metal, such as a small flathead screwdriver, and slip it in the hole. Compress the spring inside or slip the screwdriver head into the slot on the spring and turn. Door unlocked, toddler safe, shoulder not broken.
- Hang heavy objects on drywall: Those thin cone-shaped plastic anchors aren’t for wallboard; they’re meant to sink into plaster. A toggle bolt provides the best holding power in drywall. The metal bar folds or pivots to go through a hole in the wall, then flips open flat against the back of the board to brace whatever’s screwed to the front of the wall.
- Fix a hammer mark on trim: If the ding’s on a finished surface, poke the area repeatedly with a needle, then flick several drops of water on it. Cover it with a damp rag and iron it on the cotton setting. The water absorbed into the wood will evaporate and expand the crushed wood cells. Concentrate the iron’s heat on just the shape of the ding by placing an upside down bottle cap over it. Repeat until the wood regains its shape.
I hope this list helps you out when it comes to tackling some of those items on your honey-do list. If anything, this will help you feel a little more confident about taking on some of those minor home repairs. Leave the bigger things to us!
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