Even if you don’t consider yourself the slightest bit handy, there are five simple home repairs that every adult should know how to do. Stop paying for expensive home repairs and learn the difference between a flathead and Phillips screwdriver once and for all! Plus, find out what items should be included in every homeowner’s toolbox.
Change a lightbulb
Even the most novice do-it-yourselfer can swap out a burnt out or broken lightbulb. The most important step is to make sure that power to the light is shut off before removing and replacing the bulb. If the bulb is broken, you can cut a potato in half and press the center into the bulb in order to protect your hand from sharp edges. And remember: righty tighty, lefty loosey.
Whether you’ve got screw holes from a shelf or from something hitting the wall a bit too hard, patching drywall is a very useful skill to have up your sleeve. For smaller holes, a spackling compound or self-adhesive patch should suffice, but if the hole is bigger the repair is more involved.
First, cut a square piece of drywall slightly bigger than the hole. Then, place the square over the hole and trace around the edges. Next, use a drywall knife to cut along the lines you traced on the wall around the hole.
You then need to screw a furring strip -- a small, thin piece of wood -- on either side of the inside of the hole, making sure to sink the screws beneath the drywall surface. Next, put your patch in place and screw it into the furring strips.
Use joint tape to cover the borders of the patch, then cover the patch and tape with joint compound, making sure to feather the compound out along the wall a small distance. Allow to dry and apply a second coat if required. Finally, sand smooth before priming and painting your repair.
Fix a leaky faucet
Make sure you shut off the water supply to your faucet before starting any repair -- you don’t want that slow leak to become a rapid! The type of faucet you have (and the required replacement parts) will determine the specific repair you’ll need to make, and there are many DIY videos online to help with this.
No matter which type of faucet you have though, you’ll want to check and likely replace the O-ring(s), which seal(s) the handles and tap to prevent leaks. You should also test the tightness of all connections using a wrench to ensure nothing has come loose.
Caulking is one of those things that needs to be replaced as it ages and dries out or peels, especially in bathroom areas.
First, remove the old caulk using a caulk knife or removing tool. Next, prepare the surface by using a wire brush and a caulk-removing solution, before wiping it down with rubbing alcohol or disinfectant. Apply painter’s tape to either side of the area for easy cleanup and a perfectly straight line. You’re now ready to lay down the new caulk.
Place the tube of caulk into a caulking gun. Cut the tip so that the hole matches the size of the gap that needs to be filled. Use a nail in the tip to puncture the inner seal, then test your gun and bead size on a piece of old newspaper or paper towel.
Place the nozzle at the start of where you are caulking and pull the trigger, applying steady pressure while you smoothly pull it along the joint. Finally, use a caulk finishing tool to push the caulk into the joint and smooth the surface. Allow the caulk to dry according to manufacturer’s directions.
Unclog a toilet
A clogged toilet is a nuisance everyone experiences at least once. First, check that nothing’s been flushed that shouldn’t have been (especially if you have kids!), then use a plunger to try to clear the blockage. If that doesn’t work, you can use a toilet snake -- a long metal cable available inexpensively at any hardware store -- to help unclog the pipes.
Tools to Always Have on Hand
Screwdrivers: Keep a variety of screwdrivers types and sizes on hand to unscrew to install decorative items around your home. A flathead (straight line), Phillips (x-shaped), and Robertson (square) are all good to have.
Wrench: Crucial for plumbing jobs, an adjustable wrench should be in every home toolkit.
Level: Great for ensuring things are, well...level, it also provides a straight edge with measurements for marking.
Measuring Tape: A tape measure lets you check the sizes of things around your home -- including any doorways your furniture or appliances need to pass through.
Hammer & Nails: Necessary for hanging things on the walls, a hammer and a pack of nails of varying sizes are always good to have on hand.
Plunger: You don’t want to be caught in a bathroom emergency without one of these at the ready! There are also smaller sizes available for clearing clogs from your sink.
Once you’ve taken stock of the tools you need, don’t forget to build your shopping list in the Flipp app. You’ll quickly and easily be able to find deals near you!