Not everyone can be that cool, bearded hipster carpenter man who can fix anything around the home in five minutes, from rehanging a cracked door or removing a cammed-out screw to tightening a shaky coffee table leg or swapping out a leaky disposal. However, as long as you have some physical dexterity and a semi-coherent intellect, most house repairs and maintenance tasks aren’t too difficult to complete.
It helps if you already have a few excellent tools on hand to assist with your handyman fumbling—screwdrivers, drill, drill bits, vice grips, hammer, saw—but if not, most local hardware stores carry an all-in-one package that will get you started on most straightforward chores.
If the pipe coming out of your shower wall becomes loose, just pull back the flange and insert some expanding foam into the area surrounding the shower arm. As the material dries, it will fill the space and secure the pipe, removing any wobbling.
Squeaky floors, whether beneath carpet or hardwood, may be a major annoyance in your home. To eliminate squeaks beneath carpet, use a stud finder to locate a floor joist near the squeak, then use a drill to drive a low-profile trim screw through the carpet and pad to the solid wood. If it still makes noise, drive in more.
It’s even easier for wood flooring. Simply dust a generous amount of talcum powder (also known as baby powder) into the gaps near the squeak. Spread the powder around and into the gaps with a broom, and the sounds should stop.
When door hinges begin to squeak, spray some lubricant, such as WD-40, into the center of the hinge to quiet it. If it doesn’t work, try hammering the hinge pin up approximately halfway and then spreading some lubrication on it, such as 3-in-1 oil. Tap it again, then slide the door back and forth to eliminate the squeak.
Scuffs from hard-soled shoe traffic will ultimately accumulate on hardwood floors, but there is a new approach to remove them: Make use of a tennis ball. If you massage the ball hard over the scuff, the felt-like surface will swiftly erase it. If you don’t want to go down on your hands and knees, cut a tiny X into one side and insert a broom handle for back-saving buffing.
After a few years of everyday usage, the minerals in water, as well as grime and sloughed off skin cells, can stain and discolor any tub. Instead of using harsh chemicals, make a paste using equal parts baking soda and cream of tartar (available in the spice area of your grocery store). Apply to stains and massage in, then rinse after approximately an hour.
Windows that stutter, skip, and stick when you try to open them for some fresh air are incredibly inconvenient. Trying to push windows open while they are stuck can create tension and damage over time, so the next time you experience resistance, spray a dab of silicone lubricant on a cloth and gently cover the guides. This method works for plastic, metal, and wood.
Brown water rings on drywall are caused by leaks in the roof or ceiling, but before you assemble everything you need to paint over them, try spraying a mixture of 10% bleach and water over them. Wait 24 hours and those unattractive brown stains will, more often than not, have vanished. Most stains on flat or popcorn ceilings will be removed using this method; however, protect your eyes and anything nearby that might have bleach on it.
Inevitably, hanging pictures or mirrors will leave a few holes in your walls. This is inconvenient because when you want to change things around, there are ugly holes in the walls. Fortunately, this is a simple fix: simply get some spackle from the hardware store and scrape into the hole.
If a seam is breaking apart, reactivate the paste around the crack with a warm-water-soaked towel. Hold the cloth over the area for a minute or two, then slowly expand the gap to allow more room for the sealer. Squeeze seam sealant (white glue works in a pinch) into the gap and roll the paper towards the wall. With a sponge, remove any excess sealant.
Hoses only seem to last a few seasons before bursting, and they aren’t inexpensive, so repairing leaky hoses is a wise decision. Hose repair kits and sections are available at hardware stores, so whether water is leaking out of the connector or anywhere in the center of the hose, all you need to do is cut off (or out) the leaky portion and reconnect with the new hardware.
Warm weather and clear skies need frequent trips in and out of your home. And if you have a screen door to enable fresh air to go through, it will slam shut with a lot of pounding and noise. Simply apply a couple of short beads of silicone caulk around the inner door jamb where it meets and leave the door open to dry. The silicone cushions will assist to keep the racket quiet.