Some jobs are best left to the professionals, but there are plenty of common household repairs that you can do yourself, and save money in the process.
Here are 5 repairs that every homeowner should learn to do:
Caulk is the gummy, rubbery type stuff around the edge of your bathtub, sink and shower – connected to the wall and around the base of your toilet. The strands are important in providing protection against damp, but over time it can wear down (or more likely, the kids will pick at it).
Rather than patching up a botch job, it’s best to strip away damaged caulk and start again. In the bad old days, you’d have to cut away the caulk with a knife, but luckily science has found a more elegant solution. Liquid Caulk Remover makes it simple to achieve a clean slate upon which you can reapply the caulk with a Sealant Gun.
Replace a Leaking Tap
A hugely annoying waste of water; leaking taps can keep you awake at night with incessant drip, drip drips. Furthermore, the average home wastes roughly 11,000 gallons of water every year due to leaks according to the EPA. The root of the problem is most commonly a faulty washer – fortunately replacing a washer is relatively stress-free.
You will need an adjustable wrench and screwdriver. Important: first you need to turn the water off in your home.
Make sure you put the plug in so you don’t lose any screws down the pipes. Remove the lid off the offending tap and unscrew the screw inside (righty tighty, lefty loosey). Using an adjustable spanner, pull the cartridge (it looks like a kind of golden chess piece) out of the tap’s casing.
Take the cartridge to your local plumbing merchant and ask for the correct washer.
By now, you’ll understand which bit the washer is, simply replace the old for the new and re-build the tap using the opposite of technique used to take it apart.
Replace a Light Switch
This job sounds a lot more difficult and technical than it actually is.
Make sure you turn off the electricity in the house before starting, so you’re protected against any hair-raising accidents.
Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the (typically) two screws on the switch’s surface.
When you are 100% sure there is no electricity running through the fitting, disconnect the two wires from the light switch face plate and attach them to the same place on your replacement light switch.
Screw the new light switch back on to the wall, turn the electricity back on and let there be light!
Replace a Broken Floor Tile
A cracked floor tile can be both dangerous and unsightly (it can even look like a massive spider out of the corner of your eye) so it’s important to replace any damaged tiles. Due to the dust and chips which will need to be removed, it is important to stay safe. Manchester Safety Services stocks affordable eye protection for DIYers. Pop your goggles on and use a carbide-tipped scoring tool to remove the grout from around the tile.
Applying painters’ tape on the surrounding tiles will protect them against damage as you drill holes into each brock section of the tile. Then from the centre of each broken section, use a hammer and chisel to slowly chip away and remove the offending tile.
Spread thin-set mortar on the exposed floor and the back of the new tile then set down the tile. Leave the tile for two hours to settle and dry. Swipe the grout into the gaps and after a couple more hours clean away.
Unclog a Toilet without a Plunger
If the toilet is clogged and you don’t have a plunger, do not panic: here is a simple method for unclogging the pipes.
Get a bucket and fill it with hot and chop a big bar of soap into the bucket. Then simply pour the bucket of water down the toilet, the soap should help remove the blockage. If necessary, repeat the process until the water level falls. Then simply flush the toilet a few times.