There are two different types of people when it comes to home repairs. The ones who believe that they are a natural-born handy person and can fix any household problems that arise. And others who don’t care to know if they possess any skill and hire out for every home repair big or small.
Which one are you? Maybe a little of both? Have you ever tackled a project that was just a little too big? What should have been a day repair turned into weeks and ended up costing more than if you would’ve called a professional in the first place!
Or do you call for every minor issue that comes up and often spend more money when, if given proper guidance, you could’ve fixed it yourselves?
Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, here are some skills that are really helpful to know. Some of these you could call a professional for, but why wait around for days or sometimes weeks for an expensive contractor to come to into your home? In addition to saving money and time, it’s really rewarding to know how to tackle these on your own.
How to locate and shut off the main water supply.
This is something that I suggest all new homeowners locate on or before moving day. Trust me, we have been there. In moving into our last home boxes were placed under the utility sink and cracked a pipe. Water burst out flooding several rooms. Although it took only a few minutes to find the valve, those wasted minutes caused several thousand in water damage repairs and literally dampened our moving day.
To find your shut off value, start by looking in your utility room and/or basement, then turn the lever clockwise to shut it off. If you’ve recently moved into a new home, try shutting the valve off yourself just to be sure it can still move to the off position. These can grow sticky over time, and it’s better to find out it’s faulty before you’re faced with an actual situation requiring that you to use it. Watch this for additional shutoff tips.
How to unclog a toilet or drain.
Step away from the chemical drain cleaners! Instead, arm yourself with a staple of true adulthood: a plunger. I bet you’ve never thought to use a plunger outside of the bathroom, have you? Just please don’t use the same one that’s used in the bathroom for unmentionable events.
I have to admit, I’m somewhat of a caulking master. My skills developed mainly from painting, but have been refined each time we replace the tile in our kitchen and bathrooms. This is not a hard skill, just requires patience and a steady hand. Main tip: Don’t fiddle with it too much, it will only get worse.
Showers, while they do their job well, tend to hold a lot of moisture. None of us are surprised by the presence of mold and mildew from time to time. However, the caulking reaches a point where it’s cracking, crumbling or has turned yellow it is beyond the point of cleaning and needs to be replaced.
You’ll want to remove the old caulk with a sharp tool and some mineral oil or vinegar. Next, tape the area you want caulked (this ensures that the caulk only goes where you want it to). Then, using a caulking gun or squeezable tube of caulk, apply it to the desired area and finish by smoothing it out with a gloved or damp finger to get a smooth, concave surface. Looking for a more visual guide, try this.
How to patch a drywall hole.
Wall scrapes, dings, and even holes happen. From things as simple as rehanging pictures, which happens frequently in our home, to moving furniture and playing a little too hard inside the house, wall damage is a given.
Do mismatched outlets and light switches drive you bananas? If you’re from the camp that believes outlets and light switches should either be almond or white, not both, I have good news: replacing outlets is a simple, safe project.
Always remember safety first: Find your circuit breaker box. It’s usually located in a utility closet, down in the basement, or on the exterior of your home. Find the breaker that corresponds to the room/area you are working in and flip the breaker from on to off. You can always test the outlet with a voltage meter, just to be sure the power is off, before you start. Don’t have one, try plugging in an appliance instead. (This is the same process if you have a tripped breaker, just flip the breaker from off to on again).