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Things You Can Fix By Yourself at Home

Owning a home is a dream for many people, but moving into your own property isn’t the end of your problems. Things break in houses often, and we are very good at putting off finding a solution. Sometimes that’s because we don’t want to fork out for a professional to come in and fix whatever needs fixing. But more often than not it’s because we’re put off by the idea of fixing things ourselves, worried that we’ll make a bigger mess. But in actual fact, many common problems in houses can be fixed fairly easily. Let’s take a look at some things you won’t need to call a pro for.

Painting

There is always a room in the house that could do with a lick of paint. You’d be surprised at how many homeowners pay through the nose for professional decorators to come in and paint for them. With a bit of planning and hard work you can easily spruce up the walls of your house yourself – but make sure you know how to do it first. The benefits of a smoothly painted wall are obvious, but if you make a hash of it with drips, splatters, uneven covering, roller marks and sloppy trim you might as well not have bothered. Paint, brushes, rollers and overalls are inexpensive, and painting a room can be done in a day or two, unless you live in a palace. Wallpaper, on the other hand, is a different matter – save yourself time and heartache by calling a professional.

Simple plumbing fixes

The idea of plumbing going wrong strikes fear into the heart of most homeowners. We’ve all seen films or TV shows with flooded basements or waterfalls cascading down staircases. But there are many everyday plumbing problems that can be fixed with a bit of DIY know-how. Before you do anything else you should make sure your home has up to date valves that can stop the water flow – otherwise those fictional disasters can become reality. If you have a dripping pipe the solution is usually a new washer – to reach it, unscrew the handle, then the packing nut, and then the valve stem. Change the washer and reassemble. If the leak is under the sink, make sure you have a bucket handy before you unscrew the pipe, as there is usually some unpleasant stuff that will fall out. If the leaking part of the pipe is actually in the wall you might want to call in a plumber.

Bathroom issues

Again, day to day issues in the bathroom are usually pretty simple to fix, but any problems with water can be daunted if you don’t know what you’re doing. If your toilet won’t stop running you can find a toilet rebuild kit from any decent hardware store. These should come with easy to follow instructions, and can be used for most toilets. If your toilet is a one-piece model it could be trickier, and possibly even a job for a pro. Faucets sometimes need replacing, and if you have a centre-set one it is fairly easy as there are less tricky hose connections to fiddle with. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and you shouldn’t have any major problems.

Holes in the walls

We’re not talking about enormous holes in outer walls or the kind of holes you can walk through from one room to the next. Those holes need urgent professional attention, and may suggest structural damage amongst other things. We’re talking about holes caused by nails or screws in drywall – regular problems which are cosmetically annoying rather than structurally compromised. The first thing to do is to clear the area around the hole of debris and vacuum any residual dust. After that you can apply putty with a putty knife to fill in the hole, and when it’s dry smooth it down with some fine sandpaper. Depending on how large and numerous the holes are you may also need to repaint. Small cracks and holes around doors and windows are not only unsightly but can hitch up your energy bills, so caulk or apply weather strips to these, and tidy up with paint if need be.

Warped doors

Occasionally doors require maintenance, repairing or even replacing. Usually door issues are minor, such as sticking or squeaks, and can be dealt with easily enough. Wooden interior doors aren’t exposed to the elements but can still be affected by weather changes or climate conditions. Warm, humid weather can cause the wood to swell, creating problems with sticking. Before you do anything else it’s best to check for loose screws or deteriorated hinges – these might be the root of the problem. Tightening the screws and replacing the hinges is pretty straightforward, but if the door has warped it may need to be planed. This means removing the entire door and using a plane to shave layers of wood off until the problem disappears. This is do-able as a DIY project, but if, like many people, you’re not confident with your carpentry skills seek professional help for this.

Clogged waste disposal unit

Waste disposal units get clogged all the time, and you’d be surprised how many homeowners are reluctant to fix them. Maybe something about putting your hand into a hole filled with whirring blades is a bit daunting. But a clogged unit is an easy fix. First of all, to prevent any horrible accidents, disconnect the power. Then it’s simply a case of using an Allen key to loosen the flywheel, before using a utensil of your choice (such as a pair of pliers, a dowel or even some barbecue tongs) to reach down into the abyss and remove whatever unpleasant substances causing the blockage.

These are just a handful of problems that homeowners can take care of themselves. You don’t need to be a DIY Svengali to make little fixes, and you can save yourself the time and expense of calling out a professional.

These are just a handful of problems that homeowners can take care of themselves. You don’t need to be a DIY Svengali to make little fixes, and you can save yourself the time and expense of calling out a professional.

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