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5 Jobs Anyone Can Do at Home Without Being a DIY Buff

Unclog a Toilet, Repoint Brick Walls, Interior Painting, and More

© 2013 by Kelly Smith; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission.

Washer Type Bathroom or Kitchen Faucet

This article was updated on 12/17/18.

When you own your own home it’s important that you know how to look after it to the best of your abilities. You can clean it up when it gets dirty and buy some new furnishings to make it look better, but what about when something goes wrong?

Sooner or later there will be something else that breaks and wouldn’t it be a good idea to fix it yourself rather than have to call someone out? Face it; the more maintenance you do yourself, the more satisfaction you will have.

Not only that; if you’re one of the many people who don’t have money exactly overflowing out of their pockets (that’s right, I am talking to you) you will end up saving yourself some serious cash. We all know that calling someone out isn’t the most frugal thing in the world.

You would probably kick yourself if you knew how easy some things are to sort out by yourself with a few tools and some decent instruction. When you pay for a service company they won’t just charge you for an hour’s work, even if that is how long it takes. You will likely have to pony up some cash for an estimate or a service call on top of materials and labor.

Nobody is expecting you to climb up the roof and replace the chimney if it falls off in high winds, but take a look at these little doable jobs and see if you feel confidant in trying them yourself the next time they need seeing to.

Painting the Walls

Nobody can live in the same house for a long time without painting the walls because after a while they will look horrible.

Most people would go out and hire a painter, but they don’t need to and neither do you. Take a damp sponge and give the wall a good scrub once you’ve moved everything away from it.

If you have smokers in your home you will also want to wipe the walls down with TSP (Trisodium Phosphate). Not only will this remove the nicotine film, but it will also degloss the surface, making for a better bond.

Now all you need to do is put painter’s tape (not duct tape) around the edge of the baseboard and door and window trim before you take your brush and start painting. Start by cutting in the edges with a 2” brush and then roll the field. It might take you a weekend max to paint each room. Be sure to use drop cloths.

Apply Caulk

If you’re not familiar with caulk you can look at your sink or bathtub and you’ll notice the rubbery seal around the outside.

This is caulk and it keeps the water from seeping down the back of your fittings and causing mold. You start buy getting rid of the old stuff completely, which can be done by softening it using a spray or heat gun (a hair dryer will work) and then taking it out using a putty knife.

Re-caulking is easy, but you can always practice using the squeeze gun on a piece of spare wood first. After laying down a bead, smooth it out with a wet fingertip.

Repairing a Kitchen or Bathroom Faucet

They say a normal home can waste 10,000 gallons of water because of leaks and this is only within 1 year. It really means you have to fix a faucet straight away when you notice a leak.

To make this really easy to explain you basically have to get down and replace the washer. To do this you need to unscrew the handle them remove the packing nut with pliers from the drawer.

Now just take the screw out and you should finally hit the washer. Once it’s changed reverse everything to put it back together. Find detailed instructions in the first link in the recommended articles section below. If you are looking to upgrade your plumbing fixtures, this is a good time to just replace the complete faucet. This is not a good time to pinch pennies; faucets take a lot of wear and tear on a daily basis. Look for brass construction and ceramic washers.

How to Unclog a Toilet

When the toilet starts backing up it’s terrible, especially when you don’t know what to do and automatically call a plumber. (Expensive!) Before you do any of that start by putting on some gloves and try to dislodge what is stuck.

If that doesn’t work wait until the water goes away and drop a whole bucket inside to see if the force will push it away. Is it still failing? Well, next use a plunger; this usually does the trick.

Still no luck? Use a toilet auger. This tool is similar to a plumbing snake but is designed for toilets. A regular snake will damage the porcelain finish in the bowl.

As the last resort buy or rent an air compression tool from the plumbing shop, which also happens to be cheaper than calling someone out.

Fix Cracks on Exterior Brick Walls

When a wall is built with a brick veneer it usually lasts a very long time, but the same can’t be said for the mortar that is used to hold the wall together.

When some of yours starts falling out or degrading it can make the wall look horrible and possibly dangerous. Just buy some mortar mix from the shop and once you add water and give it a stir you should have a nice mortar that is ready to be used.

Take a trowel and apply your mortar into the cracks before wiping with a dry sponge, similar to if you were grouting ceramic tile. Finally, use a brick pointing tool to make the concave joint match the rest of the wall.

These are just a few hobs anyone can do at home without being a DIY buff. If you are looking for more DIY solutions, just use the search box. This site has a huge volume of helpful information.

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