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Here you are again, phone in hand, dialing the handyman. You’re on a first-name basis by now and are starting to feel like you should just sign part of your check over each week. This is great for them, but not so much for your poor bank account. It’s time to stop giving your money away. You don’t have to call a contractor for everything that happens at your house, and you don’t have to be afraid of the toolbox. Here are some common home repairs that look harder than they are and some advice on how you can manage them yourself
Odors and Carpet Stains
A universal truth for pet owners (and the parents of human children) is that urine is part of the package. And sometimes, accidents happen on the carpet. If your first instinct is to soak it up with a towel, you’re already on the right track. However, instead of stopping there, create a quick solution of 1:1 vinegar and water. Pour this on and around the affected, and make sure it gets down to the base of the carpet. After about 15 minutes, grab another clean towel and absorb the excess moisture. Sprinkle with baking soda and vacuum after 15 to 20 minutes. Vinegar is the key to this trick and is what neutralizes the offensive odors.
Whoops, there goes another porcelain tile. These tiles can crack when moving furniture or if the subfloor becomes warped or isn’t hard enough to maintain integrity. A single broken tile might not be a big deal to you, but if you plan to sell your home, it will be the first thing your buyers notice. Fortunately, these are not difficult to replace. You’ll need a small handheld saw (or angle grinder or you’re feeling aggressive), a chisel, and a hammer. DenGarden.com walks you through the steps in this article. Hint: Head to the hardware store for premixed grout and tile adhesive. If the rest of the tile is stained and dirty and doesn’t match the replacement, plan to spend some cleaning the floor to remove discoloration.
Broken Stair Spindles
Stair spindles are the vertical rods that keep your railing in place. These can break if they get hit too hard while moving big, bulky items up and down the stairs. Many homeowners would just let the broken piece sit there indefinitely, intimidated by the possibility of removing the entire top rail to replace the single slat. Guess what? You don’t have to do that. In fact, it’s a much smaller job than it initially appears. Pull the broken piece out and then grab a drill (now’s the time to invest in a good one) with a thick bit to deepen the top hole. This will allow you to insert a new spindle and no one will ever know. Once the new rod is in place, add some glue and paint when dry.
You kicked the door open with your foot since your hands were full of grocery bags and now you’ve got a gaping door-knob-sized hole staring at you. No problem. As Popular Mechanicsillustrates, a piece of drywall mesh, some sandpaper, and a jar of drywall compound can fix things up. Larger holes take a bit more work, but if you’re careful, take your time, and allow the putty to dry completely before sanding, you can have a seamless wall once again.
These and many other home repairs aren’t that hard to master, and doing them yourself can save you from busting your home maintenance budget. The most important thing to keep in mind is to take it slow. And if you mess it up, you can try again until you get it just right.