Fixing and installing things around the house isn't just a clever way to save money -- it's also a terrific way to get to know your house and feel self-sufficient. Not to mention the bragging rights you'll earn. From recaulking to unsticking windows, here are 9 simple DIYs for homeowners and renters alike.
A door can stick for a number of reasons, but most commonly, the frame has shifted or the door has swelled. Try these quick fixes:
1. If there are obvious drips of paint protruding from the door frame, remove them with sandpaper -- but be careful not to remove all the finish from the door; raw wood should never be exposed.
2. Check for damp or damaged weatherstripping and replace as necessary.
3. Oil hinges with a lubricant, such as WD-40.
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The water in a plumbing system is pressurized; if the pipes are weak, they can develop pinholes. If a leak occurs, it can be patched temporarily until the section of pipe is replaced (contact a plumber to replace it after it's patched). Here are the steps:
1. With Teflon tape, wrap the pipe tightly.
2. Cut a piece of rubber sheeting, long enough to wrap around the pipe once.
3. Secure the sheeting around the taped leak with a steel hose clamp. Slip the clamp over the rubber sheeting, then screw the clamp tightly shut.
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1. Wash the pieces in warm, soapy water; rinse well.
2. Let pieces dry for several hours, then arrange on a work surface.
3. Determine in what order you will join the pieces (for example, start with the pieces near the center and work outward).
4. Use a fast-drying, water-resistant epoxy. Swab the common edges with acetone (which will ensure the pieces are clean of oil and dirt).
5. Place a thin, even bead of epoxy along the edge.
6. Join the two pieces and adjust for a close fit.
7. Remove excess epoxy by wiping it away with acetone-soaked cotton swabs.
8. Place tape across the joint to hold the pieces in place until the glue has cured. If the design is fragile, apply tape to the back of the joint as well.
1. Choose your rope: Cotton, plastic, and nylon are the most common options. The length of the line should depend on the size of your backyard, but 20 to 25 feet is average.
2. Gather the other materials you'll need for installation: a drill, a screwdriver, a heavy-duty hook, a metal-eye hook, a cleat, a small metal fitting that you'll wrap the rope around to anchor it (if you're not sure what a cleat looks like, imagine the device you use to secure a rope to a flag pole), and a metal ring.
3. Mark the height you want the line to be on each support (this should depend on your own height and how far your arms extend above you; 7 to 8 feet above the ground is the general rule).
8. On one support, screw in the hook at the point you marked; start the hole with the drill. On the other, screw in the eye hook.
9. Twelve inches below the eye hook you'll install a cleat. Using a tight knot, tie one end of the rope to the ring. Loop the ring over the hook.
10. Walk the rope over to the other support. Thread the other end through the eye hook, pull it tight, and wind it around the cleat to secure.
Occasionally, nails or screws that fasten new drywall to studs will begin to protrude. Here's how to repair these bumps:
1. Gently scrape away the layers of compound over the nail or screw heads.
2. Drive nails and turn screws tightly into the stud; you don't want to break through the drywall, but just slightly dimple it.
3. Using ready-mixed joint or spackling compound, refill and cover the hole.
4. Sand flat, prime, and repaint.
Swipe here for next slide
1. Before installing the runner, cover the stairs with a durable, 40-ounce synthetic-felt padding. Cut padding on each side to be about 3/4 of an inch narrower than the runner. Staple a piece of padding to the back of each tread, then roll it under the nose of the stair (these front corners were cut at 45-degree angles to avoid bulky edges). Staple the padding in place.
2. Secure the runner to the face of each riser with a staple gun. (If the rug has a very deep pile, it may call for tacking strips -- thin pieces of wood with tacks attached -- that must be nailed into the steps.)
3. Use a tool called a kicker to hold the carpet taut while you staple it to the back of the tread.
4. To finish, screw a brass bracket into place where each tread and riser meet, then close it over the top of the decorative rod.
1. If you have a wooden bed that squeaks, examine the frame closely to determine the problem area. Noisy beds are the result of wood rubbing on wood. Possible culprits include the headboard, side rails, and slats (which run between the side rails under the box spring). When the slats aren't strong enough, they bow under weight creating a squeak.
2. Test the slats by removing the box spring and mattress and by pressing on the slats gently. If they squeak, buy heavier wood for the slats, or smply screw the slats into the side rails.
3. If the problem persists, cut a piece of plywood to the size of the box spring and place it over the slats for extra support, making sure the edges rest of the rails.
4. If the slats aren't at fault, inspect where the side rails connect to the head and foot of the bed. This is another area that can cause wobbliness. Usually, plate hooks on the side rails lock into slots in the headboard and footboard; if the connections are loose, fill the space between the side rail and the head post with folded wax paper to stop the bed from shaking.
5. If bolts secure the side rails, try tightening them; they could be loose.
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1. Make sure that nothing is causing an obstruction. Use a bristle brush to clean the channels and all the surfaces that touch when the sash is in motion. If the channels are not well-lubricated, running a candle stub up and down the channels may be all that's needed to restore their easy slide.
2. A window that still sticks after a cleaning and lubrication was most likely not painted properly. Either it has too little paint on it, which encourages moisture absorption and swelling, or else it has too much, which creates a gluelike bond between the sash and its channels.
3. If you think it has too little paint, wait for some dry weather, which will allow the wood to shrink a bit, and then paint it.
4. If the window has too much paint on it, you'll have to strip the old paint and apply new paint. This can involve disassembling the windows and stripping all pieces -- consult a contractor if you're unsure how to tackle this repair.
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If the existing caulk in your bathroom is cracked or damaged, replace it immediately. Here are the steps:
1. Begin by removing any old caulk. Cut it out carefully using a utility knife.
2. Wipe the joints clean before beginning to recaulk. Run fine steel wool lightly through the cleaned-up joints, then wipe the tiles and joints thorouoghly with a damp cloth.
3. If you don't own a caulking gun, you can buy caulk in a small, squeezable tube. Water-based caulk is easiest to clean up.
4. Point the nozzle of the tube into the joint, and then squeeze a line of caulk from one end of the joint to the other.
5. Wet your finger or the back of a plastic spoon and, starting at the first end, pack and shape the joint.
6. Clean up excess caulk carefully with a wet cloth, or wait for the caulk to dry and trim it with a razor blade.
7. When caulking around a bathtub, be aware that the joint expands when the tub is full of water. To seal the joint when it's at its widest, fill the tub with warm water and kneel into it as you caulk.