Common household problems – things like bumps and holes in the walls, scuffs on the walls from shoes being kicked off or even just drawers stuck on their runners – can be a real pain in the neck. But luckily, you don’t need to call a handy man in to fix all these little jobs. You can do it yourself far more easily than you might think, without any special “tools“.
If there are tiny little holes in the walls but you don’t have any caulk or filler, you can use toothpaste. Yep, really. If it’s a white wall, just smooth a little bit of toothpaste into the hole and even out with the tip of your finger. If your walls are painted, you can still use toothpaste – let it dry and then paint with a matching colour.
To clean rust – it might sound obvious – but you’ll need a rust cleaning powder. Sprinkle it around the effected area, dampen the rough side of a regular dish sponge and scrub gently to remove the rust in tiny little black flakes. Regular cleaning and regular use of a rust cleaning product should prevent it, too.
If you have scuffs on the wall due to kicked off shoes or furniture dragging where it shouldn’t, you can easily clean it off with a half and half solution of white vinegar and water, again, using the abrasive side of a regular dish sponge to buff away the marks. The place will smell vinegary for a while, but at least you won’t have to repaint!
Dressers that get stuck on runners are incredibly annoying – especially if you have to put up a fight with your chest of drawers every time you want to grab an item of clothing. You can either use something like WD40 to oil the runners so that they run smoothly, or if you don’t have any, just rub an unscented candle onto the runners to lubricate them.
Want a new loo seat? They’re easy to replace – just measure your existing toilet seat, unscrew the nuts on either side of the toilet seat, chuck the old one out, then put the new one in place and just use the same screws to fix it into position. Easy peasy.
If your sofa is sagging and the cushions practically sitting on the floor, you can easily sort it out without having to resort to a new sofa or re-upholstery. Buy some plywood, with a smooth side, measure it to the size of the cushion, then pop smooth side up underneath the cushion – it’ll give it extra support.
Planning and project managing home repairs and conversions is, arguably, more important than the conversion itself. If you don’t plan or have a strict timetable in place, you’ll find it difficult to keep everything on the right track. Plus, the longer your house is filled with dust and building debris, the more miserable you’ll be. Follow these 6 steps to keep your home repairs on track. For help getting the job done, take a look at these links for builders and building materials.
Plan your budget. Write down everything that you’d like to get done, in the order of importance. For example, getting your kitchen redone is more important than remodelling a bedroom. Creating a beautiful new bathroom is (for most) more important than painting the dining room. Write down a list of everything you need to do, then ask a professional (or get a builder’s quote) how long everything will take and how much money you’ll have to spend. Take it step by step, and don’t do one job here and one job there – it’ll really frustrate you.
Keep changes – changes of the project – to a minimum. It is unbelievably expensive to change things like your kitchen cabinets halfway through or the placement of plumbing pipes or electrical outlets. Make your plan, double and triple check that what you’re doing is what you want and stand by your decisions!
Choose materials wisely. If you’re on a tight schedule, keep in mind that fancy or more expensive materials will usually take longer to ship, longer to fit and longer to incorporate into the build. But on the other hand, these materials could be well worth it.
Consider starting your repairs during the “quiet” period. For example, in the winter, storm damage is more common, but if you try to get someone to repair it they may well be booked up for the next month. Instead, call your builder and ask them when they’re most busy, and book your home repairs to occur during their quiet period. Also – and this is really important – pay for the job, rather than the hour, otherwise you could find yourself out of pocket.
Plan repairs according to the seasons. Sort out storm maintenance in the summer and clear out drainpipes in the summer before they get blocked with leaves during the autumn.
If you know that you want your home to be transformed in time for Christmas or a special event, plan, plan and plan some more. It’s unfair to give them a tight schedule, especially if they’re likely to be incredibly busy.
If the brickwork of your house is looking a little messy, never fear – rendering might do the trick. Learn all about brick rendering with this guide and take a look at this link for brick and concrete tools.
Prepare the Brick
Before applying any new rendering, you’ll need to prepare the brickwork. Using a firm brush, brush the brickwork to loosen and remove any dust or debris. Then, you’ll need to brush PVA glue mixed with some water liberally all over the brickwork. Use the brush to get the glue into all of the nooks and crannies of the brickwork.
Choosing the Rendering Mix
Choose a rendering mix that is suitable for your environment. For example, if you’re in a location that’s particularly wet or windy, you’ll need a specific weather-resistant mix. Choose a render in a colour and texture that matches the existing brickwork and that blends well with the surrounding environment.
Mixing the Render
Follow the packet instructions to mix up the cement. Put the sand into the mixer and then add the cement and cover the mixer. Once well mixed, you can add the water. Before adding the water, add a little water retarder and plasticiser to the water and mix really well. Add the water to the cement mix gradually, being gentle so that the render mix doesn’t splash out of the mixer.
Tips for Applying Rendering
The number of coats of rendering you’ll need differs depending on the finish you’re looking for, but generally, each coat of rendering should be 1/2-3/4 of an inch thick.
Use thin layers. Using a layer that is too thick means that the render is likely to fall off the wall, so it’s best that you use multiple thin layers instead.
The first layer will be an undercoat. Once you’ve applied the render, use the edge of the trowel, a heavy duty fork or a key to score the surface of the render in diagonal parallel lines about an inch apart. Leave to dry.
Once you’ve applied the undercoat and once dry, use a brush to coat the brick and render with another layer of PVA glue. Leave to dry.
Second, third and even fourth layers should be no thicker than the first layer and should all be scored.
Once you’ve applied the final coat, use a trowel to ensure that the render is as smooth as possible. Then, use a float to smooth the render further.
As the final layer of render starts to dry completely, if you see any cracks (this may have been caused by the render shrinking as it dries), spray the render with water and smooth the cracks back with the trowel.