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4 Common Household Repairs Made Easy

Category: DIY Tips

Sometimes home maintenance and DIY-ing needed fixes in a home can be daunting even on seasoned homeowners. But many of these common repairs don’t have to be difficult–they just seem difficult. Here are 5 repairs made step-by-step easy:

1. Fixing a clogged drain.


  • What you’ll need:
    • Rubber Gloves (optional)
    • Damp Rag or Cloth
    • Plunger
    • Bucket
    • Slip Joint Pliers OR Adjustable Wrench

How To:

1. Grab your rubber gloves to get started (if you want to stay clean, that is. They’ll also help you grip).

2. Fill the clogged sink halfway with water, if not already full. Block overflow hole with damp rag or cloth.

3. Cover the sink drain opening with the cup end of plunger, ensuring that the plunger is full of water. Push down firmly but carefully and lift slowly, repeating until blockage clears.

4. When the blockage has cleared, run hot water down the sink drain for several minutes. Unblock the overflow hole.

5. If the blockage has not cleared, locate the P-trap — it’s the U-shaped pipe that connects the vertical pipe coming from the sink to the horizontal pipe that goes into the wall. Place the bucket under the trap to catch any spills.

6. Unscrew the trap. If too tightly fixed to unscrew by hand, use slip-joint pliers.

7. Pull away the trap; it will be full of dirty water so let it fall into the bucket.

8. Empty the trap into the bucket and look for any lost valuables. Clean the trap of any hair or food debris.

9. Reassemble the trap, taking care not to over tighten. Run hot water for several minutes to ensure that the clog has cleared. If the blockage persists, check outside drains.

2. Repairing cracks in plaster:

  • What you’ll need:
    • Chisel
    • Small Paintbrush
    • Damp Cloth
    • Water-based Adhesive, Such as Wood or Even School Glue (Elmer’s or Any PVA-Type Glue), Diluted 1 Part to 3 Parts Water
    • Powdered of Premixed Plaster of Paris
    • Clean Bucket and Stick (If Using Powdered Plaster)
    • Plastering Trowel
    • Piece of Wooden Batten
    • Fine-Grade Sandpaper and Sanding Block
    • Primer

How To:

1. Remove loose plaster: Chip away with a chisel until you reach a firm surface. Take great care not to harm the good plaster.

2. Use a dry paintbrush to remove any dust and wipe down area with damp cloth.

3. Paint over hole and edges with glue solution or water.

4. If using a powdered plaster, mix in bucket using clean stick, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

5. Use trowel to apply first coat of plaster to hole, pressing in firmly. Be sure to fill up to join with old plaster.

6. Use wooden batten to wipe off excess plaster, ensuring that the batten runs over new plaster and onto old plaster on all sides, so that hole will be filled to an even height.

7. Build up deep areas in layers, allowing each layer to stiffen for two hours before applying next layer. Each layer should be no more than 2 inches thick.

8. Leave to dry. Use fine-grade sandpaper lightly to sand over filled hole and surrounding area.

9. Apply primer before redecorating.

3. Fixing a leaky faucet:


  • What you’ll need:
    • Screwdriver
    • Pliers
    • Slip Joint Wrench, or Wrench to Fit
    • Replacement Cartridge or Washer
    • Silicone Grease
    • Heavy Cloth, Piece of Leather, or Duct Tape, If Needed

How To:

1. First, turn off the water supply. There is usually a valve under the sink or behind the shower assembly, or you may find a screw slot, which you’ll need to turn with a screwdriver until it points across the width of pipe rather than along its length. Otherwise, turn off the water supply to the whole building. Turn the faucet on and wait until you have cleared any residual water from the pipes.

2. Put the plug in the sink in case any small screws or nuts fall out while you’re taking the faucet apart. It’s a good idea to put these aside somewhere safe so that you can locate them easily when reassembling the faucet.

3. Remove decorative handle cap (often marked “hot” or “cold”). Remove screw underneath, then jiggle the handle to remove. A screwdriver or slip joint pliers may be needed at any stage.

For Modern faucets: remove interior cartridge using pliers. Note: it may be held in by a lock ring or retaining nut that will need removing first, using a wrench. Replace with new cartridge.

For Older faucets: use wrench to undo retaining nuts, remove headgear, and reveal old washer. Prize out the washer and replace it with a new one.

4. Apply silicone grease to the screw threads, then reassemble the faucet in reverse sequence.

5. Turn water supply back on. Check for leaks in reassembled faucets.

6. If the problem continues, you may need to replace the faucet.

4. Grouting Tile:

  •  What you’ll need:
    • Grout (Premixed or Powdered)
    • Bucket of Water, If Using Powdered Grout
    • Grout Spreader OR Plastic Kitchen SpatulaDamp Sponge
    • Grout Shaper OR Your Finger
    • Clean, Dry Cloth
    • Grout Sealer, if Needed

How To:

1. Use the grout spreader or spatula to spread golf-ball-sized lumps of grout over the whole tile surface in long, upwards, diagonal strokes. Hold the rubber edge of the spreader at a 45-degree angle. Work into all the joints.

2. Use a damp sponge to wipe away any excess grout. Pull the sponge lightly across each right angle once. Turn it over to use the clean side, then rinse in a bucket of clean water and repeat.

3. When the grout has hardened slightly, use a grout shaper or your finger to neaten up the joints. If any gaps appear, apply more grout with your fingertip. Sponge off any excess.

4. Allow several hours (preferably overnight) for the grout to dry. Polish up the tiles with a clean, dry cloth.

5. Once grout is dry, apply grout sealer, if needed, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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