stop hiring out these 10 home repairs
every homeowner should know a trustworthy electrician, plumber and carpenter. but having them do small jobs can get expensive. consider making the fix yourself, instead of making a call to a pro, and you'll save money. plus, you'll build your confidence to tackle other repairs in the future.
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fix a plumbing leak
save the cost of a plumber’s house call by fixing minor leaks yourself. leaks in a supply line tend to be continuous while drain line leaks are usually intermittent. for a leaky shutoff valve, a wrench should be all you need. if the leak is along a water pipe, replace the leaky section. for a temporary fix, use repair putty. leaking drain pipes can also be patched, but it’s better to replace the bad section using no-hub shielded couplings.
hide cracks in ceramic tile
tile is hard and durable, but it can crack when stressed. you could hire a pro to remove and replace the cracked tile, but that requires finding a matching tile and someone willing to do a small job. a faster and cheaper fix is to cover up the crack using a color-matching repair kit.
restore rotted wood
wood rots because it’s exposed to water, so fix that problem first. that fix could entail adding gutters or sloping the ground away from your foundation so water flows away from the structure. next, remove the rotten wood and replace it with a suitable filler. finish by sanding and painting the repaired area.
strengthen an entry door
for peace of mind, many people change their locks or re-key them after moving into a new place. that’s a good start, but it won’t stop a determined intruder. a fast and easy way improve security is to reinforce the door and jamb, and you can do it yourself.
quiet an exhaust fan
bathroom exhaust fans aren’t supposed to be silent, but they shouldn’t chatter or squeal. if your fan doesn’t turn on, try replacing the motor. otherwise, the best option is to replace the entire unit. while installing a new bath fan may damage the finished ceiling, that is fairly easy to repair.
add an electrical outlet
extension cords are handy, but unsightly and a potential fire and tripping hazard. a more elegant and safer approach is to install a channel and route the electrical cable through surface-mount wires through it. if conditions allow, adding a permanent in-wall outlet is an even better solution.
replace crumbling mortar
replacing the mortar in the joints between bricks or stone blocks is called tuckpointing. it’s a simple repair, but you need to use the right tools and techniques to avoid frustration. it’s also important to match the color of the existing mortar so the repair blends in. to save time, mix several small batches and write down the proportions of the ingredients as you do. then let them cure and select the closest match. your notes will enable you to recreate the same shade again and again.
install gutter guards
gutters keep water away from your house and out of your basement, but they don’t work when they’re clogged with leaves and other debris. instead of paying an installer for proprietary gutter guards, do the work yourself using the product best suited to your house.
get rid of bare patches in your lawn
springtime means wedding receptions, graduation parties and open houses. get your yard in shape by sodding or seeding the bare patches. allow plenty of time for the lawn repairs to fill in before your yard becomes party central.
fix a broken screen
broken screens are an eyesore. tidy up and get ready for insect season by replacing them. it’s a simple way to improve curb appeal while saving yourself some money.
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