Your home is one of the most high-priced items you’ll ever pay for, so you should take good care of it. Every home needs periodic maintenance and repairs (as we’ve learned well since becoming home owners!). That doesn’t mean that when something goes wrong in your home, you have to call a handyman. Here are some basic home maintenance how-tos every mom should know. They will come in helpful if you are redoing the house, upgrading a room, or just trying to keep everything in top shape.
Before you start any home maintenance, make sure you have the right tools for the job. A basic toolkit will go a long way in helping you with specific jobs around the home. For bigger jobs, you may be able to borrow or rent the required tools (especially if you don’t think you’ll need to use them again).
How to Fix Squeaky Floors
Squeaky floors, whether under carpets or a hardwood flooring, can be a super-annoying problem in your house. Use a stud finder to find a floor joint near the squeak and then use a drill to drive through the carpet and pad and into solid wood with a low-profile trim screw to eliminate noises under the carpet. If it still produces noise, drive in more.
It is also easy to fix squeaks for wood floors. Just sprinkle a fair amount of talcum powder onto the cracks near the squeak. Use a broom to spread the powder into the gaps to get in, and the noises should stop.
If there are a lot of squeaks in your floors, and the flooring is old, you may want to consider replacing your flooring. Tearing up old carpet or other flooring will let you screw the subfloor into the floor joints. Then you can clean up the subfloor and install flooring of your choice. Four years after moving into our condo, we finally got around to tearing up the white carpet we didn’t like and installing light grey laminate flooring instead.
How to Get Rid of Pet Fur
Pet hair and fur can quickly build up and become an annoyance around the home. Dragging a window squeegee over the surfaces is an easy way to extract it from the carpet or upholstered furniture. The hair will stick to the edge of the rubber, making cleaning fast and easy. I also love our robot vacuum, which I run every night to pick up any dirt, dust and hair from the day.
How to Handle a Clogged Toilet
“MOMMY, the toilet won’t flush!” is a cry that I hear at least once a month. There are two feats you can try before you call a plumber to unclog a toilet. First, keep a good toilet plunger handy and submerge it in the water in the toilet. Offer it 8-10 strong thrusts downwards. If the water drains, try flushing the toilet to see if the problem has cleared. If not, repeat a few more thrusts with the plunger. At this stage, most minor clogs should clear up, and water should flow freely.
If not, it’s time for an auger. Usually, toilet augers cost a little more than plungers, but they can withstand harder clogs than a basic plunger can. When the end hits the clog, run the auger’s end into the toilet and begin turning the crank. You should be able to get the clog out if you have a strong grip on it.
Another way to deal with this is to install a macerating upflush toilet. This toilet type has a macerating unit found behind the toilet itself, where it sends the waste. The waste is then liquefied by high-power blades before pumping it out of the unit via a normal pipe tied into the main sewer line. If plugged toilets seem to be a frequent problem in your home, this could be a handy solution.
How to Repair a Leaky Kitchen Drain
Leaking water under a sink is not only annoying, it can also become a hazard by creating water damage or allowing mold to grow. The leak is usually caused either by a worn-out washer or a compression nut that seals it loose or broken. To repair these, you’ll need to turn the water off in the sink first. Place a bucket under the pipe once the water is off, and twist off the compression nuts (the large, white bits you can unscrew). It would be best if you used this opportunity to rinse out the curved pipe that can get pretty grody by design (called a P-trap). Replace the washer or compression nut, attach the pipe again, and turn your water back on.
How to Replace a Faucet
Since moving into our condo, we’ve replaced all but one of the faucets. The ensuite bathroom faucet was leaking, so we changed it to solve that problem. (Sometimes, replacing the entire pipe or faucet is easier than replacing just a washer or part which may no longer be available.) We then replaced our main bathroom and kitchen faucets because we disliked the previous faucets; now all the faucets in the house are a similar style and colour.
Replacing the faucets are a fairly easy job which definitely fall under basic home maintenance. Whether your faucet is leaking or you don’t like how it looks, changing it can be done in under an hour. We watched for faucets on sale at our local hardware store and made sure to choose faucets that would fit the space we had. For example, I knew that there was one hole in our counter top for the kitchen faucet, so we couldn’t get any faucets that required three holes.
Then we followed the instructions included with the faucet. This started with turning off the water as mentioned above, and making sure you have a bucket and rags ready to catch drips. You will also need a few basic tools, such as a pipe wrench and flat-head screw driver. Check your faucet installation instructions for specific tools required. Then enjoy using your shiny new faucet!
How to Fix Holes in the Drywall
Whether we’ve decided to move a picture, or one of the kids has accidentally chipped some paint off the wall, repairing the drywall is a job that I’ve done quite frequently. I keep a small tub of spackling, a can of paint to match our wall colour, and a couple trowels. Simply spread the spackling over the hole or chip in the wall. Wait for the spackling to dry (which may take up to 8 hours, depending on your brand of spackling) and then sand the surface. Bigger holes may need a second coat of spackling.
Once the surface is sanded and smooth, brush any dust off and then apply a touch-up coat of paint to the wall. If you are fixing a hole in a dark-coloured wall, you may need a couple coats of paint to cover the white spackling. If there are a lot of holes in the wall, you may want to repaint the entire wall after fixing the holes.
How to Caulk Gaps and Cracks
For fixed areas of your house, such as window frames and electrical outlets, caulking is the air-sealing technique of choice. Wait for a nice, dry day and wear old clothes for this job (as caulk that you get on your clothes likely won’t wash off). Clean the area you’re caulking and remove any loose debris or mold. Keep the caulking gun at a 45-degree angle consistently, and apply the caulk without stopping in a smooth stream. If you have an uneven bead, you can wet the end of a finger and then drag it through the caulk to smooth it out. Keep an old wet rag handy for wiping up caulk that drips or smears in the wrong place.
How to Clean up Burnt Pans
Eventually, heavy use of cooking with stainless steel pans will result in black and brown burnt marks throughout the cookware. Mix equal parts of baking soda with tartar cream and a drop or two of liquid dishwashing soap for easy removal without using toxic chemicals such as oven spray. Spread the paste in your pan and then add some hot water to the burned spots. Let the black marks sit for a few minutes, then scrub them out.
When to Use Professional Home Remodeling Service
Basic home maintenance skills can help handle certain situations. If you are thinking about remodeling your whole house or even just a bathroom, you may need professional home remodeling services. Hiring a professional service can help save time, money, and you will be amazed at the results. Home remodeling provides all sorts of services from bathroom remodel, kitchen remodels, and light fixtures to drywall repairing.
There’s no lack of items in your house that can break, of course, but you’ll find that with only a little bit of research online and a few dollars worth of supplies from a hardware store, a good deal of stuff can be repaired. A professional should take care of some things, particularly when it comes to protection, but if something’s broken at your home and it’s not on this list, search online before calling the repairman. Pinterest and YouTube are a home owners best friend!
What have you had to fix since owning your home? What basic home maintenance tips would you share?