Roll up your sleeves and take a few minutes to master five home repairs that you can do yourself without dangerous tools or complicated instructions. Even though spending a few hours regularly on DIY home maintenance and repairs may never become your hobby of choice, knowing how to perform a few simple fixes will keep your costs down and help get the work done on your schedule instead of your contractor's.
If you can’t see any telltale flow marks, and since the stain is fairly small, look at the underside of the roof for ‘shiners.’ A shiner is a nail that missed the framing member, in this case when the carpenter nailed the roof sheathing to the rafters. Moisture that escapes into the cold attic from the rooms below often condenses on cold nails. Sometimes you can spot this if you climb up into your attic on a cold night. The nails will look white because they’re frosted. When the attic heats up a bit during the day, the frost melts and drips, then the nails frost up at night again and so on. The solution is to simply clip the nail with a side-cutting pliers.
When you contact a handyperson service, the more details you provide the better. Some companies won’t do some tasks, such as painting, while others avoid specialized work, like electrical, plumbing, or masonry. Some services accept only small projects; others work only on multi-day or multi-month remodeling jobs. A list of tasks is also essential for getting a price quote, or even a rough time estimate, over the phone and will help you determine whether you’ll need companies to drop by before drafting written cost proposals.
Though it can seem intimidating, installing your own batting installation can be easy, and take just a few hours if you isolate the need to a few key spaces. Have a drafty attic? Start there. Concerned about a freezing crawl space? Throw on your work jeans and get to work. These insulating spaces will instantly feel warmer and you’ll notice the savings on your next heating bill. Read how to install insulation here.
Risk: The range hood sucks cooking fumes up and out of the kitchen. As grease splatters, it builds up and clogs the filter in the underside of the hood, keeping the fan from working as it should. This could cause your smoke alarm to go off, attract fruit flies, and leave potentially harmful pollutants from your gas or electric range lingering in the air. And if you have to replace the motor, it will cost around $200.
Every remodeling job starts off with home building plans including detailed floor plans. Next comes the demolition (and a great opportunity to vent off some steam). We can offer you advice on all home renovation jobs big and small, from building modular homes to log homes and from home theater design to closet design. See All Building & Home Improvement
Live in a condo or co-op in the city, and your monthly maintenance fee may be large enough to make you envy the owner of a single-family home. But that regular common charge means that you get to live in ignorant bliss about what it costs to keep a property functioning. You may never know when the gutters get cleaned, who gets hired to do the work or even how much the job costs. None of the details are your problem because the work just gets done whether you’re paying attention or not.
So last year, Mr. Hark and Mr. Larivee, who works in digital marketing, sold their condo and moved to a four-bedroom house, also in West Orange. They now have to mow their lawn and shovel their driveway when it snows, but when they had a drainage problem in the backyard, they got to choose their contractor and schedule the job based on when it made the most financial sense for them.
Upholstery shops charge almost $200 to fix tears in your seats. You can do it yourself in a few hours with a vinyl and leather repair kit (less than $20) from any auto parts store. You’ll have to practice a bit to get the right color mix and it might not be a perfect match when you’re done, but it’s a heck of a lot better than driving around with torn seats. Start by gluing reinforcing fabric onto the underside of the torn vinyl or leather. Then mix the heat-set filler to match your fabric color and apply it to the tear. Next, find a textured mat that most closely resembles the texture of your vinyl or leather and place it onto the liquid filler. Heat the patching tool with a clothes iron and press it onto the textured mat. Remove the patching tool, but leave the textured mat in place until the patch cools. Then peel it off. Get the full story on repairing leather here.
When you use the Handy app or website, you’ll be connected with local handyman professionals who can take care of this work for you. In addition to freeing up your time for the more important things in life, booking a handyman through the Handy platform will give you the security of knowing that things are being handled by an expert. If the sight of a hammer or screwdriver fills you with anxiety and you’d rather leave things to a professional, the Handy platform is ready to help.
Ask about companies’ hourly labor rates and how many workers are included in the rates (some send two workers to every job). Also ask about minimum charges. Many handyperson services have minimums of two hours or more, and some tack on a half-hour of labor or more for travel time (most home services charge the same fees for travel time regardless of where customers live). If the jobs on your list can be done in an hour, don’t hire a company that charges a three-hour minimum. Because many handyperson services bill labor charges in one-hour increments, have a few optional jobs ready in case you need to fill up a worker’s hour.
Don’t fall for a shingle shakedown! Not all local handyman services have your best interests in mind. Instead of repairing damaged roofing or siding, they recommend a full replacement, which doesn’t always make financial sense. At Brothers Services, we believe in treating people fairly and making sure you know your options, including affordable ways to extend the life of your roofing and siding.
If you have shallow scratches or nicks, hide them with a stain-filled touch-up marker. Dab on the stain and wipe off the excess with a rag. But beware: Scratches can absorb lots of stain and turn darker than the surrounding finish. So start with a marker that’s lighter than your cabinet finish and then switch to a darker shade if needed. For deeper scratches, use a filler pencil, which fills and colors the scratch. Or, try using a walnut to remove scratches in wood!
Drip, drip, drip..Having plumbing problems? Or, maybe you need some plumbing help. From repairing kitchen faucets to toilet repair and from plumbing tools to everything including the kitchen sink, Repair-Home makes do it yourself plumbing easy. (And if those blocked drains are driving you plumb crazy, stop hyperventilating. We can find you a plumber for the job.) See All Plumbing