Everyone needs this at home: Basic skills and tools you need to acquire as a home owner

Everyone needs this at home: Basic skills and tools you need to acquire as a home owner

Everyone needs this at home: Basic skills and tools you need to acquire

You finally moved to your new home or apartment and realised there were a few touches you need to do to give it that homey feel. What do you do? Do you call the handy man and pay extra cash or do it yourself.

Knowing how to take care of things yourself will give you self-assurance and a greater sense of ownership over your home. Here are a few simple handyman skills you can learn and apply to your day to day activities;

Fix a loose tile
Loose or wobbly tiles are the precursors of broken tiles, making this a minor problem worth getting fixed before it gets major. First, run a preheated iron over the loose tile

and surrounding area to loosen its adhesive, then gently lift the tile out.

Clean the area underneath with alcohol, then scrape it clean with the putty knife to get all of the old adhesive off.

Apply a new coating of tile adhesive to both the gap and to the back of the tile and carefully replace the tile.


Use a rolling pin to press the tile into place and get rid of any air bubbles, then wipe clean any excess adhesive on or around the tile. If it’s a floor tile, weigh the tile down with a heavy object, like a stack of books, until the bond sets.

Caulk a shower, sink or tub
This one’s almost fun. If you notice that there’s a bit of leakage around your sink, shower or bathtub, it might be time to replace the caulking — that line of putty or gel at the seam where the basin meets the wall or floor. Caulking loses effectiveness over time, so you should reseal it once a year.

First, use a plastic putty knife to scrape off the old caulking, then clean the surface with rubbing alcohol. Apply a stripe of masking tape above and below where you’re applying your caulk — this will give you a clean, even-looking line. Take your tube of caulk — there are numerous kinds, but choosing one with silicone will give you better mildew protection — and load it into the caulking gun, following the directions on the package to cut open the application tip and making sure that you pierce through any secondary layer of packaging inside.

Smoothly move the caulking gun along the seam you want to patch while depressing the caulking gun’s trigger evenly. Once it’s applied, use your finger to smooth and flatten the line, removing any excess caulk, then peel off masking tape. Let the caulking dry for at least a day or two before exposing it to water or moisture.

Fix a leaky faucet

The details depend on the model, but the basics are the same: In the end, the solution is almost always to replace a worn-down or faulty washer, O-ring or stem. The following steps will guide you through identifying the problem, but make sure you match the size precisely when you replace any damaged parts.

First, turn off your water, both from the handles over the sink and the mainline, usually a small valve attached to the pipes under your sink. Next, very gently use your flat-head screwdriver to remove the knob handle(s); use a little penetrating oil for lubrication if it feels too tight to slip off easily. Loosen the packing nut with a wrench. This should let you spot the stem, which you can also remove, then check for damage. Do the same with the O-ring and washer, as one of these three elements is likely the culprit. Replace any damaged parts, then reassemble the faucet in the same order — washer and O-ring, stem, packing nut, screw, handle — turn the water back on, and test the water.
If it’s still leaky, then you’ve done what you can. The problem runs deeper and it’s time to call a plumber.

Tighten a loose door hinge

If you notice an interior door sticking or scraping, it’s probably time to tighten up its hinges. If you can jiggle the door up and down when you grab it by the lock side, then this is your culprit — but it’s almost criminally easy to fix. First, find and remove any loose screws in the hinges.

For each removed screw, take a wooden matchstick, dip it in carpenter’s glue, and drive it into the screw hole, then break or cut off any part of the matchstick that sticks out. Drive each screw back into the patched hole, and the matchstick-glue combo should hold it secure.

Unclog a drain

Depending on the extent of the clog, you’ve got a few options here. First, try to clear the drain with a mixture of vinegar, hot water and baking soda — a few good glugs should clear any soft blockages like grease or product.

If that doesn’t do the trick, your next stop is the plunger — not the one you use for your toilet; you deserve better than that. Fill the sink half-full of water, then plunge the sink drain like you would a toilet, pumping the rubber part to create suction.

Still clogged? Check the trap. Place a bucket under your pipes, then unscrew the trap — the curved piece of pipe that connects your sink to the vertical pipe

either by hand or using a pipe wrench. Empty the water and clear any clogs, then return the trap to its place, reattach to the other pipes, and test by running some water to see whether the drain is cleared. And if that doesn’t work…

Hope this helps you out

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