6 Home Improvement Tips for DIY Enthusiasts

Here are some home improvement tips from Keith Paul, founder of HandyPro Handyman Services:

Dear Keith. My husband has taken a job that will cause him to travel, which means that I have become the “do it yourselfer” of the house. What advice would you have to the first-time DIYer?

Welcome to the world of home improvement. You took the first step in the right direction by asking for help. By doing so, you can avoid many common home improvement mistakes and pitfalls, (many that I have made). Several home maintenance and improvement projects are difficult if you don’t have the right tools or knowledge. Although we could write a book on your question, I’ve decided to compile a few shortcuts that may help in your new venture.

1. Do you have a leaky copper pipe? Many leaks are caused by frozen pipes or worn connections. There is a product called Sharkbite Fittings that can help you replace damage or leaky pipes by “clicking and fitting.” Sweating the copper pipes and fittings are no longer necessary for many of these projects. If you ever played with LEGOs and used a saw, you can work with the Sharkbite fittings and possibly save hundreds of dollars.

2. Have a door that sticks? Many doors become loose due to the worn screw holes at the hinges. Remove the loose hinges and insert toothpicks into the holes then apply wood glue. Allow the glue to set overnight then cut the excess toothpicks. Next, predrill a hole if necessary, screw the hinges back in place and your door hinge will be as tight as new. This process also works with cabinet knobs.

3. Have a squeaky floor under a carpet? Once thought impossible to fix, now there is a solution for the novice DIYer. There are many products such as "Squeeeeek No More" which can fix a squeaky floor with only a drill and some patience. The screw is inserted through the carpet and the floor boards by using this product and a drill. The screw tightens the floor board(s) and the joist together, eliminating the squeak. The screw head is then removed below the rug, leaving no trace of the screw or the repair.

4. Need a stud finder and don’t have one? Heavy picture and mirrors that are hung on the wall require extra support from nailing or screwing into a stud providing extra strength. A stud finder is the tool that locates a stud behind drywall. If you do not have one, take an electric razor and run it across the wall while turned on, when the tone changes, you now have your stud.

5. Got a sluggish kitchen or bathroom drain? Pour a ½ cup of baking soda down the drain and add ½ cup of vinegar. Cover and seal the drain for a few minutes, then add 6 cups of boiling water and watch the water flow. How it works: the combination of the baking soda and vinegar causes the fatty acids to break down into soap and glycerin allowing the drain to open.

6. Toilet running continuously? Before you call a professional plumber try these two tips. Water will flow through the inside of tank if the rubber flapper is not properly positioned and sealed against the inside rim.

a. In most toilets, the handle is connected to a rod inside the tank. When flushed it will pull against a connected chain and open the rubber flapper allowing the water to drain. Often the rubber flapper does not completely seal the inside rim, causing the water to continuously flow. The rod may need adjusting to completely seal the rim. Correct this issue by bending the rod downward with your hands.

b. If it continues to run and the flapper has not been replaced in years, turn off the water to the toilet and then flush. This will empty the tank allowing you to remove the flapper and take it to your nearest hardware for replacement.

Kieth Paul is a State of Michigan Licensed Builder. Paul serves as president and founding member of nationally franchised HandyPro Handyman Service.  The company has grown in popularity with over a dozen independently owned franchises in the US.

Collin Dickey serves the Twin Cities area, Minneapolis, St Paul and surrounding communities.

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