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Functional Repairs for the DIYer

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Functional Repairs for the DIYer

When it comes to home repairs, there’s a lot that you can do to avoid calling in a professional. While you shouldn’t attempt to rewire your home, fix the air conditioner, or run plumbing lines, you can repair and remodel many things without a license. If you like to DIY, you’ve come to the right spot. We’ve got a few ideas to fill your handyman heart with joy.

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Tools of the Trade

Before we get to the repairs, take the time to gather your tools. A basic home tool set should have everything you need to get started. Most include a hammer, wrenches, ratchets, pliers, and a tape measure. You may also need a level, drill and drill bits, and safety glasses. If you plan to work up high, make sure you have a sturdy ladder that will support your weight.

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Common Home Repairs

Inside and outside, there are many small maintenance projects that you can do today to save yourself a lot of headaches and money later.

One of the most common complaints among new homeowners is that the HVAC system doesn’t feel quite right. Sometimes, the air drags and doesn’t make its way to all the rooms it supplies. At other times, it might cause dust to fly through the air. Both of these issues may be as simple to fix as changing the filter. Most systems have a standard size, but if you have an unusual setup or only a small area for the return vent, you might need to find a custom filter. Even a quarter inch off can affect the efficiency of the unit, so make sure your filter fits.

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Cleaning the gutters is another reasonably easy maintenance task; however, like changing your HVAC filter, it is essential. Clogged gutters won’t drain water away when it rains, which can put your home at risk of flooding or water intrusion. To clean the gutters, use a ladder to climb to the roof; you’ll want to stand about chest level to the gutters. With gloved hands, remove the debris and then rinse the gutter with a garden hose. Mr. Handyman notes that a second person should be present to steady the ladder and turn the water on.

If you notice issues with the roof while you’re up there, keep the ladder handy. Minor roofing repairs can be handled with little experience, assuming you’re comfortable with heights and your roof has a low pitch. Stick with repairs that don’t require changes to the sub-roof, such as replacing shingles or cleaning algae from asphalt shingles. Wear slip-resistant shoes and add footers to the roof or wear a safety harness, as a wet surface can be slippery.

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Once you come down from the roof, you can turn your attention to inside the home. In addition to looking unseemly, loose carpeting can also be a trip hazard. Loose carpeting seems overwhelming to deal with but is actually not that difficult if you don’t mind hard work. To re-stretch sagging carpet, clear the room of all furniture, then pull the edges of the carpet from the floor from three sides. You’ll need a carpet stretcher, which you can pick up at your local hardware store. Bob Villa’s Jennifer Noonan walks you through the full process here.

Loose carpet is a hazard, but it’s not the only things in the house that can wiggle out of place. The doors and drawers of the kitchen cabinets can, as well, and that becomes a major annoyance. Sometimes, a minor hinge adjustment can make the doors open and shut like new. Likewise, a little WD-40 on sticking drawers can go a long way toward kitchen cabinet comfort.

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There’s no reason to shy away from DIY projects. But remember, some things are best left to the pros, and if you aren’t comfortable making any repair, don’t do it. It’s better to outsource than to wind up footing the bill to fix any damage you might cause on top of the original repairs.

Written by: Rob Woods,

Are you a DIY enthusiast with skills and advice you want to share with others? Write your own tutorial and have it featured on Functional Rustic by emailing Sarah at Not ready to teach others? Learn new skills, meet other DIY enthusiasts and sell your handmade creations by joining DIY Projects of Facebook.


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