Home Improvement

10 Simple DIY Tips Every New Homeowner Should Know


Photo credit: Justin

The first home is so often the site of failed DIY experiments as the non-practical test their hand at a variety of home improvement jobs with varying levels of success. Mimicking YouTube tutorials in real-time can lead to a range of disasters from the small (spilled paint) to the large (busted water pipes).

Here we lend a helping hand to the first-time homeowner, offering a range of tips they need to know.

Replacing Washers

A worn-out washer is often the cause of leaking tap. The constant drip-dripping of a leaky tap is both annoying and a waste of water. Turn off the water supply to your home, so you don’t end up flooding the place and remove the top lid off the offending tap. Inside this should be a screw, unscrew this and remove the adjoining cartridge (it has the appearance of a golden chess piece).

Find your local plumbing merchant using the Thomson Local and take the cartridge to their store. The plumbing professional in the store will be able to identify the required washer and supply you with it. Replace the washer by reversing the steps taken to remove the cartridge. Then turn the water back on upon completion.

De-Squeaking Door Hinges

Squeaking door hinges can be a nightmare with a midnight toilet trip liable to wake the whole family. Spraying WD-40 on the hinges should help lubricate them and remove the squeak. If the squeak continues, apply petroleum jelly.

Solving Creaking Floors

A very quick fix for creaking wooden flooring is to simply fill in the cracks causing the creaks with talcum powder. Spread the talcum powder into all the cracks, sweeping away any excess so talcy footprints aren’t spread throughout the house.

Straightening Furled Wallpaper

Using a simple butter knife, smear wallpaper paste on a piece of writing paper. Rub the paper against the underside of the peeling section and press the wallpaper against the wall. Then slide the writing paper out and smooth away any bubbles with a clean cloth.

Whitening Bathtubs and Sinks

Unsightly stains on the white porcelain of a bathtub, sink or toilet can ruin the appearance of the bathroom. Fortunately these can be cleaned with a simple formula of equal parts cream of tartar and baking soda with just enough lemon juice to create a paste. Rub this mixture into the stains with your fingers and leave for half an hour before rinsing away.

Unjamming Stuck Windows

If you have sliding windows or patio doors which seem to stick or are difficult to open, apply a little silicone spray lubricant on the runners at the top and bottom of the door. Simple spray onto the rag and apply to the runners (this works on metal, wood and plastic runners).

Removing Broken Light Bulbs

If you have tried to replace cheap light bulbs only for them to shatter in your hand, removing the remaining parts can be a difficult and dangerous job. One simple way to remove the remaining bulb requires the assistance of a large potato. Cut a large potato in half widthways. Holding the rounded edge, push the flat surface over the broken bulb exterior and unscrew the fitting.

Unsticking Rusted Nuts and Bolts

Older buildings in particularly may suffer from rusted nuts and bolts in old fittings and furnishings. If you can’t remove the nuts and bolts through good old fashioned elbow grease, a stronger approach may be required. Coat the nut or bolt in a high strength lubricant and leave for an hour before trying to free it again.

If this does not work, you may need to fight fire with fire. Heating the nut or bolt with a blowtorch will force the fitting to expand, making the nut or bolt easier to remove. Be careful whilst handling fire though – Manchester Safety stock necessary hand and eye protective goods to keep you safe.

Clearing Clogged Gutters

Avoid the problem of clogged gutters rather than having to solve them by acting before the rain starts to fall. Clogged gutters can lead to pipes sagging and bursting or could re-direct waters down the façade of the house, staining the exterior. This simple job can be a little messy, take a trowel up a secure ladder and remove the leaves, depositing into a bin bag.

Removing Stripped Screws

Stripped screws are screw heads which have lost their shape and structural integrity, making them very difficult to remove. If none of your screwdrivers fit the screw head, you may have to invest in a screw extractor. This screw extractor set from Screwfix should include the right fitting for any stripped screw job you come across in your new home.


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