Easy as DIY: Home Projects That Anyone Can Do

Even if you don’t fancy yourself a handyperson, there are some projects around the house that anyone can tackle.  Although these might seem simple to the domestic diva of DIY, here’s a “Dummies Guide” to allow even the newest novice the opportunity to save some money and literally Do It Yourself.

LEAKY FAUCET

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(Source: http://www.laughroulette.com)

The constant “drip, drop” of a leaky sink can annoy even the most patient of people. There are many kinds of faucets, but the most common is a compression faucet. In this case, it’s necessary to tighten the packing nut or replace the washer. 

Tools you’ll need:

  • Adjustable wrench; C wrench

  • Philips and/or flat-head screwdriver

  • Replacement washers (or string or plumber’s putty)

1. Remove the faucet handle by unscrewing the screw that attaches it, which is often covered by a decorative cap that you will need to carefully pry off.  Using a wrench, try tightening the packing nut, which is the nut at the base of the handle. Some leaks are this easy to fix!

2. However, if tightening the nut doesn’t fix the problem, you might have to replace the washer.

3. Turn off the water via the shutoff valve, which is most likely beneath the sink.

4. Open the faucet by twisting the top of the stem until all water in the pipes flows out. 

5. Unscrew the packing nut to remove the entire piece that holds the stem  assembly. If there’s a washer, remove the screw holding it on.  Replace the old washer with a new one and tighten the screw. (If there is no washer, wrap the packing nut with string or plumber’s putty).

6. Replace the stem assembly, attach the handle, turn the shutoff valve back on and voila, no more “drip, drop”!

Helpful hint: When working in a sink, be sure to place a towel in the basin to catch any nuts, screws, or other objects that could potentially fall down the drain once your begin your operation!

Helpful hint: Take your old washer to the hardware store to find the correct size washer.

For a more detailed step-by-step, visit http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0„193895,00.html

DRAFTY WINDOWS

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(Source: http://blog.builddirect.com)

Not only can drafty windows be a problem in the winter months, but also the summer months. You’ll have hot air in and cold air out at all the wrong times.  Applying weather stripping to your drafty windows can lower your energy bills up to 15% annually.

Tools you’ll need:

1. Cut the strips to size and fill the gaps between a window sash and jamb. 

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CLOGGED TOILET

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(Source: http://www.wikihow.com/Unclog-a-Toilet)

Clogged toilets can be a common problem and a normal toilet plunger can take care of 90% of them. But if you have a stubborn clog you might be tempted to call the plumber. Before you pick up the phone, give a plumbing snake a try. This long wire coil with a corkscrew-like tip is fed into your pipes until it finds the clog. 

Tools you’ll need:

  • Plumbing snake (starting at $6), the best option is called a “closet auger” which is designed to clear clogs without damaging the toilet bowl.

1. Flush only ONCE.  By repeat flushing, you’re more likely to overflow the toilet bowl.

2. Insert one end of the snake into the drain until you feel the clog.

3. Twist and push the snake clockwise through the clog until the water begins to drain.

Visit http://www.wikihow.com/Unclog-a-Toilet for more information.

Related stories on Yahoo Makers: 3 Steps to an Attention-Grabbing Chair

CRACK IN A WALL

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(Source: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-fix-large-cracks-in-drywall.html)

Drywall cracks most often appear due to movement or settling of a house.  But, relax, this doesn’t mean your walls are crumbling and your house is going to fall down. Cracks usually appear above the corners of doorways and windows and nail pops are common in new construction. The repair is simple, yet requires some patience as it’s important to let the coats of drywall compound completely dry.

Tools you’ll need:

  • Taping knives (6-inch and 10- or 12-inch)

  • 1 piece of plywood or a plastic mud pan

  • Drywall compound

  • Drywall tape (paper or fiberglass)

  • Fine-grit sandpaper and sanding block

1. Clean the crack with your taping knife. 

2. Then, apply a light coating of compound to the crack using the smaller of the taping knives.  Lay the drywall tape over the compound on the wall and use your larger taping knife to push it into the compound.  (Fiberglass tape will be self-sticking, so you can skip this step.  However, it is also thicker and harder to conceal.) 

3. Scrape the tape using a smooth scraping motion to scrape away any excess compound. 

4. Apply a thin coat of compound over the tape using the 6-inch knife.  Let dry overnight.

5. Apply two successive coats of compound with the wider knife allowing the first to dry completely before applying the second.

6. When your patch is completely dry, sand until smooth using fine-grit sandpaper, coat with primer, and then cover with the original wall color.

Helpful Hint: To avoid lumps and bumps, do it like the pros and feather your drywall compound as you apply.  Basically this means you’ll be tapering your compound out as you move away from your patch into the existing wall.  The wider you taper away from your patch, the less visible the repair will be!

Visit http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-fix-large-cracks-in-drywall.html for more detailed information with even more photos.

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