DIY Home Repairs: Home Ownership 101

Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf talk DIY Home Repairs
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Owning and maintaining a home isn’t that hard if you know the basics. Here’s our crash course on some DIY home repairs, from caring for your deck and lawn to replacing a faucet and fixing your toilet.

Power washers easily blast through dirt and grime on decks.

Deck Maintenance

To keep your deck looking good requires periodic maintenance. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Clean Deck: A pressure washer can be used to clean your deck if you’re careful not to damage the wood, but a deck cleaner—such as Flood Wood Cleaner—works great and is easy to use.
  • Repair Deck: Once the deck is clean and dry, set any protruding nails and sand rough surfaces.
  • Stain Deck: Apply a high-quality stain to seal the wood and keep moisture out with either a pump-up sprayer or roller. Back-brush the wet stain to force it into the grain.

Find out more at How to Clean and Finish a Wood Deck.

To keep your grass lush and green, maintain your mower. (MariusBlach/Getty Images)

Lawn Maintenance

Here are some tips to improve your lawn:

  • Mower Blade: Keep the blade on your lawn mower sharp so that it cuts rather than shreds the grass. Have two blades, so you’ll always have a sharp one ready when you need it.
  • Mower Height: Set your mower height to cut no more than 1/3 of the grass blade to keep from scalping your lawn.
  • Mower Speed: Set the throttle on high, but keep the speed control at a moderate pace.
  • Mower Clippings: Mulching requires less work and helps return nutrients to the soil while bagging gives your lawn a spotless manicured look.

Find out more at Lawn Mower Maintenance.

Using a pressure washer to clean algae and mold off vinyl siding.

Vinyl Siding and Gutter Maintenance

Apply a UV protectant like Armor All to protect vinyl siding and gutters from sun damage. Simply spray it on and wipe off the excess to restore shine and provide protection from harmful UV rays.

Kitchen and Bathroom Maintenance

These are the two rooms in your house that require the most maintenance. Here are some common DIY home repairs to keep each room functioning at its finest.

Keep soap scum from building up on glass shower doors by applying windshield rain repellant. (Nagaiets, Getty Images)

Clean Showers

Showers are a magnet for soap scum. To reduce build-up:

  • Apply automotive paste wax to fiberglass shower walls after cleaning.
  • Use automotive windshield rain repellent on glass shower doors after cleaning.
The inner working parts of a porcelain toilet
You don’t need to call a plumber to fix a running toilet. (digitalreflect, Adobe Stock)

Repair Toilet

Replacing the rubber flapper valve in the bottom of the tank will often stop a toilet from running. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Turn the cut-off valve under the toilet to turn off the water.
  2. Flush the toilet to drain the tank.
  3. Remove the old flapper valve at the bottom of the tank.
  4. Attach the new flapper valve.
  5. Connect and adjust the chain to the handle.

Find out more at How to Repair a Toilet.

Kitchen faucet on an apron sink with wood countertop
A new kitchen faucet can make washing dishes faster and easier!

Replace Kitchen Faucet

Here’s how to go about replacing the faucet in your kitchen:

  1. Clean out the cabinet under the sink.
  2. Gather the tools and supplies needed (faucet, paper towels, bucket, flashlight, wrenches, pipe thread tape).
  3. Turn off the water at cut-off valves under the sink.
  4. Use wrench to remove supply lines.
  5. Use wrench to remove nuts securing faucet in place.
  6. Clean the sink under the faucet.
  7. Attach the new faucet following provided instructions.
  8. Wrap male pipe threads with pipe thread tape.
  9. Reattach the supply lines to cut-off valves.
  10. Turn on water and check for leaks.

Find out more at How to Install a Kitchen Sink Faucet.

a dirty bathroom fan filter
Keep your bathroom air fresh by cleaning the vent fan regularly. (silentalex88, Adobe Stock Photos)

Bathroom Vent Fan

To clean and oil a bathroom vent fan:

  1. Remove the cover from the vent fan.
  2. Vacuum out the fan motor, blades, and housing.
  3. Lubricate the fan motor with silicone spray.
  4. Reattach the fan cover to the housing.
Attaching a hose to drain a hot water heater
Draining a hot water tank removes sediment to keep your water heater running longer. (Chad Robertson)

Drain Hot Water Heater

To remove sediment and mineral deposits from plumbing:

  1. Drain hot water tank once a year.
  2. Remove and clean faucet aerators regularly.
  3. Turn water off at street, remove aerator from faucet on far side of house, turn on faucet, turn water on at street to blast out any deposits in the lines.

A brush cleaning lint from a dryer vent.
Removing excessive dryer lint can prevent a house fire.

Clean Dryer Vent

Of the list of DIY home repairs, cleaning lint from the dryer vent is probably the most important.

Lint build-up in clothes dryer vents is responsible for thousands of home fires a year.

To reduce the chance of a dryer fire, clean the lint filter and vent pipe regularly. To do this, remove the outside cover on the pipe and use a special lint brush to remove any built-up lint in the pipe.

You can easily fix a wobbly ceiling fan yourself.

Repair Ceiling Fan

To fix a wobbling paddle ceiling fan:

  1. Check to see if the fan is securely attached to the electrical box.
  2. Make sure all the screws on the fan and blades are tight.
  3. Check for warped blades or bent metal brackets by measuring from the ceiling to the tip of each blade.
  4. If the fan still wobbles, use a balancing kit to balance the blades.

Find out more at How to Stop Wobble and Vibration in a Paddle Ceiling Fan.

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