Sooner or later you’ll repair walls that make rooms look worn out. Erasing dings, dents, and scuffs is an easy fix. We’ll show you how.
Patch drywall to smooth walls
A putty knife, Spackle, or joint compound can repair wall damage that ages a room.
Dents and dings: A quart of Spackle ($11) and a putty knife can fill dozens of small wall indentations. Spackle adheres to painted walls better than joint compound, though it takes a bit longer to dry. Cut wall repair time by thoroughly wiping away excess Spackle.
Fist-sized holes: Joint compound is your best bet when covering the mesh or drywall patches that cover big holes. You’ll need at least two thin coats
Plumbing leaks can be prevented with a few simple measures. Plus, learn what to do when leaks occur.
1. Locate your home’s main water shut-off valve. If there’s ever a plumbing leak, you can go straight there and quickly turn off the water to the entire house.
2. Install shut-off valves at individual appliances and fixtures. That allows you to keep water flowing in other areas of the house while making site-specific repairs. Expect to pay $4 to $10 for each valve; expect to pay $50 to $75/hour for professional installation.
3. Install a flow sensor that detects plumbing leaks and automatically shuts off water to the entire house or a specific appliance.
The Easy, Fun Way to Spring Clean Your Deck or Patio
By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon
Published: March 28, 2012
The spring cleaning chore with the most fun potential is prepping your deck or patio for spring. Here’s how to do it with a touch of fun.
Water toy #1: A pressure washer
If you don’t have a pressure washer in your tool shed, you’re missing out. Spring is a good time to add one to your arsenal of lean, green cleaning machines. They blast away dirt mostly without harsh chemicals, which is good for the planet and your deck and patio plants.
Plus, they’ve come down in price, and are easier to manage than they used to be, making pressure washing your deck and patio much more fun and much less hassle.
Clearing Clogged Drains and Preventing Future ClogsBy: Joe Bousquin
Published: November 18, 2010
Don’t use chemicals to clear clogged drains. Use a plumber’s snake and follow these tips on preventing clogged drains.
Avoid chemical drain-clearing products
You can buy chemicals to clear clogged drains, but these products sometimes do more harm than good. They can actually erode cast-iron drainpipes. And because they typically don’t remove the entire clog, the problem is likely to recur, causing you to use the chemicals repeatedly. The caustic action of chemicals may eventually wear away the insides of pipes, causing leaks.
Better to hire a plumber to snake the drain (usually $85 to $325) and completely remove the chunk of hair or grease that’s
12 Causes and Cures for Common Home Maintenance Problems
By: Jeanne Huber
Published: April 8, 2010
Many sensory clues give you early warning of home maintenance problems—if you can decode the symptoms.
1. Peeling exterior paint
Cause: Moisture is probably getting underneath the paint, perhaps from a leaking gutter overhead or from a steamy bathroom on the other side of the wall.
Cure: If you catch the problem right away, you might just need to address the moisture issue and then scrape off the loose paint, prime bare spots, and repaint that wall, for a total of a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. Delay too long and the siding might rot. Patching and repainting the whole house might cost $10,000.