By Rebecca Fending
At one time or another, we’ve all felt the pain of having to pay for a repair job for something in our homes. From plumbing issues to upgrading appliances, even the most minor of fixes can be costly for anyone on a budget. However, many home fixes and improvements can be done yourself with the proper guidance and materials. Many of these may be obvious to some of us, but for others it may be handy have a guide to simple at-home fixes. Here are six repairs you can do yourself to save time, money and your sanity.
Freshen Up Your Sour Dishwasher
You open your dishwasher, ready to load the dishes from Spaghetti Night. But as the door swings open, it unleashing a nightmarish stench of Suppers Past: onion, fish, barbecue… the list goes on. How can you abolish the smell? Thanks to Family Handyman, there are four easy steps that can help you forget about the casserole you made last month.
First, check your dishwasher screen/filter. This is what traps any and all food chunks that may still be on your dishes once they enter the washer. Many people don’t realize that residual food isn’t just washed away forever during the cycle, so the filter is usually the first suspect to check if your dishwasher is unpleasant. Once you remove the gunk (with gloved hands), there should be an immediate difference.
Second, clean the arms of the dishwasher. The “arms” are the moving wings at the bottom of the washer that propels hot water during the wash cycle. This step will make sure to remove any hard water buildup that may be keeping your dishwasher from adequately cleaning your dishes or draining away the dirty water. To remove any buildup, first check to see if any food residue has clung to the arms. If so, remove with a paper towel. If you have hard water buildup, try scrubbing it with half of a grapefruit topped with kosher sea salt. This will dissolve the minerals from hard water and renew your dishwasher arms.
Thirdly, be sure to check the inside seal of your dishwasher. The rubber “lip” that seals the water inside during a wash cycle can also be a place that collects nasty bits of food and minerals. You can use any cleaner spray, let it soak and then wipe away with a towel or paper towel.
Fourth, add a chemical cleaner. There are a wide number of these on the market, all easy to use! Buy any and use it according to the label.
Repair the Finish on Your Hardwood Floor
Another at-home fix you can make is refinishing your hardwood floors. This do-it-yourself way only works if your floors were finished within the last 25 years, otherwise you run the risk of trying to refinish a wax or shellac coating, which won’t allow the polyurethane to stick.
The first thing you need to do is test to see if the polyurethane will stick to the hardwood. You can do this by prepping a small section of the floor as needed (either by sanding or screening), applying the solution and letting it set for 24 hours. Use a coin to test if you can continue with the rest of the job by pressing firmly against the set polyurethane. If it scraps and moves, then you should consult a professional to take care of your floors. If the polyurethane stays put, we can move to step two!
Next comes the gathering of time and materials. From brushes to polyurethane to knee padding, be sure to get everything you may want or need before starting. Visit the Family Handyman’s article on specifics for buying and preparing to refinish.
Clean, buff and choose your finish. Those are the last steps to the process of refinishing your hardwood! They sound easy enough, but again, they can take quite a while when done consecutively.
Re-routing for a Re-grouting Job
Re-grouting your tile work can be a simple task for you if you’re the resident handyman or comfortable DIY-er. The hardest part may be choosing the color and type you need for your tile. Which type of grout you use (sanded, unsanded, acrylic latex, or epoxy) depends on the spacing between tiles. Anything larger than an eighth of an inch requires sanded grout.
You’ll need a grout saw in order to remove the old grout and make a clean foundation on which the new grout will rest. Dampen edges and mix the grout according to the packaged instructions and be sure to fill all space between tiles. Finish the job by wiping away any excess with a large, damp sponge and then you’ve got a newly grouted floor!
These three repairs are simple so long as you take the time to do it right and research how to do it ahead of time. And remember, there’s no shame in saving tougher jobs for the pros!