You may think some home repairs are out of your league, but even beginner DIYers can handle many of these fixes—and save a lot of money in the process! Browse through the following 100 home repairs to find the step-by-step instructions and advice for doing all of them yourself.
Replace a Toilet
Whether you’re installing a better-flushing toilet or resetting the old one after remodeling, these DIY home improvement tips will help you do it faster and with fewer problems.
You Can Refinish Your Own Hardwood
Intimidated by this seemingly daunting project? Don’t be. If you have the will and a whole day (or two) to yourself, you can refinish the hardwood floors in the major areas of your home. You don’t necessarily need to sand, but if the floor is damaged enough to warrant buffing, check out your local hardware store and rent the equipment for anywhere from 4-48 hours. Here’s how to refinish your hardwood floors.
Achieving a lush lawn doesn’t have to be a constant struggle. And you don’t have to pay big bucks for a lawn service to douse your yard with chemicals, either. Growing healthy, green grass is mainly just a matter of knowing what to give your lawn, and when to give it. Follow this advice from a pro to get your lawn shipshape before summer.
A garbage disposal is a bit scary when it’s turned on and the blades are noisily chopping up kitchen waste. But, if your disposal gets stinky, fear not. It’s easy to clean out the gunk and get rid of the smell. If the splash guard needs replacing, you can do that in 20 minutes! If you need to replace the entire disposal you can replace it yourself.
Stop bad dishwasher odors by cleaning food scraps from the tub and running a dishwasher cleaner through a cycle. It’s a fairly simple DIY home improvement. Learn how to fix a smelly dishwasher.
Loud Cabinet Doors
Tired of listening to those cabinet doors bang shut? Peel-and-stick door and drawer bumpers are the solution. Get a pack of 20 at a home center for a few dollars or online at Amazon. Make sure the back of the door is clean so the bumpers will stick, then place one at the top corner and another at the bottom. Plus: Keep your kitchen (and whole house!) clean with these 100 brilliant cleaning hacks.
Replace Auto Lights
The auto light bulbs that burn out most often are the taillight, stop, turn signal, backup and headlight bulbs. But there are many other bulbs in a vehicle that could use your attention, too. Here, we’ll show you how to replace the five most commonly neglected bulbs that can affect your driving experience.
Foam a Loose Showerhead
Fix a wobbly showerhead, or any wobbly pipe, with a few squirts of expanding foam. The foam encases the pipe in the wall and locks it into place, eliminating the wobble, so your showerhead will work like new.
Cover Up a Ceiling Stain
Hide tough ceiling water stains with a spray-on product called Upshot by KILZ. It’s blended to match an aged ceiling and even has a vertical spray tip, which makes installation a breeze. Lay a drop cloth on the floor and tape plastic on the walls before you spray.
Fix Roof Vents
Check for cracked housings on plastic roof vents and broken seams on metal ones. You might be tempted to throw caulk at the problem, but that solution won’t last long. There’s really no fix other than replacing the damaged vents. Also look for pulled or missing nails at the base’s bottom edge. Replace them with rubber-washered screws. In most cases, you can remove nails under the shingles on both sides of the vent to pull it free. There will be nails across the top of the vent too. Usually you can also work those loose without removing shingles. Screw the bottom in place with rubber-washered screws. Squeeze out a bead of caulk beneath the shingles on both sides of the vent to hold the shingles down and to add a water barrier. That’s much easier than renailing the shingles.
How to Get Dents Out of Wood
Dents in wood surfaces can be annoying. But fret not, they can be fixed! All you need is a damp cloth and an iron. This handy hint works miracles!
It is not uncommon for power switches and breakers to be accidentally turned off when other appliances are being installed. Homeowners are encouraged to check their circuit breaker to make sure the issue isn’t as simple as needing to turn a switch back on. A circuit breaker is typically located in the garage, although in some homes, the circuit breaker can be found in the basement, hallway or storage room.
Weatherstripping is Easy
If you can see light creeping beneath exterior doors, air is also escaping. Grab a few packages of self-adhesive rubber foam weatherstripping and go to town, sealing any and all doors that lead outside. Weatherstripping already installed but you’re still suffering from a high gas bill? It might be time to replace the strips installed by the previous owners. Check out this handy tutorial on installing weatherstripping.
Most clogged drains are caused by hair or greasy grime and you can clear them out yourself. Skip the chemical drain cleaner and grab a plunger to clear the clog and save on a service call. Even more serious problems in the distant reaches of your plumbing can be fixed without a pro. Plus: How to prevent clogged drains.
Sanding Stainless Steel Appliances
Buff out ugly scratches in your shiny stainless steel appliances, using fine sandpaper and rubbing compound. Learn how to sand stainless steel appliances.
Touch up Chipped Auto Paint
If you don’t cover paint chips with touch up paint, they’ll rust and then you’ll have a much bigger problem on your hands. The actual touch up is easy. Just buy touch up paint, fine tip paint applicators and wax and grease remover from any auto parts store. Clean the chip with the wax and grease remover and let it dry. Then dip the applicator in the paint and dab it onto the chip. Don’t add too much or the paint will drip. Let it dry completely and apply wax after 30 days. Get the full guide to using auto touch-up paint here.
Gulf Wax for Sticky Drawers
Gulf Wax, a household paraffin wax commonly used for making candles and canning food, works wonders for smoothing a sticky wooden drawer. Simply rub the block of wax along the wooden drawer slides and any other points of friction on the drawer. Then replace the drawer and you’ll feel a significant difference in its operation!
Solution for a Small Leak
Some roof leaks are tough to locate. Sometimes the water shows up at a ceiling spot distant from the leak. If your ceiling has a plastic vapor barrier between the drywall and the attic insulation, push the insulation aside and look for flow stains on the plastic. Often water runs to openings in the vapor barrier, such as at ceiling light fixtures.
If you can’t see any telltale flow marks, and since the stain is fairly small, look at the underside of the roof for ‘shiners.’ A shiner is a nail that missed the framing member, in this case when the carpenter nailed the roof sheathing to the rafters. Moisture that escapes into the cold attic from the rooms below often condenses on cold nails. Sometimes you can spot this if you climb up into your attic on a cold night. The nails will look white because they’re frosted. When the attic heats up a bit during the day, the frost melts and drips, then the nails frost up at night again and so on. The solution is to simply clip the nail with a side-cutting pliers.
Loose Cabinet Knob
Any handle or knob that comes loose once is likely to come loose again. Put a permanent stop to this problem with a tiny drop of thread adhesive like Thread Lok. Don’t worry; if you want to replace your hardware sometime in the future, the knobs will still come off with a screwdriver.
Fix a Wallpaper Seam
If you have a wallpaper seam that’s coming apart, reactivate the paste around the gap with a rag soaked in warm water. Hold the rag over the area for a minute or two, and then carefully open the gap a little larger so you’ll have more room for the sealer. Squeeze seam sealer (white glue works in a pinch) into the gap, and press the paper to the wall with a roller. Clean off the excess sealer with a sponge.
Straighten a Bent Blind
Unmangle mangled mini-blinds with a mini-blind slat straightener. Just slide it over the damaged slat and squeeze. The product, called the MiniBlindRx, works on 1-in. metal slats and is available for about $10.
If you have shallow scratches or nicks, hide them with a stain-filled touch-up marker. Dab on the stain and wipe off the excess with a rag. But beware: Scratches can absorb lots of stain and turn darker than the surrounding finish. So start with a marker that’s lighter than your cabinet finish and then switch to a darker shade if needed. For deeper scratches, use a filler pencil, which fills and colors the scratch. Or, try using a walnut to remove scratches in wood!
Fix Wobbly Furniture with a Penny
You can fix a wobbly bench or table with your pocket change. Add a drop of hot glue to a coin and attach it to the problem area. The coin will act like a shim, leveling out the furniture piece.
Replace Engine Air Filter
Inspect and replace your engine air filter. Just unscrew or unclip the air filter box retainers and remove the old filter. Then hold a shop light behind the filter to see how much light passes through. If the filter blocks 50 percent of more of the light, replace the filter. If not, put it back in, secure the air filter box cover and keep driving. Get the full step-by-step on changing your air filter here. It’s one of the easier things you can do to fix up cars.
Fix a Smelly Washing Machine
Stop bad odors in your clothes washer by running a cycle with a special mold-killing tablet and by leaving the door open to promote drying. Learn how to fix a smelly washing machine.
Many things can go wrong with a deck. Missing screws, warped boards, squeaky nails, wobbly railings, fortunately, many of these problems are well within the scope of the average DIYer. Inspect your deck for seven common deck problems and then repair whatever needs fixing.
Drywall is everywhere and it is surprisingly easy to damage. The good news is that the average drywall ding or hole can be easily patched. Cracks in drywall are also easy to fix. Got popped drywall nails or screws? You can fix those, too!
Fast-Setting Drywall Compound
Quick-setting drywall compound lets you finish small repairs and fill deep holes in minutes instead of waiting days for premixed joint compound to dry. The small boxes are available in most home centers and paint stores are also easier to store and more likely to get used up than large bags or buckets. Click here to learn how to hang drywall like a pro. Click here to buy drywall compound on Amazon now.
Feed the Lawn
If your yard is mostly grass with just a few weeds, forgo the expensive landscaper. With one trip to your local hardware store or plant nursery, you can purchase $25-$50 worth of supplies, spend just a few hours on your lawn, and simply wait for the grass to grow. Check out this easy guide on fertilizers and seed spreaders.
Check the Batteries
There are a number of contributing factors such as blocked vents that can constrict air flow or lead to irreversible damages. But the problem might be as simple as changing your batteries. If the thermostat is not lit, it is time to change the batteries!
Appliance Touch-Up Paint
A single scratch or chip can make a beautiful new appliance look like something you found out in the alley. Fortunately, you can make those eyesores, even up to 1/4-in. diameter, almost completely vanish with color-matched epoxy touch-up paint. Buy some appliance touch-up paint on Amazon today.
A variety of problems can befall your home’s doors, especially older doors that may start to sag, stick, develop drafts or experience other issues. Fixing or replacing a door is well within the capabilities of most homeowners, especially if you have a partner to help out. From installing new weather stripping to replacing the lock, you can handle it. Watch this video to see how simple it is to replace an interior door yourself.
Lubricate a Lock with a Pencil
Don’t give up on a sticky lock, you can fix it with a pencil! Simply rub the teeth of your key with the pencil, coating it generously with graphite. Insert the key in the lock, which will deposit the lubricant inside. Repeat as needed until the key glides in smoothly.
Use Car Wax in Your Kitchen
If you own stainless steel kitchen appliances, you may want to consider using car wax to clean them rather than a surface cleaner. This handy hint will help your kitchen appliances resist fingerprints and smudges.
Leaking Plumbing Pipes
There are simple ways to find and stop common water leaks before they cause rot and other expensive damage. You’ll find most of these leaks around bathtubs and showers, drains, sinks and toilets.
A few minutes of cleaning and lubricating can make drawer slides glide almost like new. Start by removing the drawers so you can inspect the slides. Wipe the tracks clean and coat them with a light spray lubricant. Also lubricate the rollers and make sure they spin easily.
Broken Light Fixture
Replacing a light fixture is one of those DIY jobs that’s theoretically quick and simple, but often becomes a three-hour series of problems. We talked with two of our master electricians. They’ve seen all of those frustrations and offered these tips to help DIYers through the job quicker and safer.
Cheater’s Chair Fix
Trying to keep a rickety old chair together without going through the trouble of taking it apart and regluing it? Just drill pilot holes and drive trim-head screws through the bottom of the rungs and into the legs.
Unclog a Toilet With Dish Soap
If the toilet plunger doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, try this solution before you reach for the snake. Squirt about 1/2 cup of liquid soap in and let it sit for a while. The liquid soap reduces friction and will often allow the contents of the bowl to slide on through.
Stripped Screws? No Problem
A stripped screw can turn a 10-minute fix into a two-hour nightmare. One of the best investments a DIYer can make is a screw extraction kit. It comes with three different size bits and costs about $20. One side of the extractor bit reams a hole into the screw, and the other side has reverse threads that dig into the screw as you turn it out.
Natural or stained woodwork is beautiful, but scratches can really stand out, especially with darker stains. You can make these scratches disappear by touching them up with a stain marker. It’s simple to use, and much cheaper than buying whole cans of stain.
As long as you purchase the right replacements, you can replace spark plugs in your car or lawn mower. Plus: How to change auto light bulbs. And check out easy power window repair
Annual maintenance wards off many HVAC problems. If you do have a failure, you can usually fix it yourself. If your AC unit is working but has become noisy, you can fix that, too!
If it’s your furnace that needs attention, you can perform routine maintenance, and handle simple repairs yourself. Plus: Learn how to choose furnace filters and how to replace furnace filters yourself.
A Quick Coat of Paint
Almost nothing is quicker, easier or refreshes a room more than a new coat of paint. Even switching up a bright white for a trendy, bright grey can change your whole perspective and give you a starting point for new colors and decoration. Gallons of paint range from $30-$50, and with primer/paint combinations, you will likely only need a gallon or less to finish an average sized room. Add another $10, and you’ll be set with rollers, paint brushes, and painter’s tape. This DIY repair could potentially save you thousands over the cost of a professional painter. Short on time?
Diagnosing Appliance Fault Codes
When the display panel on your appliance flashes strange numbers, grab your owner’s manual. It may be flashing a fault code that’ll help diagnose a problem.
Repair and Reglaze
Instead of forking over $5,000-10,000 to replace all of your old windows with brand new ones, consider repairing old windows yourself. With a few hundred dollars in supplies (sand paper, paint, window glaze, etc.), you’ll be prepared to reglaze every window in your house. Though it can be a tad time consuming, you can prioritize the project by room, removing windows one by one to paint, reglaze, and, if necessary, replace any cracked glass.
Self-Sticking Wall Patch
Available up to 8 in. square, these stiff metal patches eliminate the time-consuming process of squaring a hole, putting in wood backer boards, and buying, cutting and taping the drywall. They’re a great fast fix for holes and big cracks in walls before painting. Buy wall patches on Amazon now.
A leaky or malfunctioning faucet can be fixed or replaced by even a novice DIYer. You can take your faucet apart and clean it out, or if worse comes to worse, replace it entirely in the space of a couple of hours. Plus: Tips on choosing a faucet. Also, check out: How to repair a noisy outdoor faucet.
Insulation is Key
Though it can seem intimidating, installing your own batting installation can be easy, and take just a few hours if you isolate the need to a few key spaces. Have a drafty attic? Start there. Concerned about a freezing crawl space? Throw on your work jeans and get to work. These insulating spaces will instantly feel warmer and you’ll notice the savings on your next heating bill.
How to Remove Sticker Residue
Reach for cooking oil next time you want to remove annoying sticker residue.
Dab any type of kitchen cooking oil (olive, canola or sunflower) onto a paper towel. Then lay the paper towel over the residue that refuses to budge. Wait a few minutes while the oil works to dissolve the stubborn glue. Finally, remove the towel and rub away the sticker residue with another clean paper towel.