Fixing something after it gets damaged or broken.

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34
votes
4answers
18k views

How can I fix electrical outlets that don't “hold” plugs that are plugged in to them?

In short, most of the outlets in my house have one working receptacle and one that any cord plugged in will immediately slip out of. Some of my outlets don't have any working receptacles (I hope I'm ...
20
votes
10answers
11k views

What are the most important things to check/do after buying a home?

We are in the process of purchasing a home that is over 20 years old. What are some of the most important things we should check/patch/do right away to make sure the home is running correctly and ...
20
votes
7answers
4k views

How can I repair rusty tools?

Should I use sandpaper to clean the rust from the tools (e.g. Needle-nose pliers), or can I soak them in vinegar or lemon juice? Would I be better off just buying new tools (which can be an ...
17
votes
11answers
3k views

What should we look for when buying a fixer-upper house?

My fiance and I are considering buying a fixer-upper house rather than an apartment when we get married. Obviously things like location, neighbors etc. are important, but; what should we be looking ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I fix a hole in drywall?

There is a hole in my drywall from a doorknob repeatedly hitting it, is there a straightforward way to fix it?
17
votes
4answers
8k views

How do I rehang a wooden door with worn screw holes?

I have a wood door in one of my rooms where the top screws no longer hold the hinge to the wall because the screw holes have worn loose. I have tried slightly larger screws and filling with wood ...
15
votes
7answers
1k views

How do I safely replace a worn out electrical outlet?

I have a number of outlets that are old and worn out (plugs fall out of them mainly.) Obviously I need to turn off the breaker to replace them safely but any guidance on how to rewire them, how to ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I fill a screw hole so it can be used again?

My dishwasher attaches to the cabinets on the side via a screw. This hole has become a little stripped, is there a way to fill it in and then screw in to it again? I can't change the location of ...
14
votes
8answers
5k views

How can I fix a garbage disposal with crushed glass in it?

I have a garbage disposal that had a shot glass fall in. It got ground up. The disposal got jammed; I unjammed it and now it makes a glass grinding noise because of the shards inside. How do I clear ...
11
votes
2answers
5k views

How do I replace an axe handle?

I have an axe with a damaged handle that needs replacing, but I don't know how to do it. What tools and techniques should I use to get the job done?
11
votes
10answers
18k views

How do I repair/prevent woodpecker holes in cedar siding?

What is the best way to patch woodpecker holes and deter the woodpeckers from returning? I was thinking of filling the holes with Great Stuff, having the house sprayed inside/outside for insects and ...
11
votes
1answer
571 views

How do I know if my wiring is aluminium or copper?

In this answer, Chris has mentioned that, before replacing a worn-out electric outlet, it is important to know whether the building has an aluminium or copper wiring. How can I get this information? ...
10
votes
8answers
28k views

How do I remove a 4x4 fence post that is snapped off at ground level?

I'm trying to come up with a cheap and easy way to remove a broken-off fence post. It's a 4x4 lumber post that's snapped off flush to the ground, without any concrete around it.* I'd like to pull it ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

How to fix small holes in a wall caused by throwing darts?

I can think of a few ways of fixing these marks on the wall but I don't want to try anything without first getting some advice. I have a dart board on a painted wall and as is inevitable with darts, ...
10
votes
6answers
441 views

How do I balance a ceiling fan?

About a year ago I installed a new ceiling fan in my living room and when it was installed it was balanced nicely, but it has a little wobble. How do I bring it back in to balance?
10
votes
2answers
6k views

How do I do a minor grout repair properly?

I've got grout between some floor tiles that is cracking and coming out in small chips, over time. The tiles and remaining grout are otherwise in great shape. I suspect this is just a problem ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I fill holes around a light switch?

I have a light switch where the plaster board around the edges of the face plate have broken away. I was thinking of using some kind of filler like Polycell to fill the holes but I'm not really ...
8
votes
4answers
31k views

Are cracks on exterior walls serious and can I fix them myself?

I recently noticed some mostly-vertical cracks present on some exterior walls. In case it is relevant, this is a South Florida home built in the mid 50s. The downstairs walls are CBS (Concrete Block ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

Can I perform a large ceiling drywall repair myself?

A leaky roof caused water damage to an area of the ceiling approximately 3' x 4'. The ceiling also has a nearby crack that seems to follow a joint, bringing the total affected area to about 5' x 8'. ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there any way to fix a hinge pulled out of particle board cabinet door?

I hit my head on the open door cabinet over the sink, yet again, and slammed the door shut in anger. Adding insult to injury, the whole hinge pulled out of the particle board and took a big chunk of ...
7
votes
8answers
9k views

My dryer heating element broke in two: Can I just wrap the ends together?

I have a Whirlpool Estate dryer that recently quit drying. I narrowed the problem down to the heating element, then removed the element assembly and found a clean break in the coil at one end. A ...
7
votes
3answers
5k views

What consistency should drywall mud be?

I've been reviewing various drywall videos and documentation but I haven't found clear details on what kind of thickness the joint compound should be. Is there a definitive answer for this? Or does ...
7
votes
3answers
383 views

Do Old Houses Have a Pre-determined Lifespan?

Taking into consideration the building supplies that were available in that time period for that particular geographic area (say, a major metropolitan city in the mid-western United States), do homes ...
7
votes
4answers
190 views

Repairing eroded plywood window casing

The interior side casing of my window has been scratched/chewed away a bit, destroying the paint and outer two layers of plywood: What's the best way to repair this? PS the source of the problem ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I repair a nick in vinyl floor?

We had some recent work done on our house and it appears that one of the workers nicked the vinyl flooring in the kitchen -- resulting in a circular gash about 3/4 inch wide. Here's a picture: ...
7
votes
1answer
180 views

Is it possible to replace this board in the floor with similar hardwood flooring?

We believe that when some previous owner dug out the basement and installed the spiral staircase, that they must have installed this board which looks bad next to the original hardwood floors. This ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

How should I go about fixing a faulty 220 V Electrical Outlet

This afternoon, my wife and I noticed a peculiar smell coming from the garage. We localized it to a faulty 3-wire 220 V outlet. Something got really hot resulting in part of the rubber melting on ...
7
votes
2answers
687 views

How can I cheaply refresh parquet in an apartment?

We've recently rented an apartment with seriously damaged parquet. Since the deal is "take it or leave it", we've decided to "mend" the parquet ourselves. Dictionary :) Sorry for my bad english, I ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

How can I further diagnose my central air conditioning compressor fan motor and capacitor?

I have a 15 year old Bryant Central Air unit in my house. Yesterday it stopped working. Here is what I have checked. The breaker in the basement is not tripped. The furnace works fine from the ...
7
votes
3answers
14k views

How can I repair a towel rack that was ripped out of the wall?

The towel rod has been ripped out of the wall. It looks like it was attached to the wall by two dry wall anchors which were not attached to the stud. Basically a very junky installation in my ...
7
votes
1answer
12k views

Is there a way to 'remove' blackened water-stain from hardwood floor?

We have several large (3' x 6') blackened areas on our hardwood floor where water damage occurred. This discoloration goes deep. Our goal is to sand the floors and apply a clear coat, but we first ...
7
votes
2answers
893 views

Can I install drywall on the ceiling, without removing crown molding?

I'm in the process of replacing a failing plaster ceiling in my finished basement with drywall. I originally had intended only to scrape down the popcorn finish and have it skim coated, so I did not ...
6
votes
9answers
2k views

How do I sweat pipes in an enclosed area?

I need to repair a leak in the plumbing behind my shower. There is an access panel, and enough room for myself and my torch, but not much else. How do I apply the flame to the fittings (for the ...
6
votes
2answers
9k views

What type of screws should I use in framing an area for a drywall patch?

As is evident in my previous posts, I'm in the process of framing an interior wall for drywall patch repair. I'd like to know what types of screws to use for connecting new 2x4's. When I visited our ...
6
votes
3answers
25k views

How do I repair a curtain rod anchor that was ripped out of the wall?

My children managed to pull on the curtains hard enough to yank the bracket which attached the curtain rod to the wall out. What is the best way to repair this? Here's what it looks like:
6
votes
2answers
416 views

How do I repair a split in trim boards?

I removed the quarter round and two trim boards to install a new hardwood floor. I partially split one of the larger (lower) trim boards. The split is about 24" long. The wood is 12" wide birdseye ...
6
votes
3answers
679 views

How to replace just a few boards in hardwood floor

I want to replace a few boards in our pre-finished bamboo hardwood floor. After i take the damaged boards out and put the new boards in, how do i get the last board in? How do i get the existing floor ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I repair a hole in my subfloor?

I found this hole a while back when removing my old carpet: It was filled with a bunch of nice razor blades and nails, you know, the kind of stuff you just want to roll around in. I need to find a ...
6
votes
1answer
268 views

How to repair a door with patches of stripped-off finish?

I was trying to replace the door knob on the bathroom door and for some reason the existing hole was too small so I enlarged the hole by clamping a piece of wood to the door and drilling though. I ...
6
votes
6answers
4k views

How do I hang shelves on poor quality brick/concrete walls?

I'm trying to install some shelves in my apartment (brick/concrete) but when I drill holes the walls almost seem like they're made of sand. I'm not able to securely fix the screws (I'm using wall ...
6
votes
1answer
354 views

What is a quick and temporary fix for a cracked toilet waste pipe?

Somehow the porcelain waste pipe of the toilet has cracked and has started leaking. We're about to replace the whole bathroom so I just need a quick fix. Will wrapping the crack in duck tape work?
6
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I repair screw holes in a brick wall?

I have screw holes which were put in to support a curtain rail. The curtain's been pulled out a few times by accident, and now the screw holes are crumbling and I don't know how to repair that portion ...
6
votes
2answers
302 views

How can I repair a towel bar with one end ripped out of the wall?

I'm in desperate need of assistance. I'm a tenant living in a rented apartment and one end of the towel bar just fell out of its socket! Can anyone tell me how, if possible, I can fix it myself ...
6
votes
1answer
300 views

What will I need if I remove a broken garbage disposal from my kitchen sink?

I have a dual sink tub, with a broken garbage disposal attached to one drain. I just want to take the disposal off, and hook the dishwasher to the sink drain. Will I need to buy any extra tubing and ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

How do I cheaply paint walls that duct tape stripped and ruined?

I recently made the mistake of using duct tape to attach pictures and posters on my dorm room walls. When I took the pictures down today, the tape took some of the paint off the walls along with it. ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

How do I fill a hole under a sidewalk?

The sidewalk leading up to my front door developed what looked like a sink hole under it about a year ago. Since then, an animal of some kind has made the hole even bigger and it now runs as a tunnel ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

Should we skim-coat or drywall over a textured plaster wall to smooth it out?

Our new house has textured plaster walls that my wife and I don't like. We originally wanted to skim coat the walls to smooth them out, but a contractor suggested that we could put up drywall over it ...
6
votes
2answers
225 views

Is the back section of this house salvageable or should it be knocked down?

My grandfather's house is getting to be in bad shape after years of neglect and more so the back section of the house is falling apart. Now the back section of the house, if I remember correctly, was ...
6
votes
1answer
12k views

Why is my air conditioner tripping the circuit breaker?

Our air conditioner recently stopped blowing out cold air. When I went to check on it, I noticed that the outside unit wasn't coming on. We had had problems with ants in the contacter in the past, ...
6
votes
1answer
987 views

How to fix drawer runners

I have a set of drawers (custom made) that have draw runners which are attached to the bottom of each drawer on both sides. Unfortunately, the small plastic wheels on part that attaches to the housing ...