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Home Improvement

9 Home Repair Skills Every Homeowner Should Know

6 min read

If you’re a new homeowner, congratulations! Owning a home is a great feeling, but it’s no secret that it comes with a lot of responsibility.

While we can’t help you figure out your property taxes or how to arrange your furniture, we can help you with some essential home repair skills!

Our home renovation experts have 9 skills every homeowner should know. From repairing drywall to cutting off your main water valve, make mastering these skills a priority.

General Home Repair Skills & Maintenance Tips

1. How to Repair Drywall

Drywall can be damaged in a variety of ways. Hanging pictures or shelves always leaves holes, rowdy kids or pets might scratch a wall, or furniture moving accidents can cause dents in your walls. Repairing damaged drywall is a relatively easy project that makes a huge difference in your home’s appearance.

All you need is a utility knife, sandpaper, a putty knife, joint compound, and extra drywall. Using your utility knife, cut the damaged area out of the wall. Use the piece to trace an appropriately-sized piece of drywall from the extra. This is your drywall patch. Apply joint compound around the edges of the patch, slide it into place in the wall, and let it dry overnight. The next day, sand the excess joint compound so that it is flush with the wall. Sand it smooth, paint it, and you’re done!

fixing drywall

2. How to Change HVAC Filters

If you have central air conditioning in your home, you’ll need to replace your air filter approximately every three months. Regularly changing your air filters ensures the air in your home is clean and allows your HVAC system to run more efficiently. Knowing how to change the filter is a basic home maintenance skill.

To change your air filter, turn off your unit and remove the cover over the filter (some covers may be screwed in, so you’ll need to have a screwdriver handy). Discard the old filter. Using a microfiber cloth, wipe the vents clean. You can also use the hose attachment on your vacuum to clean the slats in the cover grille. Place the new filter in and close the cover. 

3. How to Turn Off the Gas

If your home has natural gas, it’s important to know how to turn off the gas. In the case of a gas leak, knowing how to turn it off is lifesaving. Familiarize yourself with your gas service shutoff valve, which is usually the first fitting on the supply pipe near your gas meter. You will need a wrench to turn the lever to shut it off, so it’s a good idea to keep one in an easily accessible place. Once you have turned your gas off, do not turn it back on yourself. Call your gas service provider to inspect your system and turn it back on.

4. How to Do a Quality Paint Job

Painting is one of the most common home improvement projects, but a lot of people find it difficult to get satisfactory results from DIY paint jobs. Knowing how to do a perfect paint job is a home maintenance victory.

Here are our tips for a great paint job:

5. How to Remove Wallpaper

Whether you purchased a home with wallpaper that’s not quite your style or you hung wallpaper that is now unfortunately outdated, this is one home repair skill you’ll be glad you have! Removing wallpaper can seem daunting, but it’s not as difficult as you might think. 

To remove wallpaper, purchase a scoring tool (available at most hardware stores). This will perforate the outermost layer of the wallpaper, allowing the following solution to soak in. Mix up a solution of ¼ parts liquid fabric softener to ¾ parts hot water. This mixture will reactivate the adhesive on the wallpaper, making it easier to pull off. Apply this solution with a sprayer, let it sit for 3-5 minutes, and scrape the wallpaper off with a putty knife. If you still have leftover adhesive on your wall once the paper is gone, simply repeat the process until everything is clean. 

Basic Plumbing Skills

1. How to Fix a Leaky Sink

A leaky sink not only wastes water, it can lead to major damage. Knowing how to fix simple leaks is a basic home repair skill.

If the leak is under your sink, you probably just need to tighten the nut around the pipe. Simply use a wrench to tighten it a half turn at a time. If it’s still leaking, inspect the components to make sure there are no cracks and no metal threads are stripped. If you find cracks or stripped parts, replace them and your sink should no longer be leaky.

2. How to Unclog Drains

Every drain gets clogged at some point so it’s important to know how to unclog it! Chemical drain cleaners can be effective, but if you want something more natural, you can mix up a drain cleaner yourself.

To do this, pour half a cup of baking soda down your drain, followed by half a cup of vinegar. Cover the drain with a stopper or plunger and allow the mixture to bubble for around 15 minutes. Carefully pour hot water down the drain. You may need to repeat the process once more to get rid of stubborn clogs.

If cleaners aren’t doing the job, you may need to use a tool like a plumber’s snake (also called an auger) to clear clogs.

3. How to Cut the Main Water Supply

Knowing how to turn off your home’s main water supply is one of those pieces of knowledge that you should know, but you hope you never have to use. In the event of a major leak or broken pipe, shutting off the water supply at the source is the best way to stop the flow of water.

The main water valve is in a different spot in most homes. If you have city water, the main water valve is likely in your garage, laundry room or basement. In warmer areas, it is probably outdoors near your spigot or near your water meter. Simply turn the knob and you’ll cut the water supply.

4. How to Caulk

This is a basic home repair skill that will come in handy time and time again, saving you money every time you do it yourself. When the caulking around your sink, tub, or even windows begins to degrade, it’s important to replace it to ensure that the seal remains intact.

With just a tube of caulk, a caulk gun, and a few basic tools, you’ll be able to fix it in no time. The basic process is: remove the old caulk, tape the area off, apply the new caulk, smooth it, and let it dry. 

Make Home Improvement Simple With Window World of Central PA

Two things that you shouldn’t have to do as a homeowner? Replace your own windows and doors. Leave that to the professionals at Window World. Our installers are trained to ensure your windows are installed properly the first time, every time. Learn more and get started by requesting your free estimate.