Living in a home will always mean some damage is done, no matter how much care you take. Accidents happen, and even daily use of certain objects around the home can result in them becoming worn down or damaged. In addition to basic home maintenance, it is important to learn how to take care of everyday wear and tear issues that you can encounter in your living space.
This might include furniture, fittings, walls, floors and more. Leaving these issues untended can make your home seem untidy and unattractive. It could be an even bigger problem if you are a renter in danger of violating your lease or losing your security deposit.
However, there are a number of easy fixes available for many of the most common wear and tear problems around your home. Some involve more careful thought and preparation, such as adjusting fittings and hardware or fixing a damaged wall. Others can be much easier than you imagine, using solutions or products you can easily find around you home. By following these tips, you can keep your home looking clean and tidy, as well as avoiding any issues with your property owner or your homeowners association (HOA).
Small screw or nail holes can be easily fixed by applying spackle to the hole. Make sure to carefully scrape the spackle over the wall to smooth the appearance of the hole. For a clean finish, lightly sand the spackle down once it has dried and paint the area to match the rest of your wall.
For larger holes in drywall, you will need some mesh tape and drywall compound. Make sure the hole has clean edges before you start, or at least that any loose pieces or splinters are pointing inward instead of out. Apply two pieces of mesh tape laid in a criss-cross manner over the hole, making sure they are secure.
Then spread the drywall compound over the mesh using a drywall knife, pressing the compound into the holes. You will need to repeat this two more times, letting each layer dry and smoothing the compound with sandpaper. By the end of the process, the mesh should not be visible, and you can clean and repaint the area.
Worn or Loose Fittings
Loose window and door fittings are an almost inevitable result of frequent use. Sometimes, it is simply a matter of tightening screws which have loosened over time. With some fittings, you can reach these easily. Others are more difficult.
A round door knob may need to be removed to reach the screws. Newer fittings might require you to press a button or release a catch to expose the screws. With door handles, be careful not to tighten the screws too much as this can put pressure on the mechanism inside.
If your sliding door is not functioning correctly, you may simply need to clean and grease the rolling mechanism. Remove the sliding door carefully, making sure to follow any instructions you have, and check for dirt and debris in the rollers and track. You can also adjust the height of the rollers if the alignment is off. This can be done by finding the adjustment screws for the rollers, often covered with plastic plugs near the bottom of the door. Turn each one to make sure the door fits into the frame correctly and make sure the rollers are on the same level. If you are renting an apartment or home, make sure you have permission to attempt this kind of repair yourself.
Carpet stains are always best to deal with immediately, before they can soak into the fibers of the carpet and dry in place. Serious staining might require renting a carpet cleaner. However, you may be able to begin your cleaning with a DIY mixture first. Use any of the following to see which works best:
- Try an ammonia and water mix, borax, shaving cream or WD40 (though not all together at the same time).
- You can also try vinegar mixed with salt, borax or laundry detergent depending on the severity of the stain.
- Mix vinegar with baking soda and let it foam for a minute before blotting it up.
Make sure to test your solution on a small area of the carpet first before attempting any stain-removal techniques.
Walls can also become stained through every day home activities, especially kitchen walls. Grease can be very difficult to remove from a painted wall. Depending on the stain, you might try vinegar, baking soda or ammonia, or even the harsher solution TSP, which requires the use of safety goggles and other protective measures. Each of these solutions will need to be mixed with water and applied carefully.
Scratches in Wood Floors
Wooden floors are often chosen for their aesthetic appeal, but they can be all too easy to damage. Small, shallow scratches are the easiest to deal with. You can try the old trick of rubbing a walnut against the scratches to fill in the damage or apply a layer of protective coating or sealant. Make sure to clean the floor thoroughly beforehand to prevent dirt from become trapped in the scratches.
With slightly deeper scratches, you can try evening out the area by gently rubbing steel wool with the grain of the wood. Then, use a wax filler on the affected area and wait for it to dry before buffing it with a clean cloth. If you need to fix a deep scratch, you can try a wood filler. Any polyurethane coating will need to be buffed away with a scouring pad soaked in mineral spirits so you can reach the scratch, and refinished later on.
In order to prevent further scratches from occurring, try adding rubber tips to the legs of any furniture you may move across the floor. If you are adding rubber tips to metal chair legs, place a coin inside the hollow of the tip before attaching it, to prevent the legs from wearing through the rubber.
You may be able to fix dented piece of wooden furniture with an iron, provided the wood has not been veneered. Use a needle to prick the surface of the dent, then cover with a damp cloth and apply an iron on a low heat. The moisture will cause the wood fibers to expand, filling the dent. Finish by lightly sanding the raised area.
Damage left on finished wood by water glasses can be tackled in a few different ways. You can try petroleum jelly, a water and salt paste, baking soda mixed with toothpaste, car wax or vinegar and olive oil. You can also use vinegar to gently wipe away white marks on leather.