Home repairs you can DIY – easy fixes from dripping taps to squeaky floorboards

Why pay someone to do these simple home repairs when you can DIY?
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  • Look around and you can probably spot at least a handful of home repairs that need doing. And equally, there could be countless reasons why you’re putting them off.

    Maybe you can’t afford to hire a tradesperson – or maybe your usual contacts are booked up. Or perhaps you’d like to have a go at fixing yourself, but don’t think you have the right skills or tools to do so.

    That’s where our guide to home repairs comes in. We’ve compiled guides to DIY and decorating tasks you can tackle yourself, with step-by-step instructions for how to get them right. Most will need a few basic tools, but we’re confident even novice DIYer should be able to get them done with minimal hassle, saving a fortune in the process.

    12 toolbox essentials for home repairs

    Before you get stuck into your DIY repair jobs, we suggest you check your toolbox is stocked with these essentials:

    1. Claw hammer
    2. Phillips (crosshead) and flathead screwdrivers
    3. Sandpaper (or a circular sander)
    4. Duct tape
    5. A set of Allen keys
    6. Measuring tape
    7. Saw
    8. Cordless drill
    9. Spirit level
    10. Pliers
    11. Safety goggles and mask
    12. Adjustable spanner or wrench

    Home repairs you can DIY

    1. Repair squeaky floorboards

    Pretty-period-house-in-Dorset-kitchen

    Image credit: Robert Sanderson

    Fix squeaky floorboards and it’s not just that pesky noise you’re eliminating. Maintaining your old floor will also eliminate draughts, so your room will feel warmer. And, of course, there are aesthetic benefits.

    Start by using a claw hammer to remove any nails. Then use more secure screws to fix back into place, using the same hole that the nail was pulled from. If that doesn’t do the job, you may need to replace the board using our guide to how to fix squeaky floorboards.

    2. Bleed a radiator

    Take-a-tour-around-this-light-and-bright-Scandi-style-new-build-in-Glasgow-shelves

    Image credit: James French/Future PLC

    Learn how to bleed a radiator to remove any air that’s trapped inside. This trapped air could mean your radiator pumps out less heat, and leads to damage to your boiler in the long term.

    Our step by step will explain more. But you’ll simply need to locate the valve in the top corner of the radiator, and slowly turn a bleed key anti-clockwise to release the air. It’s a good idea to put towels down to protect the floor from leaking water.

    3. Change your tap

    retro-plywood-kitchen-makeover-with-blue-doors-2

    Image credit: Malcolm Menzies/Future PLC

    If you’re sick of the drip, drip, drip from your old tap, and it’s looking tired, forget changing the washer and replace the tap completely.

    Even DIY beginners can learn how to change a tap, although you’ll need quite a few tools for the job. These include a screwdriver, adjustable wrench and box spanner, as well as plumber’s pliers and tape. You may be able to borrow what you need from a friend or neighbour, but it may be worth investing in your own. Either way, once you have the tools, it’s a relatively straightforward job.

    4. Replace the washer on individual taps

    How-to-clean-a-bathroom-sink

    Image credit: William Goddard

    This won’t apply to monobloc mixer taps (where to and cold water come out of one spout). But if you have old-school pillar taps, you’ll be able to fix any drips yourself by replacing the washer.

    You’ll need a wrench to unscrew the tap, a screwdriver to release the washer and the replacement washer. Pop the plug in the sink so you won’t lose any small parts down the plughole, and have towels to hand to mop up any water.

    Oh, and make sure you turn the mains off first, as explained in our how to change a tap washer guide.

    We’ll continue to update this guide with more jobs, and more step by steps, so you can tackle more DIY with confidence.

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