Five Cheap and Easy Home Repairs Anyone Can Manage

Blogger seems to be playing silly buggers tonight so no Murlough Bay I'm afraid. Hopefully tomorrow.

This is a post I've had floating around the back burner for a while to use in just these kind of circumstances.

Dinged Woodwork

We've all done it, whether it be with a box, the stroller, a seriously overloaded handbag, we've all went crashing through a doorway or along a hallway and taken a chunk out of the woodwork.

You forget about it for a few days and then slowly it really starts to bug you and you're eye is drawn to it no matter how much you try to ignore it. It looks awful. Maybe you even try to get way with just painting it the same colour as the surrounding woodwork but still you can see it.

Easy fix. Get yourself down to your local pet supply shop and pick up a bag of sawdust. The type used for hamster or rabbit bedding. Sawdust now, not wood shavings.

Now take yourself home throw a handful of sawdust into a dish and add enough PVA glue to make a paste, then simply using your finger start to build the wood back up in layers. They don't have to be particularly thin layers, I've been able to get rid of some fairly big holes with three layers but it does work better doing it in stages rather than trying to do it on one go, unless its just a minor scrape or dent in the wood then by all means one layer should do it.

Continue building up the layers over the course of a couple of days. You'll be able to apply a new layer after about 8 hours. Make sure that after the last layer has dried the repair sits slightly higher than the surrounding woodwork. Sand it level and apply paint or varnish to match the surroundings.

You can also use this trick to fill in nail or pin holes in new woodwork before painting, just use the sawdust created when cutting the wood.

Nail Holes (Emergency Fix)

You live in a rental, you've just found your dream home and you want to hang on to as much of your hard earned cash as possible to make your home your own. Except you hung every single photograph you've ever taken in the rental and now you're faced with the task of filling all those holes, waiting for the filler to cure and repainting. Its either that or you can kiss your safety deposit goodbye.

Easy, quick and probably free fix. Pull the nails out, get yourself some toothpicks or cocktail sticks. push one into the wall to check your depth and then cut the toothpicks ever so slightly shorter. Push as many toothpicks into the hole as will fit making sure they don't stick out beyond the surface of the wall. Next grab a tube of white toothpaste (no minty stripes) and using your finger spread some toothpaste over the hole. In an hour or so you can sand the toothpaste flush with the wall and repaint. Chances are the walls are white, cream or magnolia and if you don't have a tin of this lying around there's a good chance you know somebody who does.

Ok, yes that one is a little bit dishonest, but when needs must and I'll bet you there are already holes in the walls filled exactly the same way.

Big ass hole in the plasterboard (drywall)

You might think "sure, that'll never happen" but I've had to fix three of these holes, two in my own home and one at my mum's. Two caused by a certain someone not watching where they're going with a bit set of ladders and one a hammer missing a nail.

Now if the hole is bigger than say, your fist, you can throw as much plaster at as you like, its just going to fall down into the wall cavity, you'll get frustrated, maybe a bit pissed off, you'll phone a guy to come and fix the two big holes in the wall.

Easy fix. Find something you can use to push through the hole, a thin piece of wood, heavy cardboard, or a spare piece of plasterboard or drywall you happen to have lying around. If your hole is round(ish) you want to cut the piece of material into an oval shape, slightly narrower across than the width of the hole but slightly longer in the other direction so that when you turn it inside the wall and pull it back towards you it won't pop straight back out again. Now make a hole in the centre of the piece of material, thread a length of string (long enough to reach the ground from the hole and then some) through the hole and knot it on the other side. Make a pretty big untidy knot, nobody will see it again and you want to make sure the string doesn't come back through the hole.

Now pop your piece of material in through the hole, turn it slightly and pull it towards you so that it is now pressing against the back side of the wall. Now you have a nice shallow hole to fill with plaster.

Fill the hole and level the plaster as much as possible while still holding the string. Make sure the hole is well filled but at the same time don't push too hard, you'll only be fighting with yourself. Once you're satisfied that the hole is filled, tied something to the end of the string and set it on the floor below the repair. You want the string to be taut so cut it if necessary or wrap it around your weigh to keep it taut. Then walk away and forget about it for a day or so. Don't worry if the string looks like its cutting into your fresh plaster a little, it probably will. Once the plaster has had a chance to cure, cut the string level with the wall. I tend to use a razor blade and shave it close to the wall. Then take a small nail and use it to push the string back into the plaster VERY slightly. A millimetre will do. Add another little dab of plaster to cover the string hole and any impressions it left hanging down over your fresh plaster, leave to cure, sand and paint.

Squeaky floorboards

Tiptoeing past the kids room every single night in what looks like some weird ninja or SAS manoeuvre ducking and diving from one side of the hallway to the other is a bag of laughs for anyone watching but probably not for you.

Easy and cheap fix so long as you can lift the carpet to get at the floorboard, but this in itself usually isn't tricky.

Have a look at the offending floorboard. Does it butt up against the other floorboards or is there a slight gap to allow air flow. If there is a gap, then this is wee buns, just pull all the nails, lift the floorboard, throw a few pieces of scrap fabric onto the joists, put the floorboard back and replace all those cheap ass nails with screws. Pick screws slightly wider than the original nails and go ahead using the original holes.

If the floorboard does press up against the other floorboards, then this is still an easy fix it'll just take a little bit more of your time. Lift the floorboard, take it outside with a good sheet of large grit sanding paper and work on both sides like a woman possessed until you're confident you've reduced the width of the floorboard by a couple of millimetres then repeat the steps above to replace.

Broken Floorboard

It sounds obvious, but if you're strapped for cash and need to replace the floorboard immediately to avoid accident or injury just swap it with one buried under a large piece of furniture like the bed or a sofa. You can always replace the broken one at a later date.


  1. Thanks for the tips, we're in the process of moving house at the moment and I think a couple of those could come in handy :)

  2. Great tips, I especially like the dinged woodwork one. Having a very active 2 year old grandson who just loves to push (throw) metal cars full pelt across the floor at the baseboards, this tip will come in well handy.

  3. If I weren't already married to my handyman, I'd propose to you! ;)


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