HOMEFINDER – Do-it-yourself home maintenance tips

Welcome to Part Two of our Top 10 list of around the house chores and trouble shooting ideas that every homeowner should know.

Every homeowner knows the learning curve is never ending when you own your own home.

Along with washing the dishes and sweeping the floor come routine maintenance tasks and minor repairs that occur both seasonally and when you least expect it.

Welcome to Part Two of our  Top 10 list of around the house chores and trouble shooting ideas that every homeowner should know.

Stop a leaky faucet: Nothing is more irritating than the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet. Fortunately, it’s an easy fix. First turn the water off underneath the sink, then plug the drain to help keep loose screws and washers from getting away. There are four types of taps, compression (two handles), ball (contains a ball bearing), cartridge and ceramic.

To fix a compression faucet, remove each handle, then use a wrench to remove the nut. Underneath is the stem, which sits on top of the O-ring, which is on top of a seat washer. The seat washer is made out of rubber which when worn out, creates a drip.

Pull out the stem and replace the washer – making sure you have an exact fit. Then reassemble the tap.

Re-caulk a window: This is best done in mild, dry weather. Start on lower windows and you’ll be an expert before you have to climb a ladder. Prep carefully, removing old caulk, dirt and paint with a razor blade, cleaning the surface with a wire brush and make sure you have the right caulk for the job.

Place the tube in the caulk gun and pull the notched rod back and turn it into place. Cut the tip of the tube about a 1/4 inch at an angle. Press the tip firmly against one corner of the window and apply caulk to the next corner in a continuous bead, just thick enough to fill the gap. Continue around all sides of the window, wiping excess caulk away with a rag immediately.

Repair cracks in the driveway: Heat, rain and tree roots can all take a toll on your driveway. To repair cracks in concrete, first power wash with a masonry cleaning solution to remove oil and grime. Mix your concrete to a doughy consistency. Use a sand mix for small cracks and gravel for larger holes and deep cracks. Pour the concrete in the cracks and use a trowel to fill in the holes, to remove excess and leave a flat surface. Allow it to dry overnight. When dry, apply a coat of resurfacing concrete over the entire surface.

Care for hardwood floors: Hardwood is beautiful and not difficult to care for. Make sure you clean spills when they happen, leaving water or other liquid will mark your floor.

Vacuum with a brush or dust weekly and use mats to protect high traffic areas. Use furniture pads on the feet of all tables and chairs and avoid dragging items across the floor.

When cleaning, never use ammonia-based products, bleach, wax, detergent or vinegar.

Keep your grout clean: Regular cleaning will keep grout looking fresh, but any grout will dull over time.

Use a solution of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda mixed into a paste. Use a toothbrush to spread the mixture onto a small area of grout, two feet at the most. Allow it to sit for five to 10 minutes, then use the toothbrush to scrub the area.

When you’re all done, remove the paste with a damp cloth and clean your tile as usual.

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