8 Home Repairs You Should Learn To Do So You Don’t Have To Call Dad

29 November 2021 | BY

When it comes to home maintenance, most of us will leave it to the professionals to do the handy dandy work. But if you want to avoid breaking the bank with costly repairs, here are some DIY tips to keep your home in tip-top shape.

Home Repairs - cover image

Easy home repairs to DIY

Most people think that purchasing a house is the biggest hurdle as a homeowner in Singapore. While that may be true, there’s a whole plethora of factors to consider once you’ve collected the keys to your brand new home.

From purchasing insurance to trephe upkeep of facilities in your house, building a dream home is no small task. To alleviate some of the common problems that may surface, here are eight home repairs that you can DIY instead of calling in the professionals.

1. How to cover up holes and chipped off walls

Home Repairs - covering holes and chipped off walls
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It doesn’t take supernatural strength to damage walls, and we don’t mean by punching your fist through it. Even the act of slamming a door too hard can cause your wall to crack up – especially if it’s a drywall.

While it’s tempting to use a family portrait to get it “out of sight, out of mind”, cracks that are longer can actually be a sign of foundational damage, which requires immediate professional attention. For smaller cracks, you can use a caulk and silicone, which can be used to seal up the cracks. Once you apply it over the cracks, you can then proceed to paint it over. 

For holes in the wall, you can purchase drywall patches online. Use a knife to cut away any protruding pieces of drywall around the hole and then use a sandpaper to smooth out the edges. Paste the drywall patch over the hole and use wall putty, a form of paste which helps to seal the leaks between the patch and the drywall. 

Apply some paint over it and your wall will look as good as new. Alternatively, you can also use the putty on its own to cover the holes. Just smoothen out the chipped parts, before applying the putty and using a scraping tool to level it out.

2. Get rid of water marks on wood

Home Repairs - water marks on wood
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First for women

Wood is a popular choice of material among homeowners who want to add some warmth to their personal space, but it can also be the cause of headaches if they are not properly taken care of, especially when you use real wood. Even the simple act of accidentally leaving a cold glass of water on your coffee table can result in a ghastly white ring the next day.

No, your wooden table isn’t forever ruined. You can fix this by using a hairdryer on low to dry the wood. If the watermark still doesn’t disappear, try a specialised water mark remover cloth instead. The cloth is treated in special oils that aids in the removal of marks caused by water, alcohol, and heat.

3. Difficulty opening or closing a door

Home Repairs - opening or closing a door
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Doors Singapore

All those night owls can definitely relate to having to slowly open or close a door to prevent it from squeaking lest you wake up the rest of the household. A squeaky door or one with rusty hinges can be easily fixed with a fresh coat of lubricant.

Before applying the lubricant, use a screwdriver first to tighten the screws on the door hinges. This is because wear and tear can cause the hinges to come loose, and due to gravity, the top hinges are normally the first to come loose.

4. Clearing a choked basin

Home Repairs - choked basin
Image credit: The Smart Local

A choked basin often occurs when hair, food, and grease finds its way into the sink drainage system. Luckily, the fix for this isn’t overly complicated. You can readily purchase drain cleaning liquid to try and unclog it yourself. For more stubborn chokes, you may require a wire hook or a thin stick.

Home Repairs - choked basin
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Start by twisting open the bottle trap located at the bottom of the sink. Clean out the pipe with the wire hook or thin stick, making sure that you get most of the dirt out. You can then use some water to flush out any remaining dirt and replace the cap.

5. Cleaning out a drain choke

Home Repairs - drain choke
Image credit:
LJH Engineering

Drain chokes, unlike the previous choke basin, require a bit more elbow grease in order to fix. These are also caused by the accumulation of dirt and hair. Thankfully, if you have some basic cooking ingredients at home, you can easily whip up your own cleaning solution.

You’ll need some vinegar, baking soda, and lemon for this. First, pour hot water down the trap followed by half a cup of baking soda, and leave it there for five minutes. Once that’s done, pour in one cup of vinegar and one cup of boiling water before leaving it for another 10 minutes. This should help to get rid of the dirt blocking the drainage system.

However if the problem persists, you can find some plumbing tools online to try and wrestle the dirt and hair out manually.

6. Put a stop to your overflowing cistern

Home Repairs - overflowing cistern
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The Portland Loo

If you’ve been noticing that your water bills are creeping up, one of the issues may be an overflowing cistern. This means that water is constantly filling the water tank and being used even when you’re not flushing the toilet. There are a few simple fixes based on the types of scenarios.

Home Repairs - overflowing cistern
Image credit:
Family HandyMan

When the water level is too high, start by removing the flush button (usually by turning it anticlockwise) and taking off the cistern cover. 

Remove the valve cap, and you should see a thin disk with a hole in the middle – this is the washer. You need to replace this washer at the hardware store but make sure to bring the old washer along so you can find one with a matching size.

7. Fix a loose showerhead the in wall

Home Repairs - showerhead
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Nothing feels worse than hitting the showers after a long day at work only to find water spraying everywhere thanks to a loose shower head. This could be due to the water pipe portion that goes into the wall coming loose. 

In order to fix this, unscrew the trim ring a.k.a. the part that connects the showerhead/faucet to the wall so that the pipe behind is exposed. Next, use something like an epoxy putty stick to fill in the space between the pipe and the wall. This will fill up the gaps and make it so that the showerhead doesn’t move around as much. Wait a few minutes for the epoxy to set before screwing the trim ring back into the wall.

8. Smoothen out peeling wallpaper

Home Repairs - peeling wallpaper
Image credit:
Bob Vila

Singapore’s weather can be annoying in many ways, but for homeowners, they can add peeling wallpapers to that list. Due to high humidity, the wallpaper in your home might start to peel around the edges after some time.

When this happens, you can reapply wallpaper paste and smoothen out the seams with a roller. Once you’ve done that, you can ensure that the new wallpaper paste has time to settle in by placing a stick of painters tape on the repaired area overnight so that it doesn’t come off.

Basic home repairs you can handle without the help of a handyman

Before you reach for the phone next time to call dad or a handyman for help, you can try troubleshooting and fixing the problem on your own. 

After all, part of being a homeowner is taking pride in your house and the knowledge that should something be broken, you’re well-equipped to repair it on your own.

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