One of my downspouts was clogged with leaves. The way to remove the clog, I figured, was to get up on the roof and flush out the leaves with a garden hose. But as I went for the ladder, I glanced at my workbench and noticed my “plumber’s snake”, a long, springy cable that’s used to clear clogged plumbing. I ran the snake up the spout a couple of times and solved the problem in about five minutes without leaving the ground. A snake costs about $25 at home centers and hardware stores.
Patch a vinyl floor
You can usually fix a small slice or tear in your sheet vinyl floor by lifting the loose edges, applying a little vinyl flooring adhesive and then placing a weight over the repair. But for burns or major injuries, a transplant is the solution. Get everything you need at a home center or a flooring store for less than $20.
Begin by using a straightedge and sharp utility knife to carefully cut out the damaged area. If your flooring design has faux grout lines in it, as most do, cut along the edges of the lines. Peel up the damaged section and remove the old backing and adhesive with a paint scraper or putty knife. A hair dryer or heat gun (set on “low”) will soften the adhesive.
If you don’t have a leftover scrap of flooring gathering dust in the basement, you’ll have to cut the patch material out of your floor–from the back of a closet or under the fridge, for example. Matching the pattern precisely, tape the cut-out damaged piece over the scrap, and use the damaged piece as a template for cutting the new patch to size.
Test the fit of the patch, then spread adhesive on the floor with a small notched applicator. Set the patch in place and use a rolling pin to force out any air pockets under the patch. Give the adhesive time to set, then apply a vinyl seam sealant to the seams. Different adhesives and seam sealants require slightly different treatment; be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions for both.
Note: Some sheet vinfl floors are glued down only around the perimeter andd can’t be repaired using the method shown. To determine how your vinyl is glued down, cut a 1/2-in.slit in a hidden spot (at least 8 in. from the floor’s perimeter) and probe the underside with a screwdriver. You’ll be able to feel if it’s attached.
Some cabinet hinges have elongated screw holes that allow for minor adjustments. Others don’t allow for any adjustment at all. And then there are “Euro-style” or “cup” hinges, which make adjustment a cinch.
They’re called cup hinges because they have a cup that’s recessed into the door. Cup hinges look complex and you might think adjusting them is a job for a trained technician. But they’re actually the simplest hinges around. Although designs vary, most allow for three-directional adjustment just by turning screws:
- Baseplate screws (A) let you move the entire door up or down.
- The mounting screw (B) lets you move the hinged edge of the door closer to or farther from the cabinet.
- The set screw (C) lets you move the door sideways to adjust the spacing between a pair of doors.
Install a lighted switch
If you’re tired of groping for the light switch in the hallway every night, replace it with a lighted version. When the light is off, the switch glows, making it easy to find. No glow means the light is on, so you can also use a switch like this to tell you whether you left the lights on in the garage or basement.
Standard single pole lighted switches cost about $4 at home centers. Three-way models–for lights controlled by two switches –cost about $6. Installing either type is a simple matter of connecting wires to screw terminals. Just turn off the circuit at the main electrical panel, remove the old switch and connect the wires to the new switch exactly as the old one was connected. With a single pole switch, you’ll have two wires and perhaps a ground to connect. With a three-way, you’ll connect three wires and maybe a ground. When you’re done, wrap the switch body with electrical tape.
Anchor bifold door brackets
If your bifold closet door wobbles or jerks as you open it, the problem might be a loose jamb bracket at the base of the door. When doors are installed over concrete slabs or ceramic tile floors, installers sometimes don’t bother to drive screws into the floor. This creates “bracket wiggle,” which damages the drywall where the bracket is screwed to the jamb (resulting in more wobble).
Reanchoring the bracket can be as simple as installing longer screws into the jamb. But with heavy solid-wood or mirrored doors, to make a long-lasting repair, add solid blocking behind the bracket. Using a utility knife, cut out the small chunk of drywall behind the bracket. Then insert a piece of 1/2-in. plywood and reattach the bracket using long screws. To really stabilize the bracket, secure it to the floor with a masonry anchor.