Easy DIY Home Repairs – The New York Times

Some newer toilets use a canister with a thin rubber washer instead of a traditional flapper, Ms. Sebestyen said. In those toilets, replacement washers aren’t universal, so it’s important to buy a part designed specifically for your brand of toilet.

Tools and supplies: replacement toilet flapper or washer.

When a doorknob or tumbling toddler punctures the wall, it’s relatively easy to plug the hole. “You don’t have to have a lot of fancy tools, and there aren’t a lot of technical steps involved,” said Kevin Busch, the vice president of operations at Mr. Handyman, a national home repair company.

Small dings and holes about the size of a nailhead can simply be filled with spackling paste — push the spackling into the hole with a putty knife, scrape it flush, let it dry and then sand it flush with the wall. If a divot remains, add a second coat.

A large hole measuring a few inches or more in diameter requires a more involved repair. Mr. Busch said his preferred method is to cut a square or rectangular patch slightly larger than the hole from a sheet of drywall. Hold it over the hole, and trace the shape of the patch on the wall. Then, use a drywall saw to enlarge the hole along the pencil lines. “You make the hole match your piece, as opposed to trying to make your piece match the hole,” he said.

Add drywall repair clips to the edges of the hole to hold the patch in place, and secure it with screws. Apply mesh drywall tape over the seams. Then, use a joint knife to spread joint compound over the entire repair, while trying to feather the edges of the compound into the surrounding wall. (An alternative to cutting your own drywall patch is to use an adhesive metal drywall repair patch, which simply covers the hole before joint compound is applied.)

“That’s really where the artistry comes in,” Mr. Busch said, noting that making the repair look seamless can be challenging. For best results, complete a few thin coats and sand away excess compound to blend it into the wall before priming and painting.

Tools and supplies: drywall saw, joint knife, extra drywall, drywall repair clips, mesh drywall tape, joint compound.

Feeling the water level rise around your feet when showering or watching the vanity basin fill up when washing hands can be disconcerting. Usually, slow bathroom drains are caused by a buildup of hair and soap scum.

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