How not to suck at DIY

Quick house maintenance task to make your life easier

In a world of gizmos and gadgets, it’s easy to rely on technology and let our practical skills get rusty or even non-existent. But worry not, we’ve compiled a how-to-guide on house maintenance tasks that you (yes, you!) can tackle with ease.

Clean those drains

Drains stink. That’s a fact of life. Then they get blocked, and stink some more. So instead of calling a plumber, save a few quid and try this little formula:

– 1 cup of salt
– 1 cup of baking soda
– 1 cup of vinegar

Pour it down the drain, let it fizz and have a party for about 30 seconds. Follow up with two pints of boiling water and watch it clear. Do this once a month and the drain shouldn’t block at all and as a bonus, it shouldn’t smell too bad either.

Squeaky door hinges

Nothing is more annoying than a squeaky door but there’s a very easy fix. Spray a little WD40 onto the hinges, or a little petroleum jelly, move the door back and forward a few times and bingo! The squeak should be gone. If that doesn’t work, lift the hinge pins about halfway and lubricate them with three-in-one oil, using a rag to catch the drips.

Keep your paint can clean

Ever thrown away paint tins because the top has been destroyed by residue around the edge? Well put an elastic band across the middle of the open tin to brush any leftover paint against and it will save paint, time and your tin!

Re-use that roller

If you have a roller that’s soaked with paint but you want to avoid throwing it away, we have the answer. Simply find an old Pringles tin, put your roller head into a zip-lock bag and insert it into the tin. The roller will remain wet and won’t dry out, so you can come back to painting when you’re ready. If you’re using a brush, put it into a large sandwich bag and tie a knot to keep it airtight. The brush will again stay wet and ready to use next time.

Paint tray woes

When painting walls, a roller tray is a great way to lather up your roller but once that paint dries, it’s impossible to get off. So, here’s a tip. Cover the tray in tin foil and put your paint on top of it. When you are finished, simply fold up the foil and bin it. Your tray is immaculate and will never get messy.

Tip-top tape

Got painter’s tape which is old and dried-out, making it impossible to unroll? Well, did you know that if you place it in the microwave for 10 seconds it will loosen up the tape, so it will come away in one smooth piece. Just don’t leave it in there any longer than that!

Squeaky floors

If you’ve got squeaky floorboards it’s likely your wooden floorboards are either rubbing against each other or are pulling away from the subfloor. So first find the area of squeakiness and cover the crack where the floorboards meet. Put talcum powder down the crack and rub the excess over the surrounding joints. If the squeaking is still happening, all you need to do is find where the floorboard screws are located and tighten them – problem solved.

Bye-bye scratches

When rearranging your house, instead of dragging your tables and chairs across your lovely wood flooring, pop socks onto the legs of the chairs. This way you’ll avoid scratching them.

Permanent marker? Permanent solution!

If someone has mixed up the pens and used a permanent marker where they shouldn’t have, we’ve got the solution. A damp cloth, a blob of toothpaste and a few scrubs later the mark will disappear. Magic!

If that wasn’t enough to make your life easier, we spoke to DIY interiors vlogger, Georgina Burnett who runs PropertyPorn TV for her three top tips when doing DIY.

Grab those old socks

Wear an old pair of socks on your hands when painting staircase spindles or chair legs. Dip them into the paint and rub up and down. It’s a quick way to paint them!

Plan the weekend before

If you’re planning a DIY weekend always plan the week before and buy what you’ll need. DIY shops are like vortexes and before you know it the day’s over and you haven’t made a start. You’ll be amazed at how much time this saves.

Stay in charge

Wireless tools are awesome. Wireless tools with dead batteries are not awesome. Charge all necessary tools the night before you aim to start.

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