Home Repair Tips for College Grads

Hole-ridden apartment walls and a perpetually overflowing toilet might not have been too hard to live with during your undergraduate years, but now that you’re a graduate it’s time to raise your standards a bit. As an adult operating in the real world, you can no longer rely on procrastinating maintenance crews to make all of your home repairs for you. When something goes wrong in your home or apartment, it needs to get fixed quickly – which often means doing the work yourself.

For many college graduates, performing home repairs can seem like a daunting task. However, many of these projects are actually much easier – and much more affordable – than they appear. For instance, here are four common home repairs that every grad should be able to do with ease.

1) Filling holes in the wall. There’s nothing quite as unsightly as a crack or hole in your wall. Smaller holes, such as the kind caused by nails or screws, are easy to fix. All you need to do is apply some spackling paste with a putty knife and then the hole can be painted over.

Larger holes like the ones caused  by doorknobs and inebriated friends, require a bit more work. You’ll need to get a patching plate made out of adhesive fiberglass and aluminum. Insert the plate into the hole and then pull it forward so that the adhesive attaches itself to the back of the hole. Then, cover the plate in three coats of multipurpose joint compound. After the compound dries, sand it down. Once the surface is smooth and even, you’re ready to prime and paint.

2) Stopping a leaky faucet. If a faucet in your home or apartment leaks, a broken rubber washer is likely the culprit. To replace the washer, you first need to shut off the faucet’s water supply. Then you need to use a crescent wrench to remove the faucet handles. Inside the handle assembly, you’ll find a little piston. The washer will be attached to that. Replace the cracked or broken washer with one of the same size and shape, and then put everything back together. Your problem should be solved.

If your faucet continues to leak after the washers are replaced, then your valve seat is likely cracked. If this is the case, then you should consider replacing the faucet entirely.

3) Tightening a loose door knob. Door knobs endure a lot of stress. As such, they tend to require a decent amount of maintenance to keep them tight and functional. When a doorknob gets loose, it is likely because the screw(s) attaching it to the spindle need to be tightened.

First, remove the cover plate from the knob assembly by pushing a small screwdriver into the spring slot on the shaft and popping the cover off. Then, remove the knob and place both on the floor. Take a screwdriver and tighten all of the screws inside the assembly. Replace the cover and knob and voila! Your doorknob has been repaired.

4) Unclogging an overflowing toilet. Overflowing toilets are messy, gross and pretty much unpleasant in every way imaginable. If yours is overflowing, the first thing you need to do is to turn the water supply off to stop your mess from getting worse. Then, you need to check the cistern to see why the water won’t stop running. Most likely it is because the float arm is stuck or the sealing piston won’t stay down.

Get your water flow fixed first. Then take a plunger or an auger to the bowl. Your clog should come undone, at which point you can turn the water back on and give the toilet a test flush. If it continues to overflow, it is probably time to call in a professional.

Now that you’re a college graduate, you need to learn to start relying on yourself. This is especially true when it comes to performing home repairs. The next time something goes wrong in your apartment or house, don’t immediately call your nearest maintenance crew. Instead, grab some tools and try to fix it yourself. The chances are good that the problem will be resolved much more quickly and affordably that way.


Bio: Lucy Clark is a mother of two and an avid DIYer. She enjoys refurbishing old furniture, fiddling with her smart phone and blogging about the joys of air conditioner repair and other such things over at DIY Mother.