DIY Tips and Tricks: Part 2

Number 7: Fixing Creaky Stairs
For the inexperienced DIYer, fixing a creaky stair can feel pretty rewarding, especially because the first tip on our list doesn’t actually require any tools at all!
• First, and only if you can access the stair from beneath, try using some finely ground up soap (use a cheese grater!) or talcum powder. Apply to the creaky area and any cracks between creaking planks. This quick, cheap fix is often a home run on the first try!stair set
• If the powder or soap doesn’t work, you’ll have to get a bit more involved in repairing your stair. From underneath (if accessible), gently tap a thin wedge of wood between the squeaking tread and riser. If you cannot get to the stairs from underneath, this repair is much more involved and often requires a professional’s help.

Number 6: Fixing Nail Holes Without Spackle
You’re feeling quite handy, having hung up several new shelves, but the leftover “oops” holes from misplaced nails need spackling before you can touch up the paint. That’s not the time to find out that your spackle is all dried out. Not to worry. Run to the bathroom and grab some toothpaste (just not the blue gel kind). Press the toothpaste’s opening right up against the hole and squeeze. Wipe off any excess just as you would with spackle. For small holes, the toothpaste will work just great. It’ll harden like spackle and even take a coat of paint.

Number 5: Leave The Paint In The Garage
After your toothpaste-spackling (above), you’ll need to finish fixing those “oops” marks on the wall by touching up the paint. But who wants to haul out big gallon jugs of paint for just a few little marks? Instead of grabbing your paint buckets and brushes, think about keeping small amounts of paint in those little sponge-topped bottles we all used to use for sealing envelopes (back in the days before self-sealing envelopes!). Keep these bottles from drying out by sealing them up in zip-topped baggies! Great for fast repairs of nicks and dings.

Number 4: Replace Weather Stripping
No matter where you live, you do need weather stripping around your doorframes to keep drafts, insects, and water out. People often overlook these little strips, which is really unfortunate because they’re terrific for keeping your energy costs down. There are several different types of weather stripping. The easiest way to replace it is to just carefully pull away the old stripping and take a piece of it to your local hardware store where you can match it up with the right replacement materials.

Number 3: Learn Proper Tool Maintenance
This one’s not quite a DIY “trick,” but it’s a very important tip nonetheless. If you want to save money by maintaining your home yourself, make proper tool maintenance a priority. If you’re not sure how to clean, prep, or maintain your tools, remember that one of the most important tools at your disposal is the computer. Run a Google search and get started!

Number 2: Google Knows Everything
Speaking of Google searches, using online forums, chat rooms, bulletin boards, and search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo!), can be a terrific way to gather information and get answers. Post your questions to Yahoo! Answers and wait for the responses to roll in! People love sharing their knowledge, so this is a great way to get free advice. Join a DIYer bulletin board community to share more tips and ideas!

Number 1: Keep Learning!
Our Number One on our Top 10 List of DIY Home Improvement Tips and Tricks: Take a class! Most of the larger home improvement warehouses offer free classes, particularly on the weekends. Stop by and pick up a schedule. Know a particularly handy neighbor or friend? Offer to help with his or her next project to get some more hands-on experience. You never know. S/he may be willing to repay the favor by coming over and helping with your next task!

What are your favorite DIY tips and tricks? How do you keep your home in great shape?

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