James Bond is known for his witty puns and brilliant one-liners, so we thought, in anticipation of the new 2015 movie, we’d pay homage to him in our guide to ridding yourself of those annoying odd jobs around the house.
Disclaimer: If you hate puns, or James Bond, don’t read on!
Houses, just like diamonds, are forever…well, at least until you buy or rent somewhere else, and often, little odd jobs go un-done because you never get round to them, or always find something else to spend your money on. It might be that you’ve been super busy, juggling work, home life and a million other things, or perhaps DIY just isn’t something you enjoy doing. Maybe now is the time to tackle these little DIY jobs and our helpful ideas won’t cost you a lot of money (penny) either!
Top 10 odd jobs on Britain's to-do list*
1. Marked walls
You probably don’t need golden eye(s) to spot marks on your walls. Hallways and stairs are prone to scuffs and marks from little hands or dirty boots. To get rid of the marks, you just need to squirt some all-purpose cleaner onto a microfiber cloth and rub each mark until they disappear.
Before you tackle prominent marks, it could be a good idea to test it out on a mark low down on your wall, just to double check that the all-purpose cleaner doesn’t take the paint off, as well as the mark.
2. Blown light bulb
When a light bulb blows it can be tempting to shout ‘Oh (Dr) no!’ but don't panic! You might be like a spectre, wandering round in the dark, but you don’t need to call on her majesty’s secret service for help – you can sort it out yourself!
Most of the time, when a light bulb blows, you just need to reset the circuit breaker (this usually simply involves replacing the bulb and then flicking the switch back up on your consumer unit). Make sure you turn off the power before you change the bulb, and let the blown bulb cool down before you handle it. Check the wattage on the used bulb too, making sure you replace it with one that’s the same wattage. You also need to make sure you don’t put your fingers in the exposed light socket – it’s a good idea to use a ladder, rather than balancing on a chair or piece of furniture.
If you are unsure, or if it doesn’t look like a simple job as we’ve described, it’s probably a good idea to call in the professionals.
3. Squeaky floorboards
Picture the scene: you arrive home in the early hours after a night out, and on your way to bed you accidentally step on a squeaky floorboard. The next thing you see is your partner waving the gold finger at you, telling you off for waking them up.
Why not save yourself the stress and sort out the floorboards once and for all. Usually squeaky floorboards just require some extra screws. A word of warning though – before you start screwing, check carefully for any cables and pipes underneath as you don’t want to hit anything.
4. Stained carpet
If you spilt red wine or spaghetti bolognaise on your carpet ages ago, and every time you look at it it scares the living daylights out of you, you might think your carpet is ruined, but it we may be able to help! All you need is some baking soda (you can pick this up from a supermarket), a cleaner bottle filled with 50% water and 50% vinegar, a brush and a vacuum.
Begin by testing the solution on an unobtrusive area (maybe under a piece of furniture) before tackling a stain in a prominent place, and leave it there for a couple of hours, just to make sure no disasters will occur!
If the test patch is successful, simply cover the stain you want to tackle with a layer of baking soda, spray with the vinegar-water, leave for a few hours, scrub with the brush and vacuum up. If this doesn’t work, you could hire a professional carpet cleaner to get rid of the stain instead.
5. Peeling paint
To repair peeling paint from somewhere like a bathroom wall or ceiling is relatively easy. You first need to remove all the loose paint using a putty knife or scraper and, once all the old paint has gone, clean the surface to get rid of any dust and oil. Then simply add a coat of primer, let it dry and repaint over the top. It’s that simple!
6. Un-hung pictures
If you received a picture from your great-auntie from Russia with love on your birthday, but haven’t got round to hanging it up, it won’t take you more than 10 minutes to do so.
Put a blob of toothpaste on the nail hook at the back of the picture and then hold it up to the wall in the exact place you want it to be. The toothpaste will leave a mark on the wall so you know where to put the nail for the picture to hang just right. All you need for that is a hammer and either a pin nail or picture hook, depending on the weight of the frame. Make sure you don’t make a hole anywhere near any pipes or electrics though. The best way to do this is to invest in a wire, pipe and power detector, which are reasonably inexpensive.
7. Mouldy bedroom / bathroom
You don’t need a licence to kill mould in order to be able to eradicate it from your home. One of the main reasons mould forms is because of condensation. If you’ve got mould because of a different reason, such as a broken damp proof course, blocked drains or guttering problems, you may need to get an expert in to help you get rid of it.
For mould caused by condensation, you firstly need to protect yourself from mould spores by wearing some fetching goggles, rubber gloves and a mask to cover your mouth and nose – you can pretend you’re a masked Bond villain if this makes it easier! Then, fill a bucket with some washing up liquid, and use a rag to carefully wipe the mould off the wall. Use a dry rag to wipe off any water you’ve left behind and make sure you throw the rags away once the job is complete.
To prevent mould building up in future due to condensation, make sure your home is properly ventilated – pull furniture away from the walls to allow air to circulate, and open windows if you’re ever drying clothes inside. When cooking, keep the lids on saucepans and the windows open, and keep the bathroom door closed and a window open when bathing too, to let the steam out. It’s also a good idea to put the heating on regularly at a low level to increase the temperature of internal surfaces to prevent condensation forming.
8. Peeling wallpaper
If the thought of wallpapering a whole room sends shivers down your spine, then repairing the wallpaper already up might be a great alternative. To repair it you just need to apply a thin layer of wallpaper repair paste to the back of the loose section and then press it back onto the wall. Then simply use your hand to smooth over it and wipe a damp sponge from the centre to the edges of the repaired section. This should get rid of any air bubbles. Finally, use a roller to go over the top to make sure it has a tight seal so it doesn’t peel down again.
9. Worn away grouting
Over time, grouting gets worn away or stains, so it needs replacing. To replace worn away grouting you need to buy either sanded or non-sanded grout. If your joints are larger than 1/8 inch, you’ll need to use sanded grout, if they’re less than 1/8 inch, you’ll need non-sanded grout.
The first thing you need to do is remove the existing grout using a utility knife, ceramic chisel and a hammer. If your tiles have become porous, then applying a tile sealant over your tiles could help prevent the new grout from sinking underneath the tile. Once you’ve applied the tile sealant, you’ll need to allow it to dry for 24 hours.
Mix the grout as per the instructions on the packet. Then use a rubber grout float to apply the grout to your tiles, making sure the joints are completely filled in. Once you are satisfied that they are, use the sharp edge of the rubber grout float to remove the excess.
Let the grout set for approximately 10 minutes and then use a damp sponge to clean your tiles. If the tiles are on the floor make sure you don’t step on them for 24-48 hours so that they can completely set.
10. Leaking / dripping taps
To fix a dripping tap, the first thing you need to do is turn off your water supply and turn your tap on to drain all the water from the system. Or, if your plumbing is relatively new, you may find that it has its own small shut off valve under the sink. You then need to unscrew the tap’s top plate (which traditionally has H or C printed on it) and remove the handle.
A top tip is to put the plug in the plug-hole, just in case you drop any small nuts or screws. Once you’ve removed the handle, you should be able to unscrew the tap body cover. Then, unscrew the headgear nut to reveal the washer which needs replacing. If the washer is being held in place by a nut you may need to use an adjustable spanner to get it out. Once you have replaced the washer you just need to reassemble the tap and hey presto, your tap should be as good as new!
If you manage to complete all 10 jobs on Britain's to-do list, you’ll feel over the moon, raking in the money you would have spent getting in the professionals…did we go too far with that one?!
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By Sarah Symons