5 Basic Handyman Skills You Should Have

Rose Morrison

Jul 16, 2021


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Your home isn’t always going to look perfect. In fact, you’ll likely encounter various issues as you work to maintain your property. You may be inclined to call an expert if you’re unsure how to approach a certain problem. That’s a smart strategy when it’s an especially tricky task — but you can save money if you learn how to check off some of your to-do items on your own. Here are five basic handyman skills you should know.

1. Recaulk a Shower

Do you notice mold or mildew on your shower or bathtub? It’s likely time to recaulk. This project shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. Take a look at the steps:

1.  Use a putty knife to remove the old caulk.

2.  Clean the area with white vinegar or mineral spirits. A soft sponge works well.

3.  Let dry overnight. You can use a hairdryer to save time.

4.  Outline the section you wish to caulk with tape. This guide will help you create straight lines.

5.  Cut the caulk bottle tip to match the width you need.

6.  Apply the caulk to the surface with adequate pressure and movement.

7.  Smooth the caulk lines to create an even appearance.

8. Allow the area to sit for 24 hours before showering. 

You don’t need to do your bathroom all at once, either. If you see a spot that needs to be recaulked, you can tackle that in a few minutes. Easy!

2. Clean Downspouts and Gutters

This job takes little effort. That said, it’s often a little risky if you don’t take certain precautions. You’ll need a ladder to reach high points, so you may want to wait for a day when someone can spot you. It’s always best to practice ladder safety techniques when you work. In any case, you should finish in an afternoon. Here’s how:

1.  Wear an appropriate outfit. A long-sleeved shirt and work gloves will help keep you clean.

2.  Spread a tarp under the gutters to catch any dirt or leaves that fall.

3.  Use your hand to remove debris. A gutter scoop can remove hardened materials.

4.  Spray the gutters with a hose to clean them.

5. Repair any sagging or cracked metal. 

There’s a similar process for your downspouts. After you clean your gutters, you’ll need to clear the bottom openings to remove dirt and leaves. Then, you can rinse. If you don’t take time to clean your downspouts and gutters, you can run into problems like water damage and mold growth.

3. Fix a Leaky Faucet

There are four faucet kinds: compression, ball-type, cartridge and ceramic-disk. Before you repair a leak, you’ll want to find out which one you have. You should gather a wrench, pliers, a screwdriver, washers and any other materials for your specific faucet type. An oil can work well as a lube. Then, you can follow these steps:

1.  Turn off the water. Turn on the sink to relieve pressure.

2.  Remove the faucet handles. A standard faucet will require a flathead screwdriver. Use the appropriate tool for yours.

3.  Pull the stem or cartridge from the faucet. You may need to unscrew or unclip hardware. Refer to a specific manual for your faucet type if you need help.

4.  Inspect the faucet to find broken or old parts. You can take them to a store to ask for replacements.

5.  Clean the materials to remove any buildup.

6. Reverse this process to reassemble the faucet. 

If there’s still an issue, you may need to replace the faucet completely. Either way, some basic handyman skills like this one will save you a few headaches.

4. Clean a Dryer Vent

Did you know that dryer vent fires can be a massive threat to homeowners? The lint, dust and other hazardous materials that clog your vents can create issues. There are only a few simple steps involved, so you won’t have to hire anyone to help. Here’s how to clean a dryer vent:

1.  Unplug your dryer from its outlet so that it’s off.

2.  Disconnect your dryer’s vent pipe from the wall.

3.  Move your dryer away from the wall to allow yourself more room.

4.  Head outside to find the exterior duct.

5.  Unscrew the duct’s cover.

6.  Use a dryer vent kit to clean the system. Any tool that can safely push debris out will work, too.

7. Put everything back together. 

It’s best to work from the outside so that you can push the debris onto your laundry room floor. It’s easier to clean that way. Then, you can conduct a test run.

5. Locate a Wall Stud

If you ever wish to hang a picture or mount a TV, you’ll need to find your wall’s studs. These beams frame your house — and they provide vital support for your project. Otherwise, you won’t be able to position your item securely. The best way to locate a stud is with a stud finder. But you can identify them with less than five steps:

1.  Start at a corner. Use a tape measurer to locate 12 inches, 16 inches and 24 inches.

2.  Mark each spot with a pencil or tape.

3.  Tap around every mark. You’ll hear a solid sound rather than a hollow sound when you locate the stud.

4. Make another mark on that spot so that you don’t forget. 

Try not to hang or mount anything without finding the stud first.

These Basic Handyman Skills Are Necessary for Everyone

There are other fundamental abilities you should learn, but it’s best to start small. These basic handyman skills are a perfect starting point for novices. In no time, you should be able to confidently maintain your home for years to come. You won’t need to call your neighbor to fix your leaky faucet any longer. You’ve got it!

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