Repairing Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl floors are popular because they’re easy to clean and maintain. Today’s high-quality vinyl floor coverings don’t re quire any regular care beyond frequent sweeping and mop ping. But vinyl does get divots, holes, and tears. The only way to really repair it is to cut out the damaged section and re place it with a patch. It’s pretty easy to fix vinyl if you have remnants and you can match it; if you don’t, there’s not a lot you can do.
With vinyl tile, it’s best to replace the damaged tiles. With sheet vinyl, you can fuse the surface or patch in new material.


Small cuts and scratches can be fused permanently and nearly invisibly with liquid seam sealer, a clear compound that’s available wherever vinyl flooring is sold.

How to fix small cuts and scratches in vinyl flooring:

1. Clean the area with lacquer thinner and a soft cloth.

2. When it’s dry, squeeze a thin bead of liquid seam sealer into the cut or scratch.

3. Use your finger (wearing a rubber glove) and lightly smooth out the edges, if needed.

4. Let dry.

If your flooring is all one color, you can fix gouges another way. Shred a piece of your vinyl flooring in a food grater. Take the shavings and mix them with a small amount of clear nail polish, drop by drop, until you have a paste like mixture. Wearing a rubber glove put this mixture into the groove and squishes it into place. Let dry.

How to clean discolored grout

1. Get a spray bottle and fill it with 2 parts water to 1 part bleach.

2. Spray generously over the grout, making sure not to spray it on anything the bleach might stain.

3. Let the bleach mixture sit for 30 minutes.

4. Use a small stiff brush or toothbrush to scrub the grout.

5. Rinse off, or use a sponge to clear the bleach from the grout.

6. If the discoloration still persists, repeat all steps. If the grout is stained beyond cleaning, you may want to re place it.

TIP: When using grout, follow the directions on the back of the box or bag. Make sure you mix it to toothpaste like consistency.

Handy Person Tips

• When a drain is clogged with grease, pour a cup of salt and a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by a kettle of boiling water.
• If your water taps have a tendency to freeze during a cold spell, leave your taps on slightly: Running water will not freeze.
• Frozen water pipes can safely and easily be thawed out by using an ordinary hair dryer nozzle directed at the frozen pipe.
• To tighten cane-bottomed chairs, turn them upside down and liberally apply hot water to the underside. Dry the chairs in the sun.
• When sanding or refinishing, cover your hand with an old nylon stocking. Glide your hand over the surface to be re done. Any rough areas will snag the stocking where more sanding needs to be done.
• To restore odor to an old cedar chest or closet, sandpaper lightly. This reopens pores in the wood to restore breathing.
• Spring-type clothespins are useful as clamps to hold light weight glued materials together.
• To find a wall stud, hold a pocket compass level with the floor and at a right angle to the wall. Slowly move it along the surface of the wall. Movement of the compass will indicate the presence of nails and reveal stud location.
• You always have a measuring tape in your pocket — a dollar bill is exactly six inches long and just short of three inches wide.
• Use non-stick vegetable spray to lubricate squeaky hinges and sticky locks.
• Loosen rusted nuts or bolts with a few drops of ammonia or peroxide.
• To help remove stubborn nuts and bolts, pour on some cola soft drink.
• You can retrieve a broken key by putting some strong metal adhesive on the handle and holding it to the part stuck in the lock. Hold it there until the glue has set. When it holds, pull out the key. Don’t use the key again.
• Four or five mothballs in your toolbox will keep the tools from rusting.
• A piece of chalk or charcoal in your toolbox will attract moisture and keep your tools from rusting.
• Save your old nuts, bolts and washers. They make excellent sinkers for your fishing line.

Repair wallboard – Drywall

Here are tips and suggestions on how to patch and repair plasterboard walls. Read these suggestions carefully to help you make such repairs easily and quickly.


Objects that come in contact with wall board can cause dents or scratches in the surface. These indentations are easy to repair.
First, sand the surface thoroughly (Fig. 1). This sanding roughens the surface and provides a good base for the joint compound you will use.
Use coarse sandpaper and a good sandpaper block. For large areas to be repaired, use a power sander.
Fill the dent with a good grade of joint compound using a 3″ or 4″ spreader (Fig. 2). Spread the compound evenly, pressing it firmly into the dented area.
For extremely large dents, allow the compound to dry overnight and then apply a second coat.
When the material is completely dry, sand the area and prime it for a coat of paint or other finish.
Be sure to remove any high or low spots in the patched area with a fine sandpaper.


Various types of patching materials are available for patching drywall. These include adhesive and non-adhesive drywall tapes, fast drying patching compounds and drywall bandages.
Regardless of the type of patching materials you use, read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and follow each step as suggested. Some patching compounds dry quickly, while others require longer periods to dry.
Be sure the cracked area to be patched is completely clean and dry. Remove all dirt from the area and clean out all cracks.
Apply the patching plaster with a wide and flexible putty knife (Fig. 3). Apply the compound by working across the crack with strokes in both directions. This method is the best way to work the patching plaster into the crack.
Force the patching material into the crack with strong, firm strokes (Fig. 4). Examine the crack after each stroke to ensure that enough material is applied at all points.
The knife should bend with pressure as you draw it along the cracked area. Repeat the passes as often as necessary to force the material well into the cracked surface.
Use the putty knife as a scraper to remove any surplus material (Fig. 5). Move it along the cracked area gently to scrape away the surplus material that was applied by the double strokes show in Fig. 3.
You may want to dip the putty knife into water and make a final pass along the repaired area (Fig. 6). Touch up any areas that need more patching material.
After the patched area has dried completely, sand and prime it to prepare for the finish you desire.


You can repair small holes, up to 4″ to 6″, in drywall using drywall bandages. To make a drywall bandage, use a keyhole saw to make the hole into a square or a rectangle (Fig. 7). Cut a piece of drywall the same shape as the hole. It should be 2″ longer and 2″ wider than the hole.
Lay the piece of drywall down on a flat surface, shiny side down. Measure the 1″ from all four edges and draw a line. This should form a shape the side of the hole.
Using a straight edge and a utility knife, cut through the drywall to the bottom layer. Do not cut the bottom layer of paper. Using a putty knife, remove the top layer of paper and core all the way down to the bottom layer of paper (Fig. 8). Be careful not to tear the bottom layer.
The cut part of the patch should fit into the hole. The paper edge should cover about 1″ around the hole. Apply a thin layer of patching compound around the hole. Place the patch into the hole (Fig. 9). Using a putty knife, work the paper edge down into the compound. Feather the edges of the compound and allow it to dry. You may need to sand lightly and apply a second layer of compound to finish the repair.
Larger hole, up to 12″, require a slightly different repair which provides more support. Again use a keyhole saw to form the hole into a square or a rectangle (Fig. 7).
Cut a patching piece of wallboard that’s about 2″ larger than the hole to be repaired (Fig 10). Punch or drill two small holes through this piece of board and tie a stick to it, as illustrated. Allow for about 8″ between the board and the stick.
Apply a smooth coat of good grade adhesive all around the edges of the piece of patching material.
Insert the patching board through the hole and position it so the adhesive fits firmly against the solid area around the hole.
Now turn the stick clockwise twisting the string and increasing pressure against the patch board at the rear of the hole (Fig. 11). When the string has been thoroughly tightened, it will hold the board firmly into place until the adhesive dries.
Give the adhesive time to dry. Then fill in the area with a good grade of patching plaster (Fig. 12). Leave the stick and the string in position during the patching process.
You may need to apply two or three layer of patching plaster to build up the patched area. Always allow one layer to dry before applying another.
Remove the stick and string just before the material dries. Smooth out the area then let the patch dry thoroughly.
When the area is completely dry, sand off all high spots and apply a prime coat for paint or other finish (Fig. 13)
Use a fine grade of sandpaper and a sanding block for the finish sanding work.


Larger holes in wallboard require some type of supporting brace for the patch.
Use a short piece of 2 x 4 cut to the proper length as a supporting brace for patching a large hole in plasterboard (Fig. 14).
Cut two pieces of 2 x 4 to a length about 8″ longer than the distance across the hole.
Apply a good grade of cement to one piece of 2 x 4, then insert it through the hole. Tie it to another piece of 2 x 4 holding it parallel in front of the wallboard.
Allow the pieces of 2 x 4 to remain tied in this position until the cement dries. Most cements require about one hour to dry.
Next, remove the supporting piece of 2 x 4 in front of the wallboard by untying the string (Fig. 15). The cement will hold the back piece of 2 x 4 firmly in position, providing a support brace for the wall patch.
Now cut a patch block to the exact dimensions of the sawed-out area. (Fig. 16). The block will be slightly smaller than the hole itself, but cut it to fit as tightly as possible.
Apply cement to the back of the patch block and the support brace, then put the patch into position in the hole.
Use a firm putty knife or patching spatula to apply joint compound all around the patch board (Fig. 17).
Work the patch compound thoroughly into all cracks. Scrape away any surplus material, then allow the patched area to dry completely.
When the area has completely dried, use a regular sanding block and a piece of fine sandpaper to sand away any high areas on the patched surface (Fig. 18).
A prime coat can now be applied to prepare the wall for painting.

How to chemically strip wood


Follow the directions on the chemical stripping agent, since they vary slightly, but for a general guideline, follow the steps below.

How to chemically strip wood:

1. Using a paintbrush, apply the recommended amount of stripping agent to the wood’s surface. You can usually be pretty generous with your application. Use a disposable, inexpensive paintbrush for this job.

2 Let the agent sit for a while until the paint starts to blister.

3. Then use a scraper or putty knife to scrape away the paint. You can also use steel wool to scrub away the paint.

4. Use a cloth to remove the scraped paint as you go because you don’t want to scrape the paint back into the wood.

5. Use some stripping agent on a cloth or steel wool to re move any residual paint and to clean the surface.

6. Wipe down the wood surface with a damp cloth or sponge.

Handy Person Tips

1. Rub petroleum jelly on the hinges and door knobs before you start to paint a door. If you get paint on them, they will wipe off easy.
2.To keep white paint from yellowing, add 10 drops of black paint to each quart of white.
3. When painting ceilings, cut a child’s rubber ball in half and put your paint brush in one of the halves to catch the drips.
4. An old pair of swimming goggles will protect your eyes from paint splatters and drips when painting ceilings.
5. When painting, protect your hands and face with moisturizer. Cleanup will be easier and the moisturizer will prevent paint from seeping into the pores.
6. Before starting to paint with enamel paint, lightly coat your hands and underneath your fingernails with any name brand hand cleaner. After the painting is finished, your hands will be easy to clean.
7. Line your paint tray with aluminum foil. When its time to clean up, just roll up the foil and throw away.
8. To stop paint from dripping, punch a few holes in the rim of the paint can. When the brush is wiped against the edge, the paint flows back into the can. The lid covers the holes so the paint won’t dry out.
9. To remove lumps from paint: Cut a piece of screen to fit the inside of the paint can. Set it on top of the paint and let it float down to the bottom of the can. It will take all the lumps with it, trapping them at the bottom of the can.
10. When painting trim around windows, doorways etc. try using stiff paper to cover the area you don’t want painted. (An old phone book cover works well.) Slide paper along as you paint. It’s much faster and more economical than using masking tape. Works well with either a roller or brush.
11. When painting a room, dip a small card into the paint so that you have the exact color with you and can match accessories in stores.
12. When painting inside corners, trim the paint brush bristles to a V to save strokes and spread paint more evenly.
13. Before pouring paint from a can, cover the rim with masking tape. After pouring, remove the tape — the rim will be clean and the cover will fit tightly.
14. When you poke a paint brush into corners or allow it to rest on the bottom of the paint can, the bristles curl and stray. To straighten natural bristles (not synthetics), try wrapping the brush in a couple of thicknesses of damp cloth and press gently with an iron. The steam and cloth binding do the job. Only light pressure is needed. Let the bristles cool before you unwrap the brush.
15. When painting old woodwork, fill in the holes or cracks with a mixture of flour and some of the paint you are using. It hardens like cement and matches perfectly.

How to add or replace weather stripping

Out with the old:

1. If you currently have bad weather stripping, it will need to be removed before you can get started. Take a scraper, chisel, or utility knife and scrape off the old stripping.

2. If it was held in place with small nails, don’t try to re move them. Simply cut the nails flush with the surface, assuring that none stick out past the jamb. If they are still visible, drive them into the jamb by using a bigger nail and tapping slightly with a hammer.

3. Remove all remnants and/or leftover adhesive with the scraper.

4. Clean the area thoroughly with soap and water.

5. Let it dry completely.

In with the new:

1. Measure each side of the doorjamb that needs to be fitted with stripping. Add a couple of inches to your measurements so there is room for play.

2. Cut the new weather stripping to size.

3. Attach the cut pieces to the doorjamb using the method of application that corresponds to the type of weather stripping you purchased. Be careful to keep the stripping level and within the jamb.

4. Cut off any excess stripping.


For extra protection from the elements (including those eight-legged ones), install a rubber sweep underneath the door. This is usually a simple exercise of drilling holes and attaching the sweep with screws. There are a couple of different styles of door sweeps to choose from. Some will be easy to install, others may require you to remove the door to install them correctly.
Rubber weather stripping is not only the easiest to use, but will hold up for a long time and resist the elements. Stay away from felt or foam since they tend to deteriorate quickly.



Holes in hardwood floors can be filled with wood putty, but trying to apply wood putty directly over sealant or varnish is a bad idea. Just as buffing your nails helps nail polish stick, you need to rough up your wood floor so that the putty sticks. Always start with a rough-grit sandpaper (the thicker the varnish, the rougher the grit) and move up to finer grits. Also make sure to match the color of your putty to the color of your floor (oak, cherry etc).

How to repair a hole:

1. Take a little sandpaper in your hand and rough up the area around the hole. Start with a rougher grit sand paper (65 grit) to remove any varnish, and go to a finer grit as you need a smoother finish (to 150 grit, for example). Always sand with the grain.

2. With a putty knife or scraper tool, add wood putty to the sanded repair area, scrape flat and let dry according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

3. Once dry, sand the putty in the direction of the grain of the wood. If the dried putty has significantly contracted or shrunk, you may need to repeat the process with another coat of wood filler.

4. Apply the finish, trying to match the varnish or poly urethane, or whatever it had on it, to the rest of wood.

How to replace or fix a doorknob

Repairing or Replacing a Doorknob

Just as new knobs can give a kitchen a brand-new look, door knobs can really update the feel and look of your home. Are your doorknobs in good shape? Could they use a little updating? Are they lose or malfunctioning? If your doorknobs are dingy, you will be surprised at how simply changing them can really add to the look, feel, and cleanliness of your home.

Doorknobs are not too expensive and relatively easy to install. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and locking mechanisms. If you are changing out an old door knob, make sure your replacement is the same size. Most doorknobs are standard and interchangeable, but you want to make sure.

Essentially, you can approach replacing or fixing a door knob in the same way. Typically, if your doorknob is loose or is in need of repair, you can simply replace the whole thing, or you can take it apart and tighten it up. Either way, the steps will be the same.

How to replace or fix a doorknob:

Out with the old:

1. Take the old doorknob out of the door by first removing the trim (the metal ring on the door surrounding the knob). Using a screwdriver, unscrew the two screws that hold the trim to the door. If the trim does not come off when you unscrew it, you may need to use a scraper or flat-head screwdriver to ease it off.

2. Next remove the two screws on either side of the door knob mechanism. These are what hold the mechanism (and the two doorknobs) together.

3. Take a good look at how the doorknobs come apart. This will help when you install the new ones.

4. Take the old doorknobs out and set them aside.

5. You will be left with just the bolt (or the locking mechanism). Remove the two screws that hold this in the door, and remove the bolt.

6. Does the strike plate also need to be replaced? Take a look at it. If it’s in good shape (and matches the color of the new doorknob) then keep it. If not, remove the two screws that hold it to the doorjamb and set it aside.

In with the new:

1. Take the bolt section and place it into the opening. Doorknob bolts have one side that is slanted. Make sure the slanted side faces the direction in which the door closes.

2. Screw in the bolt section with the screws provided.

3. You should have two doorknobs and two trims. Take the first trim and put it up to the door, covering the bolt section.

4. Take one of the doorknobs (the one with the mechanism that fits in the bolt—usually a square hole) and put it through the trim and the bolt.

5. Take the other doorknob and trim piece and put it on the other side of the door. Make sure you align these correctly. Remember the two long screws you took out of the old doorknob? Well, this one needs those too, so make sure they all line up.

6. Put in the long screws. Begin to tighten each just a little; going back and forth between both sides to make sure that the knob is coming together evenly.

7. You will now need to put the strike plate onto the door jamb.

Strike plate:

1. Take a pencil and mark up the end of the bolt.

2. Close the door and turn the handle so that the bolt gently hits the doorjamb. Repeat this a few times.

3. This should leave a mark on the doorjamb. The mark will show you where you need to place the strike plate. You may need to use a chisel to adjust the previous hole.

4. Place the strike plate in the correct area, and attach it with the screws provided.

5. Test the lock a few times from both the inside and the outside to ensure that it has been assembled properly. Adjustments may need to be made.

6. If the strike plate seems loose, you may need to buy longer screws to get a tighter fit.


When you take apart your old doorknob, keep all the pieces together or even reassemble them. Having this as a reference when you put in your new doorknob will be really helpful.
Have patience. Doorknobs have a lot of tiny little pieces, which can disappear and cause contusion, so go slow. You’ll do just fine!

How to restretch carpet


Carpeting that isn’t glued down is held around the perimeter of a room by wood strips with metal pins that grip the carpet backing. To repair loose carpets, you’ll need to rent a “knee kicker,” a stretching tool to pull the carpet tight and reattach the edges to the strips. These can be found at rental centers and carpet distributors.

How to restretch carpet:

1. Turn the knob on the head of the knee kicker to adjust the depth of the prongs. The prongs should extend far enough to grab the carpet backing without penetrating through the padding.

2. starting from a corner or near a point where the carpet is firmly attached, press the knee kicker head into the carpet, about 2 inches from the wall. Thrust your knee into the cushion of the knee kicker to force the carpet toward the wall.

3. Tuck the carpet edge into the space between the wood strip and the baseboard, using a 4-inch wallboard knife.


Most carpets are held together at the edges with heat activated seam tape. The tape comes in rolls and has hardened glue on one face. You will need to rent a “seam iron.”

How to reglue loose seams:

1. Remove the old tape from under the carpet seam.

2. Cut a strip of new seam tape, and place it under the carpet so it is centered along the seam with the adhesive facing up.

3. Plug in the seam iron, and let it heat up. Seam irons work like curling irons and regular irons, but they vary in the amount of time needed to heat up. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see how long you should wait for it to heat up.

4. Pull up both edges of the carpet, and set the hot iron squarely onto the tape. Wait about 30 seconds for the glue to melt.

5. Move the iron farther along the seam, as necessary.

6. Quickly press the edges of the carpet together into the melted glue behind the iron. If anything goes wrong you have only 30 seconds to repeat the process.

7. Separate the pile to make sure no fibers is stuck in the glue and that the seam is tight.

8. Place weighted boards or phone books over the seam to keep it flat while the glue sets.

How to replace grout or a broken tile

How to replace grout:

1. Scrape out the existing grout with a chisel or small putty knife and a small hammer, or simply a utility knife. Be careful not to tap too hard and chip the surrounding tile.

2 Clean the area with a vacuum to remove excess sand, dust, and debris.

3. Run your hand over the grout. Does is feel smooth or a little rough? If it’s smooth, you will need to buy unsanded grout. If it is a little rough, you will need to buy sanded grout. Take a piece of the grout with you to the hardware store to match the color. You only need to buy a small bag or box of grout for small repair jobs. Buy the smallest one you can find.

4. Mix up the grout according to the directions on the back of the bag or box.

5. Take your float, load it with grout and spread grout over the repair area, making sure to push it down into the gap.

6. Scrape away all excess grout by holding your float on its side or at an angle, making sure the grout is smooth and even, just at or slightly below the tile surface.

7. Let the grout dry (or “set up”). This should take about 2 hours.

8. Remove all excess grout and messiness with a damp sponge. Rinse out the sponge frequently and keep it clean. The water will appear chalky or cloudy until it is clean.

9. After grouting, do not get the surface wet for at least 24 hours.

10. After the grout has set up for I week, it should be completely cured. Now it is time to apply a grout sealer. You can buy this at your local hardware store and should follow the directions that come with the product.

How to replace a broken tile:

1. Scrape out grout with a chisel or small putty knife and a small hammer, or simply a utility knife

2. Break the tile in need of repair into tiny pieces using the small hammer.

3. Remove all the pieces of the broken tile. Use a utility knife or small putty knife to scrape the area clean of all excess debris. There will probably be quite a bit of debris left from under the tile, so scrape well! Vacuum the area to remove small particles.

4. Test fit the new tile in the opening. It should have an equal gap on all sides and must also sit flush to the surrounding surfaces.

5. Apply adhesive to the back of the tile and immediately place it into the area being repaired. Use even force with both hands, slightly twisting the tile until it is level with the surrounding area. You want to make sure that the adhesive does not push up the tile unnecessarily.

6. Use a piece of blue painter’s tapes (a type of masking tape) to the tile to hold it in place for 24 hours.

7. Remove the tape and clean around the replaced tile again to assure no debris, dust, or particles have accumulated in the gaps. Clean if necessary.

8. Grout around the tile, following steps 3—10 in the previous project.

How to repair a minor crack in concrete – How to fill a gap in concrete – How to repair a small hole in concrete

How to repair a minor crack in concrete:

1. Clean the area so that it is free of debris. You can sweep it out, or use a wire brush or vacuum it out with a shop vac. It must be dry before you move to step 2.

2. Apply caulk into crack. Use an ample amount of caulk to fill the crack to just above the surrounding surface.

3. Take a trowel and smooth out the caulk so that it is level with the surrounding area. If the crack is small enough, you can use your finger to smooth out the caulk (make sure to wear a rubber glove).

4. Let dry for at least two hours.

How to fill a gap in concrete:

1. Make sure the area is dry and clear of debris.

2. Take caulking and apply it to the entire length of the gap. Use generously

3. You can even out the caulking with a glove-covered finger, a trowel, or the back of a spoon rubbed with oil you can use any oil—baby vegetable, olive, even suntan oil.

4. let dry for at least 4 hours.

How to repair a small hole in concrete:

1. Break away any loose or unstable material. The easiest way to do this is with a small chisel and hammer.

2. Clean up any excess debris. If you can use a shop vac, it’s best. Make sure area is dry

3. Use a paintbrush to apply the bonding adhesive to the entire area that needs to be patched.

4. Fill the area with the reinforced patching compound, only adding about ‘4 inch at a time.

5. Wait about 30 minutes for the layer to dry.

6. Apply additional layers until you have filled the hole to just above the surrounding surface area.

7. Use a trowel to smooth out the area being repaired, until it is level with the surrounding area, its okay to let the mixture feather over the surrounding area to get a good, level base.

8. Allow the mixture to cure (or dry). Although it will take months to completely cure, you will begin to see hardening within the first few minutes, and it will be hard enough to walk on within 2 hours.