25 Handyman Skills Every Man Should Know
A house and office don’t come with a user manual highlighting how to repair basic household items like switches, wiring, and door hinges. Often there is something that needs fixing in the home or office, and many of us don’t possess the skills needed to get the job done.
That’s why whether you own or rent a house, it’s imperative you know a few handyman skills. Having a few handyman skills up your sleeve will allow you to repair or replace something around the house efficiently and effectively. With the right skills, you won’t need to call in a professional and waste time and money.
However, not every item in your house can be repaired without the assistance of a professional. To help you identify what things you alone can safely fix at your home or office, we have compiled this list of the best 25 handyman skills every man should know.
1. Fixing a Loose Tile
A loose tile can easily lead to a broken tile. This minor problem is easily fixable with the right materials and knowledge. You will want to identify the loose tile and then run a preheated iron over it so that any adhesive becomes loose. Once you have done that, you will carefully lift the tile out of its position and clean the area under it with alcohol.
If the putty is stuck to the tile, scrape it off before applying a new tile adhesive. After applying tile adhesive to both the tile and the area where it needs to go, you can gently fit it into place. To ensure no air bubbles are underneath the tile, which will cause it to lift, gently roll an object back and forth over the placed tile a few times. However, if you are replacing a floor tile, remember to place something heavy on it until the adhesive has properly stuck.
2. Caulking a Leaky Tub or Sink
If you have never heard of caulking a leaky tub or sink, we can’t blame you. Essentially the process of caulking involves stopping your tub or sink from leaking water around the sides. This process should usually be done once a year to ensure leakage doesn’t continuously occur. When you fix the caulking, you replace the putty or gel that is rimming the sink or tub near the wall or floor.
You’re going to want to start the caulking process by scraping off all the old putty or gel with a plastic putty knife. Afterward, you need to clean the entire area with rubbing alcohol before applying a strip of masking tape where you intend to place the new caulking. Once you have marked out where to place your caulk, use your silicone or putty caulk mixture to place it along the seam of your seams you are patching.
Lastly, you should use your finger to smooth out the area and make sure it is evenly filled. Afterward, let the recently caulked area dry for a day or two before using the tub or sink.
3. Fixing a Leaking Faucet
A big pet peeve that many people encounter is a leaking faucet. If you have ever encountered a faucet that leaks in a bathroom or kitchen, you likely know just how irksome it can be. Fortunately, fixing a leaking faucet is not too complex as you will usually need to replace either an O-ring, stem, or washer.
You will need to start by turning off the water at the mainline and at the tap handles before using a flat head screwdriver to remove the knob handles of the faucet. Once you have done this, gently remove the packing nut with a wrench. After you have done this, you can examine the stem and check for any damage. If you spot no damage, you will need to do the same process to look at the washer and O-ring.
Once you have found the issue, replace the broken part and put the faucet back together exactly how you disassembled it. Once you turn the water back on, your faucet should no longer leak.
4. Finding a Stud
In your home, the studs in your wall provide support. If you damage a stud while trying to mount shelves, you could damage the structure of your house or office walls. Although you can’t see through walls, locating a stud isn’t as difficult as it seems.
If you don’t have a handy electronic stud finder, you will have to manually find them. To do this, you need to know that most studs are placed at 16-inch intervals in a wall. If you can find one, you won’t have any issue finding others.
The best way to manually find a stud is to start at the corner of a wall, as that is often where there is usually a stud. After doing this, measure out 16-inch, 24-inch, and 48-inch intervals as there will be a stud at each point.
5. Spackling a Hole
Nearly everyone at some point in time will create a hole in one of their house walls. It’s incredibly easy to accidentally knock a small or large hole in the wall if you are moving or mounting furniture. These holes are often ugly and eye-catching, but they aren’t a big issue to fix.
To fix a hole in your wall, you only need to have spackle, paint, and a putty knife handy. First, you need to clean around the hole and inside it to ensure no dirt or fibers are sticking out as the spackle will have trouble sticking. Once you have cleaned the area, place some spackle on your knife and begin filling the hole evenly and smoothly.
After doing this, leave it to dry for a few hours and smooth it out with some sandpaper. If the spackle is flush with the wall, you can then paint over it to match the rest of your wall.
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6. Changing a Car Tire
Arguably one of the most crucial handyman skills you need to know if you own a car or frequently travel in one is how to change a car tire. Surprisingly many people don’t know how to change a car tire. If you change a car tire incorrectly, it could have disastrous results, so make sure you practice changing one before you need to do it in a real-life situation.
To change a car tire, you are going to need a few necessary items. Make sure you have a lug wrench, screwdriver, jack, and spare tire. If you notice that you have a flat tire while out and about, make sure your vehicle is in a safe location before you attempt to change it, as it could take some time.
Start by placing a brick or rock behind your car’s tires so that it does not roll, making sure the car is not on an incline or hill. Next, you will need to pry off the wheel cover with a screwdriver by placing it where the cover meets the wheel. After doing this, loosen the tire lug nuts with your wrench by turning counterclockwise but be careful not to remove them yet.
Once you have loosened the tire lug nuts, you need to use the jack and jack up the car roughly six inches above the ground. Then place the jack under the edge of the car near the wheel you are changing. Afterward, simply remove the loosened lug nuts, take off the tire and replace it with the spare tire. Then lower the car back down and tighten the lug nuts clockwise before replacing the cover.
7. Checking and Changing Car Oil and Water
If you have a car and want it to keep running for years to come, you need to continuously check the car’s fluids and change them when needed. The most important fluids to check are your oil and water. A car that runs without these fluids is susceptible to incredible damage, which could end up costing you a fortune in replacement parts.
To check and change your car’s water and oil is easy, and ideally, you should check once a month. When you want to check and change your car’s water, you need to open your bonnet and locate the water bottle.
Once you have found the bottle, you can easily look at it to see how much water has been used, as it will be transparent. If there is not enough water, simply top it up using a water jug or hose.
To check the oil, you will need to locate the oil dipstick that has a minimum and maximum mark on the bottom of it. You will see this mark by drawing the stick out. If the oil mark shows that it is less than the minimum, you need to top up the oil.
To top up the oil, you open up the oil cap and pour in the specific oil needed for your car one pint at a time. However, remember to continuously check the stick so that it does not go over the maximum line limit.
8. Drilling Through a Tile
Sometimes you will need to drill through a tile to place or replace a water pipe. Often this is a tricky procedure because you can easily break the tile, which you won’t want to do. To drill through a tile without breaking it, you will need a screw, drill, and hammer.
Take your screw and place it precisely where you plan to drill your hole. Next, take your hammer and tap the screw gently until you have pierced the tile’s glaze and created a small divot. After doing this, take your drill and a masonry drill bit and drill into where you have made a divot. If you do this correctly, you won’t break the tile, nor will you scratch or crack it.
9. Tightening Door Hinges
Have you noticed a door in your house or office scraping or sticking when you open and close it? If you have, it’s likely you have a loose door hinge. This issue is easy to fix and won’t take you more than a few moments. However, to ensure that a loose door hinge is the culprit, move the door up and down by the lock side. If it moves when you do this, then it’s the hinge.
To tighten a loose door hinge, you need to find and remove any loose screws. Every time you remove a screw, push in a wooden matchstick that has been dipped in carpenters glue into the screw hole. This will act as a patch and allow you to place your screw into the hinge without it becoming loose again.
10. Unclogging a Drain
You will likely experience a blocked drain at least once in your lifetime. Most people will be quick to call out a professional plumber to fix this issue. Yet, there is an alternative. You can fix a clogged drain yourself if you have the skill.
Usually, you can use three simple methods to try and unclog a bathroom or kitchen drain. The first method you should try involves a mixture of white vinegar, hot water, and baking soda. You will throw this mixture down the drain, and it will break down any grease or soap scum that is clogging it.
Should this not work, the next method you can use involves using a plunger. If you are unclogging the kitchen sink, don’t use a plunger from the bathroom and vice versa. Before plunging, fill your sink with water but only halfway. Then take your plunger and plunge the drain.
If this also doesn’t work, you can unscrew the trap underneath your sink. The trap will be a curved pipe. Once you have taken off the trap, you can manually clean out the blockage clogging your drain. Yet, remember to place a bucket underneath this pipe to catch any falling debris.
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11. Digging a Hole
Although digging a hole is a skill that comes naturally to most, you can dig a hole incorrectly. If you dig a hole and use your shovel, you can accidentally hit an electrical line and electrocute yourself.
That’s why it’s usually best to be cautious and contact the company in charge of underground utilities in your area. They can tell you if there is an electrical or water line situated in the place you want to dig. This way, when you are ready to dig, you can mark out areas that have underground utilities, so you know to avoid them.
12. Disposing of Leftover Paint
Have you recently repainted your house or office and now you don’t know what to do with the leftover paint? Did you know that you can’t simply throw paint down the drain? Nor can you dispose of it as you would ordinary trash unless it has dried to a solid.
If you simply throw your wet paint into the trash, you could be exposing groundwater to contaminants. To safely dispose of paint, you need to dry it out. You can do this by mixing cat litter into a paint tin. Otherwise, you can search for places that will take the paint off your hands and recycle it. Additionally, you can dispose of the paint at a hazardous waste center.
13. Stopping an Overflowing Toilet
One of the handiest handyman skills you can have is to know how to stop an overflowing toilet. Usually, an overflowing toilet can be fixed easily as long as you remember that a toilet works within the laws of gravity.
When water from the toilet cistern cannot quickly leave the bowl, it will cause the refill water to spill over. To stop this from happening, take the top of the cistern off, remove the floatation device, and pull it nearer to the tank’s valve. This will give you enough time to reach in and shut off the water and stop the toilet from overflowing.
14. Removing a Stripped Screw
Removing a stripped screw isn’t a difficult process, but you can have your work cut out for you. Stripped screws are nuisances that can take a while to fix, but you can get through this task quickly with the right amount of effort and patience.
To remove a stripped screw from a wall or item, you will need a screwdriver that matches the size of the screw and a hammer. Taking your hammer, you will have to gently tap the screwdriver into the head of the screw.
You will need to use a decent amount of downward momentum to force the screw out slowly as you back away from it. You will need to repeat this until the screw has been removed.
15. Changing a Shower Head
You might not believe it, but a showerhead needs to be changed periodically as the nozzles that let out water become clogged after months or years of use. Removing and replacing a shower head is not too difficult and won’t take you too much time.
To remove a showerhead, you will need to use a wrench. Taking your wrench, loosen the showerhead by moving counterclockwise. Once it’s loosened enough, you can take it off with your hands.
Before lacing a new showerhead, remember to clean any shower scum off the showerhead stem with vinegar or alcohol and a cloth. Then take Teflon tape and wrap the showerhead stem. Afterward, install the new showerhead by turning it onto the pipe clockwise.
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16. Cleaning Stained Grout
After a few months of living in a home, you will likely notice that the grout in your bathroom and kitchen has become stained. This can look unsightly and be unhygienic. Luckily you don’t always need to replace the grout to get rid of its stained appearance. Sometimes you can clean it to get rid of any stains.
To clean the grout effectively, you will need a steam cleaner. Taking the steam cleaner, you need to run it over the grout. By doing this, the steam will bring the dirt to the surface. Once the dirt has been brought to the surface, you can simply wipe it away with a cloth without needing to use any harsh chemicals.
If you want to go one step further and prevent your grout from staining in the future, you can brush on a penetrating sealer.
17. Picking an Interior Lock
Have you ever locked yourself in a room or had a friend locked in a room and had no choice but to break down the door or call the locksmith to get them free? If you knew how to pick an interior lock, you wouldn’t need to go do this. Picking an interior lock is an easy skill to learn.
First, find the small hole located on the surface of a doorknob. Next, find a slim piece of metal; for example, you can use a flathead screwdriver.
Taking this piece of metal or tool, you will place it into the small hole you identified earlier. Wiggling the metal, you will feel for a spring inside that you will need to compress. Alternatively, you can slip the screwdriver directly onto the spring and turn.
18. Checking for Termites
A worst nightmare come to life for homeowners is discovering their much-loved house has fallen victim to termites. If this issue isn’t caught in time, your home could suffer serious damage. Some believe they will see or hear termites eating away at the wood in their home, but this is not the case.
Although you can’t fix a termite problem on your own as it usually requires the expertise of a licensed exterminator, you can check to see if they are a problem in your home yourself. Start by looking for all the places in your house where there is wood.
Inspect your wooden framing, cabinets, and cupboards for raised or branchlike tubular patterns. If you break this open and discover cream-colored or yellow-looking insects, you will have found a termite problem.
19. Fixing a Seized lock
Often a locksmith can charge you a small fortune to fix your seized lock. Yet, contrary to popular belief, you can easily unseize a lock on your own if you have the materials and the know-how. To fix your seized lock, make sure you have WD-40 or a similar lubrication substitute.
Begin by locating the keyhole of your lock. Then take the WD-40 and spray it directly into this whole. When you do this, the solution will lubricate the inside mechanisms of the lock quickly and effectively.
If you have done this and it doesn’t fix the problem, it could be that your seized lock has a broken tumbler or spring. Should this be the case, you will likely need the assistance of a locksmith. However, to keep your lock from seizing in the future, spray a lubrication solution into its mechanisms yearly.
20. Cleaning Gutters
If you live in a city condo or apartment, it’s unlikely you will need to know how to clean gutters, but if you live in a house, you will need this skill. If you don’t clean your gutters, you will run into issues during the rainy season.
To clean the gutters, you will need a stable ladder, a rubbish bag, and a hose. Once you have placed your ladder near the gutters, clean out all the leaves and other debris. You can dig out the foliage with your hands, or you can opt to use a spade.
Once you have removed all debris and placed it in the rubbish bags, you will need to flush out the pipes with a high-pressure hose. For the last step, you need to use your hose to flush the gutter downspouts. By doing this, you make sure that there are no blockages.
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21. Hanging Heavy Objects on Dry Wall
Does your house or office feature drywall? Do you need to hang a heavy object, but you’re worried you will break the wall? This is a real concern if you don’t know how to correctly hang heavy objects on drywall.
Firstly if you were planning on using cone-shaped plastic anchors, don’t. Those anchors are made for plaster and not drywall. Instead, you need to use a toggle bolt as this device will provide the support needed to keep a heavy object attached to drywall.
A toggle bolt is an easily adjustable metal accessory that can fold or pivot to get into drywall through an already present hole. Once you have placed the toggle bolt, you will fold the metal flip sides flat against the board. This will brace the toggle and the item you have screwed to the front of the drywall.
22. Using a Fire Extinguisher
You never know when you will need to use a fire extinguisher. Therefore, it’s best to know how to use one in case a fire needs to be put out. Interestingly, a fire extinguisher only has approximately eight seconds of life, so you need to know how to work fast and have the necessary skills to use one.
Using a fire extinguisher is easy if you remember the acronym “PASS.” Start by pulling the pin, then aim the nozzle towards the base of the flames, then squeeze the trigger on the extinguisher and lastly, sweep the foam spray from one side to the other.
23. Repairing a Doorbell
Not everyone has a doorbell, but for some, it’s an essential house feature. If you have a doorbell and it has suddenly stopped working, you don’t necessarily need to buy a brand new one or call a repairman. You can almost always fix it yourself if you know the three parts that make up a doorbell.
Inside a doorbell, there is a bell, switch, and a transformer that lies between these two components. If you do not hear a sound when you press the button, you need to check the switch’s wiring connections.
To do this, you need only press the two wires together. Should the bell ring, you will know that you need to replace the switch. However, if touching the wires together does not fix the issue, or if you hear a strange sound, you must check the bell. When checking the bell, make sure it is clean and that the hammer is not bent away from the bell.
You should also check the wiring. If you have done all this and it still does not work, then it is likely that the transformer is broken. Only an electrician can fix the transformer.
24. Replacing a Screen Window
Screen windows are incredibly handy features as they help keep pesky bugs outside where they belong. Yet when your screen has been damaged or has suffered wear and tear and needs to be replaced, it can be challenging if you don’t know what to do.
Although it might seem complicated, you can easily change a screen window. Start by taking down your window frame and laying it somewhere flat. If your window frame is wood, simply take off the old screen by removing the staples or nails holding it in place.
However, if the window frame holding your screen in place is vinyl or metal, you need to look for a rubber seal. Using a screwdriver, carefully remove the spline of the seal. After doing this, you can measure out the new screen material to fit the windows frame.
To attach the new screen to a wooden window frame, you must use a hammer and nails or staple gun to attach the screen into place. The replacement process for a vinyl or metal frame is slightly more tricky. You will need to use a specific spline tool or a putty knife to force the new screen into the spline groove. Once you have done this, cut away any excess screen and place the window frame back where it belongs.
25. Replacing a Toilet Seat
Have you gone to the bathroom and sat down on a toilet seat only to hear a loud noise or feel a shift, only to discover you have a broken toilet seat? Although not having a toilet seat is a huge hassle, replacing one isn’t. To replace your toilet seat, you will need to open the bolt caps at the back of the seat first.
After doing this, find the nut that holds the toilet seat to the bowl and hold it secure while you loosen the bolts that hold the toilet seat in place. Next, you will take your new seat and place it in the same position as your old seat but make sure to align it correctly with the toilet bowl.
Once you have done this, all that’s left is to bolt and screw in the toilet seat securely. Yet, you need to ensure the seat is centered as an uncentered toilet seat will break easily.
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