I’ve always been hands on when it comes to home improvement. My parents were too, and I guess it rubbed off on me. In the early 90’s they bought a house in France that needed everything doing to it, and we would take holidays and do it up at the same time. So it never phased me to do a bit of painting and wallpapering. When I bought my first flat, I did all the wallpapering, painting and decorating, and fitted a laminate floor. We moved 3 more times and each house has had it’s own challenges and triumphs. Now we have three children it’s harder to get things done, so I outsource where I can and finances allow. I’ve written this list because my husband with the best will in the world has little time and when he does, he often ‘doesn’t have the right tools,’ or it turns out a little bit different to how I expected. So most of the time I do it quietly myself when he’s not there. Here’s my list of 8 DIY jobs all women should know how to do. It applies to men too, and they really aren’t that difficult, despite some opinions to the contrary.
1. Know your drill
Get to know your power drill. Whether it’s a plug in or a cordless, get to know how to use a drill. There are two different actions, hammer and screw and each are for different jobs. It’s so handy to be able to screw in screws quickly, put up shelves, hang curtains, and the most useful of all, hooks and curtain tie backs. It’s not as scary as you think. Just make your mark in pencil, choose the right drill bit and go for it.
2. How to bleed a radiator
There’s nothing worse than being cold. When you put your heating on and the radiator isn’t coming on, or only heats half the radiator, it usually needs bleeding and it’s a really easy fix. You’ll need a radiator bleeding key – we know keep ours on a hook in the cupboard ready in case we need it. All you do is put the key in the radiator, turn it and you’ll hear the air escape, then just before any water comes out, turn it back. You might want to put a towel down just in case, but usually it’s no problem. For a more comprehensive guide to bleeding radiators, click here.
3. Hanging wallpaper
Again, this is easier than it seems. You can even get wallpaper that is pre pasted so you just put it up, or one where you paste the wall and just stick the paper up. You’ll need a wallpaper table, ladder, brush, paste, scissors and a pencil. Once you have measured the strips and put the paste on, fold the edge of the paper up on itself. Once you stick it on the wall it has some give so you can adjust it. I found hanging wallpaper very therapeutic.
4. Unblocking the toilet
Not very glamorous but an essential. First, buy a plunger, because they solve most things. Next, check there isn’t something stuck down there. We once called out a drain company who had to keep coming back because it wasn’t sorted, only to find one of the kids had dropped the under rim cleaning cage thing down and it was stuck. Lesson learned. Make sure you know where the drain cover and drain is located, and take a look in there. If you can see sewage swimming around you have a problem. You might be able to sluice it through with a long pole.
5. Fix a leaking tap
Only for the brave, but it is a fairly straightforward job. If your tap is an old fashioned one, it may be quite stiff. The feeling of satisfaction you get when you have done it is amazing. For a complete breakdown click here.
6. Put together flatpack
One word of warning: if it says it needs two people to assemble, pay attention. If it can be done alone, go ahead. Follow the instructions and you’re well away. Make sure you have the tools needed and take your time. It’s much easier doing it alone than arguing with your other half.
7. Use filler to fill a hole in the wall
You can get ready made filler or a powder that you mix with water. For small holes decorator’s caulk is good. Use a spreader tool and smooth over the filler. Once it’s dry you can sand it off to make it smooth, then paint over it as needed.
8. How to apply sealant
For the kitchen, bathroom or anywhere you need to seal. You need the sealant and a gun applicator. This applicator makes it easier. Run the gun over the surface you need to seal, don’t be scared if it looks rough, you then go over it with your finger or a smoothing tool.
9. How to hang a picture
Now that we all love a gallery wall, you need to know how to hang all your pictures. It’s better to drill a small pilot hole for your nail rather than just banging it in, especially if you have really solid interior walls (like I do). Plan out where you want your picture and make a pencil mark.
10. Painting a wall
Whether it’s a feature wall or everywhere is white, you’ll need masking tape to get a clean edge and paint brushes and rollers. When using a roller, they do splash a bit so ensure you’ve got dust sheets over everything. Think about the paint you’re using for the room too.
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