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How to tackle common DIY tasks

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Those pesky little problems aren’t going to sort themselves out, so strap on your tool belt and get to work.

 Man with toolbelt

More than half of people under 35 don’t know how to do simple DIY jobs around the house, according to our research.

Well, we’re here to help. Here are some quick, step-by-step tips for some of the more common home improvements that will bring out your inner handyman.

How to fix a leaky tap

Man fixing sink

1. Turn off the water.

This is important – you don’t want to flood your house from the inside.

There should be a handle under the sink that lets you do this. If not, you can turn off the water at the mains using the outside stopcock.

Just turn the valve clockwise a few times and wait a few minutes.

You can also turn the tap on to drain any excess water.

2. Remove the handle and any body covers. 

Most taps have a visible screw between the handle and the body of the tap – unscrew this and pull the handle off.

3. Take out the tap headgear.

You should see the tap headgear held in place by a nut at the top. Use an adjustable spanner to remove this nut and take out the headgear.

4. Replace the washer and re-assemble the tap.

Most leaks are caused by a damaged washer at the bottom of the headgear. Replacing it usually fixes the problem.

5. Turn the water back on and test that everything’s working fine.

TOP TIP: Put the plug in the sink before you start taking the tap apart. This’ll make sure no small screws and nuts fall down the plughole.

How to replace a broken toilet seat

 Bathroom toilet

1. Measure the width and length of your seat before you buy a new one.

There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to toilet seats.

2. Remove the old seat.

There should be bolts that go through the hinges to connect the seat to the base. Unscrew the nuts on the underside and lift the old seat off.

3. Clean the toilet base.

Pay close attention to the bolt holes where the old seat was fixed – there’s usually a build-up of grime here.

4. Line up your new seat with the base and push the bolts through the hinges.

5. Place and tighten the nuts to secure the seat.

How to fix a creaky floorboard

 Lady with hammer

1. Lift up the carpet or anything covering up the offending floorboard.

2. Sprinkle some talc or flour around the board and on the nails.

Creaking is sometimes caused by friction between the board and the nails, so this should ease this friction and stop the creaking.

3. If that doesn’t work, get some 50-60mm screws and screw them in right next to the existing screws or nails.

Another cause of creaking is that the floorboard has come loose from the supporting joists.

Adding new screws in next to the existing ones makes sure that you’re fixing the board to the joist, and not drilling through a cable or pipe.

How to clean wine stains from carpet with household ingredients

Red wine split on carpet

1. Blot away the excess liquid with a piece of kitchen roll or a clean cloth.

Do not rub – you’ll only make it worse. Start from the outside and work your way in.

2. Cover the stain in salt.

Get some table salt and pour it over the stain so that it’s no longer visible. Wait until the salt changes colour and vacuum it up.

The salt will help absorb the liquid from the carpet before it dries in.

3. Mix one part cold water with one part white vinegar and add baking soda until you make a paste.

Apply the paste to the stain and blot it in using a clean cloth.

4. Wait a few minutes and blot out the mixture.

If there’s still some paste left, add some cold water to the stain and repeat until the carpet is clean.

How to replace broken bathroom wall tiles

 DIY in kitchen

1. Remove the grouting that surrounds the broken tile with a sharp knife.

2. Use a putty knife to lift out the loose tile.

If the tile is too big, hold a cloth over it and hit with a hammer to break into smaller pieces before removing them.

3. Scrape off any adhesive left on the wall and apply a fresh coat of adhesive.

4. Put the new tile in place.

The adhesive should let you get the position as you want it before it sets.

5. Grout around the new tile, then wipe with a damp cloth.

It’s as simple as that! If you’re not too confident in your DIY abilities, or if the job looks more complicated, then it’s probably worth getting in a professional.

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