A brick exterior gives many homes -- especially older homes -- a look of distinction and character. And almost every home, even more-modern dwellings, has concrete stairs in the front or back and a concrete driveway or sidewalks.

These very features that can give a home its "personality" are also the areas that may require some repair as years pass, and hiring a professional for these jobs can be expensive. However, with just a few tools, easy-to-access materials and some elbow grease, you can be your own home-maintenance crew.

This article provides the instructions and illustrations you'll need to learn how to do brick and mortar repairs (known as tuckpointing), replace a brick when it comes loose from a wall or chimney, repair crumbling concrete steps, fix a crack in a brick or concrete block wall, and fill pesky potholes in your driveway.

Grab your tool box and click to the next page to begin repairing loose mortar joints between bricks.

For further tips and instructions on how to fix things around the house:

  • Home-Repair Safety Tips: Doing the job yourself doesn't save you money if you end up in the emergency room. Read these tips to make sure you work smart when doing home repairs.
  • Home-Repair Materials Basics: Stock up on these frequently used items and you can be Mr. or Ms. Fix-It without six trips to the hardware store.
  • Home-Repair Tool Basics: Does your tool box have what it takes? Learn what tools you're likely to be looking for when making repairs around the house.