5 DIY Household Repairs

Doing home repairs yourself can save you hundreds of dollars.
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Key Takeaways

  • Reattaching a loose tile, reviving a dead battery terminal, silencing a squeaky floor, fixing a broken key and patching a holey screen are easy DIY repairs.
  • Simple methods like using aluminum foil and an iron to reattach tiles or craft glue for squeaky floors make these tasks accessible without needing professional help.
  • Techniques such as using super glue to fix a broken key or to patch up small holes in screens highlight innovative, cost-effective solutions that utilize common household items for repairs.

Over time, it's only natural that something in your house will need upkeep and/or repair; it's just one of the joys that comes with home ownership. But for many home items, you don't need to purchase expensive replacements that can cost you hundreds of dollars. Instead, take the DIY route, unleash your inner handyman and fix these five items yourself.

Doing small repairs around your home can save you tons of time and money, assuming you already have access to everything you'll need. Sure, everyone has their go-to home tool kit, but for these painless projects all you need is aluminum foil, a clothing iron and a little bit of glue. So save yourself an inconvenient trip to the hardware store, and look through these home fix-it tips to see how easy it is to whip your home back into tip-top shape.


5. Reattach a Loose Tile

Remember the "mental note" you made to fix that pesky loose floor tile? The next time you step on it, grab a sheet of aluminum foil and an iron and get to work. Most likely, the tile is loose because the adhesive securing it to the floor is no longer sticky. So all you need to do is use a little bit of heat to make the adhesive tacky again to reattach the tile, and then you can check this off of your to-do list.

Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the tile to protect it from the direct heat. Turn your iron to high and place it directly on the foil over the tile. Keep the iron on the foil and tile long enough for the adhesive to melt and reattach to the floor. If it's a small tile, it should take about five minutes; a larger tile might take 10. Finally, place a heavy object, such as a bathroom scale, on the tile until the adhesive dries again.


4. Revive a Dead Battery Terminal

Repairing a broken battery terminal with aluminum foil is simple and can keep a dead piece of electronics from the trash.

Don't let a battery terminal's bent spring or broken contact put an expensive piece of electronics out of commission, especially when a little bit of middle-school mechanics can save you a costly replacement.

Without a positive or negative terminal, a battery can't complete a simple circuit and your electronics won't be able to function. So if it's the battery terminal that is broken, all you need to do is find a suitable conductor to replace it. Thankfully, you've probably got a flexible conductor sitting in your kitchen cabinet -- aluminum foil. Tear off a small piece and fold it up into a square that will fit into the gap left by your missing battery contact. It should complete the circuit and bring your battery-operated electronics equipment back to life.


3. Silence a Squeaky Floor

If you live in a slightly older home, squeaking floorboards are probably part of your house's daily sounds. Most squeaks in the floor are caused by slightly shifted floorboards that rub against one another. So take the time to walk around your floor to identify the location of the squeak, and see exactly which floorboards are the noisy culprits.

Once you've located the squeaking planks, drizzle a little bit of craft glue in between them, making sure to wipe excess glue away with a damp rag and let it dry overnight.


2. Fix a Broken Key

A little super glue can save you a pricey visit from the locksmith.

If you turned your front door key and instead of it unlocking the deadbolt, the key split in two, don't panic. You can avoid an expensive call from the locksmith with a handy tube of super glue.

Just dot a drop of glue onto the tip of the broken key and insert it into the lock for 10 seconds. Afterward, make sure the bond to the other half of the key is solid and if it is, pull it out. Always make sure to keep a spare with a neighbor, close relative or in your car so you won't find yourself caught out in the cold.


1. Patch a Holey Screen

Are winged pests and no-see-ums finding their way through the small holes in your window screens? You can fix small holes in your screens instead of spending hundreds on replacing them. And it's easy: just dab a small spot of super glue in the hole to seal it right up.

Avoid dripping glue from drying by quickly wiping a damp cloth underneath the spot you're patching. This will also help your handiwork look as seamless as possible. If you're bothered by the clear spot in your screen, grab a thin permanent marker and lightly draw the cross-stitch pattern on the glue spot.


Adapted from Amazing Uses for Household Products: Bleach, © 2009 Publications International, Ltd.

Frequently Asked Questions

What basic tools should I have on hand to tackle these DIY repairs?
A basic toolkit should include items like super glue, craft glue, aluminum foil and an iron for various quick fixes.
How can I ensure the longevity of these DIY repairs?
Using high-quality materials like industrial-strength glue and following the repair instructions carefully can ensure that these DIY solutions last longer and remain effective.