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  • Writer's pictureMike Shu

What Are The Most Common Handyman Repairs?

Updated: Mar 7

Owning a home, while rewarding, comes with responsibilities like unexpected minor repairs, from leaky faucets to creaky doors. This guide delves into the most common handyman repairs, empowering homeowners to identify potential problems, assess their DIY capabilities, and make informed decisions about hiring a professional. Understanding these repairs equips you to navigate the world of homeownership with confidence.


A handyman hammering a nail unto a wood plank

Common Handyman Repairs


1. Plumbing Issues


Leaking faucets

While replacing washers and seals is often a straightforward task for a handyman, there are additional details to consider:

  • Identifying the leak location: Leaks can originate from the handle base, spout, or cartridge. Knowing the source helps determine the specific repair approach.

  • Selecting the right replacement parts: Different faucet types require specific washer and seal configurations. A handyman can ensure compatibility and prevent future leaks.

  • Tools and techniques: Replacing faucet components involves using adjustable wrenches, screwdrivers, and possibly a basin wrench. A handyman has the necessary tools and knows proper disassembly and reassembly techniques.

Clogged drains

Beyond plungers and snakes, a handyman utilizes various techniques for tougher clogs:

  • Chemical drain cleaners: These can be effective for minor clogs but should be used cautiously due to potential pipe corrosion and harmful fumes. A handyman knows which types are safe and how to use them responsibly.

  • Auger: This motorized drain snake can power through tough clogs in deeper pipes. A handyman can navigate the auger effectively and avoid damaging the pipes.

  • Hydro-jetting: This highly effective method uses a pressurized water jet to clear stubborn clogs and debris buildup within the pipes. A licensed plumber typically performs this specialized service.

Running toilets

A handyman can diagnose the cause of a running toilet by:

  • Inspecting the flapper valve: This valve seals the toilet tank, and if worn or damaged, it allows water to continuously flow into the bowl. A handyman can replace the flapper valve to resolve the issue.

  • Checking the fill valve: This valve controls the water level in the tank. A faulty fill valve can malfunction and overflow the tank, leading to a running toilet. A handyman can repair or replace the fill valve as needed.

  • Adjusting the float ball: This component regulates the fill valve by rising with the water level. If the float ball is misaligned, it can cause the fill valve to malfunction. A handyman can adjust the float ball to ensure proper water level control.

Dripping pipes

Addressing leaky pipes involves identifying the cause and utilizing appropriate repair methods:

  • Loose connections: A handyman can tighten the connection using wrenches or other tools, ensuring a proper seal and stopping the leak.

  • Corroded pipes: Corroded pipes require replacement to prevent further leaks and potential bursts. A handyman can assess the extent of the damage and recommend the best course of action, which might involve replacing the affected pipe section or calling a licensed plumber for complex repairs.

  • Damaged pipes: Physical damage from punctures or cracks necessitates replacing the damaged section. A handyman can cut out the damaged part, install a new pipe section using soldering or specialized connectors (depending on the pipe material), and ensure a leak-proof connection.

2. Drywall Repair

While basic holes and minor cracks might be suitable for DIY attempts, a handyman offers comprehensive drywall repair services, including:


Small holes (up to 2 inches in diameter):

  • Patch selection: Different hole sizes and shapes require specific patch types, such as mesh patches for larger holes or drywall spackle for tiny imperfections. A handyman can choose the appropriate patch for a seamless and durable repair.

  • Applying joint compound: This paste-like material fills the hole and creates a smooth surface. A handyman skillfully applies and smooths the compound in multiple thin layers to prevent cracking and ensure a level finish.

  • Sanding and finishing: Once the compound dries, the handyman meticulously sands the area to create a smooth and even surface, ready for painting.

Large holes and cracks (exceeding 2 inches):

  • Cutting the patch: A handyman carefully cuts a rectangular patch of drywall larger than the hole, ensuring enough material for secure attachment.

  • Scoring and snapping: To create a clean edge, the handyman scores the back of the drywall patch along the cut lines using a utility knife. Then, they carefully snap the gypsum core, leaving the paper backing intact.

  • Securing the patch: The handyman positions the patch over the hole, aligns it precisely, and secures it using drywall screws and washers. They ensure minimal protrusion of the screw heads for easier finishing.

  • Reinforcing large cracks: For extensive cracks, a handyman might use fiberglass mesh tape embedded in the joint compound to provide additional reinforcement and prevent future cracking.

Water damage

  • Assessing the extent: A crucial step is evaluating the severity of the water damage. This involves identifying the source of the leak, measuring the affected area, and checking for mold growth.

  • Removing damaged drywall: The handyman carefully removes the water-damaged drywall section, taking precautions to prevent further spread of moisture and mold.

  • Drying the area: Proper drying is essential to prevent mold growth and ensure successful repair. The handyman might use dehumidifiers, fans, or a combination of methods to expedite the drying process.

  • Mold remediation: If mold is present, the handyman addresses it following recommended safety protocols and using appropriate cleaning solutions. They might recommend professional mold remediation services for extensive infestations.

  • Drywall replacement and finishing: After the area is dry and free of mold, the handyman installs new drywall, following the same process as large hole repair for patching, sanding, and finishing.

 

3. Fixture Installation and Repair


Light Fixture Installation

While seemingly straightforward, safe and proper light fixture installation involves several crucial steps a handyman can expertly handle:

  • Safety first: The handyman starts by turning off the power to the circuit controlling the light fixture at the breaker box. This is vital to prevent electrical shock hazards during the installation process.

  • Disconnecting the old fixture: The handyman carefully removes the old fixture by unscrewing the mounting screws and detaching the electrical wires using appropriate wire connectors. They properly label the wires to ensure proper reconnection during installation.

  • Installing the new fixture: The handyman follows the manufacturer's instructions to assemble the new fixture, ensuring all components are securely attached. They then connect the wires using compatible wire nuts or connectors, matching colors for proper polarity.

  • Securing the fixture: The handyman mounts the new fixture onto the electrical box using the provided screws and ensures a secure and level installation.

  • Testing and final touches: Finally, the handyman turns the power back on at the breaker box and tests the functionality of the new light fixture. They also double-check all connections and ensure no exposed wires or loose components remain.

Ceiling Fan Installation

Installing a ceiling fan involves additional considerations beyond standard light fixtures:

  • Weight capacity: The handyman verifies that the existing electrical box and ceiling structure can support the weight of the chosen ceiling fan. This is crucial to ensure safety and prevent potential damage.

  • Wiring and balancing: Connecting the fan's electrical wires requires matching colors and ensuring proper grounding. The handyman uses specialized tools and knowledge to balance the fan blades for smooth and quiet operation.

  • Downrod selection: Depending on the ceiling height and desired fan placement, the handyman might need to install a downrod to adjust the fan's hanging distance. They ensure the downrod is securely attached to both the fan and the ceiling box.

Faucet Replacement

Replacing faucets requires knowledge of plumbing connections and proper tools:


  • Shutting off water supply: The handyman starts by turning off the water supply valves beneath the sink to prevent water from flowing while working on the faucet.

  • Disconnecting the old faucet: Using adjustable wrenches and other tools, the handyman carefully disconnects the water lines and removes the old faucet from the sink.

  • Installing the new faucet: The handyman follows the manufacturer's instructions to install the new faucet, ensuring proper connections with the water lines and sink. They use plumber's tape or other sealing materials to prevent leaks at the connections.

  • Testing and adjustments: Once installed, the handyman turns on the water supply and tests the new faucet for leaks and proper function. They adjust the handles and spout as needed for optimal performance.

 

4. Carpentry Repairs

While some basic carpentry tasks are manageable for DIY enthusiasts, addressing more complex issues requires expertise and specialized tools. Here's a closer look at how a handyman tackles common carpentry repairs:

Sticking doors

  • Diagnosis: The handyman first identifies the source of the sticking issue. This could involve checking if the door rubs against the frame, if the hinges are misaligned or worn, or if the door itself has warped due to moisture or temperature changes.

  • Solutions: Depending on the cause, the handyman might:

  • Adjust hinges: They can tighten loose hinge screws or slightly bend the hinge plate to create more clearance between the door and frame.

  • Plane the door: If the door itself is warped, the handyman uses a planer, a specialized tool, to shave off minute amounts of wood from the sticking side to achieve a flat and even surface.

  • Repair the frame: In cases of frame misalignment, the handyman might use shims (thin wedges) or plane the frame itself to ensure proper alignment with the door.

Loose cabinet hardware

  • Tightening screws: The most common solution involves simply tightening the screws securing the hardware, like knobs or handles, to the cabinet door or drawer.

  • Replacing hardware: If the screws are stripped or the hardware itself is damaged beyond repair, the handyman can replace it with new hardware of the same style or a desired upgrade. They ensure proper fit and secure mounting to the cabinet.

Damaged trim

  • Repairing cracks and chips: The handyman uses wood filler, a putty-like substance, to fill in cracks and chips. They meticulously sand the filled area to create a smooth surface, ensuring it blends seamlessly with the surrounding trim.

  • Replacing damaged sections: For severely damaged or missing trim pieces, the handyman can replace them with new sections made from matching wood species. They ensure proper cutting, fitting, and secure attachment to the wall or adjoining trim.

  • Repainting: Once repairs are complete, the handyman can repaint the affected area or the entire trim piece to achieve a uniform and aesthetically pleasing finish.

 

5. Painting

While painting can be a DIY project, achieving a professional and long-lasting finish often requires the expertise of a handyman. Here's what you can expect from their service:

Preparation:

This crucial stage lays the foundation for a successful paint job.

  • Surface cleaning: The handyman thoroughly cleans the walls, ceilings, or trim to remove dirt, dust, cobwebs, and any loose paint particles. This ensures good paint adhesion and a smooth finish.

  • Patching and sanding: They address minor imperfections like nail holes, cracks, or uneven surfaces by filling them with appropriate patching materials and meticulously sanding them smooth.

  • Drop cloths and masking: The handyman protects floors, furniture, and other surfaces with drop cloths and masking tape to prevent paint splatter and ensure crisp lines.

Painting:

  • Primer application: Applying a primer helps create a uniform base, improve paint adhesion, and enhance the overall finish. The handyman chooses the appropriate primer type based on the surface and paint being used.

  • Paint selection: They consider factors like surface type, desired finish (matte, satin, gloss), and environmental conditions when selecting the right paint.

  • Professional application: The handyman uses high-quality brushes, rollers, and sprayers (for larger areas) to apply the paint in smooth, even coats, ensuring proper coverage and minimizing streaking or dripping.

Finishing touches:

  • Cleanup: Once the painting is complete, the handyman meticulously removes all masking tape and drop cloths, leaving the work area clean and tidy.

  • Touch-ups: They address any minor imperfections or missed spots with touch-up paint for a flawless final finish.

6. Other Common Handyman Repairs

Beyond the previously mentioned repairs, a handyman can address a wide range of additional tasks to maintain your home's functionality and comfort:

  • Window blind and shade repair: Replacing broken cords, reattaching slats, or fixing malfunctioning mechanisms.

  • Door lock and knob installation/repair: Installing new locks, repairing broken handles, or re-keying existing locks for security purposes.

  • Furniture assembly: Putting together complex furniture pieces efficiently and ensuring sturdy and secure assembly.

  • Mounting shelves, TVs, and mirrors: Securely attaching these items to walls using appropriate mounting hardware and ensuring proper leveling and alignment.

  • Air filter replacement: Changing air filters in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to maintain optimal airflow and air quality.

  • Appliance troubleshooting and minor repairs: Identifying basic appliance issues and potentially fixing minor problems like replacing faulty light bulbs or clogged filters.

It's important to note that for complex repairs involving electrical work, major appliance issues, or plumbing requiring licensed professionals, a handyman would recommend seeking the services of a qualified electrician, appliance repair technician, or plumber, respectively.


A handyman installing a white window frame

Conclusion

Owning a home is a significant investment, and maintaining it in good condition requires ongoing effort and attention to detail. While tackling minor repairs yourself can be a rewarding experience, it's crucial to be realistic about your skillset and comfort level. This comprehensive guide on common handyman repairs aims to empower you to:

  • Identify potential problems: Recognizing early signs of trouble, like leaky faucets, sticking doors, or cracked drywall, allows you to address them before they become more extensive and costly issues.

  • Decide on DIY or professional repair: For simple tasks like replacing air filters or tightening loose screws, attempting DIY repairs can be a cost-effective solution. However, for complex repairs involving specialized tools, electrical work, or plumbing concerns, seeking the expertise of a qualified handyman is highly recommended.

  • Understand the value of a handyman: A skilled handyman offers a plethora of benefits:

  • Expertise and experience: They possess the knowledge, skills, and tools to tackle various repairs efficiently and effectively.

  • Safety: They prioritize safety measures, ensuring repairs adhere to proper codes and regulations, minimizing the risk of accidents or injuries.

  • Time-saving: By delegating tasks you might struggle with, you can free up valuable time for other priorities.

  • Peace of mind: Knowing your repairs are done correctly and with quality materials provides peace of mind and ensures the longevity of your home's functionality and aesthetics.

Remember, a well-maintained home not only enhances your living comfort and enjoyment but also contributes to its overall value and longevity. By utilizing this guide to identify potential issues and understanding the value of professional help, you can confidently and proactively ensure your home remains a safe, comfortable, and valuable asset.

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