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  • Writer's pictureMike Shu

What Are The Most Common Handyman Repairs?

A handyman, or handywoman, is a skilled individual who performs a wide range of home maintenance and repair tasks, generally without requiring a specialized license. They often act as a jack-of-all-trades, tackling diverse projects around the house, from fixing dripping faucets to painting walls. Handyman services fill the gap between minor household tasks and major renovations, often focusing on practical repairs and improvements.

A handyman repairing plumbing

Plumbing Repairs

Leaky faucets and showerheads: h3

Identifying the culprit behind a leaky faucet or showerhead is the first step towards a drip-free future. Here's a breakdown of common types and their potential issues:

Faucet types:

  • Compression faucets: These classic fixtures use washers to control water flow. A worn washer around the handle stem is a frequent cause of drips.

  • Cartridge faucets: These modern marvels contain a single replaceable cartridge that governs water flow and temperature. Leaks often indicate a faulty cartridge.

  • Ball faucets: With a single rotating ball controlling both water flow and temperature, these faucets are known for their durability. However, worn O-rings around the ball can lead to leaks.

Showerhead types:

  • Fixed showerheads: These basic models offer limited adjustability but are simple to maintain. Leaks typically stem from worn gaskets or connections.

  • Handheld showerheads: Offering greater flexibility, these showerheads can develop leaks at the hose connection or within the spray mechanism.

  • Rainfall showerheads: These luxurious fixtures provide a spa-like experience but can be prone to leaks from multiple spray nozzles or connections.

Diagnosing the leak:

  • Compression faucets: Listen for telltale drips or hissing sounds around the handle. Look for water stains beneath the faucet or on the surrounding countertop.

  • Cartridge faucets: Persistent dripping, even after tightening the handle, often points to a faulty cartridge.

  • Ball faucets: Check for leaks around the handle or base of the faucet. Water dripping from the spout usually indicates worn O-rings.

  • Fixed showerheads: Inspect the connection between the shower arm and the showerhead for leaks. Look for cracks or damage to the showerhead itself.

  • Handheld showerheads: Check the hose connection for leaks or tears. Disassemble the spray head if necessary to identify faulty gaskets or internal leaks.

  • Rainfall showerheads: Leaks can occur at any of the numerous spray nozzles or connection points. A thorough visual inspection is crucial.

Repair methods:

Once you've identified the source of the leak, it's time to get your hands dirty (or call a plumber if you're DIY-challenged). Here's a basic rundown of repair methods:

  • Compression faucets: Replacing the worn washer around the handle stem is a simple fix with readily available parts.

  • Cartridge faucets: Replacing the entire cartridge is usually the most efficient solution for leaks in these models.

  • Ball faucets: Worn O-rings around the ball can be easily replaced with new ones.

  • Fixed showerheads: Tightening the connection between the shower arm and the showerhead might solve the leak. In some cases, replacing the gasket or the entire showerhead may be necessary.

  • Handheld showerheads: Repairing leaks at the hose connection typically involves tightening or replacing the hose gasket. For leaks within the spray head, replacement might be the best option.

  • Rainfall showerheads: Depending on the location of the leak, you might need to tighten connections, replace gaskets, or even swap out individual spray nozzles.

Prevention tips:

A little preventative TLC can go a long way in keeping your faucets and showerheads drip-free:

  • Regular maintenance: Schedule annual checkups for your faucets and showerheads to identify and address potential issues before they turn into leaks.

  • Quality parts: Invest in durable washers, gaskets, and O-rings to minimize the risk of premature wear and tear.

  • Gentle operation: Avoid over-tightening handles or rough handling of showerheads to prevent damage to delicate parts.

  • Turn off the water: When leaving your home for extended periods, turn off the water supply to your faucets and showerheads to prevent leaks from developing in your absence.

By understanding the different types of faucets and showerheads, common leak culprits, and repair methods, you can tackle those pesky drips with confidence and keep your bathroom oasis free from unwanted moisture.

a handyman performing electrical repairs

Electrical Repairs

A. Flickering Lights and Dead Outlets:

  • Potential Causes:

  • Loose Bulbs: Check if the bulb is securely screwed in. Loose bulbs can create poor contact and cause flickering.

  • Faulty Switches: Worn-out switches can lead to intermittent connections and flickering lights. Look for discoloration, sparking, or difficulty turning the switch on and off.

  • Overloaded Circuits: When too many appliances are plugged into the same circuit, it can overload the wiring and cause flickering or dead outlets. Consider unplugging some appliances or checking the breaker box for tripped breakers.

  • Outdated Wiring: Older homes may have outdated wiring that cannot handle the demands of modern appliances. This can lead to flickering lights, dead outlets, and even fire hazards. If you suspect outdated wiring, consult a qualified handyman repairs immediately.

  • Safety First:

  • Always turn off the power at the breaker box before attempting any electrical work. This will prevent serious injury from shock or electrocution.

  • Never attempt to diagnose or repair electrical problems if you are not qualified. Electrical work requires specialized knowledge and skills to ensure safety and proper functioning.

  • Hiring a Professional:

  • If you experience flickering lights, dead outlets, or suspect potential electrical issues, it's best to hire a qualified electrician for troubleshooting and repairs. They can safely diagnose the problem, recommend solutions, and perform necessary repairs according to electrical codes.

B. Replacing Light Fixtures:

  • Choosing the Right Fixture:

  • Consider the room's style and function. Pendant lights work well over kitchen islands, while recessed lighting is good for general illumination. Sconces can add ambiance, and track lighting is great for highlighting artwork or task areas.

  • Match the light output to your needs. Choose brighter bulbs for task areas and softer lighting for bedrooms or living rooms. Consider dimmable LED bulbs for increased flexibility.

  • Think about the fixture's size and scale. Ensure the fixture is appropriately sized for the room and doesn't overwhelm the space.

  • Safe Installation:

  • Turn off the power at the breaker box. Safety first!

  • Follow the fixture manufacturer's instructions carefully. Each fixture may have specific installation requirements.

  • Connect the wires correctly. Match the wire colors to the corresponding screw terminals on the fixture and switch. (Black to black, white to white, green to ground.)

  • Secure the fixture properly. Ensure the fixture is firmly mounted to the ceiling or wall box.

  • Test the light and ensure it functions correctly.

  • Energy-Efficient Options:

  • LED bulbs: Use LED bulbs for superior energy efficiency, longer lifespan, and cooler operation compared to traditional incandescent bulbs.

  • Dimming switches: Install dimmers to adjust light output and save energy, especially in rooms with frequent light changes.

  • Smart lighting: Consider smart bulbs and systems that allow you to control lighting remotely and schedule on/off times for additional energy savings.

C. Installing Dimmer Switches and Ceiling Fans:

  • Benefits:

  • Dimmer switches: Create mood lighting, save energy, and extend bulb life.

  • Ceiling fans: Improve air circulation, reduce reliance on air conditioning, and add a decorative touch.

  • Choosing the Right Type and Size:

  • Dimmer switches: Match the dimmer type to the bulb type (LED, incandescent, etc.). Consider features like remote control or timers.

  • Ceiling fans: Choose the fan size appropriate for the room. Consider blade design, motor power, and light fixture options.

  • Safe Installation:

  • Follow the specific guidelines for your chosen dimmer switch and ceiling fan models.

  • For ceiling fans, ensure the ceiling can support the weight. Consult a professional if unsure.

  • Connect the wires correctly. Match wire colors and terminals as per the instructions.

  • Ground the fan properly. This is crucial for safety.

  • Test the dimmer switch and fan for proper operation.

  • Following Electrical Codes:

  • Ensure all electrical work adheres to local building codes and safety regulations. Consult a qualified electrician if unsure about any code requirements.

D. Home Appliance Troubleshooting handyman repairs:

  • Focus on common issues for each appliance:

  • Refrigerator: Not cooling properly, excessive noise, water leaks, ice maker malfunction.

  • Dishwasher: Doesn't clean dishes, leaks, doesn't drain, noisy operation.

  • Washing machine: Doesn't fill/drain properly, doesn't spin, excessive vibration, noisy operation.

  • Basic troubleshooting tips:

  • Consult the user manual for specific error codes and troubleshooting guides.

  • Check for simple fixes like loose connections, clogged filters, or overloaded systems.

  • Reset appliance power or perform self-cleaning cycles (if available).

  • Emphasize limitations:

  • Encourage homeowners to call professionals for complex issues, electrical problems, or potential safety hazards.

  • Discourage attempting appliance repairs without proper knowledge or tools.

Remember, safety is paramount when dealing with electrical work and appliance troubleshooting. Encourage safe practices and professional assistance whenever necessary.

A handyman engaged in carpentry and interior repairs

Carpentry and Interior Repairs

Door and window repairs:

  • Sticking doors:

  • Identify causes: warped wood due to humidity, misaligned hinges, loose doorknobs, worn-out weatherstripping.

  • Repair methods: planing warped wood, adjusting hinges, tightening screws, replacing doorknobs, or applying new weatherstripping.

  • Maintenance tips: regularly oil hinges, wipe doors dry after damp conditions, and avoid slamming doors.

  • Loose hinges:

  • Diagnose: visible gaps between hinge and door frame, door sagging or swinging unevenly.

  • Fix: tighten loose screws, replace worn-out screws with longer ones, or reattach hinge if pulled from wood.

  • Prevention: avoid overloading doors with heavy objects and use doorstops to prevent slamming.

  • Broken windowpanes:

  • Recognize types of breaks: single crack, spiderweb cracks, complete shattering.

  • Repair options: replacing the entire pane (DIY or professional), using a temporary repair kit for small cracks.

  • Safety precautions: wear gloves and protective eyewear when handling broken glass, dispose of shards carefully.

  • Drafty seals:

  • Locate drafts: feel for air leaks around window edges, use a smoke test to pinpoint problem areas.

  • Seal replacement: remove old weatherstripping, clean the surface, apply self-adhesive or nail-on stripping depending on window type.

  • Maintenance: check weatherstripping for tears or gaps annually and replace as needed.

Drywall repair:

  • Types of damage:

  • Holes: caused by doorknobs, nails, accidents, or water damage.

  • Cracks: hairline cracks from settling or larger cracks from structural movement.

  • Water damage: soft spots, discoloration, bubbling paint.

  • Patching techniques:

  • Small holes: fill with spackle, smooth with putty knife, sand, and prime before painting.

  • Large holes: cut a square patch of drywall slightly larger than the hole, insert and screw patch into place, cover seams with mesh tape, apply spackle, sand, and prime.

  • Cracks: use a crack filler tool to widen and clean the crack, fill with spackle, embed mesh tape for larger cracks, sand, and prime.

  • Painting tips:

  • Use primer specific to the spackle or drywall type.

  • Choose paint that matches the existing wall color or opt for a fresh update.

  • Apply paint in thin, even coats with a roller or brush for a professional finish.

Furniture repair:

  • Loose joints:

  • Identify location: chair legs, tabletops, drawers.

  • Fix: tighten existing screws with screwdriver or allen wrench, use wood glue for weakened joints, reinforce with dowels or corner braces for added stability.

  • Wobbly legs:

  • Check for broken or stripped screws, uneven floor surfaces, loose dowels.

  • Repair: replace screws, shim uneven legs with furniture coasters, re-glue or replace dowels.

  • Broken drawers:

  • Diagnose: cracked side panels, damaged runners, loose drawer slides.

  • Fix: glue cracks, replace broken parts, tighten or lubricate drawer slides to ensure smooth movement.

  • Upholstery tears:

  • Assess size and location of tear.

  • Repair options: patch small tears with fabric glue or iron-on patches, reupholster entire piece for larger tears or faded fabric.

  • Upcycling ideas: transform old furniture with paint, decoupage, or fabric scraps for a unique and sustainable twist.

Flooring repairs:

  • Hardwood scratches:

  • Sand out light scratches with fine-grit sandpaper, buff with steel wool, apply furniture polish for shine.

  • Deeper scratches: fill with wood putty matching the wood color, sand smooth, and reapply finish.

  • Carpet stains:

  • Blot up spills immediately with clean cloth, avoid rubbing which spreads the stain.

  • Identify the type of stain: treat food and beverage stains with enzymatic cleaner, oil-based stains with dry cleaning solvent, pet stains with specific enzyme-based cleaners.

  • Loose tiles:

  • Re-adhere with appropriate adhesive based on tile type (ceramic, porcelain, natural stone).

  • For chipped or cracked tiles, consider replacing individual tiles rather than the entire floor.

  • Dents in laminate or vinyl flooring:

  • Apply heat (hair dryer) to gently lift the dent, use a weighted object to hold it in place while it cools.

  • For deeper dents, professional flooring repair or replacement may be necessary.

Remember, these are just general guidelines. Always consult a professional for complex repairs

A handyman doing exterior maintenance and repairs on a house

Exterior Maintenance and Repairs

Gutter Cleaning and Repair:

Importance: Clogged gutters can cause serious problems like roof leaks, foundation damage, and even attract pests. When rainwater overflows instead of being directed away, it can rot fascia boards, erode soil around the foundation, and create stagnant water breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Cleaning Instructions:

  • Safety First: Always wear gloves and sturdy shoes while on a ladder. Use a harness or have someone hold the ladder if necessary.

  • Debris Removal: Start by scooping out leaves, twigs, and other debris using a gloved hand or a gutter scoop.

  • Flush the System: Use a garden hose with a spray nozzle to flush out remaining debris and check for clogged downspouts.

  • Inspect and Repair: Look for leaks, loose screws, or sagging sections. Tighten loose screws, patch minor leaks with gutter sealant, and consider re-anchoring sagging sections for better support.

Deck and Patio Maintenance:

Inspection and Safety: Regularly inspect your deck for loose boards, warped railings, and signs of rot or structural damage. Ensure railings are secure and meet height requirements.

Cleaning and Maintenance:

  • Wooden Decks: Sweep regularly to remove debris. Power wash gently once a year, using a cleaning solution suitable for wood. Apply a fresh coat of stain or sealant every 2-3 years to protect the wood from moisture and sunlight.

  • Concrete Patios: Pressure wash concrete patios to remove dirt and grime. Seal concrete every few years to prevent cracks and staining.

Professional Repairs: If you notice significant structural issues like warped joists, loose beams, or cracked concrete, it's best to consult a professional contractor for proper repairs to ensure safety and avoid further damage.

Painting and Exterior Maintenance:

Choosing Paint: Select exterior paint specifically designed for outdoor use and suitable for your climate. Consider factors like the material being painted (brick, wood, vinyl), sun exposure, and desired color durability.

Surface Preparation: Thoroughly clean the surfaces to be painted, removing dirt, mold, and mildew. Patch any cracks or holes with appropriate filler and allow it to dry completely. Sand uneven surfaces for a smoother finish.

Masking and Applying Paint: Use painter's tape to protect areas not being painted. Start with cutting in corners and trim with a brush, then use a roller for larger areas. Apply multiple thin coats for better coverage and durability.

Regular Touch-Ups: Inspect your exterior paint regularly and touch-up minor chips or scratches promptly to prevent moisture infiltration and maintain curb appeal. Consider repainting the entire house every 7-10 years, depending on the paint type and environmental factors.

By following these tips and maintaining your gutters, decks, patios, and exterior paint, you can prevent costly repairs, improve the safety and longevity of your home, and enhance its overall appearance.

Additional Tips:

  • Invest in gutter guards to reduce the frequency of cleaning and prevent debris buildup.

  • Regularly clean and maintain outdoor furniture to extend its lifespan.

  • Consider applying a water-resistant sealant to exposed concrete surfaces to prevent water damage.

  • Choose environmentally friendly painting products whenever possible.

These additional details provide more specific information and actionable steps for each aspect of exterior maintenance and repairs, helping homeowners understand the importance of regular care and offering practical tips for keeping their homes in top shape.

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