The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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Don't Call a Professional: 5 More Easy Fixes in the Home | Patching Wallpaper, Loose Floor Tiles, Removing Candle Wax from Rug, Water Pipe Pinhole Leak, Reupholster Dining Chairs

Compiled by Vicki McClure Davidson

 

Fixing things around the house can be ongoing, expensive, and frustrating. However, you can save time and money by fixing the easy ones yourself. Here are five common problems with easy fix-it instructions that you can DIY in a snap. You don't need to call a professional for these easy home fixes: Patching Wallpaper, Loose Floor Tiles, Removing Candle Wax from Rug, Water Pipe Pinhole Leak, Reupholster Dining Chairs.

Patching Wallpaper and Removing Air Bubbles

Most bubbles you see in wallpaper are just air pockets. But sometimes, a bit of debris causes the pocket. In order to tell the difference, press on the area and see if you feel anything. If you do, cut a small X in the wallpaper with a utility knife, remove the debris, apply a little adhesive to the back of the wallpaper, and press it back against the wall. Smooth out any ripples.

If the bubble is an air pocket, carefully slice the wallpaper. If the wallpaper has a pattern, try to cut along the pattern so as to conceal your work. Apply adhesive to the back of the wallpaper and gently push it back onto the wall. Remove any excess adhesive and use a sponge or your hands to smooth out the paper.

 

Loose Floor Tiles

A loose tile on your bathroom or kitchen floor is inevitable in a well-lived-in home. But no need to call a repairman – it's easy to fix.

Remove the tile and clean it well with a rag soaked in rubbing alcohol. Also clean the hole where it was placed with rubbing alcohol. With a Spackle knife, spread a thin layer of floor tile adhesive on the back of the tile. Press the tile back into place and wipe up any excess adhesive with a dry cloth. Done!

 

Removing Candle Wax from Area Rug

Removing spilled candle wax from an area rug is easier than it looks. | Photo credit: Easy Stock Photos
Removing spilled candle wax from an area rug is easier than it looks. | Photo credit: Easy Stock Photos

Candles are so lovely and fill a room with ambiance and aroma. However, they are sometimes knocked into by friends or family. Horrifyingly, your beautiful candle spills its hot, paraffin liquid down onto your favorite area rug. No worries – this is an easy fix.

Let the wax cool completely. Then, place several thicknesses of paper towels over the dried wax. With either a hair blow dryer or low-heat iron, heat the paper towels, pressing firmly with your hand on the affected area as you do. This will soften and loosen the wax. The paper towel will absorb and grab the wax, quickly lifting it from the rug.

After about 5 seconds of heating, lift the paper towel and see how much wax has been transferred to it. Using a clean portion of the paper towel, continue to heat, press, and lift in this fashion until all the wax is removed. Be sure to not keep the heat directly on the paper towels for more than a few seconds at a time. You don't want to accidentally damage the rug's fibers from too much direct heat.

Some hint articles suggest using newspapers to blot up the wax, but I've never used them, fearing that the inks in the newspaper could be transferred to the rug.

Another Candle Wax-Removal Suggestion: I've not ever used this method, but it sounds like it would work. Put ice cubes into a metal pan. Place it right on top of the candle wax until the wax is frozen solid. With a small hammer, hit the wax to break it up. Pick up the pieces. Then apply dry-cleaning solvent on a clean cloth to remove any leftover residue.

 

Water Pipe Pinhole Leak

This fix-it is easier and cheaper than you would think. Push a toothpick into the pinhole so that it fits as tightly as possible. Do not touch the toothpick for about 10 minutes, allowing it to swell from the water. Wipe the pipe dry around the toothpick area. Break off the toothpick about a quarter-inch from the pipe surface.

Mix a generous amount of epoxy as per instructions, using cardboard as a palette. Tear several long strips of rag, about 2 inches wide. Smear epoxy around entire pipe extending about 2 inches on either side of leak. Wrap the strips of cloth around pipe, generously applying epoxy glue with each turn of the cloth. Allow epoxy to dry.

 

Reupholster Dining Chairs

Re-upholstering a dining chair in your home is easy to fix.
Re-upholstering a dining chair is an easy fix in your home.

Many upholstered dining chair seats start to show wear when they get old, go out of style, or when active children squirm roughly in them at meal times. But reupholstering these seats is an easy fix.

Find and buy a bolt of heavy-duty cloth that you like at a fabric or furniture store. At home, unscrew and remove the chair's seat from the chair.

Place your fabric flat on the ground, then place the chair seat in the middle of the fabric. Fold the fabric over the edge of the seat, and, while holding it tightly, staple it down with a stapler. Cut off the excess fabric, then staple or hot-glue trim around the edges. Return the seat to the chair and screw it back into place.

These are just a few easy repairs that almost anyone can do on their own with relatively little training. For a more complicated or dangerous fix-it project, you should call a professional to do the job. But don't be nervous to pick up a screwdriver, putty knife, or wrench and fix some smaller problems on your own. Be frugal, be brave, and go DIY with gusto!

 

 

 

 

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Sources:
Accurate Building Inspectors, "20 Easy Fix-Its - Home Repair Tips";
 http://www.accuratebuilding.com/publications/family_circle/easy_fix_circle1984.html#basement
Hemmis, Paige, The Tuff Chix Guide to Easy Home Improvement, Penguin Group, London, 2006.
Homemade Simplewebsite, "Simple Solutions for Some Common Household Troubles,"(http://www.homemadesimple.com/en_US/).