How often have you had a door stick? Or a cabinet drawer bind? Or a cabinet door not close properly? When it rains do you get water dripping off the window sill inside the house? How about those wooden chairs with the cross brace pulled out of the leg?

House maintenance is not all that difficult if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and do some work. We will look at some issues I have seen and discuss how to address them. Often you can find help by googling the problem.

Home Maintenance

Living in a house or apartment requires occasionally fixing thing. Even in new houses things break or need maintenance. Spending some time working on the house can head off problems. But sometimes things are bigger than you can deal with. So calling in a expert is worth while. But even when you get professional help, knowing what is wrong will make things go more smoothly. Besides, many service people will show you how to maintain things yourself if you just ask.

Lets look at a few of the more common issues you can fix yourself. There is no special order to the following tips, so when we get to the end you can ask about other issues you have run into.

Sticky doors

Sometimes when the weather changes doors will stick closed, or be hard to close. This is caused by the wood in the door swelling. The best fix for this is to plane the edge of the door.

Lets try a step by step approach to fixing the door.

  1. Check that the screws in the hinge are tight. Sometimes the screws that hold the hinge to the wall or the door are loose. Tighten them with a screw driver.

  2. Check that the door is not rubbing on the jamb. There should be 1/8 of a inch space between the door and the jamb. One way to check this is to close the door and see you can put a dime in the space. If not we need to fix this.

  1. Put masking tape on the edge of the door that needs to be trimmed. Now draw a line 1/8 of an inch from the jamb on the tape.

  2. Remove the hinge pins to take the door out of the door frame.

Loose Pin Hinge
Loose Pin Hinge

Or if you want more details, look to Removing the Door.

  1. Put the door on a pad on the floor and either sand or plane the edge to just shy of the pencil line. Before you take off too much wood be sure to try the door to make sure you are not taking too much off.

Wood Plane Belt Sander Wood Square

When you trim the door, use the wood square to make sure you are keeping the edge of the door square.

You will need to try fitting the door to see how your trimming is working. Once you finish put the door back.

Leaky Windows

One problem I have seen during a hard rain storm is water dripping from the window sill. This happens if the windows is not correctly caulked. Additionally correctly caulked windows prevents cold drafts in the winter.

Instead of me explaining how to do this I am going to refer you to How to Caulk Windows by WikiHow.

Caulking Gun
Caulking Gun

Weather Stripping

Winter weather always bring bring cold weather, which necessitates heating our homes. When a home is sealed tight it needs less fuel to keep it warm, but doors often have gaps that let in cold air in the winter. Fortunately it is easy to fix with weather stripping.

We are going to break down the job into three sections.

  1. How to Measure for Weather Stripping will show you how to determine how much and what type of weather stripping you need.

  2. How to Install Weather Stripping details how to install your stripping.

  3. How to Replace Weather Stripping is a good explanation on how to update your existing weather stripping.

Drawers sticking

In my kitchen I have drawers instead of shelves in the cabinets below the counter. Sometimes the drawers will start to bind when opening or closing.

When this happens I start by checking the side of the drawers to see if I see some scratching. If so I know the problem happens because the screws which support the drawer slides have come loose.

The first time this happens I do the following.

  1. Unload the drawer so it is empty.

  2. Release the catches so the drawer can be removed drawer slides.

  3. Take a screw driver and check that all the screws are tight. But if this is happening for the second time you need to replace the loose screw with one size larger, and the same length. This will allow the threads to get a new bite into the wood.

  4. Finally put the drawer back on the slides and reload it.

If your drawers do not use slides, but are riding on tracks, you can still check the screws. But in addition you might need to lubricate the tracks. The best way to do this is with an old candle stub. Rub the candle along the track and the bottom of the drawer. Candle wax makes a good lubricant for wood, it is nontoxic. Besides if some gets into your food it will not injure you, and it is a long life lubricant.

Adjusting Cabinet Doors

This can be easy or a challenge. The reason for the difficulty is because of the number hinges available. So I am going to present two types of hings using videos. If your hinges look like these, great. But if yours are different you should try to find an explanation on line.

Finally here are two other links that have good explanations; How to Adjust Euro Style Cabinet Hinges, or How to Adjust Kitchen Cabinet Doors.

Hanging things on the wall

We often like to hang things on sheet rock or drywall. (Sheet rock or drywall is the name for plaster board walls.) The issue comes when you want to hang something heavy on the wall. For heavy items, like cloths hooks, book cases, or others, we need to locate the studs in the wall to attach items. The reason we need the studs is the drywall will not support much weight.

There are three methods commonly used to find studs. Lets look at How to Find a Stud.

Cleaning outside windows

With spring around the corner, many of us are thinking about how to clean our outside windows. This can be easily done with the right tools. This is similar to that used by window cleaners. With the addition of a long handle we can deal with most windows.

In my house, the windows swing out so you can clean both sides from inside the house with a handle. You can also start by using a garden hose and spraying water on the windows.

Window Squeegee
Window Squeegee

This can be accomplished with common ingredients and some elbow grease. Here is a good explanation of How to Clean Windows Without Streaks.

Fixing a wooden chair

One frustrating problem is wooden chairs where the legs get loose. In my house this happens when the glue drys out, or the chair gets twisted around by rambunctious children. Now this repair might not be for you, but it is good to know how to do it yourself.

Written by John F. Moore

Last Revised: Mon 12 Apr 2021 09:52:51 PM EDT

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
HTML5 Powered with CSS3 / Styling, and