Home repairs take time, along with the right tools, materials and experience. Many homeowners, however, are so busy they keep deferring critical home maintenance and repairs. They don't realize they'll end up spending more with higher utility bills, more costly repairs and they'll likely have to replace home features sooner.
One of the challenges for younger homeowners is they didn't grow up learning how to tackle home repairs. This means they've got some homework to do for even basic repairs, and that's where things bog down. We're working with Habitat for Humanity in Manchester NH, to create a homeowner workbook for several families who will ultimately become homeowners of 3 new condos.
To get started, I asked my summer intern to put together a list of the 20 most common home repairs. I thought this would be an easy exercise given I've owned houses for more than 30 years and ran a handyman business for 8 years. The fresh perspective meant stepping back and re-evaluating what home repairs needed to be covered in our basic homeowner workbook.
- Home repairs we expected to have on our list – gutters and wood rot outside, caulking and drywall repairs indoors, to name a few.
- Home repairs that surprised us – hard to remove decals, slamming doors and loose laminate on countertops.
Who's Qualified to Recommend Home Repairs
More shocking though were some recommendations found in searching for a comprehensive list of common house repairs.
- Repair the roof with a box? was a suggestion to use cardboard inside a plastic bag as a temporary roofing shingle placed “underneath shingles for a temporary fix”. This is pretty scary and …
- The right temporary solution is placing a tarp over the roof where there's a leak or missing shingles. The tarp should stretch from the ridge vent down to prevent water from flowing into the damaged area. The edges of the tarp should be wrapped around thing pieces of lumber (strapping) to keep the tarp secure during heavy rain and wind.
- Repair siding with duct tape? offered that when stormy weather damages vinyl siding, you can find duct tape in a color that matches the siding, and apply it when the surface is dry, smoothing it with your hand or a rolling pin … and it will last a season or two. They also suggested this solution for windows with broken class … help!
- Most vinyl siding cracks when hit by baseballs (amazing what you learn running a handyman business) and fortunately it's usually warm when this happens as vinyl gets brittle when cold so it's much harder to make repairs in the winter. The biggest challenge repairing damaged vinyl siding is finding the same color and pattern, as they get discontinued by the manufacturers. The sooner you locate these materials, the easier the repair.
Resources to Help You Manage Home Repairs
Home repairs require the right tools, materials, skill and knowledge. The knowledge comes from experience, or research to learn what you don't know and unfortunately there is far more bad information online, that good information. The question then is how do you know which information you can trust?
That's where Home Tips for Women can help you. Our information is written (or reviewed) by practicing home professionals willing to share their expertise. We offer homeowners the following support:
- A library of articles that focus on the big picture, explaining the concepts and terminology so you can research problems and projects with confidence. We're adding how to information, much of it with links to resources we trust – our trusted online home repair resources and our favorite books on home repairs.
- We're building a directory of home professionals, recommended by women homeowners as we know good communication skills are an important part of the partnership between homeowners and home professionals.
What unusual stories can you share about home repairs?
The article with the home repair recommendations we don't agree with, found at www.rd.com/slideshows/8-household-repair-tricks.