Skip to main content

barbara k diy expertSave cash -- unclog your own toilet! Above, Barbara K uses a disposable plunger to do the dirty work. Photo: Barbara K



Got a clogged toilet? A few rooms that need painting? Why pay a plumber $150 an hour for a simple fix, or a professional painter upwards of $1,000 for a job you could complete yourself in a weekend?

Super DIY expert Barbara K wants to show us ladies how we can save money and at the same time feel empowered by taking on a lot of the basic home improvements we might otherwise hire out. I asked Barbara to share her top 5 DIY skills that she thinks all women must have.

Let's take a look at Barbara's great DIYs that you can easily do with a little inspiration, instruction and a dose of confidence. Keep this column in your "everything" drawer. You'll save money, time and might even have some fun in the process!

For starters, Barbara says, "just like every woman should have the perfect manicure, so should she have the perfect toolkit!" She suggests that all women should never be without the following tools:





- Hammer
- Screwdriver
- Pliers
- Wrench
- Tape Measure
- Level
- Hex Keys

Skill #1: Off With Its Head! Replace A Showerhead

showerheadPhoto: Alan Carroll / Jolie Novak for AOL


It's easy to make an old shower look new. A new showerhead can perk up an old bathroom and even improve the strength of the water flow. A bright new showerhead is such an effortless and inexpensive way to transform your bathroom, especially if you want to add a massage feature.

1. Use pliers or your hand to twist off the old showerhead (counter-clockwise) while holding the shower pipe stem.

Photo: Alan Carroll / Jolie Novak for AOL

2. Wrap some sealant tape two or three times around the threads at the end of the pipe stem.

3. Using a cloth under the pliers to protect the new showerhead fitting, screw on the new showerhead (clockwise) until tight.

That's it! You've earned that hot, steamy shower that you installed yourself!


Skill #2: Clear A Clog In The Toilet (without Calling the Plumber)

plunging toiletPhoto: Getty Images


Clearing a toilet clog is easy to do yourself; all you need is a pair of rubber gloves, a plunger, and a toilet auger. A flange plunger looks like a regular plunger except that underneath it has a rounded base with an accessory underneath made specifically to fit over the hole in the bottom of your toilet. A closet auger, sometimes called a toilet auger, is a flexible rod that accesses your toilet's trap. It's a weird-looking little tool, but it's very easy to use.

1. Place the cup of the flange plunger over the drain outlet, and plunge up and down rapidly while maintaining a seal around the lip of the cup.














toilet augerPhoto: Julia Bonnet


2. Slowly pour a 2-gallon bucket of water into the bowl to clear the drain. Repeat plunging, if necessary.

3. If that doesn't work, an object may be obstructing the drain. Push the closet auger cable into the trap until the auger's bend sits in the drain opening. Crank the auger handle in a clockwise direction to break up the clog or snag obstructions.

4. Continue to crank as you retrieve the cable and pull the obstruction out of the bowl.















Skill #3: Knob Appeal: Replace A Doorknob

Doorknobs are dual-function jewelry for your door and home. Doorknobs come in a variety of styles and prices and they instantly spruce up the look and feel of your home.
door knob

Photo: Amazon


To replace a doorknob, you need a Phillips head screwdriver and a new doorknob set with matching strike plate.

door knob

Photo: Getty Images

1. Detach the doorknob using the screwdriver by pulling out all screws once they are loose.

door knob

Photo: Getty Images

2. Remove the metal strike plate.

3. Insert the new bolt into the door and screw it into place. The slanted side should face the direction that the door closes.

4. Place the new knob trim between one new doorknob and the door, and insert the doorknob. Insert the other knob and trim piece on the other side of the door. Make sure the two are aligned so that the long screws hold them together.

5. Tighten the screws gradually, alternating sides so that each comes together uniformly.

For more info on replacing a doorknob, check out this article on How to Change a Doorknob.

Skill #4: Adjust Cabinet Door Hinges

cabinet hinge, kitchen cabinetPhoto: Alan Carroll / Jolie Novak for AOL

A lot of cabinets use "European" style hinges, or hinges that are completely concealed when the cabinet door is closed. They use two parts: a mounting plate and a hinge mechanism. These types of hinges can become loose, which makes the door lean to one side and inhibits that does not shut all the way. It is simple to adjust these hinges so they are in alignment.

Some European hinges have one screw connecting the two halves and others have two. Either way you need a Philips screwdriver. Loosen or tighten the screw or screws counter-clockwise to move the door to the left, and clockwise to move it to the right. My tip to remember is "righty-tighty, lefty-loosey"!

Skill #5: Gouge Be Gone: Fix a Scratch in a Wood Floor
For a small scratch, apply a bit of lip balm to the area to make it disappear – it's a contractor's trick that solves many minor scratch problems (this simple technique can also be used on marble and granite).

If that does not work, or the scratch is a bit longer than an inch, clean the area gently with very fine steel wool then follow with paste wax, both available at any hardware store.

If that fails to hide the damage, get a stain marker that matches the color of your floor – stain markers often come in sets of three or four and are found at most hardware stores. Apply the stain carefully to the scratch and wipe it with a soft cloth. Reapply and wipe until you get the match you desire.

Or try one of these cool tips: Five Smart Fixes for Scratched Wood)

With Barbara's know-how, you're sure to be on the road to total independence! For more of Barbara K's great tips, videos and how-to's please visit Barbara's website. You can also follow Barbara on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.


  • Frank Townend

    Save cash -- Barbara K uses a disposable plunger

    Very wasteful!

    Reply
  • Roberta Slate

    I bought a house and the previous owners had a dog and when the carpets were taken out there was beautiful oak hardwood floors except in a couple places a dog had urinated repeadly and the floor is black and the wood has seperated in places. What can I do to fix the situation.

    Reply
  • 2 Comments / 1 Pages
Advertisement

Follow Us

  • No features currently available.

  • More Hot Topics The Daily Fix  •  DIY Warrior  •  Home Ec  •  Handmade
    DIY Disaster Doctor  •  In the Workshop  •  Product Picks

    Home Improvement Videos