How to fix just about everything!

Whether you have recently started up your own house for the first time, or have lived in a property for many years, you are likely to have issues that pop up from time to time that you need to fix. Here we have put together a simple and conclusive list of how to do many simple things around the household!

1 How to cut wood

“The really important thing is to be above the blade,” says Gus Reynolds, a builder and carpenter. “It’s the only way you can cut straight. And remember — measure twice, cut once.”

Mark up your wood using the edge you know to be straight. Use a try square (a builder’s right angle) against this edge to get a straight line. Start the cut gently, drawing the saw back across the wood; relax and let the blade do the work.

2 How to drill holes in a wall

Not nearly as frightening as it looks. You will need wall plugs: Rawlplugs are the best-known brand. As a beginner, you’ll use red or brown Rawlplugs. Red plugs are supposedly for lighter loads, though I’ve used them for small bookshelves and for slatted shelves in an airing cupboard. You’ll need a 6mm drill bit and a size 8-10 screw. For most shelves, you’re probably safer with brown plugs, which take a 7mm drill bit and size 10-14 screws. Here’s the most important tip: try to avoid electric cables and water pipes. Wiring normally passes vertically up or down from power sockets, but if you’re uncertain, use a pipe and cable detector (about £20).

Mark your chosen spot with a cross. Then, using a small drill bit, make a pilot hole. This makes it easier for the larger bit. Drill in one sweeping movement — in, then out. Gently tap the wall plug in with a hammer. If you do drill through a water pipe, don’t remove the drill from the hole before seeking help.

3 How to tackle basic electrics

Start by knowing how to rewire a plug: the blue wire (neutral) goes to the left, brown (live) goes to the right and green/yellow (earth) connects at the top.

4 How to mix concrete

For a relatively easy job, such as securing a post, use six parts builder’s sand/aggregate to one part cement. The mixing process is rather like making pasta. Put the sand/cement mix on a flat surface and form it into a volcano shape. Pour a little water into the middle, then shovel from the edges into the water. The final mix should be neither crumbly nor sloppy. If you can hit it with a spade with no water oozing out, you’re ready.

5 How to clear a blocked drain

Buy or borrow a set of drain rods (about £30). Feed the rods one by one into the drain, adding a section at a time. Rods come with a round plunger attachment and a corkscrew attachment. Try the plunger first to clear any obstruction. If that doesn’t work, try to pull the obstruction out with the corkscrew. For obvious reasons, wear rubber gloves.

What else would you like to learn how to do? We want to hear from you! Let us know your most common household complaints and issues and we will feature the best in the next article! Get in touch with us via the ‘contact page’.