Basic Home Repair Skills Every Parent Should Know

There are two important lessons you learn as an adult.: The first is: when you move into your own place, “everything breaks, including your house”; the second is after having kids when “everything breaks, especially your house.” This is why it’s very necessary for parents (especially first-timers) to learn some basic repair skills.

These simple home repair tips and tricks range from fixing a problem completely to buying you enough time to call a professional. Either way, don’t be afraid to pick up the toolbox and get your hands dirty, you’ll love what you can accomplish on your own!

Unclogging the toilet

Yes, one of the best parts of being an adult is how confident we are in our total dominance of the bathroom, but put yourself in the shoes of a young child: The toilet is a magical device into which you can throw anything and make it disappear. The opportunities for misbehaving are endless.

Thankfully, most clogged toilet cases are easily managed. All you need is a plunger, rubber gloves, a bucket and an auger if things get rowdy. Shut the water main off, take out the excess water with the bucket and start plunging away, and if you can see the object coming up, grab it and put it in the bucket. If it doesn’t work, get the auger!

Stop a leaking faucet

A small, steady drip in a faucet won’t stay that way for long, as letting it continue can cause rusting, mildew and other problems that can lead to further damage. It’s better to tackle this on your own while you still can. Otherwise you might have to depend on a plumber down the line.

All you have to do is, like in the previous entry, turn off your water main before you do anything else. Block the drain with an old piece of fabric so you won’t lose any stray screws and then have to disassemble more than you bargained for. Most faucets can be fixed by taking out the offending knob and tightening the base with a monkey wrench (but not so tight that you’ll damage it), but for a washerless faucet you will probably have to buy a whole new O-ring.

Erase scratches off wooden floors or furniture

Kids tend to play rough no matter how delicate the world around them can be, and if you have hardwood floors or wooden furniture, you’ll definitely see scratches mysteriously appear on them from time to time.

An easy alternative to the famous “rub a walnut on the scratch” method (which is still effective) is to rub the affected area with a paste made of mineral oil and pumice using an extra-fine-grade steel wool, then wipe the mix off the scratch using a dry, soft cloth. You can buy the powdered form of pumice at a hardwood store.

Touch up auto paint

Painting your car is something better left to an expert, of course, but touching up chipped auto paint is super easy, which is a good thing since you’ll learn how easy it is for a child to accidentally chip the paint off a car by playing near it, bumping a bike on it when it’s parked, etc.

You’ll need to buy the touch-up paint, fine tip applicators, wax remover and some gloves and safety glasses for protection. First, clean the chip with the wax remover and let it dry, then apply some paint with the applicator by gently dabbing the area, but not so much that it will drip. Let it dry, then wait 30 days before re-applying wax.

There are many more things around that any parent can learn how to repair on their own, but some bigger projects are better left to experts if you’re a DIY beginner, such as repairing drywall holes and dents, replacing broken windows and even insulating your house. Other things, like tidying up after a children’s party, are definitely better left to the brave.