10 Home Repairs You Can Do Yourself

Home maintenance and repairs can seem daunting, but many projects are actually quite easy to complete yourself if you have the right tools and instructions. Doing it yourself saves money on hiring contractors and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Here are 10 common home repairs even novice DIYers can tackle.

Replace a Light Fixture

Replacing a basic ceiling-mounted light fixture is a straightforward project that just about anyone can handle. Here’s how to do it:

Supplies Needed:

  • New light fixture
  • Wire strippers
  • Voltage tester
  • Phillips screwdriver


  1. Turn off power to the light circuit at the breaker box. Use a voltage tester on the wires to confirm power is off.
  2. Remove the mounting screws holding the light fixture base to the ceiling. Carefully pull the fixture away from the ceiling, supporting it so it doesn’t fall.
  3. Disconnect the electrical wires, noting where each was connected. There will likely be 2 or 3 wires.
  4. Attach the wires from the new light fixture in the same locations as the old wires. Make sure wire nuts are secure.
  5. Mount the new fixture base to the ceiling with screws. Turn power back on and test that the light works.

Swapping out a basic light fixture takes less than 30 minutes for most DIYers. Just be sure to turn off power first and connect the wires properly.

Replace Door Hardware

Over time, door knobs and handles can loosen and become less aesthetically pleasing. Replacing them with new hardware gives doors an instant facelift.

Supplies Needed:

  • New interior door knobs or handles
  • Phillips and flat head screwdrivers
  • Tape measure


  1. Remove the existing knobs/handles – there will likely be a set screw under the lever or knob to loosen first.
  2. Take measurements of screw hole locations so new hardware aligns properly.
  3. Install new handles/knobs and tighten set screws. Make sure both sides are level and operate smoothly.
  4. Use screw hole covers if the new hardware has a different spacing than the old.
  5. Consider adding new hinge plates and door stops for a full refreshed look.

With a screwdriver set and a little elbow grease, you can upgrade the look and function of interior doors. Replace outdated or worn hardware for improved security and style.

Patch Drywall Holes

Holes in drywall are inevitable, but thankfully, patching them is easy and inexpensive. Here’s a simple drywall hole patching process:

Supplies Needed:

  • Drywall joint compound
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Drywall repair clips (optional)


  1. Use a utility knife to cut any loose drywall edges for a clean hole.
  2. Place backing strips or repair clips on the inside edges for support.
  3. Apply joint compound over the entire hole using a putty knife. Do 2-3 thin coats.
  4. Allow compound to fully dry between coats according to product directions.
  5. Lightly sand the patch until smooth and flush with the wall.
  6. Prime and paint the patch to match the surrounding wall.

With some basic drywall tools, you can patch holes of any size. The key is applying multiple thin layers of compound for a seamless blend with the existing wall.

Fix Squeaky Floors

Squeaky floors can be annoying and sometimes point to a loose subfloor. Thankfully, many squeaks can be remedied without major flooring repairs. Here are two easy solutions:

For Squeaks Between Floorboards:

  • Remove any carpet or rugs between boards.
  • Apply a powdered graphite lubricant into the crevice using a squeeze bottle.
  • Work it into the crevice with a thin putty knife.
  • Replace floor coverings and test for noise. Reapply if needed.

For Squeaks Where Floor Meets Wall:

  • Locate exact area of squeak and drive in 1-1/4” deck screws at angles through the subfloor into the joist below.
  • Pre-drill holes to avoid splitting wood.
  • Add as many screws as needed every 6-8 inches until squeak stops.

With some basic tools and lubricant/screws, you can successfully stop annoying floor squeaks and avoid costly repairs. Just take time to pinpoint the exact problem area first.

Re-Caulk Bathtub and Showers

Replacing old, moldy caulk around tubs and showers helps waterproof these wet areas and prevents mildew and leaks. Here are some tips:

Supplies Needed:

  • Caulk gun
  • Caulk: 100% silicone for wet areas
  • Utility knife
  • Scrub brush & towels


  1. Remove all old caulk with the utility knife. Clean the crevices fully.
  2. Ensure crevices are fully dry before applying new caulk.
  3. Run a steady bead of caulk along all seams and joints. Smooth with a wet fingertip.
  4. Allow caulk to fully cure for 24-48 hours before getting wet.
  5. Apply duct tape to the walls and floor when showering/bathing until fully cured.

Regrouting tiles is also easy for small areas. Ensure caulk and grout match closely for a seamless look. Proper caulking prevents leaks and mildew growth.

Regrout Tile

Over time, grout between tiles can become discolored or cracked. Re-grouting restores the clean uniform look fairly easily. Here’s how:

Supplies Needed:

  • Grout saw or rotary tool
  • Grout float
  • Grout: matches old or go with white
  • Grout sealer
  • Grout sponge


  1. Use grout saw to remove old grout 1/8” deep between tiles. Vacuum up dust.
  2. Apply new grout by pressing firmly into crevices with grout float.
  3. Clean excess grout with lightly damp sponge in circular motion. Rinse often.
  4. Once dry, apply grout sealer following product directions.
  5. Avoid getting tile and grout wet for 72 hours while it fully cures.

Regrouting small sections takes 1-2 hours. Completely redoing a whole floor could take all weekend. Invest in quality grout and tools for the smoothest finish.

Unclog Drains

Clogged drains are a nuisance that can often be cleared quickly without a plumber. Here are 5 techniques to try when sinks or showers start draining slowly:

  1. Boiling Water: Pour 1-2 kettles full down the drain. This can dissolve grease and soap buildup.
  2. Baking Soda and Vinegar: Send these two ingredients down drain in sequence. The chemical reaction can break up debris.
  3. Wire Hanger: Straighten out the hanger and use it to hook and pull up hair and debris.
  4. Plunger: Use quick plunging motions over drain opening to dislodge clogs.
  5. Drain Snake: Feed this long flexible cable down the pipes to hook and break up jams.

Always start with the least invasive method using household ingredients before moving up to a drain snake. Take apart piping beneath sinks as a last resort if needed. Act quickly when drains start slowing to prevent complete blockages.

Touch Up Wood Furniture Scratches

Scratches and gouges on wood furniture are inevitable, especially if you have kids or pets. Here are some easy ways to touch up minor damage:

Supplies Needed:

  • Furniture wax crayon in matching wood tone
  • Putty stick for deeper gouges
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood stain (if needed)


  1. Clean and dry the damaged area thoroughly.
  2. For surface scratches, simply rub wax crayon into the groove, blending the color.
  3. For deeper marks, fill with putty, let dry, then sand smooth. Apply wax to match color.
  4. For darker wood, use stain after sanding to achieve the right tone before waxing.

Take time to match the color closely. Combine putty or stain with wax crayon for more seamless repairs. Protect your repairs by adding clear furniture wax.

Replace Weatherstripping

Drafts and high energy bills may indicate it’s time to replace weatherstripping around doors and windows. Here are some tips for this easy upgrade:

Supplies Needed:

  • Measuring tape
  • Foam weatherstrip tape
  • Rigid door sweep
  • Caulk


  1. Clean all surfaces thoroughly where new weatherstripping will be applied.
  2. Measure each door and window to be sealed and cut strips to fit.
  3. Peel backing and press adhesive foam strips firmly onto stops and frames.
  4. Install door sweeps along the bottom, sealing gaps with caulk if needed.
  5. Check for light peeking through after installation and add additional weatherstripping if drafts persist.

Proper weatherstripping seals air leaks, saving energy. Replace deteriorated sealing materials twice per year for optimal energy efficiency.

Repair Wooden Chair Legs

Wobbly chairs with broken legs used to mean it was time for the curb. But loose legs are an easy fix with wood glue and clamps. Here’s how:

Supplies Needed:

  • Wood glue
  • C-clamps or vice
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood putty (for cosmetic repairs)


  1. Remove loose legs completely and sand joint areas for better adhesion.
  2. Apply wood glue liberally into holes and reinsert legs.
  3. Use clamps to tightly secure joints for 12-24 hours as glue dries.
  4. Wipe away excess glue and lightly sand cured areas to smooth.
  5. Fill any cosmetic holes with wood putty, allow to dry fully, then sand smooth.

Gluing and clamping broken chair legs keeps furniture out of landfills. This inexpensive fix provides long-lasting results. Just ensure the joints are tightly clamped as the glue dries.

Paint Cabinets

Painting tired wooden kitchen or bathroom cabinets provides an instant facelift for a fraction of replacement cost. Here are some tips to get a professional look:

Supplies Needed:

  • High-adhesion primer
  • Cabinet paint
  • Angled trim paintbrush
  • Sandpaper, tack cloth


  1. Clean cabinets fully and lightly sand to improve adhesion.
  2. Apply two coats of adhesion primer, sanding lightly between coats.
  3. Paint two finish coats using a high-quality cabinet paint, allowing proper drying time between coats.
  4. Use angled trim brush to paint hard-to-reach cabinet corners.
  5. Finish with protective clear coats for added durability.

Take time to properly prepare cabinets and opt for specialized cabinet paint for the most durable finish. Proper prep and high-quality paint leads to a smooth, long-lasting finish.

Fix Squeaky Door Hinges

Squeaky door hinges can be loudly annoying. But don’t replace them just yet – some simple adjustments can often eliminate squeaking. Here’s how:

Supplies needed:

  • WD-40 or other lubricant
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Hammer


  1. Remove hinge pin and apply lubricant to the knuckle joint area and reinsert pin.
  2. Tighten any loose hinge screws going into door frame.
  3. Use hammer or screwdriver to tap down any raised door stop plates impeding motion.
  4. Consider adding shims or new 3” screws into the frame around the hinges for reinforcement.
  5. Replace hinge completely if noises persist after trying these tweaks.

Taking the time to lubricate and tighten door hinges often eliminates the annoying squeaks and creaks that can drive homeowners crazy. Simple hardware adjustments can extend the hinge lifespan.


Completing basic home repairs yourself is rewarding and can save thousands on hiring contractors. Follow safety precautions, assemble the right tools, and tackle these 10 projects to keep your house in tip-top shape for years to come. Don’t let complicated lingo in home improvement books intimidate you – these repairs are all achievable even for total novices. Grab your toolbox and reclaim your home maintenance to-do list by starting with simple repairs like hardware tightening, faucet unclogging, and weatherstripping. Your household budget will thank you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Home Repairs

What are some easy home repairs I can do myself as a beginner?

Some easy beginner home repairs include:

  • Patching drywall holes
  • Weatherstripping doors/windows
  • Replacing light fixtures
  • Unclogging drains
  • Touching up furniture scratches
  • Replacing door handles and hinge plates
  • Re-caulking tubs and showers

Start with quick, inexpensive projects first to build your skills and confidence as a DIYer.

Where can I learn the basics of home repair as a first-time homeowner?

Some great resources for learning home repair basics include:

  • DIY home improvement books and magazines – check your local library
  • Online video tutorials like those from Bob Villa and This Old House
  • DIY classes at your local home improvement store
  • Home repair guides from hardware manufacturers
  • YouTube channels focused on home improvement tips
  • Online forums and communities of DIYers

Start with projects matched to your skill level and work your way up. Allow extra time your first few repairs until you build experience.

What tools should I invest in for common home repairs?

Having these basic tools equips you for most common DIY home repairs:

  • Cordless drill/driver + drill bits
  • Wrench set
  • Pliers
  • Screwdrivers
  • Hammers
  • Level
  • Utility knife
  • Tape measure
  • Clamps
  • Ladder

Add specialty tools for certain projects as needed, like drain snakes for plumbing or drywall tools for patching holes. Building a thoughtful toolkit is a worthwhile investment for DIYers.

When should I call a professional vs. attempting home repairs myself?

It’s smart to call a pro for:

  • Major electrical work
  • Complicated plumbing repairs
  • Structural issues
  • Large drywall replacement/repair
  • Major appliance problems
  • Anything requiring high-cost tools and expertise

Stick to minor repairs matched to your skill level. Calling a pro for larger issues actually saves money by preventing DIY mishaps.

What precautions should I take when doing home repairs?

Important safety tips include:

  • Turn off power/water to work areas
  • Wear protective equipment like goggles, gloves, masks
  • Use extreme caution with ladders, roofs, electricity, sharp tools
  • Follow all manufacturer directions
  • Work slowly and double check your work
  • Have someone else present for risky projects

Put safety first, even if repairs will take longer. Prevent injury or damage by using caution, common sense and patience.


Doing your own home repairs can be extremely satisfying and budget-friendly. However, not all projects are right for novice DIYers. Focus on straightforward repairs that utilize common tools and materials, and don’t require extensive expertise. Tasks like weatherproofing doors and windows, patching drywall, replacing hardware, and touch up painting are achievable for most homeowners willing to put in some elbow grease. Start small, work safely, and don’t be afraid to call in a professional when you’re unsure. With the right preparation and persistence, you can tackle many repairs yourself and keep your home in great shape for years to come.