With your teens on a prolonged break due to the coronavirus pandemic, get them to be productive by teaching them how to perform some minor household repairs. This will be helpful in case something in your home needs repairs since calling a pro may be nearly impossible at the moment. If you and your teen manage to fix the problem flawlessly yourselves, then you’re saving money and not risking anyone’s health.
The items in your trusty toolbox are designed for DIY repairs and constructions, so don’t waste their purposes and potential, especially those high-performance Sika epoxy products and the like. Just be observant as you guide your teen through each tool, for misuse may cause injuries and we can’t afford emergencies during this critical period.
That said, here are the simple household repairs your teen can learn:
1. Painting and Repainting
If your teen suddenly craves for a bedroom makeover, or it just so happens that some cabinets in your home badly needs repainting, work together to prepare the paint and do the coating. Remove fixtures and hardware that might be an obstruction, placing them somewhere paint splashes or leaks wouldn’t reach them.
Before coating the surface, always clean it first using a damp sponge or a dry cloth, because there might be any unseen grease, dust, or grime that will affect the paint’s bonding or evenness. If there are nail holes, gouges, and other imperfections, fill them with spackle, and rub any rough spots with sandpaper. Once done, apply a primer over the sanded areas, or simply select a paint that’s already incorporated with a primer, and then start painting!
2. Clogs and Leaks
Minor plumbing issues such as clogs and leaks are incredibly easy and fast to remedy. Just fill a clogged sink halfway and push the drain firmly using a plunger. If the problem persists, unscrew the P-trap, (the U-shaped pipe under the sink) and remove the blockage by hand. If the issue seems more serious, check outside the drains.
For leaks, disassemble the faucet using pliers or a wrench, (depending on the faucet’s model) and apply silicone grease to the screw threads. Reassemble the faucet, and see if the problem has been fixed. If not, a new faucet is likely the solution.
3. Holes and Cracks on a Plaster
Even when you’re not repainting, there might be some noticeable holes or cracks on your plaster that’s been begging for a fix. With a chisel from your toolbox, remove the loose plaster, clean the area, paint glue or water over the hole and edges, then coat it with new plaster (a.k.a. spackle). Let the first layer completely stiffen first for about two hours before proceeding with the next. Once the plaster’s totally dry and the hole or crack is sufficiently filled, follow painting instructions as per item #1 above.
4. Scratched Floors
Since you’d be stuck at home for a while, you’d surely notice the signs of wear and tear on your floors. Get your teen to help you restore them; just clean the floors first, sand the scratches, then clean the area with mineral spirits. Use a filler to fix the scratches, and sand the excess dried filler. Remove the dust it generated, then re-varnish the area.
5. Tile Grout
Applying tile grout is just a piece of cake, too. Just mix the powdered grout with water as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the consistency is like a toothpaste’s, use a grout spreader or spatula to apply the product all over the tile surface, using long, upward, diagonal strokes. Wipe away the excess grout with a damp sponge.
When the grout has stiffened slightly, neat the joints using your finger or a grout shaper. Apply more grout to any gaps. Check the manufacturer’s instructions if a grout sealer is necessary.
Teaching your teens these minor repairs could help them become more reliable and responsible. If they master these tasks, they may grow interested in more complex projects, or possibly develop a talent in crafts.