5 DIY tips from a handyman

5 DIY tips from a handyman

When making repairs and improvements around your house, you’ll probably find that with time, you’ll learn an easier way to get the job done. In time, you’ll also find you can get some valuable tips and tricks that make the work even easier – here are a few handyman tips and tricks:

1. Painted over screws

If you’re trying to remove a flathead screw that has been painted over, before you try to loosen it, first grab a flathead screwdriver and a hammer. Place the tip of the screwdriver in the screw’s slot and tap it along the slot. This will get the paint out of the slot, allowing the screwdriver to get an effective grip and enabling you to loosen the screw.

If you’re trying to remove a Phillips screw, it can be much harder to get the paint out of the slot, but give it a shot. It can also help when removing painted over screws to take a utility knife and score around the screw so the paint won’t hold on to the edges.

2. Pulling nails without making dents in wood

If you’ve ever tried to pull a nail from wood, you may have left an indentation in the wood from the hammer or pry bar you used. Next time, place a thin strip of scrap wood or a paint stirrer between the pry bar or hammer and the underlying wood to keep this from happening.

3. The fix for nail pops

Do you have nail pops in your drywall ceiling? Don’t just hammer the nail back in; it will usually loosen again and reappear. Instead, pull the nail out using the above tip. Then replace it with a drywall screw before spackling the hole and touching it up with paint. The screw won’t come out.

4. Avoid smashing your thumb

If you’ve ever had trouble staring a small nail like a finish nail because your hands are too big, get a pair of pliers - preferably needle nose pliers. Hold the nail with the pliers while you get the nail started. Once started, remove the pliers and hammer away.

5. Remove a broken light bulb in a socket

You probably have heard about the use of a potato in helping to remove a broken light bulb.  Sometimes this can work, but to save a potato and the chance that it won’t work, try using a pair of needle-nose pliers. Make sure the electricity is off, then begin twisting the broken bulb around the metal base.  Keep turning the pliers in the correct direction and this will get the socket out. Be careful of broken glass!

About this Angie’s List Expert: Steve Cloninger is the owner of Get It Done, which has provided handyman services in the St. Louis area since 1995.  Steve is also a regular contributor to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s "Ask the Handyman" column and, as of March 2013, Get It Done has earned the Angie's List Super Service Award every year since 2004.

As of March 8, 2013, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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