home repair

Being a Do-It-Yourselfer (DIYer) does not require having a complete workshop or toolset at your disposal. Sure, if you have a shop outfitted with hammers, saws, and power tools like a mag drill and table saw, handling the DIY tasks around the home can be easier. But a fully decked out shop requires space and a reasonable amount of money.

What if you simply want to be able to fix some common issues and avoid the expense of hiring a professional? You’re in luck! With a few simple items, you can become an amazing DIYer in your own right and enjoy the experience!

1. If it moves and it shouldn’t

tapeThere are times when something comes loose and moves when it was designed to stay put. For these situations, your emergency DIY toolkit needs duct tape. Surprisingly, duct tape is the worst thing you can use to seal ductwork. It simply is not up to the job. However, this product has myriad other uses as long as you can live with its appearance. Uses include: holding a balky pet door in place, keeping the cowling under your front bumper from dragging, or creating a makeshift hinge or binding on a box or book.

2. If it doesn’t move and it should

WD-40 is the ying to duct tape’s yang. This remarkable liquid has properties and applications well beyond what the original developers envisioned. The story goes that WD-40 was destined to be a water dispersant (WD) spray for use in metal protection. It took chemists 40 tries to get what they wanted, hence WD-40.

There are so many applications that there is a website devoted to them. A few examples are in order here.

  • Silence squeaky hinges on cabinets, doors, cars, and chests. Squirt the WD-40 and operate the hinge to distribute the lubricant.
  • Prevent leaks around water valves by spraying the shaft with WD-40 before operating the valve to restore dry seals.
  • Anything that slides in tracks or in and out of cylinders will benefit from the occasional application.

3. A multi-tool to rule them all

multitoolThe name of this essential member of your DIY emergency toolkit describes it perfectly; it is a single item that contains multiple tools in a compact form factor. When you go looking for these tools, be prepared to find an overwhelming array of choices. To help narrow your search look for one with the following at a minimum:

  • Pliers – generally needle nose will serve you the best. If they have wire cutters, even better.
  • Flat blade and Philips screwdrivers. Look for large and small flat blades.
  • A knife blade
  • A file
  • A saw

Be certain to buy a quality tool from a company like Leatherman, Gerber, or CRKT. Cheap tools have a nasty habit of breaking and failing at the worst possible time.

4. If it is chipped, nicked, or broken

Sugru is a newer product. Billed as moldable glue, this more durable form of putty can be “pressed” into service in so many situations they are impossible to list. It has been a staple in my toolkit for years and has replaced lost knobs, repaired electric and USB cords, patched up collectible items missing a bit, repaired chipped crockery, and more. Amazing and available in select stores and online. Check here to see more applications.

5. If it is leaking and it shouldn’t

Your toolkit is not complete without a roll of self-fusing silicone tape. This stretchy tape can be used to stop leaks in most situations. Because of its chemistry, it can even be used in high-temperature situations like leaky radiator hoses in cars. The application is simple. First, unroll a piece, hold it in place around whatever is leaking (valve, pipe, hose) and complete the first wrap, stretching it as you go. This secures the starting end of the tape so you can remove your finger and stretch ensures a tight fit. Available in a variety of colors if you so desire

6. When percussive maintenance is required

There are applications where WD-40 is not the answer, generally when you cannot access the sticking part. In these situations, percussive maintenance may fix the problem. You have done it before, something isn’t working the way it should, and you slap the spot where the uncooperative bit is thought to be located. You can use the flat of your hand, or to save yourself from possible injury, use a rubber mallet. With a little practice, you can get things moving the way they should, and this tool rarely leaves marks.

So there you have it. Enjoy the satisfaction of handling a wide range of repairs and maintenance with this DIY emergency tool kit. Where you go from there is up to you.