Do It Herself: Renewing This Old House



The older homes of Winston-Salem have great appeal and charm. As a homeowner, you fell in love with the style of the kitchen cabinets, the large rooms and windows, and the beautiful woodwork. With so much to love, you have your share of home repairs. From a cupboard door opening at will to a jammed drawer, there is no need to contact a handyman. What if the answer is a quick and clever solution? Whether you have one repair or ten, each “do it herself” task can be completed in no time.

Door Dead Bolt Sticks Upon Entering
If the lock will not allow your key to enter the chamber or release it, this may be a moment when you think you need a locksmith. No. What the lock needs is lubrication. Do not use oil. It will attract dirt over time and cause a recurring problem. The solution is a small tube of “powered graphite lubricant” found at a local hardware store. One tiny squirt and you will no longer have difficulty locking or opening your door.

Cupboard Door Remains Open
Depending on the age of the cabinet, it may be time to upgrade and purchase a “heavy-duty magnet catch.” While easy to install, you may have questions about installation (especially if replacing an old latch with a new magnet catch). Someone from your local hardware store will be happy to assist you, and they will likely have the item you need. In addition, a magnet catch may solve the problem occurring with your medicine cabinet.

Unable to Open a Drawer?
Remove the drawer. If there is damage to the “slides,” you will be able to buy easy-to-install drawer slide replacements at the hardware store. (Perhaps it’s time to introduce yourself. You will be popping in frequently.) Take pictures of your “slide” or have it on hand to help ensure you purchase the right one. Once the drawer is cleaned and thoroughly dried, spray the “tracks” with WD-40. You may want to consider one additional step. Rub a block of paraffin wax along the wooden sliders. It will work miracles!

Deep Scratches on Woodwork
If you wish to conceal the deep scratches on your woodwork, try using a “wood finish stain marker” or a “treated cloth” on your furniture, trim, and floors. Either item can be found at any hardware store in a variety of colors.

Need a Light?
Whether you have a room that requires instantaneous light, such as a basement, attic, or, especially, a closet, there is a simple solution. The device is called First-Alert in-socket motion detector. After screwing the device into the socket, followed by a light bulb, the system will turn on and off by motion. While the cost of the device ranges between $20 and $25, it will provide light in most situations. Depending on the width and height of your closet, this device may not be the solution you need. On the other hand, it may become a lifesaver if you forget to pull the chain or hit the lever.

Stuck Window?
This job will require a putty knife (used in painting) and a rubber mallet. (Be extra careful if all you have is a hammer.) Place the putty knife between the window and the frame, and gently tap on the knife’s handle with the rubber mallet. Move the knife along the edge of the window frame until the window loosens and opens.
No house is picture perfect, but slight flaws add character and charm to your unique home. Like the many people who have resided at your address over the decades, they, too, had to fix the window, a drawer, and a door. By tackling those jobs yourself, your home may be getting better with age.


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