Finally, you have the opportunity to move into your own place, live on your own terms, enjoy the beauty of privacy (unless you have an Alexa…) and order pizza way too many times a week. Unfortunately, whether in the roof or in the basement, almost all newly bought properties have some underlying issues, or at least they will within a weeks or months.
Don’t get discouraged though since there isn’t a home reno problem in the world that an enthusiastic DIY-er can’t solve. To get your DIY juices flowing, here are 5 essential DIY tips and tutorials every first-time property owner should definitely know:
1# Fixing a Hole in The Wall
Lets break this up into small holes, and then medium to larger holes. We will start with really small holes, like nail holes from where somebody has put up wall art etc.
Small Holes in Walls
- Materials and tools: putty knife, Spacking, wall paint and sand paper.
Step 1. Apply Spackling paste (easy to get in hardware stores) to the hole with a pallete knife.
Step 2. Scrape the paste across the wall to smooth the hole over and remove the excess paste with the pallet knife. Wipe the pallette knife with a damp cloth and drag the pallette knife back over the hole and repeat until the hole looks even.
Step 3. Once the putty is dry, grab your sand paper and gently sand over the hole until the area is nice and smooth.
Step 4. Finally, grab a paint brush and paint over the area.
Medium to Large Holes in Walls
- Materials and tools: putty knife (tiny and wide), drywall, joint compound, paint, drill, a piece of wood, utility knife, pencil, a breathing mask, sanding block.
A cracked wall might not seem such a large problem, but it is the perfect opportunity for mold to get in your home. Depending on the size, there are various methods for fixing a hole. Here are the 6 steps you could follow to fix a medium to large sized hole in your dry wall.
Step 1. First, you need to cut a square piece of drywall (gypsum) large enough to cover the entire hole (You can use an utility knife). After you cut it, hold it on top of the wall and draw its outline with a pencil. The end result should look like a contemporary artwork – a hole surrounded by a square outline.
Step 2. The next part is pretty easy. Take a utility knife and start cutting the wall, following the previous outline. You should end up with a large square hole on your wall (with the exact size as the previously cut piece of drywall).
Step 3. Afterwards, take the piece of wood and through the hole place it behind the wall. (It should be placed in the middle of the hole) Use a drill and screwdriver to attach the piece of wood to the rest of the wall ( drill below and above the square hole) This wood serves as base and support for installing your new piece of drywall.
Step 4. Finally, you can attach the new piece of drywall. Use the screwdriver and drill again, but this time connect the new drywall to the wooden piece behind the hole.
Step 5. After you make sure the drywall is attached, use the small putty knife to add a layer of joint compound and cover the entire area, including the screws in the wall. With the wide putty knife, smoothen the area. Let the compound dry overnight.
Step 6. The next day use a sanding block to smooth the compound. After you are confident, apply another coat of joint compound and smooth it with a wide putty knife and a sanding block later on. When everything is dry, REPAINT! There you have it! You just fixed a hole in the wall.
#2 Putting up a Shelf
Putting up a shelf is much easier than fixing a hole, however it isn’t a task that should be underestimated, especially if you don’t want to end up with more holes… Luckily, we prepared a precise and helpful guide. Here are the steps you should take for installing shelves in your bachelor pad:
- Materials and tools: Pencil, screwdriver, spirit level, wall plugs, screws, wire and pipe detector, wooden batten, hammer, drill.
Step 1. You don’t want to drill holes into electrical wires and pipes, so use the wire and pipe detector to check if the area is safe for drilling. Afterwards, take the shelf, spirit level and pencil to make your first mark.
Step 2. Place the shelf in your preferred position and move it until you reach a perfect horizontal line. With the pencil, outline the shelf from below. Always mind your spirit level for maximum precision and optimal results.
Step 3. Take the shelf brackets and place them on the outline, neither too far nor to close to each other. You want perfect balance, so both of the brackets should be placed at equal distances from the edges of the outline (preferably a couple of inches) so that the shelf slightly overlaps the brackets.
Step 4. After you find the perfect position, use the spirit level to check vertical alignment of the brackets and mark their drill holes on the wall with the pencil.
Step 5. Next, check your screws and plugs. The plugs should match the screw, as well as the drill bit. Usually, all of them are marked with numbers. So for example, use a size 10 drill bit for a size 10 wall plug.
Step 6. With using the appropriate drill bit, make holes into the marks made on the wall. You don’t want to drill too deep, just enough for the wall plug to fit in. After you make the hole, insert the wall plug. You can use a hammer to push it further inside.
Step 7. Take the brackets, place them accordingly (the plugs should fit the bracket’s drill holes) and with using a screwdriver, attach the screws in the plug.
Step 8. After your brackets are installed, take the shelf and place it on top of them so that it matches the previous outline.
Step 9. Next, use a drill and a screwdriver to attach the shelf to the brackets. For this, you don’t need wall plugs, just smaller screws that fit. Using large screws can damage the shelf, most units will likely come with the correctly sized screws for the job.
#3 How To Remove a Stripped Screw
A stripped screw is one of the most annoying things that can happen during a man cave renovation. Luckily, there are tons of methods for dealing with it and most of them are pretty easy. Here are 3 ways of removing a nasty stripped screw.
- Materials and tools: screwdriver, drill, rubber band, screw grab, rotary tool, flat blade screwdriver
Method 1. Rubber band – This method is amazingly simple. Just place a piece of rubber band on top of the stripped screw. Then, push the screwdriver in the rubber and start turning it counter clockwise and very slow.
Method 2. Screw grab – This product is gluey and looks like sparkly, black clay. You just need to apply it on top of the stripped screw. Then with rotation movements that push the screwdriver downward into the screw grab, you will slowly remove the damaged screw.
Method 3. Flat blade – This is ideal for radical DIY-ers. The method involves cutting the damaged screw with a rotary tool and then using a flat blade screwdriver to plug it out.
#4 How to Unclog a Drain
Not every DIY project in a male living space involves large and noisy tools. For example, unclogging a drain can be done solely with using chemicals. But, for those that love to play around with interesting gadgets, you can also unclog a drain with a drain snake pistol.
- Materials and tools: vinegar, baking soda, salt, drain pistol, screwdriver, towels, pipe wrench
Step 1. A bit of alchemy –the easiest way to unclog a drain with chemicals is to mix hot water and salt. So pour a cup of salt inside, wait for it to settle and then pour the hot water next. If this doesn’t work, consider going through the same process again, but this time with using ½ cup of vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda instead of salt.
The hardcore way – Even though they sound cool, drain snake pistols are very annoying to work with, but may be needed for harder clogs. To explain the process better, we are going to separate it in a few steps:
If your sink is clogged, go below it, remove the cupboards and place towel beneath the pipes so they can absorb any falling water. Afterwards slowly untighten the traps with a pipe wrench and remove them (This step doesn’t apply to tubs).
Next, loosen the screw in the drain pistol and pull out the snake. Slowly insert it into the pipe. Push it until you reach a point of resistance (the actual clog). When the snake bit meets the clog, unloosen its screw and slowly push it even further with rotation movements. Come closer to the pipe and repeat the rotation movements until you feel that the clog has been dealt with. Loosen the drain pistol’s screw, remove the snake from the pipe, and do some testing to see whether you finished the job right.
#4 Remove an old Carpet and Replace it with Wooden Flooring
There is nothing more satisfying than removing a dusty old carpet and replacing it with new and shiny wooden flooring. This DIY project might be time consuming, but once you start seeing result, you’ll understand that it’s totally worth it.
- Materials: pliers, snips, ply bar, tape, gloves, utility knife, ring shake nail, hammer, rubber mallet, nail gun, protective eyewear, knee pads, flooring nailer
Carpets are definitely outdated, so they aren’t ideal for your modern male living space. Here is how to get rid of this unfashionable feature:
Cut a small piece of carpet in the corners and start pulling the entire carpet with your hands. Use gloves for safety. As you remove the carpet, cut it into smaller bits so it’s easier for you to move it outside later on.
Next, start removing the carpet padding. Be careful though cause it is attached with staples. Wear gloves and protective eyewear to avoid cuts & bruises. After you remove the padding, use pliers to remove the staples from the subfloor.
The final process is removing the tack strips. Insert the ply bar beneath the tap strip, use the hammer to push it further beneath and start removing it bit by bit.
- Extra tip: If your tap strip has water stains, schedule an inspection to see whether you have a leaky roof or other types of water damage.
- Extra tip: If the subfloor beneath squeaks, take the hammer and nail the ring shake nails into the floor joists.
Wooden flooring installation
The trickiest DIY project on this list, wooden floor installation is ideal for those who love nail guns. Here is how to do it:
After you remove the carpet, vacuum the entire area and place an underlayment paper for an easier installation. The first piece of wood that you nail on the floor should be the longest and should be placed on the longest side. Before you nail it though, make sure you leave at least half an inch between the wood and the wall. Use spacers to achieve this gap.
Start organizing the wooden pieces and lay them on the floor to see whether everything fits. Use a table saw to cut and adjust the pieces.
The first few rows of wood should be nailed and fastened by hand, with finishing nails and a hammer. For the next rows, use a flooring-nailer to get the job done easier and quicker. The last raw should be nailed with a face-nailer.
- Extra tip: Measure your room before you buy the wooden pieces. Always buy 10-15% more wood than you actually need, just in case something goes wrong.
- Extra tip: To fit the wooden plucks underneath door jambs, simply use the pluck as a depth gauge, cut of the bottom of the casing, and slide the pluck beneath.
For snap-in laminate flooring, here’s useful guide we found on YouTube.
Thanks for reading! Check out some of our other articles on awesome desig ideas and gifts for you male living space!