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Shower with a large window looking outside.
Make this the weekend where you tackle that list of quick home maintenance jobs.

 

10 fast fixes

We’ve all got a list of niggly home maintenance jobs that always seem to get put off. If you have the right tools and equipment, you can get through that list in one satisfying D.I.Y. weekend.

Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, gloves, ear muffs and a mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment.

1. Update the clothesline

Clotheslines get a lot of use and may need some maintenance if the cords loosen or wear over time. Updating your clothesline is simple. Replacement clothesline cord is available in-store and other parts can be sourced through our Special Orders Desk.

If you need a new clothesline or are considering relocating an old one, installation is a relatively straightforward D.I.Y. job. For wall-mounted models, use a hammer drill and masonry bit to fit the brackets to brick with masonry screws.

If your fold-down line is freestanding, then it’s a case of either setting the posts of an in-ground model in foundation holes filled with aggregate and concrete, or fixing the posts’ base plates onto a concrete patio with the recommended fasteners.

Tip: Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

2. Renew bathroom silicone

Replacing cracked and discoloured silicone around the bath, shower, mirrors and sink will instantly refresh a bathroom, says Bunnings magazine contributor and D.I.Y. specialist Natasha Dickins (@LittleRedIndustries).

“This is an easy job, even for D.I.Y. novices,” says Natasha. “Scrape out as much existing silicone as possible, then apply a thick layer of silicone remover and leave it for a few hours before cleaning off with a cloth soaked in methylated spirits. Apply new silicone with a caulking gun or, even easier, use an all-in-one sealant product with an attached applicator.”

3. Declutter the pantry

Dealing with a disorganised pantry can seem like an overwhelming chore. However, the benefits of getting it sorted are huge, resulting in reduced food wastage and making cooking quicker and easier, says professional organiser Bonnie Black (littlemissorganised.com.au).

For a complete pantry overhaul, she suggests setting aside half a day to pull out all of the contents so items can be categorised, put in storage containers and reshelved according to frequency of use.

Good organisation systems include a carousel for sauces, oils and vinegars, tiered shelving for cans, and a large basket for kids’ after-school snacks,” Bonnie says. She recommends a consistent pantry storage style, whether it’s clear stackable storage containers that maximise pantry space or recycled jars with handwritten labels.  

Racks inside pantry for storage and organisation.

4. Tighten loose toilet seats

A loose, quick-release toilet seat can be fixed in a flash. “Wearing gloves, push the hinge-release buttons at the back of the toilet seat to remove it,” explains Natasha. “Use a small flathead screwdriver to pry the metal fixing caps off the plastic discs underneath, then put the seat back in position to hold the pins while tightening the screws. Lift off the seat again to clip on the caps, then reinstall. When you hear the hinges click into place, the job’s done.”

5. Fix a dripping tap

You can stop a dripping tap in just 15 minutes if you have the right parts.

“Generally, the cause is worn parts like the washer, O-ring or jumper valve,” says Natasha. “Before getting started, check with the manufacturer or local authority if you’re permitted to do repairs yourself or whether you need to call in a licensed plumber. If it’s a D.I.Y. job, make note of the product and pick up a ready-to-go tap repair kit.”

To get started, ensure the water is turned off at the mains, then turn on the tap. Disassemble by removing the handle (you may need a small screwdriver), flange, then spindle using an adjustable spanner. Remove the worn parts, replace with new ones and reassemble.

6. Fill the dings

If your home’s walls have picture hook holes or door handle-inflicted gouges, grab a fast fix for wall repairs. “

For small holes, mini kits have everything you need to sand, smooth in filler and scrape away the excess,” explains Natasha. “The longest part of the process is the 30-minute drying time.”

For larger holes, Natasha recommends using a suitably sized self-adhesive wall patch with a multipurpose joint compound. “Once the final filler coat has been sanded, simply repaint the area,” she adds.

7. Give exterior timber some TLC

Patchy colouring, fading, flaking and peeling are tell-tale signs your exterior timber needs attention. Oiling a timber deck or wooden outdoor furniture is a job that can be knocked over in a day, but allow yourself a weekend so you can properly prepare the surface and allow generous drying time between coats.

Cleaning is a vital first step. “Without removing surface contaminants like dirt, mould and oil, timber can struggle to absorb a new coating and continue to discolour,” says Brenna Mathews of Cabot’s. “Give the surface a good sweep and use a specifically formulated timber cleaner.”

Tip: “Thoroughly stir your decking oil and, if bubbles appear, wait for them to settle before applying the product in the direction of the wood grain,” says Brenna.  

Timber deck with plants in white pots and table setting.

8. De-hassle garden hoses

Problem hose nozzles and connections sap the joy from gardening. Georgia Liversage at Holman says common issues include blow-offs due to loosely attached fittings or low-quality connections that can’t grip to the hose. Hand-tighten a hose connector to ensure it is threaded closely. If that doesn’t work, opt for high-quality connectors with a separate compression ring.

To straighten out a kinked hose, Georgia’s tip is to stretch it out in the sun for a few hours. “Allow it to fully cool before wrapping it in a figure-eight shape to prevent kinks,” she says, “or switch to a retractable hose reel.”

9. Clear gutters

Gutters can be easy to ignore, but cleaning them regularly is a good home-maintenance habit. Work around the perimeter of your home on a sturdy, level ladder, scooping out leaves into a bucket as you go. To prevent leaf build-up and reduce upkeep, consider installing gutter guards.

Person with gloves scooping debris from roof gutters.

10. Add mulch to garden beds

Spending a few hours topping garden beds with mulch is a rewarding job with long-lasting benefits. It provides organic matter which enriches the soil, helps lock in moisture and suppresses weeds – all of which contribute to a lower-maintenance garden. Good options include pea straw, lucerne mulch and bark-based varieties such as pine, cypress and hardwood. Spread coarse mulch 2–6cm thick and water it well so it settles.

Hands with gloves holding mulch in garden bed.

Keep in mind…

•Before undertaking any D.I.Y. activity, be sure you have the necessary skills, use the correct tools and wear the appropriate safety equipment.

•All professional plumbing work must be carried out by a licensed plumber.

•Before drilling into walls, use a stud finder to check for wiring or pipework and turn off the power before working. If unsure, call a professional.

•Follow product packaging instructions for accurate dilution of strong cleaning solutions. Wear a mask and gloves for serious cleaning tasks and store cleaning solutions out of reach of children and pets.

•Use the right ladder for the job: make sure it has non-slip feet and is set up on a flat, stable and solid surface. Wear sturdy footwear, maintain three points of contact on it at all times (for example, both feet and one hand) and have another person nearby in case you need help. Use a ladder rest or gutter clamp instead of leaning the ladder directly on guttering.

•Wear gloves and a mask when handling mulch.

Looking to get your wardrobe in-check?

Read our guide to create the ultimate and functional wardrobe.

Some products are not available at all Bunnings stores, but may be ordered.

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images, Cabots,

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.