Do-It-Yourself Condo Repairs

October 2021

Many basic repairs can be done quickly and easily.

Leaky Faucet

Most times the problem is a worn-out rubber washer.  All you need is a replacement washer, wrench, pliers and screwdriver.

  • Turn off water to the faucet. Under the sink there should be one or two valves. Turn them to shut down water to the faucet.  Confirm by turning on faucet.
  • If tap is leaking, unscrew and remove the nozzle. Remove and replace the rubber washer.
  • If the handle is leaking, there may be a cap that can be pried off the handle with a screwdriver. Underneath the cap is a screw.  Unscrew it and pull off the handle.  (If there is no cap on the handle it may be necessary to unscrew the faucet from below the counter.)
  • Use a wrench to undo the packing nut, unscrew the stem and remove it.
  • Replace the rubber o-ring washer.
  • Reverse the process to rebuild the faucet.
  • Turn water on and check for leaks

Unclog Toilet

Most backed-up toilets can be unclogged using a plunger or plumbing snake.

  • Prevent overflowing by turning off the water supply to the toilet. Turn the valve located beneath or next to the bowl.
  • Pour a bucket of water into the bowl. Added water pressure may dislodge a blockage.
  • If blockage fails to dislodge, insert a plunger into the toilet and affix it over the drain. Push with slow rhythmic plunging motions.  Allow air pressure build up between plunges.  Air forced into the toilet should clear most blockages.
  • A snake – a flexible rod driven into the toilet drain and around the curved channel – should dislodge any material blocking the water.
  • Once blockage has been dislodged restore the water supply by turning on the water valve.

Repair Cracks and Small Holes in Walls

Smaller wall repairs are easy to fix but time consuming.  Purchase spackling compound from any hardware store along with a putty knife, sandpaper and paint.

  • Clean the repair area with a damp cloth then allow it to dry.
  • Place some pre-mixed spackling compound on a putty knife.
  • Gently apply the compound over the hole or crack using the putty knife so the entire opening is filled.
  • Continue using the putty knife and apply pressure. Smooth down the spackling compound until about flush with the wall.  Allow it to dry.
  • Once dry, use sandpaper to smooth down the area until smooth against the rest of the wall. Wash the area with a damp cloth.
  • Paint the wall to cover up the repaired area. It can be best to paint the entire wall to avoid slight differences in colour with the surrounding area.

Apply Caulking

Dirty, worn or missing caulking around the tub or fixtures can be replaced using a caulking gun, silicone caulk, utility razor and rubbing alcohol.

  • Remove existing caulking using a utility razor blade. A putty knife may be preferable if caulking is excessively worn.
  • Apply rubbing alcohol to the area to be caulked to help remove debris and ensure a good bond.
  • Apply silicone caulk using a caulking gun. Use a quick, smooth action matching the flow of the caulk.
  • Smooth out the caulking by wetting your finger and sliding it along the caulk line. Remove any excess caulk and allow it to dry.

Many home fixes are fast, easy and inexpensive to undertake without hiring a contractor.