Posts in Category: Blog

Fixing a Broken, Single-Pane Window

To fix a broken window, you can always call a glass shop to come fix it for you, but you’ll be paying out the nose and then some for something that’s not too difficult to do yourself. Really! But you have to be cautious. You have two options when fixing a window:

  1. You can have the widow replaced with a new one or
  2. You can replace just the broken pane of glass

If you have a single-pane window, it’s likely that your house is over 50 years old and all of your windows are single pane. All of the glass shops I talked to won’t replace old wooden frames with new ones because they have to custom-build the frames, which gets really expensive. The two major versions of modern window you would likely be choosing from are ones that require a vinyl or aluminum frame. Aluminum is less expensive but more tacky, and vinyl is sturdy but only comes in a few colors. Since our house is in a historical district, we found out that you can replace old windows out with vinyl and still have it be historical, but you do lose a bit of the old house feel.

In any case, if you’re going to replace out one window frame with a new one, you should be planning on replacing all the windows within the next couple years.

We Chose the Do-it-Yourself Window Repair Method

We chose to fix the panes of glass, as we were on a tight budget and I was in the mood to learn something new. In our house, we had several windows that needed replacing. One was a 4 by 3 foot with a crack down the middle (it was being held together with packaging tape when we bought the house, which was actually a good thing seeing how easy it was to fix and how much it lowered the perceived value of the house), another about half that size (which had been painted over with white paint … what were the previous owners thinking?!), and six smaller ones for the basement that had been spray painted over with some very colorful material.

Getting the Glass for your New Window

I learned an important lesson when shopping around for glass, and it was this: don’t try to cut the glass yourself! We went to Home Depot for our glass, and their glass-cutter was not functional. The customer rep, trying to be helpful, pointed out a 10-dollar hand held glass cutter I could take home to cut the glass myself. He demonstrated how to use it on a piece of scrap glass that was laying around. The cutter works by scratching a groove in the glass with one side, then you use the other side to tap the groove to increase the likelihood of a clean break, and then you break the glass over a strait edge of wood. It didn’t work for the customer rep. The glass broke in a jagged mess, and gave me a powerful indicator that I would likely not do much better.

So we went to a different Home Depot to purchase the glass and get it cut. Later, I found out that I needed an additional pane of glass for the basement and purchased it at our local glass shop. Their prices were pretty comparable and they also cut the glass themselves.

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Thanks for reading!

How to Replace an Old Toilet

Before we moved into our house, we had to replace the old toilet. You can always use a hose to bathe, but there are few viable alternatives to the services that a toilet provides. You can’t use a jar for everything!

Step 1 – Purchasing a toilet

The first order of business was to find a new toilet, so we visited Home Depot and perused their toilet varieties. I had asked a few family members about their experiences purchasing new toilets, and the only advice I got was to get a $600 toilet that produces enough suction to vacuum your backside. Since we were on a limited budget, I decided to forgo this advice and strike out on my own.

We ended up purchasing a toilet that had everything included, the bowl, tank and seat all in one. I figured this was the best route for us because it was less expensive than buying everything separately and it was still a name brand. It cost us around $100 dollars for the whole package.

One thing you’ll need to make sure of is that you have enough room in your vehicle to get the toilet home. I luckily have a station wagon was just tall enough for the box.

Step 2 – Removing the Old Toilet

If your toilet is anywhere near the state ours was when we moved in, you’re going to need a strong stomach for the removal process.

Turn off the water to the toilet tank

There should be a flexible tube from the water tank to the wall where water comes into the tank. There should also be a shut-off valve at the wall to turn off the water flow. Turn this valve all the way to the left to turn off the water. If in doubt, or if you don’t have a valve, you can always shut off the water to your house at the main water line.

Get rid of as much water as you can

Using some tupperware as scoops, get as much water out of the toilet and toilet tank as possible. This way, if something goes wrong, you won’t have a huge mess to clean up.

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A Practical Guide To Home Repair

Welcome to my practical home repair web site, my-house-home-repair.com. In 2004 my wife and I purchased a repossessed home for two important reasons: 1) Owning a home is more fiscally responsible than renting and 2) The repossessed home was within our limited price range. While as we initially walked through the house with our realtor, I recognized that certain items, including the 18-gallon toilet tank would need repair or replacing, I didn’t truly understand the full scope of what my wife and I were in for.

I am Home Repair Challenged

Unfortunately, I didn’t grow up in a household where it was family culture to huddle around something that needed to be fixed and discuss the process. I was raised primarily by a single mother who rented until I was in middle school, and she was also home repair challenged. Over the course of the last year, as I’ve pried into the minds of those around me for tips on how to fix this or move that or stop such-and-such from leaking, I’ve realized that many people are home repair challenged like me, and that those who seem to have a special knowledge in the area are just very good at bluffing, or have already broken enough bones in the process of learning that they know that they don’t want to make the same mistakes again.

Learn From My Home Repair Mistakes and Research

There’s no point in re-inventing the wheel or chopping off a finger if you don’t have to. There are a million home repair guides out there, and many of them are very well written and easy to understand. However, I’ve found that for many home repair tasks it’s good to get a second and third opinion and talk to people who have actually been in the trenches. Even though I scoured the internet and read all the home repair handbooks I could get my hands on before approaching a task, I found that there were still things I wish I had known before I started. That’s where this web site comes in. It’s words from a newbie with a little experience to a newbie with less experience. Sometimes that can help bridge the communication gap between the experts and us.

Fixing a home is a lot of fun, but you can save a lot of time down the road with a little research beforehand. You can even do it without having to hire a pro on home advisor or thumbtack!