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Forget the handyman! 5 home repairs you can do

Is that leaky toilet driving you crazy? How about that carpet stain that hits you right between the eyes every time you walk into the room? If your "To Do" list is getting too long, TODAY contributor and do-it-yourself expert Lou Manfredini has five quick home repairs.

1. Toilet troubles — Are one of the most frequent questions I get. Either the toilet does not have the same flushing force, the water seems to trickle into the bowl, or water is constantly running in the tank. Ninety percent of the time poor flushing action is due to clogged ports under the rim of the toilet bowl. Clean these out with a stiff brush and some calcium cleaner like CLR or Lime-Away. Water running into the bowl can be due to the water level being too high in the tank. If the inside of your toilet tank has a ball-float with an arm, follow that back toward the hinge point. There you will find a screw, and by tightening it (righty tighty, lefty loosey) you will lower the water level just below the overflow pipe. If water is flowing into the bowl, then you may need to clean the flapper or flush valve. Replacing this flapper is very easy; you just unclip the old one and clip in the new one and connect the chain.
2. Sticky doors
— Can be solved with two tricks of the trade. If the door is hitting the top of the jamb, you can try taking out one of the top screws in the top hinge. Then install a 3-inch-long wood screw to tighten up the hinge to the jamb. This will re-cant the door to its proper alignment. If that does not work, then remove the top hinge and use a wood chisel to scrape away some of the wood that the hinge is set into. Then replace the hinge and you should be good to go.3. Holes in the walls — Can be repaired pretty quickly with a little joint compound and a self-adhesive metal wall-patch kit. These patches can cover a hole as big as a softball, and in a matter of 48 total hours, the hole is gone. Place the patch over the hole and then use thin coats of joint compound to set the patch, and widen with every coat. You need to let the coats dry before applying another application. Once it’s done, you can lightly sand it, prime it and then repaint that section.

4. Stains in the carpet — If you have tried everything and it’s still there, you have one last chance before you replace the carpeting in the entire room. And the secret is in a dinner plate and under the couch. Place a dinner plate over the stained area, and use a sharp utility knife to cut around the plate to cut out the stained section of carpet — leave only the pad. Then move the couch or go into the closet and do the same thing with a clean, out-of-the-way section of carpeting. Place the clean patch in its spot and nail it in place with carpet tacks. Run your hand over it and only you will know that it is there.

5. Scratches in your dining room table— The secret of the antique industry is Howard’s-Restore-A-Finish and #0000 steel wool. This mild stripper will peel off the very top layer of the finish and leave the color intact. With light pressure, you use a damp pad of fine steel wool with the grain to remove imperfections and scratches from the wood. Once done, you wipe it clean with a cotton rag. You will be amazed at the results.

For more information visit Lou Manfredini's Web site at

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