Repairing a crack in your concrete driveway is an easier fix than you might think. As the video above from Just Az.com Productions suggests, you’ll first want to use a trowel, chisel, or other small tool to remove debris from the crack. Next, use an air compressor or vacuum to remove the finer debris you can’t get with your tool.
Landscape lights are a great way to add accent to a dark yard. Here, we’re really talking about wired, rather than solar, lights but you still might find that some of these tips help even if you have solar lights. The simplest problem to fix is when a landscape light refuses to stand up straight and the solution for this is usually just buying a bigger ground stake to attach to the light. Many lights have a standard thread size, making it easy to swap out stakes, but you might want to take the old stake (or the light) with you when you go to buy replacement stakes.
When you’ve got everything prepped, it’s time to prime the metal. You’ll do this using a brush or roller and a product called red metal primer, which is specially formulated for priming metals like iron. After the primer has fully dried, you can paint the iron with a good wrought iron paint, which is formulated for metal in an outside environment, and your wrought iron will be good to go for years.
Shovel (for digging out the stake, if necessary)Screwdriver (Phillips or flat, depending on the light)Needle-nose pliers (if a wire connection is the problem)Wire nuts (if a wire connection is the problem)Replacement light bulbs (if a bulb is bad)Repair a Leaky Outdoor Faucet
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After you’ve removed the debris, you’ll use a caulking gun to spread caulking sealant into the crack. If you’re repairing a crack on a horizontal portion of the driveway, you can use a self-leveling caulk. If the crack is on a grade, you’ll use standard caulk. After appying the caulk to the crack, use a putty knife to spread the caulk evenly into the crack. You may need to apply more caulk and use the putty knife again to make sure you’ve got everything covered. Allow several hours to dry and you’ve got a freshly-repaired driveway.
Most of these projects are straightforward and don’t require any prerequisite skills other than a familiarity with basic tools. Still, make sure you understand and are comfortable with the steps you’ll be taking during the repair before you get started. If you need help, don’t be shy about getting it. We’ve selected some pretty good videos, but you may find more out there that are more suited to your particular situation.
As the video above from iScaper1 shows, you’ll first remove the old fixture, which is usually connected via two long screws to a mounting bracket. After you remove those, the fixture should come away easily. You’ll see connecting three wires: white (neutral), black (power), and green or bare (ground) attached to the wires coming from the electrical box using twist-on wire connectors (usually called wire nuts). Unscrew the nuts and the wires should come apart easily.
Over time, wrought iron fences, railings, and furniture can rust and flake, leaving an unattractive finish. Fortunately, unless the wrought iron is rusted all the way through, you can repaint wrought iron yourself without much hassle.
Fill the hole with the compound, spread it out to create an even surface, and tamp it down. The video even recommends tamping by placing plywood over the patch and driving your car over it. After tamping, use some crack repair sealant around the edges of the repair. It should be dry enough to use in a day or two, though it may take a couple of weeks before it’s fully dried and ready for parking on.
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Now that dryer, warmer months of Spring are finally coming, it’s time to tackle some of those pesky outdoor repairs you may have been putting off. Here are seven common outdoor repairs you can do yourself, no experience necessary.
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As shown in the video above from A4WE, disassembly is pretty straightforward. You’ll remove the handle, take off the packing nut, and pull out the valve stem assembly. Chances are that you’ll just need to replace the washers rather than the whole assembly. You’ll be able to spot if they are worn or cracked. Even if you do need to replace the assembly, it’s a pretty cheap fix. Just take the old one to the hardware store with you so you know you’re buying the right thing.
Putting up the new fixture might be a little tricky because you’ll have to hold it in place while you connect those wires again. If it’s too heavy or feels awkward, set it on top of a ladder or get a friend to hold it while you connect things up. Just connect the wires in the same way they were on the old fixture. The instructions on the new fixture will have a diagram if you need it. After you’ve connected the wires with the wire nuts, you can also run some electrical tape around the wing nuts and wires for some added security. This can help keep the wires from getting disconnected when you push them back into the electrical box and screw the new fixture into place.
GlovesBreathing maskTarp for collecting debrisSanding spongesRigid bristle brushOptionally, a power drill with a wire brush attachmentLint-free paper towelsSteel wool
Screwdriver (Phillips)Crescent or other adjustable wrenchReplacement washers or valve stem assemblyRepair a Garden Hose
Pressure washerAsphalt pothole patching compoundCrack repair sealantTamping device or plywoodRepair a Crack in Your Concrete Driveway
First, you’ll need to prepare the surface for painting, which is detailed in the video above from WeekendWorkbench. Use a drill with a wire brush attachment or just a wire brush to remove the rust from the wrought iron. You won’t need to remove every last bit of rust, but you do want to get rid of most of the rust and old paint so that you can prime and repaint. After using the wire brush, go over the iron again with sanding sponges and then wipe everything down lint free paper towels to remove as much dust and debris as you can.
If you have questions about specific parts or supplies, the folks at the hardware store will usually have a good answer for you. Come equipped with the details of your project and some pictures, if you can. They’ll point you in the right direction. And of course, if at any time you feel like you might be in over your head, stop before you make things worse and consider calling a pro.
We’ve talked before about home electrical projects and home plumbing projects you can handle on your own and now it’s time to tackle outdoor repairs. The projects we’re covering here mostly deal with repairing things like driveway cracks and potholes, faucets and hoses, rusty wrought iron, and so on. These are mostly beginner-level projects that are fairly easy to do and can save you a lot of money if you tackle them yourself.
Electrical projects around the home can seem scary if you’ve never done them before. But they…
Repairing a leaky outdoor faucet is usually a pretty simple fix. Leaks happen at one of two places: the handle or the spout. If the leak is coming from the handle, the first thing to try is using a wrench to tighten the packing nut, which is the nut located just behind the handle itself. If that doesn’t fix the leak, or if the leak is coming from the faucet, you’ll need to take the handle apart. Before you do that, make sure you turn the water off at the source. And if you’re not sure how to do that, check out the section Turn the Water Supply Off in our article on home plumbing projects.
Cutters or shears for cleanly cutting sections of hoseHose mender insert (if repairing a break)Hose clamps (if repairing a break or hose end)Replacement washersRepair a Pothole in Your Asphalt Driveway
Troubleshooting a leaking garden hose almost always boils down to one of two things. If the hose is leaking at the point of connection with a sprayer or another hose, you’ll need to replace the washer that’s nestled inside that connection, as shown in the video above from Your Own Victory Garden. Pull the old one out and take it with you to get a replacement. Or, just buy a bag of replacement washers. They’re not at all expensive.
Replacing an outdoor light fixture is a pretty simple task. Light fixtures come in all shapes and sizes, but the wiring and they way they attach are pretty consistent, whether the fixture is attached to a wall or ceiling. Before you get started, you’ll want to make sure you turn off the power for the fixture at the breaker. Turning off the switch for the light is not good enough.
Caulking sealant (self-leveling or not, depending on the grade in the driveway you’re repairing)Caulking gunGlovesTrowel, chisel, or other small tool for removing debris from the crackAir compressor or vacuum for removing fine debris from the crackPutty knife for spreading caulkPrepare and Repaint Wrought Iron Fences, Railings, or Furniture
The other problem is when the landscape light doesn’t come on. There are a few possible causes for this:
If the actual hose leaks due to a tear or cut, you’ll need to patch the hose. If it’s a minor break, you can often patch it with just duct tape. If it’s a bigger break, you’ll need to cut the section of hose with the break out and then attach the two clean ends of hose together using a hose mender insert and two hose clamps. If the end of the hose leaks or has gotten damaged, you can cut off the end of the hose and clamp a replacement end on the hose. All of these fixes are a good bit cheaper than buying a new hose and the parts are worth keeping around your workshop.
A bulb is bad. If only one light is out, the easiest thing to check is to see whether the bulb has gone bad. Changing a bulb in a landscape light is almost as easy as changing a bulb in your home. You’ll just want to make sure you buy replacement bulbs that are the same wattage, voltage, and size as the bulb you’re replacing.
The connection between the electrical source wire and the light is bad. A single underground power cable runs from somewhere in your home. Each light is connected to that cable with a couple of leads (power and neutral).
That connection may use simple wire connectors inside the light housing or the leads may connect using wire nuts. After turning the power off, check to see whether those connections are loose or if it looks like moisture has gotten in.
As shown in the video above from ehowhome, both these problems are easy to fix.The main cable or source is bad. If all the lights on a particular run fail to come on, the chances are that the main cable has suffered damage or something has gone wrong at the switch for the lights.
These problems can be a little trickier to solve, since they involve either digging up and replacing the cable or replacing the switch (or timer or whatever mechanism turns your lights on).
Screwdriver (Phillips or flat)Needle-nose pliersWire nuts (plastic wire connectors that typically come with the new fixture. You can also reuse the ones currently installed)Electrical tape (optional, for helping secure the wires so the wire nuts don’t pull off)The new light fixtureRepair Landscape Lights
Potholes are a failure common to asphalt pavement. They happen due to moisture in the underlying ground and wear and tear from the weight of vehicles. First, you’ll need to remove any loose debris from the pothole, pressure wash the hole and surrounding area, and sweep away any standing water. You can buy asphalt patching compound either in dry form that you mix yourself or as a ready-to-use mixture, which is shown in the video above from FIX IT Home Improvement Channel.