Talk to a Toolman: Home Repair Advice from Chip Wade of 'Curb Appeal'

Should you hire a pro or tackle that home repair job yourself? Curb Appeal's Chip Wade weighs in on five common questions.

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"My quick fix for foggy windows: Reglaze them using supplies from the hardware store on a low-humidity day."

Q: Can I replace a chipped tile in the middle of my kitchen floor?
Chip says: Hire a pro.
You'll need a tile and flooring expert with an oscillating tool and an abrasive grout attachment to remove the grout and tile pieces, then pop in a new one. After a 24-hour drying period, the pro will come back and apply an extra layer of grout to finish the job. Prices vary depending on where you live, but I'd budget around $200 for the project.

Q: How do we keep our windows from fogging up in the winter?
Chip says: Give it a go.
Condensation on the inside of windows could mean your house is too humid, and a dehumidifier will solve the problem. If that doesn't work, it may mean air is leaking in around the glass. Buy some window glaze at the hardware store and apply it to the edges of the windows to create a seal. If you have wooden windows, the frames may have cracks, and a simple paint touchup will likely fix the leak.

Q: What do I do about a broken doorbell?
Chip says: Give it a go.
Doorbells are pretty simple devices, but they're also mini electrical appliances that should be handled carefully. First try flipping your fuse breaker the problem could be just a blown fuse. If the doorbell still isn't working, turn off your power, then unscrew the switch plate and check to see if the two wires behind it are connected tightly; you may need to adjust them. Still not hearing a buzz? It could mean there's no power running to the switch. Time to call in an electrician for the fix so you don't risk getting shocked or burned.

Q: I'm tired of my bathroom sink faucet. Is it easy to install a new one?
Chip says: Hire a pro.
This looks like an easy job, but it's actually deceptively cumbersome, so I'd leave it to a plumber. He'll have to turn off the water and spend about an hour disconnecting and reconnecting the supply lines before he can actually install the faucet. And if the plumber says the supply lines look worn, it's a good idea to replace them while you have help on hand.

Q: My dresser has one tricky drawer that won't pull out. Help!
Chip says: Give it a go.
It's probably the drawer's slides that are sticking, and if they're metal, a little spray lubricant like WD-40 will help things run more smoothly. If the slides are wooden, friction could be causing a binding effect. Remove the drawer and examine all of the slides, both on the drawer and inside the dresser, for any pieces that are broken or splintered. Lightly sand those areas, then finish with a coat of beeswax.

 

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