Tips For Small Repair Jobs Around the House

Here are a handful of tips for simple, easy-to-do maintenance on the exterior of your home:

During the winter months, moisture may seep into outdoor garage or tool shed locks and cause them to freeze, making it difficult to insert a key.  If this happens, heat your key gently a few times by holding it in the flame of a lighter or match.  Then work the key gently back and forth inside the lock, repeating until the lock warms sufficiently to melt the ice inside.

When padlocks are used around the outside of your home, dirt, rust or other corrosion can sometimes form in the mechanism.  To prevent this, place a strip of waterproof tape over the keyhole.  The tape can easily be stripped off and replaced each time a key is inserted.

Following heavy windstorms, you may discover that some of your roof shingles have been lifted or curled back and no longer lie flat.  This leaves the exposed roof susceptible to leaks.  To correct the situation, you can apply a dab of roof cement under each of the curled shingles.  During the next warm spell, shingles will uncurl and will continue to lie flat, even if the cement has dried.

To remove rust or other metallic stains from light colored exterior siding, try washing these with a water solution of oxalic acid.  This is sold in crystalline form at paint and hardware stores.  Dissolve three-quarters of a pound in one gallon of water and sponge over the stain.  Allow to dry for several minutes, and then rub off with a clean cloth.

For rust stains caused by exposed nail heads corroding beneath the surface of the paint, sand off the nail head and spot-prime with a little shellac or a metal primer.  Then countersink the nail head and fill the hole with putty before repainting.