Maintenance and home repair are a never-ending reality for just about everyone — homeowners and renters alike. But it doesn't have to be painful or expensive. The secret to making it easy is to fix stuff as it happens — right away, not next month or some more convenient time in the future.
The best way to ensure you'll actually perform quick home repairs is to have top-notch repair products on hand — in a handy place you will remember.
Check out my collection of favorite home repair products, some of which you may have already. And if you have favorites not listed below, please share in the comments area at Everydaycheapskate.com/home-and-family/home-repair-products/.
SCRATCH-FIX PENS. There are lots of choices, but you won't find a better product than Miller Scratch Fix pens for hiding scratches on furniture, floors, cabinets, doors moldings — and even antiques. It makes scratches, stains and imperfections invisible. It dries in seconds, making multiple coats — if necessary — super simple. It contains waterproof wood stain instead of ink, which means that once dry, even wax and polish won't smudge it. Follow the directions exactly for the best result.
WELDBOND ADHESIVE GLUE. This is amazing for most applications. This adhesive cleans up with water, is nontoxic and nearly odorless, and dries clear while remaining flexible. This is the glue you want if you want your repair to remain visible. It works on porous and nonporous surfaces. It's best if you scuff the materials to be glued with something like a nail file. This stuff is great on most plastics, wood, metal, tile, porcelain, fabric — items all of us have around our homes that need to be repaired from time to time. It cures fully in only 24 hours.
ORIGINAL GORILLA GLUE. This product comes in a number of variations, many of which I can live without. It's the Original Gorilla Glue that has saved my bacon more than a few times and occupies a permanent location in my repair products drawer. It will stick anything together and hold it there for dear life, and quite possibly through eternity! However, the repair may remain very visible, so plan your strategy carefully.
CLR. It stands for Calcium, Lime & Rust — the unsightly household annoyances that this incredible product attacks. Whether you have rust stains in your tub or crusty calcium deposits on your humidifier coils, CLR will come to the rescue. This is an amazing product, one you'll be happy to have on hand when the need arises, which, if you look under the rim of your toilet bowl, may be right now!
WD-40. Chances are good you grew up with a familiar blue-and-yellow can of WD-40 in your parents' garage. It's time to make sure there's one somewhere in your home or garage. Invented more than 60 years ago, WD-40 is the secret sauce of lubricants and other agents that displace water, repel dirt and prevent corrosion. You can use it around the house to silence squeaky door hinges, remove rust from garden tools, clean a whiteboard and perform a zillion other household miracles.
BONDO ALL-PURPOSE PUTTY. This is a homeowner's best friend. It can fill and repair cracks and dents in drywall, metal, concrete, masonry and wood surfaces. Here's the best thing: 3M Bondo All-Purpose Putty can be sanded and painted within 15 minutes of application, making it a quick fix for a wide range of household repairs. Wow, just wow!
VLP LEATHER AND VINYL REPAIR. This is a clear, high-strength leather and vinyl repair product designed to mend small rips, tears and holes in most types of vinyl and leather materials. A repair you make with VLP will become stronger than the vinyl or leather material was before the tear. It is amazing and quite inexpensive. This stuff is super strong and extra sticky, so please do not adhere it to a painted surface or use it in another situation where you plan to remove the tape later. This will pull paint or any other fine finish right off.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.