Sooner or later you’ll repair walls that make rooms look worn out. Erasing dings, dents, and scuffs is an easy fix. We’ll show you how.
Repair walls filled with dents, dings, and scuffs, and you’ll make rooms look young and fresh and maintain the value of your home. Fortunately, repairing walls is a good weekend warrior project. Here’s how to fix your home’s face in a hurry.
Patch Drywall to Smooth Walls
A putty knife, spackle, or joint compound can repair wall damage that ages a room.
Dents and dings: A quart of spackle ($11) and a putty knife can fill dozens of small wall indentations. Spackle adheres to painted walls better than joint compound, though it takes a bit longer to dry. Cut wall repair time by thoroughly wiping away excess spackle.
Fist-sized holes: Joint compound is your best bet when covering the mesh or drywall patches that cover big holes. You’ll need at least two thin coats of compound and fine grit sandpaper to blend repairs into the rest of the wall.
Nail pops: Nail pops travel in packs: Rarely do you see just one. To repair walls pocked with pops, hammer the popped nail back into the wall or pull it out with a needle-nose pliers; refasten the drywall to the nearest stud with a couple of screws, then fill dents with two or three coats of joint compound. Sand until smooth and flush with the rest of the wall, then repaint.
Remove Marks for a Clean Start
Microfiber cloths are little miracles that erase the evidence of a childhood well spent, drawing on and caroming off walls. To get rid of scuff marks and fingerprints:
- Spray an all-purpose cleaner onto the cloth (never directly onto walls to avoid drips) and swipe the scuff. (Test a hidden spot to make sure the cleaner doesn’t take off paint with the mark.)
- Pour a little dish soap onto a damp cloth and wipe the mark.
- Dip a sponge into an earth-friendly and slightly abrasive paste of dish soap, baking soda, and water, and gently scrub grime.
- To repair walls decorated with crayon marks, dab toothpaste onto a towel or toothbrush and scrub marks.
- Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser ($3), the best instant wall cleaner around. Wet and wring the eraser before attacking scuffs.
Touch Up What You Can’t Wipe Out
Prepare for inevitable touch-ups by keeping leftover paint or at least recording the paint number and/or formula (paint names change). Don’t have the original? Scrape off a little and ask your paint store to match it.
For touch-ups, use the same type of brush or roller the original painter used. Feather the paint from the outside borders in.
If touch-ups stand out, paint the entire wall, making sure to paint corner to corner and avoid splatters onto the ceiling and adjacent walls.
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“REALTORS® know how important it is for buyers to be able to picture themselves living in a home, and staging a home makes that process much easier for potential buyers,” says NAR President William E. Brown. “While all real estate is local and many factors play into what a home is worth and how much buyers are willing to pay for it, staging can be the extra step sellers take to help sell their home more quickly and for a higher dollar value.”
Thirty-one percent of respondents to NAR’s survey say staging increased the dollar value of a home they sold by 1 percent to 5 percent; 13 percent of respondents say it increased a home’s dollar value by 6 percent to 10 percent. Agents on both the buying and selling side agree that the living room is the most important part of a home to stage, followed by the master bedroom, kitchen, and outdoor space.
Thirty-eight percent of listing agents say they stage every one of their sellers’ homes before listing them. Fourteen percent say they will only stage homes that are difficult to sell, while 7 percent say they only stage homes in higher price brackets. However, 37 percent of listing agents say they do not stage homes at all before listing them. Instead, they say they make recommendations to sellers to declutter their homes and fix any issues.
Agents who stage say the seller pays for the staging 25 percent of the time, according to the survey. Twenty-one percent say they have provided funds to stage a home. Fourteen percent of agents say they offer home staging services to sellers.
Repair and replace door hardware that makes rooms look dingy and outdated. We’ll show you how door and cabinet pulls, knobs, and hinges can give your home new sparkle.
You can slam cabinet and bedroom doors only so many times before you have to repair and replace hardware that is loose, broken, or just plain old and tired. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to tighten loose hardware, clean globs of paint off a hinge, or replace cabinet pulls to brighten any room in the house.
Repair and Replace Kitchen Cabinet Hardware
Replacing or repairing knobs and pulls on cabinets and drawers is a quick way to give your old kitchen a new look.
Cabinet hardware can be simple or ornate, and ranges from $1 a knob to $45 or more. Here’s your game plan:
- Repair loose knobs and pulls by tightening holding screws, replacing stripped screws, or plugging gaps with wood filler applied with a putty knife.
- Count the number of knobs or pulls you need before you head to the hardware store. Estimating will cost you time and money.
- To replace pulls, which are attached to cabinets by a screw at each end, measure the distance between holes — not the length of pulls — to assure a perfect fit.
- If you’re switching from a two-hole pull to a one-hole knob, choose hardware with back plates that cover door scratches and holes.
Tighten, Polish, or Replace Door Hardware
Nothing ages a room like a loose doorknob. You can tighten mortise-style doorknobs by simply tightening the setscrew on the side of the doorknob. For cylindrical doorknobs, you’ll need to take the doorknob apart.
Replace dated doorknobs with sleek door levers. For easiest installation, choose a lever handle lockset made by the same manufacturer. Prices range from $20 to $160.
Buy a commercial polish, such as Wright’s or Weiman, to make brass doorknobs shine. Warm water and a little dish soap or a homemade paste of equal parts vinegar and baking soda will scrub off dirt and make stainless steel and glass doorknobs sparkle.
Clean or Replace Door Hinges
Telltale paint on door hinges says someone did a sloppy job. To restore hinges, try these techniques:
- Wash with sudsy hot water.
- Scrub with a nylon brush or a toothbrush. A wire brush could damage the finish.
- Brush on paint stripper that is safe for all surfaces.
- Polish with beeswax furniture polish or brass polish.