5 must know DIY tips
Whether you are moving into your first apartment, or simply taking on your first DIY job, it’s OK to admit you don’t know what you are doing. Not everyone was brought up in a house full of carpenters, or raised by engineers, some of us have learned our DIY skills the hard way!
It’s certainly not too late to start learning, and while we’d always advise calling in an expert for home improvement jobs if you don’t know what you are doing, there are still a few simple and easy DIY tasks you really should learn:
Unblocking a sink/toilet
Perhaps the most common DIY problem in Thailand is blocked drains and sinks. The Thai sewage system is not the best, and toilets often lead to very narrow pipes which can easily get blocked. This is why it’s best to avoid flushing too much paper down your toilet.
If you do find your toilet or sink blocked it’s time to simply pull out the plunger and give it several good stabs to force the pipes clear. If plunging at the sink or toilet doesn’t work, trying plunging the drain which you’ll usually find somewhere on the bathroom floor. If this still doesn’t do it you may have to invest in some drain rods. Drain rods should always be screwed together tightly and twisted clockwise into the drain.
Rewiring a Plug
Have you ever thrown away an electrical appliance because it stopped working for no apparent reason? There’s a good chance the fuse went or a wire worked lose in the plug, and by changing it or rewiring the plug you could have save on buying a replacement.
Changing a fuse is pretty easy. Most plugs will have a few screws in the back, or a release which you can flick open with a small flathead screwdriver. Inside you should see a small fuse cartridge which can be popped out and replaced. The details of fuse should be marked on it, to help you find the correct replacement.
Changing wires is not much more difficult. Thai plugs usually only use 2 wires and are clearly colour coded. Three wired plugs will use an earth wire. The general rule is blue for neutral, brown for live, and yellow for earth.
Changing a lock
Unless the door is damaged, changing a lock is another surprisingly simple task which most people avoid, instead calling a locksmith. In most cases you only need to change the cylinder of the lock, which will give you a new set of keys, as opposed to changing the entire lock system.
To do this you should first unscrew the handles and frame of the lock and remove the cylinder. Take this to your local DIY store and they should be able to find you a matching cylinder, or one which will fit into your current door (expect to pay around 500 to 1000 Baht for the new lock and keys). While fitting the new cylinder shouldn’t be too taxing, the lock should also come with a set of instructions (hopefully in English).
Small cuts, dents, and holes in plasterboard can be easily repaired without calling anyone in. All you need is a simple tub or tube Polyfilla (or similar product), which you apply to the damaged area. Always ensure to overfill the damaged area, and once it is dry you can sand it down to a smooth and even finish. Once it’s looking good add a touch or primer and paint.
When tackling larger holes and dents you’ll need to use some mesh to patch over the damaged area and give the Polyfilla something to grip onto. Once the mesh is in place apply a thin layer of filler step by step, allowing each layer to dry before adding the next. This is a little more tricky but it just requires some patience and a gentle touch.
With most of the tasks mentioned above you’ll see it just takes a little knowhow and time to solve the problem. However, it also takes a few purpose tools. Putting together a toolkit is always a great investment, and one which will often come to save the day. Good luck!