You may think you’ve been a model tenant these past months.
But once the question of getting your security deposit back comes around, you start noticing things. Like that dent in the kitchen from when you slipped and plunged your elbow into the wall. And that scratch in the floor from trying to find an outlet behind your dresser. And the nail and screw holes all over the walls!
Fear not — we’ve put together the following list of DIY home repair tips for you. Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to get your security deposit back!
Patching Small Holes in Walls
What you’ll need: putty knife, spackle/joint compound/caulk, patch kit, sandpaper, paint
What to do: For holes quarter-sized and smaller, simply scrape away loose debris from the hole, then fill with joint compound. Smooth it out with the putty knife, wait for it to dry, then smooth it completely with sandpaper. Paint over the patch and you’re done!
For larger, doorknob-sized holes, you’ll need a patch kit. This is a square of self-adhesive mesh. Cover the hole with this patch, then cover the patch with joint compound, feathering the edges so it blends into the wall. Let dry, sand smooth, and repeat with a second coat. Let dry and paint over.
Patching Large Holes in Walls
What you’ll need: utility knife, putty knife, spackle/joint compound, drywall, drywall tape, wood board, saw, electric drill, wood screws, sandpaper, paint
What to do: Use the utility knife to cut out a square/rectangle around the hole. Cut a piece of drywall to fit the square/rectangle you just cut. For holes around 6-inches, you can get away with just popping in the drywall patch you cut.
For holes larger than 6-inches, you’ll be better off using a wood board to support your drywall patch, so it doesn’t crack. If you need to, cut a wood board to be a few inches longer than the height of your patch hole. Place the wood board in the wall, behind the drywall, and screw it into place, top and bottom.
Place your drywall patch in the square/rectangle you cut, screwing it into the wooden board if applicable. Tape around the edges of the patch with drywall tape, then use the putty knife to spread some spackle/joint compound along the drywall tape. Let dry, sand till smooth and repeat with a second coat. Let dry again, then paint over.
Fill Scratches in Wood Floors/Furniture
What you’ll need: Steel wool, sandpaper, mineral spirits, plastic putty knife, wood filler, natural bristle brush, varnish/ polyurethane. Or crayons!
What to do: Smooth out the scratch with steel wool (for lighter scratches) or sandpaper (for deeper scratches). Make sure to follow the wood grain when doing this. Rub mineral spirits over the scratch to further smooth it out and clean up the fine dust from sanding.
Using a plastic putty knife (to avoid further scratches), fill in the scratch with wood filler that matches the color of the rest of the floor/furniture. Let dry, smooth out with light sandpaper and clean up the dust. Finish off with varnish or polyurethane to match the rest of the floor.
Or, pick a crayon that closely matches the color of the scratched wood, melt it in a microwave over greaseproof paper, and then use a putty knife to fill in the scratch!
For more help getting that security deposit back, make sure to read our two guides on properly vacating an apartment, here and here.
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