General Internal House Repairs
The jobs described in this section are those, dealing with maintenance of the structure of the house; other types of jobs are dealt with in other sections under their appropriate headings, For instance, small plumbing and electrical repairs will be found in the section dealing with.
Repairing Cracked Firebricks:
Cracks in firebricks at the back of grates may be filled with fire-clay cement. This special cement is obtained in tins from localdealers. The crack should be raked clean, to remove all loose material, with the tang of a file and should then be vigorously brushed with a wire brush. The crack and the surrounding area should be thoroughly wetted with water applied with an old paint-brush, and the fire-cement is then pressed firmly into the crack with a small trowel. It is essential to completely fill the crack with cement, which should be well forced home with the trowel. Smooth the surface to finish and leave overnight to harden.
Fitting Continuous-burning Grates:
There are many types of continuous-burning and all night grates for solid fuels, ranging from small detachable grates to larger grates which are permanently fitted into the hearth. Instructions for fitting these grates are provided by the manufacturers, and as they vary considerably, complete instructions for all types of grates are not given. One of the most popular types of continuous-burning grates is simply slid into the fireplace and is not secured in any way. Larger grates require anchoring to the hearth and this is done by drilling holes into the grate and plugging the holes with metal plugs before screwing the base of the grate in position. The edges of fixed grates require sealing with fire-cement.
Repairing a Boiler Door:
If the small windows of a boiler door become damaged, this will permit the entry of air which will upset the draught arrangements of the boiler and result in a wastage of fuel. Boiler door windows are easily repaired. The repair material is ‘talc’ which is obtainable from local ironmongers and builders’ merchants. The repair is effected by removing the metal plate from the back of the boiler door, and this is done with a screwdriver which is used to release the retaining.
All the pieces of the damaged pane should be cleanly removed; if they are not too badly damaged they may be used as a pattern for cutting the new piece of talc to shape. If the talc has crumbled a pattern to fit the exact shape of the aperture should be made with thin cardboard. The pattern — either the old pane or cardboard one — is placed on the talc, which should rest on a smooth, flat surface. The talc should then be scratched with a fine-pointed tool such as a bradawl and this should be used to outline the pattern shape. The pattern is then removed and the talc cut with a pair of kitchen scissors. The new pane of talc is fitted into the window recess and the back plate replaced to finish the job.
Removing Stains from an Enamelled Bath:
Discoloration due to stains from a dripping tap may be removed by swabbing with a solution of a teaspoonful of oxalic acid in 1 pint of cold water. The solution should be used very carefully as it is both corrosive and poisonous. Lightly swab the stained area, leave for a second or two, thoroughly rinse with running water and repeat as often as necessary, until stain is gone.
Dealing with Squeaky Stairs:
A stair that squeaks does not have to be endured as the remedy is quite a simple one. The construction of typical stairs is illustrated in the image (right). The squeaks arise from movement usually of the stair tread against the riser and this is most often due to the failure of the triangular-shaped glued blocks positioned in the angle formed by the tread and the riser. The cure is a simple one. Fresh should be brushed on to the wood blocks.
Alternatively if any blocks are missing a small angle iron may be screwed in place to fix the riser to the tread. If there is no means of access to the underneath and inside of the stairs, the loose tread can be refastened by screwing through the tread into the edge of the riser. In most cases this will cure the squeak.