Top 5 Fixes to Get Done Before the Guests Arrive

Let's face it: you've been procrastinating on nagging home repairs all year long. But, you'll want to make sure that your home is in top shape for festivities with friends and family. You can get the stuff you've been putting off DONE in no time. Here are the top 10 plights of procrastinating DIYers and how to repair them before the New Year. --Tabitha Sukhai,

(See all of our fast fixes to complete before your holiday guests arrive at

1. Fix the Doorbell
Ninety percent of the time, when a doorbell doesn't work it's the fault of the button on the outside because weather and constant use wear it out. But it's also possible the chime or transformer, the other parts of a traditional wired doorbell, have stopped working. To pinpoint the problem, simply test each component. See how to do it in the How to Fix an Old Doorbell step-by-step.

See also:
Spruce-Up Your Entry
Refinish the Front Door
NEWSLETTER: Exterior Enhancements to Make Guest Feel Welcome Before They Get Inside

2. Fix a Wobbly Newel Post
Staircase handrails rely on the newel post-the large post that anchors the balustrade at the bottom of the staircase-for support. If the post is loose, the railing becomes wobbly and offers little support for guests climbing the stairs to turn in for the night. Here's How to Repair a Loose Newel Post.

3. Silence Squeaky Floors and Stairs
Your overnight guests don't need to know about your midnight refrigerator raids, so tighten up those creaking floorboards and stair treads before they wake up the whole house. Squeeeeek-No-More screws, available at home centers and hardware stores, draw flooring tight to joists, or stair treads to stringers; then their heads snap off, leaving a 1/8-inch-wide hole in the finished surface. "The holes disappear in carpeting," says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva. "For wood floors, fill the holes with a wax filler stick in a matching color."

See also:
Use Baby Powder to Silence Squeaks and More DIY Tricks
How to Install a Stair Runner
6 Ways to Make a Bland Staircase Grand

4. Prevent Wearing of Floor Finish Around the Table
And felt stickers work loose in no time. Hammer in tacks with attached felt pads for dining chairs or anything you move around a lot, or rubber pads for sofas and stuff that stays put. See 51 more Quick Fixes for Annoying Home Ailments

5. Fix Dripping Faucets and Running Toilets
Compared with some of the headaches that go along with home ownership, a leaky kitchen faucet or toilet tank valve is a minor problem. Yet a steady trickle of water is a waste of both water and money, and eventually it will get on your nerves. Both of these problems can be fixed quickly, and unlike many more involved plumbing jobs, these repairs require only a few ordinary tools. For foolproof instructions, we called on a pro who performs these repairs on a regular basis-David Sorrell, of Goodhill Mechanical Contractors in Woodbury, Connecticut. Just don't tell your plumber where you got the information...

See Fixing Running Toilets and Dripping Faucets for more.

See also:
How to Clear Any Clog