Tape measure tricks for all handymen & renovators

It's one of the most practical inventions ever, full of hidden features you probably never knew existed!

Tape measure tricks for all handymen & renovators

How are your tape measure skills? Surprisingly, a tape measure is one of the most practical inventions ever, full of hidden features you probably never knew existed that will make the odd DIY home improvement job so much easier! Check out all the things your tape measure can do:

The ‘screw grab’

You probably already knew that you could hook (or clip) the end of a tape measure over the edge of a surface and walk backwards to extend the tape out, but have you ever wondered what that little slot in the metal hook is for? That little slot is a ‘nail and screw grab’, which neatly slips over the flat head of a nail or screw to help you hold the tape in place when you’re flying solo.

tape measure nail screw grabSource: diy house help

The scribing tool

Another neat little feature that makes home repairs and odd jobs easier is the serrated edge of the metal hook on the end of a tape measure (not all have them, so check). By dragging it back and forth on a surface, you can mark out a measurement down to the millimetre.

tape measure serrated hook
Source: AXMINSTER Tools & Machinery

The hook has ‘play’

Clearly, the hook must be our favourite part of the tape measure because we keep talking about it, but here’s one more…  You’ll notice the hook on the end of the tape has some ‘play’ or wiggle room on it, and the end centimetre of the tape may be slightly smaller than a true centimetre. This is because depending on whether you’re measuring on the outside or inside of something, you’ll want the hook thickness to either be counted as part of the measurement or not; therefore, there is movement each way of about a millimetre or so. This movement is called ‘play’.

Tip: Most tape measures come already calibrated for accurate measurements, but depending on how critical the measurement you need is, you might want to check how much ‘free play’ is allowed and calibrate the tape.  Getting this done professionally can be a costly exercise, so why not get one of Airtasker’s expert Handymen to take a look at it for you for a great price?

tape measure hook play
Source: AXMINSTER Tools & Machinery

The tape has measurements

Well duh! But seriously, stay with us…  We live life by the metric system here in Australia, but it is still common for imperial measurements to pop up every now and then, such as the plans you got off the internet. So it’s quite handy that tape measure tapes are often marked out by centimetres and inches, and broken down further into fractions (e.g. 1/4 inch).

stanley tape measure
Source: AXMINSTER Tools & Machinery

The length of the tape measure ‘housing’ counts

The housing (i.e. the hand held container that ‘houses’ the tape) can actually be a very handy sidekick for home repair jobs. If you’ve ever tried to measure the inside length of something, you’ll know it can be quite difficult.

Well, good news – the housing of the tape measure is often marked with a measurement of length (e.g. 10cm) that you can use to make life a bit easier. Instead of trying to measure the inside of something corner to corner by bending the tape, position the tape measure inside and draw the length of the tape out from surface to surface. Take note of the measurement on the tape (e.g. 65cm) and add it on to the length of the tape measure housing (65cm + 10cm = 75cm)… and voila, accurate measurements!

tape measure body inner length cornersSource: AXMINSTER Tools & Machinery

Some tape measures are better than others

Depending on what you want to use it for, there are different lengths of tape measures available that are better for some jobs than others. For example, an 8m tape is great for the hobbyist doing small home improvement jobs like cabinetry, but for bigger jobs like outdoor and construction, you might need something longer and possibly stronger.

You can get tape measures with magnetic hooks, blade locking mechanisms, and ones that can do a ‘stand out measure’ for hooking objects far away (i.e. you stand in one spot, and use your hand to extend the tape; it holds its weight and extends horizontally). This is getting into advanced handyman territory though; watch yourself!

tape measure range
Source: Pro Tool Reviews

Now that you’re armed with insider information, it’s time to show your tape measure skills off to your friends. Have you got any other tape measure tricks to share with the rest of us amateurs?

The most annoying home repairs

You either love them or hate them, but home repairs are a must when you own a home.

The most annoying home repairs

Owning a home is an exciting life achievement but after initial the excitement wears off and you settle in, you’ll realise that the upkeep is constant with cleaning, gardening and home repairs.  Some repairs are simple and enjoyable, others a little more complicated – it all depends on the building quality.

Here are some of the more annoying home repairs you should be prepared for in your home:

Leaking roof

Check the condition of your roof at least a few times a year, even if there are no obvious signs of leakage.  Hail storms, shoddy construction and UV damage can weaken the structure of your roof and allow water to get in.

Water leads to water damage, water damage leads to electrical damage, electrical damage leads to your house burning down… For Pete’s sake, if you find a leak, fix it ASAP!

It’s probably best to leave this one to the professionals. Hire a roof specialist or appropriately qualified Handyman to check and repair your roof (and clean out the gutters while they’re up there).

roof home repairs
Source: Wikimedia

Squeaking floor boards

Floorboards are easy to maintain and look great but when you hear them squeaking as you walk around, it can get a bit annoying and not to mention worrying.

For a quick fix, use some talcum powder in between to stop the rubbing. If that doesn’t do it, you’ll need to secure them properly.

Door damage from pets

Do you have cats or dogs? Unless they’re extremely well trained you’re almost guaranteed that at some point that they’ll destroy your doors. Whether it’s by scratching up the wood or slashing through the fly screen, cute little claws can equal annoying door and fly screen repairs.

If it’s a small rip, some clear nail polish will do the trick to keep it closed until it needs to be completely replaced.

For door scratches, if they are shallow you should be able to sand them back and paint over or stain again. However, doors are relatively cheap so you could simply replace it and not put in the hard work.

Remove wall paper

Tacky wallpaper needs to go (and fast!) and it’s something that you can easily do yourself with a steamer or removing agent, knife and perforator.

Then you’re free to put up new beautiful wallpaper or repaint.

Dripping taps

Nothing is worse than when you’re trying to sleep and all you can hear is the tap drip non-stop. First thing is to try to replace the washer that’s worn out. If that doesn’t do the job, check out the manufacturer’s website and see if they have some notes on how to repair it.

Clogged drain pipes

After a big storm, it’s really important to make sure that your gutters are clear of debris and rubbish so that the water can drain easily. You’ll also need to check that it’s not pooling, which you can easily do with a garden hose.

If it is you might need to adjust them or if a whole side is bad, replace it.

Unfinished home repairs

One of the biggest peeves, especially for those who have just purchased a home, is having to repair unfinished work. Nothing is worse than having a missing tile staring at you because it was removed six months ago to get to a hidden pipe, then never replaced.

bathroom tile home repairs
Source: Lowe’s

Patching holes in the wall

It seems so easy; mix ‘A’ with ‘B’, pop it on the wall and ‘Hey presto!’, the wall is fixed! If you think this is how holes are patched, you might be in for a rude shock…

If you don’t know what you’re doing, no matter how many times you scrape that goop, it won’t be right. You’ll be left with ridges and lumps, and then you’ll have to sand it and paint it.

We suggest that if you’re short on time, you just hire a professional and step back and watch the magic. You’ll save yourself a tin of goop and a lot of frustration.

wall home repairsSource: How To Specialist

If you’d like some help with completing any annoying home repairs, why not try out the services of an Airtasker Handyman? They’re multi-skilled, readily available and will get the job done in no time.

Your guide to house maintenance

If you want to keep your home in good condition, a diligent house maintenance routine is essential. Investing time, money "Your guide to house maintenance"

Your guide to house maintenance

If you want to keep your home in good condition, a diligent house maintenance routine is essential. Investing time, money and effort in regular maintenance and odd jobs is a much better option than having to deal with costly, unexpected repairs. To help you stay on track, we’ve put together a guide to house maintenance.

house maintenance gutterImage credit: Suzanne Tucker via Safe Bee

Regular house maintenance

Keeping up with regular cleaning and house maintenance will put you a step ahead.

Every week or fortnight:

  • Vacuum, sweep and mop floors
  • Clean and dust all surfaces
  • Scrub kitchen sink
  • Clean insinkerator
  • Clean microwave
  • Wipe down rangehood
  • Scrub bathrooms and toilets
  • Whipper snip and mow (you can do this less often in winter)
  • Clear dead leaves and branches
  • Remove debris from the pool and check the filter

At least once a month:

  • Clean dishwasher
  • Test smoke detectors
  • Clean oven
  • Scrub cooktop
  • Clean rangehood filter
  • Clean wheelie bins
  • Weed garden beds

house maintenance rangehood filter
The rangehood filter can get very greasy if left unattended. Use some baking soda and dish soap to clean it yourself, or hire an Airtasker house cleaner to help you out.
Source: one good thing BY JILLEE

Every few months

In addition to your regular house maintenance tasks, every few months you should:

  • Wash windows and screens
  • Clean drains (use a drain cleaner and be careful to follow the safety instructions)
  • Gerni driveways and patios
  • Trim hedges
  • Check and clear roof gutters
  • Check hot water system and drain any sediment
  • Test electricity box safety switch
  • Check and clean garage door (including the rolling mechanism)
  • Check water meter is working and clear it of roots and debris
  • Clean fireplace and chimney
  • Clean air conditioner filter
  • Clean washing machine and dryer
  • Completely clean out refrigerator and cupboards

house maintenance hot water system
Source: The Family Handyman

The big spring clean

Every six months is the perfect time to round the whole family up and do a big spring clean. As winter is coming in to spring, or summer is moving in to autumn, scrub the house top to bottom, rotate your wardrobe, and do a big clean out of things you don’t use or need anymore. If you have clothes, cooking utensils, and other household items in good, working condition, post them on gumtree, or donate them to your local charity.


house maintenance DIY blinds cleanerSource: one crazy house

Odd jobs

On top of all of the above-mentioned house maintenance tasks, there are a number of odd jobs you’ll need to take care of:

  • Clean blinds and curtains
  • Clean window and door runners
  • Fix leaking taps and shower heads
  • Re-grout shower and bathroom tiles
  • Replace fly screen
  • Fix blown light bulbs
  • Fix dodgy door knobs
  • Clean mailbox
  • Check and repair roof tiles

If you’re in to home improvement and making things more efficient, you could also add these tasks to your ‘to do’ list:

  • Install power saving LED bulbs
  • Set up water efficient irrigation system
  • Fit water saving taps and shower heads
  • Install mesh gutter guards

house maintenance water efficient faucet
Source: Pinterest

If you’re looking for any assistance with your house maintenance or home improvement jobs, check out Airtasker’s handyman services, available seven days a week.