When we moved into this place in 2005, it was 9 years old, owned by an older widow and seemed to be in pretty good shape. “Ahhhh”, I thought, “I’ll not have much fixing-up to do”. Then I started noticing tiny little nails and tiny little nail holes everywhere. The nails didn’t match up with where I wanted to hang pictures, so out came the nails and moved to new locations. Has this ever happened to you? Sure it has! Now your walls are peppered with tiny little holes. Fortunately, the solution is simple, fill them all in with putty. More specifically Wallboard Joint Compound or it may have a similar name, depending on the brand. I have a variety of putty knives that I use for applying putty. They range from 1” wide to 4” wide and I always use two at a time, one to hold putty, and one to apply it. I also have a roll of paper towels and a container of water at hand. Use your putty knife to press material into the hole, then lay it flat to smooth off the excess. Then use a damp paper towel to remove any smear around the hole. When it dries, you won’t even have to sand it smooth. If your walls are a light color, you probably won’t have to repaint either because a tiny white spot is much less noticeable than a dark hole. After a few weeks, I began to notice other things that needed doing too; the front door and storm door didn’t completely seal all around and didn’t latch smoothly and weren’t properly caulked to keep out drafts. Since it was wintertime, I made some temporary repairs and left the caulking for summer. Caulking is something every homeowner should do a lot of, it keeps the cold drafts out and saves on your heating costs. Most homeowners don’t use it because it’s icky, gets all over your hands, it’s sticky, etc. so it is avoided like the Plague. Face down you fears of icky! Again, a container of water is the key to success. First, let’s define caulking because there are many different types for different applications. The most familiar is white silicone bathtub caulk. The type I use most is acrylic latex with silicone caulk that is sometimes called Painters Caulk because it can be painted over and is UV resistant for outdoor use. Some straight silicone caulks cannot be painted over, they shed paint like water! Painters Caulk is great for sealing cracks, especially cracks that tend to crack again because of slight movements in the house. Painters Caulk is slightly flexible to accommodate movement. One caution, you can’t sand it smooth, it just rolls up, so get it smooth when you are applying it. That’s actually pretty easy. The key is, have a small container of water and a roll of paper towels at hand. Use a single sheet of damp toweling to clean off the excess as you go. First, cut off the tip at a 45-degree angle. Cut it so that you have a nice big hole for the caulking to be extruded. Place it in the caulking gun (inexpensive!) and squeeze out the caulking slowly while you are dragging it along the crack. Just slightly overfill the crack and work slowly and carefully for about two feet. Stop and release the pressure on the caulking gun so that caulk stops extruding out of it. Now, wet your index finger and very lightly smooth the top. Keep wetting your finger as you shape the caulking into a perfect bead or even level with the surface. Then use damp paper towels to remove the excess. It’s time-consuming but easy to do perfect repairs. I’ve also used this technique to fill large holes, even shape large corners, it just takes patience. When you are all done, you will have some on your hands. Don’t worry, it washes off fairly easily. However, if you get it on your clothes, you need to get it off before it dries, otherwise your clothes will permanently “decorated”. If you find that you have missed wiping up a few smears on your work, they can be rubbed off with a white eraser when the caulk is cured. So far this year, I’ve used up 8 tubes of caulk on this place that seemed to be in pretty good shape. Fortunately, it’s not expensive, $1.79 per tube. The caulking gun runs less than $5 new or a quarter each at yard sales.