A man’s home is his castle, but the king can’t just sit on his throne all day. To truly earn the title, you need to be able to do a lot of manly stuff. In this feature, we’ll give you ten essential high-end home skills that the well-rounded man should have under his tool belt.
Wire Up an Audio System
It’s easy to forget in these days of headphones and Google Glass that music is something that’s meant to be shared, not hoarded. But you don’t want to be tethered to just one room when you’re rocking out. The true master of his home goes the extra mile and rigs up speakers in the living room, the kitchen, the garage and even outside. Running audio cable is surprisingly simple – you can place it under eaves, behind moulding or through existing wall channels – and once you’re done you’ll never be without music.
Repair an Appliance
One of the toughest things any man has to face is when a major household appliance starts crapping out. Dropping bills on a new fridge or washing machine – or swallowing your pride and calling a repairman – isn’t cool. Thankfully, modern technology has made it easier than ever to get into these machines and cure what ails them. Manuals, diagrams and schematics are available for just about every appliance you buy on the Internet, and plenty of resellers offer replacement parts. With enough time and patience you can fix just about anything yourself.
Winterize Your Home
Let’s face it: when the winter comes, we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature, and she’s a cold one. If your house isn’t ready for it, you can end up losing tons of cash in heating bills. Proper winterizing is essential for keeping that money in your pockets. Use a thermal leak detector to target trouble spots where heat escapes and seal them with caulk, weather stripping or even rolled up towels. Wrap your pipes with foam to keep them from freezing and replace your furnace filter to ensure you’re getting the most out of every BTU that puppy pumps out.
Keep Your Lawn Green
Grass – what is it good for? Absolutely nothing, from a botanical standpoint, but we love to have big expanses of it in front of our house. There’s absolutely nothing more embarrassing than a patchy, brown, ugly lawn. The true master of his domain knows the essential elements of a crisply-maintained lawn. Some tips: mow only before it’s going to rain, but mow frequently to keep grass thick. Sharpen your blades regularly, and don’t over-fertilize.
Fix Hardwood Floors
Carpet is for chumps. When we’re walking barefoot in our homes, only rich, polished hardwood will do. But there are so many dangers lurking out there for our floors, from dog claws to high heels, and tell-tale gouges and scratches make hardwood look like crap. And one bad patch can ruin the visual appeal of a whole floor. A master homeowner knows the tricks to repairing hardwood with wax, polish, and fillers. It’s a time-consuming task but it sure beats ripping out the floor and starting over.
Grow Your Own Food
Ornamental plants are all well and good, but with the zombie apocalypse coming it’s important to use the Earth’s natural resources to feed our families. Even in the heart of the city it’s capable to eke out a little space in a window box or on the roof to grow hardy, delicious produce. Knowing the proper amount of space, water, sun and fertilizer that plants need is something that a capable man can get down fairly quickly. If you’ve got a little more room, keeping chickens is a cost-effective way to get fresh eggs on the daily. You can’t get more organic and local than something that comes from your own yard.
Chances are the majority of the wall space in your house is drywall in one form or another. Hanging drywall is one of the most brutal, unpleasant and thankless jobs in a contractor’s repertoire, but fixing holes and cracks is something that you absolutely need to know how to do. It’s shamefully easy to accidentally knock a hole in drywall, especially if you get rowdy in your living room. Being aware of the process of squaring the hole, backing it, using mesh tape to even the surface and finishing it with compound will make those annoying accidents go away before anybody can notice them.
Wire an Outlet
For amateur men, the electrical system of a house is a scary, unknown world. But with a little knowledge and preparation, it’s a beast that can be tamed like any other. There’s nothing more annoying than a room with too few electrical outlets, so being able to customize your power grid is vital. Make sure you know your local laws when it comes to permits, though – some states require you get one before you do any kind of extension to an electrical system. From there, it’s as simple as finding a stud, running the wire to the new outlet, putting in the cut-out box and capping the outlet. Just remember to flip your breaker before you do any kind of electrical work.
Transplant a Tree
There are few features that really define a yard quite like tree placement, but sometimes they don’t always wind up right where you want them to. That’s why knowing the delicate and manly art of transplanting is vital. After you estimate the size of the tree’s root ball, you prepare the target site with a properly-sized hole, then extract the tree from its current location, place it on a tarp and move it over. Make sure that the new hole is slightly shallower than the height of the root ball, to allow it to grow. Keep in mind that a newly transplanted tree is going to require extra watering for a little while.
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Build a Shelf
Carpentry is a discipline that it takes years to master, but any true homeowner should know the basics of making a box shelf. Perfect for workshops, garages and basements, these utilitarian shelves are designed to support huge weights with ease. It’s important to understand the basics of framing and supporting furniture. Once you’ve mastered this basic construction, you can extend the skills you learned to more complex carpentry projects. At the very minimum, learning how to put boards together at right angles will serve you well in the future.