YouTube Your Way to a Better House

A wise contractor once said that our generation of landlords is cleaning up the mistakes of the past. Dropped ceilings hung with bent nails, chimneys held together with gorilla glue -- before the Internet, it was excusable if you didn’t know how to properly repair a house! But now, we have a wealth of information about the tools and techniques needed to keep a DIY house in good repair. Here are just a few of the best YouTube videos for fixing stuff.

A short review of some handy YouTube videos that will make you handier.

A note on selection: We wanted to list only videos that didn’t skip over steps and didn’t have a lot of talking without any doing. The best videos are as short as possible but no shorter!

Never Paint with Masking Tape Again

Experienced painters know how to “feather” or “cut in” a paint edge. This gets the paint right up to a surface, like a window casing, without touching it. No masking tape required.

The best video to teach this is by This Old House.
The video is under four minutes long and requires only a generic chisel point brush – no special gadgets.

Become Toilet Master Level 1,000

HowToWith GEO gives a complete set of moderately fast, homemade videos that use correct plumbing terminology and share lots of good tips. For instance, he uses a rag instead of a sponge to empty the last bit of a tank (most of us can create a rag out of an old towel faster than we can go buy a large sponge). Once you know how to drain, remove and reseat a toilet, you know everything there is to know.

Our one suggestion: use some gloves! Gross.

Hang a Door

Doors are tricky, but Tommy’s Trade Secrets will show you how to professionally router a hinge, avoid tape measure wiggle, and hang your door without a second pair of hands.

Fixed a Stripped Door Screw

Toucan DIY gives the tried-and-tested toothpick fix for stripped door screws. It’s under four minutes. Our only criticism: he edits out the part about cutting down the wood. You will find this part frustrating.

If you have time to go to Home Depot or an arts and crafts store, buy a dowel of the right size and don’t bother with many small toothpicks. Let the dowel dry before drilling. Also note: if you elect to use match sticks, trim off the phosphorus! You don’t want your finished product igniting.

How to Patch Original Plaster

You’ve heard of the plaster ceiling button? Well guess what, they’re not a long-term solution. Old plaster might be better saved with adhesive than buttons.
Sometimes the slow approach is the best. If your plaster is well adhered but just cracked, take the time to use tape. You’ll never know the crack was there and it will stay fixed for decades.

Our conclusion on YouTubing toward a better house? Once you find a few channels that produce videos that fit your learning style, watch as much as you can. There’s a world of skills to learn, and they’re all useful as a landlord. What’s your favorite YouTube video? Share it with us at we’ll add it to this list.

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