• FREE Repair Help:

    Homeowner's Repair Guide

    Homeowner's Repair Guide

    Owning a home is an investment that will pay you dividends for many years. I've owned more than a dozen homes of various sizes in many parts of the U.S. And I've performed many of[More FREE Help...]
    Easy Repairs for Retirees

    Easy Repairs for Retirees

    Once retired, many people find satisfaction in performing basic repairs around the home: electrical repairs, plumbing repairs, heating and cooling repairs, major appliance repairs, small appliance repairs, and more. That's where the Fix-It Club can come[More FREE Help...]
    How to Repair Major Appliances

    How to Repair Major Appliances

    Modern life is much easier because of major appliances: washer, dryer, oven, cooktop, dishwasher, refrigerator, water heater, and others. So it's important that we perform basic maintenance and repairs to ensure they work hard for[More FREE Help...]
    Household Glues and Adhesive

    Household Glues and Adhesive

    Things come apart. Fortunately, the Fix-It Club knows how to put them back together with glues and other adhesives. Adhesives secure the surfaces of two materials together. There are many types of glues, most of[More FREE Help...]
    7 Easy Car Maintenance Tips

    7 Easy Car Maintenance Tips

    I've performed basic maintenance on our latest car since new. It now has more than 255,000 miles on the odometer and is still running reliably. My "secret" is easy car maintenance. Of course, I take it to my[More FREE Help...]
    Fix-It Club Blog

    Fix-It Club Blog

    Here are the latest entries in our Fix-It Club Blog: Really Easy Electrical Tests How to Repair Major Appliances How to Repair Small Appliances Emergency Heating Repairs Does a Warranty Cover Repair? How to Find[More FREE Help...]
  • All About Nails, Screws, Bolts, and Nuts

    Repair Stationary Things

    Mechanical fasteners (left to right): nails, screws, bolt with washer and nut, and wall anchors.

    The Fix-It Club offers basic information on a more than 250 household repairs. Most repairs require mechanical fasteners. Your home has hundreds of fasteners in it, holding walls together, binding appliance components, keeping the floor from moving underfoot, and even fastening sleeves on to clothing.

    All fasteners have a single function: to hold two or more things together. When they don't, something's broken. That's when you need free help from the Fix-It Club.

    Nails

    Nails are thin, pointed metal fasteners driven with a hammer to join two pieces of wood. There are dozens of varieties of nails, depending on the specific purpose. There are special nails for masonry, roofing, finishing, and other common applications.

    Repair Stationary Things

    Types and sizes of nail fasteners.

    Nails are classified by the size of the shank and the shape of the head. Fix-It Guides refer to specific types of nails needed. The most common type is called common nails, with large, flat heads for secure fastening. Next is finish nails with smaller heads that aren't so obvious if flush to or below the wood's surface. Nails are sized by length, indicated by a d or "penny." A 4d nail is 1-1/2 inches long; an 8d nail is 2-1/2 inches long.

    Repair Stationary Things

    Types and sizes of screw fasteners.

    Screws

    Screws are pointed-tip, threaded fasteners installed with a screwdriver. The type of screwdriver used depends on the type of screw head: Round- and pan (flat)-head screws require a straight-tip screwdriver; Phillips-head screws require a Phillips screwdriver; and square-head screws require a square-drive screwdriver. Wood screws fasten wood, and sheet-metal screws fasten metal. Screws are sized by length. Screws are stronger than nails and easier to remove.

    Bolts and Nuts

    Bolts are flat-tipped, threaded fasteners that use a threaded nut to attach wood or metal together. A washer may be placed under the bolt head or the nut for a firmer fasten. Bolts are classified by the type of head. Stove bolts and machine screws (actually bolts) are turned with a screwdriver. Hexagon- and square-head bolts are held in place with a wrench while the nut is turned to tighten. A carriage bolt's head imbeds itself into the wood when the nut is turned. Bolts are sized by length and thread. Bolts are stronger than screws.

    Nuts, usually square or hexagonal blocks of metal with threaded holes, screw onto bolts to hold something together.

    Anchors are additions to bolts or screws that help anchor a fastener in a hollow wall or door. Other handy fasteners include lag bolts, which are bolt heads with screw bodies.

    Thread is a fastener for clothing and upholstered furniture. Thread is a long strand of fabric installed with a needle, either by hand or by a sewing machine. Thread is sold by fabric (cotton, nylon, polyester, etc.) and thickness (Tex or T). Cotton-wrap polyester is used for jeans and poly-wrap polyester for a wide variety of clothing. T-18 thread is light weight and T-50 is medium weight. Thread needles are rated by the eye size, shaft length, and purpose.

    Fix-It Tip

    Velcro can be used for many quick fixes. You can use it to fasten toys, fabric, shoes, wall decorations, and many other things. Velcro is a trademark name for nylon fabric that can be fastened to itself. The back sides of the Velcro are fastened permanently to the object to be fastened, and the front sides of the Velcro adhere to each other when they touch.