Negative tradelines and what to watch out for on a credit report

A tradeline is any item on a credit report, whether positive or negative.

Negative tradelines indicate credit-harming behavior such as paying bills late or having debts in collection.

When you’re screening potential tenants, negative tradelines on a credit report are a bad thing, but some are worse than others.

What Goes on a Credit Report?
Many landlords only look at the FICO score when they’re screening tenants, and that may be all you need.

A FICO score is effectively an overview of a potential tenant’s credit history.

But if a tenant’s application is marginal, and you want more information, you may want to dig into the credit report line by line, in search of negative tradelines.

When looking at a credit report, keep in mind that most bills factor into a person’s credit report.

However, while paying a bill late damages credit, most billing agencies do not regularly report on-time payments to agencies.

As a result, you see bad behavior in credit reports, but not good behavior.

Even when looking at individual tradelines, you may not be getting the full story about your applicant’s financial history.

Late Bill Payments
While late bill payments aren’t a good thing, they’re perhaps one of the more benign negative tradelines, and they likely only take the credit score down a few points.

Even the most responsible people sometimes pay the power bill a few days late.

However, if you see habitually late payments or extremely delayed payments, it could indicate irresponsibility, carelessness, spotty income or a period of unemployment.

Be sure to check back several months in the credit report to determine if it’s a one-off or a pattern and if the problem has been resolved.

Nonpayments of Bills
Nonpayment of bills are worse tradelines than late payments.

Check your local laws, but in general, you’re within your rights to stop processing an application if the applicant has outstanding utility bills or bills that have gone to collections.

You can, if you want, resume processing once the tenant has paid these, and you’ve confirmed payment.

Bankruptcies
A bankruptcy remains on a credit report for seven years in the event of a Chapter 13, and 10 years from the date of filing for Chapter 7.

This is a very serious mark against a prospective tenant, but keep in mind that seven to 10 years is plenty of time for your renters to turn things around.

They may have made bad decisions in the past, or found themselves in a tight spot, and have since worked their way out of it.

When you see old bankruptcies on the credit report, take the time to examine the rest of the application more carefully so you can come to a fully informed decision about the tenant.

Collections
If prospective tenants have an account open at a collections agency, this is reflected on the credit report.

Even if they’ve paid off the debt and closed the account, it often shows up as a negative tradeline for many months after the account’s been closed.

Depending on how strict you are, and the range of applicants you have to choose from, you may choose to take that very seriously.

Or you may give the tenants a pass because they’ve done everything they can to clear their debt.

When weighing the severity of this kind of tradeline, it’s a good idea to look at the rest of the application so you can get the complete story.

Collections information is often confidential, and collections agencies won’t likely give you many details about your applicants, but talking to your prospective tenants may reveal things.

If it’s a utility bill or a medical bill, you may be willing to let that slide, especially if they’ve been making payments.

However, if there’s outstanding rent that’s gone to collections, especially if it’s still unpaid, be very wary.

There’s no guarantee the tenants won’t do the same thing to you.

Negative Tradelines and the Length of Credit History
When looking at negative tradelines, take into account the length of the applicant’s credit history.

Just because people don’t have many negative tradelines on their credit reports doesn’t mean they’re model tenants.

If they don’t have a very long credit history, especially if they’re older, having good credit isn’t worth much.

When you’re screening a tenant, not all negative tradelines in a credit report are created equal.

Go through the report line by line to see why the potential tenant’s credit is the way it is and to figure out patterns of behavior.

Some negative tradelines might be acceptable to you; others should be avoided because they present too much risk.

A credit report isn’t the only thing to look at when screening a tenant.

Even if people have mediocre credit, they may make up for it with a good income and an excellent rental history.

If you don’t have a stellar pool of applicants, look at a tenant’s whole history, rather than just part of it, to make sure you understand who your prospective tenants really are.

 

Things to watch out for if your rental unit is part of an HOA

A homeowners’ association (HOA) is an organization responsible for handling upkeep of common areas and amenities, and sometimes governing community covenants.

The HOA may only be responsible for handling common area landscaping and cleaning, or it may include covenants regarding acceptable use of your home or even the color it can be painted.

If your rental unit is part of an HOA, or you’re considering buying investment property governed by an HOA, you need to watch out for a few things.

Are You Allowed to Rent the Property?
HOAs have the power to ban or limit rentals within the community.

Some HOAs refuse rentals entirely, as it wants control over the people moving in and out of the community.

Other HOAs place limitations on rental units, only allowing a set number within the governed area at a time.

Talk with the HOA and confirm you can rent out your property prior to making the investment.

You can avoid hassle for your tenants, fines from the HOA and potential legal action when you get clarification upfront.

Who Pays HOA Fees and Fines?
The HOA has monthly fees that go to maintaining common areas, amenities and buildings, and other costs incurred by the community.

You need to detail who pays the HOA fees in the lease agreement.

Due to the fines associated with being late on HOA fees, most landlords opt to pay for the fees directly and adjust the monthly rent price to accommodate for this cost.

You also want to establish a set procedure for HOA fines incurred by the tenant.

If the tenant is responsible for all fines, write the notification and payment procedure within the lease.

Also make sure to include a copy of the HOA covenants with the lease, and go over it with tenants prior to the lease signing.

You don’t want tenants pulling out of a lease within the first month because they aren’t comfortable living under specific HOA covenants.

What Happens If the HOA and Tenants Have a Dispute?
If the tenants break an HOA covenant or the HOA decides it isn’t a big fan of renters, the two could end up having a dispute.

Create clear communication channels between yourself, the tenants and the HOA to head off major problems before they lead to fines, eviction or legal action.

Write the penalties for breaking HOA rules into the lease so your tenants are aware of the consequences.

What Happens If the HOA Changes the Rules?
The HOA board may decide to change rules, which includes whether rental properties are allowed within the building or community.

If you’re worried about the HOA’s feelings toward renters, attend board meetings and make your opinions known.

Even if they don’t listen to what you have to say, attending the meetings gives you a heads up on major changes coming down the pipeline.

You won’t be caught unawares if major rule changes prevent or restrict renters from living in your HOA property.

An HOA can be a great selling point for a rental when it comes to well-maintained common areas and amenities.

However, an HOA also has the potential to be your worst nightmare when it comes to making money off your investment property.

Keep these considerations in mind when you’re dealing with an HOA-governed community to weigh the risks versus the rewards.

 

Reasons why an eviction may not show up on a tenant’s report

Evictions are major red flags on your tenant’s credit and background reports, but they don’t always appear on these reports.

Most rental applications ask tenants about previous evictions, but it’s rare for a previously evicted tenant to admit this information willingly.

An eviction on record makes it more difficult to receive a rental application approval, so many tenants avoid disclosing this information upfront.

You rely on your tenant reports to tell you whether there has been a previous eviction, but you should know why eviction records may fail to appear on a report.

You Only Pulled One Report
If you only pull a single credit report, or you fail to look at a background check alongside the credit report, you may not get the full picture of your prospective tenant.

Credit reporting accuracy is not always 100 percent.

Credit reporting bureaus look at different information sources, and some bureaus may access and report information quicker than others.

The nature of the eviction ruling also dictates whether it shows up on your tenant’s credit report at all.

If the previous landlord filed for an order of possession, but was not seeking any monetary damages associated with the eviction suit, this record will not appear on the credit report.

If there’s a monetary judgment, it appears in the public record section of the report.

A background check would have information on an eviction case without a monetary judgment.

However, court clerks in smaller jurisdictions may not have the resources on hand to post the public record quickly.

If the court doesn’t get around to handling the paperwork or it slips through the cracks, you would have to physically go to the courthouse to find eviction proof.

Recent Evictions
It takes time for a public record or a judgment to get recorded and sent to credit reporting bureaus and other reporting agencies.

In this time span, the tenant may try to get a rental prior to the eviction showing up on reports.

This time span could be over the course of a few months, depending on the speed of the specific courthouse, which leaves plenty of time for the tenant to find another place to live without this eviction red flag popping up.

If a tenant has a significant gap in landlord references without a reasonable explanation, or the explanation seems implausible, it could be a red flag indicating a hidden eviction.

False Identity
You won’t see a tenant’s eviction if he gives you falsified information, such as an incorrect Social Security Number stolen from someone else, or if he uses a family member’s SSN.

One way to mitigate the risk of a falsified identity is to double check information for anything that’s out of place.

Does the address on the tenant’s photo ID match previous address records on his credit report?

Are the birth dates indicated on reports mismatched to other identification provided?

Information discrepancies could indicate identity theft or accuracy errors from the credit reporting bureau.

Not all tenants with eviction records end up being bad tenants, but you want the choice to make that decision for yourself.

Evictions don’t always show up on all tenant reports for several reasons, so understanding these circumstances can help you look deeper into a tenant’s history and make an educated decision.

How To Seal a Concrete Driveway

It doesn’t take too much time or cash to seal a concrete driveway.

All you need is a few supplies from your local hardware or home improvement store and a nice day to get the job done.

In return, you’ll be able to make your driveway look fantastic for several additional years.

The main problem that degrades a concrete driveway over time is water.

Some moisture from rainfall and other precipitation can stay underneath the concrete or even within the material itself.

This means it can freeze and expand underneath the concrete, causing it to crack or flake.

By sealing the driveway, less water can get through the porous concrete and that makes it less likely to change with the natural expansion and contraction process.

Here are the steps that you’re going to want to follow to make sure your driveway has the longest life possible.

1. Make Sure The Concrete Driveway Has Completely Cured.

Concrete needs about 30 days to cure properly when it has been set as a driveway.

You cannot apply any sealer to the concrete until then.

After the 30 days have elapsed, all dirt, debris, and other oil or grease residue must be removed before applying the sealer.

Give the driveway 24 hours to completely dry.

2. Fix Any Cracks Or Potholes That May Be In The Driveway.

If you’re sealing an older driveway, then it should be in good repair before the process begins.

You’ll need to fill in any cracks and fix any potholes before proceeding.

A quick setting concrete can fix a pothole in about 3 days, while certain caulks and fillers can repair a crack within 24 hours.

Make sure that the sealant you plan to use will not negatively interact with the repair products you’ve chosen.

3. Install a Gutter Barrier.

Concrete sealant is a liquid material, which means there is always a chance that the product may run into your storm sewage drains.

This is especially true if you live in an area that sees consistent precipitation.

Installing a gutter barrier can prevent any of the sealant from reaching the drainage system to reduce potential contamination.

This may require a permit from your local jurisdiction.

4. Apply a Siloxane Sealant To The Driveway If The Concrete Is 0.5 Inches Or Less In Thickness.

You’ll need to pick up a roller or a large brush to apply a sealer to your concrete driveway.

Some sealers are available in a spray form, but they may cost more for the convenience of spraying as an application.

It’s ok if you get some sealant on your grass, landscaping, or other surfaces.

Just wash the sealant off with soap and water if this happens.

Note: Certain sealants are also solvent-based or water-based and these offer a glossy finish when compared to a penetrating sealant.

A glossy finish is usually not recommended for driveways unless the concrete is decorative in nature.

5. Apply The Sealant Evenly.

A driveway tends to have small sections that will cause puddles to form.

As the sealant is being applied, you will notice that the concrete will begin to have a faint whitish color to it.

This is normal.

What you will want to look for are puddles that are of a deeper white color because this shows the sealant has puddled for some reason.

Spread out these puddles evenly and then allow the entire driveway to dry.

This takes another 24 hours even if the sealant says it is ready for use before then.

6. Try To Use a Horizontal Rolling Pattern Instead Of a Vertical One.

Siloxane sealants tend to apply better if you go against the “grain” of your driveway.

Most driveways have a slight slope to them to allow for drainage.

Use the roller horizontally to make sure there is a maximum level of penetration of the sealant into the pores of the concrete to preserve its look.

7. Some Sealants Allow For a Slip-Resistant Coating To Be Added.

If you are making your concrete driveway a slip-resistant surface, then you will have certain powders or other textures to add during the sealing process.

The two most common types of additives are silica sand and plastic grit.

This is generally mixed into the sealant before it is applied.

Follow the instructions from the manufacturer on any additives for the best result.

Knowing how to seal a concrete driveway can ensure that you’ll be able to use it for several years to come.

Protect it against moisture today and you won’t have to worry about premature cracking, flaking, or splitting any more.

How to Handle Threats from Tenants

Bad tenants are a fact of landlord life.

You do what you can to minimize the risk of bad tenants through credit checks and screening services, but a great tenant on paper may be a nightmare to deal with in person.

Tenants may threaten you for several reasons, such as attempting to avoid an eviction, stopping you from realizing they’re breaking their lease clauses, and attempting to intimidate you.

How you handle threats from tenants depends on the situation and the consequences for taking action.

Violent Threats
If a tenant is physically threatening you, you have a few judgment calls to make.

Your safety and well-being are your top priority in any situation.

If you’re in the same physical location with the tenant while he’s making these threats and you’re unable to defuse the situation, leave the property.

The tenant may need some time and space to cool off after you delivered an eviction notice, is having a bad day in general, or has anger management issues.

By removing yourself from the situation, you reduce the risk of physical harm to yourself.

You do run the risk of your property being damaged, so consider involving the police department if the tenant seems likely to take his anger out on your rental unit, or he has tried to physically harm you.

If the tenant is making threats over the phone, make a record of what he said to start a paper trail.

Save emails or texts if the tenant communicates with you through those channels.

Documentation is important if you have to take your tenant to court due to the threats.

Legal Threats
Tenants may make legal threats for discrimination, eviction protection, or constructive eviction.

If a tenant is threatening legal action and states she’s involving a lawyer, cease the conversation unless it’s through a lawyer.

If the tenant is bluffing, you stopped the conversation from continuing in an unproductive fashion.

If the tenant isn’t bluffing, you have a heads up to prepare for a potential court case and retain your own legal counsel if necessary.

You want to be prepared in case your tenant goes through with a legal threat and takes you to court.

Threats Against Other Tenants
A tenant may threaten other tenants instead of communicating calmly about problems.

While it’s ideal when tenants can work out internal disputes with each other, especially those sharing rental units or common areas, the conversations don’t always work out nicely.

You don’t want a tenant feeling unsafe due to an angry tenant, so it’s important to mediate if the conversation goes badly.

A tenant who is creating an unsafe environment for your other tenants may need to be evicted from the property, or may need a strong conversation on how to properly communicate issues with other tenants.

While stress and anger can lead to harsh words, there’s a difference between a tenant having a bad day and one who is making your other tenants feel unsafe.

Bad tenants who threaten you or other tenants need dealt with appropriately.

In some situations, you can let the tenant cool down before addressing the problem.

In other cases, you need to involve a lawyer or the police.

Knowing when to use each option is important for handling a threatening situation appropriately.

What legal situations as a landlord require you to hire a lawyer?

You run into many legal situations as a landlord, from creating a rental contract to evicting tenants.

Throughout the course of your property management career, you may run into complex legal situations that require you to hire a lawyer.

While some of these situations could be handled without lawyer intervention, bringing in a lawyer makes it much more possible to receive a quick, positive outcome as opposed to handling it on your own.

“Professional” Tenants
These tenants have been through several evictions and similar legal situations in the past, and they know every trick in the landlord-tenant legal book to delay eviction.

Obscure loopholes and technicalities in paperwork are two ways “professional” tenants delay or completely derail the eviction process.

A lawyer can help you stay one step ahead of these tenants, avoiding many of the pitfalls that can draw out the eviction process.

Filing for Bankruptcy
A bankruptcy filing makes an eviction process more complicated, as the tenant receives an automatic stay from creditor action as part of bankruptcy.

You can’t start bankruptcy proceedings or continue with eviction already in progress while the automatic stay in place.

You need to file a relief from the automatic stay to continue with the case, or to file the eviction.

If you’re unfamiliar with the process, a lawyer can help you file the paperwork with the bankruptcy court.

Constructive Eviction Lawsuits
If a tenant feels you are forcing him out of the property by creating an uninhabitable situation, he may choose to file a constructive eviction lawsuit.

The tenant can argue for constructive eviction if you failed to fix a problem after proper notification, interfered with the tenant using the property by coming over constantly or harassing the tenant, or failed to meet the legal requirements of a habitable home.

You need to prove that you did not create conditions to constructively evict a tenant, which can be a complex legal situation.

If you try to do it on your own, you may fail to provide enough evidence to dispute the tenant’s allegation, resulting in a judgment against you.

Tenant with a Lawyer
If a tenant retains a lawyer for a lawsuit, it’s a good idea to retain your own to increase your chances of successfully winning the suit.

Bringing a lawyer to the table is a more expensive prospect than handling everything yourself, but arguing against the tenant’s lawyer in court will be difficult if you don’t know the eviction process inside and out.

Highly experienced landlords with many evictions under their belt may consider going up against a tenant’s lawyer, but, in most cases, it makes sense to retain legal counsel to avoid major problems.

Discrimination Lawsuit
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on protected classes, such as race, disability, and sex.

If a tenant files a discrimination lawsuit against you, retain a lawyer to help you prove no discrimination occurred.

The civil penalties for rental discrimination are substantial, and may total over $100,000 if the Justice Department gets involved in the case.

You don’t need a lawyer for a basic eviction against a tenant, but with more complicated legal situations benefit, you could greatly and save yourself a lot of grief with professional legal counsel.

You want to spend your time managing your properties, not defending yourself against tenants in court.

Bring in a lawyer to help you avoid the legal pitfalls and loopholes in complex lawsuit situations.

What do you do when your tenants expect you to mediate their problems?

In an ideal world, your tenants get along without any problems.

In reality, minor and major problems occur as a result of differing lifestyles, lack of communication, or inconsiderate behavior.

Your tenants should handle most minor disputes among themselves, without requiring your input, as solving every issue that comes up between tenants could take a significant amount of your time.

Some of your tenants may expect meditation with all of their disputes, though, and some situations require your direct attention.

Setting Mediation Expectations
Let your tenants know mediation expectations upfront so they know when you will step in and when you will allow tenants to figure it out for themselves.

Write these expectations into the lease or include it in the tenant’s resources.

Give examples of appropriate landlord mediation situations, the process for involving you in the dispute and the resolution methods available.

You also want to make it clear that tenants are expected to work out minor disputes among themselves, if possible, to cut down on the hands-on time you spend engaged in mediation.

Lease Clause Complaints
Tenant disputes related to lease clauses are the type of situation most likely to require your attention.

These complaints revolve around tenants who are breaking a lease clause of some sort, such as denying another tenant’s quiet enjoyment of her home, keeping animals in a pet-free house, or conducting a business out of the home.

Remind tenants about their legal responsibility to follow the terms of the lease contract if they want to remain in your property.

In the event of noise complaints, find out when the noise problems are and how loud the noise level actually is.

Use a decibel recorder, if necessary. Some tenants are more sensitive and complain even when sound levels are reasonable.

Additional soundproofing measures or even a white noise machine may quell this issue before it becomes a major problem.

Minor Complaints
Tenants may have minor complaints about where another tenant parked or perhaps what items are left on the tenant’s patio or strewn across a common area.

Encourage tenants to work out these minor issues by directly communicating with each other.

Try to avoid stepping in before the tenants have time to work the situation out themselves.

Don’t let a lot of minor annoyances pile up without being addressed, though, as you don’t want high tenant turnover due to passive-aggressive behavior.

In the event of an ongoing issue, request that tenants document the situation and the steps taken to resolve the complaint before involving you.

Criminal Complaints
Step in as soon as possible if a tenant has concerns of a criminal nature.

These concerns may be about direct threats or violence from another tenant, allegations of drug use or production, or other concerns best addressed by the appropriate authorities.

If you suspect a potentially dangerous situation with a tenant, contact the police for assistance while finding out more about the situation.

If criminal activity is occurring on your property, most states have landlord-tenant laws facilitating eviction within a few days to minimize the potential for harm.

Knowing the appropriate time to step in to solve tenant problems helps you promote a healthy environment at your properties.

Some situations, such as criminal complaints, need your direct intervention, while others benefit from some tenant-to-tenant time.

DIY Accounting Options for Your Rental Business

As your rental or property management business is expanding, it’s easy to get bogged down in paperwork.

If you’re dealing with just a small property, though, you may not handle enough transactions to want to hire a full-time accountant yet.

Get your paperwork on track as soon as possible with some of these DIY accounting solutions.

Some are general accounting programs, while others are specifically designed to tackle the needs of property managers, rental businesses and real estate companies.

GnuCash
GnuCash runs on most modern operating systems and even has a mobile app, if you need it.

GnuCash is free software, so there’s no cost to you to try it out.

While GnuCash works fine for most businesses, be aware that it has no specific options for rental companies or property management.

You may need to manually set up accounts within the system to reflect your business’ unique needs.

While GnuCash is free and versatile, be aware that it uses what’s called a double entry accounting system, which many novices find confusing.

Double entry bookkeeping means that all transactions are recorded as being a deficit to one account and a credit to another account.

While GnuCash’s documentation helps smooth the transition for new accountants, you may find the adjustment period difficult.

Unfortunately, GnuCash offers no options for the single entry accounting systems that most novices find more intuitive.

Wave
Wave is a free, online accounting system.

Because it’s online, you can use it anywhere. All the data is saved on the cloud, and all you need to do is log in.

Its online and mobile options extend to an invoice-creation app, which also tracks payments based on when they’re due.

This may not be useful for rental payments, but this system works well to track rental deposits.

Wave can even take credit and debit card payments, if you allow your tenants to pay their rent that way.

Quicken
Quicken offers a specific Rental Property Management program that handles specific needs like tracking rent and security deposits.

One of Quicken Rental Property Management’s more unusual features is that it makes it easy for property managers to find tax deductible expenses.

The program also integrates cleanly with your bank accounts and comes with mobile options.

The program is not free, and due to its features that deal with taxes, you would need to buy a new version each year to have the right updates.

FreshBooks
FreshBooks is a cloud-based program, and its primary selling point is its ease of use.

It boasts a clean, simple interface that many users describe as intuitive.

FreshBooks also provides rapid customer support for users who need help with the program (or with accounting in general).

In addition to accounting features, the program also offers online billing and invoicing, along with importing of expenses, ability to accept online payments, and tracking timesheets.

FreshBooks is a subscription-based service, but offers a free trial.

Intuit QuickBooks
QuickBooks is a software program designed to handle accounts for many kinds of businesses, including property management companies.

In addition to all vital accounting functions, it allows easy synchronization with banks, online invoicing, and bill payment, and so forth.

If you need extra help, you can hire an accountant or financial adviser from their site directly.

QuickBooks is a subscription service, although there is a free trial for the program.

However, many professional accountants use QuickBooks, so if you choose in the future to hire an accountant to handle your finances, you’ll be able to simply hand them your QuickBooks files with no need to convert.

Sage 50
Formerly known as Peachtree, Sage 50 is an accounting program specifically designed for small businesses.

While a lot of the program’s functions are for retail businesses, there’s plenty for property management companies as well.

Unlike many of the programs listed here, Sage 50 is a subscription purchase that’s paid for by the year.

That yearly fee is in the hundreds of dollars, so if you have the luxury of time and are looking to convert to Sage 50 you may want to wait for them to hold a sale.

Sage 50 offers multiple tiers of their software for different purposes.

The higher tiers allow more individuals within your company access to the software, and provide more sophisticated options.

For instance, the Premium version handles audits and automation, while the Quantum version is specifically designed to handle large amounts of data, and offers plenty of options that are specific to various industries. Sage 50 offers free trials for its software, so you can test your desired version and explore its options before paying.

There’s a wide range of accounting programs available to property managers.

The simpler ones are generally less expensive and focus purely on general accounting.

More complicated programs are usually subscription-based and offer options tailored specifically to the needs of individual businesses, including property management companies.

Many of these services offer free trials, so you can decide if you like their product.

Take advantage of this period to decide if they’re useful to your business before making a choice, and you’ll walk away happy.

How To Patch a Bathtub

Bathtubs can be made from several different materials.

Many tubs are ceramic or metal, but there may also be fiberglass or even plastic tubs that need to be patched.

The first step in knowing how to patch a bathtub must be to identify the materials used to create it.

If there are cracks that look dark and deep, then this generally means a plastic tub.

Cracks in ceramic may also look dark, but also appear to be on the surface only.

Once you’ve identified the material, you’re ready to begin the repair process.

You’ll want to make sure that you have fine-grain sandpaper, a paintbrush, a putty knife, a utility knife, and sponges or clean lint-free towels on hand in addition to the repair materials needed to complete the job.

1. Clean Your Bathtub.

Make sure that your tub is clean.

It’s fine to use your standard household cleaning chemicals for this process.

Just make sure that you pay extra attention to the repair site so there isn’t anything that could affect the integrity of the repair you’re about to make.

After completely cleaning your tub, allow it to dry for 24 hours.

2. Prepare Any Large Cracks Or Holes.

Anything that is more than 0.25 inches wide will need to have mesh or cloth placed on it for a solid repair.

What you’ll use is based on the base material of your tub. Make sure you give yourself an extra 0.5 inches on all sides of the repair area with your mesh or cloth for a tight seal over the crack or hole being patched.

3. Prepare Your Filler.

Depending on what you need to use to seal the area, you may need to mix your filler so that it is ready to set.

If you’re using a caulking-style tube filler, then you’ll want to make sure you have the repair site taped off with painter’s tape to avoid placing the filler in a location that doesn’t need a repair.

4. Apply The Filler.

Place your repair filler on top of the repair site.

This includes repairs that required a mesh or cloth.

If you needed to tape your cloth or mesh in place, now is the time to remove it so it doesn’t become part of the permanent repair.

Place another layer of mesh or cloth on top of the filler and then add another layer of filler.

If just the crack needs to be filled, then make sure the filler is oozing out of the crack before stopping the application process and then scrape the extra filler away for a flush surface.

5. Allow The Filler To Dry.

It may take 6-24 hours for the filler to properly dry.

Some epoxy fillers may begin setting within minutes, however, so make sure you proceed in a timely fashion based on the materials that are being used.

Your filler must be completely dry before moving to the next step of the patching process.

If you have missed any areas of the cracks or holes that need to be patched, now is the time to repeat Step #4 before proceeding with the repair.

6. Sand Down Any Extra Filler.

Don’t use a rough grade sandpaper for this job because it will damage the surrounding surface of the tub.

You want to create a completely flush surface at this point.

You will create dust, so use a damp sponge or lint-free towel to remove any debris that comes from your sanding efforts.

Allow the repair site to dry.

Please note: It is advisable to have some sort of breathing protection in place during this step.

The fine dust particles that are created by the sanding process may be harmful to your air passageways.

7. Paint The Tub To Match.

You may need to paint your bathtub to complete your repair.

You may also have a sealant or other coating surface that must be applied depending on the materials used to create your tub.

You’ll want to brush whatever coating you’re using in a consistent one-way stroke to achieve the best results.

Allow the first coat to dry naturally, which may take up to 24 hours depending on your product, and then add a second coat to the first coat in the same fashion.

It can take some time to complete this repair, but knowing how to patch a bathtub can potentially save you over $1,000 when compared to a complete tub replacement.

Follow these steps and you’ll be able to experience success.

How To Replace a Toilet Seal

If you notice that water is puddling around the base of your toilet, then there’s a good chance that you need to replace the wax seal.

This repair can prevent a lot of structural damage, but it is often an uncommon repair because a seal can last for decades.

The first thing you should do is tighten the bolts that hold the toilet in place. This may fix the issue.

If not, then you’ll want to follow these steps.

1. Remove The Water From The System.

After shutting off the water to the toilet, make sure the entire unit has drained.

Use a sponge to soak up any loose water in the tank or bowl.

Then remove the nuts that help to keep the toilet in place.

You’ll need to rock the toilet gently back and forth to get the toilet seal to break.

2. Check The Flange.

The wax seal may need to be replaced, but so might the flange.

You’ll need to scrape the wax seal away from the floor and/or the toilet and this will reveal any damage to the part.

3. Install The New Toilet Seal.

Most toilet seals are made from pure wax and they’ll be able to conform around the opening to create the needed barrier.

New seals have urethane foam in them, however, and these provide a better seal that can last much longer when compared to the traditional repair.

4. Replace The Toilet.

This is your opportunity to upgrade your toilet.

If you have a copper supply tube for your toilet, then it is probably time to make an investment into a new one.

Whether new or old, place the toilet back into place.

Grip the bowl near the hinges and lift the unit up and over the flange.

Set it down on the new toilet seal and use the bolts as a guide.

Press down on the toilet before tightening the bolts to help compress your new seal.

Please note: Some building codes will require you to caulk around your repaired toilet as a final step.

Knowing how to replace a toilet seal can help you save your home from costly future repairs.

It may not be the easiest DIY job you ever do, but over the course of an afternoon it will prevent your toilet from leaking for decades to come.