This chapter includes information only on the reconditioning and re-finishing of walls, floors, woodwork and furniture, since the bulletin Care and Repair of the House,1 by Vincent B. Phelan, just recently has been published. This bulletin covers those common repair jobs with which every householder is confronted. Mr. Phelan has discussed ably repair jobs connected with foundation walls and basement, exterior and interior walls, roofs, doors, and windows, weatherproofing, heating, ventilating, lighting, plumbing, and the repair of many other parts of the house. The following repair jobs which are discussed in the above-mentioned book and which were prepared for the President's Emergency Committee for Employment2 serve as a check list for home inspection to determine the state of repair of a home.

Exterior Foundation And Side Walls

1. Masonry walls with large cracks or broken portions requiring filling.

2. Mortar joints or minor cracks requiring pointing.

3. Porous or leaky walls requiring damp proofing.

4. Leakage around eaves or tops of walls requiring repairs or coping.

5. Efflorescence or scum on walls requiring acid cleaning or special treatment.

6. Cracks, discoloration, or fallen-out portions of stucco walls requiring pointing, cleaning, or restuccoing.

7. Loose or decayed boards or open joints in frame siding requiring repairs or replacement.

8. Blistering, cracking, or peeling of painted surfaces requiring repainting.

9. Replacing wall surfaces with newer or more attractive materials. 10. Grading around foundation.

1 Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

2 U.S. Department of Commerce, Suggestions for Possible Repairs and Improvements in the House and Its Equipment. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1931.

Windows And Door Frames And Sash

1. Window caps requiring new flashing or repairing over existing joints.

2. Holes or cracks around window frames requiring caulking or repairing.

3. Broken glass panes requiring replacing.

4. Defects in putty around panes requiring reputtying or patching.

5. Windows needing washing.

6. Overhauling screens in readiness for next spring.

7. Need for storm doors and windows or painting and repairing existing ones.

8. Repairs to blinds and shutters.

9. Need for awnings or repairs to existing ones.

10. Loose or shabby balconies and railings requiring repairs or painting.

11. Advisability of additional windows.

Roof, Flashing, Gutters, And Down Spouts

1. Broken, loose or missing shingles, slate, tile, or other material requiring replacement or repairs.

2. Metal or roll roofing with cracks, open joints, or worn off coatings requiring application of water-proofing materials, painting, or replacing.

3. Rusted or defective flashing requiring painting, repairs or replacement.

4. Leaky gutters or conductor pipes requiring repainting or replacing.

5. Leakage around skylights requiring repainting of the frames, glazing, flashing, or repairing.

6. Leakage around scuttles, trapdoors, or other roof openings requiring flashing, painting, or repairs.

7. Defects in chimney requiring pointing or replacement of brick.

8. Need for chimney cap or chimney pots.

9. Ineffective draft may require lengthening the chimney or applying metal hoods.

10. Adjustments or repairs to radio antenna, lightning arrestors, or weather vane.

11. Providing splash blocks at outlet end of down spouts, or connecting down spouts to drainage system.

Porches And Steps

1. Decayed column bases requiring repairing or renewal.

2. Broken, loose, or missing balusters requiring repairs or replacements.

3. Broken or loose railings needing repairs or strengthening.

4. Decayed, broken, or loose floor boards requiring repairs.

5. Decayed or inefficient floor supports needing replacements or strengthening.

6. Broken, loose, or worn steps requiring repairs.

7. Advisability of installing lattice work to hide open spaces under porch.

8. Advisability of enclosing porches with glass or screening.

9. Need for floor paint or general repainting.

10. Open joints or cracks in masonry requiring pointing.

11. Broken or loose floor tile or other masonry material requiring repairs.


1. Advisability of applying insulating material.

2. Repairs to roof, doors, and windows.

3. Advisability of laying concrete floors.

4. Advisability of installing pit for servicing of car.

5. Advisability of installing heating equipment.

6. Necessary painting.


1. Walks and driveways; new, additional, and repair.

2. Fences, trellises, and lattice work requiring repairing or painting.

3. Weeds, brush, and tree stumps requiring removal.

4. General cleaning up of premises.

5. Advisability of additional landscaping.

Interior The Basement

1. Large cracks or broken places in foundation walls requiring filling.

2. Smaller cracks or mortar joints in walls requiring pointing.

3. Dark walls and ceiling needing white coatings to brighten the basement.

4. Leaks through the walls or floor requiring waterproofing applications or provisions for drainage.

5. Cracks between wood sills and walls requiring caulking.

6. Spaces between floor joists as the sills and holes around pipes requiring fire stopping.

7. Floor joists sagging or warped, requiring additional support or bridging.

8. Basement floor badly cracked or disintegrated, requiring repairing or new topping.

9. Need for partitions to provide special space.

10. Desirability of ceiling and wall coverings to obtain finished rooms.

11. Floor painting or treatments to improve appearance.

12. Shelves, closets, cupboards, bins, etc. for stoppage purposes.

13. Clean basement and put things in order.

14. Advisability of constructing basement garage.

Heating And Ventilation

1. Clogged smoke pipes or flues requiring cleaning.

2. Boiler coils or baffles requiring cleaning.

3. Grates warped and broken requiring replacement.

4. Cracked fire box requiring repairs.

5. Boilers with cracks or leakages requiring repairs or new parts.

6. Cracks in chimney masonry requiring pointing.

7. Woodwork adjoining pipes and heating system requiring fire protection.

8. Coating on boilers requiring patching or recovering.

9. Heating pipes requiring covering or repairs to existing covering.

10. Advisability of installing automatic stokers, ash conveyors, or similar labor-saving devices.

11. Leaky radiator valves requiring repacking.

12. Installation of additional radiators if needed.

13. Proper painting of radiators to increase efficiency.

14. Need for radiator covers and radiator tops.

15. Installing thermostatic heat control system.

16. Providing humidifiers for air conditioning.

17. Advisability of building a fireplace.

18. Putting in ash dump for fireplace.

19. Installation of additional room heating device in existing fireplace.

20. Repairing or replacing of fireplace screens, andirons, and similar equipment.

21. Installation of gas or electric log or similar heating apparatus.

22. Repairs to hearth, fireback, dampers, etc. in fireplace.

23. Remodeling of mantle or fireplace front.

24. Installation of ventilating devices in kitchen.

25. Providing insulating material to walls or ceilings where possible.


1. Clogged drains needing attention.

2. Leaky faucets requiring washers, tightening, or new parts.

3. Defective flush valves in water-closet requiring repairs or replacement.

4. Covering for water pipes or other precautions to prevent freezing.

5. Installing refrigerator drainpipe and trap to replace pan.

6. Installing additional shut-off cocks or valves.

7. Installing water-heating equipment, water softeners, etc.

8. Replacing worn-out piping with more modern type.

9. Replacing old or worn-out fixtures with newer types.

10. Providing additional bathroom, or lavatory and toilet for convenience.

11. Providing toilet and shower in basement.

Lighting And Power

1. Rewiring with modern system to reduce fire hazard.

2. Exposed wires requiring insulating.

3. Renewal of appliance cords.

4. Installation of additional convenience outlets, such as floor and base plugs.

5. Additional fuse plugs for fuse box.

6. Repairs to doorbells or buzzers.

7. Installing transformers for bells in place of batteries.

8. Additional bells for convenience.

Doors And Windows

1. Sticking doors or windows requiring refitting or repairs.

2. Doors out of plumb requiring refitting or new hardware.

3. Advisability of replacing wood panels with glass in doors.

4. Defective locks, chains, or bolts, requiring repair or replacement.

5. Purchasing extra keys for various locks.

6. Broken or defective window cords and pulleys needing replacement.

7. Replacing broken window latches or other window devices.

8. Cracks around window sash and doors requiring weather stripping.

Walls And Ceilings

1. Cracks or holes in plaster requiring patching or replastering.

2. Installation of partitions, either temporary or permanent, to provide additional rooms or closets.

3. Removal of partitions to afford additional space.

4. Replacing narrow doorways with plastered arches or similar larger openings.

5. Refinishing or redecorating - painting, papering, calcimining, etc.


1. Creaking floors requiring renailing, additional supports, or bridging to stiffen joists.

2. Cleaning and refinishing.

3. Applying new flooring over old.

4. Repairing or replacing floor coverings.

5. Adjusting or replacing baseboard and molding moved out of position by shrinking or settling.

6. Replacing or repairing broken tile.

Stairs And Stairways

1. Creaking stairs requiring attention.

2. Replacing worn-out treads on stairs.

3. Providing rubber or composition treads for slippery steps.

4. Rickety cellar stairs requiring additional supports or repairs.

5. Installing railing on cellar stairs to prevent accidents.

6. Transforming closed stairways into open stairways by removing one or more walls.

7. Replacing old posts and railings with modern types.

8. Installing disappearing stairs to attic.

The Attic

1. Need for insulation materials applied to walls, floor, or underside of roof.

2. Installation of louvers or additional windows to provide ventilation.

3. Mortar joints in chimney requiring pointing.

4. Cracks between chimney and side walls requiring filling or covering.

5. Fire stopping between studs at floor line.

6. Application of wall and ceiling coverings to provide finished room.

7. Installation of partitions.

8. Applying flooring.

9. Clean attic and put things in order.


1. Need for additional closets, and lining existing ones.

2. Need for shelves, bookcases, and cupboards.

3. Advisability of providing clothes chute, telephone cabinet, and other built-in conveniences.