Owning and maintaining a home is hard work. Not only do you have to troubleshoot large, structural issues from time to time, but you also have to figure out the best way to deal with smaller, cosmetic problems. Children and pets, though entirely lovable, add to the gamut of unexpected issues that may crop up when you own a home. We’ve compiled a detailed list of the 13 most common household problems for the issues you expect, and for those you don’t. Take a look!

1. Permanent Marker on the Walls

Your two-year-old has discovered that he is the next Picasso–by trying out his new-found talents on your living room walls.

The Expert Solution:

Whether or not you have just painted your walls or were planning on painting them soon, cosmetic damage can be an eyesore that, if not fixed immediately, remains a constant reminder of the repairs that lie ahead. However, just because there is permanent marker on your walls doesn’t mean you’ll need to repaint them. One of our Experts, Jim, gives reassuring advice, “In some cases, regular old toothpaste will do the trick. An old toothbrush works just fine to apply it with. Just squeeze a generous amount onto the bristles and gently rub the product onto the wall until the marker begins to break up and come loose. Then take a damp rag and wipe the artwork off the wall.” If you do end up having to repaint, the good news is that some home improvement stores with up-to-date technology will be able to match your paint color to any sample you provide, allowing you to touch up damaged walls instead of repainting them entirely. Read more of Jim’s expert advice.

If your wall needs more than just a touch up, you might want to consider repainting. Don’t want to repaint your wall yourself? Reach out to a Pro Referral Pro for help.

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2. Countertop Stains

You’re cleaning the dishes after dinner when the light hits the countertop just right and you realize that it is completely covered in water stains.

The Expert Solution:

This is a fairly common problem and, thankfully, an easy one to fix. Expert Andrew has straight forward advice you can follow: “It sounds to me like what you need is a poultice. A poultice (in terms of a cleaning method) is a porous material (such as flour or paper towel) and a solvent (such as ammonia or peroxide) which is applied in order to lift the molecules of the stain right out of the surface.” Can you think of an easier fix? Check out the rest of Andrew’s article.

Although nondescript countertop stains are easy to fix with Andrew’s method, some countertop stains take a little extra work. If you’re short on time, tools, and cleaner, it may be easiest to seek the help of a professional.

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3. Damaged Baseboards

Your brand new puppy is the cutest little thing with the sharpest little teeth, and, believe it or not, the copious amounts of  toys and bones you have purchased are really not ideal for teething.

The Expert Solution:

Chewed or otherwise damaged baseboards can be a tough thing to fix. Luckily, our Expert Lou has experience with these types of issues and knows just the procedure to follow to get your baseboards looking pristine again. Take a look at Lou’s advice: “Depending on the depth and severity of the gouges in the wood, you can use wood dough for shallow filling, or Bondo if it is severe. Each of these products might require more than one coat to completely fill the damage. Just allow ample time between coats to let the product fully dry.” With Lou’s advice, some puppy training, and the first adult dog tooth, you’re on your way to fixing this type of household problem for good–unless, of course, you get another puppy! Make sure you read the full, step-by-step solution.

If your baseboards are chewed beyond this DIY repair method, you might want to consider the help of an experienced carpenter. Baseboards aren’t the first thing you notice when you walk into a room–and they shouldn’t be. With this in mind, you might need a helping hand when it comes to repairing unsightly gouges.

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4. Dirty Windows

Your home has huge windows with panoramic views of your surroundings. After it rains, the water drops that hit your window dry and now you only have a view of your dirty windows.

The Expert Solution:

Get rid of the water stains on the window so that you can see what’s outside again! Our Expert Adam has great advice on how to clean water-stained windows, “Fill a household spray bottle with straight white vinegar and spray on your windows. If the hard water stains are pretty tough, cover them well with the vinegar and let it sit for a few minutes.  Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the glass clean–this may take a little effort, but the microfiber will do most of the work.” This quick fix will restore your view in no time. Read the rest of Adam’s how-to and get your windows really clean.

Are your windows on the second or third floor or otherwise difficult to reach? Cleaning your windows yourself might not be as easy as it appears. Pro Referral makes contacting and hiring window cleaners in your area simple. Restore your view with a little help from a pro in your neighborhood.

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5. Door Problems

Every time you try to shut your bedroom door for privacy, you remember how difficult it is to use your door and, therefore, your bedroom.

The Expert Solution:

Whether your door is hard to open or difficult to close, you may need to take a weekend and replace your door frame. Although this sounds like a drag, our Expert Andrew has some user-friendly advice, “My guess is that the door will have to be taken off, then the trim will  have to be taken off to access the jamb, then the jamb will have to be replaced, and then everything will have to be shimmed so that the door can be seated correctly.” Although this seems like a difficult fix, once it’s finished you’ll be able to utilize the spaces in your home to their full extent, and sleep in peace and quiet.

Not up to the challenge of replacing your door, trim, and jamb? I don’t blame you. A gifted pro near you might be the best solution.

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6. Ant Infestation

You wake up and see a few ants on the kitchen counter, in the cabinets, and on the stove. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, until you realize that there are too many to count.

The Expert Solution:

There are several different kinds of ants, but the most common ants are black ants. They don’t cause much damage, but they multiply quickly and can destroy food. Jim provides this expert advice,“The typical red and black varieties are the least damaging of all. But they too can be a nuisance because they have a tendency to get into the home and look for food in the kitchen. Standard ant traps, granules, and sprays are the best way to deal with these two types of ants.” Make sure you take care of your ant problem before it gets out of control and you’re faced with a larger issue. Notice that you have other types of ants? Get more expert solutions.

7. Concealing Electrical Cords

You move into a beautiful, historic home with hardwood floors in an idyllic setting, but then you realize–you only have two outlets.

The Expert Solution:

Our Expert Jim knows exactly how to fashion wood covers for unsightly electrical wires and cords. He gives detailed, step-by-step advice. Read the first few steps here: “A table saw with a dado blade would be required to fashion this type of cover. A shaped piece of molding like DecraMold works well. This style of trim is pre-shaped, and only needs to be notched on the back to receive the wire….” Sound like an easy place to begin? Read the rest of Jim’s advice and completely camouflage your electrical cords.

8. Wine Stains on Carpet

One of the guests at your dinner party loves to talk with her hands. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, expect the hand she’s talking with is holding a glass of red wine.

The Expert Solution:

Spilling wine is an easy thing to do, but removing wine stains isn’t. If you can, it’s best to clean wine spills right away, because stains that are able to set in are always more difficult to remove. Our Expert Andrew recommends the following fix, “Your best option at this point may be to either rent a steam cleaner, or hire a professional cleaning company to come in and steam the stain out.” If the wine stain has set in, you may need to try more intense stain removal methods.

If you were unable to sop up the stain right away a professional cleaning company if probably your best bet. Pro Referral’s got you covered.

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9. Cluttered Pantry

No one in your house remembers where baking supplies belong or the correct location for cans, and, after searching your cluttered cabinets for hours, you’d rather buy Nutmeg three more times than look have to look for it ever again.

The Expert Solution:

There are a number of ways you can organize your pantry, but it’s important to have the basic methods down before you move on to the more complicated options. With our Expert Jim, first things come first, “Having sufficient shelving helps…. Some hardware stores have a large selection of shelving units that can come in pretty handy for organizing and will not cost an arm and a leg to buy. Located in a pantry, closet, or spare room, they offer a great deal of extra storage capacity.” After making sure you have shelf for each type of item you want to categorize, then consider buying some labels. And make sure you read Jim’s complete tutorial.

10. Clogged Drains

You planned to wash your dishes quickly, but your clogged drain decided that you should let them soak.

The Expert Solution:

Few things are more annoying than a clogged drain, but the good news is that, unless you have a serious clog, this issue can be fixed easily. Jim has some tips, “[I]n this type of situation it is often necessary to disconnect the drain line beneath the sink and fish the obstacle out with a wire that has a hook on one end or a similar tool.” That seems easy enough! Is your clog more complicated than that? You might want to enlist the help of a pro.

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11. Oil Stains in the Garage

You’ve been denying that your car has an oil leak and needs a repair, but the puddle of oil you noticed in your garage this morning has made you realize that now your garage needs a repair too.

The Expert Solution:

Oil stains can be very difficult to remove, and, if you always park in the same spot in the garage, it can be days or months before you even notice you have a leak. Our Expert Jim has some key advice on how to remove oil stains from concrete, “[B]efore the heavy-duty cleaning process begins, excess oil from the surface needs to be extracted…. Kitty litter or a designed oil absorbent act as a sponge to soak up the residue and leave a dry surface when used. Spread the product over the spill, and let it set for a couple days. Once it has performed its duties, sweep it up and you are ready for the major battle.” Are you hesitant to go head-to-head with the oil stain in your garage? The first step wasn’t so bad, chances are the next couple of steps won’t be either. Read the rest of the article and remove that stain for good.

Not up for getting in the ring with that oil stain? It’s okay, our experienced pros know just the trick.

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12. Mildew and Mold in the Shower

A couple of weeks ago, the mold in your shower was brown. Now you notice it has turned black and, worst of all, it’s spreading.

The Expert Solution:

Mold that has had time to set into a surface is by far more difficult to remove than mold that has just sprouted up. There are some excellent products available that can get rid of even the toughest mold problems. Our Expert Rich recommends a few, “Mold Armor is a good one. It does a good job, especially on grout. Another heavy duty product is Crobium Mold Control. It will do a good job of killing the mold spores and helping to prevent their return.” Like Rich explained, these products don’t only remove the mold in your shower, but they keep the mold from returning. Clean up your shower once and maybe you won’t have to clean it again. Be sure to read the rest of Rich’s helpful advice.

If you don’t want to clean up your mold problem yourself, I don’t blame you. A professional house cleaner has the right tools to take care of the job fast.

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13. Kitchen Sink Odors

There is a terrible smell coming from your kitchen. You empty the trash, then the refrigerator, but even still you can’t find the culprit. It occurs to you that the smell might be coming from the sink.

The Expert Solution:

Unpleasant odors are easy to detect, but not always as easy to remedy. Jim helps you troubleshoot simple odors and those that are more complex. He advises that you check the easily replaceable items for odors first, “Where the strainer connects to the sink, there may be a rubber seal. These seals can sometimes collect food particles that have no way of escaping. After a time, the particles build up to a point that they give off a foul odor. Changing the seal is a simple operation….” If you try this and the odor is still lingering, you may need to do some more work. Read the rest of Jim’s how-to and put a stop to the foul odors plaguing your kitchen.

If you can’t rid your sink of these foul smelling odors on your own, a pro is always close at hand. Don’t hesitate to call.

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