Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tub and Shower Caulk

Tub and shower caulk is an item that is on my list of jobs to do on a fairly regular basis. That’s good because if caulk and grout is neglected it can lead to a much larger problem.

The trouble usually starts with a very small spot where a little water gets through the tile. The water will start to loosen up the tile from the wall. As a result, more water gets through. If there is a room below the tub, you may notice damage to the ceiling. Sometimes it doesn’t show up there and you may notice the problem when tile start falling off the wall. When that happens, you have a big job on your hands and it’s going to cost a lot more than regular maintenance would have.

Mold and mildew can be a problem in showers as well. Good ventilation helps prevent it but some bathrooms don’t cooperate very well. A good product to use for mildew is Tilex. It is a bleach based cleaner that kills the mildew. It’s available in most grocery and home supply stores. If you use it you want to be careful not to get any of it on carpet as it will bleach it. Provide some good ventilation as well, the fumes can be strong.

Sometimes mildew will get into the caulk and then the only option is to remove and replace the caulk. It’s usually not a huge job and the shower looks so much better after.

It’s a good idea to check the grout and caulk in your showers on a regular basis. As a handyman, I know what to look for. Give me a call and I will be glad to help you. In the long run, it will cost you less than if you ignore it. Also, having a professional doing the job will insure that the right kind of caulk is used and it will look good when it’s done


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

25 Years as a Handyman

I worked for a long time customer this morning. She recalled that when I first worked for her, her sons were in junior high school. One of them is now 40 years old.

I remember the first job I did for her. It was rebuilding a mail box that had been hit by a car. It was made of 6x6 timbers. Today the mail box needed another repair. It had been hit by a car again. Thankfully the main post was okay and it just needed a few screws to tighten the crossbeam and put the mailbox itself back on.

Having been in business for 25 years, I have many customers that go way back. It’s interesting to think of how much has changed. Some have moved to new homes, children have grown up and left the home and some customers have passed on.

The customer I worked for this morning lives in an area where most of the older homes are being torn down and replaced by mega-mansions. It’s sad to think that someday this wonderful home, where I have done so much work will be no more. The customer feels the same way. She knows that when she and her husband sell the home it will probably meet the same fate as so many of the other beautiful homes in the neighborhood. She said that it only takes about 48 hours and the old homes are completely gone.

The new mansions sure are impressive in their size but the area seems to be losing the charm it once had. The old homes had plenty of room but they seemed to fit into the country setting better. I guess that’s progress.

Well anyway, I’m glad that I have been able to help keep this home in good repair through the years.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Do It Yourself?

When it comes to home remodel and renovation, should you “do-it-yourself”?

Over the years I have had the opportunity to see a lot of do-it-yourself projects. Some look real nice and others scream amateur. If you are going to live with it and don’t care, then amateur is okay.

What about when you get ready to sell your house? That’s when the less than perfect job can become a liability. If a prospective buyer, looking at the surface sees that it wasn’t a professional who did the work, they may wonder what is going on with plumbing and electrical hidden inside the walls.

Sometimes the work doesn’t hold up very well. I have seen a lot of tile jobs, both floor and wall, suffering from premature failure. There are paint jobs that have almost as much paint on the surrounding areas as on the intended walls. In the long run, those types of jobs may end up costing you more than if you had went with a professional in the first place.

As a handyman, I do a very wide range of jobs. There are many times I turn down work because I know that it’s going to require someone else with the skill to do it right. Sometimes that may require the swallowing of pride but I would rather do that than have a job end up not being done right or not looking right. The reality is that no one can do everything.

Just today, I ended up declining some tasks for a customer I was working for. One was a drywall repair on a ceiling. If it was not done perfect, it would always show. I thought it would be better they get a drywall expert so it was done right the first time. If a repair is not done right it can be very hard to do a second time.

So there are some things to think about as you consider do-it-yourself work. Make sure you have the right skill and equipment. Speaking of equipment, there is a big difference between a $2.00 and $20.00 paint brush. Many times that bit of advice would have made the difference between a good and horrible paint job.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How to Save Money with a Handyman

Have you ever been frustrated because you had to call the plumber for one small job, the electrician for another, a carpenter for a third and after paying premium rates you are still left with a list of things that need to be done?

Calling The Handymen is like one-stop shopping. Your list of needed repairs becomes a thing of the past and you can finally relax. I can help you cross those things off your list. Of course, there are times that you will need to call another specialized service person, but less frequently and the difference will translate into a major savings to you.

Almost every day I am helping someone with their repair list. The variety is one thing I really like about my job. I also enjoy the satisfaction of being able to do a wide variety of tasks.

Here is some of what I did yesterday: installed window blinds and a new range hood, repaired a dripping faucet, put closet doors back on track, replaced a light fixture, replaced broken fence pickets, reattached a loose thermostat and replaced light bulbs.

Today I removed a stuck bulb out of a light fixture, installed a hair dryer holder, removed a built-in shelf from a closet, installed a clothes line, assembled a book case, moved some garage hooks, installed peg board, repaired a porch rail, moved a gate latch, and removed lattice off a deck. I then went to another job and painted a kitchen, living room, bath room and two bedrooms.

As you can see, a lot of it is plain handyman work but other things could have required a call to a plumber, an electrician or a carpenter. Because I was able to do all of them, the customer saved a lot of money.

Give me a call and I will help make your repair list disappear.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jammed Garbage Disposal

I had two calls this week about jammed garbage disposals. One customer wanted to try to fix it herself, the other wanted me to do it as soon as possible.

I read an article last week about drains picking the worst time to get clogged. The truth is that the drain rarely contributes to the problem, it’s usually our fault. The story was somewhat humorous and recounted the worst times for the bad behavior; dinner parties, baby showers, holiday celebrations, etc. I don’t think there ever a good time. Click here to see the article.

What you do to get a disposal running again usually depends on why it is jammed. Sometimes it is just a little too much fiber at one time. Other times I have pulled glass, screws, coins and other debris out of them; this material can be a little harder to deal with. I have some long-neck needle nose pliers that help to grab the offending object. I also use a long crow bar to spin the disposal once the material is gone. If you don’t hear a sound when you flip the switch you may need to press the red reset button on the bottom of the disposal. If it is still jammed you will hear a hum. If so, it’s time to spin it again and to look in and see if there is still something inside. Make sure the switch is off before you try any of these things.

For the customer who wanted to try fixing it herself, I recommended that she take a wooden broomstick and try spinning the disposal. She called back awhile later to report that she was able to get it running. I was happy for her, the problem was resolved.

Another problem that can happen with a disposal is when the pipe under the sink gets clogged because either too much stuff was sent through at one time or the wrong kind of stuff was ground up. See the above mentioned article for some tips on that.

One last thing that happens with a disposal is it just wears out. Sometimes the motor dies and other times it rusts through and starts leaking. Once that happens, it’s time to replace it.

I can help you with your disposal problems and it is usually less expensive than you would expect. I’m also glad to talk you through it if you want to try to fix it yourself. My goal is to resolve your problem in the least expensive way.

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