Go ahead, fight fire with fire. But fight water with plastic.

You might have guessed that, as a busy handyman, your humble correspondent doesn’t spend much time pondering the teachings of the great philosophers. But, I do grab wisdom wherever I can get it.

Like from that late 20th century philosopher, Madonna, who famously said “We are living in a material world, and I am a material girl.” Or the Mr McGuire character in the movie “The Graduate”, with his succinct career guidance to recent grad Dustin Hoffman. “I just want to say one word to you … Just one word … Are you listening? … Plastics … There is a great future in plastics.”

Frankly, I didn’t pick up on their wisdom right away, but eventually I had my Aha! moment. PLASTICS! That MUST have been the material in Madonna’s prophecy! This handyman’s really got to hand it to that girl who knows her materials.

Think about it. What’s the one thing that does the most damage to houses? It’s water. And what material frustrates water the most when it goes about its devious plan to damage your home. Yes, it’s plastic.

Haven’t you noticed all the things in your home that are now made of plastic? If all “plastic” means to you are those small Lego blocks that hurt like hell when you step on them, you’re not thinking big enough. Plastic comes in many disguises, and is now found all throughout your house. Here are some of the best places Fix St Louis can install plastics to keep water from damaging your stuff:

Deck Boards:

 Fix St Louis can replace all the wood on your deck with boards that look just like wood, but don’t rot and never need staining. These “composite” boards are usually made by combining a variety of materials, that are held together and sealed with a petroleum-based resin, i.e. “plastic.”

Doors, Windows, and Front Porch Columns: Have you ever seen rotted wood outside on the wood trim around an entry or garage door, on the base trim of a porch column, or on a window ledge? Fix St Louis can replace these with PVC or composite trim that will never rot. Or we can fill holes with a plastic-based, rot-resistant patching material if the damaged area is small.


 There are several areas in your home that, sooner or later, are likely to have an unfortunate water event — particularly bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Water can ruin a floor made of hardwood, laminate flooring, or carpeting. You might want Fix St Louis to replace these floors with “vinyl plank,” a floor made of plastic, but with today’s technologies can be made to look just like wood.


 Unless your home is on the historical register, there is no good reason to replace deteriorating wood shutters with new wood shutters. Since they’re covered with paint anyway, what difference does it make what they’re made of? Go with a material that won’t rot and that you may never need to paint again. Vinyl shutters are what most homeowners choose. But if you want something more sturdy and more resistant to fading, composite shutters are a good choice.

The “great future in plastics” has brought different benefits to different people. For Madonna, judging from what I have seen, it’s been mostly in the form of injections. For Mr McGuire, it’s been in the form of investments that provide a comfortable retirement.

But for you as a homeowner, while I’m no Mr McGuire who can offer his best advice in just ONE word, maybe I can do it if you’ll give me THREE words plus ONE abbreviation… Are you listening?… Call Fix St Louis.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

About Us

Fix St Louis  is the professional alternative to hiring “Chuck in a Truck” or “Pete in a Pick-up”. Our technicians have at least 10 years of experience, are bonded, insured, and show up at firm, scheduled times. We provide full customer service and guarantee our work for a year!

Are LEANING fences & mailboxes giving your yard that “abandoned ghost town” look?

A lot of towns west of the Mississippi went through “boom” times when gold or something else was discovered, followed by “bust” times of decay and neglect.

Back in the olden days, when your humble correspondent was just a handy-boy, I learned that our big boom came when folks migrated here to trap furs.

But they must’ve taken all the good stuff with them, because all we have left are a bunch of rodents, an occasional groundhog, and — are those really dead armadillos I see by the side of the road? We should all be thankful for that community-minded genius who is trying to lure back the trappers, by reintroducing the bear to Kirkwood.

But it’s now been almost two centuries since our area went “bust.” So, why do so many yards display features from that period — the leaning fences, leaning sheds, leaning mailboxes, everything but the leaning tombstones? You asked, so I’ll tell you why.

It’s that homeowners have no idea who to call, to make these leaning things go straight. Call a fence company? HA! They’ll just tell you that you need to spend those extra multi-thousands of dollars you just happen to have lying around to build a whole new fence. Call a mailbox post contractor? A WHAT?! Call a GENERAL contractor? Sure, m’am, we’ll get back to you in about 6 months.

Fortunately, there IS a company you can lean on to un-lean your fences, sheds, and mailboxes. And by sheer luck, and the “slanted” content in this newsletter, it just happens to be Fix St Louis.

1. Leaning Fences

The only parts of your fence that are anchored in the ground, and would be causing the lean, are the posts — those square vertical boards you see every 6-8 feet. Just ask Fix St Louis to replace only those posts that are leaning or wobbly, and magically your fence will once again stand at attention.

So, why did those posts start leaning in the first place? Chances are, it’s because the fence’s installer didn’t know that you also need to pour CONCRETE into the hole dug for that fence post, or didn’t pour in enough. There are other reasons, too. Like the bottom of the post rotted because it absorbed water from the ground. Or the installer was lazy, and didn’t dig the post hole deep enough. Any which way, our skilled Fix St Louis technicians know the difference between a cup of Ted Drewes Dutchman and a sack of Quikrete. We’ve got concrete, and we know how to use it.

2. Leaning Mailboxes

If you think of your mailbox post as just a fancier version of a fence post, you already know why it’s leaning and how we can fix it. But you might also be interested in speaking with our highly experienced mailbox design consultant (oh, guess that’s me), who can tell you what options we can provide beyond what’s at Home Depot: 1) Various colors, metallic finishes, or artwork; 2) Wood, metal, or plastic-sleeved posts; 3) Personalized name and address plates; 4) Fancy grille work, horse heads, etc.; and 5) Mailboxes so strong that you will pity that fool who tries to play drive-by hockey with it.

3. Leaning Sheds

If you have a wooden shed that is leaning one way or another, Fix St Louis can use a collection of rarely-used and oddly-named tools to crank it back into position, including winches, pulleys, cables, and “Come Alongs.” And so it won’t just collapse back into position when we hit the tools’ “release” buttons, we will permanently brace the structure using lumber.

And even if you’re not the type who embarrasses easily, and are not particularly bothered by the unkempt appearance of your property, there are other, very practical reasons to make these repairs. If your neighbors don’t share your appreciation of our region’s charming “bust” period, your trustees might slap a lien on your leans. Or, if the neighborhood kids decide your house is haunted, you might find them daring each other to peak into your bedroom windows.

But, you know in your heart of hearts that if fences, sheds, and mailbox posts were meant to lean, they would have been built that way. Call Fix St Louis today, and we’ll set you straight.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

About Us

Fix St Louis  is the professional alternative to hiring “Chuck in a Truck” or “Pete in a Pick-up”. Our technicians have at least 10 years of experience, are bonded, insured, and show up at firm, scheduled times. We provide full customer service and guarantee our work for a year!

Special Garage Makeover Edition: From Total Neglect to Near-Total Neglect

Special Garage Makeover Edition: From Total Neglect to Near-Total Neglect

There’s a good reason your humble correspondent has never spotted “Live, Love, Laugh” stenciled on the walls of a garage. If homes were a family, garages would be Cinderella, the poor neglected stepchild.

Like Cinderella, garages do a lot of dirty, essential work. But, they rarely get cleaned. The dents and holes in their unfinished walls tend to be ignored, or might elicit a shrug at best. And many don’t even want to think about the possibility that their garage does double-duty as another creature’s bedroom with en suite bathroom.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you homeowners out there act like a bunch of Wicked Step Mothers. And I’m also not saying it’s time for this Cinderella to finally get the attention she deserves to turn her surroundings into a castle.

No, I’m being far more cynical than that. I’m saying just — jeez, people — just throw your garage a bone every once in awhile, and you will greatly benefit yourself.

Think of Fix St Louis as your Garage Fairy God Mother, and we can grant you your garage-sized wish.

An Additional, Easier-to-Access Storage Attic

Stand in your garage and look-up. If you can see the rafters of the roof, you are looking right past an attic that just happens to be missing a floor. What a great place to put all those large bulky things you actually CAN throw away, even though you haven’t realized it yet. Like the original boxes to your electronic products, bolts of leftover carpeting, the crib of your now 50-year-old son, etc. Or things you are holding onto for your kids, waiting for that blessed day they move to a house of their own. Oh, and there will also be plenty of space for things you actually DO use, only not too often. Fix St Louis can create that attic space by building that floor.

Attic Ladder

Did I mention you are going to need a way to get up to this attic space, whether you already have that space or not? Fix St Louis can install a drop-down fold-out attic ladder on the underside of the attic floor that will make it MUCH easier to get to than the other attic that you now have.

You know, that attic you can access through a hatch on the ceiling of that small closet. With a hole size that would be just big enough to twist yourself through, if you were a member of the Romanian female gymnastics team. And because there isn’t a plywood floor up there, it’s easy to step on a place that won’t support your weight, cracking the ceiling on the floor below. Worse yet, because everything is covered with insulation, you can’t even SEE the ONLY places that WILL support your weight — thin balance-beam-wide ceiling joists, easy for female Romanian gymnasts to navigate, but not so much for you. I’m guessing that if you ever actually DID put anything up there, you didn’t try again anytime soon, and have long forgotten what exactly it was that you put up there, anyway.

Storage Along Garage Walls

Let Fix St Louis help you put the walls of your garage to work. Line them with manufactured self-standing shelf storage units, or custom ones we can build with raw lumber. Let us hang a pegboard to hold your garden tools, or panels that allow you to hang-up your brooms, rakes, shovels, and anything else with a long handle that is now leaning against a wall, but every once in awhile falls over and trips you. We can also help you mount bikes on walls OR ceilings. And how about hooks to get those long loops of orange, outside extension cords out of your way?

Power Station

This is an idea that is bound to become hotter. Find a wall of your garage that already has an electric outlet, or have Fix St Louis install one in just the right place. Now, mount on wall space around this outlet the battery power chargers from the new generation of garden tools (e.g. weed whippers, lawnmowers, trimmers, saws, leaf blowers, etc.). The batteries can charge without ever being in your way. You just insert the batteries, plug the wall-mounted chargers into the outlet, walk away, and forget them until the next time you need these tools.

OR, mount nearby to this outlet one of those big round electric cord reels, with a 20+ foot cord and a bulb at the end, that you see in car repair shops. If you mount it near the garage door the cord with bulb will reach anywhere inside and immediately outside your garage. Pretty handy for things like looking under your hood (if that’s even a thing anymore), finding things lost under the front seat, or locating stuff dropped onto the driveway when it’s dark. And if you get a cord reel that also has an OUTLET at the end, you now have a way to use a vacuum cleaner or tire inflator inside or outside, wherever your car is parked, Also a way to more conveniently fill-up inflatable mattresses, toys, and other items (but not the adult stuff, because your neighbors might talk).

Garage Doorbell

Do you ever find yourself stranded in the garage, pounding on the door to the house for somebody to PLEASE let you in, because you don’t carry your keys when you’re doing outside work? This problem has been solved. Let Fix St Louis install a wireless doorbell on that door.

Garage Door Openers

I recently installed a new garage door opener that allows me to open the garage door from my Smart phone over the Internet, i.e. from wherever I am in the world, I suppose. Initially I figured this was something I did not need, and just one more thing that could break (d’ya think I sound like a handyman?). But once you have this feature you’ll find all kinds of reasons to like it. Ever pull away from your house and not remember if you closed the garage door? Did any member of your family ever lock themselves out of the house, especially if they don’t live there anymore and don’t carry a key? Ever have a friend or neighbor want to drop something off, but for whatever reason it shouldn’t be left outside? Fix St Louis installs garage door openers.

So, at least for this one day, let’s give 2 and 1/2 cheers for the lowly, but faithful garage. Let’s face it, a beautiful garage probably won’t get you one extra nickel when you sell your house. And you’re never going to hang out with your guests there — certainly not the Queen if she ever happens to drop by for a visit. But a few minor garage improvements by Fix St Louis can at least make YOUR life easier, even if your Cinderella garage never gets to know what it’s like to live like a Royal.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

About Us

Fix St Louis  is the professional alternative to hiring “Chuck in a Truck” or “Pete in a Pick-up”. Our technicians have at least 10 years of experience, are bonded, insured, and show up at firm, scheduled times. We provide full customer service and guarantee our work for a year!

Storm Door: Love it or Lose it

A long time ago, when your humble correspondent was just a handy-boy, I watched a scene from the Wizard of Oz that both shaped and distorted my thinking. Remember when the tornado was coming, and Auntie Em and the farmhands ducked into the cellar from an outside hatch, and two mostly flat-lying doors closed behind them? It’s no wonder that when I first heard the term “storm doors,” I figured those must be them, right?

But later, I learned that “storm doors” are those flimsy half-glass/half-screen doors that are installed in front of other outside doors. Geez, what protection from a storm or tornado would THAT have provided to Auntie Em and the farmhands? Maybe that was the home improvement mistake made by the Wicked Witch of the East, which she paid for dearly by ending-up on the receiving end of a flying house.

So you have to wonder, how did these doors that don’t seem like they could withstand a toddler-pelting of marshmallow Peeps get to be known as “storm doors”? It’s a sad story, actually. Storm doors started out as the door-counterpart of the well-accepted storm WINDOW, which were separate window-type units installed outside of regular windows, to provide supplemental insulation to the ineffective single-pane windows of their time. But when windows transitioned from having a single pane of glass to an integrated double-pane, storm windows became obsolete.

Storm doors suddenly found themselves to be orphans like Dorothy, only without an Auntie Em as a fallback. They lost their entire storm-window family, and were rejected by doors that no longer had any use for their insulation properties.

So, storm doors plummeted into a gender-identity crisis, from which they’ve never fully recovered. Do they identify as providing extra insulation to doors that no longer need them? Do they identify as windows for the times the doors they cover just happen to be open? Or do they identify as door-sized screens that keep bugs out?

Now, I don’t want to be canceled for being a storm-door-a-phobe, but just between you and me, you don’t REALLY need to welcome storm doors into your home. You may be tiring of that blasted thing tripping you up when you bring-in groceries or Amazon packages, and further humiliating you immediately after someone yells “don’t let the storm door hit you on your way out.”

So if you want to LOSE your storm door, call us at Fix St Louis . Our highly trained surgeons will perform a Storm-Door-Ectomy, that includes restoring and painting the screw holes, unpainted areas, and other damage left behind.

On the other hand, you may justifiably LOVE your storm door, even if its helpful properties have no relationship whatsoever to any of the original reasons God invented them. Like these:

More Sunlight: if you have a front or other entry door in a dark area of your home, sure, you can open the door and pretend your storm door is a window. With the exception of large picture windows, it’s likely to be the widest and tallest window in your house.

More Fresh Air: Now THIS one is really a good idea. If you have a whole house fan on the ceiling of a hallway, turn it on, and open the entry door that has a storm door. Fresh air will come whooshing through your house, saving you air conditioning-running time and providing a gentle, fresh-smelling, and comfortable breeze, particularly on summer nights. Although you might want to think twice about doing this if your storm door leads to those exhaust fumes in your garage, or you live in Sauget, Illinois. (Incidentally, Fix St Louis  installs whole house fans, too).

Keeping Toto from Running Outside: Talk to your neighbors, buy girl scout cookies, or let your pet enjoy a ground-level view of the outside without them running out or away.

So always remember. Whether you want to fix, remove, or upgrade your storm door, as Dorothy herself would have said if she had ever left Kansas again — there’s no place like Fix St Louis .

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

About Us

Fix St Louis  is the professional alternative to hiring “Chuck in a Truck” or “Pete in a Pick-up”. Our technicians have at least 10 years of experience, are bonded, insured, and show up at firm, scheduled times. We provide full customer service and guarantee our work for a year!

Fix St Louis issues DOUBLE and TRIPLE mask guidelines for home repairs

Not that I’m looking for sympathy, but COVID mask-wearing has really taken a toll on this old handyman. They fog up my glasses and block my peripheral vision, as homeowners point to all the strange places I need to poke my head into. A crash helmet would have been a better fashion accessory than a mask when my head met that protruding humidifier on a heating duct, that unexpectedly low header at the bottom of the basement stairs, or that low-hanging metal awning above ice-covered steps while I was looking down.

So, I was really anxious to get my 2 COVID shots, thinking I’d then be safe from both COVID and concussions. But the other day, while my head was poked in a toilet, I heard in the background an alarming Congressional hearing. They said that people who had taken 2 COVID shots now had to wear TWO masks, because based on no research whatsoever there might be a new, more dangerous strain of COVID on its way.

Startled by the news, I bumped my head again, this time on the rim of the toilet. Then I began to think — the CDC is doing its part, maybe Fix St Louis  should be doing more to protect OUR customers from the hazards of the home repair issues we wrestle with.

So as a public service, Fix St Louis  is issuing these new guidelines, that includes a new rating system for protecting homeowners from the most disgusting and, I dunno, maybe dangerous issues we encounter regularly in homes.

Caulk and Grout

This relatively low level hazard is generally found around bathtub ledges, around the perimeter of shower bases, but can also be found on the walls around tubs and showers. It’s caulk and grout that has turned brown, black, or is simply missing.

Given that Dr Steve’s medical training is somewhat minimal, I hesitate to outline the dangers, but I suspect you wouldn’t want to inhale it or eat it. What I CAN say for sure is that NOBODY wants to look at it, and that it usually means that water is getting into your walls and floors. So call Fix St Louis , take off your mask momentarily so our Customer Service Rep can hear what you are saying, and request a free estimate to fix it.

Kitchen Sink Cabinet

Dr Steve’s evolutionary biology training is also somewhat minimal, so you would need to check me on this. But I have a theory that most life forms on Earth today emerged from substances formed in the cabinets below kitchen sinks. All of the elements of life exist there — a warm, moist environment fed by dripping water from drain pipes, food particles that somehow evade the garbage disposal, and even boxes of powders and gels that might be appetizing to one species or another.

 Fix St Louis can stop the leaks, replace your garbage disposal, and otherwise seal out the water that has turned your cabinet into a swamp.

Toilet Wax Rings

Did you know that your toilet is sitting on a gooey wax ring that all your you-know-what passes through? And that it is the only thing that stands between your you-know-what and the rest of your house? And that if you ever see stains on the ceiling below you don’t need to wonder what it is, because you already know what?

So if you have problems with your toilet wax ring, and sooner or later everyone will, you ought to put on THREE masks after asking our Customer Service Rep for an estimate. Some like to take a FOURTH mask, tear it in half, wad it up, and stuff it up both of their nostrils, although like COVID this might be a particular problem for those with respiratory issues. In that case you might just want to place that fourth mask over your eyes.

Please understand that these mask recommendations only relate to home repair issues. For CDC mask guidelines, I’d suggest you check with them, perhaps as frequently as once per hour.

Meanwhile, we at  Fix St Louis  hope to bump into you soon, but not with our heads, and look forward to seeing your smiling faces again sometime in the near future!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

You call THAT a “Super Bowl”? HAH! I’ll show YOU a Super Bowl!

I look forward to Super Bowl Weekend each year, but not for the same reasons you do. My annual tradition is visiting a Home Depot during the game. There’s no one there but me, plus store clerks whose only job is to serve me personally. It’s the one day a year this old handyman can experience the glamorous life of that lone shopper you’ll see when you visit Plaza Frontenac.

But while your humble correspondent was not destined by fate to live in the lap of luxury, that does not mean Fix St Louis can’t share helpful ideas with those of you who do.

It’s true that a seat at the Super Bowl is a coveted luxury item. But what if I could show you an alternative Super Bowl seat that, at a Suggested Retail Price of about $10,000, costs much less than a scalped ticket, plus you can enjoy it throughout the year?

My hunt for a better Super Bowl led me to the Kohler showroom in Ladue where, to their great credit, I was greeted enthusiastically by consultants Annie, Elizabeth, Katie, and Megan, even though my handyman uniform must have suggested I wasn’t that lone shopper from Plaza Frontenac.

They introduced me to the Kohler Numi (see video below). And, I must say, for a handyman like me, this was almost like looking at the very face of God. Let me tell you what this toilet does:

Does All the “Work” for You

When you approach this toilet, the toilet seat opens by itself, so you don’t have to do any “heavy lifting.” I can’t recall if it has built-in gender recognition to know how many lids and seats to lift. But I do recall that when you leave, the seat lowers itself, forever solving women’s biggest complaint about men. And I also remember that it has what I will call an “aiming light” on the INSIDE of the bowl, going a long way towards solving women’s SECOND biggest complaint about men.

Cleans “Down There” in Ways You Would Have Never Imagined

Maybe this is just a Euro thing this handyman will never understand, but it has a built-in bidet, and it points in TWO directions (don’t ask). But, that’s not all. This bidet has a BLOW DRYER! Geez, all they need to do is spray-on a final coat of hot wax and you’d have a complete car wash for your nether regions. Well, except for the guys at the end rubbing you down with rags.

Comfort & Entertainment (?!)

Oh no, we are not nearly done. Wouldn’t you enjoy built-in lighting on the side of the toilet, with the option of changing the light’s color? How about built-in speakers and Bluetooth technology that allow you to play music from a portable device? Not to mention a heated seat and a heated foot warmer, each with adjustable temperatures. You can even enter user profiles of up to six throne-sitters, each of whom can have different settings.

Yes, the Kohler Numi seems to be the next best thing to having someone else go to the bathroom for you.

So this year, make a point of sitting out the NFL Super Bowl. Instead, visit the Kohler showroom at 9929 Clayton Rd. Tell the consultants you would like to take a “test drive” on the Kohler Numi, although be aware that the other customers might find this disturbing.

And otherwise, if the less-than-Super Bowls in your house run, leak, don’t flush properly, or in other ways misbehave, just remember. We at Fix St Louis KNOW toilets. We spend half our working lives with our heads in them. I’m sure we can fix or replace yours.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

P.S. You can watch the best Super Bowl ad ever by clicking on the picture below. You’ll never see toilets and romance combined more seamlessly. Come to think of it, combined at all.