So, was your builder expecting April the Giraffe to change your light bulbs?

Hey, your Great Room with the 2-story vaulted ceiling looks really great and all that, and I’m sure your home builder boasted about how spacious it made your house seem. But now that your builder is long gone and has cashed his check, you begin to wonder. How on God’s green Earth am I going to change a light bulb that’s 17′ up in the air?!

No problem, you figure. The last time you were in Home Depot, didn’t you see a light bulb changing kit that included an extension rod with all sorts of nifty light bulb grabbing attachments you could put at its end, like a suction cup, a basket, and a wad of used bubble gum? But if you had actually BOUGHT it and tried to use it, you’d know that you might just as well be a circus performer spinning plates at the end of that rod. And also that you forgot to buy two more things needed to change that bulb — a 10′ step ladder and a crash helmet to protect you from aerial bombardment by kamikaze bulbs that refuse to get suctioned or leap gracefully into the basket.

Off the top of my head, I can think of a couple of more things builders do to make a house more showy, but leave homeowners helpless to do normal maintenance. How about climbing onto one of those modern, ultra-steep roofs that even a mountain goat isn’t crazy enough to get up on? Or that cedar deck whose boards will soon start fraying at the edges unless you stain it every 2 years? Or asking the crew from Merry Maids if they would kindly clean that window above your front door two-stories up?

Now I know that some of you are too young to remember this. But, I think it was maybe, oh, about two weeks ago that there was something called the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. And they had parades of elephants that were quite a spectacle. Now, think of your builder as the ringmaster, and think of those huge beautiful creatures as the houses he was showing-off, that captured your attention. Now, think of those men with the push brooms at the end of the parade. That would be us, Fix St Louis.

So, call Fix St Louis whenever you need to perform one of those impossible maintenance feats the builder didn’t warn you about. We can even make some of them go away, e.g. by staining that cedar deck with a deck paint that you would only have to re-paint as often as you would have to re-paint a house, not every couple of years.

Let’s finally talk about those maintenance elephants in the room. And don’t worry, we’re actually quite good at cleaning-up after ourselves.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

Not to brag, but we’re even better than THEY are at Home Openers

Sure, the Redbirds just won their home opener against last year’s World Series Champs but, hey, we’re talking about the Chicago Cubs for crying out loud. On the other hand, we at Fix St Louis work on home openers just about every day, and we have never been defeated. Not once.

Doorbells

Once upon a time, front doors had all kinds of uses. They were a place to bend down and pick-up newspapers, Yellow Pages, and milk that came in glass bottles, and to greet overly-friendly Fuller Brush Men, encyclopedia salesmen, and Avon ladies. But these days, people seem to forget they even HAVE front doors. They always enter through the garage. And, they’re so frightened by what they watch on the 10 o’clock news that when the doorbell rings they hide behind furniture, lest the possible ax murderer outside spot them through the window.

But let’s face it, people. Unless you own a dog, you NEED a working doorbell. Or you’ll never meet your neighbors. Or, the kids next door. Or your neighbors’ kids selling cookies and unwanted magazine subscriptions for fundraisers. Or that grubby man with missing teeth who comes around each year to sell mulch.

The state of doorbells that we at Fix St Louis see every day is nothing less than shocking. I swear, about half of them don’t seem to work at all, or the plastic button is cracked open, exposing a teeny-weeny light bulb. Some houses confront you with a wide array of choices, including a non-working intercom station with a button that may or may not be a doorbell. Or a large control panel with the Nu-Tone brand name that looks like it was ripped off the set of Disney’s Carousel of Progress and includes a blender, an AM radio, and can spin 45 RPM vinyl records. BTW, nothing on that control panel works either.

Give us a call, and you will learn how easy and inexpensive it is to get your doorbell working again. Usually we can use the existing wires, but the new wireless models work great, too. We can even install integrated video cameras so you can remotely see who’s at your door, with the small downside that so can the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies who like to keep tabs on who you’ve been meeting.

Garage Door Openers

Scary, but true. The average homeowner is never more than one step away from a barbaric world in which they’d have to stop their car on the driveway in the rain, step out of the car, walk to the garage door, pull it up, walk back to their car, drive in, then reach up and pull the garage door down again. The HORROR!

We at Fix St Louis can do a number of things to help. We replace garage door openers, as well as their light bulbs. We can install a dedicated electrical outlet nearby so it conforms to building codes, and eliminate that extension cord tacked to the ceiling that you know is all wrong. And, we can install keypads outside that open the garage door, so that when you unlock the door to your house inside, no one needs a key, not even kids who might lose it. That means you can toss that fake rock in your yard that has a compartment for a key, and that is often so conspicuous that it fools no one. Not even woodpeckers scared by fake plastic owls. Who, truth be told, really don’t fall for that trick anymore, either.

And, oh yeah, we can change your door locks, too.

Just think about how far we’ve come in America with our home openers. Only 100 years ago nobody in St Louis even locked their doors. It must be true — I heard it at Disney’s Carousel of Progress.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

How We Can Save You From International Embarrassment

There’s a video that went “viral” this week, but absolutely no one is seeing the big picture. Fix St Louis is here to fix this.

Please take a moment to watch this < 1 minute video of a BBC interview of a professor, who unsuccessfully tries to "keep calm and carry on" while discussing the impeachment of the South Korean President. It's OK - go ahead, I'll wait.

Our forensic team here at Fix St Louis has now studied this video frame-by-frame and made a remarkable discovery. This professor, who lives in South Korea, actually DID push the button on his doorknob to lock the door. But, his door wasn’t really closed or locked because the door wasn’t properly aligned – the latch on the door was not lined up with the hole in the strike plate on the door frame.

Unfortunately for him, there is no such thing as “Fix South Korea.” Because if there were, he could have repaired this seemingly trivial problem before it morphed into a personal global catastrophe. So now, no matter how good an expert, researcher, or teacher he will ever be, this professor will NEVER be known for anything else.

Of course, there are a lot of other things Fix St Louis can do for doors like this, most of which are more about being irritated than embarrassed. Doors that rub against their outside frames. Doors that rub against new carpet. Doors that require a full body slam to shut. Loose or broken door knobs, detaching hinges – you’d be amazed at how many silly things can go wrong with a dumb interior door.

We can even perform a “door-ectomy”, removing doors and leaving a finished open archway. They’re great for highly indispensable people, like her:

Please learn from this cautionary tale that a bad door can shut you out of life’s otherwise open opportunities. And, what’d ya say we get this done now, before your next BBC interview.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

Next on Deck: Re-seal or Replace?

While the climate in our nation’s capital has been harsh this winter, our weather has been relatively mild. Many St Louisans are already venturing out onto their decks.

Unfortunately, many don’t like what they see. Rotted boards, washed-out stain, boards with cracks, wobbly rails, and a general sense that their decks are just yucky.

So, what can be done about your deck? Get it repaired? Re-stained? Replaced?

The good news is this: If you like your deck, you can keep your deck. You don’t have to tear it down a build a new one. That’s because Fix St Louis can:

  • Replace rotted floor boards, stairs, rails, joists, fascia, ledger boards, and every other part of a deck’s anatomy.
  • Replace all your floor boards with no-maintenance composite boards that will look great now, and will look just as great 10 years from now.
  • Repair or replace failing posts and the concrete piers they sit on, or at least should be sitting on if they were built right in the first place.
  • Stop leaks from your deck into the side of your house caused by missing or damaged flashing.
  • Powerwash and stain your deck – only this time with Sherwin Williams elastomeric coating which looks terrific, fills cracks, and turns staining your deck from an ongoing chore into something you’d only do as often as painting your house.

This season, make a pledge that you won’t be a do-nothing household. You’ve got the power, and Fix St Louis has the people, to make your deck great again!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

Our screen work also gets awards, but without the glamour

I hate to break it to you young people out there, but when you get to be my age you will come to understand that life is not fair. Like on tonight’s Academy Awards, for instance. You will watch people who are lucky enough to be born beautiful and happen to be good at making facial expressions while pretending to be somebody else in front of a camera, as they receive wealth, adoration, and accolades from millions and millions around the globe.

OK, so unlike THEIR screen work, our screen work at Fix St Louis won’t make you laugh, cry, be uplifted, or send you on a 100-minute mental vacation from your day-to-day life. And maybe our technicians don’t offer you helpful, unsolicited advice on what to think about all the world’s problems.

No, but our screen work does something much, much more important. It keeps bugs from crawling, flying, and building webs all around your house – some of which actually have the nerve to sting you while they’re there. Maybe that’s why they call them ‘pests.’

Screens have a tough life, being outdoors all of the time, but we at Fix St Louis make them all better. We can replace your torn screens. We can replace missing screens by building new ones, much less expensively than you might think. We can repair or replace your storm door and that damaged sliding screen door behind your patio doors.

We can even replace the screens that your knucklehead builder built right into the framing of your screened porch, so they could never be replaced easily — and make them so they can.

The folks who give awards have taken notice of our work, not just on screens but on everything else we do. A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, top 5% in Angie’s list, and an embarrassingly long list of awards from Home Advisor that would make a Hollywood diva blush.

Oh, and speaking of screening, our technicians are heavily screened. They have at least 10 years of experience and have passed criminal background checks.

So maybe we at Fix St Louis might not be counted among the beautiful people. We just treat our customers as if THEY are.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

Fix St Louis declines to rule on Making America Grout Again

We here at Fix St Louis recognize that we do not work in a democracy, and we accept our fate. In our world, homeowners are the supreme leaders, who can issue one executive order after another, to which we gladly and gratefully comply. We don’t decide and we don’t judge.

But occasionally, homeowners seek our counsel on complex issues, like what should be on the walls surrounding their bathtub or shower base. To which we authoritatively respond, “Gee, I don’t know. What do you like?”

Since many homeowners are not satisfied with that inconclusive answer, let Fix St Louis lay out the 3 major choices, along with the most frequently cited arguments by opposing sides.

Wall Tile – This is by far the most common material we see on tub and shower surrounds. And, they’ve come a long way since the 4-1/4″ square Pepto Bismol Pink, Avocado Green, and Col. Mustard Gold tiles of the ’50’s and ’60’s. Tiles now come in all different sizes and shapes, including ones that resemble those on the NY Subway, which must appeal only to people who have never actually had the unpleasant experience of actually RIDING on the Subway. Some tiles are glossy, some are glassy, and some are stoney. But, all will eventually become grungy. Well, the grout between them, that is. So, if you’d rather not add scrubbing grout lines to your ongoing house cleaning chores, you might want to read on.

Onyx – This is actually a brand name, and if I could find that little “®” on my keyboard I’d use it (oh, guess I did). In any event, let’s just say “Onyx is the new cultured marble”, both of which look like polished stone (think granite countertops). Compared to cultured marble, Onyx is less fragile, looks more like granite (no rock-like streaks, though), and has a spiffy glossy shine. But most importantly when compared to wall tile, there is only one slab per wall – which means there are no grout lines to clean per wall. So, is it more expensive than wall tile? Not really – maybe in the low hundreds of dollars more. That’s because while the Onyx MATERIAL is more expensive than tile, it takes fewer Fix St Louis LABOR HOURS to install it. So, unless those few extra hundred dollars are important to you, or if you really, really like the way tile looks, Onyx is the way to go.

Molded Plastic Surrounds – If tub and shower surrounds were a family, these would be the neglected step-children. But, they shouldn’t be because they are a good choice in many situations. So, OK, when you’re selling your house, these surrounds are not going to impress buyers if they see one in your master bedroom, and may possibly turn them off if they see one in your hall bath. But what about a basement bathroom or a bathroom designed for kids? They’re very easy to maintain (no grout), and some come with nifty features that are rarely found in other surrounds, like plenty of shelves, washrag bars, and even foot rests for shaving legs.

So as you can see, at least when it comes to tub and shower surrounds, there is no right answer. You be the judge. Fix St Louis will honor your decision.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100