Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down Those (shower) Walls!

Sorry, but I have always had this fantasy of hiring a technician named Gorbachev, so I could hear our customers use that line. But, I can’t seem to lure the real one out of retirement and into a Fix St Louis shirt. Go figure.

Anyway, today we’ll be discussing those yucky walls around your shower or tub. If that sentence made no sense to you, you’re free to go. But for the 99% of you remaining, you know what I mean.

Those walls with those sickly, shiny avocado green squares that are supposed to have dry white stuff between them, but the white stuff is missing in places, or the white stuff is actually now black. Maybe a tile or two are sticking-out, missing, or a bulge of wet drywall behind it is shoving tiles out of place.

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Deck Maintenance: 7 Tips To Stain Your Deck Less Often

In a recent national survey, it was revealed that when it comes to critical activities adults are most negligent about, ‘not staining their deck’ was ranked at the top, 2nd only to ‘not flossing’. OK, so I totally made that up. But, you get the idea. We know that not staining a deck frequently enough will lead to rotted wood and costly repairs, just as we know that not flossing will lead to rotted teeth and dentists driving late-model cars.

But, staining a deck does not come cheap, so you don’t want to have to do it very often. According to Home Depot, staining a deck costs the average homeowner $600-700. (And this time, I did NOT totally make that up!). The moral here is proper deck maintenance can save you money in the costs associated with staining your deck,  just like flossing can save you money at the dentist and save your teeth.

So, here are 7 tips that will allow you to stain your deck less often:

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3 Fans That Will Lower Your Air Conditioning Bills

I don’t know about you, but I pity the poor people who live in places like Hawaii, who will never know that wonderful feeling of walking in from the outside on a hot, humid St. Louis summer day into an air conditioned room. No, you will never hear me, your House Doctor, preaching about the damage air conditioning does to the planet, how through some bizarre twist of fate its excessive use might lead to pneumonia, or how it costs too much money. So, tell me. If not comfort, what exactly is money for?

But while I may be one of air conditioning’s biggest fans, I am also one of its least faithful fans, as I am also a fan of 3 different types of fans — fans that let people use their air conditioners less often. These are wonder-fans, almost magic fans, because they are fans that will lower your air conditioning bills. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.

In my travels speaking with customers and prospective customers, I find a great deal of confusion on what these fans are called, what are their best uses, and whether or not they can be used at the same time an air conditioner is running. So, let’s clear the air by going through each of the 3 totally different types of fans, one at a time.

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Window Repair

You don’t have to live with windows with bad personalities!

Admit it. It’s a problem, but never a big enough problem that ever got you past the mental paralysis caused by not being sure how to get it fixed, right?

Your windows are hard to open or close, or don’t stay open. They get stuck and you have to use increasingly strange methods you’ve invented over time, that only you know, to get them unstuck. When one of them closes, it’s not quite square, so there’s a small gap where air gets in. Or, how about that window that, when you open and let go, it slams down like a guillotine, and you breathe a sigh of relief that no one’s fingers, hand, arm, (or head?) was there at the time. It’s almost as if some of your windows have personalities, and have decided to be difficult.

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Rotted Wood Repair

Rotted Wood Repair: That Rotted White Wood Outside That You Try Not To Look At

Ever notice there’s more than just siding on the sides of your house, and you’ve gotten in the habit of trying real hard not to look at it? There’s strips of wood painted white, and in some places it’s peeling, rotting, or bulging. Maybe there’s some places where there are whole chunks missing, creating what looks like a hole to you, but is actually the front door of another home –for insects, birds, small animals, or who-knows-what kind of life form.

We find there are usually 2 reasons homeowners avert their eyes from this painted woodwork and, frankly, neither of them is a good one. The first reason is that homeowners often do not have a clue who to call to fix it. We all know what happens whenever you call a window company — next thing you know you’ll have a pushy sales-type at your home trying to sell you on a multi-thousand dollar project of changing-out all the windows in your house. And calling a carpenter doesn’t seem right either, assuming the homeowner can even think of the name of someone who goes by that title since you-know-who about 2,000 years ago.

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How to Fix That Love-Hate Relationship With Your Deck

Most homeowners have an uneasy relationship with their decks. While they might have a beautiful home, they sometimes wonder why their deck has to look like something Huck Finn hitched to it after floating down the Mississippi River.They may never be at peace that it is completely right – maybe some of the boards have rotted, the top rails are dried-out and cracked, and that wobbly stair rail – is someone going to get hurt by that someday? And then there’s the guilt. If only they stained it its first year…or every five years…or ever at all.

Well, I have good news — you don’t have to love-hate your deck. You can just love it. But, it helps to make sure you’ve got the right one, or convert it to the right one when major repairs are in order. Here’s how to think about decks so you can stop thinking about, and start enjoying, yours.

Basically, there are four types of decks:

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