Should Auld Home Maint’nance Be Forgot?

Last night, they played that song again that – truth be told – NOBODY knows the lyrics to, particularly after one too many ‘cups of kindness,’ if you know what I mean. Best I can tell, the first line is in the form of a question. Should we forget our old friendships? The implied answer is ‘no.’

OK, so you might not expect your handyman to be a scholar of late 18th century Scottish drinking songs set to poetry. But, we at Fix St Louis DO pride ourselves on being experts on things people would rather FORGET. All the broken, yucky, cracked, deteriorated, stuck, leaking, stuffed, and falling things around their house that we at Fix St Louis fix.

So to kick-off this new year, here are some ideas to transition your house to things that once fixed, stay fixed so you can more-or-less forget about future maintenance or repairs:

1. Decks – Whose crazy idea was it anyway to attach something that looks like Huck Finn’s raft to the side of our houses? A structure made of wood that needs to be stained every couple of years? Let’s stop the madness. Next time you have your deck repaired, ask us to stain it with Sherwin Williams solid color elastomeric coating, which lasts as long as house paint. Or replace the boards with composite materials that, these days, now look even better than wood and last ‘forever.’

2. Exterior Trim – If you look closely at the bottom of the side trim on the outside of your doors, or around your outdoor window ledges, you are likely to see rotted wood. That’s because water tends to pool-up in those places, then is wicked into the wood. The answer is to buck what passes as wisdom today and “go UN-natural.” We can patch those areas with the same plastic-type material used for auto body repairs, and in many cases replace the rotted boards with solid plastic-based materials. Sure, the rest of your house may someday fade away, but at least those parts will outlast the Cahokia Mounds!

3. Toilets – Don’t get me started. Oh, was I the one who brought this up? We are a 1st world country with 3rd world toilets only because our betters in Washington seem to think that anything that isn’t regulated doesn’t belong in the utopia they’re kindly creating for us. Water is the power supply for toilets, and our government keeps limiting it – THAT’s why toilets now fail so often. So now there’s a toilet plunger next to every toilet, when in the past there never was, and Fix St Louis customers need to have us on speed dial. And, it’s not just toilets, it’s all your water-based devices and appliances as you can read here. We’ll keep fixing your toilets, but maybe people need to start driving around with bumper stickers that read “I flush and I vote.”

4. Flooring – The good news about solid hardwood flooring is that it can always be sanded and re-stained. The bad news is that it needs to be. We strongly discourage people from installing hardwood in bathrooms because sooner or later a leak will damage it, and somewhat less strongly discourage it for kitchens for similar reasons. We’re also not thrilled with any laminate or engineered wood flooring for kitchens and baths that contains fibers inside that might absorb water and puff-out like a sponge. The most practical, best looking surfaces for these rooms these days are ceramic or porcelain tiles. Vinyl tiles and sheet vinyl have traditionally been considered to be cheap-looking, but we’ve been kinda impressed lately with what’s now being offered under the rubric “luxury vinyl tile.” I know, I know, it sounds like a joke. Like calling something a “luxury sow’s ear.” But they’re doing impressive things these days with graphics and texture, and if you keep an open mind, it might be just right for you, and very economical.

Well, I suppose if you were looking for life-changing advice to start-off the new year that would make you a better, kinder, more effective, problem-free, pain-free, or better-looking person you now realize you came to the wrong place. So, maybe Fix St Louis can’t help you make the world a better place, but making your home a place where you can every once in a while forget about maintenance is at least a start. Right? Of course, right.

Happy New Year!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

Fix St Louis Announces its Person of the Year

This is the time of year when Time Magazine names its “Person of the Year.” And, it always comes as a big surprise. “Time Magazine?!,” I ask. “Are they still in business?”

So, as our fortunes continue to rise, while those of Time Magazine continue to fall, we at Fix St Louis felt an obligation to step in, to make sure that this great tradition of honoring a great person every year survives. And maybe even improve upon it, given that Time’s past recipients include Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Planet Earth.

Given that our name is Fix St Louis, we were looking for the person who did the most in 2016 to Fix St Louis. Determined to identify a remarkable local individual, we reached far and wide into the community. OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but we DID reach out far enough to pick-up our ringing phone to answer a call from KMOV-TV channel 4.

KMOV asked us if we wanted to participate as a donor in one of their ‘Surprise Squad’ stories. It’s a series in which they film a feature story on a St Louisan performing exceptionally good works, then surprise them mid-story with a cash gift from their station and a gift of significant value from a local company. In this case, their target recipient was a young woman named Maria Larsen from Charlack in St Louis County, who had taken in a large number of foster children, and as a result was having some trouble keeping up with her home repairs.

Expressing an interest, I asked KMOV exactly how many foster children she had taken in. “Oh, about 300 foster children,” they said, then said again after I told them we must have a bad connection because it sounded like they said 300 foster children. At this point, I thought maybe I should have gone with my instincts, not picking-up the phone, assuming that “KMOV-TV” on the caller ID meant just another sales call for TV advertising. I thought to myself, “how can my company afford significant home repairs on a house with one master bedroom plus 299 other bedrooms?!” Then, they explained to me that some of those foster children were taken-in for as little as one evening when there was a family emergency. Her house was normal-sized, not August Busch IV-sized.

So, as they say, the rest is history. Please view the link below, and watch KMOV do a much better job than I can describing the accomplishments of Fix St Louis‘ newly crowned 2016 Person of the Year. Watch Ms. Larsen get a very small part of the recognition that she truly deserves, and watch me get my fully undeserved, once-in-a-lifetime 15 seconds of fame.

KMOV Surprise Squad visits woman who helps foster families

Merry Christmas and Many Happy Repairs from Fix St Louis!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

On the 12th day of FiXmas my handyman fixed for me…

12 windows slamming
11 outlets sparking
10 pop-up drain plugs popping
9 faucets dripping
8 doors a sticking
7 smoke detectors beeping
6 mirrors hanging
5 wax toi–let ringssssss
4 falling shelves
3 French doors
2 chandeliers above
and a door track on a pan–try

Wow! That FiXmas classic never fails to bring to a tear to this handyman’s eyes. Well, we’re now well into FiXmas, the pre-Christmas home repair season, so:

Take out that to-do list, checking it twice.
Get those repairs done now, take our advice.
Christmas guests are coming to town.

Merry Christmas and Many Happy Repairs from Fix St Louis!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like FiXmas

Could that really be THANKSGIVING coming up this Thursday?! Yikes!! Well, if you didn’t quite get around to fixing those things around the house, it’s not the end of the world. Your guests will only be around for a few hours, and may not even notice if you dim the lights, keep the TV turned on, and strategically place an attractive orange traffic cone to block your bedroom hallway.

But, it actually IS the END of the world if those things aren’t fixed in time for your overnight Christmas guests. Fortunately, it is now the BEGINNING of the FiXmas season. That’s the self-explanatory time of year to fix those little flaws in your house that, for some inexplicable reason, were perfectly acceptable for your family to live with, but unacceptable for those who are not nearly as close to you.

Where to begin? We at Fix St Louis suggest you start with the potentially yuckiest parts of your home, and there’s no substance that makes things yuckier than water. Look all around toilets, showers, tubs, and sinks for yuck, and see if they need to be re-caulked or if loose tiles need to be repaired. Same thing for kitchen sinks and backsplashes.

The next step is looking for 2nd Hand Yuck. Look at the ceilings that are directly below bathrooms. If there are stains there, get those leaks fixed, get that section of drywall section replaced if necessary, then sealed and painted so that it is invisible. Do you really want your guests to engage in a conversation of what yucky event caused that stain?

OK, that’s enough for now. After all, it’s only the First Day of FiXmas – let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But you might want to call us today to avoid the FiXmas rush!

Happy Holidays and Many Happy Repairs from Fix St Louis!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

It’s time to reopen the investigation of your house

Seems like this year the Wednesday AFTER the Tuesday Presidential election should be designated a national holiday, celebrated by great relief if not joy. Perhaps a day to kick-off reconciliation with all those friends and relatives you’ve stopped talking to, in the hopes that by Thanksgiving or Christmas they might actually be welcome in your home once again.

So to get things started, Fix St Louis asks you to try this exercise in seeing things from THEIR point of view. Imagine what they’ll see when they visit your house over the holidays:

Guest Bathroom: Is the caulk along the perimeter of your tub ledge or shower base clean and white, without cracks or mildew? How about that grout and caulk between your wall tiles or slabs? Does the toilet stop running all by itself all of the time, or were you expecting THEM to jiggle the handle? Does your sink faucet or tub spout ever stop dripping? Does the sink pop-up drain ever completely pop-down?

Guest Bedroom: Does opening the bedroom door require two hands and a sharp tug to open, and a body slam to shut? Does the latch make a reassuring “click” when the door is closed, making them comfortable the door won’t unexpectedly swing open by itself? When you flip that switch, do the lights on the ceiling actually come on? Do those sliding closet doors slide and stay within their tracks?

First Impressions: Does your doorbell actually work? When you open that bi-fold door to store their coats, does it fall off its track and not completely shut? When they sit in your living room, do they see an ominous stain on the ceiling that gives them the creeps thinking about what caused it? Do cracks in your walls make them think you might be living on the New Madrid fault?

Yeah, maybe it does matter who is in the White House, but now’s the time to reopen the investigation of your OWN house. Let’s get these repairs underway now and maintain that high favorable rating among your guests.

Dr. Steve
Fix St Louis

Yes, handyman services HAVE been rigged against you

As someone who is out on the suburban streets of America every day, I can tell you there are a LOT of angry homeowners out there. They’re tired of the empty promises of handymen, contractors, plumbers, and electricians. They’re sick of waiting around their homes for hours on end waiting for them to show up. They’re frustrated when no one answers or returns their calls, and devastated when work is unfinished and they can’t get ahold of them.

The home repair system has been broken, and here’s why. Traditionally, the top 1% of customers, especially large commercial customers and large new home builders, have been stealing away the most professional of those who know how to fix homes, offering them the three most important things – jobs, jobs, and jobs.

And while I would not be so unkind as to say that many of the remaining folks available for you to choose from are ‘deplorable’, our recruitment efforts do suggest that about 25% of them have felony convictions. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Homeowners and those friends and neighbors who refer handymen to you don’t run the kinds of experience and background checks that the big companies who choose not to hire them do.

Fortunately there’s Fix St Louis, the only full service home repair company that competes against the big companies for the best, most professional technicians.

We’re the only one with a booth at job fairs at Ranken Technical College, that regularly makes presentations to their students, that picks the brains of faculty members regarding their most promising students, and that seeks out their alumni. And, we build upon Ranken’s rigid training in technical skills, people skills, and overall professionalism.

At Fix St Louis, we’re out to make the handyman industry great again. OK, OK. So maybe ‘great’ just for the first time.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis