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.

Floors:

 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.

Shutters:

 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
314-434-4100

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
314-434-4100

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
314-434-4100

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!

Could there be only 6 shopping days left before Christmas?

If you needed another reason to believe this year was different, here it is.

In days of yore, Fix St Louis was able to provide an extended “FIXmas Season,” offering you a couple of pre-holiday months to catch up on your home repairs before Christmas guests arrived.

But we just looked at our schedule and realized – yikes! — we’re now booking jobs into mid-December! We feel for those whose jobs in other industries have been hurt by all these lockdowns. But for Fix St Louis, more people at home has meant more people seeing things they want fixed in their homes.

How many “shopping days” are left before we can’t perform your repairs before Christmas? Hard to say, but it’s sure gonna come a lot earlier this year.

So, if you are planning to have Christmas guests, and want to get these repairs done beforehand, pick-up a phone RIGHT NOW, give us a call to set-up a free estimate, and do your best to garble through your face mask something intelligible to our customer service rep. Here are some of the more popular small jobs folks ask for this time of year:

— Bathroom Sinks: malfunctioning pop-up drain stoppers, leaky faucets, dripping pipe beneath sink.
— Doors: doors that don’t close/latch properly, off-track closet doors, weatherstripping.
— Doorbells: doorbells that haven’t worked for years, or don’t have video.
— Ceiling stains: Ominous yellow stains on downstairs ceilings that may be caused by the toilet above (yuck!).
— Garbage disposals: you’ll need a properly working one for those guest meals.

And while you’re at it, why not invite us over for a free estimate on larger projects you’ve been putting off, to kick-off after the holidays? Great way to get next year off to a great start.

So get in touch with us right away, when we still have slots on our schedule. Just a few more days for us to guarantee that our Fix St Louis home repair elves can beat your Christmas guests to your front door.

Merry FIXmas and Many Happy Repairs from Fix St Louis!
Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

Could there be only 6 shopping days left before Christmas?

If you needed another reason to believe this year was different, here it is.

In days of yore, Fix St Louis was able to provide an extended “FIXmas Season,” offering you a couple of pre-holiday months to catch up on your home repairs before Christmas guests arrived.

But we just looked at our schedule and realized – yikes! — we’re now booking jobs into mid-December! We feel for those whose jobs in other industries have been hurt by all these lockdowns. But for Fix St Louis, more people at home has meant more people seeing things they want fixed in their homes.

How many “shopping days” are left before we can’t perform your repairs before Christmas? Hard to say, but it’s sure gonna come a lot earlier this year.

So, if you are planning to have Christmas guests, and want to get these repairs done beforehand, pick-up a phone RIGHT NOW, give us a call to set-up a free estimate, and do your best to garble through your face mask something intelligible to our customer service rep. Here are some of the more popular small jobs folks ask for this time of year:

— Bathroom Sinks: malfunctioning pop-up drain stoppers, leaky faucets, dripping pipe beneath sink.
— Doors: doors that don’t close/latch properly, off-track closet doors, weatherstripping.
— Doorbells: doorbells that haven’t worked for years, or don’t have video.
— Ceiling stains: Ominous yellow stains on downstairs ceilings that may be caused by the toilet above (yuck!).
— Garbage disposals: you’ll need a properly working one for those guest meals.

And while you’re at it, why not invite us over for a free estimate on larger projects you’ve been putting off, to kick-off after the holidays? Great way to get next year off to a great start.

So get in touch with us right away, when we still have slots on our schedule. Just a few more days for us to guarantee that our Fix St Louis home repair elves can beat your Christmas guests to your front door.

Merry FIXmas and Many Happy Repairs from Fix St Louis!
Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

Baseball-Sized Hornets: Surviving the Next Panic-Demic

hornet

Just when you thought things were getting back to normal, THIS appears in the news earlier this week. Hornets the size of BASEBALLS have been spotted in the state of Washington. This new enemy, known as “Murder Hornets,” are ONCE AGAIN an import from Asia, where they are considered a DELICACY, possibly appearing on menus alongside pangolins and Cream of Bat soup. Is it crazy to think it’s THEIR restaurants and not ours that should be closed?

I don’t know about you, but this time we at Fix St Louis have no intention of listening to so-called “experts” who wear fabulous scarves, use models that spew-out projections off by 3 or more decimal places, and insist we’ll just have to forget granny in memory care.

No, this time we got this. Well, let’s say a combination of Fix St Louis and your choice of Bob the Bug Guy or Pete the Pest Killer got this. Yes, it’s true that this formidable team was deemed “essential” in the last pandemic, but this new threat will be OUR moment, and we are ready and prepared to be elevated to the status of your “humble heroes,” worthy of yard signs thanking us for our service.

Personally, I have every confidence that Bob and Pete will find ways to flatten whatever curve needs flattening, kill off Murder Hornets, and slow down their breeding. This seems pretty doable if you look at that picture above, and wonder if they’re even CAPABLE of attracting mates.

The indispensable role of Fix St Louis will be to maintain appropriate “social distancing” between you and the Murder Hornets. Now, we’re sure we’d have no trouble convincing YOU to comply with staying at least 6′ away from a Murder Hornet. But, not to brag, Fix St Louis has had quite a bit of experience engaging in confrontations and delicate negotiations with hornets, particularly when we work on your decks. And, our “models” show that trying to talk sense to THEM only makes them madder.

Our main weapon against Murder Hornets is our “screening program.” One of these options may be right for you:

  • Window Screens – Fix St Louis can replace the torn mesh on your window screens.
  • Storm Window Screens – We can build and install missing framed screens for your storm window tracks, and also fix torn mesh.
  • Patio Screen Doors – We can repair poorly functioning sliding screen doors, replace missing doors, and fix torn mesh.
  • Storm Doors – In addition to repairing torn screen mesh, we can replace your storm doors with newer, easier-to-use models that allow you to convert between glass and screens by sliding, rather than removing panels.
  • Screened Porches – A lot of folks despair when they see holes and tears in the large screen panels of their screened porches, thinking it’s a very big deal to fix them, because the screens are somehow built into the wood or aluminum framing. No problem, Fix St Louis can handle these, too.

Finally, a panic-demic where the cure is not worse than the disease. Not only will Fix St Louis fixing your screens keep out Murder Hornets, it will also keep out flies, mosquitos, and those mysteriously-appearing lady bugs and stink bugs. And unless you have a thing for Asian delicacies, you aren’t likely to miss any of them.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100