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

Home Alone: Worthwhile Activities for the Self-Quarantined

Was it just me? Or did it seem like the week started with experts telling us to wash our hands, and ended with them telling us to GO home, STAY there, and DON’T COME OUT ’til we SAY SO. Maybe they should be pacing themselves, because after one week all that’s left is “go to your room without dinner” and “wait ’til your father gets home.”

Now, I’m not sure about this, but I don’t think these rules apply to those of us in essential service businesses, like Fix St Louis and the Amazon delivery guy. So don’t worry about us — we’ve got plenty of stuff to do.

But, what are YOU going to be doing with all that time at home, when you can’t go to work, school, sporting events, concerts, or flee markets? What are YOU going to do after you’ve watched every last cat video on the Internet? Stare at the walls?

I say, YES, stare at the walls — only don’t forget the ceilings. Folks always talk about taking time to smell the flowers, but that’s just in your garden beds. Take the time to stare at your walls and ceilings looking for cracks and leaks. Take the time to sniff under the kitchen sink for mildew. Not to get carried away, but take the time to open (and close) EVERY door that comes before you, to see if they properly latch.

I know, I know. These words may be inspirational to me, your humble handyman, but they aren’t the kind of words-of-wisdom stuff that make it onto your teens’ wall posters. Still, that doesn’t mean it isn’t good advice.

So as a public service during these perilous times, let Fix St Louis offer for your consideration the following worthwhile activities for when you are self-quarantined and run out of things to do, And it’s just you and your house. And nobody else.

Defective Door Bells

Maybe you’ve never noticed or cared about whether or not your door bell works. But, that was before the day-before-yesterday, when the aforementioned Amazon delivery guy became the lifeline for your basic human needs. To paraphrase (and butcher) an age-old question about a tree falling in a forest, if a package is delivered on your front porch and doesn’t make a sound, does it do you any good? What’s more, if you have Fix St Louis install one of those new VIDEO door bells, you can even watch Amazon-guy run back to his truck.

Defiant Doors

If a door doesn’t close all the way, what good is it? It’s there for a reason. To keep people out, or to keep water out, or to keep cold air out. Do they keep viruses out? I suppose. Maybe that’s why they sent us home in the first place.

Wicked Windows

Do you have windows that drop like a guillotine when you let go, like something out of the French Revolution? Now, I’m not thinking you’re going to have much use for a guillotine — that the experts predict this stay-at-home thing will last so long that your subdivision neighbors will be violently scavenging for dwindling supplies of water and toilet paper. So, you might as well get these windows fixed by Fix St Louis.

Cruddy Caulk

Do you have brown or black stuff on the caulk around the ledge of your bathtub or base of your shower? Now, I’m no CDC microbiologist, but that gunk can’t be doing your body any good. Let Fix St Louis replace that dirty caulk with white or clear stuff that at least LOOKS like it might be sterile.

OK, that should be enough to keep you busy for at least a couple of hours, while also doing good things for your house and family. So, here’s a suggestion for when that’s done, and you’re tired of watching YouTube cat videos. Have you ever Googled for videos of animals with unusual best friends? You’re welcome.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

The rain gods are sending Cardinals fans a message

Geez, what’s with all this rain? Someone needs to tell the rain gods that people in St Louis sing about APRIL showers, not those in January. Yeah, as if they’ll bring the flowers that bloom in … February.

Maybe the rain gods just like watching Cardinals games, and want to get all this rain stuff out of the way NOW, so they can suffer through fewer rain delays after the April season opener. Or maybe they just like us Cardinal FANS, and are giving us a 3 month warning, so we can prep our homes for the deluge to come later.

What CAN you do to keep all this rainwater from coming into your house? Sure, it would be nice to store a huge tarp against your back fence, all dressed-up in yellow to look like the world’s largest Post-Dispatch. And every time it rained, dozens of men, running as fast as they can, unroll the tarp over your house to keep the water out. But only the players themselves can afford a system like that.

So, why not use the rain coming down as an opportunity to learn where your home’s weaknesses are, so you can have Fix St Louis repair them before the real Spring rains come. Here’s where to look:

Basement Walls & Floors

If you see water leaking out of cracks in your basement foundation walls, or puddling-up at the base of your walls, that’s not a good thing. You’ll need those cracks filled, that’s for sure. But it would also be good if the water wasn’t right behind those walls in the first place. So, read on.

Ground Water AROUND Your House

A house is supposed to be built so that rain water does not collect around it. Water that hits your roof should flow into gutters, not overflow the sides of gutters or slip through gaps between the roof and gutters. From there, it should flow freely until it reaches the downspouts, unobstructed by leaves and debris. Then, it should pass through the downspouts without backing-up, and exit at the bottom onto sloping ground that directs the water away from the house, or into above-ground or underground drain pipes that carry it away from the house.

If your roof water is not flowing this way, the solution depends on the problem. Gutters can be realigned, secured, cleaned-out, and have gutter covers installed on them. Drain pipes can be added, lengthened, or repaired. And the ground can be re-graded so that water flows away from your house. Fix St Louis can help.

Ground Water UNDER Your House

It’s actually NORMAL to have ground water under your house — as long as the water level is low enough so that it doesn’t reach your basement floor. If it’s getting too high, and after first doing everything you can to minimize the amount of ground water around your house as discussed above, the next remedy is a sump pump system. If you don’t already have a sump pump, it’s a pretty big job to put one in, requiring among other things, jackhammering-out a channel around the perimeter of your floor, not to mention a big round hole for the pump itself. If your house has already been prepared for a sump pump, make sure there’s actually a sump pump in that big round hole, that it’s actually working, and that the water from that pump that exits your house is directed away from your home.

Ceilings With an Attic Above

If there are water stains on a ceiling that has an attic above it, like upstairs bedrooms and hallways, you now have, or once had, a roof leak. Usually these leaks don’t come from random holes in shingles, but from where other items meet the roofing — like vent pipes and chimney bricks. In this regard, you may hear contractors throw around the word “flashing,” which does NOT mean a naked person is running around on the top of your roof. It refers to metal used to fill the gaps between those items and the roof. Sealants like caulk are needed, too.

Windows and Doors

If you have water coming in around windows and doors, Fix St Louis can eliminate your problems by patching brick mortar, caulking inside and out, replacing or repairing rotted exterior trim, and replacing door weatherstripping, thresholds, and door sweeps.

So, good news. If you’ve got problems with water coming into your house this winter, you don’t have to move to a Florida training camp or a water-tight domed stadium. All you need is a capable ground crew. And that would be Fix St Louis.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100