Now that the Oscars are SO over, maybe we can help

It might not surprise you that this old handyman was never much into Hollywood nor the Oscars. But what IS surprising is that in the last week, maybe for the first time in my lifetime, I found myself at the forefront of a societal trend, as many of you joined me in my annual tradition of NOT watching the Oscars.

To be fair, I never believed Hollywood was ever all that interested in my tastes, either. For instance, the only movies that ever feature power tools are horror movies. And actors’ lives have never been about being good with their hands, but more about being good with their facial muscles to mimic emotions, and occasionally to cry on demand. Honestly, I do not believe I have EVER seen a handyman cry, nor would I ever hope to. And earning applause means nothing to me — I’d rather listen to a suddenly-perfect toilet flushing cycle than have our customers clap their hands together to signal their approval.

Nevertheless, the loss of yet another iconic American institution always feels like a loss, especially one that claims to celebrate excellence.

Well, Fix St Louis does stuff that’s important to people, and we work in an area where excellence is definitely a thing. So I hope you will indulge me if we try to make one small contribution to fill the void left in America by the decline of Hollywood and the Oscars.

Close your eyes and imagine we’re wearing tuxedos and gowns instead of our distinctive green logoed uniforms, we arrive in Fix St Louis graphic-wrapped cargo vans instead of limousines, and we divvy-out coveted golden bowl statues shaped like you-know-whats known as “Johnnies.” OK, maybe not. Guess Hollywood is a lot better at this than handymen — or at least they were until this week. But in any event, here are the winners for 2021:

Best Supporting Floor Surface

This year we salute vinyl plank flooring as the top floor surface. Vinyl technology has greatly advanced the appearance of plastic-based flooring, moving it from “you-gotta-be-kidding” to “I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-hardwood” level. It’s waterproof — perfect for kitchens and bathrooms — so you won’t have to repair or replace it every time there is a periodic unfortunate water event. And installation is relatively inexpensive, particularly relative to ceramic tile and hardwood — it just snaps together.

Top Performance by a Countertop

For bathroom vanity countertops, you can’t top a surface called “Onyx”, which is a brand name. Onyx is the new cultured marble. It looks great — harder and shinier. It won’t chip. It comes in lots of colors — well, not all the colors in a rainbow, but any that you would consider “sane” for a bathroom that did not belong to a Hollywood diva. And the Onyx folks do great stuff with integrating sinks as part of the same one-piece countertop, including all kinds of shapes and mimicking an under-mount white sink under a stone-colored countertop.

Yes, there are you purists out there who will always want granite with under-mount sinks, but for the rest us whose fate did not lead us to outrageously lucrative careers, or did not inherit a trust fund from someone who did something like invent Onyx, it’s a great alternative that has many advantages.

Incidentally, Onyx must have a good agent, who did not want the product to be typecast into the single role of countertop. So be sure to consider using Onyx on the other fixtures in your bathroom to match the countertop — including shower surrounds, shower bases, cosmetic tables, front panels for whirlpool tubs, and platforms for drop-in tubs. Fix St Louis can install all of these.

Best Fan of Home Repairs

This year’s award goes to the perpetually unnoticed, unused, and unheralded whole house fan. Thankfully, these awards give Fix St Louis the opportunity to ensure this nominee is not snubbed once again.

We’re talking about that big square metal thing on your hallway ceiling, covered by louvers. Now, turn it on. Hahaha! Just kidding. Pardon me for a little handyman humor there. Bet most of you haven’t used it in so long, if ever, that it WON’T turn on. Call Fix St Louis to fix or replace it if that’s the case.

But, let’s say it actually works. When you turn it on, the louvers open up to expose a big ugly fan if you look from below, and you will hear and feel a loud “whoosh.” Now open a screened window and feel that fresh, cool outside air streaming through your house and out through that fan as an alternative to stuffiness or turning on the air conditioning. In fact, it’s the perfect alternative to air conditioning on those summer nights when the outside air is usually 72 degrees or below. NOTE: As always, not recommended for those whose outside air happens to be in Sauget, IL.

Well, let’s leave it at that. We at Fix St Louis don’t want to make the same mistakes Hollywood made in killing-off the Oscars by having the show go on for too long, or having award winners lecture or berate the audience on subjects that go beyond their knowledge base of how to manipulate facial muscles to mimic emotions.

So, why not give Fix St Louis an opportunity to use our celebrated expertise on your glamorous estate, whether it is in Ballwin or Bel Air. Come to think of it, Bel Air is outside our service area. Their loss.

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!

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!

They should have known better on “Better Together”

Seems like that “Better Together” plan to merge St Louis City and St Louis County has gone bust. Which comes as no surprise to your humble correspondent.

You know, I think I missed my calling. This aging handyman should have gotten into the polling business, and sold politicians the results of the daily “Dr Steve Subdivision Chit-Chat Serial Focus Group” that captures what dozens of random homeowners tell me each week. I could have told them that those believing this plan was “better” consisted almost entirely of the folks who came up with the idea, plus one County Executive who just resigned after being charged with bribery. And that the much larger group of together-believers was not “together” in any way they would find helpful.

So coming out of the ashes, let me see if Fix St Louis can do its part in finding an issue that unites our community on things that everyone can agree ARE better together. And, we’ll start on the ground floor. Literally.

Dining Rooms + Hardwood Flooring

Fix St Louis customers’ favorite flooring for dining rooms seems to be hardwood flooring. This is a room for more formal get-togethers, holiday celebrations, and guests, so it should be beautiful and warm. It’s also a room where you don’t want a floor that absorbs spilled drinks and hides fallen crumbs. Easy decision, hardwood floors.

Kitchens + Vinyl Plank

This flooring option is just catching on, so let’s say this is Fix St Louis‘ pick. I know, I know – vinyl has a reputation for looking cheap. But, if you haven’t seen vinyl flooring lately, you haven’t seen vinyl flooring. You see, there’s this new thing out there called “technology” that’s been applied to vinyl flooring. So now, its appearance can be surprisingly similar to wood or stone. And, it’s now got padding built into its layers that absorbs shock, and makes it comfortable to walk on and easy of the legs if you spend a lot of time standing-up in your kitchen. If you drop a glass or cookware on it, there’s a better chance that it won’t shatter. It can withstand anything your kids spill, drop, or scrape all over it. And it’s very easy to clean, with no cracks that trap dirt, or grout that turns icky.

When you visit the store, you may hear these products referred to by awkward words that only a floor salesman, not a normal person, would use. Terms like “Luxury Vinyl Tile” and “Engineered Vinyl Planks” were developed by not-particularly-good marketing types at flooring manufacturers trying to overcome the stigma of the historically cheap and lousy peel ‘n stick, linoleum, and sheet vinyl products. Just ignore these terms – you’ll know these products when you see them, and if you ask for “vinyl plank” the sales clerks will know what you’re talking about.

I know that many of you watch those home improvement shows and dream of putting a beautiful hardwood floor in your kitchen. As someone who sees what happens to these floors everyday, I say “don’t.” Sooner or later, there will be a “water event” in your kitchen – a leaking drain, a leaking faucet, a leaking garbage disposal, a leaking water shut-off valve, a leaking dishwasher, or a leaking ice maker water supply line. These can harm a hardwood floor in a way that makes it impossible to make the damage invisible at a reasonable cost. Fix St Louis advises you to avoid this heartbreak by avoiding hardwood.

Bathrooms + Ceramic Tile

While vinyl plank is also a great choice for bathrooms because of its water-resistance, if you like the look of ceramic tile here’s the best place to put it. It’s also the cheapest place to put it because bathrooms have the smallest floors in your house. A lot of folks like to have matching or complementary ceramic tile on their bathroom walls and tub/shower surrounds, too.

Bedrooms + Carpeting

Carpeting gives bedrooms a warm and cozy feel. And while you wouldn’t believe what we’ve seen some kids have done to their bedroom carpeting, you’re probably less likely to have spilled drinks and dropped food here.

Who knows? Maybe if we can all learn to agree on flooring choices, someday we can all agree on how to draw lines on a map so that all voters get exactly what they want. Come to think of it, wasn’t that mentioned in John Lennon’s song “Imagine”?

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100