I met him for a cup of coffee and thought he'd be a great fit for Asheville... he's very low-key and easy to talk with. Naturally I called his references, and they were stellar. One guy talked about how Joshua went the extra mile on a long project, and was very patient when they ran into unexpected problems during a big wall repair..
Joshua is a third-generation contractor, and as time has gone by, it's become clear he knows his business well. You can see his work ethic in this before-and-after of a triple-decker porch which he painted in his hometown in Cape May, NJ.
I'll start with the "after." The photo looks like it's black-and-white but I think it was just a cloudy day.
Here's how it looked before he started painting. As you can see, he's already done the prep work by scraping away the loose paint so that the new coat of paint will adhere better.
Here's another "before" of a garage apartment that really needed some TLC.
And here's the "after." He's gone all the way up to the roofline, and the building looks brand new.
That's just a small part of the entire project. He did the whole house. Exterior painting at this height has always given me the heebie-jeebies but it seems that Joshua is fearless. He must have a steady hand even when he's on a tall ladder, because every line is neatly cut in.
He also does cabinet painting using a spray rig. Here are a few doors painted and hanging to dry. I like his set-up with the ladders and hangers. It's a great way to paint all sides of the wood without having to touch it.
Here's the finished kitchen... very fresh and clean. The finishes are very smooth, and he's clearly kept track of the doors and reinstalled them correctly.
All in all, I think he's been a great addition to our network. Our customers seem very happy with him, and I like him too. He's competent and calm, and he returns phone calls and emails in a timely manner... which is a "must" in my book.
If you'd like to work with Joshua, give us a call and we'll put you in touch.
I've committed the cardinal sin of blogging (which is being "too busy to blog") but I finally caught a moment to show off a semi-recent project: installing wire shelving in a kitchen pantry and a laundry room.
There are definitely some pros and cons to this kind of shelving, so I thought these photos might give you all a chance to see how well they would function in your home.
I'll start with the "before." The shelves went into an empty hallway near a back door. This is the door that the family uses, so it's a great place for pantry shelves, because you can come in and stack groceries on them and so on.
We used fairly deep shelves from a kit from the hardware store. Here's how they looked right after I put them in.
Not too shabby! Very neat and tidy.
But as I said, there is a down-side to these as well. Let's dig into the nitty-gritty.
Pros and Cons to Installing Wire Shelves
I always like to start with the upside.
But for a pantry or laundry room, these are great...
...although if you want to upgrade to solid shelving or even cabinets, we can do that, too. It's become a growing trend to add high-end laundry rooms and pantries to a home, and it could lead to a nice increase in your home value for a modest investment.
Either way, we're always glad to help. Call or email today to get started.
I've been plugging away at this blog for 5 years or so, and I finally got the ultimate reward of blogging: FREE TOOLS!
A representative from Keson got in touch with me a few weeks back and asked if I'd like a free SOLA level to review. It looks like Keson is taking over the distribution of SOLA products in the USA, and they wanted to get the word out about their product.
I've had my levels for 20-odd years and they're getting pretty beat up, so I jumped at the chance.
They bravely sent it to me in just a cardboard mailing tube. The level came with a handwritten note that said,
If our levels can survive the Postal Service, they can definitely thrive on the job site.
Ha! Well put. And it did come through in good shape.
Out of the box, the first thing I noticed was the bright red color. It's easy to lose tools on a busy job site, so this will be easy to find.
I also noticed the rubber end caps.
Let me explain why this is great: when you're hanging a picture on a Sheetrock wall (for example) you have to be careful if you're using a solid metal level. One hard bump and you've dinged the wall and have to patch the ding.
Anyway, the rubber end caps will make my job a little easier. Also, I can casually set it down on a floor without making a big loud CLANK, and it's easier on the level. So if you're sensitive about being careful with your level like I am, you'll be able to relax a little bit.
But the real star of the show is SOLA's patented vial technology. For one thing, the liquid in each vial is bright green with a big, clear bubble that stands out well and is easy to see. My vision isn't what it used to be, and I'm usually too busy to fool with eyeglasses when I'm on a job site, so this is a nice touch. And the shading on either side heightens the visibility as well.
Also notice that the horizontal vial is notched into the side. On most levels you have to look through a little hole in the side, kind of like a port hole, and it gets kind of tricky to see, especially when you're holding it over your head. This one will be much easier to use.
And then there's this:
I assume this machined side has an important function, like resisting dings so your straight-edge stays straight. But I also like it because it's shiny.
Since it's been awhile since I went shopping for one of these, I dropped by the local Big Box hardware store to see what the competition looks like. I didn't see anything of the same quality. Certainly none of them had the little green vials with the great big bubble.
However, the Big Box levels had one thing in their favor: at about $15 to $50 in price, they cost a little less than the Big Red, which runs at about $57 according to Google. So if you're just starting to build your tool kit and need to cut costs, this might not be the right level for you.
But the bottom line is that the SOLA Big Red Spirit Level lives up to its reputation: it's the equivalent of a custom red Karmen Ghia with a chrome-lined engine.
If you need a handyman with all the tools, give us a call. We've got them.
One of our customers just moved to Asheville and bought a beautiful new luxury home on the banks of the French Broad river.
But luxury is in the details, and in this case one or two details were missing. For example, the cabinets were very stylish, but when you opened them up, they just had a shelf inside. Things kept getting lost in the back, and you had to dig around for them.
She had me replace the shelves with pull-out drawers. Now it's easy to see what's in the back.
Something like this would be a really nice Mother's Day gift for your mom or spouse. No need for them to get down on their hands and knees on the hard tile floor every time they're looking for the dish soap. They can just pull the drawer out and it's right there in front of them.
Plus, these are soft-close drawers, so the kids can't slam them shut, and nothing gets knocked over or jarred around.
While I was there, I added another great little improvement: an extra cabinet and a valet rod in the laundry room. The rod is over the sink, so the homeowner can hang her handwashables here to dry and the excess water will just drip right down into the drain.
If your laundry room is inefficient and hard to work in, give us a call. We can add counters, cabinets and drawer pull-outs to make washing clothes easy and maybe even fun.
Like this pretty walnut counter which we installed over a customer's washer and dryer, so no more socks will get lost behind the machines.
Plus, a good-looking laundry room adds a lot to your home value for a very modest investment. So give us a ring.
The other day I had an epiphany: it's not worth your time or money to try to fix a faucet.
It all started because my bathroom faucet was acting up. First it clogged up so that less water came out when I turned it on. Of course I removed the aerator and cleaned out the grit that had accumulated there.
But when I put it back together, I noticed water dripping behind the sink. Naturally as a handyman I messed with it for half an hour or more, shining flashlights into corners, tightening things, and bumping my head against the sink. (Ouch!)
I never did find the source of the leak. My guess is that the back pressure caused by the clogged aerator ruptured a hidden seal. Or maybe the same grit that caused the clog caused a problem somewhere else.
So I stopped by Lowe's and bought a replacement. The old faucet cost $25, but this time I splurged and spent $29 for something with style.
It only took 15 minutes to swap out the new faucet for the old, and I have peace of mind because I doubt it will leak any time soon.
I've tried to fix faucets for customers in the past and not had much luck. Sometimes I'm able to tighten them and stop the drip, but it usually starts dripping again later. I've known plumbers who had the same experience.
Long story short: if your faucet drips, replace it. It's another example of spending money now to save money later. Because a second visit from a plumber is expensive, especially if the new leak has damaged your cabinets and floors.
And if you need a handyman who pays attention to the bottom line, give us a call.