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.
Here's a problem that comes up around this time of year.
Make sure you take your garden hose off of the hose bib... even if you have a "frost free" spigot. The freezing temperatures can still cause them to leak.
Frost-free valves have a built-in siphon which draws the water back up the pipe a few feet into the relative warmth of your home. It seems that if there's a full hose attached, the siphon doesn't make a difference because it's just sucking up more water.
And these spigots are tricky to replace. Depending on the kind of pipe you have, you may even need a plumber.
If you haven't done this yet, it may be too late here in Asheville. If you think your spigot was damaged by the cold, look for a cutoff valve so that you can turn the water off behind the spigot.
Here's where I usually tell you to call me to get this fixed. But you're gonna need a plumber for this one. Fortunately, my wife keeps a "little black book" of good local service providers, including a great plumber. So call us anyway.
As a trim carpenter, I'm always looking for new ways to do a better job. One of the problems I regularly run into is breaking caulk lines, and I think I've finally found a solution.
When I install trim, I caulk it where it meets the wall so that it looks continuous with the wall. If the caulk breaks, as it often does due to the natural movement of the wooden trim, it leaves a dark gap.
Here's an example via Allan Bailey, one of the craftsmen in our network. On the left you can see trim which was installed a long time ago, where the caulk lines have all broken. In this example, the problem was caused by moisture from a poorly sealed shower door, but it can also happen when new trim is installed and dries out as it adjusts to the local humidity.
On the right, you can see where Allan has re-caulked and painted the trim. It looks much better, doesn't it?
Caulk lines have such a high tendency to break that we don't warranty them on handyman work. But I do like to do things right, warranty or not, and that's where Big Stretch comes in.
It's a new product by Sashco which supposedly resists moving and cracking. Here's a video to show the difference. (Warning: it's a little bit corny.)
I've been putting Big Stretch to the test on some of the built-in furniture projects I've finished lately. On most of these projects, my goal is to install a piece that looks like it's part of the home, like these two benches which I installed on either side of an existing fireplace.
So far Big Stretch has held up well.
The only drawback I noticed is that although Sashco says Big Stretch is "easy to install, even for a novice," I find it to be a little trickier to work with than regular caulk.
I usually like to go over my caulk lines with my fingertip to smooth them out. You can do that with Big Stretch, but you only have a few chances to get it right before it starts boogering up.
But overall I'd give this a "thumbs up" rating. The superior performance outweighs the slight difficulty of installation.
If you're looking for a handyman who loves to do things right, give us a call. We've got a whole network of craftsmen who are at least as picky as me.
I was not compensated for this review.
I'm always inspired to see the projects that other handy people come up with, so I was really intrigued by this video that recently landed in my inbox. Be sure to turn the sound on!
My brother-in-law, Josh, has a home in South Carolina in hurricane country. During the most recent hurricane scare, he found himself screwing bits of plywood over his windows, straight through the vinyl siding.
Luckily the hurricane passed him by, but the experience of putting holes in his siding was so painful that he decided to install shutters on his home.
After pricing shutters, Josh decided to build them himself, and I'm really impressed by his skills. (Hey Josh, if you ever want to quit your day job and move to Asheville, I bet we can find you some projects to do around here!)
Now for the question...
The shutters are made from interlocking floorboards, which is a great idea because it makes the boards easy to join.
They're already braced on the front to hold the boards together. Josh also plans to brace his shutters on the back to keep them from buckling. His question is:
"Should the braces be horizontal or diagonal?"
I don't think you need a diagonal brace, since that's for keeping it from racking out of square, and I don't think that will be a problem with the interlocking boards.
However, adding horizontal pieces on the back would help strengthen the shutter. Since you already have braces on the front side, you probably don't need additional supports on the back. But I believe in building things to be super strong, so go for it!
If you've got a tricky question about a home repair, whether in Asheville or anywhere else, leave a comment and I'll be happy to answer it. And if you can't fix it yourself, I'm here to help.
As we all know, the Asheville real estate market is crazy right now, mostly because we live in such an awesome place that everybody wants to be here. That's why we got together with a bunch of other real estate professionals to give our customers the right tools for finding their dream home.
If you're planning to buy a home in or near Asheville, then this FREE seminar is for you.
You'll have an opportunity to meet with a Realtor, a Real Estate Attorney, a Mortgage Loan Specialist, a Home Inspector, and a Handyman!
You'd usually have to pay to pick the brains of professionals like these, but this weekend we're giving our time away for FREE, so don't miss this chance to get ahead of the home-buying competition.
And did I mention that there will be breakfast and mimosas?
Saturday Morning, March 24th