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.
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.
Would you buy a house with mustard yellow walls?
One of my customers recently bought a home near downtown Asheville with walls the exact color of my favorite condiment for a ham sandwich.
Somehow it's more appetizing on the food than it is on the wall. (Side note: I've got to stop blogging at lunch time. Now all I can think about is ham sandwiches.)
Take a look at the living room now. I think I could live here, don't you?
They had us paint the dining room in a cool mint green which really set off the white trim. I like it. It's kind of retro.
The master bedroom also had an unusual color: a deep navy blue. I usually like dark blue walls, but for some reason it was oppressive in this room.
My customers tried several colors, including the green from the dining room, before they settled on a soft dove gray.
It's a very different room.
The moral of the story is that when you're house-hunting, pay no attention to the color on the walls. Repainting is comparatively cheap, and while everyone else is stuck on superficial impressions, you can focus on more important things like the layout of the rooms and whether the home was well-maintained.
If your home needs a fresh coat of paint, give us a call. We'll be happy to give you a free estimate.
Are you trying to find someone to renovate a room, but discovering that the job is a little bit too small for a "contractor"?
If you live in Asheville, we may be able to connect you with an experienced remodeler who is willing and able to take on small renovations.
Several of the gentlemen in our network of craftsmen have decades of experience in home remodeling, and they're available for small jobs such as:
I personally know every single person in our network. I know they will do a good job for you, and they will be friendly and professional.
If you need someone to do that small home update, get in touch with us. We'll listen to your needs and do our best to connect you with the right person for the job.
But don't delay. Asheville is growing fast, and the remodeling industry is very busy. That means that these slots may fill up very quickly. In fact, most of the craftsmen in our network are already scheduled out 3 to 4 weeks.
So call us today to get your job scheduled. The sooner you call, the sooner the work starts.
I've been doing a lot of painting this Spring... it seems like everybody is ready to freshen up their digs.
One of the biggest transformations so far has been in this bathroom, which went from bland beige to bold blue. The color is "Indigo Batik" by Sherwin Williams.
The deep color really sets off the white trim and vanity, making even the untouched parts of the room look crisp and new.
I've found that painting walls a dark blue like this doesn't make the room look smaller, It even looks good in little half-baths. Maybe it's because blue is a cool color that recedes from the eye.
By the way, the best time to hire a professional painter is when you're planning to use dark colors against light ones, like with this room's trim and ceiling. It's crucial to be able to cut in a smooth line, because the contrast makes any mistakes immediately obvious.
If you have a tricky painting job that needs a steady hand, why not have a pro do it? We'll leave a smooth line every time.