Show Notes: Hiring a Handyman and More
Do you have small home repair jobs on your “To Do List” ? You know you can’t do them or don’t have time to get them done? Are your thinking of hiring a local handyman? James and Morris have the questions to ask before you hire a handyman.
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Alison Tozzi Liu
Editorial Director of James Beard Foundation
JAMES BEARD’S ALL-AMERICAN EATS
Recipes and Stories from Our Best-Loved Local Restaurants
Walla Walla – What?
What Is Walla?
Walla is a fabric one-piece wall covering that turns boring walls into beautiful landscapes, patterns & textures, art pieces for your home, branded office environments as well as marketing and advertising ad spaces (or anything else you can think of!).
Walla Wall Features
No Seams / Walla is One Piece
No Messy Adhesives
Totally Removable and Interchangeable
Easy 20 Minute Install
Soft décor fabric texture
Add your company logo and custom text for a branded environment
No Paint Damage –The only adhesive that touches wall is 2” wide Walla attachment strips on all sides leaving an average of 95% of the wall untouched
Save your Walla Wall dimensions upon purchase to make ordering a new Walla Wall a snap. Select your Image, Saved Wall and Checkout.
Residential Applications : Great For Renters Or Just A Change Of Scenery
Residential customers use Walla seasonally (a different wall for Holidays, one for Halloween, etc.), or whenever they want a change in scenery (Green forest to Italian Venetian Canal).
Hiring A Handyman? What Questions To Ask
5 Things To Know Before Hiring a Handyman
Level Of Expertise
Before hiring handyman services, make sure you understand the full range of capabilities for the task at hand. Even if the job appears to be simple at first, you’ll want to hire a handyman who can take on related issues. “Someone who can replace a piece of window glass may not be very good at replacing a window,”
Scope Of Work
Make sure you and your handyman agree on the scope of work in advance. A quality handyman will draw up a scope of work that will detail all work to be included in the price estimate. This document will help provide guidance to every line item and both parties will have a good understanding of what work will, and will not, be included in the project. If demolition uncovers issues that need to be addressed before work can continue, get the scope of additional work and costs in writing before authorizing the handyman to continue.
Payment of Fees
The scope of work will flush out the exact costs, including materials, hourly rates and tax. A quality handyman may ask for a deposit however do not pay in full for services in advance, ever. Once the work is complete a handyman will ask for the remainder of the fees.
It is the responsibility of the homeowner to make sure all necessary permits are filed. Your local government agency is your best source of information regarding which projects require permits and what, exactly, needs to be presented during the filing. They will also clarify costs and lead times of permitting. If a permit is required, either the handyman or the homeowner may file. Be sure to determine this responsibility within the scope of work.
Ask For References
Always ask for 3-5 references with any professional you hire. Testimonials can be helpful but be sure you ask the right questions. Assessing a past customer’s opinion about the quality of work is important but so are opinions about communication skills, efficiency, and other skill sets that make for a great professional.
While not every handyman project requires a contract, some tasks will, so make sure you understand what should go into a contract for your handyman’s service before starting your project.
Make Your Own Cleanser:
Guide To Maintain Your Home
One of the more basic forms of home maintenance is also simple: cleaning. Nobody loves to clean, but the following homemade formulas make cleaning a breeze. Plus, you always know what’s in the cleansers you’re using.
All-Purpose, Handy-Dandy Cleaner: This solution works well to clean and freshen just about any surface. When cleaning surfaces in your home, regularly inspect each for any damage or deterioration and fix each promptly; doing so can help stave off costly repairs in the future. Simply mix together 1 teaspoon borax, 1/2 teaspoon washing soda, 2 teaspoons white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing liquid, and 2 cups hot water.
Mildew Cleaning Formula: Left to its own devices, mildew can get so bad that the only solution is to re-grout your tub. You can stave off this home maintenance task by staying on top of the cleaning with this handy solution. This solution works well for removing mildew on painted or washable surfaces, inside and out, including walls, showers, tile, grout, flooring, siding, roofing, and concrete. Add 1 quart chlorine bleach to 3 quarts warm water. To this, add 1/3 cup powdered laundry detergent. Apply the solution using a spray bottle or sponge, and allow it to sit for about ten minutes, but don’t let it dry out. Rinse with fresh water and towel-dry. A light brushing with a nylon scrub brush and more than one application may be required. Even though the solution is mild, wear rubber gloves and safety goggles, and have plenty of ventilation. Note: Our Mildew Cleaning Formula works great, but if you’re looking for a green alternative, try spraying lemon juice or vinegar on mildew stains, letting it sit for 3 minutes, and then scrubbing.
Drain Cleaner and Freshener: Clogged drains are a common home maintenance repair. You can prevent this problem by keeping your drains clean and fresh with this formula. Boil 2 quarts of water. Pour 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of baking soda, and 1 cup of vinegar into the drain. Allow the solution to fizz for about 30 seconds, and then pour in the boiling water. For maximum results, do this once a month at bedtime when the sink won’t be used for several hours.
6 Ways To Tell If Your Foundation Needs Fixing
Here are six ways to diagnose foundation settlement, so you can get it fixed before it causes a major problem.
- Slanted mortar joints
The best and easiest way to spot foundation settlement is to measure off of mortar joints. If you watch a mason work, you’ll notice they are constantly using a level. They are very particular about their brick or block work, and so you can count on their finished product having straight, level lines.
Foundation specialists will generally check against any mortar joints using a laser line. If something is out of place, it is safe to assume there has been some shifting below.
Don’t have a brick or block wall to inspect? There are other methods to check for settlement.
- Visible cracks
Visible cracks on the interior or exterior of the home are also clear signs. If you have brick work on your home, look for stair-step cracks, or long horizontal cracks. Any vertical cracking which seems to be getting wider also indicates that the wall is rotating, which can point to a foundation issue.
Check for signs of cracking on the inside of the home as well, such as in the drywall, plaster, or even wood paneling in some cases. Also, keep an eye out for any cracks which may appear in your concrete slab or basement floor. Keep in mind, any cracks in the slab may also be due to shrinkage or heaving of the concrete (a slightly different story).
- Suspicious patches and repairs
Did you buy your home from a previous owner? If so, look for any evidence of past repairs. As mentioned above, settlement issues may lead to cracks in the walls. If you’re able to spot any signs of repair work to patch a crack, it could mean the owners before you were covering up the evidence of settlement.
- Sticky doors and windows
Having trouble operating your windows or doors? If your home is settling on one side, tipping your house up on an angle, you’ll find your windows and doors will tend to get stuck as they are no longer square and level. Similar to repair work having been done to patch any cracks, look for signs of latches or framework having been replaced or moved.
- Uneven floors
Slanted floors can also be an indicator of settling. This can be checked using tape measures, laser lines, and levels. Be sure the floors are checked in several locations, from along the walls in the interior, to the middle sections, and then on to the exterior walls. This method is not always a sure sign of settling, as it may also be caused by sagging beams or joists. Either way, you will have an issue worth addressing sooner than later.
- Unstable chimney
Lastly, if your home has a chimney which shows signs of cracking or leaning, this could also indicate settling. In some cases, the chimney is not actually sharing a foundation or footing with the house itself. It could be just the chimney foundation or slab is sinking and there is no immediate effect on the home. However, in most cases the chimney is installed at the same time as the house is built, and so there is a good chance they are sharing the same soil underneath their footings. When you repair the chimney, it’s worth taking a look at the condition of the home’s foundation as well.
Should you see any of the above signs of settling, don’t always jump to conclusions. It’s recommended you look for a combination of signs. Seek the opinion of a foundation repair specialist if there are visible cracks around your home. Once your foundation is secure and solid, you can safely renovate other parts of your home and keep your investment in good shape.
Please Remove Your Shoes
Have you ever been taken aback when a friend insists you remove your shoes before entering their home?
Here is a quiz to tell you why:
Remove shoes to avoid bacterial contamination: True or False?
True. Shoes harbor germs and bacteria and it’s been proven in multiple scientific studies. Of course you might think that your shoes are magically wiped clean of bacteria because you don’t walk on dirty city sidewalks or across a cow field, but the fact of the matter is that bacteria is everywhere. (In fact, farmers know exactly how easy it is for footwear to spread disease from animal to animal. The routine of washing or disinfecting shoes when traveling from one farm to another helps keep animals safe from bacterial infections.)
Remove shoes when babies and small children are present: True or False?
True. If you’ve ever had crawling babies in your home you know that their tiny hands explore all surfaces, predominantly the flooring, and those hands quickly go from the floor to the mouth
Remove shoes to protect floors: True or False?
True. Shoes, even flat-soled shoes, are really good at tracking in small bits of sand, dirt and rocks, which can easily scratch floors as well as make a mess of carpeting and rugs.
Remove shoes for better foot health: True or False?
True. Modern shoes can make our outfits look amazing, but podiatrists agree than many of them are making our feet miserable.
Remove shoes to honor culture: True or False?
True. Many cultures remove their shoes before entering a home, temple or indoor area like a classroom.
Will you ask your guests to remove their shoes: Yes or No?
Lamps Plus – landscape lighting
Cleaning Vinyl Siding: