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Reclaim Your Car’s Home

The Garage Ranks as one of the most disorganized rooms in the house, according to several highly rated professional organizers across the country. Worthless junk often crowds out the family car. “They’re one of the most neglected areas and can get out of hand quickly,” says Alexis Rubin, owner of A-rated Funktional Home professional organization service in Littleton, CO. 

She estimates garages make up one quarter of her business, and she charges an average of $500 to $800 to clean and organize them. “Considering that cars are often a family’s second most expensive investment, professional help in desiging a garage that can maximize and maintain its function is a good use of money,” Rubin says. “Beyond that, a well-designed garage can expand storage for a wide variety of household items.”

Professional organizers help homeowners sort, purge, categorize and put items back in a way that makes the most sense to the individual. They will often discard unwanted items, either by donating them to a charity or consignment shop or posting items for sale online. 

Some organizers sell storage products and install them, while others handle the decluttering and bring in help to install cabinets and perform other tasks. “I consider myself project manager of other community experts, such as handymen or women who can assist with hanging,” says Melanie Raelin, owner of A-rated Wits End Organizing in Somerville, MA. “I personally set up donation pickups and yard or estate sales to help the person offset the cost.”


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Photo: Your Great Garage

Highly rated Your Great Garage in St. Petersburg, FL., sells and installs garage-specific solutions. Owner Tony Braswell says costs start at $99 for simple shelving and go up to $5,000 for multiple solutions in a large garage, such as overhead rack systems, epoxy floors and custom workspaces. 

Angie’s List member Carol Pressman of New Port Richey, FL., hired Baswell in July to clear out junk, organize her hobby paraphernalia and corral her grandchildren’s toys. The job, which took just over two days and cost $2,800, included an epoxy floor coating, overhead racks, wall storage and a customized gardening workbench. “It will make everything I do much more pleasant,” she says. “And they took away everything I didn’t want – that was a huge selling feature.”

Rubin and other organizers stress the importance of developing a system that’s easy to maintain. “Clearing out a space and making it look nice is just the beginning,” she says. “Organization is about maintenance. We can help change habits and build structures that work for you.”

Angie’s List member Cathy Flanders of Littleton, CO recently hired Funktional Home for the third time. After tackling the home office and kid’s playroom, Flanders wanted to maximize storage space for toys and bicycles and add a mudroom area in her garage. For less than $500, Rubin cleared out unwanted items and added shelving, hooks and bins to store outside toys, garden tools and other supplies. “It doesn’t just look pretty – she put in new systems that are easy to keep up,” Flanders says. “Our garage was a disaster,” Flanders says. “We could only maybe fit one care, if everyone held their breath. Now, we have a workable garage that should last.”

Flanders says her favorite part is a brightly painted accent all that Rubin suggested. “It feels like a finished space that’s an extension of the house,” Flanders says. “It makes me smile”.

An Angie’s List Guide: Carpet or Wood?

Which flooring is best for your home: Carpet or Wood?

When purchasing a new home or remodeling your current home, one of the most important decisions you need to make is whether to install carpet or hardwood flooring. 

Some people love the warmth and silence carpeting offers. Other prefer the sleek design and easier upkeep of hardwood flooring. Both types of flooring have advantages and disadvantages depending on the homeowner’s preferences. The cheaper of the two options, carpeting can be harder to maintain and keep clean.

Here are some tips for maintaining your new carpet:

  • Prevention – tracking mud and dirt from outside is a great way to shorten the lifespan of any carpet. By taking steps to prevent dirt from getting into your carpeting, such as with door mats, you can maintain the appearance and lifespan of your carpet.

  • Vacuum – regularly vacuuming will help keep mud and grime from getting into carpet. It is important to change the bag on a vacuum as much as possible to prevent dirt and dust from getting back into the carpet while vacuuming.

  • Minimize exposure to the sun – UV rays can damage carpet and cause its color to fade. It is important to keep blinds closed during the day to prevent color fading in any carpeting.


The Kemper Remodel - After Carpet Installation -

Hardwood may be more expensive than carpet but many people prefer it for various reasons. Upkeep is much easier and wood flooring typically lasts much longer than carpet if kept in good condition.

Here are some tips for taking care of hardwood flooring:

  • Wipe your feet – much like carpet, it is important to keep dust and dirt from outside off your floor. Make it possible to wipe these substances from shoes by placing floor mats at different entryways around the house.

  • Use the right cleaner – its important to use a cleaner that will not damage the flooring. Cleaners that leave filmy residues are ill-advised for cleaning hardwood floors.

  • Minimize exposure to sun – like carpet, hardwood floors also need to be protected from the sun rays during the day. The sun will cause the color of the wood to fade and not look as pleasing in different sections of the home.


Kinner Built Homes - West 31st Street Development - Stairs

There are differences and similarities in what it takes to protect and upkeep both carpet and hardwood floors. People who are debating between the two materials should factor the upkeep into the decision. Those who are not prepared for the more involved upkeep of carpet should probably get hardwood floors. Either option is a great way to update a home or decorate a new home and increase its value.

Need help deciding which type of flooring fits best with your home and lifestyle? Come see one of our talented and expereicened Design Specialists, they are here to help you with your project from start to finish!

An Angie’s List Guide: Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Flooring

There are few home improvement choices that add as much character and warmth – not to mention resale value – as hardwood flooring. But before you install or repair hardwood flooring it’s important to know both its advantages and disadvantages. 

Defining ‘hardwood’

With the advent of modern manufacturing techniques, it may be hard to determine what constitutes an actual hardwood floor. Flooring manufacturing techniques such as engineered hardwood flooring differ from actual hardwood floors, but can often replicate the look and feel of a hardwood floor at a reduced cost. Take a look at how the two wood flooring systems work:

  • Hardwood Floors

Real hardwood floors are almost wholly comprised of wood planks shaved down to uniform or near-uniform planks that are then installed directly over floor joists. Flooring planks or strips can be harvested from a huge variety of tree species, such as maple, cherry, oak and walnut, offering consumers a great range of wood color, grain and texture. Added to that variety is an almost equally large selection of stain and finish choices, making color and texture options nearly infinite. 

Hardwood flooring is the most long-lasting of wood flooring types due to its ability to be refinished multiple times over its lifetime. If scratches from furniture, wear patterns from foot traffic or general wear-and-tear detract from the appearance of a hardwood floor or its finish, the floor can be stripped of its finish by sanding it down to the wood grain. A new stain or floor finish can then be applied to give the floor an almost brand-new appearance. 

Real hardwood flooring is the most expensive option in wood flooring choices, due to both the higher cost of materials and installation. Hardwood floor planks are typically screwed or nailed directly to the supporting floor joists, which means repairs to or replacement of a hardwood floor can also be more expensive. 

  • Engineered Wood Floors

Engineered wood floors can offer the look and feel of traditionally manufactured wooden floors, but at a much reduced cost. Engineered wood flooring generally consists of a thin strip of actual wood mounted to multiple layers of thinner, less expensive plywood. This top-most piece of hardwood is referred to as the “wear layer” because it offers some of the same durability of real hardwood floors.

Like real hardwood flooring, the wear layer of an engineered floor can be stripped of its finish, sanded down and have a new layer of finish or stain applied to it. However, because the wear layer is much thinner than the all-hardwood plank of a real hardwood floor, the sanding and refinish process can only be performed a relatively few number of times compared to a bonde fide hardwood floor. 

Engineered wood flooring is significally less expensive than hardwood flooring. Additionally, since the engineered wood planks are much thinner than hardwood planks, engineered wood flooring can be installed more easily over surfaces such as concrete or an existing wood floor. Another benefit of engineered wood floors is ease of repair or replacement. Since the planks are held together with a tongue-in-groove feature along the length of the planks, repairs can be completed by simply removing a plank and replacing it by locking a new one into place.

Common Problems

There are many great reasons to install hardwood flooring:

  • It matches well with almost any décor

  • It can reduce dust and other allergens

  • Cleaning is relatively quick and simple

But even with these benefits, hardwood flooring is not maintenance-free. Installation errors, wood’s natural tendency to swell with changes in humidity and long-term wear and tear can all cause unsightly conditions that detract from a hardwood floor’s appeal.

If you own a home with hardwood floors, look out for these common issues:

  • Buckling and Crowning – this is caused when the original installer did not provide enough space between the wood planks for expansion with humidity. Eventually, the planks may swell into each other and become raised. These raised areas not only look uneven compared to the rest of the floor, they also attract more wear and tear.

  • Scratches, Dents, and Dings – these are some of the most common hardwood flooring issues and they generally occur over time as the floor is used and its protective finish wears off. This can be avoided by not wearing shows in the house and by installing protective pads on furniture.

  • Fading – a floor’s exposure to UV rays from sunlight can cause noticeable difference in the floor’s color over time. Blocking sunlight by lowering the shades or closing shutters can help prevent this fading.

  • Warping – when exposed to or saturated in water, wood can swell and warp. Prevent water from coming in contact with wood floors by using area rugs below sinks and near entry doors, and by placing houseplant pots or containers on top of water-collecting dishes.

Professional Maintenance

If your floors have begun to show wear patterns from foot traffic or appear dull, it’s probably a good indicator it’s time to hire a professional to improve their appearance. Most hardwood floors should be periodically maintained by adding an extra finish layer, known as recoating, every three to seven years. Recoating involves lightly scuffing the existing finish layer to promote adhesion, then adding a new layer of finish. If the floor’s finish is still intact, a maintenance coat will help it last another five years and may save you up to 60% versus the cost of sanding and refinishing the floor.

When floors become worn to the point that the top layer of finish no longer covers the wood grain or when deep scratches are present, hiring a professional to complete a more comprehensive – and expensive – sanding and recoating may be your best option.

During a sanding and recoat, a flooring contractor will use a heavy-duty sanding machine to remove all the finish on a hardwood floor, exposing the wood grain. Once the grain has been exposed, deep scratches and other blemishes can be sanded down to give the bare wood a more uniform appearance. Before a new top coat of finish is applied, you also have the option of adding a different stain to the wood grain to change the overall appearance. Once the sanding or staining is complete, a flooring contractor can add a new layer of protective finish, which can add lasting beauty and durability to the hardwood floor for years to come. 

A flooring contractor will also be able to provide advise or repairs for other hardwood flooring issues such as fading from UV exposure, stains from water, pets or other contaminates, and broken, chipped or damaged hardwood strips. Flooring specialists can often repair badly damaged wood floors even if some of the original boards are too far gone to be saved.

(Also see our Flooring Care & Cleaning Guide)

Hiring Tips

When hiring a professional contractor to install, maintain or repair your hardwood floors, choosing the right contractor can be the difference between a perfect finish and a floor that was more damaged than to begin with. Although a homeowner may choose a contractor based on a low price, this type of decision-making may lead to less-than-desirable results. 

Consider the following when making a hiring decision for a hardwood floor contractor:

  • Licensing, Bonding and Insurance – although it’s likely that many jurisdictions don’t mandate flooring contractors hold licenses, some municipalities may require it. A valid license also means it’s more likely that your contractor is in good standing both legally and financially. Insurance and/or bonding are likely more important characteristics in a qualified flooring contractor. Because flooring can represent a significant investment and the fact that maintenance requires heavy machinery that can easily damage a floor, it’s important to make sure your contractor holds the proper insurance policies.

  • Industry Accreditation – accreditations from trade organizations such as the National Wood Flooring Association can indicate that a flooring contractor is serious about his work and willing to take continuing education courses to improve their skill sets. Trade organizations can often also indicate that a flooring professional is well versed in industry standards for workmanship and work site conditions, as well as trained in proper installation techniques.

  • Experience – always ask a contractor about their background and experience in the field. The answer may surprise you.

  • References – a well qualified contractor should be able to provide references for recent customers or a portfolio of recently completed work. And remember, don’t just ask for references, take the extra step to call recent customers to see if they were satisfied with the work and the contractor’s performance.

An Angie’s List Guide: Home Maintenance for Summer

Home Maintenance Service Tips for Summer

Before you spend money on a home remodeling project this summer, check this graphic to see how well your investment is likely to pay off. Some remodeling projects, like updating your kitchen or bathroom, are much more likely to add value to your home than, say, installing a swimming pool. 

An Angie’s List Guide: House Cleaning

House Cleaning

Keeping your house clean is an increasingly challenging task for families in which everyone is busy. Here are tips on how to get the chores done efficiently yourself, or how to hire a good house cleaning service to do the heavy lifting for you.

Room-by-room tips

American families have less free time than ever to tend to housecleaning, but it becomes an overwhelming task if you don’t keep up with it. Here are some tips from professional house cleaners on how often to clean the most frequently used living areas of a home:

Kitchen & Eating Areas

If you do nothing else daily, make sure you wash the dishes and clean the sink and countertops. Wipe up messes on the stove and inside the microwave. Floors are a constant cleaning job depending on what’s been dropped, but if you’ve managed to keep it reasonably clean, mop weekly. Every few weeks, run a cleaning agent through the dishwasher to prevent buildup and ensure sparkling dishes.

It’s also a good idea to clear out the refrigerator before your weekly shopping trip. This way, you’re removing what’s spoiled and making room for fresh groceries. Every six months or so remove all the items from your cabinets and wipe down the shelving. This also is a good time to go through your canned and other packaged goods and throw away items that have expired.

If you use a table cloth, shake it out and wash it regularly. On a weekly basis, dust all surfaces and mop or vacuum the floor. 

Living Room and Family Room

The main problem here is clutter. Make it the responsibility of every member of the family to put away items they left out.

Dusting should be done weekly, or at least every other week. If you can write your name in the dust, you’ve waited too long. Wipe down often-used surfaces like table tops, mop floors and vacuum carpets. Some people like to move their furniture around a couple of times a year so they can reach areas they don’t routinely clean, such as under the sofa or chairs or behind book cases. 

Bathroom

This room can be the dirtiest and cleanest in any house, so weekly cleanings are important. Start with the bathtub. Wipe all surfaces to prevent mildew and soap scum. Clean the sink to remove any build-up from toothpaste or other toiletries.

When cleaning the toilet, spray or add cleaning solution to the bowl then go clean other areas of the bathroom. This allows the toilet cleaning agent to activate for several minutes before scrubbing the bowl clean. Mop the floor last so you leave a clean floor drying in a clean room.

If you have a cabinet or linen closet, remove all contents every six months and wipe down the shelves. This gives you time to sort make-up and other toiletries and throw away items that are expired or empty.

Bedrooms

Even if you don’t feel like making the bed first thing in the morning, doing it every day will help you achieve the feeling of a clean room in just a few minutes. Wash the linens weekly to help reduce allergens and dust mites.

Make sure you put dirty clothes in a hamper and take the time to fold and put away clothing. Regular dusting of furniture and vacuuming carpet or dusting floors and baseboards can also help to reduce allergies.

What You Missed

If you’re not a professional house cleaner there are probably some things you’re overlooking – even if you clean regularly.

Ceiling Cobwebs and Baseboard Dust

Look up. Cobwebs collect along the top edge of the wall where it meets the ceiling — and especially in corners. Use a long-handled dusting tool on these at least monthly. Wipe down your baseboards and trim, which tend to collect dust. This can be done with a furniture polish or with a rag dampened with water. 

Doorknobs and Telephones

Why clean doorknobs? Because lots of hands touch them every day and leave germs behind. Telephones and other frequently touched surfaces should get the same treatment. Use an antibacterial wipe or a rag dampened with any household cleaner to wipe these surfaces clean. Remember, some of the most contaminated surfaces in the home involve places touched by multiple hands. Be sure to include them in your weekly cleaning routine.

Novice cleaners should read the labels of cleaning products before tackling a home cleaning. Knowing what you can and can’t use on each surface in the house will save time, money and a potential disaster in the long run. Using the wrong product can do severe and sometimes irreparable damage. Also, some products can be harmful to children or pets if used too aggressively.

Hard-to-Reach Areas

Whether you’re hiring help or tackling the cleaning on your own, think about the last time you cleaned these hard to reach areas:

Behing and Under Major appliances

We often take for granted that nothing is going on under and behind the stove, refrigerator, washer or dryer. But the kitchen appliances attract grease, which provides a perfect surface for dust to stick. Other appliances collect dust and lint from laundry and daily living. 

You may need help moving your major appliances a couple of times a year to ensure the area where you cook is as sanitary as it can be. In addition to cleaning the area around and under your washer and dryer, you will want to clean out the dryer vent to prevent a fire hazard. 

Behind the Toilet: The toilet itself is pretty obvious, but the walls and floors behind and around the toilet, as well as the pedestal of the toilet should be cleaned thoroughly. A wet rag or mop will help pick up and remove dust and lint rather than sweeping it to another area in the bathroom. 

Ceiling Fans: As the blades spin they likely are throwing dust across the room. You may be able to reach the blades with your vacuum cleaner attachment or a special long-handled ceiling fan brush. However, the best thing may be to get on a ladder and wipe down the blades with a little soapy water. Vacuuming might be required if you were unable to catch all the dust yourself. 

Ceiling Corners: Depending on the height of your ceilings you may be able to reach the corners with one of your vacuum cleaner attachments. Rooms with high ceilings may require you to climb a ladder to get at the cobwebs.

Tops of Cabinets: Whether you have space between your kitchen cabinets and the ceiling or an armoire in a living room or bedroom, it’s probably time to get out a ladder. 

Remember, whichever room you clean, it’s best to start high and work your way down because dust and dirt will become dislodged as you clean and make their way downward.

Don’t forget to clean your cleaning tools! Though we’ll drop dishcloths and dish towels into the washing machine, we often leave the dust in the broom and forget to wipe out the bucket and clean the mop. 

Tools and Supplies

Before you begin tackling the challenge of cleaning the house, you will want to make sure you have all the necessary items on hand.

From tools of the trade, such as vacuums and rags, to cleaning products like Windex and baking soda, this list can serve as a comprehensive guide to assist you with house cleaning.

Vacuum Cleaner: The best way to begin cleaning a room is to eliminate dust, dirt and visible debris. Go over all carpeted and bare floors with an upright or handheld vacuum cleaner. Regular vacuuming will also significantly improve the appearance and life of your carpets!

Mop: Once the floors in your home are vacuumed, a mop is vital for getting rid of stains and eliminating bacteria from the floor. Choose a mop with a longer handle so that you are comfortable using it, and pair it with a bucket full of warm water and a cleaning solution.

Windex: This cleaning product is designed to remove smudges and stains on your glass items, such as tables, windows or mirrors. Spray it directly on the glass surface and wipe it off with a clean rag or wipe it down with a squeegee. 

All-purpose Cleaner: If you have only one cleaning product in your home, it should be a spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner. It can be sprayed on most household surfaces and wiped off to easily remove bacteria, germs, smudges and stains. 

Baking Soda: This inexpensive item is a staple for cleaning the home. Not only does it have cleaning properties, but it is also a great way to remove unpleasant odors. Use it as a paste with water on spills to clean the carpet and eliminate smells. 

Rags: A supply of rags is vital when cleaning a home. Use them for cleaning bathrooms, windows, kitchen countertops and more. 

Gloves: If you are using lots of chemical cleaners, washing dishes or scrubbing toilets, you will need a pair of gloves to protect your hands from harsh chemicals. Choose a rubber pair that extends up to your elbows for the best protection.

Polish: While your all-purpose cleaner will work to clean many surfaces in the home, invest in a few specialty polishes for surfaces like stainless steel or wooden tables.

Be Green As You Clean

If you’re concerned about climate change, resource depletion and recycling, consider these environmentally-friendly tips for cleaning your home.

Reuse Instead of Throw Away

Whenever you consider throwing something away, make it a practice to try and find another use for it. Instead of using paper towels try rags that can easily be laundered and used again. Instead of throwing away floor cleaning pads consider using equipment that make use of steam and pads. 

Since steaming tools use water to help with the cleaning process, they tend to be healthier for the environment than many toxic-laced commercial products. Also, weigh whether the use of recycled products may be more environmentally friendly than taking up the resources you would use for laundering. 

Make Your Own Brew

Rather than purchasing products with hazardous ingredients, try making natural cleaning solutions.

  • Use a lemon juice and water mix to clean glass and mirrors. An old tee shirt torn to make rags can work well to clean those messy glass table tops without leaving streaks.

  • Mix lemon juice and olive oil to make a great smelling furniture polish.

  • Make a paste of salt, vinegar and flour to polish metal surfaces.

  • Throwing a handful of salt into a wood burning fireplace can help loosen up the soot buildup.

  • Use vinegar and water on bare floors to leave them fresh.

  • Use vinegar and baking soda to clean out clogged pipes and drains, or to deodorize your kitchen sink.

  • Use lemon juice and hot water to remove foul smells from your garbage disposal.

If you prefer not to do the cleaning work yourself, there are many professional house cleaning services that use green cleaning products. 

Hiring a House Cleaning Service

You don’t have to be wealthy to hire a cleaning service. Many busy families arrange for a service to come in once a week, once a month or something in between. Professional house cleaners can take care of tasks like vacuuming, dusting, mopping floors and so on while family members focus on keeping control of clutter and light cleaning of the bathrooms and kitchens. 

When hiring, ask questions:

  • Are you insured?

  • Do you hire all your employees or are independent workers used?

  • How many workers do you use?

Have the prospective cleaner meet you at your home so you can walk from room to room asking what type of cleaning they will do and with what products. Most cleaning companies provide their own products, but if there are special products you prefer that they use this may cost extra. 

Most experts recommend keeping consistency in cleaning. It’s preferable to use the same person every time if the experience is satisfactory as different cleaners are likely to clean in different ways. 

Finally, trust is extremely important. Unlike most other service providers, house cleaners typically come to your home while you’re at work so you need to feel comfortable allowing them access to your home. If you are a member of Angie’s List you will be able to search for house cleaners in your geographic area and pick someone who has consistently received high grades from other customers.

An Angie’s List Guide: Hiring a Handyman


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Hiring a Handyman

Not all home repair jobs require the help of a general contractor or specialized service provider. A handyman can be hired for a variety of small home improvement projects. The following guide explains how a handyman can fix your to-do list while saving time and money along the way.

What is a handyman?

A handyman or handywoman is a skilled “jack of all trades” who can be hired by the hour to complete a wide range of small home improvement work and repair.

A handyman, or handyman company, typically charges the client by the hour plus material costs, regardless of the task at hand. Many homeowners will compile a list of repairs and hire a handyman to complete the list in a single visit.

The term “handyman” is loosely defined. Some are self-trained, while others have more formal training in various aspects of construction and home repair. Some specialize in a few types of home maintenance, such as painting and carpentry, while others specialize in several areas of home repair. 

There is no national standard or regulation for handymen. Licensing and regulation vary by state. New Jersey, for example, requires handymen who work for a profit to register with the state and carry insurance. California requires handymen to carry a license from the Sate Contractors License Board to work on any project that exceeds $500 in labor and material costs.

How do I know if I need a handyman or contractor?

The scope of the job and level of skill required to complete it should determine whether you hire a handyman or contractor. 

“When trying to determine who you should hire for a particular job, consider the task,” says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List. If it’s a specialized trade, be sure you hire that tradesperson like a plumber or electrician, for example. If it’s little things that you can do yourself, a handyman is probably the right way to go.”

A handyman is not the best option for a large or complicated project that could take a long time to complete and require the help of multiple workers. A contractor or specialist should be utilized for remodeling work, room additions, projects that require heavy-duty equipment or licensed professionals like electricians.

Benefits of hiring a handyman

You’ve got an ever increasing to-do list of home improvements like changing out a bathroom faucet, replacing missing shingles on the roof and painting a kitchen wall. You could hire a plumber, roofer and painter who all would have conflicting schedules of availability and their own service charges, or you could hire a handyman to complete all three projects in one day for a single hourly rate.

A homeowner can save money on home improvement projects by hiring a handyman because it eliminates the need for multiple service providers and contractors. Many handymen charge by the hour so a homeowner only pays for one worker who can complete a wide range of projects. A service charge from a plumber or roofer to come to your home could equal or even surpass the price to hire a handyman for a few hours. 

Hiring a handyman also prevents waste and overcharging, as the handyman will only charge you for hours worked. A contractor or specialist is more likely to price a job based on an estimated amount of time it will take to complete it. Handymen are able to keep their rates low because they don’t have to pay additional workers and have lower overhead costs than contractors or large companies.

Many homeowners turn to handymen when they have a job but don’t know who to call. Handymen have been known to do all types of work from setting up playground equipment and gas grills to hanging holiday lights and decorations. 

Handyman-ready jobs

Handymen are best utilized for small, “honey-do” types of home repair work. The following projects are ideal for most handymen.

Minor plumbing work: Many handymen are capable of completing minor plumbing work like installing new fixtures or repairing a leaky faucet. However, complex projects or jobs that require plumbing to be moved within the home should be left to a licensed plumber. 

Caulking: Adding a fresh application of caulk to gaps between windows, doors and siding is a great way to improve energy efficiency and lower utility costs.

Decks and Porches: Over time, weather can take its toll on wooden decks and porches. A handyman can replace broken boards, apply a finish or sealant and make general improvements or repairs to upgrade your deck or porch’s safety and appearance.

Gutter cleaning and maintenance: Although it’s a simple enough task, cleaning gutters is messy and involves climbing on the roof. Avoid the risk of injury by hiring a professional handyman with the right equipment and experience for the task. A handyman can also install gutter guards to prevent seasonal clogging. 

Home exterior repairs: If you have minor damage to your home’s exterior, such as a loose piece of siding or a missing shingle, hiring a handyman to repair those items may prove to be more cost-effective than hiring a specialist.

Painting and touch-ups: A handyman can be hired to repaint a wall or garage door, touchup trim and scoff marks and repair small holes with spackle. Remember, a handyman typically charges by the hour, so larger jobs are better suited for a professional painting crew. 

Hanging window treatments, pictures and mirrors and installing light fixtures: These small tasks can be easily accomplished by a homeowner, but hiring a handyman with the right tools and experience can help ensure these wall-mounted items are hung correctly without damage.

Handyman hiring tips

Homeowners should take the time to interview several candidates before making a hiring decision. A handyman will be working closely with you in your home so you want to pick one that you feel comfortable around. The following handyman hiring tips can help ensure you pick the right candidate.

  1. Define the project – start by compiling a list of the home repairs you would like completed. Remember, a handyman is best utilized for small jobs such as installing light fixtures, patching drywall and interior painting. If the job requires pulling a permit, or moving plumbing or electrical wiring, you should consider hiring a contractor.

  2. Shop around – check Angie’s List reviews and interview a minimum of three handymen. Ask about years of experience and areas of specialization, and request references from homeowners who worked with the handyman in the past. Make sure the potential handyman has the skills and experience to complete your project.

  3. Watch out for scams – you want to avoid handymen who contact you with unsolicited phone calls or visits to your home. You should also avoid any handyman who refuses to guarantee the price of the job or asks for payment upfront. Reputable handymen don’t expect to get paid before the project is completed.

  4. Get it in writing – insist on a written agreement laying out the job details, costs and a payment schedule. Be clear about the times you expect the work to be started and completed. It’s extremely important to get all guarantees in writing.

  5. Ask for a guarantee – many handymen will guarantee their work for up to one year. Ask about guarantees before you make a hiring decision, and of course, make sure the guarantee is in writing.

  6. Inspect the work – inspect the completed work before making payment. Make sure that everything has been done to your satisfaction and at the agreed upon price. Most handymen will be happy to explaining the finished work because they want you to be satisfied.