Handymen share home maintenance tips

Handymen share home maintenance tips

We asked three highly rated handymen on Angie’s List about the best preventative maintenance tips for your home.

Southard: Walk around your house once every year with a knife and test the wood around your windows or doors. If the wood is soft, or if there’s any chipped or peeling paint, it should be fixed right away. If you make sure your home’s exterior is properly painted, caulked and sealed, you won’t be surprised with major repairs.

Klitzke: Many people let their bathroom dry naturally instead of using a towel or exhaust fan, which allows them to stay moist and damp. Then they end up with rotting baseboards or drywall. That’s a lot of expensive work.

Little: Our most common repair is for rotted wood. Ninety percent of wood rot, including around windows, on exterior trim and to a structure itself, is caused by overfilled gutters or poor gutter design.

How do you charge for your work?

Little: No job is too large or too small. We customize our pricing to each customer, whether it’s charging by four-hour increments or giving full-scale pricing estimates.

Klitzke: I charge by the hour. I recommend that people have a list of repairs, even if they’re only calling me for a 10-minute washer replacement on a faucet. Since I charge by the hour, I want to give them an honest hour’s work.

Southard: For larger jobs, we’ll do an estimate and it’s a fixed price. If we can’t see what the problem is or if it’s hidden or damaged, we’ll give them a price range. We always try to tell the customer the price ahead of time. Even with the hourly items, we can give an estimate of how long it will take.

What can homeowners do to get the most cost-effective work from a handyman?

Southard: Prepare ahead of time, even with small things. If you have an issue with your sink, get all the stuff out from underneath it. It only takes five minutes, so it’s not a big deal for us to do it, but it adds time.

Klitzke: Anything you can purchase or organize ahead of time will save you time and money. For example, if you’re willing to go to the store and purchase the paint yourself, I can get more done in less time. If you have several small jobs that can be done in two or three hours in one visit, you can make the trip more worthwhile both for yourself and the handyman.

Little: The best thing is to be organized, prior to the handyman arriving, with a punch list of work you need done, so he can make the best use of his time while there. Buy any extra items, such as a towel bar or a light switch that you need installed beforehand.

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Chicago handyman discusses preventive maintenance

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