Philadelphia contractor gives advice on closets
Who we talked to
Jim Sweeney, owner
Best Handyman Services LLC
As a licensed contractor, Jim Sweeney knows there is a dire need in Philadelphia for more closet space. "Homes are very old and closets are very small here," Sweeney says. "The need for more storage space is inevitable if you're surrounded by homes built between 1892 and 1900." As a handyman and owner of Best Handyman Services LLC, Sweeney is skilled in everything from plumbing to closet installation. "Storage space is something most people look for when buying a home, after the kitchen and bathroom," Sweeney says. "I didn't get in the business just to design space for closets, it came with the territory."
What's the most common problem you see with people's closets?
"The most common problem is when people have very limited space and ask us to rework the area. If a closet is about 1-foot deep and 4-feet wide, we're going to need to reconstruct the space to give them room. Another problem I run into every now and then is people expecting to extend their closet space, but it's impossible because they may not be aware that there is brick or cinderblock behind what appears to be a normal drywall-built closet. We usually don't discover this problem until we try to drill. Brick and cinderblock can be removed but most people change their minds because it takes too long, and it's very costly to deal with."
What are some of the different types of closet systems you install?
"We install all types of closet systems for all sizes. We work with the client to see what their needs are, then recommend a system, come to an agreement, purchase the materials and do the installation. I just installed a closet for a married couple who decided not to sell their home when they discovered a way to create more space. They had us install a large storage area under their stairwell. Lately, we're getting more requests for environmentally friendly 'green' closets. One example is we may use eco-friendly drywall. We're happy to accommodate."
What's the installation process like?
"The standard price is $65 an hour. But there are too many variables to estimate time or cost for closets with special design needs. We work mainly with systems from Home Depot, Lowe's or Ikea. However, if a client has an actual photograph or visual of the design they're requesting, we can make it happen. Our projects are built into existing homes, not new construction."