Hiring a handyman.

So you want to hire a handyman. It seems like everyone will need one sooner or later.

People may have a different interpretation of the term handyman. The dictionary defines handyman as, “a person able or employed to do occasional domestic repairs and minor renovations.” I fit that definition. If you have work above one story, major additions, or renovations, you may need more than a handyman.

Whoever you interview, you can ask a few questions that will help you to determine if he or she is right for the job. A partner and I specialized in renovating and repairing historic homes in Charleston, SC for fifteen years. One of the biggest problems was wood rot. Anytime you make a repair to an area that has rotted wood, you must treat the area with a fungicide to stop the spread of decay. Even if one believes they removed all the rotted wood, they still need to treat. Please get a free copy of my white paper on wood rot. Ask your handyman or contractor if they are going to treat the repair areas with a fungicide. If they say they are, ask what fungicide they are going to use. If they cannot answer that question positively or they tell you treatment is not necessary, find a different handyman or contractor. Because if they believe treatment is not necessary, they better do some reading on the subject. Fungicides are manufactured for a reason.

Secondly, let me say a little something about estimating. If you have rot to be repaired and a handyman/contractor gives you a firm bid on that repair – beware. That bid may be way too high. The reason being, they cannot tell what’s going on behind that visible rotten wood. There could be major structural damage or not. A firm bid has to be high to take into account that possibility. When we did that type of repair work our pricing was cost+ – an hourly rate plus materials. That way, if there was no, or very minor, structural damage, the homeowner ended up paying less.

If your handyman/contractor gives you a firm bid on rot repair, make them stick to it, and keep a close eye on the job’s progress. If they under bid, they may try to cut corners. One way to do that is to not use a top quality fungicide. The professional brands are expensive. And read my post What Type of Caulk to Use on Outside Windows. It has links to caulking reviews. You usually cannot buy the professional caulks at your local big box building supply. Make sure your handyman/contractor uses the latest professional level sealants. Your repair will be last much, much longer.

Repairs are an investment. Make sure you hire the handyman/contractor who is going to do a thorough job from start to finish taking into account future owners of the home.

The Fuquay-Varina Handyman – www.FVHandyman.com