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How To Build the Ultimate DIY Patio

April 30, 2015

Nothing says outdoor living like spending time on the patio grilling and drinking lemonade.  But what if you don’t have a patio?  Don’t worry we have a solution for that.  Follow these DIY steps to build your own patio and you’ll be relaxing with a glass of lemonade in no time!

  1. First thing is first. Call your local building department to see a permit is required before you start.  Then decide where you want your patio to be.  Determine the size and dimensions carefully.  Since you’ll be spending a lot of time on your patio you want to make sure to choose the perfect location.
  2.  Use wood stakes to determine the corners of the patio and place additional wood stakes approximately 2 feet apart to outline the perimeter of the patio.  Then use rope to connect the stakes to provide a visual outline.
  3. Remove grass and weeds from the outlined area then add a thin layer of gravel.  Make sure this area is level and not covered with any debris. Once this is complete place 2×4’s around the perimeter of the patio as forms to frame in your patio.  Cut the 2×4’s so that the inside dimensions of the forms equal the patio area, otherwise your patio will be smaller than intended. Provide extra stability to your forms and nail them to the wood sakes along the perimeter.
  4. Now you are ready for the concrete. Depending on the size of your patio you may want to consider renting a mixer or ordering a concrete truck.  Mix the concrete according to the directions on the bag. Also, make sure to wear long sleeves, protective eyewear and gloves before you start mixing.
  5. Pour the concrete and make sure to spread evenly within the forms. Since concrete is heavy use a shovel or rake to help move the concrete in hard to reach areas and corners.  For added stability you may want to embed steel mesh in the concrete as well.
  6. Next, you need to use a process called screeding.  Level the top of the concrete by dragging a straight 2×4 over the top using a back and forth sawing motion.
  7. Now, create a smooth finish on your concrete with a bull float.  Once you complete this process water will sit on the surface, don’t be alarmed.  Simply wait until the water disappears before moving to the next step.
  8. When the concrete can support your weight you will want to add grooves to the slab every 8 feet.  This will help the concrete shift over time with the ground and reduce the likelihood of cracking.
  9. Allow concrete to cure and harden for at least 48 hours before you remove the forms.
  10.  Enjoy!  Now that the hard work is done you can sit back and relax on your new patio.

Patio copy 1024x768 How To Build the Ultimate DIY Patio

 

If a DIY patio is not for you, give Mr. Handyman a call. Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.

Build a Firewood Storage Rack Fit For a Lumberjack

April 28, 2015

Firewood Storage Fit For a Lumberjack

Ask any lumberjack you know: Late spring is the time to be splitting and stacking firewood.

Lumber should be harvested late in the winter season when the trees have the lowest moisture content. A couple months later, the wood is ready for the chopping block. But where are you going to stack and store all that firewood?

Here are a few options, varying by price, size and style.

DIY Firewood Rack

Building your own firewood rack is a relatively inexpensive project. All you really need are some 2x4s, a table saw and some screws. You can even have the 2x4s cut to size right there at the lumber store. A skilled handyman could probably build this simple design in a couple hours. Just beware that since there is no rain cover, you’ll want to buy one separately or place your rack in a sheltered area. You can find rack designs all over the Internet. We like this one!

Difficulty: 3/5

Firewood Storage Shed

04282015 Firewood Shed Build a Firewood Storage Rack Fit For a Lumberjack

Photo Credit: Rebecca Siegel on Flickr

The shed features a roof to keep your firewood dry and ready-to-burn though the seasons. This is great for frequent burners or anybody with a wood-burning stove. It’s bigger and much more attractive than the simple firewood rack.

If you’re not a skilled builder, contract the work to someone who can get the job right. We like to say that a poorly built firewood shed might as well be … firewood.

Difficulty 4/5

Store-bought Firewood Rack

04282015 Store bought firewood rack Build a Firewood Storage Rack Fit For a Lumberjack

Photo Credit: Rebecca Siegel on Flickr

For a less rustic look, check out some store-bought options. We found some really sleek and modern designs on Pinterest (check them out here! ) that are great if you plan on keeping your rack on your porch, patio or even inside your home. We especially like the racks that feature a separate compartment for kindling. But beware; store-bought racks are not always easy to assemble.

Difficulty: 1/5

Whether you want to have a firewood storage rack built or just need help assembling a store-bought rack, contact your local Mr. Handyman for help. We’ll make sure you have somewhere to stack and store all that chopped wood. Until then, happy lumberjacking!

Deck Waterproofing: Is It Worth It?

April 15, 2015

Investing in an outdoor deck is an extremely smart investment. In fact, according to the North American Deck and Railing Association, decks have an average return on investment of 100%.

Taking proper care of your wood deck is extremely important. Because decks have direct contact with the outdoor elements, wood decks need to be properly sealed and waterproofed. If you haven’t sealed and waterproofed your deck, we highly recommend you invest. If you have waterproofed your deck in the past, we have a few tips to help you gauge whether or not you’re due for some deck maintenance. Keeping up with the proper care required for your deck will lengthen its life significantly.

B0jangles Deck Waterproofing: Is It Worth It?

Photo cred: B0jangles on Flickr.

 

The standard rule for resealing your deck is once every year. However, the degree of wear and tear your deck gets can affect how soon you need to reseal. Not only that, but if your deck gets direct sunlight year round, you may need to reseal more often to prevent it from becoming washed-out or discolored. To test whether your deck is due for a new coat of waterproof sealant, pour a few drops of water directly on the wood. If the water droplets bead up, your deck is still protected from the elements. If it soaks into the wood, you are due for a fresh coat of sealant.

Once you’re ready to begin your waterproofing project, you will need to wash and prep your deck thoroughly — sand down any uneven or splitting wood, fill in any holes or imperfections and replace rotting planks. Then, with a scrub brush and bleach solution (3 parts water / 1 part bleach), scrub your deck in its entirety. After you’ve scrubbed out as much dirt as possible, power wash your deck to rinse away the chemicals Note: If you have plants nearby or are worried about using harsh chemicals, you can forgo using bleach and scrub with warm water alone.

Apply waterproof sealant one coat at a time. Apply a thin coat of waterproof sealant (with UV protection) sealant with a stain brush. Make sure to stain in the same direction of the grain (and plank). Apply a second thin coat of sealant after the first has had some time to dry. Make sure your deck has at least 48 hours to dry before walking or arranging furniture on it.

You now have a perfectly prepped wood deck ready for spring showers Mother Nature might throw at you!

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.

 

Get a Leg Up On Concrete Step Repair

April 9, 2015

Concrete is known for its durability and strong exterior.  However, like all things it is not invincible.  Overtime moisture and climate changes take their toll and may damage your concrete steps causing them to be unsafe and unappealing.  Luckily with a little hard work you can make a few simple repairs that will provide a great reward.

Step 1
Before you get started you will want to remove any loose concrete or damaged concrete from the stairs.
Step 2
Clean the concrete stairs with a wire brush and use a broom to clean up any dust or loose debris from the surrounding area.
Step 3
Fill fine or small cracks with a vinyl concrete patching compound.  The easiest and most efficient way to apply this compound is to use a putty knife.
Step 4
To repair the surface or edges of stairs a quick setting cement should be used.  First you will want to dampen the area with water without oversaturating it. Mix a quick setting cement as directed by the manufacturer and trowel into the damaged area. If needed as a guide, use a single piece of wood as a form for applying concrete to the top of stairs or two pieces of wood forms to repair a corner.  Once this is complete you are then ready to smooth the mixture with a trowel to match the other stairs and let set.

Concrete Stairs Get a Leg Up On Concrete Step Repair

Photo Credit: Decorative Concrete Kingdom on Flickr

When handling on home renovation projects it is always important to be safe.  For this project we would recommend wearing a long sleeved shirt, safety glasses and gloves.  Need help with this project? Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.

Chain Link Fence Repair & Installation

April 7, 2015

Chain link fences are a great way to keep your property contained and your children and pets enclosed – any parent and/or dog owner can attest to this. So when there is a “break in the chain” and little Fido can get out (or unwanted people/animals/etc. can get in) it’s time to consider getting your chain link fence repaired.

04072015 Chain Link Fence Repair Chain Link Fence Repair & Installation

Photo Credit: Dan4th Nicholas on Flickr

Chain link fences are relatively low cost, easier to install than other types of fencing, and are transparent – you can see through them! But it’s important to follow some basic fence maintenance beyond simply getting it repaired when it’s busted. Mr. Handyman recommends these tips for your chain link fence maintenance:

  • Clear/Remove Debris. Chain link fences oftentimes get leaves, sticks, trash, and other debris caught within its wiring. Every spring we recommend clearing out this debris, especially near gates and hinges, if applicable.
  • Prevent Rust. Chain link fences are usually made out of galvanized steel, which can rust and corrode over time. To prevent this from happening, you should consider applying chain link fence paint. If your fence is already rusty, you’ll want to to try and remove as much rust as possible (try steel wool or a wire brush) before applying the paint.

If you prefer the DIY approach, here are some tips for repairing a chain link fence. If that is out of your area of expertise, consider calling Mr. Handyman. We’re experienced, trained, and fully insured fence contractors. Just give us a call!

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.

Inspect Your Windows for Wood Rot

March 25, 2015

Windows and window frames are prime locations for wood rot to develop. Wood rot is essentially fungi growing and spreading in moist areas within wood.

At a basic level, there are two types of wood rot: brown rots and white rots. The brown rot is (not surprisingly) brown is discoloration and causes the wood to crack in a “cube” like manner. White rot does not have the “cube” cracking. Rather, it takes on an almost fibrous or spongy appearance.

woodrot Inspect Your Windows for Wood Rot

Mr. Handyman highly recommends inspecting your windows (and the area surrounding your windows) for wood rot. Water and moisture are the prime suspects as to the cause of developing wood rot. Nice, clean, dry wood should not rot.

If you notice wood rot around your windows, you should add it to the top of your “To-Do” list as it shouldn’t be ignored. Depending on where the wood rot is located, if it’s not addressed in a timely matter it could lead to permanent structural damage to your home.

Wood Rot Inspect Your Windows for Wood Rot

It’s one thing to fix the wood rot but it’s another whole project to “finish” the job as you need to consider sanding, painting, staining, etc. that makes the repair look like it’s actually a part of the house.

Need help with your wood rot issue? Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.

 

Mud Room Ideas for Busy Families

March 13, 2015

Mud Room Ideas for Busy Families

Tired of tripping over boots, picking up coats and searching the entire house for your misplaced purse? Sounds like you need a mud room.

What is a mud room? It’s basically an entryway equipped for busy families that need adequate space for shoes, coats and equipment. If you desire an uncluttered and inviting entryway, then keep reading. And if you think building a mud room is out of your budget, think again. We’ve highlighted four different mud room ideas – from sophisticated to simple – that will help keep your busy family organized and your home tidy.

Full-Blown Built-ins

This is a dream. Imagine a beautiful wood bench with storage space below, lockers for every member of your family, complete with hooks, crown molding and plenty of storage space above. Muddy boots – check. Sports equipment – check. Jealous friends – check. And just because it looks extravagant doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. Contact your local handyman for quote!

03112015 Mud Room e1426106625158 Mud Room Ideas for Busy Families

Photo Credit: wplynn on Flickr

Cool Closet Converter

Get smart with your space. Convert your existing entryway into a mud room by adding a bench and storage space to your coat closet. The beauty of the mud room nook is that you can still hang all of your coats and store all of your boots, but now you have a nice little bench to sit on while you get ready to head out the door – and you didn’t have to sacrifice any space at all!

Add a Hall Tree

For a simpler solution, add an elegant hall tree to your foyer. You still get the storage bench and coat hooks. We even found some “shabby chic” hall trees made out of old doors . If you want to go the DIY route, remember that Mr. Handyman is always ready to help you along the way!

Entry Bench & Hooks

For a quick and easy mud room makeover, buy or build a simple storage bench and hang some hooks on the wall behind it. Take it to the next level by substituting wall cabinets for hooks. This is a great option for small spaces and it still accomplishes the purpose of the mud room – keeping the entryway clean and organized!

Building a mud room is all about getting creative with your space. And if you need help with anything, from designing to building, contact your local Mr. Handyman today. We’re ready to turn your vision into the ultimate mud room!

Ladder Safety Tips for Spring Cleaning Jobs

March 11, 2015

It’s that time of year again when springtime is in the air and your to-do list is getting even longer.  Before you start cleaning out the gutters or washing those hard to reach windows, here are a few ladder safety tips for spring cleaning:

  • Choose the right ladder for the job you are doing.  The style, size, weight capacity, and material of the ladder are all determining factors.
  • Make sure that the ladder you are using extends at least three feet over the roof line or your working service.
    Set up your straight, single or extension ladder at a 75 degree angle. Stand with your toes at the bottom of the ladder and reach straight out to touch the rungs with your fingertips. If you can do this you’ve got the right angle.Cleaning Siding Ladder Safety Tips for Spring Cleaning Jobs
  • Place you ladder on a dry and level surface away from opening doors. Never place the ladder in a puddle of water or in the mud.
  • Check all locks and extensions on your ladder to make sure they are set before you start climbing.
  • Stay off the top step of a ladder and never climb or stand on the rear section of an extension ladder.
  • Keep your balance and never overreach on your ladder.
  • Don’t use your metal ladder near power lines or electrical equipment, fiberglass or wood ladders should be used instead.
  • When you are done with your ladder simply put it away. This will ensure safety for others as well as proper care for your ladder.

If you need help tackling that springtime to-do list or any outdoor home repairs, we would be more than happy to help with those tasks.

Looking for more safety tips, check out our Interactive House and read about baby proofing your home.

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.

Save Space With a Garage Bike Rack

March 5, 2015

Bicycles have become significantly more popular in the past 15 years. According to CNNMoney, 60% more Americans bike to work than they did in 2000. And having a bike in a major metropolitan city is a fiscally smart and healthy option compared to driving. Especially when the median cost of a monthly parking spot is $541, like in Manhattan.

But bikes can take up a lot of space, and the more bikes you have between you and your family, the less space you’ll find in your garage. So whether you have a two-car garage or a studio apartment, a “garage bike rack” is a great storage solution for you and your bike. Keep reading to learn why…

Ian Sane Save Space With a Garage Bike Rack

Flickr Cred: Ian Sane on Flickr.

Saving space and keeping your garage organized is important. Especially during those cold winter months when having covered parking is crucial. Make sure you take full advantage of unconventional space within your garage by storing items up high. For  hanging bike storage, try using this ceiling mount bike lift to save floor space.

DIY Alternative: Save some cash by building your own DIY bike rack solution for your garage. See five fun DIY weekend projects for bike storage.

Alternatively, if you’re like many city dwellers without a garage, there are still plenty of practical indoor solutions for you as well. Mounting your bike on the wall is a great way to save floor space and display your bike at the same time. Many bicycle enthusiasts pay thousands of dollars for racing bikes, so why not display it for the work of art that it is? See here for some creative, artistic ways to show off your bike and keep it out of the way at the same time.

DIY alternative: Instead of paying for a wall mount, try building one yourself– it is a fairly simple and fun project. Click here to find the directions to a DIY wooden bike rack, costing only $10! And for an even simpler project, try mounting two of these Ikea tracks ($5/piece) on your wall and resting your bike there.

Whether it be in a garage or in your apartment, there are endless storage solutions for your bicycle needs. Get creative and you’ll be sure to find the perfect bike rack for your lifestyle.

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.

Poll: Who Is Your Favorite Handyman Character of All Time?

February 15, 2015
ceilingfan

Your wall has a new hole in it. The tub in the master bathroom really needs new caulking. Or maybe the fence needs a new stain. Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that you need a handyman.

But before you even pick up the phone, you conjure up an image of who this handyman might look like. Will Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor show up to fix my door? Or will I get an Al Borland type?

Many great handymen have been portrayed on television and the big screen. We want to know, who’s your favorite handyman character of all time? What handyman comes to mind for you?

Choose your favorite handyman from the list below and then share this poll with your friends!

(Sorry Ty Pennington fans, fictional handyman characters only!)


When you call Mr. Handyman, you know exactly what you’ll get: a fully-insured, professional handyman dressed in our signature red shirt. Although some of our technicians think they’re as witty as Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, we can’t guarantee any laughs. But we can guarantee that our technicians will be on time and the job will be done right.

Are you a real life Handy Manny? Mr. Handyman is currently seeking skilled service technicians in cities all across the country. If you’ve got the can-fix-it character, and the skills to back it up, check out our job openings at jobs.mrhandyman.com.

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