If you can’t see any telltale flow marks, and since the stain is fairly small, look at the underside of the roof for ‘shiners.’ A shiner is a nail that missed the framing member, in this case when the carpenter nailed the roof sheathing to the rafters. Moisture that escapes into the cold attic from the rooms below often condenses on cold nails. Sometimes you can spot this if you climb up into your attic on a cold night. The nails will look white because they’re frosted. When the attic heats up a bit during the day, the frost melts and drips, then the nails frost up at night again and so on. The solution is to simply clip the nail with a side-cutting pliers.
Even tasks that seem relatively small can add up. Consider the French doors that David Sievers, 53, and his wife, Ulin Sargeant, 47, installed two years ago to replace sliding glass doors on their two-bedroom house in Monrovia, Calif. The doors cost $2,000. But then they paid $1,700 for installation, $500 for a painter to restore the stucco and paint, and $1,600 for an engineering plan required by the city.
In 2009, there were national handyman service firms which handle such nationwide tasks as public relations, marketing, advertising, and signage, but sell specific territories to franchise owners. A franchise contract typically gives a franchise owner the exclusive right to take service calls within a given geographical area. The websites of these firms put possible customers in touch with local owners, which have handymen and trucks. Customers call the local numbers. Typically these firms charge around $100/hour, although fees vary by locality and time of year. In many parts of the world, there are professional handyman firms that do small home or commercial projects which claim possible advantages such as having workers who are insured and licensed. Their branch offices schedule service appointments for full-time and part-time handymen to visit and make repairs, and sometimes coordinate with sub-contractors.
The handyman image recurs in popular culture. There have been songs about handymen recorded by Elvis Presley in 1964, Del Shannon in 1964, James Taylor in 1977. There are femme-fatale TV characters who fall for handymen. Handymen have been portrayed in books and films, generally positively, as do-gooder helpful types, but not particularly smart or ambitious. In a book by author Carolyn See called The Handyman, a handyman is really an aspiring but discouraged artist who transforms the lives of people he works for, as well as having sexual encounters with some of his clients, and his experiences improve his artistic output. The book suggests handymen discover "the appalling loneliness of the women who call him for help" whose needs are sometimes "comic," sometimes "heartbreaking," and deep down "sexual". A 1980 movie called The Handyman was about a carpenter-plumber who was "good at what he does" but is "too honest and trusting," and gets taken advantage of by "women who find him handsome and understanding;" the movie earned negative reviews from critic Vincent Canby. Other movies have used a rather tired formula of sexy-handyman meets bored-housewives, such as The Ups and Downs of a Handyman, a 1975 movie in which "Handsome Bob also finds he's a fast favorite with the local housewives, who seem to have more than small repairs on their minds." In Canada, there's a television show called Canada's Worst Handyman which is a reality show in which handyman contestants try their best on jobs in order to not be labeled worst handyman. Home Improvement is an American television sitcom starring Tim Allen, which aired 1991 to 1999. On the children's television show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Handyman Negri was one of the characters residing in The Neighborhood of Make-Believe, as well as the neighborhood Mister Rogers resides in. Handy Manny is an American/Hispanic preschool television show that airs on Disney Junior and stars a handy man cartoon character named Manny. The Belgian comics and media franchise The Smurfs depicts Handy Smurf with traditional handyman's accoutrements, such as overalls, carpenter's pencil and work hat. Happy Tree Friends also has an orange beaver named Handy who is a handyman.
Ms. Artale in Westchester has a plan to fix the problem. Neither she nor her husband, Andy, 41, a program analyst, may ever learn how to repair a fence. But that won’t be the case with their 9-year-old son, Matteo. “When my son gets a little older, I’m going to apprentice him out to someone — for real,” she said. “It’s ridiculous that my husband and I don’t know how to do anything.”
Periodic maintenance also falls under the general class of home repairs. These are inspections, adjustments, cleaning, or replacements that should be done regularly to ensure proper functioning of all the systems in a house, and to avoid costly emergencies. Examples include annual testing and adjustment of alarm systems, central heating or cooling systems (electrodes, thermocouples, and fuel filters), replacement of water treatment components or air-handling filters, purging of heating radiators and water tanks, defrosting a freezer, vacuum refrigerator coils, refilling dry floor-drain traps with water, cleaning out rain gutters, down spouts and drains, touching up worn house paint and weather seals, and cleaning accumulated creosote out of chimney flues, which may be best left to a chimney sweep.
Another related issue for avoiding costly repairs (or disasters) is the proper operation of a home, including systems and appliances, in a way that prevents damage or prolongs their usefulness. For example, at higher latitudes, even a clean rain gutter can suddenly build up an ice dam in winter, forcing melt water into unprotected roofing, resulting in leaks or even flooding inside walls or rooms. This can be prevented by installing moisture barrier beneath the roofing tiles. A wary home-owner should be alert to the conditions that can result in larger problems and take remedial action before damage or injury occurs. It may be easier to tack down a bit of worn carpet than repair a large patch damaged by prolonged misuse. Another example is to seek out the source of unusual noises or smells when mechanical, electrical or plumbing systems are operating—sometimes they indicate incipient problems. One should avoid overloading or otherwise misusing systems, and a recurring overload may indicate time for an upgrade.
How to DIY it: Gently tug the loose part of the carpet to find the point where it’s still attached. Snip it off as close to the backing as possible and save it. Use painter’s tape to surround the repair area. Squeeze a heavy bead of carpet seam sealer (about $6 at home centers) into the run. Then fill in the hole with the saved fiber, using a screwdriver to press it into the sealer bit by bit until the area looks like the surrounding carpet (below).
When the kitchen faucet leaks, you can’t just call the super. Instead, you have to find a handyman willing to do the work — unless you want to figure out how fix it yourself. But that would mean spending half a day at Home Depot wandering around the plumbing aisle. Buy the wrong materials and you may be back at the store a week later, or calling that handyman anyway to fix your mistake.