In theory, the cost of building-wide improvements should be less in a condo because it is spread out across dozens of residents, and the sheer scale of the project could lower the overall price. But it does not always work out that way. Condo board members are volunteers who may not be skilled negotiators or knowledgeable about construction. They may take the first bid they get, or agree to more work than is necessary. If complications increase the cost of the job, residents won’t necessarily know. “This is one of the potential downsides of a condo or co-op scheme,” said Eric D. Sherman, a real estate lawyer and partner in the New York office of Pryor Cashman. “Lots of the time, boards are under the gun. They’re not paid for their efforts, they take the first bid from the first contractor that they see and they say, ‘sign me up.’”
So last year, Mr. Hark and Mr. Larivee, who works in digital marketing, sold their condo and moved to a four-bedroom house, also in West Orange. They now have to mow their lawn and shovel their driveway when it snows, but when they had a drainage problem in the backyard, they got to choose their contractor and schedule the job based on when it made the most financial sense for them.
Repairs often mean simple replacement of worn or used components intended to be periodically renewed by a home-owner, such as burnt out light bulbs, worn out batteries, or overfilled vacuum cleaner bags. Another class of home repairs relates to restoring something to a useful condition, such as sharpening tools or utensils, replacing leaky faucet washers, cleaning out plumbing traps, rain gutters. Because of the required precision, specialized tools, or hazards, some of these are best left to experts such as a plumber. One emergency repair that may be necessary in this area is overflowing toilets. Most of them have a shut-off valve on a pipe beneath or behind them so that the water supply can be turned off while repairs are made, either by removing a clog or repairing a broken mechanism.
A 2018 HomeAdvisor survey found that homeowners underestimated the cost of fixing or updating just about everything in their homes. When it came to interior painting, for example, survey participants estimated the work would cost $734. But the national average is $1,744. One of the few items they overestimated was a new toilet — the average is $370, not $405.
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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.
If you have shallow scratches or nicks, hide them with a stain-filled touch-up marker. Dab on the stain and wipe off the excess with a rag. But beware: Scratches can absorb lots of stain and turn darker than the surrounding finish. So start with a marker that’s lighter than your cabinet finish and then switch to a darker shade if needed. For deeper scratches, use a filler pencil, which fills and colors the scratch. Or, try using a walnut to remove scratches in wood!
Sooner or later, every sprayed ceiling is going to get a water stain or a scrape. Spray texture in a can won’t perfectly match every ceiling texture, but it’s usually close, and a lot easier than respraying a whole ceiling. Before spraying, seal the patch with a stain-blocking primer, cover the floor and furniture, and practice your technique on scrap plywood or cardboard. Buy ceiling texture on Amazon now.