If, as writer Flannery O’Connor said, a good man is hard to find, it is even truer that a good handyman is hard to find. Unlike many narrowly-defined professions, a handyman can fill a hundred different roles. The range of skills a good all-around handyman must have is extensive. Most people (men or women) who choose this profession think “outside the box” and draw on their varied skills to solve a myriad of household problems.
What Does a Handyman Do?
What does the word “handyman” evoke? Repairs, fix-ups, leaky toilets, broken light switches. But a handyman’s role is not relegated to these relatively minor tasks. From household carpentry to kitchen remodeling to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), many handyman jobs require specific training and skills. However, most people in the handyman profession can be categorized as “generalists” who have general skills and knowledge in household maintenance and repair.
Types of Handyman Professionals
Most handyman workers are independent, and their names are passed around from friend to friend. A personal reference, or better yet multiple references, is a good way to hire someone for home repairs. There is also the option of turning to a commercial company with a staff of handyman specialists--specialists in plumbing, electrical, HVAC, painting, and carpentry. The advantage of using such a company is that the company stands behind the workers, insures them, and guarantees the work. Also, if there are multiple tasks to be done, the company can send several workers with the specific skills for each job.
Additionally, there are professional organizations for handyman professionals. At least one of these organizations require an evaluation exam to test skills and insure a code of ethics before accepting a person into the organization. The organization then has a list of certified handyman professionals available to the public. This offers one more level of security about handyman’s skills.
From Attic to Basement
Every house, old or new, has its share of maintenance, repair, installation, and decorative issues. While some homeowners or apartment dwellers are able to take care of many of the odd jobs around the house, there usually comes a time when a household needs a more professional approach. Whether it’s because the homeowner just doesn’t have the time to fix that faucet that’s been leaking for months or because he or she just can’t face washing the windows, a handyman can be just the ticket to getting through a long "to-do" list. While there is no way to chronicle all of the jobs done by a handyman, here are some highlights from popular spots in the house.
The key to a more energy-efficient home starts in the attic. A handyman can add proper insulation to keep the house warm in the winter and cold in the summer. Other attic-related tasks include adding ladders and stairs to access the attic, and installing electric lights and flooring.
Because of constant use and water in a bathroom, it is a common place to need repairs. A handyman can repair or replace tile, fix countertops, install or repair shower doors and faucets, and install or repair fixtures. Routine maintenance can make a big difference in preventing bigger problems in the future. While it may be tedious to re-do caulk and grout, this is a perfect job for a handyman.
The kitchen is another high-use area, so it, too, requires more in the way of small and large repairs. Countertops and cabinets, floors, and walls often need attention. With the proper attention, a complete remodeling can be postponed. A good handyman can put on a new coat of paint, resurface cabinets, and replace faucets, and improve the overall kitchen appearance and function.
Keeping furnace and air conditioners clean is paramount to having an energy-efficient home that is comfortable in summer and winter. When it comes time for repairing and replacing furnaces and air conditioners, some handyman professionals can take care of these jobs, as well.
The yard and surrounding outdoor area is an extension of your house. It’s the first thing people see when approaching a house. So, don’t forget to include this area in the handyman “to-do” list. Building and repairing fences; fixing, painting, or replacing a front door; power washing the sidewalk, driveway, and even the whole house are just a few of the important handyman tasks to be done outdoors.
A Handyman As Partner
A good handyman can be an important partner in keeping a home in tip-top shape. The vital thing to remember is to try to do regular maintenance--on electrical, plumbing, and HVAC--to avoid major home repairs.