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How A Las Vegas Handyman Removes Wallpaper


remove wallpaperRemoving wallpaper is a nasty job. There are so much uncertainty that is makes any Las Vegas handyman want to refuse the job. This is how I get good results.

Wallpaper usually comes off in 2 layers, the actual attractive surface, and the adhesive backed paper. Sometimes it comes off in one sheet, but don't count on it.

You can buy a wallpaper scoring tool which fits in the palm of your hand. Swirl this around on the paper to cut tiny perforations in the paper. The more perforations the better, so don't be bashful. Once you have scored the paper you can apply the enzyme solution. This is mixed with hot water and applied to the wall, which dissolves the adhesive. Follow the directions on the package, but generally you use a sponge and wipe it on the wall, wait for a period of time (15 minutes is common), then apply it again. After waiting some more you should be able to peel away at least the top layer.

If all you get off of the wall is the top layer, then apply some more of the solution and begin the process again. Sometimes if you use a plastic putty knife, you can get a corner lifted and begin goosing the paper off of the wall.

Toilet Leak In The Tank?


toilet leakHave you ever heard the sound of water leaking in your toilet tank? A customer called on her toilet leak today. So I removed the toilet tank lid and water was running down the pipe in the center of the tank. This pipe is part of the flush valve (not to be confused with the fill valve). The toilet's flapper is also part of the flush valve. This was a simple fix of adjusting the float in the toilet tank.

The flush valve works like this: when you press the handle of the toilet, the flapper lifts off the flush valve allowing water to rush into the bowl. This creates a siphoning effect and pushes the waste down the toilet and out to the sewer. Then the flapper drops back down stopping any more water from entering the bowl. As water starts to refill the tank for the next flush, there is a little tube that runs from the fill valve in the corner, to the flush valve pipe in the center of the tank. This supplies water to refill and rinse the bowl. When the level of water in the tank reaches a certain level, the water shuts off. The fill valve will either have a hollow ball attached to a metal rod, or what looks like a doughnut that rides along the shaft of the fill valve. The ball/doughnut are hollow and as the water rises in the tank, they float on the water and shut it off at the appropriate level.

The customer today simply needed this level to be adjusted downward to shut off the water earlier and prevent it from running down the pipe. To adjust the rod/ball type, just bend the rod slightly downward. To adjust the "doughnut" style, you can simply twist the plastic adjusting screw or extend the distance from the fill valve arm. This repair should take under 2 minutes to troubleshoot and repair the problem...just perfect for a handyman in Las Vegas.

Home Repair Las Vegas


home repair las vegasIts time to hang your holiday lights, which isn't really a home repair, but is is a job for a handyman in Las Vegas, but you get to stand on a ladder anyway. Hanging holiday lights isn't really difficult, but doing it the first time takes a little more legwork than it will in subsequent years.

For a home with eaves, that is, an overhang, I suggest using plastic hangars, which can be purchased at a home center for less than $5. These are small clips that have a nail driven at an angle through them. Nail these to the inside bottom of the fascia board so they can't be seen. If you space them about 18 inches apart, you can get the cord to pull taut and all of the lights will face one direction. This is a very professional look. The other nice thing is that the lights are easy to take down, and next year you can hang them in half the time.

For a home without eaves, you can get the same look by using electrical cable ties, which cost about $3 per bag. These are the same type of ties that police officers use to handcuff criminals. Although the ties are plastic, they are very strong and can be used to cinch the cord.

Without an overhang, however, you won't have the luxury of choosing where to put the cord. If you hang it in the holes in the drip edge of the roof, just pull the cord tight, making sure the lights are facing the direction you want, then tighten it down. The only bummer is that when you remove the lights, you'll have to cut off the ties. If you can't find any holes, use clothespins to hold the cord at the edge of the roof tiles. Of course, the line will not be as tight, though.

Before you break out the extension ladder, the general rule is that the feet of the ladder should be placed a distance away from the wall of 25 percent of the height of the ladder as it rests on the wall. So, if your ladder is 10 feet tall, set the base 2 1/2 feet away from the wall.

A word of caution: When you're up on the ladder, keep your weight centered over it and don't stretch to reach the last hook. Instead, climb down and move the ladder over. I have a neighbor who broke his hip in a fall off a ladder; it could have been prevented if he had just climbed down and moved it.

Some people like to decorate even more and illuminate their garage door with halogen lights. This practice often results in several calls for help with electrical problems.

Typically, the only problems are due to circuits that are overloaded. If you're going to use a large display, spread the load over several circuits instead of just one. You'll know a problem exists when a circuit breaker in the main panel trips and shuts off power to the entire circuit.

The electrical outlets you'll use to power the display should be GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protected. This prevents some dangerous situations by shutting off power when a ground fault is detected. If you'll be using extension cords, inspect them first to make sure they are in good condition and well-insulated.

Bank Owned Properties


bank owned propertiesWe are all keenly aware of the many Las Vegas bank owned properties for sale. Many of these properties need some kind of repairs or rehab. The banks that own them want to spend as little as possible to make them sell.

We had to give an estimate on replacing some appliances that had been stolen from a bank-owned house. One of the items was a stainless steel double wall oven. As you might guess, these are not cheap. A builder-grade model typically starts at just under $2000.00.

We submitted a proposal and the soon after the agent called and said that the bank's asset manager went on Craigslist for Las Vegas and found a double wall oven for $75.00. Naturally, the asset manager was questioning our pricing. Now you might ask yourself how someone could sell such a beautiful appliance for a mere fraction of what it normally would cost. The answer is that is was a vintage 1970's oven in the most sought-after color: avocado green!

The bank moans because they sold the property "as is" and doesn‘t feel that it has to spend a dime, and the buyer wants a new kitchen like you might see on MTV's "Cribs". Somewhere in the middle the two shall meet. In this case the bank gave a credit to the buyer and closed the deal. Another day in the life of a Las Vegas Handyman.

Patching Vinyl Flooring

vinyl floor patchI tried to be a Good Samaritan by moving a refrigerator into my sister's new home, which has a sheet vinyl floor. As I was trying to maneuver the fridge into its niche, one of the wheels ripped out a good chunk of the floor right in a high-traffic area. Needless to say, she wasn't very happy.  

Patching vinyl flooring requires that you cut out the damaged area and replace it with a matching piece. The trick is to find a good matching piece.

In my sister's case, the house was new and it was easy to match since the builder left a little extra rolled up in the garage. If you can't find a match, you may have to cut out a piece from a less conspicuous area, such as the pantry floor, or under the refrigerator or oven.

Consider yourself lucky if the sheet vinyl has a pattern, such as squares with a border. You will be able to blend in the repair so that it is virtually invisible. If the vinyl has a pattern with no borders, it will be more difficult to conceal the fix.

Use a carpenter's square and lay it along the border of the pattern. Use a sharp utility knife and cut out the damaged section. The carpenter's square will keep the cuts at 90 degrees. As you cut, keep lots of pressure on the square to keep it from moving. If the square moves you will have to repeat this step except you will have to cut a larger area.

A popular pattern of flooring re-creates the look of ceramic tile with grout lines. With this pattern, cut down the middle of the grout lines.

Remove the damaged piece. You will use this piece as a template to cut a replacement patch. You can tape the damaged piece exactly over the replacement vinyl. Use the square and knife and cut around the patch. When you cut, remove the tape from that side and then replace it after the cut is made.

If you have to use a patch from another area of the glued floor, remove it carefully. You want to keep the patch in the best condition possible. You may want to warm up the replacement patch with a hair dryer to coax it out.

Remove the old adhesive from the floor. Use a paint scraper or flat razor and get rid of the old stuff. Be very careful not to damage the edges of the surrounding vinyl.

Use vinyl floor adhesive and a notched V-trowel to spread the adhesive on the floor. You will have to wait before you will be able to place the patch, so read the manufacturer's instructions on the can (usually between 30 minutes and 2 hours).

Once the glue has set up, press the patch in place and flatten it. You can use books to weight the patch down until it dries. You can also use a rolling pin (if yours is like mine, blow the dust off of it first) to flatten it. Wipe up any glue that squeezes out with warm water and a rag.

Finally, you can treat the seams with a seam coating kit (about $12). This will protect the seams from dirt and wear, and it will help the seams blend in with the surrounding vinyl.

You will need to clean the seams, then apply the coating. The coating will flow into the seam and protect it. It comes in different finishes to match different levels of glossiness of the surrounding floor. Let it dry thoroughly before you wash it or walk on it.

Las Vegas Handyman


las vegas handymanBeing a Las Vegas handyman isn't easy. Handymen are asked to do a wide variety of jobs, some of which they can do, and some they can't. What homeowners need to consider is if a handyman in Las Vegas should be doing some of the jobs they ask.

Many handyman services are simply people that are currently out of work from their normal professions. They are waiting out the storm until the economy improves to the point they can go back to their normal jobs. Consumers should be very careful. Many of these "companies" are 1 man shops that are not properly licensed or insured. They work (and sometimes live) out of the back of their pick-up trucks. If they fall off of a ladder at your home, your homeowner's insurance gets to pay the bill when they file a lawsuit against you. Many of them will say they are licensed, but in reality it is only a business license. Anyone with $25.00 and an ink pen can get a business license.

It is safest to use a professional company with a State contractors license. They are held to a higher standard than an unlicensed company.

Just because someone places an advertisement in the yellow pages doesn't make them legal or qualified to do the job. Additionally, approximately half of those yellow page ads have phone numbers that have been disconnected.

I am very aware of the current economic climate and the fact that consumers really don't want to spend money if they don't have to. But really, a roofing repair should be completed by a licensed roofing company. The economy has found some contractors doing work that is out of their normal scope, because their trade has slowed way down.

Some good advice is to use professional companies that have been referred to you. Friends and neighbors are usually a great source of quality, price, and service.

Pro Handyman is a licensed State contractor, insured and bonded. We have been in business for over 10 years and perform a variety of repairs and improvements for both residential and commercial. Popular jobs we help customers with are plumbing, including water heaters, toilets, faucets, disposals, and sinks, as well as doors, drywall, and much more.

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