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Customer Q & A for Mr. Handyman of Fairfax and Eastern Loudoun Counties

  • Can you do plumbing and/or electrical jobs?

    Yes we can do minor plumbing and electrical jobs.

  • Explain grout, thin-set and the caulk in reference to tiling?

    Thin-set is the glue that is used to adhere the tiles to the floor or wall. This is the most critical step to get a high quality look. Grout is used to fill the gap between the tiles. Think of it as a mortar between the bricks. After the grout dries, there will be a haze on the tiles. This should be cleaned within a day or two of the grout drying. Caulk can be flexible or relatively hard in nature. For bathrooms, the caulk usually goes around the shower door or where the two walls meet or along the tub where the tiles meet the tub. In the kitchen, caulk can also go in the corners of the countertop to make a watertight seal. One needs experience to use all the above three products. First time self users may end up getting it redone, if not done perfectly thus increasing the real cost.

  • Does ceramic tile require special floor construction?

    Standard floor construction of 2" x 10" floor joists spaced 16" on center with 5/8" plywood sub-floor and 3/8" plywood under-layment is suitable. However, more than 20 years' experience shows that a rigid, cement backer board is superior to plywood as an under-layment. A clean, structurally sound concrete slab is suitable and does not require additional under-layment.

  • Should ceramic tile be waxed?

    Do not wax glazed ceramic tile. Your tile is more durable than wax and will become more beautiful with regular minimal maintenance. A small amount of neutral detergent in warm water plus a clean rinse are suggested.

  • Should sealer be used on ceramic tile?

    On a glazed tile, sealer is unnecessary and should never be used. Some manufacturers of unglazed, natural clay tile, pavers or unglazed porcelain tile recommend a particular sealer. However, in most cases, a good penetrating sealer is advisable. It is usually invisible or provides a soft luster. Heavy sealers such as urethane are not recommended because of potential scaling or uneven wear.

  • How does the Tech Take Care of water leaks?

    This is explained through an example. Let us say on a exterior window, water is leaking and it is wet inside on the dry wall. The Tech inspects all outside and finds that there is a gap on the top of the window. He caulks the gap with Silicone Clear hoping that the leak will stop. It took him 20 minutes to do the job. Tech will explain what he did and plan to do the dry wall repair after it is confirmed that no more water has marked in, even after 1 or 2 rains. But on the next rain, let us say, water is still coming in. On Techs second visit, he re-checks his own caulking job which appears to be fine. His next logical investigation may point towards the sliding door on the upper level. Here, he finds that the water may be marking since the door was missing the flashing under the sliding door. This job takes a few hours and the time worked is charged. Again he waits for one more rain. Only when it is confirmed no more water coming in, then on his next visit, he repairs the dry wall and charges for the time worked. That way, you only pay for the Tech time worked. (Should the Tech have investigated above the window and worked on the door bottom flashing on the first visit itself and charged for few hours of work? May be not.) Because water leaks some times are baffling, therefore, any kind of water related work is not guaranteed. We do work on it in steps but charge for the time spent. Some other examples of non-guaranteed works are: 1) Water leaks from the roof. 2) Chimney leaks 3) Faucet changes and plumbing jobs. 4) Sky lights leaks, etc.

  • Can I use kitchen cleaners to clean the floors and glass door of my bath tub?

    USE OF CLEANERS: For the floor and the grout, use bathroom cleaners. There are many products in the market. TO AVOID FUTURE SCUM: For the glass doors, rub a light coat of liquid wax or car wax. Then dry it by rubbing it with a cloth. (Did you know that the visible surface of a fiber glass tub is just the glossy paint?) Be sure NOT to get any of the wax on the tub. It will become VERY SLIPPERY, when wet!

  • I did use WD-40 to remove adhesives left on my tub base. Will it harm the fiberglass?

    WD-40 is a very versatile product. It will not harm your fiberglass (or the paint surface). But clean off excess to avoid a slippery surface. OTHER USES OF WD-40: Protects silver from tarnishing; Removes road tar and grime from cars; Removes lipstick stains; Loosens stubborn zippers; Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill; Removes tomato stains from clothing; Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly! Use WD-40; Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging; Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell); Removes all traces of duct tape; Also, if you've discovered that you have accidentally washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and re-wash. Presto! Lipstick is gone! The basic ingredient in WD-40 is FISH OIL.

  • Wood-peckers are a nuisance for my wood siding. Any suggestions?

    If the area can be reached using a 4o ft. ladder then we can take care of the hole or holes, provided it is not a cold winter. Do not delay in getting it repaired once you see a hole. Installing a wind-mill with polished surfaces or sound creating whistles will help to scare woodpeckers away.

  • Suggest ways to get rid of unwanted black paint/sealer spots on my Trex deck.

    Stay away from using aggressive cleaning products. Using a water pressure may help. Try soap and water and rub lightly using steel wool and then pressure washing it, but not too close. Experiment on a hidden area using WD-40.

  • Why does my ceiling height matter when I want to replace a ceiling fan or a light fixture inside my home (or use of very tall ladder outside)?

    It is important to know what size ladder the tech needs to have and if the job requires two techs. OSHA requires there be two techs with 16 ft. A frame ladders and 40 ft. extension ladders. (Just for your information that, for a 60 ft extension ladder that needs to be rented for the customer, OHSA requires 3 Techs to be present. Many of the tall 3 or 3+ story houses (Example: Top of the modern end units of 3 story town homes) require use of 60 feet extension ladder when working near the top of the roofline. This increases the cost to the customer.) It is also important to inform us of the location inside your home where the light fixture or ceiling fan will be going. This is especially true if working in hard to reach or awkward areas, such as stairwells. This ensures the job is done right on our first visit.

  • I want to learn how to do some basic home repairs. Can I get help or can I help your Tech while he works at my home?

    Many local home center stores often offer free training/classes on various do-it-yourself repairs and improvements. If you ask them, they will teach you one-on-one. They also have a large collection of very useful books. For more in-depth training, contact local technical institutes. The insurance policy of Mr. Handyman does not permit your helping our Tech with any repair jobs.

  • Do you require payment in advance?

    No. You pay each day, at the end of the workday when you have inspected the work and are satisfied. Even then you have our Satisfaction Guarantee.

  • Do you sub-contract any of your work?

    No. All our own technicians will work at your home. Sometimes we do arrange for screened extra experienced help to supplement our Techs. The customer is fully covered and has nothing to worry about.

  • What is your policy on picking up larger trash for dumping it?

    If you have trash materials that will not fit in the van, for example, a used washer or used carpet or old vanity, call your trash company. Many times as long as they will be able “to pick it up” your own trash pick up FREE. If you would prefer that our tech take away any trash (as long as it will fit in their van) we will take care of it for you, For this service, we do charge on the Invoice, 1-hour travel time to the dump and $50 dump fee and some times lower amount if the trash is very small.

  • What can happen if I hire a handyman that is not licensed or not insured or not bonded?

    It has been found lately that scam contractors present credentials (license numbers, business cards, etc.) of other legitimate licensed contractors, even though they are not affiliated with these businesses. If you, the homeowner, check on the legitimacy of the business with the BBB, they check out ok. That way, the scammer has been able to pull off the first part of the con. The homeowner then, feels comfortable working with a "legitimate" contractor. From there, the scam contractor will try to get money up-front for work to be done. There will be excuses such as needing materials, supplies and such. There may be promises of getting to the top of the list, or discounts because their equipment is already in the area, if you act immediately and of course hand over money. Once the money is in their hands, you have lost. Exposure to unexpected liability. If the homeowner contracts with an unlicensed person or company, then the homeowner can be held liable for on-the-job injuries sustained by that unlicensed person's or company's employees. This does not seem fair, but this is the way the law works. Sometimes even homeowner's insurance will not cover this, all because the contractor is unlicensed. This exposes you, the homeowner, to liability you never dreamed of, all because the contractor lied to you about being licensed. Bonding is a type of insurance to cover the consumers in case an employee steals. That is why, we tell our customers that our employee will come in a marked van wearing the uniform and will introduce himself. If the van is unmarked and the person introduces himself as "Mr. Handyman", please contact us.

  • Handyman services in my area often charge $45 or more per hour. This seems awfully expensive. How can I get the work done for less?

    You probably cannot get the work done well for less, because the economics of contracting has changed over the years. For sixty five dollars an hour, you may be able to find "bargain" contractors who will work for you, but these firms are rarely licensed and insured, are far less likely to back up their work, and will probably be much more cavalier about returning calls and keeping appointments. Some Contractors will tell you $65 per hour rate. Ask them how much time will all your Projects take. Based on the rate and the total amount, you can figure out their “real” rate. It will be much higher than their verbally telling you $65. Such contractors lure you by casually telling $65 rate but make more money from you. Also, insist on getting information on their Liability Insurance, Worker Comp, Bonding and DPOR Class License. (You do not want to land yourself in a lawsuit, if the worker gets hurt on your property. We hear such stories very often.) So, if you are unable to find someone whom you can trust in your home, please keep us in mind and call us back. Many of the one time users of our service, come back to us later as our permanent repeat customers after realizing the pitfalls of hiring Chuck-with-a-Truck from the road side.

  • Do you repair garage doors?

    We can repair the door if it needs any carpentry work or the door panel work or molding or caulking or painting etc. If the work is related to the humming of the electric motor or the unit is dead or needs work on the side springs when special parts are needed, then you need help from garage door people, like Sears. Yes, our Tech can replace the remote batteries.

  • Explain Power Washing jobs and the charges.

    Items that can be power washed are decks, wooden steps, patio, porches, vinyl siding on all sides of the house and deck furniture. The job may take 1/2 hour to a full day depending upon the size. The power washer jobs are done preferably in summer. Gas and equipment charges: $25 for up to 4 hours or $35 for 4 up to 8 hours. Any oily deposits on the vinyl, require scrubbing first with soapy cleaners then power wash or alternatively double/triple run of the power wash nozzle.

  • Deck Staining

    We prefer to spray the deck stain few days after it has been power washed. All the deck furniture is moved away and the nearby surfaces are covered before spraying. Office will discuss the details based on the size of the deck and the stairs etc. Please read more about Deck Staining under “In News Papers”.

  • Mr. Handyman Bucks

    If a customer gets a new customer to Mr. Handyman in our service area, then a "Mr. Handyman Bucks" certificate is sent to the customer through whom we got a new customer. The "Mr. Handyman Bucks" can be used as cash worth $25 for the next service, in addition to any coupon. It is a way of saying thank you.

  • Outside Painting in Winter

    For outside painting in winter the recommended outside temperature is 50 degree for 72 hours. Therefore, it is suggested that you get your outside painting done in fall. That way you will avoid wood-rot from rain and snow.

  • Can I call you for small plumbing, electrical, painting and carpentry repair works?

    Each of these trades requires different licenses, different permits and is regulated by different codes and agencies. However, Mr. Handyman can do minor plumbing, minor electrical, small painting jobs and all carpentry jobs. It is one-Stop-Shop-For-You. You need to make just one appointment. One call does it all!

  • It is easy to get firms to return my calls for large jobs, but when I need small repairs done, I waste a lot of time leaving messages without any response. Why they do not call me back?

    This is because larger jobs are generally more profitable. We at "Mr. Handyman" specialize in small repair jobs from 2-hours to 2-days. We will absorb your stress.

  • Do you do commercial property work?

    Yes. There is no need to set up an account with us, simply call when you need our help.


Mr. Handyman is a Neighborly Company. Handyman repair services are one of the many home maintenance solutions available to you through Neighborly. At Neighborly, we are committed to being there for all your home service needs.