Types of Carpenters

Filed Under: Maintenance Tips, Resources, Uncategorized    by: admin

Many people don’t even realize that there are different types of carpenters. It’s not really something you think about that much until you’re in the market for one. However, when you do stop to think about it, it makes sense that carpentry, like many professions, has different facets to it. Just like some doctors practice general medicine, some carpenters practice general carpentry. And just like some doctors specialize in a particular part of the body, like the heart or the kidneys, some carpenters specialize in a particular type of woodworking, such as cabinet building or woodcarving.

So what type of carpenter do you need? Well, at a broad level, there are two categories of carpentry: rough carpentry and finish carpentry. And the kind of carpenter you need depends on the type of woodwork you need.

If you’re building a home or doing a remodel that involves erecting interior walls, exterior walls, beams, or roofs (basically, anything structural), then you’ll need a rough carpenter. A framer is a common example of rough carpenter.

If you’re remodeling a home or you’re in the later stages of building a new home, you’ll need the work of a finish carpenter. A finish carpenter will add the “finishing” touches to your home that require more care and precision, such as wooden cabinets, window and door trim, molding, baseboards, fireplace mantles, stair railings, deck handrails, etc. Finish carpenters also sometimes specialize in crafting custom furniture or musical instruments.

And because it’s hard to imagine a situation where you would need a rough carpenter and not need a finish carpenter later, these jobs are frequently done by the same person. A carpenter might start off doing rough carpentry, and then study (often alongside a more experienced carpenter), the fine art of finish carpentry. When you can find one carpenter, or a team of carpenters, who can serve all your home carpentry needs, then your home renovation project will run a lot smoother.

And finally, if you’re a filmmaker, you may need to employ a scenic carpenter to build the set for your next big hit. That is, unless you’re filming on a boat, in which case, you might just need a ship carpenter.

Toilets to Save Water

Filed Under: Maintenance Tips, Resources, Uncategorized    by: admin

Toilets are by far the main source of water use in the home, accounting for nearly 30 percent of an average home’s indoor water consumption. Older, inefficient toilets also happen to be a major source of wasted water in many homes. Replacing these toilets with a low-flow would save nearly 11 gallons per toilet in your home every day!

Recent advancements have allowed toilets to use 20 percent less water than the current federal standard, while still providing equal or superior performance.

Over the course of your lifetime, you will likely flush the toilet nearly 140,000 times. If you replace older, existing toilets with low-flush models, you can save 4,000 gallons per year with this simpler, greener choice.

And Price?

Low-flush toilets are available at a wide variety of price points and a broad range of styles. EPA estimates that a family of four that replaces its home’s older toilets with low-flush models will, on average, save more than $90 per year in reduced water utility bills, and $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilets.

Additionally, in many areas, utilities and Government offer rebates and vouchers that can lower the price of a low-flush toilet.

Whether remodeling a bathroom, starting construction of a new home, or simply replacing an old, leaky toilet that is wasting money and water, installing a low-flow toilet is a high-performance, water-efficient option worth considering. If every American home with older, inefficient toilets replaced them with newer low-flow toilets, we would save nearly 640 billion gallons of water per year, equal to more than two weeks of flow over Niagara Falls!

Why Is Saving Water Important?

Filed Under: Maintenance Tips, Resources, Uncategorized    by: admin

Why Is Saving Water Important?

Across the country, our growing population is putting stress on available water supplies. Between 1950 and 2000, the U.S. population nearly doubled while the public demand for water more than tripled! Americans now use an average of 100 gallons of water each day—enough to fill 1,600 drinking glasses! This increased demand has put additional stress on water supplies and distribution systems, threatening both human health and the environment.

There’s a reason that water has become a national priority. A recent government survey showed at least 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013. But by using water more efficiently, we can help preserve water supplies for future generations, save money, and protect the environment.

The Ultimate Handyman is making it easier to identify water-efficient products and practices.

Check out our website to learn a little more about the daily impact your water use can have and how small actions can have a big impact.

Dry Rot Repair

Filed Under: Maintenance Tips, Resources    by: admin

Dealing With Wood Decay:dryrot repair carpentry-22

The first and most important thing to do once decay is discovered is to figure out where the water is coming from.

Check for the obvious – roof and plumbing leaks, and missing or punctured flashing. Look for stains and drip tracks. Are eaves wide enough to prevent water from cascading down sidewall’s? Are gutters poorly maintained or missing? Do finish grades slope towards or away from the foundation? Are foundation cracks admitting water? Is untreated wood in direct contact with concrete, masonry, or soil? Check to see if crawl spaces have soil covers, and if venting and/or insulation is present, adequate, and properly placed. The same goes for attics. Peeling and blistering paint often signal inadequate interior ventilation, or a missing vapor retarder. Water stains on framing and sheathing inside walls suggest condensation. Remember that to make the remedy permanent, you’ve got to cure the disease -water infiltration, not just treat the symptoms- mildew, mold, and decay.

Once the source of water has been eliminated, remove as much decayed wood as is practical and economical.

This is especially important with girders, columns, and other critical members whose load-carrying ability may have been compromised. There’s no known way of accurately determining the remaining strength of decayed wood left in place. Cut back rotted members to sound wood, keeping in mind that difficult-to-detect incipient decay can extend well beyond visibly rotted areas. When a partially decayed structural member can’t be replaced, reinforce it with a “sister” anchored to sound wood. Decayed wood absorbs and holds water more readily than sound wood, so let rotted areas of members not removed dry out before making repairs and closing in. Otherwise, you’re just adding fuel to the slow fire.

In damp crawl spaces or other places where water is likely to appear, replace decayed members with preservative treated wood. The major model building code agencies -BOCAI, ICBO, and SBCCI- require that treated wood be used for sills and sleepers on concrete or masonry in ground contact, for joists within 18 in. of the ground, for girders within 12 in. of the ground, and for columns embedded in the ground supporting permanent structures.

dry rot stairs step association monterrey-11

In-place treatment with borates

Dormant fungi can be reactivated when dry, infected wood is re wetted. Consider treating infected, but otherwise serviceable wood left in place with a water-borne borax-based preservative that will not only kill active fungi, but guard against future infection as well.
An effective homemade version of Bora-Care is “HERE”

Borates have low toxicity to humans and are even approved for interior use in food processing plants. They don’t affect wood’s strength, color, or finish ability, don’t corrode fasteners, and don’t outgas vapors. Widely used in treating new timbers for log homes, they’re the preservative of choice for remedial treatment of wood in service. Because of the decay hazard posed whenever wood bears on concrete or masonry, solid borate rods are often inserted into holes bored near contact areas. Should wood ever get wet, the rods dissolve and ward off infection. Infected wood can be treated with
Boric Acid an extremely effective cure for a multitude of problems including control of wood rot in homes and boats and it is natures insecticide for control of fleas, roaches, termites, ants, spiders and many other household pests.

Before any repairs or replacement of damaged wood is started,
I recommend a through treatment of damaged areas with Boric Acid to eliminate future problems and stop the spreading of the fungi.

Epoxy repair of decayed wood

Sometimes replacing rotted wood isn’t an option. In conserving historic buildings, for example, the goal is to preserve as much of the original “architectural fabric” as possible. Stabilizing deteriorated wood with epoxy is often the only choice. Epoxies consist of resin and hardener that are mixed just before use. Liquids for injection and spatula-applied pastes are available. After curing, epoxy-stabilized wood can be shaped with regular woodworking tools and painted. Epoxies are useful for consolidating rotted wood, restoring lost portions of molding’s and carvings, and for strengthening weakened structural members. In the last case, they’re used to bond concealed metal reinforcement inside holes or channels cut into hidden faces. Epoxies aren’t preservatives and won’t stop existing decay or prevent future infection. They can be tricky to use; follow the manufacturer’s mixing, application, and safety instructions to the letter.

Heating and Cooling System Maintenance

Filed Under: Maintenance Tips    by: admin

Air conditioners, furnaces, and heat pumps also known as HVAC, help regulate the temperature in your home and make it more comfortable. To ensure that your heating and cooling systems remain effective and efficient, regular maintenance is needed. Preventative checkups may also prolong the life of your systems. Maintenance requirements vary depending on the type of system, so it is best to consult your owner s manual.

The Ultimate handyman does HVAC work in Los Angeles

General suggested maintenance includes:

  • Inspecting air filters monthly during seasons of peak use and replacing or cleaning dirty filters.
  • Checking for disconnected or crushed ductwork. Disconnected ducts can result in heated/cooled air being distributed outside or in areas of the house where it is not needed. Crushed ducts restrict airflow and reduce system efficiency.
  • Sealing duct leaks and insulating ducts to reduce energy loss.
  • Clearing away weeds and debris around outside air-conditioning or heat pump units. Air should circulate freely around the unit.
  • Hiring a professional heating and air-conditioning technician to inspect your home’s heating and cooling systems for proper functioning prior to the season of use (that is, air-conditioning should be inspected in the spring, and furnace should be checked in the fall).


Buying a New Heating and Cooling System

Choosing a new heating or cooling system can be daunting. However, by doing your homework and talking to licensed heating and cooling professionals, upgrading cooling and heating systems can make your home more comfortable and reduce energy costs.

Tips to remember when purchasing a new system:

  • If your heating or cooling system is 15 years or older, purchasing new equipment may be more energy-efficient and save money over the long run.
  • The type of system you choose will depend on the local climate, size of the home, the amount of home insulation, and the heating/cooling usage patterns.
  • Look for systems that carry the ENERGY STAR label.
  • Air-conditioning units are rated by their seasonal energy-efficiency ratio (SEER). The higher the rating the more efficient the unit. A unit is considered high efficiency when its SEER ratio is 13 or greater.
  • Furnaces are rated by annual fuel-utilization efficiency (AFUE). High-efficiency units have AFUE ratings above 90 percent.
  • If choosing an air-source heat pump, which combines cooling and heating, look for one with a SEER of 13 or greater and a heating season performance factor (HSPF) of 7 or greater.


Need someone to check out your HVAC unit? The Ultimate Handyman can help! We do repairs and maintenance on your exisitng HVAC units and we also do new installations. Just give us a call at (323) 651-0635 or email us.

You can also check us out on the web at:


Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Home

Filed Under: Maintenance Tips    by: admin


Spring tips

  • Replace your furnace filter
  • Clean the kitchen exhaust hood and air filter
  • Check your electrical system
  • Always have a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible.
  • Make sure the light bulbs in all your fixtures are the correct wattage
  • Review your fire escape plan with your family
  • Consider installing a lightning protection system on your home
  • Protect all your electrical appliances from power surges and lightning
  • Have a professional air conditioning contractor inspect and maintain your system as recommended by the manufacturer
  • Check for damage to your roof
  • Run through a severe-weather drill with your family
  • Repair all cracked, broken or uneven driveways and walks to help provide a level walking surface
  • Protect your home from sewer or drain back-up losses
  • Check all the fascia and trim for deterioration
  • Check your water heater
  • Check the shutoff valve at each plumbing fixture to make sure they function
  • Clean clothes dryer exhaust duct, damper, and space under the dryer
  • Replace all extension cords that have become brittle, worn or damaged
  • Inspect and clean dust from the covers of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Replace or clean your furnace filter.

It should be checked once a month and replaced or cleaned as needed. Some filters are reusable and are supposed to be taken out, washed with a hose and re-inserted. A dirty filter can lower the efficiency of the heating/cooling system, increase heating costs and cause fires.

Clean the kitchen exhaust hood and air filter.

Keeping this clean of cooking grease will help keep a stovetop fire from spreading.

Check your electrical system.

  • Look for burn marks at the main electrical panel; they can be a sign of arcing inside the panel, which can easily lead to a fire. Loose connections or damaged insulation can cause the arcing. Note: Only a qualified electrician should remove the front panel cover.
  • Trip and reset the circuit breakers regularly.
  • Remove any combustible materials such as paper boxes or flammable liquids from the area near the main electrical panel. Sparks caused by arcing inside the panel can ignite material stored nearby.
  • Check all electrical outlets for loose-fitting plugs they are an indication of a worn out receptacle. Worn receptacles should be replaced as they cause overheating and fires. Also check electrical outlets and switches to be sure they work properly. If any switches, outlets or receptacles do not work, have a qualified electrician determine the problem and fix it to avoid fires inside the walls of your home.
  • Install safety covers to help protect children from electrical shock. Any appliance or tool that gives even the slightest shock should be unplugged and checked by an electrician or repair shop.

Always have a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible.

Make sure it is Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed or Factory Mutual (FM) approved. Check the gauges to make sure they are charged and ready to use.

Make sure the light bulbs in all your fixtures are the correct wattage

The light fixture manufacturer recommends the correct wattage. If too high a wattage bulb is used in a light fixture, heat produced inside the fixture can lead to fire inside the fixture, ceiling or wall.

Consider installing a lightning protection system on your home.

Protect all your electrical appliances from power surges and lightning.


Have a professional air conditioning contractor inspect and maintain your system as recommended by the manufacturer.

Maintenance should include:

  • Cleaning the evaporator coil
  • Lubricating fans and motors
  • Tightening or changing the belts
  • Checking electrical safeties
  • Checking the drain pan for leaks
  • Testing the capacitors
  • Check the condensate drain
  • Test the crankcase heater
  • Calibrating the thermostat
  • Visually checking the wiring for potential short circuits

These steps can help decrease the chance of fire, save money by making the system run more efficiently and help prevent breakdowns.

Things you can maintain:

  • Check the condensate hose to be sure it is not blocked with algae.
  • Clean the outside condensing unit screen of leaves.
  • Listen for unusual noises.

Check for damage to your roof


Signs include missing, curling, cupping, broken or cracked shingles. Pooling or ponds of water that fail to drain from flat roofs may indicate low areas and inadequate drainage.

Repair all cracked, broken or uneven driveways and walks to help provide a level walking surface.

This will help prevent guests and family members from slipping, tripping or falling.

Protect your home from sewer or drain back-up losses

Read more at Wet Basements.

Check all the fascia and trim for deterioration.

These areas can become weathered and worn and may lead to potential water damage.

Check your water heater.

The Ultimate Handyman repairs Water Heaters

  • If you have a gas-fired water heater, check to make sure it is venting properly. Light a match next to the vent and wave it out (don’t blow it out). See if the smoke is pulled up into the vent. If it isn’t, have a professional inspect and repair it. Otherwise, carbon monoxide and other combustibles can build up in the home.
  • Check around the base of your water heater for evidence of leaks. If your water heater is over 5 years old, it should be checked monthly for any leakage or rusting at the bottom. If water leakage or rust is found, the water heater should be replaced.

Check the shutoff valve at each plumbing fixture to make sure they function.

Know the location of all valves and what equipment and water lines they serve. Teach all family members.

Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct, damper and space under the dryer.

Poor maintenance allows lint to build up in the exhaust duct and cause fire.

Replace all extension cords that have become brittle, worn or damaged.

The-Ultimate-Handyman-fixes Electrical-Issues

Exposed wires may cause arcing, which will produce heat and can start a fire. Care should also be taken to keep appliances and their power cords away from water or a heat source because this will damage the cord’s insulation.

Inspect and clean dust from the covers of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Need some help with Spring Maintenance? The Ultimate Handyman can help! Just give is a call at (323) 651-0635

email us!

Check us out on the web at: www.ultimate-handyman.com