Boston Globe Handyman Peter Hotton and the contractor list at Harvey Building Products are two resources to help you be house handy.

Being a homeowner can bite sometimes. It seems like once you spruce one thing up, you are fixing something else; a never ending cycle.

I consider myself marginally handy. At least, more so than my husband. If a rusty hinge needs fixing, a shower fixture attached, or a toilet fixed, I’m the one usually running around with the screw driver. I’ve watched my Dad and brothers do things over the years, and watch my grandfather teach all of them. Yet, there are things that I cannot do. And, frankly, things I have no interest in doing.

In those instances, we call an expert. Or at least we hope is an expert. A roofer, a plumber, a painter, you name it. But we have had our share of lemons for sure. After an extended spell this past June when our air conditioner had been broken, and not one, but five technicians failed to come out and four technicians never gave us a quote, I found myself eight months pregnant and dying of the heat. We finally got someone to come out, give us a quote and fix the unit. A trifecta of service supertude. Until we had to call them back five weeks later. You know, when it stopped working again because they had screwed up…

So when my husband and I were gazing at our roof a couple of weeks ago and saw that time was ticking in getting it fixed, I dreaded the roofer search; the endless calls, the hope for a visit, the hope for a quote and the roofer basically telling you your roof will collapse if you don’t do XYZ…even though you just need a couple new shingles.

Angie’s List was one option for some national names to consider, but I was happy to hear about a free referral service from Harvey Building Products. They vet a variety of contractors and once the contractor passes the test – they get added to the Harvey database for consumers to utilize. Search by location and by type, knowing that this is a lot better than the Yellow Pages. The fact that Harvey Building Products are local to New England, and not retail, they focus on really building things.

I also learned of another service called the Handyman Hotline and Chat where you can call in to leave a message or dial-in to a weekly chat to ask questions about your house, regardless of where it may be. Boston Globe Handyman Peter Hotton helps you get the musty smell out of the basement (open the windows – its free, or get a dehumidifier) or how to deal with the condensation in-between your window panes (you need to reseal or replace – check your window warranty.) It ranges from hardcore handyman tips to simple fixes. Either way, it is a great resource.

It amazes me that so many of us are not as handy today as our parents or grandparents were. Yet, listening to the chat or even visiting a Harvey Building Products showroom with your son or daughter goes a long way to exposing them to the joys of homeownership or even a vocational calling. Spend an afternoon learning to swing a hammer at a free class at your local home improvement store too. Either way, get out, get learning and get handy.


Images are my own and are not to be used without permission. I attended a free lunch event where I learned about these services and received a goody bag. However, no compensation was provided and all thoughts, content, and opinions are my own.


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