Fence with gate

A new homeowner found us on Yelp and contacted us because all the big fence builders in town had a high minimum charge for even a small fence with gate. We were able to get the job done in a day for a reasonable price because we don’t have the high overhead that a big company has.

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Creative wiring

There are a lot of ways to get power to something, but most of them are wrong, and for good reason. We were called to a customer’s house to do a little drywall and painting work when I noticed a cord hanging from a small hole in the ceiling. I remarked that an open splice like that was a bad sign and potentially dangerous so when we returned to do the drywall work we sought to properly terminate the wiring as well.

But as I pulled on the wire I revealed two unsettling things: one was another open splice that was just sitting above the ceiling. The other was that the original splice was not done with proper in-wall wiring; instead it was done with an extension cord and some electrical tape. We pulled out all the incorrect wiring and properly terminated it inside a new junction box. An inconspicuous white ceiling box cover finished the job off safely and looks a lot better than the cord that once hung in its place.

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Electrical fire

We were called to a customer’s house for a common complaint – the electricity went out while running the vacuum cleaner. But it wasn’t the usual blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. Instead it was a short in an upstream device box that caused a fire, fusing the wires together and destroying a receptacle in the process.

Upon inspection it was obvious what the problem was – a splice done with a crimp sleeve instead of wire nuts. Further, the splice was not taped at all so the splice was able to easily short against the bare ground wire and start a fire. We also determined that the GFCI receptacle (which is supposed to help protect you from shocks in wet areas) was wired in such a way that it would not protect any downstream receptacles. Thankfully the damage was little and we were able to fix everything (including wiring the GFCI correctly).

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While we were there we did further inspection and found many other boxes with the same issue. One splice showed signs of excessive heat to the point where it melted some of the plastic on the switch. A close call that was thankfully averted. This is why wire nuts are preferred over crimp sleeves and cheap electrical tape.

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Cedar Closet Liner

A customer in Berkeley wanted to finish off their closets with cedar to ward off pests and for the pleasant smell that aromatic cedar has. The planks can be run vertically or horizontally. We ended up installing cedar in three closets in this home. This job took us about a day.

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Rotten Woodsill

An old house in Oakland had a rotten window sill that needed some love. The previous “fix” involved a fiberglass cap to hide the old rot. After that failed the old rot got even worse.

We took out the fiberglass capping and cut out the rot from the sill. We cut a custom piece of redwood and cut it to match the pitch of the old sill. Some caulking and patching made the fix seamless. After primer and paint it looked as good as new.

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Babyproofing A Staircase

As parents of a 14 month we know how difficult it can be to keep a toddler safe and reined in at all times. When a customer in Piedmont bought a new home, she was concerned about her toddler getting through the open wrought iron guardrail. We supplied and installed durable 3/16″ acrylic plastic to retain the open and clean look of the space while safely keeping the toddler from falling through the openings. All corners were rounded and sanded for a smooth and safe installation. It’s also a sturdy installation that looks good and can be undone when the kids grow up or when the family moves.

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More Bathroom Fan Problems

This rental unit in Berkeley didn’t have problems with an existing fan, rather they had mold problems because of a lack of a fan. Minimum building code requires only an operable window in a bathroom, but often windows are closed or inadequately sized. Mold had begun to take hold on the ceiling so we were called in to clean the mold, prime (with a special stain blocking primer) and paint the ceiling with a washable semi-gloss paint with added mildewcide. We also installed a new bathroom fan with light where there was none before. The bathroom vent exhausted through the roof because there was no gable end for an easy exit. Three trades (roofing, electrical, painting) in a one day job; the perfect job for a capable handyman.

The tenant followed our work with a coat of paint on the walls after we left.

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Bathroom Fan Problems

Bathroom fan issues are a common call we get from customers. This El Cerrito customer had mildew growing in the bathroom closet which was vented to the attic. Upon inspection of the attic it was obvious what the problem was. The bathroom fan had no ducting attached so the warm moist air was venting into the attic space and making its way into the nearby closet vent. We also noticed that there were some dangerous open electrical splices which powered the fan.

For all the trouble that this poor installation could have caused (mold and potential fire from the bad electrical splices), the fixes were simple. We moved the splices into electrical boxes and added insulated ducting which brought the bathroom air to the outside of the house.

 

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Shingle Repair

This deck and porch area suffered some termite damage so we were tasked with replacing about half the deck boards and repainting them. Then we reshingled the front area as well as a small patch under the front light. A coat of primer and two coats of paint later and it was as good as new.

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Garage Organization

Customers in San Rafael had a garage which had gotten a little disorganized. Two jobs, three children, four bikes, five sets of skis…you get the picture. They wanted something nice yet functional. We sorted all the boxes and bins and moved them to clear labeled containers so they could easily find anything they were looking for. We got the bikes off the floor and onto the ceilings above their cars for extra space. We found workable storage solutions for their sports equipment, landscaping and general home tools. Built a workbench for small home projects, installed wall-mounted ski storage, and cleaned the entire space.

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