Allen Norwood

How much do common home repair jobs cost?

Not everybody can be handy around the house. And there are lots of things all of us should leave to experts. But you will find this uplifting if you regularly complete household repairs: Your skills are saving you lots of money.

Here’s how much five typical repairs would cost if you had to pay someone else.

Prices are courtesy of Bill Almon, whose company is called An Excellent Handyman. He’s often sent on jobs through Charlotte-based HOCOA, the home-repair network. He’s one of the area’s top handymen, according to HOCOA owner Craig Madans.

Hang a ceiling fan: If there’s no wiring or other work involved, Almon said, prices start at $85. The big issue with most ceiling fans is proper support. If he has to leave your house and head to the store for materials, then install the proper bracing and electrical box in the ceiling, the price can hit $175.

Replace toilet fill valve: Price ranges from $100 to $130 for time and materials, which include a high-quality valve kit and flapper ball, along with braided supply line.

Repair leaking faucet: If he has to replace O-rings, and has them on his truck, expect to pay $70 to $75. If he has to purchase an expensive faucet cartridge – which can cost $20 to $80 – the total price can be $100 to $140.

Drywall repair: For any damage smaller than a 2-by-2-foot hole, the price is $100 to $150. That’s for new drywall and multiple layers of compound, which must dry between coats. If you want to paint it in three hours, which requires fast-drying compound, expect to pay $150 to $200.

Caulking a shower: This is a tedious, labor-intensive job. Removing the old discolored caulk and cleaning up with denatured alcohol, then caulking with bath-and-shower silicone is about $150-$160 for a 4-by-4-foot shower.

If you do hire a handyman, here’s an important tip that also can save you money: Make a list before he arrives.

Most handymen will charge an hourly rate, Almon and Madans say, with an hour minimum. If a chore takes just a few minutes, and you’d like the contractor to tackle other quick fixes while he’s there, you might end up paying the same total price. Almon’s hourly rate is $65.

“We love lists,” Almon said. “If it takes 10 minutes, I’m going to charge you for an hour’s worth of work.”

Read the contractor’s business card when he arrives, Almon suggests. It will list chores he’s equipped to handle – including those that ought to be on your list. “I get a lot of work from my card,” he said, “from people who had forgotten something.”

Oh, and it’s always nice if you clean the toilet before asking someone to work on it.

Special to the Observer: homeinfo@charter.net

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