Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Gotta guy gets home fix-it jobs right

By Joy Kraft, jkraft@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Lou Manfredini wants to be your "gotta guy.' “When you ask someone if they know a guy who can fix your leaky faucet or running toilet and they say "I gotta guy,' it's a big help. I want to be that "gotta guy' for homeowners.”

        The Chicago author/renovator is earning that title with his second book, Mr. Fix-it Introduces You to Your Home (Ballantine; $24.95), a follow-up to his first publication, Mr. Fix-It's 101 Answers to the Most Commonly-Asked Questions About Repairing Your Home (Rare Air Media; $14.99).

        Mr. Manfredini will be answering fix-it questions and signing his book 7 p.m. Thursday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at Rookwood Pavilion in Norwood.

        To warm him up, we asked for some tips:

        • Do it yourself — but know your limitations. Ask yourself, “Do I have enough information? Will I create a bigger, more costly problem if I goof up?” If you try to replace a leaky faucet with no experience or knowledge, you may end up with a flooded kitchen.

        TV shows are inspirational, seeing a job done in a half hour. But the only home repair you can probably do in a half hour is change a light bulb.

        • Plumbing is the modern marvel of the home, but before you call for help with a running toilet, try adjusting the water level in the tank by doing this: Bend the rod with the float bulb at the end toward the bottom, or tighten the screw at the opposite end of that rod a half turn. You won't do any damage and you may fix it.

        • Electric work is one of the last things I want you to tackle. If you've got a problem — say the lights dim when the washer or dishwasher is turned on — you should have a qualified electrician survey your home and make sure you have a “dedicated” circuit.

        • Painting is a good beginner project. It's 90 percent preparation — taking care of surface imperfections with any patching, spackling, priming, sanding. Use good quality — not cheap — paint and materials, including brushes and rollers.


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