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So you can name the Final Four.
How about the VINYL Four?

I must confess that I have not followed the NCAA basketball tournament, and won’t be watching the Final Four this weekend. Frankly, it hurts this old handyman’s eyes to stare for hours at hardwood flooring made of unstained maple (with a tasteless high gloss finish, no less!) when these high-tuition institutions could EASILY afford an upgrade to a nice matte-stained oak.

But just because colleges no one in St Louis ever talks about never do anything to improve their properties, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either. Could these so-called institutions of higher learning be so busy preparing liberal arts grads for careers as Starbucks baristas that they haven’t noticed what’s been happening the last 50 years in plastics?

So, please allow Fix St Louis to serve as your higher learning institution, as we proudly present to you our answer to the Final Four – The VINYL Four. Below are the four best uses of vinyl in home repairs and remodeling, with “vinyl” loosely referring to any material made out of petroleum resin.

  1. Vinyl Shutters – If you have wood shutters that need painting or are falling apart, replace them with vinyl shutters. They generally cost only $50-100 per pair, come in a bazillion different colors, never need painting, and last “forever.” And I’d challenge any effete snob to determine they are not made of wood without touching them. And if they did, you’d be justified to scream at them for walking in your flower beds or being a peeping Tom on a ladder at your 2nd-floor windows.
  2. Vinyl Siding – I don’t care what those builders of higher-end homes say, many of whom claim that the best siding is made of cement reinforced with cellulose fibers, commonly referred to as “Hardie Board” or “Fiber Cement”. Handyman Science has never made a better siding material than vinyl. Unlike fiber cement, vinyl does not chip and it never needs to be painted. Yeah, every once in awhile vinyl breaks, cracks, or gets blown away, but Fix St Louis can always find very close matches and, if need be, paint to match the color. Incidentally, Masonite siding was also a breakthrough in its time, but only if you happened to be a product liability lawyer.
  3. Vinyl Decks – The use of vinyl in decks comes in 2 different forms, and honest people can disagree on which is better. Fix St Louis‘ deck refinishing preference is to neither stain nor paint a deck, but to COAT it with Sherwin-Williams’ Deck & Dock elastomeric coating. Unlike painting or staining, your deck won’t need to be refinished every couple of years – it ought to last 10-15 years. The other vinyl alternative is replacing all the boards in your deck with “composite” material, i.e. boards that are entirely synthetic. With today’s technologies, these look great, many exactly like wood, and they ought to last pretty much forever.
  4. Vinyl Flooring – You know how vinyl flooring, sometimes referred to as “linoleum”, was once considered downscale? I challenge you to visit your local Home Depot and look at the display of “vinyl plank” flooring. Yes, its wood-like or other appearance is totally fake, but it looks pretty much real and in the future will look even better. This flooring is waterproof, relatively indestructible, inexpensive to install, and has other good features like built-in padding.

So, there ladies and gentlemen are the Vinyl Four. Four home improvement products that last much longer than the materials they’re replacing – and much, much longer than the lousy brackets you chose this year. Next time, if you insist on trying to predict the future, think vinyl!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis