Tips on Preparing your Doorstep for Halloween

Fall Home

 

Anyone with kids knows the importance of porches during the Halloween season.  Along with having the best candy selection on the block, you want to make sure that your home is welcoming and safe for all those visiting munchkins.  While some may go as far as installing a new awning over the porch, I have a few, less daunting tips you can do to prepare your doorstep for Halloween.

  • Paint

The oldest trick in the book to refresh your doorstep is adding a new coat of paint to the front door.  Red is the storybook choice for this – very little red riding hood – but really any complimenting color to your home will do.  Some combos we like are black doors on white houses, dark blue on gray, bright yellow on blue…  (Side note – certain color combos look good but may have too many connotations to be doorstep appropriate.  Avoiding red and green, black and orange, and the colors of any local sports teams will give your new color more longevity.)

  • Hardware

Similar to how you would revamp an old dresser by installing new handles, you can update your front door this way too!  A recent trend in renovations has been to not only swap out the handle but to add in side brackets to give the door more of a rustic, barn-door feel.  Luckily for you all, Handyman Matters has curated a Pinterest board just for this!

  • Pumpkins

This is a fun step to incorporate the imaginations of your kids.  As you all know, Halloween is a time of pumpkin patches and pumpkin carving.  In my mind, the more pumpkins on your doorstep, the better; and the more carved pumpkins – well that’s even better!  Print out pumpkin stencils or freehand with a sharpie, this will help get you, and your kid’s vision under control.  Then, when you’re ready to slice and dice, you can take over the reins for the little ones, or show them how to safely cut along a line (cut away from yourself please!). For more tips check out this link!

  • Lights

Candles are that fire-risk you can’t live without.  I have had many conversations with other parents about how to avoid flames this year, or if you’re going to go for it – what is the safest way to do so.

Here’s the rules – if you choose to use candles, save them for pumpkins only.  They fall over inside a pumpkin and the flame will be kaput.  Lining an outdoor walkway or banister with candles is not ideal: especially if you want trick-or-treaters.  Kids are prone to knocking things over, and this likelihood only increases if there’s fire involved.  Instead of using candles for the rest of your porch why not install some spooky string lights, flameless candles, or change out your porch light to a colored/blacklight bulb?

 

When I’m struggling to check things off my holiday list, Handyman Matters has my back.  Anything from paint, to installations, to repairs.  To find a handyman in your area call 866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above.

3 Most Common Home Energy Leaks

Fall is all about nesting.

We begin to focus on cozy indoor areas, well lit work spaces, warm meals, and consistent home temperatures.  It is the seasonal hierarchy of needs.  However, maintaining all these layers can be costly, both financially and environmentally.  During a season of comfort, we don’t have to give in to a guilt inducing, energy bill.  Handyman Matters has the answer to making your home and wallet just that more green.Green House

  • Let’s Start with Lighting

This is probably the easiest thing in your home to fix.  The issue is the type of bulb.  If you have high watt bulbs that overheat easily – you are likely still using the original, incandescent bulb.  Bulbs that will save you energy but still operate at the same level of brightness are: halogen incandescent bulbs, CFL’s, and LED light bulbs.  Some of these bulbs when they first came out, gave off a harsh, blue light.  Luckily, these lights have had time to adapt from their original model: now coming in a soft, white light.  Although these options may be pricier than the bulbs you’re used to, in the long run they are not.  Energy efficient bulbs last up to 20 times longer than traditional bulbs!

  • On To Insulation

In order to make sure your home is properly insulated, we will be checking your attic’s R value aka its thermal resistance.  Northern, chillier states require a higher R value, while Southern states are typically warmer and can get away with less.   Before you measure the depth, you will need to cover up, as insulation is toxic.  Paper coveralls, a face mask, goggles, gloves, and measuring tape will be necessary.  Use your tape measurer to find the depth of the insulation, and then multiply that by the type of insulation you have.

There are 2 main types of insulation: fiberglass and cellulose.  Fiberglass is usually pink or yellow-y and lightweight, while cellulose is more of a gray and flat consistency.  Decide which one you have, and then multiply your attic’s depth by 2.5 for fiberglass, or 3.7 for cellulose.  The product of these two is your R value. We can then compare the R value against the recommended value for your area.  Here is a link to an area based, R value calculator.

  • And then, Heating and Cooling Appliances

There are a few things you can do to make you heater more energy efficient.  First, make sure you swap out your filters at least every 3 months when the appliance is being used.  Old filters cause air movement to slow, and the heater to work harder.

Secondly, sealing the ducts around the heating system will also help to improve your home’s energy efficiency.  You want to make sure your attic and walls are well insulated, and that the connection points of the ducts are filled.  Duct sealant and metal-backed tape can be used to cover and fill the connection points.  Additionally, if you wrap a piece of insulation around the duct, it will improve its ability to maintain your home’s temperature without working overtime.

Finally, programmable thermostats are great for stabilizing the weather in your home.  They keep the climate steady when you’re at home, on vacation, or at work. Your house can sit at a slightly colder temperature during the colder months when you are gone, and then warm up when you are home.

 

Going Green doesn’t have to mean overhauling your lifestyle.  It’s not a question of sacrificing amenities, but a question of preparation.  The easiest way to make the most out of your home’s efficiency is through proper maintenance.  Small seasonal checkups, like the ones above, will not only improve your homes efficiency, but it will also lower your energy bills, prolong the lifespan of your home, and preserve its resell value.

Handyman Matters can help improve your home’s energy efficiency!  Call 866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to locate a handyman near you.

How To Repair Drywall AKA How To Fix A Hole In The Wall

There are many reasons you might need to repair drywall (also known as sheetrock).

Do any of these ring a bell?

  • You hung one too many pictures in your hallway
  • You installed a coat rack, put a ton of purses on it, and pulled it straight out of the wall
  • Someone threw open the door, and it dented your drywall
  • Have a crack in your drywall? Read this post.

It’s OK, these things happen.  Don’t worry, Handyman Matters is here to help you fix your brand new hole in the wall. Depending on the size of the hole, you’ll need a few different supplies. We’ll walk you through 3 different scenarios:

If the hole is the size of a nail or screw

 SUPPLIES:Drywall

First:  With the drywall knife, smooth on a glob of spackle or drywall compound.  Let filling dry for about an hour or so.

Then: With a wet sponge or a piece of sandpaper, sand the surface of the patch until it is smooth.

Finally: Prime and then paint the corrected area.

If the hole is 1-2 inches large

SUPPLIES:

Here is what you will need:

  • A Mixing Pan
  • A Drywall Knife
  • Drywall Compound
  • Adhesive Wall Patch
  • Sandpaper/Sanding Sponge
  • Primer and Paint

First: Take your drywall patch, and place it over the hole.

Then: Use your drywall knife to smooth on the premixed drywall (do not sub for spackle, as this hole is too big).

Next:  After waiting an hour or so for the patch to dry, use a damp sponge or a piece of sandpaper to smooth out the patch.

Finally: Prime then paint the area to match the rest of your wall.

If the hole is larger than 2 inches

SUPPLIES:

First: Cut the around the hole with a drywall saw so that the hole is either a square or a rectangle.

Then: Measure the hole and see if it’s next to any studs.

Next:  (If there is a stud ignore this step.)  If there’s no stud, measure and cut two small planks of wood, around one and a half times the size of the hole.  Place the planks on the inside of the wall, perpendicular to the floor and parallel, on either side of the hole. With drywall screws, screw in the top and bottom of plank through the outside of the wall.

After:  Cut out a piece of drywall that is the size of the hole.  Fit it into the hole, and screw this new piece into the backers you have just created.

Finally:  Cover the screws you just made with drywall tape. Then you are ready to finish up. Apply drywall with your knife, let it dry, sand down, and then prime and paint.

Need someone to do it for you? Handyman Matters is here for all your large and small project needs.  To find a Handyman in your neighborhood call 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME, or enter your zip code in the box at the top-right corner of your screen.

4 Green Ways to Illuminate your Home

Dark evenings are a staple of the fall and winter.  The sun sets early, around 6pm or so, taking us from day to night much earlier than we’re used to.  But that doesn’t mean that we’re staying in.  Especially with events like Halloween and Thanksgiving on the horizon, the fall is a time of dinners and fun. Consequently, it is essential to have a well-lit entryway.

 Outdoor LightingSolar lights are the more efficient fix to this problem.  Not only will you save on your electrical bill, but you will also have a very easy installation process, as these guys don’t wire into anything.  Below, Handyman Matters has 4, green, solar ideas to keeping your house well lit, and your guests safe.

  • Step & Fence Lights

These lights are small, and mountable – which is why they are perfect for steps or a fence!

Step lights are cool, especially if you buy motion sensor.  Place them every other step, so as guests walk up, the lights gradually turn on.  Talk about a stairway to heaven!

For your fence, place them about 5-6 feet apart towards the middle of the fence post to light up the edges of your lawn.  This is especially great for houses near open space, a clever life hack to keep an eye on pets and steer away predators.

  • Lawn & Path Lights

Illuminating the path to your door not only helps guests navigate your entrance, but it can also add curb appeal.  These particular lights are installed through posts, and are a great way to highlight parts of your lawn.  Space them out in pairs around your pathway, or place them closer together to add a sense of enchantment.

Solar, lawn lights are great for strategically decorating.  Around an outdoor table, for a romantic, moonlit dinner; or near a particularly scary Halloween decoration.  Their solar feature makes them very low maintenance, as they come on as soon as the sun sets.

  • Porch Lights

Every main entrance into your home should be framed a light.  Porch lights come in a variety of kinds: our favorite being the solar, motion sensor option.   This light can be mounted anywhere, because it does not need a power source.   There’s also more decorating options as you are no longer restricted where you put them.

  • Flood Lights

Flood lights are the most essential lighting fixture for your home.  However, they are not meant to stay on throughout the night (they are very bright).  Motion sensor is the only way to go.  As people come in and out, the light will turn on, making your entryways more welcoming and your house more alert.

Installing flood lights can be tricky.  They are meant to be placed centered over the garage door, or towards the roof over the entrance. You will need a tall ladder for this DIY task.

Handyman Matters is here for all your home installation needs.  For more information, or to find a handyman in your area just call 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above.

Weekend To Do List: 8 Easy Ways to Organize your Entryway

Mornings can be one of the most stressful times of day: especially during the fall season.  Coat RackWhen you wake up, it’s ultimately a race against the clock to get yourself ready, out the door, and on the way to work.  If you add children to the mix, it only becomes that much more difficult.

While you may not be able to control things like inclement weather or failing alarms, you can control your exit.  Having an organized entryway makes finding keys, your bag, and other outdoor necessities that much easier. Handyman Matters has a few tips to making your mornings more manageable.

  • Key Hooks

How many times have you been late for a meeting or appointment because you couldn’t find your keys?  Having a place in your home for smaller necessities is a simple way to get out the door quickly.  Try this rustic, key hook from Pottery Barn.

  • Coat Rack

Why not put your most frequented jacket, next to your keys, on a coat rack? It will fight wrinkles and save time.  There are a few options for doing this.  You could install chic, individual hooks, a cabinet system , a bench/coat fixture, or just a classic coat rack.

  • Place for your Bag

Backpacks, bags, and purses can be trickier to organize.  It has a lot to do with the weight of the bags in question.  If your bag typical houses books, notebooks, walking shoes, tools, bricks, etc. you should consider using a shelf or a cubby instead of a hook to store it. The reason for this is – shelves distribute weight more effectively; whereas hooks, especially when they aren’t anchored, tend to eventually fall off the wall.  Cubbies are the easiest.  You can stack them, or place them under a bench, without having to worry about weight limits.

  • Benches

Benches are great for shoes.  You can sit on them while you put on your shoes, and store your shoes under them. Hollow benches double as storage areas for outdoor equipment and toys. If you don’t have the extra room in your entryway for a bench, consider turning a coat closet into an organized alcove (like this!).  Once you remove the doors, a bench and some shelves is all you need.

  •  Mail

Mounting mail slots on your wall is a great way to sort and organize letters among your family members.  It also functions as a reminder for those unpaid bills because in that high-traffic, visible area.

Handyman Matters are your home improvement and repair experts! Our professional craftsmen are skilled in over 1,162 different repair and improvement projects. Get your to-do list done today!

Fall Efficiency

Fall EfficiencyAs summer winds down, we are shuffled back into the rush of the year. School starts up once again, schedules begin to divert from each other, the weather cools, and we are left trying to keep up with all our renewed demands.

Although there is a lot to get done, fall can be an exciting time.  Handyman Matters wants to help you have a stress-free fall by providing you with a guide to help hone in your Fall Efficiency.

In the upcoming months, Handyman Matters will cover…

Preparing your Entryway for the Holidays 

Halloween, Thanksgiving, these are two holidays that require immaculate entryways.  We will help you plan, covering everything from curb appeal, to welcoming doorways, to organizing the first steps inside your home.

Entertaining

You may not be the Barefoot Contessa, but that doesn’t mean you can’t entertain like her.  Handyman Matters has the secret to creating a kitchen and dining room worthy of the Food Channel.

Winterization

Winter is just around the corner and we don’t want you to get caught off-guard.  Handyman Matters has the key to preparing your yard, reinforcing your home’s structure, and maximizing coziness as temperatures begin to fall.

Simple Solutions for Organizing

The secret to balancing schedules is organization.  Creating simple solutions to store your everyday necessities will help speed up mornings and reduce anxiety.

Creating a Work Space

When it’s cold outside, we know where you want to be. Every home needs a work space, whether it be for reading on rainy days, creating Pinterest crafts, helping your kids with their homework, or for working from the comfort of your own home.

Get the most out of your fall!  Stay tuned for more Fall Efficiency tips from Handyman Matters.