Pet-Friendly Doors & Entryways (5 Different Styles)

Taking the dog out can be a tedious task. Fur children can be the epitome of need, with their bathroom habits, exercise routines, and erratic sunbathing.  If the barrier between the outdoors and the indoors is wholly dependent on you, you’re likely spending a lot of your day opening and closing doors.

Why consider installing a pet door in your home?

There are a variety of benefits for pet and homeowner alike:

  • The pet door allows unfettered access in and out of the house, or just to certain areas of the house.
  • It enables a homeowner to be gone for longer stretches of time without worrying that the dog has access to the outdoors when it needs to relieve itself.
  • Dog doors allow the pet greater access to explore, play, and exercise, making for a happier, freer animal.
  • He or she will have more places to hide and shelter, in case of danger or hazards such as weather.
  • It also provides wider demarcation of protection again other animals, both domestic and wild.  There is mutual protection for both pet and person from visitors, deliverymen and salespeople.

They can also save owners damage and expense, as it significantly decreases the likelihood that a restless or frustrated pet will chew on furniture or have accidents within the house.

Ultimately, of course, pet doors are all about safety, for both you and your pet.  It’s a great stress reliever for humans and animals alike.

Help your animals enjoy the spring and independence by installing a pet-friendly door.

No matter what your entryway situation is, whether it be a screen door, a sliding door, a wood door… even a storm door with pet door is possible.  Explore your options:

Screen Dog Door

Screen Dog Door
image via ImprovementsCatalog

If you only want your pets in the back yard when your home, think about creating a pet door inside a screen door.  This allows you to maintain a barrier between the yard and your home only when you want one, and when you don’t, just close the main door! These kits are also fairly easy to install yourself – you just need a screen cutter and screw driver. One thing to keep in mind though is climate.  Do you live in a warm area? Or will having just a screen door between you and the outside drastically effect your homes temperature.  Screens are ideal for sunny weather areas.

Sliding Glass Dog Door

Yes, it’s possible.  With this option you can retain the heat of your home while also having the ability to block the doggy door off with the front screen.  Unfortunately, glass cannot be as easily altered as screen.  In order to install one of these you will need to replace one of the glass doors with a panel that already has a pet door installed.

Window Pet Door

It’s fairly common that a home would have a window close to the floor.  Many times these will be situated around a door frame, or near a deck.  This can be a more affordable way to install a pet door as you don’t need to buy quite as large of a panel as you would for a door.

Wood Dog Door

Wood Dog Door
image via VissBiz

A saw, a screwdriver, and a standard pet door is all you need to transform this entryway.  Measure out the size of the doggy door, cut around it, put it in, when it’s flush with the door fasten it in with screws.  That’s all you have to do.  It’s fairly DIY, and if you’re looking for extra protection, you can purchase an electric pet door that has the option to lock so you can make your home more secure.

Storm Dog Door

Pet Storm Door

A storm door with a pet door is going to be fairly similar to installing one in a wood door.  The main thing you want to keep in mind when adding a doggy door to something as heavy duty as a storm door is weather.

Not just any pet door will suffice in this situation, you’re going to want a storm dog door that prevents drafts, and something that can be locked and sealed.  Altering a door built for extreme weather necessitates buying a more durable pet door – otherwise you’re defeating the purpose.

Need Help Installing?

Whatever your pet door needs, we can find a solution.  Help your furry friends enjoy the warm weather to come!

For assistance installing a doggy door, or for a free quote, call 866-FIX-MY-HOME.

Pet-Friendly Additions For Your Home (Watch Out, They’re Really Cute)

At Handyman Matters, we love our pets.  Whether they are dogs, cats, fishes, pigs, bunnies, hamsters, birds… pets make the best housemates.

If you didn’t already know, May is National Pet Month in the US, and it’s our free pass to go a little crazy. We’ve decided to pull together a list from our Pinterest of our favorite home additions for dogs.  Forget repairs and home to-do lists, and come indulge in a little puppy pampering with us…

Dog Baths


One of the most functional additions to a home is the dog bath. A great mudroom addition that will keep your pups clean without all the maneuvering. Especially with the extendable shower-head and splash guard, this shower will save pet owners a lot of headaches.

Dog Windows

Pooches are curious creatures. Put them in front of a window, and they could be there all day. But there may not always be window of the correct height for your pup.

Do you have a tall backyard fence because you need to keep in a large dog? Consider a mid fence cut out.

Or maybe you have an especially little dog. Windows of normal height can be complicated to get up to without assistance.  Add extra light to your home by installing a modern, floor level window.

Dog Gates

  

There may be a portable gate, but when it comes to larger dogs, these gates usually fold under the pressure.

For persistent dogs, you will need a sturdier, installed gate.  Whether it be a pop-out wall gate, a hinge gate, or a dutch door, these barriers will help you divide and restrict rooms in your home.

Baseboard Drawers


Yet another use for these cabinet hacks.  Install a baseboard drawer to hold your pup’s water and food dish in place.  You could even use the cabinet above the drawer to store crunchies, chew toys, and other treats.

Porch Potty


For the apartment and condo dwellers out there, the best and most convenient home addition is the porch potty. It’s a faux lawn with a draining system that allows your dog to go without having to go on a walk around the neighborhood.

Dog Mansion

cape cod outdoor dog house

Really looking to go crazy?  Put this awesome outdoor dog house in your backyard. There are other smaller options as well.

For assistance installing your home’s new pet accessory? Give us a call – 866-FIX-MY-HOME.

How To Install Weather Stripping To Your Doors

handyman installing weatherstrippingIf air is escaping through your door, you’re not just losing heat in winter and cool air in summer, you’re wasting money on your energy bill and letting sound through.  Stopping the problem may be as simple as weather-stripping the offending area.  This is a fairly easy task to perform yourself.

Items You’ll Need

Measure Top Of Door Frame

Begin by first measuring the top of your door frame.

This is done by closing your door and measuring the top from one side to the other.

Mark this length on the new piece of weather-strip that you have purchased.

Cut Weather-Stripping

Next you will cut the weather-strip to the length that you have marked.

It is often best to first cut the foam piece with a pair of sharp scissors and then use a small toothed saw to cut through the wood piece.

Nail Into Place

Once you have the weather-strip cut, you will need to use 1.5 inch nails in order to hold it in place. When you put the cut weather-strip piece into place, you will want to ensure that the foam is positioned towards the door and is pushed up tight against it.   This ensures a good seal.

After you have the weather-strip in the right spot, use the nails to tack it into place. The nails should begin about two inches from the end to keep it from splitting the wood. All other nails should have about 12 inches of space between them.

Do not hammer the nails in all the way yet, just enough to ensure the piece remains secure.

Measure Side Of Door Frame

Then you will need to measure the sides of the door frame.

When cutting the side pieces, you will want to ensure that you also cut out a piece of one end of each side of the weather-strip in order to fit in the top weather-strip piece.

The best way to ensure that you have the tightest possible fit is to file down the end that you sawed. The weather-strip should be put in with the foam piece pressed firmly against the door. You should again tack the piece into place, but not all the way.

Check The Seal

In order to ensure that you have the weather-strip in the right place and that you will have the best possible seal, open and close the door a few times.  Watch to ensure that the seal is tight against the door and that the door closes all the way and latches. You can then complete your installation by driving all of the nails completely into the wood.

Completing this task can be challenging.  If you would prefer to have some help with this job, Handyman Matters is there for you. Contact Handyman Matters at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find a location in your area.

Tips On Making Your Home More Secure

Your house is your home, your fortress of safety.

It’s a place where you keep your most important belongings: your checkbooks, your jewelry, your heirlooms, your important documents and most importantly, your family.

Everybody has the right to feel safe in their own home.

The saying goes that a man’s home is his castle, and of course the first purpose of a castle is to be strong and secure enough to resist would-be intruders, and prevent them from getting inside.

There are simple things you can do to safeguard your house, most of which you probably do already: lock your doors, lock your windows and keep lights on when you are away.

But there are also more extensive things you can do, things that are sure to leave you, and your house, feeling a little bit safer.

The following are some tips on securing your doors, windows, patio doors and more in order to make your home and valuables as safe as possible.

Conduct A Quick Scan Of Your Yard And Entryway

  • Are the yard and pathways free of sight-line blocking branches and shrubbery?
  • What kind of lighting illuminates your property?  Is it motion-senor activated?
  • Do the exterior lights you leave on in your absence all-encompassing?
  • Do your neighbors have a good view of your lawn and walkway, to discourage lurking intruders?

Secure Your Doors

Doors are a burglar’s preferred method of entry. A deadbolt lock will provide a good degree of security for your front door. Poorly secured patio doors or French doors can be an open invitation for burglars to break into your home, so it is vital to ensure they have reliable locks. As an added precaution, you can get a chain fitted to your front door, which should offer some further peace of mind.

If you have a letter slot in your front door, the slot should be no closer than 16 inches from the door lock, to prevent burglars reaching through and unlocking the door from the inside. If you are worried about mail theft, fit an internal cover plate or letter basket (with the bottom removed).

Get a Door Viewer

A door viewer, or peephole or spy hole as they are sometimes called, is an important addition to your home, particularly if you have children. By installing a door viewer, you are able to see who is at the front door before opening it.

ring-with-door

Companies like Ring have come out with modern versions of the door viewer that allow you to see who is at your door from anywhere with your smartphone. This is great for kids as well, because they can’t always see through the peephole.

ring-smartphone

If this sounds useful, check out our Secure & Monitor Package.

Here are a few more technology-based home security ideas.

Get a Wrought Iron Door

When it comes to security, two doors are better than one. Installing a wrought iron door in your house, whether it’s in the front, back, or side of your house, is a great way to create an added level of security.  A simple wrought iron door gives burglars another obstacle to overcome, and another reason to leave your house alone.

Secure Your Windows

Windows can be vulnerable to burglars, so it is advisable to have locking devices fitted, particularly for ground floor windows or ones which lead on to balconies.

Remember to close all the windows whenever you leave the house, however briefly you go out for.

Additional Security

motion-light

Motion or heat sensitive lighting is a good way to deter potential intruders, and such devices are now affordable and widely available. This is a great form of preventative security, as it means that burglars will be less likely to want to try breaking into your home in the first place.

You can also make things harder for burglars by keeping your garden open and trimming back bushes, meaning that they have nowhere to hide. Also, remember to put away any tools or ladders that might be outside, as it is important not to leave anything lying around that may actually help the burglar break in.

Finally, don’t be tempted to leave a spare set of keys under a plant pot or doormat, or hanging inside the mail box –burglars know all these tricks, and these are the first places they will check. Once they have your keys, a burglar will have an easy way to visit and re-visit your house at will until you have the locks replaced.

Make It Look Like You’re Home

Another easy preventative measure is to make your home appear occupied. Leave the lights on when you go out for an evening, or consider using some home automation if you are going to be away for a longer period.

Are there still people who go on vacation and allow mail and newspapers to stack up in front of their home?  Amazingly, yes.

Yet is there any clearer sign to passersby that people have been away from their house for an extended period than a collection of newspapers in the driveway, or envelopes jutting out of a mailbox?

You can contact both your postal carrier and newspaper delivery person to temporarily stop their service, but a better choice is to ask a friend or neighbor to stop by each day just long enough to collect the paper and mail and keep them for you until your return.

Get A Burglar Alarm

Yes, a burglar alarm may seem so “1980’s” but security never goes out of style. Not only do burglar alarms secure your house when you are away, such as on vacation, but they also keep you safe when you are home. Just telling others that they are there, such as with a sticker in your front door window or a sign on your front lawn, is a great deterrent.

Replace What is Broken

One of the most common reasons people are burglarized and assaulted is because of things that are broken and not fixed. Time after time, assailants are able to enter a house through a broken window or door that no longer locks. Do yourself and your family a favor and don’t wait to fix things: fix them immediately and sleep sound at night.

Ever-Growing List Of Small Home Repairs?

Human beings are not only creatures of habit, we tend to be an extremely adaptable species.  For proof, look no further than your own house.

The odds are there are several small items in need of repair that you have put off fixing, and in the process, you’ve learned to work around the inconvenience they present.  In fact, you’ve put up with the situation so long that, most of the time, it doesn’t even seem like a problem any longer.  For example:

  • The wobbly towel rack that’s worked its way loose from the wall
  • The warped drawer that’s difficult to open or close
  • The sliding shower door that’s come off of its track
  • The ripped screen in the screen door
  • The cracked floor tile in the entryway
  • The “ding” in the wall caused when a piece of furniture banged against it

Without even thinking about it, you’ve become accustomed to stepping over or around the cracked tile.  You brace yourself in order to tug extra hard when you need to open the drawer.  You’ve stopped using the wobbly towel rack altogether.  You’ve moved a chair in order to conceal the damage to the wall.

You’ve told yourself that any one of these jobs is just too small to worry about right now.  You’ll get around to fixing all of them one of these days.  But more days go by, and instead, the list has just gotten larger.  You could probably go along like this for quite a while, finding new ways to live with the problems.  But, as with so many things in life, these situations don’t go away, or get better on their own.  It’s time to address them head-on.  You either need to set aside the time to handle the repairs on your own, or call in an expert.

That’s where Handyman Matters can come in, well… handy.  Their qualified craftsmen can handle more 1,162 home repair projects, large and small.  You tend to consider calling in an expert when you have one big job that needs fixing.  But why not bring in someone to tackle the half-dozen or more “honey-do” items that have been stacking up around your house?  In a single visit, a Handyman Matters craftsman can address the many little and mid-sized repair projects that have disrupted the orderly flow of life around your home.

Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or go to www.handymanmatters.com where you can enter your zip code to find the phone number of the office that serves your area.

Types Of Shower Doors For A Bathroom Remodel

A focal point of any bathroom is the tub or shower, so when planning a bathroom remodel, it’s important to take into consideration how you may want to “change up” a shower door to its best effect.

Shower doors primarily fall into two types:  Bypass doors and pivot doors.

Bypass Shower Doors

Bypass are also known as sliding doors, and consist of 2 or 3 panels that slide past each other on tracks situated at the bottom and top of a shower unit.  They take up less space, which is why they tend to be the most popular.

Bypass doors are also more of a challenge to clean and to keep clean, as the tracks tend to collect water, soap and other debris, creating an environment where mold and mildew can grow, so they require more frequent maintenance.  If you’ve had this type of arrangement in your bathroom for a while, it might be time to consider making a switch.

Pivot Shower Doors

Pivot doors—also called hinged or swinging doors—generally take up more space and therefore are generally utilized in larger bathrooms.  It is possible, however, to mount them so that they open inward, although this is often less practical.

A less commonly seen shower door is the rounded type.  This is curved glass, operating on a hinge, just as pivot doors do.  These work well fitted into corner spaces in smaller enclosures.

Most shower doors are framed, the glass surrounded by an aluminum or composite casing, and these latch into a track.  The more modern trend is toward frameless doors which require less upkeep and fit well into contemporary bathroom design.

Types of Glass For Shower Doors

There are a variety of choice in the types of glass available in shower doors:

  • Clear glass is most popular.  It allows light to penetrate and lessens any sense of feeling confined in a too-small space.
  • Frosted glass provides a stronger sense of privacy and is available in different colors, designs and patterns.
  • Rain glass is textured on just one side, smooth on the other, and offers the same features as frosted glass.
  • Tinted glass provides a sense of privacy and comes in such a wide variety of colors that it’s easy to choose one that will complement the décor of the rest of the bathroom.

Do I Need A Shower Door?

Some modern bathroom designs eliminate the need for a shower door altogether.  There are many wraparound shower ideas that incorporate block glass and stone or tiled walls separating the enclosure from the rest of the room.  These lend the bathroom a more open or expansive feel, and they are easier to enter and exit than through a standard shower door.

Need Help?

Ultimately, the ideal shower set-up for your home is the one that finds an ideal compromise between function and your personal taste—what looks good and feels right for your bathroom?  Consult with your local Handyman Matters office where their craftsmen are happy to listen to your ideas and share their expertise.  Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code at handymanmatters.com to schedule a service call or to get more information about our services.

Best of the Internet – Entryways

The entryway serves an important purpose in every home.  It’s akin to a waiting room, the limbo between being fully invited into a home, and standing on the porch.  It’s also probably the first thing that gets cleaned when unanticipated company is driving up the block.  What is the importance behind this room?  The entryway is your home’s first impression.  If all your guest sees is the first 50 ft. of your home, what conclusions will they draw?

Handyman Matters believes in opening up your entryways to positive interpretations.  We believe in taking this home element and transforming it into its once elegant standing as, the foyer.

But to transform an entryway to a foyer, you must consider a few key elements…

  • Space

Clear a wide doorway radius.  The more initial space, the less disorienting it will be for newcomers to step into your home.  You should try to have enough space to accommodate the special makeup of around 4 or so people.  Give your guests a second to chat and to acclimate in this open area before moving onto the rest of your home.

   

  • Organization

Like most rooms in your home, the foyer serves a specific purpose.  It is the first and last stop in and out of your home.  This means it should carry your necessary outdoor items, such as a spot for shoes, keys, jackets, umbrellas, etc.  Having a cubby system, a bench, or wall hangers will be key to getting your home organized, and at its most efficient.

   

  • Design

Similar to having extra space, it is important to not initially overwhelm your guests with design.  However, the foyer provides a unique opportunity to highlight paintings, vases, and flooring.  The key is to keep your foyer design minimal and then pick one aspect of it to highlight.

And don’t forget about lighting!  Organization is nothing without a well-lit room.  We love pendant lamps and chandeliers when it comes to lighting in your entryway.

   
Thinking about transforming your entryway into its best self? Handyman Matters is here to help.  Our craftsmen are skilled at large overhauls, and even small installations.  Give us a call today at 866-FIX-MY-HOME to begin enhancing your home’s foyer.

 

How To Choose The Right Doors For Your Home

Craftsmen_HMMSteve_7-25-2014

Selecting new doors for your home seems like an easy process.   You want something that is both attractive and functional, suiting the style of your home as well as providing both security and substantial insulation.  But before making that final selection, take a few moments to become informed about the choices available, and the advantages (and disadvantages) of each.

Exterior Doors

An exterior door is called upon to fill a more substantial function than an interior one.  It must stand up to the elements as well as endure constant use. Not sure if it’s time to replace your exterior doors? Take a look at the top 4 signs you need a new front door.

Traditionally, entry doors have been constructed of wood.  They are available in a variety of choices and colors and provide a quality, high-end look to your home.  However, wood is susceptible to deterioration and warping, and it will require regular maintenance—staining or refinishing—periodically.

An alternative choice is fiberglass, which can mimic the look of wood, but requires much less maintenance and offers better insulation.

Another possibility is steel, which provides good insulation and tends to be less expensive than wood.  While steel offers security and general durability (it won’t warp or rot), it can rust if the finish paint should get scratched.  And while it can be detailed, it will never attain the look of a wood door.

Interior Doors

Interior doors may be builder-grade hollow-core, or they can be custom-made solid wood.

Hollow-core is a fiberboard construction, is lighter-weight, and more easily subject to damage than wood.  It is less expensive, but will also transmit noise more easily.

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) doors don’t have any grain and are typically painted.  Because they can be routed, it’s easy to create designs on them, allowing them to have a wide variety of appearance.

Since interior doors don’t have to endure the changes in weather and season and they are generally called upon to provide privacy rather than insulation. Let your personal taste—and budget—be  the deciding factors.

Don’t forget about french doors. Typically used for office doors, they offer many benefits and look great as well.

Fire Doors

Most building codes require that you install a fire door between your home and attached garage, since the danger of a fire starting is much greater in areas where flammable materials may be stored, or where oil may drip from car engines.

Fire doors have ratings that are expressed in blocks of time (20, 45, 60 minutes, etc.);  they are made with features and materials specifically designed to retard the spread of flames.

These types of doors are typically installed on garages, but they can be located anywhere in your home. Your local building code may specify the requirements needed in your area – you should consult with your builder or carpenter to ensure you are following posted guidelines.

Once you’ve done your research and you are ready to proceed with the acquisition of new doors, call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or go to www.handymanmatters.com where you can enter your zip code and be put in touch with The Handyman Matters office nearest you.  The qualified craftsmen at every location can assist you with this task and any other repair and remodel projects you are considering.

5 Simple DIY Home Maintenance Tips

Home Repair

Here are a few suggestions that even the most inexperienced DIY-ers can feel comfortable tackling around your home.

  • 1.  Sluggish/Clogged Shower heads – Hard water can be a shower head’s worst enemy, since its mineral content will build up inside and impede water flow.  You can partially fill a sturdy plastic bag with vinegar and wrap it around the bathroom shower head.  Take pains to secure it with duct tape or twine and leave it overnight.  The vinegar will significantly clean out the deposits, and you will have a much better water flow.
  • 2.  Water Stains on the Ceiling – If your ceiling has just one or two minor water stains, you may be able to avoid re-painting the entire thing by trying this simple method.  Fill a spray bottle with a solution containing 10% bleach and 90% water and spray the spots.  Within a couple of days the stain will likely disappear.  This works on both flat and textured surfaces.  Note:  Be sure to wear protective eye gear when trying this!
  • 3.  Sticking Vinyl Windows and Doors – When sliding vinyl windows and doors refuse to open and close easily, it’s likely because debris has become lodged in the channels.  A simple solution is to spray polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) spray lubricant onto the contact points and then wipe them out with a rag.  PTFE is the same substance used in coating non-stick cookware.  This Teflon spray product can be purchased in any home improvement store or even online.  Caution:  Do not use oil lubricants, since they can attract dirt, as well as damaging the vinyl surface.
  • 4.  Filling Old Nail and Screw Holes – An old tip for repairing these holes, courtesy of Popular Mechanics, is to pop a wooden golf tee into the opening.  Then saw the tee flush with the wood’s surface, sand and finish.
  • 5.  Removing Toilet Bowl Stains –Once again, vinegar comes to the rescue.  Create a paste by mixing vinegar with baking soda and apply it to the stains in the toilet.  Allow the solution to set for an hour or longer, then scrub with a brush, and the stain should lift away.  Because it’s biodegradable, the vinegar and baking soda combination is also environmentally friendly.

Not all home repair and restoration projects can be managed as easily or as quickly as these.  For the more extensive and challenging tasks that need to be addressed, remember that you can always count on Handyman Matters.  Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME to locate the handyman nearest you.

Important Additions to your Moving Checklist

Most of us are veterans of moving from one home to another, having done it at least once or twice in our lives.  It’s always a stressful and involved process—usually more involved and stressful than we remember, until we’re in the midst of it!  And certainly, we’ve got most of the moving checklist down:  Begin collecting boxes and packing materials far in advance of the day; engage a professional moving service or the help of several friends with both strong backs and a willingness to help us tote our belongings.  A lot of the process is pretty straightforward.  But there are those challenging things that we don’t always consider ahead of time, and some of these can present pretty significant speed bumps in the road to getting your home relocated.

  • Have the right tools on hand

If you didn’t install your big screen television, large salt-water aquarium, home entertainment sound surround system or other features, it’s likely you don’t have the equipment or the expertise to remove them yourself without causing potential damage.

  • Tackling last-minute repairs

And speaking of damage, the odds are pretty great that in the process of getting furniture and other heavy or unwieldy objects down a flight of stairs and out of the house will cause some damage to the place you are vacating, whether it’s scratches on floors, gouges in the drywall, scuffs in the paint, or dislocated floor tiles.  And whether you’re renting or you’ve just sold your home, these are last-minute problems that are going to need attention before you turn over the keys to the next owner/occupant.

  • Hiring a Craftsman

Once you’ve established the moving checklist for packing and making the move, you may want to also arrange to for a craftsman come by to assist with the more complicated aspects of unhooking and/or disengaging the expensive and fragile objects that can’t merely be unplugged and carted away.

And if you don’t need help with that aspect of changing homes, you may nevertheless want to have someone standing by once the move is completed (at both your old and new dwellings) to assess and address the small damages done to walls, floors and doorways in the process.

Moving your family, pets and belongings is a big enough undertaking without these added challenges, and there’s only so much you can ask of either your friends or the professional movers you’ve engaged.  Having a professional home repair service like Handyman Matters added to your moving checklist can address some of these unplanned, unforeseen difficulties so that your transition can be that much smoother.

Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or check out the website at www.handymanmatters.com to locate the phone number of the office nearest you.