WHAT IS A HALF-DAY PACKAGE, AND WHY DO I WANT IT?

Not everyone is familiar with this service, or why it may be exactly what you are looking for, so allow us to give you a clearer picture as to why this might be just what you and your home need!

With this offering, you can tailor a 4-hour visit from your local Handyman Matters office to tackle a wide variety of small repairs and fixes—whatever needs doing around your place!

Over time, it’s natural to have little household things break or stop working altogether.  Because these are often minor inconveniences, they tend to get put on a “honey-do” list, things to be addressed later when you or your spouse has the time to tackle them.  And we all know just how this usually goes… we just keep putting off the fix!

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It’s human nature to adjust to minor problems and to find ways to work around them.  There’s the kitchen drawer that becomes difficult to open or close; the cupboard door that starts to sag, or no longer closes all the way; the sliding door that no longer sits properly on its runner.  In the short term, we cope by only opening the door carefully, or avoiding using the drawer altogether.  After all, these are just little problems, and after a while, they somehow become “the new normal.”  It’s amazing how we stop thinking about these being issues at all… they’re just the quirks we’ve learned to maneuver around.

Now, stop and think about all of this for a minute…  Take a stroll through your home as if you were a guest or even a prospective buyer.  Take note of the little things you’ve been meaning to get around to fix when you have the time.  It’s likely you’ll be surprised at just how many of them there are—not just one or two, but a half-dozen or more things just begging for some attention.  For example:

  • Rips in the screen door or window screens
  • A fence with sagging or missing pickets
  • A cluttered, disorganized garage
  • A dripping kitchen or bathroom faucet
  • Shelving you’ve never gotten around to installing
  • Holes or gouges in the drywall
  • A faulty smoke detector that needs replacing
  • A grimy backsplash that has long needed replacing
  • A television or other appliance that’s been waiting to be hooked up
  • The shower door that isn’t closing properly
  • Peeling paint in the bathroom or laundry room

Okay, you probably don’t have that many things needing attention, but it’s likely you’ve got enough to take advantage of the Handyman Matters Half-Day Package.  It’s amazing just how many small repairs and problems can be addressed in a single 4-hour period.  In just half a day, it can feel as if your home has undergone an entire facelift.

So rather than continue to add small projects to that ever-growing “honey-do” list that never seems to get any smaller, give your local Handyman Matters office a call for a consultation with a friendly TEAM Coordinator who will listen carefully to you in order to be able advise you as to how we can best meet your needs.  And of course, the conversation comes with no obligation to book our service.

Remember, too, that if you’re concerned you have more projects than can be tackled in four hours, we also offer a Full-Day 8-hour package, as well.  We’re here to help you love your home!

 

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CRAFTSMAN SPOTLIGHT

The Craftsmen here at Handyman Matters put a ton of passion and pride into their jobs and are always seeking to help you love your home.  Check out the story and background of a few of our Craftsmen. 

Marc Vandendriessche – Lead Master Craftsman
Handyman Matters of The Woodlands

Marc joined Handyman Matters of The Woodlands in August 2017.  He is a 30-year career professional in commercial and residential construction.  Marc owned and operated a construction business for 10-years that specialized in residential remodeling and repairs.  Marc is extremely knowledgeable with home improvement projects and is truly a multi-skilled craftsman, mastering several trades including carpentry, tiling and drywall repairs.  Marc is highly skilled at estimating projects and customer service.

Marc Vandendriessche
Marc Vandendriessche

Marc is our Lead Master Craftsman and consistently performs above expectations. He is a master at multiple trades and accepts nothing less than high-quality craftsmanship. Customers request Marc’s services and will wait until he is available for their work. I rely on Marc’s knowledge as an owner in the construction business and am pleased to accept his input into growing the business.

As you can see from the below Rate-a-Biz & Google reviews, Marc has quite the following.

Aug 2019 —Mr. Marc Vandendriessche is very professional, friendly and did an amazing job (crown molding). I’m very happy and will use this service again

July 2019–Extremely Professional
Marc worked for me for 5 days on 4 separate projects and I have to give him an A+ on all the work. As well, friends visiting the house found the work to be outstanding. The back office billing is efficient and professional as well. I highly recommend this team for any project.

June 2019
Marc did a great job repairing/ restoring my wood entry door. He explained the process and used quality materials. The door looks new again. I will definitely call on Marc for future repair work.

May 2019–JUST AS EXPECTED
This was the third “nuisance” home project Marc has helped us with, and just as before, the work was impeccable. Marc is an artist with Bondo on water-damaged doors. Always on time, friendly, courteous, efficient, you name a positive adjective. Marc lives at the top of our “to call” list.

March 2019–Outstanding job
Marc was very efficient and knowledgeable of his craft, he understood exactly what I needed to be done and he completed it in a timely manner. Great quality work

April 2019
Marc did an excellent job for us. Professional and personable. He answered our questions and explained the hows and steps he took to get the job completed. Would recommend your company to family and friends.

Nov 2018
Marc is a great handyman, he had a reasonable solution for everything that was out of the norm. Very clean and neat. I would use this service again.

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Don Ingram- Lead Craftsman
Handyman Matters of Southeast Columbus

Don Ingram
Don Ingram

Don Ingram has been with us almost since the conception of Handyman Matters Northeast Columbus. In August, he celebrated his 5 year work anniversary. Since he first began with us he has been a dedicated and loyal employee who shows up every single day ready to give his best. He began as a craftsman and after two years was promoted to field supervisor. He served in this position for two years at our Westerville office. When we decided to open a second location we turned to Don to lead our new crew in Pickerington. He is a tremendous problem solver, continuous learner, and loves to pass any knowledge he has on to other craftsmen. We would not have been able to grow our Westerville office to the size it is without Don, nor would we be able to start a second office as quickly and successfully if it weren’t for Don.

Here are a few of the latest reviews-

Just the right craftsperson with just the right skills and attitude at just the right time.
In the process of updating old residence to sell. Husband didn’t want to install 3 faucets, smoke alarm, and didn’t have time to install 4 lights. There were other issues of concern as well. Don was the craftsman. We received the half day handyman special. Had a list of 7 different “to do” projects prioritized from most-want-done to least. Reviewed all with Don. Based on his experience he noted some as not necessarily a problem / needed (we’re not exceptionally handy). I asked lots of questions and he even told me how to install floor transitions. Want someone to come in, be knowledgeable, have experience, do quality work in a professional manner but not interested in listening to up sale pitches, unnecessary banter, or worker’s preferred music for duration of their visit? Want someone to concentrate on your tasks and not take calls arranging their next customer/project while they are on yours? Don and Handyman Matters fulfilled all those expectations. Would call them again and request Don again because of this excellent experience. He was just the right person sent at just the right time. Thank you!

Don did an excellent job. He is always very professional. Told me everything he was going to do. Excellent worker. I would recommend this company to anyone.

Thanks Don for a job well done
Don came a day early and arrived at our house early enough to inspect our issue and look for other areas in need of attention. He repaired the original problem and potential damage. We plan to use your service again for some electrical work.

Excellent work with Don finishing basement project a couple yrs ago. Just had Handymanmatters put in a custom shower. Don did a great job, good at cleaning up each day, time used wisely and I am happy with the overall project.

Love this company!
Don came out today to assemble a new swing set and remove our old one. He was prompt, courteous, did great work, and was patient with my nosy dog and very impatient five year old. We have yet to have anything but a stellar experience from Handyman’s Matters.

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Chris Cooper – Field Supervisor
Handyman Matters of  Johnson County & Kansas City, KS

Chris Cooper
Chris Cooper

Chris Cooper has been with Handyman Matters of Johnson County, KS since April 2011.  During his eight years with us, he has gone from Craftsman, to Lead Craftsman, to Field Supervisor.  Besides estimating and leading jobs, Chris is hands-on with projects that he has expertise in.

In his current role of Field Supervisor, half of Chris’s time is spent working on large projects as the customer contact and go-to for the craftsmen on the jobs.

The other employees look to Chris for his expertise and assistance all through the day on all kinds of projects! Another positive aspect that Chris brings to Handyman Matters is his ability to train.  During team meetings, Chris will put together demonstrations and trainings on anything from measuring for stair stringers, to wiring 3-way switches, to drywall patches, and so much more!

Not only do the other employees at our office appreciate all that Chris brings to the table, but so do our customers!  Below are a few reviews that highlight some of Chris’s efficiency, professionalism, and can-do attitude!

“Chris has been to my home twice and both times was extremely efficient and professional in making the repairs as requested. I would highly recommend this guy as he has the skills and know how to fix things right! I do want to make a suggestion and this is not a slight on him, the company might want to supply shoe covers for them to wear upon entering customers’ residence. On a scale of 1 to 10, Chris gets a 10 from me.”     —Charles L. (6/16/19)

“Chris Cooper was excellent performing a difficult repair in an efficient manner. He was able to solve every configuration and design problem and actually left the door assembly in better condition than when it was new. This is the guy you need to request if you need a construction related repair and in particular any repair on a storm door.”     –JD B. (5/7/19)

Great professional work again!
“Chris added to his crew to get our fence work done very well before the snow yesterday!”     –Dan O. (11/9/18)

Friendly, professional service.
“This was the second time I used Handyman Matters. I was pleased the first time and so contacted them again when several items were beyond what I could do. Chris arrived right on time and got busy with my list. Later he was joined by Daniel. They assembled a king-size bed, installed a ceiling light and fan, hung 6 window blinds, balanced the washing machine and repaired a broken hinge. Unfortunately, the bed broke the first night! When I called to report that, Daniel came right out and discovered the problem. He made the repair for no additional charge since their work is warranted.”     –Lorene M. (10/8/18)

Chris and Laurie
Chris and Laurie

Challenging Older House
“I appreciated working with Laurel Thompson for the contract negotiations. Chris was the supervising carpenter and met each of the technical challenges on this project. Experience and expertise were essential plus communication skills so that I understood what the best solution was as we progressed.

Would I recommend handyman matters…yes, with confidence that they will do a great job!”     –John Q. (10/3/18)

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Sean Gibbons, Craftsman
Handyman Matters North and South Denver

Sean Gibbons
Sean Gibbons

Sean started in April of 2018. He came to us after retiring as a former CFO for Nissan Corp.  He moved here to Colorado to be closer to his kids and extended family.  Not quite ready to fully retire and since his wife Sharon is still working, he looked for a part-time job that allowed him to use his hands, flexible scheduling and keeping his mind active.

At first, probably due to coming from a white-collar desk world, he struggled a bit with understanding the position and the industry.  However, Sean immediate latched onto the Brand and handling customers.  From that, he was able to learn more about the trades from other craftsmen on staff which gave him the rest of the tools he needed to excel in our organization.

Today, Sean is one of our main producers and is giving back to the rest of the team in ways that surprise everyone including himself.  His giving back is heavily centered around how to apply the Brand experience which has taught us all how powerful that piece of our model is to everyone and everything.  He is the perfect example of our Service Path.

To back it up, you can find that Sean has the most reviews submitted and there isn’t a customer complaint to this day on his work.  He represents the HM brand to the fullest.  He also has the highest in repeat customers currently on our TEAM.    His paperwork and use of Dispatch is always complete and accurate. Sean is now a full-time employee and proudly sports a company van.

We count ourselves so lucky every day to have him on the TEAM!

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Booking Online. It’s Easy.

No one has time anymore these days.

If you find yourself frequently saying, “Sorry, life’s just been so crazy lately” or texting, “I haven’t had two seconds to myself,” you’re not alone. Recent studies have shown with the shift in the work force to two working parents, there’s barely room for family time, much less tackling that list of small repairs around the house that just seems to keep growing each day!

Day or Night

As your home ally, Handyman Matters is here to make those challenges easier for you by taking some of those to-do items off of that list.  You can easily book all of your home improvements and repair projects online with just the click of a button—day or night!

Here’s how to make it happen:
First, prioritize the list of items you’d most like to have us tackle for you.

Once, you’ve made your list, visit HandymanMatters.com, where you can enter your zip code to take you to the homepage of the Handyman Matters office nearest you.  Once there, click on the “Offers” tab in the upper right-hand corner.  Once you’re there, you’ll see both our Half Day and Full Day packages.  The Half Day package provides you 4 hours of the services of a professional and qualified craftsman; the Full Day package gives you 8 hours.

By consulting your own to-do list, you can determine which of these choices best serves your needs, and plan accordingly.  Once you’ve decided, you can book your project online, 24/7.  It’s a simple and cost-effective way to arrange a visit from your local Handyman Matters office, and one less thing to keep you from enjoying some quality time with family and friends.

Visit HandymanMatters.com anytime and book your project online 24/7—when it’s most convenient for you!

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FIRE SAFETY & PREVENTION

Statistics can be quite alarming. But they can also be motivational, pushing you to take the necessary steps to make your home as safe as it can be.  The NFPA produced a report issued in December of 2018, outlining the devastation fires can cause.

Key findings were:

  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 355,400 home structure fires per year during 2012-2016. These fires caused an annual average of:

* 2,560 civilian fire deaths
* 11,670 civilian fire injuries
* $6.5 billion in direct property damage

  • Four of every five (80%) fire deaths and three of every four fire injuries (74%) were caused by home fires.
  • On average, seven people died in U.S. home fires per day.
  • Cooking equipment was the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries, and the second leading cause of home fire death. Smoking materials were the leading cause of civilian home fire deaths over the period, although this was not true every year.

Take the time to learn more about how you can protect your home, family and pets.  A good place to start is at the NFPA website. There are so many simple things one can do that can make the difference, literally, between life and death.

Consider how easy it is to:

  • Fire WeekEnsure your home has functioning Smoke Detectors. Test them regularly.
  • Change batteries out annually.
  • Devise an escape plan.
  • Choose a safe meeting point outside.
  • Practice at least twice a year.

Fire Prevention Week is a great reminder to be focused on Fire Prevention and Fire Safety in your home, but in reality, this is something that we should be doing throughout the year.  Dedicate the week of October 6th to implementing the steps above in your home, and then make it a regular practice to revisit these practices throughout the year so that your family can be ready any time if the need should arise.

AUTUMN OUTDOOR PROJECTS TO READY YOUR HOME FOR WINTER

It seems like it was just days ago we were setting out the patio furniture and pots of geraniums and petunias in anticipation of the summer season.  Yet, we blink a couple of times, and already autumn is knocking at the door. Of course, we still have a few warm weeks ahead, but it’s not too soon to conduct an inventory of those tasks that are best tackled before colder weather makes them more of a challenge.

Clogged Gutter_smallYou may have cleaned your gutters and downspouts in the spring, but another inspection is in order as more leaves and pine needles start to fall in the next couple of months.  You want to be certain those waterways are cleared of all debris before colder temperatures set in, causing back-ups that may lead to ice dams and damage to eaves and gutters.

Speaking of downspouts, consider adding extensions to these to allow water to drain further away from your home’s foundation.  Three feet from the house is an optimal distance to allow water to run off.

If you’ve got a lawn-irrigation system in place, plan on having it drained well before temperature dip toward freezing.

Trim any tree limbs that extend over your roof, and especially those near any chimney.  Clear shrubbery and bushes at least one foot away from exterior walls and the foundation.  This allows for better ventilation and helps to dry out surfaces and prevent decay and mold.

Inspect your walkways, railings, exterior stairs and steps and your driveway to make sure everything is in good shape and won’t present any sorts of hazards in the colder months when they may be icy or covered in snow.

If you have a snow blower, make sure it’s in good working order.  Now is the time to have it serviced if there’s a problem, rather than when snow is already on the ground.  And make a note to purchase fuel well in advance of the first snowstorm.

Inspect doors and windows for damage to weatherstripping and caulking.  It’s much more pleasant to re-caulk and to replace weatherstripping on a sunny warm afternoon now than it will be when the wind is howling and the thermometer is hovering around 32 degrees!

Many of the tasks listed above can be tackled by even those of us with minimal repair skills.  But for those projects that require a bit more expertise, or if you just don’t have the time to address even the simpler ones, your local Handyman Matters Craftsman is ready and eager to help you get your home and property ready for the colder months that are just around the corner!

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PREPPING YOUR HOME FOR A SUMMER SALE

Seasonality plays an important role in the housing market. Home buying and selling activities swell during the spring and summer months of the year, and trail off during the fall and winter, according to Housingwire.com.

As a homeowner, you want to get top price for your property. This means presenting your house in its very best light. It’s important to prioritize repairs and upgrades so that you aren’t spending money unnecessarily on things that aren’t going to provide a good return on the investment or even impress prospective buyers. Your goal is to have everything looking good without spending an arm and a leg in the process.

Your home’s exterior is the first thing buyers will see. If you’ve got a fence enclosing the yard, make sure it’s in good shape: replace any sagging or missing boards, and be sure there are no stains or chipped and missing paint.  Keep the grass neatly trimmed and add sod if there are brown or dead patches.  Porch decorations and furnishings should appear clean and new; otherwise, store them out of sight.  Remove weeds and trim bushes and branches.  Keep your driveway and your walks free of leaves, dirt and other debris. Plant a few flowers for added curb appeal.

Replace missing shingles and make sure your gutters, siding, and shutters are clean and in good shape.  Fresh paint on trim will go a long way toward revitalizing your home’s exterior.

Summer Sale_blogKitchens and bathrooms are big selling points in any home.  It isn’t necessary to buy all new appliances or to do a complete renovation, since it’s likely a new owner will want to put their own “touch” on these spots once they move in, but replace fixtures, drawer pulls and perhaps even cabinet doors if these are outdated, scuffed or showing wear of any kind. Consider upgrading your lighting, particularly if it’s original to the house. It can go a long way in making a room look brighter and more welcoming.

Study your bathrooms carefully, as though you’ve never walked into them before now, looking at them through the eyes of a potential buyer.  Make sure the grout around the bathtub and shower is clean and mildew-free.  If necessary, regrout around tub and tiles; it’s a quick and relatively easy procedure, and it will make a huge difference in the room’s appearance.  Polish away any rust or water stains in sinks, tubs, and toilets.  Replacing just the seat can make the entire toilet look new.  If the walls look dingy or faded, a good paint job will bring the room back to life.  As with your kitchen, give some thought to upgrading the lighting.  And don’t forget to polish the mirrors!

Make sure all wooden floors shine and all rugs and carpeted areas are freshly shampooed and vacuumed.  Hardwood floors remain the most popular choice among homeowners, but there’s little point in replacing your old carpeting—unless it’s looking particularly worn or outdated—since a buyer will almost certainly have his or her own specific choice in mind once they’re ready to move in.

Check to be certain that all the “little things” are working the way they should.  Are any doorknobs loose or difficult to turn?  Is the garage door working well?  How about the garbage disposal?  Make sure there are fresh lightbulbs in every socket and even new batteries in the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.  Wipe fingerprints and smudges off of the thermostats and light switches.  “The devil is in the details,” they say.

Many of these suggestions are things you can tackle on your own, but remember that your local Handyman Matters TEAM is always available to help with any and all household “honey-dos,” small or large.

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SUMMERTIME TOUCH-UP JOBS AROUND YOUR HOME

The warmer months lend themselves to a handful of household improvement tasks that can be accomplished with a minimum of fuss and preparation, still leaving you with plenty of time for pursuing more enjoyable pastimes.

For starters:
Ideally, gutters should be cleaned twice a year, in the spring and again in the autumn, freeing them from debris and clogs that can cause back-up and flooding in summer and ice dams in winter.  Cleaning gutters requires no particular skill beyond owning a ladder and avoiding unnecessary risks (it’s always wise to alert a family member or friend to what you’re doing before you climb up a ladder, just to be safe). Tackling this job in the spring allows you to also inspect for leaks and breaks and, if need be, arrange to have them replaced while the weather is still good.

Take time to inspect all of your windows, checking to see how well they’ve come through the brutal winter months, and, if needed, now would be the time to re-caulk the casings and frames.  This serves a dual purpose since it both keeps warm air out and cool air inside (and the reverse in winter, reducing your energy bills) and prevents rain and hail from seeping into walls, potentially causing mold or rot.

While we’re on the topic of windows, summer is the ideal time to wash them—a task nobody particularly enjoys–but here’s a tip for making the job a little easier and less frustrating:  Prewash the glass with soapy water, rinse and then wash again with a solution of 50% distilled (white) vinegar and 50% hot water.  Vinegar is non-toxic and naturally antibacterial and is great for breaking down the film that often forms on the glass.  Afterward, rinse with plain water and dry right away, preferably with a damp squeegee, running it from the top of the glass to the bottom.  Remember, too, not to wash your windows when the sun is shining directly on them.

Consider landscaping ideas that are both attractive and practical.  Well-placed trees provide not only shade but protection for your home against chilly wind blasts in winter and sun beating down on windows in summer.  Consult with your local nursery for xeriscaping suggestions, matching plants to your home’s soil conditions and those that require minimal watering.

Additionally, trim existing bushes and relocate plants that may be growing close enough to your home’s siding or foundation to cause damage.

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Finally, while this doesn’t fall precisely into the “simple and quick” category, keep in mind that summer is a convenient time to tackle interior painting and flooring jobs, since warmer weather allows you to have the windows open so fumes from paint, varnish, and glue don’t overwhelm you, your family, and pets.

You can tackle all—or just a few—of these suggested tasks and then retire to your patio or garden with a cool drink in hand, knowing you are enjoying a well-earned rest!

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Inspecting Your Yard for Hazards

With summer fast approaching, your family will be spending more time in your back yard, and you’ll likely be entertaining guests there during the warmer months, as well.  Now is the time to conduct an inspection of your yard.

Get Your Outdoors Ready_R2CFor starters, check your lawn and surrounding areas for holes that may have developed.  Not only do they present tripping hazards, but if they collect water, it can create an environment attracts mosquitoes or other pests.

Remove fallen tree branches and additional clutter that winter may have deposited on your property.  Keep grass trimmed and bushes pruned.  Check also for dangling tree limbs that haven’t yet fallen, but are likely to do so soon, and arrange to have them taken down before they can fall and cause injury.  If you keep a woodpile for a fireplace or stove, make sure the kindling is securely stacked and check to see that it hasn’t become a home for various critters that might pose a problem for your kids or your pets.  Remember, too, that spring is tick season, so take precaution by giving your dog a flea collar and checking him, your kids and yourself regularly after you’ve spent time outdoors.

Examine decks and stairs for warping and splintering that can cause stumbling or falls.  Check concrete slabs and steps for crumbling and loose sections.  If your deck has not been sealed or waterproofed in a few years, it’s time to apply a new coat to prevent rotting and other damage.

If you have an outdoor grill, give it a thorough going-over to make sure it’s still in good condition.  Take care to store combustible and flammable items securely and out of reach of children and pets.  The same applies to pesticides or any other chemicals you may have been using.

Finally, if you’ve got small children or a dog for whom the back yard is a regular play area, make sure the fence is in good condition and that winter and winter conditions have not left “escape areas.” If your dog spends prolonged periods of time outside, make sure there’s ample shade available for him during those hot summer afternoons as well as a source of water.

If you’re planning to do some landscaping and to add new plants and flowers, take time to check out the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website (www.aspca.org) which provides a list of plants that are toxic to dogs (including common things like daffodils, azaleas and more).  Before spreading mulch, consult the bag to make sure it doesn’t contain items such as cocoa beans (a frequent component of mulch) which can also be fatal to your four-footed friend.

Following these few simple steps can ensure that you, your family, guests, and pets will enjoy a safe and healthy summer on your deck, patio, and garden.

As always, when help is needed, look no further than your locally owned and operated Handyman Matters.  We are here to help you love your home.

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“Pet” Projects to do Around Your Home in Honor of National Pet Month

May is National Pet Month, so what better time to undertake projects around your home that will benefit not just you, but your beloved four-footed family members, as well?

At the top of that list would be installing a pet door, or perhaps replacing an older one that has seen better days.  Doggy doors endure a lot of use, particularly if you share your home with an enthusiastic, rambunctious canine who likes to make dozens of trips in and out during the course of the day.  Pet door products have grown by leaps and bounds in sophistication since their early days; the newer models are energy efficient and designed to stand up to rigorous use.  They include safety features that protect both your animals and your home.  Current models now allow you to adjust the door so that it allows entry from both directions or, when circumstances dictate, to allow your four-footed friends to enter from outside but not go back out once they are indoors.

Pet doors can be installed on virtually any surface: in brick, in standard frame walls, in French doors, screen doors, storm doors, cobblestone, and even cement.  Check out our partner, Hale Pet Doors at HalePetDoor.com to get an idea of the variety and scope of doors available for installation.

Mud rooms have been popular for several years now, and there’s a growing trend to incorporate a “pet element” to these.  Not only do kids and visitors track in mud and melting snow and slush, but dogs do the same.  More homeowners are adding a pet cleaning station in their mud room or near the back door that includes a shower pan and drain where muddy paws can be cleaned before your dog tracks residue through the rest of the house.  Experts advise considering your pet’s size and mobility before selecting the style of pet shower or tub, and recommend porcelain tile or stainless steel, both of which are durable and water-resistant.

Tired of having pet food bowls and dishes and food bags on display in your kitchen?  Consider installing slide-out cabinets for food storage and bowls when not in use. Some homeowners are opting for custom cabinetry that includes shelving with built-in dog or cat dishes that can be rolled out at mealtime.  Similarly, there’s a trend toward hidden cat litter box zones by converting entry closets into feline bathrooms or securing them under benches or shelving, where they are still easily accessible, but much less noticeable.

Are you thinking of redoing floors?  Keep in mind the pets who share your living quarters before you undertake this project.  Consider how much traffic—both human and animal—when deciding on new flooring.  Wood is a practical and durable choice but can scratch easily.  And, of course, carpeting can harbor bacteria and mold.  Tile, stone or slate flooring may be a better option to prevent doggy toenail scratching and damage, as well as providing for easier clean-up.

Heated floors (which tend to cost around $7 per square foot) are a great option if your household includes geriatric pets who suffer from joint or arthritis problems.  While this may seem overly indulgent (and potentially expensive!), remember that heated floors are great energy savers as well. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this type of radiant heating is more efficient than forced air heating. Therefore it wouldn’t be just your dog and cat who benefit from this type of upgrade, but, in the long run, your heating bills will, as well.

May is the perfect month to do an inspection of your backyard fence to determine how well it’s come through the winter months, and whether there are any spots that could provide an escape route for the dog.  Posts may have warped, slats pulled free, or nails may be sticking out.  Check for holes your dog may have dug, and inspect the latching on your gate to see that it’s still holding securely.  Consider installing something more substantial than a standard built-in latch; you might even want to look into replacing your old gate with a self-closing model to ensure that it can’t be left open.

Make sure you’ve provided ample shade for your dog so that he can be protected during the heat of the day while you are away.  Also, if you are preparing your garden and flower beds for spring, keep in mind there are a number of plants that are toxic to animals.  These include azaleas, lilies, daffodils, sago palms, some mushrooms, tulips, and black walnuts.  While they may not generally appeal to your pet, if bored or left to his own devices long enough, he may be tempted to chew on them, with disastrous results.

Celebrate National Pet Month by undertaking a few projects that will make life more enjoyable for you and your four-footed family members.  And, as always, your local Handyman Matters office stands ready to assist you with these or any other household repair and remodel projects you have in mind.

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GETTING YOUR DECK READY FOR THE SUMMER SEASON

As things green up and the air gets warmer, our thoughts turn to the summer months, and to sprucing up our yards and entertaining guests.  If your home has a deck, now is the time to tend to any repairs it may need, and to decide what kind of upgrades you might want to have in place before you invite company to your first outdoor get-together of the season.

The harsh colder months can take their toll on patios and decks, so begin with a preliminary inspection of how well everything came through winter.

Check all wooden surfaces for discoloration, which can be a sign of rot, mildew or mold, issues which need to be addressed immediately if they are found.  Look for loose or broken boards and any nails or screws that protrude.

Conduct a tour of your yard, walkways and decks as if you were a stranger, visiting your home for the first time.  As a resident, you may have become accustomed to the quirks and potential hazards that a guest to your home wouldn’t necessarily notice, so try to view the area through a newcomer’s eyes, looking for the places someone might stumble or trip.  Is there any uneven planking or are there other possible hazards?  Are there crumbling flagstones, bricks or other rock work that could cause an injury?  Is there something on which an unwary guest might bump his head? How well-lit are your yard and deck?  Install a few solar-powered lights along paths and near any possible tripping locations. You want to make sure that everyone who visits will be safe and can enjoy your hospitality to the fullest.

Reseal your wood, if you haven’t done so in a year or two.  Or consider a good power wash to remove accumulated grime and stains.  Once all of the maintenance tasks are out of the way, you can decide what new touches to add so that your deck presents a welcoming and comfortable place to relax. Power Washing_285

Old furniture can look new with the addition of a few throw pillows or cushions.  Strategically placed flower pots add a pop of color a nice fragrance.

String lighting not only brightens an area but lends it a look of enchantment.  Hurricane candles achieve the same effect; just take care to position them where they aren’t likely to get knocked over.  Tiki torches can illuminate an entire yard, adding to the entertainment space.

The sun remains high in the sky until late in the summer months, so provide ample shade with an umbrella table or canopy for you and your guests.  By the same token, the temperature drops rapidly when the sun does the same, so consider ways to ward off the chill.  Deck heating units come in a variety of options—table units, free-standing propane-powered ones, or electric wall-mounted radiant heaters.  You might want to look into adding a fire pit.  Fire pits add charm and atmosphere and provide a great gathering-around spot.

Rather than a portable grill, think about installing a stationary unit.  They’re larger, more attractive, and can generally cook more food at a time if you are entertaining a bigger group of people.

Finally, remember you are designing the deck for yourself and your preferencesAt the end of the day, it should be the place you want to kick back and enjoy yourself, incorporating those special touches that make it a place you want to spend time every summer evening and weekend.

Need assistance in making your yard and deck look its best?  You can always count on the Craftsmen at Handyman Matters to give it exactly the look you would like it to have.

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