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.

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.

Choosing the Right Doors and Windows for your Home

Just about any home renovations made today will be made with energy efficiency in mind. Whether you’re trying to save the earth, or just a little money, green is an increasingly practical option. The US Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling account for more than half of the energy costs of the average home, and much of that energy is wasted on heat the seeps out of old fashioned windows and doors, or battling with the heat from the sun beating down on single-paned windows. Upgrading to modern windows and doors can save quite a bit of money on climate control, as well as improve the comfort in your home.

Just about any home renovations made today will be made with energy efficiency in mind. Whether you’re trying to save the earth, or just a little money, green is an increasingly practical option. The US Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling account for more than half of the energy costs of the average home, and much of that energy is wasted on heat that seeps out of old fashioned windows and doors, or battling with the heat from the sun beating down on single-paned windows. Upgrading to modern windows and doors can save quite a bit of money on climate control, as well as improve the comfort in your home.

  • Windows

Older windows can cause a huge amount of wasted energy when it comes to heating and cooling your home. In fact, just the heat lost through the windows of an average home accounts for 10-25% of its heating costs.

New windows are designed with this problem in mind, and they have been improved in several ways. For one thing, they are double-paned, and each pane is coated with a UV protective film. This will reduce the strain on your air conditioner, especially in the hottest months of summer. In between the panes, a low-emissivity gas is injected, which will further insulate and slow down the transfer of heat.

  • Doors

Traditionally exterior doors have been made from wood, which is not a particularly good insulating material. This means that it allows hot and cold air to pass in and out of your house, regardless of how hard your air conditioner or heater is working.

If efficiency is your priority, consider a steel or fiberglass skin with a foam insulation core. These doors will slow down the rate of heat or cooling transfer between the exterior and interior, and some will be five times as insulating as its solid wood counterpart. Another advantage of these new doors is the magnetic strip that is often built in, which will serve as weather stripping and create a tighter seal against the outside.

If your home has a sliding glass door, you’ll want to keep in mind the same information used when shopping for energy efficient windows. If the door opens, you’ll be losing energy, but you can reduce the amount of waste by choosing the right product and ensuring that it is installed properly.

Author Info:

Frank Newhouse is a freelance writer who enjoys helping other homeowners save money and reduce their environmental impact. He currently writes for Air Conditioning Florida which helps people in the Orlando area stay cool by locating the air conditioning services they need.


Choosing the Right Glass Front Door

Adding a front door with glass accents can dramatically change the way your house looks. But which door is the right door for you, and how do you go about choosing one?

Well, to start it helps to know the terminology. A typical glass front door is comprised of four distinct elements: the door itself, which is usually (though not always) made of wood, the glass panels, set in the door and comprised of many different kinds and combinations, and optionally sidelights, the windows on either side of the door, and a transom, a glass portion stretching the width of the door and the sidelights. So what are some things to look for when purchasing a new front door?

Mixing and Matching

The most immediate and obvious consideration when choosing a front door with glass components is the glass itself. Glass panels come in a large variety of shapes, sizes, colors and textures, and will often have matching sidelights and a transom. The first step is to find some options that match your existing house in look and feel.

Options range from clear to stained to frosted glass. They also include the type of setting the glass comes in, with some doors setting the glass directly into the wood and others using beveled lead glass. It may seem like a lot to choose from, but so long as you keep in mind what your house looks like and what you want it to look like, narrowing down your options should be pretty easy.

Private Eyes

One important feature to consider when purchasing a front door with glass elements is that while the glass lets in plenty of sunshine, it also lets passers-by get a glimpse inside your home.

While this isn’t a major concern if the door you’re looking at only has a few small glass panels, it becomes a much bigger issues if you’re considering an option with large, expansive panels and wide sidelights. Some options for alleviating this problem include using window treatments, or to go with glass panels that are frosted, beveled, or are stained.

A glass front door can make your home more inviting and add a touch of elegance in a way that few improvements can. It might seem like a big decision, and in many ways it is, but if you take your time, think about what you want, and consult your local handyman to see what can be done, you’re sure to love the end result. Call Handyman Matters today at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find a location near you.


4 Signs That You Need To Replace Your Front Door

Doors tend to be used for years and years without getting much notice. And when they do get noticed, it’s usually during a period of renovation and they’re being considered for a paint job or replacement (to match an updated interior).

However, doors provide many benefits to your home and once they fail to provide basic functions, it’s time to consider whether you should keep them or possibly replace them.

Here are 4 signs to help you figure out if you need to repair your home’s front door.

1. They don’t keep out noise. A key function of a front door is to effectively block noise – or at least reduce it significantly. This is especially true if you live on a busy street or in a high-traffic area. If your front door isn’t keeping outdoor noise to a minimum, it may be time to consider a replacement.

2. You notice drafts underneath the door. Air coming underneath the door could tamper with your home’s overall climate. It’s also a tell-tale sign that your doors aren’t energy efficient. Newer model doors can help your home keep warm air inside during the winter months and hot air outside during the summer months. Often, you just need a door sweep or updated weather stripping.

3. When it rains, there’s water near the door. Make notes of when you see water seep through underneath the front door – that could mean that there are structural issues with the house. The main issue that arises out of a leaky front door is the potential for the wood frame around the door to rot, which could require a complete repair of the door and the frame.

4. There are broken locks, handles and hinges. If your door is older and has repairs that need to be made to the locks, handles and hinges, purchasing a replacement door should be worth considering – especially since the pros of a newer door model can far outweigh the costs of yearly repair and inefficient insulation.

These 4 tips can help you be aware of when it’s time to consider a door repair or replacement for your home.

For help with a door replacement, call Handyman Matters at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME – we can help you figure out what type of door would work best for your home and take care of the installation. You can also enter your zip code above to find a Handyman Matters near you.

3 Benefits of Installing French Doors in Your Home

French doors have long been a way to add to the overall design aesthetic in your home, and in recent years their popularity has made a comeback. Whether they’re interior doors or they lead to an outdoor garden, French doors are a beautiful addition and can help add to your home’s value, as well as providing a host of other benefits.

1. They’re Extremely Customizable. Many people think that by choosing French doors – especially ones that lead to the outside – they’re giving up security. However, French doors are surprisingly customizable and can easily have custom security locks built in, as well as easily changeable hardware to better match your home’s current interior and exterior fixtures.

2. They Give the Illusion of Additional Space. French doors can help divide a small house or apartment, while still giving the illusion of extra room since they offer a view of the rest of the home. By hanging curtains in French doors, it’s easy to close off areas and ensure privacy without having to sacrifice the appearance of additional space.

3. They Function as Windows, Allowing for More Light. Light, as any homeowner can tell you, is a commodity. Barring adding additional windows, which can be a serious financial undertaking, replacing a set of regular doors with French doors can let in more light, changing the overall atmosphere of the home.

Most importantly, French doors are seen as both a design feature and a functional addition to a home. By installing this type of door, you can increase your home’s value – a must-have in today’s tough real estate market.

Our expert craftsmen at Handyman Matters can help you choose the perfect pair of French doors for your home, and install them to add both form and functionality to your living spaces. Call us at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME today set up a consultation or enter your zip code above to find a location in your area.


Painting Garage Doors Protects the Investment

 From being knocked into and dented, to going up and down all the time, to being exposed to nature’s elements, garage doors experience wear and tear on a daily basis. They are also the point through which many people enter their homes at the end of the day. But for all this, garage doors are often overlooked where maintenance and aesthetics are involved.

Most garage doors need a fresh coat of paint every few years to protect them from wind, rain, and sun. Metal doors can rust over time without the layer of protection that paint lends. Wood doors can dry out and split without protection. Even without peeling, paint layers break down over time and garage doors need to be repainted every few years. This also offers a convenient opportunity to change colors and create more curb appeal.

It is imperative that the door be cleaned and dried thoroughly before any painting begins. Using a hose, an abrasive cleaner, and a rough scrub brush, clean the entire side of the door that is to be painted. Make sure to get any oil or grease that has collected entirely cleaned off; otherwise the paint won’t stick and there will be bubbling and peeling problems. It is okay for the surface of the garage door to be slightly abraded during this process, as it will allow the paint to stick better.

Once the door is clean and dry, use an oil based exterior paint primer to prepare the door for the color coats. Follow the directions on the primer label carefully to avoid problems like tacky paint that never dries properly, peeling, or bubbling. The primer can be applied with a roller and brush that are designed for oil based paint.

Recent restrictions on ingredients in paint have limited the availability of oil based paint. Exterior latex paint may be used to paint garage doors, but is more prone to bubbling and peeling, especially on metal doors. If appropriate exterior oil based paint cannot be found, consult with the local hardware store to find the best alternative. Many garage door services also offer painting, and using such a service may ensure that the finished results will last for years and added beauty and garage door protection.


Practical Remodeling Ideas

With the real estate market still sluggish, homeowners have been forced to think about remodeling to increase the value of their home.  Property upgrades and renovations are some of the best ways to attract qualified buyers, and many can be achieved for $15,000 or less.

The 2009-2010 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report indicated a return to practical, basic renovations, and this trend continues.  Exterior replacement projects are at the top of the ratings.  One reason is that curb appeal has a strong effect on prospective buyers.  Jobs such as replacing a front door, touching up the paint, fixing walkways and even adding better plants greatly increases appeal for potential buyers.

Another trend is toward attic and basement renovations.  A solid way to increase the worth of a home is to increase the amount of livable space.  Remodeling a basement into a bonus room or bedroom is a solid means of accomplishing this.  The Cost vs. Value Reports lists attic bedroom and basement remodels as to of the most popular mid-range projects homeowners are currently undertaking.

Kitchen and bathrooms are always strong selling points and never go out of style as valuable real estate innovations.  Even small changes such as a shower upgrade or upgraded appliances can be a nice touch.  Simple ways to give an old bathroom new life include a coat of paint, new shower curtain, and new sink.

Other possible remodeling plans to consider include adding a sunroom, upgrading the garage, or replacing siding.  These things are key to the success of any seller’s real estate transactions:  Make a great first impression, and invest in projects that add real value for the home buyer.

Create A Grand Entrance With Your Front Door

The front door sets the tone for the rest of your home. It defines the style within, and should do the same for you.

The more distinctive types of doors include Georgian (plain door with a glass built into it and a classic portico overhead), Victorian (more decorative, often with stained glass panels), Edwardian (simple wooden doors on an undecorated porch) and post World War Two style such as Art Deco, with zigzag lines and brighter colors.

All of these remain popular choices, with a current trend back to the Victorian-style of stained glass windows in doors. There are any number of specialists and designers who can help to restore or recreate the type of door you would like to have fronting your home.

Of course, a front door’s most important function is to provide security. In addition to being sturdy and solid, it should include safety features such as robust locks, security hinges and perhaps a peephole.

If you are replacing a door, you might also want to consider widening or enhancing the entrance opening at the same time. And door “furniture” is an important consideration, as well. This includes door knobs, the mailbox, porch light and address numbers. Victorian homes traditionally have brass “furnishings. More modern doors have brushed aluminum or shiny silver-effect door furniture.

A smart, welcoming door is always worth spending money on. Whether you are restoring your home’s entrance to a previous look or merely giving it a modern day facelift, it will enhance the appearance of your entire property.


10 Ways to Lower Your Carbon Footprint

What Is A Carbon Footprint?

carbon footprint is a measure of how much carbon gas is emitted into the environment. Studies show that these types of carbon emissions have a potentially negative impact on the environment, contributing to global warming and climate change.

Most of us would like to do the right thing for the environment.

Here are 10 ways you can lower your carbon footprint:

  1. For starters, use the Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick to compare your home’s energy efficiency and get recommendations for energy-saving home improvements.home energy yardstick
  2. Add insulation. Additional insulation is one of the top ways to make a home more energy efficient, as it protects against air loss and saves money on utility bills.
  3. Replace your windows with double-pain, low-E glass. This is an expensive upgrade, but over time saves a considerable amount in energy costs.
  4. Use energy-efficient appliances. Newer, more modern appliances are designed with efficiency to lessen harmful effects on the environment. If your appliances are more than ten years old, consider upgrading to Energy Star rated models.
  5. Change your driving habits. Cars are one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions. Carpool, bicycle, walk, and learn to consolidate your errands so that you are behind the wheel less often.
  6. Eat less beef. Raising cattle is a costly venture and cattle produce a lot of methane gas. Land is cleared of trees to create grazing land for cattle, and trees are important in reducing greenhouse gas.
  7. Look for ways to conserve water. Install a low-flow showerhead. In your yard or garden, incorporate landscape designs that minimize water consumption. Be more mindful of every time you turn on a tap, and don’t allow it to run longer than necessary.
  8. Buy and shop locally. Purchase products that have minimal packaging.
  9. Unplug unused appliances that could be drawing a current even when not in use. Replace standard light bulbs and use compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs instead.
  10. Recycle and re-use, everything from shopping bags to scrap lumber.

It really isn’t difficult to make a few choices to have a more energy efficient, eco-friendly lifestyle. By living green, you will feel better, live more comfortably, and be doing the right thing for the environment.