Prepare your Home for Halloween!

Will your home be a trick or treating favorite?  Halloween is a great excuse to catch up on exterior repairs, and add a little spooky ambiance while you’re at it.  And, we’re here to help.

  • Hanging Lights

A haunted house without the aura of red, green, or strobe lights is not a haunted house.  String some lights across your porch or front lawn, it will add light to walkways, as well as a festive feel.

  • Exterior Maintenance

The holiday season is a great reminder to jump on those home safety repairs.  When you’re expecting trick or treaters, it’s essential that you’ve done your necessary exterior maintenance to keep all your visitors safe. Walkway Repairs – Replace broken steps and stones, repair cracked concrete, trim back unruly branches, add walkway lights… Repair Porch – Your porch is going to experience a lot of foot traffic this Halloween.  Make sure rails, steps, and panels are all in place and functioning properly. Lighting – It’s safe to say, trick or treaters will avoid your home if your porch light is out.  Install new fixtures, maybe even go that extra mile and purchase a green, solar light.

  • Tree Décor

Are those bats in the trees?  Is that a gigantic spider web?  Trees are great for housing extra spooky details.  Harness their potential this year and hang some creative additions.

  • Other Halloween Decorations…

Christmas isn’t the only season with large home decorations.  Is there an inflatable Jabba the Hut you would like to display in your front yard? Are you looking to build a small haunted house?  The sky’s the limit.

Handyman Matters knows the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year.  Instead of spending your weekends making safety, exterior repairs and hanging decorations, give us a call.  Our craftsmen are skilled at both large and small projects, so you can save your free time for the things you enjoy most.  Just call 866-FIX-MY-HOME to schedule your next home improvement appointment.

Winterizing your Summer Home (Or Preparing For An Extended Leave)

#WINTERIZATION

When it comes to homes, leaving for an extended period of  time can be problematic. Say you’re the proud owner of a summer home or cabin, or perhaps you intend to spend an extended period of time away from your year-round residence during the coming colder months, know how to prepare your home.  Here are some key tips to winterize your home and minimize potential damage that may be heading your way.

  • 1.  Turn off the water at the exterior source if you will be away the entire winter.  Should a pipe burst during a cold spell and you have no one checking on your property for weeks or months at a time, an untold amount of water damage can result.  Even just small water leaks that go unchecked will contribute substantially to your water bill. (In fact, you should look into insurance coverage options for property that sits vacant for long periods; it can well be worth the cost). Open all faucets and drain the water lines and water heater.  An added tip:  To prevent total water evaporation from your toilet’s trap (which can permit sewer gases to enter your home), raise the toilet’s lid and seat and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  • 2.  Unplug electric appliances.  Fire prevention.  If the power to your property will remain on, unplugging devices such as a microwave, toaster and television helps avoid the risk of fire that can result from small animals gnawing on the wires, or a power surge of any kind.
  • 3.  Close fireplace flues and dampers. This is an easy thing to overlook in the rush to close up your home for the season.  Properly closing off your fireplace will keep these aforementioned small animals from infesting your home, and aide in fire prevention.
  • 4.  Reduce fire hazards. Another obvious, yet easy to forget task is the removal of items that could either lead to fires or provide tinder for ones should they get started.  Don’t leave behind stacks of papers.  Don’t store cans of stain, paint or paint thinners, oily rags and brushes, or other combustibles.  Even firewood should not be left in large quantities alongside your hearth simply for the convenience of having it ready upon your return.
  • 5.  Empty your freezer and refrigerator. Should the electricity be off for any length of time, the items will spoil and you’ll be faced with disposing of a very smelly mess upon your return.  Along those same lines, any non-perishable items you leave behind should be stored in metal containers with tight lids.  Even soap, sponges and candles should be locked away, as some rodents and vermin see these as a food source, as well.

Of course, these are just a few of the necessary measures for winterizing your home.  Others, such as taking down screens, closing shutters or installing storm windows, are more involved, and depending on your personal skillset or availability, may require professional assistance.

Handyman Matters stands ready to assist you with these and any other repairs, as well restorations or other tasks your summer getaway—or your year-round residence—might require.   Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or go to www.handymanmatters.com  to find the office closest to your area.

 

Ready for a Change? It can be as Easy as Switching up your Floor Plan.

Are you a recent empty-nester?  Have you just finished decluttering the house?  Or maybe you’ve simply been contemplating the current floor plan of your living space and you wonder if there could be a more efficient—or a more attractive—way of arranging your belongings.

You could, of course, put your home on the market and find an entirely new place to live, but if you’re looking for something a little less disruptive and involved, here are a handful of smaller suggestions to consider.

Open Living Room Layout

    • Expand an existing room – Is there a room in your home that’s rarely used these days?  Consider the idea of knocking down the wall between it and an adjoining room to make a more open and welcoming space between the two. Think about creating an open living room connected to your kitchen.  Interestingly, a larger expanse can give a stronger sense of intimacy!

 

 

 

 

 

Walk-In Closet

 

    • Add a closet or increase the size of your current one – Maybe it’s time to consider turning that small, cramped space into a walk-in closet where your clothes, shoes and other paraphernalia aren’t competing for visibility.  Walk in closets are one of the best ways to treat your room to a little luxury. Examine your options:  is there some adjoining space that could be better served by making it part of a larger closet?

Installing Cabinets

 

 

 

 

    • Adding or moving cabinets – Every home seems to have that catch-all cabinet and/or that junk drawer, the place where everything that has nowhere else to be winds up.  Even those storage spots that have an assigned purpose tend to accumulate items that don’t belong there, because they don’t quite seem to fit anyplace else.  Conduct a walk-through of your home for the specific purpose of inventorying cabinet/cupboard locations and their contents.  It’s probably been awhile since you actively considered whether things are stored in their most convenient spot.  You’ve simply become accustomed to retrieving them as needed without much thought about how far you have to walk, or how deeply you have to dig.  Consider these areas of interest when considering moving or installing cabinets: laundry room, garage, mudroom, kitchen, or billiards area.

Storage Platforms

 

    • Floor storage platforms – In homes with higher ceilings, a recent and popular option is to install platform floors which allows for additional storage space.   These can be stylish, as well as unobtrusive, adding to a room’s appeal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    • Baseboard drawers – A particularly innovative recent practice has been the installation of drawers along baseboards.  This might be a good option for storing things you don’t need on a regular basis, or that you don’t mind bending all the way down to the floor to retrieve.  Otherwise, this may not be the most convenient choice for you!

 

 

 

 

 

Built-in Shelving

 

 

  • Wall storage – Rather than adding shelving that extends out from a room’s wall (thereby robbing the room itself of space), built-in shelving creates additional storage capacity that allows you to display knickknacks or to keep items like books, games and DVDs at the ready. Built-in shelving can also add more architectural character to your home’s layout.  Think offices, libraries, bathrooms, and living rooms.

 

 

 

 

 

These are just a few of the options worth considering if you are looking to upgrade your home with an eye towards space reconfiguration.  Our many Handyman Matters offices have qualified craftsmen who can help you decide what the best option for your home may be, and to help you complete the job to your satisfaction.  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 Handyman Matters location nearest you.

 

Fall is Coming – Is your Home Ready? (Your Essential Checklist)

 

It’s a matter of a couple of weeks before we’re in the throes of it: Fall.  And if your home operates under a school calendar, day-to-day activities are about to take off.  Forethought is what will help you limit stress and make it through this seasonal ramp up – especially when it comes to your home.  While you’re out running errands, we can be checking off repairs and seasonal maintenance for your home.  Here’s Handyman Matters’s shortlist of preventative home maintenance and repairs for the fall…

  • Inspect your Roof

Keep an eye out for summertime debris (Frisbees, footballs, kites) because these are the number one enemy of gutters, and believe you me, they will get stuck.  Also, doing a sweep for missing shingles and small leaks on your roof is one of the best preventative measures you can take to avoid costly, wintertime roof damage.

  • Repair Exterior Walkways

As leaves and snow begin to cover your walkways, it will be hard for guests to not step on the broken stair, or on the tile that habitually comes loose and falls out.  They won’t be able to see the ground, so make sure it’s stable and keep your guests safe.

  • Clean Out Vents and Filters

Filters, vents, and air ducts need to be cleaned regularly.  First-off because are a fire hazard when they aren’t maintained.  Dust heats up and catches fire.  Think: heaters, dryers, fans, etc.. Additionally, dust build-up doesn’t just stay put, it will circulate debris throughout your house.  Cleaning your home will be all that more difficult if your vents and filters are dispersing dust.

  • Clean and Repair Gutters

Effective draining systems protect your home from water damage.  Filter upcoming snow, rain, sleet, etc. out and away from your home by having clean, crack-less gutters.  You will be able to maintain your home’s paint while simultaneously avoiding wood rot.

  • Seal Doorways and Windows

Don’t spend more money than you need to heat your home.  Sealing the cracks in your doorways and windows will keep your house cozy and help you go green by being more energy efficient.  This may mean swapping out windows, doors, or adding some new sealant and caulk.

  • Trim Back Tree Branches

There’s nothing quite like an unexpected snow that causing unruly tree branches to snap.  In many scenarios this will mean damage to surrounding property.  Trim back branches hanging over walkways, parking spaces, driveways, roofs, or fences – you’ll be glad you did.

 

Lay the foundation for a productive fall by know your home is repaired, safe, and up to date.  Once you have your seasonal home maintenance list together, let us do the rest.  For a free estimate on your fall preparations call 866-FIX-MY-HOME.

How To Install A DIY Deck Gate


Hanging out on your deck is an amazing way to pass time during the summer.  You can soak up some vitamin D all within the comforts of your own home.  It’s occasionally even nice to have company; but when you invite company, you must also account for their potential needs.  Some of the cuter companions require a little more reinforcements.  If you have kiddos and/or family pets in your life, deck gates can be a wonderful solution.  Handyman Matters has come up with a quick and affordable guide to installing your own deck gate!

Step 1: Measure (& Measure Again)

Before buying supplies for any DIY home improvement project, make sure you know the scope of the area that needs to be covered.  Know the height, the width, and the depth.  Write it down, and take it with you (or for an easier phone hack, jot it down in your notes app and go paperless).

Step 2: Find A Matching Gate

You may feel inclined to head to the lumber department, but if you redirect your route to the deck and railing aisle there will be some handy, pre-made options.  Select a gate that fits the color and feel of your current deck railing system.

Step 3: In or Out?

Which direction do you want your gate to open?  This will affect the overall positioning of the hinges, so try them and pick your favorite!

Step 4: Line It Up

DIY home improvement projects are always easier with a partner.  If you have a right hand man with you, have him line up and hold the gate with the rest of the railing.  Or for the lone wolf handymen out there, use scraps to line up the bottom of the fence with the bottom of the railing, and position your c-clamp to hold it in place.

Step 5: Attach The Gate

Hinges before latch.  Make sure your hinge is level and on the appropriate side for either to open in or out, and then screw it in (make sure it’s on the correct side).

Step 6: Choose Your Latch

There’s a couple of different kinds of latches.  There’s the sturdier gate latch, a step down from there is the bolt, and another step down there’s the hook and eye.  Consider how much tension may be put on the gate to decide which will fit your needs the best.  If you have a larger dog, you may want to go for a latch or bolt instead of the hook and eye.

Step 7: Relax & Enjoy Your New Deck Gate

Looking to make your deck even safer?  Handyman matters specializes in all sorts of mobility and safety specific fixes.  Call us today for your free estimate 866-FIX-MY-HOME!

Home Modifications for Aging in the Comfort of your Own Home

Aging in Place

In this day and age, independent living as a senior is an achievable goal.  Similar to updating appliances as a kitchen grows older – walkways, bathrooms, and steps should also adjust to fit your age. If your current environment doesn’t match your needs, update it!  Here are some of the home modification essentials to begin aging in place.

  • Grab Bars – Secure railing isn’t just for steps, it’s for senior living.  Add a grab bar to your areas of need to stabilize a slope, help you maneuver in a cramped space, position you to be able to stand up, or provide balance in a slippery scenario.
  • Raise/Lower – Things like kitchen cabinets shouldn’t be a challenge to reach, especially when they can be lowered.  Same thing goes for seating.  Rise easily from a seating position with raised chairs and appliances.
  • Lift Chairs – Experience the first floor, the basement, the second floor and beyond by installing a lift chair in your stairway.  These motorized chairs can securely transport you to all areas of your home so that you don’t have to sacrifice space for mobility.
  • Standing Tub – The idea of a bath to someone with limited mobility may seem impossible – but it’s not!  Standing tubs are a wonderful addition to any bathroom as they allow you to stay upright while still being able to be submerged in water.
  • Widening Doorways – Senior living can often mean living with a walking aid.  Maybe it’s not you but instead your friend who travels by wheels.  Entertain with ease by making sure everyone can navigate through the doorway by wheelchair, walker, or otherwise.
  • Installing Ramps – Steps into and out of your home can be the scariest part of independent living.  Give yourself some relief by replacing steps with a gradual ramp.

Let your home remain your home by adjusting it to fit your age.  Handyman Matters has craftsmen skilled in the area of aging in place, and who can update your home in a tasteful, effective manner. Senior home modifications can improve safety, quality of life, and even increase the value of your home.  Call us today for a free estimate at 866-FIX-MY-HOME.

 

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.

 

 

The Troubleshooter and Handyman Matters Answer your Home Improvement Questions

The Troubleshooter

Today the CEO and Founder of Handyman Matters, Andy Bell, appeared for the second time on Tom Martino’s Troubleshooter podcast.  Andy first visited the show back in 1998 when Handyman Matters was just him and a couple of craftsmen. Handyman Matters has since grown into a nationally recognized franchise with over 60 locations, becoming a leader in the home improvement industry.  On this episode of Troubleshooter, Andy joins Tom to field some of the listeners’ burning questions on home maintenance.  Tune in to find more about…

  • Checking your own sump pump
  • Adding window coverings to steel doors
  • Maintaining an air vent or furnace
  • Repairing hardwood floors
  • Installing ceiling fans
  • Assembling and installing Ikea cabinets
  • Adjusting water pressure

Have any burning home repair or maintenance questions that weren’t answered on this episode of The Troubleshooter?  Give us a call – 866-FIX-MY-HOME!

Wintertime Roof Repairs: Warning Signs and Solutions

Signs to look for…

  • Leaks – Internal leaks come from external cracks. If your roof is leaking, that means its structure has been compromised.
  • Sounds – While indoors, do you hear irregular creaks? Is the area of your doorways changing and causing doors to open on their own? These symptoms while small can indicate a very large problem, and may be reason to vacate your home immediately to avoid a collapse.
  • Sagging – This is probably the easiest way to tell that your roof is about to go. If it is sagging from the inside or outside, or if it’s bending any of the ceiling structure or pipes, that roof is on it’s way out.
  • Snow – More than a couple of inches of snow on any roof is not good. If you get caught in a snowstorm, be proactive and clear some snow from your roof when the weather clears up. Gradual buildup of snow and ice during the winter is the quickest way to ensure you are going to need a new roof.

Solutions for snow removal…

It’s all about being proactive. The best way to avoid costly roof repairs is to make sure your home is ready when there is severe weather on the horizon. Attic insulation can help roofs from becoming to cold, and causing ice to build up. Another solution is to keep your gutters clear. Ice buildup in gutters can cause a lot of extra weight as well as compromised draining as the snow begins to melt. Finally, after a snowstorm, raking your roof is the best way to relieve your home from extra roof tension. Roof rakes are even designed to be used from the safety of the ground, so don’t worry about walking on the roof when it’s icy out.

 

Severe weather is often a difficult event to prepare for. If your busy schedule isn’t allowing you enough time to prepare for winter storms – give Handyman Matters a call. Our craftsmen can take a look at your roof and help decide what your best solution would be – whether it’s replacing the roof altogether, adding insulation, or simply raking off old snow and ice, we have you covered. Give us a call today 866-FIX-MY-HOME, or head fill out our free estimate box at the top of this page.

Preparing Your Home for a Storm

Home Repair

It’s on the weather channel, it’s a storm, and it’s headed your way.  Is your home ready?  Especially when it comes to nature, certain events can seem overwhelming and totally out of your control.  While you may not be able to change the forecast, you can take measures to prepare your house.  Handyman Matters has helpful insights for equipping your home for a storm.

  • Step 1:  Landscape

There should always be a clear path leading from the entrances and exits of your home.  This means pruning trees and removing potentially problematic branches.  It also means laying down some preparatory rock salt (if needed), and removing any potential obstacles.  Additionally, check your gutters and downspouts to see that they’re functioning correctly – you don’t want water build up or any flooding.

  • Step 2: Bunker

You don’t necessarily need a storm shelter, but you and your family do need to find a safe meeting spot within the home.  An ideal safe spot would be on the lowest floor (preferably in the basement), with no windows, and without any shared walls with the outside.  This will be the place where you wait out the storm.

  • Step 3: Stock Up

Turn your safe space into a true bunker by stocking it with the emergency essentials.  Think non-perishable foods; back up essentials like medications, batteries, and first aid; and lots of water.  The ratio is one gallon per day per person.  You also want to stash a change of clothing – layers in case it’s cold – and sturdy shoes.  If you have any animals, remember to keep some of their basics in the room as well: food, leashes, and a carrier.  Lastly, trash bags are a must to keep things from getting too gross.

  • Step 4: Heating

Think about the heat sources in your house if you’re facing cold weather.  More specifically, think about the heating that doesn’t require electricity to function.  If you’re in a rural area, a backup generator may be a great investment for your home so you don’t have to worry.  If you’re in a city, think smaller, less noisy, alternatives. Does your home have a wood burning stove or fireplace?  If so, stock up on wood.  If not, consider getting some battery powered space heaters to store in your safe room.

  • Step 5: Lighting

Anything that does not require electricity will fulfill this need: candles (just have the fire extinguisher nearby), battery powered/solar/crank lanterns or flashlights.  There’s a blackout light that’s especially handy in weather related scenarios because it’s a light that stays plugged in, and only turns on when the power is out.  Place these around your home so you can easily navigate through the dark during a blackout.

  • Step 6: Emergency Gear

The last items to consider keeping in your safe rooms are the ones that may come in handy in inclement conditions.  Chainsaws may be necessary to cut apart fallen trees blocking exits. Shovels for the snow, a fire extinguisher for unexpected fires.  Finally weatherseal tape is great for sealing cracks in your home as they happen during a specifically rough storm.

  • Step 7: Reinforcements

When a storm hits, the last thing you want is a leak in your home.  Reinforce your home by making sure it has a secure roof, sturdy walls, and sealed windows.  If you have a crack – now is the time to fill it.

 

Handyman Matters is here to help you prepare for the everyday and the unexpected.  Don’t wait until the day-of a storm to try and prepare your home, think ahead, and save yourself time and money.  For help weather proofing your house, give us a call 866-FIX-MY-HOME.