5 Winter Home Improvement Projects You Should Never DIY


Winter isn’t just a time for celebrating the holidays and spending more time in shopping malls than you ever dreamed possible. This time of the year is the perfect opportunity to catch up on those winter home improvement projects taking up space on your to-do list.

As with any home improvement project, especially those you do yourself, there’s always risk; not just in terms of expense and time spent, but the possibility you’ll do serious damage to the property. Said risk is even more pronounced when adding a DIY winter home improvement project to your schedule, when the weather is almost as brutal as those frozen pipes that need to be replaced.

Before you strap on the tool belt and head to Home Depot, here are five winter home improvement projects you should not DIY, and instead leave to the professionals.

Winter Home Improvement Projects Best Left to the Pros



Insulating Your Home by Energy.gov


For optimal energy efficiency, your home should be properly insulated from the roof down to its foundation. The illustration above shows all the areas of the home where there should be insulation. The numbered areas shown in the illustration are as follows:

1. In unfinished attic spaces, insulate between and over the floor joists to seal off living spaces below. If the air distribution is in the attic space, then consider insulating the rafters to move the distribution into the conditioned space.

(1A) Attic access door

2. In finished attic rooms with or without dormer, insulate (2A) between the studs of "knee" walls, (2B) between the studs and rafters of exterior walls and roof, (2C) and ceilings with cold spaces above.

(2D) Extend insulation into joist space to reduce air flows.

3. All exterior walls, including (3A) walls between living spaces and unheated garages, shed roofs, or storage areas; (3B) foundation walls above ground level; (3C) foundation walls in heated basements, full wall either interior or exterior.

4. Floors above cold spaces, such as vented crawl spaces and unheated garages. Also insulate (4A) any portion of the floor in a room that is cantilevered beyond the exterior wall below; (4B) slab floors built directly on the ground; (4C) as an alternative to floor insulation, foundation walls of unvented crawl spaces. (4D) Extend insulation into joist space to reduce air flows.

5. Band joists.

6. Replacement or storm windows and caulk and seal around all windows and doors. 

In addition to insulation, consider moisture and air leakage control in each area of your house. If radon is an issue where you live, you’ll also need to consider radon and radon-resistant construction techniques as you research foundation insulation options. In addition, if you live in an area with termites, you’ll have to consider how termite protection will affect the choice and placement of insulation in your home.



The Effects of Weather

While we're still in the grips of Winter, it's important to stay ahead of weather-related home problems and the repairs they may need.  Living in a climate with high humidity, warm summers, and cold winters, our homes are subject to wear and tear that could cause serious damages in the future, if left unrepaired. 

Here are a few signs that weather might be affecting your home:


Doors & windows no longer open and close with ease.

There are a few reasons that your doors may not stay closed.  Some of the easier repairs include replacing the door's hinges, knobs, or sometimes even the door itself.  After years of opening & closing, the screws and hinges can be loose and the door can hang too low for the knob to latch properly to the doorframe.  If you've recently put in older or vintage door knobs, they are usually smaller than current doorknobs, which can also affect it's ability to latch closed.  Drastic weather changes can cause the house's walls and foundation to expand or shift, which causes a much bigger issue than changing a hinge.  A foundational shift can also cause many other serious issues.


Cracks show up in the walls and ceiling.

authenticadditions.com cracked-cornices-1-1024x576.jpg

Similar to the doors sticking, walls and ceilings can being to crack with the expansion and contraction of air during the changing weather.  These cracks can be unsightly as they run either across or down the walls.  Some people use the rule of thumb that "the crack points to the problem", so take notice where they might be showing up in your home!  It could just be old drywall but, if you don't plan to repair it, keep an eye on it and seek help if it continues to grow!


Your drywall and wood bubbles up.

Weather can affect the internal parts of your home by wearing on the outside, like roofs, walls, windows, and others.  With a roof leak, your attic will take a beating, affecting the insulation, drywall, wood interior, and anything else you might have up there.  The water can bubble up in the drywall, ceilings, wallpaper, and light fixtures.  It also will warp any sort of wood, whether doors, floors, cabinets, or trim.  Water damage is not something to be taken lightly, as it can lead to mold problems and is a potential health hazard.


These are common problems for home owners (especially in older homes), with a wide range of reasons and repairs for them.  Bright Star HandyMan Service is happy to schedule a free consultation regarding any of your home repair needs.  
Contact us here for more information on how we can help you proof your home against these natural causes, or fix them for you!

Pet Damage?

As any pet owner would agree, there are inconveniences & necessary repairs that come with loving our fur children so much.  Their early years may be the cutest, but they can often be the most destructive, even on an prepared home.  New teeth can put moldings, cabinets, stairs, doors, door frames, window sills, and any other wood obstruction in danger of becoming the next favorite chew toy.  While there are plenty of preventative options to persuade pets to not chew, like bitter flavored deterrent spray, our pets love to surprise us with their creativity!  

baseboard bright star

Aside from the chewing stage(s), pet nails are also an enemy to your drywall, cabinets, doors, and flooring.  Whether your cat chose a door as its clawing post, or the dogs chase the kids through the house, Bright Star can help with both!  Flooring is the most commonly repaired or replaced item in homes with pets, whether carpet, linoleum, vinyl, wood, or tile floors.  Carpet stains quickly and is harder to keep clean, while the rest of the material options can be scratched.  Some of your flooring options are better than others with pets, but repetitious movement over a long period of time will begin to scuff the floors, no matter the material. 

Did you know that we also install pet doors?  We're happy to discuss some options with you to ease the bathroom scheduling with your pet!

Whether you're looking to spruce up your home with some painting, Spring cleaning, or looking to sell, we're here to help!

Bright Star Handyman Service is happy to offer you a Free Pet Damage estimate to begin restoring the house back to unchewed corners & beautiful floors.


Top 10 Things That Devalue Your House

A lot of things factor into how much your home is worth, such as the location, the square footage, the school district and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Although several of those parameters aren't easily changed, some are under a homeowner's control.


As an astute homeowner, your job is to consider both what you can do to improve your home's value, as well as what you may (inadvertently or otherwise) be doing to decrease it. Completing renovations and repairsmight pay off to varying extents. In other cases, you may just have to put up with some of the things you don't love about your home, but letting a house slip into disrepair is a surefire way to decrease its value. Whatever path you choose, it's crucial to be aware of how you're affecting your home's bottom line and to understand what can be done to raise it back up.

One of the main things to remember while trying to boost your house's value is that people have a wide variety of tastes. Those tastes may vary greatly both geographically and demographically. A house with the flexibility to suit a big slice of the population pie will be more in demand than one highly customized to any one particular lifestyle. The more people who find a house attractive when it hits the market, the better off you'll be.

On the following pages, we'll examine some of the top causes of home devaluation and see what, if anything, homeowners can do about them.


12 DIY Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Spring

Maintaining a healthy home goes beyond dusting and vacuuming. When is the last time you checked your smoke alarms? How about the last time you cleaned out your dryer vent? Follow the tips below to make sure your family and home are ready for a happy, clean spring season.

Clean Gutters


Grab a ladder, and check your gutters for debris. Remove as much as you can with your hands (Don't forget to wear gloves!). Remove any leftover gunk with a garden hose. Take off any nozzle and have a helper turn on the water when you’re ready. Shove the hose into the downspout to power out of gooseneck bends. Make sure your downspouts channel water at least five feet from foundation walls. 

Scrub Walls, Baseboards and Outlets


Scrub all the walls — in the bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms and living areas — with a sponge or brush and mild soap and water. This includes baseboards and outlets. Make sure to completely dry outlet covers before replacing.


Is Your Home Older Than Its Years?

Would you throw away $20,000? You are if you’re letting your home age faster than it should. Here’s a simple maintenance strategy to keep your home young.

Image: Tina L. Ho

You know how Dr. Oz says that if you keep your body fit and your mind nimble, you’re likely younger than your chronological years? The same principle applies to your house.

An out-of-shape house is older than its years and could lose 10% of its appraised value, says Mack Strickland, an appraiser and real estate agent in Chester, Va. That’s a $15,000 to $20,000 adjustment for the average home.  But good maintenance can even add value. A study out of the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University finds that regular maintenance increases the value of a home by about 1% each year.  So if you’ve been deferring maintenance, or just need a good strategy to stay on top of it, here’s the simplest way to keep your home in good health.

A poorly maintained house can lose up to 20k in value.

Focus on Your Home’s #1 Enemy

If you focus on nothing else, focus on moisture — your home’s No. 1 enemy.  Water can destroy the integrity of your foundation, roof, walls, and floors — your home’s entire structure. So a leaky gutter isn’t just annoying; it’s compromising your foundation.  Keeping moisture at bay will improve your home’s effective age — or as Dr. Oz would say, “real age” — and protect its value. It’ll also help you prioritize what you need to do. Here’s how:


Which Home Improvements Pay Off?

Basic maintenance, such as the roof and exterior painting, are frequently more important than an awesome kitchen.

In the first year my husband and I lived in our house, we spent almost $20,000 on home improvements. When we set that money aside at the beginning of the year, we dreamed about granite counters and steam showers; what we ended up with was a new furnace, new gutters, a drainage system to keep the basement dry, new landscaping and lots of new paint. At the end of that year as I wiped down my tacky Formica countertops and bathed in my 1950s seafoam green tub, I wondered if we had spent that money wisely. If we had put our house up for sale, would potential buyers have really cared about the dry basement and reliable furnace?

After talking to a slew of realtors, contractors and architects, the consensus was yes. "If the roof is leaking, buyers won't get beyond that," says Ron Phipps with Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. "I don't care how awesome the kitchen is."

According to Remodeling Magazine (http://www.remodeling.hw.net/) you're less likely to recoup your investment in a major kitchen or bathroom remodel than you are to get back what you spend on basic home maintenance such as new siding. Siding replacement recouped 92.8 percent of its cost, according to the study. The only home improvement likely to return more at resale was a minor (roughly $15,000) kitchen remodel, which returned 92.9 percent. Replacing roofs and windows were also high on the list, returning 80 percent or more at resale.

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Prepare Your Home For the Holidays with These Five Tips

As much as the holidays bring friends and family together, a cheerful time of can often turn stressful when planning for the holidays. Consider these easy DIY tips so your home is ready for the winter holidays. 

1. Refresh Your Guest Bedroom

There's no better way to start fresh than new bedding. Quick updates, even a new throw pillow, can quickly transform a space and make it perfect for your guests. 

2. Reimagine Your Entryway

A new rug, paint or decorations can quickly transform your entryway space, making it the perfect first impression for your guests.  

3. Decorate Your Bathrooms

Consider updating your bathroom faucet or adding some holiday-themed decor to the bathroom space. Small fixtures and hardware are easy to switch out and give a fresh new look to your home.

4. Prepare Meals & Freeze Them For Later

There's nothing wrong with cooking ahead of the holidays so that you have some extra family and friend time when the winter holidays come around. Consider cooking sides so that you have less to do when hosting guests. 

Save some time this holiday season with Bright Star Handyman. When it comes to bigger updates around the house, we are here to help. Bright Star Handyman will do everything from painting and refinishing cabinets to woodwork, carpentry and installing new backsplash. Bright Star has the expertise to get the job done quickly and efficiently so that you have more family time! Happy holidays! 

Thank you, Philadelphia & South Jersey!

From all of us at Bright Star Handyman Service, thank you for your continued business! We are proud to service the Philadelphia and South Jersey regions with everything from paint to carpentry. Wishing all of our clients a very happy Thanksgiving. 

Bathroom heating options

If you live in a home that has a hard time heating certain rooms in your house, you are not alone. In fact, this is quite a common problem especially if you live in a large home with only one furnace, or you live in an old historical home that does not offer the modern heating systems often found in newer homes. There are many ways to heat your home and a bathroom is one of the easiest rooms to warm up. This article will provide some heating options to consider for your chilly bathroom.

Things to consider when choosing your bathroom heating option

When choosing which type of bathroom heater to install you have to consider the size and shape of your bathroom. While there are many options which are ideal when space is at a premium, not all bathroom heaters are suitable for use in smaller spaces without causing inconvenience. If you have a large bathroom you should consider how effective the heater will be across the entire space. For smaller bathrooms  you should look the option which takes up the least space.

You also need to consider the usage of the bathroom. For instance, a busy family bathroom, which is used daily, will require a more permanent heating solution than that of a guest bathroom in a second home, for example. If you have young children you need to judge how safe the heating solution will be when curious young ones are around. If you’re remodeling a bathroom or building a new one, style is also an important factor, so choosing a heater which matches the interior style is vital.

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Before & After Cornice & Windows!

Before and after of the cornice and windows. Bright Star Handyman scraped all the loose paint off the cornice and painted it using Benjamin Moore HC-169. For the windows, Bright Star removed the existing capping that was old and outdating then sealed any gaps to help with the homes energy efficiency. Only after everything was properly sealed did we install the new aluminum capping!

Bright Star Handyman services the entire Philadelphia area. Give us a call today! 

 Before & After!

Before & After!

Kitchen Decor Trends For Fall 2017

Kitchen Decor Trends For Fall 2017

Kitchen remodeling trends. Bright Star Handyman Service. Philadelphia's first choice for your handyman needs. 

Stunning Before & After Kitchen Remodel by Bright Star | Philadelphia

Bright Star Handyman is the best handyman service in Philadelphia, providing everything from kitchen and bath remodeling to carpentry. This quaint little kitchen got a total update with some paint and new white, subway tile backsplash.


Importance of carpentry: Learn to Appoint the Best Contractor

Carpentry is more of an art. The beautiful way of carving furniture has been in existence since the Stone Age when science and technology weren’t even born yet human being with their innovations carved out beautiful sculptures with hand. Carpentry nowadays has entered into the machine world where carpenters use machines to design and build an item. It’s a term associated more with wooden items, furniture and decors. Having the best designed furniture at your home can brighten up the mood of the room every time you enter. It’s therefore very important to have a well experienced and efficient carpenter to design and build your furniture.