Renovate Your Bathroom This Winter

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Bathroom in need of an update? Here’s some inspiration. We’ve found some of the best new looks and designs for your space – from modern shower room ideas to chic, marble styles and plush, luxurious designs.

Refreshing a bathroom doesn’t always require a total overhaul: it can be as simple as swapping the sink, the faucet or bathroom wall lights. And this year has seen the launch of some seductive new collections. From patterned sinks, taps and light switches in bold finishes, curved scalloped fish scale tiles, colourful mosiac tiles and sculptural freestanding baths to wood finishes, Crittall-style shower screens and double ended sinks, designers are moving away from hard, angular lines and instead leaning towards furniture and fittings in more flowing shapes.

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Happy Halloween!

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Happy Halloween to all of our friends and family in South Jersey and Philadelphia! We are grateful for your love and support as we enter the last quarter of the year! If you have been considering a home renovation or remodel, now is the time to reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service for a free consultation regarding your next home improvement project.

If you’re curious about whether or not Bright Star is the right fit for you, check out our ever-growing project gallery or our Facebook reviews from satisfied clients. We love hearing from you and supporting you in your kitchen remodel, bathroom redesign, new deck build, garage or basement renovation, or anything else you can imagine! From installing new windows to adding an extra bedroom, we’re happy to help you!

From all of us at Bright Star, we hope you and your family have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Need Help Organizing?

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There’s nothing like trying to get something done in an unorganized home. It may seem like there are 50,000 projects to do and you have no idea where to start. Sometimes, a major overhaul isn’t necessary, if you can optimize your space in a way that fits you. Here are 5 Ways to Add Storage into Your Home:

Elevate Your Bed

One easy way to create more space in a bedroom is to upgrade to a bed with storage underneath.  With the current trend of functionality in home furniture, there are several styles of bed frame with built-in storage that can include cubbies, drawers, or cabinets.  A simple way to create more space without purchasing a brand new bed frame is to raise the bed.  Many bed frames have a low clearance to the ground, which will not allow for larger storage bins to fit underneath.  There are blocks that can be placed under the feet of the bed to add a small 3-4in lift that allows more space underneath.  Using a bedskirt can also help hide under the bed storage.


Bookshelves & Cubbies

When you compare a small table to a bookshelf, the surface areas to hold things is typically greater for a bookshelf than a table because of the various levels.  If you’re looking for a way to create an organization system for the whole family, get a three-tiered shelf.  The bottom shelf is for the kids, and can include baskets for easy organization, the middle shelf is shared family space, the top shelf is for mom & dad.  To double up the shelf space in one area, a second the tiered shelf can me mounted on the wall with adjustable bracket hanging tracks.

Hanging Wall Hooks and Fixtures

It’s helpful to move storage off of the floor and countertops and on to the wall for an even higher level of organization.  Hanging small baskets in the kitchens and bedrooms can offer a home for keys, mail, pets supplies, and small knick-knacks to provide more countertop space.  Hanging hats and long jewelry on the wall in the bedroom or bathroom will help with organization and get your favorite pieces out in front of you to wear more often than tucked away in a drawer.  

Optimizing Bathroom Space

There are several relatively easy installations that can accommodate an overcrowded bathroom.  Installing an under-the-sink cabinet will offer a tall, hidden space.  If you’re still needing more space, mounting a cabinet or series of shelves over the toilet or towel rack can also increase surface area.  If you have open shelves, small baskets or organizers can help keep the area looking neat and clean.

Over the Door Organizers

Do not underestimate the space and freedom an over-the-door organizer can offer.  Whether you prefer to use a multi-hook hanger or a full-length shoe organizer, you will be surprised how much stuff the back of a door can hold.  This is a great place to store shoes, scarves, jewelry, purses, backpacks, jackets, etc.  


There are hundreds of ways to create an organization system in your home and the cost can vary greatly. While it’s definitely accessible to do most of the organization yourself, if you would like assistance in creating a custom in-home organization system, reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service for a free consultation!



Best Fall Home Remodel Ideas

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It may still be pretty hot, but fall is nearly here. With cooler temperatures come ideas for home remodeling projects. Whether you want to entirely renovate your kitchen or just spruce up a bathroom, here are 10 tips to get you started.

  1. Cabinets: In a bathroom or kitchen, cabinets can be your priciest installation. So don't make a mistake by choosing something that's already dated or by being so trendy you'll regret your choice soon. Shaker style or flat-front cabinets are the most popular choices right now and work in homes that are traditional or transitional. Contemporary cabinets are popular, too, and they're sleek styles that often feel European. For colors, white paint and natural stain are good picks, but grays and blues also make cabinets stand out. 

  2. Flooring: The cost of covering your floor adds up quickly, often because there's so much square footage and nothing really can be left uncovered. But do you want natural stone, wood or porcelain tile? You've got big decisions to make here, because you don't want to make a mistake and have to do it all over again. One big trend in home design involves porcelain tile that looks like wood or marble. Chalk it up to laser jet printing technology that has turned what used to look like cheesy imitations into high-end looks. Porcelain tile is easier to clean and is tough as nails, too.

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Winterizing Your Home Pool

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If you own an in-ground swimming pool and live in a climate where freezing temperatures are normal, you'll need to winterize your pool to protect it during cold-weather months. This will protect it from damage due to freezing water and keep it as clean as possible for the next season.

Check Your Chemistry

The first step in the winterization procedure is to make sure your water chemistry is balanced, including the pool's pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Doing this will protect the edge of the pool from staining and etching. Adding a winterizing chemical kit to your water will help keep it blue and clear for the next season. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the kit. Do not use a floater that contains a strong oxidizer (chlorine or bromine) because the floater may stick against the pool wall and stain or bleach it.

Protect the Skimmer

When water freezes, it expands. This can cause great damage to your pool, pool plumbing, and its filter system. To avoid this, lower the water below the mouth of your skimmer(s). This will get the water out of the throat of the skimmer which can be easily damaged if water were to freeze there.

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Bathroom Remodel Tips

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As the most frequented room in the house, we think it’s important that you like your bathroom.  There are some great ways to update your bathroom without a complete overhaul, and understanding your options and price breakdown is a great place to start.  

Here are some ideas:

  1. Adopt a Minimalist Bathroom
    Removing decor and minimizing counter top clutter will bring an entire new look to your bathroom.  However, to achieve a full minimalist look, most bathrooms will be remodeled white and with clean, clear lines in the tiles.  This high white allows for a clean look that matches just about any style, accent, or color scheme.  It will also be the most forgiving was bathroom remodel trends change through the years.  Once the tile and wall color reads more minimalist, you’re free to buy a small amount of decor.

  2. Install a Pre-Designed Bathroom Sink Cabinet
    Having a lack of storage can make things feel like they have no designated place, and therefore everything stays messy & unorganized.  While custom cabinets can be quite an investment if you’re not ready, installing prebuilt cabinets is a great way to cut your budget, spice up the bathroom, and create more functional storage space.  There is a wide variety of bathroom cabinet and vanities and numerous bathroom countertops to choose from.

  3. Upgrade Your Technology
    What does it mean to have bathroom technology?  Well, it could be as easy as installing a water-efficient toilet.  It could also mean installing new mirrors that have screens built in to them so you can watch the news or your favorite TV show while you’re waking up in the morning, or getting ready for bed at night.  There are also tile floor heaters with timers for those cold, winter mornings.  Sometimes, just installing a light dimmer and replacing the bulb with a dimmer bulb is enough to change your entire bath time experience.

  4. Optimize Your Storage
    While a pedestal sink may be the look you’re wanting, it might be more important to have a bathroom with functionality and storage.  Under sink cabinets, as well as, hanging cabinets over the toilet, are great places to store towels, toiletries, etc.  The back of the bathroom door is aa great place for hangers for towels, too.  Drawers and hanging cabinets can be optimized with baskets and behind the door hangers to fit a variety of things.


Need more ideas for your bathroom remodel?  Our consultants at Bright Star Handyman Service would love to help you out.  Reach out to us today for more information!

5 Ways to Waterproof Your Home!

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Clean & Repair Rain Gutters

As fall approaches, leaves fall and begin to gather on roofs and in gutters.  One of the best ways to prevent water entering your home is to make sure your gutters are offering proper drainage for your home.  Wet leaves left on the roof can cause mold and a number of other damaging issues.  If you have a really tall house or a steeply angled roof, it might be best to hire a professional to help you out!


Repair Cracks in Concrete

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Various temperatures create different stresses on a number of elements in your home.  Your concrete, like garage floor, foundation, or even house walls can begin to show signs of wear.  In the summer, the heat forces the stone to slightly expand, while the stone contracts in the colder months.  While it’s normal and expected, over time the fluctuations can be too much for the concrete.  Cracks in your concrete are typically not too hard to repair (unless it’s in the foundation) but are necessary in maintaining the integrity of your home.  If water seeps up from the foundation, it can ruin your floors, walls, and anything else the water may touch.  It’s best to take care of these repairs quickly and they can be as easy as using a caulk gun and doing it yourself!  


Replace or Seal Old Wood

Old window and door frames can be a huge culprit in allowing water into your home.  If you own an older home, the sealant on wood can begin to wear down and expose the material to air and water.  The elements can begin to break down the integrity of the wood, sometimes allowing water into your home.  Sometimes, the fix is as easy as resealing the material, while other times it may take a full removal and re-install process.  Your best bet is to ask a professional to inspect the wood to make sure it won’t cause you future problems.


Update Door and Window Seals

When we say ‘seals’, we don’t mean the wood trim and frame around the windows and doors.  We’re talking about the rubbery material that creates an airtight seal around your windows and door.  As most plastics and rubbers, they will wear down over time.  The rubber can shrink and become stiff, hard, and holy, exposing holes in the seal.  With these holes, water, air, and sometimes little insects can get into your home.  Just like a windshield wiper loses its effectiveness over time, these guys should also be looked at if you’re having leakage around your windows or doors.


Check the Basement

Basements are typically the most common thing to flood in a home.  There are many things that can contribute to basement flooding like cracked concrete, leaky washer & dryer intake, or old basement windows.  Make the effort to check out your basement from time to time to make sure everything is properly sealed to keep everything dry!

Stairwell Rehabilitation

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One of the things I love the most about my job as programming manager for DIYNetwork.com is discovering the things you love about us, but also the things you want to see. And long have I labored on a piping-hot laptop eager to fulfill a common desire among passionate DIYers: staircases!Let's face it, very few of us could add an interior staircase where there isn't one now or heavily remodel an existing one. More approachable DIY staircase projects are utilizing them for additional storage or painting them. A wooden staircase, especially one that has lost its luster, can be painted with powder-room-esque gusto, as Shannon Kaye demonstrates here.

Shannon's project — coupled with your response to it — caused us to dig around for more painted staircase inspiration, like Bryan Patrick Flynn's step-by-step faux runner and seven more colorful examples.

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Fall 2018 Color Trends by Pantone

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It's that time again, Pantone has unveiled its Fashion Colour Trend Report Autumn/Winter 2018 edition ahead of London Fashion Week. The report features the top seasonal colours we can expect to see on the runway, which inspires fashion, home décor and design.

The Autumn/Winter 2018 palette incorporates 12 top colours and a collection of five 'classic' colours. So if you're planning to decorate your home and are in need of some inspiration, take a look at the colours that will shape home décor palettes this year.

But what can you expect? A bold palette of deep and rich autumnal hues complemented by some more surprising shades that expresses originality, ingenuity and creativity.

Whilst mixing and combining unexpected colours can help to create a wonderfully bright and bold space, many of these unique shades can be similarly impactful when used alone.

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Things To Know About a 2018 Kitchen Remodel

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Kitchen renovations are number one on the remodel list for 2018.  Whether it's the large style shift, or high return on investment, kitchen remodels are on the rise compared to the last 2 years.  What are some key components to creating the kitchen of your dreams and working within your budget?

Organization is Key!

One of the largest complaints by homeowners is clutter, especially in the kitchen.  There are so many new ways to optimize the space in your kitchen.  There are storage items for the backs of closet and cabinet doors, utensil organizers, hanging baskets, pot and pan hangers, pull-out cabinet trash cans, dish bins, and more.  In one study, more than 60% of homeowners rated “Easy to Store/Find Things” as the top functional necessity in a kitchen remodel, followed by “Easy to Work/Play,” “Easy to Entertain,” and “Easy to Clean.”

 

Kitchen Remodels are the Most Requested Renovation of 2018

Kitchen style has varied greatly the last few years which could be a contributing factor as to why kitchens the most requested home remodel this year.  While modern and traditional kitchen styles have been most sought after for the last few years, consumers are now searching for more transitional and farmhouse style kitchens.  Kitchen technology is also advancing like any other room in your home, like appliances with greater energy efficiency updates.  Stainless steel has been the top selection for appliance color for the last few years.  Refrigerators are most commonly replaced appliance in the house.

The average small kitchen minor remodel in the US runs about $14,000, while a major large kitchen remodel can average around $42,000.  This wide range offers quite a bit of wiggle room for you to budget for your remodel.  In Philadelphia, the average professional minor remodel of large kitchen runs around $28,200, while a major remodel will creep into the $50k range.  Approximately two in five homeowners chose to begin a remodel because they could no longer stand their old kitchen, whether stylistically or functionally.  The rest of the majority of homeowners stated they chose to remodel because they finally had the means to do so!

95% of homeowners will update their countertops with a kitchen remodel, closely followed by kitchen sink, backsplash, and metal fixtures like faucets.  Engineered quartz is the top splurge for kitchen and bathroom countertops this year, followed by appliances and cabinets.  Nearly half of all homeowners choose engineered quartz over granite.  

The Look

Stylistically, the most popular kitchen color choices are modern & minimalist.  More than 40% chose white, shaker-door cabinets to be installed in their homes, while the number one color for kitchen walls is gray. The number one flooring material and color is hardwood, instead of tile or carpet.  Many homeowners are able to cut costs on flooring installation, too.

Across the board, the average size of a renovated kitchen is between 200-250sqft, allowing for more space in rural areas, and slightly smaller in urban areas.  In 2018 specifically, there has been a rise in increased kitchen space during a renovation.  This increased square footage can come in many forms.  For example, many kitchens are being convented into an open layout, where walls or partial walls are removed to create more space.  The second most popular way to expand a kitchen includes creating more outdoor space that allows the kitchen to spill out in nice weather.

While there are always trends, there are so many ways to make a remodel your own.  Bright Star Handyman Service is willing to work with you on a budget and create the room of your dreams!  Reach out to our consultants today to learn more about your future project!

Beginning a Basement Conversion

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Remodeling magazine conducted a study that shows that the average basement remodel will offer a 75 cent return on every dollar spent, placing it in the top 10 best investments for home improvement, behind bathroom and kitchen remodels.  This top 10 placement is based on the useable square footage addition, adding an extra bedroom, bathroom, in-home office, or family space.

 

There are several things to consider when looking to finish your basement.

  1. Moisture
    One of the number 1 destroyers of basements is moisture.  There are multiple ways to test for moisture levels and prevent leaks and mold from ruining the hard work you put into your new space.  While a dehumidifier may help alleviate some density, it can sometimes pull moisture through unsealed walls from the surrounding earth.  Alternative ways to reduce water problems include professional HVAC installation, sealing walls, and choosing correct flooring like floating vinyl slat flooring.  A vapor retardant is also recommended between floor slabs and foundation walls to help reduce the amount of water that comes from the outside.  If you plan to install a bathroom in the basement, make sure it is properly equipped with exhaust fans and ventilation that will help reduce steam buildup. 
  2. Lighting
    Most basements have limited options when it comes to natural lighting.  Organizing your space around optimizing the available light will create a warmer space to spend time in.  Optical tricks, like lighter walls and mirrors, will help the space look larger and allow more natural light in.  If you’re unable to harness natural light, there are lots of lighting options that mimic sunlight that could be better fitting alternatives.  Planning the layout to be more open around your light source can also allow more light into the subterranean space.
  3. Soundproofing
    Being on the garden level of a home can be the noisiest place in the house.  While vinyl slat flooring may be the best option for moisture control, it will only help to amplify the sound that is coming from the floors above.  It’s up to you to choose your flooring in respects to soundproofing your basement.  Water & mold resistant carpeting could be your best option if you’re looking to add an extra bedroom, playroom, or movie room, as the carpet absorbs quite a bit of sound.  Other ways to soundproof the basement include adding fiberglass batts behind the drywall to create an extra layer of insulation.  Sound absorption pads and matts can also be added between the first-story floorboards and the basement ceiling.  
  4. Storage
    Take into consideration how much space in your basement is currently used for storage.  If your answer is “none” than this will be less important than the last 3 suggestions.  However, as you grow into your home or your family begins to grow, having designated storage space will benefit your entire family.  There are creative ways to add storage without reducing the useable square footage of your home.  Adding a closet underneath the stairs will offer great storage space without cutting into an open floor plan.  Creating a full closet wall can also minimize the intrusion of storage into an open layout.  This can be created with an extension of added drywall just a few feet from the original basement wall.  Another option includes building a cabinet and cubby system on one of the walls for all of the kitsch things you may have.

 

There are so many other factors that go into a basement remodel, like egress/emergency exit installation, ceiling heights, etc. but these will give you a framework of important things to note when considering finishing your basement.  One other noteworthy point includes examining the stairwell to the basement.  Basement stairs are often not even or have deteriorated over the years due to moisture and most likely need maintenance too.

 

If you’re thinking of adding on to your house, we would love to offer a free consultation for renovating your basement space.  Contact Bright Star Handyman Service for more information today!

Top Renovation Returns by Bankrate

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Whether you plan to stay in your house a long time or just a few years, it’s smart to know which home renovations add the most value to your place.

“Remodeling,” a magazine for the construction industry, in its 2018 Cost vs. Value report, compares the average cost of 21 remodeling projects in 149 markets with the value those projects retain at resale in 100 U.S. markets.

Here are the six interior remodeling projects that deliver the highest return.

1. Garage door replacement

  • Average cost: $3,470
  • Average resale value: $3,411
  • Cost recouped: 98.3%

A good-looking garage door tops the list when it comes to returning cash to your pocket, the Cost vs. Value report shows. This project involves removing an existing 16-by-7-foot garage door and replacing it with a new four-section garage door with heavy-duty galvanized steel tracks. This curb-appeal enhancer will get you back almost every dollar you spent on it when you sell your house.

 

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Consumer Report Study on Windows

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New windows can enhance the look of your home and make it quieter and less drafty, and new windows are easier to clean and maintain than old windows with combination screens and storm windows.

But forget what the ads say. Saving money on your energy bill is not the reason to replace your windows—it could take decades to recoup the $8,000 to $24,000 you’ll spend on new windows and installation. 

Energy Star-qualified windows can lower your energy bill by an average of 12 percent. That's only $27 to $111 a year for a 2,000-square-foot single-story home with storm windows or double-pane windows, $126 to $465 if your home has just single-pane windows, according to Energy Star.

Use our replacement window buying guide to learn which materials, types, and features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased ratings to help you choose.

Through The Looking Glass: What We Found

How We Test
To find out which windows are best at keeping your home comfortable and dry, we tested more than two dozen double-hung and casement-style windows for air and water leakage. We found significant differences between brands in types and frame materials. Working with an outside lab, we subjected the windows to heavy, wind-driven rain, and winds of 25 and 50 mph at outdoor temperatures of 0°F and 70°F. Given the high cost of replacing windows, the more you know, the more informed choice you can make. 

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When Is It Time to Replace My Carpet?

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About Your Carpet

Typically a carpet can last you from 5-15 years depending on the foot traffic, quality, and padding.  These are all great starting points to determining if you need a carpet replacement. 

Carpet installation is a little more complex than you might think, as there are a few layers that go in before the carpet that you walk on can be installed.  First, there are the tackless strips.  These wood pieces have small pins that stick out to hold your carpeting in place.  If you’ve never seen these, you might have felt them when walking through a doorway of an older home, where the carpet is wearing low.  These strips are nailed into the floor around the edges of the room to hold the carpet in place.  The second layer is typically a layer of foamy material that helps to create a cushion underneath your carpeting.  Placing carpet directly on wood or concrete will not give it that comfortable, squishy feeling that the cushioning offers.  For example, you can usually feel the difference between a floor rug and a carpeted room.  This foam also helps to fill the space between the tackless strips so the full room is flush and level and not elevated around the edges.

So, When Do I Know That I Need to Replace My Carpets?

…When It Smells Funky

Usually the musty smell is the key indicator that it’s time to do something about replacing your carpet.  Sometimes all it needs is a deep cleaning, but if a deep cleaning doesn’t eliminate the smell, you might have to think about a more permanent change.  Many times the cleaning can help with the top layer of carpet, while the spongey bottom layer may be molding or holding more permanent smells.  One of the largest absorbers in a room can be your carpet, so pets, smoke, spills, and similar issues can leave you in need of a replacement.

 

…When It Starts To Clump

Depending on the material of your carpet, some may last longer than others.  For example, polyester carpet won’t last as long as nylon carpeting and will begin to start matting sooner.  Once a polyester carpet begins to mat, there’s not much you can do to salvage it.  One way to keep your carpet lasting longer is to treat it to a deep clean every so often.  

 

…When You Can’t Remove The Stains

Deep cleaning will only take you so far with some stains.  While they can remove the discoloration for most things, sometimes a shampoo just won’t cut it.  Foot traffic and other wear & tear can bring deeper stains to the surface if the padding underneath the carpet is still holding on to it.  Some stain removers can also damage the carpet’s integrity.  If you have multiple deep stains like red wine, it may be your best bet to fully replace the carpet.

 

Options to replace your carpet include wood flooring, tile, slat flooring, laminate, or even concrete depending on your budget and aesthetic choices.  Wood and slat flooring will typically outlast most carpet choices.  If you’re looking for a revamp for your floors, reach out to Bright Star for a consultation on your options!

What the 20 Most Popular Home Renovations Are Really Worth in 2018

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Planning to remodel your kitchen, add a master suite, or undertake some other pricey home renovation in 2018? Watch out—not all of these home improvements pay off like they did in the past, according to Remodeling magazine's latest Cost vs. Value Report.

For this much-referenced annual report, now in its 31st year, researchers pinpointed the average return on investment of 20 popular home renovations by canvassing contractors nationwide on how much these upgrades cost to complete, then compared that with how much real estate agents estimated these features would boost a home's market price (in other words, their value).

And the news isn't so good for homeowners looking to remodel on a massive scale: The report found that in 2018, Americans should expect to make back only about 56% of the money they spend on renovations. That's down from 64% the previous two years.

 

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Why Home Maintenance Is Important

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Owning a home requires a lot more responsibility than renting. If something breaks down, there's no landlord to come and fix the problem; it's in the owner's hands. That means the responsibility of keeping a home clean and maintained is up to the homeowners. Your realtor, mortgage lender and everyone on the Internet has told you how important it is to keep your home maintained, as well as thousands ways to do it. But why is it so important? As a home warranty company, Landmark's main purpose is to help homeowners who have systems and appliances that fail from old age and normal wear and tear. However, in our contract, we stipulate that if a system or appliance has failed because of lack of maintenance, it's not considered "normal wear and tear." You shouldn't just maintain your home because of the benefits of a home warranty though (although that's an excellent reason to do so!). There are a number of other reasons home maintenance is so important.

Home Maintenance Saves you Money

The first reason home maintenance is so important is that it saves you, the homeowner, money. "That can't be right," you're thinking. "I spend so much of my time, money and energy cleaning and maintaining. How does that save me money?"

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Happy Independence Day!

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HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Bright Star Handyman Service wishes all of you a Happy 4th of July!  Whether you plan to hang out with your friends on your brand new outdoor patio, or check out the local fireworks show, we hope you have the best day off!

While we’re all about the fireworks celebrations, we want to remind you to keep your pets inside as the sun starts to set today.  Each year, many runaway animals end up breaking out of their backyards due to fireworks and end up in shelters on July 5th.  We care about all members of your family and want to make sure your furry friends feel safe, too!

Sometimes it’s easy to feel like we live in a divisive time nationally, we encourage all of you to focus on the things you’re grateful for and what makes us all the same.  We are all Americans and we have our freedoms that our forefathers fought so diligently to protect.  

We’re grateful for all of our amazing clients and the opportunity to help you live your best and most comfortable life!  If you live in the Philadelphia or South Jersey areas and haven’t worked with us yet, please don’t hesitate to reach out about achieving your dream home!

 

Happy 4th of July!

7 Things to Know About Windows

Pick and Choose Based on Your Budget 
There are so many options when it comes to window selection, it can get a little overwhelming.  We’ve put together a breakdown of the most common window options from framing, like wood, vinyl, and aluminum, to types of panes, like single, double, or triple.  All styles of windows offer their own unique qualities, but ultimately it’s your choice at the end of the day!  Want to match older windows in your early 1900’s home?  Wood, single-paned may be your best option.  Thinking you want to cut your air conditioning usage during the hot Philadelphia summers?  Aluminum double or triple-pane windows may be just what you’re looking for!

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Skylights Offer a Greater Amount of Light
Skylights, like regular windows, need to be replaced and sealed every so often to help maintain temperatures in your home.  Compared to typical wall windows, skylights can offer up to 25% more light in your home.  If you’re looking for a lighter, more airy feel to a space in your home, but lack a wall for more windows, a skylight could be your best option!

Better Windows Can Reduce Your Energy Consumption
If you have an older home, or it’s been a while since you’ve had your windows checked, you could learn that your window efficiency may be affecting your energy bill up to 25%.  With high or low temperatures, older windows may begin to lose tightness in the seal that holds the window to the wall, or even between the panes.  While many like to match their older home with single-paned windows, these are the least efficient when it comes to conserving energy.  With only one pane of glass and typically a wood frame, there is not much insulation between indoor temperatures and outdoor temperatures.  By switching to a single or double-paned window option and updating the frames, the U.S. Department of Energy states that new windows could reduce the amount of energy used to heat and cool your home by 15%.

Windows Can Help Drown the Sound of Noisy Neighbors or a Busy Street
One commonly overlooked advantage to installing new windows is the amount of noise reduction they offer.  Your home walls most likely do a decent job of creating a sound barrier between you and thee outside world, but one highly effective way to create even more indoor peace is to install double-paned windows.  Double-paned windows have air (or argon) trapped between the two panes which act as an extra insulator and noise barrier.  Especially great for those living in a bustling city like Philadelphia, you could gain a higher level of solitude by replacing older windows with thicker, insulated windows.

Window Treatments Can Increase Privacy
Aside from the noise reduction quality of double-paned windows, there are a few other options for treating your windows.  Commonly seen in first floor bathrooms, frosting windows can add a new layer of privacy without blocking the light from entering the room.  Some windows can be replaced with bubble glass, which looks much like treated, frosted windows, or even glass blocks. 

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Placement in Small or Hard-to-Reach Spaces
The traditional window is single hung, meaning two windows sit vertically on top of one another, the top is fixed while the bottom moves with a lock in the middle of the two to keep them closed.  You can also choose double-hung, where both panes move, allowing you to only lower the top part, if you choose.  Sliding windows are great options around outdoor spaces like a porch or patio.  Casement, or crank windows, are usually seen in the kitchen over the sink or in higher levels of older homes.  These are typically in places that are harder to reach or, for safety reasons, should not open all the way, like on the second and third floors of your home.

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Window Accessories Add Greater Protection
Installations of awnings, blinds, and shades can add an aesthetically pleasing look to your home while also decreasing your energy consumption.  One report by Home Energy Magazine states that awnings may be able to reduce heat entering the house by up to 77%.  Light colored shades, blinds, and curtains can also reflect the light back out of the house and trap temperatures close to the window, preventing heat from moving further inside.  
 

Bright Star Handyman Service would be happy to connect with you about your options when it comes to window replacement in Philadelphia! 

Contact us for more information!

Are Your Windows Ready for Summer?

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Are your electric bills sky high?  Or at least higher than you would like them to be?  There is one major factor to take in to consideration…  How old are your windows?

If you’re one of the lucky ones in a beautiful early 1900’s house, we’re talking to you!  Those single-paned windows might be beautiful and authentic, but they are not going to do anything to protect you or your energy bills from the heat (or the freezing cold for that matter).  With extreme temperature exposure, you could be wasting up to double the amount of energy to heat and cool your home.  Over the course of a year, or a few years, those energy bills will begin to add up.

Do you ever look at the thermostat and feel like it’s lying to you?  As we enter the high heat of summer with the lovely Philadelphia humidity, it can become even more painfully obvious that you may need new windows.  We’ve put together a few tips on how to go about choosing new windows.

 

Frame Material

Wood Frames

This is the classic window frame option and what you’ll find in most older homes that have not ever replaced windows.  This option is a great insulator from the heat of summer, but the porous material could pose issues for a wet climate.  While a well-installed window shouldn’t cause problems for quite some time, the Philly humidity might make it wear faster than others.  The moisture can get trapped in the wood and begin to rot, which can then create larger issues with mold.

Aluminum Frames
Unlike wood window frames, aluminum window frames are great for high rain and humid climates.  Most hurricane-prone areas will have aluminum windows to maintain safety code.  However, aluminum does not make a great insulator and might not be as effective in keeping your home cool or heated.  This is a less expensive frame choice when compared to wood, but won’t save you much for energy efficiency.

Vinyl Frames
These frames are the most cost-effective window frame option and have the best energy efficiency.  Usually, vinyl frames come with insulated glass and are fitted to the glass better than aluminum or wood.  This can reduce the amount of hot or cold air that escapes through the cracks.  The only issue with choosing a vinyl window frame is the color choices are limited, especially when compared to wood, where you can paint it any color.

 

Window Panes

Single Panes
You won’t see these single-glass windows in stores much.  Single pane windows are typically custom built or renovated from old homes to match existing windows in older homes.  When it comes to efficiency and durability, these are the lowest on the list.  The single pane does not offer much for insulation. If it hails, these windows could easily shatter since most of them are already old.  Typically, we do not encourage these as they are expensive and less energy efficient.

Double Panes
Double pane means two layers of glass in the frame.  Air or argon gas is trapped between the two panes, offering an extra layer of insulation from the elements.  This is the most common window replacement option that you will find, as it’s a fair price, energy efficient, and commonly used in newer homes.  You can hardly even tell there are two panes unless you’re looking for it.  

Triple Panes
Just like double pane windows, but with a third glass as well.  The interior of double and triple paned windows are coated with a drying agent that prevent condensation.  The triple panes are the most energy efficient since there are 3 panes of glass and 2 air layers that the heat or cold must penetrate to get to the other side.  

broken window repair philly

Popular Window Pane Extras

Low-Emissivity Glass
Low-E glass uses a coating that helps prevent heat from seeping in, while still allowing light to flow through.  Have you ever taken a painting off of the wall to expose a darker rectangle than the rest of the wall?  Using this type of coating can help keep the things in your house looking new, like carpets, paintings, furniture, etc.  It also helps to reduce the amount of UV light that enters your home!

Tempered Glass
Many windows are made with tempered glass these days.  Single paned windows will shatter into a thousand pieces, while tempered glass will crumble.  If you’ve ever seen a car window shatter into chunks, the effect of tempered glass windows will be similar.  While the window will still break, you won’t be pulling glass splinters out of your feet for the next few weeks!

If you’re not sure where to start regarding your window replacement or window repair in the Greater Philadelphia Area, reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service for a free consultation!

Choosing the Right Replacement Windows for Your Home

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Contrary to what some ads say, saving money on your energy bills is not the reason to replace your windows. That’s because it could take decades to recoup the $8,000 to $24,000 you’ll spend on new windows and installation. Energy Star-qualified windows can lower your energy bills by 7 to 15 percent. That’s only about $27 to $111 per year for a 2,000-square-foot, single-story home with storm or double-pane windows, or $126 to $465 if that home has just single-pane windows. So why bother?

New windows can make your home quieter, more attractive, and less drafty, and they don’t need painting. They’re also easier to clean than old windows with combination storm and screens and can reduce your carbon footprint.

To check which windows can keep out rain and wind without leaking, we tested 21 double-hung and four casement-style windows, two of the most popular configurations. We found significant differences between brands in types and frame materials. Working with an outside lab, we subjected the windows to heavy, wind-driven rain and winds of 25 and 50 mph at outdoor temperatures of 0° F and 70° F.

Replacing windows involves many decisions. If you want new windows, we’ll help you choose the best ones for your home. Here’s what you need to know.

Price doesn’t indicate performance

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