kitchen remodel

Kitchen Updates: How Often to Replace Appliances and Cooking Supplies

Original Article Written By: Angie Bersen

Nothing good lasts forever, and that includes the appliances and equipment that you may have already replaced during recent kitchen updates. While your kitchen will look gorgeous when everything is brand new and state-of-the-art, that shiny new look doesn’t last forever. Sooner or later, you’ll need to invest in replacements or repairs to keep everything up to par.

When contemplating kitchen updates, it’s important to understand that even if you think functionality is still intact, there may be issues lurking under the surface. Here’s what you need to know about maintaining the state of your kitchen.

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When Do You Need a New Dishwasher?

Replace As Needed – Every 10 Years at the Latest

For many households, dishwashers are indispensable, providing a valuable way to reduce post-meal tasks and improve overall cleanliness. However, dishwashers get old, break, and need replacements during kitchen updates, just like any other appliance.

Modern dishwashers are designed to last around 10 years, but if you start seeing these signs of wear and tear issues before that point, it may be time to invest in a repairman or a new dishwasher:

  • Rust on the exterior that can indicate a water leak that isn’t necessarily visible

  • Standing water in your dishwasher, indicating a serious clog

  • A door that doesn’t properly latch or lock

  • Cold dishes following a cycle

  • Cracks or damage to the door or frame

  • Leaking water on the floor under the unit

  • Dishes that are spotty or dirty after a wash cycle

In some cases, a repair or parts replacement can fix these issues, but most of the time, a full replacement is the best option. Replacing a dishwasher will increase energy efficiency and improve the quality of your kitchen cleaning endeavors.

How Long Do Refrigerators Last?

Replace As Needed – Every 10 Years at the Latest

It’s hard to imagine living in a modern home without a refrigerator, which is why prompt repairs or replacements are so important. When refrigerator parts are on the fritz, it can cause plenty of issues, including ruined food, wasted money, and the risk of bacteria development, which can cause food poisoning such as salmonella.

The average lifespan of a refrigerator is about 10 years, but these signs can be indicative of a need for a timely replacement:

  • Excessive condensation; in some cases, this can be remedied by a new door seal

  • A motor that runs too hot

  • Food that spoils faster than normal

  • A freezer that is far too cold and leaves an ice buildup on items or causes freezer burn

  • Excess energy use with no changes in habits

  • A loud motor

  • Uneven cooling, including freezing within the fridge space

It’s not uncommon for attachments such as ice machines or water filters to break after three to five years. If you live somewhere with a hot climate, it’s crucial to stay up to date with these smaller repairs. However, if your refrigerator has broken parts and kitchen updates are a priority, a full replacement may be the best option.

When Is a New Stove Essential?

Replace Every 10 Years at the Latest

Cooking is virtually impossible without a functional stove or oven, but this stable kitchen appliance doesn’t last forever. If you are in need of a new range, these tips can guide your decision between replacing and repairing.

Like most kitchen appliances, a lifespan of 10 years or more isn’t uncommon. However, if you’re seeing signs of trouble and your stove is more than a decade old, replacement is most likely the right choice, especially if:

  • The glass is cracked

  • One or more burners won’t light, or won’t heat up properly

  • The oven heats unevenly, with particular areas heating faster than others

  • Preheating takes longer than usual

  • Burners are uneven

  • There is a strong smell of gas in gas units, indicating a potential leak

Even if a repair is possible, it may not be worth the investment. If the cost of the repair is 50 percent or more of the cost of the unit, it’s time to take on something new.

Timelines for Countertops and Cabinet Installation

Update Every 10-15 Years

Despite common perception, counters and cabinets aren’t meant to last forever. After excessive use, counters wear down. Eventually, cupboard doors don’t close properly and shelves begin to buckle and bend. Every 10 to 15 years is generally the recommended time frame for a full kitchen remodel. Whether the functionality of your kitchen isn’t meeting your needs, or you simply want an updated look, it may be worth considering a kitchen remodel.

Countertop Replacement

While the functionality of cabinets can actively disturb storage and the protection of your cooking utensils, countertops rarely interfere with function, no matter how old they are. However, the look and feel can decrease the value of your cooking space, and it’s possible for cracks to hold bacteria before any kitchen updates. If your counter is cracked, stained beyond repair, has any signs of structural problems, or simply looks outdated, it’s time for a countertop replacement.

Cabinet Installation

Unless your cabinets are significantly newer than your countertops, it’s recommended to replace both at the same time, with cabinet installation taking priority. When cabinets are installed first, you can be sure new countertops will fit around or on your new cupboards and will not be damaged during the process.

 

Replacing Microwaves and Small Appliances

Replace As Needed – Every 5 Years at the Latest

Unlike large appliances like refrigerators, stoves, ovens, and dishwashers, most smaller appliances won’t make it to a decade of life. As such, you may need to replace things like microwaves on a more accelerated basis.

Microwave

Your microwave should hold up for at least five years, but inexpensive models may only give you a year or two. Signs like smoke, sparks, burning smells, improperly cooked food, suspicious sounds, and trouble with controls often mean it’s time for a replacement.

Microwaves can be repaired, but the cost is often not worth it. When in doubt, a new microwave is generally a better deal, with prices averaging around $100 or less–a steal compared to larger appliances.

Toasters

Toasters and toaster ovens can be important for convenience and easy cooking, particularly for meals that don’t necessitate the time commitment preheating the oven requires. However, like microwaves, these items aren’t meant to last longer than around five years of regular use, either. If you see sparks or smoke, experience uneven cooking, or smell strong metallic scents, it’s time for kitchen updates and potentially a replacement.

Stand Mixers

Stand mixers can make baking fast and simple, but they’re big investments. As such, most people are hesitant to drop cash on a replacement. Little things, like worn gears, may require simple parts repairs that you can do yourself, but bigger problems, like cracked stands, power troubles, or strange smells, usually entail a new unit.

Before jumping the gun, be sure to check the warranty. Some units may come with long-term protection that you can use to minimize or eliminate the cost or a replacement.

How Long Do Spices Last?

Between 1-5 Years

Spices are a staple in any kitchen, but contrary to the habits of standard home cooks, spices don’t last forever. Even though spices are generally dried and intended to be preserved, they do come with an expiration date. Here are a few guidelines for how long spices last:

  • Whole spices should be replaced every four years

  • Ground spices should be replaced every two to three years

  • Herbs should be replaced every one to two years

Spices don’t actually spoil and are unlikely to make you sick, but they do lose flavor and effectiveness, compromising the food you cook.

Common cooking oils, like olive oil or canola oil, should be replaced every one to two years. In theory, white kosher and sea salt will last indefinitely, but table salt should be replaced every five years.

When to Throw Away Non-Stick Pans

Replace Every 5 Years

Pots and pans, particularly non-stick varieties, do need to be a part of your regularly scheduled kitchen updates. Based on the chemicals used to manufacture the non-stick surface, non-stick pots and pans shouldn’t be used for more than five years. If there are any scratches or the surface begins to peel, replacement should be expedited.

A great kitchen has a lot to offer your quality of life and your diet, but maintaining functionality means proper replacements. From broken appliances to outdated countertops, it’s up to you to keep your kitchen in perfect working order.

Original Article Published by Redfin




Top 5 Things Not to Miss While Spring Cleaning

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It’s that time of year where the sun stays out longer and the weather starts to warm. We open our windows and shake out the lingering cobwebs from winter. There are the usual things that we think to clean like floors, floorboards, and vents, but what else? Here are the top 5 things to add to your cleaning list this year!

Windows

Even though you look through your windows every day, they’re easy to miss when cleaning up. The best day to clean your windows is a cloudy one – cleaning on a sunny day can leave streaks when the cleaner evaporates too quickly. Start by dusting your windows so that you’re not just smearing dust around. Next, vacuum your screens using an attachment – there’s nothing worse than cleaning all of your windows only to realize your screens are dirty! Finally, use your cleaner of choice. Pre-moistened wipes, a homemade solution with a microfiber cloth, or a sponge all work well, followed closely by a pass with a squeegee. You’ll love your new clean view!

Lighting

We often don’t think about cleaning our lighting, but you’d be amazed at how much dust gathers in those fixtures! Use a vacuum attachment to clean lamp shades and wipe down the lamp base with a microfiber cloth. Even the light bulb itself may be dusty if you have light bulbs that last a long time. Take a duster to your ceiling fans, chandeliers, and standing lamps as well. Finally, don’t forget to clean your light switches! If you think about it, your switches are touched more often than most anything in your house.

Appliances

From small kitchen appliances to your washing machine, your appliances need a good cleaning every once in a while too. Have a coffee maker? Be sure to clean it inside and out. Does your mixer sit on the countertop? Time to give it a good dusting. For washers and dishwashers, you can find a packet of cleaner in your local store – give those machines a run with a cleaner to prevent mildew and stains. Other appliances, such as your hair dryer, electric toothbrush, and alarm clocks are often neglected in the cleaning process as well. Take a minute to put them through some sanitation.

Cabinets

You’d be surprised how dirty the front of your cabinets can be! Your choice of cleaner will depend on whether your cabinets are wood or painted, but it is definitely worth a thorough wipe down of your kitchen and bathroom cabinets, especially the ones located below sinks. Feeling motivated? Time to wipe down the shelves inside of your cabinets as well, and maybe vacuum out the utensil drawer.

Tools

Your cleaning tools need cleaning too! You’re certainly not sanitizing your home if the mop you’re using is dirty as well. Take a moment to clean the parts of your vacuum, run your mop heads through the washing machine, and replace any sponges or brushes that are worse for wear. Check the dates on your cleaning products as well, and spot test any new cleaning products to ensure that you won’t stain your carpet, flooring, or upholstery.

Feel free to reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service for any larger projects that may arise while you’re spring cleaning. We’re happy to help!

6 Ways to Revamp Your Walls

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Doing some home remodeling, but not sure what to do with your walls? Here are some fun ideas for those blank walls in your home, and we didn’t even include wallpaper!

Fabric

Armed with a little liquid starch and some lightweight cotton fabric in a fun print, you can turn a bland wall into a work of art. Want something a little less time-intensive? Simply hanging a series of table runners, a decorative shower curtain, or a knitted blanket on a dowel can make a huge statement.

Bookshelves

There are hundreds of ideas on Pinterest of how to turn walls into repositories for your book collection and look decorative in the process. From wall-to-wall shelves to artsy bookcases to picture frames big enough to hold books, the sky is the limit!

Washi

This Japanese masking tape comes in hundreds of fun patterns and colors. Use the tape in vertical or horizontal lines to instantly change a room. This change is so easy and quick, you can update with new styles as often as you’d like! 

Texture

If you have a large wall in a neutral color that you’d like to keep plain but still stand out, texture may be the answer. Specialty molded wall tiles can create a three-dimensional effect in ripples, waves, or patterns and are easy to install.

Natural Elements

Some house elements that are commonly used as flooring have started showing up on walls and ceilings too! Cork tiles, hardwood boards, natural stone, and bamboo are just some of the options that can bring a bit of nature into your home and really accent a wall.

Paint

And of course, there’s the classic wall décor – paint! Paint an accent wall in a bright, fun color, paint stripes in a closet, or even paint a fun mural on one wall in your office. Another fun option is chalkboard paint, especially for kid’s rooms. Then they can draw on their walls all day, and you simply erase it! 

If you’re looking for more ideas, reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service and we will be happy to help you achieve your home goals!

Bored With Your Kitchen? 5 Kitchen Upgrades Without a Full Renovation!

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5 Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen

Want to upgrade your kitchen without going full-blown demo? Even minor changes can make a huge difference! We’ve put together some kitchen remodel ideas, from small to large, to help you bring new life to one of the most popular rooms in your house.

Change Up Your Cabinets

Upgrading your cabinets will make your kitchen feel like it’s brand new, and you don’t even have to swap them out! For example, adding a fresh coat of paint (such as Annie Sloan chalk paint) really brightens up the room. 

Not ready for the time commitment associated with painting? Other small changes can make a world of difference. Removing the doors for an open look, installing roll-out shelving, or installing crown molding are just a few options.

Fantastic New Floors

There are so many choices in flooring these days, the possibilities are endless. When it comes to durability and a polished look, tile floors are the most popular choice. With glazed and unglazed versions, you can choose between sleek and modern or vintage and earthy. In addition, tile can withstand drops and spills without a problem. 

Have an open floor plan? You may want to try hardwood or engineered wood so you can maintain the same floor type throughout. Hardwood is comfortable underfoot but less resistant to spills. Engineered wood, on the other hand, is just as durable as tile with the same hardwood look.

Get Creative with Paint

When was the last time you painted the walls in your kitchen? We’re guessing that it’s been a while. Try painting your kitchen walls a different color and see what a difference it makes! 

Other items in your kitchen can be painted as well – in addition to your cabinets, you can paint your dining room set, your floor, even your Formica countertops (there’s a special paint for that now).

Upgrade the Appliances

It’s amazing what a new set of appliances can do to change the look of your kitchen, especially if the appliances you already own don’t match. Black, white, or stainless steel, the appliances these days are sharp, efficient, and practically designer.

Even small appliances can brighten up the room. A Kitchenmaid mixer and a tea kettle that matches another color in your kitchen, such as your newly painted walls, can tie the whole look together!

Find a Fun Light Fixture

We often don’t think about our lights unless they’re not working. However, a unique light fixture can be the center of attention and change your kitchen’s whole look. A mini chandelier, drop lights, the options are endless. 

Another option for lighting is to add light panels above or underneath your cabinets. It makes the whole room glow.

As you can see, you don’t need to demo your kitchen to make a big difference in how it looks. Call Bright Star Handyman today – we’d love to help!

How to Save Money By Making Your Home More Energy Efficient by Updating Appliances, Insulating, and Using Solar Power!

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Being “green” is a new lifestyle, business, and cultural trend, and also directly impacts the money you spend on energy bills. Across the spectrum of sealing and insulating, energy efficient appliances, solar panels and LED lighting, there are many ways to implement small and large changes in your household that promote financial and carbon footprint savings. 

Seal & Insulate

Your home’s heating and cooling system is among the most significant in saving on energy costs. The duct system is comprised of tubes that connect to central air conditioners and furnaces through your ceilings, walls, and floors. However, most of these systems are not fabricated properly which can cause hot and cool air to slowly escape from your home. This obviously results in more energy being consumed, because the system must work harder to regulate temperatures.

Attics and vented crawl spaces have a tendency to be poorly insulated, so sealing the ducts and insulating them can be an easy way to save money on heating and cooling utility bills, and increase the overall energy efficiency of your home. The quantity of insulation needed to cover your attic will depend on the size of your home, and the climate of where you live, but the average cost of additional insulation runs around $1,400. You can also close your radiators or vents in unoccupied rooms, potentially saving you up to 20 percent on heating costs.

Energy efficient appliances 

Home appliances like refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, and laundry machines make up about 13% of a household’s energy costs. These appliances are notorious for wasting energy, so think about updating your appliances this year to save money in the long run. Energy Star products, backed by the U.S. EPA and Department of Energy are a great place to start. For example, an Energy Star labeled refrigerator will save you between $30 and $70 a year compared to models that were produced 15 years ago.

Smart home products can also increase your home’s energy efficiency and can even be controlled from a smartphone or tablet. A programmable thermostat allows you to lower the temperature during times when no one is home or the family is sleeping. Users can set a specific temperature to different time periods in the weekdays and weekends. 

Other products like the Nest Thermostat integrate smart internet technology that allows control from your smartphone. If you were on vacation and wanted to adjust the heating and cooling at custom times, you could do that all from your phone. You can save as much as 10 percent a year with these devices. 

LED 

Light-emitting diode, or LED bulbs provide longer lasting light and are more energy efficient than old incandescent bulbs. Most families will spend about 5% of their energy budget in lighting costs and switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your bill. You can save about $45 each year simply by replacing your home's five most commonly used light fixtures or bulbs with LED lights. 

LED bulbs are currently available in many products such as replacements for traditional incandescents, small track lights, and desk lamps. In addition to outdoor area lights, reflector bulbs used in recessed fixtures, and kitchen under-cabinet lighting. LEDs have immense possibility with their versatile abilities like motion sensors, wide array of colors, and dimmable functions. 

LEDs have a higher cost than traditional lightbulbs, but they save money in the future. The technology operates with very little energy for a lengthy duration. 

Solar Energy

Have you ever wished your electricity bill was more predictable? Cheaper? Installing solar panels can protect you from rising energy prices by producing your very own clean electricity. Solar panels can guarantee steady electricity rates over twenty plus years, arguably the highest rate of long-term savings in any home remodel. The price behind solar power has decreased in recent years which means solar savings are higher than ever! Solar panels are certainly a long term investment but well worth the expense, and better for the environment. 

Whether the changes you apply are small or large, transforming your household into an energy efficient haven is rewarding in many ways. Rewarding to your bank account, to Mother Nature, and to humanity overall. Contact Bright Star Handyman for energy efficient home remodels and transformation. 

Best Flooring for Your Home: Wood, Tile, Vinyl, Bamboo, Laminate, Carpet, & More

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Top 3 Floor Options for Your Home by Room

If you’ve been to Floor & Decor lately (or even Home Depot!), you’ve seen the endless options for flooring these days: laminate, wood, bamboo, tile, engineered wood, a million kinds of carpet. How are we supposed to choose? In an effort to help, we’ve rounded up a list of the best flooring for each room in your home…enjoy!

Kitchen & Dining Room

  • Porcelain tile – A classic look, tile makes it easy to clean up spills and is hard enough to withstand the occasional dropped pan. Larger tiles in your kitchen can make the space look bigger too!

  • Vinyl – Don’t worry, vinyl flooring has changed a lot since it’s creation in 1958. The new vinyl is attractive, durable, and easy to clean.

  • Engineered wood – The possibilities are endless these days! A lighter color laid in a unique design will make your kitchen truly unique.

Living and Family Room 

  • Solid wood – Still THE BEST, most classic look. And it comes in so many flavors! Accessorize with a stylish rug or leave it bare.

  • Engineered Wood – The stuff looks like real wood. Seriously. And it’s a bit more durable than solid wood if you have a high traffic home.

  • Carpet – Sometimes in these rooms, comfort is king! Cozy movie nights are perfect with a plush carpet and popcorn.

Bathroom and Laundry Room

  • Porcelain tile – See the reasons above under ‘Kitchen & Dining Room’. Using smaller tiles lends a polished look, and the design possibilities are endless.

  • Vinyl – Comes in a million colors and really is better these days. You can match your towels, your soap…the world is your oyster.

  • Engineered Wood – This is a recent trend in bathrooms, and we love it! So durable and moisture-resistant.

Bedroom

  • Hardwood – We love hardwood in bedrooms – so classy. Make the flooring pop with a throw rug or a faux cowskin.

  • Tile – Because why not? We’ve seen some amazing tile designs in bedrooms, especially clay tile or travertine.

  • Carpet – Sometimes you just want that softness under your bare pajama feet!

Hopefully this helps you make your big flooring decisions! Stop by and see us today to find the perfect flooring options for your home!

Home Renovations in 2019 with Bright Star Handyman Service

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As we reflect back on 2018, we’re so grateful for everything this year brought and taught us! As we gear up for the year ahead, we’re expecting 2019 to bring even more big things!

If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time for a home renovation in Philadelphia or South Jersey, the time has come. This year, we want to help you with all of your home needs. If you’re not sure where to start, begin prioritizing where you spend most of your time. Does your small kitchen need more space? Does your bathroom only have enough space for one person at a time?

Here are 4 ways to update your home in 2019!

Kitchen Makeover
You don’t need to completely gut your family kitchen to get more space and use out of your cooking and storage space. There are few ways to completely change the look of your kitchen without a complete renovation:

  • Repaint the cabinets to freshen up their look and avoid a full cabinet installation

  • Change out your cabinet hardware like knobs and handles for new decor

  • Upgrade your kitchen appliances to new energy efficient appliances that might save you more money in monthly bills

  • Change out your countertops to create a brand new preparation space for family dinner

Bathroom Overhaul
Older bathrooms are generally smaller than bathrooms built in newer homes. If you find that you need more space, there are plenty of ways to optimize what you already have:

  • Change out the bathroom sink to better fit the amount of space you have, if you need more storage, select a model with a cabinet underneath or for more free space, select a pedestal sink to open up the area underneath

  • Add floating shelves or cabinets above the toilet or sink to move your belongings off of the ground and countertops and into a designated space

  • Swap out your shower curtain and bathroom rug to add a new color scheme and cleaner fill to your bathroom

  • Treat your bathtub, sink, and toilet with a strong cleaner to remove any calcium, lime, or rust deposits to give your bathroom a super clean feel

Basement Conversion
Need more space in your home for storage or your growing family? A basement remodel might be in the cards for you instead of building a new room to add-on to your home. Basements make great home additions and the increased square footage can be used as a number of things:

  • Turn your basement into a kids playroom with organizers for all of their toys and craft supplies

  • Convert your basement into an extra bedroom to give yourself more space for guests or for your family

  • Build shelving and organizational systems to store anything you are not currently using, including bike mounts, tool boxes, winter clothing, holiday decorations, and more

  • Create your dream workspace by partly finishing the basement with a table for a crafting area, storage compartments, wall organizers, and anything else you need to make it your ideal workshop

Outdoor Beautification
Want to maximize your space by creating a beautiful outdoor space for nice days? Adding to the exterior beauty of your home can increase its drive-by value and creates an inviting space to come home to after a long day. We can help you:

  • Build an outdoor deck for seating, grilling, and entertaining

  • Clean the gutters to keep them lasting longer and to avoid leaks from water buildup on the roof

  • Repaint the exterior of your home for a clean start and to make you feel like you’re walking up to a new home each time you pull into your driveway

  • Repair the fence and landscaping to keep your pets and kids safe in the yard with a beautiful backdrop to encourage more time outside

Whatever your home renovation needs are in 2019, Bright Star Handyman Service is here to help! Reach out to us for a free home consultation today and let’s give you the home of your dreams in 2019!

Happy Holidays from Bright Star Handyman Service!

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As the year comes to a close we are immensely grateful for this past year! We’ve helped so many of you create the home of your dreams and we couldn’t be happier about it. You’ve placed your trust in us to redesign your outdoor spaces with new decks for the summer and new gutters when the leaves fall. We’ve had the most fun transforming your houses into family-friendly, pet-loving homes. Our goal is to give you the warmest, fuzziest feelings when you think about being at home over the holidays.

If you want to see some of our projects this year, check out our gallery page to see how some small home renovations can make a big difference! If you are on Facebook, we frequently update our followers on availability and completion of our latest projects. Follow us to stay in the loop for all of our Philadelphia, South Jersey, and Fishtown remodels and renovations.

If you find yourself a little too crowded in your space with friends and family this holiday season, we invite you to reach out to us for a free consultation on how we can help you achieve the home of your dreams. Whether you’re looking for a renovation to bring more entertaining space to the living room, or remodeling to open up your kitchen to optimize your space, we’re happy to help. We can help add green, energy-efficient appliances and updates, remove your carpet and replace with hardwood, or convert your basement into a livable space!

No job is too small for our team! Let us help you achieve your dreams this holiday season.

We wish you a happy holiday!
We wish you a happy holiday!
We wish you a happy holiday!
And a happy new year!

Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Turkey Day from Bright Star!  We want to express our love and gratitude for your support over the years!  

We hope your day is filled with great food, family time and love with the ones you love the most.  Count your blessings, love on those around you, and choose to be grateful for all the things around you.

If you’re looking for a great holiday gift for your family?  Give the gift of a home remodel!  We want to support you however we can in your next home renovation.   Winter is the best time to settle in and decide what changes for the upcoming year.  

If you want to make changes next year with a home remodel,  contact us for suggestions on your renovation!  We would love to consult you on your choices to making your home dreams become reality.  Let us know what you’re thinking for 2019, and we’ll do everything we can to bring your dreams to life!  

Have a happy holiday weekend!

Love, 

Bright Star

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!

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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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!

Top Renovation Returns by Bankrate

renovations philly handyman

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

Photo Credit to  www.bidvine.com

Photo Credit to www.bidvine.com

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

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!

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!

5 Ways to Update Your Kitchen

If you've been thinking about selling your home and moving into something "newer", take into consideration the top things that increase your home's value.  A few studies have shown that kitchen and bathroom remodels are one of the most effective ways to get a return on your home investment.  Many homeowners can see up to 92% return on their initial kitchen investment, followed by 80% return on external needs like roof and window replacement.  In hot housing markets, remodeling bathrooms and kitchens can recoup more than 100% of the initial investment in upgrades.

Here are 5 ways you can update your kitchen:

BEAUTIFY YOUR COUNTERTOPS
If you have an older home, this is the best way to make a huge difference in your kitchen.  Instead of choosing the lowest hanging fruit, laminate, which is nice but hardly increases the value of your kitchen, examine all of your options.  Laminate can look very nice, but is not heat or scratch resistant and will need to be replaced faster than any stone counter.  It is also possible to ruin laminate with certain chemicals that remove the finish.  While you may not be able to afford the highest grade granite, it is resistant to heat, most scratching, and low maintenance.  There are multiple levels of granite (depending on what the granite company supplies) starting with the base level of 1, and sometimes going as high as level 7.  Lower grade granite is still very nice, but as you go up in levels, the uniqueness of the patterns and the thickness of the granite itself will determine the price.  You can definitely find affordable granite countertops.  There are also other options like glass, which is somewhat heat resistant, but can crack more easily than granite.  Additionally, you can find marble, quartz, butcher block, concrete, and others, which all have their pros & cons regarding coloration, hardness, durability, and heat resistance.  One of our consultants can walk you through all of your countertop needs and help you choose the best for your home and budget!
 

CABINET INSTALLATION
Like countertops, cabinets come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and styles and can be painted just about any color under the sun.  There are three basic types of cabinets, base, wall, and tall.  Base cabinets sit alone the floor, wall cabinets are installed to hover over countertops, and tall cabinets typically reach from the floor to the ceiling, or close.  As for materials, varieties of wood and wood particle board will give you a wide range of price.  There are also plastic-based materials used for cabinets, however like laminate, they are less durable and are not as appealing to the eye, as the quality degrades quicker than wood.  There are also three basic cabinet door options when choosing the right look for your kitchen.  Doors and drawers can have a full-overlay which covers the entire frame of the cabinet edge to edge & door to drawer.  There is also a partial overlay, in which they only cover part of the frame, and then full-inset, where the doors and drawers are built to the line of the frame and do not stick out, but the entire front of the cabinet is flush. 
 

JUST THE KITCHEN SINK
Deep double sinks have been a hot commodity for a while now, and we can see why.  Utilizing the disposal for food scraps on one side, while allowing dishes or washed food to sit in the second side.  While stainless steel sinks have been the most popular, there are a number of varieties you can find in a sink.  If you're looking for a clean, high-white kitchen, maybe a farmhouse fireclay sink would be best!  You can find farmhouse sinks in both single and dual bowl.  The downside is that this sink is white and may show food junk faster than a stainless steel sink.  Copper sinks are another option, but are much more work to keep up.  Copper, although incredibly beautiful, will react negatively with other metals and materials that are left in the sink.  These are probably the most high maintenance of the kitchen sinks, as they can also dent rather easily.  Stone sinks are also an option for those looking to get creative with their sink space.
 

CLEAN TILING
Over time, the grout around your tiles will begin to flake off or stain from use.  If a good cleaning does not do the trick, it may be time to re-grout!  Broken or missing tiles also indicate a good time to have your tile replaced.  While it might not bother you, it is less presentable when trying to convince someone to purchase your home.  In some kitchens, there may be tile in the backsplash, as well as, the floor.  Note that floor tiles are very different than wall tiles, as floor tiles typically offer a "non-slip" texture, whereas wall tiles can be glossy and slick.  Like everything else in your kitchen, there are a number of styles & materials you can choose from like glass, ceramic, limestone (travertine), porcelain, marble, granite, and many other rock composite materials.  Durability, price, and styke will be your top comparisons when choosing tiles.  Porcelain and marble will obviously be more expensive flooring and require more maintenance than a limestone floor tile, but typically have a more beautiful pattern and finish.  Backsplash tiles are most frequently glass, which can come in just about any color and pattern you can imagine.
 

APPLIANCE BUNDLES
Yes, we know that this can sometimes be a scary choice for many, as appliances are not cheap.  But updated appliances are crucial to getting the full value for your kitchen.  It won't matter if you recently installed granite countertops and beautiful new cabinets, if your electric stove from 1970 has 3 out of 4 burners than work and are slightly warped.  Often times when updating appliances, bundles could save you hundreds on your initial investment.  The most recent trend for home appliances have been stainless steel.  They're easy to clean, have clean lines, and match just about any combination of colors and patterns.  This is a huge plus if you cannot fully remodel your kitchen, but want to invest in versatile appliances.  Some opt for the standard metal, white sets, or vintage-looking sets, depending on their budget and style.  Many homebuyers look for energy-efficient models, which even if you're not moving, could save you a pretty penny in the long run.

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.

GUTTERS (4).png

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.

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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!