basement

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!

12 Easy Ways to Winterize Your Home

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Being cold is not cool. Luckily, with our helpful collection of 12 easy projects, you’ll have your home ready for winter long before the snow flies.

1. Caulk Windows and Doors

It can’t be said enough that windows and doors are the two leading culprits for winter heat loss in your home. With these caulking tips, you’ll be able to keep your home warm and ensure a tight seal around interior trim. And as a result, warm air stays in your home. Don’t forget to check your external caulk as well and fix any gaps before the snow flies.

2. Add Insulation

Beefing up the insulation in your home, particularly in basements and attics can keep your home warm. And will promote a more even temperature and eliminate cold spots. Better yet, adding insulation is a cost-effective solution to what can be an expensive problem over time. Follow our guide to insulating your house, and you will have a toasty home before you can say ‘winter.’

CONTINUE READING...

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!

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

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!

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!

We Need More Space

Many people have a love/hate relationship with their unfinished basements.  Whether updating your basement has been looming on your to-do list, or has become a home for displaced things that you’re not totally ready to let go yet, Bright Star can help.  

Why a basement and not a home addition?

When deciding how to expand your home, resources like time, money, and space can truly make the decision easier for you.  If you’re lucky enough to have the space to expand with a home addition, it is a great option, however contractors have noted that finishing a basement could cost a homeowner only half or even one third of the price as an addition. 

An article by HGTV states that square footage in a basement is often valued at about half what the above ground cost is, meaning if the first floor is $200/sqft then a basement would estimate $100/sqft.  While the price per square foot may not be as much as the rest of the house, the ability to add another living space could greatly increase the value of your home.  Current homeowner trends include large, open layouts, making a basement finish a great way to add space and satiate those goals of wide, open spaces.  Some reports from Remodeling magazine boast up to a 70% payback when finishing a basement, truly giving you the best bang for your buck.  

 

There are some thing to consider up front:

Is it a wet basement?
Understanding the plumbing of your basement is important because you wouldn’t want to spend a few thousand dollars on some nice wool carpet, only to have a flood and have to replace it shortly thereafter.  Every basement is different and plumbing will depend on the year the house was built, but there are several options to waterproof and seal off your wet basement.  

What type of room should we add?
If you have children, a play area is always a great option to get all of the kids’ stuff in one place.  Some studies have shown that younger kids who still need parent stimulation will not utilize the basement as well as, say an older child or teen.  If your kids already have a space (or you don’t have kids) some other ways to utilize the basement are as a gym, workspace, extra bedroom, or extra living room.   Since basements are typically low light, keep that in mind while choosing and redecorating.  Unless you want a home theater, it will be important to optimize the light of the space if you plan to spend more time underground.  

If you do not have a need for an extra bedroom, etc. refinishing the basement as storage is also a great option.  It is still important to waterproof the basement, but remodeling the basement to a more attractive storage space or laundry room could still improve your home’s value.  Especially in smaller homes, creating organizational tools to maximize the use of the space, like cabinets, shelving, modular organizers, & hanging racks, can be incredibly attractive to a home buyer.

So whether you’re looking to expand your family or increase your property value, utilizing the space you already have in the basement will be one of the best options when it comes to money well spent.  Every basement is unique and Bright Star is happy to consult you for free to address your home needs!