bright star handyman

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!

Top 4 Things to Assess When Renovating Your Floors

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Things to Consider When Replacing Your Flooring

Especially if you just moved into a house, you may want to replace the flooring. Hardwood flooring can be scratched, carpeting dirty and worn, or laminate chipped and stained. When replacing the flooring in your home, it’s important to consider several things to ensure you’ve made the best choices. Let’s go through some of them now!

Durability

Have you ever been in a home that’s all carpet? It makes it hard to differentiate one room from the next and doesn’t lend any personality to the house. There are many flooring options to choose from, and they work well with each other. Choosing the best flooring for each room is key. How often does the room get used and what does it get used for? Kitchens, for instance, have a lot of foot traffic and there will likely be many food and drink spills – flooring like tile or laminate may be best. For hallways and stairs, an engineered hardwood can reduce the wear and tear.

Aesthetic

Which flooring you choose depends quite a bit on the look and feel you want your home to have. Leaning towards comfortable and cozy? A combination of carpet and tile could do the trick. Looking for a more modern appeal? Mixing engineered wood with concrete flooring is futuristic and fun. These days, engineered wood, tile and carpet come in so many shapes, colors and sizes that the sky is truly the limit.

Cost

And of course, the price of your flooring matters too. Carpet and laminate are less expensive to purchase and install than other flooring, like hardwood or tile. That being said, both of these materials aren’t as durable so they may need to be replaced more often. Spending a bit more up front on materials like engineered wood may mean that they stay looking good and last for the lifetime of your home.

Comfort

Finally, your comfort is key. If you spend a lot of time lounging in your living room, you may want to pick a plush carpet. If your living room is mostly for entertaining guests, an engineered hardwood might be best to withstand shoes and spills. Another example is your bedroom – do you use the bedroom mostly for sleeping, or do you have a desk in there? Again, your flooring type depends on your use of the room – choose wisely!

Need a hand choosing the best flooring? We can help! Give Bright Star Handyman Service a call today.

10 Repairs You Should Always Hire a Handyman To Do

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When it comes to home remodeling, sometimes DIY is not the answer. Be sure to call a handyman at a house renovation service near you if any of these scenarios pop up in your home.

Put up cabinets

You want your cabinets to stand out in your kitchen, but not because they weren’t put up correctly. Lining up and installing cabinets can be tricky business – letting a professional do it is well worth the cost.

Fix leaky plumbing

There’s no worse feeling than discovering a puddle under your pipes. Whether it’s a leak under your kitchen sink or (aak!) a running toilet, a handyman should be the first person you call for help.

Rewire light fixtures

Electricity is not to be messed with – it’s complicated and can be dangerous. Whether you’re installing a chandelier or simply notice an arc in your circuit, call in a professional.

Repair a furnace

Furnaces are complicated creatures and they tend to break at the most inconvenient times. A handyman in your neighborhood will be able to identify and resolve the problem, fast.

Painting the house

Sure, you could paint your own house – but have you thought about how long it might take? Your local house renovation service has the handyman and the equipment to make the job go faster and better. 

Replacing a door

Replacing a bedroom door might be a DIY job, but entry doors - especially sliding doors and screen doors – really require a special touch. Same goes with changing locks. Better safe than sorry!

Installing a gate

Gates are both functional and aesthetic – it’s important that they match your landscaping, work well for years, and are built level so they do not scrape on the ground. 

Changing out a spigot

Plumbing on the outside of the house is just as important as the inside and can be just as difficult to repair. Before you get frustrated, call in your handyman to fix your spigot in a minute.

Fixing a floor

Whether you’re repairing a patch of carpet, a cracked tile, or a damaged floorboard, your friendly neighborhood handyman will have the right tools to do the job.

Repair the stairs

Stairs not only involve finding the right materials, but they must be built to code and can include railings. Luckily, there are professionals who can help!

When choosing a handyman, it’s important to make sure that they have good references, the right qualifications, and they understand your wants and needs. At Bright Star Handyman, we’re here to help. Reach out to us today for more information!

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. 

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!

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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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!

Want To Save On Home Repairs? Hire A Handyman!

A handyman is a skilled worker who can handle a variety of projects. He or she may have received formal education and training or may simply be self-taught. He or she may also be a specialist that has knowledge on other skills. For example, a handyman may be a licensed electrician that has a hobby of woodworking so he also knows about carpentry.

Handymen are not regulated so their competency for similar skills may be different. For example, one handyman may be better than another in terms of plumbing, unlike licensed plumbers who have almost similar capabilities. Some handymen will have a wider skill set than others that could involve plumbing, electrical expertise, carpentry, tiling or painting.


What a Handyman Can and Cannot Do

If the project requires a permit or has to be done according to code or standard, you will need a licensed professional. Not all handymen are licensed on a specific field so you will have to choose contractors. It is also a good idea to give emergency jobs like broken electrical wiring to specialists.

Based on a CostFigure article, the service cost of a handyman is charged at an hourly rate so you will possibly spend more for a job that requires a long time to finish or needs multiple workers than if you opted for a contractor.  For example, a South Jersey handyman price might vary greatly from a Philadelphia handyman price.  One handyman may have better tools than the average household but if the job requires heavy-duty equipment, then it is a good idea to hire contractors.

That said, Bright Star Handyman Service can handle a variety of minor jobs that do not require a lot of manpower or complex equipment. These can involve:

  • plumbing - installing new pipes or repairing leaky faucets

  • caulking - applying fresh caulk to windows, doors, and siding

  • repairing decks and porches - replacing broken boards or applying sealant

  • painting - painting or touching-up small sections

  • gutter maintenance - cleaning gutters and installing guards

  • home exterior repairs - replacing sidings or shingles

  • extra jobs - replacing light fixtures and doorknobs

How Can You Save Money with a Handyman

For multiple simple jobs that require different skills, especially in South Jersey or Philadelphia, Bright Star handyman service will cost less than hiring multiple specialists. For example, replacing a leaky pipe and a broken light switch as well as painting a section of wall can be done cheaper and within the same day by a handyman than when you hire a plumber, an electrician, and a painter. Aside from this, the rate of a handyman is also lower because his overhead costs are a fraction of that of a large company.

Unlike when dealing with a contractor, you will have to supply the materials for a handyman (e.g. paint, pipes), but the effort of buying the materials yourself means that you get the retail value. You can also choose the manufacturer, material and finish, or warranty agreements.

Contractors usually provide the materials for a project and while this saves effort on your part, the price will be a little higher because they put a markup on the materials. You will also be limited to the products that they have in stock.

Sometimes you will have the skills to finish a DIY but you do not have the necessary equipment such as portable power tools.  If you Google “handyman near me” you do not even have to buy tools or devote time and effort, just find your best options and compare pricing. Aside from tools, the experience of a handyman will allow him to do a better job than a DIY, such that there are no wrong installations that can cause potential damage and further costs.

Another aspect of a DIY is the risk of potential injury, especially for elderly clients such as when climbing ladders to clean gutters or replace shingles. A handyman will be comfortable with these jobs and will be safer so potential injuries are minimized. In this case, additional cost due to injury is prevented.

Tasks that are part of the routine maintenance of a house can add up and if the homeowner cannot keep up, further damage may ensure which will cost more to repair. Hiring a handyman will allow you to finish multiple repair work in a single day. Examples of these are loose siding or shingles and peeling paint. These are minor issues and may simply be unsightly but if not addressed, the material underneath may become damaged and will cost more to repair.

Finally, there are unique projects that will cost very high if a professional will take the job. For example, laying holiday lights on a tree and ensuring that it is grounded and safe to operate can be difficult especially for elderly people. Hiring a Bright Star handyman will not be a waste because he can fix the plumbing in the sink after laying the lights. Hiring a licensed electrician will simply be an overkill.

To make the most of hiring a handyman, you should try to create a list of repairs that need to be completed in a single visit.  Also note that some states like California require a license from the State Contractors License Board if the handyman has to work on a bigger job so you have to check if the handyman you are hiring has a license.

Kitchen Decor Trends For Fall 2017

Kitchen Decor Trends For Fall 2017

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