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 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!
One of the things I love the most about my job as programming manager for DIYNetwork.com is discovering the things you love about us, but also the things you want to see. And long have I labored on a piping-hot laptop eager to fulfill a common desire among passionate DIYers: staircases!Let's face it, very few of us could add an interior staircase where there isn't one now or heavily remodel an existing one. More approachable DIY staircase projects are utilizing them for additional storage or painting them. A wooden staircase, especially one that has lost its luster, can be painted with powder-room-esque gusto, as Shannon Kaye demonstrates here.
Shannon's project — coupled with your response to it — caused us to dig around for more painted staircase inspiration, like Bryan Patrick Flynn's step-by-step faux runner and seven more colorful examples.
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.
New windows can enhance the look of your home and make it quieter and less drafty, and new windows are easier to clean and maintain than old windows with combination screens and storm windows.
But forget what the ads say. Saving money on your energy bill is not the reason to replace your windows—it could take decades to recoup the $8,000 to $24,000 you’ll spend on new windows and installation.
Energy Star-qualified windows can lower your energy bill by an average of 12 percent. That's only $27 to $111 a year for a 2,000-square-foot single-story home with storm windows or double-pane windows, $126 to $465 if your home has just single-pane windows, according to Energy Star.
Use our replacement window buying guide to learn which materials, types, and features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased ratings to help you choose.
Through The Looking Glass: What We Found
How We Test
To find out which windows are best at keeping your home comfortable and dry, we tested more than two dozen double-hung and casement-style windows for air and water leakage. We found significant differences between brands in types and frame materials. Working with an outside lab, we subjected the windows to heavy, wind-driven rain, and winds of 25 and 50 mph at outdoor temperatures of 0°F and 70°F. Given the high cost of replacing windows, the more you know, the more informed choice you can make.
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.
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?"
Pick and Choose Based on Your Budget
There are so many options when it comes to window selection, it can get a little overwhelming. We’ve put together a breakdown of the most common window options from framing, like wood, vinyl, and aluminum, to types of panes, like single, double, or triple. All styles of windows offer their own unique qualities, but ultimately it’s your choice at the end of the day! Want to match older windows in your early 1900’s home? Wood, single-paned may be your best option. Thinking you want to cut your air conditioning usage during the hot Philadelphia summers? Aluminum double or triple-pane windows may be just what you’re looking for!
Skylights Offer a Greater Amount of Light
Skylights, like regular windows, need to be replaced and sealed every so often to help maintain temperatures in your home. Compared to typical wall windows, skylights can offer up to 25% more light in your home. If you’re looking for a lighter, more airy feel to a space in your home, but lack a wall for more windows, a skylight could be your best option!
Better Windows Can Reduce Your Energy Consumption
If you have an older home, or it’s been a while since you’ve had your windows checked, you could learn that your window efficiency may be affecting your energy bill up to 25%. With high or low temperatures, older windows may begin to lose tightness in the seal that holds the window to the wall, or even between the panes. While many like to match their older home with single-paned windows, these are the least efficient when it comes to conserving energy. With only one pane of glass and typically a wood frame, there is not much insulation between indoor temperatures and outdoor temperatures. By switching to a single or double-paned window option and updating the frames, the U.S. Department of Energy states that new windows could reduce the amount of energy used to heat and cool your home by 15%.
Windows Can Help Drown the Sound of Noisy Neighbors or a Busy Street
One commonly overlooked advantage to installing new windows is the amount of noise reduction they offer. Your home walls most likely do a decent job of creating a sound barrier between you and thee outside world, but one highly effective way to create even more indoor peace is to install double-paned windows. Double-paned windows have air (or argon) trapped between the two panes which act as an extra insulator and noise barrier. Especially great for those living in a bustling city like Philadelphia, you could gain a higher level of solitude by replacing older windows with thicker, insulated windows.
Window Treatments Can Increase Privacy
Aside from the noise reduction quality of double-paned windows, there are a few other options for treating your windows. Commonly seen in first floor bathrooms, frosting windows can add a new layer of privacy without blocking the light from entering the room. Some windows can be replaced with bubble glass, which looks much like treated, frosted windows, or even glass blocks.
Placement in Small or Hard-to-Reach Spaces
The traditional window is single hung, meaning two windows sit vertically on top of one another, the top is fixed while the bottom moves with a lock in the middle of the two to keep them closed. You can also choose double-hung, where both panes move, allowing you to only lower the top part, if you choose. Sliding windows are great options around outdoor spaces like a porch or patio. Casement, or crank windows, are usually seen in the kitchen over the sink or in higher levels of older homes. These are typically in places that are harder to reach or, for safety reasons, should not open all the way, like on the second and third floors of your home.
Window Accessories Add Greater Protection
Installations of awnings, blinds, and shades can add an aesthetically pleasing look to your home while also decreasing your energy consumption. One report by Home Energy Magazine states that awnings may be able to reduce heat entering the house by up to 77%. Light colored shades, blinds, and curtains can also reflect the light back out of the house and trap temperatures close to the window, preventing heat from moving further inside.
Bright Star Handyman Service would be happy to connect with you about your options when it comes to window replacement in Philadelphia!
Are your electric bills sky high? Or at least higher than you would like them to be? There is one major factor to take in to consideration… How old are your windows?
If you’re one of the lucky ones in a beautiful early 1900’s house, we’re talking to you! Those single-paned windows might be beautiful and authentic, but they are not going to do anything to protect you or your energy bills from the heat (or the freezing cold for that matter). With extreme temperature exposure, you could be wasting up to double the amount of energy to heat and cool your home. Over the course of a year, or a few years, those energy bills will begin to add up.
Do you ever look at the thermostat and feel like it’s lying to you? As we enter the high heat of summer with the lovely Philadelphia humidity, it can become even more painfully obvious that you may need new windows. We’ve put together a few tips on how to go about choosing new windows.
This is the classic window frame option and what you’ll find in most older homes that have not ever replaced windows. This option is a great insulator from the heat of summer, but the porous material could pose issues for a wet climate. While a well-installed window shouldn’t cause problems for quite some time, the Philly humidity might make it wear faster than others. The moisture can get trapped in the wood and begin to rot, which can then create larger issues with mold.
Unlike wood window frames, aluminum window frames are great for high rain and humid climates. Most hurricane-prone areas will have aluminum windows to maintain safety code. However, aluminum does not make a great insulator and might not be as effective in keeping your home cool or heated. This is a less expensive frame choice when compared to wood, but won’t save you much for energy efficiency.
These frames are the most cost-effective window frame option and have the best energy efficiency. Usually, vinyl frames come with insulated glass and are fitted to the glass better than aluminum or wood. This can reduce the amount of hot or cold air that escapes through the cracks. The only issue with choosing a vinyl window frame is the color choices are limited, especially when compared to wood, where you can paint it any color.
You won’t see these single-glass windows in stores much. Single pane windows are typically custom built or renovated from old homes to match existing windows in older homes. When it comes to efficiency and durability, these are the lowest on the list. The single pane does not offer much for insulation. If it hails, these windows could easily shatter since most of them are already old. Typically, we do not encourage these as they are expensive and less energy efficient.
Double pane means two layers of glass in the frame. Air or argon gas is trapped between the two panes, offering an extra layer of insulation from the elements. This is the most common window replacement option that you will find, as it’s a fair price, energy efficient, and commonly used in newer homes. You can hardly even tell there are two panes unless you’re looking for it.
Just like double pane windows, but with a third glass as well. The interior of double and triple paned windows are coated with a drying agent that prevent condensation. The triple panes are the most energy efficient since there are 3 panes of glass and 2 air layers that the heat or cold must penetrate to get to the other side.
Popular Window Pane Extras
Low-E glass uses a coating that helps prevent heat from seeping in, while still allowing light to flow through. Have you ever taken a painting off of the wall to expose a darker rectangle than the rest of the wall? Using this type of coating can help keep the things in your house looking new, like carpets, paintings, furniture, etc. It also helps to reduce the amount of UV light that enters your home!
Many windows are made with tempered glass these days. Single paned windows will shatter into a thousand pieces, while tempered glass will crumble. If you’ve ever seen a car window shatter into chunks, the effect of tempered glass windows will be similar. While the window will still break, you won’t be pulling glass splinters out of your feet for the next few weeks!
If you’re not sure where to start regarding your window replacement or window repair in the Greater Philadelphia Area, reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service for a free consultation!
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.
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!
Homeowners spend more money on kitchen remodeling than on any other home improvement project. And with good reason: Kitchens are the hub of home life and a source of pride.
A significant portion of kitchen remodeling costs may be recovered by the value the project brings to your home. A complete kitchen renovation with a national median cost of $60,000 recovers about 67% of the initial project cost at the home’s resale, according to the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report” from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
The project gets a big thumbs-up from homeowners, too. Those polled in the “Report” gave their new kitchen a Joy Score of 9.8 — a rating based on those who said they were happy or satisfied with their remodeling, with 10 being the highest rating and 1 the lowest.
To maximize your return on investment, follow these seven strategies to keep you on budget and help you make smart choices.
Tip 1: Spend an Hour With a pro
Invite a realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Many realtors will do this as a courtesy, but you will probably have to pay a consultation fee to a designer. Check with several designers in your area; a standard hourly fee is normally less than $100, and in an hour they can give you lots of ideas for needed improvements. Even small suggested improvements, such as paint colors or furniture placement, can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home.
Tip 2: Inspect it
Not every home improvement is cosmetic. Deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or outdated electrical systems — you can't fix it if you don't know it's broken. Hire an inspector to check out the areas of your home that you don't normally see. They may discover hidden problems that could negatively impact your home's value. Small problems (such as a hidden water leak) can become big, expensive problems quickly; the longer you put off repairs, the more expensive those repairs will be.
Tip 3: Paint, Paint, Paint
One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements of all is paint! Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, painter's tape, drop cloths and brushes. So buy a few gallons and get busy!