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Granite Countertops Installations-Handyman 24/7

Granite countertops are a very popular choice for those who want to do that home renovation project that they keep putting off. These types of countertops come in a wide range of colors and are very durable. Many of the granite countertops have various patterns for you to choose from. There are also natural stone countertops. These countertops are made from nature, and no two countertops are going to be the same. The reason for this is that each countertop will have its own color variation, cracks, pits, and imperfections that are on the individual pieces of stone.

Granite is much stronger than laminate. Seeing that it is made of stone and more durable, than some of the other types of countertops, it will hold its value over time. When choosing a new countertop, it is important to choose a color that will correspond with other decor that is in your kitchen. It is also relevant that you choose the proper thickness and depth of your countertop as well as the type of granite that you want to use.

You can purchase the granite countertop from a big box hardware store that has various supplies for all rooms of your home. Specialty stores such as a bathroom renovation or plumbing place may also have the type of countertop that you are looking for at a reasonable price.

You may also want to replace your kitchen or bathroom sink while you are doing the renovation. A new kitchen countertop with a new sink as well as a backsplash will add value to your home, as these are usually durable and can last for a long time. It is vital that you remember to use a cutting board when you are cutting fruits and vegetables for your meals. This will help to ensure that the countertop stays fresh and receives no mars or scratches from normal wear and tear.

Laminate is also another choice for a countertop. Although a laminate countertop is a covering over some fiberboard, it can still be very versatile and can be suitable for just about any type of kitchen decor.

Many people save themselves some money and do the countertop installation themselves. However, some people are not that experienced in knowing the correct steps on how to do this correctly. For this reason, many people choose an experienced contractor to do the countertop installation for them. Save yourself some time by having a professional installer do the installation for you. There are many companies that offer this service, and Handyman on Call 24/7, is one of them.

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Choosing a Type of Flooring to Suit Your Needs

There are many different types of flooring that is used in both homes and businesses. One of the preferred types of flooring options is laminate flooring. Not only is this type of flooring inexpensive, it offers a wide range of selections for you to choose. Laminate flooring also comes in wood like options that are inexpensive, yet visually appealing.

Bathroom flooring is different from the flooring that is used in other areas of the home. The reason for this is that bathroom flooring has to be made to withstand heat as well as moisture from humidity and moisture. There are several options for you to choose from and some of them include natural stones like granite, slate, or marble. Although there are many flooring options such as a wooden floor, bamboo, cork, laminates, or vinyl, these choices are not often suitable for a bathroom other than hardwood. The reason for this is that these types of floors are not suitable to withstand moisture. They are susceptible to damage from the water and humidity because they are very porous.

Laminates can become slippery and are hazardous to walk on. Therefore, it is important for you to choose a natural stone product such as ceramic tile when you are choosing a type of flooring for your bathroom floor. Stone flooring is non-porous and is able to sustain heavy traffic. Many ceramic tiles also come with anti-skid features, which help to make this choice so appealing.

Travertine tile is also a perfect choice in flooring. It is natural stone and is not only versatile, but durable as well. There are several types of travertine tile available. You may choose from honed travertine or polished travertine. The honed travertine is a matte finish that is equally as durable as polished travertine. However, if you choose travertine that is a tumbled or brushed finish, then the durability of the tile is not as strong. Polished travertine on the other hand, is the strongest type of travertine tile available. It has a strong finish and is quite similar to marble. The colors of travertine tile is quite vast, this is due to the amount and kind of mineral deposit that is found in the tile. The best places to have travertine tile is your kitchen or bathroom.

Hardwood flooring is also another option for homeowners. This type of floor looks lovely in an entranceway as well as for the living room or dining room area and the hallways as well. Hardwood flooring comes in many colors, and hardwood is easy to maintain if you keep up with regular maintenance. Hardwood floors also enhance the value of your home and can be used almost anywhere in a home, other than the kitchen, bathroom, and basement.

Carpeting is also another choice for floor coverings. There is many styles and colors to choose from. Carpeting can help to make the room a little more cozier and can be added to a playroom, bedroom, living room, as well as a dining room. The only place in which carpeting should not be put is the kitchen or bathroom.

The professionals at Handyman on Call 24/7 can install flooring of your choice in your home or commercial property at an affordable cost. Call us today and see what we can offer in regards to our floor installation services.

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Beautifying Your Home with Concrete Products

Beautifying your home often takes the effort of several materials. One of these materials just happens to be concrete. Concrete is often used for patios, foundations, sidewalks, driveways, patios, walkways, swimming pools, and a whole lot more. Having these features on your property will enhance its look and improve the property value.

Having a backyard patio will also beautify your outdoor living space. A backyard patio can become your oasis or getaway place. Once you have a concrete patio installed, you can think about how you will spend your time outdoors. A concrete walkway will also increase the property value of your home, increase its aesthetic appearance, and decrease the amount of accidents that can occur on your property.

Over time, damage to the concrete surfaces around your home can occur. These damages can often be from weather, accidents, and even the shifting of your home. The house shifting is one of the biggest reasons why cracks can appear in your basement walls and floors. These cracks can also show up on the exterior surface of your home as well. Mold and mildew can form over time; this can cause people within your home to become ill. There are some things that you can do to eliminate a leak in your basement, and the first step is to call us at Handyman on Call 24/7.

Most homes can incur a wet basement over time. This can be due to water seeping through the cracks in the wall or even caused by gutter runoff. Gutter runoff occurs when the rain gutters fill so fast in a torrential rainstorm and overflows and seeps in through the foundation walls.

Concrete that has cracked over time can look unsightly. Many people do not have their basement waterproofed, and for this reason, a basement can become flooded, or even show signs of excess moisture and mold. This moisture and mold can cause people in your home to become ill over time. Water in the basement could also lead to bigger problems down the road.

Crumbling concrete and crushed pieces that appear on sidewalks or walkways can cause accidents and injuries. A person could slip and fall or even trip over large chunks of concrete material that has ended up breaking off.

The next time you are thinking about having some concrete work done; call us, the professional handyman at Handyman on Call 24/7. We provide fresh installations of concrete as well as concrete repairs. We have the knowledge and expertise to get the job done right the first time, every time.

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Chimneys—Is a Repair Needed?

By Megan S. Ward

A chimney is a very special part of the house. It can provide insulation from the various seasons, airflow into the house, a family gathering point and so much more. Do you use your chimney often? Over time, just like household most appliances and outside structures, weather has an influence on the composition of your chimney. In this article, I will go over how to tell if your chimney needs to be repaired, what causes the dilapidation of your chimney over time and how a worn-down chimney may lead to your financial demise.

Using your chimney frequently is a health factor for its lifespan. Think of it in this way: your chimney carries out the same function as a car’s exhaust system. This means that your chimney is used to safely remove any harmful products of combustion, whether they are hydrocarbon compounds, carbon dioxide, water vapor, carbon monoxide or wood particles that haven’t been burnt yet. Your home is now a risk for your family. All of these substances emitted by the fire place pose a threat to your household by the increased chance of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. You may have already suspected that you need to repair your chimney, but upon closer inspection, it may be just a single part that is in need of tender loving care.

  • Water: Water is an essential part of all life forms. It flows and ebbs as destiny directs it. However, in terms of chimneys, it is a formidable adversary. Most chimneys are extremely susceptible to any form of water damage. This is due to the fact that most chimneys in America are made with brick. Brick is a porous type of material that is held together by water-soluble mortar, which has the capability of breaking down in any amount of water. If a material is porous, it is very absorbent. Used together, they are a weak defense against the liquid elements. To make matters worse, usually the inside of your chimney is made of metal, an easy target for rust. You can easily tell if water is getting in by water damage to the nearby ceilings and walls, rainwater in your fireplace, dripping noises, a weakened masonry and deteriorated mortar joints as well. Leaky chimneys are not uncommon in having water leak in, but it is imperative to locate where the water is coming in, even if it may be from multiple points. Remember, this will cost more money in the long-run if not fixed now, as it could damage the rest of the area next to the chimney. You may consider it to be your roof that is leaking, when it may very well be the chimney itself. This can be fixed with a water-proofing sealant.
  • Chimney Cracks: Little pig, little pig, let me in! The timeless tale of brick’s strength in the Three Little Pigs never gets old. How strong are your bricks? Chimneys are relied on by a many to safely channel smoke, from fire, outside. This prevents a repository of creosote from building up if the chimney is maintained well, without any leaks or cracks. In fact most chimneys can last up to 25 years or more. But if you own an old house, chances are that you have a chimney that is more than 15 years old. The importance of age is due to the fact that the mortar joints, the pieces between the bricks or material, begin to flake off, crack and wash away. Even if your chimney is not that old, it may also be your environment. If you live in an area where there is winter and warm seasons, your chimney is more susceptible to the freeze and thaw action due to the colder climate. With this in mind, think of how easily moisture can makes its way into the cracks and crevices of the masonry. This can cause a lot of damage to more than just your metal lining on the inside; it can cause damage to your satellite dish, as well as your lighting rod.
  • Type of Home: Depending on what type of home you own, the strength of your chimney may be questionable. If you have a historic home, your house may seem fortified, but historic homes’ chimneys were used with coal for heating. Since the coal would be burnt with a high amount of heat, the chimney is too cold for just wood as the powered boilers tend to be a bit oversized. This makes the risk of condensation higher, thus resulting in more damage. A lack of care and inspection can call for the means of major and extensive repairs in the future. Getting proper knowledge on the type of home that you have may allow you to save yourself a lot of money and stress in times to come.
  • Your Home’s Location: The location of your home, and I mean more than just warm/cold weather, plays a major role in your chimney’s health as well. For instance, if you lived near or in Seattle, the Earthquake that occurred in 2001 may have left your home with chimney damage. This is due to the overall layout of the chimney itself. Since chimneys are so rigid, they don’t move with any Earthquake ad tend to cause cracks and dismantled chimneys. Wood-framed houses can easily move with an Earthquake, but if a chimney has not been inspected after the onslaught of a natural disaster, then it’s probably damaged. Getting an inspection as well as performing maintenance is vital in extending the lifespan of your home. Without a proper inspection, your damaged chimney, if ever used, can lead to gas leakage from carbon dioxide and other toxic gases.

You can identify some of these things on your own, as far as leaks, home history and locations go. For more serious things like cracks, it is wise to get a professional inspector to take a look at your chimney as there may be multiple points at which the water is leaking in from. The lining of your chimney aids in its overall health and prevents future repairs as it ensures the proper function of your chimney—to lessen the chance of gas leaking into the house. I would say to remember the 3R rules of chimney repair. The three rules are reinforce, repair and reproof. If you can replace any missing parts, repair the outside if it is cracked or worn and waterproof the chimney every couple of years, you’ll save much more than you would with a professional for maintenance tasks. However, a lot of these problems may be time consuming and if handled incorrectly—fatal. Unless you really know what you are doing and are sure that there are no problems, then by all means, continue to do so.

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Basement Leaks: An Unpleasant Situation

By Megan S. Ward  

            It was a summer night where I was home alone once again. I struggled to find something to occupy my attention, but the rain outside had not ceased for 3 days straight. In a gaming mood, I tiptoed down the stairs and walked contentedly towards the gaming room. Looking for my favorite game, I walked over to the storage corner, where I noticed a wet spot on the carpet. Initially I thought it had been my dog Bo at it again, but then I noticed that all along the walls of the basement, the carpet flooring was wet. Feeling a bit concerned, I wandered into the second basement area where the basement was not finished. Over the past three days, water had somehow managed to find its way into our house. Everything—ranging from paintings to boxes, had been completely drenched. No one was home, so I panicked as to what I should do. I went to grab the carpet cleaner which had a water suction feature and noticed that there were tiny black dots speckled all over the walls. So this is the extent of having a home in New Jersey? Why would the water be getting in and what could I do to prevent this? After doing some research I learned of things that cause, stop and prevent leaking. I’d be happy to share this with others as it has prevented my parents from ripping their hair out over water damage.

            When it comes to water damage and leakage into your basement, there can only be so many causes. Some of the most common ones are water mitigating through concrete, excess humidity (thus causing condensation), ground water, a clogged or incorrectly installed gutter system, cracks in the foundation and bad insulation. Concrete is actually a porous material, meaning that it can easily absorb or have water go through it. Water may be flooding at the base or below the basement and slowly seeping into your basement over time, while humidity from daily household activities (showering, cooking and heating) can easily build-up over time and go to the coolest part of your house (your basement.) Ground water can seep into your foundation and cracks in the foundation will lead to water leaking in at the base. With a gutter that is clogged or improperly installed, the water may be directed towards your house instead of away. Let’s say that your home’s backyard lacks a slope from where the gutter ends, then the water will usually flow back into the base of your house and in through the walls. Bad insulation is also a common cause in basement humidity as moisture is directed towards the coolest part of the house. Then there’s the case of when you have heat being released to the attic after it is generated in the house, then you are more likely to have a high amount of moisture in your basement, leaving you with an environment suitable for mold to grow and fester in. The problem with our house was the angle that it was on. The water was actually flowing towards the basement instead of away, thus causing the leak in the first and second basements. One has many options to stop and prevent the causes of water leakage into your basement.

            If you are seeking for some ways to stop and prevent leaking, then look no further. As mentioned earlier, flooding and leakage can be caused by incorrect gutter installation. A gutter extension can be installed at the end of the gutter, in addition with a angled slope to direct the runoff even more. This will give your gutter the boost it needs and the length (at least 4-5 feet away from your house) to divert the water to a different area. However, a downspout that is too short is not always the case. Your gutter may be clogged and full of debris, making the rainwater overflow in a certain area.  A clogged gutter can be easily fixed with a gutter cleaning and mesh barrier installed on the top to prevent debris/leaves from getting in. Next, plugging the gaps (if any) in walls is a good practice. Doing so will prevent water from dribbling into your basement. Hydraulic cement is use in most cases and costs less than $20. Keep in mind that the plug-in trick is only good if the water is coming in from a higher point of the wall and not lower. A lower leakage is just from groundwater and a plug won’t solve the problem. After you’ve attempted these two or have assessed the actual problem, perhaps it may be the fact that you have to restore the crown—the soil underneath your house that slopes a minimum of 6 inches over 10 feet in any and all directions. The common enemy of this structure is time, causing erosion around the foundation as the dirt lessens and settles. One can simply rebuild this part of the house with dirt and a shovel. There is a more costly way that uses clay, but it costs around $30 and should cover the perimeter of your house.

Aside from all the replacing of systems and rebuilding of bases, one should consider the need to rebuild the landscape as well. You’ll want to make sure that the water is going away from the house and that the crown is far away so as to not rot the wood of your house.  If your basement does not have any foot drains, you can always go with the alternative of installing a curtain drain to divert any water that travels underground and eventually leaks into your house. This is the solution that my father went with and it is known as a French drain. The overall purpose of the French drain is to provide a shallow trench in which the water flows into. Gravel and piping are included in this process and will help to divert the water away. This method is inexpensive and will cost $9 to $17 per linear foot. So you’ve tried all of the above methods, but have not gotten any results? That means the best option is that you’ll just have to pump it. That’s right; your basement will have to channel the water from the inside. An interior draining system solves the leakage problem in most cases, but costs about $3,000 to install. The main function of the interior draining system consists of a channel around the perimeter of the floor where pipe is installed to connect to a collection tank at the lowest spot of the basement. The water is then transferred to a sump pump which will shoot the water outside of the house.  It may seem a bit costly, but it is one of the best options for an unfinished basement or for a basement that is underground. In the end, waterproofing your basement is often the best choice, but also the most expensive, weighing in at about $20,000 per treatment. You can perform moisture, mold and leakage tests to various parts of your basement, as well as have someone inspect what could be causing your leakage problem. I hope this helped as I have dealt with a soggy basement on more than one occasion.

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Proper Insulation; A Great Way to Save Money

By Megan W.

It’s the end of the month or as I like to call it, the emptying of monthly savings. The bills are finally being taken into account, with staggering charges for heating and cooling. The new-age of technology has arrived, compelling us to conform to the need of saving ourselves from any possible form of expense. This means that nowadays most homeowners take on the tiresome task of saving money by adjusting the amount of utility usage within the house. Instead of sacrificing the amount of time spent on electronics for warming/cooling, why not just take a simple step that could save you thousands each year? Insulation is the answer to most of your household billing conundrums as it optimizes the way in which heat is retained, as well as ensuring that your house stays cool during summer. If you read further on, there will be a basic explanation of insulation and, types of insulation and what it can do for your home.

Insulation is the method for retaining a desired temperature/climate in the household. The pieces for insulation are usually installed within a crawlspace, drafty areas and in-between walls. Since one can easily lack insulation, improper insulation is a common mistake in wasting ones energy efficient capabilities. There are many things to be taken into consideration when installing the insulation for your house. Consider what type of climate that you live in. Often, homeowners in a cold-climate will be discerned at spending more money than they already do heating, but proper home insulation is one of the best ways to invest in your house. A well-insulated house will make you feel more comfortable and at ease for when the hot/cold seasons arrive. Being that there are so many ways to insulate your house, let’s take a look at what insulation actually does. Insulation consists of various materials being used to trap tiny air pockets, thus slowing the amount of heat moved in/out during the alternating seasons. This value of resisting air releases is known as R-value. Insulation consists of three basic mechanisms which are convection, conduction and radiation. Each mechanism refers to a simple process of where heat is transferred, ranging from heat transfer via materials, liquids, gases and in a straight line through any receiving solid. If you have a high value of this, naturally you will have a lower energy bill. However, in most cases, if the insulation is installed incorrectly, it can actually make matters worse. The amount of R-value in the material varies depending on its thickness, type and density. Let’s look at the different types of insulation materials available.

You can find many different types of material at your local hardware store, however, when it comes to such a detailed procedure of layering upon layer, it’s best to leave this to the professionals. If you still desire for a DIY type of job, then at least use blanket rolls and batts. This material is something that you can install yourself and it is great for standard joist and stud spread. It is an inexpensive material that is relatively free from obstructions. You should use it to insulate ceilings, floors and unfinished walls. The reason for why this material may be so affordable is due to its fiber-like structure. Concrete block insulation is another good way to go, as it can also be done without a professional, but often requires specialized skills upon installation. It is great for insulating walls, new renovations/constructions and unfinished walls. Concrete block insulation is known to have 10x the amount of R-value due to its autoclaved and aerated cellular structure. This material takes the shape of a foam board and can be stacked, laid and easily surface bonded. Aside from doing things on your own and risking a faulty installation, it is probably best at this time to let the professionals do it. Think of your home as a space ship—if you were in deep-outer space, you wouldn’t want air to get through your vessel, unless you want your eyes to would bulge out of your head like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall. Remember that adequate airflow is key; however, covering places where heat can come in or escape (your attic) will only leave room for improvement in your home. The ideal material is something that suits the R-value to a minimum standard for you house, depending on its finished structure and age. Layering with extra fluff is often the best choice. This is where blown-in and loose-fill insulation come in handy. The composition of the material is basically a cellular and mineral-like structure and is used in attic floors and other empty cavities in your home. In most cases, this material is poured or blown in by professionals. A good factor of this material is that it can be used as additional insulation following any other material that you so choose. You could say that this is basically your filler-upper of a material in home insulation. Another instance of filler is the sprayed foam material, which can be applied with a pressured sprayer; it is mainly composed of polyisocyanurate, phenolic, polyurethane and other compounds. For generalized or secure insulation, some good options are pouring cement between the walls (ICFs), rigid fibers (fiberglass that can withstand high temperatures) and structural insulated panels (straw/foam used for walls and roofs.) With all of these techniques, you may be thinking that it is all out of your budget, but there is also the option of a reflective system where foil-faced craft paper is used between joists and other areas. Surprisingly, this method is the most effective out of all the do-it-yourself methods as bulks of it can be used. Contact your local carpenter or contractor and ask which one is best for your home type.

Having good insulation can do so much for your house in the future. You will not only save money, but aid the house in keeping the weather out. The house will maintain a good level of dryness as well, preventing mold or rotting under the roof should there be any leaks. If you have proper ventilation, you should have proper insulation as well. This will aid in moisture control strategies by preventing heat transfer to other areas of the house. It is vital that moisture control be enacted as vapor can easily move in and out of a home via heat transfer, air currents and diffusion through materials; all of these methods of moisture transfer are the same as heat transfer in insulation. Since air movement accounts for over 98% of any vapor movement in your home’s cavities, this transfer can be easily prevented with a good insulation system. By controlling the moisture level in your home you are not only making your house more energy efficient, but also a safer place to live with the absence of any mold growth. Some good materials to reduce the induction of heat between areas in the house are foam board and fiberglass insulation. No matter what method you use, as long as it is layered and properly installed, there should be a satisfying outcome in your gas and electric bills. With proper insulation you can contain the heat, eliminate drafts and excess moisture.

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Boring Bedrooms; Remodeling for Keeps

By Megan W. 

So you’ve considered the fact that investing in your home is one of the more lucrative ways of earning money. How does one go about this process? There are many rooms, appliances and landscaping aspects that come into consideration during the revision of your home. Perhaps the best way is to take a look at the most essential room in the house—the master bedroom. Most couples will spend the majority of their time decompressing here and it is this room that will make the house their own. Even if you’re not selling your house now, putting money into remodeling your bedroom is like investing in yourself, only you will get more satisfaction and money back in the future. Here are some ways to amplify the ambience of your room, without emptying the majority of your bank account.

When remodeling your bedroom, take into consideration what it is that you find relaxing. This room is unique from the others and should have a luxurious and restful feeling. If you don’t quite know where to start, reset your frame of mind and ruminate the thought that your bedroom is like your walk-in closet. If you’re going to get anywhere, you’ll need to get rid of old things that occupy space and are of little use to you. Having a cluttered environment is the ultimate mood damper and can make one feel even more stressed in life. It’s no hint that you like something if it’s stacked around your room and found in all the little nooks and crannies. You should probably get rid of them, but if you know that you’ll regret it later on, you should find a better way to store these things. Let’s say that you find that reading to be your thing, but care too little for the way that your books are stored. Instead of having piles and towers of books, you should splurge on getting yourself a good shelf or storage furniture with decent accents. It will make the room seem bigger and more open. A kindle is always recommended and you can get all of your books onto that one little device. For everything else, get rid of duplicate objects, unused clothing, things that are worn out and everything that has been gathering dust. Once you sell or donate these items, you can have a piece of mind knowing that everything is in its place, leaving more time for you to relax.

Another thing that you can and should do when remodeling your soon-to-be master suite is to alter the walls and windows. For instance, if your wallpaper looks like something out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, it will only subtract from the charm that the rest of the room has. Painting is a good and inexpensive way to boost the overall character of the room itself. You can give it a warm tone or generate a tropical getaway with light blue ocean paint. It is recommended that one works around the trim, which is where the ceiling begins from the floor. One should go above in beyond in finding the perfect tone and color to enhance the type of ambiance that you are going for in your room, whether it is bright, modern, cozy and warm, eclectic or something else. Don’t be afraid of making the wrong choice, as you can easily turn over a new leaf, so to speak, by painting over the current layer of paint. With windows, they are your outside door to the world. You can enjoy the view outside and even if you live in the city and the view may not be so pleasant, make the best of it and accentuate the inside. It is always good to do this and add to the amount of privacy as well. Consider adding a little laying area under the window, with a decent amount of light coming in. If you don’t really want to add any alterations within the window itself, changing the window coverings may be just the ticket. Most houses maid in the 90’s have those investigator window blinds, which are great in blocking out light and interrogating your daughter’s new date. However, the saying in with the new and out with the old could not be more stinging then it is now. Most bedrooms are smaller and are overcome by the large furniture, which makes one focus on something beyond the bed—the windows. This is where your window dressings play an important role in determining the value of your bedroom. They can add to your aesthetic layout by creating shadow when needed and bringing in just the right amount of light. You can sleep in more with deep curtains that block early morning light. When a person works late, they will love curtains that make day seem like night, easing them into a faster and restful sleep.

Aside from being just a place of rest, give the buyers and yourself an idea of multiple uses for this room. If you include an area for a TV, it can also become a movie room. Having a big space leaves the mind open to a lot of ideas, so take advantage of each one and organize it so that there is enough space for the bed. You can make a reading area with some lighting from a floor-lamp with a comfy chair.  Simple gestures like this are what make a bedroom a master suite in which you can unwind in at the end of the day. Some of the most essential features that you should have or at least include in your master suite are a well-organized closet, enhancing the view (or at least the look of the window from the inside), adding dimension (arranging things in a specific way to give off a sense of more space), minimalism in furniture and decoration and just adding your own personal touch. Once you have finished with the main room and closet, remember that a bathroom is what makes a master bedroom a master suite. Some common things that are found in a master suite’s bathroom are good lighting, proper storage, double sinks, non-slip floors and a huge shower with an attached bath. While having a big bathroom is great, remember that efficiency is sometimes preferred over design.

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Protect Your Gutter from Clutter

By Megan S. Ward

Gutters are an important feature of a roof. They are designed in the form of a narrow channel through which rainwater flows, once collected from the roof. The system is designed to divert and catch any water, so that none leaks into your house. Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking that the roof itself is causing a water leakage, when it may very well be your rain gutter. Over time, this trough can become cluttered with leaves, debris and even small pieces of dirt. Without a proper protection system for your gutter, the water builds up and eventually overflows, thus eliminating the original purpose of the rain gutter. I will go over what types of gutters there are, how a clogged gutter can be harmful to your home and how you can protect your gutter from clutter (that rhymes, I know.)

There are many types of gutters; each with their own unique shape to fit the contour of your house. The materials used to build the gutter may even vary a bit themselves. A gutter is usually composed of metal which rusts over time, but there are gutters that are made from copper, steel, stone, cast iron, lead, zinc and so much more. It’s important to ensure that your gutters are water-proof, before having them installed. It is through the technological advance in building that cold forming became an actual technique in gutter creation. There are three ways that gutters are often installed by—integrally, discreetly and as a crowning. When a gutter is installed integrally, this means that the gutter is built around the lower edge of the roof. While discretely built gutters are designed to not protrude outwards, but rather be suspended and projected well beyond the edge and slope of the roof. A wall integral structure is where the rain gutter is installed beneath the edge of the roof, as a crowning wall element. After deciding the best technique, a box gutter is usually installed as the form of gutter itself. A box gutter is deeper than most gutters and is more appealing in terms of building design. This is due to the fact that it is often built within the roof’s structure. You can often find these types of gutters on commercial buildings, as well as residential buildings. To protect the box gutter from rusting, usually the builders line the gutters with roofing felt or asphalt. Since these types of gutters are built with the contour of the house, it is often easier to maintain these types of gutters, but if anything were to get stuck, it then becomes a big project.

A clogged gutter can be very harmful to your house over time as the gutter was built to help reduce the effects of erosion, water exposure and leaks. If your gutter is full of dirt, silt and debris, the water will then overflow and leak into the crawlspaces of your house and eventually, your basement. Not only can a clogged gutter cause leaks, but it can also lead to mold growth and weeds as well. Aside from having the possibility of more mold spores on the roof lining, a clogged gutter also poses the threat of stagnant water due to the water backing up. This will create an environment where mosquitoes can easily breed and lay eggs. Cold forming technology may allow for gutters to run continuously, but even though the amount of jointing is reduced, your gutter is still at risk for being clogged. If you don’t properly maintain your rain gutters, they will overflow and eventually soak the foundation of your house. Damage to the structure of the roof and bigger ice dams during bad weather are more common with back up gutters. It’s not uncommon for grass to grow in a clogged gutter as well.

If you take to the time to properly protect your gutter, you can avoid water damage to your house and optimize the efficiency of your home. There are many ways to protect your gutter from becoming clogged or full of debris. One of the most common ways is to have a mesh or metal bars installed on the top of your gutters. With a proper strainer added, less maintenance is required. If you are looking for other options as well, micro mesh screens, solid hoods and louvers are offered as well. You may have to get a certain one to cover all the space depending on the placement of your gutter. Hiring a professional is highly recommended, but not required. The pricing should be inexpensive and the installments can be made within a day. Ensure that water flow is still prevalent, but that the protection method keeps debris out as well. Even though you may have had a proper installment, it can’t hurt to have an inspection and cleaning every 2-4 years to confirm that you have taken the right precautions in protecting your gutter.

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Is Your Deck Ready for Summer?

Even though summer is pretty far away, just like saving up for a college education, it is never too soon! Close your eyes and imagine a bright, warm area for you to relax your fears and worries away. You can feel the cool breeze and the sweet fragrance of botanical wonders surrounding you. Sounds too good to be true? There are many things that can make a backyard a dream yard for the summer, let’s see what we can do for that yard of yours. The ideal things to focus on are lighting, furniture, plants, decks, patios and fencing.

First, you’ll want to consider the entire layout of your yard. Is everything up-to-par? During the long other season(s), your backyard’s components such as decks, stones and fences may become damaged and worn out. Handy Man on Call offers the services of waterproofing and weatherproofing of decks, as well as restoration services. With all of the services they offer, it’s no surprise that painting, power washing and fences are also included. These are all important elements in a summer-ready wonderland. Will you be entertaining often? If so, it’s more than just comfort. Try to set the mood with proper lighting. You can go about this many ways—varying from different light types, fire pits and glowing decorations. Fire pits may seem expensive, but serve multiple purposes and can even be a DIY project if you are determined enough to dig one. Fortified by the surrounding area, a fire pit can provide a place of comfort, warmth and culinary arts (or as I just like to call it—marshmellow roasts!) Adding even just the slightest glow can make a big difference in appearance just by adding that subtle touch.

Aside from the light situation, in order to have a decent backyard, you’ll want to take into account what makes it so unique from your house. The answer is simple: it’s outside. Flowers and plants help support and make life possible here on Earth. There are many different types of interesting plant species to be found and setting up your soil for the right ones will bring a certain depth of art and admiration to your garden. By putting fragrant flowers and herbs in your garden, you create a gentle tone. Ensure that all areas are weeded and properly sealed by stone, mulch or plastic against any future weeds. Putting a barrier around this area will help to prevent the material from eroding over time, thus depriving your plants of the nutrients essential to a beautiful and full bloom. Handy Man on Call provides multiple services relevant to outdoor needs, but also ensures that you will have a long-lasting finish. Since Handy Man on Call also offers tree services, you can get those big and dead trees out of the way. While trees are beautiful, if dead and loose after a storm, they can be very dangerous to be around and can cause damage to your house. Having a tree that blocks your house can also take away from the beauty. By using minimalism, you avoid having a, “cluttered,” look in where the outer scenery takes attention completely away from the house.

Furniture is a great way to accentuate the area around you. By matching and picking out contrasting colors to the deck color, (white or teal furniture on a brown deck) you essentially are creating the space around you. But what if that space is already worn-down and decaying due to poor sealing of the stone in the patio? Handy Man on Call also offers the service of restoration, decks and maintenance. Even if something is not broken, why not upgrade? Your house shelters, comforts and supports you. To renovate on the outside increases its value by ten-fold. Although people may see it as another expense, you are in terms investing for a future occupant of the household, who will enjoy the fruits of your labor for many years to come. By providing good fencing, it shows that you have valuable content on the inside that needs to be protected. Your guests will love a well-prepared backyard that is well-lit, decorated nicely, in good condition and smooth. First impressions always do last.

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What Counter Type is Best for Your Kitchen?

When choosing the right countertop, one should make sure that they are happy with their decision. This decision can be based on decorative, efficiency or money purposes. Whatever the choice may be, Handyman on Call guarantees a good installation that will last a lifetime! Even if the brand designates that it has a certain guaranteed shelf-life, Handyman on Call ensures that their customers get high-quality sealing and protection on their countertops so that they last longer through the wear and tear of life. Before we consider buying a certain countertop, conditions in our lifestyle and house type should be considered. These can often range from income, availed money to spend, cooking needs, desire level for decor and efficiency. The average household family prefers a useful and common countertop rather than an expensive one. For these families, there are alternate choices available. Let’s go over house types and conditions to narrow down what countertop should be chosen based on living situations.

If you are living to help support your family, but don’t need something simply decadent, just efficient, it is recommended that one should go with wood counters or laminates. These are very economical types of counters and can provide you with years of service if maintained well. The pros to the laminate counters are that they come in a lot of color choices, are easy to maintain and durable, while the pros for wood counters are the easy to clean areas, ideal for repairs and can quickly be sealed and/or sanded at any time. However; with everything good, something bad must follow. The cons of Laminates are that they are nearly impossible to fix when it comes to small chips or scratches, the seams can show and finding the right pieces for finishing ends can be tricky. Wood’s pros may be good, but over time, wood can become damaged by water and will stain over time. However, for wood, scratches and chips can be easily sealed and oiled to preserve the original state of the counter. Concrete counters are even an option, but can often bring down the appearance of the house. The great thing about concrete counters is the heat and scratch resistant feature. Who knows? With something new and out of the ordinary, it might just look good. Concrete can be color-tinted after all and is the least expensive of these three alternative options.

For those who can afford something more extravagant and decent in design, it is recommended to choose tiles, soapstone counters or even eco-friendly counters. Tiles are a good option for those who seek an interesting design. This set can be very beneficial to your household as they are budget-friendly, but also have the qualities of resistance towards heat, scratching, moisture absorbance and stains. That is a lot to be said for something so light-weight. Since these are a classic, it can be a DIY project, but it is not recommended as many accidents can occur in the sealing process. It is essential to ensure that the tiles have been sealed properly as most of the cons come from the gout which is susceptible to mildew growth. Aside from tiles, soapstone counters are often one of the more common choices as a historic feel looms about its design. Usually soapstone is dark gray, consisting of a smooth feel to the touch. This is great for modern homes and is valued for its rich décor that it adds to the room. However, although it is somewhat stain resistant, it requires daily maintenance. This process of maintenance consists of applying mineral oil to the counter. With this being said, soapstone, if mismanaged, may darken and/or crack over time. Then we have the eco-friendly counter tops. These are a conversational-piece as the contents of the design will astound those who come across it. Made of fine bamboos or recycled materials, these counters are often hard to find, but not too expensive to get. With low price, comes a high amount of cons as the mixed and recycled contents can easily chip/break, while the bamboo has to be regularly sealed to prevent the bamboo from warping.

Lastly, the final and most expensive choices are for those who want that brand new and epic kitchen. The beautiful granite, marble and metal counters! Each choice has its own beauty and definition in the kitchen, but all make suitable soldiers against your kitchen cutlery and messy family members. The granite stone may be expensive, but it holds up against the pressure of heat and is considered to be second-rated after Diamonds in strength, resistance and durability. It is the very definition of beauty in the American kitchen and comes in a multitude of colors. I guess the only real con is that it can dull your cutlery over time if used as the cutting board. But, if installed properly, there should be no cracks or stains during and after usage. Following granite, another nice choice can be marble. This material is very easy to stain, but it is waterproof, heatproof and just plain beautiful! Although it may have a high price tag, you can just purchase it as an island in your kitchen to add that elegant touch that is needed to make any kitchen a kitchen. Marble can be easily scratched though and will require sealing to prevent stains, but its luxurious look is unlike no other. Then, lastly we have the metal types of counters. A good example of a metal would be stainless steel. This type of counter is ideal for any cook as it is anti-bacterial, easy to clean and takes hot pans. Just don’t use it at night as it is very noisy. That being said, it may also dent…Just because it is metal does not mean you can cut on it, as fabrication for it is quite expensive! Other types of metals available to choose from are pewter, copper and zinc. Each can give a unique touch to your home, whether it is modern or traditional.

If you still haven’t found your dream counter, you may want to consider other types such as natural stone, cultured stone and engineered stone. All imitate the likes of expensive stone and look gorgeous in any home if done right! They all require constant maintenance, but bring out the best in combination when it comes to composition. Finding the right countertop is often challenging and installing it is no cookie. Consult Handy Man on Call for a free consultation and the option to view our many selections of possible countertops.