Home Fire Prevention and What You Need to Know to Protect Your Family

Fire. It’s a horrible thought. But what would be worse is not being prepared for it. Most people think having extinguishers and smoke detectors is enough, but it’s equally important where they are located and how they are mounted when building a fire prevention plan. At Ace Handyman Services, we can help you keep your family safe by making certain your current preventive tools are fully operational and helping you think through what you might be missing. 

We can collaborate with you to make sure you feel prepared. There are two main areas to focus on – Prevention and Protection.

It’s interesting to know the history of Fire Prevention Week – which always occurs the week of October 9th – is rooted in a significant event that changed how Americans started thinking about prevention. To learn more about the history of Fire Prevention Week, keep reading below!

So, you might be wondering, what are the “must haves” to take greater comfort in being prepared and keeping your family safe?

PREVENTION: Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Taking preventative cautions with the right tools is the foundation of protecting your home. Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors need to be installed throughout your home. Place these on every level, in every bedroom and right outside sleeping areas, including your basement. You must make sure these devices have fresh batteries. Testing your alarms monthly is highly recommended. These detectors also have a limited lifespan of 5 to 7 years, so make sure they are replaced when needed. Our Multi-Skilled Craftsman will get these properly installed for you to give your family peace of mind, not just with placement, but also with battery replacement and testing.

To shop online for the detectors for your home, click on the links below: 
https://www.acehardware.com/departments/hardware/fire-safety/smoke-detectors?query=smoke%20detector

https://www.acehardware.com/departments/hardware/fire-safety/carbon-monoxide-detectors

PREVENTION: Areas to Clean to Prevent Fires

Thousands of homes are destroyed due to a failure to clean out dryer vents and furnace filters. Lint filters need to be cleaned before and after every load of laundry and brushed every 6 months with a nylon brush. The vent pipe should be cleared out every 3 months as well. Furnace filters should also be replaced because after filtering out dust and other particles, if it isn’t replaced, the furnace can overheat and start a fire. This should be done every 90 days, but if you have pets, then it drops to every 60 days. In the midst of a busy schedule, it is easy to overlook these vital areas. Call a Multi-Skilled Craftsman today, and we can get it done for you.

PROTECTION: Fire Extinguishers

After your detectors are installed, a fire extinguisher is the next step in protecting your home. Extinguishers use a rating system to understand their appropriate use. The higher the number, the more powerful it is. The letters reflect the type of fire. For example, 5:B-C:

  • A means fires that can be put out by water, 
  • B are fires from flammable liquids like grease, and 
  • C fires stem from electrical equipment. 

Getting a multi-purpose extinguisher that can range up to 40:B-C is highly recommended by experts. Once purchased, have one of our Multi-Skilled Craftsman install one in an easy-to-reach area for when emergencies arise. Best practices say to have them in kitchens, near any source of heat, on each floor of your home and in garages.

To shop online for the right fire extinguisher for your home, click this link: 
https://www.acehardware.com/departments/hardware/fire-safety/fire-extinguishers.

Once you have the correct extinguisher for your home, it’s imperative to learn how to use it in case of an emergency—you will not have time to read the directions if something happens. 

A simple way to remember how to use a fire extinguisher is the PASS TechniquePull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep

  • Pull the pin from the handle
  • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire (not at the top of the flames)
  • Squeeze the handle
  • Sweep the stream from side to side until the fire is out

Remember, fire extinguishers are only intended for immediate use for small fires or to create a short escape route. First call 911 for any fire in your home, because fires spread quickly. Then reach for your extinguisher and get the family out of the house.

We are here to keep you safe, Neighbor

Taking these fire safety precautions can be the difference in saving your valuables, home and even lives. We know your family’s safety is a serious matter. Reach out to your local Ace Handyman Services, and we will take the time to give you peace of mind.

For more Fire Prevention Tips: https://tips.acehardware.com/blogs/fire-prevention-tips/

History of Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage. This horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.

Since 1922, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in our country. During Fire Prevention Week, children, adults, and teachers learn how to stay safe in case of a fire. Firefighters provide lifesaving public education to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires.

How AHS Started: The Andy Bell Story

Last month, we told the story of what makes an Ace Handyman Services Craftsman. This month, we’ll tell you the story of its founder and how it all got started. We caught him in his pottery studio in his backyard over the weekend, doing what he loves. 

“Finding and retaining kind, servant-hearted people has allowed us to grow at a rate that connects us to so many communities,” said Andy Bell, Founder and CEO of Ace Handyman Services.  

“I set out 24 years ago to build a beautiful company with beautiful people, and always knew the rest would sort itself out,” said a smiling Bell, from his shed, with a block of new clay and a potter’s wheel in Lakewood, Colorado. 

And the company is setting records, both in year-over-year growth and territory expansion.  

The Idea Started in the Basement of His Home 

Twenty-four years ago, Andy Bell thought the home improvement industry needed to change, for the better. There was a lack of dependable, trustworthy professional organizations in the handyman lane, whom the homeowner could count on.  It was simply hard to get a commitment on getting work done, on time and on budget, reliably and ethically for all involved.  He believed it could be changed for the better.   

Bell started with a service business that could be more than fixing things for customers who were neighbors – he thought it could earn its way to becoming the homeowner’s ally. A company that could be counted on, not just in the completion of the work, but also in its timeliness and quality. That could earn trust by making promises and keeping them. That employed men and women who would be treated with dignity and respect, sometimes for the very first time in their careers. 

Turns out, he was right – and Ace Hardware knew it too – and today, the franchise is growing faster than any other in the home improvement category. 

It All Starts with Beautiful People Treating Each Other with Dignity and Respect  

We are all seeking the right people, and they will grow into the job with gusto if they know you have their backs, in good times and in tough times. For Ace Handyman Services, it all revolves around supporting the Craftsmen and our highly functional office staff.  There is a true art to being a Craftsman, and these old-world skills are as valuable today as they were 100 years ago. We do 1,162 different home repairs around residential and commercial properties—no day is the same—and each project requires organization, communication and an artist-like approach to conducting the completion of this wide variety of canvases and mediums.  The trades are important, the people in the trades are important and the handyman has emerged as one of the most important allies to the preservation of our greatest assets: our homes.   

Hey, you might know this person. They come from all walks of life. They’re in the trades, sure as carpenters and remodelers. But they’re also the guys in their garage when they get home, or helping their neighbors fix things in their homes. They might be retired. They might be in a job that they don’t truly love.  

Andy started as a Craftsman, deployed from his basement, and has high reverence for the very special “kind” of Craftsman it takes to work with Ace Handyman Services. 

“As the world moves deeply into artificial intelligence, automation, algorithms and high tech, there will always be a need for those artists who have the skills to work with their hands. I’ve not seen a robot that can artfully repair holes in drywall, repair a hardwood floor or repair torn linoleum.”   

But an Ace Handyman Multi-Skilled Craftsman is set way apart from the industry because they all must have a passion to serve customers and improve the customer’s life.   

“We hire for heart – a servant heart – someone who is driven to make lives better, every day. It just happens to be with a hammer.” 

Ace Handyman Services hires those with humility and an ability to both communicate and adapt to the tremendous diversity and creativity required to complete 1,162 different home improvement projects.   

“Most notably, we treat the Craftsman with a level of service unlike anyone in the industry – an office staff that removes the scheduling and paperwork and a support system that surprises those who have never been treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve,” says Bell. 

The industry looks past the person and just wants the work done. Ace Handyman Services reveres the person and supports them to get the work done. For most, it’s a stark contrast to what they have experienced in the past. 

How It All Started – A Desire to be a Better Father, Family Man and Community Member

Andy made a name for himself in high end restaurants – much of the customer service that his customers have come to expect comes from that heritage.

“I always loved making a special dinner even a bit more special; with a kind word, a story or just a simple thank you for joining us tonight,” said Bell reflecting on his restaurant days. 

But for him, the restaurant industry did not fit his desire to be a good father and family man, and with his first child on the way, he decided to break out and start a handyman company.   

His wife, Colette, who leads Franchise Development, tells the story, that out of the basement of their suburban home, he used to tell her that “We’re going to build the largest handyman company in the world. He’s never stopped believing that, and it’s on its way to happening.” 

But Andy isn’t just a dreamer, he’s a doer.  He maintains that same vigor and vitality, with that same belief that is taking Ace Handyman Services by storm. He starts his day early, very early, and then balances his life with work stopping at dinner to spend the evenings with his family.  The franchise is adding more than 100 new territories this year, and 61 last year in the pandemic, and the numbers will more than double every year for the next five. 

Relentless Desire to Serve His Franchise Owners Who Do the Same for Customers 

Indestructible optimism is the best way to describe his personal brand.   

“The Handyman is so valuable and important, however not accepted as a Trade category.  We stand beside all trades and are some of the most talented Craftsmen in the industry–well-rounded, capable of listening, being pragmatic and completing projects in a professional and timely manner.  Our franchise owners are hand-picked for their leadership skills, community care, business acumen and the love of our lane, the Handyman lane.”   

Ace Handyman Services schedules an exact time to show up, quickly assesses the job(s) with its customers and completes the projects in alignment with the customer’s wishes.  This coordination is duplicated time and time again by the great leaders in its franchise body.   

“We have some of the most talented people in any industry leading a charge to gain credibility in an industry that is still learning who and what it is,” said Bell.  

The Future

When you probe him on what’s next, in developing the territories around all Ace Hardware Retailers, serving customers, and bringing helpful to their homes, you see a twinkle in his eye and you know this handyman industry and Ace Handyman Services will indeed be the treasure of home preservation, an advocate for the trades and will very soon become the world’s largest handyman company, period. 

Ace Handyman Services Nashville/Guthrie’s Ace Hardware Owner Cole Guthrie states, “When I first started, I knew there was a need for a premium handyman white glove service, one that I personally trust being in the home with my wife without me present. One with a trusted brand, trusted name. So, we jumped in looking to get that done with Ace Handyman Services. Once involved, I figured out that Andy Bell has figured this model out and he had spent the 20+ years really building an infrastructure for a great business. The model is after Bringing Helpful To Your Home, and it really does stand for that.“

What is an Ace Handyman Multi-Skilled Craftsman?

Defined 

The Oxford dictionary defines Multi-Skilled as “having a range of skills or abilities.” 

A Multi-Skilled Craftsman is like a rocket scientist – we all know they do something special, but we aren’t sure where they come from, let alone what they do. Today, you’ll know both. Unlike a degree that makes you a rocket scientist, it takes a Craftsman decades to become multi-skilled.  

Our Craftsman come from a wide range of varying backgrounds and skills. The amazing men and women that make up our team are truly the homeowner’s secret weapon, designed to tackle a wide range of household challenges. 

But more than that, these tasks require true creativity that can only be learned from years of being in the trades. It’s the Multi-Skilled Craftsmen at Ace Handyman Services who make everything in our company work.  

Quite simply put, a Multi-Skilled Craftsman is someone who can do so much for so many, in so many ways. 

How it all began 

The founder of our company started with a simple notion – to bring ethics and integrity to home improvement. He identified two critical problems:   

Tradesmen and women frequently weren’t treated with the respect and dignity they deserved by the very companies they were working for. 

Secondly, our founder had experienced the same frustrations that many of our customers have dealt with: no-shows, late shows, or no call-backs from either the tradespeople or the company they’d hired to show up and do the work. 

No one was being treated properly. Yet he was audacious enough to believe he could change the industry. And he still believes that today. 

How it all works 

Our Multi-Skilled Craftsmen show up on time, do the work as directed by the homeowner, and gather more 5-Star ratings than any other home repair business, because we’ve been at it for more than 20 years. We have developed extensive scheduling, estimating, and training programs, all geared to ensure the Craftsman will be at your home exactly as promised. We call the night before to confirm the project list and we text when we are on the way – all experiences that are new to most homeowners. It’s this reliability, as well as the 1-year guarantee, and precision of the work from these artists, that make Ace Handyman Services stand out in the industry. 

How we find them – What does it take to work for Ace? 

The best of the best are more than artists with their hands and skills from years of learning. They have servant hearts with a desire to make our customers’ lives better.  Our customers aren’t just our clients; we consider them our neighbors.  

These men and women come mostly from the trades; many are former carpenters, and many are retired from other lives and careers. You know them: They are in their garages, always working on something – whether it be fixing their own homes or helping with a neighbor’s repairs.  They are building things with their hands, anything from furniture and cabinets to skateboards and pottery. They have hidden talents from a lifetime of doing it themselves.  

CraftsmanCraft

A Multi-Skilled Craftsman 

Our men and women are more than artists. They take pride in their work and treat everything like it’s their own blank canvas. They approach each challenge with a lifetime of skills. They delight in fixing the unfixable and solving the unsolvable. Their minds uniquely see ways to make something work and have the skills with their hands to make it happen. They are friends and neighbors, family men and women with a giving heart. 

Does this Sound Like Someone You Know? 

You probably didn’t’ realize how much there is to being a Craftsman. In fact, an Ace Handyman Services Craftsman is so unusual, they are hard to find. Do you know someone like this? Do you have a friend or neighbor like this?  

What do our Craftsmen say? 

Most Ace Craftsmen will tell you that we are different than any place they have ever worked, because we have a whole team behind them. We find the work for them, and schedule it in such a way that allows them to go home every night to be with their families and friends. They understand that we treat everyone, from the boss to the newest person, with dignity and respect. They love the independence of a job being their job, with no boss peering over their shoulder, as they build creative solutions to unique challenges. They like being known by name by their customers and called for the next time the homeowner has a list. It’s the best of both worlds – being scheduled and cared for, but being independent and trusted. 

Delivering on Our Craftsman Promise – A Balanced Life 

The day truly ends at the end of their day. They are not up late doing paperwork – collecting from previously finished jobs, or paying their teams, or doing estimates for work that is yet to come. They go home at night with the confidence that the next day’s schedule is already in place. For many, it’s the first time they’ve had balance in their lives since they bought their first tool. 

Our whole company is set up to serve those who serve our customers. Office managers take pride in making their Craftsmen’s lives work and having their next day in place. Owners are the same. They care for their Craftsmen like family. They flex schedules so these men and women can enjoy a proper work/life balance. They offer paid vacations and benefits. They carefully hire teams around them, more equally servant-hearted staff that will ensure the process remains consistent and true to our founder’s original vision: respect for one and all. 

So, if you were wondering how we do what we do – know that it all starts and finishes by serving the Craftsman – so that she or he can do what they love, in a way that they believe works best for you, our customer and our neighbor.   

(Now you know) 

We all have walls that need some love.

Walls. 

The walls of your home are created by a material that goes by a number of descriptions, including drywall, plasterboard, wallboard, sheet rock or gypsum board. You almost certainly have more drywall than any other material in your home. When it is prepped, textured, and painted, no one particularly notices it. But when it is worn, broken or damaged, it’s hard to see anything else. In fact, drywall repair is the number one category on our neighbors’ to-do lists. After you read this, you’ll know why. 

What’s in the core of drywall? 

It is made of a simple material – a powdery white or gray sulfate material – odorless and non-toxic, that has many uses ranging from soil conditioner to cement. When this fragile material is compressed between two sheets of a paper substance, that gives it its strength to be transported, applied and finished. 

We all have walls that need some love. 

Now that summer is here, most activities have moved outside, which makes this the perfect time to address the damage your drywall may have sustained during wintertime indoor activities. Ace Handyman Services is happy to help in getting your walls looking their best once more. Give us a call or book online now to schedule one of our Multi-Skilled Craftsmen to repair your drywall. 

The task. 

With drywall sheets and a few simple tools, walls can easily be repaired. The hitch, though, is that building with it and patching it takes great skills that borders on artistry. That’s why most of us seek help in its final finish to make beautiful spaces in our homes. 

The Choice—DIY or a Multi-Skilled Craftsman? 

There are two avenues in working with drywall – DIY or hiring professionals. Let’s cover the basics for doing it yourself. If, after understanding the “how,” you think “uh, not for me,” know that we’ve got you covered. 

The “How To” for you to do it yourself. 

If you are that DIY enthusiast, these Ace Handyman Services Multi-Skilled Craftsman- Approved Steps below will help you through your drywall repair. 

First, identify what type of hole you are patching. If it’s a hole the size of a nail or even the size of a dime, you can use a product called spackle. If you are connecting two pieces of drywall together or patching a larger hole—say little Timmy’s soccer ball was kicked through your wall—you’ll need more materials such as drywall tape, joint compound and probably even a new piece of drywall to fill most of the hole.  

Repairing Smaller Holes: 

With your spackle and a putty knife:  

• Scrape a dime-sized amount of spackle onto the knife and apply a thin coat of spackle into the holes. Make sure the holes are filled, and then even out the surface. 

• Once it is dry, look for shrinkage. Larger holes may require a second or even light third application. 

• Lightly wet-sand the areas where you used the spackle, so you have an even surface to the wall. 

• If you have texture and the hole is larger – you may want to add some texture to help hide the repair. 

• Then you are ready to touch up the wall with the existing paint color. 

Tip: Head to your local Ace Hardware and select a new paint color to create that accent wall you’ve always wanted. 

Repairing Larger Holes: 

If the hole you are patching is bigger than 2 inches (about the size of a doorknob), you will need to follow the large-hole process. This is true for holes from 2 inches to a full wall. 

The first thing you’ll want to do is prepare the opening.  

• Trim the edges of the hole to create straight sides and a square or rectangular shape. Use a square and a level to draw a box around the entire hole – use a drywall knife to cut along those lines. 

• Once you have a square or rectangle cut out, take your tape measure and measure the size of the hole. 

• Cut a new piece of drywall that will fit into the opening. 

Tip: Make sure there is no wiring or plumbing behind the drywall before you start cutting. 

The next step is to install Drywall Repair Clips—you can find these at your local Ace Hardware (https://www.acehardware.com/departments/paint-and-supplies/patch-and-repair/drywall-tape/1223494)  

• Take 4 clips (one clip per side) and slide them into the existing opening. These will support the new piece of drywall you are going to install. 

• Use a screwdriver to install drywall screws about an inch and a half below the opening, in line with the drywall repair clip. The screw will drive into the clip and secure it in the hole. 

Now it’s time to place the new drywall that you measured into the hole. Keep in mind, because of the clips, you may have to fine-tune the drywall cut-out. You can do this with some sandpaper or a file so that the new piece fits snugly into the hole. 

• Now install the screws into the clip to hold the new piece of drywall in place. 

• Next, use a pair of plyers to break off the pieces of the clip that you see above the surface. 

Tip: Use the edge of a putty knife to scrape along the entire patch to make sure everything lies flat, and you have an even surface before continuing to the next step. 

Speed Tip:  If you are creative, a speed pro tip is to use a backer board instead of repair clips. This will make the finishing time faster. Cut a small piece of lumber (such as a 1×2) about 4-6 inches longer than the widest measurement of your hole. Fish that board in behind the wall and pull it tight against the back of the existing drywall. Tap in a screw from the existing drywall into the end of the board to hold it in place. Then you can screw your new piece of drywall directly to that board that is now spanning across the center of your opening. 

Next, pick up some fiber mesh tape (https://www.acehardware.com/departments/paint-and-supplies/patch-and-repair/drywall-tape/13510). This tape is the best for drywall repair because it is self-adhesive and simple to use. Tape along each crack so all four sides are covered.  

Now it’s time to apply the joint compound. There are quite a few options when picking out the right type and amount. Head to your local Ace Hardware or give your Ace Handyman Services a call, and our Craftsmen can assist you in making that decision.  

• Take your putty knife and scoop some joint compound onto the surface. 

• Spread the compound over the drywall area until thoroughly covered. 

• Smooth it out as best you can without over-working the compound. 

• Let dry completely. 

• When dry, sand down any ridges or high spots. 

• Repeat these steps three times so you have three thin layers of joint compound.  

Each layer will spread out away from the previous areas by a few inches to help ‘float’ out the patch and will help blend the repair into the existing wall. 

Tip: The key is to apply thin, even coats. Avoid building up the compound so heavily that it creates “humps” along the wall. 

• Use a fine grit sanding sponge or paper to sand all the ridges of what you patched and create a smooth surface that is even with the existing wall. 

• Then paint! 

Again, as we mentioned at the top of this page, drywall repair can be tricky. So, if after reading these Craftsman-Approved, step-by-step processes you decide you need some additional help, do not hesitate to call your local Ace Handyman Services. Our Craftsmen repair drywall all the time and will make sure that your wall is repaired how you want it, in a timely fashion, with their work guaranteed.  

Hey there, Neighbor

Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘neighbor’ as “one living or located near another.” The word ‘neighbor’ has been defined in most religious and sociological texts as someone special. Someone who is valuable and important to making society prosper. These definitions exemplify exactly what YOU are: Our Neighbor, and more.

We see each one of our customers as a neighbor. We believe that beyond fixing things and making life better for our customers, we have a commitment to the communities in which we serve. That means on and off the job. You are welcoming us into your most special place – your home. As your neighbor, we don’t take that responsibility lightly. It’s not just about doing the work; it’s about delighting you as our neighbor. It’s far more than just a business transaction to us.

Most don’t know that Andy Bell founded our company more than 20 years ago, with a much-needed change to the industry: To bring ethics and integrity to home improvement. It all started from his basement in 1998 because he wanted to change the world, one community at a time. It’s that same vision that drives us today, that same desire to do more than the work—to treat others with the dignity and respect that serve as a foundation for healthy relationships and a better society.

 “Your home is a private and personal space that we have the privilege of being invited into to help solve your problems and bring joy to owning a home. Thank you for the gift of allowing us to be your neighborly home ally; it truly makes us happy! 
– Andy Bell, CEO

It’s personal. It’s your home. You have unique challenges. We get that. That’s why, when you call, you reach a live full-time professional on our team, not a recording, to help you get what you want—completing projects to make your life better.

So please know, you are not a customer to us. You are a Neighbor. Someone we delight in serving. It’s personal for you, and it’s personal for us.

How To Maintain Your Deck This Summer

Hey there, neighbor—do you have wobbly deck railings, loose nails popping up, or little Johnny just came in crying with a splinter? If any of these sound familiar, it’s time to do a little repair or replacement work to your deck.

Maintaining your deck is more than just making it look nice and safe for your family and guests—it’s completing Ace Hardware’s Three C’s of Deck Maintenance. Now, if these Three C’s sound a little overwhelming, give your local Ace Handyman Services a call; we can come to your backyard and complete them all for you and have your deck looking new again! Now let’s “hammer” down just what Ace’s Three C’s are.

1. CHECK Your Deck’s Condition

The first step to maintaining your deck is identifying the damage. There are a few key ways to check its condition and to determine whether you need to re-stain, or if you might have mold or mildew that will require treating.

To test your deck to see if it’s ready to stain or needs to be re-stained, you can conduct the Water Test. Pour a little bit of water on the wood; if it beads up, then it isn’t quite ready. Wait and retest in a few weeks. If by then it doesn’t bead, you are ready to apply stain.

The Bleach Test tells if your deck has any mold or mildew. If you see fuzzy grey or black areas, take a bleach-soaked rag and hold it on that spot for a few seconds. If the grey or black area is gone when you remove it, you’ve got mold or mildew.  We recommend using Mold Armor E-Z Deck, Fence and Patio Wash 64 oz. Liquid, available at your local Ace Hardware store.
https://www.acehardware.com/departments/home-and-decor/cleaning-and-disinfectants/specialty-cleaners/1645977

If you think your deck has some damage from the sun and weather, do the Fingernail Test. Press your fingernail into the wood; if it leaves an indentation, you have weathering or UV damage that will require treating before staining.

AHS Craftsman Tip: The enduring quality of a deck is maintained by looking at its underside, as well as the top.  It’s equally important to check for other signs of structural damage, such as loose, rotten or twisted support posts and beams, as well as inspecting the points at which your deck is attached to the house.  Consult an Ace Handyman Services if you are unsure about any of these issues.

2. COMPLETE Simple Repairs 

During the Check phase above, you’ll want to note the condition of all the boards, railings, spindles and steps to determine they are all solid, sound and safe.

Give Nails and Screws Some Love 

• If you see nails popping out of the deck’s surface or they do not look level, hammer them back down, or replace the nails with screws. 

• While nails are more convenient, screws do a much better job at keeping the wood in place long-term.

• Apply the same process and thinking to a deck installed with screws. Get out your variable speed drill and tighten them down.

• Since many natural woods shrink over time, take the time to complete this step – your guests and family will thank you for preventing trips and challenges that arise from an uneven, dangerous, surface.

If you have any loose posts, securely tighten and/or replace the bolts or hinges securing them. If the wood is in poor shape, or will not resecure with these tightening steps, replace those sections with new material to finish the job.

3. CLEAN Your Deck

Once you have a good idea of its overall condition and you’ve fixed the problems you uncovered, take the time to clean your deck. Ignoring this important step will negate everything else that comes after this. Click on the link below to find the appropriate cleaning product, based on the condition of your deck: 

(https://www.acehardware.com/search?query=deck+cleaner

Once you find the product best suited for your deck:

• Wet the surface with the cleaner 

• Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes 

• Scrub with a stiff bristle deck brush (if needed), then rinse the cleaner off with a garden hose

• Repeat if needed

AHS Craftsman Tip: To really save time and do a thorough job, rent a power washer. It’s an effective way to clean, rinse and replace the scrubbing that you would otherwise do on your hands and knees with a deck brush.

Experts recommend that you lightly sand the deck surface. This will remove any splinters or rough areas, and it will “open” the grains of the wood so when the stain is applied it, will not only penetrate better, but will also bring out the natural beauty of the wood.

Let your deck dry for 24-48 hours.

Stain Your Deck

Now that you have completed the Three C’s of Deck Maintinance, it’s time to stain the surface to prolong its life and keep it looking great. There are plenty of choices when it comes to the types of finishes you can apply. To ensure you are getting the right stain, either call your local Ace Handyman Services or head to your neighborhood Ace Hardware and ask your Red-Vested Hero to choose the right product for your deck. (https://www.acehardware.com/departments/paint-and-supplies/stains-and-finishes/deck-and-siding-stains

Once you have the correct stain for your deck’s condition:

• Stain the deck boards using a roller or a paint pad applicator

• Apply one coat of stain, using long, even strokes

• Use a paintbrush to stain between cracks and in problem areas

• Allow stain to dry for at least 24 hours

You can reapply stain every few years so your deck stays beautiful and durable

Again, if any of these tasks seem daunting and you’d rather have someone else tackle the job, give your local Ace Handyman Services a call. Our Multi-Skilled Craftsmen can complete your deck maintenance for you, and then all you will have to do is enjoy your deck all summer long!

More Tips From Ace Hardware:

Great Gardens ≠ Hard Work

If you believe that gardening is difficult, allow us to change your paradigm. Today’s raised gardens are easily retrofitted with automatic, low-cost watering systems, virtually weed-free, and highly productive. We want to change your mind about yesterday’s what used to be with today’s what it can be. Best of all, it’s EASY.

New Challenges Have Spurred New Skills

The reality of this past year, which for most of us meant spending a lot more time in our homes, led to more new DIYers than any other year of the past decade. Whether you were in the kitchen baking loaves of sourdough bread, building a custom desk for your new at-home office or figuring out how to develop a green thumb, many of us increased our capabilities in and around the house. Now, a year later, many are taking their new skill sets to the next level. 

Flower and Vegetable Gardens Keep on Giving

Whether you are a new or experienced gardener, with warmer weather on the way, vegetable and flower enthusiasts are moving into high gear. There are few pursuits that offer more satisfaction than having healthy vegetables grown in your own garden or a yard filled with beautiful, colorful flowers. It’s an instant smile trigger that many enjoy over the summer.

Taking Gardening to the Next Level  

How about adding a few raised garden beds?  Your back will thank you, you’ll have better soil drainage and less weeding, and these will look really great in your back yard.  So let’s talk about making it easy. Ace Handyman Services has the multi-skilled Craftsmen to build them for you, so all you need to do is the fun part – the planting! 

All You Need, All in One Place—Ace Hardware

Once you have your garden bed prepared and you’re ready to plant, go to your local Ace Hardware store for some seed starter kits (https://www.acehardware.com/departments/lawn-and-garden/gardening/peat-pots-and-plant-starters). These kits are a great way to help start some plants indoors before transferring them outside. Watch the video below for a step-by-step on How To Start Your Plant Seeds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNxILv15V2k

Get Outside and Plant!

After a few weeks indoors, your seedlings will sprout, and it will be time to transfer them to your garden bed or flower boxes (TIP: Know when it’s safe to move them – timetables vary across the country!). 

• First, make sure you plant them in a good location, sun vs. shade, based on the seed packet instructions.

• Next, you will transfer your Peat Pots or Plant Starters to the soil in your garden bed. You’ll want to make sure you have some rich, nutrient soil to put down with your plants (https://www.acehardware.com/search?query=garden+soil). 

• Place your seeds or plants into the soil, following the depth and spacing directions carefully. Then add water. 

• When you first put the plants into the garden, you’ll want to saturate them so they get a good amount of water, but then, after that, gently water the garden to keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season.

• From there, let the sunshine do its job! After a few weeks you should see your beautiful plants start to grow. You’ll want to make sure you keep the weeds out (if you didn’t first install weed mats), fertilize if needed and harvest when ready. 

Good luck Neighbor, and remember if you need help creating the gardening tools or executing some prep work, give your local Ace Handyman Services a call.

More Resources: 

How to Start a Vegtable Garden from Ace Hardware 

DIY Resource Links for Simple Flower Boxes for DIY’ers from Ace Hardware

5 Things that Make Gardening Easier From Ace Hardware’s Expert

You’ll Get to The To-Do List…Some Day

We all have those project/projects that we put on the backburner and tell ourselves we’ll get to them later. “Later” turns into “next week” and “next week” turns into “next month,” and so on. At Ace Handyman Services, we get it. We know time is precious and it’s hard to make time to get a paintbrush in your hand.

That is why Ace Hardware and Ace Handyman Services have teamed and declared April 3rd “Some Day.” Some Day was created because we all have that room we want to paint someday, and Ace can help you move that painting project from a dream to a reality. Here are the details for the promotion

“Paint is the easiest way to put a fresh face on tired walls or make old siding look and feel new again. We also realize paint procrastination is real,” says Kim Lefko, Chief Marketing Officer at Ace Hardware. “A new pop of color or walls that make your friends talk is the perfect way to kickstart spring; fresh paint feels better than your deepest spring cleaning. Rest assured, your locally owned Ace store is here to help, every step of the way.”

Along with picking out the perfect paint color, the biggest hurdle for customers is the prep work. In fact, nearly 37% report the prep work and clean-up are the biggest obstacles. To alleviate some of those obstacles, below are a few important tips, and some links to Ace Hardware to get the most out of your project.

• Scrape any cracked or flaking paint with a paint scraper. For other small imperfections on the wall such as plaster bumps, smooth them away with sandpaper.

          How To Prep Walls for Painting

• A high-quality primer will help hide small imperfections on walls. Use a good water-based primer on new drywall. Choose an oil-based primer for walls that have heavy stains from water or smoke damage, or if the wall has paneling.

          How To Choose A Paint Primer
• Before painting, protect wall trim, baseboards and floor with painter’s tape.

          How To Use Painter’s Tape

Always remember, if those tips seem too daunting, give Ace Handyman Services a call. We are here for you for all things prep work, clean-up and, of course, helping you with all tasks you want to do… Some Day.

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Products To Look for at Ace Hardware:

Sandpaper
Primer
Painters Tape

Simple Ways to Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Early spring is the best time to get to those home projects done that have been pushed out too long. The weather is beginning to warm up, and everyone is thinking about the to-do projects they’d like to get on their calendar. Get your house looking great in time for the summer months so you can enjoy the warmer months ahead. Here are some simple DIY projects to get you thinking. But if you want some help, you can call us, or connect with us online at AceHandymanServices.com, and we’d love to do it for you.

Shutters

Shutters are a great accent for a home. Whether you install them or paint the ones you have, don’t overlook this simple way to add real personality to your home. Shutters are quick to install, and you can personalize them to your style. There are also a variety of options. You can go with a rustic, Mediterranean, Victorian, or ranch as just some of the many choices. You can select a bold color for a unique twist, or stick with a classic. Ace Hardware has the primers and paints you need. If you are repainting, here’s a great video to help you do a great job.

Create an Outdoor Social Area

Spring means the start of spending more time outside. Create a space where you can enjoy the great outdoors. Install a porch swing or some outdoor seating areas that offer shade from the summer sun. Add some additional touches like a porch rug, comfortable patio furniture and plants that reflect your personal style. This will help you and your family enjoy these spring afternoons even more. Before you start, here’s a great video to inspire you to get going.

Add Potted Flowers or a Garden

It isn’t really spring without some fresh flowers. There are a variety of ways you can place them to add a natural pop of color to your home. Plant some along the front of your house. Or you can add potted plants, utilizing decorative pots. Maybe you want to start a garden, with a mix of perennials (flowers that come back every year) and the immediate gratification of annuals, those plants you buy that are in full bloom and stay that way all summer. First time gardener? Here’s a great video to get you started.

Explore New Colors for Your Home

One simple way to change the style of your home is to paint. It’s an affordable way to make a big impact. Whether it’s the whole house or just the accent colors on the trim, it can make your home stand out on the block. A lot of homeowners look at painting as a chore and have a difficult time choosing the right color, so they avoid it altogether. Here are two tips to get you started. The first is a fun on-line “visualizer” called The Paint Studio, where you can let your imagination loose and have fun exploring your space. You can literally choose different color combinations and see how they look when they are complete. Now that you have your colors selected, here’s a great video that will help you truly experience your color finalists on the wall in your home, so you can select your new paint with confidence.

Let Ace Handyman Services do it for you

If you don’t have the time, but want to increase your love of your home, give us a call or connect with us online at Ace Handyman Services.com and we help you get ready for Spring. We have Half-Day and Full-Day options to schedule one of our Multi-skilled Craftsmen to help you with any of these projects.

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3 Steps to Prepare Your Deck This Spring

Warm weather and sunnier days are approaching, and for many it can’t come soon enough. Spring rolling around means transitioning to the outdoors, and your deck is the perfect spot in your home for guests to take in the beautiful season. With winter quickly coming to its end, is your patio ready to accommodate them? Take a look at three steps to ensure that it is.

1. Inspect the Structure

To prevent your outdoor gatherings from falling apart, make sure your deck doesn’t. Inspect the following key areas to make sure everything is in good shape. Wood close to the ground is susceptible to rotting; examine it by feeling to determine if it has become soft. Make sure joints and beams are stable, as well, and double-check for loose screws. Cracks along the patio should also raise concern. If your deck has any of these issues, contact your Craftsman right away to repair it for you. He will make sure it holds up under the pressure for your next gathering.

2. Clean and Re-finish

Winters can be rough on your home, and your deck is no exception. Use a leaf blower to remove some of nature’s clutter. Then take the time to power-wash your deck to get a deep clean. One of the best ways to make it glisten under the sun is by refinishing it. Head over to your local Ace and select a finish that will suit your deck. Refinishing and adding sealant will also help make sure your deck lasts longer. Once selected, you can call a Craftsman to add the finish while you focus on the next step of preparation.

3. Deck it Out

Now that your Craftsman has taken care of most of the steps, the last one is the best part. Decorate your deck just the way you like it. Add pots that hold freshly bloomed flowers. Arrange eye-catching patio furniture that will make your time outside very comfortable. Using bold colors while decorating will leave your guests impressed. You can even have a Craftsman install outdoor string lighting for a warm evening ambiance. There are many ways to take your deck to the next level.

That is all you have to do to get your deck ready for the spring. Don’t let the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors this spring slip by. Call one of our reliable Craftsmen, and you will be out relaxing in no time.

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