Spruce up Your Home for Autumn Entertaining

November is now upon us, which means that the holiday season is in full swing. Now is the time to start preparing your home for the November and December holidays.  And before you start to get stressed at this prospect, keep an important fact in mind:  You can go as big or as small as you like with your preparations.  Even a few tiny, cosmetic changes can reap big rewards.

Going Small

A little closet reorganization can work wonders in freeing up space and preparing spare rooms for guests coming to spend the holidays.

Change around some wall decorations.  Are there a few pictures that have been gathering dust in your basement or attic that deserve their turn on your walls?  Something as simple as this can give a room an entirely new appeal.

What about a new rug and/or new towels in the bathroom?  Or a stylish new container with some decorative soaps sitting next to the basin.

New pillows and a spread in the guest bedroom?

Take a close look at the things you see every day, but with a new, critical eye.  Are there scuff marks on the wall that could be banished with a simple paint touch-up?  How about doing some drywall patching?  Are there loose or curling tiles in the entryway or kitchen that could be replaced without much effort?  It’s amazing how many small things—easy-to-repair-items—escape our notice when we’ve learned to live with them every day.

Going Larger

Replacing fixtures in the kitchen or in the bathroom produces huge results with a minimum of time and expense involved.

Similarly, replacing tired and outdated curtains with new, contemporary blinds produces a huge dividend in both mood and style.  As temperatures dip outside, consider going with something warm and inviting inside.

How long have you had the same light fixtures or the same table and floor lamps?  A quick pricing trip to a local furniture or outlet store opens up a world of possibilities geared towards a variety of different budgets.  Even if you come home without a purchase, it doesn’t mean you come home without any new ideas for ways to spruce up your home.

Refinishing cabinets can be time-consuming, but the expense can be minimal, and the change in appearance huge.

If you don’t have the time and wherewithal to do an entire shower replacement, you can still tile the surround or change out the door with something that complements the shower, and gives the entire room a fresh appearance

Going Big

And in case you’ve scheduled an entire family reunion to take place at your home over the holidays, and you want to pull out all the stops, then consider a few bigger projects:

Maybe you’ve been giving some thought to “going green” in the bathroom, already.  Now might be the ideal time to go for a new shower and a new toilet that’s been on your wish list for awhile.  You can combine efficiency with style by utilizing one of the wide varieties of low-flow, high-efficiency units with clean, contemporary lines.

Adding molding to your living room and dining room walls will create a definitive new look with decorative accents.  Consider a chair rail, too.  This is a horizontal trim that can be installed alone or atop of wainscoting, and it protects walls from chair backs when guests scoot their chairs back just a little too enthusiastically from that big turkey dinner.

Renovate the floor in one or more rooms with more contemporary tile or slate, something in a neutral or warm tone that provides a more inviting atmosphere for your guests.

Ultimately, keep in mind that these changes benefit your guests and your holiday entertaining plans in the short-term, but even more importantly, they benefit you and your family far longer.  After your guests have returned home full of pleasant memories of time spent with you, you’ll be enjoying the changes you’ve made to your home for months and years to come.

Handyman Matters can help you prepare your home for fall entertaining and complete your to-do list! Call us today at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find a location in your neighborhood.






Updating Your Fireplace Mantle

Whether you’re thinking of selling a house in the near future, or just want to update it to keep pace with your changing tastes and styles, there’s one great remodeling option that can instantly change the entire character of your living room or den:  An update of the fireplace mantle. Unlike most remodeling investments, an updated mantle is one of the few that will usually add more than the price of the remodel to the value of your home, and it is a great way to make your whole house feel new and exciting all over again.

There are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind when considering a new fireplace mantle. The main thing most people think about is whether or not the new mantle will match their current home decor. This is actually not terribly important, and here’s why: a fireplace mantle will almost always become the centerpiece of the room, owing largely to its size and positioning. Since it’s such a large part of a room’s character, it will naturally set the tone for the rest of the room, meaning that it takes a lot less work to “make it fit in” than most people think. In fact, often something as relatively minor as painting the room to match the new mantle will be enough to make it fit.

One of the few times that you DO have to seriously consider the design of your mantle before upgrading is if your home is built in a very pronounced style. For instance, if you have an art-deco style home with lots of straight angles and minimalist design, a heavily embellished mantle will stand out. Or vice versa, if you live in a Victorian home with lots of molding and scroll-work on the walls, getting a sleek, modern mantle might not be doable, if you don’t want it to stand out.

You should also seriously consider your choice of material. If it’s a non-working fireplace, you can get creative with various woods and other non-standard materials; however, if it’s an actively used fireplace, your first consideration should always be function followed by form. Marble, granite, and other glossy stone will add brightness to the room, and will give the fireplace a more formal feeling. Slate, shale, and wood, on the other hand, often have the opposite effect, making a room more warm and inviting. Either way, a fireplace mantle remodel can be a fantastic way to turn your living room or den into the room you want it to be and set the mood for the entire house.

Handyman Matters can help you update your fireplace mantle to become a centerpiece in your living room or den. Enter your zip code above to find a location near you or call us today at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME to schedule your appointment today.

Get Your Chimney Ready for Fall

Another autumn is upon us and, for many homeowners, this is the time of year when they start making preparations for using their fireplace or wood burning stove, cleaning out the chimney and cutting and preparing the firewood.

Another autumn is upon us and, for many homeowners, this is the time of year when they start making preparations for using their fireplace or wood burning stove, cleaning out the chimney and cutting and preparing the firewood. Unfortunately, many people forget to take the very important steps of checking their chimney cap and masonry to make sure everything is in order and ready for the coming cold season.

Fortunately, making sure your chimney or chimneys are in good condition is a fairly easy task, and one that can be accomplished in less than a couple of hours, provided you can make it up to the roof.

Before you get started, however, you need to understand what you’re going to be checking: the chimney cap. Modern chimneys have multiple parts protruding above the house.

The part most people think of as the chimney cap is actually the rain cap. This piece, made of metal and often shaped like an umbrella, covers the flue opening and prevents rain from entering the chimney, as well as keeping strong winds from creating a downdraft in the flue. This piece is also often covered with a fine steel mesh to keep any sparks that might have entered the chimney from flying out and causing damage. The chimney rain cap should be free of corrosion, and should be attached firmly to the flue and be very difficult to shake.

The actual chimney cap is a concrete base, either poured into the chimney or pre-made, that surrounds the flue and sits on top of the chimney. The purpose of the chimney cap is to create a tight seal between the chimney masonry and the flue, and keep out water. There are a couple of things you should be looking for when inspecting your chimney cap.

First, make sure that the cap is properly constructed. The top of the cap should be gently sloped from the flue to the edge of the cap. The edges of the cap should stick out at least 2.5 inches from the masonry sides, to keep water pouring off the cap and dripping down the masonry. Inspect the concrete for any cracks or chips, as these may lead to water entering your chimney or otherwise damaging the masonry. Also, make sure to check the space between the chimney flue and the chimney cap: It should be sealed with a flexible sealant to allow the flue to expand with heat without cracking the chimney cap.

The professionals at Handyman Matters can prepare your chimney and get it ready for fall. Call us today at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find a Handyman Matters in your area.

How To Seal Cracks In Concrete Driveway

With winter well on its way, it’s time for many homeowners, especially in Denver and other high altitude or high latitude areas, to start thinking about getting their homes ready for colder weather and everything it brings.

With winter well on its way, it’s time for many homeowners to start thinking about getting their homes ready for colder weather and everything it brings. One particular area of importance is sealing up cracks in their concrete, whether in foundations, blocks, driveways, floors, or even home walls.

Why should you worry about cracks in concrete? Well, for starters, they can be huge money pits once the weather starts getting colder, reducing the efficiency of your heating dramatically by letting warm air escape and cold air to enter. Cracks can also allow moisture—even full on streams of water—to enter your home.

Over time, this moisture can loosen the fill around your foundation or under your driveway and lead to sinkholes or structural damage.

Repairing and sealing cracked concrete is a simple procedure, and can usually be done in a single afternoon with one trip to your local home improvement store and a couple hours of labor.

Products Needed:

  1. Examine all the concrete on your property and identify cracks that need sealing. Look for water stains on concrete walls, as these can indicate micro-cracks that are difficult to see otherwise.
  2. Clean the area around the crack to remove oils and other chemicals, as these will hamper the process.
  3. Use a chisel and hammer to “key” the crack. This means holding the chisel at an angle to make the inside of the crack wider than the outside, and will help your sealant hold better. Remove any loose pieces or dust with a vacuum and brush.
  4. Use a sealer recommended for your application. Generally, Epoxies are better where structural reinforcement is necessary, and polyurethanes work best for stopping leaks where no structural reinforcement is needed.
  5. After letting the sealer cure, seal the concrete with a water-based polyurethane sealer to prevent staining and protect your concrete from abrasion. Two coats are good for walls and other low-contact areas while three or four should be used on high-traffic surfaces.

Call the experts at Handyman Matters today at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME to help you seal the cracks in your concrete to protect against flooding and structural damage. You can also enter your zip code above to find a Handyman Matters in your area.