The Top 5 Most Important New House Jobs
Moving into a new home is exciting! You’re in a new environment, surrounded by new people and places. But before you can fully settle in, there are a few basic maintenance tasks you should cross off your list. From lock replacement to chimney inspection, check out our list of five jobs to do when you move.
Change the locks, check the box…
Replace the Locks
Even if the previous owner promised to return the copy of every key, it’s always a good idea to change the locks throughout the exterior of your home. Call a locksmith or visit your local hardware store for new lock and key sets; while you’re there make a few copies—you’ll need ‘em!
Label the Fuse Box
Fuse boxes are often overlooked when moving. It’s not until you blow or trip a fuse that you remember to check it, that’s why we recommend you do it right when you move in.
- You’ll need a helper, some masking tape, and a permanent marker to label your box. As a precaution, power down and unplug sensitive technology like computers and televisions.
- Have your helper turn all the lights on around the house, including lamps—this will allow you to test the accuracy of the labels on your fuse box (if the previous owners took the time to label it). One by one flip on and off each fuse while your helper tells you where the lights are going off. After each flip, make sure the fuse is labeled correctly.
- After going through every fuse, plug in your sensitive technology (computers, televisions) before turning the power back on.
Inspect the Chimney
Even if you don’t plan on using your fireplace, you’ll want your chimney professionally inspected. Aside from evaluating the health of your fireplace, your inspector may be able to identify structural issues that could prevent pest access and lower heating and cooling bills.
Check the Plumbing
The day you move in, inspect your plumbing. Evaluate faucets, showerheads, toilets and especially exposed pipes (such as those below sinks). Use your showers, tubs, flush the toilets, and inspect your basement pipes for leaking. Any major problems should have been caught in the home inspection; but if you notice anything, like heavy corrosion or leaking pipes, it’s a good idea to call a plumber.
Clean Your Vents
Over the years, dust and lint collect in your vents. Moving into a home that’s not new construction, you’ll want to ensure that you’re breathing clean air by having your air ducts inspected and cleaned by a professional service. And then going forward, make sure you replace the filter every three months or as recommended. If you can, ask the previous homeowner when they last changed the air filter.
Check these five tasks off your move-in list and you’ll be ready to host the new neighbors! However, moving can be time consuming even without our additional tips, so contact your local Mr. Handyman for help crossing off any home improvement projects that the previous owners might have left for you.
You know what they say…”when one door closes, another one opens.” Ever wonder what to do with those old wooden or screen doors once they are removed from the hinges? In this blog post, we will reveal ideas for old doors.
There are so many DIY project ideas for old doors. From creating an old rustic door headboard to a wooden antique table, and even some new wall art frames for your living room. There are some old door ideas for everyone, even the most novice do-it-yourselfer!
Old door Project Ideas:
- Headboard: With a little paint or stain you can have the look of a brand new headboard. Prefer the distressed look? Use a door with chipped paint or give barn doors a try!
- Kitchen or coffee table: Cutting an old door and piece of glass down to size is the start to a new kitchen/coffee table.
- Picture frame/wall art: Use an old glass-paned door or French door to make a good looking frame for family photos or wall art.
- Kitchen pot holder rack: Give an old screen door a fresh coat of paint and hang in your kitchen for a new pot holder rack.
- Hanging station: In need of a new coat rack? Simply add hooks to an old wooden door.
- Shelving unit made from an old door: An old door, particle board and some paint are some of the items needed to turn an old door into a new shelving unit in your home.
- Seating bench/swing: Put together an old door and large piece of wood and what do you get? A new bench!
- Message center/calendar: An old screen or paned door, hanging baskets and chalkboard paint is a great start to a new family message center.
Need some ideas for old doors? Check out Mr. Handyman’s Pinterest board called ‘Upcycled doors’ to see some our favorite old door projects for inspiration.
Don’t forget to call Mr. Handyman for help with your new door installation. And, if your doors are going to be hanging around for a while…Mr. Handyman can help with door repairs. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Contact us today to request service in your area!
Doors are an important part of your home because they are both functional and decorative. A door can make your home welcoming, provide you with privacy, and even make a fashion statement. More importantly you can increase your home’s efficiency by installing interior and exterior doors to replace those that are old or beyond repair. Depending on what door you choose you will want to keep in mind the installation cost. Here are installation costs that you will want to consider before you go door shopping. Note: Each project is unique and costs may vary.
Interior doors are an essential part of any home and can range greatly in price.
- Panel: These doors are the basic doors used as a divider to a bedroom or bathroom and are typically made of composite or inexpensive wood. On average these doors would cost $40-$150 or up to $1,000 for a solid wood interior door.
- Bi-fold: These are doors are hinged together and are generally used on closets. They will cost about $25-$150 a set but can cost up to $1,000 if you want solid wood.
- Pocket: These are great doors that slide out of the wall and can be used to make the most of small spaces. A pocket door would approximately cost $400-$1,000.
- Wood: A wood front door is an extremely popular and classic design. On average this door would cost around $200-$500. If you were looking for a solid wood door that is more decorative or that has to be customized it can cost up to $5,000.
- Aluminum: These doors are great because they come pre-painted and are rust resistant. Generally the costs on these are $400-$600 per door.
- French doors: These doors are usually used in the back of the home to enter the deck or patio. These doors are usually made from wood or vinyl and will consist of glass panes. These doors can cost approximately $1,000-$4,000. Sliding glass doors will serve a similar function to French doors but cost less at about $500-$1,500.
If installing a new door sounds like more work then you can handle, call your local Mr. Handyman for some help. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.
One of the most overlooked home renovations ideas is changing your front door color! The front door is something that you see up close everyday (most likely multiple times a day) and something that guests and passersby see frequently. Front door colors can say a lot about the home’s (and/or homeowner’s) personality. Front door colors can also be identified in two categories: Bold and Soft. In this article, we will go over trending front door colors and what they symbolize.
Orange – Orange doors tell guests that you like to entertain, but also enjoy a superb challenge. Symbolizes that your home is your hobby. Your free time usually is spent decorating, gardening, organizing or tackling home improvement projects that you enjoy showing off (of course!) to friends and family.
Red – Traditionally, a red door indicates a hospitable home. It goes hand-in-hand with entertaining. Although a red door is still welcoming, it also says that you enjoy attention and try to live their life fully. Red doors tells others you master puzzles, acquire the rare collectible and complete what you start, thus inspiring others to do the same. Maybe that’s why Ron Burgundy wore a red blazer!
Blue – Those who paint their doors blue enjoy peace and cherish truth. Blue door owners are well grounded and true to themselves. A unsettled spirit that enjoys exploring new ways to use gadgets, tools or appliances to make life better. With a quick wit and quirky way of looking at things, blue door owners live in the moment.
Green – Green doors represent someone with traditional values, is ambitious and strives for personal betterment. They’re also good with their finances, as green is affiliated with money. Green door owners see life as a journey.
Gray – Gray is an indecisive color, a mix between black and white. If you paint your door gray, you could be a bit doubtful and prefer to compromise—giving both sides of an argument equal weight.
White – Just like the clean lines it creates, white doors begin a guests journey into simple and organized home decor.
Turquoise – A bit of a unconventional color, Turquoise is perfect if you desire emotional balance, have big hopes and dreams and believe that anything is possible. (Basically you’re a romantic dreamer.)
Brown – Like wood doors, brown doors tell guests that those within are warm, reliable and stable. Like the earth. They can keep an even head and are trustworthy. Brown doors also implies that you are a deep thinker that enjoys your home as a space for learning and creativity, you work out your thoughts by doodling, sketching or mulling over an idea.
Repainting your front door may considered a DIY project but installing a front door can be a lot more complicated! For front door installs or any other of your home improvement needs, call Mr. Handyman! All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Contact us today to request service in your area!
When installing kitchen countertops, one of the biggest decisions to make is what material to use. The look, feel, and style of your kitchen is the most important thing to factor when choosing what material to use. However, you also have to be mindful to not exceed your budget. In this blog post, we will rank 7 popular kitchen countertops from most expensive to affordable.
1. Recycled Glass and Cement Kitchen Counters
Although it’s our most expensive kitchen countertop material ($100 to $160 per square foot installed), this unique combination of glass and cement is a great way to add flair to your kitchen! Ecofriendly, sturdy and visually appealing, this countertop material can be customized and is a top choice for those seeking a “green” alternative.
2. Concrete Kitchen Counters
No, this is not the kitchen countertop of Fred Flintstone! Concrete counters can have plenty of color and visual texture by adding pigments, stains and dyes. Is sealed correctly, a concrete kitchen countertop is worth the investment — at least $100 to $150 per square foot installed.
3. Marble Kitchen Counters
Marble kitchen countertops have a classic look that always seems to be in style. Have a white kitchen in mind? Marble offers more variety of white than almost any other material. Be aware that marble is a softer stone than granite, and can scratch and stain easily! The cost of $70 to $100 per square foot installed is pricey but not the most expensive.
4. Stainless Steel Kitchen Counters
Stainless Steel kitchen countertops are nonstaining, heat resistant and easy to clean. (Which makes them great for cooking!) Don’t, however, expect to have a flawless kitchen as stainless steel makes fingerprints and scratches stand out. Costs typically range from $80 to $90 per square foot installed.
5. Granite Kitchen Counters
Granite kitchen countertops are probably the most popular among kitchen countertops. These countertops can be customized to fit the unique look and feel of your kitchen. Ranking high in durability, granite countertops last long and maintain their original look. Cost range from $50 to $80 per square foot installed but can be more costly with more exotic slabs.
6. Wood Kitchen Counters
Wood typically isn’t the first material that comes to mind when thinking about kitchen countertops. However, a high-quality wood can create a stunning, vibrant, and long-lasting countertop. Pricing has a wide range (depending on wood type) but butcher block countertops tend to range from $30 to $85 per square foot, for materials only.
7. Plastic Laminate Kitchen Counters
Plastic laminate isn’t viewed as good as stone but is still a popular choice. This material is very customizable and can work in practically any design. With costs ranging from $8 to $20 per square foot installed, its the most affordable on our list. However, plastic laminate is not the most durable of countertops.
Installing kitchen countertops are not commonly considered a DIY project. When you need to install a kitchen countertop, call Mr. Handyman! All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Contact us today to request service in your area!
Everything You Need for a DIY Kitchen Backsplash Project
Tiling your own kitchen backsplash is a relatively affordable way to transform your kitchen. Like all DIY jobs, tiling can get tricky; but with the right equipment and a little guidance, you’ll have your own backsplash to boast about in no time. Gather the tiling tools listed below and you’ll be all set to get to work on your DIY kitchen backsplash.
Complete List of Tiling Tools
- Tape measure: When doing a project as precise as a backsplash, it’s important to measure accurately, so having a tape measure on hand is vital. Remember the old adage: measure twice, cut once!
- Straight edge: Again, precision is crucial when tiling. A straight edge will guarantee your backsplash turns out uniform.
- Level: Often people just base their backsplash tiles on the straightness of the countertop, but countertops aren’t always perfectly level. Having a level on hand will ensure a beautiful backsplash.
- Tile cutter: Because everyone’s backsplashes vary in size and shape, chances are you’ll need to cut your tile to cover your entire backsplash. If you don’t already own one, there’s no need to go buy one! Go to your local tool shop to rent a tile cutter. You’ll want a wet saw if cutting natural stone to prevent chipping and a regular tile cutter for ceramic or porcelain tiling.
- Utility knife: Depending on the size of your tiling, it may come with mesh backing. You’ll likely need a utility knife to cut the mesh to fit your backsplash.
- Notched trowel: A notched trowel is used to spread the tile adhesive—one of the most important tools for tiling.
- Float: A float is similar to a notched trowel but often lined with rubber—it’s used for spreading grout.
- Sponge: After grouting, you’ll need to wipe the tile clean of all excess grout.
- Drill/driver with mixing attachment: Depending on whether your grout is pre-mixed, you may need to mix it yourself with a drill.
- Cardboard/sheets: To prevent your appliances and countertop from debris, it’s best to lay some sort of drop cloth over any area that has potential to be dirtied. Use anything from cardboard to old sheets and towels to keep your kitchen clean.
- Bucket, soap, wash cloth: You don’t want to tile a dirty wall! Wipe it down with a sponge and soapy water to ensure a strong adhesion.
- Low grit sandpaper: Depending on your wall, if you have high gloss paint on the area where you’ll be tiling, sanding it down lightly by hand will promote maximum adhesion.
How to Tile Your Own Backsplash
- After you’ve decided what type of tile you want, take the dimensions of your backsplash area and plan out how you want to lay your tile.
- Prep your area! Cover any areas subject to being dirtied, such as countertops and appliances, with cardboard or drop cloths. Make sure your wall is clean before you start applying your tile. Wipe down the area with a sponge and soapy water.
- After the wall has completely dried, it’s time to mix your mortar/tile adhesive. Always follow instructions on the label. Most mixes will last only a few hours before drying, so make sure you’re ready to put in some work.
Pro tip: Always begin working from the most visible areas when tiling.
- With your mortar/tiling adhesive on hand, grab your notched trowel and apply the mortar in a two-foot section. First, apply a thin layer at a 45-degree angle followed by a heavier layer. The ridges from the trowel should all go in the same direction.
- Apply your tile to the mortared area, making sure to use your straight edge and/or level if necessary. For best results, use your float to press the tile into the mortar and even out all ridges. Repeat this in small, two-foot sections until all tile has been laid.
Pro tip: Use tile spacers to ensure a uniform look.
- Most mortars and adhesives take about 24 hours to dry. Refer to the label of your mortar/tile adhesive for specific details. With dried tile on your wall, you can start laying your grout. Follow the mixing instruction found on the container. You typically want to mix the grout until it reaches the consistency of peanut butter.
- Use your float at to apply the grout at a 45-degree angle between each and every tile. Don’t be afraid to get grout all over your tile – it’s part of the process! But do your best to avoid the top and bottom seams where you’ll be caulking.
Pro tip: Grout tends to stick to natural stone and unglazed tile. If you’re using these varieties, use your sponge to apply a light coat of grout sealer before laying your grout. It will make cleanup much easier!
- Remove any excess grout you can with your float and let the grout set for about 10 to 20 minutes. After the grout has settled, use a barely damp sponge to wipe off the excess grout. Be careful not to get your sponge too wet – you don’t want water in your drying grout!
Pro tip: Wipe your sponge at a 45-degree angle to avoid scraping grout from between the tiles.
- Finally, caulk around cabinets and countertops if necessary. If possible, try to choose a caulk as close in color to your grout as possible. Remove your drop cloths and enjoy your beautiful kitchen!
If installing a tile backsplash sounds like too much work, call your local Mr. Handyman for some help. Remember, DIY doesn’t mean you have to do it all by yourself! Whether you’re thinking about ceramic, porcelain, stone or glass tile, read more about our tiling services or find some tips on designing a new kitchen backsplash.
Apron-front sinks, or farmhouse sinks, are the latest trend in kitchen remodels. What was once the norm in kitchen sinks decades ago has now come back to add antique-style charm to even the most contemporary kitchens.
All kitchens are not created equal so why should you settle for any old apron sink? Dream big. A farm sink is no longer limited to a porcelain single basin sink. As their popularity increases, so does the range of material, basin, size, and add-on options. Farmhouse sinks come in a variety of styles and finishes to fit any kitchen design and budget. Some of the most popular farmhouse sink material choices include: stainless steel, porcelain copper, fireclay, and granite composite. Here are some Pros and Cons for each.
Stainless Steel Farmhouse Sinks:
- Heat and stain resistant
- Various finishes available
- Easy to keep clean
- Water marks and scratches tend to be more noticeable
- Silver color option only
Porcelain Farmhouse Sinks:
- Easy to keep clean
- Less prone to water spots
- Various color options available
- Prone to staining
- Prone to chipping and scratching
Copper Farmhouse Sinks:
- Various finishes and styles available
- Prone to staining
- Metal darkens over time
- Susceptible to acidic liquid damage
- Susceptible to heat damage
- High maintenance
Granite Composite Farmhouse Sinks:
- Highly resistant to heat, chips and scratches
- Various color options
- Reasonably priced
- Prone to staining
- High maintenance
- Only available in matte finishes
- Stone may crack
- Finish can dull overtime
Farmhouse sinks can pose significant installation challenges due to their size and weight. If you aren’t sure how to install a farmhouse sink in your kitchen, call Mr. Handyman. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.
Are you thinking about updating your kitchen? Or have you recently renovated your kitchen space? If so you have probably looked at installing granite countertops. Granite countertops are a naturally gorgeous material with a timeless quality. Plus granite countertops are very durable and come in a variety of shades to match any kitchen. Sounds perfect right? Granite can be a great choice for your kitchen but also come at a high price with a few weaknesses to be aware of.
Granite countertops are a porous stone that need to be sealed annually. This is important to know because if your granite countertops are not sealed properly then they can absorb juice, wine or any other substance that is spilled on them causing them to stain. Another downside to granite countertops is that they may chip or crack. This is not common but may happen and it is expensive to fix. Below are a few alternatives to consider:
Butcher block countertops are much cheaper than granite and let’s face it, they still look great. Butcher block countertops require regular oiling but blend nicely with white or lighter cabinets.
Yes we said tile. If the right tile is chosen, tile countertops and have a timeless look. This option is less expensive and can still provide a tasteful kitchen makeover.
Prefab granite countertops are a great alternative to granite. These countertops are still a natural stone that come precut to fit a standard kitchen. Same great look at a fraction of the cost.
Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.
Have you thought about building a kitchen island or adding a kitchen island cart? You are not alone! The kitchen island is slowly becoming a staple in most kitchens. Kitchen islands are really popular for several reasons. They’re ideal for a variety of kitchen tasks since they are accessible from all sides. Kitchen islands can be very helpful when it comes to food preparation, cleanup, cooking, and dining.
Probably the best part of kitchen islands is that they can be built from scratch from a variety of items. A lot of homeowners actually have diy kitchen islands in their homes. Do you think building a kitchen island seems like a bit much? No worries! In this blog, we will go over different ways that you can build your own.
One of the most popular diy kitchen island projects involves converting a dresser. Long and/or heavy dressers make for poor kitchen islands. Try to find a dresser the length and width of the area you want to occupy in your kitchen. If the top of the dresser sits too low, you can make it taller by adding legs, wheels (if you like the flexibility of a cart), or both. Some dresser backings are thin and may need to be replaced. Lastly, you may want to consider replacing existing dresser top if you want to have a more food-prep friendly countertop.
Another popular method of building a diy kitchen island is to make one out of kitchen cabinets. If you plan on going this route, you can buy any combination of kitchen cabinets as long as they don’t have a countertop already attached. This gives you flexibility to combine cabinets the way you want by adding a countertop. Arrange the cabinets any way you like but when screwing from the inside of one cabinet and into the other, do this where the wood is thickest (such as at the frame). Once this has been completed, make or purchase a countertop to cover all pieces.There are a variety of materials that you can use. Granite,wood, stainless steel, and marble all make for great coutnertops. Make sure to size correctly and leave an extra two inches in both length and width to create the lip of the counter. After that, personalize it by painting, adding storage, or anything else you can think of!
Does this sound like a bit too much of a project? Fear not. Mr. Handyman can help. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.
Looking to improve your backyard? Consider adding a fire pit. Adding a fire pit to your backyard will create a dramatic focal point that can be used for enjoyment year round. Many options are available to you when it comes to choosing the right fire pit. You can have a built in fire pit or purchase a portable one from a variety of stores. Either way fire pits become a natural gathering spot for socializing and relaxation.
If you decide to build your own fire pit choose an area that is on flat ground that is away from any low hanging branches. Next, use spray paint on the ground to mark the size and shape of your fire pit. The recommended size for a fire pit is 36 and 44 inches. Then excavate the ground in the shape that you have drawn and then dig approximately 8 inches into the ground. Once you have done that you can add sand to the bottom of the hole and add then add your retaining wall made of fire brick and fire-proof mortar. Tips:
- Keep in mind the amount of space you have to work with. Make sure that if you have a large family you have a big enough fire pit for everyone to gather around it.
- Check the building codes in your area. This may impact where you can or cannot place your fire pit and also what type of wood you can burn.
- Choose the right material. Make sure that your fire pit is built out of material that is both decorative and heat absorbent.
- Think beyond the basic circle. Fire pits can be square, L-shape and even triangular. Pick the shape and size that works best for you. Make it a focal point and don’t be afraid to be creative.
- Add your fire pit underneath a gazeebo so you can still enjoy a warm fire even when it is raining.
- Create a serene setting by adding plants, flowers or even a water feature to your fire pit area.
- Don’t forget the seating. Make your fire pit an extension of your home by adding comfortable seating, pillows and even a place to rest a few snacks.
If you are looking to add a fire pit to your outdoor living space check out our fire pit advice page and give Mr. Handyman a call. Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.