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May is National Pet Month, so what better time to undertake projects around your home that will benefit not just you, but your beloved four-footed family members, as well?

At the top of that list would be installing a pet door, or perhaps replacing an older one that has seen better days.  Doggy doors endure a lot of use, particularly if you share your home with an enthusiastic, rambunctious canine who likes to make dozens of trips in and out during the course of the day.  Pet door products have grown by leaps and bounds in sophistication since their early days; the newer models are energy efficient and designed to stand up to rigorous use.  They include safety features that protect both your animals and your home.  Current models now allow you to adjust the door so that it allows entry from both directions or, when circumstances dictate, to allow your four-footed friends to enter from outside but not go back out once they are indoors.

Pet doors can be installed on virtually any surface: in brick, in standard frame walls, in French doors, screen doors, storm doors, cobblestone, and even cement.  Check out our partner, Hale Pet Doors at HalePetDoor.com to get an idea of the variety and scope of doors available for installation.

Mud rooms have been popular for several years now, and there’s a growing trend to incorporate a “pet element” to these.  Not only do kids and visitors track in mud and melting snow and slush, but dogs do the same.  More homeowners are adding a pet cleaning station in their mud room or near the back door that includes a shower pan and drain where muddy paws can be cleaned before your dog tracks residue through the rest of the house.  Experts advise considering your pet’s size and mobility before selecting the style of pet shower or tub, and recommend porcelain tile or stainless steel, both of which are durable and water-resistant.

Tired of having pet food bowls and dishes and food bags on display in your kitchen?  Consider installing slide-out cabinets for food storage and bowls when not in use. Some homeowners are opting for custom cabinetry that includes shelving with built-in dog or cat dishes that can be rolled out at mealtime.  Similarly, there’s a trend toward hidden cat litter box zones by converting entry closets into feline bathrooms or securing them under benches or shelving, where they are still easily accessible, but much less noticeable.

Are you thinking of redoing floors?  Keep in mind the pets who share your living quarters before you undertake this project.  Consider how much traffic—both human and animal—when deciding on new flooring.  Wood is a practical and durable choice but can scratch easily.  And, of course, carpeting can harbor bacteria and mold.  Tile, stone or slate flooring may be a better option to prevent doggy toenail scratching and damage, as well as providing for easier clean-up.

Heated floors (which tend to cost around $7 per square foot) are a great option if your household includes geriatric pets who suffer from joint or arthritis problems.  While this may seem overly indulgent (and potentially expensive!), remember that heated floors are great energy savers as well. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this type of radiant heating is more efficient than forced air heating. Therefore it wouldn’t be just your dog and cat who benefit from this type of upgrade, but, in the long run, your heating bills will, as well.

May is the perfect month to do an inspection of your backyard fence to determine how well it’s come through the winter months, and whether there are any spots that could provide an escape route for the dog.  Posts may have warped, slats pulled free, or nails may be sticking out.  Check for holes your dog may have dug, and inspect the latching on your gate to see that it’s still holding securely.  Consider installing something more substantial than a standard built-in latch; you might even want to look into replacing your old gate with a self-closing model to ensure that it can’t be left open.

Make sure you’ve provided ample shade for your dog so that he can be protected during the heat of the day while you are away.  Also, if you are preparing your garden and flower beds for spring, keep in mind there are a number of plants that are toxic to animals.  These include azaleas, lilies, daffodils, sago palms, some mushrooms, tulips, and black walnuts.  While they may not generally appeal to your pet, if bored or left to his own devices long enough, he may be tempted to chew on them, with disastrous results.

Celebrate National Pet Month by undertaking a few projects that will make life more enjoyable for you and your four-footed family members.  And, as always, your local Handyman Matters office stands ready to assist you with these or any other household repair and remodel projects you have in mind.

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As things green up and the air gets warmer, our thoughts turn to the summer months, and to sprucing up our yards and entertaining guests.  If your home has a deck, now is the time to tend to any repairs it may need, and to decide what kind of upgrades you might want to have in place before you invite company to your first outdoor get-together of the season.

The harsh colder months can take their toll on patios and decks, so begin with a preliminary inspection of how well everything came through winter.

Check all wooden surfaces for discoloration, which can be a sign of rot, mildew or mold, issues which need to be addressed immediately if they are found.  Look for loose or broken boards and any nails or screws that protrude.

Conduct a tour of your yard, walkways and decks as if you were a stranger, visiting your home for the first time.  As a resident, you may have become accustomed to the quirks and potential hazards that a guest to your home wouldn’t necessarily notice, so try to view the area through a newcomer’s eyes, looking for the places someone might stumble or trip.  Is there any uneven planking or are there other possible hazards?  Are there crumbling flagstones, bricks or other rock work that could cause an injury?  Is there something on which an unwary guest might bump his head? How well-lit are your yard and deck?  Install a few solar-powered lights along paths and near any possible tripping locations. You want to make sure that everyone who visits will be safe and can enjoy your hospitality to the fullest.

Reseal your wood, if you haven’t done so in a year or two.  Or consider a good power wash to remove accumulated grime and stains.  Once all of the maintenance tasks are out of the way, you can decide what new touches to add so that your deck presents a welcoming and comfortable place to relax. 

Old furniture can look new with the addition of a few throw pillows or cushions.  Strategically placed flower pots add a pop of color a nice fragrance.

String lighting not only brightens an area but lends it a look of enchantment.  Hurricane candles achieve the same effect; just take care to position them where they aren’t likely to get knocked over.  Tiki torches can illuminate an entire yard, adding to the entertainment space.

The sun remains high in the sky until late in the summer months, so provide ample shade with an umbrella table or canopy for you and your guests.  By the same token, the temperature drops rapidly when the sun does the same, so consider ways to ward off the chill.  Deck heating units come in a variety of options—table units, free-standing propane-powered ones, or electric wall-mounted radiant heaters.  You might want to look into adding a fire pit.  Fire pits add charm and atmosphere and provide a great gathering-around spot.

Rather than a portable grill, think about installing a stationary unit.  They’re larger, more attractive, and can generally cook more food at a time if you are entertaining a bigger group of people.

Finally, remember you are designing the deck for yourself and your preferences.  At the end of the day, it should be the place you want to kick back and enjoy yourself, incorporating those special touches that make it a place you want to spend time every summer evening and weekend.

Need assistance in making your yard and deck look its best?  You can always count on the Craftsmen at Handyman Matters to give it exactly the look you would like it to have.

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It’s true that a lot of home repair and home remodeling projects are going to require a financial outlay, and the immediate impulse may be to say, “Why pay someone else to do these things when I can tackle them myself?”

It’s a fair question to ask.  But the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) recommends you ask yourself a few more questions.  They offer a quiz on their website that helps homeowners gauge whether undertaking the job themselves really pays off in the long run.  Among them are such points as these:

  • Do you have reliable work habits? Once the project is started, will it get finished?
  • Do you have the time available required to complete the job?
  • Is it a job you can do completely by yourself, or will you need assistance?
  • Are you familiar with local building codes and permit requirements?
  • Do you have all the tools needed, as well as the skills required?

And perhaps most importantly:

  • Will it matter if the project remains unfinished for a period of time?
  • Are you prepared to handle the kind of stress this project will create in your family relationships?

The quiz asks several more questions, but even these few should give you a good idea of the things you should consider before committing to a do-it-yourself project.

You want to keep your home in good shape, not just for comfort and safety, but also to maintain its value.  If your skills are “passable” and your attitude is “I can fix this in the short-term,” or “It may not be pretty, but it’ll work,” then you are approaching a project with the wrong attitude.

A professional handyman has access to many things a homeowner doesn’t: tools, a qualified and dedicated team, and the ability to purchase materials wholesale, to name a few.

Many jobs, like those involving plumbing and electric work, must be performed by licensed professionals in order to be up to code.  Contractors know what kinds of permits will be required and are practiced at getting them quickly; they’ve done this before, many times.

Professional work comes with a warranty, giving you both security and recourse should something not be up to par.  If you’ve done the work yourself and something goes wrong, the time and money you’ve invested is simply gone, and you’re still looking at a job that remains unfinished.

Bottom line best advice:  Be realistic.  This is your home—and the safety of your loved ones, your pets and yourself we’re talking about—and if you have the slightest hesitation or doubt about your ability to complete the job safely and in a timely fashion, it is better left to the professionals.

You’ll come away with a peace of mind that outweighs the cost involved.

Contact your local Handyman Matters office and speak to their Customer Service Representative.  They and their dedicated and professional Craftsmen can help you decide how best to proceed with your home repair and remodeling projects.

There are any number of small jobs that most of us can tackle.  If it’s painting a room, pulling up old carpeting, changing door and drawer handles, rehinging cabinet doors, sanding and staining, landscaping or refinishing wooden furniture, these are things the average homeowner can tackle, and aren’t something that needs to be done on a strict timetable.

But if you’re looking at jobs that will leave an area of your home in disarray for an extended period of time and create any kind of ongoing inconvenience, or if they pose any kind of hazard.

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Your pet or for some of you pets are members of your family.  May is the month set aside to Celebrate your Pet and the joy and happiness they bring. There are easy projects around your home you can do to show your pet how much you love them!

Project #1: Install a Pet Door
Adding a Pet Door is a great way to improve the life of your pet and at the same time remove a bit of stress from yours.  When it’s time to go, it’s time to go.  Installing a Pet Door provides the freedom your pet needs (and most likely wants!), to let himself out when the time comes!

There are many types, sizes, brands and qualities of Pet Doors.  You should do your homework to find the right one for you and your home and your pet.  We recommend a quality door, such at Hale Pet Door, for most homes.

When the time is right, consider the Pet Door Package from Handyman Matters.

Project #2: Build a Fence or Repair a Dilapidated one
Constructing a fence around your yard or ensuring a current fence is capable of keeping your pet from wandering away is key to owning a pet.  All pet owners want to ensure their pets are not only safe from getting out and possibly getting lost, but a nicely fenced backyard or pet area also offers your pet their own space as well.

When considering a fence, there are plenty of options, with wood and vinyl being two of the top ones. As always, do your due diligence and choose what’s best for you, your home, your budget, and your needs.

Equally as important, ensure any fence and gates you have are properly taken care of, and any repairs needed are done immediately.  Fence installation, repair and gate maintenance helps to ensure the investment you made in the fence is protected!

Project #3: Update your flooring
Your home’s flooring is another area to consider when owning a pet.  Pets, specifically dogs, can put quite a bit of stress on flooring.   Installing hard surface flooring, like laminate, tile or wood floors is a top choice of a lot of homeowners.

Flooring choices are numerous, so from installing new or repairing your homes current flooring, keeping them up is not only good for you but safer for your pet as well!

Project #4: Build a Ramp
Specifically, for those aging pets, an easy way to make life easier is to build a ramp from a patio or deck so getting to a back yard or pet run is easier on older joints and bones.  When planning for a ramp, always try to consider where to build one, the ramp slope (so it’s not to steep!), and construction materials needed.

To do it myself or hire a Professional?
There are times and places to DIY a project and others when its best left to a professional.  For the sake of your pet, ensure any of the projects listed are done with high-quality craftsmanship and attention to detail.  Your pet will thank you!

Sometimes it’s the small things between being done right and being done that matter the most!

Dog Door- BEFORE Dog Door- AFTER
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Over the years, we have noticed a lot of homeowners tend to put off their home improvement or remodeling projects until late Spring or Summer.  It just seems natural to wait for most.  While most homeowners wish to wait, we advise considering scheduling now for one big reason.

All home improvement companies typically get very busy in the summertime.  Well, at least the reputable and good ones, and Handyman Matters is no exception.  That may mean your desired timeframe to start and/or complete a job could be hard to attain.  All locations do their best to have availability but supply and demand simply take over sometimes.

Compare that to the Winter and even into the Springtime, when there is usually more availability, with most locations having more flexibility now than in the summer time.

If you have those home projects and plans in your head or on paper, now is a great time to contact us at Handyman Matters.  Not only can we help put that project into reality, but we can also ensure it’s done right, professionally and with the best quality around.  We even guarantee it!

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It’s the time of year when many of us are eagerly looking forward to those tax refund checks and entertaining ourselves with ideas of how we want to spend them.  It’s money we’ve worked hard to earn, and now we want to treat ourselves.

Nobody disagrees with that notion, but financial experts advise proceeding cautiously.  And just about everyone agrees that putting some of that money into home repairs and upgrades is not just a sound economic move, but it will boost our spirits, besides!

There are several ways to invest some of that cash on low-cost improvements that greatly increase your home’s value while giving your living space a great facelift.

Give a room in your home a new look with a fresh coat of paint.  It’s a project that can be accomplished in a single weekend, from covering the floors to sanding the walls to final coat, all for just about $150.

Replace old carpeting or other flooring with something more modern and appealing.  Real estate brokers estimate that investing $800 or so for new flooring offers up a return of up to $2000 in your home’s resale value, according to This Old House.

There are a number of ways to increase a home’s curb appeal without spending a fortune.  Rent a pressure washer to clean accumulated dirt and mildew from your house’s exterior.  The cost is about $100 to do it yourself, or slightly more if you decide to use a professional.

Paint or replace your front door.  Primer and paint will run you less than $100.  For about $1000, you can replace the door entirely.  Remodeling Magazine says this is one of the best returns on investment a homeowner can make.  Generally replacing a front door will recoup you more than 90% of the cost.

Painting your home’s exterior can run you into the thousands, but consider painting just the fascia boards (the trim along your roof).  It protects the wood from rot as well as giving your home a sharp new look for around $600.

Experts concur that updating lighting fixtures is another great way to boost your house’s value while giving rooms an entirely new look.   Consider installing a lighted ceiling fan which serves the dual purpose of illumination and circulating air, keeping a room cooler in summer and warmer in winter.  It can generally be connected to the existing cable from the old light.  New fixtures will run you anywhere from $100 to $200 apiece, and the average overhead fan will run you just slightly more than that.

So before you take your refund check and spend it all on a tropical vacation or a new car, take a few moments to contemplate allocating some of that money toward home improvements projects that will give you new pride in your house and boost its value at the same time.

If you don’t feel you’ve got the time or skills to implement any of the above ideas yourself, keep in mind that an expert and reliable craftsman from your local Handyman Matters office can step in and do the job for you without too much added expense.  The odds are, you’ll still have funds left over to enjoy a fancy dinner out and maybe even a weekend getaway!

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  1. Paint Kitchen Cabinets – Adding a couple coats of paints creates an instant new and updated look in your kitchen!
  1. Lighting & Light Fixtures – Modernize and brighten up simple with upgrades throughout your home.
  1. Change Cabinet Handles or Knobs – Swap out current hardware and handles for new ones with the endless number of options, to add an instant fresh look to your kitchen.
  1. Ceiling Fan Installation – You’ll be amazed by what a ceiling fan can do to help cool or heat your home.
  1. Kitchen Backsplash – Perhaps the quickest way to add elegance, life and beauty to a kitchen.
  1. Add or Upgrade Molding – There are several molding types for your home, like Crown Molding, which immediately adds style, class, and value.
  1. Front Door Freshen-up – A fresh coat of paint or a new door will complement your home’s curb appeal and make your home more inviting.
  1. Upgrade Your Bathroom Fixtures – Both beautiful and functional, quick upgrades to your fixtures brings a bathroom back to life.
  1. Bathroom Caulk – A Fresh New Bead – Removing old caulk and adding a fresh new bead in your bathrooms not only looks much better but also helps prevent leaks.
  1. Flooring Update – Replacing worn carpet with Laminate or Prefinished flooring is one of the biggest upgrades you can make in your home.

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While you may not realize, there are a number of benefits to performing monthly maintenance checks around your home. It is a worthwhile way to prevent more extensive, more expensive problems from occurring in the future. By regularly reviewing critical areas of your home, or hiring a home improvement expert to check all is running properly, you can catch potential issues and schedule repairs before conditions worsen.

One area we pride ourselves in is bringing honesty and integrity to the Home Improvement industry. That said, we take our customers’ confidence in us seriously. As a result, the expertise and advice we provide to you, our Home Owners, is based on what is best for you, your home, and your wallet. Consider these important reasons for checking your home each month:

Your Home is Your Most Valuable Asset
By keeping up with your home’s minor repairs each month, you are performing a great service to your investment. Rather than waiting until there is an urgent problem, regularly keeping up with minor fixes and home maintenance will help avoid emergency repairs down the road. The minimal cost to prevent problems will seem like nothing compared to the unanticipated price you will pay in the event of an urgent home improvement matter. For example, consider the small expense associated with having an expert check the shingles or tiles on your roof compared to the thousands of dollars it would cost to repair or replace your roof altogether due to a lack of maintenance.

Your Time is Valuable
In addition to saving money, you will also save yourself a giant headache in the future if, you let things go around your home. There is not enough time in a day as it is, so imagine having to squeeze in time to deal with a nightmare home repair, like tearing out walls to replace a leaky pipe that could have been avoided. Now there’s a messy problem to address! Had your plumbing been inspected more frequently, a smaller, less troublesome issue may have been detected sooner

Enjoy the Beauty of Your Home
Maintaining your home on a monthly basis not only helps keep things around the house in order and functioning correctly, it also improves the aesthetics and beauty of your home. No one enjoys seeing cracks in their caulking or holes in their drywall. Spend your time at home with the peace of mind knowing that your place is attractive and at its best rather than stressing about all the things that need to be done.

Our multi-skilled Craftsmen can do it all including tackle your monthly to-do list. Save yourself time, money, and the headache of trying to get to it all yourself. Call or book online today.

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Love naturally is in the air in February, Valentine’s Day right!?  That got us to thinking, how do you all know that Handyman Matters is committed to helping you love your home?  Simple.  Don’t take our word for it. 

We are fortunate enough to receive Feedback and Reviews from our customers every day.  While proud that an overwhelming amount are positive, we also recognize that mistakes do happen.  In order to help you love your home ALL the time and not just on Valentine’s Day, we must be committed to becoming your Home Ally and be the resource you need.   For that, we take all feedback, good and bad and learn from it.

However, in order to allow you to not take our word for it, please see a small sample of the type of reviews we get daily.   This is the love that we receive from customers, driving us to be better and better every day.

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Handyman Matters Blog by Danielle.bergstein - 3M ago

Sometimes the simplest tasks can make the biggest difference. When it comes to fire safety at home, one easy step can make a difference between life and death. You MUST see South Metro Fire Rescue’s video, emphasizing the importance of just one simple step that can save your family’s life in the event of a fire. WATCH VIDEO NOW!>>

Close Before You Doze
By South Metro Fire Rescue

This video perfectly illustrates how the tiniest effort can have an enormous impact. There are other things that you can do at home to increase your family’s safety that requires little to no effort but bring about huge results. Please take a moment to read through the following Home Fire Safety & Prevention Checklist to reduce the number of hazards around your home and ensure you’re taking as many precautions as possible to help keep your family and loved ones safe in the event the unthinkable happens.

Home Fire Safety & Prevention Checklist

  • Are there Smoke Detectors on every level of the home?
  • Are there Smoke Detectors inside and outside all sleeping areas?
  • Are all Smoke Detectors in the home less than 10 years old?
  • Do any of the Smoke Detectors need new batteries?
  • Are there Carbon Monoxide Detectors on each level of the home?
  • Are all Carbon Monoxide Detectors in the home less than 7 years old?
  • Do basement bedrooms have an egress and are they escape accessible?
  • Fire extinguishers – Are there fire extinguishers present where needed?
  • Fire extinguishers – Are the current extinguishers past their expiration dates?
  • Kitchen – Is a preventative shut-off device present at the stove?
  • Kitchen – Is a Fire Suppression System present at/above the Stove?
  • Dryer – has the vent been cleaned in the last 2-3 years?
  • Dryer – have the cords been checked to ensure no issues or frays?
  • Are any electrical switches and/or outlet trim plates warm to the touch?
  • Are GFCI’s present in the Kitchen, Bathrooms, Garage & Exterior?
  • Exterior area review – Do excessive limbs, leaves, or shrubs need to be trimmed or removed?
  • BBQ grill – Does it need to be cleaned, or have excess grease removed?
  • BBQ grill – Are the gas/propane lines in good condition and not leaking?
  • Extension cords used around the home – Are they free from cuts/frays?
  • Flammable liquids – Are they stored away from appliances and heat sources?
  • Furnace – Is it clear from storage items and materials by at least 3’?
  • Water Heater – Is it clear from storage items and materials by at least 3’?
  • Circuit/fuse boxes – Are they clear from storage items and materials by at least 3’?
  • Are fire exits clear of obstruction?
  • Do you have a Fire Escape Plan?
  • Two story home – Is there an escape ladder in the home?

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