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10 Ways to Save On Your Home Remodel

home remodeling tips

Are you planning on remodeling part of your home? Maybe you’re remodeling more than one part of your home – or the entire thing. No matter what your strategy, remodeling is a big project, and our home improvement company has some tips on how to save money along the way:

1. Forgo Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting fixtures may look neat, but it’ll cost you more to cut holes in your ceiling and insulate them properly than it would to simply choose a lighting fixture that looks similar to the recessed ones.

2. Think Long-Term

Before you start changing things, consider the long-term cost of your investments vs. the short-term costs. While it may cost a little more now for a certain type of Maryland siding or roofing, it may pay off more in the long run.

3. Donate Your Materials

Before you throw out your old home materials, call up a local organization like Habitat for Humanity and see if they could use any of it. Donations are free (and tax-deductible), but trashing fixtures and other materials can cost you.

4. Ask for a Discount

It never hurts to ask for a discount – especially if you’re buying a large quantity of something (such as hardware, trim, etc.). You can also ask if the store honors group discounts like teacher, military, or student. The worst they can say is “no.”

5. Consider Pre-Finished Engineered Flooring

If you have your heart set on wood floors but are on a tight budget, consider looking at pre-finished engineered wood floors. These floors are like plywood that’s made from various layers of wood. Look for one that has the top fraction of an inch (around 1/8th or 1/4th) made from the wood you desire. You can save a boatload of money.

6. Upcycle

With so many people going green (including our company!), there are endless ways to upcycle old pieces of furniture, rugs, glassware, tools, decor, and more. Look for some creative projects to complement your remodel.

7. Opt for Floor Models

Whether you’re replacing your refrigerator, dish washer, washing machine, or any other appliance, find out if the store allows the sale of a floor model and consider purchasing it instead of a brand new model. You could save anywhere between 30% and 50%.

8. Don’t Move Plumbing Fixtures

If you’re planning for a bathroom renovation, update your bath tub, shower, sink, toilet, and whatever else you want to update, but keep the fixtures in the same place. Moving the sink or toilet to the other side of the bathroom requires plumbing alterations, which can be costly.

9. Keep the Same Size Windows

You may be tempted to opt for larger windows with your renovation, but if you keep the same size windows and choose a different window style, you can save money and update the look of the room.

10. Call P.J. Fitzpatrick

With our experience and expertise, we’ll get the job done fast and done right. And the best part is, if something ever goes wrong with our installation in the future, we’ll claim responsibility and fix it – for free.

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Undo the Damage Winter Has Done

ice dam

It was a rough winter for us up here in the Northeast. We saw a lot of snow and ice throughout the past few months, and while it looked pretty on the trees, it caused major problems for some homeowners. Some of the most common include:

Gutter Problems

If your gutters weren’t fully cleaned in the fall, they may have collected leaves, sticks, and other debris before the winter hit. Once the snow and ice began, it soaked all of the contents in the gutter, then froze. Sometimes, frozen gutter debris can weigh your gutters down and damage them.

Frozen debris can also cause ice dams, which are large humps of ice that sit on the edge of your roof. When snow melts and flows down your roof, it can back up behind the ice dams and seep underneath the shingles. Once it soaks through, you could see damage to your insulation, ceilings, and/or walls. Our ice dam removal experts can take care of the situation before it gets worse.

Window & Door Problems

With temperatures reaching below zero this winter, you probably had to turn your heat up in order to stay warm. Did you notice that you had to turn it up higher than necessary? Or that your heating bill was much higher than it should have been? The culprit may be your windows. Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey windows that aren’t well-insulated or aren’t properly sealed can let cold air into your house and cause your heater to work overtime to keep it warm. Let our replacement windows team help you choose new windows that are not only beautiful, but energy efficient.

Doors can also be a problem. If your doors aren’t properly sealed, they’ll let in drafts of cold air as well and can add to the trouble. Our door repair specialists can create a tight, reliable seal so that you won’t have to worry about drafts.

Insulation Problems

Just like under-insulated windows, under-insulated homes can let drafts of cold air in and can overwork your heater and lessen the overall comfort of your home. Improper insulation can also cause your home to become too warm in the summer and keep your energy costs higher than usual. Let us take a look at your insulation situation and recommend your best move.

Many homeowners don’t think about their garage doors, but under-insulated garage doors can also contribute to a too-cold or too-warm home. Quality garage doors can help create a barrier from outdoor air and can help keep your home comfortable.

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10 More Not-So-Average Spring Cleaning Tips

spring cleaning tips

Around this time last year, our roof cleaning Delaware company wrote a blog titled “10 Not-So-Average Spring Cleaning Tips.” Since the weather looks like it may finally stay on the warmer side, we know some of you are going to be tackling some spring cleaning soon. If you decided to try some of our previous tips, you may be interested in 10 more to make your cleaning fast and easy:

1. Use a lint roller to clean your lampshades.

Fabric lampshades can collect a lot of dust, and the easiest way to get rid of it isn’t with your vacuum cleaner – it’s with a lint roller. Simply roll the lint roller over the outside and inside of your lampshade.

2. Move your furniture with towels.

If you have furniture that sits on hard wood or tiled floors, instead of dragging it along the floor and potentially scuffing it, fold up clean towels and put them underneath the furniture’s feet. Then, slide them freely.

3. Use dust shades to keep your books clean.

Do the books on your bookshelf constantly get dusty? Keep them clean by hanging a strip of linen length-wise from the top of each shelf. Be sure that the bottom of the strip covers the tops of your books and they’ll have their very own dust shade.

4. Clean microfiber with rubbing alcohol.

Microfiber (especially light-colored microfiber) shows every drip and drop. Clean your couch, blanket, shades, or any other piece of microfiber by pouring some rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle. Saturate the stain and use a white (to avoid color transfer) sponge to scrub the area. Once it’s dry, use a white bristle brush to re-fluff the fabric.

5. Steam-clean your microwave.

Place a bowl or measuring cup filled with a mixture of one cup distilled vinegar and one cup hot water in your microwave. Turn your microwave on for 7-1o minutes, then wipe down the inside with a wet rag.

6. Get your pillows back to white.

Over time, pillows tend to get yellow. Bring them back to life by combining one cup of laundry detergent, one cup of powdered dishwashing detergent, one cup of bleach, and 1/2 cup of borax in your washing machine. Start a hot cycle and when the ingredients dissolve, throw in your pillows and watch the yellow disappear.

7. Use ketchup to clean silver.

The vinegar and tomato acid in ketchup can be used to clean your silver. Simply let your silver soak in a bowl of ketchup (or if it’s detailed, scrub it with ketchup and a toothbrush) for a few minutes. Then, rinse off and dry thoroughly.

8. Clean your bathtub with a dish wand.

Many of us love using a wand wand to wash our dishes – it’s so simple! Well, you can take advantage of that same simplicity when it comes to your bathtub. Fill a dish wand with a mixture of half-dish soap, half-distilled vinegar. Then, scrub your bathtub clean and rinse.

9. Use vanilla to make your fridge smell fresh.

If your fridge is full of various food odors, dip a paper towel in some vanilla extract, then wipe down your fridge’s interior walls. It’ll eliminate odors and leave it smelling fresh.

10. Remove metal pot stains with rhubarb.

If you have a pot with burnt stains in the bottom, place some rhubarb stalks (how many depends on what size pot you have) and water in the pot and bring it to a boil. Boil for a few minutes, then let the contents cool. After you dump out the stalks and water, the stains should be gone.

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Grout vs. Caulk for Bathroom Tiles

bathroom tiles

If you’re renovating your bathroom, you may be wondering whether you should use grout or caulk to fill in the joints between your new tiles. While grout and caulk are similar materials, they have very different uses.

Materials

Caulk is made from polymers like silicone, latex, rubber, or polyurethane, which means it’s flexible and can help absorb movement. Grout, on the other hand, is made from a mixture of water, cement, and sand. These materials aren’t flexible and dry harder than caulk.

Use

Because caulk is waterproof and flexible, it’s often used for tile joints and corners around bathtubs, showers, windows, and other ledges. Grout, which isn’t waterproof, is often used for tile joints in backsplashes, flooring, walls, and tiling projects that don’t have 90-degree angles.

Application

Caulk and grout are applied very differently. When you grout tile joints, you spread the grout all over your tiles using a grout float and push the grout into the crevices. Then, after it’s set, wipe the excess away with a sponge. You’ll have to do this several times before all of the residue is gone.

Caulk, however, is applied using a caulking gun. After you cut the tip of your caulk cartridge to the desired size, you put the cartridge in the gun. Then, seal your tile joints by squeezing out a smooth, even bead of caulk in between the tiles. Before the caulk dries, you’ll want to smooth it down with your finger or a smoothing tool.

Other Things to Know

Caulk is flexible, so it can be used to adhere two different materials together (such as tile and glass). Grout, on the other hand, won’t adhere to the surface of materials; it needs a crevice to sit in.

Because caulk can shrink over time, it shouldn’t be used in large projects.

Grout dries firm and strong, so it helps protect the edges and corners of tiles from cracking or breaking.

Grout comes in two different types – sanded and unsanded. Which you use depends on how wide the joints are between your tiles.

Both grout and caulk come in colors, so you can match or complement the color of your tiles.

No bathroom renovation is complete without an updated tub or shower! Our bath solutions can replace your tub with a quality, 100% acrylic model or turn it into a beautiful shower that you’ll love to use every day. For more information, visit our Bath Solutions page.

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Don’t Forget – We’re Here During Snow Storms!

snow

At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we know that inclement weather can be frustrating and the last thing you want is a snow storm that damages your home. That’s why we’re always available – even in bad weather! Our experts are here for you for a wide array of problems – whether it’s something major or something minor.

Roofing

Our Pennsylvania roofing company professionals can help get your roof back in tip-top shape. Whether it’s damaged by debris, leaking from water build-up, your flashing needs attention, or another issue, we’ll be at your home as soon as possible to fix it.

Gutters

During the winter, ice accumulation can weigh your gutters down, which can lead to gutter damage and a possible gutter replacement. Ice in your gutters can also prevent water from draining properly and can cause it to back up and leak into your home. No matter what your gutter problem, we’re here to help.

Insulation

Do you find yourself huddled underneath a blanket every time it snows? Your home may be in need of insulation to keep it warm. Let us take a look and make sure you’re comfortable in this cold weather.

And More…

If you have another problem during the next snow storm, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-888-446-6492! We’ll send one of our friendly and knowledgeable technicians out to help solve your problem as soon as possible.

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Our Blue Bell Bath Project

Recently, the Walsh family in Blue Bell contacted the bath solutions experts at P.J. Fitzpatrick to help them with their master bathroom. The Walshs are moving to Atlanta and need to sell their house as soon as possible, so we added some pizzazz to help them with the sale! Check it out:

blue bell bath 3

Before

blue bell bath 4

After

 

 

 

 

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7 Popular Home Siding Materials

 

Maryland siding

At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we highly recommend vinyl siding for your home, but some homeowners have a different vision or a different preference, so we’re always willing to discuss your options. Here are some of the most popular Maryland siding materials for today’s homes:

Vinyl

Vinyl siding is low maintenance and affordable, which is why so many homeowners opt for it. It’s also comes in a variety of colors and is very durable – it can withstand high winds and resist the heat and the cold.

Wood

For a rich look, some homeowners turn to wood siding. Wood siding is available in many shapes, sizes, and colors, however, it requires more maintenance than other siding materials. If not properly maintained, wood siding can be susceptible to mold, mildew, termites, and swelling.

Brick

Since brick is often used on Colonial and English homes, it tends to give a home a completely different look compared to other siding types. While it comes in a variety of colors, there are not as many options as materials like vinyl or wood. However, brick Maryland siding is very durable and requires virtually no maintenance.

Stucco

Stucco consists of cement, lime, and sand, which essentially creates a shell around your home. Stucco is very insulating and is low maintenance, however, it tends to be more costly than other siding materials. It also is very durable, but can’t withstand a lot of water, so it’s not recommended for homes in rainy areas.

Stone

When it comes to siding that gives your home a unique look and texture, some homeowners turn to stone. Stone is considered the most durable siding option available, but is often on the costly side, since the stones have to be harvested and finished before they can even be installed.

Fiber Cement

Fiber cement siding is made from wood pulp, cement, clay, and sand, and it can be molded to look like a variety of styles, from wood to stone to stucco. It also can withstand heat and is low maintenance. It tends to be more costly, however, than materials like vinyl or wood because it’s harder to install.

Aluminum

Aluminum siding is known to withstand both hot temperatures and cold temperatures without damaging, however, it needs to be paired with a good insulation because it has the potential to draw heat from your home in the winter and add heat to your home in the summer.

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Attics, Moisture, and Mold: Part 3

mold3

In the first two parts of our three-part blog series on attics, moisture, and mold, we discussed the difference between moisture and humidity, how mold forms, what affects mold growth, and what you can do to prevent it. In this last part, we’ll discuss some lifestyle changes you can make to further prevent mold growth.

Contributing to Moisture

Every day, the average household emits 2-4 gallons of water into the air by doing things like:

  • Breathing
  • Cooking
  • Showering
  • Watering plants
  • Using a humidifier
  • Not properly ventilating dryers, bathrooms, and range hoods

All of this moisture will eventually make its way up into your attic, where it could cause mold growth.

So how can you reduce the moisture you produce?

Make sure you properly ventilate your dryers, bathrooms, and range hoods and run your humidifiers at the right setting. You should also make sure your home is properly insulated and there should be a good vapor barrier between your living space and your attic. Any roof leaks or leaks in your basement should also be taken care of.

Be Aware…

There are other seemingly innocent things that can lead to moisture and mold growth in your attic. These include:

  • Cedar roofs and siding (which hold a lot of moisture)
  • Homes in heavily shaded areas
  • Homes that are protected from the wind
  • Low-sloped roofs (that don’t allow for much air circulation)
  • Soffits blocked by insulation
  • Open spaces between your attic and living space (including attic accesses, chimneys, recessed lighting, duct work, etc.)

If you have any of these things, talk to our Pennsylvania roofing company experts about how you can counteract their effect on moisture. Remember: no one thing you do will prevent mold growth, but the more steps you take, the greater chance you’ll have of preventing it.

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Attics, Moisture, and Mold: Part 2

attic mold

In part 1 of our “Attics, Moisture, and Mold” blog series, our Pennsylvania roofing company shed some light on moisture conditions, how mold grows, and what you can do to reduce the moisture in your home. In part 2, we’ll continue our discussion:

Humidity vs. Moisture

You’ve probably heard both of these terms used to describe the presence of water vapor, so what’s the difference? Moisture usually refers to water vapor that’s found on a surface, while humidity usually refers to water vapor that’s found in the air. When you listen to the weather forecast, you’ll hear the expert use the term “humid” to describe a warm, sticky day.

Relative Humidity

Though relative humidity is another measurement of humidity, the two terms aren’t interchangeable. Relative humidity (abbreviated RH) is expressed in a percentage, and refers to the amount of atmospheric moisture present relative to the amount that would be present if the air were saturated. Humidity, also called “absolute humidity (AH)” refers to the amount of atmospheric moisture present.

For example: If one day, the dew point is 34 degrees Fahrenheit and the temperature is 38 degrees Fahrenheit, we would get a high RH value and a low AH value. If another day, the dew point is 63 degrees and the temperature is 85 degrees, we would get a low RH value, but a high AH value.

The Effects of Seasonal Changes

When it comes to moisture, the seasons have an effect on its presence. When the weather gets warmer, humidity causes your attic to collect moisture and promotes the growth of mold. The highest RH level that building codes and manufacturers recommend is 40%. If your home is over that during the summertime, it could overwhelm your attic ventilation system and increase your attic moisture.

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P.J. Fitzpatrick Newsletter: Winter Edition

PJ Fitzpatrick Ice DamOur newsletter is back! After an extended hiatus we’ve decided to return with a quarterly newsletter. More information to come on a number of upcoming changes and events soon!

Charity and Events Committee
Wilmington Showroom: Bath Solutions
Easter Seals Volleyball Competition
February Birthdays and Anniversaries


If you would like to assist by writing a piece, or have a suggestion to contribute, please contact Almena or Pete Jr. as we would love to have more people contributing.

 

Posted in Home Remodeling | 4 Comments