Home Improvement Experts

Window Replacements: Things to Keep in Mind

 

window replacement

At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we know there’s more to windows than just style – there’s also the issue of longevity, durability, and energy efficiency. That’s why we offer Infinity by Marvin windows. These windows are ones that we can stand behind and ones that we’re proud to offer our clients in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.

If you’re in the market for replacement windows, here are a few things to keep in mind:

* Look for window styles that tilt inward or outward, which makes them very easy to maneuver and clean.

* Energy-efficient windows can help you save hundreds of dollars every year.

* Look for windows with fiberglass frames. They’ll be stronger, more efficient, and virtually maintenance-free.

* To make sure your windows are installed correctly, trust a professional window replacement company to do the work instead of trying to do it yourself.

* Low-E windows will reflect heat to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

* Look for a window installation company that offers lifetime window guarantees. You’ll avoid any headaches if something goes wrong with your windows.

* Before you decide on your new windows, know the pros and cons of windows made from different materials (such as wood, vinyl, ect.).

* Know the difference between having to repair your windows and having to replace them.

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Fix Your Roof Before Winter Hits

 

Pennsylvania roofing repairs

We know it’s only the end of September, but winter will be here before you know it and when it comes to your home, our Pennsylvania roofing experts recommend being prepared. This means that any maintenance you need to do on your roof should be done before the cold sets in to strengthen your roof and help prevent winter weather-related damage.

Shingles

Cracked, broken, or missing shingles can leave your roof exposed to elements like snow, rain, sleet, and hail, which could all be damaging. If water gets into the cracks of a shingle and freezes, it could make the cracks even worse. And if you’re missing shingles, water could seep into your roof and compromise its strength.

Gutters

During the winter, gutters can also pose a threat to your roofing (as well as your interior walls and ceilings). If your gutters are damaged, melted snow and ice won’t be able to drain properly and can get trapped. This trapped water can back up into your home and cause water damage, which is why it’s important to make sure your gutter system is always clean. Check your system on a regular basis – especially after the fall season when leaves tend to accumulate and cause potential backups.

Flashing

If the flashing around your roof or chimney is separated, damaged, or broken, you could already be letting water seep in underneath it. Once winter comes, that water could freeze and make your flashing situation even worse. Have one of our Pennsylvania roofing experts inspect it and fix where necessary. You’ll have a strong, reliable seal for protection during the winter.

Mold/Mildew

When an area is constantly moist and dark, it can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. This goes for your roofing as well. If your shingles are loose or cracked, they could be trapping water underneath them and mold or mildew could be growing. While these fungi tend to grow better in warmer temperatures, trapping water underneath your shingles during the winter gives them a head start for growth once spring rolls around. If you let mold or mildew grow too long, it can compromise your roof’s sturdiness and even cause health problems for those who live under it.

Fixing your roof before winter begins gives your home and your family a stronger protection against bad weather, cold temperatures, and the weight of snow and/or ice. Call us today. We’ll come inspect your roof and make any necessary repairs to have it prepared for the winter.

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A Brief History of Home Insulation

history of insulation

As a Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland insulation specialist, we realize that home insulation has come a long way. From mud to asbestos to spray foams, we’ve been able to revolutionize the way we protect our homes and families. Here’s how it all began:

The BC Years

Thousands of years ago in the BC age,  ancient civilizations had their own unique ways of insulating their homes. Both Ancient Egpytians and the Vikings took advantage of the cooling properties of mud. Egyptians built their homes out of mud bricks to keep them cool, while Vikings plastered mud and straw in between the logs that made up their homes.

Early AD Years

Ancient Greeks were the first to use a type of insulation that’s still popular today – asbestos. This material was thought to have mystical qualities because it was resistant to flames, so the Greeks named it “asbestos,” which means “inextinguishable.”

The Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, homes were made from stone with thatched roofs, so they were cold, damp, and drafty. To absorb the dampness and the drafts, people hung tapestries on the walls.

Industrial Revolution

Though you don’t really think of homes when you think of the Industrial Revolution, this period of time made asbestos very popular. Manufacturers used steam to power their technology, and in order to travel around the building, the steam was transported through pipes. Because these pipes got very hot, manufacturers decided to use asbestos to wrap the pipes and make them safer for workers to be around.

Asbestos was also used in the automobile industry in the early 1900s.

1932

Fiberglass insulation was the next big breakthrough in home insulation. When researcher Dale Kleist attempted to create a vacuum seal between two glass blocks, an accidental stream of high-pressured air turned some of the glass into thin fibers. These fibers became the base of fiberglass insulation, which became popular in the 1940s.

1950s – 1970s

Another form of insulation that became popular is cellulose. Made of newspaper, cardboard, straw, sawdust, or cotton, cellulose was actually one of the earliest types of insulation. It didn’t become popular until later, however, because it was considered very flammable. In the 1950s, insulation manufacturers were able to add a fire retardant to cellulose material, and the insulation was used by many in the 1970s.

1980s

Polyurethane spray foam insulation was considered one of the greatest advancements in home insulation. Though it was developed by the military in the 1940s, it didn’t become popular in homes until the late 1970s and early 1980s. Spray foam insulation was much easier to incorporate in home construction because it expanded and could fill in divots and corners (as opposed to blankets of fiberglass or asbestos that only covered level areas).

Today

Today, many forms of insulation are used to protect a home. At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we highly recommend our Radiant Barrier reflective insulation, which is the most cost-efficient way to lower your heating and cooling bills and help you reduce your carbon emissions.

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5 More Home Repairs You Can Do Yourself

broken tile diy

A few months ago, we wrote a blog titled “5 Home Repairs You Can Do Yourself,” and got some pretty great feedback, so we thought we’d write another with even more home repairs that you can do yourself.

Cracked/Broken Tiles

Floor tiles can crack because of wear and tear or because of something heavy being dropped on them. If you have just one or two broken floor tiles, you’re in luck – they’re easily replaceable. Simply chisel out the grout from around the edges of the broken tiles and remove them. (You can drill a few holes into the tile to help break it up, if needed.) Scrape off the old adhesive and apply new adhesive to the back of your new tiles. Position your tiles, then press down firmly to form a bond. After the adhesive dries, you can grout your new tiles.

Clogged Drain

Whether it’s in your kitchen or bathroom, at one point or another, you’re probably going to experience a clogged drain. There are several ways to unclog a drain (and our bath solutions experts recommend staying away from chemical cleaners). Try mixing 1/3 cup vinegar with 1/3 cup baking soda. Once it starts to fizz, pour it down the drain and let it sit overnight. In the morning, flush with hot water. Or cut off the top of a wire hanger and straighten it out, making a hook at the end. Use the hanger to grab and pull whatever’s clogging your drain, then rinse it with hot water. You can also resort to a sturdy flat plunger.

Torn/Peeling Wallpaper

Fixing torn or peeling wallpaper only requires adhesive, a small brush, and a steady hand. Carefully peel back the damaged wallpaper and apply a thin layer of adhesive with a small brush. Place the wallpaper in its original spot and use a damp sponge to smooth it back into place and let it dry thoroughly.

Broken Light Switch

There’s always a danger involved in trying to fix electrical issues, but fixing a broken light switch is pretty simple. First, turn off the breaker that powers that light switch. Then, unscrew the two surface plate screws, then the two screws on the mounting piece underneath. Then, remove the wires from the back of the switch, paying attention to where each wire is. Plug the wires into the new switch in the same pattern, making sure to establish the ground wire. Then, reattach the switch to the mounting piece and replace the surface plate.

Old Faucet

If your faucet has seen its days and it’s time to replace it with a new one, start by turning off the water supply. Then, disconnect the water supply lines from under the faucet. Disconnect the lift rod from the faucet and remove the nuts. Remove the p-trap and disconnect the drain from the sink. After that, follow the instructions for installing the new faucet. Attach the new drain and drain rod, then reconnect the water supply lines.

Just remember - some major home repairs are best left up to the experts. Call the professionals at P.J. Fitzpatrick today!

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What Your Front Door Color Says About You

 

front door colors

Your front door is not only an entrance to your home – it’s also a statement about who you are. When choosing a new front door, it’s always important to think about energy efficiency, maintenance, cost, and style (for tips on choosing the right front door, read this blog article), but did you know that the color of your door can also say a lot about you?

At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we install a lot of New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania doors, and we like to tell people that when you choose a front door color, don’t just focus on what would match your siding and trim – think about the kind of family you are.

Below are some common front door colors and what they can say about your personality:

Blue: Depending on the shade, a blue front door can mean you’re prosperous and positive (royal blue), calm and grounded (dark blue), or friendly and sincere (powder blue).

Yellow: Yellow front doors are pretty uncommon, but often say a lot – you’re confident, curious, wise, humorous, and understanding. You’ll also probably spark the interest of your neighbors.

White: A white front door will tell your neighbors that you’re clean, organized, simple, and serene.

Red: Red is one of the most common front door colors and in early American tradition, a red door meant “welcome.” While bright red says you’re exciting and vibrant, a darker red can mean you’re warm and inviting.

Black: Black is a color that symbolizes order and control. It will tell people that you’re sophisticated and authoritative.

Green: Like the idea of “going green,” a green front door says your home is a place of health, community, and safety. If you opt for a bolder, brighter green, you’ll give off the vibe that you live an exciting life.

Brown: Depending on the shade, brown can mean you’re warm and reliable (light brown) or introverted and private (dark brown).

Purple: Like yellow, purple is an uncommon front door color. It’s often associated with spirituality, so by painting your front door purple, you’ll tell your neighbors that you’re open-minded and a risk-taker.

Grey: A grey front door is often associated with intelligence and being dignified, but can come across as stand-offish, depending on the shade you choose.

Orange: The color of orange is considered vibrant and exciting, and if your front door is orange, it’ll say the same about you. You’ll also give off the vibe that you like entertaining and taking on new challenges.

So tell us – what’s the color of your front door? Does it fit your personality?

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12 Decorating Tips for a Small Bathroom

small bathroom decorating

At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we’ve seen plenty of small bathrooms that have been decorated perfectly – some, to make the space look larger and others, to make a statement. We’ve collected 12 decorating tips to help you create a bathroom you love.

1. Choose Vertical Storage

Since you’re tight on space, you may not have room for a towel basket or even a lot of room in your closet. Invest in a vertical storage unit like shelves, bars, or even a ladder to keep your things organized and add an element of design.

2. Try Light Colors

If you want to make your bathroom seem larger, choose a paint color that’s a lighter or neutral shade. Light-colored walls and matching or complementing accents make a room look larger and more open.

3. Add Curtains

If you have pedestal or other type of free-standing sink, give it a little skirt with a pair of fun curtains. You’ll also give yourself extra storage space, since you can hide things behind the curtains.

4. Accent with Plants

Bathrooms are supposed to feel fresh, so why not add some plants to your decor? Get a few mini terracotta pots and plant aloe, herbs, or small flowers to liven up your space.

5. Go Bold

Since your bathroom is a small space, you have the freedom to make a statement with it. Go bold with a patterned wallpaper, a one-of-a-kind bath tub, or an oversized piece of artwork.

6. Use the Mirror Trick

Putting a large mirror in a small space immediately gives the illusion that the space is larger than it really is, so when choosing a mirror for your bathroom, opt for an expansive one.

7. Create a Cut-Out

If you have the room, create a cut-out in one of your bathroom walls, paint it a light color, and install a shelf. You’ll not only have a decorative space, you’ll make the area look bigger.

8. Replace Your Tub

If your bathroom has a bath tub, you could be losing out on valuable space. Transform that bath tub into a sleek shower with our available bath solutions services.

9. Add a Backsplash

For a little pop of color, add a tile backsplash behind your sink. Since your bathroom is small, you won’t need much and it won’t take you long.

10. Lay Flooring Length-Wise

If you’re putting in hardwood or tile flooring with a rectangular shape, arrange the panels to run long-ways along the length of the floor, not the width. This will give the illusion that the space is larger than it is.

11. Create Texture

Your sink, toilet and shower/bath tub are the major eye-catchers in your bathroom, and they’re probably smooth and sleek. Break up the consistency with some texture like stones, big tiles, brushed walls, and more.

12. Illuminate Upwards

Invest in some lighting options (like sconces or chandeliers) that spread light upwards as well as downwards. By illuminating the space above you, it will make the bathroom bigger and brighter.

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When Choosing Siding Color…

Delaware siding

You may have many of your big aesthetic home choices made, like roofing material, window style, and garage door type, but when it comes to siding color, it may be hard to decide which is best.

Don’t worry – our Delaware siding experts are here to help.

At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we specialize in many home improvement services including Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware siding. We install a wide variety of siding (such as horizontal, vertical, and shake and shingle) and in many colors, so we know how tough it may be to choose one.

Complement your roof.

Since the two largest palates of color that the eye is drawn to are your roof and your siding, make sure you take into consideration the color of your roof before you decide on your siding. If your roof is a light neutral color (like brown or tan), consider siding with a darker hue (like navy or rust). If your roof is a dark neutral color (like black or dark grey), consider a lighter color (like peach or gold).

Don’t be afraid of color.

Because siding is the first thing you see on a home, many homeowners opt for a neutral color and then use doors or shutters to add some color. If you’d rather make your house stand out from the start, however, we say don’t be afraid to go for it. Making your home a bold color like forest green or cornflower blue may be a great way to distinguish yourself from everyone else in the area.

Consider mixing and matching.

These days, architecture is unique, so drawing the eye to many different features of your home can be fun. By mixing and matching siding colors and textures, you can highlight the best parts of your home’s design (and add some creativity).

Beware of stripes.

While we do encourage mixing and matching siding colors and textures, we must warn you: If you choose to do a vertical siding and decide to alternate light and dark colors, you home could end up looking like it’s covered in striped wallpaper. Our siding experts can help you avoid this.

Know color terms.

It’s important to know the difference between the term “analogous colors” and “complementary colors.” Analogous colors are one or more colors that are next to each other on the color wheel (such as yellow and green). These colors will give you the smoothest contrast transition.

Complementary colors, on the other hand, are colors that are across from each other on the color wheel (such as blue and orange). These will present more of a dramatic contrast.

Remember…

When looking at a home, the eye tends to notice light colors before dark colors, so keep this in mind when choosing siding and trim colors.

Ask for help.

That’s what we’re here for! If you’re not sure about your siding color choice, get a second opinion. We’d be happy to help you decide.

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Which Window Style Is Right for You?

In the market for some new windows? At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we have a wide variety of window styles to choose from. Whether you’re looking for Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, or Maryland windows, our experts can help you choose the best look for your home. Learn more about some of the most popular window types and their features:

Casement Casement windows

Casement windows are vertically rectangular windows with one large pane. They’re hinged on one side (either left or right) and have a crank handle that opens the other side outward. These windows are great for airflow because they allow you to open up a large space.

 

double hung windowsDouble-Hung

Double-hung windows are vertically horizontal windows, but have two stacked panes. These windows are different from many other windows because both panes of glass are able to be tilted out, which lets you maximize outdoor airflow. Their tilting feature also make for easy cleaning.

 

awning windowsAwning

Like casement windows, awning windows are also hinged on one side, however, the hinge is at the top and the crank opens them from the bottom. These windows are often used for basements or attics because of their horizontal rectangular shape.

 

Glider windowsGlider

Glider windows have side-by-side vertically rectangular panes that open with a touch of elegance – instead of pushing or cranking the window open, you can “glide” one pane open to overlap the other. Some styles even let you detach the panes for easy cleaning.

 

Bay windowsBay

Bay windows are large, three-part window systems that extend outward from the house. They feature one large window in the middle and two smaller, angled windows on either side, and are often found in kitchens or living rooms. Many times, just the two outer windows open, but some bay windows are simply installed for design purposes and none open.

bow windows

Bow

Like bay windows, bow windows extend outward from the house, but are made up of four to six vertically horizontal panes of equal sizes. Many times these windows are for design purposes and don’t open, but they can be created to do so.

 

Picture windowsPicture

Picture windows are sealed windows that are made for natural light and for showcasing views. They’re also often used in windy or harsh environments and are ideal for homes with abstract designs, where regular windows wouldn’t fare well.

 

Round top windows

Round Top

Round top windows can come in many different styles, including single-pane, multiple panes, circular, or half-circular. They can also open in many different ways including cranks like casement windows or tilting like double-hung windows.

 

 

Designer Glass windows

Designer Glass

Designer glass windows are often used for design purposes and can be many different colors, textures, etchings, shapes, and sizes. These windows can add a splash of creativity to any room.

 

 

garden windowsGarden

Like bay and bow windows, garden windows extend outward from the house and give you a large indoor ledge to grow plants and/or flowers. Similar to a box, garden windows consist of a large main window, a sloped top window, and two narrow side windows for ventilation. These windows can also come with shelves.

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Don’t Underestimate Your Gutters

Maryland gutters

Gutters may seem like a small part of any home, but don’t underestimate the role they play. Your home’s gutters help keep it safe by directing rain off of the roof and away from your foundation, and if your home is without gutters or your gutters are clogged, it could see some serious damage.

No Gutters

If your home didn’t have a gutter system, you’d find water dripping over the edges of your roof, which could weather your siding and pool up in the areas where your foundation is low. If this happens, the water will start to wear away at your foundation and could cause it to crack.

During larger storms, water would spill over the edges of your roof and soak the ground right next to your home, and since that area would experience water from the falling rain plus all the water from your roof, it would become a weaker surrounding area for your foundation.

Gutters also help protect outdoor hardscapes like decks or patios from wearing down under a lot of moisture and losing their aesthetic luster. They also protect any landscaping you may have near your home.

Clogged Gutters

While not having gutters is a problem, having clogged gutters is also a problem. If your gutters are filled with ice, leaves, sticks, or other debris, there’s nowhere for your roof water to escape.

When water sits in your gutters or overflows back onto your roof, it can soak into your home and damage your home’s structure. It can also provide a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can not only weaken wood, but affect your health as well.

What to Know About Gutter Installation

When it comes to gutters, you can’t just install any size. You’ll need to measure the length of your roof, the square footage of your roof, the average rainfall in your area, and your zoning laws. These factors will determine how wide your gutters need to be. You’ll also need to know how far away from your foundation the downspouts need to be.

We recommend leaving all of this to the experts at P.J. Fitzpatrick. We’ve been providing quality Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland gutters for years, and want to help you protect your home. Give us a call or fill out our contact form to get started.

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The Benefits of Choosing CertainTeed

CertainTeed shingles

As a green company, P.J. Fiztpatrick takes pride in selling and installing products made by CertainTeed, because CertainTeed focuses on the impact their products (such as siding and shingles) have on the environment. Here are a few reasons why choosing CertainTeed materials is beneficial:

CertainTeed Siding

When it comes to vinyl siding, polymer siding, and PVC exterior trim, CertainTeed makes all of these products using recyclable materials and using environmentally friendly processes. These materials are also shipped and installed using very little valuable resources and they eliminate the need to paint or caulk (which can impact the environment).

In addition, CertainTeed siding comes in nearly every color, is virtually maintenance-free, and is highly durable, so it will look beautiful for years to come.

CertainTeed Shingles

CertainTeed shingles are one of the most popular roofing materials in the country. When it comes to the Landmark Premium series of CertainTeed shingles, they’re designed to be more durable, more comfortable and have more color depth than ordinary roofing.

They can also reduce your maintenance costs and are created from fewer materials. CertainTeed shingles are made from smaller trees (which reduces the demand for old growth timber), these shingles are stronger, more consistently made, and often less expensive than plywood.

As a Company…

As a company, CertainTeed constantly employs the “Life-Cycle Assessment” tool when creating products. This tool helps determine how environmentally friendly the life-cycle of a product is, from extraction to transportation to manufacturing to installation to recycling.

CertainTeed has also achieved many awards and certifications that make them a go-to company for green building materials. Some achievements include:

ENERGY STAR Partner – Last year, CertainTeed was crowned “ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year” by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

CircleGreen Certification – Many CertainTeed products have this certification, which ensures that they comply with sustainability and environmental claims from the manufacturer.

USGCB – CertainTeed is a member of the United States Green Building Council, which developed the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification.

For a complete list of awards and certifications, click here.

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