Home Improvement Experts

Project Spotlight: New Jersey Bath Solution

NJ bath project NJ bath project

Recently, our bath solutions team had the opportunity to work with some terrific clients in the Deptford, NJ area on a bath-to-shower project. The husband was a very strong and positive person who has developed MS and is now in a wheel chair and while that slows him down a little, he is still very active and outgoing. The problem was that he couldn’t get into the old tub that existed in their original bathroom, so they called us in to take a look.

As you can see from the photos, we replaced their old tub with a special two-sided low threshold shower pan and installed a piece of glass as a back wall. The glass was designed to provide a wall for the shower and still keep an open look and feel in the room. The clients selected their preferred wall material and pan color, which are made of acrylic and are easy to keep clean. They now enjoy an easy access and easy clean shower system that solves many of the design challenges they had been experiencing in their existing bath.

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Last-Minute Holiday Decorating Ideas

holiday centerpieceThe holidays are right around the corner, and if you’re still working to get all of your Christmas shopping done, you may not have had time to decorate your home for your upcoming guests. Don’t worry – we’re here to help. Here are some ideas that you can put together in a snap:

Easy Centerpieces

Don’t have a centerpiece for your holiday table? Grab some glass containers and some sticks of holly and berries. Place the sticks at the bottom of the containers, then fill with water and top with floating candles. Or, find a handful of pillar candles in different sizes and colors. Arrange them neatly in the middle of your table, then lay a small wreath of evergreen branches around them.

Front Door Pizzazz

When it comes to holiday decorating, your front door is your biggest statement – it’s the first thing that your friends and family will see, so make sure reflects the personality of you and your family. Create a wreath from yarn, evergreen branches, pepperberries, fabric, and more. You can even hang garland around the door outline for a different take on a wreath.

In addition to simply decorating, make sure your front door is the one you want. At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we install and repair hundreds of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey doors. Give us a call today!

“Wrapped” Cabinets

Do something a little different and decorate your kitchen cabinets this year. If you’re feeling festive, you can wrap the outsides in wrapping paper and finish with bows to make them look like presents. Or, you can skip the wrapping paper and run a thick piece of ribbon down the center of each. Then, fasten a red velvet bow to the middle of the ribbon for a more simple “present” effect.

Homemade Window Clings

All you need to make your own window clings is some white glue, some dish soap, and some food coloring. Mix together four tablespoons of glue, a few drops of soap, and a few drops of food coloring. Then, paint your own holiday shapes onto a piece of wax paper and wait for them to dry. After that, simply peel them off and stick them on your windows!

Decorative Pillows

Dress up your couches and chairs with some “gift” pillows. Find some plain throw pillows in the colors you desire, then tie a piece of fabric ribbon around each one and end with a bow to make them look like gifts. You can even add mini pom-poms to the center of the bow and the ends to finish them off.

Warm Entrance Stairs

If you have stairs leading to your front door, make your guests feel cozy by placing small metal lanterns on each step and filling them with different colored candles. Then, tie a piece of ribbon to the tops of each for a finishing touch.

Mantel Spirit

For a holiday mantel, a good place to start is with a bunch of evergreen branches. Arrange them neatly across your mantel and after that, you can top them with whatever you want. Try a trio of white pillar candles with red ribbon around them. Or grab a couple large glass containers and fill them with shiny globe ornaments. You can even incorporate lights into your display to make it even cozier.

*Photo courtesy of paigespartyideas.com

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10 Fun Facts About Your Chimney

chimney

One of the best parts about having a chimney is using it for cozy holiday fires, however, it’s important that your chimney be properly installed and covered by roof flashing. If it’s not, water can leak through your roof and cause structural damage.

1. Most modern chimneys have a protective coating called a chimney liner. This inner liner can be made from aluminum, stainless steel, terra cotta, or other fireproof materials and it helps keep too much heat from reaching the rest of your home.

2. Like pigs, chimney sweeps were often associated with good luck. In some towns, on New Year’s day, chimney sweeps would walk through the streets holding a pig and villagers would pay a small amount of money to make a wish while they pulled a hair from the pig.

3. If your chimney is giving off a funny smell, it’s most likely due to the buildup of creosote along the walls. Schedule a professional chimney cleaning and invest in some commercial chimney deodorant.

4. Ever wonder why chimney smoke goes up and out the chimney instead of into your home? It’s because warm air rises and creates an updraft that takes all the smoke with it.

5. The top of your chimney may be covered with a chimney cap. Chimney caps can keep rain and animals out, can increase updraft, and can reduce the amount of smoke that flows into your home.

6. Chimney fires can reach up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

7. Chimneys were first introduced in northern Europe during the 12th century, however, they didn’t become common in homes until the 16th and 17th centuries.

8. You can use less wood (and make fewer trips to the woodpile) by using hard woods like hickory or white oak. Since these woods are denser, they’ll burn longer.

9. The world’s tallest chimney can be found in Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan. Built in 1987, it’s 1,377 feet tall.

10. As hot smoke, unburned wood particles, gases, and hydrocarbon float up a cooler chimney, condensation occurs and forms the residue known as creosote.

If you’re afraid that your home may have a leaking roof, call our New Jersey roofing company as soon as possible. We’ll inspect it and make any necessary repairs.

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Asphalt vs. Metal Roofing

 

roofing materials

These days, a good portion of new roofing installations are made of asphalt shingles, but there are still some roofs that are made with metal. If you’re considering a new roof, you may be wondering which of the two materials would be best for your home. Our Maryland roofing company is here to help.

Asphalt Roofing

Asphalt shingles are by far, the most common type of roofing shingles. They’re not only low-maintenance, but they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to achieve many different looks. Some can even be made to look like other materials like slate or wood shake. Asphalt is also very easy to install and lasts 15-50 years.

Asphalt roofing pros:

  • Low-maintenance
  • Variety of styles
  • Easy to install
  • Lasts 15-50 years
  • Costs less than metal

Asphalt roofing cons:

  • Can be damaged in extreme weather
  • Heavier than metal

Metal Roofing

When you think of a metal roof, you may think of a barn or a warehouse. These days, however, metal roofs can be found on structures of all types. Unlike asphalt shingles, there are only a few different styles in which metal shingles can be made, but metal roofs tend to last between 40 and 50 years.

Metal roofing pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Not easily damaged
  • Lasts 40-50 years

Metal roofing cons:

  • Limited styles
  • Costs 2x – 4x more than asphalt

No matter which roofing material you choose, you need to make sure it’s installed correctly. Call the experts at our Maryland roofing company. We can help.

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The Secrets Behind Autumn Leaves

fall leaves

Snow may be right around the corner, but there are still plenty of beautiful orange, red, and yellow leaves dotting the trees and lining the roads. While you’re probably used to the leaves changing colors and falling every year, you may still have some unanswered questions about it all…

Why do leaves change colors?

Every year, we revel in the warm colors of autumn but many of us don’t know why exactly leaves change colors before they fall. The entire process is a chemical one: During the spring and summer, trees absorb nutrients (via photosynthesis) through their leaves, which are rich in chlorophyll. While the leaves have other colors in them, the chlorophyll is what gives them their green color.

Once the temperatures drop and the days become shorter, the leaves stop providing nutrients and the chlorophyll breaks down. As the chlorophyll breaks down, the other colors in the leaves begin to shine through and mix with another chemical process that produces anthocyanins, which are red pigments.

What makes some leaves red and others yellow?

Ever wonder why the leaves on one tree are all purple while the leaves on the tree next to it area all yellow? It all simply depends on what pigments naturally occur in the tree. If one tree naturally has more yellow than another, you’ll most likely see yellow leaves on it come autumn. It also depends on how much anthocyanin is produced during the color-changing process. The more anthocyanin, the redder the leaves can appear.

Why do leaves fall?

As the chlorophyll drains from the leaves, their nutrients are absorbed by the trunk and roots of the tree, which is what helps get them through the winter months. Once all the nutrients are absorbed, there’s no real need for the leaves anymore, so a layer of cells develops where the leaf connects to the tree. Once the cells are done developing, the tree seals the connection and the leaf falls. Come spring, the tree will grow new leaves to start the nutrient process over again.

Which trees change colors first?

When it comes to the order of color-changing trees, it’s not so much the type of tree that determines when it will change, but the health of the tree. Unhealthy or stressed trees will often be the first to change colors. They can be affected by drought, excessive heat or cold, excess moisture, insects, and more. When you see a lone tree late in the season that still has its autumn leaves, it’s most likely the healthiest of the bunch.

Did you know?

Weather affects the color intensity of autumn leaves. If the weather is overcast or rainy, you’ll see more brightly colored leaves. If the temperatures are low, but above freezing, leaves will be more red than usual. And if there’s frost, you’ll see weakened colors.

While autumn leaves are beautiful to look at, remember that they can fall into your Maryland gutters and cause clogging issues. Keep your gutters clean by calling the experts at P.J. Fitzpatrick today.

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What You May Not Know About Garage Doors

garage doors

While we at P.J. Fitzpatrick are very proud of the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland doors that we sell, we’re also equally proud to offer residential garage doors crafted by Richards-Wilcox.

You’ve probably spent your entire life with a garage nearby, but have you ever wondered where the idea of a garage came from?

Carriage Houses

You could say that the idea of a garage door dates back to around 450 BC, when people stored their chariots in gatehouses. But as far as a garages for cars go, the idea surfaced in the early 1900s, just after cars were available to the masses. At the time, many people kept their horse-drawn carriage in a carriage house – an outbuilding separate from the house. Depending on the wealth of the family, a carriage house could hold just one small carriage or it could hold an array of carriages and even have room for living quarters for the staff members who managed the horses.

Parking Garages

Some people converted their carriage houses into car garages, while other, wealthier folks didn’t want to keep their cars near where they kept horses. So, large garages were built (similar to our parking decks, but smaller) and car-owners were charged a monthly fee for parking their cars there.

Modern Garage

Once the garages were full and there was no more room for cars, people resorted back to the idea of a carriage house. In the early 1910s, they build their own carriage house for their car. This is when the modern home garage (from the French word garer, meaning “to shelter”) was essentially invented.

Sliding Tracks and Folding Doors

Garages started out like barns, with a double door that opened outward. However, these doors got so much use from opening and closing every day that the hinges and screws would fall out. That’s when the first garage was built with a door on sliding tracks. The tracks allowed the door to slide sideways in front of the garage and eliminated the need for extra space in front of the structure.

Not long after the sliding tracks came the invention of the folding garage door (around 1921). This door was cut into sections and joined together with hinges. It could be folded upwards and sit parallel to the top of the garage.

Electric Doors

Just a few years later, in 1926, C.G. Johnson, of Hartford City, Indiana invented the electric garage door, however, sales of the garage door didn’t take off until after World War II, when the Era Meter Company of Chicago offered one that could be opened via a keypad at the end of the driveway or via a switch inside the garage.

Today’s Models

Today, the majority of homes use the original “folding door” garage door, however, these doors come in many different looks and styles. The New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland garage doors that we offer are made with environmentally friendly (and insulating) Neufoam that makes the doors structurally sound. We also carry garage doors that are built to resemble carriage house doors and doors that are made from steel, but have the look of real wood.

If you’re interested in any of our quality garage doors, give us a call today to get started!

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10 Tips for Remodeling Your Bathroom

bath remodeling

Thinking about remodeling your bathroom? With the holidays coming up (and family probably visiting), now is the perfect time. However, you may not be sure where to start. If that’s the case, check out these 10 tips for the project. And if you have any other questions, feel free to give us a call.

1. Create a budget.

The first and foremost thing you should do before renovating your bathroom is establish a budget. There’s always the chance of a renovation bringing surprises, and it’s better to be prepared than to spend more than you want to.

2. Go green.

When you choose to go green, the environment won’t be the only thing that benefits from it - you will too. Environmentally friendly products not only look great, but they perform well, are better for your health, and can save you money on your water and energy bills.

3. Don’t try to do everything yourself.

You may be a handy person, but if you’re unfamiliar with any stage of a bathroom renovation, don’t try to do it yourself; you could end up causing more harm than good. Instead, trust the job to a bath solutions expert at P.J. Fitzpatrick.

4. Keep your plumbing

While you may be tempted to swap your sink and your toilet, you’ll save a lot of money if you just keep them where they are. Moving plumbing fixtures can not only be a hassle, but can quickly add up in cost.

5. Call us for your shower or tub replacement.

At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we can replace your shower or bathtub (or convert your tub to a shower) in just one day! You won’t have to come home to a mess of a bathroom for days on end. Plus, our bathtubs and showers are made from crack-resistant, mold-resistant, long-lasting materials.

6. Don’t forget your lighting.

You don’t want to end up with a completely renovated bathroom paired with outdated lighting fixtures. Save the lighting task for last so you can get a feel for your new bathroom. Then, consider all your options, including ambient lighting, accent lighting, vanity lighting, and more.

7. Try vertical storage.

Bathrooms usually aren’t the biggest rooms in your home, so take advantage of the smaller space you have and try some vertical storage options. You’ll use your space more wisely and open up your bathroom so it looks larger than it is.

8. Pick one or two things to splurge on.

When planning out your budget, pick just one or two areas that are most important to you and spend a little extra money there. Maybe you’ve always wanted a certain style sink, or you’ve dreamed of a walk-in shower. Whatever you pick, you’ll be happy every time you step into your bathroom.

9. Choose a durable floor.

You’ll want to choose a floor that’s impervious to water and long-lasting. Ceramic, stone, and marble floors are all great for durability, but can get a little slippery when wet, so consider your options.

10. Find a bold mirror.

If your bathtub or sink isn’t the bathroom pieces that makes a statement, find a bold mirror to add some pizzazz. Mirrors will also make your bathroom look larger, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

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How to Weatherstrip Your Windows

 

Windows18

Have you ever turned your heat up in the winter and after a little while, had to turn it up even further? If you have areas around your Maryland windows that are letting in cold air, you could be making your heater work harder than it has to. In turn, that means you’re paying more than you should for your heat.

Luckily, there’s a simple way to fix your cold air problem – all you have to do is install some window weatherstripping. Weatherstripping is relatively inexpensive and will form a seal to help keep cold air from coming in.

Step 1

Determine where your window air leaks are. If you can’t do this by simply feeling around the area for a breeze, light a candle and hold it near the area. If it flickers, you have a leak.

Step 2

In order to figure out how much weatherstripping you need, add up the perimeter of all of your windows and add about 10%, just in case of mistakes. (Remember: If you’re measuring single-hung windows, you’ll only need to measure the bottom portion. If you’re measuring double-hung windows, you’ll need to measure all the way around.)

Step 3

After that, determine which type of weatherstripping you want to use. There are many different types, however, felt, foam, vinyl, metal, and rubber are the most common. Which you choose depends on your budget, what kind of windows you’re dressing, and the type of weather in your area.

Felt and foam weatherstripping generally cost the least and are easy to install, but they may not be as effective as others like metal or vinyl. If you’re not sure which to choose, call one of our Maryland window repair experts. We’d be happy to help.

Step 4

After you’ve chosen your weatherstripping, wash the sash with soap and water and let dry. Cut the weather stripping to the correct length, then attach to the bottom of the sash to create a bond (this may mean pealing back the adhesive, stapling the stripping on, etc.). Trim any excess ends so that the stripping is flush with the sash.

Step 5

If you have any large holes or gaps around the outside of your windows, be sure to fill them in with caulk. Holes and gaps are the perfect way for cold air to leak in.

Step 6

You can also go a step further and purchase clear, removable caulk to fill in the thin spaces between your window and the window jambs, head, and sill. This will help seal your windows even more and can be removed once summer comes around again.

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Local Expert Gives Advice on How to Save Money Now

save money

Fall is here and high energy bill are close. Gary Bell, our Repair Manager, gives homeowners advice on little things that can create savings on energy costs. Here are several items that can be done for little money but you can see a difference with energy costs and comfort in your home:

First, purchase a simple non-contact laser temperature gauge from your local hardware store for less than $20. Go around you home and check for drafts. Common places to lose energy are your electric outlets, light switches, doors, windows, attic access, dryer vents, range hood vents and exterior water spigots.

• Check weather stripping around windows and doors (including garage door) and replace if worn or torn.
• Make sure your doors and windows are locked, if not they do not seal properly.
• Caulk around exterior windows and doors.
• If you have storm windows and storm doors, make sure the solid glass panel is in place.
• Replace any cracked or broken glass in windows or doors so air does not infiltrate.
• Add window well covers on basement windows as a buffer.
• Add a storm door over an entry door as an added buffer.
• Make sure exterior vents (dryer, range hood, etc) are free of dirt so they close correctly.
• Insulate or cover exposed exterior pipes.
• Take off your interior outlet and light switch covers and insert an insulating plate.
• Go into your attic and measure the amount of insulation with a yard stick. The ultimate amount of insulation should be between 12” and 15”.
• Make sure the attic access door or hatch is insulated or install an attic tent.

If you have any questions or need assistance, you can always Live Chat with us, Ask The Expert on our website, or call us and an Energy Repair Expert can evaluate and complete necessary energy saving repairs.

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Vinyl Siding: 11 Fun Facts

vinyl siding

As a Delaware siding company, we’ve installed vinyl siding on many different homes. We highly recommend it because of its cost and its durability. Here are some things you may not know about vinyl siding:

1. Vinyl siding is usually more affordable than traditional wood siding, fiber cement siding, and even stucco.

2. Vinyl siding was first produced commercially in the 1930s, but didn’t become a popular material for homes until the 1970s.

3. If you’re going to wash your siding, a soft brush, garden hose and mild cleaner is all that should be used. However, check with the siding manufacturer to very what they suggest to keep you warranty valid.

4. Unlike steel siding or wooden siding, you won’t have to worry about your vinyl siding chipping, rusting, or rotting.

5. At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we’ll remove your home’s old siding before installing your new vinyl siding (as opposed to installing your new siding on top of the old siding).

6. Vinyl siding can expand and contract up to 3/4 of an inch in hot and cold weather. For this reason, professional siding installers will hang siding so that it has room “move” once temperatures change.

7. The color of vinyl siding will last much longer than traditional exterior house paint.

8. Vinyl is the number one siding material choice among homeowners in the U.S., mainly because it’s affordable, durable, and looks great.

9. Most brands of vinyl siding are able to withstand winds of up to 110 miles per hour.

10. When it comes to environmentalism, our Delaware siding experts install CertainTeed vinyl siding, which is made from recycled materials and can be recycled once it reaches the end of its lifespan.

11. A “square” of siding refers to a measure of 10 feet by 10 feet (or 100 square feet).

If you’re interested in high-quality vinyl siding for your home, give us a call today!

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