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What’s with All the Spring Cleaning?

spring cleaning

Ever wonder why every spring, many of us spend entire weekends cleaning out our homes? What exactly is spring cleaning? And how did it start? At P.J. Fitzpatrick, our home improvement specialists have some insight:

What Is It?

Spring cleaning is the act of cleaning out your home or office once the cold temperatures of winter start are gone and the warmth of spring comes around. Spring cleaning can also include rearranging the elements in your home and making home improvement updates.

How Did It Start?

There are several theories behind the origins of spring cleaning. One involves the Persian Empire:

Some say spring cleaning dates back to the Persian Empire (which is now Iran). The Iranian new year occurs every year on the spring equinox, and in anticipation of the new year, Iranian families practice “khooneh-takooni,” which literally translates to “house-shaking.” They move around everything in their homes and clean from top to bottom as a way to start anew. Because the new year is associated with spring, the cleaning process is also associated with spring.

Another involves Passover:

In custom, Jewish families often practice the act of thoroughly cleaning their homes in anticipation of the spring holiday of Passover. Passover is meant to remember the time when the enslaved Jewish people fled from Egypt, and because the slaves were fed unleavened bread, any Jewish family celebrating Passover shouldn’t keep leavened bread in their homes; if they do, they’re considered arrogant. To avoid this (and unintentionally insulting God), observant families often conduct a full cleaning of their home before Passover begins to rid it of any remnants of leavened breads.

A third is based on a more simple principle:

Before the luxury of central heating, families would have to seal up their homes to avoid the harsh cold of winter and heat it using coal, oil or wood. The tighter they kept their home, the warmer it would stay. Once the cold subsided and the first warm day of spring emerged, families took the opportunity to drag everything in their home (furniture, rugs, decorations, etc.) outside and clean off all of the dust, dirt, and soot. Before they put everything back, they would also sweep out, scrub, and wash the inside of their homes and air out all of their linens.

Why Do We Do It?

Today, we live a little differently and don’t need to get rid of soot or dirt that’s collected on our possessions – we can do that with dusters and vacuum cleaners. We also enjoy central heating, so we don’t have to seal our homes quite as tightly to the winter temperatures. While some may practice spring cleaning for religious or ethnic reasons, many of us tend to stay indoors and become less active in the winter, so once spring rolls around, we have the urge to begin anew and we do so by cleaning.

Have you done your spring cleaning yet? If not, now is the perfect time! At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we have several spring cleaning home improvement specials going on, so don’t miss out!

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8 Window Treatment Ideas

Whether you’re decorating brand new windows or are creating a new look for your current ones, there are lots of treatments you can give your windows, from earthy to elegant to minimalist and more. Here are some ideas from our Maryland windows company:

Cafe Curtain

cafe curtain

If you love the natural light that comes through your kitchen window (or any window, really), create a cafe curtain that shades only the bottom half of the window. You’ll constantly have light and because it’s a smaller curtain, you can more freely play with bold colors or patterns.

 

Bamboo

bamboo shade

If you’re environmentally conscious (like our Maryland windows company), try dressing your windows with bamboo shades. Bamboo is not only eco-friendly and incredibly durable, but it also adds an ethnic ambiance to any room. Bamboo comes in a variety of styles and an array of browns, taupes, and tans to complement any color scheme.

 

 

Roman Waterfall Shade

waterfall shade

For a flowy look that’s still practical, try something called a Roman waterfall shade. It’ll give your windows a unique look when closed and when open, will create its own layered valance. You can stick with a neutral color to blend the windows or an artsy color or pattern to make them stand out.

 

Extra-Full Drapes

silk drapes

If you’re looking to add a touch of luxury to a room (perhaps a dining room or sitting room), an extra-full silk curtain is a great way to do it. Choose a rich color, like chocolate, teal, eggshell, or royal purple and make sure they’re a little too long so that they gather on the floor.

 

 

Lace

lace curtain

Lace curtains give any window a soft, sheer look and can dress up already-elegant window styles like bow or bay. On their own, these curtains are great for letting in natural light. They can also be layered on top of solid-colored curtains to create delicate character.

 

 

Tab Top Curtains

tab top curtains

For a more casual look, try tab top curtains, which are named for the fabric tabs by which they hang. You can have fun with the tabs by giving them buttons, tying them into long strands, adding tassels, or making them out of a different material. You can also change the way the curtains look by making the tabs thin or thick.

 

Shutters

shutters

If curtains or drapes aren’t your taste, go for the minimalist style of indoor shutters. Shutters can give your windows versatile looks, from country to modern to traditional to tropical, depending on your decor. They’re also great for blocking out light, are easy to clean, and won’t fade like fabric.

 

Cornices

cornice

Cornices can be used as a design element or to hide your window hardware to make your window look “complete.” They are very versatile and can add just the right amount of color or pattern to a window. Because cornices draw your eye upward, they can be used with simple blinds or sheer shades.

 

*Photos courtesy of:
hgtv.com
customwholesaleblinds.com

grassclothwallpaper.net
dreamdrapes.com
whistlerforum.com
ichatairfares.com

diynetwork.com
portlandinteriordesign.com

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Now Is the Perfect Time for a Roofing Upgrade

roofing2

If you’ve been putting off getting a new roof, now is the perfect time to make the upgrade. At P.J. Fitzpatrick, we carry a variety of roofing styles including luxury shingles, architectural shingles, cool roof shingles, and more. You’ll also find a variety of colors that complement any home. And, as with every installation, our Maryland roofing company will be fast and professional.

Leak Prevention

April showers are already under way and if your roof is old or damaged, you may have noticed that you have a leak. Well, we hate to tell you, but the rain isn’t going to stop anytime soon and if you don’t fix your leak, it will only get worse and could lead to more serious damage. Upgrade your roof to a brand new one and you’ll protect your home from upcoming storms.

Spring Cleaning

Alright, we know a roofing upgrade isn’t exactly spring cleaning, but it’s a great way to give your home a boost for the upcoming year (and years after that).

Selling Point

Now that the housing market has bounced back after the recession, you may be thinking about selling your home and moving elsewhere. A new roofing system is a great selling point. When future potential buyers hear that a home has a new roof, they know they won’t have to worry about roofing maintenance or damage that they need to address.

Curb Appeal

Summer is a great time for entertaining – whether you’re hosting a Memorial Day barbecue, a graduation party, a 4th of July bash, or another summer event, you’ll want your home to look as attractive and inviting as possible. Why not invest in a new roofing system? A new roof can add to your home’s curb appeal and make it look great not only now, but for years to come.

If you’re interested in a new roofing system, give us a call today and set up an appointment!

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How to Get Your Home Ready for Spring

deck staining

It looks like the cold of winter is finally over and we’re moving on to a bright warm spring. You may be getting ready by putting away your winter coats, planting some flowers, and dusting off those old rain boots, but don’t forget about your home. Here are some ways you can also get your home ready for the season:

Clean Off Your Air Conditioner

If your outdoor air conditioning unit isn’t covered, it has probably collected a good amount of dust and debris throughout the winter. Before you start using it, give it a good cleaning by washing the fins with a hose. You’ll not only extend its lifespan, you’ll increase its efficiency.

Check Your Gutters

Clogged gutters can be problematic. When spring rain comes around, a clogged gutter won’t efficiently redirect it away from your home. This could lead to water backups and leaks inside your home. If the problem isn’t addressed, (we suggest calling our gutter experts), you could face water damage and/or mold growth.

Replace Your HVAC Filter

Allergy season is coming, and it’s important to start the spring with a fresh HVAC filter. Invest in a good filter that traps as much dirt, dust, pollen, and allergens as possible to keep your HVAC system running well and your home’s air clean.

Check Your Screens

With every spring season comes bugs, so before you open your windows and let the cool breeze flow through, check to make sure your window screens don’t have any holes in them. If they do, patch them up or replace the screens. Also make sure your screens are tightly fastened. If they’re not, they can be ruined by strong winds.

Re-Stain Your Deck/Porch

Spring is a great time to re-stain your deck or porch. Cold temperatures, ice, and snow can make the wood’s color look drab and dreary, so put a little life back into it. Plus, a freshly stained deck or porch will look great with all of the bright colors of the season.

Inspect the Exterior

Chances are you didn’t spend a lot of time outside during the winter. Do your home a favor and inspect its exterior, including the foundation and the roof. This past winter was a rough one, and it’s possible it caused cracks, heaves, deterioration, missing shingles, or other issues. If you find a problem, don’t hesitate to call the experts at P.J. Fitzpatrick.

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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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