Winterizing Your Home: A Handyman’s Checklist

Winterizing Your Home: A Handyman’s Checklist

A few weeks ago it was quite easy to believe that we’d never have to put on our coats, but the last few evenings have made it clear “the season of home improvement” is over. With the Canadian Farmer’s Almanac forecasting a “deep freeze” for the early months of 2017, the time is now to shift focus from remodeling to winterizing your home.

winterizing-your-home-by-the-odd-job-team

Why winterize? By planning ahead and completing these tasks in advance, you’ll be in a far better position to face the coming harsh weather than virtually all of your neighbours.

Implementing these changes will protect your home from sustaining damage, drastically reduce hydro bills, and keep you warmOverall, winterizing your home will make your life much easier.

Exteriors

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Don’t get caught off-guard by a snow day. Instead, take the following precautions and take the weather by surprise. 

We interviewed handymen on our staff and developed a list of steps homeowners should take before the next weather warning:

1. Thoroughly clean your gutters, ridding it of rainwater, leaves, dirt and other debris, at least once a year. The best time is early in fall, before heavy rainfall.

2. Replace weatherstripping on your home’s exterior doors, thoroughly closing off all air leaks, and install a door sweep under each. Weatherstripping tape is typically $5-10 per roll, and door sweeps, also known as draft guards, are available at most home centres for $10-15. Here are a few ideas to help you create your own!

3. Caulk all remaining gaps in your siding, windows and doors, giving special attention to the seams. Caulk is available at every home centre and is about $5-10 per tube, with caulking guns sold for $20.

4. If your chimney isn’t in active use, seal it with a chimney balloon. It’s an expensive purchase, but will drastically reduce heat loss. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, represents an estimated 14% of your home’s heat loss.

5. Plant a row of conifer trees on the north and northwest sides of your home to create a “windbreaker.” Successfully executed, this long-term project can reduce heating costs by up to 30%. If you do attempt this, plant the trees a one or two tree-height distance from your rooftop and driveway. This will provide the best possible protection, and will prevent snow from falling from the branches onto your rooftop and driveway.

6. Place straw bales – available at any feed store – around your home’s foundation. This helps to insulate the foundation and keeps floors warmer.

7. Replace your windows and doors with newer, energy efficient units. This can help you reduce energy bills by 12%. If you’d like extra protection, replace the exterior doors with storm doors.

8. Drain your rain barrels early on. This will prevent them from freezing when the weather gets harsh, and also give you a reserve of water with which to use for your plants.

Interiors

warm-house

1. Install a furnace filter to ensure the air flowing through your home is clean. If you’d like to save money and waste, opt for a permanent reusable filter and clean it at least every 90 days.

2. Use bubble wrap to insulate your windows, which can reduce heat loss by up to 50% in single-glazed windows and by up to 20% in double-glazed windows.

3. Replace your curtains with more energy efficient units. 

4. Cover all electrical outlets with foam insulation gaskets, which can be purchased for $5.45 at Home Depot.

5. Cover your water heater with an insulating blanket. 

6. Your garage shares a wall with your home, and it’s completely unheated. You can partially solve the problem by creating a solar furnace for your garage.

Living Warm

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Winterizing your home is key to protecting your home, saving money and enjoying a high quality of life this year. Right now, it’s the most important project for all homeowners.

It isn’t all that you can do, however. The next step is to winterize your lifestyle. Eat hot foods, bake bread, wear layers and, of course, keep calm and call a handyman!

Storm Kit: 72 Hours

Storm Kit: 72 Hours

Why post about a storm kit? Why not post tips on how to function in a brutal heat wave or how to fry an egg on a sidewalk?

After a weeks-long drought and a series of unfulfilled shower warnings, few reached for their umbrellas after CP24 predicted a severe rainstorm on Saturday.

In fact, the first (and only) reply on Twitter was: “You’ve been wrong about rain for weeks now. Why should we believe you today?”

fallen tree

This time, however, there were results. The rain fell for hours, causing flooding, damage and power outages throughout the city. In Brampton and Oshawa, there were even reports of tornadoes. By nightfall, storm warnings across southern Ontario were finally lifted. On Tuesday, it rained again from the earliest hours until late in the afternoon.

With summer storms back in force, we’d like to help you get ahead of the game.

storm kitEveryone should have a special ‘storm kit’ that contains exactly what they’ll need for 72 hours –  three days – without power.

This is the view of Toronto Hydro, the Canadian Red Crossthe Toronto Office of Emergency Management, and Public Safety Canada, among others, but how many of us actually have one?

 

The Kit

Every member of our team did. Handyman Shawn is an outdoors type, and when he isn’t hanging pictures, patching drywall, or installing shelves, he goes for long hikes up north. He told us: “If you were going camping, what would you take? Those camping backpacks are really just large emergency kits.”

It isn’t difficult. Most of the recommendations are very affordable and very easy to find – in fact, there’s a very good possibility that you already have all or most of them.

  • Food and water – Be sure to have a three-day supply of bottled water (four litres per person per day) and ready-to-eat food. Prevention, the popular health magazine, has an excellent article listing 49 highly nutritional, ready-to-eat foods.
  • Medical supplies – Have a first-aid kit and a one-week supply of all necessary medicines (including prescription drugs). Don’t forget a cooler bag with ice packs to keep all of the medications cold.
  • Hygiene supplies – You will of course need a supply of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes and dental floss.
  • Tools  Make sure you have the basics – hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, wrench, fastener, and a utility knife. With a multitool, you can accomplish a number of essential functions without weighing down your storm kit.
  • Clothing – Pack an extra pair of clothing and shoes for everyone, as well as sleeping bags and warm blankets for each person.
  • Electronics – You’ll need flashlights and a radio – crank or battery-powered. If they’re battery-powered, change them at least once a year.

There are some survivalist-oriented stores in Ontario, but none operating in Toronto. Army surplus stores stock survival gear, however.

Aftermath

End of the Storm

After the clouds cleared, CP24 stoically surveyed the fallout. Areas were flooded and 6,800 people lost power. Trees that had stood for decades collapsed – onto sidewalks, streets and cars.

Our team received a number of calls to assist homeowners and businesses after the weekend. We helped restore damaged drywall and remove damaged material, along with a number of other small fix-ups people needed in the aftermath.

In Brampton, one man described what he saw upon returning home:

“When I came (home) I saw the roof was off, my whole patio set was gone,” the man said. “Right now my whole house is completely flooded inside with the rain. It’s coming down from all three levels – all the rooms are soaked.

“The shingles are all gone from the roof. My BBQ is in the neighbour’s yard. All the trees are down on the side of my neighbour too.”

Storms are much like life; they’re unpredictable. The best you can do is plan ahead, and a well-prepared storm kit is the perfect way to do so.

Home Storage Optimized: Doing it Right

Home Storage Optimized: Doing it Right

It’s said that there’s a time and place for everything, but this philosophy often leads to being featured on Hoarders. This is because there’s both a right and wrong way to approach home storage.

The right way isn’t difficult – it just takes a good strategic sense and a little effort. If you’d like some tips from the team, read on.

home storage

Are We All Hoarders?

Many observers have noted that the compulsion to collect is alive and well in North America.

Novelty Pen Collection

Is anyone going to tell me Alex & Betty’s pen collection isn’t neat?

Only weeks ago, the New York Times asked its readers to share their collector stories, and it wasn’t long before the cultured readers of America’s newspaper of record replied with some interesting tales.

Betty Schwartz and Alexander Wilensky amassed 300-500 novelty pens. Barry Harrison collected vintage photos of men standing in rows.

In a society where “stuff” is so prevalent, where is the line between normalcy and a ‘hoarding disorder’? The National Psychologist stated: “Everybody collects something.”

Your understanding of the science of home storage is key to falling on the right side of the line separating hoarders and collectors.

Storage as a Statement

Tribal Art Collection

I don’t think anyone could consider this beautiful collection of tribal art to be “hoarding.”

There are two different types of home storage: open and closed.

Open storage is, naturally, out in the open (such as on shelves) and closed storage is in drawers, closets and other areas hidden from public view.

Hoarders generally make no distinction between open and closed storage, but a collector does.  The best way to approach open storage is by consciously incorporating it into your home’s design.

This will make the process much easier and more fun. Open storage is no different than wall art – it’s that crucially-important “personal touch” that every home should have. Your collections and special ‘things’ are a part of you, so why not share them?

Some tips about how to best present your collections:

1. Organize – Do you have a lot of books? Arrange them by genre or colour. Do you collect coins? Store them in displays (another thing we hang) and group them according to type or year.

2. Be selective – If you’re making your storage a part of your collection, be sure that it’s presentable. Don’t include books with visibly-damaged spines.

Strategic Sense

Home Storage 3

Essential to the science of home storage is a good strategic sense. The key to this is to think ahead.

When you’re figuring out where to put everything, consider every factor – the item’s function, the room’s function, and how you’ll interact with it.

The website of the U.S. Department of Commerce includes a section on material storage, and their very first instruction to their employees is: Store heavy objects on lower shelves.

Lifting TipsAs discussed in our last article, the proper way to lift heavy objects is to squat and support the weight of the object with your legs, rather than straining your back.

Furthermore, can you imagine how much difficult (and dangerous) it is to control a heavy item while standing on a stepladder.

It’s also important to consider the function of the item and your relationship with the room itself. You wouldn’t store toilet paper or spoons, forks and knives in the garage, would you?

If you are in the room very often, use it to store items you’ll use frequently – things like electronics, musical instruments or books you’re currently reading. If you need it, make it open storage – “out of sight, out of mind,” right?

Custom Home Storage

Shelves 5Shelves 4

If you can’t find a place to store your lunchbox collection, book an appointment with a professional handyman service. They specialize in installing wall shelving, cabinetry, and other home storage systems.

Here’s a little sneak peak from our workshop. This is where shelves come from!

Cash in on Condo Upgrades

Cash in on Condo Upgrades

condo upgrades for toronto

Are you living in a condominium or planning to? There’s a decent chance so, and you almost certainly know people who are.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation states that “58,665 highrise condominium units were built in Toronto in the decade starting in 1984.” And it seems the city’s love affair with condo life is far from over.

Simultaneous with the surge in condo construction, however, is another trend. From December 2014 to May 2015, the number of new, unsold condos surged from less than 1,000 to nearly 3,000. 

Experts are in dispute as to whether these numbers are indicative of a ‘condo bubble’ about to pop, but one thing is clear: there are plenty of condos to go around, and selling yours isn’t going to be easy unless you work to distinguish it from the rest. That’s where we come in.

Your Condo Heroes

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Odd Job’s mobile workshop is a stylish, well-organized moving arsenal of materials and tools for every project, is smaller than other contractor vans. It is specifically designed to park in condo spaces without a hitch.

One condo owner referred to our van as “a virtual condo-mobile.”

Our team has had extensive experience performing condo upgrades – everything from quick visits for small repairs to multi-day redecoration projects.

Along the way we’ve cultivated a wide array of contacts among real estate agents and condo owners. This network, which includes contacts at major condo builders like Empire Communities, the Monarch Group and Tridel, has provided us with a unique insight into the condo market.

We know exactly which condo upgrades will be profitable and exactly how to execute them with efficiency and quality our competitors cannot duplicate. 

Illumination in Style

A beautiful space is like a photograph – regardless of how gorgeous its contents, it can be ruined by the wrong lighting. 

Your unit’s beautiful furnishings aren’t serving their purpose if your visitors can’t really see them, and even more importantly, the wrong lighting sets the wrong mood.

The lighting installed by the builders is virtually always rather plain and uninspired, and so this is one of the condo upgrades that should be at the very top of your to-do list.

Floor the Competition!

1Flooring

New Hardwood Flooring Makes for Smooth and Safe Hallways

Hardwood flooring is and always has been the gold standard of condo aesthetics.

Installing hardwood floors throughout your condo is an extremely expensive upgrade, however, and a growing number are opting for high-quality laminate instead. 

In either case, this stands alongside the installation of lighting as one of the condo upgrades that will make your space look both larger and more modern.

Furthermore, the right flooring combined with the right lighting will literally make your unit glisten!

And once again, those interested in upgrading their unit’s flooring need look no further than Odd JobInstalling and repairing floors of virtually every type is a longtime company specialty. See our work for yourself!

A Brush With Beauty

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A fresh coat of paint matching the furnishings of your space can create a vibration for you and your visitors that is nothing short of magical.

As with the other condo upgrades showcased here, painting the interior of your unit will: (a) create a much more modern ‘feel.’ (b) make your unit seem much larger than it actually is. 

It is also has the effect of making your space look much brighter, and will seamlessly collaborate with the right flooring and the right lighting to achieve true irresistibility for your space.

Odd Job has extensive experience in the area of interior painting, and we can do everything from changing the flavor of your space to touching up a few inconvenient blemishes.

Odd Job to the Rescue!

It’s a safe bet that implementing the three major upgrades featured here properly will drastically increase the value of your condo unit.

Give us a call at (416) 520-1161 or take a few minutes to fill out our online “book-a-handyman” form.

Introducing our Furniture Maintenance Services

Odd Job offers professional furniture assembly, maintenance, unpacking and moving services of the highest quality and efficiency.

Whether you’ve just moved in or giving your space the makeover you’ve been dreaming of, our mission is to make your life easy.

furniture-assembly

Furniture Assembly

furniture-4We’ve always offered furniture assembly services to our clients. After all, selecting new furniture and then seeing it in your space is empowering and fununtil you have to put it together!

Our professional team of fully licensed, insured and background-and-identity-checked technicians will fully assemble your furniture and place it where you’d like it before you can say “Odd Job rocks!” 

Whether you’ve just moved in or you’re planning a big update, we’re here to take care of your furniture assembly needs. When booking your visit, be sure to tell us:

  1. How many pieces are to be assembled?
  2. What size are the pieces?
  3. What type of furniture is it – chairs, tables, beds?

Furniture Maintenance

furniture-maintenance

“The product will keep longer by retightening the screws from time to time.” Ikea

You’d like your beautiful furniture to last as long as possible and so would we. That’s why we offer furniture maintenance services, including:

  • Reassembly
  • Resurfacing / Restoration 
  • Re-tighten
  • Painting
  • Replacing parts and hardware

Moving Furniture

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We are not professional movers – however, our goal is to make your home updates run as smoothly as possible.

Say you purchased furniture and need it moved to another property? The big moving companies won’t be interested, but we will!

Our services include:

  • Unpacking
  • Disassembly
  • Moving furniture from property-to-property

Ready to relax and watch us accessorize your space? Book us today and tell us your furniture assembly, maintenance and moving needs!

Moving Furniture: You Can Do It Yourself, but You Don’t Have To!

Moving Furniture: You Can Do It Yourself, but You Don’t Have To!

Shopping for new furniture is fun, as is seeing it in your space for the first time. Moving furniture is not fun, and assembling it may well be one of the most frustrating chores of all time.

moving furniture

Every home makeover, large or small, is probably going to involve visiting some major furniture stores.

Think about your last trip to Ikea. What were the best and worst parts? If you’re like me, the best part was the Swedish food. If you’re like most people, it was the wide selection of stylish furnishings.

I believe we can all agree that the worst part was the aftermath. Assembling your new furniture, using only manuals that look like this, and then somehow moving it to where you want it.

superhandymanWhat if there was a professional service that would take care of moving furniture and assembling it? What if these movers would also take care of the rest of your chores?

You can call us at (416) 520-1161 or book our services online. Our lives are dedicated to making yours easier! 😉

We’re No Movers

We are not a professional moving service. We cannot transport your furniture from Ikea to your home. Homeowners interested in such services should contact our friends at Rent-a-Son, one of the best movers in Toronto.

We will move your furniture, however, so long as it is already at your home. If you need it moved through a narrow space, we can disassemble it, move it and then reassemble it.

Reassembling Sanity

Ikea Fail

Furniture assembly has always been among our company’s specialties, mainly because of popular demand.

Ikea - The GameIt’s no secret that this chore is a pain in the butt – in fact, the frustration experienced by every amateur who has ever attempted it themselves has become one of society’s running jokes.

There have been films, many articles, a popular television series, and even a video game that have lampooned the process. Last year, Ryan Reynolds filmed his own hilariously unsuccessful attempt to build a crib from Ikea. 

Because of the large number of requests we’ve received through the years, every member of our team has extensive experience. That desk you’ve been trying to assemble for the last four hours (or days)? I can almost guarantee you our team has assembled it – or a very similar unit – at least twice.

Moving Furniture: D.I.Y. Without H.Y.

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For those who would prefer to save money over time and stress, there are right and wrong ways to “do it yourself.” Here are a few tips:

1. Squat, don’t bend. Squat your legs at a ninety-degree angle and support the weight of the object with your knees.

2. Carry high and low. Is it really heavy? Enlist the help of a friend (really) and carry it high and low like so. This will give you and your accomplice more control of the item.

3. Slide, don’t drag. Have you heard of furniture sliders? You position them under the unit and ‘slide’ it where you’d like. These sliders are available at most home centres, although frisbees and bedspreads are often equally effective.

4. Don’t be afraid to disassemble. If you can’t lift it or you’re facing a literal “tight spot,” don’t be afraid to partly disassemble the unit in order to reduce its weight. You can always return to the manual (ugh) when you have it where you want it.

When it comes to moving furniture, most of the tips you’ll find are fairly basic. There are, however, “tricks of the trade.”

Architect Regina Yunghans, a longtime contributor to the popular blog Apartment Therapy, discovered this when the mid-century credenza she and her husband had ordered finally arrived.

They were naturally surprised when they met their mover – not a battle-scarred strongman, but a woman in her sixties.. with a bad shoulder. She told them that she had been a professional mover for many years, and while she could not lend them her arms, she lent them her secrets.

In her article What I Learned from a Pro about Moving Heavy FurnitureYunghans passed on the invaluable knowledge that had been imparted to her:

Use those blankets! The quilted blue blankets that wrap furniture for protection from scratches and dents are multi-purpose. Once we had the credenza off the truck, the blankets were our primary tool in getting the piece from point A to B. We laid the still-wrapped credenza on a blanket spread out on the ground and simply dragged the furniture to the house (on grass, mind you… it probably would not have moved well over concrete). That saved us from doing any lifting whatsoever and completely eliminated any chance of dropping and damaging the furniture.

Once we reached the front steps, we laid a cushion of several more quilted blankets out over the steps. We then unwrapped the credenza and slid it (on its top) up the “ramp” of blankets laid over the stoop. And voila! It was inside. By retaining one blanket under the credenza once indoors, we simply slid it into place in the dining room on a blanket across the hardwood floors. Once it was aligned with where we wanted it, we just had to flip it off of the blanket and onto its feet.

Why Odd Job?

Odd Job Mobile Workshop

Why call Odd Job for disassembling and moving furniture within your home? Why not any number of moving companies and have them deliver it straight from the store?

Unlike moving companies, we assemble and maintain your furniture.
Unlike moving companies, our pricing is transparent – no hidden costs.
Unlike moving companies, we only charge a one-hour minimum fee.
Unlike moving companies, our work is covered by a two-year warranty.
Unlike moving companies, we can take care of everything else too.

Just give us a call at (416) 520-1161 or book our services online. Finally, you can shop for furniture without dreading the aftermath! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

The Coolest Tiles in the World

The Coolest Tiles in the World

the coolest tiles

“Tiles, tiles on the wall.. which are the coolest tiles of all?” 

People love tiles. Take a look at the bathroom above and ask yourself what it would look like without the beautiful tiling that coats its walls.

The true power of tiles is that you can make any space extravagant, and the virtually limitless selection of colours, designs and materials allows the homeowner complete creative control.

It wasn’t always like this, though. Despite the fact that tiles have been with us since the beginnings of human civilization, only a few variations of the standard ceramic tile were easily available until fairly recently. With the passage of time and the evolution of technology, this has drastically changed.

Their popularity exploded in 2015, and we have been flooded with requests for tile backsplashes. We’d like to help our friends and clients take it to the next level, and so tonight we’re going to begin our search for the coolest tiles.

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic Tiling 2When someone refers to tiling in any way, an image these classical, subway-style ceramic tiles are usually what first comes to mind. Used to decorate the walls of New York City’s subway system during the early part of the 20th century, they’ve earned a special place in people’s hearts as “subway tiles.” 

Traditionally, subway-style ceramic tiles are white and 3 x 6 inches. Today there are a multitude of sizes and colours to choose from, allowing you to incorporate your own style into a design that has stood the test of time.

Many would argue that subway-style ceramics are the coolest tiles simply because they’re the classics. After all, retro is always in – even if you weren’t around for it. The calming nostalgia that this design evokes is universal, and it is beautiful in its uniform simplicity.

Ceramic Tiling 4Ceramics can’t expect that they can ride their subway style all the way to our title, though! There are downsides – mainly, ceramic tiling is high maintenance. It’s the least durable of the three types featured in this post.

Because they are composed of porous clays, the tiles are highly absorbent and highly susceptible to staining. They’re also very prone to wear, and when exposed to cold temperatures for any significant length of time they will start to chip and crack. Don’t write them off, though – just know where to use them. These tiles will best serve you in low-to-moderate traffic indoor areas. 

On the upside, they’re very inexpensive. They won’t set you back more than $3-4. They’re also very thin, and therefore easy to cut. Are you an amateur planning your first D.I.Y. tile installation? If so, ceramics are the way to go. 

If you’re simply looking for a more frugal option, ceramics are still a great choice. Just know where to use them – and if signs of damage become visible, your friends at Odd Job would be more than happy to take care of the repairs!

Stone Tiles

Marble Tiles 1

What’s more romantic than tiling your walls and ceilings with marble stone? We aren’t the only ones who think so, either. Like tiling itself, marble has been heavily used in architecture and decor for thousands of years. Evidence of this stands in the form of buildings like the Washington Monument and the Taj Mahal, and some might suggest that this alone makes them the coolest tiles.

Marble tiling is dense, and so it provides far more protection from moisture than ceramics. They’re generally much more difficult to break, depending on the age of the stone. That said, this is far from the most resilient tiling that you can find.

Marble Tiles 2As it turns out, marble is not entirely resistant to moisture. Just how resistant your tiles will be depends on the grade of the stone, but in any case they will only absorb a small amount of water. They are highly susceptible to dilute acids like vinegar, citrus and other substances found in the average kitchen. Like ceramics, marble tiles will best serve you in indoor areas with low-to-moderate traffic.

Marble tiles are usually highly expensive. It’s possible to find them for a relatively low price, but this is usually because they  ranging from $40 to $150 based on the grade, colour and others.

If you’re interested in saving money or shielding high-traffic spaces like your family kitchen, you should probably look elsewhere. If you’d like to make a unique and powerful statement, however, then this choice offers far more than the other types ever could. 

Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain Tiles 1

The world of tiling can be a little confusing to the uninitiated, and a perfect example of this can be found in the differentiation between ceramic and porcelain tiling. Both types of tile are made from ceramics, but don’t be deceived. They are very different.

Porcelain Tiles 2Non-porcelain ceramics, as we’ve seen, are generally incredibly fragile, and as such, are far less expensive. Porcelain tiles, on the other hand, require much less maintenance and are arguably the more economical choice in the long run. Made of refined white clay and fired at high temperatrues, they’re far tougher than ceramics.

They’re also much less absorbent, making them perfect for high traffic areas – kitchen backsplashes, anyone? These qualities make them highly resilient to stains, scratches and frost. 

These qualities make porcelain tiles ideal for floors and walls that see a lot of traffic. They also make them virtually impossible for an amateur to properly cut, though. And while they may be difficult to stain or scratch, they are often so hard that they are brittle and can easily break if handled by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Porcelain Tiles 3To put it simply, porcelain tiles are more expensive and far more difficult to cut and install. What you get for that cost and effort is a very strong, low-maintenance tile and one that, like purely ceramic tiles, can be modified to serve your wildest style ideas! 

Pick a tile.. any tile!

Tiling has been the choice of kings and queens for milleniums, and it isn’t hard to see why. Their appearance and texture are naturally appealing to us, and they allow us to truly control the underlying style of our space. 

With the soaring popularity of tiling, you don’t want to fall behind the trends. You’ve seen three of the most popular tiling options made available to homeowners today, and we’d like to know which you think are the coolest tiles!

Give us a call at (416) 520-1161 or use our updated “book-a-handyman” form and schedule the tiling project you’ve been dreaming about today! 

Summer Cleaning with the Odd Job Team: Cleaning Your Home

Summer Cleaning with the Odd Job Team

Why are we talking about summer cleaning? When did that become a thing?

Why are we offering a 10% discount on junk removal services until September 22? Have we gone mad? 

summer cleaning

“Spring cleaning” is a part of the international lexicon.

It’s been entered into prestigious dictionaries, it’s the subject of classes, and voices such as Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey regularly remind us of its importance.

Few think of summer as the season to declutter. Don’t worry about me!

The children are out of school but you aren’t out of work, and if you are, you’d rather be going to Cuba than Lowes.

Why Summer Cleaning?

kidsoverSummer is arguably the best time to regularly clean your home.

It’s the time when your children will be spending much more time there, and when you’ll probably have many visitors around their age.

Without intending to pass judgment, Generation Z isn’t known for being understanding. They’re known for telling good stories, however, and you don’t want the neighbourhood know that you’re house “should have been on Hoarders.

Furthermore, the constant presence of children in your home will naturally lead to some messes you wouldn’t see in spring. Think grass-stained clothes and fallout from backyard parties, among many other things.

You’re going to be tackling issues like these head on, and do you really want to do this with clutter looming in the background? You have more than enough to deal with.

Summer Discount

junk removalOur company motto is: “You can do it yourself, but you don’t have to.”

No matter how you approach it, summer cleaning isn’t the best way to spend your vacation. That’s probably why it’s never become a ‘thing.’ The Odd Job Team would like to change that.

Until September 22, we are offering a special 10% discount on all junk removal requests. Book now and reclaim your space.

Unique Problems

Caulking 1

One inevitable downside to summer is that your shower usage is going to significantly increase. At least some of this use is going to be by your children, more than likely covered in dirt after hours of adventure.

Bathroom Exhaust Fan

This presents you with two problems. Firstly, more showers means more bathroom moisture. Unless it’s properly addressed, this creates a perfect breeding ground for mould and mildew.

Ensure that air is flowing into the room and this won’t be an issue. The most effective solution is to install a bathroom exhaust fan and turn it on after each shower.

Secondly, the increased amounts of dirt in your shower stall will be caked into the tiling and completely destroy their beauty. In both cases, the tiling will need to be re-caulked.

Did you know about our four-hour offer? Book four hours of service and we’ll re-caulk your bathtub for free. 

Quality of Space is Quality of Life

junk removal 3

It’s often said that clutter creates stress, and in 2012 a study conducted by U.C.L.A. may have proven this. In July 2012, UCLA Magazine boldly asserted that we live in a “clutter culture.” 

Studying thirty-two Los Angeles families, the researchers made some disturbing conclusions. Writing in the Huffington Post, authors Barbara and Shannon Kelley reported on the psychological effects of our addiction to stuff:

“Cortisol data show a link between unhappy verbal characterizations of arrays of household possessions [chronically messy, cluttered rooms or unfinished remodeling projects] and higher stress level as measured by the hormone cortisol in the MOTHERS in the study,” UCLA professor of anthropology Jeanne Arnold, one of the founding faculty of the CELF project, wrote in an email.

Summer is a time for fun, friends and family, not stress or depression. Call (416) 520-1161 or book our team online, and take advantage of our special discount.

Summer cleaning isn’t just about maintaining your home.

It’s about maintaining your peace.

Home Maintenance Tips from Handymen

Home Maintenance Tips from Handymen

home maintenance tips

A home is only as good as the one who maintains it.

A homeowner’s work is never truly done. Even after all the necessary repairs and improvements have been made, your house will not stay perfect.

Many people, particularly those buying a home for the first time, find year-round maintenance to be quite daunting. One homeowner went as far as to say that “doing home maintenance work is kind of like getting a filling – without Novocain.” Yikes!

We interviewed members of our team and collected a few home maintenance tips that we hope will kill the pain this summer!

Exterior Paint – Matchmaking

Members of our team conduct a thorough review of their homes’ exterior, from the foundation to the roof, at the beginning of every summer. It isn’t exactly summertime fun, but the warmer months allow paint to dry more easily.

If the damage is too widespread, having the entire structure professionally repainted may be the best option.

Here’s exactly what to look for (click to zoom): 

              Blistering                                 Peeling                               Cracking

Paint Cracking

You’re more likely to find small areas that need to be touched up. When we started collecting home maintenance tips from our team, we thought this might be a timely place to start. How can you touch up your home like a professional handyman?

Not only can you do this in a weekend, but many professional painting services will refuse to. They fear that nonmatching paint colours will result in imperfect results. For homeowners, there is a simple solution:

(a) If you have the paint can, take it to the paint store and they’ll easily be able to recreate the colour based on the label.

(b) If you don’t, remove a few chips and take them to the store. They’ll be able to recreate the colour using computer-based paint matching software.

Once you have the matching paint, paint a test patch and allow it to dry. If there are no noticeable differences, you’re free to proceed. Where’s the Novocaine?

Decks – The Splash Test

Splash Test 2

It’s every homeowner’s fantasy to spend the warm nights in your backyard, enjoying a few glasses with friends. This is why a well-maintained deck, on average, has a return on investment of more than 80%. 

That’s right. Whether you know it or not, your deck is an investment, and one of the best ways of protecting it is staining.

While different stains have different strengths and weaknesses, all protect your deck from water, sunlight, and mold and mildew.

The stain creates a ‘film’ around or beneath the surface of the deck, and this effectively shields it. In other words, it does much of the work of maintenance for you – and it looks like this:

staineddeck

The website Deck Stain Help has provided a detailed overview of the options available.

Staining isn’t a magic bullet, however. Every 2-3 years, your deck will need to be re-stained. When asking the team for home maintenance tips, they described a very easy method known as “the splash test.”

Splash a little water on the deck, and observe:

(a) If the water appears to penetrate the surface of the deck, then it is time to re-stain.

(b) If instead you see it bead up like so, then this means that it is effectively repelling water and is still in working order.

Goodbye novocaine, hello novostain! 

Front Door – Fresh Face

Front Door - Before After

Your front door is arguably one of the most important parts of your home’s exterior. First impressions are everything, and this is where that crucial battle is won or lost.

According to Better Homes & Gardens: “Your home’s front entry is the focal point of its curb appeal.”

Contractor Scott Sidler put it this way: “The front door is the only part of your house that anyone will stand and stare at, with nothing else to do.”

Unfortunately, your front door is also used multiple times every day and is constantly subjected to the elements. This includes rain, snow, direct sunlight and environmental moistures, as well as sand and dirt blowing in the wind.

Glossy Door

Let it shine!

In other words, your front door shares many enemies with your deck. There is a similar solution as well.

According to Home Depot, a new coat of paint will protect exterior parts of your home from “moisture, fading and temperature changes.”

They recommend using a glossy paint, as it is hard, durable and easy to clean – in other words, low maintenance

Another way to accomplish this is to replace your front door with a steel unit. Steel doors are easier to clean and maintain than any other type. In our article Pick Your Door, we briefly looked at the many reasons why you may want a steel door.

Some manufacturers will even coat the door in a weather-resistent material, usually paint, as well as a layer of zinc oxide, which prevents rust and corrosion.

Make it Easy

Odd Job Mobile Workshop

Maintaining your home is indeed the task that never ends. No amount of effective shortcuts will truly change that. Well, except one.

Make a single call to (416) 520-1161 or fill out this simple form and you will have booked a visit with what a representative at Royal LePage described as “a professional chore elimination team.”

That’s right. While some view home maintenance as a colossal headache, “the small stuff” is our company specialty. Book today and reclaim your free time!

 

Free Bathtub Caulking – Four-Hour Offer

Free Bathtub Caulking – Four-Hour Offer

bathtub caulking - before after

Effective June 17, we are offering a free bathtub caulking – silicone and up to 20 linear feet – to everyone who calls and books four hours of handyman service.

Why would you call us to take care of your “to-do”  list? Why would you want us to recaulk your bathtub?

Professional Service

DSC_0008

When you book with Odd Job, you’re receiving professional service. No secret charges, no rushed work, no unmarked vans, and no chance that you can’t reach us.

Instead, you have fully licensed, insured and background-checked professionals, transparent rates, a full-time office staff you can contact from 9 through 5, identifiable vehicles, and a professional team – fully licensed, bonded, insured, and two-year warranty on all general repairs.

We’re offering free bathtub caulking because we view our clients as friends and neighbours. There is a high demand for this service – and for you folks, we’re happy to meet it.

What can we do in four hours? You’d be very surprised.

All in Four Hours

Handyman Clock

We try to show our clients love in as many ways as possible, and one of them is one-hour minimum, the lowest in the industry.

This is partly because we specialize in “the odd jobs” – small maintenance and repair issues that can often be completed within the hour. Bathtub caulking, for example, shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes.

Four-Hour Projects

What do they all have in common? They can all be wrapped up in less than an hour. 

How many “odd jobs” can you fit into a four-hour time window? Here are the rough timelines for some of our most popular service requests:

Hanging

Hanging Art D

Every month, we’ve received hundreds of requests to hang artwork, family photos, and displays. Almost without exception, these projects are completed within a single hour and usually under half an hour.

Furniture Assembly

Furniture Assembly - Before After

Don’t worry – you’re not the only one who starts descending into insanity when they see manuals that look like this. We know because we also receive countless of calls and e-mails requesting our furniture assembly services.

Almost always, these projects are completed in less than an hour.

Mounting a TV

large tv mounted

Let’s face it: who among us doesn’t want to watch TV in bed? Our team has done a lot of this work, and from experience we can say that it never takes more than two hours.

On average, a standard television (40” – 50”) can usually be mounted in 45 minutes. With larger units, it can often take as long as an hour and fifteen minutes. If the wall is hollow, the team may need to reinforce the mounting area with drywall and this will naturally extend the timeline.

Fixtures

Hands of professional Plumber with a water tap and wrench.

Is your faucet leaking from the base? Is it only running hot or cold water? Or does it just keep running? It happens.

Bathroom and kitchen fixtures – faucets, shower heads, drains – usually require maintenance over the years. Sometimes, however, it’s best to replace and update your fixtures entirely. These projects can easily be completed within the hour.

Replacing the supply hose of a faucet, for example, takes less than 15 minutes on average.

Replacing the shutoff valve almost never takes more than half an hour, and if it is a quick connect, then it will likely be well under that.

The Clock is Ticking

Freshly Caulked Tub

Our premium bathtub caulking services are of the highest quality in the city, and now you can see for yourself – free of charge.

Don’t wait – it’s time to say goodbye to your chores today. You’d be very surprised at how much of your “to-do” list we can clear within four hours.

Book our team today and take advantage of this amazing offer while it’s still on the table.