Tips For Getting the Most Out of Your Handyman Visit

Planning on hiring your first handyman? Your goal is to reduce the stress of a home project, not add to it! Here are a few pointers for making sure your to-do list is a thing of the past.

Set Expectations for Your Handyman

Odd Job Handyman Services maintains a high level of expectation and satisfaction from our clients, but it’s helpful if we know exactly what you expect of your handyman on any job. If you’d like your technician to install new light fixtures and change the bulbs for you, that’s no problem at all — but we need to know what the dream looks like in your mind before we can make it a reality.

Prepare a To-Do List

Sometimes you have a lot of little things that need to get done, and you might ask your technician to tackle them while he’s there. This can create unexpected expenses if the handyman has to source extra materials or bring a tool that they don’t usually have with them. If you know exactly what you need to cross off your honey-do list ahead of time, everyone’s going to have a much better experience.

Take Photos

Remember that old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words?” Well, sometimes a photo can be worth a thousand dollars. Not all handyman jobs are the same. The age of a house, the location of a problem, the type of feature that needs fixing or replacing… these can all be factors in whether a job can be finished in an afternoon, or take two weeks longer than expected. The more information you can provide to your technician, the less time they have to spend on the job site, and the less money YOU have to spend to get the job done right.

Empty Drawers and Shelves

Make sure your drawers and other storage items being moved are emptied ahead of time. Remember, you’re paying for your handyman’s time, so any cleaning they have to do is coming right out of your pocket.

Clear the Area

The job will go much more quickly and smoothly if you can clear out the area that the handyman will be working in. If you have a painting or drywall job, it’s easier to move things out of the room than it is to wrap things in a drop cloth or plastic.

 

Now you’re ready to book your first handyman!

 

Handyman Services In Toronto

Improve Your Home’s Air

Poor air quality can make you feel tired, lethargic, and sick: there are few things in your home that can affect your health and well-being more than the air that you breathe. The air quality in your home is one of the most important things for you to keep on eye on if you want to stay healthy and feel comfortable. It’s so easy to improve it, you’ll wonder why you din’t cross it off the to-do list

Here are 5 small fixes you can make that will have big impacts on your indoor air quality.

Fix Your Dryer Vent Hose

It goes without saying that if your dryer is blowing hot air that’s full of dust, hair, and lint into your house, your air quality isn’t going to be great. You want to make sure that the vent hose running from your dryer to the outside is intact and tightly sealed, with no kinks or holes. You need to make sure that any joints are sealed using metal tape, as common duct tape will deteriorate over time.

Avoid Mold by Fixing Leaky Pipes

Mold build-up in your home can cause flu or cold-like symptoms and make the air smell downright funky. Mold is usually caused by moisture hanging around where it doesn’t belong. A leaky pipe or faucet in your basement or kitchen can cause moisture to build up over time, and cause mold to grow. So, a leaky sink isn’t just an annoyance, it could be a health hazard! Hire a handyman to fix your leaky pipes as soon as possible, and your family will feel all the better for it.

Cater to Your Fans

Once again, most problems with air quality are caused by unwanted moisture hanging around. The bathroom fan, when working properly, will remove steam from the bathroom after those long, hot showers you like to take. If you think there might be something wrong with your exhaust fans, don’t hesitate to call someone to repair or replace your bathroom exhaust fan promptly, and limit the damage to your health and quality and life.

Caulk Your Windows and Bathtubs

Like a leak in your pipes, moisture from the humid outside air can cause mold to develop in walls and furniture. Keeping a tight seal between your home and the outside world is one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways of saving energy and ensuring that you won’t need to spend big money to repair water damage.

The caulking in your bathtub and shower also help keep steam from seeping into walls and causing water damage where you can’t see it until it’s too late. The best medicine is preventative medicine, so it’s important to re-caulk regularly.

Replace the Filter in Your Furnace

And here’s a helpful tip that has nothing to do with moisture, but everything to do with keeping your lungs clear and your family healthy. All furnaces for your home come with a filter that needs to be replaced every few months to keep the air clear of dust and dirt particles. If you don’t know where this is, don’t worry — professional handymen can do it quickly easily, while they’re taking care of the other items on this list.

 

 

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. The number of new, unsold condos is surging at an alarming rate.

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!

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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.

How to Help your Contractor

How To Help Your Contractor

By Jessica Greaves (Featuring Simon Copping-Patton of Odd Job Handyman Services) – August 24, 2017
How To Help Your Contractor

We’ve all been in situations where someone who is trying to help is actually making things more difficult. You know they’re just trying to be nice, but it’s hard to tell them to stop. Have you ever stopped to think that this is exactly what your contractor is going through while you’re trying to “help” them drill holes or put up drywall? We hate to admit it, but sometimes you’re doing more harm to your home than you might think by trying to help your contractor.

You hired a professional for a reason, and while it may be difficult to give up control of your home, for the best results you need to take a step back and remove yourself. We spoke with Rodrigo from 3 Day Reno and Simon from Odd Job Handyman Services to find out how you can actually help during a project and when it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

The More Details The Better

Both Simon and Rodrigo agree that the best thing you can do to help your contractor is to provide details. Having all of the information upfront is the best way for the company to know exactly what they’re dealing with.

“As many measurements, as much history and as many photos from as many angles as you can,” Simon notes. “The larger the project, the more true this is. I can’t tell you the number of times a project would have been completed much faster had we known everything we would learn after entering the client’s home. In contracting, “too much information is rarely a thing.”

Rodrigo echos this and reminds clients that the more efficient you can be, the easier it will be for the crew to avoid delays or misunderstandings. Make sure your final selections, layouts, and drawings are all in order so the work can continue seamlessly.

Don’t Cut Costs On Important Steps

Renovations are always hard on your bank account, but when you’re paying to have something big done to your home, like an extension or new kitchen, don’t try to cut costs at important steps. Rodrigo notes that clients who try to save money by hiring a cost-effective engineer will end up costing them more in the long run. “I have had many situations when the drawings provided by the client’s engineer are not up to code. Or a kitchen designer that wants to change the layout of the space and is not possible because it wouldn’t pass the city inspections.”

Leave It To The Pros

You called in a professional for a reason. This means that you should not try and fix the problem before they get there. Leave that leaking dishwasher where it is and do not start taking parts out and duct-taping before the company arrives. Simon says that by trying to fix the problem yourself, it actually makes it more difficult to diagnose and properly repair the original problem.

Avoid trying to “make space” in your home before the crew arrives. Simon says that clients will often move things around in an effort to help and that sometimes this inadvertently create obstacles on site. If you’re concerned your furniture is in the way, wait until the crew has arrived as ask them if moving things around would be helpful.

Helping With Mixed Results

Like most home service professionals, Simon has had mixed experiences with clients helping out. “There was one time when we were mounting a large and unwieldy television set. The homeowner gave a hand and the project was completed much faster. Another time, however, the client tried to repair an issue under their kitchen sink before we arrived and they had actually caused more damage than we had expected based on the photos they sent us. This resulted in a longer and more expensive project.”

You Got This

We know it can be hard to give up control, especially when it comes to your home. This is why hiring a company you can trust is so important. Once you’ve done your research, read reviews, and hired a company, you need to trust them to do the job they’ve been hired for.

This doesn’t mean you need to remove yourself completely from the process. Rodrigo recommends inspecting the work when you can and documenting the stages of the project. A reputable company should have no issues giving you progress reports and letting you know what’s going on at any point in the project.

Simon encourages you to let the company do their job. “You don’t have to feel obligated to become a major part of the project’s execution and more often than not it complicates things. We’re there to make your lives easier so sit back and look forward to a job well done!”

While giving up control is never easy, we hope you can take a back seat on your next home renovation project. Be sure to write a review once the work is done, it helps the whole community!

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

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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!

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.

Pick Your Door.. Any Door!

Pick Your Door.. Any Door!

pick your door

First impressions are everything. We’ve all said it and so has science. There’s every reason to believe that the rule applies to homes as much as it does to people. Every real estate agent lives by this principle, and the entire field of home staging exists because of it. The only reason Odd Job has built such an impressive family of commercial and residential clients is because we provide them consistently excellent service.

If someone is visiting you, what is the first thing they notice when they walk up to your door? You guessed it. Your front door isn’t simply a point of entry and exit. It’s a key part of your home’s curb appeal – many home designers say that it’s the first part of your home’s exterior that people notice! 

What’s more, it’s the perfect project for winter. Many of us have already turned on our heating systems, and are looking for ways to reduce heat loss in our homes. The time is now to repair and upgrade the entrances to your home – a field your friends at Odd Job have specialized in since 2008

If you want your home to give people a great first impression, you should start upgrading where they start looking. In the mean time, you want to With that in mind, I think the best place to start is to pick your door.

Beginning the Search

front doors

When you begin your search for a door, you should be considering a number of factors. I know, it’s that amazing first impression that you’re looking for – and you’ll get it. When you pick your door, however, you should also be thinking about energy efficiency and security.

Curb appeal, energy efficiency and security are in fact the three most common reasons why people have older doors replaced. The newer models make it much more difficult for intruders – whether they come in the form of human beings or just the freezing cold air – from gaining access to your home.

Energy Star

Before you pick your door, make sure it has Energy Star’s seal of approval!

Energy Star – a program initiated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – aims to help “businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency.” Replacing your doors, windows and skylights with products approved by Energy Star “can reduce your energy bills up to 15%.” This is because they have a special coating that works “like sunscreen for your house.”

So in the interests of safety, aesthetics, the environment, and your pocketbook, let’s pick your door. You deserve a new one!

French Doors

French Doors - Gorgeous

French doors.. they’re classy, they’re stylish and it’s always been that way. Their timeless beauty is only the main reason why you should consider them when you pick your door.

French Doors - GreatThey’re sometimes referred to as windows because they serve precisely the same function. The wood frame connects a ‘net’ of large glass frames that allow natural light to kiss your home’s interior and highlight its beauty to the world. This transparency also allows homeowners an ideal view of the great outdoors.

The downside to this marvelous view is that it takes considerable time and effort to maintain. The panels must be cleaned regularly, and the door itself requires thorough weatherproofing.

Like so many beautiful things, French doors are very delicate. If you’re confident that you can maintain them, they would be an excellent choice and we’d be happy to install them for you. If you need one but don’t have the time, energy or knowledge to maintain it, we can help you there too.

Panel DoorsMoulded Panel Doors

Sometimes classy means classical, and few things better embody that style than a panel door. Usually coming with four, six or eight panels – one of them often used for a window insert – they’re traditional to the core, and definitely an option to keep in mind when you pick your door. After all, who hasn’t dreamed that they would one day open a door exactly like this to their picture-perfect home? This is a dream door.

DSCN1069There is beauty in simplicity, and in this case the proof is in the panels. Framed by stiles and rails, the panels form elegant patterns. No matter which way it swings, you have a piece of woodwork art inside your home and one that serves a very a practical function. And as with all other woodwork, you can easily get one hand-crafted and have absolute control over both its size and the design.

The downside to all of this is that wood is very vulnerable to direct sunlight, moisture, and hot and cold temperatures – in other words, the conditions that your door is constantly subjected to. Be sure that your panel door is insulated – they usually aren’t – and maintain it well.

As with French doors, maintaining a panel door is going to require considerable time and effort. If you lack the time, talent and tools, give us a call at (416) 520-1161 and we’d be happy to help.

Fiberglass Doors

beautiful fiberglass doors

The fiberglass door has all the appearances of a traditional wood panel door – only it’s much more durable, more energy efficient and often much less expensive. If you want all the charms of wood without the burden of regular maintenance, then you may have found your door.

fiberglass exterior door 2Unlike wood, fiberglass isn’t going to crack, split, rot or warp. Inside every fiberglass door is a core of polyurethane foam, and because of this they have five times the insulative qualities of wood doors. An stark contrast to wood doors, fiberglass doors fare very well against the weathereven in heavy rain, snow and high humidity.

Because of the insulation, they’re also much more energy efficient, and usually less expensive than wood doors. In other words, you – the homeowner – will save save money in both the short term and the long term. These doors usually carry a limited lifetime warranty – if the door was poorly designed and the materials don’t work as they’re supposed to, you’re covered for life.

So where’s the downside? Well, from a design perspective there’s no replacement for the rustic feel of real wood. Furthermore, if the door is stained improperly then there will be no illusion at all and the door will look like plastic. Avoid this by buying your fiberglass door pre-finished. Not every dealer offers this option, but it won’t be too difficult to find one that will.

Steel Doors

Steel Door 1

If you’re still not ready to pick your door, let’s take a look at an entirely different style sense. Wood panel doors offer a quaint rustic charm, steel doors are attractively modern.

Once painted, their solid, smooth surface will gleam in the sun and the finish will look truly extraordinary.

Facade-3-Large-500x500

Steel doors are also well-insulated with high-density polyurethane foam, and so they are highly energy efficient. They’re also on average the least expensive of the doors we’ve looked at so far, and they require relatively little maintenance.

Furthermore, a 2014 report on popular remodel projects concluded that homeowners who installed a steel front door recouped 97% of their investment!

Steel doors are unquestionably the most secure. You can’t exactly kick one in, and they’re extremely difficult to bend – even with tools. Banks use steel doors, as do military bases and other institutions where uninvited entry isn’t appreciated.

There are downsides, though. Just as wood will rot, steel will rust, and steel doors are notoriously easy to scratch and dent. Such damage can contribute to rust, as can rain, snow and humidity. There are, however, manufacturers who coat the steel in zinc oxide to make the door to prevent rust and corrosion. Many of them also feature a coat of weather-resistant material – often paint.

Not every manufacturer will do this, and not all of the weather-resistant coats available will fare well under extreme conditions. Ask the right questions before you pick your door. 

Now what?

woman-choosing-doors

This isn’t getting any easier, is it?

Do you want people to enter your little dwelling through a wooden door? Or would you like to equip your personal fortress with steel doors? Or perhaps you’d like your doors to double as windows.

If you’re still trying to decide, worry not – it’s never a bad thing to ‘keep your doors open’ – heh, heh.. no?

If you’re ready to pick your door, then it’s time to complete the final step and choose a professional door installer. There are many ‘door installation services’ that charge premium rates for shoddy work.

Fortunately, Cloplay, one of the largest door distributors in North America, has written a good list of the ways to figure out if you’re hiring a good company or not: 

1. How long have they been installing entry doors?

2. Are they bonded and insured?

3. Are they a reputable company, or is next to nothing known about them?

4. Can they produce before-and-after photos of previous installations they’ve performed?

5. Do they have customer references? What are people saying about them online? 

Your friends at Odd Job pass this test with flying colours.

How long have we been installing entry doors?  Odd Job was founded in 2008, and since then we’ve been accumulating extensive experience installing and repairing every type of door you can imagine. We’re proud to call it a company specialty.

Is Odd Job bonded and insured?  Yes! Our team is fully licensed, bonded and insured, covered by $5 million liability insurance and WSIB.

Is Odd Job a reputable company?  Among our constantly-expanding family of regular clients are some of Toronto’s most important businesses, including Fresh Restaurants, LensCrafters, Royal LePage and many, many more. We’ve also performed major projects for non-profit organizations like Kerry’s Place and the Toronto Business Development Centre.

Can Odd Job show its work?  Yes, and we do! Follow us on Facebook and Google Plus, where we regularly post photos and videos of our adventures on site.

What are Odd Job’s clients actually saying?  See for yourself!

Like what you hear?  Then there’s no reason not to reach out. Not only will we install your door, but we’ll ensure that it functions without flaw for many, many years. Give us a call at (416) 520-1161 or click here and fill out our online ‘book-a-handyman form.’

Remove Household Odours: How-To

Remove Household Odours: How-To

Since the beginning of our series on fall home maintenance, Odd Job has been advising people to repair and upgrade their home in preparation for the cold weather that we’re already getting a taste of.

You’re really going to want an indoor refuge, and you’re not going to want it to be in disrepair. What you’re going to want even more is for this refuge to be a truly pleasant place to be.

Some might wonder how home could ever really be unpleasant. After all, is home not where the heart is? There’s nothing like opening its door after a long, difficult day and retreating into familiarity. We see the same people, animals and things that we always see, hear the same sounds we always hear and, of course, smell the same smells. Some of those smells are better than others.

As wonderful as your home might be, your quality of life there isn’t nearly what it could be if odours like sewer gas and spoiled food are as indigenous to it as the more pleasing smell of your morning pot of coffee. We are often inclined to take a defeatist stance toward stench, particularly when it is localized in one space and its causes aren’t obvious. We hope that this article equips homeowners with the knowledge they need to remove household odours and to prevent them from appearing again. It’s your space, and so it’s time to reclaim your air.

Basement Odour

In our last article, we made a statement that is as bold and sweeping as it is true: about half of the basements in the world are dank, cluttered storage areas. The definition of dank, if you recall, is “disagreeably damp, musty, and typically cold,” and in our last article we detailed simple ways you can dry out your basement.

We will now focus on how you can remove household odours commonly associated with the basement. Interested readers still might want to take a look at the previous article – after all, mould and mildew are two of the most notorious basement odours, and both are directly caused by moisture. For example, many people smell mould whenever they open their washing machine. We often leave our washing machines closed between loads, creating a breeding ground for mould because the seal on the front doors prevents the interior from drying.

The solution is simple – just apply a mould killer like our secret weapons, Mold Stain Eraser and Mold Control – and leave the door open so that the inside of the machine can dry. Repeat this about once every month and there will never be mould in your washing machine again. 

In today’s quest to remove household odours, however, we will be zeroing in on another menace.

remove household odours drainAmong the ugliest and most common odours in your basement and in other rooms as well is sewer gas. If you have drains that are never used, they will dry out. The water stored in the trap beneath the drain will eventually evaporate, leaving the unappetizing scents of your septic tank or your city’s sewer system with direct access to your space. Not only does this drastically reduce the quality of life, but the gas is potentially harmful. Fortunately, the solution is as simple as it might seem.

Fill a pitcher with water (approximately a quart) and pour it down the drain. This will refill the trap and block the sewer gas. After that, pour approximately two tablespoons of cooking oil down the drain. The oil will float atop the water and effectively seal it into the trap, preventing it from evaporating until much later down the road.

The problem of drain odour most often occurs in basements because they are usually used much less than other rooms in the house. Although fairly uncommon, if there is a bathroom in the basement then it is possible that the water in the trap under the toilet has evaporated and it may be from here that the sewer gas is finding its way into your home. If this is the case, the solution is even easier: simply flush the toilet!

replacingwaxringIf the smell of sewage still hangs in the air long after you’ve returned the water to the water traps, it may well be that the wax ring underneath your toilet is leaking and that it is through the leak that the sewer gas is seeping in. This can sometimes happen if the toilet is frequently rocked. It can also happen if the wax ring itself was either improperly installed or simply worn out. Move the toilet and replace the wax ring – a new one can be purchased from virtually all home retailers, including Home Depot and LowesTo prevent the toilet from rocking and breaking the new wax ring seal, place plastic shims beneath the toilet and then caulk it all around. 

If the problems still persist after you have employed all of these countermeasures, you should consult a professional plumber as there may be more serious underlying issues.

Kitchen Odour

We’re on a mission to remove household odours, and the only room known for as many as the basement is the kitchen. Many of the basement’s unattractive odours are related to how infrequently it is used – the sewer gas, for example, finds a clear path into your home through drains that are never used. Conversely, the odours of the kitchen are created by frequent use of the space. Fortunately, however, the solutions to these odours are equally simple. 

dirty dishwasherLike the homeowners met by a pungent odour when opening their washing machines, many homeowners will be holding their noses upon opening their dish washers after a cycle. After frequent use, food and grease will be trapped in various parts of the machine. Your dishwasher, for example, most likely has a detachable filter which is located at the bottom of the tub. This catches the larger particles of food so as to prevent them from clogging the drain. This function, however, creates a veritable feast for bacteria and their presence in turn leads to the terrible odour. Remove the screen with a half counter-clockwise turn and spend less than a minute cleaning it out. 

A lot of food debris also builds up in the ‘lip’ at the bottom of the dishwasher’s door. Open the door all the way down and then clean this area as well.

dishwasher spray arm cleaning

The dishwasher’s spray arms are also contributing to the smell. Pieces of food become lodged in the holes along the sides, which are very small and difficult to clean as a result. You’ll have to remove the sprayer arms from the dishwasher itself, taking out the screws and bolts if necessary. Fill a bucket with hot water, add some soap and a cup of vinegar, and then stir. Soak the sprayer arms in the bucket for awhile. When you think the food sufficiently loose, remove the sprayer arms and use a toothbrush, tweezers or cotton swab to get rid of it for good.

The spray arms, the filter and the door lip are the main sources of the odour, as they are the parts of the machine that collect the largest amount of food debris. After you have cleaned those areas, apply a dishwasher cleaner – we recommend Dishwasher Magic – and then run a cycle. Au revoir, odour! 

In attacking the odours of the basement, we focused primarily on sewer gas. Likewise, the terrible odours we associate with the kitchen can largely be traced to spoiled food and the bacteria it attracts. Does your kitchen sink stink? Don’t worry – it’s just another buildup of food particles. The solution is simple: pour a cup of bleach down the drain. This will kill the bacteria and eliminate the smell.

What about the fridge? If you keep a lot of food in there, you will likely forget some of it from time to time. And if your fridge has gone without power for a few days, the smell will be indescribably bad. What’s worse, cleaning it out won’t destroy the smell either – no matter how many disinfectants you use. Fear not, however, there is a simple and very old solution that costs next to nothing: fill your fridge with crumpled up newspapers and charcoal, leave it for several days and then empty it – sayonara, stench! 

You can employ a similar method to eliminate the odour created when you take off your shoes or work boots after a long day of hard work. Fill a sock up with cedar chips and leave it in your footwear. This should make the odour disappear, and you can reuse the same ‘bag’ of cedar chips, as they naturally absorb moisture and kill odour – just be sure to fill it with fresh chips about once a month!

Smell you later!

Make the processes described here into habits and you will be able to remove household odours without buying special products or calling anyone. Are you smelling something that we didn’t cover in this article? If so, fill out our online “book-a-handyman” form and tell us what’s up – or just give us a call at (416) 520-1161! 

Stay Cool and Slash Your Air Conditioner Bill

Cut the Air Conditioner Bill in Comfort

As the temperature rises, more and more people are turning on their air conditioners.

Toronto Hydro warns that careless use can amount to fully half of your summer electricity bill – a figure that isn’t so alarming considering that heating and cooling together account for roughly half of the average homeowner’s annual energy bill.

This is to say nothing of the devastating impact it has on the environment. According to National Geographic“Air conditioner use in the U.S. results in an average of about 100 million tons of CO2 emissions from power plants every year.”

It’s the middle of July, though – and it’s only going to get hotter. How can you and your family live comfortably while looking out for mother nature and your pocketbook too?

Build a Wall of Shade

During a heatwave, most people are aware that one of the more frugal ways to cool your home is to open your windows at night and keep them closed throughout the day. This (of course) reduces the amount of heat residing within your home.

There are other methods of doing this that are lesser-known and much more effective:

(1) Plant trees around your home in order to shield it from direct sunlight. When planted strategically, the trees serve as a natural air conditioning system.

In 2009, Geoffrey Donovan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and David Butry of the National Institute of Standards and Technology published a report entitled The value of shade: Estimating the effect of urban trees on summertime electricity use.

The report details how Donovan and Butry monitored and assessed the effects of shade trees on 460 single-family homes in Sacramento, California between May 15 and September 15. In their report, they conclude: Current level of tree cover on the west and south sides of houses in our sample reduce summertime electricity use by 185 kWh (5.2 %), whereas north-side trees increase electricity use by 55 kWh (1.5 %).” 

Colorado State University went farther, stating“In the summer, trees block 70-90% of the sun’s radiation on a clear summer day. When properly placed, trees can reduce air conditioning demands by 10-30%.

This is especially true for those whose air conditioners sit in direct sunlight, an arrangement that predictably causes the unit to use up to 10% more electricity. Planting trees or shrubs around them will help – just make sure not to completely surround it, as that will block the airflow!

While all of this sounds lovely, planting a tree and watching it grow is a long and involved process. No one is going to be able to construct their tree defenses in time for this year’s heatwave, and many won’t be eager to place their faith in such a long-term solution.

Tree Hugger, a leading environmental blog, has helped to solve part of this problem by releasing a great list of seven fast-growing shade trees

Homeowners looking for faster countermeasures may find them in placing trellises around their home and growing vines on them. They grow much faster than trees, and if given a year should be able to cover a large area. Some of them can even double as a source of highly nutritious fruits and vegetables.

Another great component of any shade wall is the window awning. Often made of fabric or metal, these are among the most effective defenses against direct sunlight.

According to the California Energy Commission: “A properly installed awning can reduce heat gain in your home up to 65 percent on southern windows and as much as 77 percent on eastern and western windows.

Just be sure to put your awnings in storage during the colder parts of the year, as they’ll block the sun’s warmth when you need it most!

Maintaining the Air Conditioner Unit

 dirty air conditioner filter vs. clean air conditioner filter

While your unit is in use, the filter is inevitably going to collect dirt; the exact amount depends on factors such as air quality and how often it is used. The reduced air flow that results can eventually cause components of your air conditioning system to overheat (requiring expensive repairs) and culminate in the unit failing altogether.

Dirty filters are one of the main causes of air conditioner malfunctions. If your unit’s air filter collects an excessive amount of dirt, many different problems will arise.

If the filter is dirty, everything past it is too; this includes the cooling coils and the fans, which will work far less efficiently as a result. This forces the unit itself to expend much more energy to cool your house, and the air it creates is filled with allergens. You end up paying more money for less comfort, and potentially compromising the health of the home’s occupants as well.

The solution? Your unit’s filter should be changed regularly – at least once every three months and, during heavy use periods such as summer, every month.

The U.S. Department of Energy states that “can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.”

Routinely changing your air filter is one of a few things you can do to maintain your air conditioning system. One is to keep your central or window air conditioning unit tuned up so as to ensure that it is always operating with maximum efficiency, and another is to have a specialist examine its electrical parts and refrigerant every two or three years. This will only cost around $150, but much like changing the filter, it will save you much more than it will cost you.

If your unit is more than twelve years old, then it may be time to replace the system altogether. This alone can drastically reduce your energy bill. According to the Department of Energy, the finest air conditioner of today uses an alarming “30 to 50% less energy” to produce precisely the same amount of cooling as any unit made in the seventies and “20 to 40%” less energy than a unit that’s only 10 years old!

Fortifying the Homefront

 

The potential ways of cutting your cooling costs don’t end with your air conditioner unit. There may well be gaps in your house system that are hurting your wallet. Remember: the key is to minimize the amount of heat entering your home. We have detailed how homeowners can mount an external defense by growing trees and vines, so let us take a step back and examine some of the possible internal issues.

Almost half of your home’s summertime heat gain can naturally be attributed to your windows, miniature gateways through which direct sunlight enters virtually by invitation. Not only should they be closed during these hot summer days, but they should be provided with as much shade as possible. Hanging some draperies should do the trick; their pleats and folds actually lose heat through convection. According to the Department of Energy, draperies can have a very powerful effect: “Studies demonstrate that medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gains by 33%.” They go on to say that “highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45%.” When fortifying your internal defenses, window treatments are a great place to start.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. All of that will do little good if heat is seeping in through holes in your home itself. Air leaks can cause you to spend up to 40% more on heating and cooling, and most of them are so small that they are virtually invisible. To locate them, turn off all fans and exhaust fans in your home, close all of the windows, and turn off your furnace. After you have done this, light some incense and slowly walk through the home while holding it close to the walls. Wherever you see the smoke being either sucked toward or blown away from something, you have located a likely air leak. For windows, doors and other movable parts of your house, apply weatherstripping. Apply caulk for those tiny cracks in the structure itself and its other components.

More difficult to fix are the thermal leaks. These are virtually (and sometimes literally) invisible. When they are not caused by the aforementioned air leaks, they’re caused by poor insulation or other problems out of the human eye’s reach. Identifying the problem at the root of the leaks can only come after you identify where they are. Using a handheld, battery-operated thermal leak detector, you’ll be able to pinpoint parts of the home that are warmer or colder than the rest of the structure.

Let’s presume that you’ve already provided your home with layers upon layers of external and internal protection – shade trees, draperies, the works! Let’s also presume that you’ve mended the holes in your defenses. Why not install a programmable thermostat? Using this machine, you’ll be able to automate your cooling system to use far less energy when you’re at work or on vacation. Proper use can reduce your energy bill by up to 20%.

Chillin’ With Odd Job

We hope you’ve found these tips helpful in your efforts to beat the heat effectively and frugally.

Many readers may be left wondering how to properly execute many of the suggestions laid out here. Not everyone feels confident sealing air leaks, hanging window treatments, or examining their own air conditioning system, and there’s no shame in that. Why attempt sometimes difficult and potentially dangerous tasks such as those when you can hire licensed, bonded, insured and well-trained professionals to do them for you at very affordable rates?

This is where Odd Job Handyman Services, Toronto’s premier handyman company, comes in. Call us today or just fill our our online “book-a-handyman” form, and in no time your projects will be placed in professional hands, whatever their size!

Spring Home Improvement on a Budget

Spring Home Improvement on a Budget

spring home improvement

The celebrated “season of the handyman” is here once again. Contractors everywhere are dusting off their toolkits while homeowners try to find those ‘to-do’ lists they’ve been working on. But where does that leave those who don’t have much in their budget for spring home improvement?

The bad news? According to HGTV, home improvement significantly raises the value of your property. The good news? You don’t need to be a billionaire to update your home. If you’re interested in inside tips from professional handymen on how to save on spring home improvement, please read on.

First Impressions

spring home improvement 2

You’ve likely heard of curb appeal. Most people have decided whether or not they would buy your home by the time they’ve passed it. Fortune Builders, known as “the premier real estate education company in the country,” has written:

The work you do to the kitchen or the fixtures in the bathroom may be great, but by that time it may be too late. If you want to maximize your properties’ value, you need to focus on improving the curb appeal.

So why not give people the right impression by the time they’ve reached your front door? Depending on the materials, the paint, and the type of door, installing a new door will in many cases cost well under $1,000. Refreshing an older door with a new coat of paintIf your new door is approved by Energy Star, it will save you on energy bills in the long term and on your taxes in the short term.

Initiate your spring home improvement bonanza by installing a gorgeous new door or giving your old one a new look. If you call the right people, you’ll enjoy an excellent return on investment.

Staining to Perfection

staineddeck

Freshly stained.

Spring evenings aren’t spring evenings if you don’t have a backyard deck to enjoy them on. Whether you’re having dinner outdoors or enjoying a few glasses with friends, your deck is the stage where your most precious memories will play out.

spring home improvementStaining it for this purpose is one of the most rewarding and affordable spring home improvement projects there are.

The average timeline? Between three and five hours. The average cost? $2 per square foot! 

RIS Media states: “In most cases the cost will not be any higher than $400 for the total job.”

Not only does this spring home improvement project offer immediate visual rewards, but it also promises an excellent return on investment.

Professional Deck Builder summarized the findings of the annual Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, stating:

According to Realtors who were polled for the report, a 16-foot by 20-foot deck with an average construction cost of $10,048 could be expected to recoup $8,085 of its cost if the house were to be sold in 2015, a return on investment—or ROI—of 80.5%.

Money Pit confirms that a deck “is one of the most cost-effective additions you can make to your home.” 

A beautiful deck will add great value to your home and skyrocket its curb appeal. Maintaining it, of course, is the key to protecting its investment value. Staining is the most affordable and effective ways to do this. 

Spring Cleaning

junk removal

One of the most classic spring home improvement projects is, of course, spring cleaning. If you’re willing to invest a lot of time and aren’t afraid to get your hands a little dirty, this can very easily be the most affordable project featured here. 

The most important phase of a large-scale cleanup effort will often be decluttering. To maximize efficiency, go room-to-room and focus your energy on the closets, cabinets and common areas before doing a second and more thorough review.

Not only will this process cost you nothing but time, it may generate a small profit. Books, films, toys and clothing are all great material for a garage sale. 

The second phase of the cleanup process is the removal of stains and other debris. Rather than opting to use expensive and potentially harmful solutions, make your own cleaners. 

vinegar cleaningFor cleaning your windows and mirrors, mix white vinegar into water and apply the solution with an old dust rag. For removing dust from woodwork, mix lemon juice into water and do the same – or just use dryer sheets.

In 2014, CTV published a list of highly effective homemade cleaning solutions. The pricing ranges from $0.50 and $2.00.

If you value time over money, there are companies that can completely declutter even the worst hoarder’s home in a single day. Odd Job, for example, will remove clutter from your home for $25 per bag.

The Season of Good Memories

spring park

Spring is a season for friends, for long strolls through the park, and for backyard dinners. It is the season of good memories, and spring home improvement is a vital part of that process.

They say spring is a time of new beginnings, and nothing says new beginnings like home upgrades that make your neighbours go “Wow!”

Call (416) 520-1161 today or book our team online and you’ll be well on your way there.

Fixing a Sliding Door With Odd Job

Fixing a Sliding Door With Odd Job

fixing a sliding doorOdd Job Handyman Services was founded in 2008, and since its birth it has developed an impeccable reputation among its rapidly-growing family of commercial and residential clients. They know precisely who to call when their to-do list grows too large, because the simple fact is that there isn’t a single handyman service in Toronto that performs small repairs, upgrades and redecorations like Odd Job. 

Among our team’s many areas of expertise, however, there are some company specialties – and one of them is door repairs. Today, we’re going to demonstrate that by showing our readers that fixing a sliding door isn’t as hard as you might think!

Defeating Frustration

Sliding doors.. they’re beautiful, they’re cool and they have a number of great functionsThere are indeed a lot of reasons to love them, but anyone who lives in a space with sliding doors can tell you that there is a reason to hate them too. 

It’s very easy for your sliding door to become sticky and difficult to move, and even easier for the door itself to go off-track. In either scenario, you feel as if you no longer have a door – instead, you have a large sheet of glass that you’ll always need to lift and push out of your way. Fixing a sliding door, therefore, should be very high on your to-do list.

Greasing the Skids

Icky Screen DoorIf you’ve never cleaned the door tracks, then the situation you are in was an inevitable one, and fortunately, the solution may well be quite simple. The first step to fixing a sliding door is to clean it. You’ll likely find an abundance of dirt and grime caked in the track. Attack it with a very stiff brush, soap and water, and for extra power, use a cleaning agent – we recommend Mr. Clean’s Liquid Muscle. Continue the onslaught of solvents and elbow grease until your tracks look like they were just installed!

Still not working?  Don’t fret. This wouldn’t have been much of an article if our best advice was: “Clean the track.”  Fixing a sliding door isn’t always that easy.

Sliding Door RepairTake a look at the bottom of the door and you’ll find two screws. These are used to adjust the rollers, which control the position of the door. Does it look like one side of the door is lower than the other? If so, you have discovered the problem. Raise the lower side until the door appears even on the track. 

If the problems persist, turn all of the screws a quarter turn. This will raise the door completely off the ground, and at that point all you need to do is slide it so that it is almost closed. Is the gap between the door and the door jamb even?  Congratulations!

If the door still  won’t slide the way it’s supposed to, you still shouldn’t fret. With the door sitting evenly on a clean track, you’ve laid the groundwork for a door that slides as its manufacturer intended!

Rock and Roll

Door Roller

Fixing a sliding door is by no means simple, because there are any number of things that could be going on. Having exhausted the more mundane possibilities, it’s time to remove the door completely and take a good look at the rollers themselves.

removing the doorRemoving the door itself is rather difficult. For one thing, the door itself is very heavy. For another, you first need to remove the molding itself – screw by screw. Cutting the paint or varnish line on the interior side of the moulding will make it much easier to remove. 

screen-door-on-sawhorsesOnce it is successfully loose and in your hands, grip the door by both edges and gently tip it toward you – roughly a foot into the room. Lift the door out of the track one edge at a time and then carefully set it on sawhorses. It’s time to turn your attention back to the track, because you now have direct access to the rollers.

Remove the screws holding the rollers in place and then carefully remove them from the track. Is their condition similar to that of the door track before you washed it? If so, then this may in fact be the issue. If the damage appears a little more permanent that, then remove it and replace it.

You’ll be able to find new rollers for your door at major home retailers and lumberyards. The old rollers themselves will bear the name of their manufacturer, so finding the right replacements shouldn’t be too difficult. Enjoy watching your sliding door actually slide again!

Too Hard?

If fixing a sliding door is starting to sound a little difficult to you, don’t feel bad. You’re right – it’s a huge headache that no one should really have to deal with.

Even if you’re the type who lives by their hands, a project like this is probably going to take you a few hours at the very least. You’re also going to need to lift an unwieldy screen door off its track – which, if we’re going to be very honest, is difficult for most people to do alone. And even after all of that, you’ll have to find the rollers. Fixing a sliding door is a major drag! Of course, you could  do it yourself – but do you have to? 

Well, heck no!  Why not make a call to your friends at Odd Job?

A single phone call and you’ll have secured a booking with a team of bonded, insured, and fully licensed professional handymen with a great attitude who have repaired every type of door you can imagine. Just give us a call at (416) 520-1161 or take a few minutes to fill out our nifty online “book-a-handyman” formschedule your visit today

Furniture Maintenance: Your Headache, Our Passion

Furniture Maintenance Services

Furniture Maintenance Fail

How many times has this happened before? Even if it hasn’t, you get the idea. Furniture maintenance is

ikea video game

Hardest game ever?

It was only a year ago that the game Home Improvisation, which lampoons the issue, was developed for the 2015 Global Game Jam.

In September 2015, actor Ryan Reynolds posted a video to GQ that featured his abortive attempt to build a crib purchased from the furniture store.

In short, assembling Ikea furniture is an enormous headache – and one you don’t want to subject yourself to unless it is absolutely necessary.

Why should you need to decipher

There are many things things that you can do yourself, but don’t have to.Not only will our professional technicians will help you with the problems that you can’t solve, they’ll also take the tedious, exhaustive and time-consuming chores like this right out of your hands.

Read on and see for yourself why Odd Job Handyman Services is your private army in the war to reclaim your peace of mind from multinational furniture cartels!

Furniture Assembly

Odd Job - Furniture Assembly Services

Odd Job is proud to be the only full service handyman company in Toronto that offers furniture assembly and maintenance services. Can’t understand manuals without words? You aren’t alone. Lost the instructions a couple of days ago? It happens. 

All you need to do is make a single phone call and one of the best fully licensed, bonded, and insured home technicians that Toronto has to offer will be en route to your home. For an additional fee, we’ll even source the furniture ourselves. We’re here to take care of you. 

furniture tuneup

Buying new furniture is fun; it’s like buying new clothing, only for your home. It usually ends with your family cruising home triumphantly, anticipating the appearance of the new furniture.

That is, of course, unless they’ve been around this block before. If they have and they know what often follows, then the ride back is marked by anticipation of arguments, despair and occasionally a few conversations about separation or divorce. 

Now imagine if every time you went through this, you could skip over the bad vibes and right to the part where the furniture is all assembled properly, looking amazing and every piece is exactly where you’d like to see it. Book our team and you can consider that dream a reality.

Furniture Maintenance

retightening screws

There’s something even more frightening than the prospect of assembling a new set of Ikea furniture, and that’s watching it fall apart. Thought the assembly itself was frustrating? Imagine watching all of that stress and rage go to waste because the screws weren’t in tight enough. 

You might laugh, you might cry and you might develop homicidal tendencies. Whatever the case may be, you don’t want this to happen. 

The solution is semi-regular maintenance – re-tightening or replacing the hardware, and even completely reassembling the unit(s) for better performance.

You might say that you shouldn’t have to do this, and we’d agree. The simple fact, however, is that you do – even Ikea admits it: “The product will keep longer by retightening the screws from time to time.”

That’s why Odd Job is rolling out another new service: furniture maintenanceGive us a call or book online and our team will:

  • Re-tighten the screws and fixtures of every unit, making them function better and longer.
  • Replace and even upgrade the hardware if necessary.
  • Sanding down the older pieces and then repainting or resurfacing them to restore their former beauty.

Why do we do it?

OddJob.ca

Assembling and maintaining furniture are very small projects, and it isn’t often that they take more than an hour.

Unlike other companies who are happy to charge you for three or even four hours of work when they were in and out in little more than twenty minutes, we are proud of our one-hour minimum fee and plan to stand by it. 

What’s in it for us, then, to offer these services? The answer is simple: there is widespread demand. You are more than “billable hours” to the Odd Job team, and you still matter to us after you’ve paid.

Odd Job was born in Toronto in 2008, and since then we have been local to the core. We service locally and we hire locally.We hang art, assemble furniture and take care of other headaches because they’re just that – headaches.

We are friends and neighbours helping friends and neighbours – we just haven’t met all of you yet. You’re very welcome to change that!

Frugal Homeowner’s Guide to the Universe

Frugal Homeowner’s Guide to the Universe
Frugal Homeowner Life

Home life isn’t cheap – especially not in Toronto. The city has witnessed an increase of 13.5%“nearly $100,000” – in the average price of a single-family home. And when you consider bills, living expenses, property taxes and, of course, repairs and upgrades, we appear to be in dangerous territory.

We can’t all be billionaires, and sometimes it seems like the world was made with only them in mind. But don’t worry – you can save in style, and we’re going to show you how. This is one for the frugal homeowner.

Laminate vs. Hardwood

Flooring 1Flooring 2

Can you tell the difference? If you found it difficult – and believe us, many people do – then you should consider installing high-quality laminate flooring instead of hardwood. Installing flooring can be one of the most expensive projects you’ll be faced with, and so a frugal homeowner should keep the alternatives on their radar.

Flooring 3Laminate is becoming increasingly popular who like the appearance of hardwood flooring but don’t want to lay out around twice the price for little more than authenticity.

The material for hardwood floors comes from trees, and you’re paying a lot for the harvesting process – even more, depending on how exotic the trees happened to be. The material used for laminate flooring is much cheaper, and on average, installing laminate floors is no less than 50% cheaper than installing hardwood

Laminate floors are made from pressed wood, which is far more durable. Unlike hardwood, it is far more resistant to scratching and water damage, and it’s also far less susceptible to wear – even in areas where there is a lot of foot traffic.

The materials, the installation process and the maintenance, in other words, are all considerably cheaper – and on top of that, it looks just as glossy and beautiful. For the frugal homeowner, having ‘real’ wood is a very small price to pay.

Wood vs. Steel

Wood DoorFiberglass Door 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week, we invited our readers to pick a door after taking a look at four of the most popular door types and what each of them had to offer. This article will naturally focus on the economics of buying and installing an entry door.

If you’re a frugal homeowner, you’ll want to avoid wood doors. This is another instance in which wood came face to face with its more affordable imitators and lost. Do they look great? Absolutely – they feel great too. But beyond that, there’s really no practical reason for someone to buy and install a wood door instead of a steel door or a fiberglass door. 

The materials are more expensive and so is the installation. Furthermore, wood doors are considerably less secure and more susceptible to the elements. Because of the latter, they usually require frequent maintenance throughout the year.

Steel Door Turns to WoodSteel doors, meanwhile, are the least expensive type of door on the market – both to purchase and to install. This is despite the fact that they offer more security than either wood or fiberglass doors. Both steel and fiberglass doors are much more energy efficient and require a lot less maintenance.

And with a little paint, you’ll be able to make your bland steel door shine with your favourite colour. You’ll even be able to make it virtually indistinguishable from a wood panel door. Look to the right!

Tiling

Subway Tiles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you look at this bathroom, do you think ‘cheap’? Me neither. The tiling isn’t just beautiful, it’s classic. It’s also $3 per square foot. Yes, the beloved subway tile is one of the cheapest tiles on the market. When it comes to tiling, the frugal homeowner can make some major steals.

Glass-backsplash-8We can’t tell you how many backsplashes we’ve installed this year, and the requests keep coming. And although 2015 is “the year of the tile” to some, many think that their dream backsplash just simply isn’t within their means.

Think again!  Take a look to the beauty on your right. It’s a backsplash composed of glass mosaic tiles, which are on average no more than $11.99 per square foot. One product, for example, is the White Glass Mosaic Subway Wall Tileavailable at a Lowes near you for $6.99 per square foot! 

Ceramic mosaics are virtually indistinguishable from the natural stones that they imitate. In fact, the only difference that I was able to spot was the price. Take, for instance, this ceramic mosaic tile – available at Home Depot for $3.95!

Stay Frugal

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Whether we’re talking about flooring, tiling or anything else, there’s always a less expensive option that will provide a roughly equivalent and sometimes even better return. In other words, there’s no shortage of materials available to the frugal homeowner.

But who installs the flooring? Who installs the tiling? Who installs the doors? As important as it is to save, sometimes we can’t do it all ourselves – or we just don’t have the time, the tools and the relevant talents. In that case, you shouldn’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call (416) 520-1161.

Why? Because since our founding in 2008, Odd Job become the handyman service of choice for every frugal homeowner in Toronto. How? Well, let’s see: 

  • We are leading the industry with our one-hour minimum fee, whereas the standard is generally three hours. We view our clients as neighbours, and beyond that, as friends. We simply refuse to apply a three-hour fee for fifteen minutes of work, no matter what everyone else is doing.
  • We offer free online estimates – these are not quotes, and therefore we will never charge you a dime for them. We want to give you a roughly accurate idea of your project’s scope, size and budget before you place it in our hands – a service that should be free.
  • We offer a ninety-day warranty on all general repairs and a one-year warranty on all new installations.
  • We offer a special discount on your first job, the amount depending on its budget. For example, you can save $125 on a project with a budget of $1100.

And that’s only the beginning. If you really want to know why we’ve come to be known as Toronto’s top handyman company – and the frugal homeowner’s choice – then give us a call at (416) 520-1161 or book a visit today.

Avoiding the Painting Goofs

Avoiding the Painting Goofs

painting goofs

Almost everyone has tried painting their walls, or perhaps their fence. Many of us didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. Many of us don’t realize that it isn’t as simple as it looks in The Karate Kid.

There are pitfalls – common ones – and the purpose of this article is to help you avoid committing what we have termed painting goofs.

Goof #1: The Wrong Coat of Paint

wrong paint

This, friends, is a painting goof.

There’s an old phrase: “Garbage in, garbage out.” Traditionally, this old truism applies to the input of incorrect information into a computer.

What do you think happens when you bring the wrong materials to a project?  That’s why one of the worst painting goofs – and the first we’ll look at – is choosing the wrong paint.

Every amateur has done it or can reasonably expect to at some point. As it turns out, selecting the right paint for your project involves a lot more than your favourite colour. Many factors come into play – for the purposes of this article, we’ll take a look at two of them.

deep tint - prime for deep coloursDid you intend a darker colour for that wall? Don’t just splash on the black. It’s not going to look right. You need to warm up your walls with a tinted primer – we recommend gray, which will serve you quite well under most darker coats.

Cover all your bases and check with the folks at the paint store, though – tell them your project and they’ll know exactly what product you should use.

Glossy Green Wall

Are you painting over a wall that has seen years of food stains, scratches and even remnants of graffiti left by the little ones?

Do not use a high sheen. Many amateurs make the mistake of thinking that they can hide the rough history of their walls in a sea of gloss. It’s actually the exact opposite.

See the beautifully glossy sheen on the wall to the right? Would you want it shining like that if it was covered in scratches and stains?

The moment natural light touches your ‘gloss-washed’ walls, the ramifications of your painting goof will become all too clear – just like every scratch, scuff and stain. A high sheen will highlight your wall’s blemishes. Save the gloss for walls that should shine! 

To fully explore all of the ways you could choose the wrong paint would require several articles. In summary, the amateur painting technician is walking into a minefield of painting goofs.

If you aren’t fully confident in your talents you might want to call or book your friends at Odd Job. We have a painting services division composed of expert technicians who specialize in painting interiors, and you can trust them to choose the best paint for your project!

Goof #2: Cutting Corners

Cutting Corners with Bart SimpsonOne thing that The Karate Kid can teach us about painting, and it is that patience is key.

There are a number of tedious processes that come before brush meets wall – and those processes themselves all have their own rulebooks.

Whenever you marvel at a beautifully painted surface, know that a lot of time, effort and frustration were sacrificed for it. For a professional painting services technician, cutting corners is anathema – worse, it’s a huge painting goof. 

The number of treacherous shortcuts that tempt the amateur painting technician is another subject for several articles, and many of them present themselves before the brush has even been picked up.

In many cases, that’s precisely the problem. If you want your walls to look like the kind you’ve seen on television, there is absolutely no substitute for washing, patching, caulking and sanding. Even rushing through a task like mixing the paint can result in disaster. There’s no two ways about it: skipping to the fun part is a painting goof and one that will always result in a below par project!

Goof #3: Cleanup Catastrophes

painting mess

Ya dun goofed!

No one likes messes. They’re a major pain – and in many cases not easily reversible. Painting is an inherently messy trade, and everyone knows that accidents happen – most major mess-ups in this area, however, are preceded by colossal painting goofs.

Some of these are fairly basic. Don’t paint from the can. It’s really the painting services equivalent of drinking your orange juice from the jug, and with much worse results. You creating a very real possibility for that can to be knocked over and for the next few hours of your life to be spent trying to clean up a gallon of very expensive paint. Furthermore, your brush will almost always pick up far too much paint when you dip it into that can, and that makes for a much messier project.

Splattered Baseboards

This kind of painting goof scars the amateur for life.

Always protect your baseboards with masking tape. The best painting technician in the world will leave spatters of paint on the baseboards if they aren’t first masked, and an amateur armed only with knowledge from The DIY Network is going to fare far worse. We recommend a strip of 2 inch tape for each baseboard. This should shelter them from the fallout of your project.

Wait for one coat of paint to fully dry before painting another. Applying a new coat over one that is only partially dry will loosen the latter coat and cause some of it to come off onto the brush or roller. The result of this is a big mess and a big painting goof. You don’t need to be an expert to dodge this one, though – just consult the drying instructions on the back of the can and remember: patience!

Never let your roller touch the floor in areas where the baseboard has not been installed. You don’t need to paint that part of the wall – the baseboard will beautify it for you. When your roller is that close to the floor, you are running the risk of picking up dirt, hair and a variety of other things that you don’t want in your finish! 

Goof-free Painting Services

No Goof Painting

This article could have been a lot longer – and I mean a lot longer. There’s no beating around the brush (sorry) – an amateur is no substitute for a professional painting technician. This isn’t to say that you or your neighbour’s friend can’t paint a wall right – it’s to say that the amount of research, preparation and more make it much less fun than it looks.

But that’s where we come in! One of Odd Job’s mottos is: “You can do it yourself, but you don’t have to.” Odd Job exists to make your life easier. Give us a call at (416) 520-1161 or fill out our nifty “book-a-handyman” form and schedule your visit today!

Home Buying Tips from Odd Job

Home Buying Tips From the Folks Who Fix Them

home buying tips

It’s been said many times, and it’s true: buying a home is very likely the most significant financial commitment you will make. Many who have recently accomplished this goal, however, are not happy.

Did you know that no less than 80% of homebuyers regret their purchase? These were the disturbing findings of a survey of 2,000 U.S. adults who were at least 25 years old and possessed a driver’s license. For many of them, this was the first time they had made such a purchase. Why did so many Americans soon regret what must first seemed like a dream come true? 

As home prices in Toronto continue to soar, we’d like to offer home buying tips that will help you make the right purchase the first time.

Homebuyer Homework

Surprisingly, the majoHome Buyer Homeworkrity of the respondents were disillusioned with their purchase because of issues that they should have known about in advance.

Arguably the most important of our home buying tips is to do your homework. This seems like a rather obvious bit of advice, and someone might easily respond: “Where do I start?” For the answers, we’re going to look to the survey’s respondents – the real, everyday people who found themselves in the situation we want to help you avoid.

No less than 25% of the survey’s respondents actually said that “they wished they had researched their new neighborhood or neighbors.” Fully 14% “wished they’d researched the local schools.” More than 20% wished that they had researched the local property taxes, and 22% “wished they’d researched homeowner insurance costs.”

What’s truly amazing about this is that virtually all of their issues could have been avoided fairly easily. Information about property taxes could have been obtained with a five-minute visit to a website like Realtor or from the real estate brokerage responsible for selling the property. Questions regarding homeowner insurance could have been answered by the real estate agents. 

POINT_logoInformation about the neighbourhood is even easier to obtain. People and Organizations in North Toronto (POINT) is a local non-profit group that provides detailed information about the city and its resources, including lists of hospitals and clinics, legal services, schools and much more. They even offer comprehensive maps showing where all of these can be found around the city – such as this one, showing the city’s transit stations and

Every major city – not just ours – has organizations like POINT that are dedicated to providing as much information about the community as possible, and finding them isn’t hard.

Before you finally purchase your home, you and your family should come together and create two lists. The first list will contain what you want your neighbourhood to have. The second will contain what you don’t want it to have. List the items in order of importance, and then hit the books – or the web!

Homebuyer Hype

before-and-after-staging

The next of our home buying tips is simple: don’t believe what you see.

Everyone knows that food never looks as delicious as it does in commercials. It is very carefully prepared – or ‘staged’ – before it is placed before the cameras. The lettuce is greener, the tomatoes are redder and only the camera angles which best illustrate that will be on the air. The same is true for advertising property.

homestagingad

There exists an entire field known as home staging and as the name suggests, it’s all about making a home look as appealing as possible to prospective buyers like you. There were times when all this meant was a little cleaning and moving things around.

In other words, there was once a time when the savvy buyer could get some sense of what the home would look like without the stagecraft.

Nowadays, people will empty out all of their own belongings and then hire a professional staging company to give their home a full-scale makeover. They will invent open spaces where there clearly won’t be any, removing necessary appliances like microwaves and refrigeratorsThey make it look like a different house.

Some of our home buying tips might seem a little obvious. “Don’t believe the hype” isn’t great advice by itself, is it? So let’s look at it this way: when being led through a staged home, you’ll want to visualize your life and your belongings there. Analyze each room and figure out exactly what its purpose would be once you move in.

Start imagining where you would put your coffee maker and where your considerable movie collection will go now, because the beautiful furnishings and artwork the stagers have put there isn’t going to be there – your stuff will.

Don’t bum out, though.. your new house can look like that! There’s no reason you can’t see your favorite photos and artwork hanging on every wall. There’s no reason you can’t have beautiful furniture and beautiful furnishings either.

Odd Job can do all of that, repairing your space and then upgrading it – and unlike the illusory beauties installed by the staging companies, the changes we make to your space are there to stay!

Preparation is Key

home-buying-preparation-checklist-740x285

Not all of our home buying tips are about avoiding a bad purchase. It’s equally important to be prepared when you find the right one. Imagine you’ve found the ideal home – one that could have come out of your dreams – but you end up losing the bidding war because you don’t have your financing worked out? It happens more than you might think. Ensure that you have a pre-approved mortgage before your house hunt begins. It’s very easy, and you can complete the process online.

Another of the most important home buying tips is to always get a home inspection. Many people think they’re saving a few hundred dollars – and they are, but they’ll be saving thousands if the inspection uncovers maintenance issues that will turn into larger problems if they aren’t addressed. This happens all the time. 

Catch the small issues before they grow and you won’t need some enormous, multi-week operation to repair them. You’ll just need to arrange a visit or two by your friendly neighbourhood handymen!

Stay Savvy, Toronto

Family Enjoying New Home

When you’re looking for a home, someone is also looking to sell you something. When someone is looking to sell you something, you have to keep your wits about you and ask questions. When you’re prepared, you know what you want, and you know what is being offered, you’re in the position to make a big decision – no regrets. Stay tuned!

Tile Backsplash: A Trend That Won’t Die

Tile Backsplash: A Trend That Won’t Die 

beautiful tile backsplash

Some popular interior design bloggers have been referring to 2015 as “the year of the tile” and we have to agree! 

Partial BacksplashPeople won’t stop requesting tile backsplashes – and not just in their kitchens and bathrooms anymore. People want them covering entire walls: take a look at the results of a backsplash project that left client “Darren S.” loving Odd Job!

We’ve probably installed more than a hundred of them since the birth of our company in 2008, and along the way we’ve learned a lot about just how important they are. Many homeowners have told us that the first compliments they receive from guests almost always regard how gorgeous their backsplash is.

The possibilities for yours are virtually endless. There’s a reason why every classy restaurant from Subway to Starbucks has done everything but make them a part of their policy, and it’s because they are the very definition of eye candy!

Your kitchen can look like this too.

Your kitchen can look like this too. Book us today!

The backsplash serves the homeowner in two ways:

(1) It protects your wall from water and accidents such as cooking splatters. Mishaps that would normally cause permanent damage to your wallpaper or to your painted walls suddenly become easily removable when they collide with the stark tile surface of your backsplash!

(2) Backsplashes are incredibly beautiful, and can truly enchant your space with an incredibly powerful mood – one of your choosing. The tiles you choose will determine the vibration of your room – whether you opt to go for traditional, modern or anything in between!

One fact that remains undeniable is that adding a kitchen backsplash will raise the value of your home. Elizabeth Gatlin, a commercial real estate consultant in Nashville, Tennessee, emphasizes their importance in an article entitled Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Home Value Now:

“I recently recognized the value backsplashes can add while co-chairing the LSNA Celebration of Home Tour this past year. One of the houses intentionally requested a home partner that helped with tile so they could install a backsplash.”

“The home partner, Louisville Tile Distributors, supplied all of the tile and tools, the home owners had to help with the labor, and it turned out to be gorgeous! After hearing of this steal of a deal from the home owner, I took the time to notice if the other homes had a backsplash. Though some did and some did not, and all of the homes on the tour were incredible, the kitchens that stood out all had beautiful backsplashes.

A good tile backsplash makes an impression.

Back to Backsplashes: Odd Job Style

backsplash behind sinkWhy should you call Odd Job for your backsplash project? Because we know what we’re doing.

In the last two years, we’ve successfully completed more no less than thirty of these projects. In every case, the clients were left extremely satisfied – and why not?

You don’t need to take our word for it either. Just take a look at any of the photos featured in this post if you ever find yourself wondering “What in the heck is Odd Job Style?” 

One project was particularly memorable. It was a breezy summer day when our office received a call from a young man who was quite unhappy with the appearance of his kitchen. Was anything broken or scratched? No. Stains? No. He wasn’t calling for repairs – he wanted an upgrade. 

Before Backsplash 1“The walls are kind of, you know, blah,” said the male voice on the other end of the phone line.

Alex and his mother Ruby had recently moved in to their pleasant little home. It was in good repair and they had not yet had to make the dreaded trip to Angie’s List or Homestars. They had always found the soullessly white walls of their new kitchen to be rather boring, however, and it was starting to get to them – particularly Ruby.

“I feel like I’m in a mental hospital!” Ruby had complained to her son. It had gotten to the point where the two were eating out just because no one really liked being in that room.  Because of those walls, she said, it “just didn’t feel like home.”

After Backsplash 1We pointed out that the counters and cupboards were all dark in colour, and that a mosaic tile backsplash could work beautifully in the room. After showing them a few pictures not unlike those featured in this post, they were completely sold. “How soon can we do this?” asked an excited Ruby. The team arrived a week later with the tiles and the tools.

After several visits, our team wrapped up the project and Alex and Ruby were now telling anyone who would listen about their beautiful backsplash – a mosaic composed of glass, granite and metal tiles. What do you think?

Beautiful Backsplash

Notice how the tile backsplash jives perfectly with their countertops! The walls aren’t exactly “blah” now, are they?

“Not only was the work complete, but it was done so well. And not only were the folks who came here so friendly, but they were fast as well. There’s really nothing to complain about, and I will definitely be bookmarking oddjob.ca!”
– Ruby A.

“These guys are the real deal. They don’t stay longer than they have to, and they keep you in the loop at every step of the way. If you’re looking for a handyman in Toronto, you’ve got to check out Odd Job!”
– Alex A.

Happy Splashing!

Stunning Backsplash

Another stunning backsplash, courtesy of your friends at Odd Job!

The tile backsplash is one of those trends that never dies. It’s been ‘in’ for as long as anyone can remember, and there’s no sign that this will change.

So if you like the work you’ve seen in this post and have an idea for your own backsplash, give us a call at (416) 520-1161 or just take a minute to fill out our online booking form. Bring your vision.. we’ll take care of the rest!

Hiring Technicians: Join Us

Hiring Technicians:
Do You Have What It Takes?

hiring technicians

Odd Job has been serving the City of Toronto since 2008. From the beginning, we’ve been developing a reputation as the city’s best handyman service – for clients and employees alike!

As the celebrated “season of home improvement” is coming closer and closer, we are hiring technicians.

Do you have what it takes?

Odd Job Style

DSC_0035

Aren’t you tired of putting up posters and hoping for enough calls to make ends meet? Or working for a company where you’re little more than a number and the upper management is barely aware of your existence?

Odd Job is not simply a company – it’s a team. While we’re bettering homes and businesses every day, we’re also working to better each other. 

Would you like to meet and work alongside awesome people who are good at what you’re good at and can help you get better? 

Would you like to be a valued part of a family instead of one more gear in a massive, borg-like machine? 

Then you might be in luck: we’re hiring technicians. At Odd Job, you will:

  • Receive training in the areas of work we perform.
  • Work alongside the company’s leadership, to whom your opinion will matter.
  • Meet and help people around Toronto every week – beats putting posters up on telephone polls!
  • Be provided access to power tools and construction materials for all standard projects.
  • Travel from project to project in a sweet-looking mobile workshop with everything you need!

All applicants must have have their own tools, must live in Toronto, and must have a valid drivers license (G). 

What is a Senior Home Technician?

home service technician

Don’t worry – you don’t need to have eight arms like Dwight!

Our senior home technicians form the core of Odd Job Handyman Services. With extensive skill and experience in all of the services we offer, they are our first line of defence. If we were an army, they’d be the generals. If we were a law firm, they’d be the senior partners.

Since we aren’t any of those things, the role of the senior technician within the company is a cross between the baseball team’s most valuable player and its head coach. They should have at least 10 years of experience and they should be very good at what they do.

We are looking for candidates with a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, and who are highly skilled in organization, interpersonal communications and time management. We want to see a high attention to detail, and an exceptionally high level of accuracy.

The position is physically demanding, and involves bending, crouching and kneeling. You will be required to lift heavy loads up to 35 lbs., sometimes moving heavy furniture, equipment or supplies.

As a senior home technician, you will also specifically be expected to:

  • Perform a wide variety of handyman tasks, including (but not limited to): drywall, flooring, tiling, hanging, interior and exterior painting, furniture assembly, shelving installation, basic plumbing and basic electrical.
  • Coordinate multiple small projects in a single day and take a leading role in larger projects, supervising one to several junior technicians.
  • Maintain professionalism and friendliness in all communications with clients – after all, they’re your neighbours who you haven’t met yet.

What is a Junior Home Technician?

JuniorHandyman2

Our junior home technicians assist the team by playing a vital support role to senior technicians in virtually all of the capacities listed above. They should have at least 3-4 years of experience and should be skilled in the use of all hand power tools and workshop tools.

A good candidate will have a strong work ethic, a positive attitudea high level of accuracy and great attention to detail. They will be excellent at taking instruction, and will have excellent interpersonal skills that should be used both in communications with clients and with other technicians on site.

As a junior home technician, you will be expected to:

  • Assist with a wide variety of handyman tasks, including (but not limited to) tiling, carpentry, drywall, interior and exterior painting, basic plumbing, and basic electrical.
  • Work efficiently with minimum supervision, both independently and as part of a team.
  • Participate in a multiple small projects around the city in one day, or participate in a larger project.
  • Maintain contact with the office and keep them informed as to any issues and as to what you and the team on site needs.
  • Be able to use all workshop tools and power tools.

Apply Now

Handy Army

Odd Job is known for many things – for quality, consistency, and complete honesty and transparency with our valued clientele. We are increasingly becoming known as Toronto’s premier handyman service, with scores of ten-star reviews.

We are also becoming known unofficially in local professional circles as “the handyman service that won’t stop growing.” We tripled in size last year, and we’re hiring technicians now because we know there is awesome talent out there that we have not discovered yet.

Tell us about yourself, and include your resume. Send an e-mail our way: help@oddjob.ca

Weathering the Storm: A Guide

Weathering the Storm: Your Guide

How are you weathering the storm? A “special weather statement” was in effect for Toronto in effect until 3 PM on the afternoon of February 25, and we listened to heavy rains for the remainder of the night. Freezing rain warnings went into effect in cities all over the GTA.

Weather Warning - Environment Canada

The following weekend was almost unsettlingly warm. Those of us who were outdoors in the early morning hours last Sunday began to wonder if spring had really come early as we unbuttoned our coats. A storm warning was once again issued for our city last night, and similar warnings have gone out across Ontario.

weathering the storm

           Welcome to Ontario!

The weather is fluctuating wildly, and spring is but weeks away. Homeowners across the city are weathering the storm in anticipation of the celebrated “season of home improvement.”

If you’ve ever wondered some of the basic things a handyman might do on their in a storm, then you’ll want to read on. A few members of our team were brainstorming about this very subject, and since “the season of home improvement” is often the season of rain as well, I thought you might be interested.

Avoid Electricity

electricityinthehome

You aren’t outside, but your power lines are. Using the water or electricity during the storm isn’t a good idea – using a corded phone, a desktop computer, or using power tools are all dangerous risks to take.

Environment Canada warns:

Once indoors, stay away from electrical appliances and equipment, doors, windows, fireplaces, and anything else that will conduct electricity, such as sinks, tubs and showers. Avoid using a telephone that is connected to a landline.

If there is a power outage, one of the very first actions you should take is to unplug everything. When the power is returned, you don’t want everything to turn on at the same time. This is a recipe for power surges, and it could very easily destroy your electronics.

It’s true that weathering the storm – for thousands of us, at least – has always involved a desktop computer with games, movies and all of the information in the universe. To stay safe, really rough it and open a book.

Avoid Water

StayAway

The brave souls who are weathering the storm outdoors should treat it with respect and refrain from taking unnecessary risks.

Many people – especially children – are injured trying to cross through moving water during a storm. Do not underestimate the strong current of the water – it’s stronger than it looks.

The City of Toronto states:

Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

According to the U.S. National Weather Service, the second-largest cause of flood-related deaths “is due to walking into or near flood waters.”

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to cross through water, walk where it is not moving and use a stick to test the firmness of the ground.

Car Upside Down in Water

One place you shouldn’t be weathering the storm is your vehicle. Your car is not as unstoppable as it looks, and driving during or immediately after a storm greatly increases your chances of having an accident.

Never drive through flooded roadways. Six inches of water will generally cause you to lose control of your car and will cause it to stall. A foot of water will cause the vehicle to float. Two feet of water is enough to carry any passenger vehicle away. 

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control:

On average, flooding claims the lives of 89 people each year. Most of these deaths occur in motor vehicles when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways.

If you find yourself driving at the onset of a severe storm, you’ll want to make it home as fast as possible. The only problem is that everyone else on the road will have that same objective, and the laws of the road will seem to mean much less than they did when the sun was shining.

Driving through storms, in other words, forces you to fare with both unstable weather conditions, wet roads and the reckless behaviour of many other vehicles. The best vehicular strategy is really to plan ahead and avoid the road.

Weathering the Flood?

nightmare flood

Weathering the storm is a little difficult if you’re also contending with a nightmare like the one you see above. Unfortunately, every home is at risk of basement flooding – every single one.

The City of Toronto has a really informative webpage that explains the causes of basement flooding and how you can reduce the chances of it happening to you. But what if it already is?

First, make a call to your utility company and tell them to shut off your gas and your electricity. The flooding often damages gas lines and causes gas controls to malfunction.

Similarly, when the power returns the floodwater may very well be electrified. As such, you should make no attempt to clean it up yourself until you’ve been assured that the power has been disconnected.

When it is time to clean up, protect yourself with rubber boots and gloves. The floodwater in your basement is highly toxic, containing sewage backed up from your drains and likely a number of harmful chemicals from various products stored downstairs.

Preparation is Key

CO_detectorWeathering the storm is quite difficult, and preventing it is absolutely impossible. Preparing for it is easy, and will save you a lot of stress and loss.

I went to members of our team and said: “Think fast – what would you stock to prepare for a really bad storm?”  I got some interesting answers.

“CO Detector” was a common first answer, and I soon realized why. One of the first things many people do when weathering the storm is to draw heat from as many possible sources as possible, including heaters, fireplaces and gas stoves.

All of these – and anything that burns, really, produce carbon monoxide. This is why power outages often lead to carbon monoxide-related deaths. For example, a 52-year-old man and his 72-year-old mother in Ontario were tragically found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in December 2013, after an ice storm that led to an extended power outage. According to CBC:

Police say a gas-powered generator was running in the garage to help heat the home. Though the garage did not have access to the house, the CO fumes managed to seep in.

You have every right to heat your home during a power outage, but be sure to equip your home with CO detectors – available at every home retailer – and keep your generator outdoors, at least ten feet from your house.

water-supply-storage

Crazy or well-prepared?

Other common answers were “gas,” “cash,” and “water.” Many people do not realize how different the world is without electrical power.

At the risk of sounding slightly like a “prepper,” you should keep a supply of water. In an extended power outage, you’ve been cut off from your source of water.

Even the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross advise in their publication Food and Water in an Emergency:

Store at least one gallon per person, per day. Consider storing at least a two-week supply of water for each member of your family. If you are unable to store this quantity, store as much as you can.

The best containers to use are the ones specifically designed to hold water, available at camping supply stores. Wash these with dish-washing soap and then thoroughly rinse them before use.

If you choose to use plastic bottles, disinfect them with a teaspoon of non-scented chlorine bleach mixed with a quart of water, and then rinse extremely thoroughly. 

ATM Out of Service

Why gas? The gas station cannot use fuel your vehicle – which is your emergency transportation, your charging system for cell phones and other mobile devices, and very possibly your only heated space.  It’s therefore highly useful to have a supply of gas in the event of an extended power outage.

Why cash? If you do not have a supply of gas, water and anything else you might need, you’ll have to make a run to buy them. You will not be able to withdraw money from the bank, and the machines used by the stores to process credit card and debit payments will obviously not be in operation either.

Rebuilding

End of the Storm

Your house isn’t simply where you live, eat and sleep, but it’s where you retreat for protection from events such as violent storms. When the sun shines through the clouds and peace returns once again, take a look at how your house fared.

Odd Job has been servicing the entire City of Toronto for eight years, and we’ve encountered countless storm-related home maintenance issues over the years.

Our fully licensed, bonded and insured team of professional handymen is highly experienced in responding to many of the issues examined in this article – flooded basements, for example:

drywallrestorebeforedrywallrestoreafter
BEFORE                                                    AFTER

Were there plumbing and/or electrical issues? We maintain a small team of highly experienced plumbing and electrical technicians who are ideally suited to assess some of the issues

Were the interior walls damaged? Our drywall technicians will fully restore any damaged or discoloured areas. If you like, we’d be happy to send our painting technicians to fully refresh these areas.

Don’t wait – have your home fully repaired at the first opportunity, because you deserve it. Give us a call at (416) 520-1161 or fill out our online form and schedule your visit with us today!

Home Inspection Scams: A Guide

Home Inspection Scams: A Guide

beware home inspection scams
As of now, there is nothing protecting consumers from home inspection scams. That may be about to change.

Bill 165, if passed, will make it illegal to conduct home inspections without a license. It was tabled today by the provincial legislature.

watching home inspection scams

Who inspects the inspectors?

Promises had earlier been made in October 2012 to tighten home inspector qualifications. No substantive changes were made.

Then, the Ontario Real Estate Association and the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services were planning to establish “a panel of experts to review home inspector qualifications in Ontario.” That was in 2014.

Consumers are beginning to wonder how long Bill 165 will be on hold.

Until the passage of legislation mandating licensing for home inspection services, the doors are open for unqualified ‘professionals’ – many of whom are incompetent or worse. Home inspection scams, in other words, have legal amnesty in Ontario.

HolmesInspectionNo less than Mike Holmes has written at length about the problems created by the lack of regulation in the home inspection industry.

Holmes, who has been consulted by the Ontario government on the subject, is one of the loudest of the voices challenging home inspection scams. He has been taking on people who are unqualified to perform the services they offer and snakes on legs offering nothing more than their poisonous oil.

“I think we need to do something about the home inspection industry,” Holmes told Marketplace in 2010. “It’s obvious that it’s not working.”

In the past we’ve taken a look at scams in the handyman services industry. We’d like to join Holmes’ cause and inform our audience exactly how to avoid an inspection you’ll regret.

Conduct Your Own Inspection

YourOwnInspection

You shouldn’t have to play any part in an inspection you’re already paying upwards of $300 for. It’s crazy and unfair. However, the unfortunate reality is that you do. Home inspection scams like this are the reason why.

Theresa Denton had fulfilled the dream that so many young Canadians nurture for so long: she had purchased a new home.

She was very happy until a local told her that the home had been a grow op for ten years.  This was confirmed by subsequent investigations of her residence.

Denton became increasingly horrified as she learned for the first time of issues that anyone, let alone a purportedly ‘professional’ home inspector, should have immediately seen.

MouldyAttic
Ms. Denton discovered mould growing all over the attic walls – something that wasn’t mentioned at all.

“He had a flashlight,” Denton told Marketplace. “Either he’s not telling the truth, or he’s just completely incompetent.”

The tragic mistake that Ms. Denton made was presuming that the service she received would be thorough. Had she peered in the attic herself, she certainly would have noticed the mould – and so would you.

This is why you need to conduct your own inspection before and during the work of the home inspection service. They won’t be able to gloss over the major issues if you’ve found them first.

The Toronto Star and Repair Home have published excellent articles that provide comprehensive lists of the red flags you should be on the lookout for.

Crack in the Foundation

Four key areas to focus on are: plumbing, drainage, electrical wiring and roofing. 

When purchasing a new home, you can reasonably expect that extensive repairs may be necessary in these areas.

Roof Cupping

Severe roof cupping

The roofing ages like every other part of the home, and with constant exposure to the elements telltale signs of this will begin to surface.

You should be looking for cracking, curling, blistering, splitting, cupping, insect damage, and sections that are rotting or missing.

Furthermore, specifically ask the home inspection service about whether any of these issues were detected on your roof.

StandingWater

Standing water at the foundations.

Another area to pay close attention to is drainage. Is the land graded so as to allow water to drain off your property?

If not, this could create ‘standing water’ around the foundation. This can in turn damage the foundation over time, resulting in cracks like the ones you see above. Stagnant water also creates other issues.

According to the World Health Organization“Pools of standing or slow-flowing water provide a breeding ground for many insects, including mosquitoes that can transmit diseases.”

toofewoutletsYou should also be particularly concerned about the electrical. Do you see any exposed wires? Not only are these ugly, but they can very easily become a severe tripping hazard.

More importantly, does it look like there are enough outlets in the home? If there are too few, this can place stress on the electrical system. This is one of the main causes of residential fires.

Conducting your own inspection of the home is important. You’re not a home inspector either, though. Your only advantage is that you care a lot more than some fly-by-night bandito does. That’s why it’s equally important that you inspect the home inspection service itself.

Inspect the Inspector

home inspection scams 2

Rob Parker, a professional home inspector who is certified with the Ontario and National Associations, wrote in April 2013:

Unlike British Columbia and Alberta, where home inspectors are required to be licensed, in Ontario, home inspectors aren’t licensed or even required to belong to any professional association.

This means anyone can call themselves a home inspector. Though many do belong to a professional association, each body has its own requirements, which range from having to pass college-level courses plus practical experience to completing an online test.

Similarly, Mike Holmes, who now operates his own home inspection service, said in August 2015:

I’d look at a report and it wasn’t even worth the paper it was written on. And I was seeing this happen, over and over again. Couples would look at a house, get a home inspection, and then not even a year later — sometimes the same day they move in — the problems would start to show up. A leak here, mould there, dangerous electrical.

These are not cheap fixes. Before you know it, the homeowners would practically go bankrupt just trying to make their home safe. That’s unacceptable.

Erica Johnson, host of Marketplace, has written:

In most provinces, anyone can hang out a “home inspector” shingle, and if they give you bad advice, your only recourse is a lengthy and costly court case.

So how does the homeowner protect themselves from these home inspection scams?

The best safeguard available to you is vigilance – ask questions. But which questions? Here is a starting list:

1. Are you certified? How and by who?

2. Are you insured?

3. How long have you been inspecting homes?

4. What were you doing before you started inspecting homes?

HomeInspectionReport

One method of evaluating your home inspection service is to ask for a sample report. Any legitimate inspector or inspection service should be able to e-mail you one.

If the sample report is 3-4 long, look for another inspector. A comprehensive report is generally 20-50 pages long, with colour photos and annotations.

Here’s another method to see if your inspector is a dud: ask about the length of the inspection. A comprehensive home inspection will usually take at least three hours and often longer.

Elizabeth Weintraub, a seasoned real estate expert and a broker at Lyon Real Estate, recalled an amusing example of the ‘quickie’ inspection:

An inspector in Sacramento, with a reputation of performing inspections in 90 minutes or less, once popped his head into the attic and declared the insulation was installed upside down when it was, in fact, installed correctly.

Lastly, you should attend. If your schedule does not allow you to be present for the entire inspection, you should at least be there for the last thirty minutes.

Take this chance to request a “walk-through” in which the inspector will provide an overview of the issues s/he discovered. Even if your inspector passes all of the previous litmus tests, the best way of gauging their credibility is to watch them in action.

Stay Vigilant

home-inspection-1

Getting a home inspection is actually a very good idea. Don’t let this guide turn you off!

Staying alert and asking the right questions will often protect you from both the criminals and the clowns.

The Home Safety Checklist

The Home Safety Checklist

home safety

Our homes mean many things to us. it’s where we eat, sleep and for many people, it’s where we see the most important people in our lives. Most fundamentally, however, it is where we feel safe. It’s where we take refuge from the threats of the outside world – harsh weather, wild animals, and humans with dark motives. Home safety is of central importance.

Perhaps it is because of our almost blind trust in the protection that our dwelling provides that we don’t often think about threats within our home, despite the fact that the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) has recorded that accidents in the home cause more than 6,000 deaths every year. “More accidents happen at home than anywhere else,” they record. 

Of course, it is the most vulnerable members of society – children and the elderly – who are most often the victims. ROSPA states that falls are the most common of these accidents. Indeed, U.S. News confirms: “Falling is the leading cause of unintentional home injury deaths.” 

How can we protect ourselves and those we love most? Read on, because the Odd Job team has some amazing home safety tips that will save you time, money, and a trip to the emergency room. We’re going to take on three of the most common causes of falls.

Light Your Path

Safety Lights - Stairs

The World Health Organization stated that “20% of falls occur at night” and that is not at all surprising. Not only is there less visibility, but factors such as exhaustion and fatigue make accidents even more likely. There is a simple solution to this hazard and it is the installation of an interior lighting system.

As important as home safety is, many people might feel that setting up a system of lights in the night is a little excessive. “What about the electricity bill?” they ask, and it’s a good question. Battery-powered LED lights – available at most home retailers – are effective and very affordable.

Safety Lights - Stairs BYou don’t need to string them through your entire house either – just focus on the areas where slipping, tripping and falling is most likely to happen: hallways and stairways. Outdoor stairways and walkways are also very dangerous areas, and you can purchase solar-powered lights for these spaces. 

Many of the lights available are motion-sensitive and will only turn on when you movement is detected at a distance of around six feet. 

In the end, you’ve greatly enhanced the safety of your home and you aren’t wasting your electricity bill or even your batteries. 

Upgrading the Terrain

Carpet Runner

Stairs – they’re necessary where they exist, but they’re also one of the greatest known threats to home safety.

According to the National Safety Council, stairway accidents claim about 12,000 deaths every year and roughly half of these occur in the home.

According to the same study, fully 84% of the victims are over the age of 65. 

Evil Stairs

Is Prof. Templer correct? Are stairs evil?

John Templer, Regent’s Professor of Architecture at the Georgian Institute of Technology and author of The Staircase, went as far as to tell the L.A. Times: “There’s no such thing as a safe stair. It doesn’t exist.”

This may be the case, but there’s no such thing as a safe walk in the dark either. As we’ve seen, however, there certainly are ways to make them much safer, and there are similarly ways to make stairway accidents much less likely.

One way you can make accidents even less likely by remembering to keep all stairways completely free of clutter at all times. This will make tripping many times less likely. Slipping is a different matter altogether.

The National Safety Council didn’t specify how many of the accidents occurred on hardwood stairs, but it’s safe to assume that this accounts for at least a great number of these accidents. Hardwood is as beautiful as it is slippery.

The best solution is simple, straightforward, and quite comfortable: install a carpet runner. Like the safety lights, carpet runners are available at every major home retailer. Carpet and flooring stores will offer much more variety. Select a skid-resistant or ‘non-skid’ carpet runner.

The installation process can be a little difficult. Your friends at Odd Job, however, have extensive experience installing carpet runners. It’s a project we’ve done numerous times and always with gorgeous results

There are even paints with “grit additives” that can actually add friction to surfaces like stairwells, and we would be happy to apply this method to your slippery staircase too. 

Establishing Boundaries

child looking out window

One of the most basic items on your home safety checklist should be establishing barriers where falls might be expected. The Middlesex Children’s Advocacy Center tells us that no less than 15,000 children in the U.S. “are injured as a result of window falls” every year.

There are many basic practices you can implement in your own home without removing your wallet from your pocket. Always keep beds, sofas and any other furniture upon which your children could climb away from the window. Always keep toys, food or anything else that might attract children away from the windows. Always keep unopened windows locked.

Window Guard - Quick ReleaseThe most solid solution to this home safety dilemma is equipping your windows with stops and guards. These will also be easy to find at any major home retailer.

Be absolutely positive, however, that the guards you install are themselves equipped with quick-release mechanisms – if they do not, these safety mechanisms could easily backfire in an emergency situation.

Unfortunately, an open window is far from the only gateway to potentially fatal falls. We must once again return to do battle with one of home safety’s foremost enemies: the flight of stairs.

 

stair guardens

“How am I going to fall down the stairs now?!”

Slipping down the stairs is one thing. In March 2012, using hospital records, the medical journal Pediatrics conducted the first nationally representative study of stair-related injuries in children. From 1999 to 2008, an estimated 932,000 children – that’s 100,000 children every year – have fallen down the stairs. To put it simply, a child falls down the stairs in America every six minutes.

The solution to this home safety issue is highly obvious and highly effective: install guard rails and, at the top of each stairwell, a safety gate.

Stay Safe

Odd Job's Home Safety Division

Odd Job Handyman Services views safety as one of its core company values – for both employees and clients. Our entire staff is fully insured, and safety is one of the very first precepts taught at our Handy Academy.

Home safety means more to us than anything else. Our clients all live in the same city we do. You’re our neighbours – in some cases literally so. That’s why we’ve done extensive research in the field, and consulted with some of the leading city’s leading home safety experts. We have in fact written and published articles on the subject.

If you’d like us to implement any of the safety precautions we’ve explored in this article, or you just need us to change another light bulb, feel very free to drop us a line at (416) 520-1161. Even easier, fill out our online form and schedule your visit with us today! 

Five Holiday Home Improvements

5 Holiday Home Improvements

holiday home improvements

Most of us feel it in the air. Nostalgia doesn’t lie, and when we start to hear those warmly familiar songs and films again, we know it’s that time of year.

It’s that time when light, sporadic flurries decorate the great outdoors, and when every fifth or sixth house shines in the night with holiday hues.

nathan phillips square treeIf it wasn’t official after November 15 with the 111th Santa Claus Parade, then it certainly was after last Saturday.

The city witnessed the 49th celebration of the Cavalcade of Lights, and the towering Christmas tree of Nathan Phillips Square lit up once again. Shining almost like a giant beacon, the tree unmistakably signalled the arrival of the holiday spirit in Toronto.

Many of us are still scrambling to find the perfect gifts for our loved ones.

Some of us, however, are still thinking about visitors. T’is certainly the season to expect them, and if you’d like to receive them with pride, some holiday home improvements may be in order.

1. Watch Christmas Classics in Bed!

christmas tv mount

Let’s face it – for better or for worse, television has become a part of the holiday experience. For many of those in the last couple of generations, it doesn’t feel like Christmas without the annual family screening of  It’s a Wonderful Life.

That’s why one of the first holiday home improvements you should consider unwrapping for your family is the wall-mounted television set.

The home theatre system is becoming increasingly popular, and the film industry has recognized this. They’re actually releasing the latest, greatest flicks to home video at the same time they’re hitting the theatres.

It’s a safe bet that at least someone in your home is pining away for one of those residential silver screens, and it’s probably a little outside of your budget. If you’d like to give your family a real treat, mount one in each of their rooms. For years, they’ll be talking about “the year we started watching TV in bed.” 

2. The Right Lights

home-decor-lighting-for-christmas-2012-a-ravi-L-WG7jgM

The holiday spirit isn’t really ushered in by the films, the music or even the Cavalcade of Lights. It’s the rituals we all take part in as a society, and there’s nothing that establishes the atmosphere more than when your entire street is illuminated by the glow of Christmas lights. 

For many, this is one of the most important holiday home improvements, because it’s about creating the feeling that Christmas is here. That’s what “the holiday spirit” is – a powerful feeling – and your objective here is to create it in your own home.

Christmas HouseIt’s as if many of us would like to announce the arrival of the holiday season, perhaps trying to signal St. Nicholas himself and ensure him safe passage across the night sky.

Sometimes it seems like the various houses are competing with one another, seeing who can best observe the festivities, who has the most holiday cheer.

Occasionally, you’ll find a display that really distinguishes itself.

First and foremost, though, holiday home improvements are about your space – your family, your guests, and the feeling you get when you walk in the door. This brings us to the interior side of holiday lighting.

Interior Christmas Lights

Sure, spreading the spirit in your neighbourhood might be important – but don’t forget your family!

For the little ones at least, the lights decorating the halls is a part of the magic and a part that soon becomes irreplaceable.

3. The Christmas Makeover

christmas kitchen

If you really want it to feel like Christmas, stringing up some lights and having a great tree is only the bare minimum. We’re talking about holiday home improvements here, and so let’s bring out the holiday decor.

Systematically declutter each room – or at least those where you’ll be entertaining company – before anything else. You’re making room for magic – out with the gear, in with the cheer.

After you’ve made space, give every room a brief cleaning – wipe down the windows, window sills, mirrors and on – then thoroughly vacuum. 

Christmas ROomNow it’s time to build Christmasland.

Don’t just stop at lights – decorate your space with ornaments.

It’s a good idea to start high – hang decorative balls and stars on the ceilings and upper walls. This will ensure that your visitors have enough breathing room, and it will also leave open spaces that you might want to use later.

A giant nativity scene? A life-size cardboard cutout of Mr. Claus himself? The possibilities are virtually unlimited.

Throughout the city there are a number of stores that have extensive Christmas sections. You’ll be able to find all of the materials you need to create a holiday experience people will be talking about for years!

Christmas Decor in BathroomTwo rooms you’ll want to focus on are the kitchen and the bathroom, because it’s a safe bet that your visitors will be seeing both.

Go all out – break out the stars, balls, paper chains and everything else in your holiday arsenal.

Last week, designer Cheryll Gillespie shared some interesting ideas as to how you can create a “calm and soothing environment” in your bathroom.

All you need really is soft, neutral colours, nice tiled textures and atmospheric lighting. Incorporate these features into your bathroom and then add a few festive features for good measure.

Your bathroom is the only room where people won’t be congregating (hopefully) and so here you can create a refreshingly calming refuge from the intensive partying the rest of the home.

4. Festive Flooring

High Quality Hardwood

It might not be a seasonal update, but new flooring breathes fresh life into your space like nothing else. According to HGTV, the installation of hardwood floors is the number one request from both homeowners and tenants when they’re looking for a home.” 

Like all of the holiday home improvements we’ve featured, this one is about creating a mood – a feeling. The natural beauty of your hardwood floors will improve your spirits and those of your visitors. And unlike the other upgrades we’ve discussed, this one won’t go out of style after December 25.

Hardwood Floors Glowing

It will give you an awesome return, though. USA Today conducted a survey of homeowners and found that no less than 54% will pay more for a home with hardwood floors.

All of that aside, you’ll love the way it reflects the light from your festive lights! 

5. Deck the Walls With Precious Memories!

family

What makes the holidays special? We’ve got so many names for the holiday spirit, but what is it? It’s the memories.

The time you spent with friends, eating a delicious feast with your family, or seeing your cousin again for the first time in how long. Why not personalize your holiday wonderland by decorating the halls with the memories that have made Christmas special to you? 

Christmas PictureYou might argue that hanging pictures doesn’t do much for the guest experience, but that isn’t necessarily true.

Firstly, you can supplement your displays of memories with seasonal artwork and pictures. If you like showcasing your children’s artistic talent as much as some of us, this might be the perfect opportunity.

Secondly, the pictures add a little bit of persona. This is your holiday wonderland and as much as you should be thinking about your guests, they’ll appreciate a little bit of human touch.

It might well be that your guests are in those pictures – or at least, they will be next year. And the only thing better than seeing memories is reliving them with the same people who were there with you. There’s no better time for that than Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

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Christmas isn’t really about the decorative ornaments, the pretty strings of lights or even that wall-mounted flat screen TV you’re hoping to unwrap this year. It’s about the people in those pictures your hanging.

It’s about good times and good people. As long as we keep that in mind, that indescribable magic that comes only once a year will never disappear. 

Mould-Proof Shower – Create Your Own

Mould-Proof Shower – Create Your Own

Mouldy Shower

Mould Proof Shower StallAre you tired of seeing thatOkay – we know that it’s almost never that bad. That doesn’t change the fact that everyone reading these words right now has seen bathroom mould, and what you see is nothing compared to what you don’t.

Bathroom mould is generally viewed as an inevitable homeowner hardship, and not without reason. Kitchens and bathrooms are obviously high-moisture areas.

But what about a mould-proof shower?

Imagine if mould and mildew never plagued the surfaces of your shower stall at all. Imagine if the unseen interior of the stall stayed dry, no matter how much use it saw. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

We found that Brad Elkins – a homeowner, not a handyman – may have fulfilled this dream in 2012. He used new materials and with a new approach, and we’d like to summarize his findings for you.

Brad Elkins - Kerdi Board TilesIn creating his mould-proof shower, Elkins did not opt to use water-resistant drywall.

He used Kerdi-Board, a product manufactured by Schluter that serves as “a multifunctional tile substrate and building panel.” 

The company states that the product can be used to create “bonded waterproofing assemblies with tile coverings” and, as you can see, this is precisely what Elkins did.

After stripping the walls, Elkins began by covering the studs with 3/4” Kerdi-Board. This protected the wall, but not the corners, seams and on top of the washers and screws.

He troweled some thinset mortar on these areas in order to secure a sheet of Kerdi – widely available and powerful waterproofing membrane – in and around these gaps in his mould-proof shower’s defenses. 

Waterproof Floor Uncoupling MembraneThe walls, corners and even the seams were covered by a powerful membrane, but Elkins needed to protect the floor as well.

Many people make the mistake of believing that the tiling itself will protect the flooring – it doesn’t.

Instead, Elkins used an uncoupling membrane – another widely-available product from Schluter, made from heavy plastics – to cover his floor before installing the tiles themselves.

This left the floor’s corners and seams as the only remaining areas around his shower that were unprotected. And considering he still had an abundance of Kerdi left, this wasn’t a problem.

According to a 2009 study, Canadians use an “alarming” amount of water. A mould-proof shower is, in other words, precisely what this country needs.

You can read more about Elkins and his successful project here. If you found this article a little too late, don’t fret – our team of drywall services technicians specializes in such projects. Give us a call at (416) 520-1161 or fill out our online ‘book-a-handyman’ form and schedule your visit now!

Winter Condensation Problems: Best Solutions

Solving Your Winter Condensation Problems

winter condensation problems

You’ve almost certainly seen this before. Perhaps not to this degree, but we’ve all woken up after a brutal winter night to a very wet window sill.

Canadians have become all-too-familiar with the winter condensation problems that surface in any region where the temperatures are cold enough.

Your windows ‘sweat’ the same way that the cool surfaces in your basement do. When the humid air inside your artificially-heated home meets the freezing temperatures on the other side of the window, condensation will begin to appear on the glass.

Condensation MouldThe effects of winter condensation problems are absolutely detrimental to your home.

The finish of the window frame itself will be damaged, and the moisture will create an ideal breeding ground for mould. Dry the sill with a towel whenever necessary.

If you find yourself needing to wipe it down periodically throughout the day, then this is an indication that your home has ventilation issues and it’s then that the ramifications of winter condensation problems become much more serious.

In a home with such poor indoor air flow, condensation will start occurring inside  the walls and attics. This will lead to the unnoticed growth of mould, mildew and other such fungi – well, unnoticed until it ‘blossoms’ into a situation like the one above and to the left.

What’s causing  the winter condensation problems? We are. Everyday parts of the human routine such as cooking, drying clothes, taking a shower and even breathing all create moisture, as does the heating system you use to warm your home on cold nights.

Exhaust Fan in KitchenHow then do we solve the problem?  Identify all of the high-moisture areas in your home – think kitchens and bathrooms – and install an exhaust fan in every single one. Every time someone takes a bath or a shower, the exhaust fan should run for the next 15-20 minutes. 

The one downside to this solution is that the exhaust fans will draw warm air out of your home, and in this weather that’s something no one wants.

After all, that’s why we close all our windows this time of year. The upside is that it’s an affordable and efficient means of ventilating your home.

HRV Schematic

There is a wonderful alternative and it would remove the issue of heat loss – however, it will set you back more than $2,000.

The heat recovery ventilator – also referred to as an “air exchanger” – extracts around 80% of the heat from your indoor air before sending it outdoors. Simultaneously, it draws the fresh air outside into your home and releases it – nicely pre-heated – into your home. Pretty cool, huh?

Stay Warm!

Every problem has a solution, and winter condensation problems are no exception. Older, drafty homes never faced condensation because the holes around doors and windows formed a natural ‘ventilation system.’ With the technology available to us today, we no longer need to choose between cold and mould.

If you need help installing exhaust fans, a heat recovery ventilator or anything else, reach out. Remember: “When the job is small, you know who to call!”

Separating Contractors from Con Artists: Spotting Handyman Scams

Spotting Handyman Scams:
What to Look For

handyman scams

Have you ever gone into some obscure, shady little auto repair shop for a relatively minor issue only to discover that you’ve supposedly been playing Russian roulette every time you’ve pulled out of your driveway for the last few weeks?

Or perhaps you’ve received an e-mail or a phone call from someone alleging that your computer is infected, and offering to exorcise the viruses if you’ll just allow them access to your computer?

The unfortunate truth is that there are snakes in the grass of every professional field, and handyman services is certainly no exception. In fact, it’s a minefield of scam artists, one-man basement operations of questionable credibility, and mysterious men who appear out of the blue to offer their ‘services’ unsolicited.

It is of paramount importance to know both the best places to look and the things to look for when trying to hire an honest, qualified professional. We hope the information provided here will help you understand the difference.


Mystery Men

As in most other professions, the con artist will often makes the first move. Take the case of Billy Smiley, an elderly retiree in Indianapolis who lost $76,000 after three men appeared at his door and told him that there were severe issues with his roof. “They made it seem like they were doing me a favor,” he said.

Before long, the men had destroyed his roof in the course of the ‘work’ he paid for and felt that it was too late to back out of making further payments to the men. Unfortunately, handyman scams like this are anything but uncommon.

‘Informing’ you of supposed problems they’ve observed from outside your home is only one of many ways these handy-vampires will persuade you to let them in. Others will use the flattery approach, telling you that they were just passing through the neighbourhood when they saw your home and found it so impressive that they’d like to perform some work on it so they can use it as a model for their services.

No matter what their story is, don’t be deceived by the appearance of sincerity. These snakes have told the same stories to countless different people, and have had enough practice to fly under the best intuition radar.

The best way to protect yourself from these handyman scams is to simply avoid them by always being the one to make the first move. Take the contact information of the mysterious ‘good samaritan’ and tell them you’ll call them if you decide to take them up on their offer. 

If they attempt to pressure you into making an immediate decision, then that makes it even more likely that they aren’t what they claim to be. Never sign contracts on the spot and never let them inside your home. They may well be trying to assess your home security system in preparation for a burglary, and identifying valuables that they’ll later steal.

Odd Job Handyman Services will never have people at your door or on your street trying to pressure you into booking a project. You call or book us. We advertise our existence primarily through the reputation resulting from our unmatched standard of quality and efficiency, and our honest, transparent pricing. Our glowing reviews at Homestars speak for themselves, and you should always take a look at such sites before deciding to call any professional – especially one who approached you. 

Odd Job's Mobile Workshop

This is no basement operation!

Take a look at our mobile workshop, which transports our team from project to project and stores all of the supplies necessary for each one. It is virtually impossible to miss the name and phone number of our company if it passes by.

If the mysterious handyman “passing through your area” is doing so with an unmarked vehicle and has no visible connection to an accredited reaction, this should give you additional cause for concern.

To avoid suspicion, many con artists will claim to be associated with your heating utility, your hydro company, or something similar in order to give their handyman scams an air of legitimacy. No reputable company will send its employees to pay surprise visits to your home. The absence of prior warning alone is absolute proof that the person at your doorstep is not who they say they are. 

In any of these scenarios, always ask for proof that the mystery ‘contractor’ – if you’ve found them convincing enough to even consider – is licensed and bonded for protection from damages and theft. Odd Job‘s team is fully licensed, bonded, and insured, and you shouldn’t hire any company that cannot say the same.

Money Talks

The prime objective of all handyman scams is of course to rob you financially, and they will want to complete that project – not yours – as fast as possible. Anyone asking for most or all of the payment before the project has been completed is very likely planning on vanishing with your money just as abruptly as they appeared to ask for it. You should be very suspicious if they want a cash deposit.

This isn’t to say that deposits themselves are red flags – a legitimate contractor will ask for a deposit as well, particularly for larger projects. The difference between con artist and contractor here is all about exactly how much they’re asking for, and how they’re asking for it as well. Agree upon a reasonable payment schedule in which a deposit or deposits will be made during the course of the work, but ensure that at least a large portion of the total will be paid afterward. 

Asking for cash up front and then pulling a disappearing act is only the crudest strategy these fakes will use to separate you from your money. Most will attempt a far more elaborate handyman scam in the hopes of a bigger payout. In some cases, such as that of Billy Smiley, they are working with accomplices and may actually appear to begin ‘working’ on your house.

Sometimes the accomplice isn’t another fake contractor, but a lender with whom the fake contractor just happens to be acquainted – a fact that is brought up immediately after you tell him that you aren’t sure you can afford his proposal. Before long the lender has you signing confusing contracts that result in a large home equity loan with a stunningly high interest rate and exorbitant fees.

Of course, the fake contractor is working for or with the lender. Since papers have been signed, the fake contractor likely will do some work on your home. Don’t expect that work to be up to professional standards or even complete, however, as the man has already achieved his objective. If your project requires a loan, always secure one through your own contacts and never through the contractor. Again, always make the first move.

Stay Vigilant

Relying solely on your intuition is a strategy that these con artists will be sure to use against you. Ask questions, check references, and don’t be bullied into anything. Rigidly abiding by simple rules like these will help you avoid handyman scams.

Home Improvement Tasks for Late Summer

home improvement tasks

Home Improvement Tasks: Quick Tips

Summer is by no means over, but with the most brutal part of the heatwave over you’re probably feeling a bit more energy to tackle those long-neglected home improvement tasks. Warmer weather always signals the compilation of summer ‘to-do’ lists, and it’s tough to deny that comfortable air makes completing a few projects around the house much more enjoyable.

This is the perfect time to give your house a thorough examination to assess any damage or wear your property might have sustained during the winter.

A/C Check

If your home is equipped with cooling and heating systems, you’ll benefit from having it thoroughly inspected to ensure that your home is receiving the protection it needs.

Because of the financial consequences, this is one of the most important home improvement tasks discussed here. Neglecting an initial inspection might cause you to use your A/C system at less-than-optimal efficiency and can also lead to larger maintenance issues down the road – especially in the months to come, as the days  get colder!

You should take the time to switch the filter on your air conditioner before you commence regular use, and it is a good general rule to replace it on a monthly basis for the duration of the cooling season. Allowing a dirty filter to remain in place can restrict airflow and make the system work harder and run longer, which will ultimately increase your energy use. If you’d like a more-detailed examination of how you can care for your air conditioning system, and how you can drastically reduce your energy bill, check out our article Stay Cool and Slash Your A/C Bill

Screens Need to Be Seen

One of the home improvement tasks worth elaborating on is care for your screens. It’s the time of year when your windows should be open to outside air.

Opening more windows to allow for greater airflow, however, can also invite many unwanted winged creatures into your home. This is why you should take time to make sure all windows are outfitted with screens that fit correctly and do not have any holes, rips or tears.

You should think hard about replacing screens that have holes any larger than half an inch in diameter. Fortunately, most home improvement stores sell replacement screening at a reasonable price, and installing new screens around your home is an easy summer’s afternoon project. Once your new screens are installed, it won’t hurt to regularly wipe them down to remove dust and cobwebs that are likely to accumulate.

Protect your Patio

Outdoor Wooden Deck Treatment Range

Those spending their time outside are no longer sweltering, but enjoying warm air and cool evenings. You’ll more than likely want to take advantage of these conditions, and your patio should be ready to sustain the extra use without accumulating too much unwanted wear and tear. You might start by thoroughly washing your deck to remove dirt, mold, mildew, and other debris that has accumulated during the winter.

Depending on the type of deck you’re working with, different deck cleaning solutions will be most appropriate, so be sure not to use a cleaner that’s actually meant for a different surface. Applying a fresh coat of rain-resistant paint after thoroughly cleaning your deck will also go a long way towards keeping up your patio’s appearance throughout the summer. For a much more-detailed examination of how you can clean your deck, see our article Refinishing Your Deck With Odd Job! Be sure to check out our special section on deck cleaning and maintenance too!

Inspect Recreation Equipment

Recreation equipment that has been compromised during the winter will be unsafe for children and any other visitors. Take some time to check recreational equipment for sturdiness and mend any gaps in fences before you turn your children loose to play in your yard. You can also give us a call, and we’ll take care of any and all outdoor home repair projects you have for us!  Just take a look at what we did for this backyard playhouse.

As you begin to spend more time outside, keeping your property safe becomes ever more essential. Performing a thorough check on your air conditioning system, making sure all window screens are secure and free of tears, protecting your patio against unwanted wear and tear, and inspecting your recreational equipment are just a few important home improvement tasks to keep on your “to-do” list. as we come out of this city’s latest heatwave! If you need some help, just make a call to (416)-520-1161 or just book our team online!

Hanging Art With Odd Job!

Hanging Art With the Odd Job Team

Hanging Art in a Sixteen-Picture Grid

Odd Job’s family of clients – homeowners and corporations alike – know that we live up to our name.

Everyone has chores that they avoid getting around to and would prefer to hand off to someone else. Some of them are difficult and even dangerous. A perfect example of this is hanging pictures, artwork and other valuables, a specialty of the Odd Job Team.

There are many, however, who are understandably horrified at the thought of paying for a service that might seem well within their ability.

The fact of the matter, is that hanging art safely, properly and in a way that brings the most out of it is a skill much like any other. Improper execution will very likely result in your art eventually falling, causing damage to it and the wall as well.

Any number of books and ‘do-it-yourself’ sites have attempted to provide ambitious homeowners with information as to the nuts and bolts (or nails and hooks) of hanging art on your wall. What you can do with this information largely depends on your own ‘handiness.’

In this article, we will share some of the methods we employ to maximize the beauty of your home gallery so that what you hang receives the admiration it deserves.

The Basics

Odd Job Style: Art that stares you right in the face!

First and foremost among the tricks of this seemingly simple trade should be ensuring that it is easily visible – in other words, not too high and not too low.

The center of the picture should generally be 57-60 inches above the ground, placing it at eye level for the average person. We use the word ‘generally’ because there are other factors that would obviously have an effect on this, such as the height of the ceiling, the home’s occupants and the purpose of the room. It wouldn’t make sense, for example, to hang art too high in a room intended for lounging around!

The key here is to visualize how your art will appear to those in the home, not simply the quality of each piece. This brings us to an issue of even greater importance: setting.

Once again, we must stress that it is vitally important to consider the nature and purposes of the room before hanging art there. Art is all about expression, and that by definition means something different to everyone. This is why many artistically-minded individuals frown on the concept of rigidly matching artwork to decor.

Whether your perspective is practical or abstract, however, it cannot be denied that what you hang will have a symbiotic relationship with its surroundings. The more pragmatically-minded are less interested in art as a vehicle for making statements as they are in using it to evoke emotions – positive or otherwise, depending on their mindset. Nonetheless, the wrong setting will send both of those vehicles down a dead-end street.

Science of Setting

So how can the homeowner be assured that their art jives the right way with their room’s decor? Some of the factors that should be rather obvious: colour, for example.

Neutral colours (such as beige, khaki and gray) create a more calm atmosphere, whereas the opposite effect is achieved with more vibrant shades. A few weeks ago we published a more-detailed article about the psychology of colour, and how the hues you use have a powerful effect on the vibe your room sends to its occupants. All of this should be taken into account when trying to decide which piece of art is right for which room.

Since it is ‘wall art’ we are discussing, the walls themselves are highly significant – not just in terms of colour, but size as well. As a general rule, match the smaller pictures to narrow walls and save the larger works for those big empty spaces.

Large artwork looks bulky and out-of-place on narrow walls, and small pictures – unless they’re hung in a grid or salon-style – look just as awkward when hanging alone in a vast open space. Just take a look at the picture on the right:

Perfectly aligned with the bed - Odd Job Style!

Perfectly aligned with the bed – Odd Job Style!

small-art-above-big-bed

Can you see why we WEREN’T here?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another crucially important part of the relationship between wall art and its setting is furniture. Many people like hanging art directly above couches, tables and other fixtures of the average living space. This works very well when performed correctly.The most important thing to remember is that the piece should not be wider than the furniture it hangs above, as this results in an awkward and uneven aesthetic.

And it can’t be too narrow either – just look at the disaster on the right again! It’s often said that the art should be around 75% of the width of the furniture below it, but a perfect match (as seen on the left – a picture from one of our many successful art hanging projects) also works very well.

The more ambitious homeowner may want to ensure their artwork is given the appreciation it deserves by installing  lighting and remember, we can do that for you too! 

Don’t Let it Shine

Be very careful not to overexpose your artwork to light. This can cause the colours to fade, and also does damage to both the paper and the textiles. This is why art galleries ensure that while the works they display are properly lit, the light levels are highly controlled. Light is measured in lux. Museums generally allow paintings to be subjected to 150 lux, while art on paper is allowed no more than 50 lux.

Art that hangs in the path of direct sunlight is being to around 20,000 lux. If your artwork must be positioned directly across from windows, use blinds, drapes or other window treatments to reduce exposure.

In addition to controlling light levels, avoid using any ultraviolet lights. Ultraviolet light is not only damaging to human skin, but to art as well. In fact, it is more damaging to it than any other form of light on the spectrum. Use incandescent light (which has no ultraviolet portion), ideally shined from low-wattage bulbs and at a minimum level of brightness.

In the home improvement field, making things work is only half of the toolkit. Odd Job is passionate about creating the right aesthetic and with it the ‘feeling’ that the homeowner desires. In this respect, our team views home improvement itself as a form of art, and we observe a home from an artistic perspective as well as a technical one. This is why you can not only trust us to hang art safely and properly, but with respect. Call us today at (416) 520-1161 or book our team online.

The Psychology of Colour: What Your Walls Say About You

The Psychology of Colour: What Your Walls Say About You

the psychology of colour

Are you planning on repainting the walls of your home or business? Know the psychology of colour. Choosing a specific paint colour actually says a significant amount about you and the environment you desire to create.

According to Leslie Harrington, a colour consultant and noted expert on the use of colour in industrial and residential décor: “Colour is a universal, nonverbal language, and we all intuitively know how to speak it. What colour you paint your walls isn’t just a matter of aesthetics. It’s a tool that can be leveraged to affect emotions and behavior.

Gravitating towards specific tones and shades can actually say a lot about your personality. It can also help you put your summer guests in the right mood to enjoy their time gathering in your home.

Here are a few things that the colour of your home can say about you:

Soft, Warm Shades

fiery red room

What of those who prefer the fiery hues? These shades are most often associated with sunshine and roaring fires, especially during the summer months.

Choosing yellow, orange, peaches, or varying tones of pink can signal a cheerful, welcoming personality. These colours produce warm, fuzzy feelings because they actually serve to make your walls ‘spring forward’ and make the room feel much more intimate and inviting.

Soft, Cool Hues

mint-green-room

According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute: “Most reactions to colour come about because of what’s around us in nature.”

Homeowners that associate more closely with pale blues, lavenders, or greens have a subconscious connection to tranquil environments. These shades also have a softer impact on the eyes compared to more intense, bright colours.

Jewel Tones

jewelgreenpaintedbedroom

What does the psychology of colour say about those especially brilliant tones, such as ruby, emerald, sapphire, amethyst, and topaz, among others?

Gravitating towards these colours can signify your outgoing, confident, and creative personality. Because of their brilliant concentration of colour, these tones are perfect for masking small décor flaws. For example, a room devoid of any architectural significance can instantly draw more interest if painted with your choice of jewel tones. They make imposing spaces feel more intimate and emphasize the coziness of small nooks.

Neutrals

roomwhiteinteriors

Neutrals can purvey a powerful sense of permanence. They are perfect for giving your home a classic feel. Most interior design experts liken neutrals in the home to great monuments, marble, or the splendor of an imposing granite boulder.

Being drawn to neutrals typically signals an even-keeled, practical personality, and it’s also perfect for homeowners that aren’t particularly keen on repainting every few years. If you’re specifically interested in using furniture and other accessories to display colour, neutrals are the perfect backdrops.

The psychology of colour is a powerful tool. At Odd Job, we’d like to help you repaint your home or business to create the atmosphere you desire. Call (416) 520-1161 or book our team online.

Why You Should Hire a Facilities Management Company

Why You Should Hire a Facilities Management Company

facilities managementWhat is a facilities management company?

Taking care of a commercial facility is not easy. Every retail or office space comes with its’ own unique management challenges, and smoothly overcoming all these complicated issues can be difficult on your own.

This is where facilities management companies like Odd Job come in. Those repair and maintenance issues that constantly slow business? That’s what we do. If you’re struggling to manage your space as it needs to be managed, here are a few reasons you should consider enlisting assistance:

Corporate Clients

An ongoing relationship with a licensed maintenance specialist can be extremely beneficial to corporations. Maintaining a commercial facility requires a large amount of time and internal expertise, and we are

Even medium-sized corporations rarely have the time or internal expertise to handle all their own facilities management issues. Whether your corporation needs new displays and shelving installed, the floors refinished, walls repaired and painted, art, bulletin boards, and TV monitors hung safely and securely, new walls framed to divide space, plumbing issues repaired, employee washrooms renovated, or anything else you might think of, Odd Job can handle all your small maintenance and repair needs.

Real Estate Agents

Our facilities management services also extend to realtors in the Greater Toronto Area. Are you a realtor preparing to show a property to your prospective buyers? We’ll take care of those last-minute repairs and upgrades so that you can be ready for an open house. Even the smallest improvements can make the difference that closes the deal.

Odd Job can also help with those last-minute repairs that are necessary to help you move a home as fast as possible. Our services include replacing or repairing tiles and grout, repairing drywall and repainting walls, updating fixtures in kitchens and bathrooms, fixing electrical outlets and lights, refinishing decks or patios, and much more.

Handyman Rates

Our rates depend on the length and scope of your project. Our junior technicians work primarily on minor repairs and maintenance tasks at $80 hourly.

Our more experienced staffers make $100 hourly for larger, more complicated projects. Rates for a crew of two handymen start at $130 per hour for general repairs and redecorating requests. Check out the full breakdown of our rates.

The Odd Job Guarantee

We realize that your home or business is probably one of your most valued assets. This is why all new installations completed by Odd Job are covered by a two-year, hassle-free guarantee. Should something go wrong, we are promising to return and repair it at no additional charge. We’d like you to be as confident in our work as we are.

All our repair and maintenance technicians are fully licensed by the city, fully insured (CGL & WSIB), and bonded for theft and damages. Give us a call at 416-520-1161 or book our amazing team online

Things That Go Beep in the Night: Is Your Smoke Detector Driving You Crazy?

Things That Go Beep in the Night: Is Your Smoke Detector Driving You Crazy?

We’ve all been there: it’s around 3 or 4 AM, and the piercing sound of your smoke detector rudely jolts you from a deep sleep. You’re relieved to find that your home is in no danger, but good luck reclaiming your hard-won shuteye! Thoughts such as “Why was it beeping?” and “Will it go off again?” haunt you, and the possibility that you’re going to get enough rest before work becomes thinner and thinner.

This has become a rampant problem for many city fire departments. According to the government of Surrey, for example: “During the past 5 years the Surrey Fire Service has responded to over 8500 activations of commercial fire alarm systems. Less than 1% were actual fires.” 

So what is causing this problem? And what’s the fix? There are several different possibilities, and sometimes the solution isn’t as easy as it should be – at least not for the layperson.

Keeping Your Alarm Healthy

smoke detector

Blast the compressed air into the openings around the alarm to directly attack the dust inside the smoke chamber.

One of the most common causes of false alarms in photoelectric smoke detectors is dust, particularly in recently-built homes. As particles build up inside the alarm’s outside cover or sensory chamber, they reflect light (much like smoke particles do) and create the impression that there is a fire.

Insects can find their way inside the sensor chamber as well, clogging it and creating similar problems. To stop the shriek of your smoke alarm immediately, press the “hush” or “silence” button. If it is connected to a home alarm system, simply type the ‘disarm’ code into the keypad.

The key to preventing this from happening is to regularly clean the smoke detector. The easiest and most effective ways of doing this is to use a compressed air duster, available at most major electronics retailers. You’ll notice that the can is sold with a short tube that can be equipped onto the nozzle. Be sure to do this, as it will make the ejections of canned air much more focused. Several blasts from different directions inside the openings visible around the detector should be sufficient to clean out the inside. Another efficient method is to clean the inside of the alarm is to gently vacuum the inside using the soft-brush attachment.

Even if you clean your smoke detector regularly, there is nothing that fills it with dust and other particles of debris faster than construction, redecoration and renovation projects. Before having construction work of any kind done in your home, have an electrician install a dust cover. This will capture the excess of dust and other debris – just make sure to remove it after the work is done!

If you are hearing routine ‘chirps’ (often occurring in one minute intervals) rather than actual false alarms then the issue could very likely be that the batteries are running out of juice, and while they are usually easily accessible from the front or side of the unit, some manufacturers place them in the back. This forces the homeowner to remove it from the wall or base plate – a difficult and potentially dangerous task for some. If you do not feel confident that you can execute this safely, you should consult an electrician.

There is another cause of the ever-irritating ‘chirp’ and it is wiring problems. A single loose wire is all it takes and the infernal noise will continue until the problem is rectified or you take a baseball bat to the alarm. It can also cause false alarms and even compromise your safety by causing your unit to sporadically turn on and off. Not only are you being subjected to the highly irritating shrieks of your smoke alarm when your house is not in danger, but there’s now a distinct possibility that you won’t hear that sound when you need to. The solution to this is a visit by a qualified electrician.

Household Problems

Fortunately, the cause of the false alarms may well be external to the smoke detector itself, and the problem may be relatively easy to solve. There are many relatively normal household events that can deceive your unit into detecting trouble, and simply moving the alarm to a place where those events are unlikely to happen will usually be sufficient.

Your smoke detectors should ideally be placed at least twenty feet from furnaces, ovens and other such appliances. These produce combustion particles, which will cause a false alarm. More importantly, excessive exposure to these will leave residue inside the smoke detector and eventually destroy it.

Another common cause of false alarms in the household is water vapor and steam. While both of these don’t pose as much of a threat to the health of your unit itself as combustion particles, exposure to a large amount of water vapor for an extended period of time can damage some of its most important components. Your smoke detectors should be at least ten feet from bathrooms, laundry rooms and other high humidity areas. They should also be as far away from fuel-burning sources such as fluorescent lights and heat and air conditioning vents as possible.

Need a Hand?

If you’re experiencing issues with your smoke detector and the solution isn’t apparent, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to arrange a visit by a qualified electrician. That might also be the proper course of action if you have a solution that you aren’t confident you can execute safely and/or properly. Many electricians, however, have bigger fish to fry. Odd Job Handyman Services knows that your small projects are big deals, and if you would like one of our electricians to take a look at your smoke alarm system, just give us a call at (416) 520-1161 or use our online “book-a-handyman” form to arrange such a visit in minutes. Book our team before your unit starts reacting to the smoke coming out of your ears!

Four Ways to Add Value to your Home

Four Ways to Add Value to your Home

add value to your home

Many homeowners have grand visions for renovations that will improve their home’s attractiveness when it eventually goes back on the market. Even if you plan on staying in your home for the foreseeable future, there is relatively minimal downside to investing in value-adding home renovations.

Small upgrades, such as the addition of extra space, can significantly increase the total value of your home. Of course, your home will have its’ own specific areas of need, and you should be careful to invest in projects that will ultimately improve the overall flow and décor of your home. If you’re lacking the creative juices to pinpoint specific renovations you’d like to tackle, here are four ideas that can add value to your home:

Outdoor Projects

after-new-door-installed-painted-beige

 

 

 

 

 

Because your home’s exterior will be the first thing observed by visitors and potential buyers alike, investing in replacing several outdoor facets of your home can be highly lucrative. These types of replacement projects, such as installing a new garage door, siding, front door, or windows, also tend to be less expensive than most indoor remodels. When considering the bottom line, outdoor replacement projects typically bring a highly impressive ROI of nearly 72 percent.

Kitchen Remodel

kitchen repairs

 

 

 

 

 

The kitchen is obviously one of the most used areas of the home, and potential buyers are sure to spend considerable time inspecting the quality of your kitchen when exploring whether or not to purchase your home. When remodeling your kitchen, it’s important not to go too far overboard. Your kitchen should remain synchronous with the rest of your home, which means changing the style in relation to your home’s existing décor can actually detract potential buyers. That being said, most homeowners that invest in a kitchen remodel see at least a 60 percent return on their investment.

Create an Attic Bedroom

If your home’s relatively large attic has room to stand up fully and walk around comfortably, you might consider renovating this area to be used for more than simply storing extras that don’t have a place elsewhere in your home. Especially in a large home that you might sell to a growing family, a creative attic bedroom can become a very important selling point. These projects also, on average, return at 77-84% of the homeowner’s initial investment.

Add Insulation

save-energy-with-insulation

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the ways to add value to your home is energy efficiency. More and more, interested buyers are demanding information pertaining to a prospective home’s monthly, and yearly, energy use. Energy-efficient homes today are selling for much more than their inefficient counterparts.

Insulation can be added around doors and windows, in the basement, surrounding electrical sockets and light switches, in recessed lighting, anywhere ducts or wires run to your home’s exterior, and around your attic hatch. Fortunately, adding insulation is as inexpensive as it is effective. In fact, doing so can help you reduce the costs of heating and cooling your home by as much as 25%.

Making Concerted Home Improvements

While every home will have its’ own variety of improvement needs, there are no shortage of creative, inexpensive ways to add long-term value to your home. Tackling outdoor replacement projects, remodeling your kitchen, creating a functional bedroom in the attic, and adding insulation are just a few examples.

Essential Party Hacks for the Time-Strapped Host

Essential Party Hacks for the Time-Strapped Host

essential party hacks

Planning a summer fiesta can be time-consuming and stressful. If you don’t have a good team of helpers on your side, handling all the party details on your own can be quite overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a number of easy party hacks to help you pull it off without a hitch.

Cookin’ Corn for a Crowd

While corn-on-the-cob is relatively easy to prepare for a small dinner party, properly prepping and cooking a boatload of corn for a summer party can be a much taller task. If you’re trying to cook a few dozen ears, you might try making your own “cooler corn.” If you’re using all your large pots for other dishes, but you’ve got an extra cooler lying around, clean it out and prep it for your shucked corn. Then, simply add a few kettles of boiling water and close the lid. All you have to do now is wait. Your corn should be fully cooked in about thirty minutes and will remain at the perfect level of ‘doneness’ for the next couple hours.

Water Balloon Coolers

Keeping drinks cold can be one of the most difficult aspects of hosting a large summer party. Besides buying an absurd amount of ice, and still having to make a last minute trip when you run out, you might try this creative solution for keeping drinks cold at your party. If you have an unused pack of water balloons lying around, these can be repurposed to create drink coolers. Simply take a few minutes the day before your party to fill as many balloons as you need with water and place them in your freezer. When party time rolls around, your balloons will be frozen and ready to keep your most important beverages cold through your entire party.

Plastic Cup Party Lanterns

If you have a bunch of clear plastic cups leftover from a previous party, these can be easily reused to create additional lighting for your upcoming fiesta. You simply need to poke small holes in each cup and insert them over the individual bulbs on a string of white lights. Of course, you may choose to use a colored string of lights to give your outdoors party a more festive environment.

Bucket o’ Screen n’ Spray

If you’re planning on hosting a party that will begin in the early afternoon and last into the evening, you’ll have to be prepared for the beating sun as well as the onslaught of bugs at dusk. Fortunately, you can easily design your own creative solution and essentially kill two birds with one stone. Before your party swings into full force, take some time to gather sunscreen and bug spray and create your own ‘protection buckets.’ Most of your guests are likely to forget these essentials, so having sunscreen and bug spray handy at all times can keep the focus on fun and off your pesky backyard companions.

Wicker Trash Cans

While trash collection might not be your first thought when planning the details of your summer party, it is, nonetheless, an essential facet of your party’s success. Failing to adequately plan for party trash will only make your cleanup efforts more difficult the following day. While you might be familiar with using smaller wicker baskets for napkins and silverware, the larger baskets can essentially serve as ‘party trash cans.’

Like the other party hacks featured here, this is convenient, disposable and much cheaper than the traditional options. Because they are wide, and very open, they make an easy target for your party guests, even after they’ve had a few strong, adult beverages.

Stay Calm and Party On

Although planning all the details of a summer party can be hectic, a little forethought can help you relax and enjoy yourself when the visitors arrive. If you’re looking for more useful party hacks to help you pull off your summer fiesta, please visit this link.

If you’re reading this a little too late and your party got a bit out of hand, remember: most contractors won’t be interested in the fallout. The broken windows and the stained porches? Not worth their time. Don’t fret: at Odd Job we tackle projects of all sizes. See what your neighbours are saying and book our team!

Path Art Relay Inspires Community

Path Art Relay Inspires Community

path art relay

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Toronto gets set to host the Pan and Para-Pan Am Games this summer, art lovers around the city are already buzzing about the Pan Am Path Art Relay that will be one of the most innovative aspects of the summer’s mega-event.

Games Foster Awareness of Art and Ecology

Martin Reis, tino.ca for PanAmPath,org 2013-15

The event began on Saturday, May 16th, and the first event, appropriately nicknamed Spring!, took place from 1-5 pm in the Humber Arboretum at the Centre for Urban Ecology. According to Devon Ostrom, the event’s curator, “The major themes of this event are around young people, around art, and ecology. And there was also an active living element thrown in there as well.”

Over the course of the summer, there will be fourteen relay events held along the 84 kilometers of city-maintained trails that constitute the Pan Am Path. The finale, titled “Maadaadizi/Summer Journeys,” will be held across the city in Rouge Hill. Prior to each week’s event the Saturday edition of the Toronto Star will provide important information and a detailed map of what is to be expected.

For the City of Toronto, the Path Art Relay is a truly monumental experiment.

Getting the Community Involved

Local partnerships are vital to nearly every event along the relay, but the major partners behind the opening event will be the Humber Arboretum and Arts for Children and Youth. The event is said to include an outdoors component, so participants are encouraged to bring a solid pair of rubber boots. While the event will kick-off with a bike ride at 11 am, a full list of schedule activities can be found here.

The central theme of the Path Art Relay is community. According to James Gen Meers, executive director of Friends of the Pan Am Path, “[The Art Relay] is all about a grassroots, community-led initiative.” Meers was one of the original five DiverseCity Fellows that met with Ostrom to explore different ways to bring Torontonians together in varying areas of the city.

While the city already had a long-term plan for improving trail systems and a considerable sum of money set aside for projects related to the Pan Am Games, they saw a chance to deliver on both fronts at this critical juncture.

“We saw an opportunity to combine forces and try to leverage some of the resources that were being allocated for legacy projects to promote an acceleration of trail-building that was already on the city books,” explains Meers.

Leaving a Legacy

This mural will be officially unveiled at the second Art Relay event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the city looks forward to the events surrounding the Games this summer, it has also considered the lasting effects of hosting such an event. This is why they’ve decided to leave certain art pieces standing after the games have concluded.

Several murals will remain throughout the city, a mosaic will become a permanent fixture under the Dundas West bridge, and a new gallery of Latin American art will stand at the conclusion of the Games.

More importantly, for Meers and Ostrom, is the fostering of a renewed connection between local artists on the city’s fringe and the city’s developing trail system. According to Brent Chamberlain, chair of the Toronto Foundation, “Our board of directors is already starting to bring in a legacy plan around both the next ten years and some other major events that are happening.”

Setting the Stage for Creativity and Health for Years to Come

While the Pan Am Games will be the impetus for renewed focus on art and health in Toronto, hopes remain high that the event will kick off a renewed dedication to the arts and bring more focus to critical human health issues in the coming years.

Toronto’s Top Ten Interior Designers

top ten interior designers

Toronto’s Top Ten Interior Designers

Are you looking for an experienced designer to help you hash out the details of your interior home renovation? Have you gotten any quality recommendations for interior designers in Toronto? If not, it’s important that you do your homework to find the best possible designer for the job. If you’re looking for a designer to suggest various ways in which you can improve your home’s interior design, you should certainly consider the top ten interior designers currently available in Toronto:

Lisa Canning

 

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Lisa has found success in Toronto’s design world with her catchy mission to create ‘blueprints for a beautiful life.’ Lisa has recently appeared on several HGTV shows and she focuses on providing two-hour design consultations centered on helping clients pinpoint strategies for making their space fit their goals, needs, and budget. Check out Lisa’s website here.

Qanuk Interiors


Sarah Keenleyside and Lindsay Konior make up the brain trust behind the success of Qanuk Interiors. They specialize in transforming spaces to give them a touch of their signature, “eclectic sophistication.” Keenleyside and Konior have experience working on commercial spaces and private residences, and they have also made several recent television appearances. Learn more about Qanuk Interiors here.

Mason Studio

ashley and stanley of mason studio

 

 

 

 

The duo responsible for the success of Mason Studio is Ashley Rumsey and Stanley Sun. While only a small portion of their recent work has included designs for single-family homes, they have considerable experience working on exhibition design, hospitality projects, condos, and temporary installations. See more of their amazing work here.

Alex Arnott Design

andreagraydesign

 

 

Alex is quickly becoming a force in the Toronto interior design world, and she is dedicated to helping each and every one of her clients design the space they’ve been dreaming of. She has experience working on projects of all shapes and sizes and she understands the complexities of local architecture. Alex is also committed to staying present during the construction process to ensure the delivery of a satisfactory final product. Check out Alex Arnott’s website here.

Nanique Interiors

Nanette Snel

Located at 153 Sweeney Drive, Nanique Interiors was founded by Seneca College graduate Nanette I. Snel in 1991. Nanette’s decorated interior design career has earned her a number of impressive accolades, including the “Best Interior Design” award from Homestars.com in back-to-back years, 2009 and 2010. If you’re looking for an experienced designer, please check out Nanette’s LinkedIn profile to learn more about her today.

Chic Décor

chicdecorforblogpost

 

 

Chic Décor is a full-service interior decorating and design firm that focuses primarily on contemporary, transitional, and clean-lined traditional design. Chic is owned by Margarida Oliveira, whose creative vision and extensive knowledge of colour, design, and fine art is largely responsible for the firm’s success. Learn more about Chic Décor Design here.

Andrea Gray Design

Andrea Design Group

Andrea Gray Design was established in 2003 and, for more than a decade, Andrea’s work has mainly focused on residential and restaurant projects. Her place among Toronto’s top ten interior designers is well-deserved. With each project she takes on, Andrea strives to reflect her client’s needs in order to meet even the loftiest expectations. Andrea’s work is largely influenced by both classic and contemporary themes, and her designs strive to create harmony and symmetry in the designed space. Check out Andrea Gray Design’s website here.

3 tok Design

Kathy Daukant and Tina Costa are responsible for the formation of this multi-disciplinary interior design firm. Over the years, they have distinguished themselves by constantly exhibiting the ability to generate creative design solutions based on an intrinsic understanding of how people live their lives. 3 tok Design specializes in designing environments with aesthetic beauty, as well as a quality and functionality that enhances the lives of each and every one of their clients. Check out their website here.

Alan John Marsh

alanjohnmarshdesign

 

 

 

Most recently, Alan has been focused on designing interior spaces at the Brewery Lofts. One of his latest efforts features a “hanging” mezzanine that combines wood, metal, and glass. By utilizing race car suspension technology, Alan was able to give the floor a distinct floating effect. View some of Alan’s beautiful work here.

Alexander Interiors & Design

jamiealexander

 

 

Jamie Alexander originally founded his firm more than a decade and a half ago under the name ‘Deco Design.’ Although the firm has recently changed its’ name, it hasn’t altered its’ status as Toronto’s premier provider of top quality furniture lines and design services. The team at Alexander Interiors & Design isresponsible for a number of Toronto’s most compelling interior design showcases, spaces, and homes. Learn more about Alexander and his team here.

Designers Galore

While it might be difficult to select the perfect designer for your project, there’s certainly no shortage of options here in Toronto. These are the city’s top ten interior designers – some of the most skilled and influential professionals out there!

Fighting Mould: Odd Job’s Secret Weapons

Fighting Mould with Odd Job

mould

One of the homeowner’s most familiar foes is the pervasive fungus that we call mould. This menace has been with us for millions of years. It rears its ugly head wherever there is an excess of moisture, utilizing everyday problems such as flooding, leaks, condensation and humidity as its gateways to attack you.

Fighting mould is vital to maintaining the quality of life in your home. It isn’t just ugly, it’s dangerous.

As the U.S. Center for Disease Control states, however, this is only sometimes true: “Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all.” 

Humans and animals can be affected to varying degrees depending on their sensitivity to it. And according to the Mold & Bacteriological Laboratory in Mississauga, around 20% of the human population is allergic to at least one variety of mould.

Indeed, the Institute of Medicine – the health arm of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences – released a report entitled Damp Indoor Spaces and Health on May 25, 2004. Its conclusions emphasize the dangers the fungus poses to your quality of life.

In the brief, the NAS links mould to “asthma symptoms in some people with the chronic disorder, as well as to coughing, wheezing, and upper respiratory tract symptoms in otherwise healthy people.” To humans and animals with weak immune systems, certain types of the fungus can cause an infection.

Odd Job uses two products that are highly effective at fighting mould. Despite the fact that they are sold at some of Canada’s largest retailers, they are surprisingly little-known. In the interest of protecting you and yours, the team at Odd Job would like to share these with you.

fighting mould - mold controlfighting mould - mold stain eraser

Mold Control and Mold Stain Eraser, produced and distributed by Concrobium, are among the most effective countermeasures available. For those fighting mould and mildew in their own homes, you can’t do much better than these babies.

The first is an aerosol that not only destroys the spores when it is applied, but creates an anti-microbial barrier that helps prevent it from reappearing in that area. The second is an oxygen-based powder that is mixed with water before being applied to tough mold and mildew stains.

Unlike bleach, the highly problematic countermeasure employed by many homeowners, these products contain no harmful chemicals.

Homeowners should remember that mould is sometimes only the tip of the iceberg. As stated by the CDC: “If mold is growing in your home, you need to clean up the mold and fix the moisture problem.” 

Odd Job will cut to the root of the problem, investigating and repairing the leaks in your pipes, walls, windows and elsewhere so that your home and its occupants will be safe from this revolting infestation. Take a minute or two to fill out our online “book-a-handyman” form and our team of professionals will be on their way to make your mould move out!

Refinishing Your Deck with Odd Job

big deck

Refinishing your Deck with Odd Job

It’s the time of year when people would like to be biking, hiking, or just relaxing on the deck with friends and enjoying the lovely evenings. If you’re like many, however, this last seasonal activity is impossible because of its shabby condition. You aren’t alone. The combination of frequent human activity, constant exposure to the elements and the passage of time is enough to cause even the best deck to wear out. Even once the most pressing problems have been dealt with and you’ve made sure that it is both structurally sound and generally free of blemishes, you’re still left without what you had first envisioned: your outdoor space as beautiful as it once was. It’s time to apply a new finish, and the team at Odd Job has some great tips for you.

Cleaning and Sanding

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The most difficult and important part of refinishing your deck is preparation. Strip it using a water soluble agent and then pressure wash it to completely do away with the old finish. After giving it a couple of days to dry, it will be time to sand it and deal with those pesky surface fibers that were raised when you first washed it.

Washing and sanding is about more than simply cleaning the wood. It’s about maximizing its absorbency. The more absorbent the wood is, the longer the new finish’s lifespan will be. The problem is that most wood isn’t very well-suited for outdoor finishing projects. New, planed lumber has been so thoroughly polished that it won’t absorb your finishing product very effectively. Conversely, old wood is very absorbent but it’s surface fibers are already somewhat loose and a new finish will pull them off. The result in both cases is premature peeling.

So what is the solution? The world’s largest manufacturer of finishes, Akzo Nobel Coatings, conducted a five-year study to find it. After field trials in Canada and the United States in which various water-based and chemical-based agents were tested, Akzo Nobel concluded that a bright wood surface prepared with a 60-80 grit abrasive powered by a walk-behind, square-buff floor sander produced the greatest level of absorbency and durability. When they tried an 120-grit abrasive, they were surprised to find that the absorbency of the wood was reduced by 30%.

Choosing a New Finish

refinishing your deck

Now comes the fun part: it’s time to decide what you want your deck to look like. Who ever thought that refinishing your deck could be fun? Every chore is an outlet for creativity if you allow it to be.

Consider the different finish products that available to you. Right now there are four main types, all of them with their own pros and cons. The one you decide on will not only determine the appearance of your deck, but also how long it will last and how it should be maintained. If its most serious problems are a few cracks resulting from weather conditions, soak-in stains may the solution. They won’t produce a surface film, but will take care of the cracks and seal out water.

Outdoor Wooden Deck Treatment Range

Those who are mainly concerned with aesthetics might want to consider a translucent, varnish-type finish. A quality finishing product will leave your deck looking like a brand new table. Maintaining this will be very difficult though, as this type of finish needs to be completely stripped and reapplied around every three years.

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If you don’t have the energy or the funds to do this, or you’re more concerned with your deck’s durability than its outward appearance, an opaque, paint-style finish might appeal to you. They almost completely obscure the wood’s natural appearance and thus may take away some of the rustic charm, but will last for about five years. This makes them the most durable of any of the finish products discussed here, and this is due in part to their great resistance to abrasion. If your space sees a lot of foot traffic, an opaque finish may be the product for you.

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There are also clear water repellants, which help protect your deck from moisture and the problems, such as warping, splitting, and cracking, that it causes. High quality products of this type will yield a crisp, fresh look, but you will need to strip, lighten and reapply the finish every 12-18 months.

Furthermore, these finishes don’t repel dirt nearly as well as they repel water. Mark Knaebe, a surface chemist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin, has recommended products based on paraffin oils and preservatives as the most effective clear water repellants.

Refinishing your deck can be treacherous, and it can be very difficult for the DIY enthusiast. The preparation is even more important than the final steps, and making a mistake during either can cause the entire project to go sideways. Odd Job Handyman Services counts deck maintenance among its specialties, and we would like to help you reclaim your outdoor space.

As the days get warmer and warmer, you shouldn’t settle for stains, cracks or anything else that lessens the enjoyability of your space. Dial 416-520-1161 or just take a minute to fill out our nifty online form and within no time members of our highly-qualified team of professional handymen will begin the process of restoring your old dream deck to all of its former glory.

Hot Design Trends for Summer 2016

Hot Design Trends for Summer 2016

Summer is just around the corner, and for those of us eager to be wearing board shorts and tank tops round the clock, it can’t come fast enough. For those in the design world, summer will come with a number of interesting design trends that should be honored.

Spotting new summer trends can be difficult, however, and this is especially true with the ever-changing palettes, prints, and products that designers have to choose from. In recent years, designers have begun to focus more on individuality and personality, rather than simply adhering to long accepted “fashion standards.”

If you’re considering doing a home renovation or redecorating project this summer, you should be sure to know what trends are in and what’s out. In order to make sure you don’t commit a design faux pas, make sure you check out these hot design trends for summer 2016:

Style Fusion

Hot Design Trends - Mix and Match
Mixing and matching has never been more acceptable than in 2016. Use your creativity to incorporate new and old design elements to design a cohesive and stylish fusion. Connecting the old design staples with fresh new ideas will help you create interesting and comfortable living spaces. Using softly curved lines with stunning accents can also create a unique and dramatic interior décor.

Modern Materials

hot design trends - modern materials

Incorporating modern materials will be another popular design trend in 2016. Salvaged wood, stone, and metal can all be used to add a naturally creative design element to the home. Be sure to consider all your options for incorporating wood elements into your home, including rustic, naturally light, exotic, and colorfully stained woods. Glowing gold, majestic bronze, elegant granite, and luxurious marble are also expected to be used widely for interior design needs in 2016.

Organic Design

Ellis Residence contemporary green house architecture

Get set to see many more green spaces with large windows and glass wall designs in 2016. Green walls, indoor water features, and nature inspired decoration patterns can be teamed with fresh shades of green, light gray, beige, and black or white to round out the organic touch to your interior design.

Natural Color Schemes

Summer is also set to ring in a new round of natural color schemes. Natural room colors, bright fabric prints, floral wallpapers, and vibrant interior paint colors are sure to be popular choices in summer 2016, and they give you many great options for bringing a natural element into your interior design.

The Modern-Retro Mix

With the multitude of modern design ideas available for summer 2016, some designers might opt to give their modern design elements a retro feel. Rustic and retro can be combined to create a number of fresh and exciting design styles.

The modern-retro mix is about both style and functionality. Black and white geometrical prints, posters, chalk drawings, and handwritten letters on black painted walls are just a few examples of contemporary design interpretations that will help you create inviting and functional spaces.

Reuse and Recycle

As environmental considerations are coming ever more to the forefront of interior design, second hand, reused, and recycled materials are more readily available than ever. These materials can also prove to be huge sources of inspiration for an interior designer. Reused or recycled materials give the designer a unique way of adding their individual personality to a room or home.

Stay Versatile

When it comes to interior design, staying versatile is quite necessary. As hot design trends fluctuate from year to year and season to season, it’s impossible to hone in on a single “path for success.” Summer’s interior design trends are sure to incorporate a number of versatile design elements, such as organic design ideas, natural fabric prints, pastel tones, and more. If you’re designing a new space this summer, be sure to use all of the fun and creative options at your disposal.

Design your Dream

As summer rolls on, your ability to adapt your designs to current trends will allow you to create fun and inspiring spaces for living, working, and recreating. These important trends are just a few of the hot design developments predicted for the summer of 2016. But let’s not put our shoes on before our pants here! Before enjoying the year’s hot design trends, you’ll need to take care of that to-do list. Odd Job to the rescue! Call us today for a free estimate, and remember, you can use our online form to book our team of professionals in minutes! Prepare your home for the hottest summer style your block has ever seen!

Has Your Home Been Hijacked by Raccoons?

raccoon

Raccoon Infestation: A Homeowner’s Worst Nigtmare?

Spring has officially arrived, and many Torontonians couldn’t be happier. After a particularly brutal winter, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the world is in bloom once again. There were many, however, who had more than the record low temperatures to contend with.

These unfortunates are facing off against the city’s notorious creatures of the night, raccoons, which break into countless homes every year. They take refuge from the elements within your walls, under your deck and often in your attic or inside your chimney, transforming these areas and others into dens where they can safely give birth.

The City of Toronto states that “raccoons breed from January to April; gestation is eight weeks, pups are born from March to June and the litter size averages three to five, which are mobile at seven to eight weeks old and are weaned by late summer.” They are largely inactive throughout the winter, and as a result many people are unaware that there are raccoons in their homes. They may start hearing movement – walking, thumping – and the sounds of screaming, crying, and the tell-tale chirping. These are unmistakable signals that they have established a den in your home.

Threats posed by raccoons to the well-being of your home are numerous. Needless to say, they do not use the front door. Their entry is often accomplished by tearing through siding, vents or ripping the shingles from your roof. Once they’ve established their ‘den,’ they will tear up wallpaper, insulation, and ventilation ducts to assemble the necessary bedding material for their nest.

Raccoons are by nature both very curious and very destructive. They are known to destroy air ducts, wood beams, cooling systems and pretty much anything else they can get their claws on. They will even chew on wires, compromising the electrical systems of the house and potentially killing the raccoons themselves – which will leave an almost unbearable odor that is difficult to remove. Their destructive curiosity is combined with amazing strength and the ability to climb just about anything – certainly a dangerous mix.

Raccoons also present serious hazards to the health and safety of the occupants themselves. In North America, they are well-known to carry three diseases: distemper, mange, and rabies, the last of which can be transmitted to humans and is always fatal if not immediately treated. Most significantly, many of Ontario’s raccoons – figures ranging as high as 80% – carry Baylisascarisprocyonis, a type of roundworm parasite found in their feces that can be fatal to humans. This is particularly disturbing in that anyone whose home is populated by a family of raccoons for any length of time can expect to find an abundance of feces and urine in the ‘den.’

What is the solution?

The city has offered a great page filled with information as to how you can protect yourself and your home from this threat.

If it is too late for that and you are already experiencing this problem, the first thing you should do is contact a humane animal removal company. The Toronto Wildlife Centre has a list of the things you should expect from a qualified service. Do not contact an exterminator or ‘pest control’ business that offers a quick fix instead of providing long-term solutions and conducting a comprehensive investigation. Their answer to the problem isn’t simply superficial and inhumane, but also against the law. As CBC reported in June 2011: “Killing a raccoon is illegal in Toronto.”

Of course, even after safely removing the creatures and sealing the entrance points there remains the damage that was done to your home.

Animal removal companies do not repair your heating and cooling systems, your air ducts or your vents. They aren’t going to bring electricians to resolve the issues created by the damaged wiring. And most contractors aren’t going to be very interested in such small projects. Odd Job specializes in projects precisely like these!

No job is too small for us, and our professional handymen are well-suited to clean up the mess left by the invaders. From within the raccoon stronghold of Toronto, Odd Job is on the front lines of the battle to help homeowners who have fallen victim to these fuzzy marauders!

Ready to book your projects with Odd Job? Click here.

Meet Odd Job’s Mobile Workshop!

Meet Odd Job’s MVP, our mobile workshop!

mobile workshop van

He may not be much of a talker or bring us coffee in the morning but our mini one-stop mobile workshop holds all the tools to get the job done, regardless of how small. He carries supplies and equipement, organized and ready so that our local and professional handymen can help you with all your project needs.

Odd Job Handyman Services

Inside Odd Job’s mobile workshop, tools and supplies ogranized for all your project needs.

Looking to build or re-finish that deck or maybe repair that fence that’s been on your to-do-list for months. We’ve got it covered! Our vans carry saws, lumber and stain. Does your home need redecorating or a fresh coat of paint? Odd Job’s mobile workshop transports drywall and paint supplies to help turn your ideas into a reality. Maybe you’re looking to freshen up your bathroom. From tiles to grout, the van comes fully prepared to address all your project ideas.

mobile workshop van

Don’t forget to grab a card from the back!

At the end of a small or even a large project, our mobile workshop carries all of the necessary equipment to leave your space as clean as it was before we arrived. If you see the van in your neighbourhood wave hello, and also feel free to take a card or two from the back of the van for yourself and to pass along to family and friends.

Fill out our “book-a-handyman” form and in no time our mobile workshop, with its arsenal of highly efficient tools and a crew of qualified, insured professionals will pay you a visit.

Safety for Seniors: Aging Safe

safety for seniors

Everyone deserves a safe place.

Safety for Seniors

Safety for seniors is one of the most important issues facing handymen, handywomen, builders and every other professional in the field of home services.

The majority of seniors want to age at home, as most of us would. This raises a few important issues, however:

  1. The elderly are at a much higher risk of being injured in household accidents.
  2. Most seniors are unable to handle the necessary repairs and maintenance, particularly if they are living alone. With major contractors uninterested in changing light bulbs and repairing door handles, who can they trust?

In the timeless words of Stan Lee: “With great power comes great responsibility.” It is our responsibility as tradespeople to protect and care for our elderly.

We may not be able to contribute our labour, but we have contributed our time and knowledge. If you’re interested in  safety for seniors, read on.

LIGHTING

overhead lighting kitchen

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), no less than 20% of falls occur at night. Simple lighting solutions can prevent such events from happening:

  1. Install overhead lighting in every room and additional lights where daily tasks such as cooking, eating and reading take place.
  2. Install lights at the top and bottom of every staircase in the home.
  3. Position an overhead light above the front door, so as to allow you to see who is knocking at any given time.

FLOORS AND STAIRS

The Royal Society for Accident Prevention (ROSPA) states“Falls are the most common accidents, which can cause serious injury at any time of life. The risk increases with age.”

In establishing safety for seniors in a home, floors and stairs are key areas to focus on:

  1. The best flooring options available for seniors are linoleum and vinyl, as they are very low-maintenance. Add textured strips in order to create traction and prevent slips.
  2. Remove any high thresholds at room entrances. These are among the most common tripping hazards.
  3. All staircases should be flat, their presence indicated by colour. Railings should be added as well.

By adding a light fixture, as well as switches to the top and bottom of  your staircase (as mentioned above), you will have ensured optimal safety when the stairs are in use.

AROUND THE HOME

There are many small additions you can make around your home to ensure the best possible safety for seniors.

  1. In the kitchen, check to see the height of all cabinetry, and if it is easily accessible. All faucets, handles, and knobs should be easily maneuverable. The kitchen space should be compact to eliminate any unneeded movement.
  2. All window fixtures use drapes or curtains, rather than blinds, as they are easier to open and close.
  3. In the washrooms, install grab bars around all necessary fixtures, such as the sink, toilet, and bath tub.

By using these simple tips, and doing some research, you can provide an older loved one with a secure living space. Go through the home, inspect, and run through a checklist. If you feel that something is missing, or would like to add or improve an item in the home, please contact Odd Job today. Our handymen would love to optimize any space to provide the needed home safety for seniors.

If you need help improving your living space, or that of a loved one, contact us for a free estimate and fill out our online “book-a-handyman” form. Our team is on the job.

Power Wash Your Deck the Better Way!

POWER WASH YOUR SPRING SPACE!

Power Wash, Deck Cleaning, Porch Cleaning

Your deck or porch can look this beautiful too!

Spring has arrived — before you entertain guests, or enjoy those relaxing moments outside, why not freshen up your deck or porch with a power wash system from Odd Job? Our handymen will arrive onsite with our specialized equipment, using our process to have your space looking as good as new without damaging the wood from over-pressure, as some companies do.

Don’t wait–give your porch or deck that brand new look with a spring cleaning  from the pros at Odd Job! Book us today! Remember…keep calm. Spring is here!

Energy Saving Tips from Odd Job

Home Energy Saving Tips:

 

energy saving tipsSpring is coming and by following these helpful energy saving tips, you will save your money and keep yourself comfy at the same time.  If you don’t have the time or the tools to tackle any of these projects, fear not: the pros at Odd Job know exactly what you need and how to do it. We are here to help you every step of the way.

1. Consider installing items such as dimmer switches and timers to help you conserve power.

2. When replacing light bulbs in pot lighting or recessed fixtures, keep LEDs in mind. They can provide focused lighting, and last  30x longer than incandescent bulbs.

3.  By adding weatherstripping to your home, you can reduce drafts, and save on heating.

4. Use pipe wrap–it will reduce heat loss and bring hot water to your faucet and shower faster, and will also save electricity related to water heating (Note: do not insulate plastic pipes.)

By incorporating the following energy saving tips in your homeyou can save money for all of your future home projects!

Stay tuned for our next helpful advice and tips! If you’d like to bring our resources and expertise to your home, just fill out our online “book-a-handyman” form and place your project in professional hands!

 

Better Flooring for Less: Transform Your Home!

Hardwood Installation: Magic in Action

If you own a home or a condo, one of the greatest investments you can make is hardwood installation. It is highly durable, easy to clean, and aesthetically pleasing to virtually everyone on the planet.

Removing old, flat and drab carpets while putting down hardwood will revitalize any room, breathing new life into your home and bringing joy to all of its occupants.

Hardwood installation is enough to make any space feel larger and more modern. Furthermore, it drastically raises the value of your home. Fill out our online booking form and you won’t have to wait long before one of our teams upgrades your flooring.

Top Ten Tools Every Homeowner Should Have

Top Ten Tools: The Basic Must-Haves for Handymen and Homeowners Alike!

top ten tools

Ten indispensable tools that our professional handymen are using and that you should have!

Getting a basic toolkit together is easy! Justin, the expert behind Odd Job Handyman Services, lays out the top ten tools that everyone, handyman or homeowner, should have. and explains why every home-owner should have one of their own.

10. Channel-lock pliers
While not a multifunctional tool, it is the only thing that will do the trick when you need to get into the drain under the sink. Go ahead, be the hero who can rescue a dropped earring from the j-trap!

9. A Utility Knife.
Also known as a box-cutter, this will always have an undisputed place among the top ten tools. Be sure to get a knife with a retractable blade, one that is replaceable. That way, you can always use a clean, sharp edge. Utility knives are inexpensive, but they’ll cut through most materials, from moving boxes, to carpet, to thin wood veneer.

8. Adjustable Crescent Wrenches. 
Every tool kit should have adjustable wrenches in two sizes: a 6” and a 14”. Because not every bolt comes loose with the twist of an Alan-Key.

7. Strong Pliers with Built-in Wire Cutters.
Pliers allow you to get a grip where your fingers might not – tight spaces, sharp or heated surfaces. Not to mention that you can bend, strip and cut materials safely and easily with a good set of pliers.

6. A Drill/Driver Combination Tool. Essential to anchoring frames on the wall, everyone should make this their first power tool purchase. Get a combination drill and driver tool that can drill holes in the wall with a drill bit, then seamlessly get to work fastening with flat- and phillips-head attachments.

5. A Tape Measure.
Pick up a tape that’s at least 25 feet long one inch wide. This will be big enough to measure most things and strong enough not to bend for up to 8 ft.

4. A Laser Level.
Sure, you can pick up a cheap plastic level at the Dollar Store, but a savvy homeowner will invest the money in a laser level. You’ll get hands-free, precision accuracy every time, and you don’t have to keep sliding and readjusting as you work along larger surfaces.

3. A Multi-head Screwdriver.
These little guys come with different tips to accommodate different screws.  Ensure that the set you choose has various sized Phillips (cross-shaped), Robertson (square-shaped) and flat heads.

2. A Sturdy Hammer.
The 16oz Rip Claw Hammer would be my tool of choice. It’s a sturdy hammer that is easy to control.

1. My Card!

That’s right – we’ve listed the top ten tools, and number one is, hands down, the Odd Job Team. Property owners, real estate brokers and thousands of homeowners will attest to this, alongside brands like Shoppers Drug Mart, Burberry, Holt Renfrew and LensCrafters.

Sure, it’s great to handle the small stuff on your own, but every homeowner will be faced with projects they shouldn’t tackle alone. That’s where we come in! If your task has taken you beyond these basic tools, give my team of experts a call at 416-520-1161 or use our online “book-a-handyman” form.

Professional Tiling – Witness the Magic!

Professional Tiling – Witness the Magic!

Take a look at some of our professional tiling team’s recent conquests!

One of the many things that makes Odd Job different is that we have specialized teams of handymen for each type of project. When you book with us, our office staff will ‘match’ you with licensed, insured, bonded and identity-and-background-checked professionals.

Our professional tiling contractors will be happy to repair, replace and install your tiled floors – ceramic, porcelain, glass and more.

Restoration

professional tiling repair

As you can see, replacing the tiles isn’t always necessary. In many cases, we’ll simply need to replace the adhesive or selectively target wet or dry areas or replace the grout.

Our professional tiling contractors aren’t like many others in that they’ll be as happy to complete small-scale repairs as they will be to take on larger installations.

Installation

Subway Tiles

Why do we receive hundreds of service requests for tiled backsplashes every year? Why have tiles been a staple of interior design since the beginning of human civilization?

Because they’re easy to maintain, they’re gorgeous, and they allow the homeowner to capture a vibration that is simply indescribable. Our team has decades of experience installing tiles for residential and commercial clients all over the city.

Book or call today, and our professional tiling contractors will ensure that you witness the magic in your home. 

Remodeling a Small Bathroom: New Tiles, Shower Stall & Paint

Remodeling a Small Bathroom – Odd Job Style

This project took six days, and because we didn’t change the position of the bathroom fixtures we didn’t need a permit. Great!

I love this new bathroom, from the clear glass tub doors, to the small brick pattern on the tile surround that is carried onto the floor.  Using this patterns makes the room seem larger while tying every thing together cohesive.  The walls are painted a dark taupe that is carried into the grout on the floor.