Home Insurance: 4 Things that Can Void Your Policy

As Toronto’s #1 Handyman, we know how important it is to keep your home insurance up to date. We’ve seen damage from easily avoidable disasters, and we’ve cleaned up after them. We think our insurance will be there for us in an emergency. But what if there were little things we don’t even think about that could make it all disappear?

We all know that lying to your insurance broker will void your policy, but there are less obvious ways to find yourself left holding the bag. Here’s Odd Job’s list of 4 things that might just violate your home insurance.

1. Leaving the Water On

We don’t just mean leaving the faucets running, even though that’s definitely a no-no. We mean your main water supply. Did you know that an insurance company can refuse to pay up if you go away for more than a few days without shutting off the water? If a pipe bursts while you’re away on vacation, the insurance company can refuse to cover the damages. You should also get a water monitoring system with alert capabilities; that way you can immediately alert the insurance company and show them you took the proper precautions.

Want more tips to prevent and reduce water damage? Click here.

2. Not Keeping Your Home Insurance Broker Up to Date

 

You should let your broker know whenever you make a significant renovation, like building a new wall or room. If your home differs from how you’ve described it initially, even accidentally, they can refuse to pay up. Some changes may not even be covered by your policy.

3. Running a Home Business

This entry is a cautionary tale. I once tried to Do the Right Thing and inform my insurance broker that I was producing art from home to sell, and I was wondering if that would be covered under our insurance plan. Because they were painted wooden items, the ambiguous nature our policy’s classification system led to them being labelled as products of “wood working,” immediately violating our home insurance policy. Before you begin any kind of entrepreneurial activity, it’s important to talk to your broker and get firm boundaries and definitions for what can and cannot be covered. You will likely need a new policy that covers home-based businesses, or you might find yourself out of luck after an accident.

 

4. Avoiding Basic Maintenance

This is the Big One. While you might not see fires, floods, or severe weather coming, many policies expect you to do your part to limit the damage. Remember all that paperwork you received when you signed your policy? That will outline not just your rights and entitlements, but also your responsibilities. Don’t let a small problem become a big headache.

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Maintain Your Deck: 4 Tips

After you’ve done the hard work of replacing your deck boards, sanding, power washing, and then staining your deck, you’ll want to maintain your deck’s new youthful appearance, don’t you? So here are 4 quick Deck tips that will keep you barbecuing and lounging in the sun for months without worry.

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Maintain Your Deck with a Thorough Cleaning

Your first step to maintain your deck is to give it a good deep clean about once a year. This will prolong the life of the wood.

You can scrub a good deck cleaning solution into the wood with a coarse brush. Then, follow that up with a good rinse using a high-pressure hose or pressure washer.

Use the pressure washer, sparingly, though. Incorrect usage of these washers can damage the wood. Get some pressure washing tips at Family Handyman.

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Don’t Use Chlorine Bleach on Your Deck

There are numerous deck cleaning solutions available, from the specially formulated to all-natural concoctions. None of them, however, contain chlorine bleach. This is because bleach can strip the natural colour off of the wood, and damage its internal structure. So if you want your deck to look newer longer, stay from away from the stuff.

maintain your deck

Perform Light Deck Cleaning Regularly

Your job isn’t done after the big, thorough wash. You need to clean your deck regularly of the small bits of dirt and grime that can build up and damage your deck overtime. Things like leaves, tree branches and twigs, or puddles of rain water or snow can cause lasting damage if they’re not removed regularly. And this includes the off-season, too: winter can be the most damaging time for a deck.

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Check For Deck Rot at Least Once a Year

Check your deck supports and ledger for signs of wood rot (the ledger is the part of the deck that attaches to your house). You can check for rot by pushing a flathead screwdriver into the wood. If you can get the screwdriver to penetrate about half a centimeter or more into the wood, you might have rot. Get your deck inspected by a professional, ASAP! Deck rot can lead to a collapse if left unchecked.

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When Things Fall Apart

Even with regular maintenance, a deck will still suffer light wear and tear. But don’t worry, because there’s always your friendly neighborhood Odd Job Handyman to help you sand and stain, replace old boards, and repair your deck stairs. Click here for all of the different ways we can help you maintain your deck: Deck Maintenance Services.

Ask us for an estimate today, and be ready to love your deck this summer.

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How to find a local handyman

How to Find a Local Handyman

Do you need to find a local handyman to tackle your small repair jobs? Here are 4 ways you can find a local handyman for your odd jobs.

homestars.com

Check Homestars.com

The Odd-Job-approved method is to visit Homestars.com. They’re a Toronto-based handyman, repairs, and home services network. And we don’t recommend them just because Odd Job Handyman has won the “Best of” award for Toronto for 3 years running! They connect you with the most appropriate service provider for your task and to-do list, so you don’t have to spend hours looking through Google or the Yellow Pages.

Search Facebook for a Toronto handyman

Check out the Reviews on Facebook

If you want to find a good handyman, why not ask your friends? Any reputable business is going to have a page on Facebook. Facebook offers customers a way to review and recommend local home service providers, so this is a great way to feel out a company before you contact them.

Search Google for local handyman companies

Find Google Reviews

Like Facebook, Google gives you reviews of handymen, and it’s more helpful when you’re searching locally. But beware! A lot of competing companies can post bogus reviews to try to steal clients away from reputable services. You can read our guide to avoiding fake reviews here.

Ask your friends for handyman recommendations

Ask Your IRL Friends

It might be a little analog, but the best way to find a trustworthy handyman is to ask your friends.

But we warned: your neighbour’s coworker’s cousin might know a guy who’ll do it for cash, but they might not be licensed or insured.

Protect yourself: always ask if your handyman is insured. A branded truck and uniform wouldn’t be a deal-breaker, either.

Of course, you can always make it easy: contact Odd Job and get a free online estimate. We’ll handle all of your home repair needs, including art hanging, drywall repair, deck staining, light fixture installation. See everything we do on our services page.

i need a handyman price list

I Need a Handyman Price List

Where can I find a Handyman Price List? Or, why your handyman gives you an estimate, and not a menu.

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A home is only as good as s/he who maintains it.

As Toronto’s #1 Handyman, Odd Job frequently fields requests for a “Handyman Price List.” And we understand why, because we’ve been trying to make hiring a handyman easier for the last 10 years.

Odd Job is one of the only Handyman Services companies that offers A La Carte pricing for simple home repair tasks, but we don’t list these prices on our website.

Why is that?

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It’s because your home is unique. Because your home is a reflection of you, it has its own quirks and special features. Odd Job gets that. No one’s home fits a standard cookie-cutter plan. So, every job is different.

Our A La Carte Pricing represents literally thousands of items. We factor in thousands of variations for each job, from the size of the shelf being installed, to the material that your deck is built from. Then we use this information to provide the most accurate and predictable estimate that we can. You can’t fit that into a “one size fits all” Handyman price list. Most handymen or small contractors end up just charging an hourly rate.

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We don’t want to box ourselves in. Odd Job wants you to be you. That means that we’re open to whatever unique renovation, repair, or maintenance project you’ve got.

If you’d like to see the value you can expect to pay for from an Odd Job technician, Request an Estimate today.

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Hire a Handyman or a Contractor?

When should you hire a Handyman, and when should you call a contractor? Everyone’s got jobs around their home that they might not have the tools, time, or talent to get done on their own. But what jobs should you hire a handyman in Toronto for? And which jobs demand a general contractor?

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The “Honey-Do” List

The handyman’s forte is small work, like the tasks you might put together for a “to-do list” (someday). When things break-down in the normal course of home ownership, a contractor isn’t going to get out of bed to solve your problem. Small jobs, or Odd Jobs, are a handyman’s specialty.

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Licensed Trade Work

Any serious electrical and plumbing work requires a licensed professional. So you should hire a handyman in Toronto to handle small jobs like installing a new faucet or light fixture, larger jobs require an electrician or plumber.

If your handyman says he can rewire your home without a license, get a second opinion.

Full Scale Remodels

A handyman, even one who represents a company like Odd Job, typically flies solo. Because of this, they’re better suited to small repair work that can be done quickly.

A handyman is better at jobs like installing new piece of drywall, or tiling a floor. Handyman technicians can also handle a large number of small jobs (repairing a broken doorknob, caulking a bathtub, painting).

A contractor is for jobs that require the coordination of a large number of workers or different skillsets. Because handymen typically handle smaller jobs, your local handyman may refer you to a contractor for your bathroom reno.

Is your job Handyman-worthy? Get a free online estimate today, and make your to-do list a done-list!

Picture-hanging Tips from The Pros

Nothing makes a home look quite as homey as hanging pictures and other custom-framed objects, art, and photographs on the walls. Here are five tips that will give your home the feel of a luxurious art gallery.

Choose the Proper Hardware

There’s more than one type of wall, and there’s just as many types of hardware to use with them. Whether it’s drywall, concrete, or brick, you’ll need to use the right screw, nail, or drill bit.

Picture hanging tips from the pros. No one's got more experience than Odd Job.
Picture hanging tips from the pros. No one’s got more experience than Odd Job.

Always Measure

Measure twice, hang once. No matter how you choose to arrange your frames and other items, you’re going to want to make sure that they’re even spaced. Not all items will be the same size, but you’ll be amazed how cohesive everything can look if the space in between those items are are appropriate.

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Watch Your Weight

Different walls and hardware can only hold so much weight. Even fancy hardware specifically made for hanging pictures will fail if there are not enough of them, or the wall material is too weak or brittle to hold them. There is no “one size fits all solution” to hanging.

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Be Aware of Your Surroundings


Have you ever noticed paper fade when placed in the sunlight? Items hang too close to a window need special glass to avoid the damaging effect of UV light. It’s probably best to avoid hanging anything irreplaceable and precious in a space that receives direct sunlight.

Picture-hanging Tips from The Pros - 4

Use Your Space Wisely

You should make sure your hangings match your space. A tiny picture should not be hung on its own on an enormous empty wall. Vary up the sizes of your items to add variety.

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5 Things to Know Before You Hire a Handyman

Don’t just go with the lowest bidder! Would you go on a cruise with the cheapest cruiselines? Before you commit to a handyman, make sure the convenience of cheap and fast doesn’t turn into a headache that lasts a lot longer.

Are they Insured?

This is the single most important item on this list. Insurance protects your home and property, and WSIB-insured companies provide liability for the workers themselves. Without insurance, the homeowner is responsible for any injuries that occur on the “job site” — in this case, your home.

Are they licensed by the city?

In Toronto, anyone who advertises themselves as a “renovator” must be licensed by the city. This ensures that the contractor, renovator, or handyman completes your project according to the city’s regulations and laws. There’s nothing worse than paying through the nose for a kitchen remodel, only to have to tear it all up again.

The City of Toronto’s website explains who needs a license, here.

What are the terms of payment?

On most jobs under $2000, Odd Job Handyman has payment terms of “Net 30,” meaning that your payment is due 30 days after project completion. Some service providers will demand an upfront fee on all jobs, or before all of the work has been completed. This can sometimes be a red-flag.

How long have they been in business?

Companies that have a long history of success are more likely to do good work. Businesses that cut corners or cheat their clients don’t last long. Odd Job has been in business since 2008, and has compiled a long list of reviews and accolades.

Are the technicians trained and qualified?

In addition to being insured and licensed, you need to make sure that a company is skilled enough to complete your job. Several certifications exist, including the Association of Canadian Handyman professionals (ACHP) and the “Red Seal” qualification for tradesmen. Several technicians have diplomas and certificates from construction, engineering, and trade schools.

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3 Ways Your Handyman Can Actually Make YOU Money

You usually look for a handyman when something breaks: sometimes you’re just looking for a quick and clean end to a problem door, chipping paint, or leaky faucet.

But did you know that a handyman can also add value to your home or condo? Getting a small update today may be just the thing to score a big payday later, no matter the state of the housing market.

Choose the Practical Over the Flashy

Do you know what the number one way to improve your home’s value is? Replace the insulation. This one job can return more than 108% on its cost, and can benefit your own family for years to come. New insulation will reduce heat loss, stop drafts, and lower your energy bills. You’ll save money while living in your home, and make more money once it’s sold. What a smart thing to do.

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Modernize

You don’t need to replace everything at once, but updating the look of your kitchen or having new appliances installed can go a long way. A minor kitchen remodel can bring about a return of 80% or more, and it’s super easy for a team of professionals.

A Fresh Coat of Paint

New paint is fast, easy, and worth it: painting can return up to 60% on its cost when you decide to sell your home. Plus, a new colour on your walls might just reignite the excitement of coming home.

Check out even MORE tips for how to improve the value of your home here, “31 Home Improvements That Add Value to Your Home.”

Want to learn about 19 more specific projects that will pay off? Subscribe to our email newsletter and get access to our guide instantly. You’ll also be getting insider tips like this every month.

That’s a relief.

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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

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!