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What’s the difference between a home contractor and a handyman?

home contractor with levelAs a homeowner, you probably have a long list of projects you want to accomplish eventually. From fixing that dripping shower head to finishing the basement, your home project list likely includes a wide range of tasks from simple to complicated. When you’re ready to start checking items off your to-do list, though, you might be wondering: Who can I hire to help me? Should I call a handyman? Does this work require a home contractor?

Before starting your home improvement project(s), it’s important to understand the difference between the two so you can decide which one is right for you.

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Reconsider DIY Home Improvements: When DIY becomes D-I-DON’T

diy home improvement project gone bad- poorly installed door handleThat Pinterest project sure looks appealing, doesn’t it?

That unused-closet-turned-mudroom, kitchen cabinets turned from drab to fab, even a new-brand vanity in the bathroom: those DIY home improvements (do it yourself) look so easy to tackle when you’re scrolling through before and after photos. But what did it take from Point A to Point B? Are these projects really as easy as they appear to be?

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The Ultimate Pre-Vacation Checklist

pre-vacation property maintenance checklistWinter vacation is supposed to be a relaxing time, a worry-free week or more away from home, building new memories with family and friends. Why should you have to worry about your home while you take your family on a dream winter getaway?

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No Pressure: Four Powerful Reasons for Power Washing Your Home

power washing home exterior and patio surfacesHow often do you think about the siding and exteriors of your home? If you’re like most homeowners, the answer is “hardly at all.” Unless something happens to your siding, like wood rot, hail damage or paint chipping, you probably haven’t thought about it in some time. We also tend to overlook our exterior windows and driveways, as they’re not part of our regular cleaning or maintenance routines.

But every home’s exterior needs some TLC to remain clean and beautiful. It’s important to clean your siding, windows, gutters, and concrete at least once a year. Without it, the exteriors of your home may be compromised, resulting in expensive repairs and/or renovations.

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Do Homeowners Need Contractors for “Small” Jobs?

home contractor from HomeSquareTalk about home contractors can conjure up images of total remodels, drastic renovations and significant additions. However, contractors aren’t limited by type of project or restricted to projects of a certain size.

Simply put, a contractor’s role is to be the point of contact which organizes any home improvement project. A contractor applies for permits, locates subcontractors, orders supplies and handles day-to-day supervision, among other necessary tasks. That level of management may be just as necessary for “smaller” jobs, such as making improvements to a half-bath or converting a closet into a mudroom, as it is for a complete basement remodeling project or building a deck.

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Winter Is Coming – It’s Time for Driveway Sealing

Driveway sealing is critical to maintain its lifeYour driveway should last anywhere from 15 to 35 years – if you take care of it well.

The average homeowner pays anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 — and even into five-figure territory — to tear up and repour a new driveway. Although the cost varies depending on driveway length, material and shape, one thing’s for sure – it’s not cheap. Such a large investment, especially for an item so heavily used, certainly needs to be taken care of adequately.

Once installed, the life of your driveway is calculated based on the materials from which it’s paved, weather conditions and good old-fashioned TLC. While it’s difficult to control what exactly happens to a driveway – after all, it’s outside and at Mother Nature’s mercy — the one proactive step homeowners can take is driveway sealing.

What is driveway sealing, anyway?

In short, driveway sealing is the application of a protective coating which adds years to a driveway’s useful life.

Homeowners typically choose between asphalt or concrete when constructing a driveway. Cheaper to install and easier to maintain, asphalt is typically the go-to driveway building material. While concrete is more expensive to install and maintain, those driveways can command 10 additional usage years over asphalt. Asphalt also expands in response to the weather, while concrete cracks under extreme fluctuations or pressure.

Driveway sealing helps protect asphalt driveway

Asphalt can be cheaper to install and easier to maintain/repair.

Driveway sealing helps protect concrete driveways

Concrete is more expensive but requires less maintenance.

Ironically enough, these materials are nowhere near as resilient to the elements as one would expect from something as sturdy as concrete or asphalt. Rain, snow and even UV rays and oxygen damage a driveway over time, shortening its expected decades-long lifespan. In enters driveway sealing, the top line of defense homeowners have to protect their driveway against the elements.

How pre-winter driveway sealing protects your pavement

  • Driveway sealing repels rain, and consequentially, snow. It might sound counterintuitive, but rain is actually one of the most harmful substances for pavement. Moisture can deteriorate asphalt surfaces, while rain and snow can worsen any cracks in a concrete driveway. Accelerated by the snow-melting road salt, this moisture settles into the crevices and expands when it re-freezes, worsening imperfections in the pavement. Northeast homeowners who expect snowstorms and maybe even a blizzard over the course of a standard winter are particularly vulnerable to this kind of damage. Driveway sealing repels this damaging moisture, adding years to your driveway’s crack-free life.
  • Sealants fill in surface damage. All that melting snow makes its way into small imperfections, tiny cracks or indecipherable dings. When the snow melts and re-freezes when the temperature drops, any moisture in the cracks expands and worsens any “cosmetic” imperfections. Driveway sealing prevents moisture from entering these imperfections in the first place by filling in surface damage.
  • It serves as a repellant for oil, fuel and fluid. If your driveway is susceptible to sun and air, it goes without saying that fluids from your car will be even more harsh. Gasoline, oil, antifreeze and other fluids break down asphalt, significantly shortening your driveway’s lifespan. Driveway sealing is the protective layer which keeps these harmful materials from stripping your driveway’s surface.

How often do you need to seal your driveway?

Just like the life of your driveway can vary widely, so too can the life of your sealant. The estimates vary wildly, from annually to every 10 years. Much of this depends on the weather, if your driveway is built from asphalt or concrete, and the TLC you’re putting into your driveway in the first place. In the northeast, homeowners can expect sunshine, snow, road salt, rain and wildly-fluctuating temperatures over the course of a year. These conditions mean that annual or biennial driveway sealing will help extend the life of your investment.

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Dreading Bathroom Repair Services? Take These Preventative Steps!

preventative maintenance in your bathroom lets you focus on the important stuff, like familyAs long as water is running from the faucets and straight down the drain, your bathroom is certainly in fine working order… or is it?

In many ways, the bathroom is a center point of your home. Many major systems such as plumbing, water supply, electrical, drainage and ventilation all come together in your bathroom. Without a properly-functioning bathroom, all these systems can be affected in some way.

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How a Rental Property Maintenance Company Assists Faraway Landlords

new york landlord maintenance solutionWhen it comes to owning rental property, there’s always something needing to be done throughout the year. Whether it’s getting ready for new tenants, fixing issues or upgrading the property, rental property maintenance can turn into a large job which needs frequent attention and supervision.

Such work may not be a big burden if your rental property is located in the same building, block or town in which you live. But what if you live a few towns over, an hour away, or even in another state? If you don’t live close by, rental property maintenance can become a tremendous nuisance.

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Which Home Maintenance Service Plan Fits Your Needs?

Plumber checking off task list on clipboardIt’s so easy to put home maintenance on the back burner. After all, if everything looks fine, it must be fine, right?

While that’s not exactly the case, it’s certainly the most convenient way to approach our homes between long days at the office, shuttling kids to soccer practice and nights out with friends and family. Who has time to think about the sluggish shower drain or the slightly-askew gutter downspout?

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A Cheap Handyman Can Do More Harm Than Good

cheap incompetent handyman can do more harm than good

Collecting and comparing price points is one of the most important pieces of information you’ll receive during your search for the right handyman. You want to make sure you’re getting the best quality at the best possible price, but prioritizing price over quality can be a risky approach.

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