Refresh Your Home For The Holidays

As the temperature starts to drop and the smell of pumpkin spice permeates every store you enter, it’s a clear sign the holidays are right around the corner. With it comes wonderful times with family and friends gathered in your home for delicious food and warm memories. 

Before company arrives, you may want to spruce up your living space; (perhaps to impress your Great-Aunt Helen)? Below are a few ways to create some new bold statements for your home that will make it look more inviting for the season.  

1. Paint Accent Wall or Room

An easy way to add dramatic flair and a touch of elegance to your home is by painting a wall an accent color. Adding a pop of color to a select wall in your room creates a simple, yet exciting upgrade that will make a big impact.

Uncertain about selecting the color that will show your room to its best effect? Head to the Ace Hardware website and take advantage of The Paint Studio, a terrific tool that takes the guess work out of picking the perfect color. This is a paint visualizer that enables you to test a selection of tones by simply uploading a photo of the room you’d like to paint, and then exploring how a variety of different colors would look in your home.

https://www.acehardware.com/thepaintstudio/tipstools/visualizer

Want more ideas? Benjamin Moore just recently released their Color Trends of 2022. This is a result of exhaustive consumer research that identifies “what’s next” in color. This year’s October Mist 1495 truly stands out. On its website, Benjamin Moore says October Mist 1495 “makes room for creativity, evoking the silver-green stem of a flower. It creates a canvas for other colors–and your imagination—to blossom…” 

Additionally, Benjamin Moore has selected a palette to complement its color of the year selection. “The Color Trends 2022 palette of 14 hues, which includes October Mist, is harmonious yet diverse, reliable yet whimsical, and meditative, yet eclectic. With its endless number of invigorating combinations, this palette provides effortless harmony for any paint project, and every design style.”

https://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/color-overview/color-palettes/color-of-the-year-2022?gclid=CjwKCAjwq9mLBhB2EiwAuYdMtR_ZWU9X42_eRvmEuPPyYt3NddSrTaAt5blOfMJbSgXw8PGBIn5BcBoCxCMQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Multi-Skilled Craftsmen Tip: There are a variety of bold color options, but if that seems a little overwhelming to you, consider a slight hue adjustment on one wall.  By staying in the same color wheel and changing the shade a tone or two, you’ll give the room a subtle depth that the brain will appreciate, but the eye won’t particularly notice. 

Once you have selected the ideal color for your new accent wall, head to your local Ace Hardware where they can help you “test drive” some colors by giving you some samples.  And if you already know the shade you want, they can help you select the perfect paint for the type and size of room. 

Too busy with other holiday preparations to tackle the job yourself?  Then give your local Ace Handyman Services a call, and our Multi-Skilled Craftsmen will complete your accent wall project before your guests arrive. 

Whether it’s just a simple paint project or you have some nail holes, drywall, trim or caulking in need of repair, we can help. If you are a DIY’er, refer to our previous blogs about repairing drywall before you begin to paint your new accent wall.  And remember: We are always here to make your holiday prep easy.

https://www.acehandymanservices.com/blog/2021/06/30/we-all-have-walls-that-need-some-love/

2. Upgrade/Fix Doorknobs and Handles

Loose or outdated doorknobs and handles are something all homeowners must deal with at some point in time. 

There are two ways to think about upgrades. The first is function – making the current hardware work. The second is taking function to a new level of upgraded design and delight – replacing the old, outdated hardware with doorknobs and handles that are more contemporary and will enhance the look of your home.

Function

To fix and tighten your doorknobs:

Basic and most mid-level handles typically have two exposed screws on either side of the interior handle – all you need is a narrow-shaft Phillips head screwdriver to tighten the handle. TIP – Move back and forth between each screw as you tighten, for best results.

Higher end handles:

  • Remove the current knob or handle.
    • To do so, find the set screw (or small push button), which is normally found on the side of the inside door handle and, using an Allen wrench (or small flat screwdriver), loosen the screw (or push the pin) and remove the handle by pulling it toward you. 
  • Once the handle is removed, you will need to remove the escutcheon plate.

Multi-Skilled Craftsmen Tip: Remove the plate carefully with a flathead screwdriver, taking care to avoid damaging the back plate. 

  • After you remove the base, you should see a set of screws. Carefully hold on to the outside backing plate to keep it from moving, tighten each screw separately.
  • Last, put the base and handle back on together, making sure each piece is flush and every screw is secure. 

After following these steps, if you’re still having trouble, or if you have any pieces of new hardware you’d like installed, give your local Ace Handyman Services Multi-Skilled Craftsmen a call–we can absolutely help you with that. 

Upgrading your doorknobs and handles

Although doors don’t seem like they’d make a huge difference to the aesthetic of your home, they are one of the most predominant features.  When you update the look of your doors and their knobs, you are upgrading major surfaces that are on display to you and your guests all the time. Take a look at some great options your local Ace Hardware offers to replace outdated doorknobs and handles: 

https://www.acehardware.com/departments/hardware/door-knobs-and-locks?query=doorknobs

Multi-Skilled Craftsmen Tip: If you are changing the color of the handle (for example, from a brass to a bronze), you might consider changing out the hinges so that all the hardware matches and will pop with your new look!

3. Bathroom Refresh vs a Bathroom Remodel

During the holiday season, one of the most visited rooms is going to be the guest bathroom. A full bathroom remodel takes a lot of time, work and money, not to mention how frustrating it is to have a long project disrupt your life. So, rather than adding stress to the end of the year, here are a few simple ways to give this room a refresh that make a big impact:

a. Update the Sink

An outdated sink will tarnish the look of your bathroom. Luckily, a few cosmetic changes can give it a new life. For example, if you have a ceramic sink in an aged pastel color, call a Craftsman to drop in a new bowl with a fresh white finish. For an additional touch, have him paint your vanity a bold new shade to add a beautiful contrast to your bathroom.

b. New Fixtures

A new set of lighting fixtures will add a level of detail that you will appreciate every day. Lights aren’t the only fixtures you can upgrade—swap out your faucets, towel bars and other fixtures for something chic. https://www.acehardware.com/search?pageSize=30&query=light+fixtures&categoryId=219

If you really want to make your bathroom feel like a spa, upgrade your showerhead to a modern spa head: https://www.acehardware.com/departments/plumbing/tub-and-shower/shower-heads

These are seemingly small changes that can transform an entire room.

c. Accent Tile

Replacing the tile in your bathroom can be costly and time-consuming. Instead, opt to add accent tiles. Place them in the shower or over the sink. Our Multi-Skilled Craftsmen can complete this job in a short amount of time, giving you an impressive, new-looking bathroom just in time for the holidays. https://www.acehardware.com/departments/building-supplies/walls-floors-and-ceiling/wall-tiles

Don’t let the prospect of a full remodel discourage you. Creating a bathroom you’re proud of is just a few upgrades away. So, what are you waiting for? Click here and do the fun part, pick out your new look and let us handle the rest.

Seasonal Maintenance Tips and Tricks

You can feel it every morning. Fall is in the air.  



Fall and winter maintenance is one of those things that everyone knows they should do, but it is often difficult to find time or energy to get done right.  



There are nice-to-do maintenance items and the must-do items – This month, we’ll address the must-dos that help prevent damage to your home and cover a few of the nice-to-dos, as well. Remember: if just reading these steps seems overwhelming, know you can always call Ace Handyman Services and we’ll tackle them for you. Click on this link, enter your zip code and get in touch with us to get the help you need: 

https://www.acehandymanservices.com  

Yards

Not many homeowners enjoy sacrificing a beautiful fall weekend to rake, clean gutters and do a full fall yard cleanup, but it is truly necessary. The importance of clearing debris away from your yard before a deep freeze or snowfall hits is pivotal for your backyard oasis to come back early and healthy next spring.   



Here are some Craftsmen-Approved lists that can make your end-of-season maintenance chores go faster and smoother. And always remember, if these tasks seem too daunting, or you’re too busy to get them done, give your local Ace Handyman Services a call and we can take care of your seasonal cleanup for you.  

MUST DO: Leaf Removal  

Grass won’t tolerate the thick layers of leaves or pine needles that start piling up when the fall breezes come through. If you want a healthy and lush lawn next year, you need to break out the rake. Leaving a thick layer of fallen leaves on top of your lawn prevents sunshine from reaching the turf and it provides a cozy area for mold, bacteria, pests, and weed seeds. If you don’t deal with the leaves at all, come spring your lawn will be patchy, and you’ll be looking at more work to get it healthy. 



FIRST: Care for yourself

To begin, ensuring you have the right tools to execute this task can make the process more efficient. As simple as it sounds, a short rake equals an aching back. Make sure your rake handle is long enough to prevent unnecessary and constant bending over. Make sure the handle is either cushioned or well-painted to avoid splinters and blisters. Ace Hardware has what you need. 



NEXT: Save time

Most homeowners find that a leaf blower is a big help. Ace Hardware has lots of choices, from cordless to electric; either will make the task go faster and more efficiently. If possible, team up, with one person on the rake and the other on the blower. You might be surprised at how much more quickly you’ll be finished – for most, it’s three times as fast. 

To find the right tools, head to your local Ace Hardware and check out their selection of rakes and leaf blowers: 

Rakes: https://www.acehardware.com/departments/lawn-and-garden/gardening-tools/rakes  

Leaf Blowers: https://www.acehardware.com/departments/lawn-and-garden/outdoor-power-equipment/leaf-blowers 



  • As you begin to rake, be efficient – use quick, small reaching movements to drag the leaves. 
  • Create small piles (around a larger yard) so you avoid having one large pile that will be difficult to move later. 
  • Once you have your leaves in piles, rake them onto a tarp to easily move the piled leaves to where you want them.  
  • For the lucky folks who don’t have a lot of leaves in their yard, these can be mowed and mulched, adding nutrients to the soil. 


PRO TIP: To speed up the raking, using a leaf mulching vacuum makes the job go even more quickly and is easier on your back. It also saves on trash bags and helps the environment.  The mulch can be used in your landscaping or garden. 

MUST DO: Gutter Cleaning

It’s time to look up now – and get out the ladder 



FIRST: Care for yourself

Fall leaves don’t all end up on the ground. So, it’s time to get on the ladder. Make sure you have the right one for the job; an extension ladder is probably the safest, most appropriate for the job.  



In the US last year, more than 164,000 people ended up in emergency rooms from ladder falls. Ask yourself: should you invest in an extension ladder, or call Ace Handyman Services and have a professional Craftsman tackle the job for you? 



Another safety measure you must take is wearing a protective set of work gloves. These will protect your hands from any sharp edges on the gutters or any hazardous debris that may have ended up in your gutters. There are many options you can choose from at your local Ace Hardware:  https://www.acehardware.com/departments/tools/workwear-and-safety-gear/work-gloves . 



Leaves, water, and debris sitting in your gutters can freeze when the colder weather moves in, causing backups and additional weight that can cause wear and tear, as well as pulling your gutters down. Gutter cleaning is not difficult, it’s just risky – if your gutters are hard to reach or you don’t feel comfortable on a ladder, book one of our Multi-Skilled Craftsmen to handle the job.  



  • Safety is the most important aspect of cleaning your gutters. Make sure someone knows you’re up on the ladder. Better yet, have them with you, holding it secure from the lower steps. 
  • Most falls are a result of “overreaching.” Take the time to continually move your extension ladder to keep your center of gravity over the ladder, and not out to the side, where you put yourself at greater risk. 


NEXT: Get the leaves out and make certain water flows freely

  • Once safely up on the ladder, start removing debris from the gutters (use your gloved hands to scoop out the debris)  
  • Finally, take a garden hose and flush the water through the gutters to remove lingering debris and to ensure water flows freely out the downspout, away from your foundation. 


By cleaning your gutters and executing proper maintenance, they can last up to 30 years. Clogged gutters cause significant damage to homes that results in major, costly home repair. 



PRO TIP: Do not forget about the downspouts! If these are clogged, you still have a big problem. It may be necessary to disconnect them to access the jam that is typically at an elbow and to remove any additional lodged materials.



PRO TIP: The purpose of gutters is to get drainage far from your house and foundation. So in addition to water flow, make sure no gutter sections are damaged and no pieces are missing, including the extensions at the bottom that divert water away from your home’s foundation.

MUST DO: Clearing Out Sprinkler System Lines

As colder temperatures set in, you’ll need to blow out your sprinkler system, to prevent frozen water from causing serious damage.  



Here are the steps to ensure your sprinkler system is properly winterized: 

  • Shut down/turn off the timer/so that it stops cycling 
  • Find the main water supply valve and shut it off 
  • Find the spigot closest to the manifold 
  • Hook up air hose adapter 
  • Hook up the air hose from your compressor 
  • Adjust compressor to 80 psi (minimum) and build up pressure 
  • Manually open the zone valve for the zone you are on 
  • Let the air run to force the water out – you will see when the the water stops running 
  • Close that zone valve 
  • Move on to the next zone and repeat, until all zones are clear of water 
  • Drain the back flow preventer
  • Shut down/turn off the timer/so that it stops cycling 
  • Find the main water supply valve and shut it off 
  • Find the spigot closest to the manifold 
  • Hook up air hose adapter 
  • Hook up the air hose from your compressor 
  • Adjust compressor to 80 psi (minimum) and build up pressure 
  • Manually open the zone valve for the zone you are on 
  • Let the air run to force the water out – you will see when the the water stops running 
  • Close that zone valve 
  • Move on to the next zone and repeat, until all zones are clear of water 
  • Drain the back flow preventer  
  • (if this list is overwhelming, call Ace Handman Services and we’ll help you with that!) 


PRO TIP: The backflow preventer is a vital part of the system and is very expensive to replace so it is worth the extra steps to remove the vent cap dome and diaphragm below to make sure you break the vacuum seal and all water has drained from the device. 

NICE TO DO: Fertilize Your Lawn

Once your lawn is leaf free, this is a great time to care for your grass—so by next spring it’s the greenest in the neighborhood. Fall’s cooler temperatures and morning dew provide the perfect weather to fertilize your lawn to regain its strength from that summer heat.  



Jessica, Brand Ambassador at Scotts® says, “Fall is the best time to fertilize as it helps your lawn develop a stronger root system over the winter months for a thicker, more vigorous lawn the following spring. Watering is optional [after fertilizing], but it will activate the fertilizer and begin the feeding process. You can simply wait until the next rainfall unless your daytime temperatures will exceed 85 degrees. If temperatures are extremely high, we do recommend watering immediately after application.”  



You can find Scotts fertilizer, and more options, at your local Ace Hardware:  https://www.acehardware.com/departments/lawn-and-garden/scotts/scotts-lawn-fertilizer  



PRO TIP:  If you can time spreading the fertilizer just before a rain or snow fall, that can yield best results, ensuring little blows away or concerns of pets or kids in the yard. Also using a quality spreader is key to providing an accurate and even coat.  

NICE TO DO: Garden Maintenance

Caring for your garden now will make a huge difference next spring. Before the ground gets too hard from the colder temperatures, remove weeds and debris. This will deter insects from creating a home in your garden throughout the winter. If you have perennials throughout your garden, make sure you cut back all the dead growth to give the plant a fresh start for the following spring.  



Just reading these must-dos and nice-to-do list can make any homeowner feel overwhelmed. Fall and winter maintenance is an important seasonal task for any home, whether it be in the coldest zones in the northern US or even down in Texas, where hard freezes occurred in 2020, resulting $130 billion in damage.   



We want to do all we can to help you avoid putting these maintenance steps off, either by assisting you in doing some of these things yourself or by picking up the phone and calling Ace Handyman Services – we are here for our neighbors so you can have a worry-free changing of the season. We can help you with that!