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17 Divinity St
Bristol, CT, 06010
United States

8605895155

Since 1975, O'Donnell Bros has been providing greater Bristol and Central Connecticut with residential and commercial remodeling solutions. We specialize in roofing, siding, windows, doors, gutters, downspouts and so much more. We look forward to helping you with all your remodeling needs. 

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Articles

O'Donnell Bros President, Bob O'Donnell, is a regular contributor to The Bristol Press. Read his home improvement articles here.

 

Filtering by Category: Roofs

Don't Leave Roof Leaks To Wreak Havoc on Your Home

Chelsea O'Donnell

When rain comes like the forecast says it will, my phone starts ringing off the hook with calls to fix people’s leaky roofs. We had a dry autumn thus far, but as soon as the skies open up, the rain finds its way right into people’s homes, causing dark, damp spots on their ceilings and down their walls. With more rain in the forecast for this coming week, I wanted to address this common problem for homeowners and give you some advice to follow before the real wet and wild winter weather arrives.

If you find a leak, have it checked right away. Leaks show themselves in the walls and ceilings but it’s not always easy to find the source of the problem. Roof leaks generally only surface during bad weather and won’t cause issues when the sun is out, unlike pipe leaks can appear anytime.

To know for sure, grab a flashlight and head up into the attic. You can remove the insulation around the spot where the leak is staining the ceiling. Then look up at the pitch and see if you can see any holes or light shining through. Popular roof leak sources include valley flashing, gaskets around vents, or cracks and crevices around your chimney or utility entrances, but it’s tough to know without jumping up on the roof for an inspection which I’d leave to a professional.

If you call a contractor, he or she will want to thoroughly inspect the roof and the ceiling to find the cause of the problem. Often times they will find corrosion or lifted shingles, but in these conditions where we had a lot of leaves fall in a very short period of time, the problem could simply be coming from rainwater that can’t drain due to clogged gutters. Once the water path into the house is detected, a repair can be relatively simple, inexpensive, and might be fixed on the spot.

While many repairs are minor, it’s very important not to ignore the issue. Water traveling from the roof to the inside of your home has a lot to get through to finally appear in your ceiling, including layers of shingles, wood, and insulation. If the water sits stagnant, it becomes a breeding ground for mold growth which can deteriorate the materials that help your house stay strong. Mold can also be dangerous for your family to breathe in every day, and having it circulating through your home as you begin using your heating system can cause both short and long-term health issues, especially for young children and people with asthma.

Simply put, a roof leak isn’t something to mess with and even if it is a major issue, getting someone to give you options for dealing with it will help you plan for the work that may be inevitable. With more rain in the forecast this coming week and with winter on the way, it’s a problem that’s better for you to deal with now before it has the opportunity to get worse.

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to info@odonnellbros.com with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.

Smart Jobs For Homeowners To Beat the Winter Blues

Chelsea O'Donnell

While temperatures have been pretty comfortable this past week, there is no denying that winter is on the way. With mornings in the 30’s and 40’s, I think it’s time to start talking about what we should be doing to get our homes ready for the cold before it actually comes. So without further ado, here are my top five tips:

Take a picture of your roof.

We’ll start with an easy one. Go outside and snap a photo of your roof from each direction. Wondering why? When we get a massive snowfall, I always recommend for people to get their roofs shoveled. Removing the snow helps to reduce the risk of leaks and other damage to your home. But when the snow is very deep, it’s impossible to see the pipes, skylights and other parts and pieces that stick up out of the roof. Keeping a picture of the clean surface is a great way to minimize the probability of an accident when you’re trying to prevent damage in the first place.

Mark the driveway.

Speaking of damage prevention, stop by the local hardware store and get some property markers. They are generally made of wood or metal and are sometimes painted in a fluorescent color. Use the markers to create an outline around your driveway. Just like your roof, when a blanket of snow hits, it’s impossible for a removalist to see where the driveway ends and where your lawn begins. Creating that parameter will help the snow plow truck operator know where to go, which should assist in keeping your curbs and grass intact.

Give the furnace a checkup.

If you haven’t put the heat on yet, you will soon. Don’t wait until you really need it to make sure that everything is in working order. Clean or replace your HVAC filters and check the temperature gauge to make sure you can power up and down with no problems. Also, now is the time to remove those window A/C units and check and clean those filters too. While you’re at it, make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working and change the batteries if necessary.

Seal up the air holes.

I get calls all winter long from people who are wondering why their house is so drafty. If you have an attic hatch, install an insulated box to prevent the cold air from coming down into your living space. Check all your windows and doors for gaps and use weatherstripping, foam, or insulation to seal it tight. If you have a fireplace that you don’t use, get that covered too. Any passageways from the inside to the outside can act as wind tunnels when the frigid winter air comes calling.

Clean those gutters.

We will have a few weeks of falling leaves before the deep freeze, but please don’t leave your gutters clogged to the hilt with debris. If you don’t clean your gutters, it will prevent winter water from flowing off the roof and down away from the foundation. If water has nowhere to go, it will refreeze in your gutters and at the base of your roof, resulting in dangerous ice dams and potential leaks. If you don’t want to do this dirty job yourself, schedule a pro to handle it for you. It will be worth it.

If you do just these five things, you’ll be in much better shape when the wicked weather decides to come our way. Plus it’s much more pleasant to get these jobs out of the way before it’s too cold and snowy to bother. Good luck and as always, don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help or advice.

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to info@odonnellbros.com with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.

Trend Alert - Skylights Are Making a Comeback

Chelsea O'Donnell

Lately, I have had a lot of requests from homeowners who want to cover up their skylights. Once enjoyed for extra sun and brightness, people are becoming increasingly worried that skylights let too much heat and air escape and they believe that covering them over will be less costly than replacing them. While skylights were once the cherry on the top of a contemporary design, they now seem to be falling out of fashion. So what’s the deal on this once must-have home trend? Let’s take a closer look.

Residential skylights became popular several decades ago as people craved more natural light-filled spaces, especially in home styles with high ceilings. The luxury of being able to see the clouds became a bit of an interior design status symbol and their popularity skyrocketed. But today, as homeowners are having to replace their 30-year roofs, the idea of skylights aren’t as appealing as they used to be. In fact, many people think that closing their skylights up would be cheaper than replacing them. Unfortunately, what many homeowners don’t realize is that the work involved in properly covering a skylight is actually much more of an expense than it’s worth.

Today, there are tons of new options to make skylights more versatile than ever before. Many now come with solar panels to maximize energy efficiency and some also offer inclement weather sensors, enabling them to close automatically when the first raindrop hits. Speaking of closing, one of my favorite features of a skylight is the ability to let fresh air in, which contributes to a home’s balance of moisture and overall ventilation. This also enables humidity and stale air to be released, creating a more comfortable natural air flow.

Many people who once loved the idea of skylights now complain that they can’t control the light, which is luckily a problem of the past. Today’s blinds include total blackout and filtering options which are often controlled remotely through solar batteries that don’t need to be hard wired. This gives homeowners much more flexibility in terms of controlling the light that comes into their homes, making skylights a fully customizable feature.

Lastly, of course, there is the question of energy efficiency. About 10 years ago, a law was passed allowing homeowners to receive a tax credit on the purchase and installation of renewable technology products, which means that certain skylights might get you a solar energy rebate of up to 30%. Of course, it’s important to do your homework to ensure that the product you're considering will qualify before you make the purchase.

So before you go trying to patch up the holes in your roof and ceiling, have a look at all the new options available for skylights. Between the versatility, energy efficiency, and the beauty of natural light, this once popular and nearly dying trend is getting ready to see a major resurgence.  

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to info@odonnellbros.com with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.