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17 Divinity St
Bristol, CT, 06010
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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: Siding

Tips To Decorate Your Home Safely for the Holidays

Chelsea O'Donnell

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to light up the house with holiday cheer. But before you go trimming your home with festivity and lights, there are a few things you should know about hanging wreaths, lights and décor safely, so your home stays damage free and you don’t end up in the emergency room.

When hanging lights and decorations outside of your home, be sure to use a safe ladder that sits on level ground and can hold your weight properly. Always have someone with you to act as a spotter and don’t ever attempt to hang décor that’s out of your reach.

If you’re going for the Griswold effect, make sure you read the labels on your lights to ensure you have the right wattage levels and that they are certified for outdoor use. The last thing you want to do is overload your circuits and end up in the dark, or with a nasty shock. Inspect older lights for bad bulbs and stripped wires, and replace problem strands with new ones. I recommend LED lights, which run cooler, are more energy efficient and will have less of an impact on your power bill. Make sure all your lights are plugged into ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), which can be found at the local hardware store.

When hanging heavy décor such as wreaths, do not drill holes into your vinyl siding. Once the wreaths have been removed, the holes will enable water to get underneath the material, causing potential mold, mildew, and leaks. Instead, purchase some heavy-duty siding hooks, which can be found at any home goods store this time of year. They will be able to withstand the weight of your decorations without damaging your home.

If you’re putting Santa and his sleigh to top of your home, make sure to secure him and any other inflatables tightly to withstand any wind and bad weather. Also, use the opportunity to inspect your roof for any missing or damaged shingles. Finally, take a look at your gutters to make sure they are free from debris and ready for the winter. Roof and gutter wear can cause leaks during the snow season, so it’s better to get them repaired now before it’s too late.

Speaking of preparing for the snow, here’s one last tip. Grab some reflecting stakes from the hardware store and place them along the perimeter of your yard, where it meets the road and your driveway. These place markers will help snow plowers see where your yard begins and can help them navigate their snow removal without tearing up your lawn.  

Do you have another holiday safety tip to share? Send it to me on Facebook.

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.

Keep Pesky Woodpeckers From Ruining Your Siding

Chelsea O'Donnell

This week I received an email from a reader asking for my advice to help her stop a woodpecker from drilling holes in the side of her house. It’s a problem that’s very common in our area and one that should be dealt with quickly before a few holes become an unsightly, and expensive problem.

Woodpeckers are attracted to homes for a few reasons. The most obvious one is that they are looking for food and think a delicious meal could be hiding under wood shakes or siding. Another popular reason is that they are looking for places to build a nest, and a crevice or corner of your home could likely provide the perfect shelter. Finally, there is a behavior called drumming which woodpeckers engage in as a way to mark their territory or attract a potential mate. This action generally occurs during the spring, prior to breeding season.

Regardless of the reason, a woodpecker’s pecking is a nuisance, especially when it’s waking you up in the early morning hours and doing a number to your home. So how do you get rid of them? It’s important to know that woodpeckers are a federally protected bird, so by law, you should not engage in any activity to harm them. Plus, woodpeckers are very beneficial birds that feed on insects such as wood-boring ants and grubs. Luckily there are a few simple and inexpensive solutions that will work to keep them away from your property without causing them any harm.

  1. Woodpeckers don’t like shiny, reflective objects so installing some aluminum flashing, metalized Mylar tape, small mirrors, or even aluminum foil will deter them. You can find rolls of flash tape for less than $10 online or in your local hardware store.

  2. A scary eye balloon is a small inflatable ball that mimics the look of an owl, one of the woodpecker’s feared predators. By hanging this balloon on an awning, you can scare the little troublemakers away from the house and back to the trees where they belong.

  3. A similar tool that I’ve seen is an “attack spider” which is a silly looking, battery operated spider the size of a plate that can be hung on an awning or ledge above where the woodpecker is doing damage. The spider is noise-activated and will drop down after the first few taps, scaring the woodpecker away and out of sight.

  4. Netting is another popular solution that works because it doesn’t allow the birds to land in their desired area. Netting is a bit more expensive and will take some time to install, but it’s lightweight and made from plastic, which means it’s a bit more durable and will last through the seasons.  Bird experts recommend installing a ¾ inch net and placing it at least three inches from the house’s exterior surface.

  5. There are also a number of topical sprays and paints that can be used to deter woodpeckers which work similarly to nail biting or thumb sucking solutions. These products emit a smell and taste to deter birds without harming them.   

  6. Finally, you could set up a suet feeder. Woodpeckers love suet and if the bird that’s damaging your home is looking for food, providing suet in a feeder away from the house will give them what they’re looking for without having to work for it.

Now it’s time to hear from you. Have you found a safe method to get rid of problematic woodpeckers? I’d love to learn more, so send me a message on Facebook at facebook.com/odonnellbros or drop me an email.

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.

Bobby O’s Five Favorite Exterior Home Design Trends That Are Here to Stay

Chelsea O'Donnell

Trends come and go but some things remain timeless, especially when it comes to your home. Keeping a house up to date is important, but going to the extreme in design can be an exhaustive and expensive process. So to help you stay current without breaking the bank, I have rounded up my favorite trends that have been around for a few years and show no signs of letting up anytime soon. Let’s check them out:

Using Different Textures

One of the biggest trends we’re seeing that will continue is the use of several different exterior finishes to give a home some uniqueness and personality. Gone are the days of solid colors - many homeowners are now choosing to upgrade to a look that combines traditional cladding with lap siding, vertical panels, cedar shakes, and stone and brick accents. This is a great way to give a home a modern look while sticking with a more neutral color palette.  

Dark Exteriors and White Trim

I would have never had a request for a black house five years ago, but recently darker colors are beginning to become more and more popular. Charcoal, blue-grey, and navy exteriors can look sophisticated and modern, especially when paired with white or light trim and a brightly colored door. Keep in mind that dark homes tend to work best on a lot that gets plenty of sunshine.

Incorporating Natural Materials

Even the most modern homes are embracing their natural environment. Vinyl siding manufacturers continue to get more creative every year, creating products that mimic well-worn barn wood or incorporate more natural textures. It’s also easier to get stone or brick incorporated into your home as well as thinner, lighter, cheaper veneers are beginning to dominate the market. With a myriad of colors to choose from, natural materials add great character to any size or type of home with a look that’s timeless and elegant.

Minimalist Doors

In years past, extravagant entry doors were all the rage. With glass paneling and intricate design, they set a home up for quite the entrance. Today, styles are more simplistic with homeowners favoring barn style and minimalist looks with heavy, statement handles and knockers as well as keyless entry. Glass will continue to be popular but clean lines will be more on trend than elaborate cuts.

Multi-Use Yards

Expansive lawns have become less popular in recent years, especially after long bouts without rain in years past. Drought resistant plantings have taken over as more and more homeowners are now looking for ways to beautify their homes in a way that’s good for the environment and easy to maintain. Using fencing and natural elements to section off a yard and create more functional, multi-use spaces will continue to be a popular trend in landscaping too.

Bob O'Donnell is the owner of O'Donnell Bros, Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob 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 www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.