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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 Tag: aluminum

Replacement Windows for Less Maintenance and Energy Efficiency

Chelsea O'Donnell

If you swore that this past winter would be the last time you’d put up with drafty, old aluminum windows, this week’s column is for you. Around this time of year, I get calls from lots of people looking for advice and information on replacing their windows. Not only do old windows let lots of warm air out and cold air in, but they are also difficult to clean and maintain.

These days, many people are looking to replace their aluminum windows and sliding doors with a more durable option - something made from vinyl, wood or fiberglass that can withstand the test of time. There are lots of options out there and the one you pick will be based on four very important factors: the climate where you live, the amount of moisture and condensation your home is prone to, the kind of aesthetic you want for your home, and the maintenance required to keep them looking great. Keeping these four deciding features in mind, let’s go through the options.

When it comes to temperature, aluminum conducts heat and cold, which is why it’s a popular choice for cookware. Aluminum windows and doors are notorious for transferring the outside temperature in, which makes them very inefficient in both the winter and the summer. Wood fares better in the extreme seasons, but vinyl and fiberglass windows and doors are made for all weather and are built specifically to keep the warm air in and the cold air out. Remember that only 10 percent of the window is the frame, so investing in double pane energy efficient glass is your best option, no matter what frame you go with.

With our humid summers and damp winters, moisture is a major factor in deciding whether to upgrade your old windows and doors. Because aluminum transfers heat, it can attract condensation and moisture, which can lead to leaks, mold buildup, and rot inside your wall. The mold build-up I see around old windows would scare the life out of you, especially when you remember that you’re breathing those spores in every day! If you have signs of mildew or corrosion from your aluminum frames, it’s time to get them replaced.

Then there is the “look and feel” factor. Many people started replacing their aluminum windows and doors with vinyl so they could achieve a more contemporary look with the various finishes and designs that vinyl offers. Of course, aluminum products can be painted or powder coated to match the style of your home, but there will be maintenance to keep them looking great.

That brings us to upkeep. Be aware that any painted product will begin to chip and peel over time. The look of wood is elegant and timeless but it requires regular painting or staining, just like aluminum. Vinyl and fiberglass are very easy to care for and they don’t peel, fade or need to be repainted. These products are not prone to scratches, dings or dents and can give you a longer, hassle-free lifespan if you take care of them properly.

With summer in full swing, now is a good time to think about replacing old windows and doors for products with maximum energy efficiency and minimal maintenance. If your home still has aluminum and you’re experiencing some of the problems I’ve mentioned, it might be time for an update.

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 http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.

Score a Deal on a Patio Furniture Upgrade

Chelsea O'Donnell

Even though summer is nearly over, now is a great time to score a major deal on seasonal essentials such as grills, pool accessories - and my favorite - patio furniture. While usually a major purchase, upgrading your outdoor dining game at the end of the season is actually a great way to save big bucks, with many manufacturers slashing prices to make room for other inventory. So if you’re tired wicker or wood outdoor set is in dire need of an upgrade, here are some of the options available that will last a lot longer with much less maintenance than traditional materials.

Aluminium

Metal gives a beautiful, polished look and it doesn’t rust or fade. Because aluminum is such a lightweight metal, it’s easy to rearrange furniture and move it around to different outdoor areas. Many aluminum frame furniture sets are powder coated which gives a homeowner lots of options when it comes to finish and color. Also, it’s affordable and durable so you won’t spend too much and your set should last a long time. On the negative side, aluminum gets very hot in the sun and many times the hardware is made from a different kind of metal which can rust. Make note -  without a good solid cushion, aluminum is not going to be the most comfortable to sit on for long periods of time.

My Pick: The Navan Outdoor 4 piece Aluminum Conversation Set on Overstock.com
Regular Price: $737.99
Sale Price: $573.73

Plastic/Polymer

Plastic patio furniture is the most inexpensive and lightest option going with tons of different styles and colors to choose from. Many people like plastic or polymer furniture because it’s stackable, making it easy to store when not in use. Technology and 3D printing have made plastic options much more durable and less flimsy than the stackable green or white chairs you’re probably picturing, but unless you invest in good quality, high-density polyethylene, it’s likely that plastic isn’t going to last for years to come. Additionally, porous materials will attract mildew, so make sure you wash any plastic down with mold resistant cleaner before storing it away for the winter.

My Pick: POLYWOOD® Long Island Recycled Plastic Adirondack Chairs from Hayneedle
Regular Price: $386.00
Sale Price: $269.00

Resin

If you like the look of wicker, resin is a fantastic option for outdoor furniture. Similar to polymer and plastic, resin is made from synthetic materials such as PVC which are manufactured to stand up to the elements much better than traditional wicker. Resin is also your best bet if you choose to leave your furniture outdoors most of the year as it’s less likely to crack or split and will never rust. I also like resin because even though it can take a beating, it remains comfortable to sit on and is softer than traditional wicker.

My Pick: Belleze Rattan Resin Wicker Folding Table & Chair Bistro Set
Regular Price: $142.94
Sale Price: $99.99

Teak

Plenty of us love the look of wood, especially on a stone patio or around a beautiful fire pit. So if this is your style, my pick is teak for its density and natural resistance to being damaged by the elements. Because teak has such a generous amount of natural oil, it repels water much better than other woods, making it a smarter choice for furniture that’s used outside. With any wood, teak will fade from its natural honey brown color to a wintery gray. The wood can be kept up with a teak sealant, which should be applied when it comes out for the summer and before it goes away for the winter. Also, it’s worth noting that real wood can be expensive, so keep that in mind if you’re going the teak route.

My Pick: Frontgate Teak Dining Sets
Regular Price: Varies
Sale Price: Now 25% off all sets

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.

Replacing your aluminum windows and doors

Chelsea O'Donnell

If you’re in the market for replacement windows and doors, the different types of products might seem endless and overwhelming. These days, many people are looking to replace their aluminum windows and sliding doors with a more durable option - something made from vinyl, wood or fiberglass that can withstand the test of time. There are lots of options out there and the one you pick will be based on four very important factors: the climate where you live, the amount of moisture and condensation your home is prone to, the kind of aesthetic you want for your home, and the maintenance required to keep them looking great. Keeping these four deciding features in mind, let’s go through the options.

When it comes to temperature, aluminum conducts heat and cold, which is why it’s a popular choice for cookware. Aluminum windows and doors are notorious for transferring the outside temperature in, which makes them very inefficient from an energy point of view. Wood fares better in the extreme seasons, but vinyl and fiberglass windows and doors are made for all weather and are built specifically to keep the warm air in and the cold air out. Remember that only 10 percent of the window is frame, so investing in double pane energy efficient glass is your best option, no matter what option you go with.

With our humid summers and damp winters, moisture is a major factor in deciding whether to upgrade your old windows and doors. Because aluminum transfers heat, it can attract condensation and moisture, which can lead to leaks, mold buildup and rot inside your wall. In my experience, this is a homeowner's worst nightmare, and it occurs all too often in older homes. If you have signs of mildew or corrosion from your aluminum frames, it’s time to get them replaced.

Then there is the “look and feel” factor. Many people started replacing their aluminum windows and doors with vinyl for the simple reason that they could achieve a more contemporary look with the various finishes and designs that vinyl offers. Of course, aluminum products can be painted or powdercoated to match the style of your home, but there will be maintenance to keep them looking great.

That brings us to upkeep. Be aware that any painted product will begin to chip and peel over time. The look of wood is elegant and timeless but it requires regular painting or staining, just like aluminum. Vinyl and fiberglass are very easy to care for and they don’t  peel, fade or need to be repainted. These products are not prone to scratches, dings or dents and can give you a longer, hassle-free lifespan if you take care of them properly.

With winter on the way, now is a good time to think about replacing old windows and doors for products with maximum energy efficiency and minimal maintenance. If your home still has aluminum and you’re experiencing some of the symptoms I have outlined above, it might be time for an update.