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17 Divinity St
Bristol, CT, 06010
United States


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


Filtering by Tag: door

Home Improvements for the Holidays for Under $100

Chelsea O'Donnell

With the holidays just around the corner, you might be thinking about ways to spruce up your home before guests come calling. Since it’s such a busy and expensive time of year, I’ve decided to put together a list of small improvements you can tackle in an hour or less for under $100. Let’s get started:

Front Door Facelift - Make a great first impression by giving your front door some holiday flair. A festive wreath, some planters adorned with mini Christmas trees, or some holly garland can go a long way in greeting your guests.

Light a Path - With people coming and going, it’s always a good idea to make sure your driveway and entryway are well lit to avoid slips and falls. I love solar powered lights which don’t add to the electricity bill and will keep the path properly and safely illuminated.

Set and Forget Fireplace - Everyone loves the glow of a fire, but not every homeowner wants to deal with keeping it up while entertaining guests. Replace the logs with a candelabra to give your living room an inviting glow without the maintenance.

Sparkling Floors - Give hardwood floors a holiday shine with a floor refresher. No one has time to refinish this time of year, but a simple water-based formula will fill in scratches and make hardwood look like new. Best of all, the product goes on with a microfiber mop and takes just an hour to dry.

Carpet Clean-up - If you have old stains in the carpet, now is the time to get rid of them. In a spray bottle, mix a teaspoon of concentrated cleaner such as OxyClean with two cups of water and cover with a damp rag. Use a medium heat iron to steam out the stains, but keep a close eye to avoid burning the carpet.

A Citrusy Sink - With the holidays approaching, the last thing you want is a stinky garbage disposal. Give it a quick freshen up by dropping a few white vinegar ice cubes and some citrus peels down the chute and leave it running for about a minute. This will clear up any old food particles and leave it smelling fresh.

Freshen Up After Fido - If you have a pet, chances are you’ve become used to the smell, but your guests may not be so comfortable. Give Fido’s bed, the carpets, or the furniture a liberal sprinkling of baking soda before vacuuming to get rid of both pet hair and odor.

Nicks and Nuts - Has your wood dining table seen better days? Believe it or not, you can use a shelled walnut to remove those unsightly scratches. Just rub the nut gently around the blemish and follow with a buffing wax to make it shine.

These are just a few of my favorite fixes, but I’d love to hear from you! What little home improvements do you want to tackle for the holidays? Share your ideas by sending me an email or connect with me on Facebook at

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

What To Look For When Shopping For an Energy Efficient Entry Door

Chelsea O'Donnell

Many people don’t give much thought to their front door, which is surprising considering that it both sets the tone for a home and is a huge contributor to its overall comfort level.

If you’re in the market for a new entry door, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration beyond just color and style. I’m a huge fan of energy efficiency and all too often, I see homeowners losing massive amounts of hot and cold air through ill-fitting old doors with little insulation. Luckily, consumers have some great resources in their corner which can make choosing a new door a real breeze.

Energy performance is often measured by ENERGY STAR®, the symbol created by the Environmental Protection Agency to measure energy efficiency here in the United States. Another label you may see is from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), which independently tests and certifies products to give consumers more transparency around efficiency. Both of these rating systems rely on several vital performance contributors that you’ll want to pay attention to. Let’s take a closer look.

  1. U-Factor measures how well the product keeps heat from escaping a room, which is vital to our cold winters. It’s important to look for a low number here, which identifies a high performing product. Ratings generally range from 0.20-1.20.

  2. Solar Heat Gain Coefficient or (SHGC) measures the opposite. This rating helps a homeowner to know how well a product can resist heat gain, which is crucial in the summer. Again, the lower the number, the better - with 0-1 being the range for this measurement.

  3. Air Leakage is exactly what it sounds like and if you’ve ever stood next to a door with worn weatherstripping, you’ll know how important it is. Look for a product with a low air leakage rating, generally expressed in units of cubic feet per minute per square foot of the frame area (cfm/ft2). This measure is also highly dependent on the installation of the product, so having a knowledgeable installer is critical.

  4. Sunlight is another important factor which is measured through Visible Transmittance or VT. VT is a fraction of the visible spectrum of sunlight that is transmitted through the glazing of a door and weighted by the sensitivity of the human eye. This is measured in nanometers on a scale of 0 to 1. The lower the number, the less the light is transmitted.

  5. Finally, Light-to-Solar Gain (LSG) is the ratio of SHGC to VT and helps homeowners understand how light is transmitted relative to heat gain. The higher the number, the more light that is transmitted without adding heat. This number isn’t always provided but can be useful depending on the positioning of your door and its exposure to the sun.

Don’t forget, exterior doors should look great, but their key function is to provide a barrier against the elements. When you’re shopping for one, keep these factors in the forefront of your mind and you’ll be taking all the steps necessary to maintain your family’s comfort for years to come.

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 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 Advice is for guidance only.