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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 Tag: glass

10 Hacks To Make Window Washing A Little Less Painful

Chelsea O'Donnell

This past weekend my family tackled the tough job of cleaning the windows in my daughter’s recently purchased historical home. After years of built-up dirt, this was no easy task and let me tell you, it made me appreciate my easy to clean vinyl windows a whole lot more. But with a house in a historic district, efficiency upgrades aren’t as simple as they are with other homes, so a morning of cleaning was inevitable. Luckily, with a few simple tricks, we got the job done and the windows look amazing. 

Window washing is a dreaded task, but a few hours can make all the difference. Here are 10 of my favorite tricks, tips, and hacks to simplify the job and get your glass gleaming again.

  1. Never clean windows on a hot day. The glass will heat up, causing your washing solution to dry on the panes faster than you’ll be able to wipe it off. A cloudy, overcast day is your best bet for this job. 

  2. Instead of relying on reams of paper towels, stop into your local hardware store and grab an eight-inch squeegee for those small panes. They make the job a lot easier with much less waste, just don’t forget to wipe the blade between swipes!

  3. Here is a great DIY window cleaning solution. Combine one cup hot water and one cup white distilled vinegar. Mix in a spray bottle and there you have it. For very grimy windows, clean with hot soap and water first, followed by the vinegar mixture for a streak-free shine. 

  4. To get rid of really pesky streaks, use a dry board eraser. Unlike paper towels, an eraser can do away with streaks without leaving lint behind. 

  5. If you really hate washing windows, take an extra step and apply a window protectant. The clear polymer coating will help protect the glass from dust, dirt, and grime for longer. 

  6. If you’ve run out of paper towels, old newspapers are a great alternative. The ink will get on your hands but you don't have to worry about lint getting left behind on the windows.

  7. Hard water spots can be tough to remove with regular window cleaner. A dryer sheet will do the trick, just buff in circular motions. It works on mirrors and shower doors too. 

  8. Caterpillars love building nests in window tracks. Clean them out with a thin screwdriver and then follow up with a firm, toothbrush-sized bristle brush. 

  9. Hate cleaning blinds? Wrap a pair of kitchen tongs in two microfiber cloths and secure with an elastic band on either side. Run the tongs between each slat to remove dust and pet dander. 

  10. Have a can of WD-40 in the garage? A quick coat on freshly cleaned window sills will prevent dirt and grime from sticking.

If after this round of window washing you swear it will be your last, consider upgrading to vinyl windows. The seamless, tilt-in design makes them so easy to clean and the energy efficiency can’t be beaten. It’s one of the best upgrades you can make to your home to save both time and money in the long run. 

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.

Upgrade Your Fence Game for a Summer of Private Relaxation

Chelsea O'Donnell

If you’re planning on spending plenty of time in the yard this Memorial Day weekend, chances are you’ll be thinking about ways to upgrade your outdoor space. After all, having a private backyard oasis to enjoy during the summer months is one of my favorite things about being a homeowner.

In my experience, creating a place that’s inviting and relaxing can make balmy weekday evenings feel like a mini-vacation, especially when a barbecue or bonfire is involved. But having an at-home retreat also means taking steps to ensure that your backyard is private and secure, especially when there is a pool or water feature involved. So today, I’d like to give you a peek into a range of fencing options to protect your yard and provide seclusion without forgoing great design.

Many homeowners love the aesthetic of a beautiful, timeless wood fence. They look elegant, provide fantastic privacy, and are easy to install. The downside, of course, is maintenance and with our hot summers and brutal winters, a wood fence will need regular staining or painting, a job that every homeowner dreads. On the positive side, if you like to update the look of your backyard frequently, wood can be painted in any color imaginable and it’s one of the most affordable options on the market. A six-foot panel will run around $25-$50 depending on the type of wood.

If you love the look of wood, but the upkeep has you thinking twice about the material, you might want to think about composite fencing. Composite is made from engineered wood, and while it mimics the look of the natural stuff, its lifespan is much longer with very little maintenance requirements and no worry that it will rot, splinter or warp.  The cost will vary based on the design and type, but you can expect to pay $100-$150 per six-foot section.

If you want something that’s sturdy and maintenance free, a chain link fence might be a good option for you. While they generally aren’t the most stylish in terms of design, a chain link fence will keep your backyard protected and they can be slightly customized in different colors and gauges. If you need more privacy, you can upgrade a chain link fence with metal slats. Best of all, it’s the cheapest of options, coming in at $100 or less for a 50-foot roll. If you like the idea of a metal fence, but prefer something a little more upscale, go for an aluminum option, which is powder coated and needs very little maintenance. A six-foot panel will run you $50-$75 depending on the height.

Finally, if you want something that will protect your yard without making it feel enclosed, there’s nothing like glass. A glass or plexiglass panel fence is beautiful for a yard with a view or to enclose a pool without shutting out the rest of your property. Glass fences are durable, but they do tend to scratch easily and need to be cleaned regularly. They are also generally the most expensive fencing option, especially if they need to enclose a large area or in-ground pool.

Happy Memorial Day Everyone!

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.

 

Simple Sealing Solutions to Retain Lost Heat in the Home

Chelsea O'Donnell

Old, drafty windows can be a killer this time of year - both in terms of comfort and cost. Cranking up the thermostat to combat escaping heat can often double or even triple your energy bills, plus it makes your heat and cooling systems go into overdrive which can shorten their lifespan.

While I am a huge fan of the latest and greatest energy efficient windows on the market, I understand that sometimes replacing that old glass isn’t in the budget. Keeping this in mind, I wanted to give you a few tips to help you retain some of the heat you’re losing from those old windows.

First, it’s important to remember that windows are one of the biggest sources of air leaks, which is a big deal in two of our four seasons. In the cold weather they let the heat escape, and in the warm weather they let it in, making your climate control systems work much harder than they have to. While the simple solutions I've outlined below will help you retain some comfort, window replacement will be your best bet long term if you’re tripling your energy bill during certain months of the year. So let’s get to the tips:

  1. Put up curtains. Believe it or not, hanging heavy fabric drapes can help you retain up to 25% of the heat in your home. This is especially true with large glass doors that aren’t being used in the winter months. The fabric acts as a barrier and while it won’t stop the air from getting out, it will slow the leakage. Plus, they can be very helpful in the summer, especially if your house gets a lot of direct sunlight.

  2. Seal up gaps. Wooden window frames get warped with age and can lead to serious air leakage. For cracks that are smaller than a quarter of an inch, a silicone caulk will work to plug up areas where air can flow through. For larger gaps and places that need to still open and close, weatherstripping is an excellent solution. It comes in foam, felt, vinyl and other materials and is both cost-effective and easy to install.

  3. Add a layer. Single pane windows in homes that were built more than 50 years ago simply can’t stand up to our cold winters. If you feel air coming right through the panes and the glass rattles with the wind, beef them up with some heat shrink film. This product can be found at any home supply store and can be cut to fit just about any pane. Using heat from a hairdryer, the plastic adheres to the glass, giving you a little bit of extra protection against the cold.

  4. Close up the attic. While not a window, people with an attic hatch are likely losing a ton of warm air through its frame. We all know that hot air rises, so seal up that hatch with heavy duty plastic, or build yourself an insulated box to fit over the entryway if you still need access to storage.

  5. Don’t forget the doors. We don’t often open the windows in the winter, but doors are a different story. They let lots of air escape, but they can’t be sealed completely because we need to use them. I always suggest inspecting your door sweep to ensure it’s not damaged, and replace it if the bristles have come loose. A door snake or seal can also come in handy, which can be purchased at any big box store or even made at home with an old pair of tights and some rice, beans, newspaper or another filling.

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.