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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: old

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 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.

Don’t Let Your Home Get Drafty This Winter

Chelsea O'Donnell

If your house has old doors, winter can be a drafty time of year. Luckily, there is an easy, do-it-yourself fix to help you keep the cold air out and the warm air in where it belongs. Here is my guide to sealing your doors before the real cold sets in.

Examine your current weatherstripping for any rips, bends or wear and tear. In older doors, the seals usually deteriorate before the doors themselves, which will allow air to pass through. If you can feel a draft coming from the edges around a closed door, it’s time to give them a little facelift. However, if the door is damaged, sagging, or rattling, it might be time for a new one entirely.

Measure the top and sides of your door jambs with precision; you want the fit to be snug and airtight. I always say, measure twice and buy once! Once you measure the doors, you’ll find the materials that you need either at the local hardware store or online on any home improvement retail site. In addition to weather stripping, you might also need a sweep, which is the strip along the bottom of the door that looks like a tiny broom and keeps the gap between the door and the floor sealed. If yours is damaged or has broken off in parts, now is a good time to replace it. Luckily, basic individual weatherstrips and sweeps can cost as little as $10 each, which is a lot less than investing in a new door.

Just like painting, when you start weatherproofing you’ll need to begin on a clean surface. Scrape any old debris so the gap is free and clear. You want to make sure your gap is in good shape to lay the strips evenly and you need to have enough room for the strips to grip properly.

Finally, you can install your new weatherstripping. Cut it to size before you put it in the groove and ensure that you don’t stretch the material to fit – it will return to its original size and leave you short. Secure it firmly into the groove and open and close the door to look for any protrusions or gaps.

Weatherstripping is a quick, inexpensive fix that will help you stay warmer in the winter and give your heating bill a noticeable break. But just like any home improvement tasks, if you’re not comfortable using basic tools and equipment, you might want to leave the job to a professional. Either way, keep your family warm this winter and take some time for yourself to enjoy the holiday season.

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.