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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: spring

April Showers Bring Roof Mold

Chelsea O'Donnell

Warmer temperatures and rain can only mean one thing this time of year. It’s roof mold season. My phone rings off the hook for cleanings in April and May when moisture and humidity kick into high gear, giving mold and mildew the perfect opportunity to thrive. So what’s with the black, streaky stains popping up on everyone’s houses and what can you do to get rid of them?

Stains on the roof are generally algae, which gets carried by wind or birds from roof to roof, and may not be visible until they have enough moisture, heat, and humidity to grow and spread. Now don’t be too alarmed, algae isn’t necessarily going to ruin your roof immediately, but it does affect the curb appeal of your home and the problem could end up damaging and pulling up your shingles if not dealt with for a long period of time.
An interesting fact is that copper, zinc, and lead are toxic to algae, and many newer roof shingles contain copper granules, which act as a barrier against any mold growth. Homes with older roofs won’t benefit from this technology, but it explains why you won’t see algae where metal flashing has been installed. If you’re susceptible to algae and in the market for a new roof, be sure to inquire about this type of shingle.

So now that we know what it is, how do we get rid of it? The easiest way to rid your roof of algae is a good cleaning solution, which can be picked up at the hardware store, applied using a pump sprayer and rinsed with the garden hose. One tip is to give any plants below the roof a good drink of water beforehand so they don’t absorb the solution. If you’re not comfortable on a ladder, call a professional to help you complete this task. A clean roof isn’t worth a trip to the hospital, and a local area home improvement specialist will be able to complete the job in just a few hours.

Once the roof has been cleaned, you might want to do something to prevent the mold from coming back again. As I mentioned, copper, zinc and lead-coated sheet metal are toxic to algae, so installing a strip of flashing will help stop that nasty fungus in its tracks. Choose a strip that’s at least six inches wide, and have it installed at the roof peak to ensure that the metal molecules wash down with the rain and protect the roof from mold build up.

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.

It's Time for Spring Planting

Chelsea O'Donnell

With the weather finally getting warmer, now is a great time to start preparing the garden for planting. While most people think the cold ground is too brutal for little sprouts to handle, there are a handful of hearty veggies that can thrive in the early spring. Let’s get the growing season started with these tips.

First, you need to prepare your beds or planters so your seeds can thrive. Once the soil is dry, you can start to turn it, but only if it crumbles in your hand. If soil sticks together like glue, you should wait or you’ll risk destroying the structure. You can topdress beds with compost to give the soil a nutrient boost when the time is right.

Once the soil is ready, it’s time to get planting. If you’re Irish, you know the old tradition of planting peas on St. Patrick’s Day for good luck. I don’t mind waiting a few more weeks, but getting them into the ground in early April is a must. They don’t call them spring peas for nothing!

After your peas, you can start to pop in other cold-tolerant vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. You’ll need to ensure they are protected, but getting them into the ground early is a good idea as they’ll get a headstart before the onslaught of pesky bugs and rodents. Radishes, spinach, and lettuce varieties are good spring plants too as they can generally survive a late-season frost.

If you have an indoor gardening facility, now is also a great time to get tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers started. The seeds can’t take the outdoors yet, but getting them ready to bask under fluorescent lights will ensure that you have a healthy harvest come summer.

As for other gardening jobs, early April is a good time to begin pruning apple trees, shrubs, and rose bushes. Deciduous trees and shrubs can be planted and now is a good time to get the lawn aerated. If you’re desperate for some color in the yard, spring-blooming pansies are a good pick for planters or beds since they do well in the colder weather and come in nearly every color under the sun. Daffodils and crocus are also popular and will make a nice backdrop for a neighborhood Easter egg hunt.

Of course, you know your own yard best, and getting in the garden too early can set you up for a disappointing harvest come summer. When in doubt, consult with your local gardening expert and use this time to get your soil in tip-top shape to ensure your plantings can survive and thrive this 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 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.

Get Your House Ready for Warmer Weather with These Cleaning Tips

Chelsea O'Donnell

A pre-summer cleanup is a dreaded task for many people, but I think it’s a great opportunity to go through your home and look for any small problems or maintenance issues that can cause you headaches in the future. I also use it as a time to sort through closets and storage to donate clothes, sports equipment, and tools that I haven’t used in awhile. But when it comes to cleaning, there are a few places around the house that might get missed in your more regularly scheduled tidying up. Here’s a list to help you tackle this tough project:

Windows: You might give the insides a friendly wipe down all through the year, but cleaning the outside of your windows is a smart job to tackle now, especially if you live near the road or a high traffic area. Getting to second-floor windows might take some work on a ladder, so use caution and take your time.

Wood Floors: If you’re vacuuming and mopping your floors every week, this cleaning routine might be doing them more harm than good. Wood needs to be conditioned in order to help it retain its normal levels of moisture. Nix the wet washing and try applying a wax sealant every few months to keep them looking shiny and new. There are different types of waxes depending on the kind of wood you’re dealing with, so pop into a home improvement store and ask for some advice before tackling the job.

Cabinets: From afar they probably look clean, but they are most likely splattered with cooking oil, tomato sauce, and all those yummy soups and stews you’ve been whipping up all winter. Use a cabinet cream to remove all the built-up gunk while conditioning the wood at the same time.

Countertops: Have you notice stains on your granite? This is a surefire sign that they aren’t sealed properly. When you have them installed, make sure they are treated with a sealant a few times, and then make it a once a year project. If water or liquid forms a bead on the surface of the counter, you’re good to go.

The Grill: If you left your barbecue covered in last summer’s gunk, it’s going to need some TLC before you fire it up. Brew up a few pots of cheap coffee and put it into a large, shallow, plastic tub. Drop your grill grates in for an hour and rinse them clean for a good as new finish. Be careful about putting the grill or a firepit too close to the house, the heat will melt your siding and the accident won’t be covered under warranty.

The Yard: If you haven't started on your lawn yet, it’s time to get going. Dethatching is the first step and it’s probably the most important, so don’t skip it or you’ll be looking at dead grass all season long. Once the lawn is prepped, use a fertilizer to give it the nutrients it needs and then apply a herbicide to stop the weeds. There are several products on the market that combine pre-emergent weed control with fertilizer, which will save you both time and money.

The Roof: I am seeing black stains on roofs all over town. Did you know that it’s algae? In addition to being unsightly, mold and mildew can eat away at asphalt shingles, voiding the warranty and causing potential damage and leaks. Now is a great time to get the roof cleaned which can be done by a professional, or as a DIY project. Cleaning solutions can be picked up at the hardware store, applied using a pump sprayer and rinsed with the garden hose. If you’re not comfortable on a ladder, call a pro to handle the job.

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.