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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: wind

Protect Your Home From Future Wind Storms with These Six Tips

Chelsea O'Donnell

This week’s wild wind was not to be taken lightly. I’ve had calls from all over the area to fix roofs, repair gutters, and replace siding that was damaged. While high winds aren’t very common, they can cause major headaches for homeowners, especially those who have to go through the process of making an insurance claim. With that being said, here are my six tips for “weathering the storm” that inevitably comes with unanticipated damage to your home.

Check your policy now

Every insurance policy is unique and it’s really important to review your coverage annually to make sure you’re up to date with the inclusions and exclusions. Most homeowner's policies cover damage due to wind but other storm-related issues such as flooding are usually not part of the deal. The State of Connecticut Insurance Department has a basic homeowner’s storm damage FAQ on their website, but because all policies and insurers are different, it’s worth talking to your agent.

Be very careful

Damage can’t always be seen, so it’s important to exercise extreme caution. Inspect the powerlines around your home as well as the trees. Even if nothing is down now, a broken limb could fall later, so it’s better to be diligent. Also, be sure to watch for leaks in the days and weeks after bad weather. High winds often rip off shingles, leaving roofs exposed to rain and snow.

Make use of your camera

The most common types of storm-related damage are to roofs, windows, siding, and windows. As you inspect your home, take photos or everything and don’t move anything unless it's necessary. Video is also a great way to document any potential damage. The more evidence that you have, the better off you’ll be when you go to make an insurance claim.

Call your insurance company

Once you’ve assessed any potential damage, you can get in touch with your insurance provider. Do this as soon as possible and be ready with all the documentation that you’ve collected. Your insurer will be able to assess the damage to your home and help you understand what's covered by your policy. They’ll also connect you to a claims agent if required.

Make repairs

After you’ve reported any damage, it’s time to clean up. Leaving exposed areas uncovered and not fixing leaks will create much bigger problems, so be sure to clear and patch any problem spots. Do not ever try to touch downed power lines or electrical equipment - report those to your electricity provider or even your town’s fire department.

Hire a good, local contractor

Believe it or not, there are some hacks out there who chase storm damage, taking advantage of homeowners who need a fast fix. Don’t fall for these traps - look for someone local and reputable who has a good track record and is fully licensed and insured. The Better Business Bureau is a great place to get started.

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.

Don’t Hesitate, Insulate and Ventilate

Chelsea O'Donnell

I have to admit that I’m a big fan of the winter. I love skiing, playing ice hockey and hiking in the snow, but what I don’t love is coming home to a cold house. It’s around this time of year when I start to get calls from people all over town wondering why their home is so drafty and freezing when they’re paying a fortune in heating bills. The answer to their question is almost always a lack of insulation. Unfortunately, over 75% of houses in our area are under-insulated which means that heat is quite literally going through the roof.

Insulation is a cotton-looking fiberglass material bundled in pink or yellow colored rolls that you may have seen in your attic or behind the wall of new construction. It also comes in what we call “loose fill” which can be blown into harder to reach areas. Contractors use insulation between walls, in attics and in basements to retain heat in the house in the winter and keep the heat from getting into the house in the summer. The amount of insulation needed for a home is measured by its R-Value, which equates to its resistance to heat moving through it. Simply put, the higher the R-Value, the better the insulating properties.

Back 50 years ago when many of the homes in Central Connecticut areas were built, R-Value wasn’t a popular unit of measurement. Instead, they kept it simple and measured insulation by its thickness in inches. When a home was constructed, the contractor would put about three inches of insulation into the attic, if any was used at all. Three inches of insulation would give that homeowner an R-Value of about R-10. According to EnergyStar, homes in our area should be fitted with insulation that measures between R-49 and R-60. So if you have a home from the 50’s or 60’s and have never done an upgrade to your insulation, your home is definitely not equipped to handle our harsh Connecticut winters.

If you’re one of those homeowners scratching your head, trying to figure out why the house is so cold, take a trip up into the attic. Chances are your insulation isn’t up to scratch and it’s probably time for an upgrade. As a general guideline, insulation with an R-Value of between R-49 and R-60 will sit at between 19 and 22 inches thick when settled. How does your insulation stack up to that? If it doesn’t, you don’t have to worry - insulation is easy and inexpensive to install and has one of the highest resale values of any home improvement job going.

With any proper insulation job also comes ventilation, which allows air to move through the attic, preventing over and under heating and reducing the risk of mold buildup. We will talk about that in detail next week.

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.