Functional Solutions and Products to Improve Your Existing Home

Owning a home that you love is a true pleasure. You can spend years working to improve the beauty and functionality of each room. If you want to add beauty to your home while increasing the property value and increasing sustainability, there are several projects that you can install yourself or have installed by a contractor.

Functional Solutions and Products to Improve Your Existing Home

Common solutions to increase the sustainability of your home while lowering energy use can also increase the property value. Most homeowners know that replacing appliances with newer, more energy-efficient versions will reduce their energy bill. However, they might not be aware that you can improve your energy efficiency with changes to the structure itself.

2 Permanent Solutions to Energy Loss

1. Replacement Windows

Depending on when your home was originally built, it may have old-fashioned windows. These are typically single-pane windows that may also have several smaller window panes in a wooden or metal frame. New windows are made with man-made materials that don’t expand and contract with moisture like wood does nor do they corrode or rust like metal does. Replacement windows are usually made with double-pane glass that is better insulated from outside temperature changes. Both hot and cool air is kept inside your home reducing your need for heat or air conditioning.

2. Replacement Doors

Like windows, doors can leak a lot of cold or hot air around the frame. Older doors, depending on the material used to make them, often expand and contract with moisture changes. Replacing your old doors with custom-made, engineered doors will improve your carbon footprint while also beautifying your home. Custom-designed doors are made to the exact measurements for your home which means that they will help keep your home at the proper temperature, helping save money on your energy bill. You can order doors that add style and presence to your home at the same time.

To find out more about these projects, contact us.

4 Ways to Renovate Your Kitchen Without Remodeling (Part 2)

Welcome back to the second half of our two-part article on interesting and creative ways to renovate your kitchen without actually going through the full remodeling process. Last time we talked about how many houses are fantastic except for the previous owner’s taste in kitchen decor and the hassle of actually ripping out everything to replace it. We then discussed the marvels of contact paper in re-inventing the surface appearance of a room along with your ability to simply re-stain, paint, and finish anything you want. After all, it’s your house. Today we’ll start up by taking a look at your cabinet doors.

4 Ways to Renovate Your Kitchen Without Remodeling (Part 2)

3) Replace the Cabinet Doors

Of course, you’re not stuck with simply repainting or staining the cabinets, you can change the look completely simply by changing the style of the doors themselves. Remove the cabinet doors and think about what your kitchen would look like with something different. In some cases, you can install sliding doors instead, perhaps of clear or frosted plastic giving your home a more ephemeral and modern look. You can even install mirror cabinet doors to truly blow the minds of family and guests who will literally see themselves in your kitchen transformation.

4) Area Rugs

Finally, replacing floors is a lot of hard work, especially when dealing with kitchen counters, islands, and appliances. If you don’t like the look of your kitchen floor, or simply find it to be too cold in the winter, throw down a sturdy area rug. These can be plain black and utilitarian or lively and decorative. The important part is simply that it be easy to vacuum and was and that it has a rubber back for both traction and moisture control.

There are a lot of different ways to renovate your kitchen but the vast majority of them require a real budget and some skills with tools. If you don’t have a huge budget or don’t actually want to rip out big chunks of your kitchen just to change the appearance, simply changing the surface is much easier than replacing anything. With a few quick tricks and the help of professionals where your DIY confidence flags, you can enjoy your kitchen without any of the hassle or mess of true remodeling. For more great home repair and remodeling ideas or to work with someone who’s incredibly comfortable around paints, stains, and cabinet doors, contact us today!

Sheetrock and Drywall: Are They The Same?

Sheetrock and drywall both refer to special panels that are fastened to wall studs to create walls, but they’re not the same thing — at least not technically! Here’s a little brain-teaser: All Sheetrock is drywall, but not all drywall is Sheetrock! That’s because Sheetrock is actually a brand name — patented by a company called U.S. Gypsum — kind of like Kleenex is a brand name that refers to tissue. We’re teasing though, because most builders and carpenters use the terms interchangeably!

Sheetrock and Drywall: Are They The Same?

Both Sheetrock and drywall are made from flattened gypsum “plates” that are covered on both sides with heavy paper. Drywall — and by extension Sheetrock — are pretty revolutionary, because back in “the day”, all walls were made with plaster, and usually required the services of a plasterer to ensure an even and smooth application. Drywall, on the other hand, is a more lightweight, easy to install product that even ambitious DIYers are able to erect, using a special paper or mesh tape to hide the seams between the panels. The tricky part, though, is applying and sanding the joint compound that hides the tape. Do it wrong and you’ll end up with lumpy, visible seams, and a wall that looks like an amateur put it together!

The same problem occurs when a portion of a sheet of drywall is damaged, something that is more common than you might suppose. If the damage is small — say, a nail-hole left after hanging a piece of artwork on the wall — then it’s fairly easy to repair with a little spackle and some light and judicious sanding. But when the damage is more severe — like the damage when a heavy piece of furniture or other weighty object occurs and creates a large “hole”, it’s usually best to call in a professional — somebody who’s proficient at working to repair damage to drywall so expertly, that you’d never know there had ever been any damage when they’re through! That “somebody” is typically a professional painter or handyman.

Here’s some good news for residents of the Frisco, Texas region. You’ve got access to both professional painters and professional handymen when you engage the services of Excellent American Painting and Handyman Service! We’re bonded and insured, and serve not only Frisco (our home base), but also  Allen, Carrollton, Celina, Coppell, Corinth, Denton, Fairview, Flower Mound, Highland Village, Little Elm, Lewisville, McKinney, Plano, Prosper, and The Colony! Why not contact us today for an estimate on drywall repairs — or whatever is on your home’s “To Do” list? You can also give us a call at 214-938-1088 seven days a week!

4 Ways to Renovate Your Kitchen Without Remodeling (Part 1)

Have you ever loved everything about a home except the kitchen decor? The way people decorate kitchen has changed a lot in the past 80 years in which your home may have been built. Older homes tend to have bold designs that seem overdone and tacky these days and even with a perfectly modern kitchen, there’s a good chance that you and the previous owner simply don’t agree on which colors are attractive. Kitchens of the past tend to be brown, yellow, or white while modern kitchens tend toward blue-gray, white, black, and stainless steel. Renovating your kitchen without remodeling can be done.

4 Ways to Renovate Your Kitchen Without Remodeling (Part 1)

Whether you want a cozy cottage design or something sleek and minimal, you don’t actually have to rip anything out or spend a fortune to completely remake the appearance of your kitchen. No doubt you’ve heard about changing the cabinet handles or the faucet and light fixtures, but to completely transform even the big sections of your kitchen, all you need is a little creativity, perspective, and contact paper.

1) Contact Paper

Contact paper is one of the best things that has ever happened to kitchen remodeling. Contact paper is a sturdy plastic sheet printed with attractive patterns on one side and coated in sticky glue on the other. All you have to do is press the contact paper flat and smooth onto a surface and it magically takes on the appearance of the paper (which is really plastic). The best part about contact paper is that it can be made to look like other things.

Most people use contact paper on the surface of kitchen cabinet shelves because it’s easier to keep clean and can be replaced if it gets too grimy from spilled spices or a leaky jar of molasses, unlike the wood shelf itself. However, if you want to completely redo the appearance of your kitchen, consider new contact paper textures on everything from the cabinets to the dishwasher. Marble contact paper can class up an old chipped countertop without shelling out for real marble (just be careful about hot pots) and ‘stainless steel’ contact paper can be put on plastic appliances to make them appear more modern as well.

2) Stain, Paint, and Finish

Of course, if you’d rather change the color and texture of things the old-fashioned way, there’s nothing stopping you from simply re-staining, painting, or finishing any surface in your kitchen. Cabinets are the easiest to adjust the colors of, especially if you don’t need to change the color inside. Simply strip off the old finish, re-stain, and seal with a new finish so you can scrub your cabinets safely later on. Hate your kitchen backsplash? You don’t have to tear that out either, simply slap on a coat of complementary paint.

If you paint, use a sturdy glossy paint that will withstand the scrubby side of a sponge. Remember that everything has to be cleaned in a kitchen so any paint, stain, or finish you use that still gives off color when scrubbed isn’t sealed enough yet.

Join us next time for the second half of this two-part article where we’ll talk about cabinet doors, area rugs, and how to find a handy person to help you if you’re not exactly a DIY Diva. For more interesting tips and tricks on home improvement, to talk to a handy-man, or to read the end of this article, contact us today!

Bathroom Remodeling on a Budget: Vanity & Sink Installation

Remodeling a bathroom is a costly, time-consuming project straining many families’ budgets and patience. If your bathroom is functioning fine but desperately needs of some cosmetic upgrades, there are more affordable options. One of the most cost-effective ways to quickly give your bathroom a face lift is switching out the old vanity and sink.

Bathroom Remodeling on a Budget: Vanity & Sink Installation

Since the vanity is the first thing people notice when walking into the bathroom–unless they really have to go–upgrading it will immediately improve the look and feel of the room. With so many colors and sizes, it is easy to find a vanity to fit in with your existing bathroom fixtures.

Think of the most desired features you want included in your sink and vanity. Do you need more counter space? How about an extra sink to help ease the tension of those busy mornings? Do you compete with your partner for mirror space? Are you six-foot three and straining your back every time you spit out toothpaste?  By adding a new vanity incorporating your family’s specific needs, you no longer have to compromise with the bathroom that came with the house.

Is your bathroom cluttered with hygiene and styling products? Many vanities offer smart storage solutions to organize clutter and give each family member a space to put their hygiene items.  No longer will you search through everyone else’s stuff to find your toothbrush.

Spend some time deciding what vanity and sink features are most important to you. Search the internet for style and functionality ideas. When you are ready to change your vanity without the headache of doing it yourself, give Excellent American Painting and Handyman Services a call.

Excellent American Painting can work around your busy schedule to install a new vanity and sink. In addition, we could add a fresh coat of paint to the bathroom’s walls and ceilings. If you want a new look for your bathroom without the hassle and cost of a total remodel, please contact us or call (214) 938-1088. Our services are available seven days a week.

Enhance Your Traditional Decor with Crown Molding

If your home is traditional in its style and decor, but it still lacks the sophisticated look that you want, you should consider adding crown molding to some of your rooms. This design feature, which provides a graceful-looking flair and a finished edge, makes a fabulous cap for walls and pillars in any traditional home.

Enhance Your Traditional Decor with Crown Molding

Best Areas for Crown Molding

For pillars — If you have any plain square pillars or columns in your home, they’ll look truly elegant topped with crown molding. Instead of appearing like support posts, they’ll look like gorgeous decorator pieces.

For walls — Crown molding works exceptionally well in formal living rooms and dining rooms to create an elegant look. The design will turn any dull wall into a work of art. With its traditional finesse, this feature also adds a luxurious appearance to bedrooms to complete the look of your home.

Best Color Choices for Crown Molding

– White crown molding is an excellent choice for any traditional home. The light color will enhance the look of your rooms without making the ceiling appear too low. In fact, it can make an area look more expansive because the molding draws your gaze up from the floor.

– For traditional homes that have high ceilings, crown molding in a darker shade will add an affluent look to your space. A deep brown will bring an Old World, European flair to your home that you and your family will love.

Crown molding adds style and value to almost any house, and you can’t go wrong with this design feature in a traditional home. Contact us for more information about placing crown molding in your rooms today.

Interior Painting: How to Update Your Decor

When you want to update your home, you don’t always need to go through a massive renovation that takes a lot of time and money. You can create a fresh and stylish look in your interior by merely using paint.

Interior Painting: How to Update Your Decor

Three Ways to Update Your Decor with Paint

Full Paint Job — One way to update your home’s look is to repaint one or more rooms completely. For a traditional appearance, you can select white, off-white, or a cream color. For something more stylish, opt for light gray or a beige color. When repainting an entire room, be careful not to go too dark, or the area might start to feel small and claustrophobic.

Accent Wall Paint — For a trendy look, create an accent wall in one or more rooms. You’ll want to select a bold color that differs from the color on the remaining walls. Or for a more serene look, you can choose a different shade of the same color. You can also use various types of texture so that the accent wall will stand out more in the room.

Spot Painting — If you want to add some additional interest to individual rooms, paint the baseboards and doors (or just the jambs) a contrasting color. You can keep the color neutral for a sophisticated look or choose a wild color to infuse some fun into the room, such as when you’re updating an entertainment space or a child’s room.

When you paint your home’s interior, the choices are almost unlimited. You can create any look or feel that you want based on your color selections. For more information on interior painting, please contact us today.

Updating Your Bathroom

The two rooms of your home that tell the age of the house are the kitchen and bathroom. It is not uncommon for the bathroom to end up being the last place you remodel in a home. So, is it time to update that bathroom? If you still have the original colored fixtures, such as avocado or raspberry, it is probably overdue.

Updating Your Bathroom

Reasons for Updating

The biggest reason for updating is that the bathroom is a big influence on your mood and your daily life. It is a small room with a big impact on how you feel as you face the day. You really will feel more energized with a comfortable and lovely space for your morning shower or evening bath. You should also consider that a bathroom remodel increases the value of your home, this is one of the first areas that even a little change can make a big difference. For a cost-effective update, keep your fixtures in the same places. This does not mean you can’t change your tub for a shower. While you are remodeling, have your pipes checked for wear. Eventually even the pipes wear out, and there is no better time for replacing old pipes than when you change out your fixtures. Especially in older homes, the pipes will eventually need some work. While your walls are already open is the best time for these repairs.

Thoughts for Bathroom Renovations

Remember how long the house has had these fixtures. You want the new ones to last just as well, because bathrooms are not often redone. Plan for your future needs, as well as your present ones. Will you stay in your home into retirement? Consider adding aging in place features now. We all need towel bars, why not make them decorative grab bars? Floating vanities and lever handled sinks are age friendly features that do not detract from the style of your bathroom. If you are changing to a shower from a bath, add a bench and a hand shower. You might not need them now, but they will come in handy later. If you are not planning to retire in your home, you should still consider the resale value such features add.

At Excellent American Painting & Handyman Service, we can help you update your bathroom and make it perfect for your life now and in the future. Contact us for more information.

Three Reasons to Repair Your Sprinkler System

Sprinkler systems offer us a lot of convenience and efficiency.  We program them to automatically take care of the various areas of our yards while being earth friendly and using only the necessary amount of water.

Three Reasons to Repair Your Sprinkler System

It’s a good idea to have your sprinkler system checked at least annually.  You can time your check-up to occur before the hottest months hit so that you’ll be ready for them.  Check-ups and repairs are important to keep your sprinkler system at its peak performance.

Three reasons that you may need to repair your sprinkler system:

  • Inefficient Water Coverage.  Over time sprinkler heads can break, get clogged, or get shifted from their intended coverage area.  The results of sprinkler head problems are dead spots that now get missed during the watering cycle or overlapping coverage that puts too much water on a given area.
  • Leaks.  Sprinklers are generally made of some pretty tough weather-resistant materials, but they can break if a tree root crosses the path of an underground pipe, a shovel in the yard accidentally nicks a pipe, or a lawnmower runs into a raised head.  The results of leaks range from low pressure at the sprinkler heads to a significant amount of wasted water (and wasted money when the utility bill comes!).
  • Broken Timer.  The timer is obviously the brains of the whole sprinkler system operations.  Like any electronic device, these timers can malfunction or break completely.  It’s important to make sure that your timer is working properly and repair or replace it if it is not.  Since many people set their timers to water early in the morning, you may still be sleeping when the sprinklers run and not see that your timer is not operating properly.  It’s important to take the time to test your timer.

Sprinkler systems are critical to helping us preserve our lawns and gardens during the hot months.  Although they are generally very reliable, they do require maintenance and occasional repair.  If you are in need of sprinkler system repair,  contact us and we will be glad to help!

Electrical Repairs and Replacement

Electricity is one of the most valuable assets in our homes, and one of the most dangerous when it has a problem. This is why you should not hesitate in calling us if you have an issue with your electrical system. Our qualified technicians are experienced professionals, who will ensure that your electrical repairs are done right to ensure the safety of your home and your family.

Electrical Repairs and Replacement

Older Homes

If your home is several decades old, it was wired for a time when electricity did not play as big a part of life as it does today. We have increased the amount of electronic devices in our homes in ways that home builders did not anticipate. If your lights dim when something starts up, especially your air conditioner, you do not have enough power coming in for everything. You need more circuits in the home, and you usually need a service up-grade.

Common Problems

Even if your home is not older, you might need more circuits in areas. If your lights dim when you start using something else in the room, that is a sign of an over-loaded circuit. If you are blowing breakers on a regular basis, that is another sign that you need more power, at least in places. Kitchens are notorious for this problem, because of the amount of power used by microwaves, coffee pots, and electric cooking equipment. That counter-top grill is great. But when you put it on the same circuit as the microwave, you can expect problems when they are both on.

Another common problem is when something feels hot, or if you see sparks. Heat is a natural byproduct of electricity, but too much is bad. If your outlet or light switch has these issues, please don’t wait on this. House fires are a lot more expensive than an electrical repair.

At Excellent American Painting & Handyman Service, we care about your home and your safety. For more information on this or any of your home improvement needs, contact us today.