Why You Should Consider Updating Your Lighting

Thinking about upgrading the lighting in your home?

There are so many upgrades you could make to your home that can make a big difference, but updated lighting is one of the most effective.

7 Reasons to Update the Lighting in Your Home

#1. Make your home more beautiful.

When it comes to the atmosphere of your home, lighting goes a long way. Nothing sets the ambiance or mood of your space quite like lighting does, and it can make a dramatic difference in how your home looks and feels.

Do you want your home to feel warmer and more comfortable? Lighting with soft gold or brushed silver finish can help you achieve the look you’re going for. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a cleaner, more modern aesthetic, you can achieve that with industrial-style lighting.

Whatever look you want, lighting is a big part of achieving it.

#2. Save more energy.

Are you looking to save more energy in your home? If so, upgrading to LED lights is an easy way to do so. The best part is that it’s a relatively cheap upgrade that can make a big difference.

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, ENERGY STAR-rated LEDs use at least 75 percent less energy and cast last up to 25 percent longer than incandescent bulbs.

Another great reason to use LEDs is how versatile they are. You can use LEDs for just about anything, from recessed downlights and under-cabinet lighting to holiday lights and industrial lighting.

#3. Take advantage of smart technology.

Our homes just keep getting smarter and smarter. Homeowners, in this day and age, can control everything from their speakers to their thermostats with their smartphones, and believe it or not, lighting has become one of the most popular trends in smart home technology.

Smart lights can be turned on remotely when you’re not home. This security precaution is more effective than leaving your lights on a timer, because when you’re home, you don’t necessarily turn your lights on and off at the exact same time every day. It’s also just convenient to be able to turn your lights on and off using your smartphone when you’re home.

You can also use smart technology to change the colors of your lighting and change the brightness level of your lights. This will help you set the perfect mood for whatever you’re doing.

#4. Add value to your home.

Your home isn’t just where you live; it’s an investment, and one of the many ways you can get more out of your investment is to upgrade the lighting of your home.

Lighting is a great way to add value to your home. It’s one of the most effective upgrades you can make in terms of aesthetics, and since it can have a big impact on the energy efficiency of the home, it can be a motivator for potential buyers.

Buyers will be more willing to spend on a home with upgraded lighting because it can make the whole home look more attractive and modern.

#5. See more clearly.

The lighting in your home has a huge impact on how clearly you see it, as well as how clearly you see things like books, magazines, recipes, the television, etc.

Upgrading your lighting will not only give you brighter, more vibrant lighting, but it will also provide a wide range of color spectrums. This can make colors appear more distinct, vivid, and accurate.

New lighting can be especially beneficial for people who have experienced a decline in their vision to age or illness.

#6. Be more productive.

When you see things more clearly, it can affect how productive you are. Seeing things more clearly makes it more enjoyable to do things like read books or even work on home improvement projects.

The tone of the lighting in your home can impact how energized you feel, which can also have an effect on how productive you are.

As many of us have had to make the difficult transition to working from home, anything you can do to be more productive can help.

#7. Reduce maintenance requirements.

When you upgrade your lighting system to an LED system, you’ll benefit from the fact that your lights will last longer. That means that your light bulbs need to be replaced less frequently.

LED lights also don’t burn quite as hot as other types of lights. Less heat helps to protect the various components of your lighting fixtures from damage and premature breakdown.


Getting the right lighting system starts with finding the right local lighting contractor.

There are so many reasons to upgrade the lighting of your home, and so many benefits that come with it. However, enjoying those benefits all comes down to hiring the right lighting contractor near you, and that’s where Top Rated Local® comes in.

With Top Rated Local, finding the right home contractors is easy, no matter what kind of project you’re taking on. Read contractor reviews from across every verified review site they’re listed on, and compare contractors side by side with the Rating Score™ system.

Find the right lighting contractor near you today!

Is it Time to Replace Your Windows?

Window replacement comes with many benefits.

Replacing your windows can add to the curb appeal of your home, making it easier to sell and adding to your home’s value. It can also help you save more on your monthly energy bills and make your home more comfortable year-round, and make your home quieter and more insulated against the world around you.

The truth is that there are so many reasons to replace your windows, but it’s not exactly a cheap upgrade. There’s no doubt about it, window replacement is expensive, which is why most homeowners aren’t overly excited about the prospect of completing this upgrade until they absolutely have to.

7 Signs That it’s Time to Replace Your Windows

Sign #1. It’s no longer easy to open and close your windows.

There’s nothing more pleasant than opening all of the windows on a warm, slightly breezy day, or falling asleep with the windows open on a cool summer night. But, in order to enjoy these small life pleasures, your windows actually have to be able to open and close properly.

Does it take the strength of an army to heave your windows open? Do you have to use a block of wood to keep your windows propped open? Do you have to lock your windows in order to keep them closed?

There are lots of issues that can make opening and closing your windows difficult. For instance, if the frames have been warped or have started rotting, or if the frames have been displaced because of shifts in your home. Whatever the reason, if your windows are inoperable, you need to replace them.

Sign #2. You’ve got single-pane windows.

If you live in an older home, you may have single-pane windows. Single-pane windows are affordable, which is great, but they are extremely poor insulators. This can result in high energy bills.

Single-pane windows also negatively impact how comfortable you are in your home. In the summer, they allow warm outside air to leak into your home, and in the winter, they allow the heated air in your home to leak out.

If your home has single-pane windows, it’s time to consider replacing them.

Sign #3. Your energy bills are high.

Single-pane — or otherwise old, outdated, or damaged windows — can have a significant impact on your energy bills. As I mentioned, cheap, inefficient windows let outside air leak in, making your HVAC system work a lot harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

The EnergyStar program from the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average home in the United States could save between $126 and $465 a year by replacing single-pane windows with EnergyStar-qualified replacement windows.

The energy savings from replacing single-pane windows is significant, but I won’t pretend that window replacement will pay for itself from energy savings alone. It won’t, but you’ll be more comfortable and your home will be more energy-efficient.

Sign #4. You can hear a lot of outside noise.

Your windows are how you connect to the world around you, but the great thing about windows is that they can be closed and shutters can be drawn. They allow you to let as much or as little of the world around you into your life and into your home. But, if your windows are old and inadequate, they may let a lot of outside noise into your home, which cannot be so easily dealt with by closing the blinds.

Double-pane windows that are properly insulated do a much better job of keeping outside noise outside than outdated single-pane windows do. This can enhance your quality of life in so many ways, including a better night’s sleep, even if your neighbors are having a party or are noisily sitting around the fire pit.

Sign #5. There’s a buildup of condensation on your windows.

Have you noticed condensation building up between the panes in your double-pane windows or on the inside of your single-pane windows? In the winter, does that condensation turn into frost?

This is a surefire sign that any insulating gas that was previously keeping your windows sealed is now gone. Windows that are no longer properly sealed will make your home much less comfortable and wreak havoc on your energy bills.

Sign #6. Your window panes are decaying.

The condensation that sits on the glass can be wiped away, but it’s the condensation that you don’t see, and can’t be so easily wiped away, that causes the most damage. When the condensation starts building up on wooden window frames, it leads to rot, mold, and decay.

Decaying window frames no longer hold their seal and don’t often operate properly. If you’ve had issues with condensation building up on your windows, make sure to keep a close eye on your window panes for signs of rot.

Sign #7. Your window frames are warped, broken, or otherwise damaged.

The integrity of the window frames is just as important as the integrity of the glass on the windows. Window frames that are chipped, water damaged, or have started to decay won’t be able to provide you with the seal you need against the outside world.

Your windows, like your exterior walls, are standing between you and the outside world, which means that they are constantly exposed to the elements. Over time, the elements can damage your windows, making it impossible for them to do their job.


If you’ve decided that the time has come to replace your windows, it’s important that you find the right local home contractor for the job. With the right contractor, you can maximize the benefits of window replacement, therefore, maximizing your investment.

Start your search for a home contractor near you with Top Rated Local®. We’re the only local business directory that allows you to read a home contractor’s reviews from across every verified site they’re listed on, as well as easily compare home contractors’ overall online reputations. Get started today!

Kitchen Remodeling During a Pandemic — One Woman’s Journey

Remodeling your kitchen is never exactly a picnic.

There’s a lot that goes into remodeling your kitchen, and as it’s one of the most frequently used rooms in your home, it being off-limits for any length of time is inconvenient, at best. Plus, your kitchen is the heart of the home and a big driver when it comes to sellability and value. So, when you’re ready for a remodel, you need to find the right local home contractors for the job.

Now imagine all of that in the middle of a pandemic, when the kids are home, the office has now become the living room, and you have few other places to go. Yikes.

That’s the journey my friend and her husband have recently taken on. After eight long weeks, their remodeling project is almost complete. They love their new kitchen, and she has graciously agreed to share her experience with all of us.

#1. Did you take any special considerations when looking for contractors to work on your kitchen remodel per the pandemic?

We started our kitchen remodel at the very beginning of this pandemic. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go ahead with the kitchen remodel because of everything that was going on, but we figured the virus would start tapering off and that we might as well take advantage of the time we were home. However, in the beginning, especially, I was asking everyone if they would be wearing a facemask.

Everyone we had come to the house wore a facemask. I figured it was too much to ask them to remove their shoes, so I instead laid blankets and towels over the surfaces they would be walking on. If we had someone who just needed to stop by, and I didn’t have a chance to lay something over the floor, I would immediately disinfect the floor after they left. I was a little overwhelmed by the extra precautions I felt I needed to take, but in the end, I thought better to be safe than sorry.

#2. How did you find the right contractors for your kitchen remodel, and what kind of things were you looking for when researching contractors?

We were really looking for people with great reviews, and we turned to Top Rated Local® as a reliable review site.

#3. What has been the biggest challenge to overcome during your remodel, and what did you do to overcome it?

One of our biggest challenges has been the constant flow of people coming in and out of our house — all during a pandemic and all while our children are home 24/7 and not in school.

We thought about rescheduling our kitchen remodel but figured if we don’t do it now, when would be a better time? We decided to go ahead with the remodel and just take extra precautions like laying blankets and towels over the floors and requiring facemasks.

#4. What was your biggest mistake with the remodel, and what would you do differently if you could?

This is not pandemic related, but if I could do one thing differently, it would be to talk to all of the contractors directly myself. There was one instance where we decided to go through a local company that had a partnership with a different local company. We didn’t really have any issues, per se, but I wish I would have worked with them directly instead of going through a middleman.

#5. Has remodeling during the pandemic had any upsides?

Absolutely! We are always home for the constant flow of people or for any packages to be delivered. There has been more than one instance where a signature was needed from a delivery driver, and we’ve been home to provide that signature. It’s been convenient that someone is always home to sign for the package or for someone to stop over for a measurement.

#6. What advice do you have for someone getting ready to take on a project like this?

Advocate for yourself. Do what you feel is necessary when it comes to protecting your home and your family. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. These people are coming into your home and will most likely want you to feel comfortable

#7. What’s your favorite part about your new kitchen?

My favorite part of the new kitchen — the shiny new gas stove
My husband’s favorite part — the beer fridge he JUST had to have.


Remodeling your kitchen is one of the best things you can do for your home, both from a personal enjoyment perspective and from a value perspective, but it all depends on the people you hire for the job.

Remodeling a kitchen includes lots of moving parts; you’re likely working with different contractors to do the floors, the countertops, the backsplash, the appliance installations, the plumbing, etc. And, you want to know that every contractor your hire is right for the job. That’s why you should start your local home contractor search with Top Rated Local.

With Top Rated Local, you can read a contractor’s reviews from across every verified review site they’re listed on, allowing you to gain a better understanding of their online reputation, overall, from just one place. Top Rated Local also gives each contractor a Rating Score™ based on their overall online reputation, which allows you to quickly and easily compare contractors. It truly is your go-to local business directory.

Start your search for kitchen remodeling experts with Top Rated Local today!

Illinois’ Top Rated Local® Deck Builders: Platinum Decking

Platinum Decking is a Top Rated Local® deck building company in Illinois!

Turn your property into the oasis you’ve always wanted it to be with the help of Platinum Decking, which serves Barrington, Palatine, Naperville and the surrounding areas.

Platinum Decking has received dozens of reviews with a perfect average rating of 5.00 stars, earning them a fantastic Rating Score™ of 97.00!

Here’s just one of the many five-star reviews that got them there:

“Working with Tom is an absolute breeze. It’s rare to find a quality contractor who does a great job [and] even more rare to find one who also communicates. The most important thing that I look for in a contractor is communication. His communication from start to finish was very impressive and handled every issue/hiccup with ease. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!” – Austin O.

Not Your Average Deck Building Company

We wanted to learn what makes this one-of-a-kind business tick, so we took a few minutes to talk with Tom Ackmann, the owner of Platinum Decking.

To kick off our conversation, we asked Tom about what makes Platinum Decking unique compared to their competition in Illinois. Tom told us:

“You’re not going to get a better product at a better price. There are three parts to a good business: the quality of the job, the workmanship and the price. …We are now the biggest decking company in the state because we focus on all of them…”

Tom went on to tell us that everyone on their team knows exactly what they are doing, and they do it right.

We also asked Tom about the Platinum Decking mission and how they work to make the world a better place. Here’s his response:

“At the end of the day, we strive for 100-percent customer service. We aren’t going to be done with a job until our consumers are fully happy. We like to make money, but that’s not the forefront mission. We make sure that the customer enjoys the process, and that’s unique in this industry.”

Building Success Through Customer Service

Tom credits Platinum Decking’s strong online reputation to their commitment to customer service:

“My businesses partner and I were in a painting business for 13 years. We built this business on customer service. We noticed that, in doing these decks, so many people would be disappointed that we would have to redo them due to weather. We took that need and turned it into a business. We now only do decks. We are the leaders in customer service in painting.”

Outside of building a powerful online reputation, Platinum Decking has grown by knocking on doors. Tom added:

“We recognize that a lot of contractors are old-school, so we strive to hit that target.”

There are many business owners looking to grow their business and build their online reputation. Here’s Tom’s expert advice for them:

“The number one key is keeping it in-house. You have to continue to work on it. It’s more affordable, and you have more control.”


Congratulations to Platinum Decking for being a 2019 Top Rated Local business, and thank you so much, Tom, for taking the time to speak with us!

We highly recommend Platinum Decking in Barrington. Visit their website today!