All posts by Dave Gray

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After two years, we reveal our master bathroom reno

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After two years, we reveal our master bathroom reno

Two years ago, when we purchased our home, we knew that ONE day we’d get to our master bathroom. It was dated and needed a good reno, but we felt we could ‘live with it’ for a few years. Well, that one day finally came and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

The Plan

When planning out our space, I looked at a few different configurations. Ultimately, I was thinking I’d put a shower at the far end of our bathroom, install a smaller vanity, move the toilet over and put a claw-foot tub where the existing bath was. I think this would have made for a really functional space. The plan changed quickly over the course of a weekend when we bought a new house. Surprise…WE’RE MOVING AGAIN!! With that said, we still wanted to undertake this reno on a tight budget. Things would stay where they were so that we wouldn’t need to move any plumbing and we could get things started right away.

Tile

First off, I fell in love with these tiles from Stone Impressions. They were a quick ship option; I LOVED the pattern and they were unlike anything I had seen before. I started playing with the idea of using the Avery tile as a feature wall and didn’t look back. I reached out to Stone Impressions and was over the moon when they wanted to collaborate on our project. They shipped us the hand-selected Carrara marble tiles all the way from San Diego. When I opened up the package, I seriously couldn’t believe my eyes. The pattern on each individual tile looked so handcrafted and luxurious. I swear, we’re going to miss them in our new home.

Vanity

Next up, the vanity. We went with the 60″ Ashburn Vanity from Foremost available online at The Home Depot Canada. It was the perfect size for our space and the colour is GORGEOUS! My favourite part? That it has feet. It really looks like a piece of furniture. We decided to add an additional sink and it’s so functional for us. Before, we had so much counter space that we really didn’t use. We ordered the vanity online and it was shipped to our door (countertop, sinks and all).

Faucets & Hardware

When it came to our faucets I decided to go with matte black. I really love that the faucets don’t match the hardware on the vanity. The mixed metals work so well in our bathroom. This also allowed me to incorporate a polished nickel showerhead and some polished nickel in our vanity light. We ordered towel racks and our toilet paper holder in the same matte-black collection from Pfister. They’re stunning! The accents of black really work so well with everything else we have going on in the space. The collection is exclusive to The Home Depot Canada and I couldn’t be more thrilled to recommend it. The water ribbons as it pours, the design works with any bathroom esthetic, it came with an easy-to-install, push-to-seal drain, it has a lifetime warranty AND there are other finishes to choose from. Major win!

Saniflo

When planning our bathroom reno, we thought we’d be able to incorporate Saniflo into our project. When they explained to me how it worked, I jumped on the opportunity for a collaboration. In the end, we didn’t end up moving any plumbing and didn’t need to use their system, but I can assure you, we’ll be using it in our new home and I’ll be telling my friends about it. What is it exactly? Let me explain: The Saniflo Sanicompact macerating toilet is the system that I’m referring to. If you’re looking to install a toilet in a trailer, a cottage, a basement, or anywhere else that typically requires you to move plumbing, the Sanicompact allows you to quickly and easily add a new bathroom without any major construction. There is no need to break the concrete or move plumbing lines because the Sanicompact can tie into your existing lines. The best part about this system is the tankless design, which makes it great for smaller spaces, and it looks very modern too. Sounds pretty great right? Well, that’s a wrap. Thanks so much for checking out our Master Bathroom Reno. We love it! Stay tuned for future renos in our new house. I can’t wait to start planning and creating.

Shop my Bathroom:

Tiles: StoneImpressions | Faucet: The Home Depot | Tub: The Home Depot | Towel Bar: The Home Depot | Hand Towel Bar: The Home Depot | Toilet Paper Holder: The Home Depot | Vanity: The Home Depot | Turkish Towels: House of Jude

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Jaclyn Harper is a TV host, interior stylist and new mom living in Burlington, Ontario. You may recognize her from shows like Tiny Talent Time, Morning Live First Edition and The Shopping Channel. She has also worked behind the scenes for the Property Brothers’ Show, Buying And Selling. When Jaclyn’s not on TV or creating beautiful designs, you’ll find her latest projects on her blog jaclynharperdesigns.com. From DIYs, design projects to life as a new mom, her lifestyle blog and YouTube channel give her fans a peek into her family life.

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Kids’ bedrooms – a labour of love for the little ones

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Kids’ bedrooms – a labour of love for the little ones

I love working on bedrooms. They come in all shapes and sizes, so a cookie-cutter approach doesn’t really work, especially when the space is small and/or awkward. That sums up my spare room, which I was challenged with turning into a home away from home for three little girls under the age of six.

With toys, clothing and gadgets for three little ones, I had to come up with unique sleeping arrangements and incorporate lots of storage to make the best use of the space.

Creative Space Configuration

Fitting three girls into a small space certainly made making room for beds a challenge. My only option was bunk beds and, with tight space restrictions, I had to take it a step further and have custom beds created. In order to fit them into this small, square room, I had to get really creative. First, I turned the hinges on the bedroom door so it would open in the other direction. Then I built in a wall, creating a pseudo hallway inside the room. That wall was able to serve as a headboard and I mounted the bed ladder right on the wall, making use of every square inch of space.

Smart Storage

Because little girls have A LOT of stuff, I installed drawers on wheels under the beds and added an open-shelving area for additional storage. We also tucked a window seat into the wall and surrounded it with storage as well. I wanted to add texture and a modern twist by changing the closet doors to Masonite’s Melrose Safe ‘n Sound door, from Metrie. I went with their Safe ‘n Sound core option for the weight and feel of the door, and most importantly, to keep the noise down.

A Playful Feature Wall

I added wallpaper in a geometric pattern from Wayfair to create a feature wall. Originally, I was going to wallpaper the entire room with this pattern, but there was limited stock when I ordered it. So, having fallen in love with the design, I decided to use it anyway in a smaller dose – hence, the feature wall. I also used stylish blackout blinds from Wayfair in all white; their soft, cascading design makes the space seem larger and more airy.

Space-enhancing colour palette

I used soft colours in the room by adding a patterned rug from Wayfair and the polka- dot sheets, which keeps the room soft, clean looking and fun, all at the same time.

I added hypoallergenic, dust-mite control, fully washable pillows and bedding from my own line called Alcorn Home. I cannot stress enough the importance of “washable” sheets with little ones! These beauties pop right in the washing machine – cover, filling and all. Finally, I added some pink velvet pillows (also washable), and a black-and-white throw blanket to balance off the wallpaper at the end of the bed.

Personality, function and room to play

The artwork is another source of colour and pattern. By enlarging and hanging cute family photos, it added personality and a sense of belonging for the kids.

A full-length mirror at the end of the hall is functional and created a runway for playtime. There was enough floor space for the girls to get out their doll houses and other toys, and still have room for everyone to enjoy whatever they were doing at any given time.

The biggest lesson to learn from this makeover is that sometimes you really have to think outside of the box – literally! If I had stayed with the square room, as it was, it wouldn’t have the wonderful personality and function this room has now.

I love how this space turned out, and the kids love it too – which is the most important thing. I look forward to many sleepovers here and know this is a space that will easily change with them as they grow up. Just hoping it’s not too quickly!

Jo Alcorn is founder and design specialist at Alcorn Home.

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Creative ways to make air conditioner part of your interior decor

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Creative ways to make air conditioner part of your interior decor

Keeping your home cool and comfortable during summer months can be really difficult if you don’t have a good air conditioner. We all forget about the importance of an air conditioner in a home environment until the summer heat makes the indoor air hard to breathe. Thus, the AC is one of the most important appliances you should install.

However, despite its importance and functionality in your home, the AC unit can be a real challenge in making it part of your interior decor. The large air conditioner unit sticking out of your wall can totally ruin your interior decor if you fail to integrate it with the furniture and other things around it. If your AC makes decorating a struggle, here are a few creative ways to cover the AC unit and make it part of your home decor:

Cover it with a curtain

One of the simplest and most creative ways to integrate your AC unit into your interior decor is to cover it with a curtain. You can use a thin fabric to create a curtain to cover your AC unit which also allows the cold air to circulate when the air conditioner is in use.

The fabric you use for the curtain needs to have the right color and texture to integrate beautifully into the overall interior decor of your home. If you have simplistic interior design in the room and there is no eye-catching piece of furniture or decoration on the wall around the AC unit, you can make the air conditioner the focal point of the room. The fabric of the curtain can contain a unique print that will make the air conditioner unit the most colorful and eye-catching object in the room. On the other hand, if your interior decor already contains too many accent elements, colors, prints, and styles, the fabric you use to cover the AC unit should be simple and not too obvious.

Place it inside an open bookcase

Another great way to cover and integrate the AC unit into the interior design of the room is to place it inside an open bookcase. The bookcase is a piece of furniture which you have already used to decorate your room. Thus, it is extremely easy to integrate it by placing it inside something that is already part of the room decor. In order to make sure that the air conditioner won’t be visible when it is not in use, you can install a door in front of it which you can only open when you want to turn the AC on.

Paint your air conditioner

If you are a creative person and have great painting skills, you can use your talent to make the AC unit part of the overall interior design of your house. You can use acrylic painting and decor the AC unit in a manner that will be suitable with the rest of the design of the room. Not only that it will bring a stylish charm to the room, but it will also look like a piece of art that will complement your interior design wonderfully.

When painting your AC unit, make sure you unplug it and take it down from the wall to avoid putting yourself at any risk of falling or electric shock. Leave it for a few hours for the paint to dry properly. Afterwards, you can place it back on the wall and use it as usual. However, before you spend a lot of time painting it, make sure that it is working perfectly and that you don’t have to replace it. If your room AC doesn’t cool or turn on, call air conditioner repair experts to help you keep your home cool and comfortable during summer.

Surround it with wall decorations

The best way to draw the attention of your guests from the AC unit is to place other wall decorations that are eye-catching on the wall around it. All you have to do is to make sure that the decorations, painting, or pieces of artwork you place will be the focal point of the room wall.

Use it as a shelf

A little additional storage place is always welcomed in any home. If your AC unit is placed at a reachable height on the wall, you can easily use it as a shelf and place your things and decorations on it. There are a multitude of things you can place on the AC unit if you decide to use it as a shelf including photo frames, plants, decorations, and works of art.

Colorful flowers or family photo frames will not only make the room look righter and more stylish, but they will also draw the attention of your guests from the AC unit to the things placed on it.

Choose the right color for the AC unit

If you want to fully integrate your AC unit in the interior decor of the room, you need to go for the right color for it. For example, if your room walls are painted black, a white air conditioner unit will be extremely obvious and unaesthetic on the wall. However, if you choose a black an AC unit, it is more likely for it to easily integrate into your interior decor. Most air conditioner units come in white color. However, you can customize yours when purchasing a new AC to have the color of your room walls.

The air conditioner is an essential home feature that you simply can’t do without. However, it doesn’t mean that you should allow it to ruin your interior decor. There are plenty of ways to cover it or to integrate it into the overall interior design of your home including the ones mentioned above.

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How to prep your roof for Canadian winters

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How to prep your roof for Canadian winters

At the height of winter, temperatures in Canada sink below anything you’ve ever experienced. While people in the South don’t have to worry about freezing temperatures, those from Eastern Canada experience short, harsh winters. Cars don’t start and you get snowfalls almost at any time. If you want to live comfortably when the temperatures plunge, get things taken care of. More precisely, prep your roof for the cold months of the year.

Don’t ignore this very important task. This will help reduce many of the costs and dangers associated with cold winter weather. There’s no better time than now to assess the wear and tear on your roof and prepare for the cold season. Use this practical checklist. It won’t do the work for you, but it’ll remind you of all the tasks that need to be completed.

Clean the eavestroughs like a pro

The eavestrough is meant to remove the water from the roof and make sure that it drains away from the building. If until now you haven’t paid to much attention to this essential part of your home, do it now. Eavestroughs have a tendency to collect debris. If you don’t keep them clean, the dirt will fall along the foundation of the house, which can lead to cracks. In extreme situations, the debris can cause fracture and excessive deformations. If the water should happen to build up, the outcome is serious damage to the roof, siding, and trim. As you can see, inspecting and cleaning out the eavestroughs is of paramount importance.

Something to look out for when you’re concerned about the surface water collection channel is overflow. This is usually the result of a blockage which can be corrected immediately. Remove anything you can find. This includes leaves, shingle granules, and broken tree limbs. Equally important is to pay attention to the fasteners. Are they a little bit loose? Do the fasteners look damaged? If the answer is yes, you need to do something. Secure them with the help of steel screws and plastic ferrules. Simply insert the screws in the existing holes in front of the eavestroughs.

There are risks to not keeping your eyes on the eavestroughs. If you don’t monitor this important part of the home’s exterior, you’ll have to deal with clogs. As you know very well, clogs lead to leaks. Water pooling around your dwelling is one of the worst things that can happen. Needless to say, the water can damage the foundation and compromise the integrity of your home. The building is made of concrete and concrete absorbs water. You get the point. Just so you know, the damage is irreparable.

Schedule a roof inspection

Maybe you need a new roof before winter. There’s no way of knowing for sure until you have an inspection performed. A professional assessment, executed by technicians with experience in this area, will unveil if there are issues and if it’s necessary to carry out reparations. Is this really necessary? Yes, because it’s not easy to tell in what condition the roof is from the way it looks. Before the winter comes, get a professional up on the roof. The professional will look for signs of deterioration and degradation, such as rust spots, shingles which are curling or blistering, cracked and worn vent pipes, black algae stains, and the list doesn’t end here.

It’s not recommended to wait until you see serious damage to replace the roof. According to the experts at Cherry and Clark Roofing, getting a full replacement is necessary, especially if the roof is more than 10 years old. The reason for this is that it has reached the age limit. Trying to repair the roof will do more harm than good. It’s better to have a new one. A new roof means advantages for the homeowner. If you don’t see the point in this course of action, maybe these arguments will change your mind:

  • Increased property value – Adding a new roof increases the resale value of your home. A bad roof, on the other hand, won’t allow you to maintain good value.
  • ROI – Sure, a new roof will cost you a couple of dollars, but it’s totally worth it. the estimated ROI is about 70 percent.
  • Energy efficiency – Replacing your roof can increase its efficiency. The less cold gets into your home, the more comfortable it will be. Invest in a new roof and save on your heating bills.

Know when it’s time to replace your roof. Just so you know, you can have it replaced in the winter as well. It’s just that it’s a little bit more complicated, as the temperatures fall below freezing. If you do decide to install a new roof, work with licensed professionals. They will know if it’s required to use hand-sealing and how to deal with the abnormal air temperatures. You may be tempted to do this yourself, but keep in mind that it’s not a good idea.

Inspect the attic insulation

What insulation does is prevent the warm air from escaping during the winter. In the summertime, it does the exact same opposite. Attic insulation is a great place to start when making adjustments for the upcoming season. Check the insulation in the attic and determine if it’s due an upgrade. If the insulation is ineffective it doesn’t prevent heat loss from the home and neither does it allow you to control temperatures.

Ineffective insulation can lead to something that is called the chimney effect. It refers to the movement of the air inside and outside the building. It’ll increase your heating bills and make your home a lot draftier. Winter is just around the corner, so you’ll want to check the insulation and look out for signs of damage.

How are you supposed to know if there is enough insulation in your attic? Well, if you live in an older home, chances are that there are some issues. Carry out a visual inspection to be sure. If the level is below the joists, it’s necessary to add more insulation. Blanket insulation is the best choice. The R-value is somewhere between 3.1 and 3.8.

A well-maintained roof will save a great deal of trouble. So, get to work.

Cherry and Clark Roofing

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Selling your condo in 2020? Here’s what you should know

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Selling your condo in 2020? Here’s what you should know

The real estate market has been indecisive lately, so if you are planning on selling your condo in the near future, it’s understandable that you have lots of questions you need to find answers for. Is it a good time to sell? Will you be able to get the desired price? Is the market strong enough?

Real estate experts have some predictions for 2020, but whether they will come true is yet something everyone has to wait and see. Last year, for example, it was predicted that the mortgage interest rates in the U.S. will be increasing for 2019, but now, after the start of the second half of the year, things are turning out to be quite the opposite. If you do plan to sell your unit in the year to come, there are some things to keep in mind, no matter how the economy changes.

Condo prices may drop considerably

A possible recession has been on the lips of everyone in the first half of the year. If this is going to happen, then the real estate market is going to shift on the buyer’s side and prices may to drop considerably.

In fact, financial experts think that a possible recession is going to hit Canada harder than it will affect the United States, for various reasons. To determine this, experts have taken into consideration factors such as the savings rate, which fell to 1.1 per cent in the first quarter of the year, as compared to the U.S., where the rate is 6.7 per cent. This means that, in the case of an economic crisis, Canadian households will have to work harder to get back on their feet.

But the real estate market is quite unpredictable and a lot can change in the second half of 2019. Bottom line is, if you want to sell your suite in 2020, you might want to do it in the first half, to avoid prices dropping too low. At the same time, if you plan on buying a new home, it is suggested to wait a bit more until the market turns on the buyers’ side.

Buyers are becoming pickier

In the events of a recession, buyers will have more power over the market, as there are simply going to be more condos for sale, than people looking to buy one. This means that the power will shift in their favor and they will become more pretentious.

If you want to have a higher chance to sell your unit, make sure it is an extremely desirable one. Make some small adjustments, invest in some modifications that will increase the value of the condo, such as making it more energy-efficient.

Millennials are going to be the next homebuyers these next few years, so you are going to want to make the condo appeal more to them. The Millennial generation is more interested in how they affect the environment, so they are going to look for homes that are more environmental-friendly.

You may have a higher chance with an agent

If you want to sell your apartment fast, hiring a real estate agent who knows the market may be your best shot. Agents are up to date with all the changes happening on the market and will be able to advise you to make the best decision. Make sure you find a reputable agent that has your best interests at heart and is not only in it for the money. Look online, ask for recommendations from friends and family and meet for a discussion before deciding on an agent.

Homeowners are often trying to sell the house by themselves, to avoid having to pay a commission for the agent. Truth be told, yes, you can end up saving quite a significant amount of money if you are looking to sell the house by yourself, typically around five per cent of the sale price. But real estate agents are charging these fees because it is their job to expose your house to a much bigger list of potential buyers. This way, they are making sure you get the best possible deal out of it. Without an agent, you are going to have to take care of preparing and marketing the house yourself, as well as reviewing all the offers that are going to come your way. Not an easy job, to be honest.

Certain areas sell better in particular months

Market dynamics are a strong indicator when it comes to determining when is the best time to sell your condo. While the national market trends are something you need to consider, you also have to keep in mind that, in some months, buyers prefer to look for homes in certain areas.

Experts analyzed the sales activity in the city of Toronto for the past 18 years and have discovered some interesting facts. While some homeowners may think that spring is the best time to sell their condo, it may not always be the case. Some areas are more searched for in the fall season. Oshawa and Pickering are, indeed, more attractive in late spring, while Simcoe sellers are advised to list their condos in February for a chance to get a higher price.

In Vancouver, fall seems to be the best time to sell your condo in various areas, such as New Westminster, North Vancouver, as well as Surrey. If you live in Abbotsford, Mission or Port Moody, then the summer is the right time to put up the “For Sale” sign. For those living in Chilliwack, Richmond or Whistler, spring may bring the best possible prices.

As the economy continues to bring up surprises, the real estate market seems to shift the power towards the buyers. If you are planning to sell your condo in 2020, you need to pay close attention to the way the market is evolving. The less stressful option is to hire an agent that can take care of these things for you and ensure you will be getting the best possible offer.

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How to Keep Your Home Protected During a Home Improvement Project

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How to Keep Your Home Protected During a Home Improvement Project

If you’re looking to make some changes around your property, ensuring your home stays well protected is crucial. During a home improvement project, debris and dust can spread, so taking precautionary measures from the get-go can help to reduce any mess left around your property. Here are some helpful tips for keeping your home protected during a home improvement project.

Clear the Area

Before any work can begin on your property, it’s important to clear the area first. Things such as furniture, decorations, or clothing can easily get damaged, so ensuring you have a room that’s spacious and empty is key. What’s more, the last thing you want is to cause any damage to your belongings, so taking precautionary measures before you get to set to work can help to reduce any dust or debris from spreading.

Cover Your Belongings

If you have any furniture that cannot be moved out, you will need to ensure that they are covered and protected during a home improvement project. No matter the size of the work being carried out, it can be hard to control debris, dust and paint, so you may want to visit websites like Trimaco who offers a wide selection of protection products for floors and other areas, helping to keep your home and belongings safe during home renovation.

Keep the Area Separate

If you live in a busy household, let others in your property know what area of the home is being worked on. Sealing the area off will not only let those in your home know not to enter the room, but it can reduce the risk of any injuries from occurring. If you have hired a contractor to carry out work, they can give you more advice on what you can do to make sure this area is strictly out of bounds, such as affixing plastic sheeting to your doors.

Throughout a home improvement project, it’s important that contractors can get to where they need to work without any problems. To prevent mud spilling into your property, laying down a path made from materials like carpet scraps can be a good place to start. Once work has finished, make sure to go outside with the scraps and shake them to ensure any debris or mud is removed.

Keep on Top of Things

Whether you’re making a few subtle changes or a large renovation project, dust and debris can cause havoc in your home from the beginning, therefore, it’s crucial that you keep on top of things by doing regular cleaning. Ensuring that your home is not only safe for you, but also your contractors, is important. If you have excess dust, knowing how to minimize this mess can be a huge help.

Whether you plan to go down the DIY route for your home improvement work, or hire outside help, keeping your property protected throughout is a must. Whether it be covering your furniture, sealing the area off, or regular cleaning, there are various things that you can do to ensure the task is completed accordingly to plan (and without too much mess!).

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Home insulation – why it’s important and how to hire the right contractor

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Home insulation – why it’s important and how to hire the right contractor

When it comes to making a few adjustments around the house, you might have a wide variety of projects to consider. However, if your home isn’t insulated, or your current insulation is faulty and old, this should be the home improvement to cover first.

Considering the fact that reinsulating a house does come with certain financial demands, you should first be certain that this is the type of investment actually worth making. Why is home insulation so important? The following details will provide you with a bit of clarity on the matter, helping you understand how you can benefit from new and qualitative insulation, as well as how you should handle the contractor hire process:

Lower utility costs

Because cost-saving opportunities should always be taken into account, one of the first things to know about insulating your house is it will allow you to lower your monthly utility bills. Because the temperature in your home can be more easily maintained to optimal levels, you won’t longer have to spend as much as you did until now on heating and cooling.

Electricity tariffs are known to increase from time to time, especially during winter. With the right type of insulation materials, however, you can keep your home warm, while using less energy, and thus you will notice a decrease in your monthly utility bills.

Reduced your carbon footprint

If you’ve been focusing lately on pursuing a more environmentally conscious lifestyle, you should acknowledge the importance of insulating your home from an eco-friendly perspective. This type of project gives you the chance to reduce your carbon footprint, being a green action more homeowners are considering.

A house that isn’t properly insulated can lose about 20 to 30 per cent of its energy, which means a higher environmental impact. By resorting to a spray foam insulation contractor, you can lower your energy consumption, without compromising on your comfort. Less energy means reduced carbon footprint and air conditioning unit chemicals released into the environment. This is an easy way to green up your household and lifestyle at the same time.

Increased comfort

During harsh days of winter, even if you turn your heating system to its maximum capacity, if your home isn’t properly insulated, drafts will still appeal, affecting the indoor temperature and your comfort. Keeping your home sufficiently warm becomes much easier when the walls and ceilings are adequately insulating. You will no longer be wasting energy, and the temperature inside your house will always be well-balanced. Insulation will be a key factor in ensuring comfortable temperature during both summer and winter, allowing you to rely less frequently on your heating and cooling systems.

Higher home value

While insulating your entire house means spending a bit of money, this type of project is worth every dime. Besides long-term cost saving advantages, insulating your property can also boost your home’s value. What does this mean? If you ever intend on selling your house, buyers will be willing to pay more if you have your insulation in check. The returns of your investment will then pay off more than you may have anticipated. Homebuyers are always searching for appealing home improvements, and this is one of the areas they usually focus on.

Soundproofing

If you live in a crowded neighbourhood with a lot of traffic, perhaps, noise pollution might be an issue. Insulation could also be useful in absorbing sounds and turning your household into a quieter environment. When your walls are insulated, less noise will be heard indoors, which can lead to a higher quality of life.

Selecting a home insulation company

Now that you know the main benefits of home insulation, maybe you’ll decide to carry out this type of project in the near future. This means finding a contractor who can help you tackle this home improvement. Since many companies provide the same level of service, when you are comparing offers and trying to make a choice, look into these few details first:

  • License and accreditation
    • Always work with a licensed and accredited firm. The contractor should have the training and qualifications necessary to provide this type of service. Holding a license is the first sign of professionalism, so make sure to ask about it from the start.
  • Experience
    • An experienced contractor will be able to perform the job better than a novice. If you want to be 100 per cent sure the project is being handled by the book, and the outcomes are of high-standard quality, hire someone who has been providing this type of service for a long time. Companies with industry longevity are also usually more reliable.
  • Workmanship and product warranty
    • If something goes wrong with the project, if you notice any damage shortly after completion or have complaints in regards to insulation material quality, a warranty will cover any potential extra costs that may arise. Hire a contractor that can offer workmanship and product warranty.
  • Reputation
    • Do some research on the contractor. See if you come across any complaints from their past clients, or if they have a good reputation in the industry. References will help you decide whether you’re making the right choice here.
  • Insurance
    • If an accident happens on your property while the insulation project is being carried out, you probably don’t want to be the one in charge of covering for potential costs. Collaborate with a contract that is insured, to keep yourself protected against any unforeseen expenses.

Insulating your house comes as a priority home project to invest in, considering the range of benefits it brings to the table. The factors underlined in this article clearly show why you should consider pursuing this type of home improvement. Analyze these few factors and you will be able to reach a conclusion. Remember that in order for the results of your insulation project to meet your standards, you have to work with an experienced and qualified contractor. Use the tips to hire the best services for your needs.

Click here for more information.

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Fake News, How a coffee-loving construction worker who became an internet sensation…

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Fake News, How a coffee-loving construction worker who became an internet sensation…

If it seems too good to be real, it probably is. That old adage seems particularly sound in our era of social media and oversharing. For a brief window earlier this year, a construction worker in the U.S. became an internet sensation for mocking “influencer” culture. A Tweet purportedly from the man’s daughter said, “My dad asked me what an influencer was, and after I explained he said, ‘Pssh, I could do that.’ Well…he did.”

The post featured images of a man in a hard hat, work gloves, and a hi-vis vest sipping coffee, riding and e-bike, and in other influencer-style poses. Almost as quickly as the thread became an internet sensation it was revealed that the post was a fake: it was actually a marketing stunt for an Austin, Texas-based coffee shop.

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The Graduate: Good help is hard to find. Unless you know where to look

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The Graduate: Good help is hard to find. Unless you know where to look

In today’s labour market we constantly hear about a skilled trades shortage. The struggle is real! And as an employer, you know better than most just how difficult it can be to find a good employee. One that will last. One that will show up every day, on time. One that is worth investing your time and effort to train as an apprentice.

I hear from business owners when visiting the local building supply company that it is hard to find youth that are willing to work and put in the hours required to satisfy the employer. Are your expectations too high as an employer? Have we created a youth population that is unwilling or unmotivated to work? Or is it because they simply don’t have to? Sensitive subject matter I have found, and questions I would rather not debate.

With that being said, I believe that there are many young adults that are willing to work for you. Men and women that see the value in the trades. That understand and want that sense of accomplishment that we feel as tradespeople every day. People that can appreciate an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. There are people looking to change their career from behind a desk to the skilled trades. Employers just need to know where to find them. Luckily for you, I see them every day.

As a faculty member in the Carpentry Department at Conestoga College in Waterloo, Ont., I have the privilege to see these future tradespeople first hand. Granted, not all students are alike. But, in general, I believe employers should be looking at college grads as a viable option to grow their businesses. Canadian colleges have many postsecondary, trade-specific programs running throughout the year. Their students come from all walks of life. They could be fresh out of high school and want a little more training before hitting the workforce, or a mature, second-career student that is being retrained as a result of a lost job.

Interested, invested, and instructed are three key reasons why you should take a look at a college grad. Being interested in the trades may not be enough to make it on the jobsite. But being interested, making an investment in to their future, and having a trade-specific education all combine to make a college grad a great hire for your company.

College students have a keen curiosity of their chosen trade. These students have a plan for their future. They want to learn more about the trade and gain skills to be a valuable asset on the jobsite.

The majority of college students are in programs that they are interested in. This is a required first step on a student’s journey in the trades. They are not in high school trying to fill their timetable with “easy” credits in the tech department. (Trust me, I have taught in the high school system. Worst three weeks of my teaching career….) College students have a keen curiosity of their chosen trade. These students have a plan for their future. They want to learn more about the trade and gain skills to be a valuable asset on the jobsite. Whether this interest comes from seeing the success of a family member or from HGTV, these students are motivated to learn. As faculty members we are there to foster that curiosity and translate that to viable skills for you as an employer. As education progresses, students will discover if that specific trade is the right fit for them. Education weeds out the uncommitted or uninterested.

College students are invested in their future. They want to get an education to support their future. These students want to look better than that person off the street with no education but thinks it’s easy to swing a hammer. Contractors should be looking at hiring college grads for this reason. Grads have invested time and money in to their education. This should not be overlooked as this is not a minor investment. Most post-secondary programs are the better part of the year and can cost students a significant amount of money when factoring in tuition, textbooks, cost of living, and wages lost as a result of their commitment to their studies. Some diploma programs are a two-year commitment for the students. This must hold weight in an employer’s search for good people. I find that a second career student is that much more invested with their studies as they see this education as an opportunity for change. These students may have lost a job and are being retrained, or were not happy where they were with their previous career. Some have families to support and want to be able to provide for them. These students are invested to better their situation. They are motivated to learn and want to find a job at the end of their studies as they have a lot on the line. This investment and commitment to their education, I believe, will translate to a commitment to a good employer.

Finally, college grads are instructed. College graduates receive a practical, skill-based education founded in theoretical lessons. These students have invested their time and money in gaining a valuable education to help them find employment in their future. It is the job of the colleges of this country to provide students with an education that is industry driven and relevant. Students are gaining an education that is applicable with today’s safety standards, building codes, building practices, and proper tool and equipment training. Not only are students learning new skills, they are learning work ethics from journeypersonsturned- instructors that have been in the trade for some time. Faculty members know what it takes to make it in the trades and relate that with their students. Students learn what it takes to be a valued tradesperson.

As an employer, not having to invest your time to train employees on the basics is a valuable asset. Students learn how to use trade-specific tools properly and safely. College grads also learn practical training in state-of-the-art shops. Theory lessons provide grads an understanding of why we build the way we do. This translates to less time having to hover over your new hires during their first or second year of employment.

The skilled trades shortage is apparent but that does not mean you cannot find good employees. Look at your local college grad for your next great hire. Inquire with the college career services department to steer you in the right direction. Better yet, join your local college advisory board as an industry expert on what you are looking for in new hires, and what college education should include to prepare graduates for the real world.

Long-time contributor Nate Smith has been teaching at Conestoga College since 2009. You can follow him @carpentry_prof.

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From industrial to lofty condo conversions

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From industrial to lofty condo conversions

Condos come in all shapes and sizes. Some buyers prefer slick, modern, multi-storey towers, while others are looking for buildings with more character and maybe a little history. If the latter is what you’re in the market for, there is good news for you.

In many urban areas, warehouses and other old industrial structures are often converted into condos that incorporate some of the building’s more interesting features (large windows, framing, brick walls) into the design. The industry term for these types of developments is “residential condominium conversion projects” or RCCPs. The features of a structure incorporated into an RCCP are called “pre-existing elements.”

Thanks to changes that took effect in January 2018, all of the warranties (One-, two- and seven year) included in the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act (ONHWPA) now apply to these types of condos with one exception: Any pre-existing elements – which, for example, might include an exposed brick interior wall – would not have the one-year warranty regarding the home being constructed in a workmanlike manner and free from defects in material.

Prior to 2018, RCCPs did not come with new home warranty coverage under ONHWPA because they weren’t entirely new buildings. But there’s still more good news. If you’re putting down a deposit on a condo unit that is part of an RCCP, you’ll be happy to know that you’re entitled to the same deposit protection and delayed occupancy coverage as other condo buyers. This means that your deposit, and any amounts paid for upgrades and extras, must be placed in trust and refunded in full if the project does not proceed. This should give you some added confidence that your money is protected if the unexpected happens.

Researching your builder is also easier. Under the new regulations, builders of RCCPs and vendors who wish to sell units in these projects must be registered with Tarion. This means that you are able to look them up on the Ontario Builder Directory on tarion.com.

So what happens if your rental apartment building is being converted into condos? These condos would not be eligible for coverage because the existing building was already built for residential living and converting the building doesn’t involve major changes. Most of the original components remain, with only minor changes made to the building.

This ONHWPA warranty coverage for RCCPs applies to projects where the first purchase agreement in the project is signed on or after Jan. 1, 2018.

If you have your eye on a new loft with a little more history to it, these changes will help you buy with confidence knowing that you now have a safety net. To learn more about this warranty coverage, you can visit Tarion.com or if you have questions, you can email customerservice@tarion.com.

HOWARD BOGACH is president and CEO of Tarion Warranty Corp., a private corporation established to protect the rights of new homebuyers and to regulate new-home builders.

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