Tag Archives: Darla Grant-Braid

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Getting Started with Home Renovation

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Getting Started with Home Renovation

Taking on your very first home renovation projects? Congratulations! This is going to be an exciting phase in your life as a homeowner. Whether you’re making a small upgrade to the powder room, or diving into a major reno in multiple rooms, here are 5 important things to consider before you get started.

Communication

This is going to be the most important part of ensuring that you have a positive renovation experience. We’re not talking about communicating with your contractor (although that is also very important). This is about maintaining open lines of communication with your significant other, business partner, family member, or whomever you might be taking on this project with.

Things like your vision for the space, budgets, details, and frustrations over unforeseen repairs, etc. can all cause disagreements. That’s why it’s essential that you talk things out upfront and throughout the project.

Planning & Research

Beginning your project with thorough research and a good plan is right up there with communication in terms of importance. While not everyone can fully visualize the outcome of their project, you can still prioritize and get a feel for the process of taking on a renovation.

Spend a lot of time visiting home shows and showrooms, browsing magazines and finding inspiration on sites like Pinterest. Look for design elements that delight you and take note of finishes and styles that you think would fit in with the look of your home as well as your lifestyle.

Budget

Home renovations always cost more than you initially think they will. Side projects happen unexpectedly, you end up needing more materials than you had estimated, or you just can’t live without that gorgeous tile you saw online the other day.

When planning out your budget (making a project budget really is a must do) add to extra fields: contingencies and splurges. Allot some extra funds to each line item. This will help you be better prepared when the price tag starts to creep upward.

Estimates are exactly that. They vary from project to project and differ depending on where you live within the country, province, or even within the city. That’s one of the reasons why you can see complete gut job renos on those home improvement shows that come in at a fraction of the price you might find locally.

Project Duration and Deadlines

Speaking of timelines … home renovation projects almost always take longer than you’d imagined they would. The best thing you can do is to plan for a flexible timeline. Projects can start later than you’d expected, and they can take longer than your contractor had initially estimated. This is why it’s never a good idea to plan a reno right before a holiday or major event, such as a wedding or the birth of a child. Make sure you have a sizeable chunk of time between your estimated completion date and the event.

DIY or Hire a Contractor

Many renovation projects will require you to hire a professional. Sometimes, even if you are relatively skilled at certain home improvement tasks bringing a professional in to do the job is the best decision. Here’s why. While you might have the ability to do a passable job, home renovation isn’t your fulltime job. That means you won’t have time to dedicate the major portion of your day to the work. Things will take longer, partially due to time constraints and partially due to lack of experience.

Bottom line: Unless you have extensive home renovation experience, the best choice is usually to hire professional.

Ready to find a contractor?

Take the next step and connect with local contractors in your area. You’ll find extensive listings here on eieihome.com for everything from general contractors to plumbers, landscapers, interior designers and much more. Our listing will allow you to read reviews, view galleries of past projects, and read informative articles based on contractor interviews. This really let’s you get to know each contractor to see if they’ll be the right fit for your project.

Once you’ve browsed the reviews, contact at least three contenders. Request quotes and additional information and then choose the best candidate.

*Article courtesy of EiEiHome

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Fix It Friday: Remove stains from flooring and upholstery

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Fix It Friday: Remove stains from flooring and upholstery

By: Darla Grant-Braid

If you are adamant about maintaining a spotless home … or at least paying a housekeeper to maintain it for you, there’s one thing that you should be aware of. Stains happen. It’s simply a fact of everyday life. Spills, smudges, dirt and even biological accidents can and probably will happen in your home at some point. The trick is figuring out how to remove those stains quickly and effectively.

Here are a few tried and true tactics for removing stains from different surfaces in your home.

Red Wine

Spilled wine is never a good thing, not only does it leave you with a potential stain, but it means there’s less wine to be enjoyed. And no one like that. Here’s how to take care of a fresh red wine spill:

  1. Apply salt – Cover the stain with a ¼ cup of salt (more if the stain is large) to quickly absorb the liquid. Let sit for a few minutes before brushing the salt from the upholstery.
  2. Blot –Blot up as much of the remining wine as possible
  3. Add equal parts Dawn dish detergent and hydrogen peroxide to a spray bottle. Mist the stain and blot (don’t rub) till the stain vanishes.

Mud

The muddy season is definitely here. Winter melt, rain and the endless parade of kids, pets, and gardening boots will inevitably lead to splatters and splotches of mud somewhere on your carpet or area rug. Here’s how to get rid of it:

  1. Allow the mud to dry, then vacuum up as much mud as possible.
  2. Combine 1 tablespoon of Dawn dish detergent with 2 cups of warm water in a spray bottle. Spray onto mud and blot with a paper towel or cloth. Repeat as needed.

Blood

Accidents happen. Whether from a spontaneous bloody nose, careless fruit slicing, or unforeseen manicure mishap, should you happen to get a blood stain on your upholstery you’ll want to remedy the problem as quickly as possible. Let’s make it go away:

  1. Lightly sponge the spot with cold water, then blot with a dry paper towel to remove as much of the stain as possible.
  2. Pour a capful of hydrogen peroxide directly onto the spot (be sure to test in an inconspicuous area first, since peroxide has a slight bleaching effect) blot and remove any remaining peroxide with cold water.

Pet Stains

Did you know that acid contained in a cat or dog’s urine can not only stain carpeting but hardwood as well? Pet urine can leave unsightly black marks and odour, which can be hard to remove with a simple floor washing. Thankfully there are several solutions to remove this type of stain. Although, please keep in mind that some solutions can result in mild discoloration, particularly in dark wood floors.

  1. Soak a washcloth or paper towel in hydrogen peroxide and lay it on top of the stain.
  2. Leave the cloth there, checking periodically for progress. As soon as the stain disappears, remove the cloth and wipe up any residue from the peroxide.
  3. Be aware that applying peroxide to your hardwood can damage the finish and may require to you sand and refinish the area.

*Article courtesy of EiEiHome

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Make Deck Building Safety Priority #1

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Make Deck Building Safety Priority #1

By: Darla Grant-Braid

The temperature is warming (ever so slightly) and the sky is beautifully blue once again … spring is on the way. That means it’s time to get serious about planning backyard projects. For many Canadians, adding or repairing a deck is a top priority, with the age-old question being, should you hire a professional deck builder or build the deck yourself?

As tempting as it may be to try and build your own deck, the truth is that DIY decks can put the safety of your family and friends at risk. We spoke with Frank McGillan –Owner of Decks R Us, a renowned deck builder in Durham Region, Ontario about why safety should be the number one priority when it comes to building a deck.

Why You Shouldn’t DIY

Deck building is one of those projects that household handymen have been attempting for generations. Armed with rudimentary carpentry knowledge, a group of able-bodied friends, and usually too much beer/pop/pizza, they take on the task of building a structure intended to support hundreds or even thousands of pounds at any given time.

While it is possible for some home builders to have a working knowledge of framing and decking, there is much more involved in building a safe, reliable deck.

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“Many times, there is a building code that needs to be adhered to,” McGillan explains. “Most DIYers do not know the building code and have problems later.” In fact, he suggests that certain deck repairs should be left to the professionals as well. If the repairs are structural, such as beams, framing, or railings, the safest option is to hire a professional deck builder.

Understandably, most DIY deck building projects happen in an effort to save money. Unfortunately, this can result in the exact opposite. If a DIY deck build or repair should fail, it can end up costing more money to have it corrected. Even worse, if people are injured due to the failure of that deck, it can result in legal fees, reparation for the injured party, and even emotional costs.

Hiring a Deck Builder

When you’re ready to hire a deck builder, take time to do some research. Narrow your search down to at least three deck contractors. Take a look at websites, read reviews, and browse image galleries of their past projects.

It helps to have a few questions in mind when you contract your short list of contractors. “[Be sure to ask] how many years of experience they have, and if they have an eye for detail,” McGillan says.

Mr. McGillan also says to be on the look out for one very important thing. “If they tell you that you don’t need a permit, walk away! Only decks that are 24 inches or less don’t need permits.”

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Keep in mind that you’re going to be working closely with your deck builder, so be sure to access their customer service. For example, anyone looking for a deck builder in Durham will discover that Decks R Us has a strong believe in providing outstanding deck design, building, and unbeatable customer care.

“Decks R Us never asks for a deposit, and we never charge for permit drawings,” McGillan says. “When we start we stay and finish. No going from job to job.”

About Decksrus

Over the last 35 years, Frank McGillan and Decks R Us have built over 1,000 decks. They specialize in deck building an renovation, custom caps, an custom railings. To see galleries of their work and for more information, visit www.decksrus.ca.

*Article courtesy of EiEiHome

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Don’t Ignore These 4 Home Maintenance Issues

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Don’t Ignore These 4 Home Maintenance Issues

By Darla Grant-Braid

The cold weather is a hot topic this year. High winds, rain, snow, and freezing temperatures are punishing provinces from coast to coast. As a homeowner, there are certain safety issues that can arise when the temperature falls.  Maintaining the safety of your property and keeping yourself injury free should be considered a high priority when caring for your home in winter.

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Here Are 4 Things to Consider When Maintaining Your Home This Winter

Icicles and Ice Dams

Icicles may hold a certain romantic charm, but the truth is that they may pose a danger. Icicles can grow to considerable lengths and weights. If they grow from high up enough on a building, the force delivered by a falling icicle can be deadly. According to an article on Accuweather.com, a half-pound icicle, measuring three inches in diameter can exert 1,000-pound force on whatever it hits, if falling at a terminal velocity between 80 and 90 miles per hour.

As dangerous as icicles can be, the homeowner’s real enemy here is the ice dam. Ice dams are large chunks of ice that form along the edge of a roof and prevent the snow and water from properly draining. When rain and moisture settle behind the ice dam it can leak through the shingles and eventually into the home, causing considerable damage.

Healthy Shoveling Practices

Most Canadians know that it’s important to keep your property and any sidewalks in front of your property safely shoveled during the wintertime. It is also equally important to shovel in a way that does not endanger your physical health.

How to Ensure Safe Shoveling:

  • Get help from other members of your household
  • Choose the right shovel
  • Stretch before you shovel
  • Lift properly
  • Take breaks
  • Switch to a snow thrower

Fireplace Safety

Using your home’s fireplace can be a small pleasure during a particularly cold season. The warmth, scent and general ambiance can make the frigid temperatures much more bearable.

When using a wood burning fireplace, be sure to exercise certain precautions to keep your family safe from potential fireplace dangers. The primary areas of concern are ventilation and burn prevention.

Ventilation –To promote good ventilation, ensure that the flue is open before starting the fire. This will allow any smoke to be drawn out of the home. For added comfort, try keeping an adjacent window cracked.

Burn Prevention –Burn prevention is important whether you have a wood burning or gas fireplace. First and foremost, never leave a burning fire unattended. Additionally, put a safety screen in place to prevent small children or animals from burning themselves on either the hot glass or open flame. You’ll also need to ensure that there or no flammable décor items or materials placed too closely to the fireplace.

Slip and Fall Prevention

Keep driveways and pathways clear and safe. In addition to shoveling the snow, be sure to protect against slippery ice with a salt or sand application. You can also purchase ice melting mats for these areas. Don’t forget to ensure that the sidewalk in front of your property is properly cleared and salted as well.

Of course, winter fall prevention is also an indoor issue. This is particularly true if there are small children, seniors, or other individuals with mobility issues in the household. To keep everyone safe, place absorbent utility mats on the floor in front of all exit doors. Ensure that winter boots and other gear are safely stowed away to prevent tripping hazards, and immediately mop up any puddles of slush, ice, or water.

*Article courtesy of EiEiHome

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January 2017 eNewsletter

Managing change during your home renovation

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Managing change during your home renovation

Managing change is an important skill to learn when taking on a home renovation project. With so many websites, magazines and TV shows filled with images of gorgeous homes, it can be easy to find yourself suddenly dizzied by inspiration.

Whether you are inspired by a daring paint colour, a stylish room design, or an incredible open-concept transformation, it’s important that you try not to let impulsive inspiration take control of your projects. Taking on too many projects at once, or making several last-minute design or finish changes can result in incomplete projects and also muddy the vision you have for your home. While whim-based project alterations can over inflate your budget, they can also lead to conflicts with other people involved with the project.

Here are a few ways that managing changes during your next home renovation can be made easier.

Consider your priorities

If the change will radically alter the direction of an in-progress remodel/redesign or if it will halt an existing project, take a moment to prioritize before you act. Confer with anyone else who may have a stake in your remodeling project and think about why you want to make this change.

Definitely look into the monetary impact of any change you would like to make. Will new products need to be ordered? Will any products you’ve already purchased go to waste? Are there any permits that will need to be acquired?

With all of these things in mind, you will need to decide where your priorities lie and if finishing on-budget and on-time is more or less important than making this change.

Think about the future

Sometimes, spending extra money to make a change during a renovation can actually end up saving you money in the future. For example, installing under-floor heating during your bathroom renovation will spare you the expense of having to rip out your flooring if you decide to have it installed a few years down the line. While similarly, opting for granite countertops over laminate could mean that you won’t need to redo your kitchen in a few years, after realizing that you really did prefer the higher end material.

Create a file dedicated to the inspiration

The goal should be to use your inspiration strategically and not impulsively. If you saw something on a home improvement show that you absolutely “must try” in your home, journal it, look for similar projects online and file it away. Allow the idea to develop into a solid goal, rather than what could turn out to be a flight of fancy.

Work with qualified professionals

When you work with an experienced professional contractor or design and build specialist, they can be a source of expert advice. Talk to them and tell them about your ideas. Your contractor can help you recognize the impact making your change will have on your project and help you make an educated decision.

Published Darla Grant-Braid

*Article courtesy of EiEiHome

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