Tag Archives: function


Iron Clad, Climate change and changing tastes have inspired a host of exterior material options

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Iron Clad, Climate change and changing tastes have inspired a host of exterior material options

Choosing exterior materials has never been an easy task for either homeowners or contractors. That’s because what goes on the outside of the house has to be functional, durable, and aesthetically pleasing as well. The challenge for manufacturers has been to keep up with evolving architectural styles while continuing to push technological boundaries to come up with materials that install faster, work better, last longer, and stay good looking.

Whether your focus is function, durability, style – or all three, there are plenty of innovative exterior materials on the market that will fit your bill. Here are a few of the latest options.

Hurricane Helpers

The durability test for exterior materials has certainly been made tougher by the impact of climate change. More severe weather of all kinds – heat, cold, wind, and rain – promises to put additional strain on exterior building materials in the coming years, and expose materials that aren’t up to the challenge. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, back in the 1990s severe weather and wildfires caused about $100-million in structural damage each year; by 2008 that number reached $1-billion annually and has stayed at or above that level every year since but one, peaking in 2018 at $1.8-billion. Luckily, product manufacturers have taken up the challenge posed by extreme weather.

High Performance Asphalt Shingles

If you’re building in an area prone to high winds, IKO’s Nordic line of heavy-duty laminated shingles may be worth the investment. These polymer-modified asphalt shingles incorporate a number of features designed to keep them in place in hurricane-force winds up to 209 km/h as well as provide Class 4 impact protection from damaging hail. A reinforced 3.17-cm “Armourzone” nailing surface resists pull-through, while a sealant strip helps to bond shingles together to resist wind uplift, water penetration, and blow-off. Available in nine colour palettes, Nordic shingles are made to emulate wood shakes or slate tiles.


Storm-Rated Windows and Doors

While tornadoes and hurricanes may be a bigger issue in certain regions, persistent high winds may be reason enough to consider storm-rated windows and doors. Andersen Windows & Doors markets a line of products designed and tested to withstand the most severe coastal weather conditions, where corrosion and high winds are the norm. Andersen’s A-Series doors and windows feature corrosion-resistant composite materials, hidden structural reinforcements, and Low-E, impact-resistant glass that incorporates a reinforced plastic laminate core that helps maintain the integrity of the structure even if the glass is broken. Depending on where the home is located, certain options can be included or left out of custom orders or satisfy local code requirements.


Building Wrap

Of course, the quality of the building exterior isn’t just about what you can see. DuPont’s Tyvek DrainVent Rainscreen creates a 6-millimetre space behind the exterior cladding to allow for water drainage and air circulation. The honeycomb textured design of DrainVent helps protect against dampness that can lead to mould, rot, cracking, and peeling behind a range of exterior cladding materials including stucco, stone veneer, brick, wood, fibre cement, and metal panels.



Even the best windows and doors need quality waterproofing around the opening to function properly. TAMKO Building Products’ innovative new Flash-N-Wrap Pro waterproofing wrap is designed to create a tight seal around entryways and windows to keep air and moisture out and improve overall energy efficiency. Available in four-, six-, and nine-inch rolls, Flash-N-Wrap Pro has a treated release film on the adhesive side of the flashing that can be left exposed to the elements for up to 180 days.



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Design 101: Function Before Form

Design 101: Function Before Form

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Design 101: Function Before Form

by Cynthia Soda
photography: Stephani Buchman

The building blocks of design always begin with function, beauty is just the cherry on top

Let’s face it: we’re all drawn to beautiful things. I personally have a knack for coveting the most luxurious item in a store—not unlike many people I know. However, committing the faux-pas of purchasing that very beautiful, very expensive item, only to find that it won’t fit into your space, is something we designers use our trained eye to guard against.


Selecting finishes, furniture and accessories is inconsequential if the space lacks function. It’s heartbreaking when I field requests from potential clients, who are halfway through a renovation, asking for help on picking paint colours and cabinet-door styles amidst missed opportunities to add value through sightlines, accent features, or integrated storage. It is the “putting lipstick on a pig” idiom—you can dress it up all you want but the main issues remain unresolved.


Coffee tables with drawers to store children’s colouring books and crayons, or ottomans with hidden toy storage, work for families, as well as quartz countertops do to protect against stains. For flooring, try wire-brushed engineered hardwood, or even waterproof, scratch-resistant vinyl-click flooring with that wood look.


Function is at the forefront of every great designer’s mind. It’s absolutely essential to plan with people and purpose in mind. Once the needs of the client and issues of a space are identified at the outset, every decision made stems from there. Empty nesters, who travel frequently and love to collect and display art, have different needs from a couple with young children and weekly extracurricular activities to attend.


Interior design is constantly evolving. Styles change, but function is much more difficult (read: expensive) to modify once it’s been laid out. Sightlines are one of the most important considerations to make. Imagine sitting down to an elegant dinner, and from the table your guests can see the powder room door is open with a glorious view of the toilet. Or think of the parent making dinner, having to run back and forth from the kitchen to the family room in order to keep watch over their toddler playing beyond the wall dividing the spaces. Paint colours, wallpaper and fabrics (no matter how pretty) won’t fix these issues. With a focus on layout and function at the beginning, each of these finishes would enhance the spaces they’re in, instead of acting as a distraction from more serious, underlying issues.


To stand the test of time, big purchases like the sofa should be upholstered in a durable, easily cleanable and beautiful finish. Alendel, Maxwell and JF, among other companies, offer versatile, simple-to-clean-and-to-care-for fabrics, which have been (or have the option to be) treated with inherent stain-repellents.


When designers put together furniture concepts for a space, each piece is carefully considered in order for all parts to contribute to the whole. Even if it’s not in the clients’ budget to purchase everything at once, they will have a road map to follow in order to build upon their design over time, piece by piece. You can change the cushions, the rug, the accessories when styles change, but as long as the layout works, you will always have a home that is equal parts stylish and functional.

CYNTHIA SODA is owner and principal interior designer of Soda Pop Design Inc., a multi-disciplinary interior design firm providing complete custom renovation and design services for residential and commercial clients throughout the GTA.

Soda Pop Design focuses on merging the client’s lifestyle, personality and architecture to create customized liveable luxury.

Instagram @CSodaPop
Twitter @SodaPopDesign


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