Tag Archives: windows

When it comes to planning home improvement projects, timing is everything

When it comes to planning home improvement projects, timing is everything

Latest News


When it comes to planning home improvement projects, timing is everything

PHOTOGRAPHY: Bigstock.com

Any homeowner who has already gone through a major renovation project knows that it can take weeks, months, or even years from the time you decide to sign a contract until the job is fully completed. Lining up the trades, ordering the various stock and custom materials, and going through the permit approval process are just a few of the components that can hold up completion.

Some renos require more prep time than others, while others are best to avoid once winter settles in. Here are four projects that you’ll want to have a lot of lead time to prepare for, or should simply wait until the warmer weather returns.

Additions

No matter how small the addition you plan to build is, you’ll almost certainly need to get approval from your municipality for what are known as “minor variances” to existing bylaws. These include setback requirements, restrictions on height, and capping the amount of square footage based on the size of the lot. The City of Toronto has a weeks-long backlog of permit applications waiting for approval from the Committee of Adjustment.

Even if you live in a community that’s processing building permits in a timely fashion, additions require a lot of time to coordinate.

Finally, if you haven’t already broken ground on the foundation, you’re going to have to wait until the spring thaw to do it now.

Windows

Window installation companies will tell you they can and do work throughout the year. And, if you have an emergency situation, such as a broken or extremely drafty window, you’re best to get it repaired as soon as possible. The installer will close the door or tarp off the room in question to reduce heat loss.

But if you’re looking to replace your entire home’s windows, you’d be better off waiting until spring. Yes, they can do the installation one room at a time. But mistakes and accidents happen. If a window frame was mis-measured or the glass breaks during installation (and I’ve seen it happen more than once), you could end up with a plywood window while the company tries to get a rush replacement order in.

Plus, the caulking used to seal the frame doesn’t flow or bind properly in extreme cold, and finesse work gets sloppy when you can’t feel your fingertips.

Finally, most of the exterior finishing work is done on ladders. Do you want to take on the liability risk if a ladder slips on the ice, particularly if you haven’t done your due diligence and checked that the company has all the proper licences and insurance?

Roofing

If you need an emergency roof repair to prevent water leaking into your attic during winter warm spells, get it done as soon as possible. But if your entire roof is due for replacement, but it isn’t imminently critical, at this point you should wait until spring. For one, do you want to risk having your old roof removed just as a days’ long storm rolls into town, leaving your home protected from the elements by nothing more than a tarp?

Also, as with windows, the adhesives and caulking used to seal down a new roof require warmer temperatures to work properly. And, again, even if you’re sure your contractor’s insurance all checks out, would you be comfortable with someone working on your roof in icy conditions?

Landscaping and hardscaping

No legitimate landscaper is going to suggest planting trees or install retaining walls in a snow-covered yard. Once the ground is frozen, it’s impossible to do much of anything outside.

Most landscapers, if they’re not busy running winter snow removal businesses, like to spend the winter months finalizing contracts and project components to break ground once the frost is out. If you haven’t already, now is the time to reach out and start planning your yard for 2020.

CAPTION: Photography courtesy of Margaret Mulligan

Jim Caruk, Renovation Editor

We look forward to hearing from you and welcome your feedback. Do you have a reno or decor question for our team of experts?

Email editorial@renoanddecor.com


SHARE  

Featured Products


Restoring a Heritage Home

Restoring a heritage home – old, yes, but not forgotten

Latest News


Restoring a heritage home – old, yes, but not forgotten

Transforming a heritage home into a real estate jewel through a renovation or restoration is a labour of love – it requires a commitment to architectural character and a willingness to meet the challenge of unexpected surprises along the way. If your client has hired you to preserve the look, but update certain areas, the following are five broad categories that you’ll want to investigate.

HISTORY

Age, general architectural style and condition

Learn as much as you can about the history of the building. The historical society can be a good resource. Also, check archives for any old permits, drawings, photos, or newspaper articles about former owners. Learning about the lives of the people who built and lived in the house can help with restoration decisions. Many styles of architecture have played a role in our history, from Queen Anne, Victorian to Colonial Revival. Occasionally, you might also find a true Arts and Crafts style home too. It’s worth documenting the details of the home and checking books at your local library (or on the Internet) to determine its exact style. By learning the age of the home, who its former occupants were and its architectural style, you’ll be able to more easily piece together the “historic” puzzle for your client.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Structure, electrical, plumbing, heating-cooling and drainage

As far as condition goes, it’s worth investing in the services of a home inspector who is knowledgeable about historic architecture. He or she will be able to create a report that identifies potential problem areas and suggest viable, cost-effective solutions.

Problems with infrastructure can range from knob and tube wiring to clay pipes in plumbing. Foundations can be problematic as well, as old concrete can settle and crack, causing the building to shift; a pencil or a marble placed on the floor may well provide you with a heads-up. Any horizontal cracks in the concrete indicate severe settling and could mean costly repairs. If you suspect any underlying issues with the structure, it’s best to have it inspected by a structural engineer.

Envelope, roof, insulation, walls, windows and doors

Before changing any of the elements that make up the envelope of the building, ensure that replacements or repairs will maintain the architectural character.

Windows and doors on old homes can be problematic due to rotten wood and energy inefficiency. Luckily, most historical boards recognize this and let owners replace them with more modern choices as long as the general character is the same. However, if you are fortunate enough to have windows with stained or art glass, consider hiring an expert to restore them.

Many older homes were originally insulated with horsehair or newspaper. Newer homes, but older than 1990 may also have vermiculite insulation which likely contains asbestos. In most cases, an investment is needed to remove the old insulation and properly insulate the walls, the attic and the roof. Energy rebates may be available for this.

Interior furniture, fixtures, materials and decorative trim

The interior design of a heritage property can be very detailed, and it’s important to decide which characteristics contribute to the value of the home. Ceiling details and interior trim — such as door stiles and rails, wainscoting and any decorative motifs — can be extremely valuable and worth preserving or restoring to its original state. Wallpaper patterns can be replicated and heritage paint colours are available.

Door and window hardware is often bronze, copper or crystal. Sometimes missing fixtures or ornate lighting can be found in architectural salvage stores.

The fireplace was the focus of many older homes. Oftentimes, mantel and hearth details were spectacular and included carved wood or marble. Make sure the home inspector is a bit of a detective as well and removes bits of paint in inconspicuous areas to see if you own a hidden treasure.

Landscaping, hardscape, plantings and style

The landscaping of a historic property can’t be overlooked. Many of our forebears brought their gardening skills with them from England, Italy and France, where gardens were outdoor living spaces. While it may be difficult to determine from an initial observation of what a garden may have once looked like, old photos can provide valuable clues.

Scent gardens, formal seating areas tucked into the shrubbery, and decorative ironwork gateways that framed views of other landscape elements. Gardens can give a heritage property context and take a historic home from stunning to truly spectacular.

SAMANTHA SANNELLA, BFA ID, M ARCH, is a designer, educator and principal at Urban Retreat Homes.

She is an expert in the field of design and construction and is a columnist for several HOMES Publishing Group publications.


SHARE  

Featured Products


eieihomes_dec_1_2018

Don’t forget about these winter window maintenance tasks

Latest News


Don’t forget about these winter window maintenance tasks

As home heating costs continue to rise, saving money and conserving the home’s warm air has become a top priority for many Canadian homeowners. That’s why it’s essential to take time to maintain your windows this winter, since drafty windows can account for up to 40% of a home’s heat loss. Here are a few tips on how to keep the heat in.

Check for Leaks

The best way to prevent heat from sneaking out the window is by checking the windows in your home for any leaks. An easy way to do this is with a smoldering incense stick. Light the incense and hold it close to each window. If the smoke is being pushed away from the window, there’s a good chance that you might have a leak.

You also want to check the caulking along the frame since it can dry out and gap.

Insulate your Windows

Winter insulation is a good idea for homes in most cold weather climates. It keeps home interiors comfortable and home heating bills low. Two easy ways to keep the warm air inside are with window insulation film and thermal curtains.

Window Insulation Film

Window insulation film is often available as part of a kit, which contains double-sided tape and a large sheet of insulating film. The tape it affixed to the window frame and then the film is applied to it. Next, a hair dryer is used to tighten the film by shrinking it into place.

Thermal Curtains

Thermal window curtains are an easy, affordable way to provide extra insulation. Sometimes called cold-blocking curtains, these energy-conserving window coverings are either double or triple layered and may also be coated on one side with an acrylic foam. Some options are available layered and backed by a thick, insulating layer.

Replace the Windows

Sometimes the best solution for a drafty home is to replace your windows. Leaky windows can not only elevate your home heating bill but can lead to additional problems like allergens getting into the home, and condensation, which can lead to mold, mildew and damage to surrounding wood.

Newer, more energy-efficient double and triple glazed models can be filled with inert gas which provides further insulation. They will help you enjoy a more comfortable home and lower your energy bills as well.

*Article courtesy of EiEiHome

SHARE  

Featured Products


DESIGN: Breathing Life into Your Windows and Walls

Breathing new life into your windows and walls

Latest News


Breathing new life into your windows and walls

by Linda Mazur

Today’s windows and walls seem to have a new lease on life. With fabrics and wall coverings exploding with colours and patterns, it’s easy to garner a bit of “design inspo” and take your windows and walls from a simple blank canvas to an inspiration of creativity and style.

From impactful geometrics to bold vintage floral, beautiful opulent metallic finishes to leathers and cork, the world of fabric and wall coverings has a new direction and a new excitement! The patterns are endless, the colours are beautiful, the textures are rich. What more could we want to inspire us?

Fabrics and wallpapers are not the only mediums to have a new and bold look. Tile, wood, concrete and wall panelling also have a new direction that sparks our interest.

Tile, for example, has gone the direction of fabric and wallpaper with a new look and texture; there are bold colours and patterns and fantastic 3-D effects that simple no longer belong just in the bathrooms or on small backsplashes. They can be incorporated into creative wall finishes in every space from a living room fireplace wall, to an entry way, to an impactful wall in your dining room. If you’re looking to the more traditional uses of tile, such as your kitchen backsplash, then why not select a statement tile and use it on the entire wall, eliminating your upper cabinets and replacing them with open shelving? Or perhaps use a great patterned tile to create a feature wall in a tiny powder room; it will make more of a statement on your wall than on the tiny floor space.

Both fabrics and wall finishes can make a huge impact in any space. A few rolls of wallpaper can transform and define a space in dramatic and luxurious ways. far beyond that of just paint. Whether your room is large or small, creating attention to your walls can instantly set a style, make a bold statement or add character and personality to an otherwise basic design. They can change a vastly spacious room by making it feel more intimate and cozy, just the same way a bold and busy pattern can transform a small room in your home to a charming and dynamic space.

Wall coverings can address a blank wall in your home. However, many condo-dwellers today have a greater amount of windows than walls – the view and light is fantastic but it can also be challenging. With the volume of windows some of my clients have in their condos, window treatments can become a costly venture. When looking to add some type of window coverings to your home why not consider a combination of blinds and sheers? Motorized blinds are an easy option for condo-dwellers, providing privacy and sun control. However, blinds alone can sometimes seem unfinished in a room — with the addition of sheers this can become an attractive option. Much like wallpaper, sheers fabrics have come a long way in recent years! These are not the sheers you may remember from your childhood. Instead, the sheer fabric options available today are exciting, colourful, incredibly patterned and textured; just the perfect thing to frame out your vista.

Inspiring windows and walls will be on-trend moving forward, so take advantage of the bold patterns, great colours and fantastic product options available and add some character and personality to your home.

Linda Mazur is an award-winning, nationally publicized designer and Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group.

With almost two decades of experience this in demand multi-disciplinary design firm is known for creating relaxed stylish spaces and full-scale design builds within Toronto, the GTA and throughout Canada.

@LindaMazurGroup


SHARE  

Featured Products


PRODUCT PROFILE: The Pella Difference

PRODUCT PROFILE: The Pella Difference

Latest News


PRODUCT PROFILE: The Pella Difference

Whether your home is traditional, contemporary or somewhere in between, Pella has the right options to complement your design needs

With Pella, you get so much more than stunning windows and doors. Its goal is to exceed your expectations well beyond standard product requirements and service. At Pella, quality is at the heart of what it does. They test their products to help ensure the designs will withstand the test of time.

Since the founding of the company in Pella, Iowa, they have challenged themselves continuously to improve. And as a leader in technology and product innovation, Pella has never been satisfied with the status quo. Pella, is committed to doing things right — even if it means doing things a little differently. With features, like blinds between-the-glass and screens that roll up and out of sight, its products are designed to make life a little easier.

Pella Windows and Doors are made specifically for your home because one size does not fit all. Whether your home is traditional, contemporary or somewhere in between, Pella has the right options to complement your design needs. Make your home your own with details perfect for you. With access to more materials, colours and options than other brands, Pella allows you to let your inner interior designer roam free.

Pella understands that home improvement planning can be overwhelming. That’s why it does everything they can to make working with Pella as easy as possible, every step of the way. Pella is passionately committed to bringing you windows and doors that transform your home into the place you’ve always dreamed of. With Pella, you are free to express yourself with a stunning array of unique and innovative window and door design choices. Then you can just sit back and enjoy your new home. After all, you’ve earned it.

Inspired design. Exceptional detail. That’s the Pella difference.

Pella.com


SHARE  

Featured Products