Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hilti spray foam

Hilti spray foam

When we install windows and doors we use only one spray foam to insulate around them. The spray foam that we use is Hilti spray foam. Hilti makes high end spray foam to use around windows and doors. It is low expansion, if you use a high expansion foam you could jamb the window or door when the foam over expanses. You can even brake the glass in a window if you put too much of it in around a window.

Hilti also sells an application gun to install the foam. The gun itself it worth buying from Hilti, because if the gun is kept properly cleaned and maintained it will last a lot longer time then foam guns sold at a hardware store. When I am forced to buy a foam gun from a hardware store I always cringe because I know that the gun will only last for a short while. Most hardware store foam guns are made of plastic and overtime the pressure of the foam will crack the gun and render it useless.

Hilti’s CF 812 spray foam contains no CFC’s. They make several different types of spray foam, one being a
low temperature application and another for creating fire breaks. The CF 812 is the foam that you need for residential application when applying it around the doors and windows.

The Hilti foam when used with the Hilti spray foam gun work so well together that if you try it once you will only want to use it.  You will be hooked like I and every other contractor that has tried Hilt’s spray foam.

The foam gun has fine adjustment that allows you to spray a large amount of foam to fill a large void or apply a small amount of foam for those tight spaces like around windows and doors.

Hilti’s foam gun is so fine tuned that you can use it for filling small cracks between ICF blocks when constructing them.

Spray foam is used to insulate areas where you do not want any air penetration. Air penetration leads to drafts and higher heating and cooling bills. Every contractor needs to use spray foam when renovating or building new homes. Modern building codes require spray foam around all windows and doors.

Since you have to use it, you should use the best, use Hilti CF 812 spray foam.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The importance of hiring a professional painter to paint your home

The importance of hiring a professional painter.

In every commercial that you see for a big box store people are happily painting their own homes, everything looks perfect; the people look satisfied and relaxed. They are looking at the camera with that knowing look that it was just so easy. Well sorry to burst your perfect little commercial world bubble but painting your own home can be a stressful, tiring and frustrating time.

Here are a few reasons why you should think about hiring a professional painter to paint your home instead of trying to do it on your own;

If you live in a higher end home, a poor painting job will really standout and will affect your property value.
Areas such as stairwells, great rooms or balconies can be dangerous to work around if you are not used to being on ladders or being off the ground. Many a homeowner has been injured or worse from falling off ladders at any height above four feet. A fall from the top of a stairwell can be up to 12 feet in the air and could result in a major life changing injury.
If you do not have a lot of experience painting, the trial and error of figuring out the proper way to do it can be time consuming and expensive.
The cost of a professional painter is somewhat offset by the fact that they get all their paint and painting supplies at a discount. Most painting contractors pass that savings on to the client because they make more of their profit on their labour.
Painters come with all the equipment that they require to do your job. If you did the painting you would not just need all the painting supplies but you would also need drop sheets, ladders and caulking guns.
There are certain things when painting a house that should be done that takes a professional touch or they will look awful. A couple of these are things such as caulking baseboard and trim, painting the line between two different colours, painting the line between the wall and the ceiling and staining any kind of wood.
A professional will understand the difference between the many brands of paint and the different kinds of paint that are needed for different rooms, such as anti-mold paint for the bathroom and the reason that you should use LoVo paint.
Timing. It takes a lot longer to paint a house properly then most people think. If you are going to paint the house yourself and you have a full time job then you will be doing it basically on the weekend. Painting in this manner can take months to finish and become a real headache for everyone living in the home.

So the next time you are looking around your home and are thinking that it needs some sprucing up, call a professional painting contractor for a quote before you think about picking up a brush yourself.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Coping baseboard in an inside corner

Trimming an inside corner the right way.

If you are doing a little home renovation or you have a professional tradesmen working at your home and you are wondering how they were able to get the inside corner joint of the baseboard to look so tight, keep reading and I’ll tell you how they did it.

First things first you need the right tools;

You need a “chop saw”, if your doing baseboards of any good size then you need a sliding compound saw. This is basically a powered mitre saw that will cut any angle that you need.
You will need a good sharp pencil.
Air powered trim gun.
A jigsaw.
A coping saw. This is the important tool that is not expensive to buy but is essential to making proper inside corner joints.

When you are trimming an inside 90 degree corner most people will just cut two pieces of baseboard on a 45 degree angle and butt them up in the corner. The problem with this is that no corner is perfectly square. Most houses in North America have drywall on their walls, when you drywall an inside corner you tape it and then mud over it. When the drywaller is done the corner is no longer square. Because of this when you attempt to simple butt the two 45 degree joints together then you end up with a gap at the front where the two pieces of trim are suppose to meet. Because of this it is quicker, easier and looks world’s better when you cope the baseboard joint in the corner.

Here are the following steps to coping a baseboard inside corner;

1. Measure and cut one piece of baseboard so that it runs straight into the corner. You do not put any angle on the cut; a straight 90 degree cut is what you want. Nail it in place.

2. Measure the next length of baseboard that will be running into the corner from the other direction. If the baseboard you are cutting doesn’t have to end any where specific then you simply cut a 45 degree angle on that far end so that your next piece of baseboard can overlap it making it look professional. If you need an exact length of baseboard because it meets another piece of baseboard or it meets an outside corner or door trim then you are going to have to add a couple of extra inches to your measurement. This will insure that your piece of baseboard does not end up to short once you cope the corner.

3. Cut your piece of baseboard to the desired length, making your cut at the opposite end where you will be doing your corner coping.

4. Then cut a 45 degree angle on the corner that needs to be cooped. Your 45 degree angle should be cut so that the back of the baseboard is longer than the face of the baseboard. This is the same procedure if you were going to try and do two 45 degree corner butt joint.

5. Now take your coping saw and cut along the face of the baseboard. You will be cutting at the exact edge of the 45 degree cut. Because you have cut the baseboard on a 45 degree angle your cut will not be straight at the top of the baseboard where the detail is. So you keep cutting until you have removed the 45 degree angle cut. At the bottom of the baseboard where there is no detail you can use the jigsaw, this will make it faster and should allow you to make a straighter cleaner cut then doing it by hand.

6. Now that you have coped the baseboard your probably looking at it thinking this is looks weird! Take the baseboard and slide the cooped end of the baseboard into the corner. If you cooped the corner properly that cooped end should fit over all the detail of the other piece of baseboard that you already installed. This will give you a beautiful corner and minimize shrinking, allowing the baseboard to stay nice and tight.

7. Nail it in place when you have it fitting like you want too. If the baseboard had to fit in an exact location then this is the time when you mark the other end with a pencil where it meets the other corner or trim. Cut to length and nail in place.

It’s that easy. The first time you do this it will take you sometime, but once you get the hang of it then it will not take a lot of time at all.

If you hire a handyman and he doesn’t trim your inside corners like this then you should be a little worried. This is step one in becoming a carpenter when learning to trim. My apprentices will spend weeks in a custom home and all they are allowed to do is cope baseboard that the master carpenter has marked for them.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Grey Highlands the undiscovered place

Grey highlands

Grey Highlands is a township that seems to be largely undiscovered at the moment. This is an area that has not felt the pressure of expansion from the Collingwood area like places such as Thornbury, Meaford and Wasaga Beach have.

The only real place in the township that has any real growth in construction is around Lake Eugenia were the demand for lake front property has stayed strong.

Kimberly with the failing and bankruptcy of Talisman ski resort has very little construction going on compared to other ski resort areas. There are large tracks of land that would make ideal places for custom homes that are being left on the market for years and have even had a reduction in there price that doesn’t seem to sell them.

The little towns inside of Grey Highlands do not seem to be generating a lot of construction projects either compared to other small towns to the East of them near the Collingwood and Creemore area.

The only place of growth seems to be in the rural areas with most or all of it being developed by the growing Mennonite communities. Rural land prices are being kept high because of the demand by Mennonite farmers for farm land. Overall house prices (that are not in the rural areas) have seen a flat lining or reduction in price.
With the reduction in price of houses in Grey Highlands it is only matter of time before the real estate market picks back up and with it so will the construction market. It is a great time to buy into the area with the repressed real estate values. Eventually the pressure of expansion from Simcoe County and the Collingwood area will reach the Grey Highlands and push the price of houses and land higher.

Grey Highlands with Lake Eugenia, Eugenia Falls, the Beaver Valley, quiet little towns with unique shops and the beautiful rolling landscapes of the rural environment has a lot to offer people that are looking to either vacation or move out the rat race. The peaceful natural of the township appeals to people looking to retire in peace and quiet while they are able to be close to nature. Grey Highlands also boosts some of the lowest tax rates that you will find this close to the Collingwood area. Grey highlands is one of the few places left in Southern Ontario that still has a real rural feel and has not been disturbed with a large influx of people migrating up to retire in it.

In the coming years this will all change as Collingwood and the surrounding area North of Grey Highlands gets built up to a point where there is a natural progression into Grey Highlands of people looking for a better deal on houses and land. Also there will be pressure from the Orangeville area as Orangeville continues its massive growth. This will put people looking farther north to Grey highlands to find a better deal on houses and land.

So if your looking for a place to relocate too or if your looking for a second home Grey Highlands is the place to invest into now before it goes through the massive growth that the surrounding areas North, East and South of it already has.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring warms up the residential construction industry

With the warm weather comes the work.

Being a general contractor and being in business for over 30 years you see a lot of trends come and go. One trend that has been consistent over all those years is when winter starts to whine down and the weather starts to get nicer the phone will start ringing more with potential jobs. It’s like clockwork, it doesn’t matter how long or short of a winter we have, when March rolls around and the sunny warm days start to outnumber the cold snowy day’s people start calling wanting work done.

It starts on the first week that we have some nice weather with people calling for information and quotes, then when the March weather turns snowy and blowy again the phones go quiet. I have actually seen my boss start to wonder if the phones are even working because things got so quiet.

When we start getting toward the March break and there are more sunny warm days then cold the phones actually will ring steady all day and into the evenings. You would think that the people calling are people who need repairs from the long winter, or they want outside work done like decks and fences and where waiting for the snow to disappear. That’s not the case at all; it’s everybody that starts calling.

People that want small renovations all the way to people looking to build multi-million dollar custom homes.
It has always surprised me on how people are able to put off something as expensive or intrusive as a major renovation or the building of a custom home until the weather warms up.

There are a couple of things that people should realize about the spring time for builders;

This is the busiest time of the year for meeting clients and quoting potential work.
It will take longer for you to get a quote out of a builder in the spring because they are quoting multiple projects; their sub-trades that have to also quote on jobs are quoting on multiple things.
In rural counties there is what is called “half loads”. This means that you cannot start building a house on a rural road until they are lifted. This is for the safety of the road as the frost will buckle them and a heavy truck will damage the road. This will delay any house building until late April into early may.
Builders work on a first come first serve mentality. If they have picked up jobs in the winter and you want a job to start right away in the spring, you might have to wait a month or two until they can free up labour and sub-trades.
With March break, a lot of sub-trades take time off, which will delay any quote or work that you potentially want done.
If you are getting drawings done by a professional, spring is the busiest time for them as well and you could end up in a situation where you have a builder but have no drawings to start the project.
Township building departments get overloaded in the spring with all manner of building permits requests. If your building permit is a little complicated and needs special attention then you could be waiting a lot longer than normal just for the permit.
If you have to deal with a commission like an environmental protection commission you could be waiting a long time for approval. Commissions have no mandate like building departments do; they do not have a timeline to give you permission in a timely manner. In the spring which is their busy time you could easily wait months for your permit.

So as the weather turns warmer so will the construction industry. The number of quotes will start to fly out the door; the work will start to trickle in and buildings will start to rise out of the ground.

The one piece of advice that I will give you if you have waited to start this process until the sunny days of the spring; have patience. It might take a little longer for you to get your quotes, to get your approvals and to get your project started but everyone starting in the spring is in the same boat.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

10 Tips to give your home a fresh look this spring

10 Tips to give your home a fresh look this spring.

 Take a look around your house, pick a room that hasn’t been touched in a while and give it a painting face lift. It isn’t a hard thing to do. But if you are having a difficult time deciding what to do about the paint or after you’ve painted, then you should think about hiring an interior designer. They are not that expensive and they will work on an hourly rate. This will allow you to redesign one room or the whole house if you so choose.

If you are going to re-design a room start by picking a theme for the room. You can do a lot by doing some of these simple things;

1. Paint. You can make a room look completely different just by adding a coat of paint. Change the colour of the walls and if your feeling daring change the colour of the baseboards and trim around the windows and the doors.

2. Change the floor coverings. If you have older carpets you can have new carpet installed or have them removed and have hardwood flooring installed. If you already have hardwood floors you can have the floors refinished, this will help give the space a completely different look.

3. Change the furniture. This doesn’t mean that you have to go out and buy all new furniture, moving furniture from one room in a new one can give a room and the furniture a new look. Adding a new coffee table can help draw the eye to the middle of the room away from older furniture.

4. Try an area rug or change the existing one that you have. This will give the room a different feel.

5. Add moulding’s to the ceiling. Crown moulding can add a lot of character to a room and can be done relatively quickly.

6. Change your pictures. You probably have pictures in rooms that you do not view frequently; if they are moved out into a different room they might become more appreciated.

7. Buy new throw pillows and throw blankets to help freshen the room up and to make older furniture look more appealing.

8. Change the lighting. This can be as simple as changing the light fixture in the ceiling or more complicated like installing pot lights to add more light to the room. Even changing light bulbs from halogen to LED will change the feel of the room because different light bulbs give off different light.

9. Change the window treatments. The tired old blinds and curtains on the windows are easy enough to change and will not cost you a fortune.

10. If you want to “green” the room up for spring then try adding plants to the room or changing plants from one room to another.

Try these 10 tips and I’m sure that you will be able to get a lot of use out of your new space without spending a lot of money. Remember it always helps to hire a professional like an interior designer.

Robert Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Friday, March 16, 2012

2011 Ford F-250 super duty gas truck-6 month review

2011 Ford F-250 super duty gas truck-6 month review

It has been 6 months since we bought a new 2011 Ford F-250 super duty gas truck. This is the first gas super duty that the company has bought since the early 1990’s. It is a 4 door, 4x4 with the 7 ft box and it is a lariat which means that it is fully loaded.

The reason that we bought the gas truck instead of the diesel is for a couple of reasons;

1. This truck will only be hauling or pulling trailers 25% of the time. We own other trucks that are diesels    that do the majority of the pulling and hauling.

2. The gas truck was $9800.00 cheaper than the diesel truck.

3. Unlike previous decades, diesel prices are not cheaper then gas prices and sometimes they can actually be more expensive.

4. We had owned a 2008 Ford diesel and disliked the fuel mileage so much that I couldn’t bring myself to buy the brand new diesel without giving it a couple of years to see were the fuel consumption ends up.

At the six month mark of owning the truck we have 25,000 km’s on it and are very impressed with a lot of the features that the truck came with. Things such as the rear-view camera come in handy when hooking up trailers, or backing in a tight space. When hooking a trailer up with the camera I am able to completely eliminate the need for another person standing by the hitch directing me. I also don’t have to get out of the truck to look to see if I have ended up perfectly under the hitch with the ball.  The digital display works really well and gives you more information than most people will ever need to know about your truck.

The truck has an impressive four wheel drive system. It has the typical four wheel drive system but with a twist, it has an option to lock the rear end at the pull of a button even when you are not in 4x4. I have found that leaving it on eliminates the need sometimes for having the 4x4 on because it allows both back tires to spin which can be enough to keep you moving. The system turns itself off when you go over 50 km/h and immediately turns it back on when you drop below 50 km/h. It works the best when you are pulling a trailer or are hauling a heavy load with the more weight on the back tires for traction.

The fuel mileage on the truck is not as good as I thought it would end up. At the moment I burn 17 litres per every 100 km’s I drive. This is better than the diesel trucks that we own but is not as good as what I have heard that the new diesel trucks are getting.

Another thing that I have realised is that it is a lot cheaper to have an oil change done on a gas truck at around $50.00 (done by the dealer) compared to what the going rate of $120.00 for the new diesels to get an oil change.

What I have noticed is that the gas trucks have a nicer ride then the diesels and I believe that has a lot to do with the gas trucks being a lot lighter in weight compared to the diesel trucks. They have lighter springs installed, which helps the ride of the truck be a little smoother.

It’s rather nice not to worry all the time were I’m going to buy my diesel next; I just pull into any old gas station and fill up. With our diesel trucks we were always worried about water being in the diesel and so we would drive out of our way to a reputable location to purchase diesel.

Overall we are really pleased with the truck and would buy another one if we needed too. Ford’s interior finishing’s have come a long way with the fit and finish of the truck being extremely comfortable and making the daily drive from worksite to worksite more comfortable. I would recommend this truck to anyone that is looking for a truck that is comfortable, can work hard, pull a big load but doesn’t want to spend the extra money for a diesel engine.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders inc.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What does half load restrictions mean?

Rural Half Load Season is upon us.

What does “half load restrictions” mean and why can’t you start working on my new house yet? This is a question that I receive from my clients every spring.

This question arises when we are working on larger building projects and they either start in the spring or the job runs from the winter into the spring. The questions usually arise because their project has been slowed down or there is a certain part of the job that hasn’t been accomplished or the project hasn’t even been started.

“Half load Restrictions” are a restrictions placed on the all rural roads in a municipality by the township or county. They literally mean that you can only have half the weight as a load on your vehicle. This does not affect passenger vehicles; it is aimed to larger vehicles such as dump trucks, delivery trucks, concrete trucks and heavy equipment floats that haul excavators and bulldozers. If you needed concrete you would have to have it delivered in a concrete truck that is only half full. This would mean that you would be paying more for your concrete because it would take twice as much time to deliver it and twice as much diesel fuel. If you needed an excavator delivered to your site to dig the hole for the foundation you would be out of luck because excavators are so heavy that they would violate the weight restrictions.

The reason for the restrictions on the roads? In the spring the frost comes out of the ground. As the moisture comes out of the road bed the road becomes softer, as the road becomes softer it becomes weaker. The heavier the load that is transferred across the road the more the road sinks and is misshapen. This can permanently damage the road and the road bed. So restrictions are placed on the road until the road and the road bed have had time to properly shed the frost (and moisture), then had time to dry. This allows the township to save money on not having to rebuild entire rural roads after every spring thaw.

So if you have a project that you just got permission from the township to start, other than having the building lot survived you actually wouldn’t be able to do anything on it until the half load restrictions are removed. Once the half load restrictions have been lifted you can bring in an excavator to dig the hole for the foundation and have dump trucks on site to carry away any unneeded earth. Even projects that are ongoing can be slowed down because the lumber yards are not allowed to ship you large heavy quantities of material all at once.

 The restrictions are not a set length of time. Every year the half load restrictions are a different length. If you have a really long winter with a lot of snow then the half loads could be on longer. If your spring is really wet and not very warm then the restrictions could be on longer. The restrictions are placed on the roads when the supervisor of the roads in the area deems that the roads need to be protected and will only come off when they feel that it is safe to drive on them again without major damage to the road and the road bed.
So if your builder tells you that he is having delays because of the half load restrictions then believe him because he is not telling you an excuse. If he tells you that you he has no idea when they will be lifted, he is also telling you the truth.

In the spring when you are having a project built or completed remember that you will need patience, it’s a busy time of year for your builder and busier still when he has to work around half load restrictions.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What you should think about when you want to build a custom home.

Think about what you want your custom home to look like on the outside before starting your custom home drawings.

If you are in the planning stages of your custom home project, make sure that you take some time to stop and think about what you really want out of it. For example;

What do you want the house to look like? Colours, style?
What materials do you want to build the house out of?
Will your vision fit in the lot or property that you own? Does it make sense at that location?
Are you maximizing the space provided and the natural topography of the land?
Are you highlighting the features of the property with the design and position of the home?
Are you designing a house that will fit into your realistic budget?
Do you want a large house with lower end finishes or do you want a smaller house with higher end finishes?
Will the house fit into the neighbourhood that exists already?
Is there a house already on the property? Are you aloud to have it removed? Is it a heritage building?
Is being environmentally friendly really important to you?
Do you like modern conveniences? Or are you a traditionalist?
Is the property environmentally protected?
Are their restrictions on removal of trees and soil?

All of these questions need to be looked at and decided on before you start the drawing of the home. With these decisions made you will save yourself a lot of time and money when you meet with your architect or draftsmen. These professionals will be billing you for their time; every time they have to re-draw something it’s going to cost you money. That’s why it’s so important to walk in with as many answers as possible before it starts.

The easiest way to help the professional that is drawing your new home is to give them pictures of other homes that you have seen in the area or have liked in magazines and brochures. You can mix and max anyway you want too. The job of the architect or draftsmen is to interpret all of your ideals and bring them together in a way that look's right in your new home. They are professionals so they will be able to tell you from experience some of the things to stay away from and some of the things that have worked well in projects they have drawn in the past.

So remember do a lot of your research, thinking and planning before you arrive in the office of the professional that is going to draw your custom home, it will help them and you get what you want and what you really need.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Helping people learn about construction for one year!

One year!

One year ago I started this blog, oh how time flies!

I started out slowly, but now I have got the hang of this blogging. I find it interesting how many people have questions about home construction and the construction industry in general.

I started this blog because of a disturbing trend that I have found in my dealings with home owners in the custom home building and custom renovating field. The disturbing trend was that people’s knowledge of building and building techniques seemed to be full of half truths and rumours that one person told another person. So my true goal for this blog is to help educate people about the construction industry in hopes it will make the dealings between contractor and home owner simpler and more transparent. If I can educate people before they arrive at my office then it makes my life easier.

The best clients that we have ever had are the ones that recognize that being a general contractor is a true profession and building a custom home properly is a complicated thing. There is nothing wrong with asking your contractor questions about why they do what they do or why they used a certain product. What is unacceptable is when the home owner accuses the general contractor they are doing something wrong or they are using the wrong product. Usually when we get homeowners accusing us of this, it’s when they have visited the jobsite alone without anyone around to explain things to them and they remember something they saw on an episode of HGTV. It takes longer to explain the situation later when the homeowner is accusing everyone of not knowing what they are doing then to simply explain what is going on at the site while everyone is present.

  What you will notice with everything I write is that I try to explain the process of how a homeowner and a general contractor should interact and communicate. If everyone understands how they are to communicate before they start working together then it has the ability to greatly enhance the learning curve between contractor and homeowner.

So in the future if you have any questions feel free to email them to me, I will be glad to answer them. I have already helped people from different places in Canada and the United States and I even had the pleasure to help a woman in Ireland.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more information and advice about custom home building and the construction industry.

Rob Abbott
Operation Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I want to demolish a house so I can build a new house

When you are thinking about demolishing an existing home to make way for a new one, make sure that you hire a professional to do the demolition.

Hiring a professional to demolish an existing home might sound like a logical choice but you should know a couple of things before you open the yellow pages and phone the first one that you see.

Here are a couple of things that you should look for when looking to demolish a house;

Get quotes. A true professional will have no problem coming out to the existing home and giving you a proper quote. This will save you being handed a large bill at the end of the demolition because there was twice the amount of debris created from the house.

Do your research. It doesn’t take a lot to goggle search companies, ask around or even ask them for references.

You want experience. Demolition if done wrong can be a very dangerous thing. You are removing a structure that weighs more than any machine that is brought in to tear it down. The last thing in the world you want is to have someone hurt or killed on your land during demolition.

Insurance. You want to make sure that the demolition company has the proper insurance. You should also contact your own insurance company and make sure that you are covered encase something goes wrong.

If you are planning to build a new house on the property it can be a good idea to have your general contractor (the one you hired to build the new house) handle hiring of the demolition company. A general contractor can also assist you in all the paperwork that the township will require before you are allowed to demolish.

There are a number of services that your general contractor can help you have disconnected before you will be granted a demolition permit. Electrical, gas, telephone, cable and water/sewer all have to be professionally severed from the existing building. If you are planning to build a new house on the property then the connections should be severed back far enough not to impede the digging of a new foundation.
A general contractor a lot of the times will be bringing in a heavy equipment sub-contractor to dig the hole for the foundation. If this is the case you can save yourself some money and have this sub-contractor do the demolition as well. This could save you money because the equipment after it is done knocking down the house can immediately start digging the hole for the new foundation. There is almost no difference in a heavy equipment operator tearing down a house and a demolition company. The only real difference is that a heavy equipment operator will use a large excavator to knock the building down and then load it into dump trucks. As the excavator tears the building down it will separate the different materials and load them in separate bins or dump trucks. This is important because this will save you money when they get to the dump.  Demolition companies will use smaller machines to do the tear down that are easier to transport and will fit into smaller places.

In a dump you will pay per pound. The price per pound will vary depending on what material is contained in the load. Loads that are mixed are the most expensive, mixed loads are when you have wood or metal mixed in with garbage. The cheapest loads are all one material loads such as all wood or all metal. If you end up with an all metal load you can have it taken to a metal recyclers that will pay for the load instead of you paying for the load.

If you go through the general contractor you will pay a management fee on top of the demolition bill but it will save you money in the long run. Because the services have to be disconnected then with the general contractor in charge of the job they will know exactly where those underground services are terminated and capped. If you do not involve your contractor then you could end up paying later when the contractor starts digging around the site trying to find all the connections that are underground. It doesn’t take much for the marking stakes to be lost on a construction site when you are building a house especially if it’s a small sight.
So remember if you are thinking about demolishing an existing house don’t just pick the first company you find, do your research and ask your general contractor it could save you a lot of time, money and aggravation.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Leading edge custom home building

Leading edge custom home builder

If you are looking to build a custom home and you want to do it in a way that leads the construction industry, you need to check out Village Builders in Creemore.

Village Builders has been in business for over 30 years building custom homes for people in the Creemore, Collingwood and Thornbury area.  In that time they have gone through a lot of changes in the way that they construct homes. Some of the changes were brought on by home owners wanting to do new and innovating things in their homes. But a lot of them were from Village Builders constantly looking for new and exciting technology, techniques and materials that help the Village Builder home stand out above all others.

Village Builders prides itself on building custom homes that are not just innovative but functional and highly energy efficient. Using the best possible materials and best practises Village Builders is able to assure the home owner will have a house that will stand up to whatever you can throw at it.

The only limitations are your imagination and the laws of physics.

In today’s construction market there are endless new products and techniques coming out every year. Some of them are good and some of them are bad. There is a fine line between a new product that will save you money on your energy consumption and the cost to purchase and install the item.

For example; 20 years ago geothermal heating in Canada was 60 thousand dollars to purchase and install in a new 3000 sq ft home. Today geothermal heating is about 30 thousand dollars to purchase and install for the same size house. That means that the return on your investment is far greater and quicker than it was 20 years ago. If you would have installed a normal forced air furnace that ran on propane twenty years ago you could now have geothermal heating installed today at half the price.

This is the kind of balance you have to strike while building your custom home. You need to decide what new products work best for you and what older cheaper products you can use to offset the cost of the newer ones. Everyone has a budget, regardless of how big it is, these are choices you are going to have to make. It’s better to make those decisions with a contractor that has done their homework on the products that you are thinking about installing, then using a contractor who will just do whatever you tell them too.

You are hiring a contractor for more than their ability to build you a home, your hiring a contractor that has the intelligence to tell you what will work for you and what won’t. You also want a contractor that isn’t afraid to try new things, which means that a lot of the things that you will be asking about they will already have heard of and have researched before you.

In construction a lot of new products are released on the market that do the same thing that an existing product already does. The difference with most new products is that they claim to do the same job faster, better or more efficiently. In some cases that is true, in a lot of cases it’s not and it’s mostly marketing to get you to buy the product. The other factor is the cost of the product, if a new house wrap is said to be easier to install then the old house wrap but cost 3 times the price you probably don’t want to use it because it will cost you more money to buy the product then it will save you in labour installing it.

One of the places that has seen a lot of changes is finishing’s. A lot of the new finishing’s come out of China advertising new and amazing things. You have to be careful and do research on the product.

For example; bamboo floors are all the rage right now. What people don’t realize is that a lot bamboo flooring has filler in it, the filler is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a chemical that will off gas after you install the floor; it is also a chemical that is harmful to humans. If you buy more expensive bamboo flooring that is California certified then you are buying a flooring that is guaranteed to be chemical free. One is 10 times the price then the other, but one of them won’t cause health effects to your family.

As a construction company we at Village Builders are actively searching for clients that want to push the envelope and do things before they are the norm, Village builders wants clients that will lead the way!

If you are one of those people feel free to email me at or come in and see us at 3 Caroline St. East in the village of Creemore.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hilti Reciprocating Saws

The Hilti Reciprocating saws

As a general contractor I have owned many a reciprocating saw, everything from Dewalt to Makita and everything in between. But nothing has stood up better then the reciprocating saws from Hilti.

Hilti tools overall are made with a higher standard and are backed by a great warranty and equally wonderful repair centre for when you need repairs after the warranty has expired.

Hilti makes 3 types of corded reciprocating saws. They are as follows;

1. WSR 1000. This is the smallest saw that they make, but has no problem handling the cutting of wood and metal while doing demolition. It has a 1000 Watt motor that has no trouble keeping up with whatever you need to do. It is not a bulky or heavy tool so it fits easily in tighter spaces. Some of the features on the saw are a button that locks the trigger so that you can have continuous running even when your finger isn’t on the trigger. The chuck is enclosed so that it doesn’t get damaged when you plunge the saw into something that you really shouldn’t.

2. WSR 1250-PE. This is the middle saw in the Hilti line and my personal favourite. It is a larger saw then the 1000 and has the power to match its size. Everything about this saw is made to take a lot of abuse by construction workers. This saw even has hardened carburized gearing inside to help lengthen the tool life when under heavy and constant abuse. This saw has what Hilti calls the “smart power” system, what this does is maintain the power to the blade during any use so that the blade never slows down and continues cutting at the same rate. One of the unique features about this saw is it has an orbital action setting, what this allows you to do if you are cutting through a large piece of wood is to swing the blade forward so that it cuts aggressively faster and cleaner. It also has an anti-vibration system built in so that you can cut longer with less stress on your hands and arms.

3. WSR 1400-PE.  This is the big daddy of saws and probably the one of the biggest saws that you will find out there today. It is so big and powerful that I have known contractors that have used it to cut cement blocks. The blades that are available for this large saw are impressive, you can cut tree’s down with this saw and it won’t even notice. This saw has AVR which is “Active Vibration Reduction” and is needed with some of the things that we do with this saw. This saw is truly a beast and can handle any heavy work that you need it to do.

Hilti also sells all their own high quality blades for everything you could ever want. They are hardened blades that last a lot longer than the blades that you buy from your local hardware store. They don’t just last longer but they also cut faster and more accurately.

So if you are looking for a great reciprocating saw look no further then Hilti, they make the best reciprocating saws on the market today and have the warranties to back them up.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.