Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 the year in review for Village Builders Inc.

2012 the year in review for Village Builders Inc.

It has been an interesting year for Village builders Inc in 2012.
We enjoyed another good year in a construction economy that has seen the industry slow down overall in the province of Ontario. The effect has not been felt in the Collingwood/Blue Mountain area until this year.


The trend for houses seems to be that they are getting more expense per square foot. Houses are becoming more complicated than they ever have before. Houses are being loaded with all the bells and whistles, every feature imaginable is added that will make life a little easier. Natural gas backup generators are now a common theme in all our houses, this has been a growing trend since the year of the big East Coast blackout. Electronics and automation is on the rise with more tech savy clients wanting to be able to control their house functions from there smart phones.

The trend for pre 2008 were that the houses grew in size, but were close to the same price per square foot and tended to be in the chalet or country style. The trend in 2012 was houses of all sizes, shapes, styles and locations but with an ever rising price per square foot.

•         Energy efficiency in all the aspects of the home is growing year over year, 2012 was no different. High efficiency gas furnaces are now the norm and if the property allows geothermal heating in the rural area's then this seems to be the only sensible option for houses that have no access to natural gas. With the changing of the Ontario building code more insulation is being added to houses, in the walls, the basement and in the attic because of the new code. With the ever rising cost of electricity there is a push to do as much of the components of the home in natural gas as possible. To help properly heat houses evenly homeowners are opting for electronic dampers, these are run on low voltage and operate on an independent thermastat that allows you to have different temperatures in every part of the house, this is done by controlling where the air goes when it comes form the furnace.

•         A larger percentage of houses that we built or were building in 2012 were getting away from wood siding and are turning to stone, steel or cement siding. By wood siding is still the most popular option in custom homes overall.

•         Steel roofs have become the most popular option for at least half of the houses that were built. With the uncertainty of the quality of shingles these days and the extreme weather steel will continue to grow in popularity. Enviroshake is the other option that is growing in popularity; this is an environmentally friendly product that is made of recycled materials, rubber and waste from ethanol plants.

•         Decking is undergoing a major revolution with so many new products and options. Composite decking is becoming the most popular because of its longevity, but a new product on the market that is making a major dent is called thermally modified wood. Thermally modified wood is the process of heating and pressurizing wood until the cells collapse. This makes the product last a lot longer than conventional decking. The product is suppose to last for 40 years before you have to worry about rot. Also the natural wood decking turns silver like cedar after a short time but if you want the natural wood look then all you have to do is stain it with a special stain that is provided for you and it will look new for years to come.

•         Fireplaces are growing in size, especially natural gas fireplaces, with so many options out there people are being buried by choices and so are builders. The new style is to install fireplaces that are wider then they are tall so that the fireplace is 1 or 2 ft high and 2 to 4 ft wide. These fireplaces give a very modern look to a room and can be installed in smaller spaces.

•         Painted trim is the most popular way to finish off the house in 2012 and reclaimed floors that are finished on site were also extremely popular. This is a trend that has continued from previous years.

•         Window sizes seem to have grown in size. Also the amount of different manufactures that we seem to be using has continued to grow as well. New to windows is the availability to pick windows that allow solar heat in or completely block it depending on which direction the house faces.

•         Houses with attached double car garages seems to be the norm again in 2012, this is a trend that has continued for many years. Garages have become more important than the space that you could use for landscaping. People are opting to maximize the building size on the lot.

•         Master suites are the norm in all houses built in 2012; this is a trend that has continued for years. Suites commonly all contain a large bedroom, large Ensuite bathroom and an ever growing walk in closet with custom shelving units installed.

Overall it seems that homeowners are becoming more and more confused with the over abundance in choices that they are able to find on either the internet or in the stores. There is a growing lag on the building process because of homeowners being bogged down with choices and in some cases doubling the time it takes to build a custom home.


2012 see’s Heather the estimator leave at the end of the year because she is having a baby. Congratulations to her and welcome to Craig who will be taking her place while she is gone. Craig is no stranger to Village Builders; he is one of our carpenters that is moving in the office and out of the cold for the winter.

Design Department

This year marks the 2nd anniversary of the interior design department at Village Builders.

Village Builders would like to thank all our clients that chose to use us this year, you all helped make it another great year for Village Builders Inc in 2012.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village builders Inc.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 construction year in review for the Collingwod, Blue Mountains, Creemore and Wasaga beach area

Review of residential construction in the Collingwood, Blue Mountains, Creemore and surrounding area for 2012

2012 was a disappointing year for the construction industry in this area of Ontario. But this area wasn’t the only part of Ontario that had a disappointing year, there were a lot of places in Ontario that had almost no new housing starts and no new work coming in the future. Ontario single handily pulled the national construction rate down to its lowest level since the crash of 08. Almost every other province showed growth in the construction industry.

Collingwood/Blue Mountains

The Collingwood/Blue Mountains area which seemed to buck this trend in previous years has come back to the pack and saw construction slow. A lot of builders were able to stay busy but were not able to accumulate any backlog of work into the future and the volume of work they did was less than in previous years with many builders shedding employees.

The Collingwood/Blue Mountain market has been flooded with “custom builders” as they call themselves over the last 3 or 4 years. The construction market was not strong enough to feed all the builders that have setup shop in the area. Many want-to-be big home builders found themselves without any work. A lot of start up builders have been forced to sub themselves out to builders with better reputations and sustainable amount of work.

The home builders with good reputations and track records of quality and fine workmanship stayed busy but found that there weren’t as many jobs to price as previous years.

New home building which has seemed to carry the market in previous years was down significantly. The renovation market which was also flooded with company’s looking for work carried the load this year with a lot of people turning toward remodeling their current home or repairing existing problems with it.  Additions which seemed to be at an all time low seem to be making a slow come back. The sluggish real estate market has slowed construction because of the low turnover of property as well.

The Collingwood area seemed to have a reel spike in commercial redevelopment with many new projects, a lot of them started last year and were still being working on this year.

Creemore/Clearview Township

The large increase in development fees and building permit fees has had a large effect on the market in the Clearview township area for the last couple of years. Clearview Township has created a have and have not society with their massive increase in the cost of building permits and development fees. It has come to the point where only larger homes are being built in that township because smaller homes have become too expensive for the average person to build. Only the wealthy are now able to build a home in the Clearview township area. This of course means that residential construction has almost come to a halt. Very little residential construction was started or completed in the Clearview township area in 2012. Most of the work in the area took place in the Collingwood area and into the Wasaga Beach area. The renovation market though in the Clearview area did see an uptake with people opting to buy older homes and renovate them instead of paying the large development fees. But even this market is having trouble finding traction with the tighter building codes that were introduced at the start of the 2012 year.

Wasaga Beach

Wasaga Beach seemed to have a healthy construction year, with many older cottages being either torn down for new homes or older cottages being completely renovated from top to bottom because of lot restrictions. Construction can be found on almost every street in the Wasaga Beach area, the closer to the water the more work there seems to be happening. Also the projects are larger and more expensive because of the value of the property near the water is so high. Wasaga beach seems to be the place that is leading construction in new homes and renovations. This has a lot to do with the reduced prices of older homes and the lower development fees compared to the surrounding areas.

Almost all work was done in all areas for clients from the range of 50 to 70 years old. This is a trend that has existed for the last decade and looks to continue into the future.

With the delay of winter conditions this year it seems to have given the construction industry an extra shot in the arm. Less people seemed to be laid off at Christmas time this year compared to previous ones in the construction sector. A lot of home builders took the opportunity to get a start on new homes and get the majority of their framing completed before the winter weather. But building departments across the region are reporting lower then expected numbers of applications for new projects at the end of the year.

Overall it seemed that the year of 2012 was a down year for a lot of builders and renovators. It seemed to depend on market reputation, with the leaders in the industry staying busy and the rest fighting over what was left over. This year really separated the builders who run a well maintained company and the "builders" that run their company on a whim. 2012 was a slower year than the 2011 one, which breaks the trend of steady growth year over year that has been happening since the 2008 credit crunch, 2008 saw the construction market almost completely dry up.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The evolution of floor protection

The evolution of floor protection

Contractors are always looking for better and simpler ways to protect newly installed floors or existing floors when renovating. As one of those contractors I have tried almost everything on the market at least once.
What I have found threw trial and error is what works well and what doesn’t. The other thing that I have realized is that with the changing world of flooring, so goes the world of flooring protection.
I have used some companies that are reputable but wouldn’t stand behind their warranty when their product failed and have used other companies that their products simply didn’t work like advertised.

Here are some tips that you should look for when trying to buy flooring protection;

You need to know exactly what you are covering. Is it tile, carpet, hardwood, factory finished wood or onsite finished wood.

You want to avoid any product that has a fair bit of adhesive. The adhesive can either leave a residue on the floor or damage the finish on the floor. Only carpet protection should have a fairly aggressive adhesive.

If you are doing construction over a newly laid hardwood floor then you will need to buy something that will absorb the impact of tools or material.

There are different products on the market for the different areas of a home. You should be buying different materials for different parts of the house. Hallways need a material that will take more of a beating then bedrooms.

Special consideration has to be paid to stairs, especially custom stairs. Stairs need something that will stick to them to stop a tripping hazard but not to sticky that it reacts the finish on the floor.

Look for products that don’t require you to use any tape to attach it to the floor. Tape left on the floor to long will damage the finish.

One of the products that I am impressed with that I have been using for the past couple of months is called RAM BOARD. It is a paper product; it looks a lot like craft paper that you buy at your local hardware store but the biggest difference is the thickness. It is about a 1/8” thick and when you are talking floor protection that’s pretty thick. It is so thick that it will absorb liquid spills from coffees and cans of paint. It is also thick enough to take a marginal amount of impact without damaging the floor below it. The RAM BOARD is heavy enough that when you roll it out it usually stays in place. When you want to cover a wide area you simply tape the joints together leaving the outside edges tape free. The total weight of the paper together holds itself in place. It’s also thick enough and water absorbing enough to use at the front door in the winter when you have a lot of people coming inside with wet footwear. Ram board is durable enough that you can re-use it from one job to the next. What we do is vacuum the Ram board and then roll it up and tape it so that it stays rolled and compact until it is needed on the next project.

If you are still using saws and saw horses inside then you have two options, you can either put a sheet of plywood on the floor where the legs of the sawhorses will end up or you can buy some thick carpet underlay and put that down. Usually the plywood will take a beating better but you have to be careful when moving it through doors that you don’t damage the frames or walls.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

How long will it take to build my home?

How long will it take to build my home?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions that I receive from perspective clients and clients that have already agreed to have us construct their new home.

The question is actually quiet complicated to answer.

The first thing that you need to know is that any custom home builder that you want to hire should be able to give you an accurate schedule to build your home. When I say accurate schedule I mean a detailed schedule that tells you what is going to happen every month and how many days it should take to construct every part of the house.

In custom home building everything that says “custom” takes time to build. A custom home takes time to build because of that one word.

A “custom” home is “custom” because it allows the homeowners to have a say in absolutely everything that is in the house. A builder that builds subdivisions builds the same home over and over again and requires the homeowner to choose everything before they process starts from a pre-approved list.

Custom homes do not do that, they allow homeowners to pick every single thing in the home.  A lot of the choices that are made in a custom home are made before the house has even started but there are also a significant number of things that you will end up deciding on as the house is being built.

A custom home is built at a speed that the homeowner can keep up with the choices that they have to make; this allows the home to truly be called a custom home. Since all these decisions can take time then you can’t rush the building of the home, also some choices that you the homeowner will make before the building process starts you will end up changing after you start to see the building take shape and get a feel for the space.

The other reason that time is taken to build a custom home is for quality control. The faster a home is built the more mistakes can be made, and the more mistakes that are made the more problems you can end up with down the line after the home is built.

The average custom home takes from 8 months to 2 years to build. I understand that this is a large range, but because of all the variables in building a custom home it truly depends on the size and complexity of the home. Custom homes can vary from 3000 square feet up to 10 to 20,000 square feet. The larger the home the longer it takes to construct and customize it.

The one way that a homeowner can help accelerate the build process is to make as many decisions as possible before you even start building the home. Also you should hire an interior designer before the build starts so that you can have someone to bounce ideas off. It’s always easier to make decisions when you have someone to bounce ideas off, especially if that person is a professional interior designer.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Planning your renovation: Your lifestyle profile

Planning your Remodel: Your Lifestyle Profile

As professional remodeling contractors, we strive to create a unique home for each of our clients, a house that "fits" each family's wants and needs. Our sales and design staff carefully consider the number of people in your household, the gender and age of every family member, and even your particular preferences, interests, and special needs. In short, we try to capture the essence of how you live now and make an educated guess about how you'll live in your remodeled house for years to come.

This 'lifestyle profile' helps to shape everything about your renewed house, from the simplest and most obvious -- such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms -- to less common features, such as personal and public entertainment areas, specialized storage space, and even the home's architectural style.

Conducting this comprehensive assessment of your family's wants and needs is a critical step in finding ideal remodeling solutions.

To prepare for this assessment, spend some time thinking about your current lifestyle with an eye to how it might change in the future. Consider the following:

Who lives in the house? In addition to a simple count (including pets) of those living under your roof, consider how each person in the family uses the house now and is likely to use it in the near future. For example, a couple facing an 'empty nest' may want to convert a bedroom to a home office, yoga room, or hobby space, while a young, growing family might consider expanding the family room, opening up the kitchen to a living space, or expanding storage options into a reworked attic area. A family with two children might like a Jack-and-Jill bath or an open "loft" space between bedrooms to serve as a common area for the kids. If regular visitors are a part of your lifestyle, you might consider adding a separate suite above the garage that could double as a hobby space or home office.

How are you getting around? Regardless of your age or current physical limitation, remember that a temporary or chronic impairment might limit your ability to get around your house in the future. If bedrooms are on the second floor, even a pulled muscle can keep you from climbing the stairs. Remodeling to create a main-level "flex" space (especially one with semi-private access to a bathroom) offers a comfortable alternative to a couch or a cot in times of a temporary disability, and easily converts to a permanent bedroom on the lower level when stairs are best left to younger family members or guests.

Floor coverings, cabinet and counter heights, and appliance locations can be tastefully altered to make them easier to navigate regardless of your current physical state. Consider, too, assuring ease of access around the house from the outside, including at-grade entrances and a continuous walkway for at least one entrance, instead of paving stones.

Hobbies and activities. During the next few weeks or even months, compile a list of hobbies and activities that you enjoy in and around your house. Include those activities you wish you could enjoy if the circumstances were just right.

Indoors, you might enjoy a game room or a place for a big-screen television to watch your favorite sporting events, equipped with a mini-kitchen for entertaining friends or family. Maybe you've been longing for a hobby room where you could spread out your art or craft projects and install specialized storage. With the right room, you could even teach a class!

Your interests outdoors may lead to an extension of the garage, or perhaps an improved organizing system within the existing footprint, to better manage yard, garden, or pool maintenance tools. There may even be space to create a workshop, also with the benefit of better long-term storage. Adding an outdoor kitchen, dining, and lounge area is an increasingly popular remodeling option for those who like to entertain outside.

As a remodeling firm dedicated to making your housing dreams a reality, we are committed to providing solutions that are tailor-made for each client. Armed with a solid understanding of your particular wants and needs helps us to pinpoint the right project for your family and to deliver a remodeled home that suits your circumstances now and in the future.

Warm Regards,

Doug Abbott
Village Builders

This is an exert from a newsletter that is distributed to all former, current and future clients of Village Builders Inc. It is written by the President Doug Abbott. If you would like to receive this newsletter feel free to email me at

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Monday, December 17, 2012

We want an outdoor kitchen, but who do we call first?


We want an outdoor kitchen but we are having trouble deciding who to call to have it designed and installed. Do we call a landscaper, a kitchen maker or do we call a contractor?


The answer to your question is that you will actually need to call all of them.
Since you need to call all of them you should be calling a general contractor first. One of the main jobs of a general contractor is to organize everyone involved in the job.

An outdoor kitchen designed and installed in the appropriate way involves almost every trade that you would need to have a kitchen installed inside your home. The only trade you don’t need outside is the drywaller, but you do require different people like landscapers and depending on what you want you could end up needing a whole host of other specialty trades.

Outdoor kitchens require permits; this is one reason that you need a proper design and plan. Your contractor will help you work with the designer so that you get a proper design, a fair price and also ensure that you get a permit so that you don’t have problems later. Your contractor will be able to recommend a landscaper that is suited to the task; also they will be able to have a proper kitchen maker to supply and install it.

Building a kitchen outside requires some different thinking, thinking that requires you to use materials that will withstand the damaging weather that the kitchen would not face if it was inside.

So in conclusion you should hire a general contractor and let them worry about all the other sub-trades, designs, permits, plans and specialty materials.

Thanks for the questions, keep them coming.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Custom home theatre rooms in the modern home

Modern Day Construction for custom homes Part 13

In today’s modern world of construction things are changing year to year faster than they did decade to decade in any other previous time period. In this multi part series I will traverse through an entire house starting with the foundation and working my way up to the roof and then to the finishing’s. I will explain what has changed in the last twenty years in custom home building.
One thing that you should be able to take away from this is how important it is to not just hire the right general contractor to build your custom home but how important it is to hire one that is up on today’s building methods.

Home theatres

Twenty years ago home theatres meant that your tv was sitting on at the end of the room on top of a cabinet and maybe if you were advanced enough you had it hooked up to a couple of speakers.

Today’s home theatres mean just that, home theatres. There are separate rooms built into custom homes now that are completely insulated and sound proof so that no matter what the volume level of the movie you are watching it will not bother anyone else in the home. Speakers are inset in the walls and ceilings, so that the room appears to be speaker less, this gives the viewer the perception that the sound is coming to them naturally instead of through speakers.

HD projectors are now mounted in the ceilings with a 120 inch curved screen that rappel’s out of the ceiling with a push of a button. The size of the screen is dictated by the size of the wall it is being placed on and the distance the viewer is able to sit away from it.

Whole rooms are dedicated to the housing of the components that are required to make everything run smoothly. Custom movie chairs are now available that move and vibrate depending on what is happening in the movie. LED lighting is used for the accent and also because it does not produce heat.

In a sealed theatre room it is very important to have an independent cooling unit so that the room is kept at the perfect temperature to watch movies. The component room as well needs its own version of this so that the mountains of equipment will not overheat and be damaged.

Theatre room are wired with multiple pairs of different wires so that depending on the piece of equipment they will always be able to function.

You can never tell where the future is going so the installation of different wiring technology in the future will have to be accomplished. The easy way to do this is to install conduits in the walls and ceilings where the existing wiring has been so that in the future you can “fish” new wiring from one place to the other.

Looking for part 14 coming soon....

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Roof over your head

The Roof Over Your Head

A roof is a primary factor in any home's curb appeal. But more important, it serves a critical role in  managing water and moisture, and guarding against damage caused by high winds .

The home owners have many choices of roofing products to use on their homes.  Since curb appeal is very important, many roofing product companies have websites that help you visualize what a new roofing colour, texture and/or product will look like on your house.

Products.  Few people think all roofing products preform the same, shed water from the house. The first
thing the owner needs to determine is the weather that the roof is going to be exposed too, like high winds, lots of snow sitting on roof etc. Some roofs come with lifetime warranties, be sure to read the fine print on warranties , lifetime does not necessary mean your lifetime. The next decision is your budget, but remember you usually get what you pay for.
The roofing industry's is notorious for "shading " contractors. You must do your homework and select a roofing contractor who has prove of liability insurance, workers compensation, references that must be checked.
In addition to the shingles or panels, the roofing contractor must discuss with you about the ventilation of your roof. The ventilation is more important than the product used on the roof. It will determine how your new roof covering will preform and how many years it will last., plus it could affect your product warranty. If the contractor does not mention ventilation look for another contractor.

Managing Water. Obviously, the roof is a home's first line of defense against rain and snow. But equally important is the roof's capacity to effectively and quickly shed water runoff away from the house.
The best practice to manage water is to properly install the shingles and appropriate flashing components per the manufacturer's specifications and standards. Flashings should be constructed along valleys and other V-shaped or odd roof intersections, at the eave corners (called "kick-outs"), and at every penetration, such as vent pipes, chimneys, and skylights. Water should flow down the roof to a gutter and downspout system, which expels the water harmlessly away from the home and its foundation.

Durability. A home's roof also is an important component in high winds . Recent advancements in building products, practices, and codes have made today's roof even more resilient against these forces of nature.
In addition to using the proper ring-shank nails and fastener spacing to secure a roof's plywood deck to the roof trusses, peel-and-stick, water-resistant membranes between the deck and conventional roofing felt paper are an effective shield against damage. This would be important should the shingles become broken or loose during a storm and allow wind and water to reach the deck.
Of course, properly fastening the roofing finish to the deck is critical to withstand damage.

As a professional remodeling contractor, it is our responsibility to deliver the best project possible. In addition to ensuring the proper installation of every roofing system, we also investigate and incorporate additional methods and materials that improve the performance of the roof and our homes overall.

Warm Regards,

Doug Abbott
Village Builders

This is an exert from a newsletter that is distributed to all former, current and future clients of Village Builders Inc. It is written by the President Doug Abbott. If you would like to receive this newsletter feel free to email me at

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Do you really need to clean your chimney?


Do you really need to clean your chimney?


This is a question I receive from many of my clients after I have built them a new home.

You absolutely have to clean your chimney. The amount that you have to clean the chimney is the real question.

If you seldom use your fireplace then you only need to have the chimney cleaned once a year. You should have the chimney cleaned in the late summer or the early fall just before you will be getting ready to use it.

The reason that you clean it at that time is so that if any birds or animals have made their home in the chimney flue then the cleaning will remove it.

If you use your fireplace a lot then you should have it cleaned twice a year, once in the early fall and once late in the winter.

The reason that you have to get your chimney cleaned is because when you burn wood you release creosote that rises up the chimney in the smoke. As the smoke cools near the top of the chimney the creosote is deposited on the sides of the chimney walls. Over time the creosote builds up and will create problems.

Some of the problems that built up creosote creates are as follows;

The more creosote that builds up on the side walls of the chimney lining the more is restricted. When air is restricted in the chimney the fireplace has trouble drawing air and so in turn the fireplace doesn’t work as well because it is starving for air.

Creosote builds up and causes heat to stay trapped in the chimney, as heat builds in the chimney the creosote particles can ignite causing a fire in the chimney. Many houses have burnt down because of chimney fires.

Prevention of chimney fires is the most important reason to clean your chimney.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Quickdrive auto feed screw system

Framing a floor? Is your back hurting from bending over installing the screws in the plywood? Try the quickdrive gun!

In today’s modern built homes gone are the days were we use nails to attach the plywood sheeting to the floor joist with a little bit of glue put under them. Today’s sub-floors are screwed down every 8 inches and glued down with adhesive that is applied to every floor joist. That means that you are installing 1000’s of screws.

The tool of choice for us in this matter is the quickdrive screw gun.

There are many versions of this tool now on the market but the quickdrive was one of the originals in this application.

Quickdrive is an auto-feed screw system that allows you to screw sheeting down to the floor joist without ever having to bend over.

The quickdrive auto-feed system works on roughly the same principles as your stick framing guns. You insert a magazine in the feeder system that is screws instead of nails and it feeds the fastener into the drive head, this allows you to install 30 or 40 screws in a row instead of one at a time.

You simply insect the magazine of screws, position the quickdrive over the area that you want the screw to be installed in, hold the quickdrive at a 90 degree angle to the sheeting, pull the trigger on the handle so that the motor is running at top speed and push down. The screw gun will drive the screw into the sheeting and the brake will engage when the screw has reached the set depth.

The quickdrive is a corded screw gun with a bar extension down to the drive head where the screws are installed from. You can screw a whole 4x8 sheet of plywood down in about a minute.

The most common size of screws used for sheeting floors is the 1 ¾ inch screw. But they now make and supply a wide range of screws for many applications. You can now purchase composite deck screws at your desired length to speed up large deck projects. The drive head is adjustable to the length of screws that you require and the depth of countersink that you desire.

The reason that the quickdrive system works so well is because of its simple design. The makers of the quickdrive system have been smart enough to leave it alone even in the face of stiff competition in the market place today.

I would recommend this auto-feed system to anyone that asked.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Designing that spacious new home

That Spacious New Home Feel:
By Design

Does it seem to you that new homes are generally bigger than older ones? If so, your observation is correct. The average new home today is nearly 500 square feet (or 25%) larger than the average house built 20 years ago, and 12% larger than those built in the late 1990s.

However, mere square footage is not the primary reason why new homes are more spacious than their predecessors.

Homes are now designed to enhance the perception of larger space and to allow a variety of functions in the common areas of the home. Open floor plans, increasingly popular across all housing types, sizes and prices, create long views through the home and afford "shared" spaces that serve multiple needs.

The perfect example of this concept is the combination kitchen-eating nook-family room. An uninterrupted view from either end makes this space appear quite large as each "area" spills easily into the next. A kitchen island extended into the eating area, for instance, may serve as the family's everyday dining area, homework or bill-paying center, or craft counter. In turn, that area transitions seamlessly into the family room where family members and guests can relax but stay in touch with activity and conversations in the kitchen -- where the cook used to be isolated!

This perceived space is made even greater by a row of windows along the long wall of the room looking into the back yard. More windows may be located on the kitchen and/or family room end-walls.
These windows extend the long interior view even further to the exterior of the house, giving the illusion of more space inside. Extensive daylight -- especially from three walls -- also creates a more comfortable and energy efficient living space.

The benefits of the open plan kitchen-eating nook-family room are now being extended to include other rooms on the main floor of the house. Passageways from the living room and formal dining rooms to the more informal areas of the house are uninterrupted by doors to maintain the shared usage and long sightlines that create the feeling of spaciousness.

The open plan concept is taken to its extreme in floor plans that eliminate the distinction between living room and family room to create a "great room" that is entirely open to other areas of the house. Another variant, the loft-style house (born out of urban industrial warehouse space adapted to residential use) offers an open floor plan that is completely flexible in its use -- and therefore appears to be the most spacious option of all.

Other design features that enhance perceived or actual space in new homes include the use of higher ceilings -- most effective in large rooms where good proportion can be maintained -- and greater access to usable outdoor living areas. Patios, decks and balconies fitted with furnishings, cooking and eating areas, pools and spas, and lounge areas with flat-screen TVs and fireplaces are a more recent and popular innovation in new homes that actually boosts a home's practical footprint.

In summary, it is clear that design trends in new homes offer greater space and lifestyle flexibility. Existing homes, even those from a decade ago, cannot match the spacious look and feel of new homes.

Warm Regards,

Doug Abbott
Village Builders

This is an exert from a newsletter that is distributed to all former, current and future clients of Village Builders Inc. It is written by the President Doug Abbott. If you would like to receive this newsletter feel free to email me at

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Does my deck need a railing?

Does my new deck need a railing? Some of my deck is about 12 inches off the ground but on some sides there is 26 inches to the ground.


The answer to your question is yes you do need a railing and no you don’t need a railing.

The parts of your deck that are 12 inches off the ground do not require a railing. They do not require anything at all.

The parts of your deck that are 26 inches off the ground do need a railing. Any area of your deck that is more the 24 inches off the ground requires a railing. When you get into building a railing you can’t just get away with installing a railing at the proper height. You have to also install spindles. Your spindles should be set at no farther apart then 4 inches. This is the building code.

If the ground around your deck is fairly up and down then you might want to put a railing around most of the deck instead of trying to install a railing only were the deck is too high off the ground.

A great way to meet the building code requirements is to install seating around the outside edge of the deck. Your seating cannot though just be a bench seat. Your seating to qualify must have a back rest that acts as a railing also. It’s a great way to jazz up your deck, create much needed seating and comply with the building code.

Another way is to install stairs in areas where your deck is to high off the ground, stairs also can act as seating and help give your deck a more finished look. If you have an area that is small but over the height limit then stairs are an easy way to meet the code.

Thanks for the question

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Laundry Rooms in the modern home

Modern Day Construction for custom homes Part 12

In today’s modern world of construction things are changing year to year faster than they did decade to decade in any other previous time period. In this multi part series I will traverse through an entire house starting with the foundation and working my way up to the roof and then to the finishing’s. I will explain what has changed in the last twenty years in custom home building.
One thing that you should be able to take away from this is how important it is to not just hire the right general contractor to build your custom home but how important it is to hire one that is up on today’s building methods.

Laundry Rooms

Twenty years ago the laundry room was also usually the mud room and also the “everything else room”. It just had to be functional and usually was accessed through the garage or the back door.

Today’s custom homes have a dedicated laundry room for the washing and folding of clothes. With the aging population in North America the laundry room is being placed on the same floor as the master bedroom. Laundry rooms don’t just hold the washer and dryer anymore, they also have a sink, a folding table and a place to do your ironing. Storage is also a major design concern. Laundry rooms are to be well organized so that they always look clean and well kept.

With the advent of steam washer and dryers, plumbers are now running water lines to the dryers and the exhaust for dryers has become solid metal piping because of the extreme heat that dryers produce these days. Washer and dryers come with options like pedestals to help with storage and reduce the amount of bending over. There are options for folding surfaces that are installed on top of washers and dryers that help with storage and convenience.

Custom cabinetry is the norm in laundry rooms, they are no longer a hidden part of the home, they are a stop on any house tour. Laundry sinks are not simply white plastic stand alone items, they are chrome or white porcelain country style sinks made by Franke.

Laundry rooms are now well insulated to reduce noise from the laundry on high spin and are well lit with multiple fixtures. Laundry rooms are also wired for sound so that you can have a little music while you clean your clothes.

Looking for part 13 coming soon....

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.