Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What should I expect in 2015 if I want to build a custom home?


What should I expect in 2015 if I want to build a custom home?


In 2015 you should expect certain things to happen that will directly affect your efforts and your budget when you take on a project like building a custom home;

The cost of many of the finishes for your custom home will be increasing. We are already receiving notices from our suppliers that the cost of items is going up, especially the products that are either made in other countries or made here with resources from other countries. The reason for this is that as the oil price decreases so is our dollar. As our dollar decreases in value the cost for us to buy goods from other countries is rising.

Because of the change in the building costs this year and the last couple the cost of all homes being built in the province of Ontario will rise. Changes to the amount of smoke detectors (one required in every bedroom) and the amount of insulation (higher R value required with foam on all exterior walls) that are required throughout newly constructed homes; this will cost homeowners more money during construction.

If you haven’t started the process of having a home designed then you will probably be surprised at how long you will have to wait for an architect or designer to take on your project. These designers and architects are already busier than they were most of last year and it is only the middle of the winter.

With the increase in business to architects and designers this is a sure sign that home builders are going to be far busier than they were last year. You might find it hard getting estimates from contractors in a timely manner oncr your plans are completed.

The amount of time it will take to complete your new custom home will be longer than you expected. Contractors are dealing with a real problem; suppliers are not keeping stock of anything anymore. This means that projects are being delayed as they wait for finishing’s to arrive from overseas (from the factories) once they have been ordered.

Homeowners expecting to start a project in the early spring should not be surprised when their start date is pushed back to late spring because of “half load restrictions” when building in a rural setting. The restrictions on the delivery of heavy items in the spring (half load restrictions) is becoming longer, it is starting earlier and lasting later in the year as municipalities attempt to protect their roads from the damage that the spring thaw can cause to them.

Except an increase in the management costs from your general contractor as the cost of being a general contractor has risen with extra fees from the government (college of trades) and an increase in the cost of safety on construction sites. Fees have had to rise just to offset these increase in government rules and regulations.

Except well educated general contractors  to offer you materials and products that are new and advanced that you have never heard of that might cost more but should last a significant amount of time longer then what you would expect. The amount of new products that have arrived on the market in the last couple of years to fill in gaps in the building and finishing’s of custom homes is staggering and it takes someone that is in the industry to know them. Homeowners should try to be open to all new suggestions.

Don’t except the cost of delivery to go down for products just because the oil price has dropped. Suppliers and manufactures over the last couple of years have had to absorb a lot of the increased cost in fuel when it kept rising. They will now be looking to recoup some of those loses with the
lower cost of fuel.

There are always new challenges that arise every year in the construction industry; nothing is more changing then the custom home market. It is always under a constant state of flux with issues, challenges and trends changing and redefining how homes are constructed and how long it will take to complete any project. You as the homeowner need to go into the project with your eyes open to the possibility and probability of change; this will make the experience of constructing a custom home an enjoyable one with a lot less stress.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 review of the residential construction in the Collingwood, Town of Blue Mountains, Clearview/Creemore, Wasaga Beach, Mulmur townships and the Bruce Peninsula

2014 review of the residential construction in the Collingwood, Town of Blue Mountains, Clearview/Creemore, Wasaga Beach, Mulmur townships and the Bruce Peninsula

2014 in most areas was a slower year for custom home building and construction overall then the 2013 year, this included the renovation sector as well.

Growth that was gained in the previous year was erased this year with a downturn in the overall amount of work that was available in the industry. The market was full of “tire kickers” people with plans or who were in the market for building plans and asked for pricing on them. Once they found out the actual cost of their proposed project they cancelled the entire project outright. This is a trend that started a couple of years ago and has been getting progressively worse every year as homeowners want more in their new custom homes but don't want to pay for it.

More work was shelved this year by people with unrealistic expectations compared to their actual budgets then in any other year in recent memory. Reports from multiple companies and architects about spending more and more time pricing homes and renovations without the project moving forward once the final price has been realized.

Winter hits hard

The intense, snowy, windy and long winter that battered the province of Ontario in 2014 hurt the construction market. Homeowners decided to wait to do projects until the warmer weather arrived, that warmer weather didn't come until June/July and because of the intense winter the half loads on township roads were not lifted until late May early June. This delay in lifting the half load restrictions put many new home starts back almost two months compared to previous years. This limited the amount of work that could be completed in the 2014 construction year and caused a lot of delays as workers, homeowners and materials had trouble getting to construction sites.

Building codes change

The new building codes that were brought in last year are having an effect of slowing down the process of clients receiving their building permits as most custom homes don’t qualify under the normal insulation requirements because of the amount of windows designed into the home. This requires the home to be designed especially to meet the new building codes. The cost of these changes plus other changes like the addition of smoke detectors to every bedroom in the home is raising the overall costs to build a new home.

Review of the area's


The town of Collingwood has seen a lot of change in the past couple of years. They have had a lot of commercial development and some residential sub-division starts. Custom homes have been built only as fill in and around older homes, there are some semi-track semi-custom homes on the edges of Collingwood being built but not many pure custom homes are being constructed in town.

The amount of renovations that are ongoing is strong but the amount of new unqualified contractors has exploded in the town of Collingwood leaving the market flooded with contractors doing shoddy work.

The real estate market is hot and the future of the renovation market will only continue to grow.

Baby boomers are moving in to Collingwood area at record numbers and the wealth they bring with them are driving prices of renovations and new homes continually up.

Commercial construction in Collingwood is strong and this is a trend that continued from previous years. Collingwood is undergoing a face lift with a lot of older commercial structures being either renovated or torn down and rebuilt.The influx of people with wealth endlessly moving into the Collingwood area has brought the need for more commercial development creating commercial and retail projects in all area's of Collingwood.

Town of the Blue Mountains

This is one of the slowest years for the building of custom homes in the Town of the Blue Mountains. Last year was slow but this year saw most of the traditionally busy custom home builders in that area finding the pickings of new builds slim. There has also been an influx of other builders from other area’s picking up work or attempting to pick up work as other areas like the Muskoka’s are suffering though their own slow down in custom home construction.

The early snow that arrived in the area seems to have put a damper on the building starts in the fall.

The winter looks to be a slow time but there is promise of a busier spring.

Real estate markets are not as hot as they were this time last year but with the warmer winter the market could heat up in the winter selling season.

Commercial construction is slow in the township. There are several large scale home developments that are moving ahead that is creating a lot of the residential work in the township.

Wasaga Beach

Wasaga Beach has still the strongest construction growth in the area. There are new custom homes being built on every street and the amount of renovations is staggering compared to the other areas in the Georgian Triangle. With the rising taxes and the municipality pushing for more new residential and less rentals people are finding that there is a lot on the real estate market especially in the more expensive and high tax areas of town.

Commercial construction is still hot in the beach. With the rising population of baby boomers that are moving to the beach they are bringing along the stores that they are use too and the added wealth is raising the value of homes and the tax base.

There is still a lot track home subdivision building going on in the beach. This has created one of the only area's that is affordable for middle to lower middle class working people to live in the area.

Mulmur Township

Mulmur Township is one of the biggest areas of growth for renovations and custom homes compared to the historical construction trends for the township. There is a small population in Mulmur that is full of large farms and rural properties with older homes. These properties are coming on to the market more and more and being bought up by people from Toronto looking for a second home in the country. Mulmur is situated in a very unique location; it is close to the Village of Creemore, close to the City of Orangeville, has Mansfield ski club and is also closer to the big city then Collingwood or Thornbury. That means that if you have a weekend retreat in Mulmur then your commute is a lot shorter and you will not have to deal with the hustle and bustle of Collingwood and Thornbury.

The real estate market in Mulmur has stayed fairly strong with the prices of property rising year over year. The cost of rural property is still below the levels of Creemore and Thornbury allowing people to buy larger plots of land to build on. Many new custom homes are being constructed in Mulmur and it was one of the strongest areas this year.

Clearview Township/Creemore

This year was another year of slow construction in Clearview. The custom home building in the township is almost nonexistent with only large homes being built in the hills around Creemore and Devils Glen Ski Club, but even these were few and far between.

Commercial and industrial construction is slow and has always been that way as Clearview does not historically want new business. The only construction of this kind in Clearview is the expansion to the Brewery in Creemore and even that took half a decade to get permission.

2014 saw an election of a new council in Clearview, a council that claims to be more business friendly. This council is looking for growth in there township which is the complete opposite approach of the councils before them. Clearview Township is one of the few places in southern Ontario that is experiencing negative growth year to year. This new council wants to change that, we’ll see if that happens.

If this new council is able to follow through on their increased business in the township plan then construction of residential, commercial and industrial should grow. It can’t get any less as almost nothing is happening in the township and the last couple of years have seen it lose businesses to other municipalities that are more business friendly.

Bruce Peninsula

The Bruce Peninsula is sparsely populated with most of the homes that are on the water being cottages that are only used in the spring and summer months. Most of the cottages are older places that are owned by older people that are looking to sell and move on. These cottages are being sold to younger families that are looking for cottages that are in a lower price bracket then the Muskoka’s and also closer to the urban centres of London, Windsor, Kitchen and Waterloo.

This is creating a lot of work in building new garages, renovating these recently sold cottages and in a growing amount of places the tearing down of cottages and replacing them with new ones.

There is construction on every little road in the Bruce Peninsula this fall and winter.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 year in review for Village Builders Inc.

2014 year in review for Village Builders Inc.

It was an interesting year at Village Builders with our typically slow times of the year being our busiest and our traditionally busiest times of the year being some of our slowest times. It turned out to be a good year as a whole even with the non traditional flow of work.


The trend of Custom Homes getting larger and larger every year has not changed. Custom homes have started rising in price per sqft again after a couple of years of it leveling off with people spending their money on the size of the homes instead of the higher end finishes. So now custom homes are rising in price and size, this means that the overall final cost of custom homes is climbing with homeowners wanting not only larger homes but also extremely well finished.

The cost of the homes is rising along with the size and shape of them, this is a change from most of the previous years since the 2008 trash that completely reset the custom home building market. In most previous years homes have either gotten larger but cheaper per sqft or smaller and more expensive per sqft leaving the overall cost of most custom homes relatively the same. With the size and cost per sqft of these custom homes rising the final cost of these homes is rising as well.

Even smaller custom homes are becoming more costly as the high end unique features in custom homes are in high demand.

Custom homes are full of trends and if you know the trends in the year that they happened you should be able to tell when a custom home was built within 5 years. 2014 was no different as there were some new trends that started this year and also other longer running trends that continued into this year.

Here are the popular trends in 2014 in custom homes;

Oak floors were by far the most popular flooring choice.

White Oak floors where the most popular of the choices for the different types of Oak flooring available.

Custom finished floors are the hottest trend with this giving homeowners the ability to have a personalized and ultra custom finished floor.

Natural stone on the outside of custom homes is now the norm, even with the extra cost required to supply and install the product.

Wood burning mason hand built Rumford fireplaces are the choice even with the added cost as they are a gathering place and a main feature in custom homes.

Open concept is a must in custom homes. Dining rooms, kitchens and living rooms all with sight lines into each other making the homes feel bigger allowing for a more normal organic flow.

Geothermal heating units are the norm now for homes that are in the country without access to natural gas.

In-floor heating combined with a forced air system is almost the norm as people want the comfort of the in-floor heating but also want the forced air for the air conditioning.

Electric air to air heat pumps have really come back in 2014 as the main heating system for homes without geothermal. This is due to the fact that last winter’s propane costs became completely out of control.

A lot of homes are opting for vinyl windows that are coloured inside and out. This gives the look of the windows being aluminum without the higher price.

Steel roofs are usually silver on custom homes, asphalt roofs are still continued to be installed on new homes because of the extremely low price even though they have a very short life expectancy.

Homes are being designed with large high roof lines with architects looking for a dramatic feel from the larger roofs.

The trend of homeowners being overloaded with choices has continued and has almost grown worse as homeowners are now asking for more obscure finishes that are requiring contractors to order items that take longer and longer to be made and delivered. This is delaying the overall speed in which home builders are able to construct them.

The quality of items being produced as finishes for homes is getting worse as more and more things are being manufactured in Chine. This is making difficult to install and have a shorter life expectancy.


2014 saw Village Builders rough-in and install its first car charger for an electric car into a clients newly build custom home. This is a trend that I believe will continue into the future as electric cars grow in popularity. The electric car charger was for a Tesla, one of the most talked about electric cars on the market today.


There where changes to the building code that has increased the cost of homes in Ontario;

The electrical code changed with respect to smoke detectors as smoke detectors are now
required in every bedroom and hallway. This has driven the costs of homes alone up between 1800 and 6000 dollars depending on the size of the home and the number of bedrooms.

The building code changed with reference to insulation in homes. The amount of insulation or R value that is required in exterior walls has risen, so has the R value in the attic and the basement. This raises the cost of the home depending on the size, shape and amount of windows that are in the home.

The new insulation requirements have started to delay the granting of building permits as most custom homes that are being designed that they can’t meet the minimum code requirements. When this happens the homes must be engineered in a way that will satisfy the code and the building department.


2014 saw Village Builders part ways with our interior designer. Village Builders still does interior design and we also still design buildings. It is now all done at a sub-contractor level allowing Village Builders greater flexibility to match clients with a wider range of interior designers.


2014 saw Village Builders take on its first project after expanding their area of service to the Bruce Peninsula in 2013. This gives Village Builders the availability of servicing the main 3 sides of Georgian Bay and the East coast of Lake Huron. The Bruce Peninsula looks to be an area of extreme growth into the future and a completely different set of cottage owners.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from Village Builders

Merry Christmas From Village Builders

Village Builders would like to wish all of its clients a Merry Christmas and a happy holidays.

We hope that you and your families have a safe and happy holidays.

Just a reminder that we are closed until January the 5th 2015.

We are available via email if you require our assistance.

If your looking for something to do over the holidays come on down to the village of Creemore as there are many things happening over the holidays.


Rob Abbott and the Village Builders Team

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Top 5 mistakes in 2014 by homeowners when renovating

Top 5 mistakes in 2014 by homeowners when renovating

1. Big Box kitchens.

The biggest mistake that is becoming more common among homeowners in 2014 was the buying of box store kitchen cabinets at the lowest possible prices and then having their renovation contractor install them. The reason that people did this was to save money, what they did achieve is to save money on their cabinets but sacrifice on the overall quality, function and fit/finish of the kitchen.

The difference in kitchen cabinets between a big box store and a cabinet maker is the quality of not only the cabinets but also all the hardware in the kitchen (hinges, lazy suzines, pot drawers, ie).

One of the other problems with buying a kitchen from a big box store is that you are attempting to install a bunch of standard cabinets into a space that is usually not a standard size. This means that you end up having to sacrifice cabinet and storage space because you can’t find cabinets that will match exactly to the space. Cabinet makers will make every cabinet in your kitchen to fit so that there is absolutely no lose of space or need to compromise on the functionality of the kitchen. Remember that we are talking about renovating your kitchen not installing cabinets in a brand new home where you have a lot more room to adjust the space for the cabinets to fit.

2. Homeowners hiring their own sub-contractors.

Homeowners that go out and find a general contractor to remodel their home or parts of their home will spend hours researching and meeting with them to make sure that they are the right contractor for them but then will hire their own sub-contractors to do some of the work. Most homeowners do this because they believe that they can save themselves money by hiring an electrician or plumber instead of allowing the general contractor to hire them. The money that is saved is the fee that the general contractor puts on top of the electricians or plumbers bill for organizing, supervising and guaranteeing their workmanship.

What this does is cause scheduling problems for your renovation project. When a homeowner hires their own trades the general contractor is forced to rely on the homeowner to organize their hired trades. This can cause confusion as the general contractor cannot give a lot of direction to the homeowner hired trades as they don’t work for them and have no contact with them. This causes a loss of time on the project and can also cost the homeowner money when things need to be redone or the homeowner’s trades show up on the wrong day or time. This also leaves the paying of the bill to these homeowner hired sub trades up to the homeowner, the general contractor has no ability to help their client with payment disputes.

3. Lack of interior designers.

Many homeowners this year refused to pay for an interior designer to help layout and design their bathrooms, kitchens and other areas of the home that they were planning to renovate. They did this usually thinking that they would save money by designing the spaces themselves instead of paying someone else to do it.

What this usually ends up doing is costing the homeowner more money when their design doesn’t work out like they thought it would and changes are required to make the design work better. Those changes cost time and money. The money is paying sub contractors to redo or move things, when things are changed by the homeowner because the actual layout looked different in their minds eye compared to what they saw what it looked like in the room in real life. The time is when they have to find their own finishes instead of an interior designer doing that for them, homeowners have jobs and lives of their own and really don’t have the time to do all the choosing of finishing’s in the timeline that their contractor requires them too. This usually ends up with homeowners settling for something that they don't really want but don't have the time or the connections to find out what they really want.

4. Homeowners fear of change.

There is always a fear for homeowners who have lived in a home for many years to change the way the home functions or looks. A lot of homeowners end up paralyzed when being forced to make changes to a home that they have become accustomed too.

Some homeowners will even pay for designers to reorganize a room and then when they see what the new room will look like on paper they change it basically back to way it was because they are not comfortable with the change. Since most homes that require renovation have not been changed for decades it creates a problem as homeowners have a problem with trendy modern finishes that are readily available today. They end up taking large amounts of time and energy making even the simplest decisions.

5. The reuse instead of replace.

In an attempt to save money in the short term homeowners elect to reuse a lot of fixtures and finishes during their renovation. What sounds like a smart thing to do usually ends up costing more money in the long term. For example some homeowners will have a bathroom renovation completed and reuse the twenty year old toilet because it still works. The problem with this thinking is that a toilet basically has a lifespan of about twenty years, that means that the toilet in the near future will likely fail and have to be replaced. It will cost more money for a plumber to come out and install a new toilet at the later time then for the plumber to install a new one while they are onsite installing all the other fixtures during the renovation. Older finishes like’s toilets use more water which costs the homeowner money. The same principle goes for reusing older lights; they use more energy than new lights and eventually will require replacing.

These where the biggest mistakes that I witnessed homeowners make in 2014 while renovating, the theme that you will notice that links all of them is that they all have to do with the homeowner attempting to save money immediately and not looking at the long term costs that will occur during the project and well after it.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Village Builders Christmas Holiday Schedule 2014

Village Builders Christmas Schedule 2014

Village builders is closing for the Christmas holidays, the last day we will be open will be Monday December 22th, closing Tuesday December 23rd and will reopen Monday January the 5th 2015.

The office in Creemore will be closed for this period as well.

If you would like to speak with someone from Village Builders we are available over email.

Doug Abbott-President-

Rob Abbott-Vice President-

For general information please email us at

We are available to meet at our offices or at your home/site over the holidays by pre-arranged appointment only as the offices will be closed.

If you have a question or require an appointment during or after the holidays please feel free to email us and we will make every effort to accommodate you.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Friday, December 19, 2014

What changes or upgrades can I make on my renovation once it has started?


What changes or upgrades can I make once things are underway?


The answer depends on the remodeler, and is something the homeowners need to be clear on before work starts. One advantage of working with a professionally managed company is that the there will be systems for managing such changes smoothly.

Unfortunately, changes can add expense and time to a job. A remodeler with a great preconstruction process will work to ensure that the plans and specs satisfy the homeowners' vision before work starts.

In extremely large renovation jobs it’s unavoidable to end up having changes from the original designs and job descriptions. Because you are not starting new you have to be able to work with the existing structure of the home. Remodelers though knowledgeable about how to renovate all manner of homes do not come with x-ray vision.  This means that they will come upon issues that will require changing the original plan of action to deal with what is found once interior and exterior walls are opened up.

Finding wiring, heating, plumbing and/or gas piping in the walls can require a change of plans as it can be impossible or costly to remove or relocate them from their existing position in the home.
Other problems like rot, improper building practises and updating to newer building codes can also have a great affect on how a renovation unfolds once it starts.

Because of this a professional and well organized remodeler is usually able to upgrade and /or make changes to some parts of the home from the original plan while keeping track of expenses compared to the original estimate.

The changes or upgrades that you want to avoid are the ones that involve redoing or removing work that your remodeling contractor has already completed. This will help ensure that you aren’t wasting your money and your remodeler’s time.

Rob Abbott
Village builders Inc.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New Window options for custom homes in 2014

New Window options for custom homes in 2014

The changing needs in design and tastes make staying up with current trends and new technology in window manufacturing a must for custom home builders. The last half decade has seen massive changes in the options that are now available for all types of windows. This leads homeowners to be almost buried in choices when they go to choose new windows and the options that are available for them to have installed in their custom home. Since every option comes with a plus or a minus and a change in price, contractors are having to stay ahead of their clients and the ever evolving choices.

New options arise every year with windows, here is a brief list of some of the more popular options to help you understand what you have to select from;

UV coatings. These coatings are good for houses with a lot of windows, the UV coating helps protect the furnishings and finishes in the home from the ever increasing harshness of UV light that exists today. There are some down sides to the UV coating; some manufactures install it as a last coat on the windows, which means that if you are not careful with the inside glass surface you could accidentally remove it. If you use the wrong cleaning product or scrape something off the glass with a razor blade or your finger nail it can peel off the protective film.

Triple pane windows. Triple pain windows have been around for a while but you usually could only get them in certain brands and certain styles of windows, also the price was extreme compared to a normal double pane window. This has changed in the last couple of years, now most brands offer multiple lines and styles of windows in triple pane; also the cost of the triple pane window has come down in price making it a real option for people looking for a more energy efficient home. Triple pane windows work well to lessen the impact of large windows that are affected by high winds and cold temperatures. They also damper outside noise to almost nothing because of the thickness of the glass, basically no sounds seem to be able to resonate though and into the home.

Coloured vinyl windows. Ever since the release of the vinyl window they have been offered in predominately one colour and that is the natural white colour that is native vinyl. That has all changed in the last decade, most window suppliers offer you a spectrum of colours for the vinyl that their windows are produced in. These vinyl windows also have the ability to be painted if you choose too at a later date for that custom look.

Solar gain and solar limiting. The building codes in North America are changing and so are the options for your new windows. One of these changes is solar gain and solar limiting windows. What this means basically means is that one window allows more heat from the sun to penetrate into the home (solar gain) and the other blocks the heat from the sun from entering the home (solar limiting) without blocking the sunlight from coming in. The reason for this is to help balance the temperature of the home as this has always been a problem in homes; when the sun is shining on the south side of the building it raises the temperature of only the south side while leaving the north side of the home cooler.  These windows should help even this out with maximizing sunlight into the north side of the home and limiting the heat produces from the south side of the home.This allows your furnace to work more efficiently and for your home to be closer to the desired temperature in every room.

Hybrid windows. Hybrid windows that are aluminum on the outside and vinyl on the inside are now available. This allows the homeowner to have the look and longevity of aluminum on the outside and the advantage of vinyl on the inside. Having vinyl on the inside lowers the overall cost of the window compared to an aluminum window with wood on the inside. It also lowers the cost of finishing the inside of the window as vinyl doesn’t require any staining or painting to finish.

European style windows. These type of windows have a hinge to allow air to flow in only through the top or to open like a crank window. These type of windows aren't new to the market as this style of window has been around for decades, but it is now available in vinyl form. These style of windows allow homeowners more options for regulating the air flow into the home and a different look and feel then conventional windows.

This is just some of the newer options that you can find in windows for residential custom homes. As there are almost endless window manufactures in the North American market there are also almost endless window options and they trend in and out depending on style, design and personal taste.

Make sure that you weigh all the options for new windows against the cost benefits that are associated with them. This could dramatically change your window budget for your new custom home.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Monday, December 15, 2014

New Custom Home in Creemore looks like Old Victorian Home


Can you make a new custom home look like an older home?


Yes you can make a new custom home look like an older home, what you have to do is take the time to design and plan your new home so that every aspect of the home resembles an older home but is built to the standard of a new home. When you are deciding to do this you don’t have to make the inside of the home look like an older home, it can actually be any look or design that you want, the key is to make the outside of the home look like it has been there for a long time like the rest of the homes in the neighborhood.

We built a home just like that in the village of Creemore.

The home was built in the Village of Creemore in an area of the Village that has a lot of older historic homes that were built in the early part of the century.

There was an older existing brick Victorian home on the site that was left by the previous owners to fall into disrepair and decay. The home had sustained so much damage from lack of maintenance and was in such a state of disrepair that it was decided by the homeowners that it would be more expensive to attempt to repair, replace, modify and add to the footprint of the home then it was to knock it down and build a completely new home from scratch.

Even though the decision was made to remove the old home for a new custom home it was also decided that the home that was to be built onsite would be larger than the original home, it would have a walkout basement (something the old home did not have) taking advantage of the natural hill that was in the middle of the lot and every effort would be made so that the design would resemble the older home that was to be removed.

The home is 2500 sqft with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms; it is an open concept layout inside with the living room, dining room and kitchen all on the main floor allowing easy flow from one space to the next.

The exterior of the home is brick in the theme of the original home; the bricks are a rare antique looking brick that looks like the other century homes that exist on the street.

The basement of the home is constructed out of ICF (insulated concrete forms), it holds a bedroom, bathroom, mechanical room and a large workshop for the homeowners woodworking hobby. The basement has a walkout to the backyard allowing easy access.

The second floor of the home has two spare bedrooms and a guest bathroom. It also has the Victorian style windows that the original home had as its main feature facing on to the main street of Creemore.

The brick on the exterior of the home was sourced from out of the country because it was the closest product we could find to the original brick (the brick didn't survive the demolition of the home).The new brick resembled the older brick so much so that when driving down the main street of Creemore you are hard pressed to tell the difference between the new homes brick and the older existing homes brick that populate the street.

The home looks so much like the original home from the outside that we as the builders of the home received compliments from people that came to tour the home (during an open house that we had) about how wonderful a renovation we had done to the old home, they were shocked when we explained to them that this was a completely new home. They had no idea that it was a brand new home and not the original older home completely renovated.

This was all achieved by taking a lot of time to locate the appropriate materials for the outside of the home and also because the homeowners were committed to making the home look like the original Victorian home that had to be removed. They took the time to agonize over the architectural drawings so that they as closely as possible resembled the original home.

If you want your new custom home to look like an older one all you have to is take the time to do your research and make a point not to compromise on the exterior materials. Then make sure that you work with a contractor that is as committed as you are to making the project look like an older home.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Do I have to vent my dryer outside?


Do I have to vent my dryer outside the home?


There is a simple answer to this question and the answer is YES you do, you should always vent your dryer outside your home and you should never use a dryer without the vent working properly.

There are many reasons for venting your dryer outside the home. Here is a list of them;

Dryer’s exhaust hot moist air, this air if not vented will create mold on the drywall behind the dryer and inside the room if it is small enough can severely damage the drywall in the entire space. Drywall does not like hot moist air.

Dryer’s have a tendency to exhaust lint even though they have a vent lint trap. When lint collects in an enclosed space like behind a dryer it piles up and with the super heated hot air endlessly blowing on it from the dryer it can cause a fire. Many houses have burnt down because of an improperly vented dryer exhaust.

New steam dryers are so hot that they cannot be vented with anything but stainless steel piping. The amount of hot steam that could be released behind the dryer with no venting could easily rot out the floor below the dryer.

The vent dust can be harmful to people if it is blown into the air and inhaled. Clothes are made with a lot of chemicals on them and dryer sheets are also a chemical that aren’t meant to be breathed in through the air by humans.

A non vented dryer is a lot louder than a vented dryer, the large amount of air that is produced by the dryer can make a lot of noise when not venting outside.

The hot moist air can damage the underside of the dryer and the washer if it is next to it. The hot moist air becomes trapped under the appliances and has little to no air movement. This causes mold to form and appliances to rust over time.

When you are venting a dryer you should avoid using the plastic flexible piping, with enough hot air this plastic can overheat and melt causing damage and possibly a fire. The hood on the outside of the building should be made of metal and not plastic. The hood should also not have a metal screen in it like a lot of vent hoods, the screen will collect lint and could cause fires or lead to clogging of the pipe over time.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Preplanning Before Groundbreaking

Preplanning Before Groundbreaking

On time, on budget, and exceeding customer expectations starts with a thorough preconstruction plan.

To finish a complex project on time and on budget, the Professional Remodeler must have a thoughtful, thorough and well-developed preconstruction planning process. It can feel like a slow way to start, but the time spent upfront pays off in more ways than some homeowners realize.

Despite its importance, planning is one of those success factors that gets too little credit. Most homeowners understand that the project must be completed on paper before work starts, but not all of them realize the full extent of the prep work involved. This work goes well beyond blueprints.

For a project to come off without major problems, the remodeler must plan every detail and activity for every stage of the project. The right materials and products have to be in place at the right times, workers and subs must be ready to go when needed, and contingency plans have to be created for weather and other obstacles. The more detailed the plan, the smoother the workflow and the faster the job will get done. This is especially important if the homeowners will be living in the house during construction.

Such planning may be relatively simple for a small project like a new deck or bath facelift. But the details that need to be tracked for a major renovation can be staggering, and can include hundreds of colors, components, finishes, and model numbers. The absence or presence of specific words in the plans and specifications can dramatically change estimated costs, finished appearances, and scheduling. Calculating and determining correct quantities, costs, and delivery times for all these items demands real organization. A decision made today will determine whether the right personnel and materials are on the job a month or two from now.

The plan must also consider bureaucratic entities such as zoning boards, architectural review committees, and homeowner associations. A good plan will ensure that their rules are taken into account during every step of the project.

Then there are communication issues. A large-scale remodeling project has much in common with a relay race, where the baton gets passed between participants at key points. The most crucial of those happen during the planning phase, when a lot of information has to be passed intact from the salesperson, to the designer, to the production manager or lead carpenter. A professional remodeler will have a management system that makes sure these transfers happen smoothly and accurately.

Someone on the remodeler’s staff must also confirm that key details are communicated to all members of the project team—homeowners, architect, interior designer, project manager, contractor—at the right time. This person must also ensure that everyone on the team understands their own, and everyone else’s, responsibilities.

A project that starts with this type of detailed planning stands a much better chance to come in on time, on budget, and with minimal stress. By taking the time up front to think through all the details, the remodeler can ensure the best possible outcome for the homeowners. The ultimate benefit of this is a finished project that reflects the vision of the homeowners, and a sense of pride and satisfaction for all who had a hand in completing it.

Warm Regards,

Doug Abbott
Village Builders

This is an excerpt from a newsletter that is distributed to all former, current and future clients of Village Builders Inc.  If you would like to receive this newsletter feel free to email me at

Rob Abbott

Village Builders Inc

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

You Must Protect Your New Footings From The Frost

Protect those new footings from the frost

If you are starting a construction project in the late fall as the winter starts to bare down on you then you’re going to have to take some steps to protect your footings and foundation from frost.

Why do you have to protect your footings and foundation walls from frost? When frost is able to enter the ground it freezes the water in the dirt, when the water freezes it expands the dirt. This expansion causes the ground to move, when the ground moves it moves with a tremendous force, a force so powerful that it can move concrete footings and walls that weight many tons. This causes the walls and footings to be uneven and also can damage them by cracking or breaking the concrete.

There is a way to protect your foundation from this happening, no matter how cold it gets you should be able to protect your foundation from frost heave, you have to take the time to protect the foundation and the excavated hole before the frost gets the opportunity to enter the ground and freeze it.

The simplest way to protect the footings while you are constructing them is to cover them with insulated tarps or insulated poly blankets as they are called by some suppliers. These tarps can be spread over and area and use the heat from the ground and the concrete to keep the frost from entering the ground. There are some problems with using insulated tarps;

if there are high winds then the tarps can be blown out of position allowing the cold to penetrate,

they can be difficult to position around piers and tightly positioned forms,

If they are used for long periods of time in extremely cold weather they might not be enough to keep the frost from penetrating the ground underneath them.

The other way to protect your footings and foundation from frost penetration is to cover the entire excavated hole with straw. Straw is cheap to buy but labour intensive to spread around, you also have to figure on removing it once it’s time to backfill the excavated hole. Straw cannot be left in the hole it must be removed as it can cause problems even if its buried next to the wall.

If you fork the straw around the hole and make it about 1 foot deep then it should protect the foundation and excavated hole from any weather no matter what the temperature or weather ends up. Straw has the unique ability to generate its own heat, this means that it doesn’t have to rely on the ground heat to keep the frost at bay.

Whatever you do you must to something, the worst thing you can do is allow the frost to penetrate the ground and get under your foundation.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Monday, December 8, 2014

I want to buy an electric car; do I have to do anything special in my garage?


I want to buy an electric car; do I have to do anything special in my garage?


Most electric cars that are purely electric with no gas power need to be charged in your garage over night. This means that you will have to install a charging station in your garage to accommodate that procedure.

These charging stations can be 110 volt or they can be 240 volt, the 240 volt is recommend over the 110 volt because it will allow a higher voltage with less strain on the electrical line.

The way that the charging stations work in most electric cars is that the higher the output of power the faster the car will charge, the faster it charges the less time you have to wait to drive it again. Also by installing the larger voltage line with the increase charger capacity it will allow you to charge two cars at once if you decide to buy a second one in the future.

The more aggressive cars that have a high output of performance can require up to a 100 amp line in the garage. This can cause problems in most normal residential homes.

Most residential homes have a simple 200 amp panel, which means that the electrical line coming into the home is rated to service 200 amps at maximum. If half of the capacity of your panel is going to charge your car every night then you will probably end up with a scenario were you have a lack of power for the remaining appliances and fixtures in the rest of the home.

In new homes when we are told about a potential electric charging station we install a 400 amp panel, this means that the hydro line coming in from the road is sized large enough to supply a 400 amp panel. This would give you enough power that you could run everything in your home without power interruption while the car or cars are being charged.

In an existing residential home you will have to have the electrical line that feeds the home upgraded to accept a 400 amp service. This will mean that you either run a second 200 amp electric line into the residence or you replace the existing one with a 400 amp line. Then you will also have to install another 200 amp panel beside your existing 200 amp panel that is currently in your home.

Once the 80 to 100 amp line that runs to the charging station in the garage has been installed there has to be a disconnect installed beside the charging station. This allows someone to turn the power off to the charging station to work on it without the need to travel to the electrical panel to eliminate the supply.

All of this costs money, electricians do not work cheap and the cost of the larger electrical line is not cheap as well. You should be adding these costs into the overall purchase price of the car when you are contemplating which electrical car to purchase and where you plan to charge it.

Proper planning will go a long way in helping you to avoid costly mistakes or changes that cost not only money but time.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Custom Shower Trends 2014 in custom homes

Shower trends 2014

One of the most evolving things in custom homes is bathrooms and the biggest changing thing in that room is the showers. Showers are constantly changing because of trends and technology. Some of these changes have happened this year and are considered new trends and some of the changes have been taken place more slowly over the last couple of years, these changes are considered the longer running trends. The following is a brief list of both types of trends to help you the homeowner educate yourself on your options when you are considering your new bathroom.

The changing shower trends in today’s custom homes

Here is a list of the trends that have stayed the same over the last several years;

Showers having been growing larger and larger, that trend has not slowed done as custom home sizes overall are on the rise again and so are the showers.

Benches. Benches used to be for the elderly or the disabled, not anymore. Homeowners have realized that having a bench makes it easier for women to shave their legs and is a good insurance policy for when they get older and need help when having trouble standing in the shower.

With the higher ceilings in custom homes glass showers are getting taller to reach the ceilings.

Multiple shower heads have become the norm in custom showers; they’re so popular that companies like Kolher are selling them in packages.

Shower heads with slide bars are common in big custom showers.

Chrome is the most common finish on shower fixtures.

Fully tiled showers from floor to ceiling are standard now with less and less people wanting fibreglass shower enclosures.

Even in corner showers that are small they are installing seats in them to allow women the ability to shave their legs easier.

The shower/tub combination has all but disappeared in today’s custom homes, if seen it is in the children’s bathroom.

Clear glass for showers is standard with almost no one adding etching or patterning to the glass.

Marble is used mostly for sills and benches in showers.

Pot lights installed in the ceiling of the showers are standard now with the new pot lights that are water resistant.

Tile has been growing larger and larger in showers and becoming more rectangular in shape.

Tiler made shower nooks are common instead of pre-made ones.

The glass in showers is being built on 4 or 5 inch sills instead of 3 or 4 foot knee walls.

The twin main shower heads has all but disappeared in showers and has been replaced with a single large rain head and multiple body sprayers that are mounted on the walls.

Here is a list of the trends that have started this year and are growing in popularity;

Glass showers are being designed without glass doors. Showers are being designed so that there is ample distance from the shower head or with a corner to restrict the spray of water.

Electronic controlled showers are becoming more popular for homeowners who are looking for something unique and are tech savvy.

Kolher rain heads that are mounted on the ceiling that are so large they require four water feeds because of the amount of water they release.

Satin is becoming more and more popular as it gives the shower a higher end finish then the standard chrome finish.

In larger custom homes that have showers for guest area’s glass is being installed with a privacy finish on them.

There is a growing trend of people opting for granite or Caesar stone sills and benches in the showers to match other granite in the home.

Pre-fabricated bases like the ones from Product Neptune are becoming popular in modern homes where they are looking for a simple white finish that has a clean look to it.

The use of glass instead of tile on the shower walls is starting to become more popular especially in modern homes where people are looking for a clean and simple look. The glass is painted on the backside to whatever colour you desire.

As technology and manufacturing changes so does the look and functionality of how the shower works. When you are planning and designing your new shower in your custom home you should consider the newer trends it will help you narrow down your decisions and make your decisions simpler. Custom showers are custom which mean they can be anything you want them to be and also be as functional as you need them to be.

A custom shower is more restricted by your budget then it will be by your imagination or creativity.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Annual Creemore Community Christmas Dinner on Dec. 25, 2014

Village Builders Inc. is once again helping to sponsor the Annual Creemore Community Christmas Dinner on Dec. 25, 2014. This is the 13th year that the event is being held.

The event has been moved to the Creemore Legion Hall instead of the Station on the Green where it has been held in previous years as the attendance for the event has continued to grow every year.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

There is a Social hour that starts at 4:30 p.m. that is followed by the traditional hot buffet meal at 6 p.m.

Volunteers do prep work on Christmas Eve day and the cooks, coordinated by head cook Jim

Henderson, do the rest on Christmas day in order to serve a dinner of turkey and ham with all the fixings.

This year there will be a cd for sale at the event that was recorded by local artists it is entitled Christmas In The Valley and all the profits from the sale of the CD will go to supporting the dinner. Christmas In The Valley cd’s will be for sale for $15.00 each at the event.

There also will be gifts for seniors and small children that attend. The goal of the event it to give people the opportunity to get out of their homes and be with other people during Christmas time as it can be a lonely time for people who don’t have relatives or have relatives that live to far away. It’s also a way for the community to help the less fortunate among us to have a good healthy meal and a safe and warm environment.

Monetary donations are accepted at the TD Bank trust account 0330 5202657.

If you are interested in going, please give Diane a call at 705-466-3126.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Make sure you use the proper set of plans to build your custom home

You’ve been working with an architect and a general contractor to create the perfect custom home for you that can be built in your budget, you’ve had multiple plans drawn and finally settled on a final design and budget. There’s only one more thing that needs to be done, settle on the correct plan.

It might sound like an obvious statement that you need to use the proper drawings but it’s not as obvious as you might think.

When architects create new drawings there might be subtle differences but those subtle differences can make a big difference. In the design process there are multiple sets of plans that are drawn one or two weeks apart you can end up with drastic differences to certain things in the home such as windows that are added or omitted or roof lines that have been changed slightly that the laymen might not notice when glancing at the plans.

When a general contractor budgets a custom home for a client they send out the most current drawings out to their sub-trades to price. A sub-trade then keeps those plans that they have priced from encase they get the chance to do the work they have something to reference. When you get multiple drawings for a house a busy sub-trade that arrives months after they originally priced it can easily end up working off the wrong set of plans.

The best way to avoid this is for the architect, the general contractor and the homeowner to agree on the date of the plans that they are going to use to construct the home. Any other plans that people have should be thrown away or destroyed once the general contractor has sent out an email to all the relevant sub contractors informing them of the appropriate date on the plans that they will be using.
This will insure that the wrong plans will not be used when the sub-trades come to work onsite.

Even with emailing everyone involved the general contractor will have to take the time to meet with the sub-trades onsite to ensure that they are using the proper set of plans.

A homeowner that has hired the right general contractor should not have to worry about this because a well organized general should have strict rules when sub-trades are working onsite about the plans that are being used by the sub contractors.

If your given the option to pay a little more to have an onsite site super at all times by your general contractor you should take it, this is the best way to guarantee that the home is built the way that you want it with little to no mistakes that could cost you money in a time and material contract.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Monday, December 1, 2014

What is the difference between pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled content?


What is the difference between pre- and post-consumer recycled content?


An increasing number of building materials, such as flooring, contain some amount of recycled (instead of "virgin") content. Pre-consumer content is material that is recovered from a manufacturing process, such as sawdust from a lumber mill; post-consumer content is material that has been collected and recycled into another consumer product, such as plastic water bottles used to make composite wood deck planks or old denim jeans used for wall insulation.

Some construction materials are made out of repossessed post-industrial materials i.e.: polymers, elastomers and fibers. This means that these products are using waste products from industries, products that would usually shipped to the landfill are ending up on people’s homes. One of the most successful products at this is called Enviroshake, Enviroshake is a composite alternative to cedar shake roofing. The product looks almost identical to cedar but has a longer warranty and stands up to freezing/thawing and high winds.

Not all pre/post consumer recycled products are completely made from recycled materials. A lot of products have a minimum amount of recycled content in them so that they can claim that it is a green or recycled product. There are other products that most of the product is recycled, they should tell you in the literature what percent of the product is recycled.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Roofing trends in 2014 for custom homes

Roofing trends in custom homes 2014

Here are some of the trends that have come about this year of 2014 on the roof of custom homes.
Some of the trends have been consistent over the last couple of years and they are considered long running trends. There are other trends that have come about to be more popular in the last calendar year or less and are considered to be newer trends.

Roofing applications in today’s Custom Homes

Here is a list of the trends that have stayed the same over the last several years;

Large peaked roofs that are now prevalent in most architects plans have brought about the need for torch down roof membranes on the top of houses because of height restrictions that leave the home with a flat top.

Asphalt shingles are still the most common and prevalent material installed on all new homes. The ease of installation and the price point make them the simple choice for homeowners even though they have the worst durability.

On houses with steep roofs steel roofs are a normal trend because of their durability and their ability to shed snow.

Grace Ice and Water Shield is installed on the first 2 feet of all roofs starting at the eves and up the valleys.

Dark asphalt shingles have and are still the most common shingle installed.

Black valleys are still the most common because they go with any kind of dark roofing material.

Enviro-shake has all but eliminated the need or wants for homeowners to have cedar-shake roofs installed, with the composite material looking so close to real cedar plus giving a lifetime product, something cedar cannot accomplish.

Strip ridge venting is on almost all new asphalt shingled roofs, giving the clean look and helping maximize air flow through the roof cavity.

Standing seam steel roofs has by far become the most wanted and installed look when talking about steel roof choices. The standing seam gives a richer look to the roof, making it look less like a barn steel roof and more like a luxury material on a custom home.

Here is a list of the trends that have started this year and are growing in popularity;

Asphalt shingles that have fibreglass backing to help with their durability in high winds are growing in popularity as homeowners try to find a way to get longer life out of their shingled roofs.

Heavier duty and multiple ply asphalt shingles are growing in popularity for their longer life spans and warranties.

Using multiple materials on custom homes is slowly gaining in popularity as people attempt to find a way to maximize parts of their roofs that receive the most wear and tear but saving money on the parts of their roofs that do not. Installing asphalt shingles on a high steep roof and then installing steel roofs below on porch or lower sloped roofs helps the longevity of the lower roofs and can also be very appealing to the eye. Or a section of the roof done in steel to help move heavy snow loads off the roofs.

Composite roofing materials are gaining popularity as homeowners look for alternatives to asphalt shingles but the higher price point is slowing the popularity of it and keeping it to a slow growing trend.

The colour silver is fast becoming one of the most popular choices for steel roofs as people look to make their roofs stand out instead of disappearing.

Custom homes are being designed with multiple pitched roofs with flat roof sections that are built lower down to give the roof lines are more dramatic look. These flat roof sections are being waterproofed with a commercial grade roofing membrane that gives a home lifetime of waterproof protection.

One of the biggest debates that people have with their contractors is how much to spend on their roofs. That debate sets the table for the material that you can pick from, the better the roof and the longer it is slated to last the more it will cost. The fancier the look of the material the higher the overall cost of the roof will end up costing.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Who should I call when there’s a problem with my kitchen appliance in my new kitchen?


Who should I call when there’s a problem with my kitchen appliance in my new kitchen?


Depending on the status and terms of your remodeler’s warranty, you have several options. But to know your options there will be some questions you will have to answer first;

Is the appliance still under warranty?
Who supplied the appliance in the first place, the remodeling contractor or an appliance store?
Was the installation of the appliance done by the remodeling contractor or by someone that you hired?
Are you looking to have the appliance repaired or replaced?

Answering these questions will help narrow down the options you will have for the people that you can and will call about it.

It is a good idea to call your remodeling contractor even if they didn’t install it; they will be able to give you advice on what to about the appliance and who to call to have it repaired if it’s not under warranty anymore.

If the appliance is of an older model or does not fit the decor of your kitchen then it’s probably better if you looked into buying a new one. The cost to repair appliances has become almost as much as buying a new one unless you believe that you are handy and can fix it yourself as long as you can get a hold of the proper parts (that seems less and less people these days as appliances are more computer controlled then ever before).

Depending on where you buy the appliance and what it is a lot of appliance suppliers will install the appliance for a nominal fee when they deliver it. Most places will even take the old broken appliance away with them saving you the problem of lugging the heavy thing out of the house and to the dump.

With newer appliances that are still under warranty you can usually find the warranty help line on the internet and call them directly. They usually are able to give you help tips to solve the problem or call a repair or warranty company to come and take care of it for you.

With a couple of phone calls you should be able to get the help that you require to repair or replace your troubled appliance.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Insulation should be upgraded when planning your custom home

When you are planning to build a custom home there will be many questions you will need to answer about what kind of home you want to build, one of those questions is how much insulation do you want to install in the walls of your new home?

To answer that question you need to figure out some numbers, those numbers will have to come from your general contractor.

When you raise the amount of insulation in the walls of the home it raises the cost of the overall insulation in the home. The more insulation the higher the R-value in the home.

When insulation is increased in the home the amount of energy it requires to heat and cool the home decreases. The less energy it requires the more money that you save on your heating and cooling bills for the lifetime of the home.

When you are planning to add insulation to your home to the point that it will be constructed above the minimum insulation code requirements you then will have the ability to decrease the size of your heating and cooling system. Doing this will save you money on the cost of the overall heating system upon installation.

The calculation that you have to work out with your general contractor is the point where the adding of insulation stops saving you enough money to be cost effective.

To help figure that point out you take the cost of the extra insulation and deduct the costs that you believe it will save you in energy and then add the cost savings of the reduced size of the heating system.

The point toward where you want to get too is where you have $1.00 to $1.00 insulation installation to overall savings.

You don’t have to stop when you reach that threshold, you can add more insulation over that point if you take into consideration that energy in the future will only be going up, this will increase the amount of savings the farther into the future you calculate the numbers.

The great thing about insulation is that it never wears out; it never goes away and will always be in the walls. That means that in the future when you decide to sell the home the extra insulation becomes a bonus to any perspective homebuyer and should help the resale value of your home.

The optimum wall insulation for a highly insulated home is R-40, if you want to super insulate your homes walls you should be aiming for R-60. These values are double or triple the minimum code requirements in the building codes that are currently enforced today.

Remember when planning to build a new home you should be spending more time thinking about the insulation then you ever did before. These choices could end up costing you money well into your future if you don’t decide on the proper level of insulation, but choose appropriately and it could save you a lot more money than the extra added monies to your mortgage.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Lora Bay home is one of our most popular custom homes


What is one of your most popular homes that you have built?


We built a custom home in Lora Bay which is a golf course community on the outskirts of the town of Thornbury in Ontario.

The home is about 3000 sqft with a partially finished basement that extents the liveable square footage to 3800. The home is situated on a large treed lot and is professionally landscaped with a large heated in-ground pool and pool house in the backyard.

It has earth toned coloured wood siding and white vinyl windows on the outside with an asphalt shingled roof that blends in nicely with the natural surroundings of the other homes in the area and the golf course that is directly across the road.

Inside the home has an open concept feeling with the kitchen flowing in the great room that has cathedral ceilings and the dining room off to the side sharing part of the space. It gives the home the feeling of grandness without having to be overly large. In the corner of the great room is a wood burning fireplace that has a manufactured stone and wood mantle above.  This feature helps give the great room some added warmth on those cold winter nights and somewhere to gather after skiing at the local ski resorts that are just down the road.

The Eldorado manufactured stone that is on the fireplace is also present around the outside of the house as an accent helping to give the home that natural country cottage feeling that a lot of the homes in the area have.

Off the great room is the master bedroom that has cathedral ceilings with enough space to accommodate a small seating area. There is a separate ensuite bathroom off to the side that is complete with shower, whirlpool tub, toilet and sink with a seating area for the application of makeup.

There is a powder room, laundry room and a small office on the same level. Upstairs there are 2 more good sized bedrooms and a bathroom for guests. The floors on the main level are all dark oak as are the stairs in the home.

The downstairs has a rec. room with another bedroom, a mechanical room and a storage room. The show piece of the basement is the wine room that being in the basement has no problems staying cool. The basement has carpet throughout allowing everyone’s feet to stay warm and cozy.

The two car garage that is out front allows you to not only park your car out of the snow but also a place to store all your toys.

The overall cost of the home was not exurbanite in any way and the homeowners tell me that the home is extremely easy to heat with a high efficiency natural gas furnace. In fact the homeowner admitted to me that it costs them more to heat the pool a year then it does to heat the pool.

I have built many different types, shapes, sizes, colours and styles of homes but this Lora Bay home is by far the one home I get the most calls about when people review our website.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Am I liable for accidents that occur during the remodeling project?


Am I liable for accidents that occur during the remodeling project?


In most cases, no. Professional remodelers and their subcontractors carry liability and workers’ compensation insurance against job site accidents. In addition, remodelers are regulated by the federal and provincial Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA), as well as their insurers, to maintain a safe workplace, eliminate hazards, and train our workers in safe work habits and emergency response.

Where you will run into trouble is when you hire a remodeling contractor that does not have the appropriate insurance or does not hire sub-contractors (plumbers, electricians) that do not have it either.

If you pay a remodeler in cash (letting him work on your home under the table) because they don’t want to pay taxes then this can be a red flag that they are not covered with insurance or WSIB. This means that if there is an accident at your sight then you might be considered the general contractor, if you are considered in charge then there is a chance that you could be liable for an accident at your home.

You as the homeowner who is either living in the home during the renovation or visiting the home during the renovation must take the time to learn the safety procedures of your remodeling contractor, you as the homeowner is potentially the largest risk to the safety of the site. Because you have no safety training or any safety equipment you are more likely to hurt yourself visiting the site then the workers that are there.

Please follow your remodeler’s safety guidelines and procedures during construction at all times.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What materials can we use for the window wells in our new custom home?


We are building a new home and we will need large deep window wells, what materials can we use?


When planning out window wells you will need to consider several things before you choose the materials that they will be made out of;

Size and the depth of the openings of the window wells.

Type of backfill that will be installed around the window well.

Your budget will narrow the decisions that you will have to choose from.

Your personal preferences since you will see the window well when you look out the windows from the inside of the home.

Here are the different types of window well materials that you can use, they all come with different pro’s and con’s;

Metal corrugated window wells

These can be bought from any building supply store. They come in 16 inch to 2 ft high depths and come in 3 ft up to 6 ft wide widths. They bolt together one on top of the other so that they can work in a window well that is deeper than 2 ft.  They are made out of metal and are galvanized to stop them from rusting, that means that they are the colour of galvanized metal, the grey shinny colour.

The pros are that they are simple and quick to install, they can usually be bought without any pre-ordering or special equipment.

The cons are that they are not that appealing to the eye, depending on the size and depth of the window well the metal well might not be strong enough to hold back the ground around it. This can cause the metal window well to bow overtime; with wet ground or a heavy backfill material that is left over longer periods of time will cause the window well to fail.

Wood window wells

Wooden window wells are made from 4x4, 6x6 or 8x8 wood that is placed together one on top of the other. It can be made out of several different types of wood, cedar or pressure treated are the most common and most available at any building supply centre. They are usually bolted together with threaded rod from top to bottom. The size of the wood material will depend on the depth and type of backfill that are attempting to hold back.

The pros are that it looks nicer then metal and it is fairly inexpensive to buy. Depending on the type of wood that you use it can be fairly sterile to look at, you can also stagger them to create a stepped look so that they don’t end up being a shear drop which can be a safety concern with young children or pets.

The cons are that it can be a little labour intensive to install, the size and depth of the window wells can limit the use of the material. If a heavy backfill material or overly large window well is created the wood will have trouble staying straight. Wood will rot overtime even pressure treated and you will eventually be forced to replace the well once it has decayed.

Stone window wells

Stone window wells are made out of natural stone. The weight of the stone is what is used to hold back the backfill. They are stacked one on top of the other to create the well.

There are many different types of stone that can be used; it will depend on what type of stone you like, the stone you can afford and the depth and type of backfill material being used. The stone is usually sized for the weight so that once placed it can hold back the backfill without any mechanical fasteners needed.

The pros with using stone are that it is a forever product. Once it is placed it should never rot and if the size and weight of the rocks is correct then the window well should never move, shift or collapse.

The look is a very organic looking and it ages well overtime.

The cons are that stone is an expensive product to buy and it is labour intensive to install. If your budget allows it this is the preferable way to build window wells.

Whatever you decide to use make sure that when the window well is installed that no damage is done to the existing waterproofing, this will compromise your homes ability to repel water.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I’m having a custom home designed, what should I worry about?


I’m having a custom home designed, what should I worry about?


One thing that I see a lot of when clients that I’m working with design custom homes with an architect is that the home ends up being so large and elaborate that it becomes out of your budget before they ever get to building the home.

Everyone likes the idea of having a large custom home to live in, especially if you have friends or family that are already living in one. What you need to think about is how much space do you actually need to live, function and enjoy your home time in?

I’m not saying that you have to build a home that is so small that the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living room are all within sight of each other, but do you really need two living rooms? Do you really require 6 or 7 bedrooms if you plan to only regularly use 3 or 4 of them? The amount of bedrooms will affect the amount of bathrooms in your home. People who have 7 bedrooms in their homes usually have 5 or 6 bathrooms. If you stuck to 4 or 5 bedrooms then you would need 3 or 4 bathrooms. This saves you money because bathrooms are extremely expensive per sqft to finish and you are able to shrink the rest of the house around it.

Things like that are simple decisions and what they can do is allow you to have a large home but also a home that you haven’t used up a lot of your budget on things that you might never use like bedrooms no one will ever stay in. The extra money you save can go into things like better insulation or a better roofing system. These things aren’t sexy but they will save you thousands of dollars in the future.

If you don’t want to put them into things that you really can’t see or use (insulation, heating) then take that money and install a higher end floor, trim, kitchen, bathroom fixture, fireplace, decks, and carpets. Those are things that you will get a lot more use out of and they will also show better to people who come to view the home.

Remember that whatever you tell the person you have hired to design the home they will put in the drawings. The problem comes when you get to the estimating stage and then you realize that you have designed a home that you can’t afford. This means that you need to go back to redraw the whole house or compromise on the finishing’s (which are the things that you use and see every day).

Try and keep the needs and wants when designing your custom home in balance, that way you won’t be disappointed when you get to the estimating stage.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Surviving a Room Addition

Surviving a Room Addition

No one likes to think about having to “survive” anything, and certainly not a remodeling project. But in our experience as professional remodeling contractors, we’ve come to learn and advise our clients that there will be ups and downs with every project. It’s our job to minimize stress and flatten out inevitable emotional peaks and valleys.

Room additions are often the most complex and time-consuming types of remodeling projects. The scope of work on these projects makes stress management especially important.

Consider, for example, the impact of removing an entire roof to accommodate a second-story addition, or displacing a kitchen to add an adjacent family room. A family’s day-to-day life can be impacted for several weeks. That doesn’t mean, however, that the payoff isn’t worth it … especially if client and contractor work together to manage the project and minimize stress.

To help our homeowners cope, we take time to go over the entire scope of the remodel before we sign a contract. We work with our clients to identify and rectify “pinch points” that might cause anxiety. We'll find out how we can be as unobtrusive as possible. We'll find out the best time to start in the morning and explain how we'll control dust and boot prints from getting past the construction zone. We work hard to accommodate the sensitivities of our clients and reduce the amount of intrusion—and related stress—they feel.

We find it useful to sit down with all members of the household to discuss the project, address any potential impact, and map out responsibilities and concerns. It also helps to plan contingencies, such as temporary cooking or sleeping areas, and make those spaces as comfortable and “normal” as possible. The goal is to create a partnership—between our company and family members—so that everyone feels connected to the project and excited and committed to the ultimate goal.

We also advise homeowners to prepare their neighbors. A room addition project often requires several tradespeople, as well as our crewmembers, which can limit street parking. It is helpful to let your neighbors know what’s coming, the time frame for completion, and our daily start and stop times. It might also be a nice gesture to invite them to an open house when the project is done to show them your new space and thank them for their support.

The most important stress reducer by far is effective communication. We make it a point to set up regular meetings throughout the project to discuss progress, make decisions or selections, and address any concerns. It is incumbent on both contractor and client to keep those lines of communication open, honest, and respectful. If there’s a problem that crops up between scheduled meetings, we can usually tackle it right away, keeping everyone's stress level in check … and our clients out of “survival” mode.

Warm Regards,

Doug Abbott
Village Builders

This is an excerpt from a newsletter that is distributed to all former, current and future clients of Village Builders Inc.  If you would like to receive this newsletter feel free to email me at

Rob Abbott

Village Builders Inc

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Speciality rooms in custom homes

Speciality rooms in custom homes

As custom homes grow larger and larger these days so do the type and function of the rooms that are inside them. The speciality rooms inside them are on the rise and show no signs of slowing or becoming less frequent.

In all custom homes you have designated rooms that are commonly found in every home. Rooms such as bedrooms, ensuites, bathrooms, kitchens, mudrooms, dining room, laundry rooms and mechanical rooms are the typical rooms you see in all homes whether they are custom or not.

What is changing in custom homes are the rooms that were considered the multipurpose rooms, rooms that were called the living room, family room, rec. room are being replaced with specifically designated rooms that are designed to serve a particular function for these new homes.

Here is a list of specific rooms that are now being designed into custom homes and what their function is intended to be in the new home;

1. Multi-media room. This room is where the vast majority of television and movie watching will go on. These rooms are built to a high standard to mimic the movie theatre experience without leaving the home. With stadium style seating and state of the art sound systems people can enjoy movies, television, music or gaming at their very best. These rooms are soundproofed so that no sound can ever escape the room regardless of how loud it becomes. They are set up so that anyone can walk-in pick up the remote and start enjoying themselves without needing a degree in computer engineering to run the system.

2. Great room. This room replaces the family room, living room with a room that is built to entertain. Great rooms are multi story rooms with cathedral ceilings, giant fireplaces and lots of windows to invite the outdoors in doors. They are meant to make a statement and give a feeling of being in a great hall that would be typically found in a castle, these rooms are large spaces that can hold what a house would usually hold allowing for a more organic feel to a party with everyone in one space.

3. Games room. When designing specific rooms for custom homes a place for the young and old to go and enjoy themselves is a must. Depending on how much money you have will usually depend on the size of the toys you will need in the games room. Pool/snooker tables, shuffle board tables, ping pong tables and arcade games take up a lot of space. Think of this room as a big boy play ground. It is usually put in an area of the home that won’t bother people in other parts of the home with the noise that is created there.

4. Crafts room. With people living longer it means that people actually have longer to be retired and when you are retired you want to keep yourself busy, that’s where a crafts room comes in handy. A place to keep all your finished and partially finished crafts, a place to keep your supplies and a place that you don’t have to clean up at the end of each day. This place is usually something out of the way that also allows a lot of natural light and room to spread out to work on your projects.

5. Hot tub room. Why go outside to get in your hot tub room when it’s cold outside. Keep your hot tub inside and open doors or windows to let the outside come to you. This a far easier thing to do then shoveling the snow all the way out to your hot tub so that you can then relax in it. Why not just walk through a door and climb in and enjoy. No shoveling and no cold feet.

6. Pantries. Now pantries have been around forever but the difference is that panties used to be a closet sized space, now they are whole rooms with their own entrances, counters, sinks, dishwashers and refrigerators. Why keep things that you don’t use a lot in your kitchen when you can store them in your large pantry.

7. 4 season room. You would think that a 4 season room would just be any other part of your home because there is only 4 seasons but a 4 seasons rooms is a room specifically designed to let as much of the outdoors indoors and still not be outside. 4 season rooms can be used all year round but they need to be kept as a separate space within the house because they are usually colder than the rest of the rooms. With as much glass as possible in them they will be colder than the rest of the home; because of this fireplaces are installed in them so that you can warm them up to a comfortable temperature when you want to use them. This also allows you to leave the room unheated saving money and energy. These rooms usually have a complete screen system that keeps the bugs out but allows the warm summer air to infiltrate.

The one major reason that there are speciality rooms in homes now is because the sizes of custom homes are growing larger and more luxurious with every passing year. It’s not enough anymore to build large homes with large rooms, the rooms now are designed with more purpose, and a lot of rooms are actually getting smaller the more speciality rooms that are created.

When you are planning and designing your new custom home think about how you want each room to function and what you want them for, you don’t have to leave them as unknowns anymore; every room can have a specific function allowing you to design for a purpose other than for a general space.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.