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.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Simple tips to protect your cottage for the winter

Simple tips to protect your cottage for the winter

No matter if you are closing your cottage up completely for the winter or are planning to visit it once or twice throughout there are certain things you should do before the snow stages to pileup outside in cottage country.

If you are planning to close the cottage up for the entire winter here is a brief list of what you should do to the cottage;

You should turn the power off to the water pump and the entire water system. Even if you plan to leave the heat on in the cottage all winter you should drain the system and turn off the power. This will ensure that you don’t end up with a flood or water damage if you end up with a leak or a frozen pipe.

Easy points of entry like basement windows and doors should be secured. That might mean some plywood placed over the windows or locking steel shutters.

You should hire a local maintenance company to check on the place every couple of weeks. This won’t stop a burglary but it will stop a broken window or lost shingles from allowing a lot of damage to the interior of the house.

If you are not heating the cottage then the power should be turned off unless it’s needed for sump pumps or security systems. This will limit the chance of shorts from electrical that could cause fires or smoke damage.

You should have the eave trough and downspouts cleaned.

Curtains should be drawn so potential thieves cannot see any valuables inside.

All food and alcohol should be removed from the cottage to stop vermin and other animals from wanting to break in and also with no alcohol on the premises then if someone does break in they won’t want to come back again.

Your docks, boats and water equipment should be put away in a place where the weather will not affect it.

All patio furniture should be placed away either inside or under a deck or porch.

A simple chain across the driveway entrance can deter people from entering the property.

You should not only have the water system drained but blown out by a plumber with an air compressor, this will ensure that there is no lingering water that might freeze left in the lines.

Barbeques should be cleaned and the portable propane tanks either locked up for the winter or brought back home for safer storage.

If you have large decks or porches you might want to pay someone to shovel them off so that the heavy snow doesn’t damage them.

You should empty water softeners of any liquid or filtration systems, they will break when/or if they freeze.

If you are planning to use the cottage a couple of times during the winter here is a brief list of what you should do to the cottage;

You should turn the power off to the water system, this will help stop flooding if a pipe freezes and breaks. The water is easy to turn back on once you have arrived during the winter.

You will have to hire someone to plow the lane of snow. You should pay that person to plow more than just when you come up to use the place. Plowing it more often will give the feel that people are there on a regular basis.

You should secure your sliding doors with locking mechanisms on the floor or with a piece of wood that is cut to the length of the sliding door.

Curtains should be drawn so potential thieves cannot see any valuables inside. This will also help keep the heat in and cut the wind chill that comes off the frozen lake.

You should have the eave trough and downspouts cleaned.

You should have your heating system checked and tuned up for the winter season and the propane holding tanks filled.

Your docks, boats and water equipment should be put away in a place where the weather will not affect it.

All patio furniture should be placed away either inside or under a deck or porch.

If you don’t want to pay for alarm monitoring a simple camera system that is hooked to the
internet that runs off low voltage will work. It will not only help protect the cottage but it will also act as a deterrent to people afraid to be caught on camera.

In extremely cold winters you might want to have a “heat trace” installed in the water line that is running underground to the well. This will help ensure that your water line will not freeze and that you will have water all winter.

Doing these things will limit the need for major repairs or having the police or alarm company calling you in the middle of the winter or early in the spring. A little bit of effort in the fall will save you time and money in the spring.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Construction site safety and mobile phones

Safety: Mobile phones on jobsites

Everyone today has a mobile phone in their pocket, phones are used by everyone everywhere, they are used so much that they had to start creating laws to protect the mobile phone users and the people around them.

There are laws about using phones while you’re driving, flying in a plane and even walking, most people don’t realize that there are rules that govern construction jobsites as it applies to the overall safety of the jobsite.

The problem with mobile phones is that they are so new that a lot of companies haven’t bothered to create rules to govern jobsites or thought about implementing the rules that already exist.  The fact is that there are rules to govern mobile phones on jobsites; it’s time that construction companies started enforcing them.

One of the biggest safety concerns with mobile phones is the distraction they can create for people when they are working. Construction sites can be dangerous places if you don’t pay attention to your surroundings, you can hurt yourself or someone else around you. People who are looking or texting or talking on their phones can walk right into something that could get them hurt or hurt someone else.

Construction takes two hands to work; if you are using one hand for your phone all day then you’re not working with both and you’re not working productively. Workers that text to each other on the same site are even more dangerous because now you have two people that are endangering themselves and everyone around them.

Mobile phones should be limited to the supervisors and managers as it corresponds with their jobs, all other workers should leave their phones in their pockets. With younger workers who are used to being on their phones all the time they should be forced to leave their phones in their vehicles. They can check on their phones at breaks and lunch or if they have a need to they will have to ask their supervisor for permission to check on them more often.

There is no reason for people to need to communicate all day with other people while they are working.

Using your mobile phone is not a right it’s a privilege, that privilege does not triumph the safety of the workers around them or the overall site safety of the jobsite.

So keep the phone in your pocket or keep it in the car. Your life could depend on it.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What type of inspections do you require when building a new home?

What type of inspections do you require when building a new home?

There are several inspections that have to happen at certain times when you are building a new home, if these inspections do not happen then you could end up in deep trouble with the local municipal building department.

Here is a brief list and description of what inspections you will need and what they entail;

Footing inspection. A footing inspection is require before you pour the concrete in the footing forms. The inspectors are looking for size and shape of footings, that proper re-bar enforcement has been installed and that the ground conditions are proper for the installation of footings.

Foundation inspection. Before you pour the concrete in the basement wall forms you will require an inspection, they will be checking to see that the concrete wall is the proper width and height and that the re-bar has been properly installed.

Waterproofing and weeper inspection. Inspectors will be checking that the building is properly waterproofed or damp proofed, they will be checking that there is a sump pail, that there are weepers installed around the building and that there is a proper amount of stone installed on top of the weepers.

Sewer or septic inspection. Depending on whether your home is on sewer or septic the basis of this inspection can very. For sewer they are looking to see that the sewer line is connected properly with the proper slope. For septic they are inspecting the entire system from the line to the tank to the bed.

Framing inspection. The framing inspection happens after all the electric, mechanical and plumbing has been installed in the home. The inspector will be looking that you have constructed the home as per the plans and the engineer’s specs. They will focus mostly on truss placement, hanger installation, bearing points and any rough-in cut outs in the floor joist.

Plumbing inspection. The inspectors will be checking to see that the proper size of plumbing has been installed, that there are proper traps and vents where they should be and that the plumbing “air test” is holding air properly.

Insulation inspection. Inspectors will be looking to see that you have followed the required performance guidelines of the home or are exceeding it. They will be checking to make sure that the vapour barrier is properly installed with no holes or gaps in it and all the appropriate area's have received spray foam or sheeted foam.

Occupancy inspection. This is an inspection checking for guard rails, electrical working, heat operational and that the overall envelope of the home is safe for human habitation. This inspection allows the homeowners to live in the home, but the home isn’t finished or completed.

Final inspection. The final inspection includes the exterior grading, the driveway and anything that wasn’t completed when the occupancy inspection was completed. The grading has to meet the engineered grading plan that was submitted for the original building permit.

These are the typical inspections that every house goes through, there are other inspections depending on what specialty items are in the home.

Rob Abbott
Village Builder Inc.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

How do you install dimple board over waterproofing?


How do you install dimple board over waterproofing?


Once you have installed the waterproofing directly on the foundation then it’s time to install your dimple board.

You must make sure that your dimple board product is either the same height as your waterproofing is from the footing to the edge of it (waterproofing) or have it cover the waterproofing and extend 6 inches above it completely covering the waterproofing.

If the dimple board is to long then cut the excess off the bottom portion of the dimple board near the footing. Do not piece the dimple board if the dimple board is too short, because it will create a possible leak problem through the waterproofing from the fasteners that hold the dimple board on the wall. Always try to buy the dimple board that is the appropriate height it creates less waste and makes for an easier install.

The dimple board is stretched out from the footing to the desired height, stretched out smooth without any ripples, folds or dips. You want to tape any of the vertical seams where the old roll of dimple board and the new roll of dimple board meet. This will prevent dirt and rocks from getting behind the dimple board when it is backfilled.

There is a strip that is attached to the top of the dimple board; this strip covers the top of the dimple board to hold up the material, it also stops dirt and rocks from getting behind the dimple board from the top. The strip is usually attached by using galvanized concrete nails driven through the strip on the top of the dimple board straight into the concrete wall.

There are several different types of dimple boards; some have a filter cloth attached to them, no matter which one you buy it will have to be installed to the manufactures specifications. Usually they are on the material or the box that the material comes in, these specifications will dictate which way the dimple board should be placed against the wall either dimple side out or dimple side in.

When backfilling the house you have to make sure that you do not hit the dimple board with the machine, push any large rocks against it or lift the dirt in a way that causes the dimple board to be creased or disturbed.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Why does my custom home look smaller then I though it would?

The room doesn’t look as big as I thought it would, are you sure you have the measurements right?

This is a statement that I hear on almost every time I construct a new custom home for people. I have heard it from clients building homes that are twice the size of regular homes, homes so large that you get tired from walking around them. It is one of the most common phrases that a contractor hears from their clients as a build progresses.

Everyone’s home looks smaller at certain parts of the building process then they thought it would when envisioned it. As the homeowner you need to understand this and as long as your contractor is following the plans that where designed and approved by you the homeowner then the home will end up the right size.

Here are the times when you will notice the house looks larger and/or smaller then you imagined it would be:

When the footings are being formed and poured the home will look small. The reason for this is that you are used to looking at a two dimensional diagram for months and now you are looking at a 3 dimensional diagram, but what you are looking at has little to no height so it looks fairly small down in the excavated hole.

When the first floor is sheeted before the exterior walls are installed the house will look larger. The building looks like a giant dance floor, usually the house isn’t backfilled yet so there is no depth when you look at the edge of the floors, it’s just empty space beyond.

When the sheeted stud walls are stood up the house starts to look smaller, especially when the window openings are not cut out of the wall sheeting yet.

The house from the outside looks huge when the roof is installed. It gives the house height, making the house look a lot larger than it really is, especially since there is no landscaping around the outside or decks/porches.

The home starts to look larger when the windows and doors are installed. The added light that is brought in by the new glass makes everything appear larger.

Ceiling heights start to look to low once the duct work is hung in the basement. Even though the duct work is at the approved height people have become use to the openness and the added head height of the bare framing.

Rooms start to look really small when the drywall is installed. To the point that people make contractors re-measure room sizes in front of them because they believe that the contractor has made a mistake and they are too small.

The rooms start to look larger and built to the proper proportions when the paint is added. The rooms look especially bright after the rooms have been primed white.

Rooms look larger once the light fixtures are hung and operating properly with most of the shadows and dark spaces removed from the area. This is the time before the furniture is moved in that the rooms look to be at their largest.

So remember these stages when you go to look at your new custom home, if you remember that the house as it goes through construction will look bigger and smaller at these points then you should be
able to save yourself and your poor contractor some panic and aggravation.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.