Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Is Tar still applied underneath dimple board?


Is Tar still applied underneath dimple board?


The short answer is yes it is.

The longer answer is that dimple board is not a waterproofing without anything behind it. Tar is NOT a waterproofing, tar is a damp proofing and should not be relied on to keep your foundation dry. Tar will try out in time leaving your foundation unprotected. Tar is also not that productive against area's that have a high degree of water in their soil.

You should be putting on a waterproofing product instead of tar. Then you install the dimple board over the waterproofing to protect the waterproofing from rocks, roots or any other debris that is in the soil when you back fill it.

There are many different types of waterproofing products, the most effective ones are the spray on membranes that have flexibility in them so that if anything was to move or shift the waterproofing wouldn't be ripped or compromised.

You should find a company that will install a spray on membrane, the cost is more but the product is far superior then tar.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Have you ever built a home in Wasaga Beach?


Have you ever built a home in Wasaga Beach?


Yes we have, we have actually built a number of houses in Wasaga Beach of the years. One of my favorite homes that we built was this house;

It is a nice sized house that is two tones in colour with blue horizontal siding on the bottom and toupe cedarshakes on top. The siding is actually pressure treated siding that is painted because of the wind that blows the beach sand around like a sandblaster. This should help give the siding a longer life and reduce the need to replace any siding in the future.

The roof is a standing seam steel roof that is galvanized in colour, helps protect against the harsh winds and the pine needles that fall endlessly on it from the tower pines that are located on the lot.

We removed an old existing family cottage to construct the new one, since the new cottage was larger than the original one there had to be some large pine trees removed from the site. These tree’s were send to a local saw mill where they were cut and made into new tongue and groove 1x6 boards that cover the roof of the dining room.

The pine was not the only thing that was salvaged from the old house, one of the two gas fireplaces was reclaimed from the old family cottage and so was a piece of trim that had all the children’s heights marked on it from over the many years that the family shared the cottage. It was placed on the side of the kitchen so that it could live on in everyone’s memory.

The main part of the house is open concept with it being a cathedral ceiling with a catwalk on the second floor that leads to the bedooms, a washroom and the offices that are set over the garage.

The offices on the second floor also have in-floor heating to keep everything toasty warm throughout those long cold winters.

The entire home has California certified Bamboo flooring that is hard enough to survive the beach sand that blows in through the windows and doors all summer.

The house is also trimmed in Pine that has been clear coated, large pine posts rise up from the first floor to hold up the roof.

The kitchen has a massive island that creates a natural gathering point for the family and friends and the surface is made out of blue ceasar homes.

This beach beauty is one of the nicest homes that we ever constructed in the Town of Wasaga Beach.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

2015 Trends in Custom Garages

2015 Trends in Custom Garages

Since there is a shift in the market place to smaller more compact homes that are more multi functional, not only for people who are looking to downsize because they are retiring or because they are empty nesters but also for the younger generation as well who do not have the accrued wealth that the older generation has and because of that they want to live in smaller homes that cost less to buy and are far less expensive when it comes to upkeep. One of the places that have become these multi-use spaces is the garage.

Garage Trends

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

The height of garage ceilings continues to stay and also rise. People are not only using the height because of bonus rooms above but they are also using it to store things like canoes, bikes and kayaks up and out of the way.

Insulated garages. Every garage built that is attached to a custom home is now insulated, even if the garage is not heated. It’s a convenience so that if you ever want to heat the garage with space heaters it is easily done.

Large tube fluorescent lighting is still the most popular choice to light up garages. With the ceiling heights growing ever higher it becomes harder and harder to light space below. Fluorescent is inexpensive to install and uses little energy to work.

Most custom homes have attached garages today. There are several reasons for this, lack of space and convenience for people not having to walkout side in the snow to get to their cars.

Custom built work benches are common now in every garage. The owners don’t even have to be handy, but it comes in handy for even simple tasks like waxing skis or cleaning gardening tools.

Larger windows set high up in the walls to let more natural light into the garages. Since the ceiling heights have risen the windows have as well. This allows people the natural light they require and still have the security that people can’t look through the windows and see all their toys.

Dog showers or wash stations for gardening tools. This isn’t a new thing to custom homes, but it’s a new thing to the garage. It allows people the ability to control the mess before it comes in the house.

Vinyl slot wall has become one of the most popular choices for the walls of the garage. Because of a more active population people have more sports equipment that needs a safe place to rest when not in use. Slot wall that is made out of materials like vinyl will last a life time without staining or ripping. The endless attachments that come with it allow you to hang any number of things from your bike to your skis.

Almost all garages have finished drywall even if they aren’t attached to the house.

Here is a list of new trends in custom home garages for 2013;

In-Floor heating. Garages have become more than just a place to park your car. With homes getting smaller there is need for a place to store things that doesn’t freeze in the winter.

Garages are starting to take on different shapes then the traditional square box. Because homes are becoming more compact they are being built with odd little corners and other things in them. This allows creative people to have hobby nooks.

Garages are starting to have multiple rooms in them. Not just a room for your car or boat but also for your crafts and hobbies. People want their craft room to be warm, inviting and comfortable.

Custom wood ceilings are starting to become popular, especially cathedral ceilings. People want to feel like the garage is part of the house and not just a place to park your car.

Whatever you want to do with your garage can be accomplished these days as people are looking for more ways to use up the limited space they have.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Putting An Open Vanity In A Bathroom

Putting an open vanity in a bathroom

If you are planning out your new bathroom or are preparing for a bathroom renovation and you are wanting to place an open vanity in it instead of one that is closed there are a few things that you need to know.

Open vanities are used as a showpiece, that means that there are no drawers to place toiletries in or places to hide things that you don't want other people to see.

If you want to hide things you are going to have to place either baskets or boxes in the open vanity, this will allow you to have some level of privacy.

Open vanities show the complete plumbing system, form the drains to the water supply lines that attach to the sink and faucet. To make them look good you will have to buy chrome plated drains and supplies. This is an extra cost that you need to put in your budget. This plumbing also must be placed in the exact right place because you have no way of hiding it if it's off centered or misplaced.

Open vanities show the back wall behind the vanity and the floor underneath the vanity. You will have to make sure that these area's are finished as well as the rest of the walls and floors of the bathroom.

Most open vanities do not use the same sink, usually they are a raised vessel sink or a sink that looks good from above as well as from below.

Open vanities can help make a bathroom look larger, more modern and welcoming. You just need to make sure that you are prepared for everything that has to be installed with them.

Proper planning will make sure that your bathroom renovation turns out as wonderful as you want it too.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Can I Build A House Slab On Grade?


Can I build a house slab on grade?


In some areas the building code does allow for you to build slab on grade homes. But in most northern regions of North America there are heavy restrictions on building a home that is slab on grade.

The reason for the heavy restrictions or the outright ban on building this way is that slab on grade foundations have little to no frost protection. The problem with not having adequate frost protection is that in a cold winter you can have the frost penetrate the ground around the house and then have it travel underneath the slab. As the frost takes hold it moves the ground, this movement in the ground is so powerful that it can lift whole foundations.

When a foundation has been lifted it isn’t the entire foundation that rises together, only part of the foundation will be moved up. This causes twisting in the slab, twisting causes the slab to break and it also causes stress on the rest of the building envelope that is resting on the slab. This will cause damage throughout the home.

The damage is not only in the foundation or the foundation walls it can also cause the following;

Drywall damage. Cracking, nail pops and tape joints letting go as the walls twist.
Decks go out of level as the walls they are attached to go up and down.
Floors in the home are not level from one side to the other.
Doors and windows in the home start to stick or jamb.
Tile floors crack or brake.
Wood floors cup or crack.
Cabinet doors don’t stay closets or don’t close at all.
Granite counter tops crack or break.
Gas lines can be ruptured.
You can lose electricity as the power lines are stretched or pulled out of the electrical meter.
Break or block can crack or fall off the outside walls.

When the winter passes and the frost recedes the house will settle back to it’s original position but the damage that it has caused will stay.
Without a proper foundation that is placed so that it reaches below the frost line there is no way to guarantee that your home will not move from frost heave.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Different Ways That You Can Heat You're In-Floor Heating System

The different ways that you can heat you’re in-floor heating system.

In floor heating is one of the most efficient ways to heat your home; the thermal mass allows your floors once they are warm to radiate heat for hours, long after the actual system has turned itself off. Radiant heat also heats an entire space evenly with heat originating from the entire floor instead where ever the ducts appear from the floor wall. Because radiant heat is produced at the floor level it is always rising by you the homeowner towards the ceiling. This means that the room is always the same temperature and that is feels comfortable.

To feed water to this system there are many different ways that you can create the hot water that is needed to run the system, here is a brief list;

Hot water tanks. The standard hot water tank can be used to create enough hot water for small to medium sized area for heating. It is not very efficient but it will do the job. You can also use more than one tank if you think that you require more capacity. Hot water tanks can be powered by electricity, propane, natural gas, furnace oil or even solar.

Geothermal. New geothermal heating systems will create hot water by ground source heat. This is a very efficient way to heat your floor especially if you have no access to natural gas. It is a more expensive option but you will see the savings over the long run. Geothermal systems are powered by electricity and require no fossil fuels.

Flash boilers. Flash boilers are probably the most efficient water heaters out there, especially if they are powered by natural gas. They can also be powered by propane and electricity. A flash boiler does what the name says it does, it boils water to your desired temperature only when you require it. There are no storage tanks to hold warmed water; it is created when the system calls for it.

Boilers. The traditional boiler is still used for large in-floor areas; it works well as it is able to create large volumes of water in short amounts of time to feed the system. They can be powered by natural gas, propane or electricity.

Air to air heat pumps. Air to air heat pumps work by removing the heat from the air outside and transforming it into useable heat inside the home. Newer heat pumps can take heat from the air well below zero. This can be used to heat water that will fuel the in-floor heating system.

Whatever way you decide to power you’re in-floor system you are bound to be happy at the lower heating costs you will endure throughout the long winter months.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Where Does The Heat Come From In Radiant Heating For Homes?


When you have radiant heat as the main source of heat in a home where does the heat actually come from?


There are two types of radiant heat that typically are available on the market for residential homes, one is electric floor heat and the other is hot water floor heat.


Electric in-floor heating is most commonly seen in bathroom floors but there are times when people install them in all floors of a home to help heat the home. In colder climates it’s usually not enough to heat an entire home all by its self; you usually require baseboard heaters or a main forced air heating system like a furnace.

Electric heating are heat lines or “mats” that are installed on top of the sub-floor and then are hooked to a thermostat on the wall. They are powered solely by electricity. As the heat lines warm up so does the finished flooring on top of them. Electric heat is predominantly placed under tile on floors, this helps give it thermal mass. When the electric heat warms up the thermal mass of the tile and mortar that is underneath it then it starts to radiate heat outward in the air. Because the air above the tile is colder then the heat rises up towards the ceiling of the home constantly. The tile will continue to radiate heat to a limited extent even after the heat lines have stopped producing heat. Electric heating lines are limited in the amount of heat that they can create; they also require a lot of electricity to do so depending on the amount of heat that you want out of them.


Hot water in-floor heating is exactly what it sounds like, it is hot water that can be made from several different kinds of sources, and it is then circulated through piping that is placed under the finished flooring of your home to heat it. Hot water heat produces enough heat for you entire home no matter how cold a climate you live in. You will not require any extra heating sources like electric in-floor.

The hot water is circulated from a central location and fed into the piping, the area’s are usually broken down into zones so that you are able to control the temperature of the zones depending on the area’s use and also depending on how warm or cold the room is because of other forces such as sunlight through windows or heat making units like fireplaces.

Hot water in-floor usually is installed in 1.5 inches of “gypcrete” a concrete product that is designed to be installed over heat lines to create thermal mass. Because it is imbedded in the gypcrete hot water in-floor is extremely efficient in its heating. Long after hot water has stopped circulating through the lines the floor will continue to radiate heat, hot water in-floor takes a while to come up to temperature from completely cold but it also takes a long time to cool down as well.

Hot water in-floor heating is one of the most efficient ways to heat your home regardless of what fuel source it comes from.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Connected Home Wireless Technology

The Connected Home

New wireless technologies put the smart home within reach of any homeowner.

Connected home technology in the early 2000's was an expensive proposition. In most cases, a high-priced “structured wiring” infrastructure linked a central server to the devices it managed and also to proprietary, hardwired keypad and control screen ns. The cost of adding this infrastructure to an existing home was especially steep.

Fast-forward more than a decade. Things are simpler, more affordable, and more flexible, with everything from security sensors to speakers to lighting controls available in wireless models controlled by a tablet or smart phone. The price of fully connecting a home costs one-tenth what it used to—plus, there’s no need to fish wires through wall cavities.

Few are taking full advantage of this new affordability and ease. A survey of 6500 households published in early 2015 by technology research firm Gartner, Inc. found only a handful using this powerful technology to do more than simply stream movies.

A remodeling project is a great opportunity to join that select, modern few. A home electronics integrator, says that most homeowners he talks with are familiar with remote control of temperature and security, but they seldom know what else is available. Once they learn about and try it, they want more. “My lighting control business is up 250 percent over last year, and my automated shade business is up 200 percent,” he says. That’s partly because the price is right. In just one example, wireless technology has cut the cost of automated shades by more than half when compared to hardwired versions.

Other affordable wireless products finding a ready market in existing homes include Ring, a doorbell with a camera that displays on a cell phone; Nest, a self-programming thermostat; Hue, an LED bulb that can be dimmed or changed in color via a handheld app; and Sonos, a wireless speaker system.

One thing that stops people from wanting such devices is worry about getting them to work together. A good electronics integrator can set up an iPad app that controls the TV, the heating and cooling system, the lighting, and everything else.

When deciding between devices it’s best to focus on benefits. For some, being able to remotely control the thermostat sounds interesting. For others, being able to use a phone app to adjust the home’s heating and cooling system so it’s comfortable on arrival light up the imagination.

Having a wiring infrastructure is still a good idea, but the requirements are simpler than in the past, and there are ways to compensate where installing it is impractical. Ideally, you would want to run data cable to every room for bandwidth-hungry video services like Netflix or iTunes; it will be more reliable than wireless streaming. In a remodel, an alternative is to run data cable to those rooms whose walls will be open, and to serve the rest of the house with an enterprise-grade router and wireless access points. These should be able to handle streaming video as well as all those wireless devices.

For sending data to all those new wireless devices, Webb recommends an enterprise-grade wireless router with 5 gigabytes of RAM instead of the typical 56K consumer model. Costs for the upgraded router are higher, ranging from $400 to $1000, but it can keep up when people are streaming movies on two or more screens. For boosting the signal in remote areas of the house, consider wireless access points rather than repeaters.

The bottom line is that with a few affordable devices and a little integration work, homeowners today can easily set up automated systems to conserve energy, manage home security, provide a world of entertainment, and generally make their homes more responsive and comfortable.

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

Monday, July 6, 2015

How Far Out Of The Ground Should Your Floor Joist Be In A New Home?


How close can the floor joist be to the ground level when building a new home?


There is no set rule, some regions and municipalities have rules and regulations but it’s more common sense rule for you and your builder than anything else.

The floor joist of your home are usually set on top of the concrete or block foundation and then have a rim joist that is attached to them that runs around the entire outside of the perimeter sitting on the foundation wall. This rim joist is not engineered or designed to deal with any kind of moisture and because of this efforts need to be made to keep it from coming in contact with moisture from outside.

The easiest way to make sure that your rim joist does not become saturated with moisture is to build the house so that it is fairly far out of the ground. Do not be worried that you are building your home to high out of the ground; the worry should always be “are you building your home too deep into the ground?”

How you ask can you not worry about building your home to high out of the ground? Contractors have a saying that we tend to live by, it is "you can always grade up to the house, you can’t grade down". Having a house that is “high and dry” is something that everyone should want; this will mean that you never have to worry about water problems.

Back to the question that you had about the floor joist/rim joist. You want the house out of the ground so that when the rain comes off the roof it isn’t going to roll or splash back against the foundation and rot the siding or joist behind it. You should be at least 18 inches out of the ground to the bottom side of your rim joist. Every area has a different thinking on this and some building codes differ so it is best if you check with your local building department.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

I’m renovating an older home, can I install radiant heating on the first and second floors of the home?


I’m renovating an older home, can I install radiant heating on the first and second floors of the home?


Yes you can install radiant in-floor heating on the first and second floors of your home when you are renovating it. There are many things that you will have to do before you can do this though, to do this you should be doing a very large renovation to the home. Radiant heating is basically water lines that are placed on top of your sub-floor and then covered in a “gypcrete” which is a type of concrete.
Usually the gypcrete is about 1.5 inches thick. There is a brief list of the things that you will have to do to the home so that you can install radiant in-floor heating in it;

You will have to completely remove the existing flooring regardless if it’s wood, tile or carpet from anywhere the radiant heat is going to be placed.

You are going to have to make sure that the floor joist are strong enough to take the extra weight that comes with installing a inch and a half of gypcrete over the heat lines.

You will have to remove all the trim that is near the floor. Baseboards and door trim will have to be removed to get a smooth finish.

You will have to remove all interior doors that will be in the way. When they are reinstalled they will either have to be cut down by 1.5 inches or the whole framing of the door will have to be moved up and re-installed.

You will have to remove drywall in certain areas of the home to install manifolds in the walls and also to install the thermostats.

There will have to be holes made in walls and wall plates so that the piping can come from the basement (usually where the boiler is placed) to feed the upper floors with heat.

Any hole in the sub-floor from anything like old wiring or old plumbing that was moved must be plugged or the gypcrete will leak through.

You will have to install wood barriers at certain area’s like at the top of stairs to create an edge where the gypcrete will stop.

The installation of the piping and the gypcrete should be installed by qualified professionals that are experienced in this field of work, if this isn’t done right it can cost you a lot of money and a lot of wasted time.

After the in-floor has been installed and the gypcrete as well then you will be able to install your flooring and all your trim. You will probably have to repaint as well because gypcreting can be a messy business and your walls will be a little dirty from workers touching it or leaning on it while they were working.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

What Is A Change Order When Building A New Home?


What's a “change order” when I am building a new home?


A change order is a request to alter, exchange, or substitute a product or design feature that has already been approved, delivered, or installed. When you request a change, your builder will likely have a process in place to confirm the request and make sure it is completed to your satisfaction.

The farther along the construction path, the more costly a change order is likely to be in terms of actual dollars and time, so it’s best to make informed decisions early and try to stick to them during the building process.

In new construction (the construction of custom homes) change orders are usually created with a set amount for the fee that the General Contractor can charge. It is usually a percentage that is put on top of the total cost of the change order before taxes.

A change order is a normal process when building a custom home and is nothing to be fearful of.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.