Monday, October 26, 2015

Is The Drywall In The Bathroom Special?


Is The Drywall In The Bathroom Special?


In years past the drywall in bathrooms was the same as in every other room of the house, in the shower or bathtub areas plywood was used as a backing for the application of tile. Then contractors started using cement board in the shower and bathtub areas as a tile backer, the difference was that the cement board did not rot if/when water seeped through the tile or grout like what happens to plywood.

As time went by and building science evolved a lot of thought and effort was put into the elimination of moisture, mold and mildue. Installing bathroom fans with the ability to move large volumes of hot moist air out of the room to the outside was the first step.

The problem with bathroom fans was that you had to rely on people to turn them on and leave them on until the room was completely clear of the moist hot air. Another problem was that in oddly shaped or larger bathrooms the fan wouldn’t be large enough to remove the needed air from every section.

Today there is another option for the drywall in your bathroom, it is called mold or mildue resistant drywall. There are many different manufacturers of this kind of product, some are better than others are resisting moisture. They are now widely available in all building centres in North America, like anything it varies in price but they all work toward the same goal; to eliminate the growth of mold and mildue because of hot moist air that is produced in the bathroom.

The next time you are planning to take on a bathroom renovation ask you contractor about mold or mildue resistant drywall.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Have You Ever Done A Renovation That Was A Nautical Theme?


Have you ever renovated a home in a nautical theme?


Yes, in an older bungalow that sits on the shores of Georgian Bay in the Georgian Peaks Ski Club. We renovated the bungalow from an out dated eighties theme to a fresh new nautical theme that was more functional and fit the families busy life style.

Take a look at the link below, the pictures show the nautical theme that the interior designer was working toward;

The main bathroom was completely gutted back to the studs, the bathtub was surrounded with back painted glass in white that gave the shower a more modern theme instead of the standard tiles along the back-wall. White marble was used around the end-walls where the taps protruded out of the wall.

The ensuite master bathroom was renovated in relatively the same theme being white marble. The floor and the shower walls were all completed with white Carrera marble. There was even large marble slabs used as wainscoting around the perimeter of the bathroom walls. The cabinetry was all dark hardwood giving a very striking and rich look to the bathroom with marble used for the counter tops as well.

All the updated bathrooms where installed with electric in-floor to keep those toes warm on cold nights in the winter.

In the master bedroom the room was completely redone with new drywall, trim and windows. Custom cabinetry was installed in the wall opposite the bed to hold clothes and an entertainment unit. A new window seat was hand built at the end of the room giving a comfy place to sit and look out on beautiful Georgian Bay. There was a custom make-up area built into the opposite end of the master bedroom with a mirror and a sitting area with a marble top.

The family room was refurbished with new custom cabinetry on each side of the existing stone fireplace that holds the entertainment unit, books and other knickknacks. The perimeter of the room was all windows and doors, some were replaced (the main doors) and others where re-trimmed and painted. The new doors look out on to the rolling waves of Georgian bay. The fireplace was updated with a new wooden hardwood mantle.

The other bedrooms were updated with new flooring and new hardwood trim.

The access to the bedrooms was given more privacy from the noisier parts of the house with a sliding barn-door style track and door that creates a private space of two bedrooms and a bathroom.

Overall the theme of the home makes living on the water a wonderful place.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Do I Require Architectural or Engineering Plans To Get A Quote From A Home Builder?


Do I need a proper set of architectural or engineering drawings to get a quote from a home builder?


Yes and No. The answer is not a simple one.

A well established and organized Custom Home Builder will have a proper system that they use to quote new homes. It's usually a computerized system that they can punch numbers into and then adjust at the end with anything that is special or different then the typical build.

This means that if you have created the drawings yourself and have given the builder as much information pertaining to the interior and exterior finishes as you possibly can then the builder should be able to work up a quote for you. The quote wouldn't be set in stone but it would be a very close estimate to what the actual number would be. The reason that the quote wouldn't be a fixed price is because you created the drawings yourself, there could be flaws in the drawings that the municipality might flag when you apply for a permit or the builder might discover when he is actually building the home that would have to be fixed or adjusted at an additional cost. Everything looks a little different once it's in the real world from what has been drawn on a flat piece of paper.

If the home is a complicated home that has special items in it that will require engineering then the builder will have trouble giving you an accurate quote. There are certain things that can add to the cost of a home and one of them is the engineering of the structure or structures around the home.

For example: If your home is going to have retaining walls or a deeper basement and the concrete walls of the home are going to be essentially used to hold back a large amount of ground then the concrete walls require engineering, this engineering could make the concrete walls significantly more expensive because of the thickness and the amount of re-bar that is to be placed in them.

Other parts of the home like the roof; if they are drawn incorrectly might not be structurally sound and will require engineering to prevent failure when they are under a snow load. This type of engineering could change the entire look, feel and cost of a roof for the you. When you start changing roof lines and roof pitches you can start to affect the inside of the home, ceilings can have height changes along with window placements and it can also affect your ability to have cathedral ceilings.

Basically if your planning on building a simple house then you might be able to get away with simple drawings, but if you are planning to build something unique, large or complicated then you are going to have to spend some money on a proper set of plans. These plans won't be a waste of money, they will probably save you more money in the long run by eliminating a lot of the unknown costs that spring up during building then the actual cost of the drawings.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Monday, October 12, 2015

How To Get Cell Signal At Your Cottage


I have trouble getting a cell phone signal at my cottage is there anything I can do?


There are several things that you can do.

As long as you have some cell signal in the area , even if it’s just a little bit then you should be able to have cell and cellular internet in your cottage, but you are going to need the right equipment.

What you require is a “cell booster”. A cell booster is a device that you install in your cottage that takes a cell signal and rebroadcasts it throughout your cottage. Basically it acts as a cellular signal booster.

The walls and roof of your cottage depending on how they are constructed are an impingement to cellular signal, especially if it is a weak signal.

It’s not enough just to have a cell booster; the cell booster needs an antenna. The antenna is the most important part of the system. You have to mount the antenna in an area that has the best cell signal. If you have an antenna tower or a tree or you can even mount it on the top of your roof where the cell signal is stronger than the antenna will pick up that stronger signal and relay it to the cell booster inside the cottage. This is like sitting on your roof talking on the phone while in reality you are still sitting on the couch.

If the signal is strong enough this will be all you need, usually the antenna that comes with the cell booster units will be enough for you. If your signal is weak on the top of your roof then you will have to buy something else.

What you will need is a directional antenna; this is a speciality antenna that you direct towards the nearest cell tower. This antenna will then pick up the signal from the cell tower where it is stronger and redistribute it inside to the cell booster. These antenna’s are so efficient at this that even if you have a very weak signal you should be able to pick up a stronger signal towards the tower to give you normal cell service inside the cottage.

If you are not handy with technology there are several companies that handle this type of installation and equipment sales. They can easily take care of all this for you.

The cost of these units will pay for themselves in a couple years, because they eliminate the need for you to have a land line with a costly monthly fee, a fee that you usually only use for 3 or 4 months and a lot of the times have to pay for the entire year.

With modern technology there is almost no reason you shouldn’t be able to get a cell signal at your cottage.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How Closely Do I Have To Watch My Renovation Contractor?


How closely do I have to watch my Renovation Contractor?


Since you’re asking this question I have to conclude one of two things;

1. That you’re a complete control freak or
2. You don’t entirely trust your renovation contractor.

If it’s the first one I can’t really help you as you’re going to do what you’re going to do regardless of what advice I can give you.

So let’s deal with the second one;

You don’t entirely trust your renovation contractor. If this is the case then you actually have a real problem and you should think about why you are hiring someone that you don’t completely trust to do something to your home?

You are allowing someone into your home, access to your personnel things and your family, your also paying a lot of money for this person to work on your home and this should really be thought of as an investment in your home. You’re putting a major investment in your home in the hands of someone you don’t actually trust.

The big question is why did you hire this person in the first place?

Usually it has to do with money. Most people that end up hiring someone that they don’t fully trust is because they came cheap or cheaper then everyone else. Well when it comes to renovations you get what you pay for. There’s a reason they are cheap;

They use cheap material.

They don’t follow proper safety procedures.

They are not properly insured.

They don’t know what they are doing.

They will not give a proper warranty or any at all.

They do not hire qualified sub-trades.

They try to do all the work themselves (electrical, plumbing) instead of paying for a certified professional.

They won’t give you a proper schedule for the project.

They don’t clean up properly after themselves.

They do not employ enough people to do the job in a timely manner.

They deal in cash (either partially or fully). This is to avoid paying WSIB and income tax.

You should rethink your renovation contractor and either raise your budget or scale back your renovation to the point where you can afford it with a qualified contractor that you are comfortable with and one that you can trust.

There is no quicker way to ruin your home or your finances then hiring the wrong person to renovate your home.

If you don’t trust your renovator find another one and fast.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Why Renovating Your Basement Has Become So Popular

In the last couple of years more and more people have been calling us and asking us to do a basement renovation. Not just a little clean up or remodel but a full gut back to the original studs and concrete walls, then remodeling it to the point were you can't tell the difference between the upper levels of the home and the basement. The level of fit and finish is as high in the new basement as in the rest of the home.

Why the increased interest in renovating the basement?

There are several reasons for the increased level of interest in the basement;

  • With the cost of real estate ever increasing people are less inclined to move out of the home that they already live in and the neighborhood that they have lived in and come to love and enjoy.
  • There is a shift in the market away from building larger and larger homes, people want to live in homes that are smaller and easier to take care of with lower carrying costs.
  • The renovation market as a whole is shifting to a younger clientele. That younger clientele still have families with children in them. As the children grow older the need for more space becomes imperative.
  •  A lot of basement renovations are to homes that are 20 years or older. The finishing's (if there are any) are out dated and there is usually a moisture or mildue problem. A lot of basement renovations come about because of the need for people to have some other problem solved in there basement.
  • With the extreme weather that we have been having in the last couple of years there have been a lot of water damage done to basements. Insurance companies have been paying out claims to home owners for the damage and the remuneration, this means that clients are coming to us with found money. This allows them to spend more money then they originally budgeted for on their basement to make it something special.
  •  The rise of the "man cave", a space separate from the rest of the house were the husband can go and relax. This is a natural fit for the basement, it doesn't take away from the existing square footage of the home.
  • While renovations are happening in the basements other problems in the house can be fixed because most of the systems and piping that run or supply the rest of the home come from the basement. This makes it a lot easier to adjust or exchange when the basement is wide open.
Basements are the next frontier for home renovations, done right and it becomes a place where your family wants and will spend most of its time. Gas fireplaces, surround sound, heated floors and increased lighting all help a basement feel like something other then what it is, the bottom of your house.

With what we can do in your basement there is no reason for you to have to move to increase your square footage by moving. Renovate the basement and make your happy home a larger one.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.