Friday, February 26, 2016

New Carbon Tax In Ontario-Means You Should Spend More Money On Insulation In Your New Home

With the Ontario Government at it again raising prices on Natural gas and the ever increasing cost of electricity in Ontario it is more important then ever to have a properly insulated home.

When you are planning to have a new custom home built you should be setting a side money's in your budget for upgraded insulation. Why you ask?
There is no easier way to save money on heating and cooling then upping the insulation R value in a home that you are having custom built.

If your contractor is good at what he does he will make the recommendation of updating your insulation in your new home well before you ask, usually it comes when the house is being put together or (framed).
You can ask your contractor during the estimating process for insulation options so that you will know the costs, but you do have until the insulation is installed to do certain updates to the building insulation envelope.

The building code in Ontario has changed in the last 5 years and with that the standard for upping the R-value (insulation value) in your walls has also increased. But that doesn't mean that the new minimum code is the best that you can do, there are actually many options that help make your home perform better at heating and cooling;

Spray foam: Spray foam far exceeds any other insulation type in the way that it gives more R value per inch then any other insulation product. This allows you to up your R-value without altering the wall cavities of the home. It also expands when it is installed filling in all the small crevices that allow air leakage. Once it has dried and hardened it will not slip or move no matter what the circumstances. This way of insulating stops drafts and air leakage a lot better then conventional batted insulation. You don't have to spray foam everything in the house, spray foam can be used with almost any other combination of insulation to help seal your home. This flexibility allows you to fit a small amount of spray foam into your budget or a lot of spray foam if you have a larger budget.

ICF; ICF or (Insulated Concrete Forms) are not just an insulation they are a completely different way to build the exterior walls of your home. ICF is basically a giant lego block made out of foam and plastic webbing. the foam is on the outside of the wall and also on the inside of the wall. Concrete is poured down the middle of the block foam wall creating a concrete wall that is wrapped in foam insulation. This gives you the R-value you need for the building code, but it also gives you something a lot more. It gives you what is called thermal mass. Thermal mass is what makes in-floor heating work so well, once the concrete mass in the walls is warmed (or cooled) by your furnace then it takes a long time to cool down. It will actually radiate heat and because it's insulated on both sides it doesn't take much to warm it up. ICF walls do not suffer from "wind wash". Wind wash is when you have a high windchill outside and the wall cools down, this usually makes it hard for the furnace in the house to keep the place at temperature. ICF walls because they are insulated on both sides and are concrete at the core do not allow the windchill to penetrate the wall at all. Thus windchill has little to no affect on the inside temperature of your home.

Sheet Foam: Sheet foam is just what it sounds like, it is sheets of foam that you apply to the walls of home. This is usually done to the outside of the home, but can be done as a retrofit to the inside of your home if you have brick or stone that cannot be removed to allow for the added insulation. The sheets of foam cover the studs of the walls and thus helps stop the heat loss that happens through the studs on wood framed homes. Sheet foam also helps to stone wind wash.

Double Prairie Walls: This is a type of construction where you actually build two exterior walls, one in front of the other.The first wall is built conventionally as a 2x6 wall, insulated and vapor barriered. The only difference, you do not install any electrical or plumbing in the wall. A couple inches in front of that wall you build a second wall made out of 2x4's, this wall is also insulated but not vapor barriered. All the plumbing and electrical go in this wall. This helps create an exterior wall with little to no penetrations in it and also creates more insulation value as you have a second wall with insulation in it. It also helps to stop wind wash as there is a heated cavity space between the walls to allow the cold air to warm up before it enters the home.

There are many other ways to help seal up your home and also many other options to insulate your home, talk to your contractor as your budget will play a bigger part in how you insulate your home then what you want your insulation to be.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pay Now Or Pay Later: Buying vs Building A Custom Home

When deciding to either buy a house or have a house built (a custom home), you are going to have to weigh all the pro's and con's for both. One of the things that you are going to have to come to terms with is that one is a simpler process then the other.

Buying an existing home is a far easier thing to do then building a brand new home. The reason for this is that it takes a tremendous amount of your own time to build a brand new home. I don't mean that it takes a lot of your time because you are out there everyday swinging a hammer and carrying lumber, I mean that it takes a lot of your time to plan, choose and decide on where you want your home to be built, what you want it to look like (inside and out) and making decisions on changes as they arrive during the building process.

Now buying an existing home doesn't mean that you can just buy it and move in and never worry about it again, sooner or later you will be doing renovations on the house or repairs. No home lasts forever and existing homes have already had there clock started to the next renovation before you ever even moved in.

For all the time and effort that you put into having a new custom home built you will end up with a brand new home that comes with a warranty, a home that is built just for you and is finished the way you want it so that it is tailored to your life and your needs. The same can't be said for buying an existing home.

When you are buying an existing home you are buying someone else's vision of a home, that means that more then likely you will be compromising on some aspects of the home because you like other parts of it or you like the location or you like the property that it comes with. As you live in the home you will adapt to the home and how it works and the area's or concerns that you have with it you will attempt to address with renovations or additions.

One of the biggest differences between buying an existing home and building a brand new custom home is that the new custom home will probably cost you more to start with but less for the next twenty years, the existing home will usually cost you less to buy originally but will cost you more over the next 20 years in renovations, repairs and comprises. 

For all that personal time and effort that you will have to put into the building of a new custom home think about all the time you will save for the next twenty years after it is built when you don't have to worry about repairs and renovations.

It's up to you, spend the money and time now and build a new home or spend time and more money over the next twenty years on an existing home.

The choose is yours,

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Modern Country Home

Most people when they think about country homes think about wood sided, brick or stone covered exteriors with big veranda's or covered porches. The insides have wood timbers and lots of wood trim. Well it's time to change your thinking, welcome to the modern country home.

The modern country home is becoming more popular these days, these homes are usually a single story, open concept, the open concept design allows for the home to be built smaller then conventional homes but still feel like there is a lot of space  inside to live. They have metal exteriors that are good for a life time without the need to repaint or replace after several years of severe country weather.

The home that was recently featured in the winter addition of Our Homes Magazine 2016 was built in that image. If you haven't seen the article here is a link to it:

Modern single story bungalow fits the live style of an aging population and the smaller size of the home overall lends it to the younger generation of people who are looking to live in a home with little overhead or carrying costs and don't see the need for more space that they have to spend time cleaning or up-keeping.

Built right these modern homes with there clean and simple lines inside and out require less maintenance and allow for a wider range of unique decorating options.

Modern buildings usually have simple roof lines that allow for low maintenance, long life roofing materials to be installed. This not only helps keep your maintenance costs down it helps raise the resale value of your home in the long run.

If you want to incorporate a little of the country into the home you can still install fireplaces, wood floors or other natural details that will bring a little natural beauty to the home without compromising the look and feel of the modern effect.

Remember when you are planning to build that country home you don't have to be stuck with the conventional country home, you can think more modern and make yourself and your home standout!

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Village Builders House In Our Homes Magazine 2016

Village Builders has a home featured in the 2016 Ski Season issue of Our Homes Magazine. It is the magazines 10th anniversary issue.

The home is built in Grey Highlands and is built to be a minimalist home.

The home is designed by Stark Architecture to the exact specifications of the homeowners. The home has a standing seam steel roof and steel siding making the outside of the home completely maintenance free.

The inside of the home is finished in white and has the minimum amount of trim around the doors and baseboards, the windows in the home are all drywall returned.

One the most unique features in the home is that it has a Tesla charging station in it for the electric Tesla car. The charger is actually able to handle charging multiple electric cars at once.

The subtle and unique details throughout the home make a warm and interesting home.

A lot of care and detail was put forth towards the energy efficiency of the home so that overall caring costs of the home are quite small.

Take sometime and read the article and see what a truly custom home looks like.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.