Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Happy Holidays from Village Builders

Happy Holidays from Village Builders

We are closed from December 22nd to January 6th returning on the 7th of January.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Battery Back-up For Your Sump Pump

With the weather becoming more unpredictable so are things like power failures.

Power failures can be wide spread or they can be as localized as only your street or even your house if the wrong wires gets damaged at the street. Usually power failures happen when there is a big storm with lots of rain or snow. What does that bring with it? Moisture, lots of moisture.

Every house should have in it a sump pump hole with a proper robost sump pump in it. But what happens to your sump pump hole and your sump pump when the power fails.

Well when the power fails your sump pump turns off, nothing happens to your sump pump, the water that is around it won't hurt it, they are designed to be submerged in water. It just sits there waiting to have electricity resupplied to it.

Your sump pump hole on the other hand is another matter. Modern homes have a weeping tile around the outside of the house, this is connected to your sump pump hole. The reason for this design is that it brings the excess water that is around the outside of the house and under the house to the sump pump hole/pit. As more water comes through the pipe the level of water in the sump pump pit rises. In normal circumstances when it rises it eventually gets to a point where your sump pump detects the water, turns on and ejects the water out a pipe, the pipe goes outside and away from the house. If your sump pump does not turn on (like in a power failure) then the water will keep rising until it comes out the top of your sump pump hole and covers the basement/crawlspace. The level of water will be affected by the amount of ground water that is around the house.

When the power returns the sump pump will turn on and remove the water overtime (as long as nothing has happened to the sump pump). There are actually things that can happen to a sump pump because of a power failure;
  1. Pop a breaker. If your sump pump comes on when the power returns and hits hard right away it can trip the breaker turning the power off to it. This means that the pump will not work until someone physically pushes the breaker back to its set position.
  2. Debris Clog. If the water has flooded the basement then when the sump pump starts pumping debris can be carried back to the sump pump hole (carried on the water as it recedes) and clogging the sump pump line or propeller.
  3. Float interference. The float or check valve of the sump pump can be infringed by things that are floating in the water, this would mean that the float would not return to its position to allow the pump to turn on as the level of the water rises again.
  4. Power surge. The shock of the power surge going off or coming on can damage the motor in the pump depending on how far down the sump pump plug is wired in the panel when the surge hits the electrical panel.
One of the best things you can do is install a backup sump pump, one that runs on batteries.
A battery back up pump never runs unless the water gets higher then the original sump pump. It is a smaller pump, it is not meant to run for long periods of time, but it is good enough to keep the water level below the floor of your basement when the power goes out.

The battery is charged by the same electrical line that feeds power to the normal sump pump, it engages with the power failure and the higher then normal water levels in the sump pump hole.

It is not that expensive a cost to have it installed and any qualified plumber can install one in your home. 

The only other alternative is to have a back up generator installed and that is a costly project to have completed. This still does not protect you if your primary sump pump fails, it just allows the primary sump pump to stay working throughout the power failure.

So for your basements safety and some piece of mind talk to your contractor about a battery backup in your sump pump hole.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Renovation Decisions Are Key To A Smooth Project

When you are renovating before you start you (as the homeowner) should take the time to make as many decisions as possible.

When I say as many decisions as possible I don't just mean the general layout of what you want accomplished in the renovation, I mean the colour of the walls, the type of flooring, the style of trim, your electrical and any plumbing fixtures.

Now depending on the size and scope of the renovation that you are hoping to have completed you probably won't be able to make all those decisions, but even if you can narrow your choices down to a couple for every category then you can finalize it when it is required to be ordered.

One of the biggest delays in completing a renovation project for people is waiting for them to make decisions. This actually slows down your renovation far more then you realize.

It doesn't sound like a lot of decisions to have to make, but what you don't realize is that once your renovation starts your contractor (if he's the right contractor) will be asking you questions and giving you options and asking you to make decisions on certain things and this will happen probably every day.

These decisions could be as follows;
  •  Upgrading existing insulation.
  • Fixing damaged areas of walls.
  • Changing windows.
  • Fixing found water infiltration.
  • Removing rodents and other unwanted pests.
  • Upgrading or repairing existing electrical.
  • Upgrading or repairing existing plumbing.
  • Adding more lighting in existing ceilings.
  • Changing plans because of existing structures that make the original plan impossible.
  • Adding sound proofing.
Those decisions come as the demo is started and happen up until the drywall has been installed. These decisions are usually not included in the original budget, so its not just the decision to do it or not but it is also a decision on how it will affect the final costs and if and when there should be cost cutting.

If you haven't made any of the main decisions at the start then these decisions which are decisions you have a very small amount of time to decide on will take priority and one day you will realize that your contractor is asking you where your plumbing fixtures are because they need to be installed shortly.

Another factor of making your decisions early is that usually your first thoughts on the project are the best and most closely resembling your original vision. Once you start though everyone will be giving you a piece of advice and sometimes they can muddy the waters so much that when you finally have your renovation project complete it looks nothing like what you wanted it to at the start.

If you want your renovation to run smoothly without a lot of delays then make sure that you make your decisions early and often in the project. You will then have a far better chance of ending up with something that you truly love.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Custom Cedar Closets For The Modern Home

In today's home style modern and simple are in, but there is a limit to how simple you should make your modern home. You should make an effort to have some decorative details that will draw the eye and also add some warm to the room.

Making the rooms in your home modern is actually quite easy, the hard part is adding enough to the rooms so that they aren't completely blank and bland.

One of the things that you can do is build custom closets, not the type of closets that are built behind walls that no one can see but the kind that are open, that make a statement but also serve a purpose.

Every home needs closets of some kind to hang things and store things, why not use them to help give your home a warmer.

Cedar closets can have doors, they can be open and you can even incorporate a bench for helping put on your socks into it.

They can be made onsite while other renovations are going on or they can be made elsewhere and brought to your home and assembled.

They can be customized to whatever you require, as big or as small as you want. They can be stained or painted whatever colour you want onsite. The only limit is your imagination.

So remember when you are trying to achieve that modern look in your home you need something that brings warm and a touch of custom design to it. Maybe cedar closets are for you.

Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Winter Renovations While Your On Vacation

Do you go south for the winter either on vacation or to Florida for several months?

If you do then that is a great time to have your home (back here) renovated or an addition built on to it.

Now going on a week or two vacation will not be long enough to do a large renovation but what it does allow for your contractor to do a lot of the noisy, dirty demolition when you aren't there. Routinely the water or the heat will need to be turned off for a period of time, or if the bathrooms are being renovated then this can be completed when you aren't there. When you return your heat would be working and so would your water. Usually the start of renovations are the most stressful for people because of the dust, noise and mess that happens.

If you are going to Florida for the winter (several months) then the renovation or the addition can happen without you. Most contractors do not need you onsite, in fact contractors prefer you to be somewhere else. It's easier if contractors don't have to worry about your safety or the noise they are making waking you up in the morning.

With modern technology, pictures or videos can be sent to you the homeowner for approval, questions and updates can happen through text message, email or phone. Communication can happen everyday if the homeowner requires it.

In fact we once built an entire house (the build took 12 months) and the owners were in South Korea the entire time. They only came over twice in that time frame to see how it was going and to pick some tile for the floors. When they returned and moved in everything was the way they wanted it because they had basically seen everything about the house already from pictures and videos.

The point is that if you hire the right contractor, someone that you can trust will bring your vision to life then there is no reason to not let them tear your house apart while your not there and make it look like a brand new home.

One of the biggest things about construction is that the trades and contractors need to be paid, this is made easy with e-transfers and direct deposits. This eliminates the need for you to write and send a cheque in the mail, hoping it gets there in an appropriate time frame.

If this appeals to you then now is the time to start looking for that contractor that can do the work for you this winter, AS WINTER IS COMING!

If you would like to talk about winter renovations email us at infor@villagebuilders.ca

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Cold Weather Problems To Watch For In Your New Home

Its Fall and with the real estate market being so hot as it has been in the last year there are a lot of people that are in newly bought homes that have never been through cold weather together.

There are certain things that you need to pay attention to (now that the cold weather has started to arrive) in your newly acquired home;

  • Drafts. Unless you have a brand new home your older home will probably have drafts. They could come from many different locations. You need to document them so that when you renovate the home later you will know where to tell your contractor to focus on.
  • Windows/Doors. With the weather change you will now start to see if your windows and doors still open and close properly. This is the time when wood shrinks and things move in older homes, sometimes it's just an adjustment that needs to be made and sometimes its a bigger repair. Also look for fogging of windows that doesn't go away.
  • Leaks. From top to bottom you need to pay attention to see if there is water penetration happening. It could come from the roof, it could come from windows or doors and it can happen in the basement. It doesn't have to be a lot of water, any amount is a warning sign of things to come.
  • Debris.After large fall and winter storms you should look around the outside of the house, look for debris. Your looking for things that have fallen or blown off the house, things like shingles, eavetrough or facia can come unattached in big winds from the house. Sometimes trees can dislodge this as well, repairing it without fixing the root of the problem will just waste time and money.
  • Cold spots. Even if you have central heating, that doesn't mean that every part of your home is heated evenly. Look for rooms or area's that are colder then the rest of the spaces in the home. If you are resorting to space heaters then you should think about a more permanent solution that will save you money on your heating bills in the future.
  • Heating system. Does your heating system sound like its running properly? Does it sound like its labouring or does it have a funny noise? Does it react to the house when it is cold? Do you have a hard time finding a proper temperature in the house? A lot of these things can be fixed simply but not if your contractor doesn't know they are happening and where in the house they are happening.
These simple observations will help you direct your contractor when you go to renovate your newly bought home. When contractors are on site renovating other parts of your home it's easier, quicker and cheaper for them to fix it as they are doing your other work then getting them to come back at a later date just to address a certain issue.

Your contractor wants to help, they know that you the homeowner have a limited budget, that means that they want to help you spend that money in a way that helps you the most and doesn't cost you more money down the road when something has to be redone because of a certain issue that was never resolved during the first renovation.

Simple observations on you the homeowners part will go a long way in saving you money later.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Want A Dry Basement? Invest In Eavestrough

Eavestrough is more important to the welfare of your home then you probably realize.

To actually understand the benefits that eavestrough's bring to your home you have to understand what happens to your home when you don't have proper eavestrough, or none at all or ones that are completely full of debris.

Here are some of the problems that can happen when you don't have eave trough or if they are improper or full;

  • water runs off the roof and lands next to the foundation. This can splash back against the house causing the wall and rim joist to rot over time.
  • water runs off the roof and lands on the ground. It seeps into the ground right beside the foundation. This water finds any fault in your waterproofing and penetrates the basement walls flooding the basement.
  • water runs off the roof and lands on the ground. It seeps down into the ground, right into the weepers around the house. The weepers bring the water to the sump pump that has to run more and eventually fails. Not only do you have to pay more for electricity for running the pump but you also have to clean up a flooded basement.
  • water runs off the roof after the spring thaw and lands on the frozen lawn. The water pools on top of the frozen ground and then eventually runs into the basement above the water proofing causing a flood.
  • Your eavestrough is full, the water backs up from the eavestrough and gets underneath the shingles, the water penetrates into the home and causes water damage on the drywall.
  • water backs up from the full eavestrough debris that has frozen creating an ice dam, the water penetrates under the shingles and damages the drywall on the inside of the house.
  • Lack of eavestrough on a roof section allows water to shoot off the roof and fall on top of a window on another wall. Over time the water damages the window and causes it to fail allowing water to penetrate into the home.
  • Lack of eavestrough on an under section of roof prematurely wears out the shingles below causing a leak. An entire roof has to be replaced because of one missing eavestrough.

 I could actually go on for pages about all the things that can and will go wrong without eavestrough or with eavestrough that are improperly installed or improperly maintained. The moral of the tale is that if you don't take care of them you will end up with water damage to your home.

There are many different sizes, shapes and colours of eavestrough so the best thing you can do is hire a professional to supply and install them. Remember that using a proper professional to install the eavestrough will mean that you get a warranty for the product and the installation.

Contact your local eavestrough installer and protect your home.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

How To Protect Your New Home Against A High Water Table

Are you planning to build a house in an area that is known for having a high water table?

If you are planning to build a new custom home in an area with a high water table then you will need to try and minimize the amount of water that your house will be exposed too.

There are several things that you can do to accomplish this:

Limit The Depth The House Sits In The Ground

The farther you go into the ground the bigger the risk that you will have water problems. The easiest way to limit this is to not go into the ground very far.

In colder climates you have to put your foundation into the ground to avoid the frost heave. In Canada that is a minimum of 4 feet into the ground.

  • Crawlspaces. Crawlspaces allow you to get into the ground at the proper depth but do not allow you to have any usable space. Crawl spaces are good for small storage and a place to put the mechanical and plumbing for the house.
  • Grade Up. If you want a full basement and don't want to risk water infiltration then you can take the overburden off the building area and build the basement up from there. This requires you to grade up so that the entire foundation isn't exposed, but sometimes grading up is better then digging down.
 Use Proper Waterproofing

The best way to protect your foundation is to protect it with proper waterproofing. This doesn't mean having the foundation tared on top of the concrete and no amount of dimple board will stop water, the only real way is to use monolithic membrane that is a waterproofing (like a pool liner). This membrane is sprayed on or rolled on depending on the material that it is being installed on top of. Then the dimple board is applied on top of the membrane to act as a protection against rocks and roots.

Sump Pumps

Its in the building code that every new home has to have a sump pump so you can't get away from having one. But there are different degree's of sump pumps. If you find that you have excessive water around the home then you might want something more then the normal sump pump;

  • Industrial pump. You can have larger pumps with larger exhausts installed instead of the normal residential sump pump. These pumps move more water easier, the easier they move water and the greater the volume of water that they expel the less work the pump has to do, the less work the pump does the less chance that the pump overheats and burns out.
  • Dual Pumps. You can stack pumps one on top of the other. This gives the primary pump a backup if too much water comes into the sump pit or if the primary actually fails.
  • Battery backups. They make pumps that run on batteries now for the time when the power goes out and you need a pump to keep the basement dry.
  • External sump pump. If you have a lot of water you can install a pump on the outside of the home in a sump well, this pump will move water away from the building before it gets to the internal sump pump.
Gravity Drain

Gravity drains are the simplest form of water removal. They are basically a pipe that is connected to the weepers that run around your foundation, this pipe then leads away from the house to a lower spot of land. The water (with the help of gravity) naturally flows in the weepers and down the pipe away from the house. No power is needed or mechanical pumps.

When you are planning out your home the grade height and the point in which you set the height of the first floor (and the basement floor) is very important. Setting the height properly will allow you to stay high and as far out of the water that is in the ground as possible. Taking the time to set the height first will save time and money down the line.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

What You Need To Know About Installing Hardwood Floors At The Cottage

Installing new hardwood floors in your old cottage/chalet?

There are things that you should be aware of before you set the budget for this work;

How Level Is The Floor

There's a good chance that your floors are not going to be level and when you remove the old flooring whatever it is (carpet,tile, linoleum, hardwood) you are going to find more spots that are not level or at least not straight. These spots need to be fixed, either with floor leveler or with wood. Some spots can be fixed with floor leveler but that is only for spots that are not extreme or they are smaller area's. For larger area's or for parts of the floor that have siuk more dramatically you will need a more permanent fix.

Fixing larger area's means that you will have to sometimes remove the subfloor and raise the floor joist one by one with a jack from below. Depending on the problem like rot or structural failure you might have to replace the floor joist all together.

Floor leveler also does not work on older sub-floors that are not made of plywood, anything not made from plywood will allow the liquid floor leveler to leak through the joints to the space below.

Humidity or dampness

If the space below where the floor is damp or has high humidity then it is going to affect the floor above. If there is nothing you can do to change that fact then you need to take some steps to mitigate the damage that it could do to the floor above.
  • There is a floor glue that you can use that has a water proofing product in it. When applied properly it works not only to hold the floor in place but also to create a waterproof layer.
  • The old way of adding flooring paper does do some good to protect the floor but its more about allowing the flooring to slide together easier then protecting the floor from moisture.
  • Engineered wood flooring will survive better then full bed wood floors, the plywood backing helps stop the cupping from moisture.
Method Of Installation

Not all floors are installed the same way. The traditional way of installing hardwood floors by nailing them is still the most popular. It's easier to install a nailed down floor on older buildings where the sub-floor is not as straight.

But gluing down the floor especially engineered floors is becoming a lot more popular because of how well it works in holding the floor down and eliminating more of the squeaks.

There is also more and more people starting to do both nails and glues for maximum affect. The only difference is the cost of the labour to install as gluing makes the process longer.


Your hardwood floor should be delivered to your home and then left for anywhere from 2 days to a week before it is installed. This is called acclimatizing the floor.

Your home of chalet will have a different temperature and moisture level then the factory or warehouse that the floor is coming from. Doing this will ensure that the floor doesn't warp after it is released from its packaging and installed on the floor.


If your new hardwood is a re-install in an older home then you will have to decide what your going to do with your existing baseboards. You can either remove them and then try to re-install them after then new floor has been installed or you can leave them in place and run the floor up to them. Then you will have to add a piece of small trim like a 1/4 round to cover the left over gap.

Depending on the thickness of the floor you might have to cut back the trim that runs around the doors, if your new floor is thicker then the old floor then your door trim will be in the way and will need to be trimmed back to allow the new floor to slide underneath.


You are going to have to find some place to put your furniture when the floor is being installed. You either some other place in the house to put it or you rent a storage unit to move it too. The more times the flooring installers have to move your furniture the more labour time your going to have to pay for.

Installing new floors is like any other construction, its creates dust and dirt. Put in your budget for a good cleaning of the house when the floor is finished being installed.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Why Won't Construction Trades Call Me Back?

"I can't get any trades to show up!"

This is something I hear from people all the time, people that have usually taken on a project on their own, either a renovation or a whole house build. They can't understand that when they call someone to come do some work that;

1. They don't come right away.
2. They don't come when they want them.
3. They don't have the right material or products when they arrive.
4. Their bills end up higher then they thought they would be.
5. They don't call them back at all.

There's a reason for this, in this area and in most area's these days trades are extremely busy. Most trades have grown their business in size to the point where they can't grow anymore, not because they don't know how but because they can't find more tradespeople to physically do the work.

There aren't enough trained people out there to fill the roles that are needed to do all the work and training new people trades years.

How does his affect you the homeowner?

Well there is a hierarchy in the trades business. Trades, no matter if they are HVAC, plumbers, electricians, drywallers or painters have enough work that they can stay busy all year round without trying very hard.

How do they choose their clients? Well its not what you would think. It's not a first come first serve bases. Its a little more complicated then that. Who gets top priority?

Repeat customers 

Repeat customers are the bread and butter of the trades. If you have worked with a trade before (and everything went well and you PAID YOUR BILL) then they will go out of their way to help you whether its an emergency repair or something new you require. Trades are always worried about not being paid, it happens so often that they have become dubious about anybody they don't know. Repeat customers are perfect they know they pay, they know that the customer likes the work they do (or they wouldn't have called a second time) and there is a relationship there that allows the work to proceed smoother because the homeowner knows who's going to show up and the trade knows what to expect when they arrive.

People that are well Organized

Trades will give more priority to people that are well organized. If you call a trades and book a furnace installation 2 month in advance then you will be guaranteed to get the date you want. If you have to change it to a different day a month later they will gladly move things around. Because you have taken the time to be organized they take that as a sign that your job will be organized and the job will go very smoothly.


Contractors get special treatment from trades. There's a reason, contractors do the first two things that are listed. They are repeat customers and they are organized and book in advance. I have worked with some trades for the last 20 years, every year I bring them work. That means that when I call I get top priority.
Trades also know exactly the way I like to see things done, they know how clean and organized my sites are and they know exactly how long it takes for me to pay the bills.
Contractors get such priority treatment that 50 percent or more of some trades work comes from contractors. That's a lot of guaranteed work for a company.
When a contractor is renovating a home or building a new home they are booking in advance and they stick to a schedule. This schedule works perfect with the trades as the contractor will call several times before the date to update the trade on what is going on and any changes that are required.

The Cold Call

The cold call is someone that a trade has never heard from before. They found their name on google and want a quote or want some work done. These are the kind of calls that trades are most dubious about. Usually the cold call asks a lot about the cost, how to get it cheaper, when can they come and how come it will take so long. 1/2 the time the caller doesn't actually know what they are talking about, they just know they require a new sink, or furnace or hotwater heater and they don't know the size, make or model. This signals to trades that there is a lot of time to be wasted before you can ever get the job or get paid for it. These people get put at the bottom of the list and will be fit in if there is a slow spot in the schedule.

How Does This Affect YOU?

Basically if you haven't hired a contractor to do the work that you need completed then you become pushed in to one of the two other categories of repeat customer or cold call. Since a big renovation or building a new house takes 20 to 30 different sub-trades then chances are that a lot of those trades you have never worked with before. That means that you get pushed into the cold call column. 20 to 30 trades are going to look at you as the cold call and give you the least amount of priority.

Whatever the cost of a contractor to do the work will be saved in time, effort and avoiding costly mistakes. Most people don't believe me when I say this but when people who don't hire their own contractor look back on the nightmare that was their job they usually realize that any money they saved from not hiring a contractor was wasted during the project with mistakes and the job taking twice as long as it should have.

If you want your renovation or new build to run smoothly and you want all those trades to call you back and show up on time and do the proper thing, HIRE A CONTRACTOR.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting Any Major Renovation

Before you jump head first into a major renovation on your home or cottage you should be asking yourself these questions, if you don't you are asking for trouble.

Can You Commit To A Major Renovation

Major renovations take longer then you think. The longer the renovation takes the more a lot of people become disinterested in it. Life can get in the way. Having major renovations is a big commit of you (the homeowners time) even if you have a contractor.

Can You Find A Good Contractor To Do The Job

In these busy times finding a good quality contractor to do the renovation for you is harder, the really good ones are usually booked and pretty busy. But if you star the process early enough and you look around for the right one you should be able to find the right contractor. Contractors will make time and space for you, as long as you appear to be serious about the renovation and you will be committed to having it done in a timely and efficient manner.

Can You Make Decisions In A Timely Manner

A good contractor will give you options on your renovations as the project proceeds. You the homeowner will have to make timely decisions or the project will come to a stand still. Some decisions will cost money others will save you money. Your ability to make an efficient decisions will help keep the project on schedule.

Can You Afford It And Can You Handle Paying For It

Renovations are expensive, the cost of labour and material has risen every year especially in the last couple of years. When you and your contractor figure out a budget you should add 10 to 15 percent on top for a contingency fund, this will allow for anything that was forgotten in the budgeting, changes to what you want and for fixing problems that are always found when doing major renovations. If you go into your renovation thinking that your going to be able to bring your renovation in under budget then your going to be in trouble.
The other problem some people have is that even if they have a budget they can't handle paying, renovations that last a long time require you to write a lot of cheques. You will be paying for things on the time. This can wear on a lot of people to the point were they come to a point that they just stop paying and the renovation comes to a grinding halt.

Can You Handle People In Your Home

Major renovations are invasive. You will have people (mostly men) in your home, their will be different people all the time as different sub-contractors come and go. In any renovation a good contractor will end up using up to 20 different subs. That's 20 different companies with 20 different sets of workers. Every sub will need access to a different part of your house. One thing you should consider is that you should move out during the renovation, this will help you if having people you don't know around you all the time.

Do You Know Why You Are Doing The Renovation

Sometimes people get it into their heads that their home needs to be renovated. This sometimes comes from what they have seen on TV or what their friends have had done. People get caught up in the "keeping up with the Jones", there neighbour got a new laundry room so they should too. Most homes that are older then 20 years usually need to be renovated, but its the amount of renovations that are needed is the big question. Everyone has a limited amount of resources that they can spend on renovations, you should make sure that you are spending them on the right ones.

Before you start any kind of renovation, or before you even start interviewing contractors you need to come up with a list of things you want to do to your home or cottage. From that you need to come up with a rough budget. With those two things settled then you can start the process of finding a contractor and planning your renovations. If you can't answer yes to all the questions above then you really should rethink having your home renovated.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Can I Build A Custom Home And Sell It And Make Money 2018?

In 2012 I wrote a blog with this same title that talked about building a custom home and if it was possible and do it and make money. Well 6 years later and 10's of thousands of people reading it, I find that it is still one of my most popular blog posts. The subject is current but there have been many changes in not only the residential construction industry but also in the real estate market in Ontario as well. Hence I have decided to rewrite this blog updated for 2018 and the current climate (construction and real estate) that we find ourselves in.

Can I Build A Custom Home and Sell It And Also Make Money?

Building it myself or hire a contractor?

There are a lot of dangers/pitfalls if you try to build a custom home without using a contractor to do it for you, you need to decide right away if you want to hire a contractor, if they can help you and if they can do things for you that will actually help you make more money when you go to sell them home that offsets the cost of hiring them;

  • Safety. One of the main jobs of a contractor is that they make sure that all the subcontractors are working safely with the proper safety gear and are in compliance with the ministry of labour rules. If you don't hire a contractor and someone gets hurt on your job site you the owner can end up fined or worse depending on the severity of the injury. Safety is a serious thing now on all construction sites.
  • Access to trades, A good contractor has access to the trades that are honest, good quality and are fair in price. The contractor also has pull with them, meaning that they can get them there in a timely manner because they hire them routinely.
  • Warranties. A good contractor will supply a warranty for the work and will be able to enforce warranties of the subcontractors and also suppliers. This is a big selling feature to potential buyers.
  • Knowledge. Contractors build homes all the time, they know what works and what doesn't. They also know the costs of things to help keep you on budget.
  • New materials and techniques. One thing that has really changed in the last decade or two is that there has been a ton of changes in the materials that are used and the way things are constructed. A good contractor will know these and know which ones to use.
  • Building Code Changes. There have been thousands of building code changes in the last 5 years. Every part of a the house has been affected from the amount of insulation in the walls to the kind of breakers that you have to use in the electrical panel. Not knowing these could cost you money as you end up doing things twice.
  • Access to wholesalers. Contractors have access to wholesalers from timber to plumbing fixtures. The savings actually will help pay for the contractors fee.
  • Time. Contractors can build the home faster then you as a homeowner can, in construction time is money. If your having the build financed the faster you can get the home built the less carrying costs you will incur.
  • Insurance. Contractors come with insurance, if anything does go wrong on the build site then you know that their insurance will help make you whole.
  • Reputation. You can use the name of the builder to help sell the home as a high quality item. This will sell it faster and raise the cost of the home.

Costs Of Building The Home 

The cost of building custom homes has risen a lot in the last two years, with the labour increase that has happened and the sky high prices of materials your going to have to make sure you have a big enough budget. It will cost you more right now to build any type of custom home no matter what style, type or finish the home will have in it then any other time in recent memory.

If you are going to build a custom home to sell and make money you better make sure that you have access to good cheap financing to help you carry the costs of everything until you can sell it.

The cost of the custom home is another reason to hire a contractor, they will create the budget for your home and then help you stay on it until the build is complete.

Costs of the Land

The cost of  the land could vary depending on where you want to build the home. Vacant land is becoming harder and harder to come by, but it still exists. In fact there are still custom home sub-divisions that are around and there are still more being created, these places are where you can buy the property and build a home yourself. These newer sub-divisions have their pro's and con's. The cost of your land will directly affect the sale price of the home. If you pay more for the lot because its waterfront or waterview then you will be able to charge a lot more for the finished home. Make sure that you don't over pay for a piece of property that will not add significant value to the end price of your custom home.

Permits and Fees

Depending on where you build and what municipality they are in your building and development fees will have a wide range of costs. From $15,000 to $50,000. This must be taken into consideration when you are budgeting your new custom home.

Current Real Estate Market

The real estate market in the last 3 or 4 years has risen at an unprecedented amount. Costs of all types, sizes, styles and location of homes has risen dramatically. The market is being pushed by people moving in from other area's. These people are coming in with large amounts of funds from the sales of their homes in area's where the real estate market is even higher then the current local one.

Like every real estate market there are hot and cold spells and sometimes the market goes down in the cost of the homes, but the overall aggregate sales of homes is ever higher with year over year prices steadily rising.

This fact means that even though the cost of building homes and buying land has risen the real estate market has outpaced them both.

The real reason for the rise of the cost of homes in the area is because there simply is not enough homes in the area for the amount of people that want to live and play in the area. People are even buying homes that they don't really want just because they are in the general area that they want to live and then after purchasing a home they are adding additions and also extensively renovating them to make them acceptable to the style they are us to living in. The influx of people is not slowing down anytime soon and the amount of homes that are planned to be built in the area is not nearly enough to accommodate them.

In summary, Can I Make Money?

The bottom line is that you can make money building and selling custom homes. In fact the market is so in your favor that you can do it right. You can hire the right contractor to build the home and use their name to help sell the home and you have a very good chance of having the home sold before it is even finished being built! This will save you money on your carrying costs.

You still have to make sure that you pick the appropriate piece of property, the appropriate design and style and you need to pick the appropriate price point that you want to sell at. The higher the price the higher the finishes that you will have to install but the higher the potential for profit.

Find the right custom home builder that will work with you from the start, someone that will help you through the entire process. You will also need to find the right real estate agent that can give you good advise about what property to buy and what the value of the homes that are selling in that area. You then will need to settle on a design that you are comfortable with and one that will make you money in this market.

With the real estate market the way it is, now is the time for you to build and make some MONEY!

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

5 Ideas to Transform Your Bedroom into a Luxe Den

Who does not want to sleep in a bedroom the looks like a thousand dollar hotel suite or a picture featured on the glossy page of a home décor magazine? However, the budget is a problem for most people. Besides, spending a fortune on expensive items doesn’t necessarily guarantee a sophisticated look. Without a proper plan, your room can end up looking like a luxurious mess! 

If you want to give your bedroom a luxe makeover, you have to be thoughtful with the details. Follow these five ideas as they can make your sleeping den look expensive and feel more inviting.   

Create a Hotel-at-Home Luxe with Glossy Materials

Have you ever thought how the big hotel rooms look luxurious so effortlessly? Well, there’s no big secret except for oversized furniture and incorporating some materials that look glamorous. If you have a big bedroom, furnish it with large furniture pieces in fine finishes such as leather and velvet. You can also choose the fabrics in silk and satin to add more layers and create a plushy feeling.


An Oversized Headboard

Upholstered headboard has long replaced the freestanding versions in an attempt to make the sleeping place more glamorous and comfortable. A large headboard covered with a plush fabric is a typical hotel device and is an indicator of the height of extravagance.

A bit of good upholstery goes a long way to making the room look luxurious. However, it won’t cost you a significant amount of money if you are a nifty DIY-er. Just keep in mind the overall scale of the space while determining the upholstery size, and then complement it with a big bedside table, beddings, and matching lamps. 

Smarten up with Wainscoting

Modern wainscoting can bring up a laid-back luxe style that is smart to look and easy to live with. You can choose it to create an accent wall just behind the headboard so that it gives the impression of a boutique hotel style.

Install raised panel wainscoting on the entire wall, and paint it in a slightly darker tone than the bedding. Complete the look with matt satin and Egyptian cotton sheets and a plush wool blanket so that the room looks elegant and sophisticated. Model Home Makeover is a renovation company toronto and shared a beautiful home interior design photo gallery for you to look at.

If you instead want to install the wainscoting on the lower half of the surrounding walls, try to give them a deluxe paint job in silver or gray color. These hues have the magical power of transforming even a quite simple place into something upscale and beautiful.

Choose a Rich Accent Color

There are no rules about the colors in a bedroom. You can try everything – from a soft pansy to bright yellow or a subtle lavender to screaming red. However, if your intention is to grab attention as well as create an impression of lavishness, jewel tones are the best choices. Sumptuous blues, greens, and reds add an instant extravagant touch to any bedroom. Choose a bright, accent color and spread it evenly into the whole room so that it does not disrupt the harmony of the place.

Go Neutral for a Royal Elegance

If fancy items, vibrant colors, and wild decorations don’t suit your taste, go for an entirely different take on glamor by decorating the bedroom with shabby chic style furniture and accessories. Exploit a neutral color scheme and stops it from looking too plain with an ornate mirror, glamorous lighting fixtures, and a few pieces of vintage furniture. Your bedroom will exude such a classy elegance that no one can help giving compliments!

These décor ideas will give your bedroom the perfect balance of recreation and luxurious drama. Whether you prefer a dark, moody scheme or find an all-white backdrop quite irresistible, there are numerous ways to translate your personal choices into a glamorous decoration. Don’t spend money on unnecessary, expensive furniture or renovations. Follow these tricks, and they will help you create your dream bedroom!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Should I Fix my Toilet?

My toilet runs in my cottage, should I call a plumber or is there anyway I can fix it myself?

Usually when a toilet runs, or won't stop endlessly dumping water down the fill into the bowl there is a reason. Here are the most common;
  • The main flapper is worn out.
  • The chain between the handle and the flapper is caught and holding the flapper up.
  • The fill valve is not rising back to its set position after flushing.
Now if you think you can handle a little repair or you know someone that is handy (that will do if for you) then maybe you can fix it yourself. It's usually very simple to figure out what is wrong with the toilet by a process of elimination.

Remove the tank lid and take a look. Flush the toilet and see what happens.

If the chain is free and attached properly then its not the chain.
If flapper is not sitting down tight on the bottom of the tank then its the flapper.
If you can move the fill valve manually back up to its resting position after the tank has done its filling then its the fill valve.

The flapper, the chain and the fill valve can be replaced and its not that hard. But there are some factors that will affect you changing them and stopping the toilet from running and endlessly wasting water.

Age of your toilet

The newer the toilet the easier it is to find generic parts to replace these things. The older the toilet the harder it is, if your toilet is too old then you probably won't be able to find replacement parts and you will have to buy a new toilet.

Specialty Toilets

If your toilet is an obscure toilet or a very expensive model then you might have trouble finding parts that will fit properly and work properly. Simple cheap toilets like American Standard are easily fixable with replacement parts from any hardware store. This is because the parts that are in them are simple and cheap to begin with so replacing them with more simple and cheap parts makes sense.

It could be Your Water

The problem with your toilet could be that your water, is your water too hard or does it have too may minerals or does it have something else that is affecting the performance of the toilet? If it is your water then replacing the parts in the back of your toilet will only be a temporary solution. The replacement parts will fail more quickly then they should unless you treat the water that is going into the toilet. Treating the water is a whole different issue and it does require a plumber.

If you do not think you are able to fix it yourself then hire someone that can, either a plumber or a handyman. Remember that when you are dealing with water if you don't feel comfortable fixing it then don't because attempting to fix something and have it leak can cause a lot more damage then the cost of a new toilet and a plumber to install it.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

6 Wonderful Bathroom Remodeling Ideas

Whenever we think of remodeling our home, bathrooms come at the top of the list because they are high-traffic space and up the resale value significantly. However, designing and decorating a bathroom is somewhat tricky because you have to arrange lots of things in a small space. Besides, you have to think about the wear and tear resulting from the multiple water elements and frequent use. The best remodeling plan should focus on incorporating brightness wherever possible and include materials that are easy to maintain.

A lot of homeowners choose wainscoting wall paneling in their bathrooms. Whether it looks strictly traditional or is given some modern twists, the design feature is a terrific way to protect the walls and add interest.

The frame and panel construction can be arranged in various profiles featuring square, rectangular, or long panels raised, recessed, or flat along the wall. You can choose to cover up to two-thirds of the wall or the entire ceiling to add a sense of height and width to the room. Tiles are another fitting choice for the walls due to their aesthetic and durability. They can instantly freshen up a place with their ability to reflect light. If you are seeking smart bathroom renovation ideas, see what's posted by Model Home Makeover.

You can apply them in multiple ways – covering halfway up or the entire wall, creating a thin border for the decorative purpose, or combining them with other style elements. The porcelain tiles can be a good option, even in shower areas, because of their non-porous nature. In addition, they don’t create hygiene hazards and are easy to maintain.

Flooring is another important area that demands extra attention during a remodeling project. As the place will regularly be exposed to water, you have to select a material that can stand up to water and slip resistant. In addition, it has to be something that feels better on barefoot, and the patterns and textures should match the design of the bathroom.

Larger patterns will suit a small space while busier compositions will nicely integrate into a large bathroom. Vinyl is a great option for the flooring because it’s safe, easy to maintain, and feel better under foot than ceramic tiles. If you have a great love for the wooden floor but don’t have the budget for it, choose wood-effect vinyl instead. You can make a choice between various types of styles and they will lend the place an authentic wooden appearance to creating everything from varnished to rustic impressions. 

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of a place – whether it is kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom. A well-lighted room looks bigger and creates a relaxing effect. Furthermore, good lighting is the nucleus around which the other design elements will shine. Go for large overheads, wall scones, and downlights to illuminate every nook and corner. Use LED lights as they are energy-efficient and don’t heat up a place like the incandescent bulbs.

You may not care for a bathtub, but it’s a strong selling point if you ever intend to sell the home. Any buyer will like a tub coupled with a spa-like environment that evokes the feel of elegance and freshness. In addition, keep a well-defined shower area. Choose the floor tiles of those spots carefully because they have to have sufficient traction to prevent slipping and a less than 3% water absorption rating. 


Choosing the finish and fixtures of a bathroom depends on a couple of factors – who will use them, how frequently the place will be used, ease of cleaning, and low maintenance. Select fixtures that will resist scratches and withstand the aftereffect of water splashes. If it’s a kid’s bathroom, pick up something durable and inexpensive such as plastic laminate on the countertops and floors.

Whether you have planned for renovating a small or large bathroom, these tips will come in handy. Nevertheless, you can always improvise and implement your own design ideas with more budget-friendly or luxurious elements.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

A Cedar Deck Or Pressure Treated Decking

Cedar VS Pressure Treated Decking

The question whether to build a deck out of cedar or pressure treated is something that I (as a contractor) get asked about a lot.

To clarify you don't build a deck out of cedar, you build a deck out of pressure treated, its the top of the deck, the finishing that you have to decide if you should use cedar or continue using pressure treated.

Let's look at the pro's and con's of each one;



  • is a nicer looking wood, it has waterproofing properties that allow it to survive longer.
  • it has a nice smell when cut.
  • there's no chemicals added to cedar.
  • you can stain it to keep its colour.
  • there are very few knots in cedar.
  • the cedar that is used now is a younger growth cedar and doesn't last as long as it use too.
  • if you don't stain cedar it will go silver.
  • it is a lighter wood, not having the strength of other woods.
  • it is expensive.

  • new pressure treated has far less harmful chemicals in it then it use too, they removed them to make it safer for children's playgrounds.
  • doesn't just come in green anymore, it also comes in brown that makes it look just like cedar. In some places you can also get it in white.
  • you can stain it to keep some colour to it.
  • it's the cheapest form of decking out there.
  • it is basically treated spruce which is a stronger wood then cedar.
  • it fades to a silver colour in the sun like all wood.
  • has the same life expectancy it has always had which is about 10 to 15 years.
  • has a tendency to split or check and crack.
  • chemical smell when cut.
  • must use a chemical end cut to help keep the waterproofing.
  • has a tendency to shrink in the heat once it dry's after being installed.
When you compare the life expectancy of cedar and pressure treated you find that they both have about the same length of time before they start to fail. It use to be that cedar lasted 30 to 40 years, but that was old growth cedar, something that we don't harvest anymore. Young growth cedar doesn't seem to last as long. Your lucky to get 10 to 15 years out of cedar, which is the same length of time as pressure treated.

If you plan to take the time to stain your cedar deck every year to keep the colour then cedar is for you, it will then always look nicer, but if you let it go silver then there's almost no way to tell the difference between pressure treated and cedar.

If your deck is built properly, which means that it has air flow under and over the deck and is able to drive after getting wet then your deck will last longer then 10 to 15 years no matter which material you use.

If we look at ease of use, there is no difference for a carpenter, there both soft woods and are installed almost the same way.

Cedar vs pressure treated for me (a contractor) comes down to price, if you are going to let your deck go silver (which most people do) then opt for the pressure treated and save yourself some money that you can spend somewhere else on your outdoor projects. If you plan to keep it up every year as a show piece then opt for the cedar and spend that extra money.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Monday, August 6, 2018

7 Easy But Amazing Home Renovation Ideas

Everyone likes an attractive dwelling and always looks for ways to improve their homes. Some home improvement projects can take a long time and be very expensive. However, there are also many ideas to enhance your house without too much effort yet still achieve amazing results. Sometimes, even small changes can accomplish a very significant outcome.

Install wall panel wainscoting

by Fisher Group LLC

Wall panel wainscoting is a type of decoration that is applied to the lower area of the wall to conceal imperfections and add aesthetic value. These designs involve adding the panel to the entire wall, transforming a plain and boring surface into an interesting one. There are many wainscoting designs and ideas that you can choose from. Modern wainscoting can make the interior of your room look sleek and new. On the other hand, classic wainscoting can be used to bring in elegance and grace to your home.   

Put in a rug

by Robin's Nest Interiors

An addition of a rug can instantly add character and style to any room. Furthermore, they are easily replaceable and once dirtied, can be cleaned to make it look new again. Before making a purchase, you should measure out the area that you will want to have a rug on to determine its size. Rugs come in a variety of colors, sizes, shapes, patterns and materials. Choose one with striking colors to make a bold statement or a rug that matches the primary color of your room for a more harmonized look.

Replace your old windows for energy efficient ones

by Crisp Architects

If you live in an old house, chances are you have single-paned windows that would let the cold draft in during winter. Not only does it make your house uncomfortable in cold days, it is also very energy inefficient as it demands more from your heaters. Changing your windows to eco-conscious double-paned windows can be a bright investment. Your house will be able to retain heat better, needing less energy and save you a lot of money from gas or electricity bills. In the long run, you will be able to recoup your investment.

Add a ceiling design

by John Kraemer & Sons

The ceiling is often overlooked when people think of remodeling their homes, but it is one of the largest surfaces in the house for adding flair and personal taste. If you have a low budget, you can purchase stencils and dress up the ceiling yourself.

You can have a ceiling that will be a wow factor if you invest a bit more. There are many ceiling designs out there to choose from and they come in a variety of materials and styles. ModelHome_Makeover provided smart and easy to implement home upgrade ideas you can check out.

Bring back the wallpapers

by Refined Interiors LLC

Used to be out of style, wallpapers have made a comeback. Not only are they very affordable, they are also easy to install yourself. You can find them at any home improvement shops in a plethora of colors and patterns. They can be cut to fit any sizes too. Before applying the wallpapers, make sure that the surface of your wall is flat as lumps and cracks might show through the paper. Furthermore, you will need to ensure to apply the wallpapers smoothly to avoid air bubbles trapped between the wall and the paper.

Invest in a ceiling fan

by Borges Brooks Builders

Ceiling fans are great for circulating the air in your room and help save your electricity bills by avoiding the use of an air-conditioning unit on hot days. Not only are ceiling fans functional, but they can be a decoration in your room and add beauty to it. You can purchase ceiling fans in many different styles and designs. For a sleek and contemporary look, opt for a fan with transparent blades to create the illusion of spaciousness. If you are looking for something cozier, there are fans with a beautiful wood finish that will create an intimate ambiance in your room.

Contrary to what most people believe, home improvement projects do not always have to break your bank or take a long time. Just get inspirations from smart designs and apply it to your own home. You will have a more comfortable dwelling and increase the value of your house at the same time.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Why Changing All The Windows In Your Home Is A Good Thing

When you are thinking about changing your windows and or doors in your home one of the most common mistakes people make is try to save money by only changing some of the windows in the home or leaving just one door.

Now there's nothing wrong with trying to save money when you are renovating your home but what people usually fail to realize is that all the windows and doors in a house where usually installed at the same time. They were either installed when the house was originally built or they were replaced at one point, usually all at once. That means that they are all the same age, if you are having windows replaced because they are starting to fail or nearing the end of their life cycle then you really should replace all of them at once.

Depending on which direction the windows or doors face in a house will depend on how fast they weather, this usually is shown on a window or door as the paint or colour fades or discolours. If you think that the windows on one side of the house have gotten to the point of needing replacement and not some of the others let me tell you what is going to happen next;
  • Once you have all the new windows installed you will notice how different they look compared to the old ones that you left. 
  • You will notice how much clearer the new ones are then the old ones.
  • You will notice how much better they operate compared to the old ones.
  • The ones you left looked good compared to the ones you replaced by now they look tired and old compared to the new ones.
  • A couple of years will go by and you will notice that some of the old windows will start to fail and then you will have to start to think about replacing them.
  • If will cost you more money to replace those windows then it would have cost you to replace them at the same time as the rest of the windows. Smaller jobs usually have a bigger markup on them because of the set up and clean up.
Instead of living through one renovation you end up living through two renovations. 

Sometimes depending on how much time goes by between the two window replacements is that the windows you have installed first are not available anymore and you have to replace them with different windows. This can make for an odd look from the outside when you have different style of windows that look completely or slightly different.

Another thing to consider is that a lot of times there are government grants or rebates for changing your windows and doors, by upgrading them so that they are more energy efficient. These are usually one shot deals and do not apply when you do it several times over different years.

Its always easier to get things done all at once, live through the noise and hassle of a renovation once and change everything, it might cost you a little bit more in the beginning but in the long run it will save you time, effort, money and a lot of headaches.

Remember to always hire a contractor that has lots of experience installing windows, this will ensure that your windows and doors are in installed properly and will come with the proper warranty for any future problems that could arise.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Friday, July 27, 2018

5 Inexpensive Decorations to Modernize Your Home

A modern home has to be well-designed and cozy as well because you obviously don’t want to go into a lackluster place after a day’s of hard work. There are plenty of ways that don’t need breaking the bank or tearing down the walls to make a home look attractive. If you think your home looks dull, but you don’t have the budget for major renovations, check out these 6 ways to modernize your home without spending big bucks.   

Increase Functionality

A modern home is cozy, but it also utilizes every nook and corner of a home. There should not be any unused space. If you have a formal dining area that you don’t use because your family loves to dine in the kitchen, turn the room into a cozy den for doing your crafting work or a library for reading books. If you don’t have any available room, look out if there’s any empty corner that you can turn into a home office.

Create Open Space

Image via J Design Group

The concept of open space is really popular these, but you just can’t tear out the walls if your home doesn’t have an open floor plan. Don’t worry! You can still make your home open, airy and transform it into a cozy den that every modern home should be.

The trick of getting that look is actually pretty simple. Get rid of the bigger, bulkier furnishings, making room for more natural light to get in, and using mirrors strategically in a couple of places. In case if you want to keep one or two big furniture pieces, move them around the room to see in which positions they don't take much of the open space.

Add New Lighting

Proper lighting can breathe life into a place, and LED pot lights are one of the most popular light sources that people use to modernize their home. A grid of pot lights is able to spread light evenly over a large are and brighten those spots where wall lights can’t reach. View the ideas Model_Home_Makeover shared to make your interior renovations easy.

You can support them with a couple of pendants and floor lamps strategically placed in dark corners. Light them up and see how your dark, cramped room has instantly transformed into a lively, welcoming place.

Image via Studio Momentum Architects

Upgrade Window Treatments

Windows seem to be the most overlooked place in a home. In most cases, homeowners leave the windows bare or install simple blinds because they can’t decide on the right style for the rooms.

Window treatments can inject massive style into a room. You can choose bamboo shades if you are a minimalist and love to be in contact with nature, go for gauzy white sheers to create a beach vibe, or install geometric patterns for making a style statement. However, the safest trick is to choose the color of the curtain panels two to three shades lighter than the color of the window frame and adjacent walls. Besides, semitransparent curtains are the best option for both privacy and not hindering natural light.

Image via Beach Glass Interior

Update the Hardware

It’s a genuinely inexpensive way to update your home. Nothing dates your home more than dirty, worn, or broken handle pulls and knobs. So, choose from the plethora of options such as aged copper, bronze, stainless steel, etc. that are available in the market and give all the cabinets and doors a new look.

Don’t think too much about matching styles because you can easily bring stainless steel knobs in a country kitchen and vintage aged copper into your chic and trendy bathrooms.

A few other tricks for updating your home is to clean the clutter, giving it a fresh coat of paint, cleaning the dirty areas, installing wallpaper in a few selected spots, and more. In fact, you have a whole lot of options for sprucing up your dated home in a cost-effective way and turning it into a relaxing retreat. Just remember not to overthink about matching styles. Keep everything simple, and the result will turn out to be something magical!