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.