Monthly Archives: June 2017

How to Make Air Ventilation is easy and very useful

Central air conditioning is a luxury, yes, but it does come with one particularly unsightly problem: air vents. Look around any room and your eyes are likely to snag on bright white slats marring otherwise perfectly lovely ceilings, walls, and floors. But all hope is not lost: We’ve found some genius solutions to this design dilemma, whether you want hide a vent completely or make it stand out in a good way. It might seem hard to fathom, but with the help of these ideas, it’s possible to forget those air vents were ever there.

Conceal it

Out of sight, out of mind. Architect and designer Ernesto Santalla covered the air vents in this home with architectural millwork. With its floating shelf, the installation looks like a piece of furniture.

Paint it

Hide an air vent in plain sight with a fresh coat of the same paint color you used on the walls. Voila!

Switch out the cover

Say goodbye to those sad slats and replace them with a piece of framed, patterned mesh. In illustrator and designer Jacqueline Schmidt’s bathroom, the vent is an artistic detail rather than an eyesore.

Go shopping

Aria Vent sells minimalist vents “designed for the perfectionist,” which you can customize to match your flooring, then pop into place yourself.

How much Park fee?

A garden without a shade structure is a garden you can only enjoy from a distance. Install a gazebo and you can relax and entertain in your garden. How much does a gazebo cost? We look at several types of gazebos and their costs.

Types of Gazebos

A gazebo is any freestanding garden structure that provides shade. A gazebo can be a removeable structure with thin aluminium poles and a cloth top. It can also be a more elaborate structure designed to be a permanent structure.

A gazebo can be small or large. It can be square, rectangular, hexagonal or octagonal. It can be installed on grass or can have a timber or concrete base. A gazebo can be anything you want it to be, from a small shade structure to a larger structure designed for entertaining guests.

Where Can I Find a Gazebo?

You can find inexpensive, portable gazebos at many better hardware stores. If you want a more permanent structure, gazebo suppliers have dozens of designs you can choose from. Often, they have a variety of designs in different sizes, from 3 metres up to 9 metres or more. Gazebo suppliers may make their gazebos out of powder coated aluminium, timber, vinyl or a combination of materials.

If you want a custom gazebo, a gazebo builder can construct one for you or if you have a design in mind, any builder can erect it for you. One advantage to having a gazebo builder do the job is that gazebos are their business and they will have a portfolio of designs for you to choose from. Since their gazebos are not factory built, they can customise your gazebo for you.

Do you want a tropical style gazebo with a thatched roof? A good gazebo builder can create one for you. Do you prefer a simpler metal roof? They can do that, too. If there is a design you like, a gazebo builder or builder can create it for you.

Before you decide to install a gazebo, ask yourself a few questions:

What do we want to use the gazebo for?

  • Where should it be located in our garden?

  • What is our budget?

The first question is important. You may think you just want a gazebo to provide you with shade. After it is installed, you may wish you had made it larger. A poolside gazebo can provide shade for the whole family or you might wish you had built a gazebo large enough to entertain guests.

5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Home’s Fractured Value

First time home owners know that buying a home is one of the most important investments that you can make. And while signing the papers on your first home can feel like putting down roots in your perfect pad, the reality is that most millennial homeowners end up moving multiple times, due to changing family and career factors. That’s why your home’s resale value should be a primary focus right from the get-go.

Selling a first home can seem even more stressful than purchasing one, but these simple tips on boosting your home’s resale value can go a long way in removing the stress from the equation. That’s why we’ve partnered with H&R Block to bring homeowners a guide to home improvement projects with the best return on investment. Whether you’re looking to sell now or in the distant future, knowing how to boost your property value is a great investment in your future.

1. Landscape Wisely

Like a good haircut, a yard should frame the face of your house in the most flattering way possible. After all, your yard is wholly responsible for your property’s first impressions. While it’s pretty obvious advice to keep your lawn mowed and weed-free, certain outdoor renovation projects are more likely to add value than others.

Forget about add-ons like a pool or hot tub, which can signal to potential buyers more maintenance than enjoyment. Instead, focus on the classics. Making sure your yard has a couple of healthy, thriving trees is a trusty way to boost your home’s resale value more than you may think. Check out the National Tree Benefit Calculator to see how trees in your zipcode affects property values, stormwater runoff, and other homeowner considerations. You’ll also want to landscape with native plant species, which will boost your home’s value without adding significant maintenance costs. When considering whether to tackle a yard renovation project, think about whether it will appeal to most people. A deck? Yes. A hedge maze? Not so much.

2. Refresh Your Front Door

If you’ve wowed house hunters with your stellar landscaping, the next place their eye will travel to is the front door. And it plays a big factor in your home’s resale value. In fact, according to a Cost vs. Value report conducted by Remodel, replacing an outdated entryway can have one of the biggest returns of any home improvement you could do yourself. Update the appearance of your whole home with a door that uses modern materials and a new color scheme.

3. Refinish The Floors

Floors are another make or break factor for most buyers. Gone are the days of wall-to-wall carpeting signaling luxury; instead they just signal lots of dust mites and vacuuming. Wood is always a classic choice, with varieties like oak being safe bets amongst house hunters. Replacing floors that have signs of wood rot or termites is another great way to add value to your home. To show your floors some less costly TLC, repair broken tiles or add a well-placed nail to conceal a pesky squeak.

4. Make Your Home More Energy and Cost Efficient

According to an annual survey done by the National Association of Realtors, millennials comprise 35 percent of all first-time homebuyers. This tech-savvy generation is looking for properties with smart home technology upgrades that will offer enhanced security, energy efficiency, and savings. Smart thermostats, lighting, and door locks can be a big draw for millennials, who value the ease of controlling their home by a smartphone app, even when they’re away from home. And smart thermostats can save up to 10 percent annually in home heating costs, proving that connected home apps aren’t just a passing trend.

Energy efficient upgrades can also bring tax credits to homeowners, so be sure to check out which updated homeowner credits are available through the U.S. Department of Energy. A 30 percent tax credit for installing solar energy systems has been extended through 2019, and credits are also available for several other energy efficient home improvement projects.

5. Update The Kitchen

The average cost of a kitchen remodel is $20,000, according to Home Advisor. This is no small renovation cost, but when you consider that updated and modern kitchens are a main selling point, the cost of remodeling can significantly boost your resale value. And you may not need to go all-in on a renovation when a facelift can go a long way. Consider adding some combination of new stainless steel appliances, cabinets, flooring and a modern countertop to refresh your kitchen on a smaller budget, depending on which aspect of your current setup could most use a facelift.

Top 5 Home Renovations in Canada

1. Windows and Doors 6%

Despite the hype over energy efficient products, window and door upgrades were the lowest ranking home renovation on our top ten list this year. Understandably so. On average, window and door upgrades can cost $8,522! This project is particularly expensive given that these fixtures add little to change a room’s appearance.

Window or door upgrades involve a few services along with replacing existing fixtures. These products can be expensive, so some homeowners avoid upgrading everything at once and do small replacements over a few years time.

Case example Price range for new windows:

Windows come in various styles, shapes, and sizes. Bear in mind that projects costs vary from province to province. Experts have determined an average price range for window installations:

  • Basement windows: $450-$800
  • Bedroom/kitchen windows: $800-$1,600
  • Living room: $1,800-$3,000
  • Bay window: $2,800-$3,000

On average, Alberta and Manitoba homeowners were willing to budget $9,288 for their window and door installations. A homeowner should expect to pay between $7,200-$14,000 to replace 9 middle and upper-level windows in their home.

Manitoba and Alberta homeowners budgeted accurately this year. However, Saskatchewan ($6,200), Nova Scotia ($4,025), and BC ($6,404) had low budgets for 2016.

This year, Canadians across the country budgeted $8,522 for window and door installations. This is a fair budget; however, slightly raising the budget would be a good idea.

Pro Tip: Window installations are very complicated. Mistakes can lead to damaged windows, leaks, or worse. Avoid issues by hiring a pro–don’t DIY this project!

2. Roofing 6%

Canadians weren’t particularly keen on re-doing their roof in 2016; the numbers were better in 2014. Nevertheless, roof improvements still made it to our top ten list this year. On the bright side, homeowners who took on a roofing project will be ready for the approaching harsh winter.

Roofs are diverse. Thus, a roof refinishing project can involve anything from a total replacement to a simple re-shingle process (involving the outmost layer of shingles).

Roofers have a dangerous job, which means that you need to do your due diligence as a homeowner by investigating your roofer’s Workers Compensation Insurance (WCI). Always remember to ask your roofer about their WSIB insurance coverage and verify it with your provincial board.

Case example Price range for a new roof:

A cost estimate for a new roof is difficult without any project specs. There are several factors that affect price including roof slope, size, valleys, and condition, as well as desired materials and garbage disposal.

Professionals suggest that a 2000 ft2 home roof replacement can cost about $4,500 and above. Alberta and Ontario homeowners had an appropriate budget for the project this year ($5,923).

Saskatchewan ($3,000), Newfoundland ($3,000), and New Brunswick ($3,000) homeowners budgeted too low this year.

This year, Canadians budgeted $4,906 on average for roof installations. This is a great target.

Pro tip: Inspect your roof when it is 15 years old, and replace an asphalt roof every 20-25 years. Install a new roof if you experience leaks in the home, witness shingles curling, find granule loss, or see moss or plant growth on the roof.

3. Floor Laying 8%

Floor laying making it to the top ten list is no surprise to us! Although it wasn’t at the top of our national list, new flooring projects were most popular in Ontario and Prince Edward Island. Floor installations are a fabulous renovation because they have a great return on investment, and make a huge impact on the appearance of a room. The average price that Canadians were willing to spend on this reno was $3,258.10.

Flooring is a popular project because of the product diversity and affordability based on that fact. Products and installation vary in price range. Homeowners will find that laminate andceramic flooring products and installation services are the most affordable, whereashardwood (and engineered wood) and concrete products and installation services are more expensive.

Case example Price range for new flooring:

The flooring product market is extensive. This makes it difficult to establish an average price range for floor installations. One Ontario company suggests that 150 ft2 of mid-range laminate floor would cost $928.50 to purchase and install. Ontarians budgeted $4,456 for their flooring installations this year. This suggests that Ontario homeowners have budgeted well if they wish to install 800 ft2 of laminate flooring in their home.

Canadians living in BC ($3,199), Manitoba ($2,550), and Saskatchewan ($2,100) may want to increase their budget (depending on the material and project size).

On average, the nationwide budget for flooring projects was surprisingly low this year, sitting at $3,258. Homeowners who wish to install hardwood must increase their budget significantly. Flooring projects tend to be more costly than one would expect!

Pro Tip: Choose your flooring materials wisely. Sometimes beautiful options are impractical for a certain environment. Moreover, be wary of laminate and engineered woodproducts on the market that may contain formaldehyde. Do your research!

4. Tiling 7%

It’s the first time that tiling projects have made it to our nationwide top ten list! Tiling projects are growing in popularity and it’s no surprise to us! Tile projects have quick installation timelines, and the product selection is extremely versatile. They are great for indoor and outdoor backsplashes, flooring, walls, and ceilings. Tiling projects ranked as a top three project in British Columbia this year.

Case example Price range for tiling

Tiles come in many shapes, sizes, materials, and styles. These variables affect the price of the installation. Pros from our forum quote installation labour between $5-$10 per ft2, plus materials. Tiles can range in price from $0.50-$15.00, and above. The project price depends on the size of the room, the tile material, and tile location (floor, wall, counter, or ceiling).

A 100ft2 bathroom floor tiling project using good quality ceramic tiles may cost $2,000. This year, Canadians budgeted $1,558.60 for tiling projects. It would be best to raise the budget if one wishes to tile walls, or use higher-end materials.

For more information on tile products, project costs, and installation and labour prices check out our ultimate tiling guide.

Pro tip: Consult an expert on the materials before you jump into a project. Some tiles are much too porous for certain environments. Leaks can occur if the tiles are used improperly.

5. Kitchen Renovation 8%

Kitchen renovations have only made up 8% of the nationwide top ten projects. This year, Maritime homeowners in Newfoundland and PEI were more partial to kitchen renovations. Kitchen renos made it to the top three home improvement projects for 2016 on the east coast. Meanwhile, the demand for kitchen renovations dropped in other provinces such as Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia.

Case example Price range for kitchen renovations

It is challenging to suggest an average’ price for a kitchen renovation. Pros on our Forumsuggest that a kitchen remodel may cost between $20,000-$40,000. Location, project scope, and materials impact the price of a kitchen renovation. Custom finishes will increase project costs by tens of thousands of dollars.

Canadians were ready to budget $14,479.10 for a kitchen renovation this year. This budget may be appropriate for those who will not buy new appliances or cabinets. This budget may be suitable for a renovation with low-end finishes and recycled appliances.

Interestingly enough, provinces such as Alberta ($20,338), BC ($22,774), and Manitoba ($15,307) had the most realistic renovation budgets. Nova Scotia ($9,333) and PEI ($7,750) had the lowest and most unrealistic budgets. On average, Canadians were ready to spend $14,479 on kitchen renovations this year.

We strongly recommend that homeowners invest in quality craftsmanship. This project involves complex electrical, gas, and plumbing; This project could endanger your and your family if completed incorrectly.

Pro Tip: Be cautious of any contractor who gives you a price that seems too good to be true’. Some shady businesspeople will intentionally low-ball a project to get you to sign on. Then, they proceed to increase the price as the project continues.