Focus On Your Outdoor Design With Exterior Renovations

exterior renovation
We tend to focus so much on interior design – in fact, there’s an entire industry devoted to it – that we sometimes overlook exterior design.

However, exterior renovations are a great way to improve the function of your property, while boosting aesthetics. Exterior renovations can be performed on exterior elements of the home itself (exterior home refacing), or the property surrounding it.

Let’s first focus on exterior home makeovers. What are some of the most cost-efficient ways to improve your property without breaking the bank? One is to replace the siding on your home, which could be looking worn or cracked. Changing it could ad visual appeal and increase your home’s energy efficiency.

Another is making repairs to your roof, which again serves an important function. Don’t forget about replacing the front door and windows, as those can look tired – and older units may be letting heat escape from your house and driving up your bills. Finish it all off with a new paint job – think of it as a finishing touch to your house facelift. Don’t forget to repair any broken elements like sagging eavestroughs or broken light fixtures – these all decrease from the overall impact (and function) of your home.

Extending beyond the house itself, don’t be afraid to invest a bit of money for additional exterior renovations. But don’t just go into a project blindly – choose a company that specializes in design/build, so you get renovations that fit your particular needs while looking great. For example, you may love to cook outside in the summertime, so perhaps you’d like a new interlock brick patio to accommodate your barbecue and several guests. Perhaps you like reading in the fresh air, so designing a bench or seating area in a shaded area might be to your liking. Perhaps you want some concrete areas replaced by gardens, a new deck, or a shed/gazebo added.

A good renovation company will find out more about your lifestyle, and incorporate any of these elements into the final design that best uses your available outdoor space. It makes a big difference when you don’t have to hire a separate company to create plans, with another one performing the work – dealing with one contractor is more cost/time efficient, and it already knows exactly what the end result should look like!

Putting some effort into exterior home makeovers can equal a big return on investment, not to mention a big boost to your home’s curb appeal. Be sure to find a company that can handle interior renovations as well as exterior renovations, so you don’t have to shop around when it’s time to do indoor upgrades.

5 Home Improvement Projects you Should Never DIY

5 Home Improvement Projects you Should Never DIY

When it comes to some home improvement projects, there are some you should really just leave to the experts – even if you have some experience doing them, but aren’t licensed or insured. You may think you’re saving yourself a bundle in the short-term, but by attempting some of these house upgrades without the proper qualifications, you could be costing yourself a lot more down the road – not to mention potentially putting yourself (or others) in danger.

  1. Electrical work. The results of trying to do this kind of work can be shocking – literally! Unless it’s something very simple, light changing a fuse or replacing a switch (even the latter could be tricky for some), then you should call on the experts. In fact, the Ontario Electrical Safety Code specifies you must only hire a licensed electrician, and that even a handyman must have an ECRA/ESA license. Remember, bad wiring jobs for new lighting or other purposes can cause a fire – and your home insurance company might not be too pleased to learn you caused it.
  2. Demolition. Sometimes you need to get rid of the old stuff before you can start home improvements – or perhaps you’re looking to create that “open concept” look. Despite how fun it can be to swing a sledgehammer and break things, you don’t know what lurks behind walls – and you might not be sure if you’re dealing with a load-bearing wall. Smashing through old interiors can also potentially release asbestos and other substances that can be harmful to breathe – so leave this to a crew that knows what it’s doing.
  3. Plumbing. Renovation ideas for small homes often involve some kind of plumbing upgrade, whether you’re installing a new toilet or building a new stand-alone shower. However, even if you think you’ve got the hang of piping, you should hire a licensed and insured plumber or you may get soaked – financially and literally.
  4. Replacing Garage Doors. This one might seem a bit strange to some, but the truth is that there are components of a garage door – for example, the springs in a garage door system can cause serious injury – or worse. If you’re thinking of fixing or installing a new garage door (which is a house upgrade that can really boost your property’s curb appeal), hire a company that sells as well as installs them.
  5. Installing roofing. Even if you’re comfortable climbing a tall ladder and walking around on an inclined surface 30-feet in the air, you still should leave roofing to qualified roofers. This is an important home improvement that not only make your home look better, but can protect its contents from water damage – so it needs to be done right. That means using the right tools, the right materials, and having the right knowledge about how to apply both.

The Many Benefits of Basement Renovations

The Many Benefits of Basement Renovations

The basement – it often gets used as a place to store your unwanted items, or is simply a place that houses the furnace. Either way, that’s potentially hundreds of square feet of living space that’s essentially being wasted, due to the basement being unfinished or not being suitable as a living space.

That’s where basement development companies can come into the picture and transform your home’s bottom level into a highly functional and aesthetically pleasing space. A basement remodel can be one of the highest returns on investment among all home improvements, as it can add a whole other dimension to your home.

There are many reasons for considering basement construction: perhaps you’d like to make it into an entertainment centre, or a place for the kids to play when the adults are gathering in the living room. You may also be looking at your basement as a separate living space for in-laws that need to be cared for or who have downsized their own living arrangement.

Another good reason for a basement reno is to rent the space out to a tenant. By following the right municipal rules and regulations – an experienced basement development company may have this info already – you can add all the elements a tenant would need from a separate entrance to a small kitchen and bathroom. This type of basement remodel is especially practical, because a renter can help you pay off your mortgage faster and justify investing in the space.

Basement construction can be simple or advanced, depending on your needs. For example, perhaps you just need some drywall and some LED pot lights in the ceiling to complete the room, or you need the floor to be lowered in order to accommodate taller residents. Basement digging can be an option, or a company may find other ways to provide more headspace such as removing a drop ceiling or relocating a support beam.

Basement renovations in Toronto can be a smart way to add more space to your home if things are getting a bit cramped. Instead of moving, you can remove the clutter from your basement on make it into a useable space that adds value and square footage to the living area. You could even put junior’s bedroom down there if they’re outgrowing their current room, and then you can turn their original room into a home office!

Contact reputable basement development companies in the area to get an idea of what you can do with your bottom floor – you may be surprised how economical it is to make it great!

Home Exterior Renovation Ideas for High Impact Yet Economical Improvements

Exterior Renovation
When it comes to home improvements, sometimes it’s what’s on the outside that counts.

However, boosting your home’s curb appeal through exterior renovations doesn’t have to break the bank. There are a number of home exterior makeovers that look great, boost home value but don’t carry a big price tag.

Here are a few ideas for refacing your house exterior:

New siding. Homes with vinyl siding can get tired-looking over time, due to discolouration from weather, or cracks and splits. While you can powerwash siding to try and bring back of its original shine, replacing it isn’t as expensive as you might think.

There’s another reason to upgrade your siding – energy efficiency. While it’s mostly thought of as cosmetic, siding carries different R-values (the scale used for thermal resistance). Even better, look for siding that is foam insulated to increase the efficiency of your home by helping to prevent heat loss. It’s more expensive than standard siding, but could save you money in the long run on energy bills.

Landscaping. The property around your home impacts curb appeal as much as the home itself in many cases. Imagine a nice home surrounded by weeds and uncut grass – doesn’t really do the home justice, does it?

As part of your exterior renovations plan, consider bringing in an experienced landscaper to put finishing touches on your home exterior makeovers. Adding a nice front/rear garden, as well as some hardscaping features such as patio steps or retaining walls can have a big visual impact. Don’t put in too many plants; remember, you have to maintain them. Simple is elegant, and it works.

Exterior painting. Seems like a simple one, but it sometimes can get overlooked. If your home has paint peeling or flaking off the exterior, whether it’s on wood paneling or a porch, then a fresh coat of paint should do the trick. Just make sure you use the appropriate paint to handle the outdoor elements, and don’t be afraid to experiment a little with the current exterior renovation colour trends.

Windows and doors. These are both affordable items that can aid in refacing house exteriors, and they not only look great with many options (bay windows, awnings, decorative glass entrance doors), they can also dramatically improve the efficiency of your home. You may not realize how much heat you’re losing through old window frames or gaps in doors – also, few things change the look of home so easily and affordably as a new or updated front door!

Ask a contractor that has experience in exterior renovations how to create the biggest impact for the most affordable price.

How To Hire General Contractors In Toronto For Home Renovations

general contractors in Toronto for home renovations
When you’re choosing the renovation contractor to perform home renovations, you’re essentially interviewing potential candidates as you would for any job.

However, since there are many names of general contractors in Toronto for home renovations when you do a search, how do you narrow down the field?

First of all, make sure the contractor is willing to provide a free estimate, without putting any pressure on you to give money up-front before reaching an agreement. Those can be red flags right from the start.

When you’re narrowing down your pool of candidates, check to see if they have past projects on their website, or at least some kind of portfolio they can show you. Ask for references, or check for testimonials or reviews of the company online.

Remember, a general contractor is one that will take care of all of the details involved in completing the renovation. If they tell you they can only handle one aspect of the job – say drywalling for example – and expect you to hire your own plumber or electrician, that’s a problem. They should also buy all of the materials needed for the job, and not expect you to shop for anything.

You can usually get a pretty good impression of a renovation contractor up front when you meet a potential candidate. Did they arrive to assess the job site on time, or make an excuse for being late? Imagine how the project will go if they’re late for their estimate visit (unless they have a very good excuse). Did they smile and greet you when you answered the door, or are they pointing out other things that need improvement that you didn’t initially discuss (in other words, are they trying to up-sell you)?

The ideal candidate will also give you a confident timeline and what to expect during the work, such as whether you’ll be able to use the space during the work or if you should make temporary arrangements. A good Toronto contractor will keep an open line of communication and won’t belittle you for asking questions; no matter how obvious the answers seem to them.

Once you think you’ve chosen the right candidate, make sure they have all of the appropriate insurance in case they damage your home accidentally. Ask to see their certificates of insurance just to be sure. Also make sure any subcontractors they use – particularly plumbers and electricians – are licensed.

Price is a factor in any decision, but the lowest bid definitely doesn’t mean they’re the best renovation company in Toronto. Expect to pay a bit more for attention to detail, excellent customer service, and a job well done – which can actually save you money in the long run, especially if you have to pay more to have a shoddy job fixed later!

4 Things You Must Do For Bathroom Renovations In Toronto

bathroom renovations in Toronto
Bathroom renovations are never a bad idea, when you have the right bathroom remodeling contractors. However, you’ll still want to make sure you get the value for your dollar to maximize results from bathroom makeovers to potentially increase the value of your home.

There are many features you can upgrade in a standard bathroom (or perhaps you’re building an additional bathroom from scratch), so here are four things to focus on when you’re deciding the best plan for bathroom remodeling.

1. Increased efficiency. If you have an old toilet that uses way too much water with every flush, then you’ll want to have a low-flow or dual-flush toilet installed that can save you money in the long run (not to mention conserve water). You can even consider a hidden-tank model, which frees up more space.

2. Upgraded plumbing. Your house remodeling contractor should be well-versed in plumbing when it comes to a home improvement, or at least have a subcontractor that’s an expert in this area. When demolishing your existing bathroom to make way for the upgrade, a contractor should be able to tell if the pipes are the modern standard in diameter, as well as if they need insulation and are running along inside walls rather than outside (which can lead to freezing).

3. Better bathtub. Your bathtub might be small and outdated, and the caulking may be starting to wear and leak. However, a nice-sized bathtub is an important element of any bathroom remodeling project, especially when it comes to bathroom renovations in Toronto, where there are many older and charming homes. If you have accessibility issues, this is the time to install a convenient walk-in tub. If you never use your tub, perhaps a nice standalone enclosed glass shower might be in order.

4. Creative storage. Your medicine cabinet is important, but it can be more than just a storage solution if you think a bit outside the box. Consider adding a new cabinet with a mirror on the front, or even a model that has built-in lighting that can improve the look of the room as well as its function.

Of course, these are just four suggestions – you could also consider a double sink if you have a busy family, or a bigger vanity if you need more storage for towels and supplies. Keep in mind that if you only have one bathroom, you may have to make alternate arrangements during bathroom makeovers.

Kitchen Renovations to Increase the Value of Your Home

Kitchen Renovations
The kitchen is called the “heart” of a home – but it could also be called the stomach. Whatever you refer to it as, kitchen makeovers can make a big difference in the look and function of your home.

However, like any renovation, planning is key to get the best value for your budget. That means working with a reputable kitchen contractor in Toronto that knows how you can best improve your kitchen space at an affordable price, while also getting the best return on your investment

Here are some kitchen remodel ideas that can make your life easier while making the space more beautiful and appealing to potential buyers:

Add new countertops. Your old counters could be looking worn out or boring, and adding new counters – and even more countertop space – can be a big plus. There are several options out there depending on your budget and taste, from granite, quartz, and even marble. Some require more maintenance than others, so do your homework.

Swap the flooring. There are so many options for flooring out there that look amazing but are a fraction of the cost of some traditional products. For example, vinyl tile/planks are available that give the look of hardwood, but are waterproof to resist the spills that will inevitably happen in the kitchen.

Build an island. A new cornerstone to any great kitchen remodel, adding an island has practical purposes. Not only will it extend the amount of counterspace you have to prepare food, you can also surround it with chairs and use it as a place to enjoy a family breakfast.

Change the cabinets. There are options when it comes to upgrading your cabinetry – you can completely remove the old cabinets and build brand new ones, only replace the doors, or you can simply have the doors refinished and repainted for a newer look. Cabinets make a big visual impact in a room, and are a popular component of kitchen renovations in Toronto.

Brighten it with light. Good lighting is important to make any space look spectacular, and the kitchen is no different. Whether you want a mini-chandelier, or track lighting, or pot lights, investing in better lighting for your kitchen can go a long way in kitchen makeovers. Not only will it bring out all the best features of your kitchen, it also serves an important function to help you see better when you’re dicing your veggies.

Improving your kitchen means improving your entire home. Some kitchen contractors in Toronto specialize in only flooring or cabinets, so choose one that has the resources or connections (subcontractors) to get it done as one project to save time and money.

5 Points to Consider for Exterior Home Renovations

Exterior Home RenovationsExterior home renovations are sometimes underrated, yet they can dramatically improve the look and value of your property. After all, the outside of your home is the first thing friends, family or even potential buyers see when they pull onto your street, so it makes sense to give your home’s exterior some TLC.

However, you only have so much money and time to go around, so consider these five tips to help you prioritize your exterior home improvement project:

Will it make a difference for the price? You could put a lot of money into repainting the entire house, but is it necessary if the original paint is still in good shape? Think about adding accents like painting the front door or the window frames. This simpler type of home exterior makeover can make a big difference in your home’s curb appeal, without a big price tag.

Will it be difficult to maintain? You may think that putting in a swimming pool in your backyard is a no-brainer for family fun, but there are many more costs beyond the initial installation. You have to worry about pool chemicals, opening/closing each season, and also the safety of your family – you might need to build a gated fence if you have younger children. The same question can be asked for elaborate landscaping with high-maintenance gardens.

Is it a safety issue? If you’re working with a smaller budget and want to make sure your money counts, consider upgrading any walkways or patios on your property. Over time, these can heave and cause tripping hazards (not to mention look unsightly). Interlocking brick and other products can improve the appearance, and when installed by experienced home remodelers, can last for years to come. Lighting is another great option to boost safety and security around your home.

Will it give you return on investment? Not every home improvement is going to potentially boost the value of your home – for example, if your building’s foundation is cracking or leaking, you should consider putting that first in your exterior home renovations plan. However, there are other things you can achieve for relatively little money – like sealing the aging driveway or improving a deck or porch – that can add instant appeal.

Does it fit your existing home, and the neighbourhood? Adding unconventional colours to your home’s exterior, for example, can really add uniqueness to your property. However, ask yourself if it fits with the plan for the entire home – and whether it will stick out like a sore thumb in the neighbourhood. Don’t be afraid to get a little adventurous, but remember you may regret painting your home bright purple down the road.

Regardless of what kind of home exterior makeover you’re looking at, make sure you call a company with a solid track record and a portfolio of past work. Exterior home renovations are a great place to start to make your entire home and surrounding property shine!

How to Choose a Contractor while Considering Home Additions

Home AdditionsWhen it comes to home additions, the end result will only be as good as the home addition contractor you choose. You may get a wide range of different prices and advice from various contractors, so it’s important to know how to narrow down the pool when you’re considering a house extension.

That’s why you should treat hiring a contractor like hiring an employee – run them through a series of questions to determine if they’re the right fit for the job. Of course, getting free written estimates and comparing costs for the same work is important, it also comes down to who you think you will work best with, and who will produce the best workmanship. In other words: the best price doesn’t always equal the best contractor.

Aside from price, you should also find out if the contractor is properly insured in case of a mishap during the project. Do a search online to read reviews and to get an idea of how experienced the business is.

If you find mention a local home addition contractor in the paper or online that doesn’t have a proper website or a portfolio of previous work, this can be a red flag. However, if you have neighbours or family that has used a particular contractor for room additions and they’re satisfied with the job, then you may want to consider them anyway. Otherwise, you can ask for references or find out if they’ve done any local work you can check out in person.

Competent home addition contractors should be able to assess your property relatively quickly and determine whether your request is feasible, or give you suggestions how to save money and time (such as modular room additions prefabricated off-site). It should also be able to give you a clear idea how long the job will take, and what to expect during each step. Make sure there’s a good contact person or customer service department you can consult if you have concerns during the process.

Lastly, successful home addition contractors should not seem too eager to get money up front (especially if they want to be paid in full). If you do provide a deposit, make sure you have a record of any money that you’ve given the company. They should also be able to process payments by credit card or debit as well – cash only is a sign it’s a fly-by-night contractor that doesn’t want a paper trail.

Home additions are a great answer to enhancing your home’s function without moving, but doing your homework can potentially save you thousands down the road.

Points To Consider For Home Additions To Avoid Hassles

home addition
You’ve already decided you need more space in your home, and home additions are a great alternative to selling and finding a bigger property.

However, while you’ve decided an addition is the answer, you should be sure about some things before the work begins in order to minimize the impact on your family. For example, will you be able to live in the home while the work is being done, or will you have to temporarily relocate your family to another living space? These are questions that a general contractor that specializes in additions should be able to answer.

In some cases, building a home addition can take weeks, so you might be in for a lot of noise and disruption – especially if you’re working from home. Modular room additions are a popular choice for many projects because they are fabricated off-site and assembled on-site, drastically cutting down on noise – not to mention mess. The cost for both can vary greatly as well, so be sure to get a written estimate up front.

Other points to consider are whether the ground area the home addition will be built on is stable and able to withstand the weight of the home extension, so it doesn’t sink or sag over time. Soil testing can determine if your property has the right conditions for an addition. You’ll also want to check with local bylaws to ensure your home addition follows minimum setbacks to neighbouring properties, and that all permits have been secured – again, with a trusted contractor on your side, you should be able to determine these details fairly quickly. This step can help you avoid any fines, or any potential hassles from nosy neighbours.

Before building additions to your home, make sure you know the exact reason for the new space you’re creating. If you know ahead of time what the use will be (e.g. a sunroom, an office, or a mudroom), then you can work with the contractor to incorporate features that make sense – otherwise you may be making modifications after the fact, which can be more expensive and time-consuming. If the addition has a bathroom or another space with running water, ensure you’ve factored in costs for additional plumbing.

Home additions can be the answer to all your needs, but it’s smart to plan ahead of time to ensure a smooth project. Partner with a home contractor that has a portfolio of home additions and can run through the options with you – modular room additions or otherwise.

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