Tips for Exterior Home Renovations

When planning your next home renovation project, there are two things to consider:

1. How much better looking the result will be, and
2. How much it might contribute to the value of your home.

In this specific article, we will be focusing on the house exterior. Our years of experience doing exterior renovations in Toronto and the GTA has taught us that you don’t really need to break your budget to add lots of value to your home while boosting its aesthetics considerably.

You really only have one chance to make a great first impression, and that starts with the exterior of your home. A nice interlock stone, or façade is a great way to add long lasting value to the home. If you’re updating on a budget you may also want to consider upgrading windows, redoing an old roof, or simply refinishing the old shutters.

Call Toronto’s exterior home renovations expert, Royal Home Improvements to meet with a Project Advisor to receive a free estimate.

Exterior Renovation Ideas

1. Repaint and Retouch

Walls are the biggest visible part of any structure and create a strong impression. A new coat of fresh paint won’t cost much, and can do wonders at making the place look better. This also applies to the aluminum siding, doors, window panes. Just make sure you seal all small dents and cracks. This way the new paint will look better and last longer.

If you suspect your house may have lead paint on it (which is often the case in older homes), then you should avoid removing it yourself. This environmental hazard should be removed by trained Toronto exterior renovation professionals. They may also see if the paint can be sealed instead of removed, making this potentially dangerous project safer and cheaper.

2. Clean and Scrub

When you live in a place, it gets dirty so gradually that you almost never realize just how much dirt is in the walls, pavements and roof. Taking a power washer to it can remove years of accumulated residue. Finish the job by scrubbing the windows clean and your house will practically shine.

3. Groom the Landscaping

A nice set of small upgrades to the landscaping can do miracles to the home’s curb appearance. Use taller plants to hide water meters, air conditioners and anything that doesn’t look so good (like the neighbor’s unrenovated place). Prune trees and tend to the flowerbeds, and your house will look like a French Garden.

4. Create an outdoor living space

This project is a bit more expensive, but if done right, it is one of the best investments into the property’s value. If you have a deck, renew and extend it. If it’s as big as you can make it, consider an enclosure, open kitchen or fire pit upgrades. Making an outdoor cooking space can turn a dull backyard into a selling feature. There is no single exterior renovation project that can match this as a value boosting upgrade.

5. Install Accessories

This includes simple stuff like a new address plaque or cool new mailbox, and more complex things like custom lighting or an electric remote garage door. Use your imagination or ask a Toronto exterior renovation expert for advice.

Feel free to call us if you wish to know more! Royal Home Improvements are here for you.

4 Ways to Brighten Your Kitchen

The winter months can often seem dark and gloomy. Depending on where you live, the winter cold will set in and your family will be stuck indoors for a few months. Many people have a hard time dealing with the shorter days. One way to brighten your kitchen in the winter is by brightening up your home! The kitchen is a central location for many homes. There are many ways that you can make your kitchen more colorful.

Bright Kitchen



















1) Add some light to the room
Adding light to the room can really brighten up the space! Change out those old light fixtures or add a skylight if you can. Even something as simple as pulling your blinds up can let more light in. Some people choose to add spotlights in certain spots. This is a great option and helps you see what you are doing better.

2) Add some color
Painting is another simple and easy way to brighten up your kitchen. Choose bold, rich colors to add some life to the kitchen. Fresh, light colors will also liven up a kitchen. Be sure that you pick colors you like. Do not worry about whether the color is fashionable or not. You can also hang up decorations to add some color to your kitchen.

3)Add plants
Purchase a few plants that you can keep on the counter or on the floor. Plants are an easy way to make your kitchen a little less gloomy. Those long winter months can also be brightened with a vase full of daisies!

Bright Kitchen
























4)Tile back-splash
A back-splash is another easy way to brighten the kitchen. There are several kinds of back-splash that come in a variety of colors. You could do all white, all teal, or mix it up with lots of colors. The possibilities are endless!

Choosing The Right Kitchen Countertop

Locating great kitchen counter tops is a lot easier than you may believe. With affordability, fashion, and function, shoppers now have a multitude of choices. This article can assist you in making a good choice when choosing the best kitchen countertops.

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Granite Countertops. Accessible in a variety of colors, granite countertops last long and are aesthetically pleasant. They are immune to water spots, heat, and the routine wear and tear.

Marble Countertops. They are quite pleasant to the eye and very resistant to heat and water. Semiannual cleaning and resealing are usually needed. They are rarely scraped and often quite pricey.

Engineered Stone. It has a smooth finish and involves very little maintenance. It is immune to stains, heat, and bacteria. Engineered Stone countertops tend to possess the exact same vibrant appearance as Marble or Granite countertops.

Stainless Steel. Stainless Steel is the most recyclable of all materials. Stainless Steel is presented as a green alternative for the kitchen. Additionally, it adds a contemporary touch to any home. A very small amount of care is needed.

Concrete. Concrete comes in any color and has a modern feel. It is resistant to heat and is a permanent fixture. Concrete counters can stain rather easily and are extremely heavy when attempting to setup.

Butcher Block Counters. These counters are an excellent eco-friendly selection, since no new trees are required to be cut down for manufacturing purposes. Butcher Block Counters are moderately priced and scratches can be removed by simply sanding the wood.

Laminate Kitchen Counters. It offers an assortment of shades and designs. These counters are a very easy to keep clean and extremely affordable. It’s also an excellent do-it-yourself job. Trivets are recommended to prevent heat damage.

Soapstone Counters. Soapstone Counters are visually appealing. It is highly resistant to heat and spots, although prone to breaking and can be quite expensive to fix.

Solid Surfacing Countertop. Solid Surfacing Countertops are also called Corian countertops. This material features an enormous variety of shades as well as designs. There is usually very little maintenance, and it is immune to stains and heat.

Even though deciding on the best countertop for the kitchen will often be challenging, replacing kitchen countertops is among the most effective ways to modernize the design of your kitchen and add value to your property.

Home Improvements to Chase the Winter Blues Away

Renovations

You don’t have to be stuck inside this winter with the blahs. Even though you can’t get outside to work on projects around the house, you can do many things to chase away your cold weather blues and spruce up your home. There are three key areas you can work on even when the temperature is below freezing.



Lighting

The lack of daylight can dampen the mood of the most cheerful people. But you don’t have to stay in the dark. Winter is the perfect time to consider adding some light to your home.

If you want to save money, look at LED lights. You can also add dimmers to your lighting system to save on utility bills. Buy that chandelier you have had your eye on to add elegance to your dining room.

Add warmth to your home

A ceiling fan is a great way to add light and warmth and light to your home. Newer designs can add a spark to any room. To keep heat in your room, you can rotate your fan clockwise to bring the warm air down to where you are.

As the temperatures drop, you can make home improvements to help you keep your home warm. Ask a heating and air professional to do an energy audit. Some routine maintenance may help save you money on your utility bills.

How long has it been since you have changed your thermostat? Newer models allow you to adjust your thermostat to one comfortable setting. You can even invest in one that allows you to adjust the temperature of your home remotely.

Fix up your bathroom

Are you tired of looking at the grout in your tile? Do you long to have a Jacuzzi tub? Winter is a great time to modernize your bathroom and turn it into the bathroom you really want.

Many of the renovations, such as replacing a faucet or tile, are easy to do. If you want that new tub or shower, contact a professional to help you.

Top Three Kitchen Renovation Mistakes

kitchen renovationYou may look at an old kitchen and think its no problem renovating it. So you go about it. The tear out looked easy, but it becomes difficult. When it comes time to rebuild, the stumbling blocks became almost monumental. Key mistakes makes even minor tasks turning into a major difficulties.




1.  Lack of Planning

A lack of planning is a top mistake made. When it comes time to tear out the old, plumbing and electrical fixtures have to be disconnected first. If it’s an old house, it may have just one whole-house water shutoff. Electrically, it may have just one breaker for half the house. You have to plan for this, and take the correct course of action, such as installing more shutoffs, even before the tear out begins.

2.  Unforeseen Difficulties

Many problems pop up as the work is progressing. For example, a hidden wasp’s nest may be encountered during the tear out. Pipes may have asbestos insulation, requiring a HAZMAT crew to tear them out. The mistake of not expecting the unexpected leads to time delays and the project going over budget.

3.  Shoddy Workmanship

Another key mistake is to trust a “hack” to perform quality craftsmanship. Shoddy workmanship leads to call backs (if they ever come back) and lawsuits. Plumbing connections may drip, cabinets may be out of square, and tiles may fall off in a month after the “craftsmen” leave. Not investigating the building contractor thoroughly before the job begins leads to trouble.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. When you do a kitchen renovation job, it starts on a blank pieced of paper even before the job begins. You have to account for even the small details, such as walls being slightly out of square. If you decide to do it just as it goes along, it will lead to nothing but troubles and headaches.

Always trust the professionals when it comes to your kitchen renovation.

8 Major Benefits of Bathroom Renovations

bathroom renovationsYou should never think of a bathroom renovation as an extra expense. Even the smallest upgrade adds a tremendous amount of benefit. Remember that you and most other people spend a huge amount of time in the bathroom. What you do in there is your business, of course, but no matter what it is, don’t you want to do it in luxurious comfort?

At the very least, you do not want to do it in a place with a distracting leak, a toilet that refuses to flush, or while looking at a nondescript plain wall. You see, a renovation is not just about form, it is about function as well. Consider some of these benefits involving both those things.

1. Improve Your Own Enjoyment and Relaxation with a Renovation

Your bathroom is not just a place to perform a function. It can be, and that is how some people use it. Consider your own comfort and relaxation. Even small changes can make a huge difference. You can place something soft onto that cold, impersonal toilet seat.

You can make a small space feel larger with changes to colors and patterns. Many people do not think of them that way, but those small changes are, in fact, renovations.

There are also the big changes. Turning the tub into something more spa-like, so you can go from simply taking a bath, to luxuriating in bubbly pleasure. You can upgrade the shower heads and even add more of them, to make a shower much more appealing.

Some people even like to add small screens in the wall or mirror, so they do not miss a show, a game, or just to have something to look at.

Always consider your comforts. Outside of everything else, it is probably the number one benefit to a bathroom renovation.

2. Improve the Appearance of the Bathroom and the Home

A bathroom renovation will, of course, make the bathroom look better. But it will also make your home as a whole look better.

Have you ever gone to someone’s house, admired it and then walked into their bathroom? Was the bathroom the equal of the rest of the home? If it was not, then you should have suggested they think about renovating it.

Appearance is not everything. It is pointless to make a bathroom look better without adding functionality, but appearance does count for a lot. Do not be the person with the gorgeous home and hideous bathroom. This goes for all of your bathrooms as well. Some people will upgrade the main bathroom, but neglect the second or half bath. Your other bathrooms deserve love too.

Besides, a nice appearance also adds to your comfort as mentioned previously. The two can go hand-in-hand.

3. Add Space to Your Bathroom with a Remodel

Space is important on many levels. When you walk into your bathroom, do you have to turn sideways to get something done? If you sit on the toilet, are you literally right next to or within touching distance of some other bathroom fixture? You need some space in there.

This also goes back to your own comfort. No one should feel claustrophobic in their own bathroom. There are two ways to add space with a bathroom remodel.

  • Add more space with construction
  • Add virtual space by switching out fixtures and components

Both of these options are viable. If you have the means, then adding literal space can help a lot. If your bathroom fixtures are already up to date, then spacing them out is all you need.

If you cannot add physical space, you can start the process of swapping your components for other, more efficient ones that save space. That is one way to make your current space seem larger than it really is.

In addition, that extra space can turn into space you can use to declutter the rest of your home. You can add more cabinets in the bathroom or additional storage space for towels and linens.

You can move the bulk toilet paper from the garage or kitchen and put it where it belongs. There are a lot of possibilities; it is up to you and your contractor to figure out how best to utilize them.

4. Increase the Value of the Entire Home with a Bathroom Renovation

Most remodeling work increases a home’s value. When selling a home, potential buyers often look to the bathrooms as a statement of the home in general. If the bathroom is nice, they assume everything else is nice as well. Some people go out specifically looking for remodeled bathrooms.

A bathroom remodel can literally pay for itself in its return on investment. It does not always happen that way, but if you pay attention to the details, you can make your bathroom work for you. Even if you have no plans on selling anytime soon, it will feel good knowing that your bathroom put work in for you already.

5. Improve the Cleanliness of Your Bathroom and Home

A more open and spacious bathroom gives you the ability to clean it more effectively. In fact, there is a psychological aspect to a more beautiful bathroom. Simply because it is new and renovated, you may have more of a drive and incentive to keep it immaculate. When dealing with your old bathroom, you can become a little lax in keeping it clean.

Additionally, old fixtures and bathroom components can hide things that contribute to bad hygiene. For instance, rusty pipes carry stuff to your shower, bath, and sink that you probably do not want touching you.

All that buildup on your shower head is not anything you want mixing with your water. These things include bacteria, germs, and pathogens. A quick upgrade, or a complete overhaul, can make that particular problem go away.

6. Improve Your Home Renovation Confidence

Many people want to make large and sweeping renovations to their home. But they are scared of the process, and all that it entails. A good place to start with is the bathroom. As mentioned, you can make small or large changes.

Either way, you will gain the confidence of knowing that not only is it possible to perform a renovation, it is also not as hard as you previously thought. You may just suddenly find yourself wanting to redo the kitchen, convert a bedroom, or finally get around to finishing that basement.

Let your bathroom renovation represent that first step towards turning your home into your dream home.

7. Save Money on Utilities and Add Energy Efficiency to Your Home

You do not have to go completely “green.” However, simply updating old fixtures can help you save money on water. It is also an easy way for you to help your fellow human beings as well. Many people assume that these upgrades will cause you to lose out on your comforts, but that is not true.

Low-flow fixtures sound like they cannot handle comfortable pressure, but they absolutely can. That is why many are trying to move from the “low-flow” title and call them “high-efficiency” instead. The same goes for lighting.

You can also save a lot of money by doing these smaller upgrades yourself. Swapping out a shower head is not the most difficult thing in the world. Neither is putting in some new light bulbs. Of course, if you want to go beyond that, speak to your contractor.

8. Improve Your Overall Health

Much like improving cleanliness, a bathroom upgrade can also improve your overall health. There are two different levels to this improvement; psychological and physical.

Remember that all of those old fixtures could hide a lot of things that can make you sick over time. The same is true of your walls and other immovable surfaces. Mildew and mold can build up without you ever noticing.

Keep in mind that bathrooms represent a moist and humid environment, which is perfect for mold propagation. This is especially true of older homes, or homes that have never had any changes to the bathroom. Over long periods of time, that growth can occur and make you sick without you realizing the reason.

There is also a psychological effect. A newly renovated bathroom that looks and feels good, will make you feel good. It is as simple as that. And while it is not the one thing that can bring you out of a depression, it can definitely lift your spirits a little every time you step into it. When you feel good, you feel better. That is just a fact, look it up.

What Are You Waiting For? Start Your Renovation

You may think that a remodel or renovation will cost too much. It is true that these things can get a little pricey, especially if you need several different subcontractors. But even when the price is high, there is still a good return on your investment over time.

As you can see, you do not have to go all out for your renovation. You can do small things, or just one thing at a time. There is nothing wrong with a slow renovation. You can simply get new faucets installed, or change the shower head.

You can get a paint job on the walls, or add color and decorations. You do not have to break the bank to make your bathroom cleaner, more efficient, more comfortable and better looking.

For larger jobs, always consult with a professional. It’s important that somebody who knows they’re doing advise you on the best way to go about making a major change to your bathroom. There is nothing really stopping you from starting. Do some research, see what is out there, and get to it.

Top Renovations for Fall

The fall season means that temperatures are finally starting to cool down, but it also means that the bitter cold winter days are almost here. Since everyone wants to spend as much time inside as possible during the winter, it is a good idea to get your home renovations done this fall. You will have perfect weather to complete your projects while also preparing your home for the upcoming bad weather. While there are several home renovations that are great to start in the fall, these are the three most important.

Painting

A fresh coat of paint on the walls can add new life to any home. Since your windows will have to be open to reduce the paint fumes, the fall is the perfect time to start painting. The great fall weather makes it possible to air out your home without having to worry about living in uncomfortable temperatures. Paint also has a hard time drying in cold temperatures, so adding a new coat to your walls is not ideal in the winter.

Window Replacement

If you need to replace the old windows in your home, then there is not a better time to undergo the project than the fall. While it is possible to replace windows in the winter, you will most likely have to build a temporary wall to protect your home from the outside elements. Replacing windows before winter is also a good idea because the new windows can save you money on your heating bills each month. Old windows usually are not sealed properly, so cold air can enter your home through the cracks.

Roof Repair/Replacement

The weight of snow can extremely damage the integrity of your roof, so it is best to repair any problems before winter. Roof renovations require several hours of hard work, so it is best to get them done when there is no extreme weather. Repairing a roof in the cold and snow is the last thing you want to do, so you should fix any problems this fall.

7 Ideas To Take Your Interior Renovation To The Next Level

Untit3d 5Once an interior renovation or new build is complete, many homeowners start thinking about all the little things they could have done to take their project from great to perfect. It’s difficult to add the little things like plugs, wiring, solar tubes, and any other extras after your contractor completes your renovation.

Working with an experienced and knowledgeable contractor is a great way to ensure that you’re not forgetting about the smaller details of your renovation and provide you with a creative way to incorporate them.

To ensure your interior renovation is everything you’ve been dreaming of, our team wants to give you a list of seven ideas that will make your renovation beautiful and functional.

1.    Plug placement: After a renovation many homeowners feel as though they don’t have enough plugs or the outlets aren’t in the right places. Outlets can be built into just about anywhere: inside drawers, in pantries, the ground, in cupboards (and if you’re not sure where you need plugs – we can help you out!).

2.    Full size cupboard in laundry room or kitchen pantry: Having a full sized cupboard in your laundry room or kitchen pantry is an ideal spot to store your cleaning items. As cleaning supplies are necessities in the home, it’s ideal to have a convenient place where you can tuck everything away.

3.    Central vac with vac pans: Say goodbye to your portable vacuum forever! Installing a central vac system cuts down the noise, reduces allergens, is more versatile, and adds value to your home.

 4.    Versatile drawers: Drawers that don’t function well are usually a waste of space. Planning drawers to store what you need them too (i.e., non-refrigerated items, appliances, pots and pans, clothing, shoes) will allow you to optimize your space and stay organized.

 5.    Pick your paint first: It’s always smart to pick your paint before you purchase new furniture or accessories. This allows you to go in the direction you’re envisioning successfully and guarantee that your home flows perfectly. 6.    Use natural light: Using the natural light that comes through your home by installing solar tubes or properly placing windows will make your home bright while saving you money.

 7.    Spend your time wisely: Renovations can be time consuming and it’s important to not spend all of it thinking about the faucets, towel hooks, or doorknobs. These are all important aspects, but spending time thinking about the steps needed to get to finished result is just as important and will save you time.

Need guidance for your next interior renovation? Contact our designers for their expertise and ideas!

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