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!

Add Warmth with these Easy Interior Renovations

add warmth with these easy interior

 Warming Up Your Home

Are you dreading winter because your home is always cold despite the heating bill taking a large chunk out of the monthly budget? Some simple solutions may be all that is needed. If you have tried everything and still get that winter chill, you may want to consider some home renovations to help heat things up. In addition to firing up the fireplace and adding rugs or carpets to bare floors, here are some renovations that might be just the solution you are seeking.

Radiant Electric Floor Heat

Radiant electric floor heat can be a great solution for heating a single area such as a kitchen or bathroom. Laid under the flooring material, the radiant floor heating systems are available for use under tile, laminate, carpet and engineered wood flooring. The system comes in a loose wire style that runs across the floor. Mat systems, where the wires are arranged inside a mat, are also available. Adding the radiant electric floor heating is done in conjunction with replacing the existing flooring. A wall thermostat is used to control the level of heat.

Electric Toe-Kick Heaters

Electric toe-kick heaters fit into the toe-kick space underneath cabinets. They are a good solution for warming chilly feet in a kitchen or bathroom. Electric toe-kick heaters are installed under an existing cabinet by removing the toe-kick panel. Units are controlled by a switch or thermostat. Hot water heating systems are also available.

Cove Heaters

Cove heaters are a good solution for a chilly bedroom or family room. They are radiant panels that emit heat downward. Since there is no fan, the cove heater makes no noise. Mounted near the ceiling, cove heaters are discreet and accidental burns are highly unlikely.

Ceiling Fan Heater

A ceiling fan with a built in heater can circulate warm air around the room. Installed like a regular ceiling fan, they provide even heat over a large area. The ceiling fan heater pumps out warms air and the fan blades circulate the air around the room. In addition, it can be used as a regular ceiling fan in the warm months. The unit can be wired to an existing circuit and comes in manual or remote control models.

Attic Insulation

The amount and R-value of insulation in your attic is an important factor in keeping your home warm. Insulation is rated according to R-value and specific R-values are recommended based on your location. R-value rates the ability of the insulation to resist heat traveling through it. Higher R-values are recommended for cooler climates, while lower values are recommended for warmer climates.

Your home can be a warmer, cozier retreat this winter. Consider some simple renovations to take the chill off this winter and for many winters to come.

Home Additions to Improve your Kitchen this Fall

The kitchen is a room in the home that is often easy to improve. There isn’t a lot of space, making it easier to get a full view of what you are doing and how designs will blend together instead of looking at one area at a time. There are a few improvements that you can make in the kitchen during the fall season that can make the room comfortable and enjoyable for having a meal with family.

kitchen home improvement

Open Up

Cabinets on the walls can often make the room seem small. You might not have as much room as you desire, either. One of the ways that you can open up the room is by taking the cabinets down and adding shelves. You can display dishes that you don’t use or glass containers with spices and baking products. An open shelf system is a way to see what you have to cook with while giving more room to add decorations that others can see. This is a kitchen home improvement that can add a touch of modern design to the home.


You might not think that new appliances can make a difference, but if you make the right changes, then you can even make the kitchen seem larger. Consider stainless steel or white colors for the appliances. Lighter colors can make your kitchen seem larger. If you already have lighter colors, then think about changing them to something darker for a dramatic difference. This can give the comforting feeling to the home as warmer colors can be used with the dark appliances.


A change in the hardware can have a dramatic effect on how the kitchen looks. Change the direction of the hardware on cabinets and drawers while changing the color as well. If you are updating the entire kitchen, then consider using hardware that is in a decorative shape instead of something plain and simple. However, if you’re going for a modern look that doesn’t have a lot of overwhelming design, then you might want to use hardware that is of a straight line in a monotone color. Toronto hardware stores often have a large selection of designs to choose from that can be used on drawers and cabinets of all sizes.


This is an idea for those who want a little design on the walls without painting the entire wall. Backsplash is easy to add as some designs have a sticky surface on the back. All you have to do is remove the paper and place the design on the wall. Some designs require glue to adhere to the wall. Backsplash is often used behind a stove, but you can use it as a trim along the counter area. You can sometimes cut the backsplash pieces to make a design on the wall that blends with the theme of the room.

The Best Materials for a Bathroom Reno

Before starting a bathroom renovation, make sure to pick out the materials that you intend to use and come up with a plan. Knowing which materials you want can help you to figure out how your bathroom will look once it is completed; however, remember that looks are not the only factor. You will have to consider durability, how resistant the materials are to moisture and mold as well as how easy they are to clean. Consider visiting a showroom where the different bathroom components are on display. This can give you a better feel for the materials and show you what is available. Here are the main bathroom components and the materials that you should consider:

bathroom materials

  • Flooring
    Tile is the most popular type of flooring for bathrooms. You should opt for larger tiles with neutral color schemes. Given the fact that bathrooms are subject to humidity, opt for ceramic tiles as these have more texture which can help to prevent slipping. Honed natural stone can provide the same benefit. Other options include sealed wood floors and vinyl, which is usually very affordable.
  • Countertops
    Your countertops must be able to stand up to moisture while also providing a usable surface. Your vanity top can serve as a focal point for your bathroom and there are options available to suit a wide range of budgets and tastes. Granite or marble can provide your vanity with a luxurious look while engineered stone is durable and easy to repair if it gets scratched. Laminate, tile and wood are alternatives that are more economical; however, they can be less durable and not as easy to maintain.
  • Cabinets
    You will want cabinets that are easy to clean and that give your bathroom the look that you want, whether you prefer a modern or antique look. Woods like oak, cherry or walnut are popular materials and bathroom cabinets that look like antique dressers are currently fashionable. An exhaust fan can help to limit the moisture that might cause damage to wood cabinets.
  • Fixtures
    Your sink is another of the important components in your bathroom design. Traditionally, bathroom sinks have been made from porcelain; however, other materials have become popular in recent years. Glass and cast iron sinks are available and can provide you with a greater range of decoration options. When it comes to bathtubs, commonly used (and less expensive) materials include acrylic and enameled cast iron. Marble, onyx and granite are some of your more costly bathtub material options. For toilets, the standard material is porcelain. There is a wide variety of color and design options for porcelain toilets, which may call for you to spend some time on the decision.
  • Backsplashes
    Bathroom backsplashes are another way that you can give the room a focal point. There is a wide range of tile materials to choose from, including glass and subway tile. Both materials are available in numerous colors. Mosaic tile patterns can give a bathroom character while helping it to feel bigger.

Additions to Improve your Home’s Exterior

They say a picture is worth thousand words, but when it comes to owning a home, the exterior says it all. This is why having good curb appeal is so important. Good curb appeal will dramatically improve your home’s appearance and its value. Any money you invest to improve your home’s exterior is returned upon sale. Here are some additions for improving the exterior of your home.


Most people agree that the front door is a good place to start. However, one of the most neglected exterior projects is the driveway. A dreary looking driveway can make the entire house look dull; however, adding some edging along the sides can dramatically improve the driveway’s appearance. This project is easy to do and it’s affordable. Modern materials are so easy to install that just about anyone can do it. You can find many styles of driveway edging at your local big-box home improvement store.

The mailbox is also an exterior improvement that is frequently overlooked. Most houses come with a plain pole in the ground with the mailbox attached to the top of the pole. This is adequate, but not very attractive. Decorating the pole to match the siding is one way to improve its appearance. Changing the metal pole to a nice wooden one is another idea. In fact, there are dozens of affordable ideas on how to make the mailbox look more attractive.

Adding some new landscaping and flowerbeds also goes a long way toward improving the home’s curb appeal. These kinds of additions can be both affordable and fun for the entire family. The project does not require any special tools. All that is needed is a bit of work and some creativity. In fact, nothing can improve your home’s curb appeal faster than a well landscaped yard.

Windows are often overlooked too. Making some new additions to the windows can improve curb appeal and help save you some money. Retractable awnings keep the heat out in the summer, but they allow the sun in during the winter when rolled up. They also make the windows look great.

Now it is time to move to the front door. Sometimes all that is needed is a fresh coat of paint or stain. However, adding a new front door comes with some added benefits. For instance, older doors are drafty. New doors will have extra insulation. They also provide a better seal to cut down on electricity use. Another benefit is they are lighter.

Doing some additions to improve your home’s exterior will be money well spent. In most cases there is a positive return on investment. Moreover, when you improve your home’s curb appeal you get some personal satisfaction as well. Personal satisfaction can be the best investment of all.

Make the Most of Your Cottage Renovations

Is your beach house, Craftsman bungalow or vintage cottage in need of some TLC? If so, we’re hoping these cottage remodeling ideas will help you make the most of your cottage renovations. 

cottage reno

Prioritize Your Most Important Cottage Renovation Projects

When renovating a vintage home, there’s an important caveat to keep in mind. Aesthetics aren’t the most important part of this sort of project. When you’re remodeling an older home, the structural and safety issues are at least as important as the home’s décor and style.

A home inspector, preferably one with a background as a structural engineer, can help you uncover any hidden structural problems with the cottage. If you would be unlikely to discover structural issues on your own, this is a worthwhile investment to consider.

A home inspector can give you feedback about the status of all your cottage’s major systems and potential problem areas. A home inspection could uncover fire hazards, roof damage, damaged HVAC fixtures, insulation issues, decrepit wiring, or termite problems. If you find substantial damage in these areas, it’s advisable to prioritize them when you decide how to spend your renovation budget. 

Invest in a Home Energy Audit

It can really pay off to have your cottage’s energy consumption professionally assessed and audited. A home energy audit is likely to reveal areas specific to your cottage that you can focus on to make it more energy efficient. Increased energy efficiency will result in lower utility bills, which can offset your renovation costs substantially in the long term. 

Cottage Renovations Offering Significant Return on Investment

If your cottage renovations are motivated by a desire to sell the property for the best possible price, it’s worthwhile to consider some of the renovations that have provided the best return on investment for other homeowners in the recent past. A few of these include:

  • Replacing old entry doors with new steel or fiberglass entry doors
  • Adding a garage
  • Replacing the existing garage doors
  • Fixing up the exterior by replacing worn vinyl siding, or installing manufactured stone veneer
  • Replacing outdated kitchen counters with granite countertops
  • Adding a composite or wood deck
  • Remodeling the bathroom
  • Remodeling the kitchen
  • Refinishing damaged hardwood floors 

Updating the Cottage’s Style and Look

A vintage home doesn’t necessarily need to adhere to the most current trends, or even look remotely trendy. A large part of a cottage’s charm is its vintage appeal. However, many homeowners prefer to incorporate a mix of the new and the old into their cottages’ interior design schemes.

Refreshing tired paint colors can work wonders for making a vintage cottage feel fresh and updated. Replacing damaged tile is another simple task that accomplishes this goal. New kitchen and bath fixtures can rejuvenate these rooms and increase their efficiency.

These are just a few ideas for making the most of your cottage renovations. We hope these ideas will help guide you when you decide which renovation projects to tackle and help you end up with a fresh new look for your cottage.

Exterior Renovations in Toronto

If you have plans to make major improvements to the exterior of your Toronto home, you may be thinking about timing your renovation project to coincide with the weather. Toronto winters can be long and brutally cold, and at first it may make sense to plan the project to coincide with warmer weather conditions. However, regardless of the season, there is no better time than right now to get started planning your project. 

exterior reno

Exterior Renovation Ideas
An exterior renovation project may be as simple as repainting the siding and replacing the front door, or it may be as complicated as replacing the entire facade with a new material and design scheme. An improvement such as adding new shutters to the home may improve aesthetic appeal. However, remodeling the entire exterior to add a covered porch or to give the entire structure a facelift can add value and can breathe new life into your curb appeal. Some exterior renovation projects will add function to the home, such as installing a new fire pit or deck to the backyard. Before you contact a contractor, spend time thinking about all of the changes you would like to make to your home, and you can discuss these with the contractor during your initial consultation.

The Preliminary Planning Stages
Long before the actual work can be completed on your exterior renovation project in Toronto, careful planning must be completed. You will need to find and hire a contractor to work with, and the contractor will need to work with you to create plans. There may be several revisions to the plans that will need to be made based on the timing and the budget that you have established. The planning stage is a time to finalize the types of materials that will be used, to order those materials and to establish a final budget. This process may take as long as or even longer than the actual work on your home, and this is typically all work that can be completed during any season. 

Scheduling the Project
There are some aspects of an exterior renovation project that may need to be completed when there is not snow or ice on the ground or roof to contend with, but the contractor that you hire will be able to inform you about this. Keep in mind that other homeowners are also planning their exterior renovations in Toronto, and some may have already booked the services of a contractor for the first several weeks or even months of the warmer seasons. When you delay the planning stages of the project, you typically will be delaying getting on the schedule for the contractor as well as subcontractors that you need to hire to complete the entire project.

The sky is the limit when renovating the exterior of your home, and the renovation can improve the look, value and function of your home. You can work with a contractor to begin planning a renovation project that is affordable for the budget that you have established. There is no better time than right now to get started working on your renovation project.

Renovating for Toronto Summers

This year as you are looking through different ways to spend your Summer, you might consider staying home and enhancing your yard or patio areas instead of trekking across country to Edmonton or Vancouver. The money that you save on not traveling will likely pay for a great deal of the work that you intend to do on your home. At the same time, Toronto is very close to many day or weekend trip vacation spots on the lake, in wine country, or in cottage country- making it easy for you to use your home as a base and enjoy both worlds.

renovating for toronto summer

Here are some ideas for outdoor home improvements that can help you enjoy your Summer in Toronto:

Extend your patio

A lot of homes come with a set patio that lets you enjoy the Summer weather. But for entertaining, it is nice to have either enhanced materials as a surface or a larger space to be able to host your guests. Adding brick, flagstone, or other natural rock to your backyard patio area will make it a very popular place for you and your guests to relax in. Extending that look and coverage to create paths in your backyard or double the size of your patio can allow you to manage your yard more easily and add to the allure of coming home.

Build a deck

Whether you are interested in a ground floor deck or one that extends from an upper floor, decks are an attractive way of creating outdoor living space that allows you the convenience of creating an elevated view of your yard. They also can be constructed to give you privacy when your home is visible from the yards of neighbors.

Add an outdoor kitchen

Summertime is for having barbecues. Yet if you want to enjoy your yard like they do year-round in California, adding an outdoor kitchen with all-weather cabinetry and counter tops can make using your backyard seem like second nature. With a gas stove or barbecue and the space to create your famous BBQ meals, your project money will be well spent.

Extend your season

Although summers are great in Toronto, they never last as long as you want them to. By adding an awning and/or heating elements you can create a space that allows you to continue to enjoy your backyard well into the fall. Awnings are typically made from metal or cloth. They provide shelter from rain and can be extended to add temporary walls that will keep wind gusts from interfering with your time outdoors. Retractable awnings make for one of the best solutions in a climate like Toronto has. And then of course, adding a fire pit or a gas heat lamp will make your evenings very comfortable.

Toronto has a lot to offer year-round. By enhancing your home this Summer, you will be able to enjoy the outdoors longer and better- adding value to both your house and your experience.

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Residential Construction: What You Need to Know

Residential construction begins when the property owner decides that it is time to build. Generally the first step that they have to take is hiring an architect to design the new home to be built. The architect will work with the owner to flesh out their ideas and come up with a master blueprint of the finished design.

residential construction

The owner will then take the blueprint to a general contractor. The general contractor will bid on the entire residential construction job and if he is hired will then take care of most of the remaining details of construction. This includes any inspections that are required during the entire process.

The contractor’s first job will be to get permits from the local government offices for the work that needs to be done. After this he will send in an excavation crew to prepare the site for residential construction. The excavators will remove trees and other plants from the area. They will then dig a hole for either the basement or a crawlspace, depending on the blueprints.

Following them will be the concrete and masonry team. They will dig footings around the perimeter of the future residential construction and lay a concrete foundation. On top of this they will either lay a level slab for a basement or build the low block wall for a crawlspace. If a basement is being put in the block layers will come in after the original slab is poured to build the basement walls. When all of these foundations are in place and given a chance to cure the excavators will return to fill in around the foundation.

Finally it is time for the framing carpenters to arrive. They will begin by building a floor on the newly made foundation. Atop this they will begin building the framework of the residential construction. They will construct all of the exterior walls first, followed by any interior load bearing walls that are needed. On top of these framed in walls they will place the roof trusses and cover all of the exterior surfaces with wood sheeting. The framers will then complete their part of the residential construction by framing in any remaining interior walls that are needed.

After the framers leave multiple crews will begin working at the same time. Electricians, plumbers, HVAC installers and roofers will be climbing over and through the framework of the new residential construction installing and starting their parts of the projects. The roofers and HVAC installers will be finished first, while the plumbers and electricians will need to return to finish their part.

Insulators, drywallers and painters will follow each other through the various rooms covering up the bare framework, wires and pipes. They in turn will be followed by the finish carpenters, tile installers, carpet installers and cabinet installers that will put the finishing touches on the home. Mixed in with these groups will be the returning electricians and plumbers to install their fixtures on top of the finished walls, floors and ceilings.

The residential construction project is now complete and ready to be moved into. All that remains for the owner to do is hire a landscaper!

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Bathroom Renovations on a Budget

Bathrooms experience a lot of activity and changes in temperature and humidity, which takes a toll over time. Fixtures, features, walls and flooring get dingy, worn out and outdated, leaving this room looking tired and old. When you need to renovate your bathroom, the costs might make your heart skip several beats. Don’t let that discourage you; there are ways to improve the look of this necessary space without killing your budget.

Bathroom Reno

Add New Wall Treatment

Adding a new coat of paint, wainscoting or even just hanging wall art transforms the look of a bathroom very quickly. If painting, make sure you clean walls thoroughly to remove dirt, soap scum, mold or mildew or your paint job won’t last. If you choose wainscoting, pick vinyl instead of wood, because it will handle the humidity of the room better and is usually easier to clean.

Add New Fixtures

Replace your old, worn fixtures with new ones. You can find attractive fixtures at reasonable prices and as long as they all match, it will improve the whole look of the bathroom. Stick with a similar color scheme throughout the bathroom to create design harmony. For example, if you have a mirror framed in a silver metal, choose silver-colored fixtures.

Use Decorative Tiles

Wall tiles offer one inexpensive way to add color and style to a boring bathroom without much work. Use colorful glass or ceramic tiles to frame a mirror, create a pattern on a wall or replace ugly old broken tiles on the wall or floor.

Replace Old Grout

Grout degrades over time and collects mildew and soap scum, which are hard to remove from the crevices of crumbling grout. Use a grout-removing tool to remove the old grout from your bathroom tiles, then clean the area and replace the grout with mold and mildew resistant grout. If all tiles are still clean and in good repair, it can look like you have replaced the entire bathtub, shower or flooring, respectively, after you have done this.

Resurface the Vanity

An old vanity can look new again with a new surface. There is usually no need to remove the old surface as long as you clean it well and make sure it is smooth. Then, either add tiles or laminate to the top for a brand new appearance.

Before you start making any changes, remember to scrub your bathroom thoroughly from top to bottom. This can give you a fresh perspective on features and fixtures that can remain versus those that are too worn or outdated to keep. If your budget is so small that you can only afford to replace one thing at a time, know that it will eventually be accomplished.

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