Time for a RENO? Tips on how to shop for that Reno…

October 1st, 2012 | Comments »

When it come to reno’s we often see half the cost of the project going to materials so it’s important to look out for what can hold you up on the project. If you’re into DIY then avoiding some minor and or major hiccups can help you make the most of your investment. As an experienced DYI professional you know the importance of buying materials that have been tested and are top quality. It’s also important that you’re comfortable with your vendors so you know what you’re getting. Here are some additional tips we’ve found that can help you pick out the best materials and products for your home.

1. Know the good and bad to buying off the shelf.
  • First be sure to check the box, does it look like it has been opened or returned? If yes then don’t buy it. Returned items may have damage and missing parts.
  • You can get some great deals on good products at your local home store, but you have to know what you’re looking for. For instance, plumbing fixtures should be made of brass, not metallic-looking plastic. And cheaper paint often requires more coats and fades more quickly.
2. Get recommendations.
  • A good store owner should have established relationships with reps, so use the recommended suppliers if you can. If DYI is your thing then I’m sure you know that asking around for suggestions is key to your project.
  • To be on the safe side consider add 30 percent to any delivery time frame as well as building a healthy contingency fund into your budget, just in case.
3. Just because it looks like a duck …
  • A lot of houses are still piped with copper, so repairs and remodeling will generally be done in copper as well. Half-inch copper pipe is 5/8 inch in diameter, but the thickness of the copper depends on the type. Consider your options and do your homework as saving money in materials now could mean re-opening walls later to deal with problems that have come up.
  • Whether you are paying someone else or doing work yourself labour is expensive; buying quality materials is essential to making sure you’re not doing twice thew work.
4. Sometimes you don’t get what you thought you were paying for.
  • From what we have been told some brands spend more on advertising than on making quality products. Do your research and make sure the product you’re buying is current.
  • Material costs will fluctuate and can effect the product that’s being produced. As products change you could go from quality to a dud.
5. Let someone else be the guinea pig.
  • If you feel comfortable testing materials & products on your own home that’s definitely up to you. However you definitely can benefit from the research out there on the products you’re looking for.
  • Speaking to those in the industry, your in store professionals as well as product research online to see what you’ll be working with.
  • Even if you are trying to remodel your home using environmentally friendly materials it’s important to ask questions.
6. Buy local.
  • There are many reasons to buy local and support your local economy, but there are two big reasons that are both related to shipping.
  •  Make sure to factor in the cost of shipping when pricing out materials. A local vendor will usually not charge extra for shipping, and you can schedule the delivery.
  • Shipments of online purchases can result in headaches if no one is around when a big, heavy delivery shows up.
  • If you are concerned about the environment, the distance a product ships should always be a concern. Bamboo flooring is made from grasses that are rapidly renewable, but if it’s coming to you from across the world, a flooring product made close to home might be a greener choice.
7. Buy salvaged.
  • It is found that you can often get better quality building materials with more character for less money by buying from a salvage shop or auction.
  • There are positives & negatives to this; you may have to pay more in labour, but  this is an opportunity to support your community.
  • Sinks and tubs are good if the finish isn’t damaged, how it’s suggested to avoid faucets unless the seller can show you they work without leaks.
  • Doors, hardware and masonry along with stone, wood and glass are all great materials to buy salvaged. With light fixtures be sure to keep in mind that they may need to be rewired, however this is a way to keep a vintage piece out of the garbage.
8. Buy extra.
  • Waste is the term that is used for extra materials that have been ordered; this because the cutoffs usually end up as waste unless they are recycled.  The best way to figure out how much ‘waste’ to order is by following a manufacturer’s or installer’s recommendations.
  • In the absence of those, use these tips.
    • If confident about your measurements and the method of installation, you could get away with ordering 10 percent more of items like flooring or wall coverings, but 15 percent waste is a safer bet.
    • If the item is special order, 15 percent is the minimum, and 20 percent may make sense depending on the situation.
  • Store your leftovers such as tile and grout  in labeled containers in a clean and dry storage area in case repairs are required.
9. Have someone else double check your work.
  • Before you approve a special order, especially for windows and doors have someone else familiar with the job look over the order for you.
  • One will not be able to send a custom door or windows back because it didn’t fit or swung/opened the wrong way.

10. Buy materials in advance.

  • Stopping work to wait for materials to arrive can be costly.
  • If you double the lead time you were told, you’ll usually be safe. Delays happen all the time. If the materials are onsite as needed then the contractor can check measurements and answer questions that the spec sheet doesn’t address.
  • If you don’t want to expose times to theft, store the materials offsite where your general contractor can get to them; however don’t try to time material deliveries for the moment they are needed.

Home Exterior Updates… 5 Tips to get you started!

September 21st, 2012 | Comments »

Every homeowner knows how important curb appeal is  and there are always all sorts of questions about how to update the exterior of our homes. However sometimes it’s hard to know where to start;  should you put your budget toward new paint or your wilting gardens?  From painting, lawn care & planning we thought we’d go through a few great tips for an exterior update. (Not to mention something for everyone’s budget.)

Easy MaintenanceBasic cleanup can go a long way in changing the curb appeal of your home.  Think about the following points when you go about your curb appeal upgrade:

  • Give your exterior a good power wash
  • Touch up paint trim
  • Mow your lawn
  • Spread fresh mulch over flower and plant beds.

If you’re looking for a one-day fix up, take it down another level. If it’s an afternoon project we’d suggest repainting the front door and adding some potted plants or shrubs. Small items such as flowers, a new bench and a new welcome mat are quick and inexpensive ways to instantly add curb appeal to your home.

Make sure the landscape and the house are connected

Landscaping is often what makes the biggest difference in exterior appeal. Whether you’re aiming for a quick freshening up or a complete front yard overhaul, take the time to come up with a basic plan for your landscape. Aim for a good balance of lawn and plants. Avoid just putting sod down and calling it a day; create a transition from the house to the grade by using species that descend in height from the house. This will give the appearance that the house is married to the landscape rather than plopped on a lot.
Look for the sight lines in your yard. Get a visual from the curb or drive by the space you want to update. Identify the where, the viewpoint that will pull you and your guest outside.  If you don’t have time or a budget to plant anything new, do a big cleanup. Detail trees and shrubs, and edge flower beds. Add topsoil and mulch to even out the grade, and weed and get rid of dead plantings.

Refresh with exterior paint- (#1 on our list)


After landscaping, a new paint job is what’s next on the list! For the biggest and most inexpensive way to update an exterior make sure this is on your list! Keep your colour palette simple for the most dramatic effect. (Visit us in store at Color Company so we can help you find just the right colour for your place.) There’s nothing worse than a home with too many elements, textures and colours mixed together. Keep consistency and simplicity in mind to bring out the elegance and charm of your home.

Try and look at what can or what you want to have changed when it comes to colour — such as natural stone or brick that not everyone likes to paint (however it’s up to you on what you want for your space)  It’s been suggest that sticking with two or three colours for your palette; siding, trim and accent is best. If you’d like to use the three colour palette, be sure to balance where you want the accent colour so it doesn’t overwhelm the siding and trim colour.

Many believe that making the accent colour the darkest of the three colour choices is always the best way to go. Use your colour to emphasize the great parts of your house and draw the eye away from any negative features. If you’re in need of a colour consultation to make sure you’re comfortable with the combination of colours and where on the house they’ll be used we can also assist with that. Often we see the shutters, front door and garage highlight for emphasis of the curb appeal. However each home is unique.

When it comes to older homes, do your research

Updating any part of your home’s exterior should be done with care, but older houses can come with their fair share of challenges. Renovating the exterior can be a great way to verify that vapor barriers and insulation are up to date — and inspect window frames, gutters and trim for any damage.

Even painting can cause some problems. Painting on an older home can be difficult, depending on how many layers of paint are on and how well it’s been painted over time, if you’re looking to figure this out don’t hesitate to contact us to assist you. Dealing with past paint projects and various layers can cause more prep work and material cost however doing it right is always the best place to start and we’d be happy to make sure that is taking place.

Architectural details- respect these! Window shutters, molding around windows and doors, trim and other exterior details can all add interest to exterior styles. Energy-efficient windows, new trim, gutters and siding can improve performance as well as aesthetic. Anything that improves the building envelope as well as curb appeal will go a long way, especially if you’re looking at  selling your home.

If you have the budget and the roof could use some upgrades it’s definitely something to consider.  Roofing is often overlooked when it comes to the exterior of the home and the curb appeal. Always a nice plus if you are selling!

What’s in your closet? What your clothes have to say when it comes to their colour…

September 15th, 2012 | Comments »

We thought we’d take some time to look at what the colour of your clothes have to say about you… as the pilgrimage  to Hollywood North comes to a close and we’ve seen so many great fashion finds throughout TIFF it’s hard not to examine our own closets and what Fall finds we might like to add. Here are a few

Black– Authority

If you work in a downtown of any major city this is the most popular colour you’ll see… and the go to shade for fashionistas. Black is the universal colour of authority, it has been shown that wearing the dark colour can make others believe you’re more competent and powerful.  If you’re looking to to the edge off or not make your outfit look as sharp try choosing something that has embellishments, ruffles or lace.

Red– Romance

Red is the sexpot at the rainbow’s end. It was found that men are more attracted to women wearing the ruby hue.  It is considered  that red is a stimulant for men; that it boosts arousal and makes them more into the chase.

Purple– Creativity

Looking for some inspiration? Grab some purple and throw it on.  The regal & royal colour of purple draws out the creative artist within us, and because it’s one of those colors that people either love or hate, wearing it sends the message that you’re a self-assured free thinker. If you’re looking for a more chic look using purple then try either brown or charcoal grey with this gorgeous hue.

Orange– Fun

If you’re looking for a more pull together note, then this may not be the colour choice for you!  Orange gives off a very enthusiastic and inviting vibe; it has been said that you should wear it when you’re looking to appear more friendly, social or approachable.  If you don’t feel an orange top or dress isn’t your thing, try a belt or a pair of shoes to give a pop of colour.

Green– Happiness

If you’re looking for something to pop you out of the mood you’ve been in then green is your go to colour.  Some think that the positive vibe that comes from green is from its connection to nature. Green can instantly bring about feelings of contentment.


This serene shade can soothe the person wearing it and makes the people around them feel at ease. However it’s important to consider the setting you’ll be in when choosing a tone. “Midnight hues (Navy) are great at job interviews, while lighter shades make party guests feel comfortable in your presence.

So what do you think? How do you feel in these colours… maybe when you’re looking to be in control, calm your life down slightly, go for a big interview or seduce your other half you’ll consider the colour here.


Have a great weekend!