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Spring Maintenance and Cleaning That Every Homeowner Should Do

Now’s another new year, and it is time for the regular spring-cleaning. We definitely love doing it. After all, it is a chance to let the house breathe through the open windows — refresh your home with clean air.

We advise you that you should not be daunted by this task. You can do it one at a time. An hour every day. And once you are done with everything, we are sure that you will never regret doing it or spending time with your home.

Anyway, for us to give you a bit of help, we have supplied an awesome check to follow.

Maintenance

  • Check exterior exhaust vents to ensure they are not blocked – birds, leaves etc need to be removed
  • Check exterior foundation for cracks
  • Check exterior grade for settling – its important to ensure that the ground is sloped away from your home to keep the foundation as free from water as possible.  If there is any settling be sure to add some soil to bring up to the proper grade
  • Check exterior caulking – cracked out deteriorated caulking can let water rot your exterior framing.  Take the time to remove old caulking and re-apply
  • Exposed wood or peeling paint – winters can be harsh in Canada and as a result rotting wood is a concern – especially wooden pillars, pickets, and handrails.  Inspect these carefully they can be a safety hazard.
  • Check shower/tub caulking and grout lines – remove old caulking and re-grout where necessary.

Basic Stuff

  • Dust bulbs and other lighting fixtures.
  • Wash and disinfect switch plates, knobs, cabinet handles, wherever people put their hands on regularly
  • Open windows and turn on electric fans — be sure it is not that cold outside or not snowing, but it is up to you
  • De-clutter rooms
  • Clean, vacuum, or wash carpets and mats
  • Clean places under furniture pieces
  • Wash windows
  • Clean air conditioning filters and vents if possible
  • Clean, and sanitize refrigerator and freezer
  • Clean oven, stove, and toaster if you have one
  • Vacuum sofa and wipe down chairs
  • Sort books and magazines

Hardcore Stuff

  • Wash sills, trims, and walls
  • Wash and scrub doors, especially the ones in the washrooms
  • Empty closets and cabinets, clean and wipe the insides and the items, and put them back in
  • Find unused items and get rid of it — donating or selling them is a good way to get them out of the house
  • Shine or polish metal fixtures like faucets
  • Sharpen your knives, disinfect cutting boards

Take the time maintain your home and you will feel better as well as retain the value of your home.

Simple Steps to Follow When Painting Your Room’s Walls

Is the paint on your walls peeling, cracking, or showing wear? This is not a big problem; to get perfectly painted walls follow these basic steps.

 

Clean the Walls

Before anything else, make sure that your walls are clean. No grease, dirt, or dust must be sticking on the wall. Do note that skipping this step will ruin your paint’s finish.

 

To clean your wall, just get a sponge, water, and mild detergent. Lather the detergent on the water, dab the sponge, and rub the sponge on the wall. After that, rinse the walls with water, and let it dry.  You can also use a product called TSP which is specifically designed for cleaning walls prior to painting.

 

Patching

When preparing your walls use drywall compound or a product called Drydex to cover any holes or blemishes.  Drydex goes on pink and dries white.  Sometimes these marks can be very difficult to see, it largely depends on the light in the room.  If you are very keen on details you can take a flashlight and slowly go over the walls from end to end.  You should be able to see all marks and blemishes using this process.

Once the patching material you use is dry, be sure to sand it with a flat surfaced sponge sander.  If you use a piece of sandpaper and your hand when you sand it is difficult to get a smooth wall.  Once you have completed sanding, clean all of the dust and debris by wiping down the walls with a damp cloth.

Once all of the dust is cleaned, it is time to caulk the gaps, cracks that may be showing between the trims and the walls.  When applying caulking use a damp cloth to wipe away the excess.  Using your finger doesn’t work as well and can leave an uneven finish.

Do Not Skip on the Prime

Depending on the colour you are painting, the walls may need to be primed.  You can have the primer tinted to reduce the number of coats of paint you may need to get an even finish.  There are also products that have the paint and the primer in one can – a great innovation for the painting industry!  Prior to coating the whole wall with primer, go over each of your patched areas with primer and a brush.  New compound needs the extra primer or the spots may show once you have completed painting.

Taping

Once all of the caulking and patching is dry.  To prevent a painting mess, make sure that you use painter’s tape (the blue or green tape you see in hardware stores). Tape the places you do not want to get painted (e.g., door frames, window, trim, etc.). It is very important to remove the tape before the paint dries.  If you wait, the new paint and the tape will stick together and when you remove the tape the paint may peel off with the tape.

Cleaning, Patching, Priming Complete – Time to Put on the Colour

Once you have the trims and ceiling taped off, complete all of the edging with a 2 – 2 1/2 inch brush.  For those tight to reach areas have a small brush handy.  If you can, work quickly so that you can roll the walls before the edging paint is completely dry.  This will help to reduce any potential lines.  Prior to rolling the paint on the walls remove all painters tape.

When rolling on the paint be careful not to put on too much paint at once.  If you do put on too much paint it may “run” or show drips.  A key to having a professional painting finish is to back roll all of the walls.  This means that once you have completed the wall or area you are painting, go back to the beginning and re-roll the wall without any new paint on your roller.  Be sure to have the part that connects the roller to your handle leading.  When you apply pressure with your roller, there will be more pressure on the side that is connected to the handle.  If the high pressure portion of the roller is trailing you may leave streaks.

Do Not Forget the Trim

Once you are done painting the walls and removing the tape it is time to paint the trims, and doors. This is the job that really counts – a quality paint job shows up the most on how well (or straight) you can paint the lines between the trims and the walls.

All done!  Time to step back and enjoy your handy work!

 

Renovation or Relocation

 

Renovation can be costly. Relocation can be a huge headache. But which will be the better choice? In some point in time, you could have asked this to yourself. Many factors should be considered. And this article will let you articulate and think about those considerations and factors.

Consider the Location of the New Property You are Eyeing

Are you prepared to leave the neighborhood that you were living in for years? Is the new property seated on a very convenient location? Those are just a few of the important questions you must ask yourself. And here are a few more:

  1. If you have a kid, is the local school good for your child?
  2. Is it near a market or mall? Is it walking distance from the new property?
  3. Is the property scalable? Are you allowed to renovate or expand the house on it?
  4. Is the house on the property a cookie-cutter house? Is it identical to the houses of your neighbor? Are you okay with that?
  5. Will you get what you want and will it be much more cost effective to relocate than renovate?

Some of these things can make or break your plan to relocate. Some of them cannot be controlled, which can easily make you create a decision for your family. Of course, your answers to those questions depend on your priorities.

Can You Let Go of Your House?

Have you made a lot of memories there and are you willing to let go of that special place? This is an essential factor that you must consider. Leaving your current house can be heartbreaking. Make sure that you also consult the other family members. Some of them might not handle letting go of the friends and places they have been accustomed and familiar with after all these years.

Is Your Budget Ready?

Remember that relocating might seem inexpensive first. However, you should know that it could be costly, too. You will need to hire movers, cleaners, and even real estate agents. You might also need to finish some contracts if you are renting. And you will be required to update some documents to reflect the changes in your address, and so on.

Why Renovate Instead?

If you are going to sell your house to relocate, it will be a good move to perform a renovation first. The good thing here is that the value of your property will rise. And you can easily get the amount of money you have spent on the renovation job.

On the other hand, it will delay your relocation plan. If you suddenly change your mind, then you will still have a nice house to keep. If your mind does not change, you still get to sell your old house on a higher price.

In a Nutshell

Depending on your priorities and family members, this decision can be complex or simple. Make sure to talk to them first. Having a nice house is good, but living with depressed people is much worse.

How to Have the Perfect Renovation Job

When renovating something in your home, the first rule that you should remind yourself is to be realistic. The second thing that you should think about is budget. Forgetting about those two will only spell a fail renovation, and a possibly empty pocket.

A friendly tip, which should be obvious to everyone, is to do some research. Do not let get your impulsive self do the best of you. Also, we want to remind you, and are future clients, that renovation costs do not end with us or any contractor that you will choose. You will also need to be mindful that you will or might need to get a few new appliances and materials to complete the renovation.

In addition, you set aside some extra money for unexpected expenses — whether it would come from the renovation job or any personal or financial problem you would suddenly encounter. Do note that just one unexpected expense can ruin your renovation plan. It might leave some walls unpainted, ceilings unfurnished, or even floors incomplete.

Disregarding our interests, we advise you to at least ask three contractors for quotes. But regardless of that, we assure you that getting us might be least expensive or inexpensive than our competitors, but you can rest assured that you will get quality work.

On the other hand, when it comes to your future appliances, spend time shopping around first. Your missus should certainly love that work if you are the man of the house.

As a perpetual advice, budget is always the name of the game when it comes to renovation. Without careful considerations of what you want and which factors you need to ponder about with the renovation job, you will only waste money and end up with a bad renovation work. No contractor would want to be blamed by a client who got his or her budget mixed up.

If you are interested in our services, you might want to contact us directly. We will even help you get some ideas on how much money you can spend and save when you hire us for the renovation work you want to get done.

Our contact numbers are there, and we would politely help you decide if you, and your finances, are ready to get a new look for the room or rooms that you want to renovate!

Getting Familiar with the Parts of Your House or Home

Let’s admit it. Most homeowners do not have any concrete idea about the parts of their house. To be honest, it isn’t a bad thing. After all, making houses is not everyone’s specialty. However, it can be a bad thing if you are going to ask somebody to do renovations in your home or build a house.

Why is that? First, you will have a difficult time communicating with the contractor that you will hire. Second, you might provide the wrong idea to the contractor, and it might lead results you don’t want. Third, malicious contractors that take advantage of unknowledgeable customers might fool you.

Of course, learning the parts of your home is not essential for adults alone. Kids and teens should get familiarized with them, too. After all, they will be homeowners themselves in the future.

Anyway, so what are the parts of a house?

Lot

This is the piece of land where your house will be built on. Of course, most people will be already familiar with it.

Flat Work

This is the part of the lot where concrete has already been applied. It can be a pathway, road, deck, driveway, patio, or your house’s floor.

Footing

This is the section of your house where your house and ground meet. Primarily, the footing support your house and allows it to “stand.”

Foundation

The foundation is the combination of walls and pillars that will support your house and flooring. It is often rooted down to the ground. Modern houses use concrete foundation for greater structure support. Wood can be also used. In some cases, some houses do not have foundations. However, different construction methods and materials are needed to create a house without a foundation.

Floor

Of course, you will be familiar with the floor. A floor can be made of wood, concrete, or a combination of both. In residential houses, wooden flooring is common. In commercial structures and buildings with multiple floors, concrete is the standard floor material.

Walls

Walls are essentially dividers. It divides the interior of your house and your property outside. And of course, it also divide your rooms as well. Aside from dividing rooms, walls also act as support for the roof or another floor.

Roof

And then you have your roof that goes on top of your house. Your house’s walls, foundation, and floor support your roof. Due to that, the materials that you can use for your roof depends on how sturdy and the materials used in your walls, foundation, and floor.

Systems

This includes the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing connections within your home. It also includes heating, ventilating, and air conditioning. In more modern homes, security, entertainment, and communication systems are included here.

Equipment and Fixtures

All the appliances and fixtures in your home are under this section.

Outdoor Elements

As it name implies, all things that are not included on the previous parts and are outside are in this category.

5 Things to Consider When Getting a New Carpet

It’s snowing a lot this month, and it would be nice if your feet is on something warm. No we’re not going to talk about your socks. What we would want to talk about are carpets. Yep. Those warm and fluffy rags that feels heaven while it’s freezing cold outside and you’re in front of your fireplace. Kind of a romantic setting, yah?

In this article, we will provide you with five simple consideration that you need to know before you buy your new carpet.

1. Too many people in your house mean a cheaper and sturdier carpet. There’s nothing you can do about it, especially if you have pets. Unless you’re buying a carpet for your own room, then spend luxuriously. But if it’s for the living room, forget about that fancy carpet you saw. Get something that can handle abuse. Preferably a shag carpet will do well in that situation. Another type you might want is modular tiles.

2. Bring a small piece of your drape or old carpet with you when buying. You don’t want your new carpet to be out of place. Make sure that you get the correct color that will match with your drapes or your walls.

3. Know that carpets have extra-added cool features, too! One of the feature you want to have is Anti-Static Technology. It would really save you against those sudden mini arc lightning.

4. Decide if the carpet will be only for winter use. If you are looking for that warmth during the cold season, a mohair carpet will be ideal for you. However, it’s a delicate carpet that tends to shed a lot. So, if it isn’t for those warm cozy nights, choose another type.

5. If you don’t care much about the warmth the carpet might bring but you want to make your room look warm, then it is best to get a hemp and sisal. It’s screaming with “tropical weather.” Although, this is another delicate carpet you might not want if you have children or pets.

Killing off Mildew: The Foot Soldiers of Mold Infestation

You might already feel that mold (mould) is starting to infest your house. To start your witch hunt for mold, you better start with looking for mildew first. Mildew is a surface type mold that is visible and often black in colour.

Mildew Can Be Mistaken as Dirt

They can be confused for stubborn dirt due to their colour. To know if a black stain on your wall, gutter, or wall you see is mildew or dirt, put a few drops of bleach on it. If the stain gets whiter or starts to form bubbles, there is a high chance that it is mildew (although regular dirt might react like this way to bleach as well).

Mold Infestation Indicator

Thankfully, mildew does little damage to the surface they inhabit. However, they are good indicators that mold infestation is imminent. By the way, to remove mildew, you can use a scraper (or a screwdriver if the mildew infestation is rather small) and scrape the patches off the surface.

Finishing Mildew with Bleach Solution

Once the patches are gone, completely eliminate the mildew by using a bleach solution. Mix one half cup of bleach with four cups of water. Add some detergent until the solution gets a bit foamy.

Get your handy-dandy scrubber, dab a cup of the solution onto the mildew, and scrub the remaining mildew off the surface. By the way, if you are weak to allergens, you need to wear gloves and mask to protect you against any floating mold on the air.

Aftermath

Once you’re done, look for the root cause of mildew. If the mildew you found was in the bathroom, you better check for any leaks or if the room’s exhaust fan is working well. In case that your bathroom doesn’t have one, then make sure that the window is kept open to ensure proper ventilation.

If the rising humidity in your house is the culprit, make sure that you air conditioning is working well. In case that there’s nothing wrong with your AC and mold has been a recurring problem in your house, you might want to spend a few dollars on getting a dehumidifier.

Getting Started with Bathroom Renovation

It might seem that the easiest room to renovate is the bathroom. After all, the bathroom is usually the smallest room in a house. What could go wrong, right?

A lot.

lot of things can go awry if you underestimate the effort you need to exert to renovate one small bathroom. Despite being relatively small in size, bathrooms can be a big pain to renovate. Are bathrooms that complicated? The answer to that is a simple yes.

The Preparation
Before you start pounding your bathroom with a hammer or start moving things out from it, plan first. Remember, this is your bathroom we’re talking about. You cannot afford to go wrong and render it useless for a few days, especially if you only have one. Unlike the living room, a bathroom is one of the rooms you cannot live without.

So, plan first. You must make sure that you know everything that you need to do. You must move swiftly, and make it a point that you will be quickly done with the renovation. If you’re going to hire renovators, you need to give them a proper plan before you let them start working.

The Considerations
What should be included in the plan anyway? First of all, you must list all the essentials that you need in your renovated bathroom. Things like underfloor heating, rainshower, and storage space must be immediately declared or planned. You wouldn’t want the renovators to refloor your bathroom just to break it again, place the underfloor heating, and then redo the process of reflooring.

Considerations: Amenities
On one hand, please control yourself when listing the items you want to have in your bathroom. In an interior designer’s perspective, less is more, especially when it comes to your bathroom. Your bathroom should be the most comfortable room in your house. And having a cramped one will surely make that bathroom one of the most uncomfortable places to be in the house.

On the other hand, even though the Internet is handy for researching about products, do not rely on it. Go to a showroom, and see the materials that will be included in your bathroom yourself; nevertheless, it does not hurt to get yourself prepared before you go out. Research about the qualities that you will demand from the items you will buy.

Considerations: Pipes
Aside from the things you want to add or remove in your bathroom, you need to consider its location. You must take note all of the pipes that go in and out the bathroom. You must be wary on the things behind the its walls, ceiling, and flooring. After all, if you are going to perform an overhaul, you will surely stumble upon those fixtures and/or pipes. With just one small mistake, things might get messy — and smelly.

Considerations: Layout
The next thing you should consider is the layout of the bathroom. Why did you want to renovate it in the first place? Was it too cramped before? Were the fixtures placed awkwardly? Was the ventilation bad? Was the placement of the bathroom furniture offered little privacy? Answer all those questions, and you’ll instantly have an idea of what you want to happen in your bathroom.

Considerations: Budget
Once you have figured out and given the previous considerations some thought, everything will boil down to your budget. First, are you willing to spend quality materials for your bathroom? If you are, then do yourself a favour and visit a showroom. Are you willing to cut some corners?

Put in mind that cutting corners in renovation is like wasting money. Renovation is an investment, usually expensive, to improve your house. You renovate because you want to get the best out of your dwelling. Cutting corners will only limit the renovation and might lead to future problems, which should not happen in the first place.

Considerations: Workload
Lastly, the main reason bathrooms are a challenge to renovate is because it involves a lot of work and people. If you are going to hire contractors, you will need to get an electrician, plumber, painter, heating specialist, and carpenter.

If you plan to do it yourself, then prepare your body. It will be a lot of work. But please, save yourself from the hassle and your bathroom from amateurish mistakes. After all, you won’t be here if you already know what you’re going to do or you’re experienced enough. Let somebody do it for you or at least help you.

10 Tips for Turning a First Home Into an Income Property

For the past ten years, Scott McGillivray, a 30-year-old real estate entrepreneur, has made a living by transforming houses into income properties. The 30-year-old currently manages 18 properties with over 100 tenants, and now he’s coming to HGTV to help a “house poor” generation create legal income suites and help offset their rising mortgage payments.

Whether it’s a 100-year-old Victorian home, a multi-apartment property or a fully renovated unit in a hip urban area, this entrepreneur can do it all. Check out 10 tips we learned from McGillivray by watching the first episode of HGTV’s Income Property:

    1. Make sure it’s worth it
      As McGillivray says, the cost of renovations has to be able to pay itself back within two years rent. Scout out local markets, get a professional opinion, and be sure to watchIncome Property. Because, hey, who doesn’t want to make a couple of bucks on something they need anyway?
    2. Tag team, if you can
      To use a cliché, two heads are better than one, and home-owning is no exception. Getting to your desired final product is a journey, and having a teammate to share frustrations, anxieties and most importantly, costs with is invaluable.
    3. The best way to learn is to go through the experience
      As one homeowner in the show puts it, “you can read as many books as you want, but you have to experience it.” Every home is unique, and every home will reveal its own problems and potential solutions.
    4. Whatever you budget, add 25 per cent
      When renovating your space, despite what a professionally quoted budget says, add 25 per cent, just in case. If you don’t go over, nothing lost. But if you do, at least you were expecting it.
    5. Houses are like onions
      The more layers you peel back, especially while demolishing, the more problems you’re going to find. Count on hidden gems like mould, live wires and any other hidden costs, just in case.
    6. Consider all the options
      If you have a three-story plus basement house, why just rent out only the basement? As we learn in the first episode, doubling the space not only allows you to live mortgage-free by increasing the rent, it also increases the value of the home. But it also may not be the option for you, especially if you plan on expanding a family or you want access to your backyard.
    7. Make sure the space is livable
      If the kitchen has zero counter space and the bedroom can only fit a bed, not only is it going to be hard to find someone to rent out your unit, but think of the types of people who might be wanting to rent out your unit.
    8. Don’t skimp on the drywall, especially on the ceiling
      Not only do you want a fire barrier between you and your new housemates, you might be thankful for a little bit of sound-proofing in the long run.
    9. Start on the outside
      A separate entrance is key when renting out a basement, especially if you don’t want to mingle too much with your new lessees. And you might want to make sure there are no potential lawsuits hanging around — such as slippery stairs or rotting wood.
    10. Don’t turn your house into a home… right away
      If a long-term investment is what you seek, turning your space into a home right off the bat isn’t going to help pay those accumulating bills. Your No. 1 priority should be making your home into an income source, or at least a manageable entity.

Posted By: Jake Fortinsky

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images and content on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail (info@trocanada.com) with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Getting the Most Out of Your Basement

The Dream is Within Reach

Basement renovations have become incredibly popular for many reasons, but the main reason has been to take advantage of the extra square footage that you have sitting below your main floor. Basements are being renovated with more sophistication. Whether it is a new home office, gym, bedroom, family room, or even sometimes a kitchen!  The basement has given many families the square footage they need to turn their home into a dream home! With more complex basement renovations, means more opportunities for poorly renovated basements. To eliminate the possibilities of a poor renovation, asking a professional to work with you on your renovation plan is significantly important. A professional can help guide you in the right direction. A professional can also take care of all the stress that is attached to performing a renovation. Most likely you have a budget for this basement renovation, and having a professional show you your options in that price range is important as well. Beginning a renovation that is clearly out of your price range can lead to you spending much more dough than you had originally planned to spend. Hiring professional costs money, but this initial investment will allow you to stick to your budget and to renovate your basement perfectly.

Lighting Changes Everything!

I am only going to discuss one significantly important factor to consider when performing a basement renovation. Many people looking to renovate their basements forget to add quality recessed lighting. This means installing lights into the ceiling of your basement. The reason I am emphasizing this aspect of the basement, is due to the fact that most basements have little natural light. Windows tend to be quite small in basements, therefore giving off a dark and sometimes dingy feel. Adding excellent lighting in your basement will give your basement the brightness it needs to be a welcoming space for your family and friends. Recess lighting also saves a lot of space that would otherwise be wasted on lamp space. Saving on space for lamps will give you the ability to truly take advantage of the extra square footage you are accumulating through your basement renovation.

O Canada

Our next blog will include more tips on basement renovations. Living in Canada may give us a tough winter, but having the extra square footage is excellent for us Canadians. We should all use our basements wisely, and this is why we will be creating another blog on basement renovation! We want to help you create your dream home! Remember, if you are going to dream, you might as well dream big!

Written By: Jake Fortinsky

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail (info@trocanada.com) with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

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