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Home Improvements & Renovations

From small DIY projects to hiring a professional to gut your home and start from scratch, we’ve got the information you need.

Are all energy efficient homes the same?

The difference between an EnerGuide Label and a CHBA Net Zero Home Label Thinking about building a new home or renovating your existing one? Investing in energy efficiency for your home will pay off in lower energy bills and can even increase the value of your home. But not all energy efficient homes are the same. There are a few options that you and your builder/renovator can choose from if you … Continued

What is a Net Zero Service Organization?

If you’re purchasing a Net Zero Home, whether it’s a model from a builder you love or you’re building a custom home, your main point of contact is likely going to be your builder. If you’re renovating your home to Net Zero, your renovator is your main point of contact, though if you’re still living … Continued

All Home Improvements & Renovations Posts

Renovating Your Home for Energy Efficiency: Explained

What is an energy efficiency renovation? An energy efficiency renovation improves the energy performance of your existing home. Undertaking an energy efficiency renovation on your home is an investment that delivers a multitude of benefits that you will enjoy immediately, and it can also increase the value of your home when/if you decide to sell. … Continued

Are all energy efficient homes the same?

The difference between an EnerGuide Label and a CHBA Net Zero Home Label Thinking about building a new home or renovating your existing one? Investing in energy efficiency for your home will pay off in lower energy bills and can even increase the value of your home. But not all energy efficient homes are the same. There are a few options that you and your builder/renovator can choose from if you … Continued

What is a Net Zero Service Organization?

If you’re purchasing a Net Zero Home, whether it’s a model from a builder you love or you’re building a custom home, your main point of contact is likely going to be your builder. If you’re renovating your home to Net Zero, your renovator is your main point of contact, though if you’re still living … Continued

The Beauty of Energy Efficiency: Net Zero Homes in Canada

Net Zero Homes put on their best show yet in this year’s CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence. From rustic to modern, budget-friendly to luxury, new builds to renovations, qualified Net Zero builders and renovators across Canada showed that Net Zero Homes are pushing the envelope in energy efficient design, construction, and renovation. To have … Continued

What’s the Difference Between Net Zero & Net Zero Ready Homes?

If you’ve researched energy efficient homes, you’ve probably come across the terms “Net Zero” and “Net Zero Ready.” But what do they mean, and how are they different? We’re breaking down the differentiating features of a Net Zero and Net Zero Ready Home. What is a Net Zero Home? Net Zero Homes are defined as … Continued

How Design Can Make a Small Home Feel Bigger

The 2020 CHBA Home Buyer Preference Survey, powered by Avid Ratings Canada, showed an interesting trend in the size of homes that Canadians are expecting to buy. The study asked recent buyers what size of home they’d be looking for if they were in the market again. It found that 56 percent of buyers expected … Continued

What Homeowners Are Looking for in a Kitchen Renovation

The importance of a well-designed and highly functional kitchen is very clear. Over the six years that the CHBA Home Buyer Preference Study, powered by Avid Ratings Canada, has run, kitchen features have maintained top position as the highest ranked group of features, in every year. Yet while the kitchen remains at the top of … Continued

What is an Energy Advisor?

What is an Energy Advisor? Energy Advisors (EAs) are specialists in rating home energy efficiency, and they provide guidance to homeowners who are interested in improving their home’s efficiency. EAs are registered by National Resources Canada (NRCan) to deliver EnerGuide Rating Systems (ERS) for new or existing homes. In short, an Energy Advisor is a third-party consultant who works closely with builders, renovators … Continued

Community Development Trends Transforming The New Decade

Today, a master-planned community development offers a beautiful balance between nature, homes, shops and amenities. Thanks to this years finalists, residents are finding themselves in vibrant up-and-coming, sustainable neighborhoods with acres of green space to enjoy the outdoors or relax and watch the sunset. “Whether you prefer to paddle on the lake, hike trails, or … Continued

2020 Renovation Trends: Personalized Wine Cellars, Anyone?

Keeping up with the Joneses of home design and renovation trends is a great way to help make the most of your home’s staying power. Over many decades we’ve seen design ideas appear only to fall flat fast (carpeted bathrooms?!). But we can’t help but believe that so many of the design and renovation trends … Continued

The Latest in Marketing for Homes: Virtual Tours to Homeowner Stories

When it comes to marketing for homes across Canada, projects in the 2020 Marketing Awards category of the CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence remain a gold standard of creativity, design, branding and advertising techniques. This year, we are seeing many campaigns with unique concepts that cater to new customer experiences, including virtual reality, beautiful … Continued

Home and Design Trends: CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence

The 2020 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence, powered by Avid Ratings Canada, received more than 700 entries across 39 categories this year! Nearly 200 judges volunteered their time to review the incredible entries. And now, the finalists have been announced! So, what home and design trends are we noticing in the finalist entries? Let’s … Continued

Love Your Backyard

We’re halfway through summer… is your backyard begging to be used? Whether you have a compact yard or an expansive space, you can make your backyard your own personal oasis. Outdoor spaces can be as inviting, comfortable, and stylish as interiors, with the added benefit of fresh air and nature. Before taking on a backyard … Continued

4 Kitchen Features Designed for Entertaining

The kitchen is the heart of the home and a natural gathering place. Homeowners are embracing the kitchen as an entertainment area and looking for ways to make hosting easier and more enjoyable for all. Whether you’re planning to renovate your current kitchen or are buying a new home, this article highlights four design features … Continued

Five Fabulous Floors for your Home Renovation

Nothing ties together a room better than fabulous flooring. Feel like your space needs an upgrade? Get some inspiration from these finalists of the 2019 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence. Snazzy Tile Timberworx Custom Homes incorporated high-end finishes, especially the accent floor tiles, to give this bathroom a grand feel and will make any … Continued

2019 Sudbury Home & Lifestyle Show

Considering a home renovation and don’t know where to start? Need interior design inspiration? Thinking of incorporating smart technology into your home? Then you should visit the 2019 Sudbury Home & Lifestyle Show where professionals specializing in home and cottage construction, interior and exterior design, and home products and services will be ready to help. … Continued

Upgrading Your Flooring? Consider This

There’s more to upgrading your home’s flooring than simply choosing the material you like and having it installed. The perfect flooring will look good and be practical. Here are three things to consider when choosing to update your floors. Consider the room  It’s important to pick a flooring material that will work with your space. … Continued

How To Find a Professional Contractor

“Renovating not only restores a house, it revives the story of the home and its community.” – Unknown For anyone planning a home improvement project, like a kitchen renovation, finding the right contractor for your project can often be bewildering. You want someone who knows what they are doing, has the track record to prove … Continued

Is It Time for a New Furnace?

Sooner or later, every furnace ‘dies’. Ideally, you don’t want to wait for the unfixable breakdown to happen in the dead of winter before shopping for a replacement. Begin your research before you’ve got an emergency and you’ll have time to choose a furnace and service company wisely. How Old is your Furnace?  Is your … Continued

Greening Homes Steps in after Whole-Home Renovation Goes Wrong

After purchasing a 100-year old home, the new home owners decided to undertake a whole-home renovation. The house needed upgrading and one of the new owners had a medical condition that made indoor air quality very important. Knowing that the renovation was going to be a long and complex project, the homeowners met with 12 … Continued

Macanta Design Build Saves an Addition Renovation

The writer is a member of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA). This project involved a rental property that needed renovations to an addition. The planned changes were not complex, and for most professional renovators would have been a relatively small project. There was a 2-storey addition in place. The original goal for the project … Continued

J.A.B.A Construction Helps Family Return Home

The writer is a member of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA). In January 2014 a single mom with a young daughter had a problem with ice damming on their roof which caused a major leak and damage to the attic, bathroom, kitchen and dining room. Their insurance company evaluated the project and made a … Continued

CCR Building and Remodeling Steps in to Complete Basement Renovation Nightmare

The writer is a member of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA).  This homeowner hired a friend-of-a-friend for a basement renovation and to do some exterior refinishing. Although no contract was signed, an advance payment was made to the “contractor,” and he started work. The basement was gutted and the resulting debris piled in the backyard. … Continued

It’s Ice Dam Season Again – Here’s What You Can Do

Most Canadian roofs develop at least a little ice each winter, but if this gets more than a couple of inches thick around the eaves it can cause leaks. A build-up of ice like this is called an ‘ice dam’ and can be a problem because as water pools behind the dam it can work … Continued

How to spend less on heating your home

Does your house cost a fortune to heat and cool? Should you switch energy sources? Get a new furnace? While all these questions are valid, they are not the most important ones. The main issue is something more basic — how fast does your house lose energy? You can have the most efficient furnace or … Continued

What’s the Big Deal about Cash Deals?

“What’s wrong about wanting to get the best price on my home repair work? Lots of people do deals for cash.” When homeowners repair or renovate, cash deals are all too common. No contract, no paperwork, nobody’s the wiser. Contractors shave their prices by eliminating taxes; consumers pay less and get a better deal. Or … Continued

What’s Behind Cold Basements?

Chances are that your furnace has the capacity to heat your basement and the above-ground levels of your home to the comfort level you expect. So why are so many finished basements cold in winter? A scientific reason Physics is one reason. Hot air naturally rises and cold air falls because warm air is less … Continued

6 Reasons to Rethink Cash Deals on your Renovation

When homeowners repair or renovate, cash deals are all too common. “Pay me cash” contractors shave their prices by eliminating taxes and consumers pay less and get a better deal. Or do they? There’s a definite downside to cash deals — the increased risk for homeowners. When you hear about renovation nightmares, odds are this … Continued

3 Tips for a Hassle-Free Renovation

Home renovations may seem daunting during the planning stages but with the right contractor & these 3 tips, you and your family can enjoy a hassle-free home renovation. Do your research Have you ever heard the saying, “If you’re going to do something, do it right”? That’s how you should approach deciding on a contractor. … Continued

Plan like a pro with the new MyReno app from CHBA

Before you begin your next home renovation project, download the new MyReno app – your one-stop-shop planning resource. Backed by CHBA, the voice of Canada’s residential construction industry, this helpful tool guides you through your early decisions for your next project. What do you like about your current space? What needs do you and your … Continued

Understanding Renovation Price Quotes

Price is a critical aspect of any renovation project. What will it cost to do the job you want? Alternatively, how far can you go on a set budget? Different Sized Projects, Different Sized Price Quotes Determining the cost of a small project, like replacing your roofing, can be fairly simple. Just make sure all … Continued

Your Renovation – Deciding Who to Hire

You’ve been planning your home renovation for months, been to all the home shows, and spent countless homes online looking at renovation projects and products. You’ve also interviewed  a number of renovation contractors, checked their references and received written price quotes from those you are interested in hiring. Now it’s time to decide who will … Continued

Renovating? Some DIY projects to avoid

Unless you have technical qualifications and a lot of experience, there are some renovation projects and types of work that you are better off leaving to the pros. These are the ones that involve safety risks for you and your family, and it is better to let a professional to do the work. Plumbing, electrical … Continued

Roof trusses: Why your home goes ‘boom’ in the night

It might not be easy going back to sleep after your house startles you awake, but it’s likely nothing to worry about. Are roof trusses the culprit? For 50 years most house roofs have been framed using triangular assemblies of wood called trusses. The top two sides of each truss sit directly below the roof … Continued

The Most Important Question You Can Ask Before Renovating

You’ve decided it’s time to move ahead with your long-planned renovation project. You’ve collected all sorts of great ideas and product pictures, visited the local Home Show and spent many hours online looking at what other homeowners have done in their projects. Now your ‘shopping’ for a professional contractor who will make it all happen. … Continued

The Ins and Outs of Renovation Warranties

When you hire a contractor to renovate or improve your home, there are a lot of details that need to be spelled-out in your work order or contract. The more obvious of these are a thorough description of the work to be done, the work schedule to be followed, and what amounts you will pay … Continued

Three Tips For Hiring a Great Renovation Contractor

Home renovations can be one of the biggest single expenses most people ever take on, and the success of your project depends a lot on the contractor you choose. The crazy thing is, people often put more thought into selecting a shirt than they do to finding a contractor worthy of trust. So how can … Continued

Should You Do It Yourself?

Planning a DIY renovation project? Here are some questions to ask yourself first. Do you have the skills? Many of today’s home improvement products make it easy for do-it-yourselfers, but other projects require specialized skills. Seeing something done on a television renovation show isn’t the same as having practical experience. Getting in over your head can end … Continued

5 facts you need to know about heating your home

As Canadians, we rely on heating systems more than most nations in the world. But our need doesn’t necessarily translate into knowledge. If you’re unhappy with the comfort or cost of keeping your home warm in winter, here are some things to consider. Insulation is key While the kind of energy source and heating equipment … Continued

Cold basements: Is a lack of cold air ducting to blame?

The season has changed to fall, and in many corners of Canada the temperature is getting chilly in the evenings. As winter fast approaches (sigh), it’s time to make sure your home heating is in order. Many people struggle with cold basements, but why? Chances are that your furnace has the capacity to heat your … Continued

How to make changes once a renovation begins

Your dream renovation is underway. You found the right contractor, checked their references, agreed on the plans and schedule, and most importantly signed a contract that includes a warranty. But you’ve just found the perfect lighting fixture or floor tile, and it’s different than what’s in your contract. Or you’ve opened up a wall to … Continued

Everything you need to know before hiring a contractor

Before hiring a contractor for your home renovation or repair project, here are some important questions you need to answer. Remember that professional contractors can provide clear answers to your questions. If they can’t, they’re not the right contractor for you. Before hiring a contractor, ask yourself: Is this the right contractor? You need someone … Continued

How to avoid common bathroom renovation mistakes

If you’re planning on updating your bathroom, or are currently undergoing a bathroom renovation, remember that achieving a great space isn’t just about choosing great tiles, cabinets and fixtures. Real renovation success depends on getting the hidden technical details right behind the scenes. Take the exhaust fan, for example. Even high-end bathroom renovations often end … Continued

Tips for creating a cozy finished basement

A warm, comfortable, and cozy finished basement is a great feature that adds value to your home. It’s summer now, but soon the cooler weather will be here. Is your basement ready for the change in seasons? If you’re in a new house and planning on finishing your basement for the first time, take note: … Continued

How to choose the right home renovation contractor

Finding the right renovation contractor for your home renovation project is a little bit like dating. The first step is looking for prospective contractors before choosing ‘the one’ you’d like to get to know a little better. Here’s what you need to know to find and interview the right contractor for your home project. Interview … Continued

The Risks of a ‘Cash Deal’ Home Renovation

As the old adage goes, ‘your home is your castle’, and many of us enjoy spending time and money making our homes an enjoyable place to live, play and work. We all want to save money where we can. When you’re looking at updating your kitchen or finally finishing your basement there are some corners … Continued

Do I need a building permit for my home renovation?

You dream of removing a wall in your kitchen to redesign a beautiful room with space for cooking and entertaining, but do you need a building permit? Your living room gets dark in the afternoon so you’re considering hiring a contractor to add another window, but do you need a permit. If so, who’s responsible for … Continued

Home renovations: Should I hire a pro or DIY?

It might be a bigger bathroom or a finished basement – whichever room you’re looking to change, a renovation can be a big project. If you’re considering whether it’s easier to do it yourself (DIY) or to hire a home renovation pro, get informed before you make the first move! Start with a smart plan … Continued

Five kitchen flooring ideas you’ll love for your home renovation

Kitchens are high-traffic rooms that need exceptional flooring. Besides having to look good, kitchen flooring needs to withstand spills, food, sliding chairs, dropped dishes and the occasional mopping. Here are the pros and cons of the five top kitchen flooring choices. Ceramics, porcelain and stone tiles: Ceramics are a favourite for kitchens because they’re tough, … Continued

Seven elements to include in your home renovation contract

“A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” While historians disagree on who came up with this timeless quote, its accuracy isn’t questioned. That’s why when you hire someone to work on your home, you need a written home renovation contract. Seven features of a good home renovation contract A contract can be … Continued

How to stop window condensation in your home

If beads of water run down the inside of your windows during cold weather, also known as window condensation, it’s not necessarily a sign you’ve got bad windows. It’s likely your windows are doing what they’re supposed to do — keeping outdoor air outside. Wet windows can indicate two different but related problems. Indoor humidity … Continued