Welcome to Gentek Canada’s MyDesign Home Studio, our home exterior improvement blog

Get tips and colour choices from our designers and learn about our latest windows, siding and home exterior products.

How to Work with Old Wood Paneling (and Make it Look Fantastic!)

If your home has old wood paneling, you may be wondering how to give it a modern update. Wood paneling was popular in the ‘50s through ‘70s, and at first glance it may seem difficult to work with, but wood paneled walls can give your home a cozy, rustic feel that’s anything but outdated. There are plenty of ways to work with wood paneling to give it a modern makeover and make it a statement piece in your home. Whether you want to keep its rustic charm or elevate it, here’s how to work with wood paneling and make it look fantastic! 

1. Paint the Wood Paneling 

If the wood paneling in your home looks out of date, consider painting it to give it a brand new look. You can paint it any colour, but there are a few shades that really make wood paneling shine. A fresh coat of paint in white or cream will brighten up your room, giving it a cottage-like vibe. Black wood paneling can also be gorgeous in a study or powder room, and navy wood paneling in an office or hallway is incredibly stunning. 

2. Add Shelving or Artwork

If you have wood paneling in your office or living room and want to pare it down, add shelving to your walls so the paneling is a little more subtle. Built in bookshelves are a great way to disguise a wall of wood paneling, leaving only a small portion of paneling at the back. Artwork is another great way to subdue wood paneling. Wood paneling is the perfect canvas to layer a large art piece or gallery wall on top of.

3. Contrast with Marble

One of the most gorgeous materials you can use with wood paneling is marble. Adding marble will elevate the paneling, making the whole room look more luxe and sophisticated. If you have wood paneling in your living room, consider a marble fireplace. If you have wood paneling in your kitchen or bathroom, opt for marble countertops for a beautiful contrast. 

4. Bring in Some Plants

Plants are an easy way to add personality to any space. It’s not only the plants themselves, but what you place them in that can transform your room. If you’re designing around wood paneling, opt for macramé plant hangers, large ceramic pots, and wood planters that will help illuminate the paneling. Choose your favourite plants and place them around your room- the greenery will pop against the wood. 

5. Add Warmth with Rugs and Cozy Furniture

There’s no denying that the warmth and rustic vibe of wood paneling creates a cozy space. Embrace this with the furniture and decor you use in the room. Layer rugs to give the room even more warmth and dimension. Choose furniture pieces that embrace the cottage-like vibe. A big velvet couch, vintage armchairs and a wood coffee table are great pieces to add to a room with wood paneling.

Wood paneling doesn’t mean your house has to be stuck in the ‘60s. Use these ideas to update your wood paneling and make it look beautiful! 


Renovator Spotlight: D’Angelo & Sons Roofing and Exteriors 

The next Premium Renovator on our spotlight list is D’Angelo & Sons Roofing and Exteriors. Gentek’s Premium Renovators are elite contractors across Canada who ensure your home renovations are done with quality and professionalism. Serving Hamilton, Burlington, and other communities in the Golden Horseshoe, D’Angelo & Sons is committed to providing your home with quality roofing and siding that protects it from the elements and complements its overall design. Your roof and siding are two of the most important features of your home, both aesthetically and structurally. Read all about what D’Angelo & Sons can do for you! 

About D’Angelo & Sons Roofing and Exteriors

D’Angelo & Sons is a strong family-run company with over 40 years of experience. They offer a full suite of exterior home services, specializing in roofing and siding. They’re ranked in the top 3% of installers in North America, so when you work with them, you’re working with the best of the best. Combining the personalized service of a small, family-owned business with the expertise and professionalism of a larger company, you get the best of both worlds with D’Angelo & Sons. Protecting and enhancing your home is their top priority, and they’re proud to offer quality, cost-effective solutions that will keep you happy for years to come. 

Services

D’Angelo & Sons offers services that range from insulation to exterior lighting to eavestrough removal, but their core expertise is in roofing and siding. 

Roofing 

There are numerous things that can go wrong with your roof that need immediate repair. D’Angelo & Sons offers repairs on both flat and low-slope roofs, as well as plywood replacement, shingle removal and replacement, and skylight and ventilation fixture replacement and installation. Their extensive repair services ensure your home is protected from costly damage, and fixed within a timely manner. From broken and missing shingles, to clogged gutters, D’Angelo & Sons knows that when repairs are done quickly and effectively, you’re able to save a lot of money and enhance the look of your property at the same time. 

If you require repairs for more extensive damage, D’Angelo & Sons has you covered. They’re experienced with a large range of roofing systems and have completed thousands of repairs over the years. Each customer receives customized service based on their unique home needs and problems. 

Siding 

Updating your home’s siding is one of the best ways to enhance your curb appeal and increase its resale value. D’Angelo & Sons can repair existing siding or provide a full replacement, giving your home a complete makeover. They provide high quality siding services that not only enhance the look of your home, but ensure costly problems such as water damage and heat loss don’t occur due to old siding. They offer vinyl, wood and aluminum siding options, as well as hardy board and cedar shakes.

D’Angelo & Sons is committed to protecting your home by offering the highest quality roofing and exterior services. If you’re in the Golden Horseshoe area, make sure to get in touch for your home renovation needs!


Fixing Up the Man Cave: How About Faux Wood?

If you’re lucky enough to have a man cave, you want to make sure it’s as impressive as possible. It’s great to have your own space where you can get away and relax, and you want it to feel like a space that’s “you”. Your man cave should showcase design elements you love, as well as features that show off your personality. Whether you enjoy reading and relaxing, or want a space to chill out with your buds, here are 4 upgrades you can make when you’re fixing up your man cave. 

1. Use Faux Wood in Your Design 

Faux wood is a great option for the interior walls and ceiling of your man cave. The wooded look creates a warm and comfortable vibe, but real wood can be expensive and hard to maintain. Faux wood such as ChamClad panels are modern and stylish and will add warmth to your space. It’s available in a variety of high-end wood grain metallic, solid and anodized finishes, so you can get the look of real wood without the maintenance or risk of moisture or bacteria growth. If your man cave is in the backyard shed or studio, you can also use ChamClad on the exterior of your “cave”. It’s non-fading and warp-resistant so you can enjoy it for years to come, and it’s extremely low maintenance so you don’t have to worry about any upkeep. 

2. Try Creating a Theme

Every room looks better when there is some type of decor theme going on. If you’re using faux wood, try mixing in metals and leather for an industrial look. This combination of materials will make your space homely yet sophisticated- the perfect retreat from everyday life. Use metal finishings on your desktop, and worn in leather furniture for reading, gaming or thinking. 

3. Add Games

Games are a top feature of most man caves, whether it’s a chess board, pool table or video games. You’re sure to have your buddies over from time to time, so think about the games you and your friends would enjoy most. If you opt for a game table such as pool, poker or foosball, make it a central attraction in the room and make sure there’s great lighting around it. Everyone is sure to be impressed!

4. Don’t Forget Extra Seating

Even if you’re the only one who uses your man cave most of the time, you’re bound to have people join you on occasion. Make sure to have extra seating in an open arrangement so it’s easy for you guys to chat as you watch your favourite sports team on TV. Large sofas and recliners are popular man cave seating options. 

Your man cave is about to get some serious upgrade with these tips! Use faux wood as your foundation and add in your personal touches for a space you’ll love to relax and spend time in.


Looking for a Renovator? Gentek’s Premium Renovators

If you’re planning a home renovation, the first step is finding a quality renovator to help you undertake your project. One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when doing a renovation is failing to do research on quality renovators and hiring a company that ends up doing low quality work or running your budget dry. A good renovator will help you start and finish your project on time, on budget and with the utmost care and professionalism. Enter: Gentek’s Premium Renovators, leading contractors across the country who meet strict quality, performance and insurance rules. Your home is likely your largest investment- make sure any work that’s done to it is done is done by trustworthy experts.

Gentek’s Premium Renovators 

The Premium Renovators partnered with Gentek are there to ensure your product choices and installation meet your needs and expectations. They’re elite contractors that have a long and successful track record of installing Gentek products, so whether you’re replacing your windows, siding or doors, you’re in excellent hands! We’re extremely selective with the renovators that we partner with, and only have about 200 across the entire country.

Our Premium Renovators will provide detailed estimates, and make sure your written contract specifies the price, work to be done, and a time frame for your project. They’ll ask for a deposit, but never ask you to pay in advance. They’ll provide references and proof that their licenses and registrations are up to date and valid, only use bonded tradespeople and carry third party insurance and injury insurance. All you have to do is enter your postal code, address or city into the Contractor Locator tab and you’ll get a list of Premium Renovators in your area! 

3 Tips for Finding the Best Renovator for You

1. Conduct Interviews

You want to be comfortable and confident when choosing a renovator to work on your home. You’ll be spending quite a bit of time with your general contractor, so it’s important that you get along with them, can communicate with them and can trust them. Make sure to ask how unexpected issues or differences might be handled, if they’re licensed and insured, and if they’ll be hiring subcontractors to work on your project. 

2. Look at Portfolios 

As part of your interview process, make sure to have a look at each renovator’s portfolio for past clients. Looking at their previous jobs will give you a good sense of the work they do and what you can expect for your project. You can also go a step further and ask if the renovator would be able to give you references for the previous projects so you can ask them about how the process was for them. 

3. The Right Timing

Timing also has to be right for your renovation project. Contractors can rarely get started on projects right away- most quality renovators are booked months in advance. Make sure to ask them when they can get started, as well as how long they think it will take to complete your project. If it’s a big project, it’s usually wise to add about six to eight weeks onto that to help manage expectations, as unforeseen incidents can occur. 


Ready to hire a Premium Renovator? Head to our site and find the perfect one for you!


Is Your Home Inviting? The Importance of Your Front Door

Your front door is one of the top features of your home exterior. It’s so important that your home makes a good first impression, inviting guests and family into your beautiful abode. Your front door shouldn’t be an afterthought- it should purposefully complement your siding, windows and landscaping so your entire exterior works together seamlessly. No matter what style your home, there’s a perfect entry door that will work for you! Take a look at why your front door is so important. 

Choosing Your Door Style and Material 

Just like the rest of your home, your front door is a feature that allows you to showcase your style and personality. There are plenty of entry door styles and materials to choose from, depending on your taste. Let your personal style shine through with the material, colour and decor features of your door. From wood, to steel to fibreglass, choose a material that fits your lifestyle, and make sure to take inspiration from the rest of your home. If you have a Victorian style home, for example, a sleek modern door would look out of place, and a bulky door would look better on a large home rather than a small bungalow. Also consider if you want features such as decorative glass or wrought iron.

Adds Curl Appeal and Value to Your Home

Whether you’re trying to sell your home, or know you will be putting it on the market down the road, your curb appeal is of utmost importance. The exterior of your home is the first thing prospective buyers will see, and your front door will be a focal point. A beautiful, quality door gives your home instant curb appeal, adding value to your property, whether you’re selling now or in the future. 

Security 

While your front door should be beautiful and inviting, it should also be strong, durable and secure. The safety of you and your family is top priority and you want to make sure you’re doing whatever you can to keep your home safe- which includes a strong entry door. Gentek’s Premium Fibreglass Doors are praised for their structural integrity and superior performance. Not only are they beautiful, they feature frames, sills and proprietary components that provide exceptional strength so you can sleep easy at night.

Go Custom

If you really want something special, a custom entry door is the way to go. Gentek’s First Impressions’ Doors are custom made to the exact measurements of your door openings, balancing elegance, strength and energy efficiency. You’re sure to get a neat, clean finished look and simple upkeep- you won’t have to worry about rotting, splitting or swelling. First Impressions Doors are designed to be extremely energy efficient and to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels used for heating and cooling, so you can feel extra good about choosing them.


If you’re in the market for a replacement door, check out Gentek’s variety of doors to find the perfect one for you!


Renovator Spotlight: Peter’s Windows and Doors, Expert Exteriors, and Avalon Windows 

Here at Gentek, we’re proud to be partnered with top renovators to ensure our customers are 100% satisfied with our products and the installation process. Today we’re highlighting three of our amazing Premium Renovators to show you how easy it is to work with quality renovators in your area. Don’t settle for less than the best when it comes to your home. Each of these renovators carry Gentek windows and install them with the finest craftmanship to provide your home with the beauty it deserves. 

With window options ranging from bay and bow to casement and awning, double-hung, picture windows and more, any windows you choose will be classically styled, high performance and durable windows that will elevate your exterior. And these three renovators will ensure your windows are installed with care and professionalism. Plus, they can help you with other renovation projects too! Take a look at these three awesome renovators and make sure to call them up if they’re in your area!

Peter’s Windows and Doors (Kelowna)

Located in Kelowna, BC, Peter’s Windows and Doors offers start-to-finish solutions for every project. With over 50 years of experience, they’re a family owned and operated company that performs all levels of building and remodeling. They offer free estimates for every project and offer full design services, so are here for you, whatever your needs. Specializing specifically in windows and doors, you’re sure to get high quality construction for any project with Peter’s Windows and Doors.

Expert Exteriors (Windsor/South Western Ontario)

Whether you’re looking for assistance with windows, doors, roofing or siding, Expert Exteriors has you covered. With 20 years of experience and a selection of products from the world’s best manufacturers, you’ll be getting the highest possible quality at the most affordable price point. With over 65 combined years in the professional installation of windows, doors and exterior renovations, and a roster of trained professionals, you can rest easy knowing that Expert Exteriors will finish your project with the utmost care and professionalism. 

Avalon Windows (Ottawa)

If you’re looking to do a home renovation in the Ottawa area, Avalon Windows is the renovator for you. They’re known and loved for their expert installation of windows and doors and are a top local source for high quality products from some of the industry’s top manufacturers (including Gentek!). They also specialize in prefabricated and custom built sunrooms, decks and fences, kitchens and baths, and any other exterior or interior renovation you may need. Avalon Windows is equipped with a staff of expert craftsman with skills, product knowledge and positive attitude that makes working with them a breath of fresh air!

If you live in Kelowna, Windsor or Ottawa and are looking to upgrade your windows, doors or have another renovation project in mind, these three Premium Renovators will get the job done with professionalism and ease!


2020 Decor Trends You Need to Know

A new year means new home decor trends, and 2020 is bringing some of the best trends in a long time. We’ll see more colour and patterns than we have in a while, and with a focus on sustainable materials, homeowners are thinking long-term about their design decisions. If you’ve been waiting for more colour, character and sustainability to hit the world of décor, you’re in luck. Out with the old and in with the new! Here are the 2020 decor trends you need to know!

1. Colours Over Neutrals

Neutrals have reigned supreme for the past few years, with everything from kitchens, to walls to furniture in neutral shades. But this year, things are going to get a lot more colourful. Neutrals will be replaced by warm hues, rich colours and jewel tones, and used everywhere from kitchen cabinets to throw pillows, couches, rugs and more. Colourful earth tones are on the rise so keep your eye out for soft peaches, terra cottas and buttery caramels. 

2. Mixing Old and New

Gone are the days where everything in your home had to look new and shiny. Rather than relying on the old “one-stop-shop” design resources, homeowners are bringing character into their spaces by mixing new and old pieces that complement each other. Antique shopping is on the rise, and if you’re able to score any pieces from your grandparents’ house, that’s a major plus. Locally made souvenirs from your travels are another great way to bring your personality and stories into your space.

3. Sustainable Materials

Sustainability is more important than ever, and society as a whole is becoming more eco-conscious. People are thinking and researching before making purchasing decisions, and are making more ethical purchases than ever before. Sustainably-made materials are making their way into furniture, fixtures, cabinets, flooring and more. Homeowners are also focused on buying fewer, high quality pieces to make their homes more sustainable in the long run.

4. Fun Bathroom Designs

Bathrooms don’t need to be boring. If you love the look of bold colours and designs, but are hesitant to use them in the larger rooms in your home, your bathroom is the perfect space to get creative. Have fun with bold colours, rich materials and printed wallpaper to bring personality into the space. Think: gold hardware, vibrantly coloured light fixtures and artful wallpaper to really make a statement.

5. Two-Tone Kitchens 

Classic, all-white kitchens are on the way out. While light, bright and airy used to be the name of the game in kitchen design, two-tone kitchens are what it’s all about in 2020. It’s popular to have a darker base and lighter uppers, or mixing wood with colour to give your kitchen a more rustic feel. Blending colour with pattern will also be more commonplace, creating a beautiful contrast. 

 

2020 is the year of colourful, fun, sustainable home trends. Ready to update your decor? These are the decor trends you should work into your home! 


The Most Important Home Technology for 2020

With life becoming increasingly busier and convenience becoming top priority, home technology is front of mind for many homeowners today. Technology has become an essential part of day to day life, making life more efficient, comfortable, entertaining and safe. Rather than investing in new homes, people are choosing to invest in their own homes, outfitting them with smart devices and spending more time enjoying their comforts and advancements. Smart homes are quickly becoming the norm, and for good reason. Check out the most important home technology for 2020.

1. Smart Home Hubs

Smart home hubs are one of the most popular forms of home technology. A smart home hub controls the devices in your smart home from a single interface. From smart lights to smart locks, thermostats and more, smart home hubs allow you to operate everything on the same wavelength. Products like the Amazon Echo Dot, Google Home and Samsung SmartThings Hub are some of the most used smart home hubs today, changing how people are interacting with their homes.

2. Home Security

Home security has completely transformed over the past few years, and more homeowners are recognizing the importance of implementing multiple security elements for their home. Advanced security cameras, window sensors and smart doorbells are just a few of the security features you can now outfit your home with. They’re easy to install, use, and they’re more affordable than you may think. There are even smart locks you can control remotely and use to keep tabs on who is entering and leaving your home. 

3. Pet Technology

Home technology has expanded from human focused to pet focused. Pets are more than just animals- they’re part of the family, and tech companies are honing in on the love we have for our pets. There are plenty of smart gadgets for animals, including dog cameras, pet activity trackers, smart pet beds, pet calming products and more. Pet technology makes owning a pet easier, more convenient and more fun. 

4. Smart Kitchens

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and smart kitchens are all the rage. There are smart refrigerators, chock full of cool features, from setting meal schedules, to reading recipes while you cook, to syncing grocery lists to your phone. There are high speed smart toasters, smart blenders, kitchen scales, custom espresso machines and so much more. These gadgets were created to save people the hassle and time, and make the kitchen even more of a family hub.

5. Entertainment Systems

Home entertainment has changed in a big way. With streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus, entertainment is at our fingertips like never before. We’re spending more time binging our favourite series and spending Friday nights at home watching movies instead of going to the theatre. Smart entertainment systems connect and automate all of your audio and video devices with a single remote. Access movies, stream videos and enjoy music with an easy-to-use system the whole family can use.

There’s no question that home technology has undergone a revolution. These are the 5 most important home technologies for 2020.


Got House Odours? Activated Charcoal Will Help!

Activated charcoal is a simple and effective way to neutralize odours lingering in your home. There’s nothing worse than walking into your house, or into a certain room, and having to crinkle or plug your nose because you can’t take the smell. There are a lot of smells that come into our home, from pet odours to cooking smells to sporting gear, and so much more. It’s normal for our homes to have different smells, but it’s also important to do something about bad odours. Artificial room freshening sprays quickly fade and it’s often easy to detect the underlying smell beneath, and chemical odour neutralizers aren’t as safe as using a natural product. Activated charcoal is your best protection against stubborn house odours. Learn all about it below! 

What is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is charcoal that has been chemically treated to increase the amount of oxygen it contains, making it very porous. It’s a fine black powder that has many uses and benefits from detoxing your body to eliminating house odours. It’s much safer than chemical odour neutralizers and you can use it to for everything from pet odours, trash cans and gym bags, to diaper pails, food odours and mold and mildew smells. 

Activated charcoal works by absorbing toxins and other substances that need to be removed from the environment. You can buy it in many forms- loose, in filters and in hanging deodorizers, so you can use it anywhere in your home. You can also make your own air fresheners to place in odorous spots that could use a little help.

How to DIY Activated Charcoal Air Fresheners

Activated charcoal air fresheners are simple to make at home. All you need is loose activated charcoal granules (you can find these online or at stores that carry home cleaning supplies), as well as some sort of sachet such as cheesecloth, muslin, or similar breathable material. 

Fill the sachet with the charcoal granules and tie it closed with a string. This makes it easy to hang them or place them wherever they’re needed, from the bathroom to beside the cat litter to the inside of a gym or sports equipment bag. 

You can use several sachets if you’re finding the odour is really strong- activated charcoal is completely safe so you don’t have to worry about over-using it. You can also fill a glass jar or plastic container with activated charcoal and place it near the source of the smell. Just make sure to puncture some holes in the lid to ensure the charcoal can get through. Place it in your fridge, freezer, closets, basements, near smelly shoes, pet cages, or wherever else you need it. 

Activated charcoal is the best natural odour neutralizer around. Get your home smelling nice and fresh by using activated charcoal!


Can’t See Out Your Windows? Check Your Home’s Humidity Levels

Maintaining the right humidity levels is crucial for its comfort, energy efficiency and overall home health. If humidity levels reach too high or dip too low, you may notice issues such as furniture and house deterioration, an increase in germs and mould, and the inability to see out your windows. Here’s how to check your home’s humidity levels and what to do it they’re too high or too low. 

How to Check Indoor Humidity Levels

If you’re unsure how to check your home’s humidity levels, you’re definitely not alone. There are a few easy ways to check if the humidity levels in your home are too high or low. 

Do you notice the windows in your home and constantly fogging up and collecting moisture? If you’re noticing fog and condensation on your windows that’s making it difficult to see outside, this can be a sign that there’s too much humidity in your home. Condensation forms when warm, humid air contacts a cold surface. If this problem goes on for too long, it can lead to costly problems down the line. 

Moisture and mould occurring on walls is also a sign of too much humidity. Mould growth occurs on any surface that remains wet or damp for a prolonged period of time. If moisture and mould continues to build without anything being done to get rid of it, it can cause permanent damage to your home, and breathing in mould can also lead to serious health problems. 

On the flip side, there are also telltale signs that the humidity inside your home is too low. If you’re noticing more static electricity, dried or cracking millwork or paint, or the constant need to water your plants, all these things indicate that your home has low humidity levels. 

What To Do If Your Home Humidity Level is Too High

If your humidity levels are too high, you will likely notice issues during the winter months, especially when it comes to window condensation. There are numerous things you can do to lower the humidity levels in your home. First of all, if you’ve been using a humidifier, turn it down or off, and instead use a dehumidifier. 

Use exhaust fans while cooking and baking, or if the air outside is dry and fresh, open the windows while you’re doing your thing in the kitchen. Reduce the amount of water coming into your home by taking shorter showers, reducing the number of plants in your home and cooking with covered pots. 

What To Do If Your Home Humidity Level is Too Low

Humidity levels drop during wintertime because cold air holds less moisture than warm air. On top of increased static and plant watering, low humidity levels can also lead to dry skin and hair, increased susceptibility to colds and respiratory illnesses, and cracked wood floors. 

There are a bunch of ways to introduce more moisture into your home. You can leave wet clothes and towels out to dry or leave a bowl filled with water on top of a shelf. The moisture will eventually escape and be absorbed by the air. The most common way to increase humidity levels is to use a humidifier- either a portable humidifier or a humidifier that’s added to your furnace so you can control humidity levels with a humidistat. 

Having proper indoor humidity levels is key to a healthy home. Use our tips to make sure your humidity level is where it needs to be!