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.

The Best IKEA Hacks for Your Home

IKEA is one of the best creations in the past century. Their affordable yet quality furniture has made them a go-to household name for one-bedroom apartments and grande estates alike. One of the best things about IKEA pieces? Many of them can be transformed and given completely new functions! It may take a little DIY, but with the help of some paint and a few additions here and there, these IKEA hacks will completely elevate your home!

1. Turn Your BORRBY Lantern into a Terrarium

We love the idea of a large lantern holding a glistening candle in your indoor or outdoor space, but this lantern can also do double duty in the warmer months, or if you don’t like the idea of burning candles inside. Create a terrarium with some soil, charcoal and plants to add a decorative and earthy piece to your living space!

2. Transform Your MOSSLANDA Picture Ledge into a Bathroom Shelf

Is it just us, or does there never seem to be enough storage in the bathroom? If you’re nodding your head in agreement, place the MOSSLANDA picture ledge above your faucet and below your mirror to hold items like soap, toothpaste and hand cream.

3. Change the VOLFGANG Chair into a Chic Gold Masterpiece

On its own, IKEA’s VOLFGANG chair is nice, but lacks personality. An easy way to give it some glam? Spray paint the legs gold and place a chic faux fur throw over the chair to give it a touch of class.

4. Turn Your LACK Coffee Table into a Chic Coffee Table

We have to bet that everyone knows someone that has a LACK coffee table (even if that someone is you!). Rather than leaving it as is, find chic coffee table legs you love, and replace them with the lower shelf and legs on the LACK coffee table. This hack is sure to elevate your living room.

5. Make the STENBAR Plant Pot into a Legged Plant Pot

The STENBAR plant pot is cute as it is, but add some dimension by adding legs to to the bottom so your plants stand even taller. Get multiple pots and place them around your home to bring the outdoors in in the most stylish way.

6. Turn the VITTSJO Laptop Table into a Glamorous Bar Cart

All you need to turn this desk into a stylish bar cart? Some spray paint, a thick acrylic sheet and caster wheels. Paint the bar cart in any colour that suits your interior style, and add the acrylic sheet and wheels to the bottom so you can move it around your home. Finish it off by placing your favourite boozy beverages and glassware on the top.

7. Transform a plain KNAGGLIG Box into a Storage Box for Blankets and Throws

This sturdy storage box is often used for tools and gardening tools, but give it some warmth by painting it a creamy shade and use it as a beautiful storage box for your blankets and throws. Buy two and stack them on top of each other to give your space more dimension.

If you’re looking to upgrade your home interior, use these IKEA hacks to make your old pieces look new again!


8 Swoon-Worthy Garden Gate Ideas to Welcome People to Your Oasis

You’re proud of your home. You’re excited to show it off, especially your gorgeous backyard. You’ve worked hard to create a beautiful garden, install garden patio doors, and invest in windows that that are just as stunning as they are durable. What better way to welcome people to your oasis than a swoon-worthy garden gate?

Garden gates are to your backyard what your front door is to your home. The gate to your backyard should be warm and inviting, welcoming guests into your gorgeous space. Having the right garden gate can complete the look of your home, while also making it more secure. Check out 8 truly gorgeous garden gate ideas to welcome people to your backyard space.

1. A Floral Arch

A wooden, arched garden gate is one of the most charming designs you can choose to welcome people to your space. It’s classic and simple, yet never grows tired. Add a pop of colour and dimension to the humble design by creating a floral arch with your favourite blooms.

2. Be Bold

A garden gate in a bold colour, such as bright teal, violet or yellow is sure to make an inviting statement. Contrast your bold-coloured garden gate with the colours in your backyard (your garden, home exterior and patio furniture).

3. Go Antique

If you’re home exterior has vintage vibes, head to your favourite antique shop to find a rustic garden gate. It’s sure to give your space the character and charm it craves. Look for unique characteristics such as double-wooden doors, a soothing colour and perhaps even heart-shaped cut-outs for some extra antique charm.

4. Intertwined with Fruit

Growing lemon or plum trees around the perimeter of your backyard? Allow the leaves and fruits of the tree to twist around the top arch of your garden gate, framing it in the most gorgeous way.

5. A Wrought Iron Fairy-tale

A wrought iron garden gate makes for the perfect entranceway to a lush, green garden. The combination of vivacious colour from your garden and the classic wrought iron design will create a breathtaking visual straight out of a fairy-tale.

6. Barnyard Vibes

A sophisticated barnyard style garden gate would make the perfect addition to a country style home. Barnyard style doors have made a name for themselves inside the home as trendy decor pieces, but why not use them outside the home too?

7. Delicate and See-Through

A delicate, see-through gate lets your backyard garden do all the talking. Opt for a neutral colour like white or black with a dainty design and intricate details.

8. Decorative Window Insert

While some homeowners are happy to have a see-through garden gate, others desire more privacy. If you want more privacy for your backyard, but aren’t into a solid door, add a decorative window insert to the top half of a solid gate.

A garden gate is the most charming addition to any home. Use one of these styles to create the perfect welcome to your gorgeous oasis.


Work from Home? Build a Backyard Office Shed!

Working from home is the ideal situation for most people, but sometimes working inside your house can be really distracting. You notice the floors need vacuuming, the dishes need to be cleaned, and snacking becomes your part time job. That’s why having a separate office shed in the backyard is the best of both worlds! It provides you with a comfortable space where you can focus on your work, and you don’t have fight rush hour to go into an actual office.

When it comes to planning for an outdoor office shed, you can think of it as a mini-home. You’ll need materials such as siding, trim, windows and a door. Here’s what you need to take into consideration when building a backyard office shed:

1. Choose Your Siding

Deciding on your siding is one of the most exciting parts of designing your backyard office shed! With a world of siding possibilities to choose from at Gentek, you can create the office of your dreams. Perhaps you’ll opt for vinyl siding, offering exceptional beauty, durability and low maintenance. Or maybe you’ll go with fiber cement siding for a sleek, upscale look. And don’t forget to look through all the specialty siding options we have at Gentek! You just may find something you didn’t know about that you absolutely love.

2. Decide on Windows

Your office shed doesn’t necessarily need to have windows, but if you’re going to be working from it on a daily basis, you’re likely going to want some natural light coming in. A closed in shed is better suited for garden tools and storage. At Gentek, we have a huge selection of windows that will meet your office shed design and comfort needs! You’ll get effective energy efficient and low maintenance windows for an office you’ll love stepping into everyday!

3. Select a Door

Your door is an important part of your office shed, acting as the one and only entryway to your space. You may opt for double swing garden doors, or a solid door for privacy. If you don’t want to go with windows for your shed, but still want natural light, consider a door with a window or a fully glass door. There are plenty of door options to choose from at Gentek, so once you decide on your design, the world is your oyster!

4. It’s Time for Trim

Give your backyard office shed some character with trim! You can add detail at the roofline, give your windows some dimension, and add some beautifully crafted corners. These little accents will give your office shed personality and flair! At Gentek we offer shakes, scallops, and an array of decorative accents and trim, so you can get creative with your design.

5. Your Colour Scheme

With Gentek’s World of Colour, you can create any colour scheme you want for your backyard office shed! Maybe you’ll opt for a classic all white exterior with black accents on the windows and doors. Or perhaps you want more of a oceanside vibe with an all-over shade like ‘pacific blue’. Whatever feel you want for your office shed, we have a world of colour at Gentek!

If you work from home, a backyard office shed may be the answer to all your problems! Use these steps to design the office of your dreams!


Black (Siding) is the New Black

When it comes to home exteriors, rarely do we see houses outfitted in black siding. Most homeowners tend to stick to lighter shades for their siding, favouring colours like white, grey, taupe or varying shades of blue. But black? Black is risky, black is shocking, and it may just be the most beautiful colour you can go with for your siding.

Black siding is one of the best ways to make a statement with your home, but it’s not for everyone. Take a look at some pros and cons of black siding to decide if it’s the right choice for you!

It’s Beautiful

There’s no denying that black siding is extremely beautiful. It’s dramatic and exciting, and makes a strong visual statement. With a black exterior, you don’t need too many extra finishings because it does all the talking on its own. Black will accentuate the gorgeous features of your home, like the grooves and detail of your siding and intricate details of your trim.

But It Accentuates Blemishes

Keep in mind that black will also accentuate blemishes and imperfections. Any chips, cracks or flaws will be more noticeable with the colour black than it would be with lighter shades.

It Gets Hot

Just like black cars and clothing, black siding also tends to get hot. It absorbs more heat from the sun than lighter homes will, especially colours like white and cream. A white or light-coloured house will reflect more of the sun’s rays, which keeps the inside of your home cooler in the warmer months. Luckily, in Canada, we don’t have to worry about too much heat, so black siding houses are pretty ideal!

But It’s The Perfect Backdrop

Whether you want to go all out with your landscaping, or opt for minimal greenery, black offers the perfect backdrop. Against green foliage, black tends to retreat so that the natural surroundings get the attention and look even more lush. Black also pairs well with wood and brick that you may have in your fence, garage door or exterior chimney.

Add Contrast

One way to really make your black siding shine? Add contrast with white framed windows and a white door! Gentek has plenty of options for window and door styles, so once you decide on the perfect shade of white, all you need to do is choose the style that works best for your home. This gorgeous contrast will ensure your home pops in the most gorgeous way.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, Gentek offers the perfect shade of black for your siding! Take a look and start planning for your black facade today!


8 Outdoor Winter Decor Ideas to Make Your Home Shine

Winter is on its way, which means it’s time to start decorating your home exterior for the snowy season. There are so many ways to add festive, holiday vibes to your home before your guests even open the door. These decor ideas will stand up to Canadian winters and make your home look as cozy and inviting outside as it feels inside!

1. A firewood stack

A stack of firewood will give off the ultimate cozy, rustic vibe for your home exterior. Stack it up against the front of your home (on your porch if you have the room) for decor that oozes charm. Whether you’re actually going to use the firewood in your fireplace, or are using it purely for decor, you’re going to love how it looks against your home!

2. A gorgeous wreath

A wreath is an easy way to add holiday charm to the front of your home. You can buy one or DIY one yourself with evergreen needles and pine cones. Choose or create a winter wreath that will pop against your door colour.

3. Mini Christmas trees

If you celebrate Christmas, why not add a few mini Christmas trees on your porch? Deck them out with lights and lay a tree skirt beneath them so the holiday vibes start before you even step inside. Who said Christmas trees can only be put up inside, anyways?

4. Swooping garlands

Swooping garlands are a great way to add a festive feel to your outdoor decor. Sweep garlands across your porch and up your handrails. Garlands offer hints of natural texture and are the perfect way to say ‘happy holidays’ with your outdoor space. Add bows to the ends more even more festive flair.

5. Go for tartan

A tartan or plaid pattern always makes a space feel more comfortable, especially an outdoor space in the wintertime. If you have a bench or chairs on your porch, add a tartan blanket and tartan throw pillows to enhance the cozy vibes.

6. Warm accents

To make the exterior of your home feel toasty come winter, warm accents are a must! Add synthetic wicker chairs (which can be kept outside during winter), or a wooden bench to your porch to warm it up. Another warm accent piece you can use is lanterns, either hanging from or sitting on your porch.

7. A festive doormat

Doormats have become increasingly popular over the past few years, which means there are so many options to choose from. A festive doormat does double duty, adding warmth to your porch, while also making sure your guests wipe the snow and dirt off their shoes before they step inside.

8. String lights

What better way to add a touch of cheerfulness to your home exterior by decorating with string lights? Hang them up along the edge of your roof, along your porch railing, or intertwined with garland around your door. However you choose to use string lights, they’re sure to add winter charm to your exterior.

It’s time to start decorating for the winter season! Use these tips and ideas to make your home shine!


How to Refine Your Renovation to Fit Your Budget

If we all had it our way, we’d be renovating our homes with only the finest finishes and most expensive materials and appliances. There’s just one problem: The budget. What you want for your renovation and what you can afford can sometimes fall very far apart on the spectrum. It’s easy to get all dreamy-eyed looking at all the gorgeous showrooms, magazine spreads and home reno shows, but your budget has to come first.

Going over budget will undoubtedly leave you with a beautiful home, but if it means going into debt or spending all your life savings, it’s not worth it. There are ways to get the look you want while staying on budget and we’re showing you how today!

Write Up a Budget

First things first, you have to create a budget for your renovation. Without a budget, it will make the whole renovation process extremely stressful and unpleasant. Figure out how much money you can afford to spend on your remodel project and break it down into sections (exterior, kitchen, master bathroom, living room, etc.). This will give you an idea of much you can afford to spend for each part of the project and allow you to determine the finishes and materials you can use.

Create Your Vision

Your vision for your renovation is a pivotal part of the process. Collect photos from magazines, websites and Pinterest that inspire you. Work with your designer to incorporate not only your design style but your family’s day-to-day function into your new space. Your initial design will likely be revised a number of times before you get a design that works perfectly for you- and fits your budget!

Budget Check

Once your designer drafts the initial drawings with dimensions, you can send them out to contractors for pricing. These initial price comparisons offer you a ballpark range of what your renovation may cost. The final number will depend on the finishes and materials you select.

Looking for a reliable contractor? At Gentek we only partner with the best of the best. Take a look at our Contract Locator to find a premium renovator for your home project!

Refining Your Renovation to Fit Your Budget

Now comes the time where you’ll find out how close your vision and budget are. Many homeowners are surprised to find how much more expensive the process is than they thought. If you’re over budget, you have to decide what features are worth it to you, and which ones are worth the price.

Your designer and contractor can work with you to determine where you can scale back, as well as lower cost solutions. Decide what your priorities are to make the decision process easier. What are the areas you’re willing to go down in price to have the more important things?

Maybe new gorgeous windows are a non-negotiable but you’re willing to be more cost effective with your siding. Or you’re willing to save on your backsplash but want only the highest quality for your countertops. These are personal decisions you need to sit with, but you’ll find out what’s most important to you and end up with the renovation of your dreams all on budget.

Renovating your home is an amazing yet stressful process. It will go much more smoothly if you stay on budget, so use these tips to refine your renovation to fit what you can afford!


How Much Does a Remodel Cost and How Long Does it Take?

Remodeling your house is one of the most exciting ventures any homeowner can take. You get to upgrade the home you love with a new design that makes you even more excited to come home after a long day. From new windows, siding and doors, to interior upgrades, a remodel can completely elevate your home.

With all the excitement that comes along with a renovation, you have to make sure to be realistic in terms of what it will cost you and how long the project will go on. If you’re looking to remodel you’re home, we’re giving you all the insight on how much a renovation costs and how long it will take to get your dream home.

How Much Does a Remodel Cost?

Home remodel costs depend on a few key factors such as the size of your home, location, the quality of materials you use, etc.  Different rooms also come with different costs. According to Houzz’s 2018 Houzz and Home Study, kitchens are the most popular rooms to renovate, with guests bathrooms coming in at the no.2 spot, and master bathrooms at no.3.

In 2017, the median spend on a kitchen renovation was $11,000, and the median spend on a large kitchen with at least all cabinets and appliances being replaced was $33,000. The median cost for a master bathroom remodel was $7,000, and that median cost rose up between $10,000 to $16,000 for master bathroom remodels with at least the countertops, vanity, cabinetry, and toilets replaced.

The median cost for other interior room renovations ranged from $500 for a closet remodel to $3,000 for a family/living room renovation. The overall median renovation spend was $15,000.

A Word on Exterior Remodels

Upgrading your curb appeal is becoming just as popular as remodeling your favourite interior rooms. The most popular exterior improvement in 2017 was exterior paint, followed by windows or skylights, exterior doors, roofing, gutters and decks!

How Long Does a Remodel Take

Home renovation projects take time, but if you’re working with a quality renovator (like one of Gentek’s) they’ll make it happen as efficiently as possible and with as much quality as possible. Just a few short years ago, Houzz’s 2016 Houzz and Home Survey found that the average time it takes for a kitchen renovation is five months, between three and four months for bathroom remodels, three months for a laundry room and two and a half months for a closet. Other interior rooms took on average three and a half months to remodel.

Excited to get your remodel started? Get in touch with a Gentek premium renovator to ensure your project is done with care and to the highest quality standards!


Premium Renovator Spotlight: Unger Window and Door (Chilliwack, BC)

Unger Window & Door Logo

At Gentek, we pride ourselves on partnering with the very best renovators for our home exterior products. This month, we’re shining the spotlight on one of our premium renovators in Chilliwack, BC: Unger Window and Door. If you reside in the Fraser Valley area and are looking to work on a new construction or renovation project, look no further than Unger Window and Door!

About Unger Window and Door

A family owned and operated company, Unger Window and Door has over 20 years experience in the industry, providing residential and commercial supply and installation of high-quality products. You’ll get a full customer service experience from start to finish, whether you’re working on a new project or a renovation.

Based on your needs, they come up with the perfect quality products for you and will provide you with product information and full warranty so you can make an informed purchase. Since Unger Window and Door employs their own installation crew, you can rest assured that you’ll be satisfied throughout the whole installation process!

Quality You Can Trust

If you reside in the Fraser Valley area, you’re well aware of the wide spectrum of weather around the year. Your house needs to stand up to everything from heavy rain to windstorms to snowfall, and your doors and windows are two key features that keep your home safe from all of the above. Not only do they need to stand up to the rollercoaster of weather, they also need to provide excellent insulation to keep your home comfortable all year round!

You can trust Unger Window and Door with all your home building and renovation needs. Their products are trusted and rated for conformance NAFS and stand up to BC Building Code, which is essential, especially if your project requires a permit.

Residential Projects

Unger has you covered when it comes to all aspects of your windows and doors for your home, from ideal design to energy efficiency and saving you money on your energy bills. They’re extremely knowledgeable about the Fraser Valley area and have a team of experienced specialists to take you from showroom to installation with ease. Each home has its own unique needs, and Unger Window and Door will help you find the best products for your house and ensure you’re satisfied with the end result!

Commercial Projects

If you’re a company that’s looking to upgrade your building, Unger Window and Door can elevate your space with windows, doors and interior hardware. They offer commercial clients products with outstanding security, style and energy efficiency. Their commercial projects include (but aren’t limited to):

Retail/Office space

Mini-Storage Facilities

Manufacturing Buildings

Tenant Improvements

Apartment buildings

Retirement and Health Care facilities

Your windows and doors are two of the most important features of your home and business. Head to Unger Window and Door in BC’s Chilliwack region to ensure your home’s unique needs are not only met, but blown out of the park!


How to Make a Statement with Your Front Door

Your front door plays an integral part of your entire home. Not only does it provide security and interior comfort, it also reflects your personal decor style and helps you make a statement. Your front door is the entryway to your adored abode. It’s the key to a good first impression and can set your home apart from the rest of the houses on your block. Your front door not only enhances your exterior aesthetic, it also sets the tone for your interior decor choices. Whether you have a ranch-style bungalow or a three-story Victorian home, here’s how to make a statement with your front door.

Choose Your Material

At Gentek, you have a few choices when it comes to picking your door material, and all of them are top notch. First Impressions Doors come in steel and woodgrain fiberglass. With Codel Entry Systems (available on the West Coast), you can choose between smooth fiberglass, textured fiberglass and steel entry doors. Wood edge steel doors are one of the most popular choices among today’s homeowners. They’re versatile, provide thermal comfort and you can count on them to enhance your curb appeal. Codel’s fiberglass doors are virtually maintenance free, and have no exposed wood so you don’t have to worry about moisture seeping into the door like you would with other fiberglass door brands.

Choose Your Colour

One of the best ways to make a statement with your front door is to go with a more daring hue. Since your front door doesn’t cover as much area as say, siding does, you can opt for a bolder colour. If the rest of your exterior falls more on the neutral side, a nice pop of colour on your door can make your house stand out in the best way. Any colour from Gentek’s Colour Selection can be used for your First Impressions door. And with Codel Entry Systems, you have your choice of colours ranging from more neutral tones like Navy, Espresso and Olive to bolder hues like Ballard, Proctor and Magnolia. Check out the catalogue for the entire range of colours!

Choose Your Style

There are so many options to choose from for your front door style. Whether you want a simple entry door with no windows or a grand entrance with decorative glass or wrought iron, Gentek has a door that will fit your aesthetic and budget! With a wide selection of door styles, colours, glass options and hardware, you have all the options you need to create your perfect front door!

Go Custom

There’s really no better way to make a statement with your front door than investing in a custom door for your home. Gentek’s First Impressions Doors are built just for you with best-in-class design and construction. First Impressions Doors offer superior strength and structural integrity, balanced with refined elegance. They’re custom made to the exact measurements of your door opening, offering the perfect balance of all-weather protection and gorgeous aesthetics. You can match your First Impression door to your Gentek windows and siding to complete the look of your home!

If you want to make a statement with your front door, look no further than Gentek! With plenty of colours, materials and styles to choose from, you’ll find the perfect match no matter your style and needs!


10 Ways to Landscape without Grass

You don’t have to have grass to have a beautiful landscape. The things is, lawns come with significant maintenance, and a lot of homeowners just don’t have time for upkeep. Many are opting for grass-free landscapes that are easy on the eye, and even easier on the maintenance. Even if you’re not concerned about upkeep, perhaps you want a yard that has a little more personality than the standard grass lawn. Whatever your motivation, here are 10 ways to landscape without grass.

1. Urban Courtyard

Not all homes are suited for grass, especially in the backyard. If your home teeters towards contemporary/urban style, create a courtyard that compliments that vibe. Consider using narrow pavers and pebbles in gray tones, and adding tall planters to convey the urban feel.

2. Stepping Stones

Create a stunning walkway by adding mulch and stone pavers from the driveway up to the entry of your home. Incorporate plants of different sizes to add a dash of colourful appeal to your landscape!

3. Countryside Courtyard

If your home has charming, country vibes, create a courtyard that enhances your design style. Include a stone walkway with gorgeous plants and flowers, and consider incorporating a courtyard centerpiece such as a fountain to draw the eye of everyone who walks through.

4. Tapestry of Plants

Instead of having a high-maintenance lawn in your front yard, why not remove the grass and replace it with shrubs and perennials? This requires less time and effort from you as they need less water than a lawn would, and also creates an eye-catching yard that will stop people in their tracks!

5. Backyard Retreat

Not every family needs a backyard where they can kick soccer balls around and play fetch with their dog. If your family’s needs are more about relaxation, create a backyard oasis with stone pavers as the foundation. Add pieces like an outdoor fireplace surrounded by comfy chairs, and a table you can dine at. Add visual appeal with planters and a garden for the ultimate backyard retreat.

6. Add a Waterfall

If you have natural stone in your backyard (or are planning to add it in), why not add a feature waterfall to elevate the space that’s lacking grass? It’s a unique way to implement beauty into to your yard and home overall.

7. Statement Pool

If you have a gorgeous pool in your backyard, there’s definitely no need for grass. Install a custom shape pool with beautiful patio pavers around it. You can also play around with various seating options around the pool, and plant trees and shrubs to add some texture.

8. Edible Plantings

What could be better than having a yard full of edible plants that you can eat and cook/bake into meals? Create a garden with your favourite edible plants, from berries to beans to peppers, cabbage, tomatoes and herbs. It may be a little more maintenance, but will save you money at the grocery store!

9. Traffic-Stopping Walkway

Add charm to a concrete walkway with brick pavers, and dress it up with flowers along the walkway in various colours. This is a great way to bring various hues into your landscape. Make sure they compliment your exterior for a home that comes together perfectly.

10. Woodland Garden

A woodland garden is a charming way to add visual appeal to your backyard. Use stone for the patio and walkway, and foliage plants and flowering plants of different heights to create texture and colour for a woodland garden that stuns.

No grass in your landscape? No problem! Use these ideas to landscape without grass and get the gorgeous exterior you’ve been dreaming of!