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.

2019 Interior Design Trends to Try

Wondering what interior trends are here to stay for 2019? One thing to note is trends are sticking around longer than they used to. You don’t have to worry about design features going out of style a year after you buy them, so you can rest assured that any investments you make for your home now will be on trend for years to come. Whether you’re renovating your home for yourself, or are getting ready to put your home on the market, these are the 2019 interior design trends to try!

Coziness Reigns Supreme

You’ve likely heard of the term “hygge”, the Danish word that encompasses a feeling of coziness and wellbeing. It hit the North American design world by storm a few years ago and continues to raise in popularity. Now more than over, homeowners are favouring comfortable furniture, warm colours, lots of throw blankets, rugs, candles and fireplaces. Anything that makes your home feel cozier and conveys a sense of wellbeing is a trend that’s here to stay.

Bold & Eclectic

The bold, eclectic look isn’t for everyone, but if you’re someone who likes to take risks when it comes to design, you’re going to love this trend. Embrace bright accent colours that contrast each other like blues and yellows, paint an eclectic accent wall in deep violet or layer lots of throw blankets and pillows in bright, contrasting shades.

Purposeful Designs

Conscious, purposeful designs are making their case in all spaces, whether you have a tiny apartment or a grand home. A growing number of companies are offering furnishings and features that serve multiple purposes and can be used in more than one room. Think: Wall beds with an integrated writing desk and coffee tables that double as TV trays.

Warm Neutrals

Neutrals are starting to warm up in home interiors. Moving away from stark whites and grays, you’ll now be seeing softer and warmer shades that evoke the feelings of nature and the outdoors. Warm mid grays, feather-like hues and stone shades are subtle and warm, and look beautiful with almost everything. Warm neutral colours are timeless and will work in virtually any room, enhancing other finishes. Pair them with natural elements like refurbished wood, real stones and ceramics.  

Natural Flooring

Dark wood floors were all the rage a few years ago, but we’ve been seeing a decline in this trend and a move toward more natural flooring. Wood floors will continue to stay on the lighter side, with matte finishes making them look even more natural. You’ll also notice the rise of tile and vinyl floors made to look convincingly like real wood.

Mixed Metallics

Mixing metallics such as gold, brass and silver is officially on trend. For one thing, it can be tough to find the perfect metal match for hardware in your kitchen and bathrooms, and for another, mixing metallics can seriously up the glam factor of your space. With the right balance and combination, multiple metallics can create a luxurious look.

Ready to try these 2019 interior design trends? Use this list to implement year’s best trends into your home!


Blown Window Seals Could Blow the Value of Your Home

When it comes to windows, there are certain things that can either increase or decrease the value of your home. Eco-efficiency, low-maintenance, and durability? These features fall under the former. Blown window seals? That falls under the latter.

If you’re ready to put your home on the market, blown thermal seals can be a deal breaker. Don’t let this one downfall cost you top price on your otherwise amazing home. Here’s everything you need to know about blown window seals.

What is a Thermal Pane Window?

You may know thermal window panes better by the name of insulated windows. Thermal pane windows are loved for their energy efficient features, and have two or three panes of glass that are separated by an insulated gas filled gap.

When these windows are manufactured, moisture is removed and sealed, and an inert gas such as argon is placed inside to increase insulation. An absorbent material is also placed along the perimeter of the windows to keep them as dry and insulated as possible.

2 Main Reasons Why Thermal Panes Leak

Your thermal panes can leak for a number of different reasons, from improper insulation to manufacturing defects, but two of the biggest culprits for thermal pane leakage are listed below.

1. Sun: Sun shining down on your windows can cause thermal pumping, which means on a constant, daily basis, it causes expanding and contracting of the window panes.

2. Age: As your windows age, the changes in pressure and temperature put stress on the seal. The absorbent material along the perimeter of your windows can only protect them for so long before condensation starts to form.

How Can You Tell If You Have Blown Window Seals?

If a window’s seal is broken, moisture can sneak into the space between the window panes and make the glass appear to have streaks. Intermittent fogging in colder weather can also be a sign you have blown window seals. If you notice your usually-clear windows suddenly look foggy in the cold, and when it warms up outside, the fog disappears, this likely means your seal is blown.

What to Do About Blown Window Seals

The most important thing to remember is, the longer a problem goes uncared for, the bigger the chance there’s going to be permanent damage. If you think there’s a major problem with the integrity of your windows, call in a professional to take a look and offer the correct advice on the state of your windows and what you should do about them.

If your window seals are blown, it may be time to get replacement windows. Quality windows are an investment, but they undoubtedly increase the value of your home. Most often, homeowners are only required to replace the compromised unit, so you may not be looking at a full window replacement.

Blown window seals are a big deal and could cost you a home sale. Make sure to explore your options and get in touch with a professional if you think your window seals are blown!


5 Most Popular Siding Colours for 2019

Thinking of changing up your siding colour? It could be one of the best upgrades you’ll make to your home. Siding makes up the bulk of your home exterior, and is one of the biggest drivers of value and curb appeal. You want to make sure your siding colour is modern and on trend, especially if you’re planning to put your house up for sale any time soon.

Whether you’re looking to paint your siding or are in the market to replace your siding all together, take a look at Gentek’s World of Colour to follow along this list of the most popular siding colours for 2019!

1. Pacific Blue to Marine Dusk

Shades of blue have blown up in the design world over the past few years, but this year, shades like “Pacific Blue” and “Marine Dusk” are the ones to look out for. Blue is not exactly neutral, so if you’re not looking to play it safe, it may not be for you, but many homeowners today desire more dynamic colours for their home exteriors.

Pacific Blue” and “Marine Dusk” evoke feelings of relaxation, serenity and peace, which is why many homeowners are drawn to them. Couple your blue siding with white trim to give your home tranquil seaside vibes.

2. Gray (In Any Medium to Dark Shade)

You can’t go wrong when it comes to using any medium to dark shade of gray for your siding. Whether you opt for “Storm” or our new “Chesapeake Gray” or “Hudson Slate”, gray is a neutral yet trendy colour that never goes out of style. If you love the idea of using a neutral for your siding, but would rather stay away from creams and tans, gray is the perfect option for you!

3. Forest Green to Meadow Fern

Natural hues like “Forest Green” and “Meadow Fern” are also trending in 2019, especially for homes in the suburbs or ones surrounded by lots of nature. These greens bring out your home’s natural, lush surroundings, not to mention, the vibrancy of a deep forest green can really bring a property to life! Note that darker greens also tend to look really good on older, traditional style homes that often look best painted in deeper colours.

4. Taylor Red to Majestic Brick

Deep russet reds like Gentek’s “Taylor Red” and “Majestic Brick” are also having a moment. Perfect for a timeless, country-style home, a gorgeous deep red siding adds a ton of curb appeal and will make your home a total stand out!

5. Incorporating Textures

When it comes to siding, colour isn’t the only option you have to think about. This year, incorporating textures into your siding continues to be one of the biggest trends. Think options such as Grayne shingles that create natural depth and sharp, crisp edges to give your home the natural cedar charm, or SerenyStone, an awesome alternative to masonry, without all the maintenance and upkeep of real stone.

If you’re ready to give your siding an upgrade, use one of these 5 colours or textures to completely transform your home!


How to Upgrade, Beautify and Maximize Your Deck This Summer

Is your backyard deck looking old and run down? You may not be giving much thought to it while it’s covered in snow, but come summertime, everyone wants to extend their living space with a gorgeous backyard deck. There are plenty of ways you can upgrade your deck so it suits your aesthetic and lifestyle! Check out 5 ways to make your deck more beautiful and functional!

1. Clean and Refinish Your Deck

Refinishing your deck is one of the best investments you can make and also makes a huge impact on the look of your outdoor space. Your deck takes on a lot of wear and tear, both from people walking all over it and from the elements, so maintaining it is key to its longevity.

Your deck is an extension of your home, so you want to make sure it’s taken care of and looks its best. Clean the surface and refinish it before adding or making any changes to it.

2. Create a Vision for Your Deck

What does your dream deck look like? How does it function? Do you want to be able to read a book outside on warm summer nights? Would you love to be able to entertain on your backyard deck? Do you want a space to barbeque? Or maybe you want your deck to give you all these things. Take some time to figure out what type of deck suits your lifestyle so you can maximize its use.

3. Create Shade

If you plan to spend a lot of time outside on your deck this summer, you probably want to consider creating shade for your outdoor space. It’s nice to be able to get fresh air in the warmer months, but sometimes the heat and sun can make spending time outside unbearable.

Luckily, there are numerous options to create shade for your deck. Whether it’s with a movable deck umbrella over a table, or a canopy or awning to shade over eating and cooking areas, choose a shade option that works for you.

4. Add Plants and Flowers

Adding plants and flowers to your deck can totally transform your outdoor space, giving it life and personality. You can hang planters from your deck railings, set up a tiered plant stand, or invest in large ceramic flower pots to place around your deck.

Adding plants and flowers will beautify your outdoor space, adding visual dimension to your deck. Want some tips for adding plants and flowers? Choose a colour scheme, stay low-maintenance, and don’t go overboard with too many variations.

5. Add Lighting

Lighting can make all the difference for the aesthetics and function of your deck. String lighting is a whimsical way to light up your outdoor space at night, and options like in-floor deck lighting and roof lighting keep your deck well-lit and safe when the sun goes down.

Upgrading and beautifying your deck can make a huge difference for both the look and function of your outdoor space. Follow these tips to get the most out of your deck this summer!


How to Hang Art on Vinyl Siding

Did you know you can hang art and decorations on vinyl siding? That’s right, if you want to elevate your home with outdoor wall art or decorate it for the holidays, you can hang art on vinyl siding without doing damage to it.

Stay away from hammering nails into your vinyl siding at all costs. It may seem like a good idea, but it can cause major damage to your home in the long run. Holes allow water to get behind your siding, and can lead to moisture damage in your home. Instead, stick with these three options below to hang art on vinyl siding!

Vinyl Siding Hook

Your first option for hanging art on vinyl siding is using a vinyl siding hook. It’s a very easy process, all you have to do is slip the top of the hook underneath a piece of siding, and wiggle it around until it snaps into place. You can then hang your art or decorations on the bottom of the hook without causing any damage to your siding.

Cup Hook

A cup hook can also be attached to the side of your home, allowing you to hang art and decorations. Choose the area you want to attach the hook to and clean it with soap and water, making sure to dry it well after. Keep in mind that dirt can affect adhesion. You’ll then want to wipe the area down with rubbing alcohol and dry it to ensure the area is clean as can be. Wet the suction cup and press it up against the siding. Leave the hook for about a day before adding art or decorations to ensure it sticks.

Wire Hook

Your third option is to hang a wire hook from the vinyl soffit trim (the trim between your vinyl siding and the soffit). Cut a short piece of the wire with a wire cutter and bend it into an S-shape with pliers. This creates your wire hook.

Make sure to choose a metal that won’t rust for your hook, and you can attach art and decorations directly to the hook. You can also attach pieces of fishing line to the hooks if you want your decorations to hang lower. If you want to hang string lights or have a lot of small items to hang, this is a great option!

Hanging outdoor art and decorations on your vinyl siding can add intrigue to your home. Use one of these three options to hang art without damaging your vinyl siding.


“There’s a Hole in Your Siding, Dear Liza, Dear Liza!” (And How to Fix It)

Vinyl siding may be one of the toughest materials out there, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get damaged from extreme weather or a game of catch gone wrong. If you’ve noticed a hole (or holes) in your siding, it’s best to get it taken care of right away. Holes can lead to moisture and insects penetrating your home, which can result in long-term and irreparable damage. Luckily, you can fix most reasonably sized holes without the help of a professional. Here’s how to fix different types of holes in your vinyl siding.

How to Fix Small Holes in Your Siding

First thing’s first, before you fix any type of hole in your siding, you should clean the siding around the hole with vinyl siding cleaner or a mild dish detergent mixture and dry it well. You also want to make sure that any repairs you do to fix the hole will match your current siding colour.

Squeeze a generous amount of exterior caulking that matches the colour of your siding into the hole and wipe it smooth across the surface (you should be able to get the exact colour from your siding manufacturer).

Squeeze as much caulk as you can into the hole to ensure long lasting repair. Once it dries completely, scape off any excess caulk so that it flushes perfectly with your siding. If you can’t find caulk in the same colour, another option is to use paintable caulk and then paint over it with exterior paint in the same colour as your siding.

How to Fix Big Holes in Your Siding

If you have bigger holes in your siding that need a little more attention, the process includes a few more steps. First, you’ll need to buy a siding zip tool (available at home and garden stores like Rona and Home Depot).

Use the tool to unlock the siding with the hole in it at the bottom. Place foil tape on the back side of the siding, covering the hole from the back, and snap the siding back into place. Then repeat the steps from above, filling the hole with siding caulking to seal it.

How to Fix Large Holes and Cracks

Fixing large holes and cracks is totally possible, but note that if your siding is too damaged, you may need to consider replacing it instead of repairing it. Get in touch with a professional contractor if you don’t think you can fix it on your own. If the large holes and cracks in your siding are fixable, you’ll need a piece of siding that matches the siding you want to fix.

Use a utility knife to cut the nailing strip of a top of a piece of the matching siding that’s larger than the hole. Attach it to the top of the damaged piece with construction cohesive. You may also consider using the zip tool to remove the piece of damaged siding and replacing  it with the new piece.

A hole in your siding isn’t the end of the world if you take care of it right away. Use these steps to fix it and save your home from more serious damage down the road!


Why Your Vinyl Siding Can Get Moldy (And How to Treat It)

Vinyl siding is one of the most durable and affordable siding options out there, making it the most desired cladding material in North America. It’s beautiful, low-maintenance and eco-friendly, and what more could you want from a siding?

Although vinyl siding boasts many amazing features, it doesn’t mean that it’s immune to issues, and one of those issues is mold. Mold and mildew can accumulate on vinyl siding, which can be a downside to the cladding material, but luckily there are easy ways to treat it!

Why Does Vinyl Siding Get Moldy?

Yes, vinyl siding is low-maintenance, but mold can still grow on it for a number of different reasons. If you’re thinking about investing in vinyl siding, or are curious because you have vinyl siding on your home now, it’s helpful to learn what leads to mold and mildew.

Dirt Build Up

When dirt accumulates on the surface of your siding, it can lead to the build-up of mold and mildew. Dirt on your siding not only makes your home look unclean, but can result in mildew since fungus feeds on dirt and dust. You also have to be careful of any trees located in close proximity to your siding. Sugary sap can end up on your siding, which acts as food for fungus. Mildew and mold feed on sugar, dust, dirt and other things attached to your siding, so it’s important you keep your siding clean.

Water

Water can also cause mold and mildew to develop on your vinyl siding. If moisture gets stuck behind or in your siding, you may end up finding mold and mildew on your exterior. This can be attributed to anything from rainwater, to washing your siding with a power washer, to a broken gutter dripping on your siding. If there’s excessive moisture that causes your siding to stay wet, mold is likely to start growing.

Not Enough Sunlight

A lack of sunlight is another reason for the growth of mold and mildew. Mold flourishes in dark places, so if an area of your house doesn’t get much light, it’s more prone to mold and mildew. If there’s a porch roof or tree that’s preventing part of your house from ever getting light, you may want to consider removing it.

How to Treat Mold on Your Siding

To remove the mold on your siding, all you have to do is wash it with a homemade oxygen bleach solution. Mix powdered oxygen bleach with warm water and apply it to your siding. This will work best when your siding is dry and in the shade rather than sun. Allow the solution to sit and fizz on the siding for 10 minutes, then scrub with a brush and rinse with a garden hose.

Another option is using a pressure washer, but you have to be careful if you choose to do so. If you use it improperly, it can cause serious damage to your siding, leaving you worse off than you were in the first place. The water from a pressure washer can be driven into cracks, causing water damage to your home. Make sure to read the instructions and use caution if you decide to go this route.

Vinyl siding can get moldy, but as long as you maintain it and treat it when you see it, your home will be clean and mold free!


When (And Why) You Should Repair Your Siding

Your home, and all of its features, is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, so you want to make sure you maintain and care for it properly. Siding is one of the most significant elements of your home. Not only does well-designed siding add to your curb appeal, it also protects your home from outdoor nuisances like rain, wind and pests, and keeps your interior insulated and comfortable.

Unfortunately siding isn’t bulletproof, and although many siding materials are durable and last a long time, there are a few key things to look out for that would signal a need for siding repair. Whether you have vinyl siding, aluminum siding, specialty siding, or fiber cement, take a look at when and why you should repair your siding.

Why You Need to Repair Damaged Siding

Although many homeowners choose their siding based on aesthetics, siding does much more than provide your home with a pretty façade. Siding acts as a seal, keeping out all unwanted disturbances from your home.

If your siding is broken or damaged, you risk allowing water, air, dirt and pests into your interior. Warping, rotting and moulding are issues that can seriously affect your home. No matter the season, these things are never a good sign and can lead to more serious harm down the road.

When To Repair Damaged Siding

Inspect Your Siding

Make sure to inspect your siding on a consistent basis to check if there has been any damage to it. Walk around the perimeter of your house at least once a year to check the integrity of your siding and make sure no trees, bushes or shrubs are rubbing against it. Look for chips, holes, dents, buckling and warping. As soon as you notice issues with your siding, get them fixed right away.

Prevent Further Damage

Once you notice there’s damage to your siding, the goal is to prevent further damage, which can lead to having to fully replace your siding. Repairing your siding is much cheaper than replacing your siding, and if the majority of your siding is in good shape, there’s no need to spend unnecessary money.

Once you find the cause of the damage, the solution may be as simple as caulking an opening or replacing an incorrectly installed piece of flashing. Get in touch with a professional contractor to assess the situation and determine the best course of action to repair your siding!

Worst Case Scenario

If you’re not proactive about maintaining and repairing your siding, you’ll have to deal with the consequences. Chipping, peeling, holes, cracks and other siding damage can quickly lead to irreversible damage that has the potential to ruin your home and lead to a full siding replacement.

If you notice your siding has been damaged, don’t wait to have it inspected by a professional. Take action and get it repaired, so it doesn’t end up costing you unnecessary time and money!


Think Outside the Bench: 7 Ideas for Garden and Backyard Benches for Any Home

When you’re stuck in the middle of a polar vortex, it helps to daydream of spring and summer weather and all the fun upgrades you can make to the exterior of your home. One of the best ways to add visual appeal and functionality to your outdoor space? A garden/backyard bench! Outdoor benches allow you to enjoy time outside when the weather is nice and are also a great way to decorate your exterior. Here are 7 outdoor bench ideas for any home!

1. The Reading Bench

An outdoor bench dedicated to reading your favourite books is the most comfortable way to relax after a long day. Make sure it’s sturdy and has a back to it, and fill it with lots of throw pillows, a thick bottom cushion and blankets! You can also add a wooden stool to rest your feet and a book crate to place books and magazines to bring it all together.

2. Picnic Style Bench

If you love to entertain and have space on your back porch, add in an extra-long picnic style bench with a table. This outdoor bench style is a super simple addition and can seat a lot of people comfortably. You may consider placing it up against the side railing of your deck so your guests have some back support.

3. The Canopy Bench

Another option is going all out with your outdoor bench and putting in a canopy bench. This option gives a sense of extra luxury to your outdoor space. Add a canopy overtop a simple wooden bench using a pattern you love. Add an extra comfy seat cushion for the ultimate backyard retreat.

4. The Farm Style Bench

If you have a contemporary farmhouse style home, a farm style bench will compliment your exterior perfectly. Add one to your porch and make it extra inviting with comfy cushions and a throw. Benches in dark wood or crisp white give off the ultimate farm style vibes.

5. The Corner Bench

A unique way to add an outdoor bench is with a corner bench on your front or backyard porch. If you have a large porch with extra space, a corner bench (two benches that meet at a corner) offers space for multiple people to sit and also adds visual appeal to your porch. You can even add a raised platform in the middle of the two benches where you can place drinks and books.

6. The Garden Box Bench

Have you ever considered creating an outdoor bench with garden planters? A seating area with built-in planters will add a beautiful touch of nature to your porch. Have a planter on each side of the bench to maintain symmetry, and keep the bench and garden planters neutral in colour so the plants can shine!

7. The Simple Bench

If you have a smaller porch or want to add a bench under a tree in your garden, opt for a smaller, simple outdoor bench. A bench without armrests or a back will fit almost anywhere. Paint it in a colour that compliments your porch or garden and you’ll have a simple yet beautiful sitting area

An outdoor bench is a great way to make a cozy statement in your front or backyard. Use these ideas for garden and backyard benches for any home!


How Trees and Shrubs Can Affect the Siding On Your Home

Your siding plays a key role in the integrity of your home. It offers insulation, comfort and protection from the elements, not to mention the beauty it adds to your curb appeal. Since your siding greatly impacts both your home’s interior and exterior, it only makes sense to protect it as best you can. You may not realize it, but plants like trees and shrubs can affect and damage your siding in a number of different ways. It’s imperative to learn about and prevent these problems before they take a toll on your home.

The Effect of Trees and Shrubs on Your Siding

Scraping

If the trees and shrubs near your home grow too long, their branches can scape your siding, effecting its strength. When the surface of your siding is worn away, the scraping of the branches can cause the failure of paint, vinyl, and aluminum.

Cracking

Trees and shrubs that push up against your siding can also lead to cracks from the pressure. Cracks are a serious problem since they allow insects and pests into your interior.

Rot and Mold

Rot and mold are other serious issues to look out for when you have trees and shrubs near your siding. They can prevent air circulation and evaporation, leading to rot or mold on your siding, and bushes specifically can trap moisture near the foundation of your home, resulting in mold in your basement.

Rips and Tears

Rips and tears are problems you have to look out for if you have larger trees in your yard. Dead branches are prone to falling off, which can rip away a big chunk of your siding.

How to Protect Your Siding From Trees and Shrubs

Now that you know how trees and shrubs can damage your siding, it’s time to put a plan in place to protect your siding the best you can! Here are 3 steps you can take to protect your siding from trees and shrubs.

1. Regular Inspections

Make sure to do regular inspections of your siding to make sure no damage has been done. If trees and shrubs have damaged your siding, it’s important to get it taken care of right away. At the start of each season, pull away branches to look for scrapes, cracks, rot and mold, and make sure to check on any big trees to see if any branches are dying.

2. Pruning

If you have trees and shrubs in close proximity to your siding, make sure you’re alert and prune as needed. All trees grow at a different rate, but you’ll generally need to trim them every 3 to 5 years. As for shrubs, you should prune them once a year in late spring immediately after they finish blooming. If your plants are located extremely close to your siding, you may need to trim them more often. If you’re diligent about checking up on them, you’ll be fine!

3. Plan Ahead

If you’re planning on planting trees and shrubs in your yard, make sure they have lots of room to grow. Find out what size each place will grow to when it matures and leave significant space around it. A good rule of thumb is to leave about 10 feet between trees and shrubs and your home.

Trees and shrubs can elevate the landscaping of your home, but if you’re not careful, they can also affect your siding. Take these preventative steps to ensure your plants and siding can live in unison!