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.

From Dingy Garage to Tiny House: An Amazing Transformation

Do you have a dingy shed in your backyard? Why not transform it into a tiny home for a friend or family member? Tiny homes are all the rage right now, and for good reason. The typical tiny house is 100 to 400 square feet and they’re made for easy and more minimalistic living. With environmental and financial concerns as two of the top reasons for tiny house living, the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

With the right planning, upgrades and décor, you can turn your garage into a cozy abode someone will be happy to call home. One of the best parts? It’s an affordable way to repurpose an old garage with beauty and functionality.

If you’re looking to transform your dingy garage into a tiny house, check out how to do it effectively with these 5 awesome tips!

The Ground Work

Even if your garage has good bones, you’ll have to do some updates to make it a livable home. You’ll likely need upgraded ceiling panels and flooring, and be sure to install new insulation and indoor siding. You can use speciality siding from Gentek for walls and ceiling application. It’s maintenance free, highly durable and will look amazing in your tiny home.

A Green Door

The door for your tiny home can totally transform the exterior and make it evident that it’s no longer a garage. At Gentek you can customize your tiny home door with an energy efficient First Impressions’ door. With a built-for-you door, it will be fit precisely to your door opening and elevate the quality and comfort of your tiny home. They’re also designed to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, so you can rest assured your tiny house is green.

Exterior Siding

Along with a new door, you may need to update the exterior siding of your garage to give it a more homey vibe. Whether you want vinyl, aluminum, steel, fiber cement, or specialty siding, you can have your pick at Gentek! Figure out what’s most important to you in terms of insulation, energy efficiency, durability maintenance and aesthetics, and your Gentek retailer can help you choose the best siding for your tiny home!

Think Big and Maximize Space

Just because the house is tiny doesn’t mean you want it to look tiny. Make it look as big as possible by maximizing space and keeping the walls and ceilings white. This will enhance the light in the space, making it appear bigger. Another way to do this is with mirrors. Multifunctional pieces will also be key to maximizing space in your tiny home. Get baskets that fit on your bookcase for extra storage, or an ottoman with built-in storage.

Keep the Windows Simple

The last thing you want in a tiny home is big weeping drapes on your windows. This will make it look cramped and busy. Keep the window coverings simple and let the light shine in to give your tiny home some depth.

Ready to transform your dingy garage into a tiny house? Get to it!


PNE Prize Home Lottery

 

2017-07-19 PNE 1
The Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) unveiled its 2017 lottery home in May, and it has ticket holders fawning at the chance to call it their own. Each year, British Columbia holds the PNE Prize Home Lottery, and this year features its 83rd annual prize home.

The West-Coast modern-style home is 3,100 sq. ft. and fully furnished with coveted appliances and furniture design from Lane Home Furnishings. It’s valued at over $1.6 million, and will be relocated for the winner to Naramata B.C. with views over-looking the Okanagan Lake. The three bedroom, 2.5 bath, ENERGY STAR certified home was designed by Freeport Industries, and features a floor to ceiling living space, a gorgeous kitchen and even a home theater. Freeport Industries built 6 module units by truck for 5 hours and then assembled the home on site the fairgrounds in Vancouver.

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Gentek’s Role in the PNE Lottery Home

Gentek supplied Sagiper and Versetta Stone for the PNE Prize home. Sagiper is maintenance free specialty siding that can be used as exterior soffit or for interior walls and ceiling applications. It’s an ideal material to use as it has a high resistance to UV rays, water absorption, and humidity, and is also impenetrable to insects. Plus, the exterior vinyl colour will never fade! The colour for the Sagiwall and Sagirev used in the PNE Prize Home is Knotty Pine E79.

Versetta Stone is cement-based panelized stone veneer that offers the traditional look of stone masonry without the hassle or maintenance of real stone. It’s also very affordable and is made with colours and textures that precisely replicate natural stone. It can withstand any climate and is designed to manage moisture, so the integrity of your home is never compromised. The Versetta Stone used for the PNE Lottery Home is Ledgestone in Mission Pointe.

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The Fair at the PNE

The annual two-week event sees over 1 million people walk through the grounds. This year, the Fair at the PNE runs from Saturday August 19th through Monday September 4th. The public can step inside the prize home Saturday August 19th to Monday August 4th from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, with the exception of Mondays August 21 and 28 when the fair is closed.

If you’re a B.C. resident, make sure to stop by the fair to check out the PNE Prize Home and buy your tickets today!


The Bro Shed: Reimagining the Man Cave

2017-07-16

 

If you thought the man cave was a brilliant idea, just wait until you hear about the bro shed. Rather than designating a room in your house to be a place for the boys, why not have an entire shed devoted to bro-ing out?

We all need a space we can hang out, unwind, and be ourselves, and sometimes both men and women need time away from their significant other. That’s why the bro shed is the ideal way to check out and relax after a long day at work.

Whether you want to put a TV in there, fill it with books, a mini bar, or create a secluded office space to work on your side project, fill your bro shed with your favourite items to create a space that’s yours. You can renovate it any way you please and truly convert your shed into a space you can’t wait to spend time in at the end of a long day.

Whether you have a shed that’s just taking up space in your yard, or you want to build one from scratch, here are 5 ways to reimagine the man cave and make your bro shed the most epic hangout space.

1. Interior Siding

If you want a rustic bro shed, consider lining the walls with specialty siding. Sagiper Siding (available at Gentek!) can be used for the interior walls and ceilings of your bro shed. It’s extremely durable, maintenance free, and easy to install if you want to take on the project yourself. The vinyl coating looks like wood, so you can get the rustic feel without the hassle of wood maintenance.

2. Natural Light

Just because you want your bro shed to be low key and secluded, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have any natural light. Quality windows will ensure your space has light ventilation, and brings the outdoors in. Choose from a variety of Gentek windows for ones that suit your bro shed, look good and are low maintenance.

3. An Epic Entry

Your shed can also have an epic entry way with the right entry door. Whether you want double doors that give you a grand opening, or a door with a panel of glass that adds light to your bro shed, you have tons of entry door options to choose from with Gentek. The exterior look of your bro shed is just as important as what’s inside!

4. Paint It

That being said, you can also paint the exterior of your bro shed to reflect your design style. At Gentek, you can get paint codes for ICI/Dulux paints to match your Gentek siding. The ICI/Dulux paints resist fading, abrasions, and aging. They’re long-lasting finish can give your bro shed an upscale appearance in your favourite colour.

5. Make It Your Own

Your bro shed is your space, so make it your own. The furniture, décor and finishes should reflect you and be the ideal space where you can relax and take a load off at the end of the day. The interior and exterior are yours to put your stamp on, so make the most of your bro shed!


Beautiful Porch and Veranda Ideas

2017-07-13

 

Your front porch can be a charming oasis for you and your household to relax and entertain. It should be an extension of your home, connecting your inside and outside space, and enhancing the appearance of your abode. With a beautiful porch, you’ll improve your curb appeal and have a comfortable space to spend time in.

Some owners consider their porch an afterthought, but if you take the time to plan and renovate your porch, it will become a space your whole family can enjoy. Whether it’s small and simple, or a big wraparound porch with lots of space, there are many beautiful ways to breathe life into your home with a porch or veranda.

You could have a porch that needs just a few minor updates, or maybe you want a total overhaul to transform the look of your home. Consider your budget, design and options for a porch or veranda that will suit your household’s needs!

Take a look at these 4 beautiful porch and veranda ideas we’ve rounded up for you!

1. A Porch Enclosure

If you love the idea of a porch, but aren’t fond of the temperature dips and spikes throughout the year, consider a porch enclosure. This way, you can get the feel of being outside, without the extreme heat or cold. Gentek porch enclosures ensure you have a fully functional four-season room with ventilation and low maintenance. They offer an array of colors and designs to help you choose the perfect one for your home!

2. Get Your Paint On

If you’re going to enhance your porch, why not add some colour? You can contrast your porch colour with the rest of your home (think black and white), compliment the colour of your siding, or add a pop of colour to your front door that makes your porch stand out. If you used Gentek siding for your home, you can get the ICI/Dulux paint code for your porch that will match your siding perfectly.

3. Let There Be Light

Whether you opt for a porch enclosure or an open-air porch, lighting is an essential element of a beautiful porch. There are many ways you can add lighting, depending on the design and style of your home. You can add a light fixture, pendant lights, bulb patio lights or string lighting around your veranda. Whatever you choose can enhance the appearance of your porch, making it welcoming and relaxing.

4. Patio Furniture

If you want your patio to be a space you can relax and entertain in, you’ll want to choose the right patio furniture. If you have a small patio, keep the furniture simple and minimal. But if you have a large porch, don’t be afraid to go all out! You can add chairs, rugs, tables, throw cushions, and even a charming porch swing. Just like the interior of your home, furniture will improve the aesthetics and comfort of your porch!

With these 4 porch and veranda ideas, get ready for your home to totally transform, both functionally and aesthetically!


How to Replace an Exterior Door (The Right Way)

2017-07-10

Is it time to replace your exterior door? Whether you’re switching things up for aesthetic reasons or your door is in serious need of improvement, there’s a right way to replace your exterior door. Your exterior door is a key part of your home, when it comes to both design and durability, so it’s important to do it right. A problematic door can let in drafts from poor insulation and even start deteriorating.

Luckily for you, you’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to replace your exterior door! Gentek has a selection of gorgeous exterior doors, so you’re sure to find the perfect replacement for the one you have now!

When to Replace an Exterior Door

If you’re replacing your exterior door for aesthetic reasons, it’s another story, but there are signs that you need to replace your door for practical reasons. Your exterior door likely needs replacing if the wood has started to deteriorate or rot, or if the exterior of the door won’t hold a finish. If your door is uninsulated or doesn’t provide a good seal, it can lead to trouble for your home. And if the joints on your door are coming loose, it’s certainly time to replace it.

Steps for Replacing Your Exterior Door

1. Measure Your Existing Door

You want to make sure you’re replacing your door with a new door that’s the correct size. Measure the width and height of your old door, rounding up to full inches. Then measure the width of the door jamb between the interior and exterior door casings. Finally, measure the exterior door casings around the door frame.

2. Choose Your New Door

Is there anything better than a custom door? At Gentek, you can select a First Impressions’ door specifically built for you. They’re custom made to fit your door opening, so once you have the measurements, you’re good to go! With elegance and strength, you’ll get all-weather protection and interior comfort. You’ll also enjoy low maintenance upkeep without having to worry about rot, split, corrosion or warping. Plus, they’re energy efficient! Whatever style you want your exterior door to be, you can easily have it with Gentek.

3. Remove Your Existing Door

You can always get a handyman to help you with this, but if you want to remove your door yourself, make sure you do it right! Before getting started, protect your floor with a drop cloth. Using a hammer and nail set, tap the hinge pins loose, swing the door open and lift it off. Remove the old interior trim and pry off the exterior trim with a pry bar. Next you want to remove the jambs. You can do this with a handsaw by cutting through the side jamb, prying the jambs loose and pulling them out.

4. Insert Your New Door

Once you’ve chosen your First Impressions’ custom door, it’s time to place it in your door opening. You can hire a professional contractor through Gentek to help you with this so that your new door is replaced without flaw.

In four simple steps you can replace your exterior door with ease!


How to Know if You’re Windows Need Replacing

2017-07-07

Your windows are one of the most important elements of your home. They let light in, add character to your abode and balance your indoor climate. So it’s important they’re up to date and that you replace them when need be. If you don’t replace your windows when they need it, it can cause harm to the rest of your home. Rot and mold can make their way into the structure of your house, and cracked caulking can lead to worrisome drafts.

Investing in new windows not only ensures your house is strong and stable, it also enhances your home’s curb appeal and adds to its aesthetics. Pairing the right windows with your exterior materials and colours can bring your home together in a beautiful way. Whether you’re planning to stay in your home, or renovate for resale, masterfully crafted windows will give your home the lift it needs on the inside and out.

How to Know if Your Windows Need Replacing

There are a few key things that can happen to your windows that signal they need replacing. If your windows are broken or warped, it’s definitely time to replace them with something new. If you feel a draft coming from them or if they fog up or condensate, you shouldn’t let the problem persist. You may also notice your windows starting to rot or mould, which is never a good sign. And if there’s cracked caulking, it’s time to replace your windows!

Another sign you need new windows is that your current ones have become difficult to open or close, or if you’re hearing loud outdoor noise when your windows are shut. If you notice an increase on your energy bill, it’s likely your windows aren’t providing enough insulation, and if there’s chipping, deterioration or water stains around the window, it’s a sign that your windows should be next on the list for a renovation project.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency should be top of mind when replacing your windows. Not only are energy efficient windows great for the environment, they will also cut costs when it comes to heating and cooling your home. If you notice that your windows are drafty, this could be increasing your energy bill up to 25%. Replacing your drafty windows with energy efficient ones ensures you’re not over-paying.

Gentek Vinyl Replacement Windows

If you’re looking to replace your current windows, make sure to check out Gentek’s selection of Vinyl Replacement Windows. Not only are they Energy Star Rated, they’ve been on the Energy Star Most Efficient List for the past 6 years! They’re at the top of their game when it comes to craftsmanship and are made with superior engineering, innovation, and rigorous testing and quality control. They combine beauty, strength and energy efficiency so you can have quality windows that look great too!

     

You have tons of options to choose from and Gentek offers superior service to make sure everything runs smoothly from start to finish.

Are your windows experiencing any of the problems listed above? If so, it’s time to replace them! Click here to find a dealer near you!

 


Buying a Cottage and Plan to Renovate? Build the Right Team, First!

2017-07-04

 

Having a cottage is the dream for many, and as we head into the warmest season of the year, many are planning their summer retreats. But if you’re thinking of buying and renovating a summer getaway home, make sure you’re prepared with a team of knowledgeable experts so there are no hidden surprises.

Having a cottage comes with its own unique group of issues, some which don’t apply to your house in the city. There are costs and concerns related to your cottage, such as figuring out your sanitation infrastructure and form of heating that you must make sure are covered.

You don’t have to do it all on your own, though. Just make sure to build the right team so buying and renovating your cottage goes off without a hitch and it’s transformed into the dream retreat you’ve always wanted.

Wondering where to find the professionals? Gentek is partnered with elite contractors and renovation professionals to ensure your remodel goes smoothly. Take a look at how to build the right team for your cottage renovation!

A Home Inspector

Hire a home inspector that has experience with cottages and other recreational properties. They’ll know what issues to look for when you’re purchasing, and will be able to identify any problems that could arise during your renovation concerning your heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical systems. Getting your cottage inspected by a professional will save you from unseen costs and surprises down the road.

A Design Team

The design you want for your cottage will likely be a different style from your city home. Hire a design team that can capture your cottage vision and bring it to life with colours, furniture, décor and the perfect finishes. A great design team will help you get your dream cottage at the right cost and will make sure to take the inspector’s notes into consideration.

Whether you’re renovating the interior, exterior, or both, Gentek has gorgeous siding, window, door and colour options to choose from!

A Contractor

Once you’ve nailed the home inspection and have decided on your summer getaway home, make sure to find an expert contractor. The right contractor will ensure your renovations are smooth sailing from start to finish. They won’t cut corners and will make sure that your expectations are blown out of the water. They’ll take the designs and bring them to life with quality craftsmanship and detail.

How to Choose Your Team

 

To decide on the right inspector, designer and contractor, conduct interviews and meet up with your top choices face to face. Make sure to ask for specifics on budget and schedule, and get references from past clients. You want to ensure the team you hire is the right team for you from beginning to end of your purchase and renovation process.

If you’re buying a cottage and plan to renovate, make sure you build the right team first. A team of qualified professionals will ensure you get the cottage you’ve always dreamed of with minimal problems popping up along the way!

 


Why Cutting Corners on Your Reno Never Cuts Costs

2017-07-01

If you’ve ever considered a home renovation, you know how costly it can be. From gorgeous fixings to hidden problems, the price can quickly add up. But if you’re not ready for the high price tag, you might want to hold back on giving your home a facelift.

You don’t always have to choose the most expensive option, but you do have to make sure your reno is done right, with quality materials and service. The other option is cutting corners to save costs. But this can land you and your house in heaps of trouble, and end up costing you more in the long run.

It’s best to do it right the first time around, because cutting corners never actually cuts costs. Here are 4 things you can do to ensure you’re not cutting corners on your home renovation!

1.Use Quality Materials
You don’t have to choose the most expensive materials for your reno, but you do have to do your due diligence and ensure you use quality materials. Gentek has an abundance to choose from, here are a just a few examples of what you can do!

Replace your old windows with Amherst Windows for easy upkeep, high performance glass and energy efficient design; Add a gorgeous entry door that displays style and quality; Create a feature wall with Sagiper Siding that’s highly durable, easy to clean and even easier on the eyes!

2. Find the Right Contractor
A great contractor will never cut corners to speed up the process or cut your costs. Sure, saving a few weeks and a couple bucks may seem awesome, but if they don’t do the renovation the right way from the start, it’s going to come back to bite you, and your bank account.

With Gentek’s Contractor Locator you can search for a contractor in your geographical area. Located across Canada, all Gentek’s elite contractors meet strict quality, performance and insurance rules and ensure your reno meets your needs and expectations!

3. Get the Right Permits
Make sure you do your homework and acquire the building permits you need to do your renovation. Permits protect you, your home and your neighbourhood and confirm your renovation follows all regulations. If your contractor is willing to do work without permits to save you costs, it’s definitely a red flag! Ensure you have the required permits in place so you don’t run into trouble (and money pitfalls) down the road.

4. Remodel in Stages
If you’re worried about costs, remodel your home in stages rather than trying to do it all at once and cutting corners because you don’t have the budget. Look at your renovation as a whole and decide what’s the most urgent and what you can hold off on. Remodeling in stages will help you cut costs without cutting corners. And if you hire the right professional renovator, they can help you figure out what to do now and what to save for later.

If you’re starting a renovation, make sure to follow the tips above so you get the most out of your remodel and don’t end up spending more down the road!


Small Backyard? How to Make the Most of the Space

2017-06-28

Having a small backyard doesn’t mean you don’t have options for your outdoor space. There are plenty of ways to create an awesome backyard that you and your family can enjoy all summer. With a little creativity and space optimization, you can make your small backyard into a relaxing oasis.

When the weather warms up, the backyard becomes one of the most utilized spaces of the home, so don’t let a small space turn you off spending well deserved time outside. From creating the illusion of more space with a gorgeous glass patio door to using bright colours to make your yard feel more spacious, read on to see 5 tips for making the most of your small backyard.

1. A Glass Patio Door
One way to make your backyard look bigger is to fuse your indoor and outdoor space. A glass patio door will make your small backyard look bigger, giving it the illusion of having more space. Gentek carries a full line of gorgeous patio doors, fitting the style of any home. Whether you want French-style, classic or contemporary design, a glass patio door can elevate and extend your backyard space.

2. Go Bright
Bright colours can instantly make your small backyard look and feel more spacious. Add colour with patio furniture, plants, outdoor décor, or even paint your patio railing or backyard fence. Gentek has teamed up with Dulux exterior paint to offer paint formulas to match your Gentek siding and window colours, so you can brighten up your backyard with eye-catching colours that won’t fade in the summer sun!

3. Build an Outdoor Fireplace
Burning a fire outdoors on a breezy summer night is one of the best ways to spend time with friends and family, or have relaxing time on your own. Plus, you don’t need a ton of space for an outdoor fireplace. Make the fireplace the focal point of your backyard with some comfy patio chairs around it. This set up also allows you to bring in and take out chairs when you need.

4. Be Space Conscious
When arranging your outdoor furniture, make a conscious effort to use the space efficiently. Create a garden along one side of your backyard, and push patio seating up against the perimeter of your yard, making sure there’s no wasted space behind any of the furniture. Also, scale down your furniture and accessories so you don’t have bulky pieces that don’t fit or look right. A small backyard can look cramped and tiny if the space isn’t utilized properly.

5. Hang Plants
It’s always nice to have plants in your backyard, but potted plants can take up a lot of ground space. Instead, try hanging plants and flowers in colorful vessels that will take
your backyard design up a notch. Hang them around your perimeter to create extra space below.

If you have a small backyard, don’t fret! Use these tips to make the most of the space and enjoy your summer to the fullest!


10 Ways to Transform Your Patio

2017-06-25

 

As we make a beeline into summer, plans for hosting outdoor gatherings are high on everyone’s mind. Not to mention creating a backyard oasis to spend the sunny days. And what better way to celebrate summer than with an upgraded patio?

Take a look at 10 ways to transform your patio this season!

1. Patio Door

The right patio door adds elegance and style to your outdoor living space. Gentek supplies an array of garden patio doors to elevate your space and bring your patio to the next level. Create a seamless transition from the indoors out for a gorgeous transformation.

2. Update Your Materials

Change things up by updating your patio materials. It’s important they’re durable and weather resistant to withstand every season and still look amazing come summertime. One great idea: Install some new siding on the back of your home exterior to create a new look and complement your backyard patio.

3. Change the Colours

Your patio can easily be transformed with a new colour palette! Painting your patio (or parts of it) is a simple yet impactful way to make your patio look like new! Gentek carries Dulux, colour match exterior paint, available in their most popular colours. This way you can match your exterior home accents perfectly to your Gentek siding!

4. Tier It

A two or three-tiered patio is a great way to make a statement. Each level can serve a different function, from entertaining to cooking to dining. Use patio furniture to create the divide and add landscaping to each level for a more enhanced style.

5. Add an Island

Have you ever thought of adding an island to your patio space? It’s a great way to bring the indoors out and create a budget friendly eating area for warm summer nights you can’t help but spend outside.

6. A Pretty Pergola

If you want to transform your patio into a secluded getaway, add a pergola. A pergola adds charm and style to any space while keeping your patio private. It provides shade and relief on hot summer days and you can add a string of lights to brighten up your patio at nighttime.

7. Exterior Windows

If you have a gorgeous patio, not only do you want to be able to see it through your windows, you also want exterior windows that compliment it. From Regency windows to Amherst windows, Gentek offers an array of gorgeous windows with minimal upkeep so you can flatter your patio in the most stylish way.

8. Plants

Plants and flowers are another simple way to change up your patio with a big impact. Adding greenery can take your space from boring to luxurious in a matter of minutes. Whether your patio vibe is bohemian, Moroccan, Oriental or zen, the right plants will enhance and transform your space.

9. Patio Furniture

If you’ve yet to invest in patio furniture, just wait until you see how it transforms your space. When choosing furniture, decide what your patio will be used for most (reading/hanging out, eating or entertaining) and pick patio furniture in line with its biggest function!

10. A Little Pop Goes a Long Way

Whether it’s with your patio furniture, flowers, deck or railings, add a pop of colour to transform your patio. Especially if you have a simple black, wood or white patio now, a pop of colour here and there can go a long way!