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Why Do Renovations Go Over Budget

If you’ve gone through a renovation before, or have watched any home reno shows on TV, you know that renovations can tend to go over budget. While sometimes the reason for blowing the budget is due to unforeseen problems, you can also run into trouble if you work with inexperienced contractors. It’s important that the renovator working on your home is professional, skilled and trustworthy, otherwise you may be in for some not-so-nice surprises. Here are 4 reasons why renovations go over budget, and what you can do about it.

1. Low Cost Estimates 

When putting together a renovation contract, you’ll need to decide on your finishes, details of the project, and a list of products and materials to be used. Product costs will differ based on brand, dimensions, colours and materials. The products, materials and prices should be documented in the contract, as should existing conditions and potential problems seen in your home.

If you work with an inexperienced contractor, they may miss potential issues or give you a low cost estimate to look appealing. You’ll end up being charged the real price of the project at the end, and it will be more than you budgeted for. Get a cost estimate from a few different contractors. If one comes back way lower than the others, you’ll know it’s a red flag. 

2. Missing Contract Details 

The cost estimate and contract should include a detailed description of the work to be done. The contractor should be able to give you a detailed description of the project so you know exactly what you’re paying for. Anything left out of the contract may be forgotten when the project is underway.

Your contract should also have room for a contingency. The contingency is for unexpected costs that may come up down the road. If there don’t end up being any problems, you get to keep your money, but there should always be a space in the contract for contingency items. 

3. Project Changes  

There are almost always changes that come up during home renovations. You could change your mind about colours or materials, want to add another small project, or notice an issue you want to fix. All of these should be included in the contract if you notice them before any work has been done. However, if you decide you want project changes once the work has started, it will likely cost more money and take longer for the renovators to complete your reno.

When you work with an experienced contractor, the contingency clause in the contract will state how changes will be dealt with. It will be clear how the changes will affect the scope of the project, including materials, labour and associated costs. 

4. Hidden/Unforeseen Problems 

Unforeseen problems are unfortunately pretty typical when it comes to renovations. A skilled renovator will help you deal with these issues at the lowest cost while getting the job done right. It’s important to hire a professional renovator that’s familiar with the type of work required in your renovation. They’ll be able to identify issues ahead of time, and help you figure out cost-effective and creative ways to deal with them if they come up once the work has begun.

To save yourself from frustration and going over budget use one of Gentek’s Premium Renovators. They’ve all been hand selected by Gentek for their expertise and proficiency! 

Top Things to Consider When Looking for Replacement Windows 

There is plenty to consider when looking for replacement windows. Upgrading your windows is an investment, but if done right is one that will undoubtedly pay off. New windows enhance your curb appeal, while making your home interior quieter, less drafty, and more comfortable overall. They’re easier to clean and maintain than old windows, and increase your home’s energy efficiency, while lowering your energy bills. Ready to start the search for replacement windows? Here are the top 5 things to consider! 

1. More Expensive Doesn’t Always Mean Better

Just because a window is more expensive, doesn’t mean it will necessarily perform better than others. Upgrading your windows is a big cost, so you don’t want to spend more than you have to. For instance, vinyl windows are a less expensive, more affordable window replacement option, but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to be “cheap”. A well-constructed, insulated vinyl window will conserve energy, and heighten the beauty and comfort of your home, while helping you stay on budget. 

2. Climate Counts

Consider the climate you live in when looking for replacement windows. If you live in a rainy, humid climate, aluminium windows are extremely practical. Due to their strength and durability, they meet strict coastal building codes in hurricane-prone areas. If you live in a climate with high winds and cold temperatures, look for windows that are known to perform well at low temperature wind resistance. 

3. Focus on Value 

When you’re shopping around for replacement windows, you may notice that upgrades are quite common. The thing is, upgrades can end up costing up to 50% of the base cost of the window, skyrocketing your budget. Focus on features that add value and make sense for your climate. Unless you live in an extremely cold climate, triple glazing your windows probably isn’t necessary. Focus on features such as Low-E coatings to improve energy efficiency, double hung window sashes that tilt to make your windows easier to clean, and finer mesh screens that let more light through than standard screens.

4. Understand Window Glass Numbers

When looking for replacement windows, it’s important to understand the numbers. All windows in the Energy Star program have ratings assigned to them by the National Fenestration Rating Council. You’ll see numbers for certain window labels:

  • U-factor or U-value (ranges from 0.20 to 1.20): The lower the number, the better the window is at keeping in heat. 
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (ranges from 0 to 1): The lower the number, the better the window is at blocking unwanted heat from the sun through the glass. In warm climates, you’ll want a lower number, while in cold climates, look for a higher number.
  • Visible Transmittance (ranges from 0 to 1): Specifies how much visible light a window lets in. As the number increases, the light increases.  

5. Installation is Key 

Once you’ve decided on your replacement windows, make sure that they’re installed properly. Even top-rated windows won’t perform properly if they’re not installed correctly. Stay away from any contractors that relies on expanding foams or sealants to get a window to fit properly. If flashing and caulking aren’t done with an eye to detail, you’ll likely be looking at water damage down the road. Choose from our list of Premium Renovators to ensure a job well done! 

Choosing replacement windows requires many decisions. Use this guide to help you choose the right ones for your home! 

5 Steps to a Great Renovation 

Planning a home renovation and don’t know where to start? Before diving in, you should know that there are certain things that help a renovation run smoothly, resulting in a great renovation. Undergoing a renovation is a big investment, and if done right, it will add value to your home while increasing its day to day form and function. Ready to get started? Here are 5 steps to a great renovation!

1. Create a Plan

If you want to pull off a great renovation, it’s important to have a solid plan. The more you know what you want out of the renovation, the better the renovators can help you achieve those goals. To help you determine what you want to accomplish with your reno, think about what currently works and doesn’t work in your space right now. Do you crave an open concept space so you can see your kids playing in the living room while you cook? Is it almost impossible to cook in your kitchen due to lack of counter space? Creating a plan is the first step to a great reno. 

2. Align Your Expectations with Your Budget 

The second step is creating your budget. Sit down with your partner to create a realistic budget for your renovation. Know that if you have a lot on your renovation list, you may not be able to do it all. It’s better to figure this out before you start the work to eliminate disappointment down the road. Create a list, numbering the jobs in order of importance. This will help you figure out what you absolutely need done and what you can take off the list if your budget doesn’t allow for it. 

3. Hire a Professional Renovator 

Choosing a professional renovator will ensure your renovation is done with the utmost care and professionalism. Contractors like Gentek’s Premium Renovators meet strict quality, performance and insurance rules and are sure to finish your renovation to you expectations. They’ll help you achieve your goals, stay on budget and ensure everything runs smoothly. Failing to hire a professional renovator can lead to poor quality work, insurance issues, and expenses down the road. 

4. Sign a Contract 

Don’t start any of the renovation work before signing a contract. Your contract will act as the basis of understanding of the work moving forward and should, at minimum, include an overview of the work to be done, cost, payment schedule, construction timeline, product specific details, a warranty clause and a close-out plan. Never do any work without a contract and be wary of contractors that attempt to start work without one. 

5. Communication is Key

Plans change, and that’s okay, but you have to be able to communicate this with your contractor. Throughout the course of renovations, it’s common for homeowners to request changes or ask for additional or less work. Regular communication between you and your renovator is key to eliminating any problems and getting the job done to your expectations. Be aware that the cost and time to finish the project will change, so it’s important to have a signed change order for any and all changes. 

Undergoing renovations is exciting and nerve racking all at once. Take the stress out of the process by following these 5 steps to a great renovation!

Why Hire a Premium Renovator? 

Undertaking exterior renovations is no small feat. Unless you’re a contractor yourself, it’s highly recommended that you hire a professional renovator that is expertly skilled and has the technical knowledge needed to get the job done. Even better, hire one of Gentek’s Premium Renovators. All our Premium Renovators meet strict quality, performance and insurance rules, and help ensure your product choices and installation meet your needs and expectations. With 200 premium renovators across the country, we’re very selective of who we work with, so hiring any of them will ensure your renovation project goes as smoothly as possible!

Here are 6 reasons to hire a Premium Renovator. 

1. Expertise 

Our Premium Renovators will ensure your project goes off without a hitch. They’re skilled at generating ideas, recommending products, and designing a finished product you’ll love. From start to finish, they know how to put all of the pieces together and will help you transform your ideas into a beautiful end result. 

2. Technical Knowledge

Premium Renovators have the technical know-how required to complete your renovation without any serious hiccups. Renovations require technical skills that are extremely valuable and shouldn’t be underestimated. Premium Renovators understand building science and technicalities and can create a safer, more livable home for you and your family. 

3. A Team of Tradespeople 

Having a team of bonded tradespeople or subcontractors is a must for professional renovators. Having connections to electricians, carpenters, painters and more, ensures your home is renovated properly, safely and in a timely manner. 

4. Accurate Pricing 

Gentek’s Premium Renovators will give you a detailed estimate letting you know the price, work to be done, and estimated time frame of the project. They’ll ask for a deposit, but won’t ask for you to pay in advance. They know what it costs to do the job right, and if you’re open about your budget with them from the start, they’ll be honest with you about what you can afford to take on. 

5. Verified History and Referrals 

If a contractor won’t let you speak with past clients or confirm their work history and credentials, it’s a big red flag. Premium Renovators have a verified work history and won’t be scared to show you their track record. You can speak with other clients, get testimonials and possibly even be able to see previous work so you can feel confident in your decision. 

6. Insurance and Contracts 

Gentek’s Premium Renovators all carry third party insurance and injury insurance, and have a long and successful track record for installing Gentek products. When it comes to working with a renovator, always make sure to have everything down in writing. A professional renovator will not shy away from having a detailed contract. These details should include a description of the work, start and finish dates and the price and payment schedule. 

Ready to hire a Premium Renovator? All you have to do is use the contractor locator tab on our website to find a Premium Renovator in your area! 

Freshen Up Your Curb Appeal with These 6 Easy Tricks!

Freshening up your curb appeal is a cost effective way to upgrade your home exterior. Small touches like a doormat, stylish planters and a front door wreath allow you to make a stunning first impression with your home without costing you an arm and a leg. If you feel like your curb appeal is lack lustre and are looking for ways to spruce it up, we’re giving you 6 easy tricks to freshen up your curb appeal! 

1. Upgrade Your House Numbers 

Do you still have the original house numbers from when you moved in? If your house numbers are looking old and tired, upgrade them to make them stand out. Choose modern, easy to read numbers that ensure your guests can find your home effortlessly. Choose a contrasting colour that will pop against your home’s exterior and place an outdoor light above them to make sure they’re easily seen.

2. Chic Doormat 

If you’ve yet to hop on the doormat bandwagon, now is the time. Switching up your doormat each season is a great way to give your curb appeal a much needed refresh. Doormats come in all different shapes and sizes, and you can find them for different holidays and seasons. They’re a great way to welcome guests and can make a huge difference to the overall look of your porch! 

3. Throws and Pillows 

Do you have a seating area on your front porch? Cozy it up with throws and pillows. Fluffy, bright coloured outdoor pillows and throw blankets will warm you up if you love spending time outside, and enhance your curb appeal at the same time. Mix and match pillows and place them on any outdoor chairs, couches or porch swings you have. 

4. Outdoor Lanterns 

Pretty lanterns are a stylish way to upgrade your curb appeal. They’ll give your front porch an enchanting, romantic feel, whether you hang them or place them on your porch. If you’re placing them on your porch or stairs, buy matching lanterns in a few different sizes and heights for a dimensional look. Lanterns in matte black, copper or gold are sure to stun.

5. Stylish Planters

Outdoor plants aren’t just for spring and summer- there are a number of winter flowers that make it possible for you to dress up your front porch no matter the season. Place your favourite seasonal florals in stylish planters to give your curb appeal some personality. Whether your space calls for tall ceramic planters or smaller more decorative ones, potted plants will freshen up your porch through any season. 

6. Front Door Wreath

As we head into the fall and winter months, a decorative wreath is an awesome way to spruce up your front door. It’s charming and welcoming, giving your home a cozy feel. And you don’t have to forgo the wreath during warmer months. Switch it up to a beautiful eucalyptus wreath that will take you through spring and summer. 

Ready to freshen up your curb appeal? These 6 easy tricks will have your home looking beautiful.

How to Clean Your Gutters (Instead of Growing Plants in Them!)

Cleaning your gutters is one of the most important maintenance tasks you can do for your home. Not only do gutters protect your home’s landscaping and siding, they also prevent damage to your home’s foundation. When your gutters become clogged with leaves, sticks and other debris, water can start creeping under the roof and even into the foundation. Needless to say, your gutters can cause major damage if they go uncleaned, so it’s best to routinely clean them.

How to Clean Your Gutters

1. Get Prepared with A Sturdy Ladder and Plastic Tarp

Before you go up to clean your gutters, make sure you have a sturdy, extendable ladder. Place the ladder on a flat, solid surface, and stay away from any rocks or uneven landscaping. Consider asking a friend to stand out there with you, for extra safety and to help you out if you drop anything. 

You should also lay a plastic tarp down on your lawn or underneath your workspace. This ensures no gunk makes it onto your lawn or landscaping. 

2. What to Wear

Cleaning your gutters can get messy. Wearing a long-sleeved shirt, work pants and rubber gloves is the best way to keep yourself as clean as possible during the gutter cleaning process.

3. Clean Them Out

Use a small, plastic scoop to remove all the gunk and debris from your gutters. You can find gutter scoops at any hardware store, or you can use a child’s sandbox shovel or old plastic kitchen spatula. As long as its plastic, it won’t damage your gutters.

4. The Final Step

Once the gunk is cleared out of your gutters, use a garden hose to flush the gutters and downspouts. This will show you if you have any leaks that you need to deal with. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?

You should be cleaning your gutters at least once a year. If you have overhanging trees, bump that up to twice a year. You should also clean clogged gutters after a big storm. Clogs often occur where the downspouts meet the gutter system, so make sure to check these areas closely.

How to Maintain Your Gutters

Check on your gutters in the fall and spring, and of course, after any big storm. You may not have to do a full on clean, but perhaps you’ll need to loosen dirt that has blown into the gutters and scrub them with a stiff brush. Flushing your gutters with a garden hose will clear any debris that has become stuck in the eavestroughs and downspouts. 

You should also be checking your gutters for rust, peeling paint, flaking and leaks. They should be attached tightly against the fascia boards, and you should check the fascia boards themselves for damage or rot. 

Cleaning your gutters ensures your home is well maintained and protected from damage. Make sure to follow these guidelines and clean your gutters regularly!

How to Dress Up Big Bare Walls (Inside and Outside Your Home) 

At a loss for what to do with big, bare walls on the interior or exterior of your home? Whether you live in a small apartment or a large family home, bare walls are frankly, an eyesore. There are so many things you can do to dress up bare walls, from painting a mural to showing off artisanal handwoven baskets. Say goodbye to boring walls with these 6 creative ideas.

1. Mural Wall Art

Whether you draw a mural yourself, or use a ‘peel and stick’ mural, you can add depth to a small room with mural wall art. Cover an entire bare wall with a mural, taking it from boring to jaw-dropping in a few short hours. Great places for mural wall art are in your bedroom behind the headboard of your bed and behind your desk in your home office. 

2. Painted Paddle Boards

Painted paddle boards are often found in home interiors, but why not hang them up on an outside wall? Do you have a backyard porch or outdoor kitchen wall that needs some personality? Paint a few paddle boards with complementary designs and colours and let them bring the space to life. They’ll bring colour and coziness to the space, and are perfect if you’re going for a boat house vibe. 

3. Basket Wall Art

This trend has been popping up all over home decor blogs and magazines. If you collect artisanal baskets, place them strategically on your wall to create a gorgeous masterpiece. They’ll add amazing texture and colour to your bare wall with their intricate and interesting detail. Many artisanal baskets come in neutral, earth tone colours, which complement any decor style. 

4. Family Photos in Matching Frames 

Create a gallery wall in your living room or above your hallway console with your favourite photos of your family. Collect matching frames in white, black or gold, and get your photos printed so they’re all the same size, a few dimensions smaller than the frames themselves. This is a trendy way to display your gorgeous photos and dress up a bare wall. 

5. Old Windows and Planters 

Do you have old windows and platers you’d love to reuse? Turn them into decoration for your home’s exterior wall. It’s a great way to spruce up your exterior with more colour, and from far away, it will actually look like you have functioning windows on the side of your home! 

6. Macramé Wall Art

Macramé wall hangings are all the rage right now, and for good reason. If you’re going for a bohemian look in your home, macramé is the way to go. Beautiful, hand-woven wall hangings are a great conversation starter, and are sure to wow guests when you’re entertaining. Display it in a gallery wall or hang one above your favourite reading chair with a blank wall behind it. 

There’s no excuse for having big, bare walls inside and outside your home! Use these ideas to dress up your walls and give your home warmth and personality! 

Home Exterior Innovations That Will Blow Your Mind (And Beautify Your Home)

Home exterior innovations are continuously popping up, and they’re creating homes that are more advanced and beautiful. New materials, colour trends and technologies are changing the way we see our homes and how we present them to the world. Curb appeal is one of the most important features of any home, and these exterior innovations are going to blow your mind!

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is one of the most popular new cladding products. It’s beautiful, durable and made to withstand extreme heat and cold. The sleek, clean look of fiber cement is ideal for modern homes and is the perfect backdrop for your windows, doors and trim. It’s super sleek and will make your home look incredibly upscale. Combine it with architectural trim and you’ll have a stunning exterior that works hard for your home.

Black Window Cladding 

Black is in, and black window cladding is as polished and sophisticated as it gets. It pops against any exterior colour palette and offers a fresh change from classic white trim. Whether your exterior style is modern and sleek or farmhouse chic, black window cladding is an innovative way for your home to stand out. 

Mix and Match Windows 

Don’t think that your windows all need to be the same style for your home exterior to look great. A mix of double-hung, awning and casement windows will give your home a nice rhythm, with each style complimenting the other. Bring them together with black trim for a contemporary and consistent look. Gentek supplies all of these window styles, so be sure to check them out! 

Composite Garage Doors

If you love the look of wood garage doors, but are worried they’ll rot and warp, doors in composite material is the way to go. They imitate the look of real wood, but are durable and low maintenance so you don’t have to worry about anything you would with the real thing. Composite garage doors are made from a various materials that result in doors that are beautiful, strong, insulated and environmentally friendly. 

Elevated Garage Light Fixtures 

While garage lights are typically placed on the sides of the doors, elevated garage light fixtures offer a spotlight treatment that’s bright and striking. Fixtures hung above the doors act like flood lights, directing light down and giving your garage area a beautiful glow.

Automated Doors and Windows

New automated technologies are continuously making homes smarter and more advanced. You can find doors and windows with automated shades between the glass panes that are operable from an app or remote control. There are also doors made to look like elegant French doors that are actually sliding doors that save you space. Beauty and functionality in one! 

Fuss-Free PVC Decking 

PVC decking is made to look like wood, without any of the maintenance. It’s designed to resist stains and scratching, and is slip-resistant so you don’t have to worry about accidents happening on your porch. It doesn’t require any annual sanding, staining or sealing, leaving you with peace of mind. 

Do you love these exterior home innovations as much as we do? It’s time to start some much-needed upgrades to your home!

How to Convert Your Garage Into a Living Space 

Do you have a garage that isn’t being used to store a car? There’s plenty you can do with the space, aside from using it as storage. Many unused garages become wasted space or a place that becomes filled with things you’ll never use again a.k.a. garbage. Instead of thinking of your garage as a useless area of your home, why not consider turning it into a living space? From an extra bedroom to an art studio to a living room, converted garages are a great way to give your home extra, useful space. When done right, converted garages are stylish, comfortable and add value to your home. Here’s how to convert your garage into a room you love.

1. Doors

The first thing you need to consider when converting your garage into a living space is changing the garage door. Is your garage door easily replaceable? If you’re turning your garage into a living space, replacing the overhead door with patio doors ensures it becomes a stylish and functional area. If your new space doesn’t allow for an entrance where your overhead door used to be, make sure you can blend the new wall into your current home exterior, making sure it doesn’t look like it used to be a garage. 

2. Consider Heating and Cooling 

For your garage to function as a living space, it needs to have a proper heating and cooling system. Find out if your current H-VAC system will support another room, and if it will, you can expand the ventilation to cover the garage. This will keep the cost of the project down and allow you to use your money elsewhere. If it won’t support another room, you’ll have to update the system or purchase an individual system to provide a heating solution in the garage. 

3. Make Sure You Have Another Place for Vehicles and Storage 

If you’re turning your garage into a living space, keep in mind that you must have another place to park vehicles, especially if you plan to sell your home in the future. As long as you have adequate parking elsewhere, you’re good to go. Don’t forget another place for storage as well. If you’re currently storing your lawn mower, tools, or canned food in your garage, make sure you have another space where you can store these things. 

4. Do You Need a Permit?

You also need to look into obtaining a permit for converting your garage into a living space. This will vary by location, but since you’re changing how the space will be used, you’ll likely need building permits. Permits ensure your plans meet building codes, which may dictate the number of windows in a space, the number of exits and entrances, the height of the ceiling, and other factors. This could mean you need to work with an architect to put together a floor plan.

5. Time to Decorate 

Once you’ve decided what type of room you’re converting your garage into, have obtained your permits and created your floor plan, it’s time for the fun part- decorating your space! You can change your garage into everything from a playroom to a studio apartment to an office or family room. Choose your flooring, lay down an area rug, pick your furniture and decorate away!

If you’re considering converting your garage into a living space, follow these steps and use these tips to create another awesome room in your home. 

6 Stunning Roof Styles and Ideas 

Roofs are often overlooked, but a thoughtful roof design can take your exterior from cookie cutter to complete stand out. While we often think of roofs as functional aspects that keep our home warm and protected, your roof can alter the entire appearance of your home, and even increase its value when it’s time to sell. Read on for 6 stunning roof styles and ideas!

1. Front Gable Roof

Commonly seen in Colonial-style homes, a front gable roof is when there are two roof sections that slope in opposite directions and are usually rectangular in appearance. The roof ridge is in line with the building’s entrance, and the sides slope and meet at the ridge creating a triangular section known as the gable. It’s an increasingly popular design for home architecture today, given its Colonial influence.

2. Dormer Roof 

Dormers contain a window that projects vertically from a traditional pitched roof. They can improve the architectural design of your home and give you more living space inside. If your curb appeal is looking rather bland, a roof dormer can boost visual interest and make it more appealing to buyers if you’re looking to sell down the road. 

3. Butterfly Roof

If you’re going for a totally modern look for your home, a butterfly roof may be just what you’re looking for. It’s characterized by an inversion of a standard roof form, with two roof surfaces that slope down from opposing edges to meet at a valley near the middle of the roof. It emulates the wings of a butterfly with two tandem pieces of roofing angled upwards to form a V-shape. 

4. Bonnet Roof 

Also known as a kicked eaves roof, a bonnet roof looks like a roof on top of a roof. A bonnet roof features a double slope on all four of its sides. The lower slope is less steep and more angular than the upper slope and extends over an open-sided raised porch. It’s a great roof design if you want shade and protection as it provides seamless coverage for a porch.

5. Clerestory Roof 

A clerestory roof is a roof with a vertical wall that sits between the two sloping sides and features a row of windows, or one long continuous window. A clerestory roof is great if you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly home plan. A focus on passive heating and cooling techniques, rather than artificial ones, have brought clerestory roofs back into high demand.

6. Flat Roof

Another roof design that’s popular in modern architecture is the flat roof. The clean geometry of a flat roof makes it a no brainer for a modern style home. They also provide you with more head room inside your home. Flat roofs offer the perfect space for a rooftop garden or patio, giving you even more living space and a gorgeous rooftop aesthetic. This is a great alternative for when you’re entertaining guests or spending time outdoors with your family. 

A beautiful roof goes a long way in transforming your exterior design. These 6 stunning roof ideas are a great place to start!