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.

Check Out These Almost-Free Outdoor Updates

With summer arriving soon, it’s the best time to start outdoor updates around your home. You may have gotten away with little to no maintenance or upgrades during the winter, but the nicer weather calls for some exterior TLC. Don’t worry, outdoor updates don’t have to mean tons of time and money; there are plenty of ways to upgrade your exterior on a budget!

These updates will help bring life and personality to your home exterior. They’ll help your front and backyard look like new, without the high price tag of a complete overhaul. From repainting your front door and patio furniture, to the addition of small touches that pack a big impact, here are 5 almost-free updates to do on your home this year.

1. Re-Paint Your Front Door

Re-painting your front door is a simple update that makes a major difference. It can completely change the look and vibe of your home, giving it that refreshed feel you’ve been waiting for. When choosing the new colour for your door, make sure you coordinate it with the colour of your siding, trim, shutters, roof, etc. Don’t get overly excited and paint it without considering the rest of your home and how it will all work together!

2. Add Shutters

Shutters are a timeless and beautiful way to accent the outside of your home, plus they don’t require a huge investment. If you look at your home and feel like there’s something missing, shutters could make all the difference. They complement both traditional and contemporary-style homes, so you really can’t go wrong!

3. Create a Small Garden

Landscaping can be a huge investment, but you don’t have to go all out to create something stunning for your yard. A small garden is simple yet elegant and won’t burn a hole in your wallet. You can create one in an afternoon, using flowers that will last for the season. A flowerbed requires maintenance since you have to water it, but it’s a small price to pay for a gorgeous outdoor garden.

4. String Lights

Add a magical touch to your outdoor space with the addition of string lights. Depending on your space, you can hang them on your front porch railing, your backyard fence, above your seating area, in the trees, or on a garden pergola. Every yard is different, so you can get creative with them and hang them in a style that suits your outdoor space.

5. Custom Paint Your Patio Furniture

If you have the same patio furniture you’ve used for the past few years, custom paint it to give it a brand new look. Patio furniture can start to look aged and worn out after some time, so it’s a good idea to give it an upgrade. You’ll be amazed how repainting your patio furniture can totally transform your outdoor space. 

You don’t have to do an entire exterior renovation to make your home feel like new. Use these outdoor updates to get an overhaul on a budget!


How Long Should Siding Last?

If you’ve noticed your exterior siding has seen better days, it could be time to replace it. Damage such as cracks, warping, peeling and gaps over a large section or the majority of your siding signals a significant problem. Different siding materials have different characteristics and lifespans, so the material you choose for your exterior will determine how long your siding will last. Some hold up with very little maintenance, while others require a little more TLC.

If you’re in the market for new siding, take a look at some of the different options for siding materials to help you make your decision.

Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding is extremely durable and strong, often lasting for decades. It holds up its beautiful appearance season after season, even when it’s exposed to harsh outdoor elements. Quality aluminum siding, like the types found at Gentek, have a heavy-duty aluminum core and are performance engineered to shield your home from outdoor elements such as harsh winds and water. Gentek’s aluminum siding also requires simple upkeep, demanding only a simple rinse of a garden hose from time to time.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl is the number one cladding choice across North America, and for good reason. Its benefits range from its excellent durability, to its super low maintenance (you just need to rinse it with a garden hose now and then), to its easy installation and its low environmental impact. Vinyl siding panels have colour throughout, so they won’t flake, chip or peel, and they never need to be painted. With its distinctive beauty of a freshly painted wood finish, it provides the look of natural wood, without the upkeep. Check out Gentek’s vast selection of vinyl siding to find one that suits your home best!

Steel Siding

If you’re looking for the ultimate shield for your home, steel siding may be for you. It’s extremely resistant and built weather-tough so it doesn’t absorb moisture, and won’t warp, chalk, or fade. If you live in an area that experiences extreme weather, steel siding is likely your best bet. Steel siding resists damage from wood-eating insects and it’s simple to install.

In most cases steel siding cleans up quickly and easily, so all you have to do is rinse it with a garden hose. It’s very environmentally friendly since steel siding is a recyclable product, with all these features coming together to enhance your home’s overall value. Gentek’s Sierra Steel siding has an amazing warranty – it’s backed by a lifetime limited warranty, a 50 year hail warranty and a 35 year chalk and colour change warranty.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is known for its upscale aesthetic and durability, but it does require more upkeep than the other siding materials on this list. Fiber cement may require periodic re-caulking and re-painting to keep it looking fresh, but the fact that it’s sleek, strong and non-combustible make it an amazing option for any home. Gentek carries the entire line of James Hardie Fiber Cement, which uses ColorPlus® technology for long-lasting colour, and Engineered for Climate® to meet specific climate demands.

If you need to replace your siding and are trying to figure out what’s best for your home, weigh your options and choose the one that’s right for you! Use our Contractor Locator to find a Gentek dealer near you!


The 10 Biggest Landscaping Mistakes Homeowners Make

Landscaping gives your home personality. It livens up your exterior and is an awesome selling feature when it comes time to put your home on the market. It’s important to coordinate your landscaping with the features of your home including your siding, windows, doors and colours. If you’re starting landscaping on your home, make sure to know 10 of the biggest landscaping mistakes people make!

1. Forgetting Curb Appeal

Many homeowners put a lot of attention and work into their interiors and backyards, but forget about their front yard. Although you may not spend as much time in your front yard, the front of your home is the first impression friends and passersby get of your abode. And if you’re planning to put your house up for sale, curb appeal can drive up the value. You can do small upgrades like painting your door, keeping your grass green and trim and planting flowers to give your interior some life.

2. Not Making a Plan

It will be a lot easier to achieve the garden and landscape you dream of if you have a plan in place. Do research, create an outline, make a list of plants, and create a budget. Without proper planning, you can end up with lackluster landscaping.

3. Choosing the Wrong Plants

Different flowers and plants require different maintenance, so you have to consider what type of shade and sunlight your front yard and backyard get. Do some research before you invest in plants and choose ones that will work best for your landscape, both aesthetically and functionally.

4. Cutting Grass Too Short

It’s important to keep your grass maintained, but cutting it too short can do more harm than good. Cutting it too short can result in a bare patch, letting in insects and disease to your lawn. In the summer, you can leave the blades a little longer to provide shade for the soil, whereas in the winter, you can cut it shorter so the sunlight gets into the soil.

5. Excessive Ornamentation

It’s okay to use a few decorative items for your landscaping, but using too many can make it look cluttered and distracting. Make sure whatever decor you use compliments your plants and home exterior over all. Just don’t go overboard.

6. No Colour Palette

You want your yard to look harmonious in colour. If you have too many colours completing it can look distracting. Choose colours for your garden and landscape that work well together with each other and with the colour palette of your home.

7. Disregarding Functionality

Many people think too much about the look of their yard and don’t consider the functionality. It’s important for your yard to look nice, but think about how you’ll make use of your lawn, as well as your family’s needs.  

8. Over or Under Fertilizing

Research the type and amount of fertilizer your plants need and stick to a regular fertilizing schedule. Over fertilizing can burn the root of your plants and make them susceptible to insects and disease. On the flip side, your plants can’t survive without enough fertilization.

9. Obstructing the View from Inside and Out

Be careful where you plant trees and large shrubs. They may end up obstructing your view from the inside as well as hiding your home’s stunning attributes such as your siding or windows.

10. Doing Nothing

Even if you’re not big into gardening or landscaping, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not doing anything to your yard. Landscaping makes your home inviting and adds value to your home for future buyers when you’re ready to sell.

There you have it, 10 of the biggest landscaping mistakes homeowners make. Steer clear of these blunders and happy landscaping!


How to Match Your Siding with Your Shutters

If you’re due for an exterior renovation, whether you’re putting your home on the market or just want to update your living situation, there may be nothing more important than curb appeal. The curb appeal of your home is greatly impacted by the colours you choose for your home exterior. Different colours give off different vibes and can help you create the design you envision.

Matching your siding with your shutters is a key aspect to get right if you want to enhance your curb appeal. Shutters are a great way to add a touch of style to your home. If you feel like there’s something missing from your exterior, the answer could be as simple as adding shutters alongside your windows. Shutters offer sophistication and are a great way to complement your siding.

Check out three steps to match your siding with your shutters!

Step 1: Choose Your Siding Colour

Since siding coats more of your exterior, choosing the right shade is the first and most important step in this process. For a classic look, homeowners generally go with a lighter, neutral colour for their siding, such as beige, white or grey, but it really depends on the look you want. If you want for more of a modern feel, you may choose to go with a shade like black; or if you want more of a lakeside, cabin feel, you could choose a shade of blue. Decide on the mood you want your home to give off and choose your siding colour around that.

Step 2: Decide on Your Style

Now that you’ve chosen your siding colour, it’s time to think about the style you want when incorporating the colour of your shutters. Your shutters will typically be the same colour as your door (although not always), so make sure to keep that in mind. If you want to go for a more traditional exterior look, white or black shutters are often a good bet. If you want a more contemporary vibe, choose something a little bolder like blue or green.

Step 3: Analogous vs. Complementary Colours

The third step is finally choosing your shutter colours and matching them with your siding. There are two different ways to do this. The first is choosing analogous colours. Analogous colour schemes use colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel and create a harmonious and coherent feel. If you chose grey siding, you may opt for white shutters in this case.

Complementary colours, on the other hand, are found opposite each other on the colour wheel. Use complementary colours to add drama and make your home exterior pop. For example, if you chose red siding, you would want to go with a complementary colour like blue for your shutters.

Matching your siding with your shutters pulls your entire exterior together. The key is choosing your style and the look and feel you want to convey. Get in touch with a local Gentek contractor for your exterior renovation needs!


Modern Home Styles in Canada

Traditional homes have long been the go-to in Canada, with designers and builders sticking to what they know best. However, the modern home style is becoming increasingly popular, with many homeowners craving a sleek, contemporary design. The modern home is defined by clean lines, lots of glass, minimal decoration and flat or shed roof lines. Contemporary homes also embrace qualities such as energy efficiency, as much natural light as possible and ventilation and air quality. Gentek carries everything you need to create that modern home look, from windows to patio doors and a large line of siding products.

Here’s how to get the modern look with Gentek products.

1. Longboard Premium Soffit and Siding

Designed with contemporary homes in mind, Longboard products help you achieve the look and beauty of real wood, without all the maintenance. It’s aluminum soffit, siding and privacy screen available in an array of woodgrain and solid colour finishes. All finishes have superior resistance to weathering and high colour and gloss retention. There’s zero long-term maintenance, and it won’t rot, warp, peel or fade. Plus, it’s 100% recyclable. If you’re looking for that sleek, modern look for your home, Longboard could be just what you’re searching for.

2. Distinction Siding

Distinction siding is another way to get the gorgeous look of real wood without the pesky upkeep. Made with high strength steel and a high-performance paint system that accurately replicates the variations of real wood, Distinction siding is a great product to use to design a contemporary home. Available in three series of colours: Wood Series, Nuanced Wood Series and Granite Series, plus the choice of horizontal or vertical applications, it’s simple to create the design you envision. It’s also extremely durable, so you can rest easy knowing you have a beautiful home that will last.

3. Sagiper PVC Panels

You can use Sagiper PVC panels to get the modern look you crave. The maintenance-free panels are wrapped in high quality, highly durable exterior specific vinyl coating to provide aesthetically pleasing, maintenance-free and modern finishing solutions for your home. Both SAGIREV and SAGIWALL provide high resistance to UV rays, water absorption, humidity and are impenetrable to insects, so you can get the look you want without fret. The highly durable exterior panels can be used in a variety of applications including siding, soffits, covered decks, and front veranda areas to help you achieve a modern home style you love.

If you can’t get the modern home style off your mind, it’s time to make a change! Gentek has everything you need to create that contemporary design, so visit your nearest location to start making your home dreams come true!


How to Change Your Siding

Even top quality siding isn’t indestructible. A bad storm could send an object flailing into your siding and freezing cold temperatures can cause unwanted cracks. If you’ve noticed cracks, breakage or warping in your siding, it could be time to change it. But a crack here and there doesn’t mean you need to replace the whole exterior, you can easily replace a few pieces if need be.

The key thing to keep in mind when replacing your siding is to get the closest colour match. If you recently renovated your home and know where your siding is from, head there to get the right match. If your siding is older or you don’t know where it came from, you can head to your nearest Gentek distributor to find the closest match. Make sure to bring in the broken piece of siding so they can colour match for you.

If your siding is in need of replacement, take a look at how to change your vinyl, aluminum or steel siding.

How to Change Vinyl Siding

A crack or break in your vinyl siding isn’t something to lose sleep over. Vinyl siding is actually quite easy to replace once you know the tools and steps you need to take. With a handy zip tool (which you can get for $5 at any home hardware store) and flat bar, you can get the job done in a cool 15 minutes.

Slide the zip tool along the bottom of the piece of damaged siding, releasing it from the piece below it. Push the zip tool under the siding until you feel it hook the bottom lip. Once it hooks, pull it downward and out to unhook the bottom lip, and slide it along the edge to unhook the rest of the siding. To take out the nails, use a flat bar to pry them out. To install the replacement piece, hook the lip of the upper siding piece into the slot and lock it into place.

How to Change Aluminum Siding

Replacing aluminum siding is a little more difficult. If you feel like the job is too much to handle, you can always contact a local contractor to help you out. If you want to go for it yourself, the first step is making a vertical cut at each end of the damaged piece with tin snips, and cutting horizontally along the center of the piece.

The upper section will be nailed in. Leave it in place and remove the bottom half. Then, cut the nailing tab off the top of the replacement piece and spread butyl gutter seal along the upper nailed section. Put the lower replacement piece into place, pressing it firmly into the gutter seal. Caulk the joints using the butyl gutter seal or silicone caulking compound,

How to Change Steel Siding

Steel siding is extremely durable, but there still may be times when you need to replace it. First, you’ll need to take out the nails holding the siding in place. Slide a zip tool along the damaged piece of siding and you should be able to catch on a nail. Grip the nail firmly with the zip tool and pry it out. Do this with every nail, with extra caution when it feels like the piece of siding is going to come off.

Once the nails have been removed, the siding will loosen and you can separate it and set it aside. For the new piece of siding, you’ll want to place a nail every 16 inches. Make sure it’s snug, but not tight, because if it’s too tight it can snap.

If it’s time to change a section of your siding, you can do it yourself or enlist the help of a siding contractor to help you out! Don’t fret, it will be back looking gorgeous in no time!


Renovating – Finalizing Your Contract

If you’re set to undertake an exterior renovation, your finalized contract is not something you should take lightly. Depending on the size and scope of your project, the intricacies of a contract will vary, but there are certain points that should pretty much always be covered. Without a proper contract, you could be in for a rude awakening with your renovation project, so make sure you’re aware of what your contract should cover before you finalize it.

Contract Basics

Some of the basics that need to be included in your contract are: The parties (you and the contractor), including street addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and the renovator’s business or GST number; addendums or all attachments that are part of the contract, such as blueprints, a list of materials and products, and change order forms; a description of work to be done and not to be done by the renovator; start and completion dates; and terms of payment.

Need-to-Knows

Always ensure holdbacks are written into the contract. On each payment you make to your renovator, you can hold back a certain percentage for a certain period of time to protect yourself against subcontractors. Holdbacks are put into place in the case that the contractor doesn’t pay the subcontractor, and they end up placing a lien on your property.

You also need to write change orders into your contract, which are write ups that must be signed by both parties to accept changes in work once the renovation has already started. Changes to the contract price and schedule should be written on the change order. Allowances are a sum in the contract price allotted to the homeowners to select things like sidings and windows, and contingencies are a sum set aside to deal with unexpected issues with the home.

Standards of work also need to be written into the contract. This covers the renovators commitment to performing their work to their best ability, causing minimum inconvenience to your household, protecting your property and neighbouring properties, and their responsibility for daily clean up. The renovator’s liability insurance and the workers’ compensation coverage has to be paid up to date and proof of coverage must be attached to the contract.

Finishing Touches

Your contract should specify who will obtain the municipal and/or utility permits, inspections and approvals required for the renovation. It should also have the renovator’s warranty that describes what is covered and for how long. The subcontractors that are going to do work on your home can be listed and you should outline the use of facilities and utilities such as water, electricity and washroom. Finally, you should include a dispute resolution in the incident of a conflict.

Finding a Reliable Renovator

If you want to ensure you find a reliable renovator, take a look at our list of Premium Renovators. Gentek works with leading contractors across the country and only partners with those who meet strict quality, performance and insurance rules. These renovators will help ensure your product choices and installation are exactly what you have in mind. Your written contract will always specify the price, work to be done and a time frame, so you’ll know exactly what to expect. Use the Contractor Locator to find an elite contractor in your area!

If it’s time to sign the contract for your exterior renovation, make sure these details are outlined and in place. If you have any concerns, may sure to take it up with your renovator before signing! Happy renovating!


All About Sereny Stone – Gentek’s Newest Specialty Siding Product

When it comes to designing your home, selecting your exterior materials is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Your home exterior is just as important as your interior, reflecting your family and setting the pace for the rest of your space. Your choices impact the overall design, look and quality of your home, so it’s essential to be confident about the materials you use. If you want your home to have a more contemporary feel, stone siding is a popular option.

SerenyStone is Gentek’s newest exclusive product, and it’s everything you need if you want the look of natural stone siding. With SerenyStone you get the authentic look and feel of real stone, with simple installation and minimal maintenance. The perfect alternative to masonry, SerenyStone brings incredible realism with faux stone panels and the highest quality finish.

Features and Benefits

SerenyStone is a range of products that are made in Canada, and available in a wide variety of colours. Each cladding product is unique and hand-painted to provide a natural result. SerenyStone products are solid and lightweight, waterproof, and resistant to moisture and UV rays. They also provide incredible thermal insulation to ensure the comfort of your home.

Get the Look

Getting the look of authentic stone has never been easier than with the SerenyStone products. They offer quality finishes that provide the authentic colours and textures of masonry, so you get beautiful results that look truly realistic. Note that just like with natural stone sidings, it’s normal to find slight colour discrepancies from one product to the next. This gives your home a more natural aesthetic and feel.

The Ease of Installation

One of the most notable things about SerenyStone is its seamless installation. The faux stone panels are light and easy to handle and transport. They can easily be installed with basic wood tools, and since they’re larger and cover more surface, they require fewer steps and preparation.

SerenyStone’s claddings take much less time to install than traditional masonry, which results in major savings for you as the homeowner! You don’t need to hire a mason, which significantly reduces your costs. Plus, their specialists have developed a unique application method for their sealants for perfect joint camouflage, while at the same time offering an authentic aspect of real mortar.

If you want the look of real stone siding without the hassle and high cost of installation and upkeep, SerenyStone is just the thing for you! See your Gentek representative for more details on how to get started with SerenyStone and transform your home!


Spotlight! Beingessner Home Exteriors – A Gentek Premium Renovator

Here at Gentek, we think it’s important to highlight the premium renovators we love and trust. High on that list is Beingessner Home Exteriors, an exterior renovator based in St.Jacobs, Ontario. They’re a Gentek Premium Renovator and have been servicing Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph and surrounding areas for over 60 years.

Beingessner has made a name for itself as one of the most respected locally-owned and operated installers of custom-made vinyl windows and entry doors. They carry all of Gentek’s cladding, window and door products, and have a strong reputation in the exterior renovation industry. The fact that they get most of their business from referrals and repeat clients talks to the exquisite products and services they offer.

What Makes Beingessner So Awesome?

Beingessner is known and loved as a family company. Three generations strong and over 60 years of knowledge and expertise in the window and siding industry, they can be trusted with your exterior renovation needs. Their expert staff is always prepared to help you plan your project and listen to your design and budgetary needs, and you can explore their wide selection of manufacturers’ products in their newly renovated contemporary showroom.

Beingessner provides high quality products that are professionally installed at reasonable prices, so you can rest easy with a worry-free renovation. Their workmanship is fully guaranteed, and financing options are available for any job, no matter what size.

Beingessner Services

Beingessner’s main goal is to elevate the process of your home exterior renovation. They provide expert window installation to ensure your new windows are installed according to manufacturer specifications and offer a full Lifetime Workmanship Warranty on all installations. They also offer exterior design consultations to help you bring your vision to life, and free written estimates for your exterior renovation projects.

On top of that, they also offer Renoworks, an exterior home design software that allows you to select exterior design elements for your home and bring your vision to life before investing in your remodel. And if you want to tackle your renovation project yourself, they’re more than happy to offer free and honest advice!

Certifications

Beingessner has numerous certifications to back their superior quality, products and service. They’re a registered certified Window Wise contractor for the supply and installation of energy efficient windows, as well as an Energy Star certified contractor. They have been rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau of Greater Southern Ontario and are a supporting member of the Siding and Window Dealers Association of Canada (S.A.W.D.A.C.). They’re also a member of the Greater K-W Chamber of Commerce.

If you’re in the market for an exterior renovation, make sure to go with a renovator you can trust. To find a Gentek Premium Renovator in your area, check out our Find a Contractor page to find a leading contractor that meets strict quality, performance and insurance rules for your renovation!


Regency 400 Windows – Looking for New Windows this Spring?

Spring is a time for new beginnings, and if you’re in the market for new windows this season, Gentek’s Regency 400 windows could be your perfect match. Regency 400 windows fit into any home style or design, so whether you have a modern or contemporary abode, you’ll get a sleek look with gorgeous features.

They’re available in all popular window styles including casements, double and single slider, double and single hung, awning and picture, so whatever look you have in mind, you can get with Regency 400 windows. Add to that, they’re extremely energy efficient, and you’ve hit a home run when it comes to window design.

Regency 400 Window Features

With Regency 400 windows, you get the perfect combination of style and function. The innovative design features an extra-strong 4-1/2” thick fusion-welded frame with the sash positioned closer to the interior part of the wall. This improves thermal protection against energy loss. The windows use best-in-class technology to achieve enduring style as well as easy upkeep, so you don’t have to have maintenance continuously on your mind.

The Peak of Energy Efficiency

Regency 400 windows are at the peak of energy efficiency, backed by the fact that they made it on the Most Energy Efficient listing in 2018, a title they’ve kept strong for the past 7 years. With Regency 400 windows, you can choose from a wide array of EnergyPlus and Solar Shield glass packages to help conserve energy. These packages allow you to customize your windows with the climate condition of your home in mind.

One of the most important components to a window’s energy efficiency is the spacer system, a thermal barrier that creates an insulating air space between the panes of glass. Regency 400 windows feature the Super Spacer, a non-metal, ultra-efficient system that provides superior energy efficiency and longevity, at the same time, enhancing the comfort of your home.

When you outfit your home with energy efficient windows, you’re not only helping the environment, you’re also able to cut down the cooling and heating costs of your home. Saving energy, the environment, and your own pockets? What could be better?

Variety of Decorative Options

Regency 400 windows are offered in a variety of popular colours to suit any home design. They’re available in a wide selection of extruded and painted colours to enhance both the interior and exterior of your home. You can also choose a custom paint colour if you have a specific shade in mind.

Regency 400 windows can be custom painted to match any of the Gentek exterior trim colours, so you have lots to choose from! You can also opt for interior grid patterns for your windows to add style and balance, V-grooved cut glass for a touch of elegance, as well as window accessories like jamb extensions and brickmoulds to finish off the look!

Are you looking for new windows this spring? Gentek’s Regency 400 windows check all the boxes!