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.

Vented or Unvented: Answering the Attic Question

2017-05-23

When it comes to venting your attic, there’s a lot of contradicting information. Some will say it’s a waste of money and will do more harm than good, while others say venting is crucial no matter what climate you live in.

If you’re going to vent your attic, the key is executing it properly. Time and time again, poorly constructed attics lead to issues such as ice dams, mold, rot and extreme energy loss, sucking up time and money.

It’s important to understand exactly what the purpose of venting is, the pros and cons of venting your attic, and whether it’s the right decision for you.

Venting in Hot Climates

In hot climates, the primary purpose of ventilation is to rid hot air from the attic or roof to the reduce the building’s cooling load. It also helps alleviate strain on you air-conditioning unit.

Venting in Cold (Dry) Climates

The purpose of ventilation in cold climates is to avoid ice dams created by melting snow and to vent moisture that moves from the conditioned living space to the attic.

Venting takes on either role in mixed climates, depending on the season.

Pros of Venting the Attic

When constructed properly, vented attics serve a number of purposes and benefits. In the winter or colder climates, a natural flow of outdoor air keeps the attic cold, reducing the potential for ice damming, and in turn, roof damage. In the summer and places with hot, humid climates, vents move hot air out of the attic, protecting roof shingles and removing moisture. If you have asphalt shingles left unvented, they are likely to heat up, reducing the service life of the shingle.

Cons of Venting the Attic

Sometimes when attic venting is not executed properly, in hot, humid climates, moisture is brought into the structure. If indoor humidity is high and the air leaks into the attic, moisture problems can develop this way as well. In cold climates, it may allow snow to blow in. Attic and roof assemblies are also becoming more complex, with designs such as skylights and multiple dormers. This makes it harder to construct vented assemblies.

If you do vent your attic, you can’t use it as a living or storage space. Venting will be most efficient if there isn’t anything in the attic except for insulation and air. The attic also has to be air-sealed in order for it to work properly. Vented attics should also be coupled to the exterior, isolated from the conditioned space.

To Vent or Not to Vent

Whether or not you vent your attic depends on a number of factors, including the design of your home, the climate you live in, whether your attic is air-sealed, and the type of shingles on your roof. When properly executed, vented attics have many benefits, but too many times, the process is screwed up over and over again.

Do you have a vented attic? What are the pros and cons you’ve come across?


Which Siding Should You Use? Top 5 Options

2017-05-20

 

Whether you’re remodeling your home for yourself or for resale, choosing the right siding is essential. Pick a siding with aesthetics, durability and versatility in mind. If it’s important for you to have a custom look, make sure the siding you choose is easily customizable and will work into your vision. Some sidings are more challenging to work with than others, so get all the facts upfront!

The siding you choose can have a big effect on the look and function of your home. While some siding materials require lots of maintenance and tough installation, others are easier to install and don’t require as many touch-ups over the years. It’s important to understand the benefits of each type of siding, as well as the pros and cons.

It’s not an easy decision to make, but once you do, you’ll be left with a gorgeous update to your home’s appearance. Check out the top 5 options for siding!

Wood

While there are some downsides to using wood siding (maintenance and lack of insulation), it’s still a popular option for homeowners who love the rustic, natural look. If you care for it properly, it can last for decades, and it’s extremely customizable since it’s such a pliable material. With so many ways to customize, from clapboard to shingles, light to dark wood, and different shapes and sizes, natural wood is a beautiful way to outfit your home.

Cedar Impressions

Cedar impressions hinge on the pricier side, but are definitely worth the investment. It’s modeled from real wood cedar shingles, and although it looks like natural wood, it doesn’t require as much maintenance. If you’re looking to add character to your home and you love the traditional home feel, cedar impressions are the way to go.

Composite

With composite siding, you’re able to get a very customizable look. It’s available in an array of materials including aluminum, fiber cement and asphalt, and comes in the form of shingles or boards. It’s installed like wood and you can choose from a handful of different types of trim and accessories. Although it’s harder to work with than some other siding options, it’s fireproof and rot-resistant, so is pretty low maintenance. Installing composite requires an expert installer, because you have to wear personal protective equipment and use special installation techniques to do it properly.

Vinyl

When it comes to siding, vinyl is the most common material used. It’s cost efficient, easy to install and comes in a variety of colours and textures to fit your home outfitting needs. Not to mention, the low maintenance involved, making it appealing to many. It’s water repellant and durable in any climate, but it doesn’t provide insulation to the home unless insulation is added.

Are you thinking of switching up the siding on your home? Which siding option are you most drawn to?

For all your siding needs, reach out to a Gentek contractor. Not sure who sells our products? Click here and get the list:

 


5 Ways to Use Fiber Cement Siding

2017-05-17

 

If you haven’t heard of fiber cement siding, get ready for your mind to be blown. It looks like wood or masonry, but acts like concrete to withstand the harshest weather and temperatures. Fiber cement mixes wood pulp and Portland cement for durability, maintenance and affordability. Plus, it looks awesome no matter how you use it.

You can customize it perfectly to your home, and use it on the inside or out. It’s extremely versatile, available in different shapes and sizes, colours and stains. Or if you like DIYs, it comes ready to paint! You can go contemporary or traditional, rustic or bright. The options are truly endless.

Whether you’re already set on using fiber cement siding, or this is your first introduction, take a look at 5 ways to use fiber cement siding for your home.

1. A Home Extension

Thinking of adding on a home extension? Make it pop, or compliment the rest of your house with fiber cement siding. By painting the panels you can add contrast to your exterior, or keep it consistent with the rest of your home. Also keep in mind, you can use products like heat-reflective paint to ensure minimal heat stress on your new extension.

2. Update Your Floors

If you’re craving the look of cement floors, but the cost is out of your budget, install smooth fiber cement panels instead. You’ll get the stylish look you want at a fraction of the cost! You can paint, finish and customize them to your style and add a sleek, contemporary look to your home!

3. Cottage/ Boat House Living

Fiber cement siding is an ideal material to use for your cottage or boat house. Not only is it extremely durable, it looks like traditional wood siding, which perfectly plays to the aesthetics of either of these dwellings. The wood paneled look can be rustic and cozy, or painted bright hues for summery, waterfront vibes. There are so many options for cabin living.

4. Accent Wall

Incorporating an accent wall is a great way to create a focal point in your home, whether it’s in your living room, dining area, kitchen, or foyer. Install it shiplap-style for a gorgeous look that pops! You can have the look of wood with a much more durable material that can stand wear and tear in busy areas of your home.

5. Your Headboard

If you love the look of wood paneled headboards, fiber cement siding is a great option for a durable, textured bed end. Your bedroom should be somewhere you love to step into at the end of the day, and wake up to in the morning. With the focus on bedrooms as relaxing sanctuaries, the décor has to fit the bill. Fiber cement planks used vertically or horizontally and painted to your ideal color, are the perfect way to create a sleeping space you love.

Are you thinking about using fiber cement paneling for your home? Let us know how you’re thinking of using it!


How to Pick the Perfect Patio Door

2017-05-14

Your front door isn’t the only entrance you need to think about when constructing or re-modeling your home. Your patio door allows access to your backyard or patio, and has an aesthetic impact on both the interior and exterior of your house. You want to make sure your patio door not only looks great, but is functional, energy efficient and works perfectly for your space.

When choosing the perfect patio door, there are a few key things you need to consider that you might not have thought about. Read on to make sure you have everything covered in your patio door search!

All About Functionality

Your patio door has to be functional for your space. If the entrance to your backyard or patio is tight, a sliding door that opens and closes on a track system will be more functional than a swinging, hinged door. If your space is more generous, outswing doors are ideal. And if your space is at a premium, a bi-partnering door with an expanded opening will brighten up your home and extend your living space.

Think About Style

While functionality is key, style is at the top of mind for most home owners. You want patio doors that compliment your home and fuse your indoor and outdoor space. In many homes, patio doors serve as a focal point, so you want them to catch the eye in the best way. Think about color, material, frame width, panels, whether you want decorative glass, etc. Depending on the style and decor of your house, choose patio doors that work with the design.

Kid and Pet-Friendly

If you have kids and/or pets, your patio doors need to be able to withstand wear and tear. Pets often paw at the door when they want to go in or out, and kids’ toys can leave scratches on painted or wooden door frames. If you’re worried about chips and scrapes, choose doors with plain vinyl, fiberglass or aluminum to maintain their desired look.

Consider Your Lifestyle

Do you love throwing big gatherings on your deck? Are you going to outfit your patio with furniture so your family and friends can mix and mingle? Make sure whichever patio door you choose gives you space for these gatherings and doesn’t restrict the flow. Take into consideration how much space you need for clearance and how the doors will affect the movability of your patio.

Keep Energy Efficiency in Mind

It’s really important to choose energy efficient patio doors for your house. This will save you money, provide comfort to your home, and it never hurts to help the environment! Windows and doors might not actually use energy, but they play a significant role in heat loss. Materials like vinyl and wood are very energy efficient, while Low-E (low emissivity) glass is 

designed with material that repels ultraviolet rays in the summer and absorbs them in the winter.

Are you looking to construct or remodel your patio door? Gentek has a wide variety of patio door styles in stock! Visit your local Gentek dealer to find the style that suits you and your home!


What Does “Energy Efficient” REALLY Mean for My Home – and My Wallet?

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With summer on the edge of our heels, it’s the perfect time to make changes around the house. Creating an energy efficient home not only helps the environment, but can also be a lifesaver for your wallet. Whenever you cut back on using energy, you’re saving money, so there’s really no downside of being more energy savvy around the house.

Some energy efficient options you’ll have to invest in at the start, but you’ll save money in the long run. It’s little changes we can make in our day-to-day lives that will make the most significant impact. From making sure your computer is on sleep mode when you’re not using it, to planting a shade tree on the side of your house that gets the most sun, incorporating energy efficient options around your home is easy and impactful.

Check out 6 ways to be more energy efficient at home, and watch your bank account grow.

1.Switch to Energy Efficient Windows

Changing your windows to energy efficient Energy Star windows means less condensation and heat loss in winter (or too much heat in summer), and better-balanced window temperatures. All this contributes to a much more comfortable home environment, and fewer cold spots. The money you save by avoiding leakage through old or inefficient windows adds up quickly – you could save as much as 15% on heating and cooling costs just by installing Energy Star windows!

2.Use Sleep Mode on Your Computer/ Laptop

When you’re not using your computer, make sure it doesn’t stay running the whole time. And don’t confuse screen savers with sleep mode. Letting your computer/laptop run when you’re not using it sucks up so much energy! Set your laptop to go to sleep after a few minutes of inactivity. It will consume less energy and will be quicker than starting it up after it’s been shut down.

3. Switch to Fluorescent Light bulbs

Yes, fluorescent light bulbs cost more than incandescent, but they last 8-12 times longer, which means you’ll be saving significantly in the long run. Energy efficient light bulbs use 25% to 80% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, so you can help the environment and your wallet.

4. Plant a Shade Tree

You know the side of the house that gets the most sun in the summer months? Plant a shade tree to provide relief when it gets extremely hot. This will help keep your home cool when the sun is beating on it, so you don’t have to crank up the air conditioning too high.

5. Use Your Appliances Mindfully

I think we’re all guilty of running a load of laundry that wasn’t full, or keeping the freezer colder than it needs to be. Making these simple changes is very energy efficient and will save you tons of cash! Make sure your laundry and dishwasher loads are always full, wash your clothes on cold when you can, use a covered kettle or pot to boil water, etc. All these little things make a huge difference.

6. Insulate Your House

From your attic and ceiling to your walls and pipes, insulation is key to saving energy around the house. Adding insulation keeps the outside air out and inside air in, ensuring your house stays

warm during frigid winter temperatures and cool during hot summers. Insulating hot water pipes reduces heat loss and conserves water since you don’t have to wait as long for the water to warm up.

Do you have any more tips for making your home more energy efficient? We’d love to hear them!


Gentek’s Trend Setting Product Sagiper – Featured on Backyard Builds

2017-05-08Sagiper is one of the hottest home design trends of 2017. Made to look like wood without the upkeep, the maintenance free siding option is the perfect way to give any home exterior a gorgeous, natural look. The highly durable vinyl was designed for the outdoors, providing high resistance to UV rays, water absorption and humidity. Plus, it can be used for interior walls and ceiling applications as well.

In the Media

Sagiper was recently featured on the HGTV Backyard Builds ‘Kids’ Clubhouse’ episode, where a garage is turned into a kids’ arts and music hangout. With a son who plays the drums and a daughter who tap dances and plays violin, these parents knew they needed a space where their kids could flourish outside (but close to) the family home. With the use of Sagiper, the hangout is transformed into a kids’ clubhouse any parent would be happy to have in their yard.

Customize with Sagiper

Available in an array of colours, your style will shine through with Sagiper. The highly durable vinyl can give any exterior or interior a facelift, whether it’s adding an exterior addition, outfitting a mobile home, or spicing up your living room with a feature wall. The tongue and groove panels add texture and detail where you need it most, so your space is instantly transformed.

The high-quality look and feel of the Sagiper product line is noticeable at first glance. It has revolutionized the renovation industry, with durability and aesthetics combined. Born in Europe, it was introduced to North America in 2012, and is booming as one of 2017’s most coveted trends.

The Details

While Sagiper is hot from a design standpoint, it’s also one of the most functional products on the market today. The vinyl coating is insect proof, keeping away any unwanted critters. It also has a low expansion and contraction coefficient, making it durable in any climate, and where the temperature is constantly changing. The exterior vinyl coating repels dirt and is easily cleaned, and the vinyl colour will never fade.

Sagiper has a water absorption level of 0.04% making it ideal for areas of high humidity and homes near the coastline where corrosion is typical due to sea spray. It absorbs more than 97% UV radiation, increasingly its longevity and durability.

The Last Word

If you’ve been looking for the perfect material to outfit your home, and love the look of wood, but are turned off by the high maintenance that comes with it, you can stop your search at Sagiper. This trendsetting product is available at Gentek in all different colours to suit your design needs. Customize you interior or exterior with a high-quality product that’s eye-catching and trendy.

Are you renovating your home? What do you think of the Sagiper product line?

 

 


Backyard Builds – Part 1

2017-05-05
Backyard Builds is the latest craze on the HGTV Canada network. It also just so happens to be one of Gentek’s partners, featuring a ton of their donated product on multiple episodes of the show! Viewers can tune in to see how contractor Brian McCourt and designer Sarah Keenleyside transform outdoor spaces into one-of-a-kind backyards tailored exactly to the homeowners’ needs.

All About Backyard Builds

Backyard Builds highlights the endless opportunities found in our outdoor spaces. While most home shows focus on renovating the inside of the house, Backyard Builds aims to transform how we think about our backyards. From a cake studio, to a parent’s only hideaway to a tree house with a zip line, Brian and Sarah work with the homeowners to maximize their outdoor potential and create incredibly unique spaces tailored specifically to their family.

Whether you’re outgrowing your space, feeling crammed and unable to fulfill your passions, or want an epic backyard for your kids, no task is out of the question on Backyard Builds.

The Episodes Featuring Gentek’s Products

Tree house Village – April 6 2017

Every child dreams of having a tree house in their backyard, but these parents went one step further, working with Brian and Sarah to design an entire tree house village on their one-acre forested property. Ideal for the new blended family, the oasis has everything from a meditation room to a family lounge and a zip line. The tree house is equipped with Gentek’s High Performance Regency Windows for durability and maximum energy savings, and Gentek’s gorgeous Shake Siding.

Cake Studio – April 13 2017

See a baker and mother of two get her dream cake studio in the comfort of her own backyard with the use of Gentek’s beautifully crafted Board and Batten Vinyl Siding and Prestige Trims. Not only that, Brian and Sarah incorporate a faux terrain soccer area for the boys, and family-sized deck for her husband. The backyard is transformed into an open-concept living space with something for everyone to enjoy.

His & Hers Hideaway – April 20 2017

With four kids under ten years old, and a busy, busy schedule, this couple needed a secluded space they could call their own. Brian and Sarah help the on-the-go parents create a parent’s only hideaway in their backyard where they can relax and unwind. And no hideaway is complete without doors to keep it private. Gentek’s Doors completed the backyard oasis for the much-deserving parents.

Missed some of the episodes? You can catch all these Backyard Builds episodes online at www.hgtv.ca.


Versetta Stone: The Game-Changer in Home Outfitting!

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Versetta stone is changing the game in the world of home outfitting. Not only does it have the luxurious, authentic look of stone masonry, it’s also extremely easy to put together. The mortar-less panels are designed for quick and simple installation, so you don’t need to hire a mason to do the job for you, plus there’ll be no mortar on your shoes or around your house at the end of the day.

Either apply it yourself, or get a siding contractor to install it for you. The result is the traditional look of beautiful stone, that’s completely hassle free.

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It’s Versatile

It’s also incredibly versatile. Versetta stone comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and you can apply it to the interior or exterior of your home. Get creative! Place it anywhere from around your fireplace to your kitchen backsplash, or around your garage door and front entry. At only 16 pounds per panel, it’s easy for anyone to assemble. All you have to do is pick it up, set it in, and screw it in place! Each panel stacks right on top of one another and the universal corners allow a perfect fit for both outside and inside corners, as well as end wall terminations.

 

A Go-To Remodelling Product

It’s a go-to product if you’re remodelling your house, on the inside or out! You can mix it in with siding product or veneer the entire front of your house with Versetta stone alone. Its durability makes it suitable for exterior applications. And since it’s mortar-less (no mess!), it makes it ideal for inside remodel jobs, too.

It’s clean, simple and efficient, and what more could you ask for when remodelling your home? The options are endless and any way you decide to use it, you’ll be getting a traditional yet updated look.

terra rosa tight-cut garage

Unique Stone Designs and Finishes

You’ll never see two stones that look exactly the same. Each piece is hand painted and the rugged texture gives it that authentic, traditional feel. If you’ve ever wanted the look of stone masonry to compliment your home, you can get it 3 to 4 times faster with the quick application.

It alleviates the long, messy process that comes with using natural stone, where each stone has to be individually shaped and fitted, installed by a mason, and where there’s typically a lot of waste on the site. It’s a do-it-yourself option that looks anything but DIY.

 

It has its own water management system, too!

If all this wasn’t enough, Versetta stone is also equipped with a water management system. Any water that gets in is pushed out and leaves the wall, passing directly outside or through the bottom of the wall structure. So, you can rest assured knowing your house not only looks great, but is also mold-free. Plus, it withstands the weather in any climate, just like real stone. It’s sustainable, strong and environmentally friendly too!

In a few easy steps you can have realistic stone masonry without the high cost and time. Versetta Stone is the perfect product for remodeling your home.

 

Want more? Watch this!

If you REALLY want to know everything there is to know about Versetta stone (and a LOT more) click here and enjoy this video!


Here’s how to see your house reno, before you reno

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If you’ve been imagining how your home might look in a different colour siding or with different windows or stone cladding … you don’t have to imagine anymore.

GTK_Blog_March_BeforeAfterNow, with the NEW Gentek Visualizer, you can actually see your home in the colour you choose, with the windows and doors you select, even with a different siding profile all together… and yes eaves, soffits and down spouts.

It’s fun and as easy as 1… 2… 3.

Simply go to gentek.ca, click on “My Design Home Studio”, click on Gentek Visualizer and you’re good to go. You can either select a similar style house to yours from our library or you can upload a photo of your own home.

If you choose a “similar house”, you can use your curser to highlight various areas and explore different colours and product offerings.

GTK_Blog_March_BeforeAfter_BIf you choose to use “your home”, simply upload your photo and our team will do all the work so you can view any of our product offerings on your actual house.

So let your design flair come alive and enjoy exploring how great your house will look using the Gentek Visualizer and all the Gentek products.


Tired of chasing drafts around your house?

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Tired of chasing drafts around your house? Wondering what you can do to achieve some semblance of efficiency in this challenging Canadian climate? There’s only so many times one should suffer the trial and tribulations, not to mention the profanity, of the “hair dryer and plastic window sealing kit” routine.

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Efficiency is king! Especially during a time where homeowners are spending upwards of 40% of their yearly energy budget just on heating and cooling. Let’s take a look at how Gentek’s Regency and Regency 400 windows series can help out.

First and foremost, it is important to recognize the quality and efficiency behind the Regency line of windows. For over 5 years now, Gentek’s Regency series has settled in comfortably atop ENERGY STAR’s Most Efficient list, with the Regency 400 series topping the 2016 list in its first year on the market. If you’re asking yourself “what’s ENERGY STAR?” The short answer – one of the best and most reliable go to resources for home owners interested in gathering information about energy rated efficiency across a range of products, including windows. Have no fear, you can learn more by visiting their site at www.energystar.gov

A question we hear a lot is, “when is the best time to replace windows?” Generally, any time before the leaves of autumn hit the ground. Now, if you’ve found yourself in the grips of winter, it is worth considering a “sooner rather than later” approach. If you wait until spring, you may miss out on keeping some of that hard-earned heat inside your home, which can, in the long run, affect your bills.

Last but not least, REMEMBER: It’s always important to place your installation in the hands of a trustworthy contractor. Need help finding one? No problem, simply click on our “Contractor Locator” section to find the perfect Premium Renovator in your area, to fit your perfect windows.

Regency and Regency 400 series from Gentek are a great option if efficiency is at the top of your list. Speaking of lists, they also top ENERGY STAR’S!
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