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.

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!


My Windows are Sweating. What do I do?

2017-06-22

If you’ve ever experienced window sweat, you know how irritating it can be. Window condensation is a common problem in the wintertime and can leave your windows, frames and sills wet. Not only is it an annoying problem to deal with, it can also cause damage to your home. Rotting wood and plaster damage are two of the major issues that can surface due to window condensation.

Even if your home is well insulated, you may still notice window condensation. This is likely due to the humidity in your home being too high. When the moisture generated inside your home isn’t able to escape, and the warm inside air condenses on the cold windows, window sweat is bound to happen.

Fortunately, there are ways you can prevent and eliminate indoor window condensation. Check out the main culprits of window sweating and what you can do to stop it.

What Causes Window Condensation?

Window condensation is caused by excessive moisture in your house. This could be coming from things like gas or propane from your fireplace, a humidifier, green plants, or ground moisture coming up from the concrete slab outside. If you just moved in to a new-build, the materials may still be drying out. New wood and concrete can take up to 18 months to dry, so the moisture could just as well be coming from there.

Major Problems with Window Condensation

Window condensation can be a pain in the neck, but it can also lead to severe home damage. It not only leads to mould and damage on your window frames and plaster, if it gets more serious, it can result in decay within your wall cavities and attic. If your windows are sweating beyond the point of being able to wipe them with a towel, talk to a home inspector who can help you with the issue.

What to Do

Consider all rooms and areas of you house to see where the excess moisture and humidity may be coming from. Using ceiling fans helps to circulate the air, and you can open your doors and windows on days when it’s not too cold to let some warm air out. Make sure to move your pants away from your windows and you can even look into buying a dehumidifier.

You can also invest in a hygrometer to monitor your indoor relative humidity. This way you can track the issue as well as what works and what doesn’t when you’re trying to solve the problem.

Storm Windows

Storm windows can help reduce condensation in the winter months. The extra layer of glass allows the interior window to stay warmer and helps reduce frost build up. Plus, the increased thermal performance will help cut heating bills during the winter. Gentek carries Aluminum Storm Windows, so make sure to ask your local Gentek dealer for more information if you’re interested in this product!

If your windows are sweating, make sure to stop them any way you can. Talk with a home inspector to find out exactly what you need to do so there’s no excessive damage to your home.


Install. Rinse. Repeat. Why EnFusion Siding is So Great

2017-06-19

 

Today’s typical busy lifestyle requires simplicity and ease, especially when it comes to your home’s exterior. Sequoia Select EnFusion Siding offers a low maintenance, energy saving option that’s durable and easy on the eyes. The luxurious laminated vinyl siding is sturdy enough to withstand severe winds, with high-density insulation to soften outside noise.

If you’re working on a home renovation with the hopes of finding the perfect siding, EnFusion Sising has a gorgeous, wood-like appearance with carefree maintenance. It offers beauty, protection and durability for a home exterior that fits with every homeowner’s needs.

It’s not available everywhere, but Gentek offers a range of colours to perfectly match your home exterior. Visit your local Gentek distributor to grab some samples and see how it works with your home! Here are 4 reasons why EnFusion Siding is so great!

Design

If you’re like most homeowners, design, durability and simplicity are three of the most important aspects when it comes to choosing exterior siding. EnFusion Siding is durable, dent-resistant and solid in colour, so you never need to worry about painting it. Plus, it’s extremely low maintenance. All you need to do is spray it with a garden hose now and then to remove dust and dirt.

With natural cedargrain texture and detail, EnFusion Siding provides a beautiful wood-like appearance. The worry-free exterior will enhance your home’s curb appeal and add to the value of your house. If you want the true wood look without the maintenance and worry of rot and pests, EnFusion Siding is an excellent option.

Colour

Gentek makes it easy for you to match your EnFusion Siding perfectly to the exterior design of your home. With the lighter Classic Colour range including Snow White, Antique Ivory and Sage, to the richer Designer Colour range including shades like Venetian Red and Windswept Smoke, you can create the elegant look you’ve always wanted.

Make sure to check your local Gentek distributor to see which colours are available in your area!

Energy Savings

If energy efficiency tops your list of must-haves for your home, you should definitely consider EnFusion Siding. The vinyl panel contains expanded polystyrene rigid foam insulation for increased energy savings. This decreases the heating and cooling costs of your home. It also comes equipped with custom-contoured insulation to protect your house from extreme weather and energy loss.

Stability and Resistance

With an interlocking design, the siding panels are secured in place for incredible strength and stability. It has also been laboratory tested to resist winds up to Category 5 Hurricane rating, and has been treated with nontoxic mineral additive to stop pests from residing within the siding.

If you struggle with uneven wall surfaces, the double-strength wall attachment fortifies the structural integrity. And the high-performance material won’t rot or warp due to moisture. All in all, the siding is extremely resistant, stable and worry-free!

EnFusion Siding is a low maintenance, high quality option that will completely upgrade your home exterior. With beauty, stability and energy efficiency, what more could you ask for?

 


How to Hire a Contractor

2017-06-16

 

Hiring the right contractor can be the difference between getting the house of your dreams and blowing your savings on a subpar job that’s nothing like you imagined. Unfortunately finding a quality contractor isn’t as easy as it may seem, and choosing the first one you come across isn’t the best way to go about it.

A great contractor will ensure everything is taken care of and can foresee major issues before they arise. The last thing you need is to work with someone who embellishes their services and pulls off more than they can chew. You want the job done right the first time, without any hidden fees or issues.

Luckily, Gentek works with quality contractors across Canada who will blow your expectations away! They meet strict quality, performance and insurance rules to ensure top standards every single time. Check out their elite contractors here.

Here are 5 more awesome tips for hiring a contractor.

Get a Referral

One of the best ways to find an amazing contractor is to get a referral from your family or friends. If someone you know has experience with a great contractor firsthand, then you’re in luck! You can also see for yourself what caliber of work they do by visiting your friend/family member’s house and checking out the end result!

Get Multiple Estimates

Once you’ve done your research and narrowed it down to 2 or 3 of your top choice contractors, meet them face to face and ask them for estimates. Don’t just go with the lowest estimate to save money. You want the job done right, with no corners cut! Make sure their estimates are all inclusive, covering costs for the exact hardware and flooring, install costs, permit costs, warranty of the work, etc. If they leave things out to keep the cost down, that’s probably a red flag.

Look at Samples

Samples let you see a contractor’s previous work to ensure it’s up to par for what you’re looking for. You can check out their quality of work as well as their creativity and the variety of work they’ve done. Although this isn’t the only thing you should base your decision on, samples are a good indicator of what kind of job you can expect.

Visit Their Jobsites

You want to ensure you hire a contractor who is going to respect your property. The best way to know this? Visit a couple of jobsites they’re working on currently to see how the contractor works. Is the jobsite safe and clean? Are the workers respectable and careful around the house? If you go with a referral, you can ask them how the contractor treated their house. These are important things to consider when choosing a contractor since they will be in your house for a substantial period of time.

Do Your Homework

Make sure you’re educated when it comes to your home renovations. Know what permits you need and what regulations need to be followed. Your contractor should know and follow all of these. Also check up on your contractor’s certifications. You must hire a licensed, bonded and insured contractor and make sure their credentials are legitimate.

When it comes to hiring a contractor, keep these 5 tips at front of mind! It’s better to do it right from the start than to start all over again after a bad renovation.