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.

5 Common Misconceptions About Windows

Windows are more important to your home than you may think. While a main feature of windows is to let light in and brighten up your space, there is so much more to windows than meets the eye. Windows can do everything from heighten security, to increase energy efficiency and even boost the resale value of your home. Investing in quality windows has never been more important, as savvy homeowners and house hunters recognize the importance of quality windows. But there are some window myths that need to be debunked. Read on to find out the most common misconceptions about windows before investing in new ones!

1. Windows Won’t Affect the Resale of Your Home

If you’re planning to put your home on the market, there are certain upgrades that will allow you to get more bang for your buck. While some homeowners don’t think windows fall into that category, they absolutely do! House hunters are looking for homes with new windows and are willing to pay more for them. Homes with vinyl windows often sell for more than homes without them, and a new window replacement project adds about 80% of its total cost to the home value, so you can feel good about your investment.

2. Energy Efficient Windows Aren’t Worth It

If you think energy efficient windows won’t make a big difference for your home, think again! They can help decrease your electric bills, so you can save month to month. When you’re investing in new windows, look for energy efficient windows with features like double or triple-paned glass, expanding material and strong weather resistance to save as much as possible!

3. The More Expensive, the Better the Quality

We’re often made to believe that the more expensive something is, the better quality it will be. While that’s true in some cases, that isn’t always how it works with windows. We’re not saying you should skimp out on windows and buy cheap ones, but make sure to do your research to find out if the high price tag is due to quality or aesthetics. Sometimes windows will be more expensive if they fall within a current industry trend, which means you’re paying for the look rather than the quality. There are many affordable window styles and materials (such as vinyl) that offer amazing quality!

4. Maintenance is the Same for All Windows

Since windows come in so many different materials, the maintenance and upkeep required for each type varies widely. Wood windows will require more maintenance, including annually peeling, painting, sanding and staining, while vinyl windows only require the occasional rinse with soap and water. If you’re a low maintenance homeowner, make sure to invest in windows that require little upkeep.

5. The Style of the Window is Only About Aesthetics

When you’re shopping around for windows, you’ll notice a wide range of styles to choose from. And while the style of your windows affects the interior and exterior aesthetic of your home, it will also affect different aspects of your abode. The style of your windows will have an impact on the amount of airflow that enters your home, your home security, and the energy efficiency capabilities of your home.

If you’re searching for new windows for your home, blast these misconceptions before making your purchase. And check out Gentek’s full selection of windows!

5 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Windows

Windows can do magical things for your home. They can increase protection and comfort, add beautiful curb appeal and save you money on energy bills. But if your windows are nearing their end, it’s important to replace them as soon as you can. Your windows will give you signs when something’s not right, and although many windows are manufactured to last for decades, factors such as your location and nature’s elements can come into play. If your windows are more than a few decades old, here are 5 signs they need to be replaced!  

1. Your Windows are Leaking, Warped or Broken

If your windows are leaking, warped or broken, it’s time to replace them ASAP! While you can repair issues such as damaged weather-stripping or hardware, there are times when replacing is better than repairing. Pay attention to what your windows are telling you. If you notice they’re letting water in, they’re fogging up, they’re drafty, or they’re sticking when you open and close them, it’s likely time to replace your windows. Also look for problems such as mold and mildew, and air quality issues that are signaling a bigger problem.

2. Your Window Frames are Decaying

A telltale sign that your windows need replacing is when the frames are decaying. If they’re soft, chipped or water damaged, they’re most likely damaged beyond repair. Touch your window frames to check if they’re soft. If they are, it signals rot and water infiltration which can lead to sagging. Built up moisture can lead to more serious damage down the road and even safety issues, so make sure to replace them before more damage is done!

3. Your Energy Bills Have Skyrocketed

If you’ve noticed your energy bills are higher than usual, it could mean that your windows aren’t working like they should. Drafty windows can increase your energy bill up to 25%, which is a huge waste of money. Energy efficient windows work to decrease your heating and cooling costs, so even though new windows will be an investment upfront, they’ll pay off in the long run!

4. Your Windows Are Letting in Sound

If you’re windows are letting in a lot of noise from the outdoors, it may be time to replace them. Your windows should keep out the noise pollution to make your home as comfortable as possible. This is especially important if you live in a busy neighbourhood or on busy road as outside noise can be a huge pain. If the outdoor noise is getting unbearable, it likely means your windows are at their end.

5. You’re Renovating Your Home

New windows can do wonders for a home renovation. Your windows are one of the most striking features of your home, and if they look old or worn down, they can affect the entire look of your house. If you’re renovating your home, new windows are a must (unless they’ve been recently replaced). Look for things like colour fading, old screens and window warping as signs that they need to be upgraded. These aspects detract from the curb appeal of your home, while features like large, open windows can add to the aesthetic of your home.

If you’ve noticed any of these issues with your windows, it may be time to replace them. Head to your local Gentek dealer to find the perfect windows for you!

Fake Grass is Gaining in Popularity. Here’s What You Need to Know

Fake grass is becoming more and more common due to its low-maintenance, picture-perfect features. Artificial turf has been used on sports fields for years, but has recently gained popularity for outfitting homes. While artificial grass of the past was notoriously fake-looking, newer artificial grass is manufactured to look and feel as real as possible, and people are taking notice. Homeowners are putting a lot of thought into choosing exterior features such as siding, windows and doors. They want their perfectly designed exteriors to have a gorgeous, maintenance-free lawn to match it. If you’re considering fake grass for your home, here’s what you need to know.

What is Artificial Grass?

Artificial grass is a surface constructed with synthetic fibers made to mimic real grass. It’s constructed with grass-like fibers or yarn – usually polypropylene or polyethylene. Quality artificial grass has several layers including a backing, cushioning, two or three draining layers, and infill, made from materials like cork and recycled rubber tires. More and more homeowners are using artificial grass for lawns, pool surrounds, play areas, dog runs, and rooftops due to its low-maintenance and clean-cut aesthetic.

Is Artificial Grass Right for You?

There are a few main reasons people make the switch to artificial grass. Here are a few signs it’s the right choice for you:

1. You think artificial grass looks just as good (or better) than real grass

2. You’re sick of mowing your lawn, and watering, feeding and fertilizing your grass

3. Your summer water bills are skyrocketing

4. Chemical fertilizers and herbicides are out of the question

Benefits of Artificial Grass

There are a number of benefits that come with artificial grass. It saves water since fake grass can’t grow, which is especially important during droughts and really hot weather streaks. It’s also very easy to maintain since you don’t have to mow, water or fertilize it, saving you time and money. You’ll also have the choice of varying colours, styles and heights so you can choose the perfect artificial lawn for your exterior.

Drawbacks of Artificial Grass

Although there are some noteworthy benefits of artificial grass, it doesn’t come without its drawbacks. First off, it’s an expensive, long-term investment, so you have to weigh the pros and cons. Although it’s more expensive to put in, you save time and money down the road since you won’t have to maintain it as much. If you have a cat or dog, artificial grass may not be the best choice. It doesn’t absorb or break down pet urine, so it’s prone to bad smells and will stink if you don’t hose it off regularly.

It’s also not completely maintenance-free. You’ll still have to spend time blowing and raking your fake lawn since weeds can grow in the dust and leaves can accumulate. Artificial grass heats up in direct sunlight and radiates heat to surrounding people, pets, trees and buildings, and it also can’t be recycled, meaning it ends up in landfills.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-maintain option for your lawn, consider the benefits and drawbacks of artificial grass and decide whether it’s right for you!

Maintaining Your Siding: How to Keep it Beautiful Forever!

Today’s siding is made to last, but that doesn’t mean it won’t require maintenance from time to time. If you want your siding to maintain its beauty, you’re going to have to put in some work. Some siding types require more maintenance than others, and we’re covering the most popular types of siding in this post. Read on to find out how to maintain your siding to keep it beautiful forever!

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is one of the most durable, maintenance-free claddings available, and it only requires a small amount of work to keep its beauty. You’ll want to wash your vinyl siding one to two times a year, using a garden hose to get rid of dust and dirt. If you want, you can use a power washer to remove insects that may be living in small crevices in the siding, as well as harsher dirt stains. And if a piece of vinyl siding comes loose, or is bent or curved, you should replace it as soon as possible!

Fiber Cement Siding

You don’t have to worry about a lot of maintenance when it comes to fiber cement siding, but you should still do yearly inspections to make sure everything’s up to snuff. Fiber cement siding is resistant to things like insects, extreme temperature changes and UV rays, but you should still be looking for cracking paint, warping and mildew on a yearly basis. Fiber cement siding will hold up to the pressure of a power washer better than other types, so if you live in a place with lots of dust, use it every few years. Most times a standard garden hose will do the job!

Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding should be cleaned about every six months. You’ll want to look out for rust as well as paint chips and peeling. If you notice rust on your siding, scrape it off and add a sealant so it doesn’t rust through. And if the paint is chipped and peeling, you’ll want to scrape and repaint it to maintain the life of the rest of the coat. You don’t need to repaint the whole house if you don’t have the time or budget, but fix the area that needs fixing so it doesn’t cause more problems!

Wood Siding

If you have a home that’s constructed with wood siding, it requires more maintenance than other types. Wood siding is beautiful, but harsh elements and moisture can lead to wood rot and paint chip. Wood siding needs to be painted every five years at minimum and the boards should be treated every five years as well. You’ll want to keep dirt and mildew off your siding by cleaning it once a year. Also look out for trees and bushes – you don’t want them touching your siding as they can carry moisture to it and cause damage.

If you want to keep your siding looking clean and beautiful, use these tips to help maintain its beauty forever!

No More Streaky Windows! The Secret to Crystal Clear Windows

Streaky windows can be a serious pain. They’re immediately noticeable, so it’s important to deal with streaks right away. Especially if you like to host guests or throw big gatherings, you want your windows to look just as beautiful as you know they can be. Windows are one of the biggest investments you can make for your home and can completely transform your exterior. Playing such an essential part of your home, crystal clear windows are extremely important. Take a look at how to get rid of streaks and clean your windows properly.

What Causes Streaky Windows?

Getting rid of streaky windows is a lot easier when you know what causes pesky streaks in the first place. The first reason could be your window cleaner. Multi-purpose cleaners aren’t always as streak-free as they claim to be, and if you clean your windows on a warm, sunny day, the evaporation rate can be an issue. If the solution evaporates too quickly, it leaves behind streaky residue, or if you don’t entirely remove the liquid, that can leave streaks too.

Another problem can be the type of towel or cloth you use to clean your windows. If your towel isn’t absorbent enough it can spread moisture and dirt rather than removing it, leaving streaks behind. And make sure the towel you use is clean and unused. Used towels (even if you’ve washed them) can still be contaminated by oils and detergents in other household cleaners, which can leave streaks.

The Secret to Crystal Clear Windows

Now that you know what causes streaks you can prevent streaks from occurring in the future! And when it comes to the streaks you already have, the best thing to do is clean your windows again. Here are the steps you can take to get rid of streaks and have crystal clear windows.

1. Clean Your Windows with a Proper Cloth

The first thing you can try to get rid of the streaks on your windows is cleaning them with a dry, dust-free microfiber cloth. Going over your windows with the proper cloth can often remove the unwanted streaks, leaving you with crystal clear windows.

2. Apply a Good Cleaning Solution

If the cloth doesn’t work on it’s own, you’ll have to bring the cleaning solution back out. Do a search for the best window cleaning solution and you’ll find that Dawn dish soap and white vinegar mixed with water are favourites. Work from the bottom of your window to the top to avoid dripping, and work quickly but thoroughly so no residue is left behind. Consider using a squeegee to get the best clean.

3. Dry the Edges

Once you’re finished with the cleaning solution, dry the edges of the window from the top down with a new micro-fiber cloth to ensure there’s no residue left behind.

If you’re dealing with streaky windows, take these steps to clean your windows and prevent streaks in the future!

The Best Outdoor Decor Tips Ever

When you’re decorating your home, don’t forget about the exterior. You may spend most of your time indoors, but your exterior is the first impression people get of your abode. Plus, when the weather warms up, it’s ideal to spend as much of your time as you can living outdoors. From your porch, to your patio, deck, and backyard, here are 5 of the best outdoor decor tips ever!

1. Paint the Roof of Your Porch

Have you ever thought of painting your porch roof? In the warmer months, your porch can act as another living area, providing you with a spot to enjoy the outdoors and the company of your family. Painting your roof is a big trend for indoor spaces, but also looks amazing for a porch roof. Choose a shade like seafoam or robin’s egg blue to mimic the colour of a clear-blue sky and give off a soothing, tranquil vibe.

2. Blend the Indoors and Out

If you’re big on entertaining, you know how important it is to have ample space to host your guests. Forget being limited by your indoor and outdoor square footage, blend the two to give you a vaster space to entertain. You can do this with the help of gorgeous patio doors that open up one space to the next, and also by continuing your indoor flooring to the outdoors, and decorating both spaces so that they compliment each other.

3. Outdoor Curtains

Outdoor curtains are a clever way to make your front porch more intimate and cozy. They’ll make your outdoor area feel more indoorsy, framing your space and upping the comfort level. On top of that, they’ll provide protection from wind and harsh weather, as well as sun and outdoor noises. If you decide to go with outdoor curtains, make sure they’re water-, fade-, and mildew-resistant so they last as long as possible.

4. Increase Your Surface Space

It’s important to have lots of surface space in your backyard, not only for guests to sit, but also for them to set down their food and drink. Especially if you plan on hosting large gatherings, you’ll want everyone to feel like they have plenty of space. You can consider things like built-in seating, the surround of a fire pit (if you have one), and outdoor tables for extra surface space.

5. Accessorize

Approach your outdoor space just as you would your indoor, and don’t forget decorating and accessorizing. Add items like area rugs, throw pillows, lamps, chairs or couches, side tables and potted plants to give your space some life! You and your family and guests will love spending time outdoors in your cozy, decorated area. If you’re worried about things getting ruined, you can keep a storage chest to store your delicates when they’re not in use.

Don’t neglect decorating your outdoor space. Use these tips to create a gorgeous and comfortable living area outside your home!

How to Match Your Deck to Your Home

There are a number of elements that come together when creating your dream exterior. You have to take into account features from your siding, to your door, to your windows, your shutters, and of course your deck! Staining your deck is an important element of your home that will make a big impact on your exterior overall. If you’ve been holding off on staining your deck, it’s time to take the plunge. Here are 5 steps to take to coordinate your deck with your home to ensure it turns out just the way you planned!

1. Get Clear on Your Plan

When you’re matching your deck to your home, it’s important to know your plan for your deck and house moving forward. If you plan to refinish your deck often, you should take into account that coloured stains are more difficult to remove. They also become dated more quickly than neutral colours, and you could end up getting tired or bored of them. And if you’re planning on selling your home in the next couple of years, make sure you consider what will appeal to buyers.

2. Take Cues from Your Interior

We’re all familiar with how to match paint to the interior of our homes, and this should go for our exterior as well. Use your siding as the base colour and choose a few paint chips to match against it. From here, you can shoose the one that works best with your siding. Take cues from your indoor choices – the wood you use for your floor and cabinets is often also a good fit for your deck colour.

3. Choose Your Top Coat

The coat you choose for your deck depends on the look you want. A transparent, clear coat is often ideal if you want to maintain the natural colour and grain of the wood in your deck. A semi-transparent stain will change the colour, and solid colour stains can completely cover the colour and grain, and can look like paint. Solid colour stains can cover imperfections, so it depends what you need for your deck.

4. Consider Your Patio Furniture

Patio furniture can definitely be an investment, and you want to make sure your furniture compliments your deck. Your furniture and deck should work together to create a harmonious outdoor space – they shouldn’t be competing or feel harsh against one another. If your outdoor furniture is similar in feel to your indoor furniture, you can continue your indoor flooring colour out to your deck. This will fuse the indoor and outdoor and make it feel like one continuous space.

5. Backyard Inspirations

A great way to choose your deck colour and compliment it with your space is to pull colours from your yard. This is ideal if you don’t want your indoor and outdoor space to feel like one continuous area, but instead want to delineate the two. Do you have rocks or mountains nearby? You can pull a stain colour from these elements.

If you want to match your deck to your home, use these 5 tips to create the exterior you’ve always wanted!

DIY Fun: What to Do with Leftover Siding

If you’ve just completed a siding project for your house, you likely have some leftovers. Instead of getting rid of it, why not create a fun DIY project for your home? If you used a siding contractor, you shouldn’t have too much leftover siding, but if you do, there are DIY projects big and small! DIY siding projects are fun to do and won’t require as much labour as covering your house with siding.

Vinyl siding would be perfect for these projects. Gentek’s vinyl siding is strong, durable and maintenance-free, providing you with quality for whatever project you take on! So buckle up and let’s get started!

1. DIY Birdhouse

Do you often find birds flying around your yard? Why not create a matching birdhouse that compliments your exterior? Not only will this bring life into your backyard, it will also give the birds some extra protection and shield them from the elements. It will be so much less labour-intensive than covering your own home, and your chirpy friends will love it! Start with making a plywood structure, or use an existing birdhouse, cut out 2” inch strips of siding and layer the pieces one on top of another, nailing them in as you go!

2. DIY Mailbox

Old school, stand-alone mailboxes are so incredibly charming. If you have a Victorian or traditional style home, a mailbox would compliment it perfectly. Using your leftover siding, you’ll be able to create a sturdy long-lasting mailbox that will act as a shield for your important mail, plus it will add gorgeous curb appeal to your exterior.

3. DIY Dog House

You’ll need a little more siding for this project, but if you have a hefty amount of leftovers, a dog house could be the perfect solution for your four-legged friend! If your dog spends lots of time outside, you’ll be able to provide comfort for them and protection from the elements. Since siding is weather-resistant, they’ll be comfortable in most temperatures, and the durability of the siding ensures your dog house will be long-lasting. You can also paint it whatever shade you choose and you won’t have to worry about the paint chipping off like it would with wood!

4. DIY Garden Shed

You don’t have to make an entire garden shed out of siding, but you can add siding and trim to your garden shed so it matches your house. This will give your space unity and make you feel right at home while you’re gardening in your yard.

5. DIY House Numbers

DIY house numbers are the perfect if you want a minimal siding project. Your house numbers should be uniquely yours and this is a creative way to make them just that. Cutting your own house numbers allows you to design them any way you want – choosing your own font, size and colour to compliment your exterior.

Leftover siding allows you to create fun and beautiful DIY projects around your home. Use your creativity and put that leftover siding to good use!

6 Top Creative Designs for Windows

Your windows play an important part in the interior and exterior design of your home. They have the ability to elevate your home and give you access to beautiful sightlines and outdoor views. But sometimes standard windows just don’t make the cut. If you’re feeling like your windows need an upgrade, check out these creative designs to make your house stand out!

1. Vertical Tall Panes

If you have tall ceilings, consider roof to floor windows to frame your house. You can opt to install them all over, or choose one room to make a statement. Vertical tall window panes create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor, allowing you to enjoy the scenery more completely than traditional windows. Check out Gentek’s vinyl windows for floor to ceiling options!

2. French Windows

French windows are a gorgeous addition to any home, especially if you have a garden view. They’re charming and romantic, and give off that old-world vibe. Not all homes have room for French windows, since they fling open, and if that’s the case for you, consider a patio door with a French-style design.

3. Sliding Windows

Sliding windows are horizontal in their design, so they’re ideal for bungalow style homes or rooms that have lower ceilings. They feature sashes that side back and forth, rather than up and down. Here at Gentek, we offer double sliding windows that offer an infusion of natural light and an unobstructed outdoor view. With a hidden screen track, you get a sleek appearance for ultimate beauty.  

4. Bifold Windows

Bifold windows are accordion style windows that can expand your indoor and outdoor areas, or open one living area to another. They stand out due to their beautiful design, and seamless functionality. You can choose anywhere from 2 up to 16 panels with most bifold windows, depending on the size and style of your home.

5. Garage Door Windows

Perfect for industrial, modern homes, a glass-paned garage door slides right up to the ceiling and out of sight, opening up your indoor space. This design would work well in an urban apartment or loft-style home, with its industrial vibe.

6. Angled Windows

Angled windows are a unique addition to any home, and work especially well with modern and contemporary homes. Angled windows increase your view when you’re sitting at the base, so if you have a room that’s adjacent to an outdoor space, they’d be perfect for your abode. If you love crisp, angular lines, this window design could work seamlessly for you.

New windows can make a major difference to your dwelling. Choose from one of these creative window designs to give your home an edge!

Asbestos Siding: To Remove or Cover

If you’ve discovered your home has asbestos siding, you may be wondering whether to remove it or cover it up with vinyl siding. There are a few crucial things to take into account when making this decision. Read on to find out exactly what asbestos siding is and how you should handle it.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos itself is a combination of 6 types of natural occurring minerals made up of fine, durable fibers that are resistant to heat, fire and chemicals. In the past, many homes were built with asbestos because it was a “miracle” mineral that didn’t burn. It was eventually found to lead to many dangerous diseases, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Asbestos is most dangerous when it’s friable, and it typically becomes friable if it’s damaged in some way. Once small fibers are in the air and can be inhaled, the fibers get into the lining of the lungs, causing disease.

What is Asbestos Siding?

Asbestos siding is made of composite cement mixed with asbestos fibers. It’s fragile and is prone to cracking or breaking when nailed, which can release the asbestos fibers into the air. Asbestos siding is most dangerous when it’s damaged. Damage can occur from erosion, repair work, or drilling that has disturbed the siding.

It has become common to place layers of foam insulation over asbestos siding and cover it with vinyl siding. However, since installing vinyl siding can disrupt the asbestos from drilling, screwing or nailing into it, it’s often best to remove it first. Disrupting the siding can create an exposure hazard that wasn’t there before. It’s pricier to remove the asbestos siding first, but will pay off in the long run, keeping your home and family safe and healthy.

Removing Asbestos Siding

Given the dangers of asbestos, it’s typically best to find a properly licensed contractor in your area to inspect and remove your asbestos siding. If there’s no damage to the siding, and you want to do it on your own, make sure to follow these guidelines to ensure you and your home are safe.

Post signs: To ensure friends, neighbours or any other passersby aren’t exposed to asbestos, post warning signs around your home. Place 6-mil plastic sheeting along the side of the house to catch any debris.

Suit up: Make sure to wear disposable coveralls (with a hood), goggles, rubber gloves, rubber boots, and respirators with HEPA filters.

Prep the siding: Before and during removal, it’s key to wet the asbestos siding and debris with water. Hose down about 10 square feet of siding at a time.

Protect your home: Keep all windows and doors shut when you’re removing your siding, and do not throw or drop removed asbestos siding. Work on removing the siding from the top down, carefully taking out the nails so the siding doesn’t break. Never bring asbestos contaminated clothing, boots, or tools into your home.