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.

Why Hire a Premium Renovator? 

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

Here are 6 reasons to hire a Premium Renovator. 

1. Expertise 

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

2. Technical Knowledge

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

3. A Team of Tradespeople 

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

4. Accurate Pricing 

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

5. Verified History and Referrals 

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

6. Insurance and Contracts 

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

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


Freshen Up Your Curb Appeal with These 6 Easy Tricks!

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

1. Upgrade Your House Numbers 

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

2. Chic Doormat 

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

3. Throws and Pillows 

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

4. Outdoor Lanterns 

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

5. Stylish Planters

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

6. Front Door Wreath

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

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


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

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

How to Clean Your Gutters

1. Get Prepared with A Sturdy Ladder and Plastic Tarp

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

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

2. What to Wear

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

3. Clean Them Out

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

4. The Final Step

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

How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?

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

How to Maintain Your Gutters

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

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

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


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

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

1. Mural Wall Art

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

2. Painted Paddle Boards

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

3. Basket Wall Art

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

4. Family Photos in Matching Frames 

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

5. Old Windows and Planters 

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

6. Macramé Wall Art

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

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


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

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

Fiber Cement Siding

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

Black Window Cladding 

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

Mix and Match Windows 

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

Composite Garage Doors

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

Elevated Garage Light Fixtures 

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

Automated Doors and Windows

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

Fuss-Free PVC Decking 

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

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


How to Convert Your Garage Into a Living Space 

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

1. Doors

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

2. Consider Heating and Cooling 

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

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

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

4. Do You Need a Permit?

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

5. Time to Decorate 

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

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


6 Stunning Roof Styles and Ideas 

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

1. Front Gable Roof

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

2. Dormer Roof 

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

3. Butterfly Roof

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

4. Bonnet Roof 

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

5. Clerestory Roof 

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

6. Flat Roof

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

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


Top 7 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Beautiful 

There’s nothing like a few DIY projects to make your home complete. DIY projects are money savvy and offer a unique touch to your space. This can be especially useful to set your home apart if you live in a subdivision where all the interiors and exteriors were designed to look the same. Make your home stand out with these 10 DIY projects that are sure to make your home look beautiful! 

1. Add Trim to Your Indoor Windows 

Everybody talks about the importance of exterior window trim, but did you know you can also add your own trim to your indoor windows to give them charm and character? Interior trim looks best when coordinated with baseboards and crown moulding. There are different styles of interior window trim, including Colonial, Craftsman, Ranch and Provincial. Each style adds architectural interest to your home and is the perfect DIY project! 

2. A Stenciled Accent Wall

Is there a pattern you absolutely love and would like to have in your home? Stencil the pattern to create an accent wall! It’s much more affordable than a wallpaper installation, and depending on the size of the wall you choose to stencil, it should only take a couple of days- perfect for a weekend project! 

3. Apply Bead Board Wallpaper In Your Powder Room

Looking to add some charm to your small powder room? Installing bead board wallpaper along the walls will enhance the aesthetic of an otherwise boring space. It’s much more time and cost effective than using real wood bead board and looks just as wonderful!

4. Create Your Own Built In Bookcases 

Every home could benefit from more storage space, and one of the most beautiful ways to add more storage is with built in bookcases. Place them in your home office, family room, or your basement or flex space. You can use IKEA bookcases that are easily pieced together and give them the built in look with a bit of trim or moulding around the top. This will make it look original to the room.

5. Switch Out Your Light Fixtures

Changing up the light fixtures in your rooms can completely transform your home. Especially if your home still has the original fixtures, which are likely a bit dull and lacklustre, switching them out with more stylish fixtures is a DIY project that will take your decor up a few notches. 

6. DIY Entryway 

Don’t have a built-in mudroom in your home? Create a DIY entryway so your family and guests can store their shoes, jackets, bags and keys. Set up a bench with a floor mat underneath and hang a shelf with hooks for a charming entryway that suits your home perfectly. 

7. Paint Your Staircase

Is your staircase stuck in the ‘90s? Painting your staircase can give new life to your home, especially if it’s located somewhere that really catches the eye. Black and white staircases are sleek and charming, and work in a range of home styles from contemporary to farmhouse. Paint your treads and rails in a dark shade you love and paint the risers and spindles white. 

If your home is crying for a few updates, try these DIY projects to make your home look beautiful! 


Patio Trends That Will Last Into 2020

As we move from summer to fall, it’s important to take advantage of the days and nights we can spend outside. Making a few patio upgrades ensures you make the best out of the warmer months, even if it gets a little chilly when the sun goes down. It’s not too late to hop on this year’s patio trends. These are the 5 patio trends to take on now that will last into 2020.

 

  1. Great Lighting

Every patio needs great lighting, especially if you’re planning to do lots of entertaining. Lighting can make or break a space, and since you’ll be hanging on your patio after dark, you want to make sure your lighting is top notch. Whether you choose to install lights in your patio, choose outdoor floor lamps, or go more whimsical with string lights, great lighting is a major part of any patio. Make sure to use LED lights to make your patio as energy efficient as possible.

 

  1. Multipurpose Furniture

Just like updating your living room with pieces that do double-duty, multipurpose patio furniture is one of the biggest trends right now. These pieces are especially ideal if you don’t have a ton of space, but it doesn’t mean you can’t use them with a big patio as well. Multipurpose furniture allows you to store cushions in seating when the weather gets bad or have a cabinet that also serves as a buffet table. Extendable tables are also ideal to fold out when you have company and fold back in to save space when you aren’t hosting.

 

  1. Colour

Colourful patios are in. Say goodbye to neutral patio furniture and hello to vibrant hues that give personality and character to your space. Think: Decorative throw pillows, a patterned area rug, and coloured wicker coffee tables. Most patio furniture brands are offering a myriad of textiles in all different patterns, textures and shades. Mix bold colour with neutrals for the ultimate outdoor living space.

 

  1. Mixed Materials

Mixed material patio furniture is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. A variety of materials gives dimension and warmth to your space, making it cozy and inviting. Teak, wicker, cast iron and aluminum furniture are in right now and they all work to complement each other. You’ll see combinations like wicker furniture with a cast aluminum frame and cast iron with sling fabrics. These pieces are a unique way to make a statement with your patio and elevate your decor to the next level.

 

  1. Outdoor Accessories

Outdoor accessories like planters, side tables and bar carts keep your patio looking fresh and thoughtful. It’s one thing to deck out your patio with furniture, but it’s another to make it feel like home with accessories that illuminate your personality and style. The addition of a gorgeous area rug under a patio couch set, or plant pots that hold your favourite flowers go a long way in making your patio a complete stand out.

 

Ready to make a few patio upgrades? Make these changes now and they’ll last well through 2020!

 

 


7 Unique Farmhouse Designs for Your Front Porch 

Farmhouse decor has a special place in the design world. Not only does it give warmth to your interior, it can also transform your exterior into a rustic dream. Mixing old world elegance with modern touches, farmhouse design is a gorgeous way to make your mark with your front porch. If you’re on a mission to make your front porch charming and welcoming, you’re going to love these unique farmhouse designs! 

1. Farmhouse Front Door

If you want to give your front porch major farmhouse vibes, you should start with your front door. A charming door in black, white, blue, or medium wood is key to mastering the ranch decor style. Take a look at our selection of doors at Gentek to find the perfect rustic style door for your home! 

2. Board and Batten Siding

Board and batten siding is the siding you need for a farmhouse facade. With its wide vertical boards and beautiful attention to detail, it will give your porch that warmth and charm you’ve been searching for. Mixing historical appeal with modern subtlety, board and batten siding will undoubtedly heighten your home’s curb appeal.

3. Wooden Welcome Sign

A wooden welcome sign that looks like it should be outside of a rustic storefront is an excellent way to make your guests feel welcome. Dark wood with “welcome” written in a warm shade of white is the perfect addition to a farmhouse front porch.

4. Tin Pail Porch Planters

Tin pails have farmhouse written all over them. Choose ones of different heights and fill them with potted herbs or wild flowers. These smaller plants have a down-to-earth charm that your guests will appreciate. Place them going up your front stairs or on your patio. 

5. Layered Welcome Door Mats and a Door Wreath

Your front door is a main draw of your porch. Make sure it’s welcoming by placing a coir welcome door mat in front of it. To give it even more rustic charm, place a cream coloured mat underneath it for added dimension. A farmhouse door wreath made with soft greens and grays is the perfect way to finish off the area. 

6. Cozy Oversized Porch Swing

If you have the room for it, an oversized porch swing tied up with rope hangers is a cozy and stunning addition to a farmhouse front porch. Layer it with lots of pillows and a cozy tartan throw for a charming elegance that can’t be beat.

7. Barn Style Wall Lanterns 

Good lighting is important for your front porch, and if you really want to give it that cozy ranch feel, barn style lanterns hung on the wall are an awesome addition. Hang them on either side of your front door to light up the space. If you have a large porch, you can also consider hanging outdoor lanterns throughout.

There you have it! 7 awesome and unique farmhouse designs for your front porch! Follow these steps to up the warmth and coziness of your welcome area.