Summer Finished Basement Tips

Summer is upon us, which is a much-welcomed change. However, there are some special considerations for your finished basement in the summer months. These tips will help you to get the most out of your finished basement, and to ensure that it stays in the best possible shape.

 Prevent Basement Moisture

 With snow-melt and spring rains, the soil will become saturated, and basement moisture can become problematic. Make sure that your property has adequate drainage, and check for leaks in your basement.   If your basement ahs any features that are subject to water damage, such as carpeted floors, now might be the time to upgrade to something that’s more moisture-resistant.

Condensation, which appears as beads of water on the walls or as wet spots on the floor, is another source of summer basement moisture.   “Sweating” pipes, warming temperatures and inadequate ventilation can cause basement condensation, and you may need the help of a professional to identify and rectify basement condensation.

Protect against Humidity

The summer months are more humid than the spring or fall, and excess humidity is the number one factor for Toronto basement mold. Monitor your basement’s humidity regularly, and install a dehumidifier if appropriate. Additionally, make sure that you’ve taken general precautions to prevent basement mold.

Finished Basement Cooling

Although your basement may stay cooler than other parts of your home, you may need to cool it in the hottest summer days, particularly for a walk-out basement. A window air conditioner is likely sufficient in most cases, although a forced air system is another potential option for basement cooling.

Are you the proud owner of a finished basement? If so, how are you preparing to enjoy your basement the most this summer season? Tell us all about it by leaving a comment in the comments section below!

Eight Unique Bathroom Remodel Ideas

bathroom remodeling torontoYour bathroom remodel is not only a chance to update your bathroom and make it more functional; it’s also a chance to add a taste of your own personal style.  These bathroom remodel ideas are off the beaten path, and can help make your bathroom uniquely you.

Life in Black and White

Black and white is a classically elegant yet bold color scheme.  Carry this into the bathroom with black walls, white doors and a few pops of color to keep things lively.  Just make sure that your bathroom is well lit, so that it doesn’t become dreary.

Maintain a Theme

Themed bathrooms add a bit of fun accent to your house.  Try an oriental theme or perhaps a teched-out loo for the technologically advanced among us.

Wall-Mounted Sinks

Wall-hung sinks are secured to the wall with no cabinets or visible plumbing below.  This creates and ultra-modern, sleek feel and also conserves space in smaller bathrooms.

Get Creative with Lighting

Bathroom lighting is typically pretty standard stuff, but a creative flair can add some personality.  Consider using a chandelier over the tub or perhaps pendant lighting over the sink.

Add Some Greenery

If you have the room, adding a few plants can freshen up your bathroom’s looks.  Consider species that do well in humid environments such as African violets, Christmas cactus or even bamboo.

Re-purpose Old Furniture

This is both a creative and an economical bathroom remodel idea.  Try using old furniture pieces, say an antique dresser, as storage space or even as vanities.  This adds a unique bit of personality on a budget.

Go Bold with Picture Windows

Bathrooms typically have small or frosted windows for the sake of privacy.  However, picture windows can provide an open-air feeling without compromising privacy if used in the right setting.  Only consider this option if your bathroom opens to a privacy-fenced backyard, and consider planting a thick hedge, for example bamboo, a few feet away from the window.

Add Color to Your Shower

Bold colors throughout a room can become somewhat overwhelming, but an intense pop of color here and there can add texture and personality without being too loud.  Consider boldly colored tile in the shower or tub area for a bit of extra style.

Are you currently renovating your bathroom, or planning to do so in the near future?  If so, we’d love your feedback.  What unique bathroom remodel ideas have you incorporated in your own bathroom renovation?  Tell us all about it by leaving a comment.

Bathroom Renovation Tips

bathroom renovationsBathroom renovation is a big job, but it is manageable with proper planning.  These bathroom renovation tips will help you keep your project running smoothly to create a beautiful new bathroom that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Have Everything On Hand Before you Begin

Some items such a vanities or custom-order tiles can take a while to arrive, but you’re best off waiting for everything to ready before beginning.  Bathroom renovation can be inconvenient, as your bathroom is difficult or impossible to use in the midst of a heavy remodel.  Waiting until everything has arrived minimizes the time that your bathroom will be out of commission.

Allow for Shower Storage

 Shower storage is an important but often overlooked bathroom design feature.  Planning for built-in storage in recessed nooks or ceramic shelves creates an attractive and practical design.

Choose a Curved Shower Rod

The shower rod is a seemingly trivial detail, but a curved shower rod allows a surprising amount of additional shower space.  It may be a little more expensive than a standard straight rod, but the extra space is more than worth the cost.  Additionally, a curved shower rod is screwed into the wall rather than relying on tension, so it can’t be pulled down easily.

Upgrade Your Lighting

Lighting is relatively inexpensive compared to other components of bathroom renovation, but it makes a big difference.  Select bright lighting that makes a bold statement and coordinates with your finished bathroom’s design.  Recessed light over the shower is an added bonus; just make sure that it’s rated for bathrooms.

Call a Professional When Necessary

If any aspect of your bathroom renovation is out of your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to call in a professional.  This may cost a bit more at the outset, but an improper job could cause damage to your home or even compromise your personal safety, so a contractor can save you money and heartache in many cases.  Fortunately for bathroom renovation Toronto homeowners have many excellent contractors in the area.

A well-done bathroom renovation is rewarding, and creates a space that you and your family can enjoy for many years.  Just be sure to plan carefully and you’ll be well on your way.  If you’re currently planning a bathroom remodel, we’d love to hear your own bathroom remodeling ideas in the comment section.

 

Kitchen Flooring

kitchen flooringKitchen flooring is an important component of any kitchen renovation.  The sheer variety can be daunting, as can the task of choosing a flooring that meets your practical needs, coordinates with your home’s décor and is within your budget.

This guide provides a quick description of several options. Our list includes some of the more classic tried-and-true options, but also some of the trendier, edgier media available on the modern market.

Tile Kitchen Flooring

Tiled kitchen floors are a classic, and are both elegant and durable.  There are a wide variety of colors, materials and textures to choose from on the modern market, and you’re sure to find the perfect match regardless of your décor.  However, tile is also pricier than some other options, and the grout requires regular maintenance to prevent staining.

Brick Kitchen Flooring

If you’re after the feel and durability of tile but prefer something a little off the beaten path, brick kitchen floors might be for you.  Brick pavers are thin tiles made of real clay that have the appearance of aged brick, but are still easy to install and maintain, much like traditional tile.  However, they’re comparable in price to regular tiles, and grout maintenance is also a must.

Rubber Kitchen Flooring

Commercial-grade features are a current kitchen design trend, as they lend a sleek modern look and are also very practical.  Rubber flooring is durable, easy to clean and also ergonomic.  Additionally, it comes in a huge variety of colors and designs, and can even be customized.

Linoleum Kitchen Flooring

Linoleum is a classic, and for good reason.  It’s virtually maintenance-free, comes in countless designs and is very durable.  It’s also one of the more cost-effective options available.

Stained Concrete

Most kitchens have a layer of concrete under existing kitchen flooring.  This subflooring can actually be sanded, stained and sealed to produce an attractive and durable flooring.  It’s arguably the most economical option, and can easily be installed by handy homeowners.

Are you currently involved in your own kitchen renovation?  If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts on kitchen flooring.  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

DIY Bathroom Renovation Ideas

bathroom renovationsIf you’re looking to update your bathroom on a budget, you can save a lot of money by doing at least part of the job on your own, and perhaps prioritizing the most important aspects of your remodel and leaving other features unchanged or simply repairing them.

 Unless you’re a master craftsman, it’s best to keep a DIY bathroom renovation reasonably simple.  Here we suggest a few potential features that can easily be installed by novice or intermediate homeowners.

 DIY Bathroom Flooring

 Installing your own flooring can save a substantial amount of money on your bathroom renovation.  If you wish to remove prior tiling, it will be a simple but labor-intensive job.  Laminate flooring is somewhat easier to remove.

The most simple bathroom flooring option is stained concrete, which lends a simplistic modern appearance.  If you’re looking for something with a bit more personality, laminate flooring is another good DIY option.  Tile floors are somewhat more difficult to install, but are manageable if you’re an intermediate handyman.

 DIY Bathroom Cabinetry

 Cabinetry in un-renovated bathrooms is often care worn and outdated, and many homeowners wish to replace or improve cabinetry in bathroom renovations.

Cabinets are fairly expensive and somewhat difficult to install, so if you’re on a budget you may opt to paint your existing cabinets and perhaps replace the hardware.  This can significantly update their appearance but is relatively easy and inexpensive.

If you have your heart set on new cabinets, you may need to consult a professional to design your new cabinets and determine the proper dimensions.  Fortunately for bathroom renovation Toronto homeowners have many excellent contractors available.

 DIY Bathroom Ceilings

 Popcorn ceilings were previously vey popular, and many un-renovated homes still have them.  Fortunately, popcorn ceilings are fairly easy to remove, although it’s a labor-intensive job.

To remove a popcorn ceiling, use a lawn and garden sprayer to apply a mixture of water and unscented fabric softener to soften the texture, and subsequently scrape it off with a putty knife.  Patch any rough patches with plaster and sand prior to painting.

A Note of Caution

 Although doing some aspects of your bathroom remodel can save money, some aspects of a bathroom renovation are best left to professionals, particularly those concerning plumbing or electrical work.  These mishaps can be dangerous and also do substantial, costly damage to your home.  Use discretion in this, and consult professionals where appropriate.

If you’re currently in the process of renovating your bathroom, we’d love to hear some of your own DIY bathroom renovation ideas.  Tell us all about in the comments section.

 

DIY Basement Finishing

basement-finishing-contractorIf you’re looking to make better use of your basement without breaking the bank, a partial basement renovation may be the best option.  You can also save money by doing part or all of your basement renovation on your own.

 Here we discuss some potential basement renovation options that will make your basement more inviting, but are also inexpensive and easy to install.  For a cheap basement renovation, you may also opt to only install some of the options and leave other features unchanged.

 DIY Basement Flooring

 The most important aspect for any basement floor option is that it be waterproof in the event of a flood.  This protects your investment and helps to prevent costly water damage.

Stained concrete is among the cheapest and easiest basement flooring options.  This involves prepping the surface such that it is smooth and doesn’t show seams using a sander and perhaps a thin layer of special finisher concrete, and then applying a specialized concrete stain and sealant.

If you’re looking for a more advanced but inexpensive option, laminate flooring is another potential basement flooring option.  Advanced amateurs can typically install laminate flooring, but if you’re inexperienced in home repair it may be best left to professionals.  For basement renovation Toronto homeowners have many excellent basement remodeling contractors available.

 DIY Basement Walls

 Simply painting bare walls can significantly improve you basement’s appearance, and the color scheme can be customized to your personal preference.  This is an easy job even if you’re fairly inexperienced in home renovation, and can usually be completed within a day or two.

For a more polished but inexpensive look, you can also use wooden side panels or house siding.  These options are typically a few hundred dollars, and are easily installed by intermediate amateurs.

 DIY Basement Ceilings

 Exposed ceiling are actually quite stylish at the moment, so a simple coat of paint could be an excellent finished basement ceiling option.  We recommend opting for darker colors that minimize contrast.  A paint sprayer might make this job easier.  Most local hardware stores offer fairly inexpensive paint sprayer rental.

If you’re after a more polished look, you can also install a drop ceiling, similar to those seen in office buildings and schools.  This is easily installed by most amateurs, but if you don’t have much home renovation and repair experience, it may be best to consult a professional.

We’d love to hear about your own DIY basement finishing experiences and ideas as a homeowner.  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Cheap and Easy DIY Kitchen Remodeling Ideas

kitchen remodelIf you’re the handy type and are looking to save some money on kitchen renovation cost, you may consider DIY kitchen remodeling ideas and do most part of your kitchen renovation on your own.  Depending upon your skills and level of commitment, you can pick and choose which aspects you’d like to do yourself, and which are best left to professionals.

We’ve come up with a few potential options for flooring, cabinetry and counter tops that are cheap and easy to install.  These DIY kitchen remodeling ideas can help get your kitchen renovation project on track and on budget.

DIY Flooring

 There are many kitchen flooring options available, and some are easier and cheaper to install than others.  If you’re remodeling your kitchen in your spare time, it may be best to keep your flooring simple.

The easiest and cheapest flooring by far is stained concrete.  In this process, you’ll strip your floor down to bare concrete, prepare the surface, and subsequently apply a stain and seal.  Stained concrete is also exceptionally durable easy to care for, so is a great option if you have kids, pets or enjoy cooking.

Other potential options for DIY flooring are laminate, linoleum and engineered wood flooring.  These options are also economical, easy to install and durable.  Shop around to find the look you like best, and that best fits your budget and relative level of commitment.

 DIY Countertops

Countertops are frequently one of the most expensive aspects of a kitchen renovation.  Depending upon your budget, you may want to hire a well-qualified contractor for this.  However, if you’re looking for a fast and easy option, we recommend concrete finishing.

Concrete finishing is an excellent option for smooth-surface laminate countertops.  For this you’ll purchase a kit with a composite concrete coating that you’ll spread over the countertops and subsequently apply a sealant.  This creates a shiny, marbled look.  You can buy concrete kits of a variety of colors, so can easily customize your countertops to fit your décor.

DIY Cabinetry

Cabinetry is expensive and installation can be somewhat difficult, so if you’re looking to work within a tight budget on your DIY kitchen remodel, you may want to consider painting your cabinets and installing new hardware.  This can significantly refresh your look, but is relatively inexpensive.

If you’re planning a DIY kitchen remodel or are in the process of one, we’d like to hear your ideas in the comment section.  Tell us all about what worked for you.

Bathroom Design Ideas

bathroom renovationsYour bathroom may be the smallest room of your house, but it has an enormous impact on your house’s overall atmosphere.  It’s one of the most frequently visited rooms, and is where you prepare for and wind down from your day.  Therefore, updating your bathroom to fit your own personal taste allows you to enjoy your home more, and also makes it easier to sell.  These bathroom design ideas can help you create a powder room that’s uniquely you.

Open Up Your Shower

Large, open showers are increasingly popular, particularly in master baths.  A roomier shower is more enjoyable and convenient to use, and the open space makes your bathroom appear to be more spacious.  If privacy is a concern, you can install a curtain that can be pulled out from the wall when necessary.

Let in the Light

 Although picture windows are typically a no-no for bathrooms, it’s possible to let in more natural light with windows set a little higher than usual, or with frosted glass. Natural light creates an open, airy appearance that’s modern and refreshing.

Retrofitting windows is a substantial job, and is best left to professional bathroom remodeling contractors.  For bathroom remodeling Toronto-area homeowners have many qualified professionals available.

 Design Modern Tub Surrounds

Porcelain claw foot tubs are a great vintage look, but if you’re after a more modern bath, you can customize your tub’s surround to meet your décor.  Wooden boxes that match the cabinetry are a popular option at the moment.

Draw Inspiration from Art

If you have a favorite piece of art, you can include it as a centerpiece for your bathroom.  Pull colors from the painting out to use as accent colors in your bathroom’s décor, and create an atmosphere that carries an artistic vibe.

Your Own Inspirations

If you’ve recently redecorated your bathroom, we’d love to hear about your own bathroom design ideas in the comments section.  Tell us all about what features you included, and how you integrated your own personal style.

Simple Bathroom Renovation Ideas

bathroom renovationsAlthough your bathroom is one of the smaller areas of your home, it’s also one of the most frequently visited.  It’s also one of the first spaces you use when you begin your day, and one of the last spaces you’ll see at the end of the day.  Because this small room makes such a big impact on your home’s overall ambiance, updating your bathroom can brighten your home up for your family and house guests.  Because bathrooms are usually compact, even small changes can have a big impact, meaning that it’s easy to dramatically enhance your bathroom in a few simple steps.  These simple bathroom renovation ideas will improve your bathrooms’ appearance in short order.

Update Your Walls

One of the easiest ways to update your bathroom is to repaint or re-paper the walls.  To choose a color or design, first consider the atmosphere and feeling you are trying to achieve.  Many homeowners prefer a relaxing atmosphere, in which case earth tones, pink or subtle peach are good picks.  For a bright, cheery feeling, we recommend muted yellows and oranges.  For modern look, a neutral color scheme with clean lines and contrast is best.

Get More for Your Money

If you’re looking to stay on budget with your bathroom remodel, consider refinishing, rather than replacing cabinets, sinks, tubs and showers.  For cabinets, a fresh coat of paint can create a new look for minimal expense.  Refinishing sinks, tubs and showers may be best left to professionals, but there are many options to change the surface or color of these features without replacing them, which is generally much cheaper.

Make Small Changes with Big Impact

Because most bathrooms occupy minimal square footage, even minor changes can really improve your bathroom.  For example, updating your bathroom’s mirror can make a world of difference in its overall ambiance.  Replace your generic mirror with an oversize mirror in a decorative frame to freshen your bathroom’s appearance and visually enlarge your space.

Over to You…

Have you made simple changes to your bathroom that dramatically enhance its appearance?  Do you recommend any particular small upgrades to make a big difference?  Let us know in your comments.

Benefits of Basement Finishing

Most homes are sold with an unfinished basement, which is then used for storage and as a storm shelter.  However, your unfinished basement is an untapped resource of square footage that can be used for living space. There are also significant financial benefits with basement finishing such as added resale value and potentially renting your finished basement out as an apartment.

Basement renovation TorontoHowever, basement renovation is a big job, and if you aren’t an expert in home renovation, it may be best to consult a professional for at least some aspects of the job.  When it comes to basement finishing Toronto residents have many options, as a number of companies offer basement remodeling services.  However, not all companies are created equal, and it is important to choose a provider with sufficient credentials and ample customer references.

Adding to Your Quality of Life

A finished basement will contribute to your family’s quality of life, as you will be able to enjoy more of your home together.  A finished basement can be used as a recreation room, a home theater, a family room, or specialized for any hobbies you may have.

Financial Benefits of a Finished Basement

A finished basement not only increases your quality of life and enjoyment of your home, but can also be an excellent investment.  Firstly, it makes your home more desirable to potential buyers when you’re ready to sell, and increases resale value.

You may also wish to consider turning your basement into an apartment, which can be rented out to tenants.  This can be an additional source of income, and can allow you to afford a home that might otherwise be out of your financial reach. However, this is a decision that should be carefully considered, and you should consider consulting a qualified professional.

Finishing your basement can make use of square footage that otherwise goes unused, increase your family’s enjoyment of your home and can even be a good financial move.  If you plan your basement remodel carefully, you will improve your quality of life and even help contribute to a secure financial future.