Sunday, 30 April 2017

Is Replacing Carpet With Hardwood Always Worth It?

Home Improvement

Is Replacing Carpet With Hardwood Always Worth It?

 | Dec 24, 2014
Thinking about replacing your floors? Especially if you have carpet, the choice seems clear: Hardwood floors are preferred by home buyers and renters across the United States.
But consider carefully whether hardwood floors are the right choice for every room in your home—and what type you might want to install for the best resale value.

As you weigh investing in your floors, you’ll need to evaluate your budget, the preferences and traditions in your community and your own personal taste. Some people only want to step on soft carpet, while others prefer hard surfaces. In some warm climates such as Florida, ceramic tile flooring rivals hardwood in popularity.
In more traditional markets, tastes still lean toward oak floors, but some owners of more contemporary homes are choosing to stain their wood floors in different colors. Other trends in hardwood include wider planks, the use of reclaimed wood or hand-scraped wood that looks antique and exotic species of wood such as hickory or walnut.
Homeowners on a tight budget also may want to look into laminate flooring, which offers the look of wood at a lower price point.
Keep in mind that people with allergies typically want a hard surface that won’t hold dust. You should also think about the care and maintenance required for your floor surface since you’ll need to take care of it for years. Hardwood flooring lasts longer than carpet, can be easier to keep clean and can be refinished.
In the end, though, the decision about whether to install hardwood or carpeting in a bedroom should be based on your personal preference, at least if you intend to stay in the home for years.

Hardwood Flooring: It's What Buyers Want

According to HGTV, the top request of home buyers and renters when looking for a home is hardwood flooring. In fact, a study of homebuyer preferences by USA Today using data from the National Association of REALTORS® found that 54% of home buyers were willing to pay more for a home with hardwood flooring.
Installing hardwood flooring can cost between $9 and $12 per square foot, compared with about $3 to $5 per square foot for carpet—so some homeowners opt to install hardwood only in some rooms rather than throughout their home. However, carpet typically needs to be replaced if it becomes stained or worn out. Good quality carpet can last about 10 to 15 years, while hardwood can last forever.
The return on investment for installing hardwood will vary according to your market and other factors, but hardwood flooring can often help your home sell faster.

Reasons to Install Carpet

While many buyers and homeowners prefer hardwood flooring throughout their home, some people prefer carpet in the bedrooms—because they like a softer surface. When you live in a two or three-story home, carpet also helps reduce noise.
If you would still prefer hardwood floors throughout your home, you could use put area rugs in your bedroom.
This story was rewritten from an earlier version on®.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Avoiding Moisture Damage

Avoiding Moisture Damage

Today's energy-efficient homes are built tightly to seal out the cold weather in winter and seal in the air conditioning in summer. Because of this it is possible that a new home can be severely damaged by lack of ventilation or excess moisture.
It is important to remember that moisture damage to your home caused by the improper or inadequate use of your home ventilation system, or other kinds of preventative maintenance, is not covered by the new home warranty.
What causes moisture damage?
Your home can be damaged when weather-related water is allowed to enter and remain in the structure. Water from leaking pipes or fixtures that is not immediately cleaned up, and indoor humidity levels that are not properly controlled, can have serious consequences. Sometimes this damage is easily seen; at other times the damage is hidden inside wall and roof spaces. Regardless of where it occurs, moisture damage can lead to serious problems, such as rot and structural failure.
How can I control moisture?
Always use your home ventilation system to control moisture. In a typical home, over 20 litres of water are added to the indoor environment every day. That’s 7,300 litres in a year, enough to fill a medium-sized swimming pool. Bathroom fans, kitchen range hoods and packaged ventilators such as heat-recovery ventilators are specifically installed in your home to help you control moisture and contaminants. Regular use of your home ventilation system will exhaust excess airborne moisture caused by bathing, showering, doing laundry and cooking.
What else can I do to control moisture?
Here are some extra tips you can follow to help prevent moisture damage to your home.

Outside the Home

  • Keep flowerbeds or landscaping at least six inches or 150 mm away from the top of the foundation. Placing soil near or above the top of the foundation allows moisture to come into direct contact with the structure of the building.
  • Clear eavestroughs of debris regularly and extend downspouts so that water is directed away from the building. Water flow can erode the ground near the foundation and create depressions where water collects. Standing water near the foundation can force its way into the basement.
  • Fix the caulking around windows and doors and on the roof if it becomes cracked or separated.
  • Have your roof inspected regularly to ensure shingles, flashing and chimney caps are in place and sealed properly.

Inside the Home

  • In the winter, keep the relative humidity in your home in the range of 30-45%. Lower humidity levels may affect your health and cause things made of wood to shrink. Excess humidity can cause condensation on windows and damage the surrounding wall. When using a humidifier, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • In the summer, dehumidify the basement to avoid condensation buildup on the cool foundation walls. Relative humidity levels should not exceed 60%.
  • Repair leaky pipes and fixtures immediately. Clean and completely dry any areas that are dampened or wet within 48 hours.
  • Store organic materials such as newspapers and clothes away from cool, damp areas. Keep storage areas tidy so that air circulates freely.
  • Purchase a “hygrometer” to monitor the relative humidity in your home.
  • If you are adding a hot tub to your home, or have a large collection of plants, consider the amount of moisture they will add to your indoor air and ventilate accordingly.
  • Never vent your clothes dryer inside your home. If you have a gas- or propane-fired dryer you may also be venting carbon monoxide inside your home!
  • Investigate and identify any musty smells and odours. They are often an indicator that there is a hidden moisture problem.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Getting ready for the growing season

Your spring garden guide: Getting ready for the growing season

Can you feel it? Spring is in the air! Which means, it’s also time to get your green thumb ready. Whether you’re growing seasonal flowers or fresh fruits and vegetables, having a prepared garden means you’ll have an earlier harvest and a beautiful blooming garden faster than you can say “spring”! So, here you have it, your complete “spring garden guide” to help you get ready for the growing season:

Start as soon as possible

Spring garden guide
First things first, the most important rule of gardening is to start as early as you can. This will give your garden enough time to get itself ready to flourish once springtime hits. As soon as the warm weather comes, we recommend you grab your gardening tools and head outside – you (and your garden) will thank you later.

Clean your tools

Spring garden guide
There’s nothing better than buying a new set of gardening tools, but we both know, this can’t happen every season. However, it’s no secret that you can feel just as good about your tools, just by giving them a good clean. Garden tools can hold onto dirt, bugs and even diseases from the previous season, so be sure to give them a good scrubbing before you use them this year!

Get rid of any dead weeds and leaves

Spring garden guide
Just like you and I, plants, flowers, and crops need a clean, healthy and tidy environment to grow in. This is extremely important as it can affect how your plants grow for the entire season. Be sure to dig up and dispose of around 2.5 to 3 inches of organic matter and dispose of it, while getting rid of any hibernating pests like aphids, slugs, and snails you may come across.

Inspect your soil

Spring garden guide
After getting rid of any unwanted pests, plants and organic material it’s important you make sure your soil is just as ready for the springtime as you are. All you have to do is pick up a ball of soil – If it stays compacted in a ball, it is too early (the soil should break apart easily). Another good thing to do is to test your soil with a soil testing kit, so you will know if you need to add anything (fertilizer or compost) to it.

Set up a compost area

Spring garden guide
You don’t need a fancy bin or contraption to create your own compost area, all you need is a flat layer of land to spare! Compost will not only help decrease your garbage waste, it will also help your garden grow faster and stronger than ever. Some things you can throw in are (but not limited to): vegetable and fruit scraps, fresh grass clippings, egg and nut shells, coffee grounds, bread products, and the list goes on!

Plant a variety of seeds

Spring garden guide
Here comes the best part – planting! When it comes to plants, the more variety you have, the better! You can play around with different combinations of plants this season, just make sure you read up on each plant that makes it into your garden; as some do not play nicely with others.
We hope you enjoyed our gardening tips, and that they help inspire you to get outside and get planting! If you would like to read more great articles like this or learn more about Caliber Homes, please visit us at

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Add colour to your home’s exterior

Add colour to your home’s exterior

When you pull up to your home, does the exterior bring a smile to your face? It should. Even the dull and dirty months that make up our Canadian winter shouldn’t deter your ability to enjoy a beautiful home exterior. One of the best ways to add some excitement to your home’s curb appeal is with colour.
When selecting paint colours for different elements of your home’s exterior, try to maintain a cohesive colour palette. You’ll also want to consider your home’s architecture and age.
Here are a few ways that you can use colour to update your home’s exterior

Front Door

add colour to your home's exterior
Source: Maria Killam
Your front door provides an excellent opportunity to inject a bit of colour into your home’s first impression. This is also one of the easiest places to do a colour update, since it’s only requires some paint and a couple of hours.  Opt for a colour that makes you happy and also works well with the brick, stone or siding on the house.


Install new shutters or repaint existing exterior shutters to add an instant update to your home’s exterior. While the shutters don’t necessarily need to be the same colour as your front door, do ensure that the colour you choose compliments the overall look of your home. This can mean different things for different types of homes. For example, an older farmhouse can accept the charm of a brightly coloured shutter more readily than an 80’s era brick home in the suburbs.


Add colour to your home’s exterior
Source: Home Bunch
To make a big change to your home’s exterior appeal, you can opt to replace your existing siding with something more colourful. While you may not realize it, you can get siding in colours other than the standard neutrals commonly seen. Adding new siding in tastefully colouful reds, browns and greens will instantly take years off of an older home.

Porch Décor

Add colour to your home’s exterior
Source: Remodelaholic
The easiest way to add colour to our home’s exterior is with porch décor. During the colder months, add weather appropriate accents such as colourful lanterns, signage or even a brightly coloured bench. In Spring and Summer, you can accent with planters, flowers and other fun accents.

But, Don’t Add Colour here!

While you might think that your garage door is another excellent spot to add colour, think again. You might not realize it, but the colour of your garage door can actually have an impact on your home’s resale value, particularly if it’s right at the front of your house. Even if you have a colourful front door, it’s best for your garage door to blend in with the house.
Planning to update your garage door? Neutral colours are the most common option for new garage doors in Canada. Think whites, browns, gray, black and some darker shades of blue or green.

Common electrical problems found in older homes

Common electrical problems found in older homes

If you’re thinking about purchasing an older home, or have decided to renovate an older home in which you presently reside, it’s important to learn about certain electrical problems that tend to be common in homes of a certain age. Some of the problems you might uncover are minor, and can be easily remedied yourself. However, there are other electrical issues that require the expertise of a licensed electrician.
Here is a look at some of the more common problems homeowners and renovators can uncover in older homes.

No GFCI Outlets

A ground-fault circuit interrupter (or GFCI) is a device intended to protect a person against electric shock, by shutting off an electrical current when something interrupts its intended path.
Chances are, you see a GFCI every time you step into the bathroom at home. It’s that electrical outlet near the sink, with the “Test” and “Reset” buttons in the middle. If you don’t see one in your older home, it means that you need to do some minor installation work.
While GFCIs have been used in Canadian households since the 70’s, they weren’t a requirement until years later. Today, GFCIs are required by Canadian Code for outdoor outlets, bathrooms, whirlpools, and your pool’s electrical system.
If your home doesn’t have GFCIs in the required places, you can easily acquire them at your local home improvement store and install them yourself, or contact an electrician to do it for you.

Double Tapped Breaker

Double tapped breakers are typically discovered during a pre-purchase home inspection. Although they can be discovered anytime work needs to be done on the breaker.
A double tapped breaker refers to the instance of two or more wires connecting to a breaker not designed for multiple wires. It can result in faulty connections and poses a fire hazard. Repairing the problem can be done in an afternoon, but DOES require the services of a licensed electrician. Please, do not attempt to remedy this electrical problem on your own.

Copper vs. Aluminum Wiring

If your house was built anywhere between the 50’s and 70’s, there’s a good chance it may have aluminum wiring. With the price of copper on the rise in that era, opting for aluminum became a popular cost-cutting tactic.
Unfortunately, aluminum wiring simply does not have the tensile strength of copper, which makes it more susceptible to breakage and rust. Aluminum wiring is also more easily loosened, due to its tendency to expand and contract when heated. Unfortunately, these shortcomings can result in overheating and electrical fires.
If you suspect that your house may contain aluminum wiring, contact a licensed electrician. They can come to your home and do an electrical inspection. If aluminum wiring is found, you’ll need them to do a wiring upgrade for you.
Is this an expensive problem? It can be. However, it’s preferable to the overwhelming costs (both monetary and otherwise) that come with a fire decimating your home.

Knob and Tube Wiring

Over a million Canadian homes built prior to 1945 came standard with knob and tube wiring, and some of those older homes still have it today. Knob and Tube (K&T) wiring is comprised of single-insulated copper conductors, which run within cavities in the wall or ceiling. These conductors pass through holes in the joist and stud via protective porcelain insulating tubes, and are supported along their length on nailed-down porcelain knob insulators.
While many professionals no longer consider knob and tube to be the electrical boogeyman it was once thought to be, chances are, if you’re trying to purchase a house containing it, you’re going to have some problems with your mortgage and/or insurance.
You will need to have an electrician with knob and tube experience come in and inspect the knob and tube conductors, and confirm that best practices are in place.
Even if your wiring is perfectly safe, chances are your home isn’t going to have the electrical capacity required by today’s lifestyle demands. So, your best bet is to contact an electrical contractor and have them perform a wiring upgrade.
To find an electrical contractor in your local area, be sure to browse the listings here on

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Spring into home maintenance

(NC) Renovating is great for increasing the value of your home, but regular home maintenance is the easiest way to preserve your investment. As the weather warms, it is a perfect time to do a quick inspection of your home and catch up on simple seasonal chores.
With a little effort, you can keep your home looking great and functioning well for years to come. Here's a few tasks you should check off your to-do list:
• Clean out the gutters and remove any debris.
• Repair siding and peeling paint.
• Inspect your chimney and roof. Replace or repair loose or damaged shingles.
• Trim overgrown shrubs and trees, keeping branches two feet from the house.
• Inspect deck boards for possible deterioration and rot. Replace damaged boards and seal or re-stain, as necessary.
• Turn on the water supply to hose bibs and exterior faucets. Check for leaks.
• Clean windows and window tracks. Replace any damaged screens.
• Check around doors and windows for cracks and gaps. Caulk, as necessary.
• Clean your outdoor spaces (driveway, deck, porch, etc). Fix any damage. Reseal the driveway, if needed.
• Fertilize and aerate the lawn. Seed to fill any patchy areas.
• Inspect the attic for poor ventilation, pests, damaged sheathing, mould or insufficient insulation levels. Top up insulation, as needed, with a mould and moisture-resistant product made of inorganic materials like Roxul Comfortbatt. Aim for a depth of 16 inches and an R-value of 50.
• Replace the furnace filter. Clean air vents, as needed.
• Clear out the dryer vent, removing any lint or debris which can pose a fire hazard.
• Check the washing machine and dishwasher fill hoses to make sure there are no cracks developing.
• Test ground fault circuit interrupters in the bathroom, kitchen, outside receptacles and on the electrical panel.
• Inspect and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Change the batteries and replace units more than 10 years old.
Since your home tends to be your biggest investment, maintenance is time well spent!

Easily increase your home's resale appeal

(NC) Homes that show well and have great features typically sell faster than their counterparts, sometimes for a premium. If you want your home to stand out, a little effort can go a long way. Try these tips to create an enticing first impression.
1. Clean. A neat, clean home shows pride of ownership and suggests that it is well maintained.
2. Paint. Opt for a neutral color so buyers will feel like there's one less thing to do before moving in. Grey, beige or the popular combination known as “greige” are always a hit. A fresh coat of white paint on trim will brighten the rooms.
3. Highlight your home's energy efficiency and green features. This is increasingly a big selling point, especially among younger buyers. New insulation that offers superior thermal performance and increased fire resistance, like Roxul Comfortbatt and Safe 'n' Sound, represent long-term savings and benefits to potential purchasers. Smart thermostats and low-flow water fixtures are also coveted.
4. Consider replacing worn flooring. Another lower-cost option is to give your floors a makeover by refinishing hardwood or shampooing carpets.
5. Make simple updates. New light fixtures or hardware on cabinetry can provide your room with an instant refresh. Give cabinets a new coat of paint if they look tired or dated.
6. Let there be light. Replace heavy drapes with sheer window coverings or valances to flood the home with as much natural light as possible.
7. Open up space. Remove excess furniture and all signs of clutter. Organize closets and pantries. Open windows to allow the fresh air in.
8. Neutralize décor. Remove personal photos. Add inviting elements like fresh flowers, throws or toss cushions.
9. Create curb appeal. Clean and pressure-wash the driveway and walkways. Cut the grass, pull weeds, and trim shrubs. Consider planting annuals for fresh pops of color. Paint your front door and house numbers, if needed. Stage the patio furniture to create the feeling of an outdoor retreat.
10. Throw down the welcome mat, and let buyers take it all in.
Not ready to sell? These tips also work well to revitalize a much-loved older home.

Yes, even resale homes can come with a warranty

(NC) Are you looking to buy – or have you just bought – a resale house or condominium unit that is less than seven years old? If so, there...