Five Keys To A Successful Renovation – #2 – Hire Wisely!

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The renovation contractor you hire will be spending a lot of time in your home, so you will want this company’s project manager, site supervisor and crews to be friendly, efficient, honest and respectful of your home and family. This is especially important if you plan on living in the home while the work is being done. With that in mind, be sure to check all credentials to confirm that all claims being made can be backed up. Eg. – Municipal & Provincial Licensing, BBB Member In Good Standing, Customer & Trade References, Insurance Coverage, Warranty Program, Builder’s Association Membership and Renomark Program.

Now, let’s say you plan on requesting Bids based on your plans/specs. Ask for “line-item” product & service descriptions and related pricing. This “cost-plus” Agreement will be the most transparent, allowing you to assess all detail, including the amount of the Builder’s Fee. Although you may feel that a “fixed-fee” Agreement will give you more financial certainty, you will likely see no pricing detail, other than an “allowance” list for product choices. Proposals – One contractor may submit a high Bid (do they really want your job?), one may come in low (low Bidders sign more work, but often end up with unhappy customers, for an assortment of reasons, especially cost over-runs), then another may fall somewhere in the middle. Ideally, you want all Bids to “cluster” fairly tight together, usually confirming that your specs are being interpreted consistently. Bid detail should be examined closely to ensure that no one is missing anything.

Once hired, your preferred contractor should prepare a detailed schedule, a “decision-point” list to guide the timing of your product choices and a logistics plan for regular site meetings, family comfort & safety and the all-important mess-control! How best to do your share in this partnership? See our next FIVE KEYS installment – MANAGE YOUR HOUSEHOLD.

**CHANNEL CUSTOM BUILDERS is a full-service design/build contractor with 25 years of dedicated service to our many valued customers.  Contact us today for a free in-home consultation.

Five Keys To A Successful Renovation – #1 – Realistic Expectations

Realistic Expectations

Everyone begins the home renovation planning process by creating a “wish-list” (often after years of thought and the viewing of many, many samples & swatches).  Of course you want the most and the best of everything, right?  Then you speculate about how expensive your plan will be and decide on what you think is a realistic and affordable budget.  But once you take the plunge and begin meeting with design/building contractors, you may start to realize that your extensive “wish-list” is too long and your optimistic budget too short.

Don’t be discouraged!  This is simply when reality sets in and adjustments in your thinking allow you to develop an acceptable “revised” plan.  You have watched all the reno REALITY shows on TV and have been led to believe that your project will take ½ the time and require ½ the budget than what the contractors are all saying.  REALITY shows being seriously miss-named, best to trust your local contractors.  So, armed with a realistic plan, budget and timeline, you are good to go!

Once your project is underway, try to maintain a realistic, reasonable, common-sense outlook, even when things get a little complicated (as they do on almost every project).  Unrealistic expectations are the cause of much un-necessary conflict during home renovation work, so it’s critical for a successful outcome for you and your chosen contracting partner to manage expectations as a team.  How to find the right contracting partner?  See our next FIVE KEYS installment – HIRE WISELY!

**CHANNEL CUSTOM BUILDERS is a full-service design/build contractor with 25 years of dedicated service to our many valued customers.  Contact us today for a free in-home consultation.

DIY – Seriously, why would you put yourself through all that?

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By “all that” I mean the self-inflicted pain & stress of the Do-It-Yourself project!  Those TV Shows and product supply stores all make it sound like anyone with a hammer and time on their hands (LOTS of time) could undertake a home renovation project of almost any size.

By comparison, as a home renovation design/build contractor of 25 years, I would no sooner try to program/code a piece of software or replace an automobile engine than fly to the moon in a teacup!  That’s why there is an entire industry of trained, experienced professionals dedicated to just the kind of project that you are contemplating.  The laws of unintended consequence may not be front-of-mind when you are thinking of how much money could be saved by doing-it-yourself, but they begin to make sense when you realize that:

-   You needed a permit & inspections, so all the new drywall has to be torn out.

-   Your measurements were off and none of the new cabinets fit.

-   The trades you hired (who take payments under-the-table) were not as honest or as skilled as they claimed (what, no references?).

You are smarter than that, of course, but here’s the thing…stuff happens.  And if you are not trained to head off this stuff before it happens, the money you thought you were saving could evaporate.  Along with your sanity.  Not to worry though…Channel Custom Builders and other qualified builders like us are happy to help you avoid the DIY Blues before you get infected!

From an initial meeting or two, through the planning/pricing phase, to a well-executed construction process, your beautiful home renovation project will be completed in a timely and virtually pain & stress-free way.  Just contact Channel Custom Builders today to arrange for a pain & stress-free consultation and avoid the DIY Blues!

Cool Products – Basement Development Innovation – DRIcore Smartwall

Building Science is now telling us that the traditional method of perimeter wall wood framing, batt insulation and polyethylene vapour barrier for residential basement developments leaves much to be desired from a “home-health” point of view.  External forces such as Hydrostatic Pressure can cause moisture in the adjacent soil to be drawn through porous concrete foundation walls and slabs by way of capillary action. Despite the prevalence of current water mitigation techniques (Foundation wall damp-proofing, polyethylene vapour barrier, etc.), water can still be drawn into your basement, most notably through the unprotected bottom of your concrete foundation wall footings. This is a phenomenon known as “Rising Damp”.  Due to these and other factors, homeowners have often been faced with unknown moisture building up behind their basement walls, promoting the growth of unhealthy mold…not good for the home, not good for the occupants!

Enter DRIcore, with its’ new SMARTWALL System.  Designed to replace standard perimeter wall framing, insulation and vapour barrier methodology, this unique new system consists of:

-        2’x2’ interlocking DRIcore Subfloor panels with a built-in air space underneath that allow moisture migrating up through the concrete floor to dissipate without affecting the flooring (optional, but recommended component).

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-        2’x8’ (or 10’) interlocking wall panels with built-in Vapour Shield Technology that eliminates all air pockets and creates an effective insulation R-Value of R-17.

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-        Tapeless joint technology allows DRIcore “Patch-Pro” to be applied directly to the panel joints without tape.  Simply apply, sand, paint.

-        The SMARTWALL Panels have built-in Easy-Wire Channels for feeding electrical wiring, as well as specialty panels with pre-installed switch & plug boxes.

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What a great idea! Not only is there a significant time savings with a SMARTWALL installation, but this highly superior system also adds value by defending against moisture incursion, which in turn promotes “home health” quality and helps retain your home’s long-term worth. Considering our mutual goal of a warm, dry, comfortable basement living space, we recommend taking a close look at SMARTWALL! Go to DRIcore.com for full detail on how the SMARTWALL System works, then call Channel Custom Builders for a no-obligation basement development estimate using the SMARTWALL System.

HOUZZ IT GOING?

Well, it’s going just fine for us at Channel Custom Builders, thanks in part to HOUZZ.  For all you fans of HOUZZ.COM, a quick look at our page on this amazing site will reveal our new “BEST OF HOUZZ 2017” Award for CUSTOMER SERVICE, based on reviews posted by a selection of our many satisfied Customers.

We are very grateful to the HOUZZ Team for selecting Channel for this unique honour, as well as for the HOUZZ Badges that together reflect our ongoing dedication to excellence in design, quality of construction and of course, superior Customer Service.  For you, the home improvement enthusiast, the HOUZZ site has become an invaluable resource for all things to do with home design, construction, renovation and decoration.  Our presence on HOUZZ indicates our confidence that this vast compilation of home design and upgrade information will continue to be very useful for anyone planning on BRINGING GRAND PLANS TO LIFE for their home.

Thanks again to the HOUZZ Team for this vote of confidence in the Channel Team’s efforts!  We will continue to strive to excel in all aspects of what we do for the benefit of our valued present and future Customers.

Martin Kathrens in Calgary, AB on Houzz

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Energy Efficiencies for Your Home

In response to growing interest in clear information about decreasing the long-term cost and carbon footprint of home energy usage, we have added a very comprehensive page to our website (click on ENERGY). This thought provoking page explores the “why” and “how” of:

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SOLAR ELECTRIC/SOLAR THERMAL

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GEOTHERMAL HEATING & COOLING

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THE POWER OF WIND

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When planning to build a new home or renovate an existing one, it is becoming increasingly important to consider the viability of one or more of these efficiency methods, as well as to join the growing legions of homeowners now concerned with “greening-up” energy consumption.

Building envelope technology is primarily mandated by Building Codes, and now goes a long way toward ensuring a tight seal in every new home, but with Solar, Geothermal and Wind, you have options for further improvement of home energy efficiencies. Implemented individually or in a specifically designed hybrid combination, these clean, renewable sources of energy are the way of the future. Channel Custom Builders can help shed light on these somewhat complex and unfamiliar issues. Contact us today to arrange for a complementary In-Home Consultation.

Problem Solved – Custom Closet Organizers & Designer Doors

If the closets in your home still have a single shelf with a hanger-rod running from one end to the other, you may be in serious need of some organizational expertise!

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Today’s internal organizers may be as simple and reasonably priced as the wire shelving systems (in white or titanium finish) that accommodate for single & double row hanging, open shelving towers (some with baskets), drawer/open shelf cabinets and tie/belt/jewellery racks.  Or, consider the much more attractive upgrade of custom, built-in cabinetry.  From flat or wood-grain melamine to higher –end wood species, this type of cabinetry offers a more attractive, finished look that also delivers the form/function essential to any closet storage space.

Finish off your classy new look with custom bypass door panels or a unique “barn” door!

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“‘Tis The Season” Series – #4 – Summer

NO, NOT CHRISTMAS…SUMMER!

SUMMER (Jun/Jul/Aug) is the season when all you may want to do is kick back in the sun with a tall drink and a good book!  However, holiday time aside, your “inner-homeowner” is probably whispering something about pre-planning for that fall/winter month kitchen renovation or basement development.

Building contractors tend to shift their focus more to interior work once the weather makes exterior and foundation projects more difficult, so you can expect their availability to be greater through the winter months for your interior upgrades.  So, put down that book and start roughing out how you want that potentially renovated space to work for you and your family!  Help is just a phone call or email away, if you need guidance from a design professional who can advise on space planning, concept design and contemporary detailing.  A full-service contractor can provide this expertise (or work with your chosen designer), as well as the pricing, scheduling and project management skills to ensure a positive outcome for you.

Whether you have just begun thinking about plans for a fall/winter project or have completed plans for a summer project and need a contractor for that, keep Channel Custom Builders in mind.  When it comes to renovations or new home builds, we are good to go…summer, fall, winter or spring!

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Cool Products – Freestanding Bathtubs

If you think back to when tubs were made of copper, filled by hand with buckets and much resembled horse watering troughs, then to the iconic cast-iron claw-foot tub and indoor plumbing, much has changed in the world of bathing! But what was old is new again, with the modern day version of the Freestanding Bathtub.

Freestanding tub/bathroom renovation in the Calgary community of Lakeview Village

Freestanding tub/bathroom renovation in the Calgary community of Lakeview Village

No longer made of copper or cast-iron, most of these current tub offerings are of one or two piece formed acrylic, which are much lighter to handle and warmer to the touch. There are many attractive design choices that reflect traditional and contemporary styles, but the common theme is soaking comfort! And for a gentle, relaxing massage, add in a soothing bubble-jet feature. Plumbing fixtures can be highly decorative when installed outside the tub in a floor-mounted “stand” configuration, or internally plumbed with deck-mounted taps, filler and even a telephone spray head. It takes some planning and co-ordination between plumber and flooring installer to ensure the kind of professional “fit & finish” desired, but this extra effort will be worthwhile.

Freestanding tub/bathroom renovation in the Okotoks community of Downey Ridge

Freestanding tub/bathroom renovation in the Okotoks community of Downey Ridge

If you are curious about the world of relaxation bathing, have a look on Channel’s website “Shopping” page for links to a variety of manufacturers’ products. Or give Channel Custom Builders a call about the bigger picture…your new bathroom, kitchen, basement renovation, addition or completely new home plan!

Freestanding tub/bathroom renovation in the Calgary community of Hidden Valley

Freestanding tub/bathroom renovation in the Calgary community of Hidden Valley

JUST WHAT YOU WOULD EXPECT… FRESH IDEAS FROM A 25 YEAR OLD!

Looking back, it’s hard for us to fathom that Channel Custom Builders has been involved in residential design & construction for a quarter of a century!  And believe it or not, we are just as excited now about our creative mandate as on that day in 1991 when our doors first opened.

That excitement still translates into fresh ideas for all manner of projects that come our way, from interior & exterior renovation work to “from-the-ground-up” custom homes.  When a higher standard of design has been established before you build, it doesn’t really cost much more, but when combined with fine craftsmanship, this commitment to quality does deliver amazing value!

On both the design and construction sides, we try to stay current on trends, products, materials and methodology, all of which contribute to superior results for all projects, large and small.  Regardless of project type or scope, this focus on inspired solutions has served us and our past customers in the Calgary area very well for…you guessed it – 25 years!

So, a big thank you to all our valued customers from past years, and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to us…25 years young and looking forward to providing YOU with fresh ideas sometime in the NEXT 25!

CHANNEL CUSTOM BUILDERS – BRINGING GRAND PLANS TO LIFE SINCE 1991 

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