“‘Tis The Season” Series – #2 – Winter

NO, NOT CHRISTMAS…WINTER!

WINTER (Dec/Jan/Feb) is the season when NEW is on many minds…for example, what will the NEW Year bring?  A NEW Custom Home perhaps?  Or a complete NEW Home Renovation?  If that IS what’s on your mind, making the choice between building new or renovating can leave you totally torn!

There are many factors to consider, but the first should always be LOCATION.  Do you want to stay where you are, or would another neighborhood be more desirable? Is your current property more suited to renovation or redevelopment?  If you do choose to source a more suitable property, would you renovate or build new there?  Once those questions have been answered, a Realtor may be needed if your decision is to relocate.  In either case, a design professional (architect, architectural designer or interior designer) and a builder will need to be engaged.  It’s often a good idea to begin with a full-service residential builder such as Channel, as we have access to a selection of designers and can recommend one that seems best suited to your project.  Also, a builder can provide early-stage advice regarding comparative project-type costs, timelines, design & technical issues, as well as the often complex permitting process.

The FALL & WINTER months are a good time to begin serious planning for either a new build or a major renovation, and with typical lead times of 4-8 months, either type of project could well be underway before year’s end.  Take the guesswork out of the equation and give Channel a call…there is no charge for consultation meetings!

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“‘Tis The Season” Series – #1 – Fall

NO, NOT CHRISTMAS…FALL!

FALL (Sept/Oct/Nov) is the season when many a thought will turn to having a brand new kitchen renovation done before the holidays!  Sorry, but if you are not already well along in the process, you will have to choose another gift for yourself.

Starting at the beginning, you will have been doing your homework for some time and will have a pretty good idea of what you want in a kitchen (Houzz, anyone?).  Once you engage a professional Kitchen Designer (your official beginning point), you will likely spend 4-8 weeks refining & detailing your renovation plans/specifications.  Your Building Contractor will need about 3-4 weeks for his planning/pricing and another 2-3 weeks for permits (if needed).  The construction phase could take 8-12 weeks, depending on size/components.  That means, for a final pre-Christmas completion of your beautiful new kitchen renovation (also known as that BIG gift to yourself), you will typically need approx. 4-6 months and an official beginning point as early as sometime in JUNE!

What you should start planning for in the FALL could be that home addition, garage or landscaping project where you could have shovels in the thawed-out Calgary ground by the following April/May.  Whatever your plan or schedule, when you are all done thinking about it, call Channel Custom Builders…we are all about timing!

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“Before-You-Build” Series #6 – Landscaping Tips

The term “curb-appeal” is usually an important talking point when buying or selling a home, but it’s also high priority for those homeowners who take pride in the appearance of their property. Much of that street-side appeal will be attributed to the diversity of the landscaping features, both “hard” and “soft”.

Good landscape design will take into account the entire property, of course, not just the front area. Your plan could include “hard” elements such as concrete, paver & stone walkways/patios, block & stone retaining walls, wood decks, fencing & gazebos, barbeques and water features, and also “soft” features like grass, planting beds, trees & shrubs. Beneath it all should be a well thought-out contour/placement layout that takes into account traffic patterns, activity areas and all important drainage. The last thing you want is water pooling around your home’s foundation walls, either from miss-directed run-off, over-watering of foundation plantings or downpipes directing water into window-wells! A well-planned underground sprinkler system will deliver measured amounts of water to specific areas of your yard, at pre-scheduled times when the air is cool.

Once your design professional has combined all the elements you have chosen to create your own personal “oasis” plan, you should be ready to build well-functioning, beautifully detailed, climate-appropriate activity areas for the whole family to enjoy!

Why not contact a knowledgeable Channel Custom Builders representative for more timely thoughts, BEFORE-YOU-BUILD?

Landscape renovation in the Calgary community of North Glenmore Park

Landscape renovation in the Calgary community of North Glenmore Park

Landscape renovation in the Calgary community of North Glenmore Park

Landscape renovation in the Calgary community of North Glenmore Park

“Before-You-Build” Series #5 – Exterior Tips

With all the problems being experienced in recent years with water infiltration and subsequent rot/mould behind residential, exterior cladding materials, you don’t want to take the chance of creating, rather than solving this kind of problem when upgrading your home’s exterior.

 
A complete, top-to-bottom cladding replacement will give you the opportunity to not only modernizing your home’s appearance, but also to address any problem areas and ensure that all current building codes are being observed.  From roofing to prefinished metals to stucco, stone, wood detailing and various siding materials, there are many attractive options, but beneath the surface, what is protecting your investment?  Ideally, good building-envelope design, including properly layered black building paper and/or rubber water-shield membrane and various metal flashings for the roof areas.  Vertical walls will typically have layered building paper or “Tyvek” wrap over the wall sheeting and into all window/door openings, metal flashings above all windows/doors and all mechanical protrusions to wick water away and “peel-and-stick” membrane strips around all elements that “break” the building envelope (ie windows/doors).  If you have chosen acrylic stucco, you may also have rigid insulation panels as part of your package, that act as a stucco substrate and also provide increased R-Value.

 
Window & door replacement is timely when renovating an exterior, not only for appearance, but also for the benefit of weather-resistant materials (metal cladding) and an increase in R-Value in all glass areas.  Your qualified building contractor will certainly be aware of and will oversee the correct installation of all these materials.

 
Why not contact a knowledgeable Channel Custom Builders representative for more timely thoughts, BEFORE-YOU-BUILD?

Exterior renovation in the Calgary community of Lakeview Village

Exterior renovation in the Calgary community of Lakeview Village

Exterior renovation in the Calgary community of Varsity Estates

Exterior renovation in the Calgary community of Varsity Estates

“Before-You-Build” Series #4 – Interior Tips

Given the popularity of the “open-concept” these days, it’s wise to consider the impact of removing interior walls prior to getting too far along with planning your interior renovation. If your plan does include wall removal, what are those important structural issues that need to be addressed?

 
From a cursory inspection of both basement and attic, an engineer or experienced builder can tell you if your wall is “load-bearing”. For example, if there is no beam or teleposts below this wall in the basement, odds are that there are no upper loads (roof, truss, upper level) being transferred down to the foundation through your wall, and it can be removed without structural risk. If there are teleposts and a beam, your wall is definitely carrying upper loads, but don’t despair! The wall can usually be removed, but with the introduction of a ceiling beam that transfers the upper load(s) off this wall onto new “point-load” locations. This new beam will either be a “drop-beam” (visible) or a “flush-beam” (up in the ceiling). All a bit technical, but this is why there are experts to advise you.

 
Safety and structural integrity considerations require that you obtain an engineer’s report and a building permit for this type of work. Also, similar “loading” issues can come up when planning to remove/reconfigure walls in a basement or second story, or when planning a main, second level or bonus-room (over-garage) addition, so be sure to consult a design professional who has the appropriate technical skills.

 
Why not contact a knowledgeable Channel Custom Builders representative for more timely thoughts, BEFORE-YOU-BUILD?

Interior renovation in the Calgary community of Woodbine

Interior renovation in the Calgary community of Woodbine

Interior renovation in the Calgary community of North Glenmore Park

Interior renovation in the Calgary community of North Glenmore Park

“Before-You-Build” Series #3 – Basement Tips

Almost every basement will pose development challenges that can discourage a homeowner before even getting a start on such a project. Issues such as steep/narrow stair access, low ceilings, ugly service “drops”, awkward telepost locations, small or no windows, low light and poorly located services are all too common.

If you are fortunate enough to have higher ceilings (9-12’), you will have avoided the most limiting problem that many are faced with. But for everyone else, what to do? Try breaking up long, low feeling areas with design elements that emphasize the vertical. Good space-planning will help here, along with drywall ceilings, rather than “T-bar” panels that usually reduce ceiling height by at least two inches. Also, ducting, plumbing lines and wiring can often be reconfigured to help clean up the appearance of a ceiling. Stairwells can sometimes be widened or rerouted to create a more welcoming access and teleposts relocated for a more open feel. A good lighting plan will go a long way in making your lower level seem more like the rest of your home, along with larger windows cut into the foundation walls that bring in lots of natural light and also allow for safe egress, in the event of an emergency. Drains and waterlines can be moved to improve a bathroom’s location/design or to add a well-appointed wet bar.

With all these problems solved, your newly renovated basement can now be used for family recreation, rather than storage!

Why not contact a knowledgeable Channel Custom Builders representative for more timely thoughts, BEFORE-YOU-BUILD?

Basement development/renovation in the Calgary community of Mountain Park

Basement development/renovation in the Calgary community of Mountain Park

Basement development/renovation in the Calgary community of Mountain Park

Basement development/renovation in the Calgary community of Mountain Park

For more basement development/renovation photos, please visit our gallery

“Before-You-Build” Series #2 – Bathroom Tips

Bathrooms have evolved in recent years, from purely functional spaces to those of relaxation & retreat, particularly in the case of the Master Ensuite. Sure, the 2 piece powder room and the 3 piece bath for the kids tend to be more spacious and attractive now, but still have function at the core of their design.

The rise in popularity of the well-appointed Master Ensuite demonstrates a desire for a little well deserved self-indulgence! Features such as his & hers sinks, separate toilet room, jetted soaker tub and a big glassed-in shower with multiple shower heads, body sprays, bench seating and steamer are much in demand, space permitting.  But where is that 100 + square feet going to come from? If you are lucky, the bedroom is large enough to steal some space from, or maybe a closet or adjoining bedroom can be taken over in its entirety? Or perhaps an addition? There may also be room for a nice walk-in closet in the new layout.

Whatever your needs and budget, the Master Suite is an investment that will provide a return second only to a kitchen renovation. And, while you continue to own the home, your comfort and enjoyment are the best return!

Why not contact a knowledgeable Channel Custom Builders representative for more timely thoughts, BEFORE-YOU-BUILD?

Bathroom renovation in the Calgary community of North Glenmore Park

Bathroom renovation in the Calgary community of North Glenmore Park

“Before-You-Build” Series #1 – Kitchen Tips

As most realtors will tell you when buying a home, the importance of location cannot be overemphasized. The same thing can be said of appliance placement when designing your new kitchen.

Once chosen, your appliances should be the first elements thoughtfully located on your space-plan. This will ensure that traffic patterns are optimized in this very busy area.  Although the traditional “work-triangle” concept is less stringently followed now, you will still want to maximize your kitchen’s functionality by planning around these appliances, while keeping in mind the equally important “form” (as in “form-follows-function”) that will create your kitchen’s visual impact. Another benefit of choosing your appliances FIRST in the planning process, will be accuracy of “fit”. Armed with the exact make & model specifications, your designer can plan for correct “opening” sizes and adequate peripheral “landing” areas to service each one.

And don’t forget, a kitchen renovation, more than any other home improvement project, will provide the highest return on your investment at the point of sale, not to mention the most enjoyment for you in the meantime!

Why not contact a knowledgeable Channel Custom Builders representative for more timely thoughts, BEFORE-YOU-BUILD?

Kitchen renovation in the Calgary community of North Glenmore Park

Kitchen renovation in the Calgary community of North Glenmore Park. See more at www.channelcustombuilders.com

New Channel Custom Builders Website

We are very pleased to announce the recent launching of the new CHANNEL CUSTOM BUILDERS website! This simplified and refined site is intended to reflect our commitment to providing comprehensive content in an easy to navigate, user-friendly format. We encourage you to visit channelcustombuilders.com for a quick browse, provide us with feedback on our new website’s content and functionality, and contact us with any questions you may have about your renovation project or new home construction.

In addition to viewing past postings on social media, please watch for our upcoming “BEFORE-YOU-BUILD” blog series. These timely tips could prove useful in the early stages of developing your GRAND PLANS for a new custom home or major renovation project!

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Unique Structural – Piling & Grade-Beam Foundations for Home Additions

If you are planning a main-level home addition, most renovation contractors you speak to will ask if you are considering a full basement under your new addition.  This will be a decision based on cost, space requirement and equipment accessibility.  So, the question will be, do you really need that extra square-footage, despite significant extra cost and yard disruption?

If the answer is no, you then have two less costly options.  The first would be to excavate the addition area and build a concrete “frost-wall” foundation that is 4’ in height, creating a large “crawl-space”.  The most common approach, but still an invasive one, likely requiring a complete rebuild of your yard.

Finally, the foundation system that Channel Custom Builders has been employing for over 15 years, wherever feasible, is very cost-effective, non-invasive and just as structurally acceptable as the methods mentioned above…the piling & grade-beam foundation.  This method of construction has been successfully utilized for some commercial buildings and residentially in Scandinavian countries for over 100 years.

Beginning with engineer-stamped drawings and a relatively flat site, a series of 6’ deep piling holes are drilled 5 – 7’ apart, around the perimeter of the future addition.  Concrete is then poured into these 12” diameter holes which are then fitted with rebar reinforcement and sonotube collars that form flat tops just above grade.  A 3-ply 2X8 pressure-treated beam is then placed on top of the series of piles, forming the base of the 2X6 wood foundation wall.  Simple, fast and with minimal yard damage!

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The interior of what will be a relatively small, heated crawlspace is finished off with a row of ridgid foam frost-heave protection at the base of the perimeter wall, a black poly covering for the unexcavated ground (even over grass), followed by a layer of washed gravel.  Insulating foam is then sprayed into the 2X6 foundation wall cavity.  You now have a clean, dry, sealed crawlspace that can be economically heated in winter months.

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Finally, everything from the floor up is standard construction, where you can now put more of your hard-earned cash into nicer finishings, rather than into the ground!  Contact a Channel Custom Builders representative for more information about this little known system.

www.channelcustombuilders.com