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



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!



Bus Benches – Channel now has street-cred

One of the many ways we try to introduce our renovation & new home design/construction services to you is through Bus Bench Advertising.  As you travel around Calgary each day, you may now spot one or more of our bench locations that are intended to catch the eye and spark your interest!

So, here’s the thing…in the manner of “Where’s Waldo”, if you can put a street or avenue location to one of the photos below and contact us to book a complementary in-home consultation for a project you are planning, we will install a free Radon Detector in your home during our consultation visit (go to DNAscience.ca/radon or RadonWest.com online for the dangers of Radon in the Calgary area).  And as an added bonus, you will receive a $500 credit off the cost of your project, if you should choose to book with Channel Custom Builders.

All good, right? So jump in, have fun, get to know us!


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!


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!


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.


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.


Energy Efficiencies – Expanding Foam Insulation

Energy consumption in homes is certainly a hot-button topic these days, with high-efficiency furnaces, tighter building envelopes and upgraded insulation all combining to deliver the most cost effective options for both new homes and home renovation projects

As an example, expanding foam can deliver tighter seals in perimeter walls than batt insulation, thus cost savings over time due to reduced heat loss (and gain).  Consider two BASF products, Enertite and Walltite Eco, that are installed in Calgary by Beyond Foam Insulation (beyondfoam.com).  Enertite is an open-cell ½ lb. foam (pale yellow in color) that delivers approximately R-20 insulation value in the 2 X 6” stud walls of a typical new home. This product requires a 6 ml. poly vapour barrier over it.  Walltite Eco is a closed-cell 2 lb. foam (purple in color) that delivers upwards of R-20 in the 2 X 4” stud walls of a typical older home (see photo) built before the Building Code required 2 X 6” perimeter walls for residential construction.  This product has a built-in vapour barrier, so 6 ml. poly is not required.  Both of these applications meet the current Building Code requirement of  R-20 insulation value for new walls.

Walltite Eco color has changed from blue (above) to purple

Walltite Eco color has changed from blue (above) to purple


So whether you are building new or renovating, expanding foam can provide significant benefits in the above applications and many others.  These products are also eco-friendly and once installed, produce no off-gassing.  Most new homes being built today offer a combination of batt insulation and expanding foam because the foam products are more expensive, but if you are thinking long-term energy savings, foam may be the way to go!


Awesome Accents – Snap-together Decking Tiles

There are not a lot of choices when it comes to improving the appearance of balcony and rooftop terrace walking surfaces, especially when these areas are above living space.  These surfaces need to be sealed with asphalt roofing or in some cases, vinyl decking, but not everyone is impressed with the appearance of these products as a final finish.


Enter MoistureShield!  This manufacturer can supply their EcoShield Deck Tiles at about the same price-point as installed tile or hardwood flooring.  Easy to install over almost any flat surface (including asphalt roofing or vinyl decking), these 12 X 12” tiles snap together to create your choice of three attractive grid patterns that are offered in four basic colors, great for any exterior renovation project.  Made with 90% recycled content, these non-toxic EcoShield tiles require no maintenance and are structured to allow moisture to flow-through to existing balcony and roof drains.  They can also be cut to fit an odd shaped space or around obstacles.

Regardless of the type of unsightly surface you want to cover (roofing, vinyl, concrete, wood), this product will certainly stand the test of time and enhance your new home or renovation project! Go to moistureshield.com for more information.


Excavation Erosion & Collapse

When excavating for the foundation of a new home, particularly at an inner-city location where the hole must be dug close to the property line, there is often risk of soil-wall collapse and damage to adjacent properties.  This problem can be due to unstable soil conditions, erosion from water run-off, or a combination of both. In the first photo, fencing had actually fallen into the excavation due to water run-off and was later replaced with temporary safety fencing.

In addition to the most immediate safety concerns, this kind of problem can be very expensive and time consuming to resolve, as in the construction of a temporary but substantial retaining wall.  Luckily, a very effective alternative is available.  Quickly installed and cost-effective, a “shot-crete” application is often the answer.  Once the collapsed debris has been removed, the pumping equipment set up and hoses deployed, a slurry of concrete can be sprayed or “shot” onto the excavation wall soon after the collapse.  Generally applied to a thickness of 3-4”, this material sets up hard like regular concrete, stabilizing the soil quickly and safely.

Not a problem you would want to have to deal with when building a new home, but it’s good to know that safety and schedule don’t have to be compromised when an event like this takes place!


Specialty Floor & Roof Trusses

These engineered products are uniquely useful in “Bonus Room” addition projects where extra living space is needed above a front-drive garage.

The traditional method of insulating a floor above an unheated garage involves packing a 12 – 14” deep floor joist area with 12” of batt insulation.  Despite an R-40 insulation factor, these floors were almost always uncomfortably cold to walk on during winter months, due to the eventual transfer of low temperatures from the unheated garage.

“OPEN-WEB” FLOOR TRUSS – This less conventional style of floor truss typically provides about 18” in depth that will accommodate 12” of batt insulation in the lower truss area, as well as allowing for 6” of open space in the upper truss area where forced-air heat can be introduced.  This airflow in the floor below the living space ensures that floors are warm to walk on and more likely to be useful throughout the winter!

“SCISSOR” ROOF TRUSS – It’s always nice to have a vault ceiling, right?  Most people assume that cost would be prohibitive, but not so with scissor trusses!  Instead of the standard horizontal-bottom-cord truss (flat ceiling), the scissor truss is designed to elevate the center of the ceiling as much as 3’ in a 24’ wide space, with a 4” in 12’’ exterior roof pitch.  These trusses are about the same price as standard trusses, but the batt insulation instead of the “blow-in” and drywall installation/finishing are a little more money, although not by much.


Contemporary Electric Fireplaces

Fireplaces have come a long way over the centuries, beginning with the original wood-burning variety that could heat entire homes and more than a few castles!

With the advent of natural gas as an economical home fuel source in our part of the world, gas fireplaces became just as decorative as they are practical.  Encompassing a wide variety of sizes and designs, these gas fireplaces can also generate significant heat when needed, without the hassle of stocking, chopping and hauling wood.  You may also remember the odd-looking little electric-heater style units in the corner of Granny’s basement “rumpus” room!

Well…are you ready for the latest electric fireplace as a cool fashion statement?  One example we have installed in an upscale contemporary style home is the Dynasty LED Wall-Mount, sold in Calgary by Hearth & Home Fireplaces (hearthandhomefireplaces.com).  Based in Richmond B.C. (dynastyfireplace.com), Dynasty manufactures numerous models that simply mount on a finished wall with plug-in below and no ventilation required.  Features include high, low or no heat, stylized LED flame and optional LED background light, pebble or log bed and remote control for heat, flame and lighting.

These fireplaces are easy to install and operate and are very well priced. Check them out for your next renovation or new home project, and check us out at www.channelcustombuilders.com