Category: Full Service Remodeling

Category: Full Service Remodeling

Remove Walls That Make Your Home Feel Small

There’s nothing quite as depressing as a large home that feels small the moment you step inside. You’ve got all this space, and yet it feels like you have barely any room to walk. How did this happen? The short answer: many older homes, or those with poor design, simply have too many unnecessary divisions. Luckily, there’s an easy solution. When you remove walls that cause unnecessary divides in your home, you can make it feel exponentially larger. Let’s take a closer look at that process.

Galley Kitchens

One feature in any house that’s sure to make it feel cramped is a galley kitchen. If your kitchen feels like a hallway with counters on either side, leading from a breakfast nook to, perhaps, the living room, you’ve got yourself a galley kitchen. These kitchens are meant to save space and be compact but, in the end, they feel unbearably cramped.

Removing the dividing wall between the galley kitchen and the rest of the house can open it up considerably. Depending on what’s behind that wall, it can be turned into a half-wall, a breakfast bar, or removed entirely. If removed entirely, the half of your kitchen that was against it can be left as is, the back of the cabinets covered in paneling or wood, or renovated entirely. This is a great opportunity to give yourself an island and move those cabinets slightly further from the others, providing more kitchen floor space.

Separate Dining and Living

Another way that houses are often unnecessarily divided is by putting a wall between the dining room and living room. While this may be suitable for a formal dining room, most of us aren’t hosting formally. Because the majority of us just use our dining room for family dinners, a dividing wall is providing nothing but a sense of encasement. Removing this wall will allow better light flow, easier conversation between dining and living spaces, and a more open appearance.

Entryway Borders

A feature in many homes that can cause a surprising amount of tightness is the presence of entryway borders. These borders usually come in the form of a wall, 1-3 feet in length, beside the front door. This wall is often between the entry and living space. Perhaps its original intention was to keep solicitors from seeing into your living space when you open the door. Regardless of its original intention, these borders do little more than cut off light and visibility.

Walled-In Stairs

Last, but certainly not least, let’s address walled-in stairways. Stairways that are walled in on both sides are incredibly stifling. Even walking up them can feel cramped and unpleasant. Fro the outside, the stairs are invisible, but so is the open space above them. Removing any unnecessary walls around stairs can really open things up. 

If your stairs border an external wall, this will add some more visible space to the living area your stairs are bordering. If your stairs fall somewhere in the middle of the floor, you can even remove the walls on both sides. Replacing these walls with stair to ceiling bars or glass will allow a huge increase in light-flow and visibility, opening up the area noticeably. 

How Can You Install a Loft in Your Home?

For many of us, having a loft in our home is a long-time dream. Lofts simply have this fun, youthful feeling to them, while also being practical and attractive. However, if you’ve already bought a home and committed to it, moving somewhere else just to acquire a loft is pretty impractical. For some, it may be possible. For others, not so much. So, the question then becomes, can you install a loft in an existing home? Premier Group Contractors is happy to inform you that, yes, you can!

A Question of Difficulty

While the answer to whether you can add a loft or not is almost always yes, there comes the question of difficulty. You certainly can add a loft to any home, but some homes will take a lot more work than others. This has to do with many factors, such as the area of the home, the height, whether you have vaulted ceilings, and so on.

It goes without saying that in almost any case, this is a large enough job that it requires professional assistance. Adding a loft is not something most people should DIY, and those that should are already in the industry.

Adding to an Existing Structure

If you want to add a loft space over your living room or kitchen, it’s possible to do so without changing what’s there. Well… it’s possible under a few conditions.

  1. If you have vaulted ceilings, so as to provide enough head space above a new loft.
  2. If you have enough floor space to accommodate a new set of stairs, a spiral staircase, or a ladder.
  3. And, finally, if you don’t have windows or supports that cut into the desired, new loft space.

If these things are true for the area you plan to add a loft to, we can simply install a loft without making alterations to what’s there. This will involve our team:

  1. Creating new supports, to ensure the loft is held up adequately.
  2. Adding the loft structure, and anchoring it to the walls.
  3. Placing down flooring across the loft framework.
  4. Installing a stairway in the style of your choice.
  5. Putting up safety railings.
  6. Installing any new wiring, light fixtures, plumbing, or other features needed.

Remodeling to Accommodate

If your home is two stories but does not have vaulted ceilings, we may be able to add a loft with the removal of the ceiling. Frequently, flat ceilings are put in under an otherwise vaulted roof to provide attic space or to insulate better. These can typically be removed without too much hassle. However, we may need to add insulation to the roof, apply drywall, and more, to ensure you can still look up from your couch without cringing at an unfinished ceiling space.

Shorter homes without the height to add a loft may have one added, provided they are willing to raise the roof, quite literally. In some cases, this is possible to do with an existing roof. However, in most cases, the roof should be rebuilt to ensure it attaches to the rest of the roof properly and doesn’t lose integrity from being moved about. It goes without saying that this kind of remodel is extensive. However, if a loft is something you care a lot about, there’s no reason not to undergo the remodel to make your house more yours

Call us today at Premier Group Contractors if you’re looking to install a loft. We look forward to assisting in the process.

Make Working from Home Easy and Comfortable

With COVID-19 forcing us to social distance as much as possible, many of us have had to transition into working from home. What was hoped to be a temporary measure has simply become a way of life for many. Even if you worked from home before the global pandemic, things have certainly become different. Those trips to a local cafe have been cut short and we’re now a lot more confined to our home offices. At least, those of us with home offices are. 

If you didn’t have a home office before COVID-19 hit, you’re almost certainly wishing you did. Why not get one? Premier Group Contractors can make working from home a lot easier for you with a little bit of renovation. Here’s how we can help.

Use What You’ve Got

As you may know, expanding your home can be a lot more expensive because of how much extra work and material it takes. Why not use what you’ve got? If your home has plenty of space, but not in the right places, Premier Group Contractors has the solution. We can simply take some of that space and move it around.

Here’s an example. If you have a guest room attached to a den and neither one needs 100% of their space, why not borrow some? First, we’d remove the wall between the guest room and den. Then, we’d build a new wall, further into the den’s original space, and one dividing what is basically an expanded guest room. In the end, the guest room and den are a bit smaller, but there’s now a new room between them.

This same principle as well as others can be applied all over the house. By moving around a wall here and a window there, we can redivide the existing space in the house to give you the office you really need.

Make Some More Space

If there’s not enough space to go around, we can always expand your home to accommodate an office. Taking some of that yard space to build on a gorgeous attached office is an easy exchange. Plus, by expanding, you have a lot more freedom to make your office exactly how you want it. You have a lot more choices for where to put the door, what shape and size you want it to be, and where its windows sit.

Outfit Your Office

There’s more to an office than just space. Making sure your office is built for its purpose takes a little bit  more than that. Premier Group Contractors has the expertise to give it everything you need.

  • Giving it that hardwood or luxury vinyl tile that you need to comfortably move your office chair is a no-brainer.
  • Placing windows or moving old ones may be something that’s necessary for you. We want you to be able to get sunlight without causing light glare on your computer screen.
  • Built in shelving is a great way to store files, books, manuals, records, and more. It’s more stable than cheap, store-bought shelving and is built to match the room’s design.

When you’re ready to upgrade your home to accommodate working there, Premier Group Contractors is here to help. Move your desk out of your living room and make working from home easy and comfortable.

The Benefits of Adding Interior Walls to a Stone House

If you own a stone or brick house, you may never have considered the possibility of adding interior walls. In truth, many wouldn’t even consider it, knowing the benefits. Brick and stone walls are incredibly beautiful to look out. However, they do have some drawbacks, and Premier Group Contractors wants to tell you a bit about them. So, why should you consider adding interior walls to your stone house?

Insulation

The first and most important reason to consider adding interior walls to your stone house is the matter of insulation. Raw stone and brick do a very poor job of insulating. As a matter of fact, clay – as in bricks – is porous. Yes, even when fired. That makes brick a very poor material to have as your only barrier from the elements. While it looks absolutely delightful, it’s not doing you a service.

With modern brick houses, the building is made with two layers of brick with a gap between them. This is superior to a single-layer brick wall for many reasons. This gap can be filled with spray foam insulation to improve interior temperature regulation. However, some older brick houses don’t have the same double-layer. While these houses use other means to improve weight-bearing, these solutions don’t improve the insulation issue.

To improve insulation, you can coat brick or stone walls with damp proofing and build an interior wall. The interior wall involves building a wooden frame that lines the stone or brick and then adding insulation and drywall. This massively improved insulation and also gives you a new inner wall.

Interior Temperature Regulation

One of the primary reasons to consider adding interior walls is to help regulate the temperature of your home interior. No one likes being freezing cold in winter or overheated in summer. Having poorly insulated walls is going to guarantee temperature issues during less than ideal weather.

Plus, when you have bad temperature regulation in your home, it costs you big time. That brings us to the second reason why you should consider adding interior walls to your stone or brick home. You can save money on electric or gas, which can get expensive when trying to keep up with bad insulation. Stop running your heater nonstop throughout the winter. Instead, give your heater a house that can actually keep all of its hard work within its walls, rather than leeching out into the environment.

More Customizable

While it’s somewhat of a side convenience, adding interior walls does make your home more customizable. While you have to say goodbye to the exposed brick, you can say hello to painting, wallpaper, molding, and easier mounting. Being able to easily nail or screw things into your wall makes decorating ten times easier. So, with your new interior walls, mount your TV or hang a painting, all while staying at a comfortable temperature. Premier Group Contractors is happy to help.

Don’t Fall Into These 6 House Remodeling Traps!

 

 

While the opportunity to remodel your home is definitely exciting, it pays to look before you jump. That’s because there are some expensive traps you don’t want to get caught in:

 

Stretching your budget to the limit

The future is unpredictable and the only way you can factor in what can go wrong is by setting aside a cushion to help you weather the storm. So when you come up with your budget, it’s vital that you leave room for a contingency fund.

 

Skipping detailed quotes from contractors

When it comes to big-ticket items like remodeling your home, there’s no such thing as too much information. You need as much information as you can get to make informed decisions that will net you the renovation results you want. So don’t be afraid to ask contractors to break down their quotes line by line.

 

Paving over existing architectural details

Remodeling a house doesn’t mean demolishing everything old to make way for the new. Take a step back to look at the existing architectural details of your home and point out the ones you find attractive. This approach helps you preserve some of the original charm of the house and its architectural style as you complement them with your personal touch.

 

Overlooking your day-to-day lifestyle

Whether it’s the appliances or construction materials you choose, make sure every decision is made with your day-to-day lifestyle in mind. Will this choice fit with how you like to live each day? If it does affect your daily habits, will it be a positive change?

 

Sticking with the same layout

Dare to be creative! Renovation is so much more than just updating everything – you can completely transform the layout if you want! If something about the old layout bugged you all the time, just design the problems away. Many of the most impressive interior design layouts are often conceptualized through this problem-solving method.

 

Prioritizing style over function

Appearance isn’t everything and that’s especially crucial to remember during remodeling projects. Placing a greater emphasis on function means you’ll get a design that’s actually practical. When you’ve gotten the practicalities in order, you can then move on to making them beautiful.

 

Once you’ve taken the time to find a way around these traps, you’re well on your way to a successful house remodeling!

The Best Spring Renovation Projects for Your Home

 

 

Just when it seems like winter will never end, it’s finally looking a bit like spring out there! With a change in season comes the task of deciding what renovation projects to tackle next for your home.

 

Here are the ones that make the best use of the weather warming up:

 

Backyard deck or patio

Although you technically can always wait till the start of summer to do this, the benefit of finishing it early in spring is that you’ll get a lot more use out of it when BBQ season rolls around. In any case, the ground is usually easy enough to dig into once the spring thaw starts happening.

 

Landscaping

Landscaping work goes on into the summer as well, but it begins right at spring. Again, the soil is soft enough by this time to work with. Preparations for spring landscaping means first cleaning up the yard from debris that had been buried in the snow all winter. Next, move on to planning out how you want the landscaping to look for the rest of the year. If a garden is part of the design, then you also have to start planting seeds.

 

Repair winter damages

The winter season can wreak havoc on your house if you don’t keep an eye on things. Most winter damage occurs from the expansion of ice crystals where water tends to accumulate. So as soon as spring arrives, re-seal all the doors and windows to fill in any air leaks. That will also help your air conditioners work efficiently in the summer.

On the outside, make sure the gutters are clean and that there aren’t any junk blocking the drainage path. On the inside, get a professional to check on the plumbing and fix damages.

 

Renovate bathroom

If the plumbing needs to be repaired anyway, it’s a bonus reason for bathroom renovations. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to put in bathroom features that will boost your home value. Doing your bathroom renovations in spring will also prepare your bathroom for heavier use during the hot summer season.

 

Refinish hardwood floors

Now that winter is on its way out, you won’t have to deal with dirty slush tracking all over the floors. By taking advantage of this time to refinish your hardwood floors, they will actually stand a better chance of looking nicer longer.

 

Let’s roll up our sleeves and prepare for the arrival of May flowers soon!

7 Tricks to Visually Enlarge Your Living Space

 

 

No matter how much thought you put into your home renovation to create more space, there’s not much you can do if you’re constrained by a small house on a small lot.

 

But even though you may not be able to squeeze more space out of it, there are still some illusion tricks you can use to visually enlarge your living space:

 

Maximize storage space

If you already have a small house in the first place, then it’s all the more crucial to make every inch count. You’d be surprised at how a little creative remodel can pack a kitchen to the brim and turn a basement into storage haven.

 

Let in natural light

The more natural light you let in, the more open the room will feel.  Go for large windows and even put in a skylight or solar tube if you have to. Whatever you do, try to leave the windows uncovered or at least use solar shades or sheer curtains as the window treatments.

 

Bring attention to the ceiling

You can make the room seem taller by guiding people’s sightlines to the ceiling. Use vertical patterns on the wall like vertical shiplap or wainscoting. Another good trick is installing a floor-to-ceiling bookcase or, even simpler, mounting hanging shelves near the ceiling.

 

Neutral or light colour scheme

You’ll want to stay away from dark colour schemes as those are used for a more enclosed and intimate feel. Stick with neutral or light colour shades and the room will open up to a comfortable brightness for everyone.

 

Light it up with lamps or sconces

Ceiling lights will create the illusion of a lower ceiling, which further cramps the room. Instead, use sconce lights as ambience lighting while floor or table lamps can serve as the room’s functional lighting.

 

Get the right furniture

When choosing furniture for a small living space, opt for those that are multi-functional. This will save on space big time. Try to find furniture pieces with exposed raised legs as the visible space underneath them reinforces the open feeling of the room. Also, make sure the upholstery is done in light, solid colours. If you really want some patterns, go with those that are minimal and less busy.

 

Put up mirrors

This is a classic space-enlarging trick. It all depends on where you place them. Ideally, you’ll want them across from a window to bounce natural light around the room. They’re also great behind large furniture pieces to make them less imposing in the room.

 

Besides taking full advantage of these tricks, remember to keep a regular de-cluttering schedule! That in itself will go a long way in making your living space seem larger.

Here’s Your House Key to Energy Efficiency Success

 

 

With every renovation project that you take up, take small steps to strive for net-zero energy housing standards. By always thinking about how you can make your house more energy-efficient, both the environment and your utility-bill savings will thank you.

 

Here’s how you can get started:

 

Heating and cooling efficiency

It’s crucial to first make sure that you stop all current and potential air leaks in your house. That means reinforcing or replacing weather strips around your windows and doors. It also means going further by covering air leaks around electrical sockets, pipe cut-outs, dryer vents, and even pot lights that stick out into the attic.

Next, you’ll want to find the best insulation options for your house and shore them up. You should also think about changing your furnace to an energy-efficient one. For greater efficiency, make sure that your HVAC system is connected to smart thermostats that you can program around your work schedule.

Don’t forget about radiant floor heating either! Often times, it’s your feet that feel the coldest so warming them up may be all that’s needed. Radiant floor heating does that with less energy use than turning up the thermostat.

 

Water conservation

Rather than going with a standard toilet, a low-flow or dual-flush toilet is one of the biggest water conversation investments you can make in the house. Continue the same theme with the installation of low-flow showerheads and aerators on all faucets. By watching water consumption in your house, you’ll also do your part in conserving the decreasing global fresh water supply.

 

Electricity savings

This last part addresses your day-to-day electricity use. With electricity being such an essential part of modern life, it pays to find ways to use it more efficiently. A major upgrade you can consider is adding renewable energy sources like solar panels to your home. They’ll help offset your electricity bills since you won’t have to draw as much from the city’s electrical grid. And if you end up producing more electricity than you use, you may even be able to sell the excess back to your electric company.

Modern life also comes with an ever-increasing number of electronic devices in the household. Even when they’re not in use though, they still draw standby power. Prevent this by plugging them into smart power bars. Another significant way you can save on electricity is to switch to LED lighting throughout your house.

 

Finally, before implementing any energy-efficient initiative, see if it’s eligible for Toronto’s Home Energy Loan Program (HELP)!

What to Watch Out For When Renovating Older Houses

 

 

From mid-century houses to those built even earlier, they all have their charms. Maybe it’s the one-of-a-kind craftsmanship or architectural details that draw you. Or maybe it’s the beauty in its aged finishing materials.

 

Whatever moved your choice to settle in an older house, there are some specifics you should watch out for when you get down to renovating:

 

Damaged foundation

Time takes its toll on everything and it’s evident in a lot of older houses. With the foundation holding up everything for so long, there’s bound to be cracks you should be wary about. It also doesn’t help when mid-century house foundations were built with cinder blocks instead of sturdier cement ones. Depending on how damaged the foundation is, you’ll have to factor in the high costs of repairing it or most likely pouring a new foundation altogether.

 

Hazardous building materials

There’s a reason why building codes are always evolving. We often don’t realize until years down the road that the construction materials and methods we use are actually not as safe as we thought.

Older houses are full of questionable and even downright hazardous materials. Be on the lookout for lead-based paint as well as lead presence in plumbing pipes. And, of course, be extra careful with asbestos as it’s a common hazardous construction material used on houses in the old days. If traces of these hazardous materials are found, they should be removed by professionals only.

 

Corrosion-prone galvanized pipes

Besides getting rid of lead, you should also check if your plumbing is made from galvanized pipes. Galvanized pipes are no longer in use because they’re prone to corrosion and eventually clogging. If you have galvanized pipes for plumbing, you should think about replacing them with PVC or copper ones.

 

Unsafe electrical system

Our household electricity needs have increased massively since the last century. If old electrical boxes are not brought up to code to handle modern appliances and electronics, they’ll be safety hazards that run the risk of electrical fires starting. On top of upgrading the electrical box, make sure as well that all electrical outlets are grounded.

 

Single-pane windows

Windows are a major source of heat loss in a house and even more so if they’re single-pane windows often found in older houses. It’s always a good idea to invest in double-pane windows for better insulation and future heat cost-savings.

 

Odd floorplans

Tastes in living spaces change over the years so you may have to reconfigure room layouts to suit your needs. For example, houses back in the day tend to have smaller rooms. If you want larger rooms, you can knock down some non-load-bearing walls to combine small rooms together. Again, you should always leave that to a professional to handle for safety’s sake.

Keep in mind too that older houses mean a long history of multiple owners who had different standards for home improvements. As renovations are under way, you may find it necessary to fix or even completely overhaul some features so that everything is done properly. That can be an expensive exercise in and of itself.

 

The key to renovating older houses is finding that sweet balance between preserving the house’s character and remodeling with modern materials. And that can sometimes lead to treasure hunts for original construction materials at salvage stores! Whatever you do, ask your general contracting company for advice. By talking about what you’d like to preserve in the house, you have lots of opportunities to hash out some creative ideas together.

4 Steps to Budget for Your Next Home Renovation

 

 

Committing to a home renovation is a big deal. While it’s much more exciting to dream about the new changes to your home, it’s important to make sure you have a solid budget for the project.

 

It’ll go a long way in ensuring a smooth renovation and there’s only four steps to it:

 

1) Know what you want

Take the time to write out exactly what you’d like to be done on the renovation. By sitting down to outline what’s most important to you, it’ll be clear where the focus should be. Should you start on the kitchen, bathroom or basement first? There are also advantages to renovating more than one room at the same time. How extensive will the renovations be? Is it a complete gut and remodel? Or do you only want to swap out the finishing?

After your wishlist is finalized, split it into two sections: “Top-Priority Features” and “Nice-to-Have Features”. This will come in handy later on if you have to cut back on what you want done.

 

2) Get a rough estimate of the costs for what you want

Talk to your friends and neighbours who have recently done renovations that are similar in scope. Ask how much it cost them. Then, based on your renovation to-do list, request a quote from your local general contracting company. In addition to labour and permits, don’t forget to discuss how material purchases will be handled as well. You may also want to compare quotes and references of other general contractors to get a better range of what’s out there.

 

3) Review your financial situation

Do you have enough in your savings to cover the estimated costs as well as an extra cushion for contingencies? If not, how much do you need to make up the difference? Once you know how much more you need, it’s time to decide whether you want to reach that figure through financing or saving up for it.

Financing, for instance, includes options like home equity line of credits (HELOCs) or loans from the bank. Before locking yourself into a new financing plan though, always make sure that your income level now and in the foreseeable future can handle repaying the debt plus interest. That means the loan repayments won’t impact your major house and food expenses, while still leaving room enough for contributions to your savings.

If you’re not comfortable with financing, then saving up is the best way to go. It may sound tedious, but you’ll actually get there a lot faster than you think with a good system in place. First, figure out how much you’re able to squirrel away every month after your non-negotiable expenses are taken out of your paychecks. Then divide how much you more you need for renovations by the monthly amount you’re able to save. That will give you the number of months you need to save up for the renovation.

With that goal set, you just have to make sure you stay diligent in your monthly savings. The most reliable way is arranging automatic monthly transfers to an account set aside for the renovation. Sometimes, that may also mean cutting back on some of your entertainment expenses. It’s worth it though in the end because you know you’re saving up for a good cause!

 

4) Keep a budget-tracking process in place

Pre-set reminders for yourself to regularly check up on how much of your budget is spent as the renovation progresses. You can make it as advanced as a spreadsheet tracking all the invoices as they come in. Or it can be as simple as touching base regularly with your contractor to get cost updates.

Tracking your budget for the whole project duration helps you minimize any surprises when the renovation is completed. It also lets you predict if the project will go over-budget. If that’s the case, that’s when you have to take a hard look at which nice-to-have features should be removed from the to-do list.

 

With the budget side of things now taken care of, keep the momentum going by preparing your house for the big remodel!

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