Should I renovate or build new? Clients often come to us with this question. Below is a slideshow and video that we created for The Home Reno Show last year that we hope will shed some light on this topic.
If you have any further questions don't hesitate to contact us today about your renovation!
It's no secret that Vancouver aims to be the greenest city by 2020, especially with it's recent implementation of the North American Fenstration Standard (NAFS) and the BC Step Code. We are now turning to the passive house standard which was first developed in Central Europe to get us closer to our goal.
Passive building achieves energy efficiency primarily through an airtight envelope (the physical structures like walls, roofs, and windows that separate the exterior and interior of a building). Energy modeling is done to determine the energy performance of both the whole building and its individual elements which optimizes the building's performance. Here are the main factors that contribute to a passive house:
1. Proper Insulation: All edges, corners, connections and penetrations must be planned with special care in order to meet the building's design requirements.
2. Air Tightness: Ensuring the least amount of penetrations in a home to be the most air tight.
3. No Thermal Bridges: Escaping heat follows the path of lease resistance. Thermal bridging generally occurs when there's a break in, or penetration of the building envelope (e.g. insulation). Thermal bridges can also be found at:
4. Proper Windows: Usually triple paned windows are installed to help reduce thermal bridging and the loss of heat.
5. Proper Orientation: The home should be placed in such a way so that the sun can heat the house during the Winter and shade is provided in the Summer.
6. Use of a proper Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) System: This provides the inside of the home with fresh air without letting the heat out and reduces the number of penetrations in a home.
7. Heating is supplied by your body heat, the sun, your appliances, light bulbs, and even your TV!
Passive homes use up to 85 percent less energy for heating and cooling than the average home. It is also net-zero which means it produces the same amount of energy as it consumes. Although you may be spending more initially on materials and systems that go into your home, you will save money in the long term on your heating bill and help preserve the environment!
If you have any further questions or would like to discuss your next project, please feel free to contact us. For more information regarding passive house, please visit Passive House Canada.
Are you planning on building a duplex in Vancouver? Here's a brief list of benefits and drawbacks to consider.
What is a Duplex?
A duplex is a single residential property with two dwellings under one roof and a dividing wall between the two living spaces. Each side of the wall is a completely separate home, with its own entrance, parking space, yard and amenities. Usually duplexes are on one title, meaning both halves must be sold together, however, there are times when a duplex can be subdivided into two separate titles and each home sold separately.
What Are the Benefits?
What Are the Drawbacks of Building a Duplex?
As you can see the benefits greatly outweigh the drawbacks for building a duplex in Vancouver.
If you're considering building a duplex, contact us today to discuss your project.
There are many options out in the market for siding materials today. In this blog post we take a look at the pros and cons of fiber cement siding and why we choose to use the popular brand James Hardie.
As you can see the benefits of James Hardie fiber cement siding greatly outweigh the cons. This is why JDL Homes uses this material on majority of our projects. For more information on this product please visit their website, here.
Kitsilano Multi-Generational Duplex Built with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) & Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)
You may recall two blogs we had previously shared, one was titled "Why JDL Homes uses Nudura Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)" and the other was titled "Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)". The home that we have built in Kitsilano using these two building methods is now completed and the home owners couldn't be happier! Below are some progress shots of thjis new build.
Walking into a tile showroom can be as overwhelming as it is inspiring. The displays are spectacular, but there are so many options, at so many price points to choose from. Below is a pros and cons list of common types of tiles to help you get a better sense of them and their applications.
What is it? Porcelain tile is a type of ceramic tile that is fired at a higher temperature than standard ceramic, making it denser and less porous.
Best for: Use stain- and impact-resistant porcelain tiles on floors, walls, backsplashes. It’s easy to clean and comes in a wide variety of styles.
But: It requires a special setting material designed to adhere non-porous materials—DIYers often buy the wrong one. Check with the manufacturer to be sure you’re using the recommended adhesive.
What is it? A mix of clay, minerals, and water, ceramic tiles are fired at high temperatures. Glazed styles are then treated with a liquid glass coating and fired again, creating a hard, stain- and scratch-resistant surface. Unglazed tiles are sometimes referred to as “quarry” tiles.
Best for: Ceramic tile is typically affordable, durable, easy to install and comes in a nearly endless array of colors and designs.
But: Colors can vary from lot to lot and ceramic is not ideal for high impact areas. Handmade or “art” tiles can be extremely pricey.
What is it? Thin pieces of glass sold individually or as a mosaic, sometimes with other types of tile, on a mesh backing.
Best for: Colorful, reflective, easy-to-clean glass tile is best for walls and backsplashes. Some glass tile is rated for use on floors. The wide range of colors gives glass tile great “wow” factor.
But: It can be expensive and difficult to install. Because the tiles are transparent, the adhesive is visible through the tile. Unless you’re highly skilled, getting professional-looking results is difficult for a DIYer.
What is it? Hand or machine pressed one at a time, using mineral pigments, cement, a mold, and an hydraulic press. The pigment composition is a mixture of high quality white Portland cement, marble powder, fine sand, and natural mineral colour pigments. They are expected to have slight imperfections, which give them character and depth.
Best for: Best for accent walls or floors as they typically have a design split between 4 tiles to create an overall pattern.
But: They can be very porous so not recommended for wet areas and may require special sealing products. Because they are cement based they are prone to damage from acids and etching, etc. The patterns may also be "trendy" and may not be as timeless as other tile options on the market.
What is it? Pieces of natural stone—granite, slate, travertine, marble, onyx, sandstone, to name a few—cut into thin, regular pieces, stone tile has a rich, one-of-a-kind look.
Best for: Use stone on walls, backsplashes, or floors. Get the look of a granite countertop for less by using granite tiles instead of a slab.
But: Most stone tile can be damaged by exposure to water, pigment, or acid, so be prepared for extra maintenance. Seal on installation and reseal every 10 years.
With any tile be sure to follow the manufacturer's installation guidelines for wall preparation, setting materials, & setting technique used. Ultimately if a product isn't installed properly it will fail. Be sure to hire a professional to ensure it gets done right the first time around!
What is it?
The Province of British Columbia has committed to taking incremental steps to increase energy-efficiency requirements in the BC Building Code to make buildings net-zero energy ready by 2032. The BC Energy Step Code--a part of the BC Building Code--supports that effort.
How does it work? The BC Energy Step Code takes a new, performance-based approach rather than the traditional prescriptive approach. The BC Energy Step Code does not specify how to construct a building, but identifies an energy-efficiency target that must be met and lets the designer/builder decide how to meet it.
To comply with the BC Energy Step Code, builders must use energy modelling software and on-site testing to demonstrate that both their design and the constructed building meet the requirements of the BC Energy Step Code. The new standard empowers builders to pursue innovative, creative, cost-effective solutions, and allows them to incorporate leading-edge technologies as they come available.
The BC Energy Step Code also supports consumer choice, by allowing designers and builders to use natural gas, electricity, or other energy sources for their project without imposing a penalty on this decision. This fuel-neutral approach provides builders with the flexibility to make energy-efficient buildings using all available technologies.
Is it required? The BC Energy Step Code is currently a voluntary standard builders across B.C. can use. In addition, local governments can choose to require or encourage builders to meet one or more steps of the BC Energy Step Code as an alternative to the BC Building Code’s prescriptive requirements.
When does it take effect? The BC Energy Step Code came into force in April 2017 so builders have the option of building to the requirements in the Energy Step Code at any time. Local governments can set bylaw requirements for builders to meet one or more steps effective December 15, 2017 (when local governments’ authority to set technical building requirements by bylaw will change under the Building Act).
How does this affect a new build?
The new energy efficiency requirements will affect some of the things in a new build in order to comply. Such items include:
All of these items add to the cost of a new build and should be taken into consideration in your overall budget. There may also be increased lead times depending on the products/materials specified and where they're manufactured.
For more information visit: www.energystepcode.ca or contact us today!
To view or download the Best Practices Guide, click the icon below:
Fall has arrived and we're setting our sights on the following trends.
1. Relaxing Retreats: Create a cozy atmosphere with a mixture of comfortable furniture and woven textiles. You can add a chair to a corner to create an instant reading nook or hang a hammock with layered blankets. Make sure to keep the room tech-free to create the ultimate sanctuary. A calm space where one can relax and unwind from daily stresses never goes out of style!
2. Velvet Furniture: Velvet feels luxurious and welcoming for fall and winter, and when combined with rough natural textures (think reclaimed wood and woven baskets) and smooth metals and ceramics, it adds visual interest and tactile coziness to a room. If you don't have the budget for velvet upholstered furniture you can get a similar look by using velvet pillows!
3. Blush Accents: We've been seeing a lot of blush in the fashion scene and it's made it's way to interiors.
Blush is the latest trend and we can see why. Soft, feminine, and pairs nicely with brass accents! If designing your whole room around this trend is too much, try incorporating the colour through artwork, throw pillows, an area rug, or even a piece of furniture to be the focal point.
4. Dark Paint & Brass Accents: This season is all about DRAMA! Not only are we seeing more and more walls with dark moody colours, but we're coming across millwork with the same affect. Brass is the new copper and it's pairs beautifully with a dark painted cabinets giving the ultimate luxe feel.
5. Statement Ceilings: Adding to the drama of dark paints mentioned previously, statement ceilings are becoming a more popular feature in many homes. Whether textured wallpaper, tin or embossed foam ceiling tile, shiplap, wooden beams, or a bold paint color, homeowners are adding texture to the often overlooked "fifth wall".
Why buy vinyl flooring?
With advances in design and performance features, vinyl is a stylish, easy-to-clean flooring choice for any home. It fits every budget and there are an array of patterns and colours to choose from. When installed correctly over the proper subflooring, vinyl is extremely resistant to dents, scratches, and stains. Below are additional pros & cons of vinyl flooring to consider.
While vinyl flooring is low maintenance and highly durable, there are also a number of drawbacks that are associated with this material. Of these, its ecological impact on the personal and world environment may be the most notable.
In a lot of instances, it is common to have hardwood flooring on the main and upper floors while vinyl plank is installed in the basement. This offsets the cost of hardwood flooring and ensures that the flooring is easily repairable if it gets damaged by tenants in the suite.
If outdoor entertaining is a priority for you and your family here are some ideas to incorporate into the design of your next home or renovation that will be sure to catch everyone's attention.
1. Bring the outdoors in: If the budget allows, installing folding doors or a moving glass wall system off of your living space is a great way to maximize your living space and increase natural light. It showcases stunning views and will make a bold statement in any home.
2. Comfortable furniture: Dedicating a seating or dining area with cozy furniture is a must for anyone who loves entertaining outdoors. Be sure to select furniture suitable for exterior applications which have exterior grade fabrics for easy maintenance and can withstand the elemental forces e.g. sun and rain.
3. Stay warm: You may want to consider incorporating a fireplace or fire pit into your outdoor design. There are also some instances where recessed or ceiling mounted infrared gas soffit heaters are installed for a clean look. For an extra level of comfort, be sure to have blankets or throws handy so the party can go on throughout the night!
4. Lush landscaping, water features, & lighting: Incorporate some nice landscaping or a water feature to bring a nice tranquil vibe to your outdoor space. Be sure to account for exterior lighting that will give you mutli-level lighting which provides a nice backdrop for any get together.
5. Clear unobstructed views: If your home has spectacular views consider having frameless glass railings for optimal unobstructed views.
6. Outdoor Kitchen: If you like to cook consider having an outdoor kitchen equipped with a BBQ and sink. It's true what they say, most parties often end up in the kitchen! It's another great place where people can gather and socialize.
For more ideas contact us to discuss your next project, we'd love to see how we can make your dreams a reality!
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