Considering the record amounts of rain we’ve been receiving around the city, we thought we’d put together an quick post on ways to flood and leak proof your home. Many homeowners in Toronto are facing some serious basement and flooding damage. We’ve come up with a few tips to prevent future damage.
Identify the Problem
First thing’s first. Identify problem areas on your property that are prone to accumulating water. Note the grading of your lot and any slight angles or hills that facilitate water collecting in particular areas. If your lot is prone to collecting pools of water, it may be worth investing in ways to diverts excess water away from the foundation of the home into a water basin or dry-well. Also make sure that your roof is draining away from foundation walls.
Older Construction Homes
Further, many older homes in Toronto were not built with weeping tiles which is an essential components of a foundation drainage system. Weeping tiles are pipes that are installed below grade, buried under gravel, filter cloth and then soil.
Water that collects in the surrounding soil drains down into the weeping tile pipe, which diverts the water into a storm sewer or sump pump, or into a dry-well (a drywell is generally a wide and deep hole filled with gravel, used to store excess water.) Weeping tile is installed around the perimeter of the foundation of the home.
If your home does not have functioning weeping tile that drains either into storm sewers or a sump pump, you should think about making an investment in having them installed.
And there it is. Remember, adequate drainage is an essential.
It may not seem like much, but it’s weeks like this that will put your home’s drainage systems to the test. Prior to 1980, weeping tiles and sump pumps were not mandatory, so keep an eye out on your drainage especially if you are living in an older home- as there is a chance it has not yet been addressed.
Article posted by: Dan Kligman, Walden’s summer intern.
Removing walls to create the open concept living spaces that so many homeowners around Toronto are looking for today requires more than just a vision. Working hand in hand with our Structural Engineers, the photo above showcases a Walden Home renovation where the existing structure had to be removed and replaced.
The design process for a project such as this is as follows:
Review existing structure to determine viability
Prepare shoring plan to support structure as changes are happening
Design new structural elements that will allow for the clear spans needed
Note: The clear spans allow for a larger room, inclusive of kitchen, dining room, living space, which is all combined without walls or posts
In this specific project, we are currently in the process of removing all existing main floor and second floor walls and floor joists.
The plan is to add only a very small mudroom on the main floor, while everything else is being worked into the existing footprint, which is only 1,600 square feet, excluding the basement.
Squeezing every inch out of the house requires very precise design. The layer below the visible design is what allows the open spaces to happen. This is a perfect example of top to bottom structural engineering. The basement is underpinned, the roof structure is re-engineered with steel and other structural elements are designed to maximize spans so that dividing walls are not required.
Project Goal: Better use of space, more flexible layout and a more seamless connection between spaces.
Planning and finishing basements are part of the work that we do in renovating or building new homes.
Besides the living, storage and functional space that a basement provides, most of the important house systems can be found in the basement.
What we mean by "systems" are things like waterproofing, sanitary drains, a back-flow preventer, the electrical panel, the water shut off, a sump pump, a furnace or boiler, the hot water tank, the foundations, window wells, the radiant heating manifold, an HRV, humidification, air cleaner, the alarm control panel and others. Then there are bulkheads, bench footings, floor drains and other components to think about.
Planning your new home renovation or new custom home requires an understanding of these systems and how they impact the house in general, as well as the basement specifically.
As project managers, we work with architects, designers, engineering and various specialty contractors to make sure that all the components work together cohesively. Getting the systems right and positioned out of the way allows you to enjoy the comfort of a well-designed basement.
Who cares about wearable tech? Smart Homes are the future now! Technology for the home is expanding faster than ever – people want to use it to make their lives easier, their homes safer, and to automate the little things in their lives.
We take a look at the coolest tech details to make living easy in your high tech fortress.
Use Bluetooth To Light Your Home
Yes, there’s technology coming our way that makes creating mood lighting easier than ever before. Bluetooth lighting allows you to control the lighting of any room from your phone. It also brings possibilities that extend beyond lighting – like controlling outlets or snapping a picture of anyone who knocks on your door.
Siri isn’t the only tech you’ll be talking to soon. With tech like Nucleus and Ubi you can control your home by talking to it. Nucleus acts as an in-home audio and video intercom and controls other smart home products. Ubi boasts a voice control for your home that learns your commands over time that can control music, temperature, and lighting.
Forget to lock your doors? Lost your keys? Lockitron lets you lock and unlock your doors with your iPhone. It is the future of keyless entry. Dropcam, a Nest company, secures your home from anywhere, allowing you to check in anytime or use it as a baby or pet monitor.
Have you started getting your home ready for the future?
Did you know that approximately 65% of the water consumption in your home takes place in the bathroom, mainly through toilet flushing and bathing (Environment Canada and Water Efficiency Master Plan).
If your home was built before 1996 (and you haven't changed your toilet), chances are your toilet is using 13 to 20 litres of water every time you flush.
On average, a person flushes the toilet five times each day, which means that approximately 65 to 100 litres of water per person/per day is used just flushing these older toilets.
If you replaced your showerhead before 1996 and you haven't made any upgrades, your shower could be using up to 20 litres of water per minute. For a 10-minute shower, this means you’re using 200 litres of water.
Letting the water run while you brush your teeth could waste as much as 16 litres of water, i.e. 2 minutes times 8.3 litres/min.
Moral of the story: Be mindful of how you’re consuming water in your home and invest in new, efficient toilets and showerheads.
This purpose of this cost report is to help you understand the cost required to replace a roof. There is no one average house in Toronto or any one type of roof. For the purposes of our report, we are using a 1,800 square foot home found in many areas of North Toronto (as pictured below). We will outline the cost for a quality installation done by a professional roofing contractor.
The average Toronto homeowner should expect to pay between $10,000-$11,000 for a well-installed, asphalt roof in a downtown home of 1800 square feet. This amount would include materials, labour and the cost of disposal of the existing shingles. This includes quality underlayment below the shingles that acts as waterproof membrane. This would be installed on the critical areas and it is often suggested that this membrane is installed on the entire roof. The additional cost at the time of installation is well worth it.
The small details that go into a well installed roof is the difference between a $5,000 low ball quote and $10,000 well installed professional roofing job
There could be small incremental cost increases or options if you select a limited lifetime architectural shingle (average one has a 25 year life). An increase to limited lifetime would result in a cost increase of 10%, $1000 (worth while), for a total of $11,000.
There are a number of critical areas (in and around the eaves, skylights, valleys) that are particularly vulnerable to problems. These would be areas that get treated differently if you go for a standard $5,000 roof from a lesser known roofer or a $11,000 quality architectural shingle from a well-known commercial roofer.
The pitch (or degree of slope) come into to play, as well. Steeper roofs are more difficult to work on and will cost more. Very low pitched roofs require a special low sloped roof and should include a protective underlayment of ice and watershield. The “typical Toronto” roof would have a 9 ½ pitch.
If Repairing Your Roof Is An Option
When having your a roof repaired, it is in the best interest of the homeowner to repair it in sections, so that the entire section can be warrantied. Rather than just a very localized patch, replace a full section of the roof. This way you have your peace of mind knowing this entire section will be set for the next 25 years. For instance, homes commonly incur south and westside roof damage due to the direction of the sun, so these sections can be replaced wholly on their own by entire section. This approach to repairs will extend the overall life of your roof.
As you can see, depending on the extent of work you would like to do to your roof , the cost of the job can vary. We would suggest that if you are looking into standard roof replacement, work with a quality shingle and work with a well-known roofer (commercial, well-reviewed, etc). The underlayment and other details will add to the intial cost, but in our opinion, will make for a roof that will perform much better. Finally, if you are repairing your roof, be sure to do it in sections for warranty purposes and for your own peace of mind.
The Walden Team
Information for this report was provided by Phil Gilmore from Raymore Exteriors Corp.
When it comes to organization and saving space, one of the most practical solutions is to explore the various ways of making use of built-in storage. Regardless of the room or space you are working with, built-in storage solutions are not only practical, they can also be incredibly attractive and trendy.
This family room pictured above showcases built-in sections that measure at just over 16 feet in length. There are four sections in total, with each measuring just over four feet. In this particular case, the six large drawers on the bottom are used for storing games, kids toys, and other various items that are easily accessible. However, they can also be used for items such as DVDs, play consoles, magazines, etc.
The four upper cabinets are used less frequently. These areas can also be used to store more seasonal things such as vases, trays, light bulbs or other house hold items. The extra areas beside the television offer extra shelving space to showcase trophies, books, keepsakes, and other items that are likely to be on display.
On the left, the tall section cabinet is used for brooms, vacuums, and other cleaning items. It can also be a good place to hide more shelves to store smaller items as well. The built-in storage unit keeps the design and layout of this family room looking streamlined, chic and organized. It creates a functional space. It is also a great way to keep things organized for families with small children.
What room in your home needs an organization makeover?
Our Bannatyne renovation has progressed nicely. The roofing is completed and the windows were installed late December. The weather has been really cold (only just starting to warm up!) so we were really happy about getting the house closed in prior the break for the holidays.
We walked through the house last weekend with the owners and they were so happy with the overall layout. Seeing it on paper is one thing, but actually walking into the house and experiencing it is very different.
The house feels large and really well proportioned. The ceiling heights have been increased on the main floor from 8 to 9 feet. This makes a huge difference. The large windows flood the house with natural light.
Take A Tour
Here are 2 videos where Rob walks us through the main and second floors of the house.
Back in the early 90s, I used to head down to the Building Department every Tuesday and Thursday to browse through new building permit applications. I was just getting Walden started. Sifting through the big red binders of permits at the City of Toronto’s Building Department was my best ways to generate new business.
This was way well before email, the internet and the iPhone.
Twice a week, I would call up homeowners listed on the application and see if we could give them a quote on their renovation. No one else was helping people out like this, so for a few years this approach really worked well. This practice got us off of the ground and helped lay the solid foundation that we’ve built Walden on.
We often took on challenges that were brand new to us which created new opportunities for growth and let us see exactly which kind of projects we were best suited for.
Finding The Right Fit
From this experience, we learned a lot about finding the right projects for our clients and ourselves. At the end of the day, it isn’t about projects having a certain scope or budget, but finding a client/builder fit. This is important for us and the homeowner – having a balanced relationship creates the circumstances necessary for a successful project.
25 years later, we still know how to focus on the right clients.
Not About The Size Of The Project
It’s never about big or small projects, but finding the perfect fit for everyone involved. We always look to form a partnership with every homeowner to join forces and accomplish great things with definable results by creating a shared goal.
This approach has helped us complete hundreds of interior and exterior projects over the years including tear downs, new builds, rebuilds, and additions of all shapes and sizes. Some projects have been as large as a 25 000 ft2 townhouse with 7 units at the corner of St. Clair and Spadina and as small as a bathroom reno that we’re currently completing for a client’s condo on the waterfront.
Large and small projects both require paying close attention to detail – we use BuildSmart to help with this.
BuildSmart is our project management platform that allows us to manage multiple projects in an efficient and organized way. We understand the value of transparency in the homebuilding and renovation process, so we always provide a complimentary iPad to our clients loaded with our PlanSmart and BuildSmart software.
This lets you monitor your project every step of the way and stay connected with us and our team.
Looking for the right fit for your project? Contact us.
The work on site this week at our Glenview renovation is spread throughout the house. Tile work is underway in the 4 bathrooms that are being re-done. Our trim carpenter is installing the new doors, casings and baseboards. In the living room, the mason has taken apart and is in the process of rebuilding the original wood burning fireplace.
There is a lot of great progress being made this week.
With double pocket doors, you get the best of both worlds, the design world's version of having your cake and eating it too. You get an open concept connection between 2 spaces while at the same time providing an option of privacy or seperation.
The double pocket door opening width can range from 5' up to 8'. The doors slide into the wall cavity. The big advantage is that the doors do not take up space within either room.
The door style itself can range to suit any style house or design treatment. The glass french doors pictured above allow for a visual connection even with the doors are closed. They are also useful for sound control when needed from time to time.
Double pocket doors are a great option for when a full open concept does not suit your lifestyle.
The Summers Are Getting Hotter. What are your options and how much will it cost to cool your home?
At Walden Homes, we understand that it can be difficult to do your research when it comes to finding out what the costs are for average home improvement projects. This blog post is the first in a new series that is meant to provide an average measure for homeowners to better get an idea of their budget.
To keep things simple, we will be using the following home as a “typical Toronto home” which readers can use as a measure to scale up or down from. This home pictured is roughly 20′ x 40′ in length. So 800 sq ft per floor. Overall it is 1,600 square feet plus the basement, making it around 2,400 sq. ft.
This post researches the costs of cooling our “typical home” during Toronto’s hot summer months. As the weather temperatures increase, more and more Torontonians are looking to stay cool when they are indoors. But what’s the average cost?
CENTRAL AIR (on existing forced air) - 3,000 sq. foot home
In a home that already has existing duct work in place, you would expect to pay $3,400 to $3,600 for the cooling equipment. If ductwork is required, the cost of installation will increase by $6,000 to $7,000.
This means that if you home currently has no existing ductwork , you would expect to pay something in the neighbourhood of $9,400 to $10,600 for the system and installation. There would be additional costs for “boxing” or closing up and finishing the areas where the ducting has been installed.
This can add another $4,000 to $5,000. Adding a forced air system with cooling will cost $13,000 to $16,000 factoring in all costs.
Central air is one of the more cost-effective routes to take, assuming that you have existing ductwork. If ductwork needs to be added, it may make more sense from a cost perspective to go with another system.
A Hi-Velocity system is an energy-efficient, high-pressure air delivery system that can be designed to provide heating, cooling, filtration, ventilation, humidification and dehumidification. It is popular in older homes with radiators that do not have ductwork. High velocity systems operate with “mini ducts” that are designed to be installed inside existing walls with minimal remodeling.
High velocity systems are a good option for those of you living in older homes with no pre-existing ductwork.. Our typical home would require a 2.5 ton system to cool the home. The cost of the equipment (cooling only) and installation is between $15,000 to $18,000. There should be minimal additional costs for repairs to walls and ceilings.
MINI SPLITS (SPLIT AIR CONDITIONING):
A ductless, mini-split system makes a good retrofit add-on to a house with a “non-ducted” heating systems such as hydronic (hot water heat), radiant panels, and space heaters. They can also be a good choice for room additions where extending or installing distribution ductwork is not feasible. It is also good for very efficient new homes that only require a small space conditioning system.
The units cost between $ 3,000 and $7,000 to purchase and install. Our typical home could be cooled using a single head system. The cost would be $4,000 to $5,000..
Geothermal technology is one of the most efficient and advanced ways to extract energy out of the ground to better heat or cool your home and save on your energy bill. It doesn’t need a compressor or a cooling component because it uses an extraction method from the ground and a fan to circulate through the house.
The cost to install a geothermal system installed is about $20,000 compared to the average $9,600 for installing a conventional forced air furnace and cooling system. The annual savings with earth-energy systems can range from 75-80% on your heating bill. Payback on the system can be reached after about three to five years after installationA geothermal system is about $20,000 compared to the average $9,600 for installing a conventional furnace system. The annual savings with earth-energy systems usually begin three years after installation.
We hope this information proves useful for you over the next hot couple months!
With all the wet cold weather, the plaster was not drying at one of our jobs and the tapers were falling behind schedule. Finding ways to keep a job on schedule is a big part of what we do as project managers.
This was the biggest fan we could find and it did the trick. Michael fired it up over night and it worked wonders. For a $267 weekly rental, the tapers are humming along again and will finish up right on time.
Check out this photo of one of our electricians working with an appliance installer on site earlier this week. They are currently in the middle of installing the cooktop and pop up vent into a new kitchen. This type of vent unit will drop down into the countertop and disappear when not in use. It is useful in this application, as it is installed into an open backed section of the kitchen.
Speaking of kitchens, take a look at this great Kitchens of the Future video we love.
There are 2 main classifications of hardwood flooring that get installed – site finished or pre-finished.
Site finished flooring like that in the picture above are installed earlier in the process than pre-finished floors.
With site finished floors, materials like cabinetry, trim, tile in adjoining rooms, painting, electrical finishing, counter top installation etc. all happen after the flooring is installed.
Then, just prior to completing the project, the floors are finished. The picture here shows the 1st stage of the 7 day process.
Our flooring contractor is sanding the hardwood floor, removing the top layer to expose the beautifully grained 3/4″ x 3 1/2″ white oak floors. Once the floors are perfectly smooth and every joint and seam filled, they get stained and treated with 3 coats of a protective finish. In the end, our client will have a custom coloured floor that is tightly finished and looking as perfect as a dining room table top.
Pre-finished flooring is generally installed at the end of the project. There is no site finishing required. Pre-finished floors do have some advantages over site finished, (i.e. there are additional layers of finish installed for durability) but in most cases, where timing permits, we tend to prefer the site finished option for the ability to custom colour and better control the fit between the floor and all surrounding finishes.
Walden loves Jimmy. Why, you may ask? Because he makes our work look great. Jimmy (and the rest of the crew) know how to create a finish that looks amazing. Clean, neat, nice to the touch. This doesn’t just happen. It takes ALOT of preparation, patience and attention to detail. Painting is an art.
Our clients love his work (he is part of a crew) and they love having him around. When you imagine a professional painter – Jimmy is the man.
He is pictured here working in a home in Forest Hill. The temperatures outside were cold this week at -15. The painters are fortunate this time of year, getting to stay out of the cold and have the house to themselves. Thye can work slow and methodically to prepare and perfect the wood trim, walls and ceilings.
The finished product (a beautiful home) that we deliver to our clients is impacted by the quality of the painter more than any other trade. Like I said – we love Jimmy.
In a recent blog post we showed you a house we are working on, exterior work in the winter within a tented and heated area.
Today we unveiled the house – tarps are done , house is looking great. Still have the front door to be replaced. This is happening later this month. Some other finishing touches still in progress but it is nice to get the scaffolding and tarps down .
Really exciting to the owners, neighbours and all of us involved in the project.
Check out these flush finish door jambs being installed. Here is Peter (Peter has worked with Walden Homes for nearly 20 years) installing a frameless door
kit called an “ez jamb”.
The end result will be a contemporary design detail with nice clean lines and no frame or casing around the door. The drywall finish will also be simple. Our client at this project is an architect (this is her house). Her house is built into what was an ice factory – some very interesting details. We will post more images of this project as this move along.
Peter was on site last week working ahead of the taping and plastering crew. The finished product will look like the above picture.
We wanted to provide a little “behind the scenes” look of how this detail is accomplished.