360renos - Home Improvement & Decor

How to make your home stand out when selling

We can help your house sell quickly and at a good price -- even in a slow market.

It takes a lot more than sparkling windows, scented candles and chocolate-chip cookies to sell a home in today's market.

Improvements should be made so that the property shows well, is consistent with the neighborhood and does not involve capital investments.

Beyond any doubt, the best investment you can make is new paint. Painting can make a room or an exterior façade look brand-new, and totally transform the look and feel of a room or the entire residence. It is always wise to be somewhat restrained when choosing colors for a home-staging paint project. Avoid choosing colors that are too individual or flashy and favor neutral colors and schemes. This does not mean painting everything white, however.

Use subtle color schemes to accentuate the home's strengths and minimize weaknesses. Dark colors, for example, tend to make a room feel smaller, while lighter colors and pastels can make a room feel bigger.

There is another benefit to painting as well: the process of preparing the interior or exterior surfaces of a home for painting automatically allows us to go over the entire area receiving paint in great detail, and this can often expose items or areas requiring repair. It seems you always discover where the caulking has let go, where the wall is dinged.

It is always preferable that we discover and deal with these items before the real estate agent (or worse, the prospective buyer) points them out to you!

Dave - 360renos

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Benjamin Moore Color Viewer

This versatile colour visualization program lets you experiment with colour to help you decide on a color. Preview colour selections and specialty finishes, on an interior or exterior home image chosen from the pictorial library, or upload images of your own home.
Benjamin Moore also has a free web version that you can try right now to preview colour selections and specialty finishes on an image from the pictorial library.

Benjamin Moore Color Viewer

Cheers 360renos

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Interior Paint Charges and Costs

Here are some factors to consider:

-First, paint and painting contractors are not fungible. They are not a commodity. In other words, the quality varies widely. How? A sloppy painter will get paint on your hinges and your hardware. An unexperienced painter won't know how to deal with rotted wood that needs repair. A careless painter will not show up on time or will delay your job or get the colors wrong.

-So, interior paint charges and costs reflect the quality of the painter and the paint used. My recommendation would be to get at least three quotes from painting contractors that have been referred to you by friends. Then, don't automatically go with the lowest. Consider how much headache you're willing to tolerate.

-Other issues that are reflected in interior paint charges and costs include whether or not the painter will pick up the paint for you from the paint store. Will the painter get more paint if you run out or will you have to do it? How well will the painter clean up after himself? I find that usually, but not always, you get what you pay for when it comes to interior paint charges and costs.

-Interior paint charges and costs will be higher for painting contractors who have a large and regular crew of painters. Also, the interior paint charges and costs will be higher if there is a lot of "prep" work to be done: filling holes and cracks with caulk, sanding down rough spots, etc.

-Remember, when it comes to costs and charges for interior paint, you may overpay for mediocre painting, but you will almost never underpay for high quality painting.

Dave - 360renos

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shining future for LED lighting

Judging by how often I see compact fluorescent bulbs, a lot of people are willing to make a few lifestyle changes in the interest of the environment. But I doubt we'll see many of these fluorescent bulbs 10 years from now.

That's because a more efficient, safer and longer-lasting light bulb technology is emerging and starting to appear on store shelves. As prices drop, we'll see LEDs redesigned for more applications.

The technology is called light emitting diode (LED for short), and until four or five years ago, just about the only place you'd see them was on VCR screens, microwaves and the occasional ancient calculator from the 1970s.

The first high-profile breakout from traditional LED applications appeared in Christmas lights in 2002. Nowadays an entire string of colourful LED holiday lights uses less energy than did a single old incandescent holiday bulb.

The working life of LED lights is measured in tens of thousands of hours, not just thousands. So, how long before LED bulbs become available for serious, interior lighting applications in lamps and overhead fixtures?

LED bulbs are particularly efficient and long-lasting because they produce light in an entirely different way from other kinds of bulbs. Instead of using electricity to heat up a metal filament or excite a conductive gas, LEDs produce light by channelling electric current through a semiconductor. In the most efficient examples, this approach converts almost 100 per cent of the electricity into light, with virtually no waste heat produced.

It's now possible to buy LED equivalents for retrofitting various types of household and specialty light fixtures that were originally designed for incandescent bulbs. You won't see many of these on hardware store shelves yet, but leading Canadian specialty suppliers are beginning to offer a growing line of LED bulbs. The only problem is cost, though that's changing.

The price of an MR16 LED to replace traditional halogen designs runs from $35 to $60 for a single bulb. That's about five to eight times more money than a regular halogen bulb, but the LED lasts 20 to 25 times longer while using 90 per cent less energy.

That's why LEDs make especially good sense in applications where lights stay on a lot, where the heat buildup of traditional bulbs is a problem, or where it's difficult to change bulbs after they burn out. These include commercial and high-rise residential applications, where lights are burning 24/7 -- here I am thinking of hallways, stairwells and elevators.

They're also useful for exterior residential applications, especially when changing a bulb involves climbing up a ladder. LEDs last for years and function well where it's cold. They don't emit UV rays, either, so they won't cause fading of fabrics and surfaces.

LED lighting is a response to the disappearance of the cheap, convenient and plentiful sources of energy we've relied on. We've also developed a keener sense of the hidden environmental costs of extravagant energy use.

Courtesy of - Steve Maxwell is Canada's award-winning home improvement expert, and technical editor of Canadian Home Workshop magazine.

Dave - 360renos

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Interior Paint Market offers lots of choice.

Beauti-Tone - Well priced and carried nationally at Home Hardware, Beauti-Tone has a great website that covers project ideas, tips and trends. Web site: beauti-tone.ca

Behr - Widely available through Home Depot, Behr is one of the best of the mid-priced brands. Features like large-size paint chips and in-store colour-matching computers make it popular among home painters.Web site: behr.com

Benjamin Moore - A favourite brand with designers as well as consumers, both of whom like the paint line's vast range of colours, it offers excellent coverage and wear. Widely available.Web site: benjaminmoore.ca

CIL Paints - One of the best-kept industry secrets, CIL is an excellent mid- to premium-priced paint with a beautiful colour palette. Its parent company, ICI, makes several fine house brands, such as Color Your World.Web site: cilpaint.com

General Paint - All-Canadian General Paint was one of the first to design software that lets you scan a room photo and preview it in a paint shade. General's Z-Coat is one of the most environmentally friendly latex paints on the market.Web site: generalpaint.com

Martha Stewart Everyday Colors - You can't beat Martha's taste, and the paint chips show potential colour combos, making it easy to capture the decor guru's knack for coordination. Midpriced and widely available.Available at: canadiantire.ca

Para Paints - Another venerable Canadian company, Para is known for such innovations as durable and scrubbable Elite eggshells and flats, and their Group of Seven line, which incorporates colours inspired by the canvases of Canada's legendary art movement.Web site: para.com

Ralph Lauren Paint - Ralph Lauren Paint has the same designer cachet as Martha Stewart Everyday Colors and is similar in quality. Along with the basic finishes, there are textured paint treatments such as Suede and River Rock, which require specialized application methods.Web site:rlhome.polo.com

Sico - One of the oldest Canadian companies, Sico is known for its super-washable flat paint, Cashmere, and for accuracy in nailing reds, often a difficult pigment for many companies to formulate. Web site: sico.ca

Courtesy of Expert Advice
Dave - 360renos

Monday, July 28, 2008

You Don't Have to spend Big $$$

A main second floor bathroom with a fresh new look ...

New vanity counter top, sink and chrome taps

New Enviromentaly friendly low-flush toilet

New chrome light fixture, towel bars, holders and mirror

All finished off with 2 coats of paint on the ceilings, walls, doors,

baseboards and trim.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Eco wash

Volatile organic compounds. Never heard of them? You will, especially if you've got a painting project lined up this spring. VOCs, as they are usually known, are those nasty solvents that off-gas when you paint, leaving your eyes watering and your head aching if you've been using an oil-based product and lingering as that unpleasant new-paint smell if you've slapped on less potent latex. VOCs also contribute to the formation of particulate matter and ground-level ozone, both main ingredients of smog.

The solvents are basically vehicles for transferring paint to a surface. Once applied, they evaporate and you pay the price.

The solution: low- and zero-VOC paints. They've been on the market for better than 10 years, but as a niche product with an often less-than-stellar reputation among users. Difficult to apply, with poor coverage and durability, they were good reasons not to go green. That's changing fast as the paint industry, nudged by government and green building advocates, launches new low- and zero-VOC products with superior performance.

Manufacturers are firing up zero- and low-VOC production capacity "because of demand and because it's environmentally the right thing to do," according to Jim Quick, president of the Canadian Paint & Coatings Association.

VOC content in Canadian paints has dropped 54 per cent in the past two decades, he adds, and we're likely to see that reduced by another 30 per cent in the coming years.

You need to watch for exaggerated or misleading VOC claims. For example, so-called zero-VOC paints likely contain 10 to 15 grams of VOCs per litre, according to Tom Hill, president and CEO of The Coatings Alliance. That's because EPA testing is not a precise science.

And don't be fooled by a tin of eco-innocent base or white paint: the minute you colour it, you're adding up to 20 grams of VOCs per litre thanks to the colourant. Dark paints, because they have more colourants, are also higher in VOCs than light shades.

Hill mentions a couple of still-unsolved problems with low-VOC paints.

They don't survive freeze-thaw cycles, so be careful where you store them. Also, they tend to set up quickly, so overlap marks can result unless you paint like Superman.

Rapid drying can be overcome, says Hill. "We used to say, 'Make sure you have real good ventilation.' Now we're saying to put a humidifier in the room, keep the room cooler and don't have particularly good ventilation. That will keep the paint open longer so it flows and levels better."

Patrick Langston, The Ottawa Citizen
Dave - 360renos

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Finding The Perfect Kitchen Backsplash

Just because kitchen backsplashes are functional doesn't mean they can't be beautiful too. Think of the strip of wall between your cabinets and countertop as a blank canvas. The design you choose for this space will have a profound impact on the look of your kitchen.

As with most trends, the shiny metal-influenced hues of the runway have made their way into home decor accessories. Metallics are everywhere, and copper is a timeless color that will add a modern look to your home.
From door handles to small and even large appliances, copper in the kitchen has extended far beyond those pots hanging from the rack.
If you’re looking for a fast and relatively inexpensive way to change the look of your kitchen, try copper on for size as a beautiful backsplash. Tin tiles are available in many colors, finishes and patterns and are a fashionable way to redress your kitchen.

Pressed tin kitchen backsplashes are a unique way to give your kitchen a hint of Old World charm, as they hearken back to the plasterwork styles of 19th century Europe. In fact, a kitchen backsplash made of pressed tin in a variety of patterns is one of the hottest trends in kitchen decor today. Tin is easy to clean and will stay looking great for several years.
Dave - 360renos

Friday, March 7, 2008

Prime Before Painting For Better, Longer-Lasting Results.

Priming before you paint can make a world of difference on the outcome of your paint job. Please remember to read all label directions as not all projects recommend the use of a primer. These may include surfaces such as painting a floor or staining a deck.

What can be so important about priming a surface? Primers serve two major functions: they seal porous materials so the topcoat won't dry with an uneven appearance and they aid the topcoat in bonding properly with the surface underneath.

The two main types of primers are primer-sealers and undercoaters. Unpainted surfaces, or surfaces where most of the original paint has been removed call for a primer sealer. Undercoaters should be used to form a bond between coats of paint.

Know your surface and choose the primer accordingly. For standard drywall surfaces, latex primers are better because they don't raise the nap or fibers on the surface of the wall board. For plaster surfaces, a latex or alkyd primer can be used. Alkyd undercoats are appropriate for wood trim.

For best results when painting over wallpaper, use an alkyd primer or alkyd primer/undercoater to seal potential bleedthrough and seals.

Once you have selected and applied the appropriate primer, you are ready to paint a topcoat. And because you took the time to prime, your finished paint job will be more attractive now and in the future.
Dave - 360renos

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Remodeling Ideas for Your Child's Room

Paint a Mural

If you are especially creative and love to paint, design a mural for your child's room. This is an especially fun remodeling idea as an alternative to painting the room a solid color or using wallpaper. It can be anything your child likes, and can also be personalized. If you are not a painter, you can hire a professional and the two of you can create a design idea.

Make the Room Bigger

Often, parents will choose a smaller room in the house for their child's nursery. However, as the child grows, so do their interests, and they might want to spend more time in their room playing. As they grow older, they make like to have more time to themselves. Thus, it is important that parents make the room bigger, and this can be done in a variety of ways.

First of all, consider where the room is located in the house. If it is located at the back of the house, consider knocking down the wall and extending the room that way. If the room is in the middle of the house, consider knocking down the wall of an adjoining room and thus joining the two rooms together.

Get Your Child's Input

The most important thing about remodeling is to be sure that the child has some input as to how the room will look. After all, it is going to be his/her room, and being able to have input gives a sense of pride and accomplishment. This will, of course have to be a compromise between the parents and the child.
Dave - 360renos

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Appraisal Institute of Canada's Home Renovation Survey

The following renovation projects provide the highest payback potential for homeowners.

Bathroom Renovation
Kitchen Renovation
Painting - Interior/Exterior

Whether you're planning to sell your home soon or to stay put for a while, you'd probably rather have any improvements you make to your home add as much value as possible. Here are some projects for which the Appraisal Institute of Canada's members projected average payback value ranges.

The twenty most frequent renovation projects were:

Top four greatest payback potentials

Bathroom renovation (75-100%)
Kitchen renovation (75-100%)
Interior painting (50-100%)
Exterior painting (50-100%)

Ten average pay back potentials

Roof shingle replacement (50-80%)
Furnace/heating system (50-80%)
Basement renovation (50-75%)
Recreation room addition (50-75%)
Installing a fireplace (50-75%)
Flooring (50-75%)
Constructing a garage (50-75%)
Window/door replacement (50-75%)
Building a deck (50-75%)
Central air conditioning (25-75%)

Six lowest payback potentials

Landscaping (25-50%)
Interlocking paving (25-50%)
Building a fence (25-50%)
Asphalt paving (20-50%)
Adding a swimming pool (10-40%)
Installing a skylight (0-25%)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Nanotechnology comes to your home as extra insulation

Tired of sky-high energy bills?

What if you could save money just by painting a clear coating onto your walls? Well, according to the makers of "Nansulate" you can.

Nansulate HomeProtect ClearCoat uses miniscule particles, which have been manipulated through nanotechnology, to give you superior insulation (plus mold protection) in the form of a thin odorless coating.

Water-based, non-toxic, and safe for exterior and interior walls, including attic spaces, the nano coating can be applied with a brush, roller, or paint sprayer. The exterior version is clear, and can be painted over. The interior version is white and can be tinted to your favorite color.
The benefit? According to the maker, consumers who applied Nansulate in their homes reported 20-40% energy savings.

This definitly will require investigation. Does it actual do what it is claimed to represent? Stayed tuned.


Dave - 360renos

Friday, February 22, 2008

Add an Element of Surprise

Sometimes you walk into a room that is perfectly decorated, only to get the feeling that things are just "too perfect." Sometimes all that's needed is a little surprise--something that doesn't really belong but adds a touch of whimsy.

In this type of situation, I like to add the unexpected.

In a perfectly traditional room with matching sofas, matching end tables, matching side chairs, and matching lamps, consider adding something ultra modern. A modern painting, a minimalist chair or table, or a contemporary sculpture could be just what's needed to jolt your eye away from the boring.

In a very contemporary interior with stark white walls, black furniture, sleek and smooth surfaces, try a textured area rug in fuscia, add a bold-patterned pillow on a chair, place a pair of classic silver candlesticks and colored candles or a traditional floral arrangement on a dining room table.

Just something enough to break the tedious look of everything matching

Dave - www.360renos.ca

Friday, February 15, 2008

Make a Room Look Larger with Paint

It is often true that a current living situation does not allow you to have the luxury of huge spaces in your home. Therefore, the question of how to make a small space look larger often arises. With some simple painting techniques and attention to decorating, any room can be transformed from a small cubicle to a luxurious living area that seems much larger than it really is.

Paint can significantly aid in making a small room appear to grow in size. Cream and white, icy blues, pale greens, and butter yellows are perfect selections of paint that not only appear to open up a room in size, but aid natural shades that will make the room feel warmer.

When these colors are transferred to furnishings, larger furniture items will appear to almost be part of the walls, and therefore, create a more open feel to the room. Furniture pieces can be distinguished with ornamental trim, such as stenciling, handles or brackets, but the shades of the furniture can aid in the “growth” of the room.

A room may also be made to look larger when the furnishings that are selected for the décor do not block doorways, windows or other pathways that lead throughout the home. These spaces are important to creating a larger space because they are generally areas of light. Light has the ability to appear to expand the size of the room, as well as enhance the richness or tone of that colors that used.

Therefore, whenever possible be sure to allow natural light, as well as manufactured light, to be part of a small space. Lights can also be added to bookshelves, corners of the room or to showcase artwork.

Light is also a consideration when selecting curtains. Most professional designers recommend using sheer draperies that will allow as much light into the room as possible. Sheer drapes also have the ability to reduce the feeling of clutter and weight in a space.

The chosen colors of the room can be transferred to upholstery, as well as large pieces of furniture. When covering upholstered furniture, it is best to either use a complimentary shade of the wall paint, or use neutral tones that are solid, not patterned. The more simplified the colors of the upholstery, the less “busy” and cluttered the room will feel. Splashes of color can be added with accessories, such as pillows if needed.

Dave - www.360renos.ca

Remodeling and Renovation Articles

The following are sizing and positioning guidelines to help you to select the correct chandelier.When choosing a chandelier for the dining room: It should neither overpower your table nor look too small. Measure your table (if it's round, measure its diameter, if it's a rectangle, measure its width), and then subtract 12" (30 cm) from that number. For example, if you have a 42"-wide (107 cm) table, your chandelier should be 30" (76 cm) in diameter. A properly proportioned chandelier comes to within 6" (15 cm) of each edge of the table. Using this easy formula will help you achieve that balance. Some manufacturers offer oval chandeliers for extra long rectangular tables.

Proper positioning is very important for a balanced look. Since a chandelier is the focal point in your dining room, it should hang over the center of your table. If the electrical connection in your ceiling doesn't match up with the table's center, insert a heavy duty decorative hook into the ceiling above the center of the table, then attach a length of decorative chain to carry the wiring from the electrical connection to the hook. The bottom of your chandelier should be 30" (76 cm) above the tabletop if you have 8' (2.4 m) ceilings. If your ceilings are higher than 8', raise the chandelier 3" (7.5 cm) for every extra foot (30 cm) of height.

Chandeliers for other rooms - the chandelier should be placed higher than 8 feet above the floor in the middle of the room. When placing a majestic chandelier in the foyer, take into consideration the height of the ceiling and size of the space. If there’s a window above the front door, you may want to center it in the window for maximum curb appeal and aesthetics. Optimal placement would be at least 9 feet from the floor.Information on selecting the correct size fixture.

Dave - www.360renos.ca