How to make your home stand out when selling
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
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
So first to get this cleaned up with the experts before the next stage of pouring a new basement slab and re-building of the finished basement.
Bryan Baeumler and his series 'Room for Improvement'
"Everything you can imagine is real" - Pablo Picasso
Friday, November 26, 2010
Updating the bathroom does not have to be an expensive under taking.
Some times a fresh coat of paint on the walls, baseboard and trim or just replacing light fixtures and towel racks will give the space a whole new look. Replacing the shower curtain can quickly change the look of the room, as can painting the cabinets in modern colors and replacing the pull knobs with decorative new handles. For a personal look add photos or art in simple frames. If the bathroom has a window replacing the shades are an economical way to enhance the bathroom. Look for honeycomb shades which reduce heat loss through your windows by up to 50%.
If you want to conserve water and reduce water heating costs you don't have to replace the bathtub or sink. Switch the shower head and faucets to ones with low flow aerators. Check out the impressive array of designer styles in the latest low-flow toilets. There was a time when this range of products was limited and not very appealing. Now they are both effective and attractive.
"Everything you can imagine is real" - Pablo Picasso
Saturday, November 13, 2010
- Recycling: Only a bit left? Decant it into a small glass jar to use for touch ups. Allow can residue to dry then put it out with your Blue box.
- Upcycling: Give that old dresser a fresh coat of paint. Voila: "New" furniture, no waste!
- Free cycling: Donate extra paint to Habitat for Humanity, ReStore or for sale to raise funds for community housing projects.
- Returning: Before you buy, check if your paint store takes leftovers back for safe disposal. Most Home Depot, Lowes and Rona stores do.
"Everything you can imagine is real" - Pablo Picasso
Monday, November 8, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
The latest eco-buzzword around paint is VOCs, which stands for “volatile organic compounds.” When you break down the acronym, you have “volatile,” which means the substance is easily evaporated; “organic,” which tells us the material is carbon-based; and “compound,” which means it’s a mixture of various atoms.
VOCs are found in many common products, including pressboard furniture and the gas you put in your car. So, what makes them bad?
These pollutants contribute to the formation of both particulate matter and ground-level ozone, two of the main components that create smog,” Environment Canada spokesperson Sujata Raisinghani says. “Smog has been shown to have adverse impacts on human health.”
So, if VOCs are bad for our health, one would think they’d be regulated.
“In Canada, no mandatory requirements pertaining to VOCs in house paints are in force yet,” Raisinghani says.
The Canadian government has published regulations that propose mandatory VOC concentrations in architectural coatings such as paint, stains and varnishes. While these regulations are proposed to come into effect in January 2011, no formal date has been set.
Although we’re hearing more about VOCs these days, low- and zero-VOC paints have existed for a while. Early products, however, lacked the performance of traditional coatings on the market. There was also confusion about adding colour to zero-VOC paints, as the colourant itself had high concentrations of these compounds. Recent advancements, including the advent of waterborne colourants, improve product performance and contain no VOCs, allowing for greener paint that also outperforms traditional paint technology.
Until the regulations take effect, Canadians can make informed choices on environmentally friendly products by consulting the federal government’s EcoLogo program. For a coating to carry the EcoLogo, it must meet or be below certain VOC levels; for example, an interior flat paint must not exceed 50 g/l. The EcoLogo website contains a list of products that carry the seal.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Provincial government's move follows Canadian Tire's rejection of 'botched' levy
Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Backlash+forces+Grits+drop+fees/3298397/story.html#ixzz0uGDWJW00
OTTAWA — The McGuinty government is set to scrap its recently imposed eco fees on thousands of consumer products in the wake of consumer anger and retailer irritation.
Environment Minister John Gerretsen is expected to announce today that the Liberals will eliminate the environmental fees on thousands of potentially hazardous products -- less than three weeks after retailers were required by Stewardship Ontario to start charging customers on new products from fluorescent bulbs to fire extinguishers.
The government retreat followed an earlier announcement Monday by Canadian Tire, one of Canada's largest retailers, that it would no longer impose eco fees on its customers. Denouncing the new fees as "botched" and "confusing," Canadian Tire president Mike Arnett said the company would have nothing to do with the fees until government and industry figure out a system that "makes sense for everyone."
"Stewardship Ontario did not do a good job in preparing Ontarians for these new fees," Arnett said in a bluntly worded statement.
"They did not properly communicate why the fees exist or the importance of safely recycling these hazardous products."
Within hours of the Canadian Tire announcements there were several news reports -- all citing "government sources" -- indicating the provincial government was beating a hasty retreat on the eco fee issue.
On July 1 -- the same day the Harmonized Sales Tax came into effect -- Stewardship Ontario, a government-created but industry-led and funded agency charged with overseeing and paying for the recycling of ordinary and toxic waste, imposed an updated version of its hazardous products recycling program, effectively requiring retailers and manufacturers to pay eco-fees on thousands of new products besides those already on the list. Some retailers, including Canadian Tire, attempted to pass the fees on to consumers.
Ontario consumers, surprised at the sudden imposition of the fees, weren't buying it and reacted angrily. They blamed the McGuinty government. Last week, for example, 300 people denounced the new eco fees as yet another tax imposition with a demonstration outside Premier Dalton McGuinty's constituency office in Ottawa.
Retailers weren't pleased either. Canadian Tire was forced to apologize last week to customers for wrongly charging eco fees higher than those authorized. However, Canadian Tire executives decided they weren't going to take it anymore, and on Monday the company said it would not charge the new eco fees until, in Arnett's words, "a better system can be developed with Stewardship Ontario and the Government of Ontario."
Arnett said the rollout for the new fees was "poorly handled by all involved." The provincial agency responsibly for recycling -- Waste Diversion Ontario, which oversees Stewardship Ontario -- set up a "very complicated" fee system for "materials" instead of "products," which, according to Arnett, meant that two similar bands of cleaning products could have two different eco fees depending on slight differences in their ingredients.
Even more confusing was how retailers were left to interpret the fees as they saw fit, Arnett said. That meant "five different retailers may charge five different eco-fees for the same product -- all depending on how they interpret the very complicated fee structure." In Canadian Tire's case, the new eco fees affected some 8,700 products.
Arnett also acknowledged Canadian Tire "did not do a good job of implementing the fees." That failing, however, was largely due to the "complex" nature of the fees. "Although we quickly fixed any incorrect fees, we still have customers every day asking us why two nearly identical products have different fees."
The eco-fee system was set up in 2008 to have manufacturers and retailers collect monies to fund a government recycling program for diverting hazardous and toxic materials away from garbage dumps. Stewardship Ontario collects the eco fees from businesses that make and sell these kinds of products. The companies, in turn, decide which fees they pass on to consumers.
The problem in this case -- and what particularly angered consumers and frustrated retailers -- is that there was no public notice eco fees would be imposed on thousands more products -- everything from household cleaners, paint and aerosols to fire extinguishers, fluorescent bulbs and even fish bowls.
For its part, Stewardship Ontario, implicitly acknowledged the fee rollout wasn't handled well when it announced late Monday -- also after Canadian Tire's decision -- that it would proceed with "a plan to increase the accuracy, transparency and consistency of eco fees at point of sale."
With the approval of its oversight body, Waste Diversion Ontario, Stewardship Ontario said it will require companies that make or import products to provide product-related eco-fee information allowing the agency to create a searchable data base on its website that consumers can check regarding hazardous products.
"We have heard from consumers loud and clear," said Gemma Zecchini, Stewardship Ontario's chief executive officer. "In retrospect, consumers clearly were looking for information on how eco fees work, and we will initiate efforts to help them understand that."
Not surprisingly, the eco-fee issue was politicized. "This is yet another Dalton McGuinty tax grab," said provincial Tory leader Tim Hudak. NDP leader Andrew Horwath said. "The McGuinty government dropped the ball."
Canadian Tire, meanwhile, expressed concern about banning eco fees. "We are concerned in the face of this botched roll-out of July 1st fees that the most politically-expedient and short-term solution is to 'ban fees for consumers,'" Arnett said. "That would be the wrong move."
Consumers should be able to make informed choices about what they buy, including information regarding how much it costs to recycle the product, the Canadian Tire president said. If consumers are paying recycling fees up front, as they now do on many products, they should know and understand what they are paying for. "They should never had to pay for hidden fees -- deliberate or otherwise."
Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Backlash+forces+Grits+drop+fees/3298397/story.html#ixzz0uGDaPApE
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Window trim and sills updated and removed the blinds so just waiting for tinted window film to be installed.
Friday, June 18, 2010
joneakes.com - (This is a real good example of a living history. I wrote the first part of this entry in 2001. With a book you would have to wait for the next edition for developments. With a bulletin board you would have to read a lot of old entries. What I love about my web site is that I can change, adapt and make this database entry new any day that this story evolves. Read on for the January 2008 update -- and keep coming back, because this story is not yet complete.)
You can call it a controversy or you can call it evolution. The fact of the matter is that each of us flushes a lot of potable water down the drain every single day. The reality is that as a society we must do something to conserve as much of that water as possible. In the mid 80's we took the first step by changing standard toilets from 20 litres (5 gal) per flush to 13 litres (3.5 gal) per flush. At the same time many gadgets started to be used, from tank dams to milk bottles, that would displace some of the water in our existing tanks. The new toilets worked, but the gadgets did not. It turned out that the old toilets just were not designed to move a lot of stuff with so little water. The first picture shows the cross section of a standard 13 litre (3.5 gal) toilet. The second picture is a graphic of the flow path for one model of the a 6 litre (1.6 gallon) low flush toilet.
In the 90's, the ecological movement kept pushing to reduce water use and the 'low flush toilet' , using only about 6 litres of water, was invented. Many regulatory bodies jumped quickly to solve their local water supply problems (and reduce water treatment costs) and mandated the installation of these low flush toilets. But not many of them worked very well. The engineering wasn't yet perfected and most of the manufacturers left a rough lining on the walls in the drain part of the toilet, which just couldn't clear with so little water. So they were dubbed the 'double flush' toilet -- you had to flush it twice to get it to work -- and the water savings were flushed down the toilet at the same time. The city of Vancouver decided to ignore the problems and simply required low flush in all new construction and renovation. The province of Ontario has had a similar requirement on the books since 1996, but they held meetings with the toilet manufacturers and the two agreed not to enforce it in new construction for three years, hopefully enough time for the companies to come up with better toilets. For an even longer time the official requirement for low flush toilets in renovation in Ontario was left largely un-enforced, while the industry was still studying what happens when you add a new low flush toilet to an old drain system. The Americans, on the other hand, were legislating low flow toilets across the board and smuggling Canadian 13 litre toilets south became big business.
So what could have been a smooth evolution became a controversy. Those who wanted to save water were basically legislating clogged toilets for much of the population. But controversy or no controversy, the evolution of plumbing continues. Some of the manufacturers finally got the toilets right with re-engineering of the water flow and better manufacturing methods to get a smooth siphon trap, so now the waste does get through the toilet. Well it does with some of the models -- but with lots of models people were still finding that they needed that second flush to clear the waste. Almost 45% of the low flow toilets on the market have proven in independent testing to not clear waste from the toilet with one flush (January 2004). Unfortunately the code bodies are not requiring builders and plumbers to put in toilets that actually work, -- they are only requiring ones that use very little water.
In the meantime, many water-conscious municipalities in both the US and Canada have been providing financial rebates to consumers for the replacement of old toilets with water-conserving low flush toilets, but they have been inundated with consumer complaints about toilets that didn't work well. So finally the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, some Ontario government bodies and a whole bunch of municipalities in both the US and Canada got together under the lead of the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) to do an end run on the standards bodies and do some realistic testing of toilets, with the objective of providing an approved list of specific toilets that they could subsidize for their water conservation programs. Veritec Consulting in Mississauga, Ontario was hired to test toilets with a material that was for was for the first time very close in its physical properties to real life human waste. They even had to invent a new tool for the water conservation industry, the T5 FlushMeter -- a flow meter that measures the real water consumption of an installed toilet in a real home without bothering the plumbing. They found that almost 45% of the low flush toilets on the market still don't clear waste from the toilet with one flush. Their initial final report was made public in January of 2004 complete with the quantitative information. At first they just released pass/fail results for their new standard. But that doesn't really help a consumer or a builder to choose models that are better than marginally acceptable. So the final report includes quantitative results on how much material the toilet can clear on a single flush. When you read the full report, you will see that some models cleared 10 times more material than others, and that the price of the toilet had little bearing on performance. For a full copy of the updated 11th edition (January 2008) report 'CWWA Report: Maximum Performance Testing of Popular Toilet Models' visit their site at: www.CWWA.ca. Even more convenient sortable formats of the report can be found on the researcher's web sitewww.Veritec.ca. This is a must read for all contractors, renovators and builders.
But we haven't gotten to the end of the evolution yet. Some toilets were getting the waste out of the toilet, but the drain pipe seemed to still be problematic. Many plumbers and builders were still complaining that, even with the best of the toilets, there were far more cases of recurring clogging than there should be. Apparently the flush gets the 'stuff' out of the toilet, but not down the line. So I set out to find out what has been done to ensure that the diameter and slope of the drain pipe will work with just 6 litres of water, and what happens when a toilet uses 5 litres to get the waste out of the toilet and only one litre to move it down the pipe? There seems to have been very little research done on the pipe that runs from the toilet to the soil stack or out to the street. Once the basic low flow fixture testing mentioned above was completed, showing that we are finally beginning to be able to define what makes a good toilet, it was possible to convince this same group of interested parties to extend the initial research to the horizontal drain line. The fun part of that was that I got to go film 'stuff' moving down transparent horizontal drain lines -- just the kind of video you want to dream about at night. The latest report on that CMHC study is also on the CWWA and Veritec's web sites: Evaluation of Water-Efficient Toilet Technologies to Carry Wast in Drainlines, revised April 2005. The drainlines were doing better than we thought but it was shown that low flow toilets do better with 3" diameter drain pipes, not 4" -- this gives more of a floating effect to moving waste. Generally if there is a proper slope and no dips in the drainlines, drainlines were not presenting problems for most low flow toilets. The problem could come with long runs and infrequent toilet use as in a long run it often took a later second flush to clear the line, giving time for things to dry out and no longer move freely.
What can I recommend for people who do want to conserve water, but don't want the unsanitary condition of backed up pipes? The good news is that there are a good number and variety of toilets that perform quite well with little water. Go to the web site listed above and only purchase toilets that performed well in the tests. If you insist on only buying performing toilets (and, as I said, a higher price did not necessarily indicate better performance), that will force all the manufactures to improve their toilets and possibly get on this list. In fact, if you read the report carefully you will see some manufacturers who made significant changes in their toilets in the period of time between when this testing started and before the final report was issued. Those who won't pay attention will simply be left behind, clogged up in their own development. I expect some dramatic and quick changes in the toilet industry because of this report and the ones to follow.