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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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2011

 In 2011 there are some great events coming up where you can show your support for Navan's quest to be the Kraft Hockeyville Champions. Please read on as to how you can be part of the great Navan spirit, show your support and getting involved. 

Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2011
Let's Show our community spirit by including this in our 150 year Celebrations!
The Navan Memorial Centre is entered in the Kraft Hockeyville 2011 competition. Four communities will win $25 000 while the top one receives $100 000 in upgrades to their facility and an NHL pre-season game will be played in the arena in the fall of 2011 with a fun day of activities for everyone to enjoy!
Organized hockey has been part of Navan’s precious heritage for 97 years! In 1913, the history of hockey in Navan began as a hockey club was formed of 24 members. Each member paid ten dollars and this money was used to establish an open air rink. If you have played at the Navan Memorial Centre, on Navan teams, against them, attended any hockey game in Navan or just love hockey, you definitely have a hockey story to share!
We need the support of the community to make this dream a reality by submitting any hockey story and a photo to www.krafthockeyville.ca  and selecting Navan Memorial Centre until January 30th, 2011.   All stories are also accepted including the ones just supporting our quest therefore if you've been at the arena for a dance, for demolition derby at the fair, skating or a horse show, we want to hear about it. We want to celebrate community!
Vintage Hockey Day will be held on Sunday January 9th from 1pm to 6:30pm at the Navan Memorial Centre. In conjunction with Navan’s 150 years celebrations, come and take part in Navan’s precious hockey history. Hockey artefacts, photos and memorabilia presented in part by the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum will be on hand to view. We are organizing an alumni hockey game with Ex-Grads Junior “A” players against the alumni of the Gloucester Rangers from 1:00pm to 2:30pm. The admission fee to the Alumni game will be by monetary donation. Also with a $10 donation, you can sample excellent wine & cheese presented by Domaine Perrault Winery.

All proceeds will go to the trust fund of a very courageous 13 yrs old that caught meningococcal meningitis and had amputation of both legs below the knees and has decreased function of his left arm.
The Cumberland Grads will also host the Gloucester Rangers with local singers/song writers, Rothwell & Moffatt performing during the first intermission and Lola Spriggs in the second intermission. We will give a prize to the oldest artefact brought to us and for the oldest player to have ever played in Navan that shows up. You will also hear the Navan for Hockeyville theme song performed by Rothwell & Moffatt. Computers will be set up to submit your stories.  
The Navan Lions will serve a spaghetti dinner from 4:30pm to 6:30pm, $10 for adults, $5 for children 5-12 yrs and free for children under 5.  Proceeds from the dinner will go to the Food Bank. Door Prizes donated by CIBC Innes & Trim, Lacroix Sports, Broadway Bar & Grill and many more.  Join us for a fun afternoon!
Rally at the Navan Memorial Centre on Sunday January 30th from 2:00pm to 5:30pm.  This is the last day to submit your hockey stories and photos to www.krafthockeyville.ca.  Computers will be set up to submit your stories. Show your support by gathering in the parking lot of The New Oak Tree at 2pm on Colonial Rd. as we will then walk to the Navan Memorial Centre while cheering with signs. The Cumberland Grads host the Smith Falls Bears at 3pm. More to come…..
If you have any questions, need help in submitting your story or would like to volunteer, please don’t hesitate to contact us by telephone Lyne Proulx 613-833-1779 and Barry Irvine 613-835-2509 or email navanhockey@hotmail.com. You can also view our website at www.navanhockeyville.ca or join our Facebook group: Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2011.  


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Painting Straight Edges take skill ... or a good tape

Having trouble getting a clean straight line when completing your home painting projects? 

Reading this article posted by a fellow renovator. They use a product that 360renos uses when you want to have impeccably straight paint lines or when cutting in an Accent wall where two colors meet.

The first recommendation is to have a good brush. For interior work, I like an angled brush, as it allows getting into the corner easily, and a 1 1/2- to 2-inch brush works well. Some people like a chiseled brush, which is more like an artists brush, rounded at the tip.
Although patience is a great thing to have in painting, so is a good steady hand. If you lack one or both of those skills, you might want to consider using painters tape. The typical painters tape is blue, available in different widths. It's similar to a regular masking tape, but the blue tape doesn't stick permanently or take any of the surface off when it is removed.
In my early painting experiences, I tried cutting in with just a brush but wasn't satisfied with my results. I switched to using the painters tape. However, I became even more frustrated with this, because when pulling the tape off, I found that the paint often got behind the tape. This causes extra work in wiping it off and then touching up the area where I didn't want the paint to go. So, I went back to the brush only, forcing myself to learn the skill.

FrogTape Multi-Surface Painter's Tape

However, we have just run across a new painters tape that we've tried out and have found that it works well. It's called Frogtape (frogtape.com) and is available at Home Depot and Lowe's and other hardware stores. The tape is green, so you won't get it confused with the typical blue tape. The reason I like Frogtape is because it is treated with what they call a paint block. As paint is applied to the tape, a polymer on the tape absorbs the water in latex paints, expanding the edge of the tape and creating a barrier. Therefore the paint doesn't get under the tape. The manufacturer states that the tape was created for latex paints, so if you're using an oil-based paint, beware. The only drawback I've found in using this is that at times I had trouble making it stick, so it took more time to get it in place.
As with any painters tape, it is best not to leave it in place for too long after the job is done. If the paint has dried, you might be pulling up paint along with the tape. So, it is best to take the tape off before the paint is dry. Be careful removing it wet, however, not letting the tape touch any other surface, or you may be spending more time doing touchups.
Courtesy of Steve Cloninger
Happy Holidays
Dave Bennett
phone 613.429.5000 
mobile 613.282.2124
email dbennett@360renos.ca

"Everything you can imagine is real" - Pablo Picasso

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mold in your Basement?

360renos was called in to review a finished basement which had a sub-floor that was sagging and warped due to a basement concrete slab that had heaved in some places and sunk on other places over time.

Well, the heaving was so bad that the 3 teleposts which support the main center beam of the home had either sunk into the earth or heaved up on their pads. It was a very dangerous situation as if this had not been rectified it would have eventually brought down the house.

The concrete slab needed to be demolished, so the sub-floor and interior walls were removed by 360renos. When this was completed we found a huge mold problem in one corner of the basement. This is an older home in Ottawa with cinder block foundation walls. The foundation and environmental experts have been called in!

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.

All of this reminded me of a great new article and tips by Bryan Baeumler and his series 'Room for Improvement'

Q: We have a major disaster in our basement due to a mold issue and now we are in a race to fix it. What is the best way to insulate the concrete block walls in the basement? Also, what are the best material to use for a basement subfloor? The current floor has foam insulation and plywood which seems to have worked extremely well but was 20 years old. Of course you could always drop by to take a look …. Cheryl and Mike
A: Hi Cheryl and Mike!
Sorry to hear about the mold in the basement – you’re definitely not alone! A lot of people have similar issues with finished basements that haven’t been waterproofed properly, have had a flood, or have high humidity levels in their homes. The silver lining in the cloud is that you now have the chance to finish the basement properly to avoid experiencing the same problem in the future.
It sounds like you’ve done the demo, which means you have a blank slate to work with. The first thing you ‘ll want to do is make sure you’ve taken care of the moisture problem. If it was a foundation leak, that means waterproofing the foundation wall properly, making sure your weeping tile system is operating effectively, ensuring proper grading of soil around your home, and directing water away from the house with downspouts. If you had a plumbing leak, obviously you’ll want to make sure the problem has been identified and corrected. And finally, if the mold was due to high humidity in the house, you’ll want to make sure you consult with an HVAC specialist to balance the system and install a dehumidifier to assist in lowering the humidity.
When it comes to insulating the foundation walls, you have a number of options. The best method by far is a closed cell spray foam – we use Walltite Eco, which you can ask about and have installed at your local Lowes. The reason spray foam works so well is that it has a high R value / inch, and eliminates any airflow – the biggest cause of heat loss. It can be sprayed right onto the foundation wall (block or concrete), and creates a monolithic insulation layer that won’t feed mold or lose R value due to moisture. You can also use the batt over spray method, which means spraying an inch of foam on the foundation wall, and adding either fiberglass or Roxul batts between the studs to increase R value, while still having the benefits of the air barrier from the foam. Roxul mineral wool insulation is another great product to use in a basement, as it’s fire proof and is a natural repellant to insects and rodents. If you plan on using batts, you’ll also need to vapour barrier the entire wall, tape the seams, and seal the top and bottom with an acoustic sealant. You’ll also want to be sure that you fully insulate and seal the joist bays (the area where your floor joists rest on the foundation) as the rim joist is one of the biggest culprits of heat loss. Not insulating and sealing the joist bays is a big reason people end up with cold floors above the basement, as cold air gets trapped in between the drywall ceiling and the floor above. If you go the spray foam route, joist bays and walls are all sprayed at once. We foamed our entire home, and we currently spend less than $50 / month heating it. We also filled all of the interior walls with Roxul to absorb sound and eliminate any wall cavities where fire could potentially spread.
When it comes to laying a subfloor, head for the Dricore – it has tongue and groove on all 4 sides to keep everything in place, it creates a thermal break from the floor that warms up the room, and also leaves an air space under the subfloor which allows for airflow so any moisture coming through the basement slab can evaporate. It also saves your finished flooring should you have a small amount of water under the floor, where it can flow to the drain. It’s also so easy and fast to install that it ends up being cheaper than other methods when you consider the cost of labour, or sanity. Foam laid directly on the subfloor will also keep your feet warm, but like a sheet of plastic it will eventually trap moisture – the idea is to give any water coming out of your slab somewhere to go and evaporate, something an impermeable layer laid directly on the concrete won’t do.
Of course there are lots of different products and methods to install a subfloor and insulate a basement (of which all done properly will perform well), so you have to make a decision based on your budget and skill level when it comes time to do the job. Most people would agree that the best method is never the cheapest, and the cheapest method is never the best. But when you look at the big picture, the best method is indeed often the cheapest in the long run.
Good luck, and have fun! (I’ll be over as soon as I can!)
Fantastic info that can help a lot of home owners
Dave Bennett
phone 613.429.5000 
mobile 613.282.2124
email dbennett@360renos.ca

"Everything you can imagine is real" - Pablo Picasso

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bathrooms - Without the Eye Popping Price Tag

How to find the wow factor with out breaking the budget.

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.

Dave Bennett
phone 613.429.5000 
mobile 613.282.2124
email dbennett@360renos.ca

"Everything you can imagine is real" - Pablo Picasso

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Paint is hot, waste is not

Have some leftover paint? Whether it's a little or a lot consider ....
  • 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.
Dave Bennett
phone 613.429.5000 
mobile 613.282.2124
email dbennett@360renos.ca

"Everything you can imagine is real" - Pablo Picasso

Monday, November 8, 2010

Interior Painting - A Quick Fix to Your Home for the Holidays

With the holidays fast approaching, so are your holiday visitors. Is your home company-ready? If not, there's still time to do something about it, according to Debbie Zimmer, spokesperson for the Paint Quality Institute.

Why is it that we tend to spot deficiencies in our décor just before family and friends are due to arrive?

"In the throes of day-to-day living, most of us become somewhat blind to the condition of our rooms, including their color. But when it really counts, we take a harder, more critical look. All too often, we don't like what we see. When that happens, we are left with a couple of options: We can panic. . . or paint," says Zimmer.

Nothing changes the appearance of a home interior faster, or more effectively, than a fresh coat of interior paint, she says. And, giving a room an entirely new appearance at holiday-time can help lift your spirits and that of your guests.

What's especially nice about painting just prior to the holidays is that you can even choose colors that are appropriate for the season. . . as long as you'll still love them when the day is done.

Zimmer, an expert on color, offers some suggestions: "At Thanksgiving, fall colors that mirror the time of the year are most attractive -- harvest gold, ochre, brown, beige, and rust, for example. And nothing is cozier and more inviting at Christmas or New Year's than a special dinner set in a beautiful dining room decked out in a deep shade of red or green paint."

If you are really pressed for time, you can paint just an accent wall in a holiday-appropriate color, says Zimmer. "Painting even one wall can make a big difference in the appearance of a room and it can be done in a just a few hours. If you fall in love with the color, you have the option of painting the rest of the room at a later date, and if you happen to tire of it, you haven't invested much effort," she says.

Assuming that your pre-holiday painting is focused on rooms that will be filled with people, keep in mind that paints with higher sheen levels will be more stain-resistant and easier to clean. To make cleaning even easier, be sure to use durable top quality 100% acrylic latex interior paint.

And keep in mind that top quality latex paint offers another nice advantage: It has very low odor; plus, any minor odor it may have will dissipate very quickly. Even if you paint only a short time before your guests arrive, no one will catch a whiff of it!

So think about giving yourself and your family an unexpected gift this holiday season – the gift of color. The cost is very reasonable, and a beautifully painted room will provide pleasure not just at the holidays, but throughout the year!

For more information on color selection and interior painting for the Holiday season please contact 360renos

Dave Bennett
phone 613.429.5000
mobile 613.282.2124
email dbennett@360renos.ca

"Everything you can imagine is real" - Pablo Picasso

Article with excerpts from Earth Times

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bathroom Wall Tile Updating

A main bathroom that was in need of a fresh new look from some tired old tiles.

We removed the old tiles and drywall down to the studs. Great news all was perfectly dry behind the old walls! Re-locating the plumbing to accommodate the new bath fixtures

Installed cement board for the new walls. Cement never goes mouldy so it is a great choice. Remember to use specialized screws for the installation of the cement board so they will not rust because you could have possible wall failure in the future.

New brushed nickel tile edging and 4"x4" tiles

Silicone caulking to complete all of the seams. New fixtures round out the updated style of this bathroom.

Dave - 360renos

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Caulking - Don't Forget to Caulk

Excellent article from Dave Lowe of Top Notch Interiors of Lethbridge. They are so correct about the proper use of interior caulking to finish a room properly.

Enjoy the article -

Today’s generation of ‘Do It Yourselfer’ is very empowered. Big box hardware stores bombard marketing channels with campaigns focused on telling the target: “you can do it”.

Corporations have realized that it works. It works very well. I venture to say, with no market research to back me up, that there are more ‘do it yourselfers’ now than there have ever been before. People are prideful. We love to be able to complete tasks. What a great feeling it is to sit back and enjoy a freshly painted room! So when a commercial comes on and tells me that I can build a tree house on my own or with my child, I’m going to be that much closer to actually thinking it. However, just because I think I can do it, and probably can do it, does not mean that I should do it.

When I go into a new home or renovation site and discuss process with homeowners I get an idea of what they know about painting. I also, by nature of profession, critique the paint job of every home I enter into. So I have a pretty good statistical sample pot to develop a thesis or two in regards to what people know about painting.

One thesis is that Caulking is an extremely underrated task. People either don’t know about it, or don’t appreciate the difference maker that it is. The objective of this article is to either introduce you to caulking, or reinforce its importance.

The Importance of Caulking when it comes to Painting Painted trimwork is the trim of choice these days because it is cheap, easy to work with, and paints very well. However, the homes and do it yourselfers that I have come across don’t realize the way it’s suppose to be painted. Convenience gets in the way. After all, it is a lot easier to paint the baseboards and trimwork before installation and call it complete.

Here are some scenarios that I come across:
A: Pre-finish the trimwork with 2 coats of paint and call it done.
B: Pre-finish the trimwork with 2 coats of paint. Once the installation is complete, putty the holes and touch them up. No caulking needed.
C: Paint the trimwork after installation with no caulking or puttying.

The problem with these very common scenarios is that the trimwork does not look finished. It’s not finished!

After installation there are numerous issues that need to be resolved and cannot be left:
1. Nail holes caused by the nail gun (volcanoes)
2. Cracks exist where trimwork meets trimwork or trimwork meets wall
3. Field/Scrarf joints

This article focuses on issue #2: Cracks exist where trimwork meets trimwork or trimwork meets wall.

The objectives behind caulking trimwork are:
1. Make it look like one piece
2. Create a seal (especially important on the top of baseboards)
3. Cracks break up pieces and look unfinished – fix that problem!

In a home the most common areas that need to be caulked are:

  • where baseboard meets wall and inside corners of baseboard
  • door jam casing meets wall
  • door jam casing meets door frame
  • vertical pieces of door frame meet horizontal pieces (both sides of door stop as well as the 90 degree joints of door stop
  • window casing meets wall and vinyl window

In cases where custom multiple piece trim work is used, it is necessary to caulk all cracks where trim piece meets trim piece. Caulking needs to happen after installation, but before painting. A very common malpractice (even by home builders!!) is to buy the same color of caulking as the color of the trim and wait to caulk at the very end. This is extremely bad because the texture of dried caulking loves to collect dust and anything else in the air. The tube will probably say “non-yellowing” or something, but in a year or so it will look horrible due to the amount of dust and other particles the caulking absorbs. So make sure you paint over caulking at all times!

The most important characteristics that you should be looking for in caulking is paintability and ease of application. You don’t want a caulking that is too runny, or too thick. The best caulkings come out of the gun wet enough to wipe it with your finger once and leave a smooth transition. Don’t bother with buying those silly toothpaste tubes of caulking. They are a huge time waster. Make sure you are using a caulking gun, preferably dripless (go to your local paint expert store for more info).

Once the tube is loaded in the gun you need to cut the hole. CUTTING THE HOLE ISVERY IMPORTANT! It can be the difference between a clean caulking job, and a very messy caulking job. Cut a hole just smaller than 1/8" and your job shouldn’t be too messy. Without going into too much detail, the caulker needs to keep in mind that long, single, uninterrupted strokes in both application and wipe are essential to a good job. On the wipe, if too much caulking is collecting on your finger then you are applying too much (hole is too big or your passing too slow). If after the finger wipe the crack is just covered, with a nice small curved transition between materials, you have done a good job. A bad caulking job can be worse than no caulking job!

I encourage all who read this information to implement the use of caulking in your painting practices. It is essential to a perfect looking paint job, and is sure to result in compliments from the fussiest of people. Remember, caulk all cracks, paint over caulking at all times, and smooth transitions. Those are a professional’s secrets.

About the Author

Dave Low is president and CEO of Top Notch Interior Specialists Inc. With over 15 years of professional painting experience, Dave is extremely passionate about doing the job right, fast, and sharp.

That is why 360renos uses Dap Painters Caulk on every interior painting project. We want the homeowner to be satisfied!

Dave - 360renos
613-429-5000 or
Cell 613-282-2124

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What Does VOC Mean?

Everything you wanted to know about the paint buzzword

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.

from Canadian Home Workshop

Dave - 360renos

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It's a Wrap

Pictures of some completed projects from the past few weeks to a basement framing project that has passed its Building Inspection.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Backlash forces Grits to drop eco fees

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.

(Randall Denley: Liberals ducking eco fee blame)

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


A Dentist's office in Ottawa that has had a refreshing update and should put a smile on their customers faces!-

New counter tops with custom 4" high back splashes so that we could install outlets along the length of the counter. 4 new faucets for the hand washing sinks and new pulls and knobs on the cabinets. Sure a lot of cabinet drawers in a Dentist's office!
Window trim and sills updated and removed the blinds so just waiting for tinted window film to be installed.

New look of C2 Ice Fog satin paint on the walls and C2 Cotton semi-gloss paint on the baseboards, door and window trim.

Unfortunately we found illegal wiring when the old counter was removed. Outlets were wired by installing a plug in one outlet and hard wiring it into the other outlets and lamp wire was used. WRONG!!

So we pulled out the illegal wiring. Installed the proper 14/2 NMD wire with the correct connections INSIDE the outlet boxes.

Stayed tuned for Projects 2 and 3 later on in the year when we complete the other examination rooms and Reception area

Dave - 360renos

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Low Flush Toilet Cotroversy

360 renos is wrapping up a bathroom renovation this week and when we we were picking up the toilet it reminded me of an old article from the Jon Eakes web site.

I've seen toilets that do not flush properly and they sure can create aggravation for the home owner. Make sure you spend a little extra and buy quality toilet. Some of those $100 toilets from the big box stores just don't work well.

Don't forget the City of Ottawa Toilet Replacement Program where you can save $60 to $75 for installing an new toilet in your home

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.

Dave - 360renos