Category Archives: Renovation

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A Well-Lit Kitchen

Not only is aesthetic lighting allowed in the kitchen, but it’s actually prescribed. After all, isn’t this the room where we spend most of our time in? However, as it is primarily a working area where we tend to move around a lot, practical lighting must take precedence.

During the day, nothing beats natural light. If you are thinking of renovating the kitchen, consider putting in some windows. Think of large windows and if possible skylights. You will notice lower energy bills, which are quite considerable.

Featured somewhere: small rectangular windows between the ceiling and the top of the cabinets, or a sliding window as a backsplash. Brilliant! Continue reading

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How to Install a Floating Parquet Floor

A floating parquet floor is still quite popular and gains in quality. Its most significant asset is that it suits almost any decor. Moreover, its installation is relatively straightforward. Here are the basic guidelines.

  • A few days before the installation, lay the planks in the specific room to allow them to get acclimated.
  • Make sure the solid base on which the floor will be installed has no trace of moisture.
  • There is no need to remove the existing floor (unless it is carpeting) to install the floating parquet floor as long as it is properly levelled so that the surface is clean and smooth.
  • You will need to install a membrane to stifle sounds and vibrations. It will also act as a thermal insulator. It can be made of polyethylene foam or cork.
  • When laying the planks, make sure to leave a gap of approximately 10 millimetres between the floor and wall to allow the wood to move freely when humidity and temperature variations force it to expand. Otherwise, the planks will curl.
  • Begin with the straightest and longest wall, uninterrupted by the door for example, and finish with the wall with the most cut-outs. Thus, the imperfections will show less.
  • All kinds of spacers, long ruler or string, can help you keep a consistent gap around the room’s perimeter. Baseboards or quarter-round moldings will hide the joint along the walls.

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Wallpaper Installation

The beauty of wallpaper is that no special skills are needed to install it. Although some wall coverings are more difficult to hang than others, you will need to follow these basic guidelines.

Vinyl wallpaper is the easiest to install. Embossed (or textured) wall coverings and metallic wallpaper are more difficult. Especially the metallic ones, which can be extremely frustrating to install for some.

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The traditional wallpaper is somewhere in between.

You can install wallpaper in every room. However, thick vinyl wallpaper is usually best hung in the kitchen and in the bathroom. Vinyl does not trap dust mites and is resistant to mold and mildew. Note that some traditional wall coverings are more resistant than others. Some materials are preferable in humid conditions. Continue reading

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Time to Remodel the Basement

Years have passed and it seems your basement is in need of a little TLC. Or, you may have witnessed last spring’s catastrophic floods, which are expected to happen over and over again, so maybe you want to keep your basement dry next year? If so, follow this guide.

While you are at it, why not check the radon level in your home. Is this cancer-causing gas seeping into your basement? The detection device is sold in large shopping centres and hardware stores. If you do not believe this gas is present in your home because you have not smelled it, think again. Radon is odourless and colourless. If the level is high, the Écohabitation organization has designed a system, supported by drawings, to evacuate the gas.

On the Écohabitation website, you will find the basic steps to waterproof your basement in a sustainable manner. Here is a quick summary. Continue reading

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Outdoor Renovations

May is certainly the best time to undertake outdoor renovations in the hopes of taking better advantage of the long summer evenings ahead. Here is general advice to create or renovate a recreational space, such as a patio, deck or garden.

Before building a deck, consider all the relevant factors. There are quite a few. Are you looking for more sunlight or more shade? What scenery would you like to see every day? Would it bother you if the neighbours could see in your backyard? Do you want the garden or the kid’s play area to connect with the deck? Would you rather have a deck close to the home or farther away?

Bricks, concrete blocks and terracotta tiles are the best materials for building a patio: they will give you the possibility to leave space to plant vegetation. That is what we call a green patio. Designing green spaces between hard material not only looks stylish, it also creates a cool oasis, however small it may be, for your recreational space during hot summer days.

Wood is a material that is accessible to everyone, or almost. Building a wooden pathway is relatively easy. As for a wooden deck, a handyman can eventually extend it every year by installing joists, if need be. Continue reading