Posts by kevin

How to Visually Make a Room Ceiling Look Higher

Posted by on Feb 27, 2019 in Renovation | 0 comments

If you’ve ever been to the Haunted Mansion at Disney World or a fun house at a carnival, you’ll understand that optical illusions can easily trick the mind and blur the lines between what’s real and what’s imagined. Once you’re locked into the Magic Kingdom’s Portrait Chamber with no visible exit, the room seems small and claustrophobic—or does it? When the room goes dark and then illuminated spooky pictures start to stretch, your eyes are drawn up. Was the ceiling always that high? How about those mirrored fun house mazes where every “hallway” leads to a dead end? You were sure you knew the way out but your eyes deceived you time and time again. If you’ve always wanted soaring vaulted ceilings but felt stuck with flat, low or moderate room heights, you can apply the same principles to visually make your room ceiling look higher. Take a look at some of the “tricks” professional designers incorporate into their plans: STRUCTURAL CHANGES Uncover the ceiling’s architectural framework This modern, urban style eliminates the ceiling covering and leaves exposed pipes and ductwork. In addition to providing more overall headroom, the bare ceiling will give the room a more open feel. Remove crown molding Any molding that protrudes down from the ceiling will make it seem even lower than it actually is. Remove the crown molding for a clean look or replace with a narrower style. Be sure to paint the molding the same colour as the ceiling to give the illusion of extra height. Install flush-mounted lights Any hanging lights will draw the eye downward and make the ceiling feel lower. Where possible, replace these with flush-mounted or recessed lights. In places where a hanging fixture is necessary, such as a dining room chandelier, choose a light, airy style with lots of crystal or glass that you can see through. Be sure to leave at least 36″ of space between the table and the light so the ceiling seems higher. Include uplighting or wall sconces Wall lights that shine up and/or down trick the eyes into believing the wall is taller and therefore, the ceiling is higher. Decorative uplights bounce light off the ceiling and create visual height. Use wide expanses of windows The more windows you have in a room, the more natural light filters inside and the larger the space feels. First-floor patio or French doors also help to connect your room to the great outdoors with a limitless ceiling. Add transom windows Stacking transom windows above doors and windows naturally draws the eye upward. The extra light shining through and bouncing off the ceiling will create an optical illusion of more height as well. Contact an Ecoline Windows representative to discuss transom window options for your home. Raise door openings If you’re able to do some renovation work, raising the interior door openings close to the ceiling and installing wide base moldings will double the impact of a taller room. Reposition kitchen cabinets Instead of leaving a gap between the top of your kitchen cabinets and the ceiling, hang your cabinets all the way up to the ceiling. Change out a few solid doors with glass to give the illusion of space. Better yet, remove the upper cabinets entirely and replace with open shelving for the ultimate space maker. Use the fireplace A fireplace is often the focal point in a room and you can use it to emphasize the room height. Take the fireplace surround all the way to the ceiling and eliminate the mantle to maintain long vertical lines. PAINTING HACKS Lighten the colour Most ceilings are...

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6 home renovations that return the most at resale

Posted by on Feb 8, 2019 in Renovation | 0 comments

Gina Ferazzi/Getty Images Whether you plan to stay in your house a long time or just a few years, it’s smart to know which home renovations add the most value to your place. “Remodeling,” a magazine for the construction industry, in its 2018 Cost vs. Value report, compares the average cost of 21 remodeling projects in 149 markets with the value those projects retain at resale. Here are the six interior remodeling projects that deliver the highest return. 1. Garage door replacement Average cost: $2,470Average resale value: $2,411Cost recouped: 98.3% A good-looking garage door tops the list when it comes to returning cash to your pocket, the Cost vs. Value report shows. This project involves removing an existing 16-by-7-foot garage door and replacing it with a new four-section garage door with heavy-duty galvanized steel tracks. This curb-appeal enhancer will get you back almost every dollar you spent on it when you sell your house. 2. Manufactured stone veneer Average cost: $10,221Average resale value: $9,986Cost recouped: 97.1% Replacing vinyl siding on your house for stone veneer is a big aesthetic improvement. The vinyl siding is replaced with adhered manufactured stone veneer. This is another major curb-enhancing upgrade that will get you back over 97 percent of your costs. 3. Entry door replacement (steel) Average cost: $3,471Average resale value: $3,344Cost recouped: 91.3% You will recoup over 91 percent of your cost by replacing your 36-by-80-inch entry door with a 20-gauge steel door, complete with clear dual-pane half-glass panel, jambs and an aluminum threshold with composite stop. These doors come factory-finished with the same color on the front and back sides. 4. Deck addition (wood) Average cost: $10,950Average resale value: $9,065Cost recouped: 82.8% One advantage of owning a house is having yard space. Nothing enhances a yard like a wood deck. This project involves adding a 16-by-20-foot deck, including a railing system with pressure-treated wood posts, railings and balusters. This feature will hold more than 82 percent of its value come resell time. 5. Minor kitchen remodel Average cost: $31,198Average resale value: $27,193Cost recouped: 81.1% Before you embark on a major kitchen overhaul, consider a minor one, which will recoup about 81 percent of its cost. This upgrade is based on a 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of cabinetry. Cabinet boxes are left in place but updated with modernized Shaker-style wood panels and drawer fronts. Replace laminate countertops with new laminate. Next, swap out older appliances with energy-efficient models. Update with a mid-priced sink and faucet; repaint the trim; add wall covering; and replace vinyl flooring with new vinyl. 6. Siding replacement Average cost: $15,072Average resale value: $11,554Cost recouped: 76.7% If you need a good reason to update old siding, consider that replacing 1,250 square feet of it will cost you about $15,072 and you’ll get back $11,554 upon resale. This upgrade includes the factory trim at the openings and corners. INFORMATION PROVIDED BY...

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5 Tips for your Home Renovation

Posted by on Jan 30, 2019 in Renovation | 0 comments

New year, new renovation budget. Now, before you go off on a rant about how foolish it is to renovate a home, stop. Not every home renovation project is a good investment—nor it is a good use of disposable income. But not every remodel project is a bad idea. That sort of black and white blanket statement just isn’t helpful, particularly when we all know someone who renovated and sold their home for top dollar. Debating whether or not all home reno projects are a good idea is a futile as determining whether or not real estate is a good investment these days. Yes, there are spots where homes are over-priced. But there are so many variables, so how can we give just one accurate answer to a question that impacts a nation of people across 10-million square kilometres? It’s probably more helpful, then, to provide some insightful information that can help any homeowner make good decisions if they are considering a home renovation. (To help you decide if it’s wise to renovate read: Home renovation reality check.) This is particularly important given the current economic climate. By the end of 2018, various Canadian economists were anticipating a rise in spending when it came to home renovations. The Chief Economist of the Canadian Real Estate Association, Gregory Klump, believes that the combination of limited housing supply and strong buyer demand will prompt more homeowners to stay put and renovate, rather than sell and relocate.  Klump’s predictions are supported by the last decade of home renovation spending. According to Toronto-based real estate consultants, Altus Group, renovation spending has been rising for 15 years—from $45-billion in 2006 to $71-billion in 2017. (The 2018 stats aren’t in yet, but the forecast suggests that this expenditure will increase by 1.9%, or another $1.35-billion, by year-end.) If we were to take the total renovation expenditures for 2015, each homeowner would end up spending, on average, about $5,000 on their remodel project. If home prices continue to rise, or even if prices taper off and stay stagnant at the current high valuations, the ongoing renovation trend is sure to continue. Tip #1: Don’t underestimate the cost of renovations From data compiled from over 2 million users’ search behaviour and project posts,, a site that helps homeowners find and rate home reno contractors, found that homeowners consistently set unrealistically low budgets for a few of the most popular renovation projects. For instance, the national average budget for a kitchen renovation came in at just under $14,480—at least $5,000 under-budget for the average Canadian kitchen renovation, explains Nicole Silver, spokesperson for TrustedPros. “It takes licensed electrical, plumbing and gas experts to install bare necessities in a kitchen,” explained Silver, “and these experts come at a price.” Add in the extra cost of durable or high-end finishes and budget costs start to creep up quickly. Another renovation project that homeowners tend to underestimate is fence construction. On average, Canadians budgeted just under $4,200 for a new fence, but average actual costs came in closer to $11,700—about $39 per linear foot. Homeowners also underestimated the cost of new floors and new windows, with average household reno budgets coming in at just over $3,250 and just over $8,520, respectively. “The anticipated floor budget is only realistic for very small spaces using low-end materials,” explains Silver. “While the anticipated window replacement budget covers five regular sized windows and no door replacements,” explains Silver, who suggests that homeowners budget about $1,600 per window (more if installing or replacing specialty or large windows). Tip #2: Seriously consider whether or not you are over-renovating Many homeowners are convinced that they only way to increase the value of their home is to spend a lot of money on high-end finishes and expensive home remodels. But...

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January Testimonials

Posted by on Jan 17, 2019 in Renovation | 0 comments

Replacement of siding to our home. Manalco was professional and very easy to deal with at all times. Kevin Clarke kept me posted at all times and was quick to provide a quote, and made arrangements with the contractor to follow through with the work. With busy lives it was so comforting to be able to have someone trustworthy to deal with. The contractor Jamie and his partner, which I personally never met, kept to the schedule and the work was done perfectly within a few days. Only got to meet up personally with Kevin when the work had been completed and I dropped off the payment. Thank you so much to all involved with the renovation of our home including Mr. B______ for the referral, an honest person who lead me to an honest company. – Manuela C. Replaced pillars and railing on front porch We are very pleased with the outcome. We encountered a few weather delays (gotta love Mother Nature) but the finished result was worth it. Everybody that we dealt with from Kevin to the guys working on the job to the accounting dept were all super nice to work with. Very professional group! – Cheryl F. Replace Exterior Columns. The work was done professionally without any inconvenience to my family. The worker showed up at the time agreed upon and completed the job. The entire process was excellent from start to finish. I met with Kevin, we discussed what my objective was and my budget. He met with me several times and then provided a quotation for the job. As soon as the contractor was available, he advised me and the work begun. After the job was completed, Kevin came back; examined the finished product and gave his approval. I appreciated the professionalism and is happy that I found this company and will be sure to use them for future jobs. – Marvia...

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The Campbell’s Portico Project

Posted by on Jan 9, 2019 in Renovation | 0 comments

When we complete a project, we don’t think of it as the end – we think of it as the beginning of a long-term relationship with our client. We know that a satisfied customer will look to Manalco Contracting for any future renovations, additions, or projects, so we’re committed to ensuring that each and every client enjoys not just the end result, but the entire process from beginning to end.  That was exactly the case with the Campbell’s Portico Project.  A project that started with a simple request, “Can you help us?  We are finding it difficult to get someone comfortable enough to do what we envision for the front of our house.”  An idea was born, and with a spark of creativity, the transformation began. After multiple design meetings, product offering sessions to share available materials and options, a couple construction speed bumps and some on-the-fly changes the ends results were nothing short of breathtaking.  We love when clients know exactly what they want and were also able to trust our generations of expertise. The Campbell’s were diligent in scouring the internet for “pinteresting inspiration”.  We provided sketches on everything from napkins to pieces of scrap lumber (what ever we had available at the time of our inspiration) When we combined client and contractor inspirations of we managed to achieve another successful project that thrilled us both. Nothing better than creative collaborative effort that is the now talk of the...

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