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Although asbestos is no longer permitted in the construction or renovation of current homes, it is still possible to find asbestos today in several old houses. The harmful effects of exposure to asbestos are no longer a secret, which is why asbestos removal is necessary for certain circumstances. But what is asbestos removal and when is it necessary?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was mined primarily in Canada. Asbestos was commonly used in the construction of homes leading into the 1970s in several different forms. However, it was quickly learned that this mineral is dangerous and from thereon, homeowners became worried about its use. Asbestos is linked to lung diseases that are caused by breathing in its fibres, as it irritates the lungs and can lead to scarring.
In the most serious of cases, asbestos can lead to a fatal type of lung cancer. In homes that were built before 1975, it can be found in materials such as thermal insulation, attic insulation, vinyl floor tiles, linoleum floor tiles, window caulking and glazing, fibre cement siding as well as some forms of textured paint.
Unfortunately, there is no obvious way to see asbestos with the naked eye. However, if you find certain old materials around your home are deteriorating and you’re concerned about it, it's important to act quickly and remove them. As asbestos is a dangerous substance, it's recommended that you take the proper safety precautions and hire an asbestos removal specialist to discard the mineral properly.
Contrary to popular belief, asbestos removal is not always required when asbestos is found to be present. Indeed, it is not so much the presence of asbestos that is the problem, but rather the inhalation of its fibres. In order to avoid any risk related to this situation, it is therefore crucial never to move or remove materials containing this harmful product by yourself. So, if the material remains in place and it does not crumble over time, you can safely keep it. Note, however, that a deterioration of the material will require you to have it removed completely to replace it in accordance with the new requirements.
Guidelines in place for asbestos removal are there to protect contractors who could meet with the substance on a regular basis. However, homeowners should be cautious and informed regarding the removal process. Finding asbestos in one’s home is common during home renovation projects, especially in situations where testing for the substance is required to be approved for a work permit.
It's safe to have asbestos in the home when it's undisturbed or contained, however, even touching the mineral can lead to the suspension of fibres into the air. If you're working on a home renovation project and feel as though you have come across asbestos, stop all work immediately.
A qualified asbestos specialist must survey the area and take samples that need to be analyzed at an accredited lab. If specialists do discover that there is asbestos hidden in the materials of your home, it will need to be removed.
The price and details of asbestos removal will greatly depend on the scope of work, the risk level, access to the material, the amount of waste generated as well as the timeline. The most cost-effective way to remove asbestos is to have the suspect material surveyed as soon as possible.
This way, the scope of work involved and related costs will all be evident to you. It is not possible for the homeowner to complete the sampling process on their own, and serious precautions are taken by professionals during sampling.
If it has been determined that you have asbestos in your home, professionals must come in to remove the substance. Asbestos waste is bagged or encapsulated and can be disposed of in specifically classed landfills. The bagged waste must be buried and covered immediately upon arrival at the landfill, and it's generally recommended that advanced arrangements are made with the landfill in order to ensure that this occurs. Before the beginning of the work, all surfaces should be dust off.
Again, if you are taking on a home renovation project and suspect the presence of asbestos in your home, make sure you contact a professional as soon as possible to avoid the substantial risks involved with this substance.
According to the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail, here are some examples of asbestos removal work and the degree of risk it presents:
Here’s a direct breakdown of the asbestos removal protocols that must be followed.
For low-risk work:
For work presenting a moderate risk:
For high-risk work:
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Then, the second step aims to confine the area statically or dynamically in order to avoid contamination with the rest of the building.
Static containment consists of blocking all access to buildings, cleaning walls and insulating contaminated materials (with a double plastic coating). In a second step, a test is carried out to verify that the part is waterproof (the part will be inspected following the injection of smoke into it in order to detect a potential leak). In order to avoid too much concentration of asbestos fibres in the air, air inlets and exhausts are put in place. To allow workers to get out of the area and get the contaminated materials out, an airlock is also installed.
For its part, dynamic confinement acts according to a principle of decompression in relation to the outside. To prevent a leak in the watertight envelope from causing the asbestos fibres to be released into the work area, the air is therefore circulated from the outside to the inside. In order to allow the vacuum system to function optimally, the air is renewed six times an hour. In addition, air extractors are equipped with high-performance filters to trap asbestos fibres.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Now is the time to start the third stage, where the contaminants are removed. As in the previous step, two options are available. The first is dismantling, which consists of first removing materials that have come into contact with asbestos, and then doing the same with materials containing asbestos.
In order to minimize the release of asbestos particles into the air, some contractors opt for wet removal. Before removal, the contaminated material is soaked in water and removed. The surfaces with which the material is in contact are then brushed and sucked.
Before terminating the construction site, the condition of the structure is examined by the supervisor and finally, by an independent inspector responsible for validating the evaluations previously carried out.
If the inspection does not reveal any problems, the first layer of containment may be removed. Thereafter, a 48-hour break period is observed to allow the remaining asbestos dust to settle on the ground. A test is carried out to measure the dust rate present in the decontaminated area, which must be less than 5 fibres/litre of air. Finally, the air extraction devices and barriers used during containment are removed.
Depending on the waste that remains as a result of the work, a special disposal procedure will have to be followed. The types of materials are divided into three categories:
Category 1: Filters, polyene films (films used as protective and sealing films)
Category 2: Any substance or article that cannot be decontaminated
Category 3: Any enema decontaminating material
The first two categories of so-called "hazardous" waste will be transposed through the transfer of a first bag that will be cleaned before being placed in a second bag (which will also be washed), to be finally placed in a third bag. The latter will allow all contaminated materials to be transported to an appropriate treatment centre for burial or inertage.
Waste belonging to the latter category will be cleaned in the waste system previously installed and then disposed of as ordinary waste would be.
Recent developments have made it possible to turn asbestos products into non-toxic materials. However, the recycling of asbestos is complex and costly.
The most established method currently works by heating asbestos materials in a sodium hydroxide solution that will break down the asbestos. The temperature of this solution must reach 1,250 degrees Celsius. This process breaks down asbestos fibres and leaves a non-hazardous glass. This glass can then be used to create stoneware or ceramic as well as for aggregate for roadways. A less commonly used asbestos treatment uses microwave thermal energy to convert the material to ceramic bricks or porcelain tiles.
These methods help to reduce asbestos waste anywhere between 50% and 90%, depending on the type of product being recycled. This is hugely beneficial for landfills and reduces disposal costs.
The Regulation respecting occupational health and safety makes it mandatory to comply with the measures introduced by the Safety Code for the construction industry for the control of asbestos dust caused by the removal of contaminated materials.
For any work likely to release asbestos fibres, the employer is obliged to provide training to his workers on the appropriate methods to be followed in carrying out asbestos removal and on the risks arising from the inhalation of asbestos fibres.
Moreover, the CNESST specifies that for "all removal or demolition work involving asbestos carried out on a construction site, a certificate that the workers have been trained and a description of the work methods and procedures that will be used must be provided to the CNESST with the notice of opening of the site". However, this obligation does not apply to a self-employed contractor.
Any employee involved in an asbestos removal operation must also obtain information relevant to the identification of asbestos-containing materials, as well as to the management of the equipment and clothing that will be used in the process.
RenoQuotes.com can help you get quotes for your asbestos removal project. If you submit your project to us, we’ll put you in contact with the most suitable contractors for you. Fill in the form on our homepage (only a few minutes), and you will receive quotes from trusted professionals.
Last modified 2022-12-19
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SoumissionRenovation.ca • 02 Aug 2023
A home extension is a significant undertaking, no matter how you look at it. It calls for solid technical expertise and extensive design know-how. Learn why an architect’s expertise is indispensable to building a well-designed home extension. Home Extension Blueprints Source: Canva Blueprints can spare you a considerable amount of trouble: Avoid administrative roadblocks; Mitigate the risks of a contractor rejecting your plans and halting the process; Prevent the need to completely redo the plans. If you deem yourself quite talented in terms of technical drawings and believe designing the plans for your new home extension is a good idea, think again. Plans drawn up by a homeowner almost always end up rejected by city officials. When not outright rejected, architects and architectural technologists are quite likely to refuse to collaborate on your plans and rubber stamp them with their professional seal. Therefore, drawing up your own plans for your home extension project is altogether a waste of time. While certain contractors may suggest having them designed on your behalf, this idea isn’t much better. Why, you ask? Because in the event that you terminate your contract with said contractor, they might not be willing to hand over your home’s extension plans. The best solution is to team up, from the get-go, with an architect or architectural technologist, who will draw up, and subsequently hand over, the blueprints of your home extension. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! When do you need to hire an architect for a home extension? Source: Canva An architect will come in handy when: Inspecting the state of your home; Drawing up the extension plans; Handling administrative requests; Managing companies/vendors involved. An architect also has an advisory role, as adding to or expanding a home does come with a set of consequences. In this regard, the architect will define your property limits in terms of positioning and dimensions: How will the house stand out from a remote viewpoint? Who can see the extension (neighbours, passers-by, nobody)? What’s the extension overlooking (landscape, factory, etc.)? Is an easement of views necessary (Civil Code of Quebec, article 993)? Which architects are approved by the urban planning department (Services de l’urbanisme)? These factors might prompt you to reconsider your initial home extension project. On the other hand, collaborating with an architect ensures a strong start, right off the bat. Architect or Architectural Technologist? In Quebec, the question is all the more pertinent given the two competing associations. Architects and architectural technologists aren’t trained alike. The former completed a university program, while the latter obtained a college diploma. The first are members of the OAQ (Ordre des architectes du Québec), while the others are part of the OTPQ (Ordre des technologues professionnels du Québec). Is one diploma better than the other? That’s for you to decide. The main difference may pinpoint the fact that an architectural technologist is more inclined to the practical side of things, as opposed to creative conception. However, an experienced and qualified architectural technologist is better than a poorly skilled architect, and vice versa. Base your decision on their reputation and past work. However, note that architects are the only qualified professionals who can design single-family homes, provided these exceed 6,458 sq. ft. (600 m²). Check out our article 3 Factors to Consider When Choosing an Architect. Architects Have a Ton of Experience to Go Around Source: Canva Planning a home extension is often done for one (or more) of the following reasons: Increase the square footage; Revamp aesthetics; Adapt the home (ageing occupants, disability); Increase the property’s market value; Have more natural light. Rightly, an architect’s role is to draw upon their experience, potentially guiding you to an entirely different architectural outcome. In fact, the home extension can: Extend the existing structure; Be separate from the neighbouring structure; Bridge two distinct spaces; Be ethereal (thin metal beams with glass partitions) or protective. While the decision rests on the client’s shoulders, an expert’s know-how is indispensable, as they’re able to present these different options and assist their client in the final decision-making. In essence, building an appealing extension requires the spark of an idea or creative concept. This is exactly where the skillset of an architect comes into play. It’s all the more important if you’re looking to increase the square footage of an older home with a modern-looking extension. Few are the trades with the know-how to blend older designs with more modern ones, as part of a structure that serves both as a contrast and a balance. Cost of an Architect-Designed Home Extension Source: Canva A number of factors come into play: Firm’s reputation; Size of the home extension; Technical difficulty in drawing the plans; Number of sub-contractors to supervise throughout. Then, note 3 types of fees: Rates ($50 to $200 per hour) Cost per square foot ($2 to $3.50/sq. ft.); Percentage. The percentage is calculated based on the scale of the intended home extension. As such, the architect’s fees amount to about 10% of the project’s total cost. Architectural Technologists Are Budget-Friendlier The disparate qualifications of these two associations mean architectural technologists offer more budget-friendly service fees. While architects typically charge 8% to 10% of the total cost of the home extension, architectural technologists will bill at a lower cost, 1% to 3%. This significant difference in costs opens to door to undertaking a more ambitious home extension than what might’ve been possible with an architect.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 26 Apr 2023
Is your heat pump’s air conditioning function not working? It might not be that difficult to fix. Whether it be a faulty fan or a leaky heat pump, we’re delving into all these malfunctions, and sharing some DIY fixes on the unit itself when possible. A Heat Pump’s Faulty Air Conditioning Function Source: Canva Rest assured, most often, heat pumps function very well, and their materials are long-lasting. However, at times, heat pumps can fail to operate as intended. Not unlike a sick patient, one has to consider all the symptoms to find the cause of the ailment. Here’s a list of issues that can occur with heat pumps that may cause the air conditioning feature to malfunction. My heat pump is noisy If you can hear whistling or a sort of bubbling sound coming from your unit, it means that the refrigerant level is low. The AC function isn’t blowing cold air Source: Canva Heat pumps require some general upkeep, especially when it comes to their filters. If you've been maintaining your unit by cleaning the filters every 2-3 months, then check the compressor. It may be that it isn’t working anymore and needs to be replaced. Another probable cause is a low level of Freon (refrigerant), which we’ll delve into below. My heat pump is tripping my breaker Here are the likeliest causes of this air conditioning problem: You may have plugged in too many appliances at once (drop in voltage); Your compressor short-circuited due to too-high humidity levels; The heat pump is poorly insulated; The motor is damaged (malfunctioning condenser); The fans are damaged due to a build-up of dust; The condensers aren’t functioning anymore. In any case, if you’re sure that it’s not due to a faulty fuse, you’ll need to hire a professional. They’re the only ones that’ll be able to determine the malfunction with certitude and repair it. The heat pump fan isn’t spinning Source: Canva The 7 possible reasons are: The fan is simply broken and needs to be replaced; The circuit breaker fuse blew; The thermostat no longer works; A too-high demand for electricity led to a drop in voltage; The wires aren’t connected properly; The blower motor is malfunctioning; The circuit board is defective. Are you looking for experts for your heating and air conditioning project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Why is my heat pump leaking? If so, it’s most likely resulting from a clogged condensate drain. Not unlike a sink, a heat pump’s drain line can get clogged up. To unclog it yourself, you’ll need to open up your heat pump and use a product that contains sodium hydroxide to dissolve the blockage. However, a leaky heat pump can also be a result of the following: Faulty installation; The evaporator’s refrigerant; Malfunctioning condensate pump. In such instances, have an HVAC technician handle your heat pump repair. Heating or Cooling Issues Source: Canva Occasionally, heat pumps fail to heat or cool the air inside your home as intended. These HVAC problems often occur when heat pump filters are obstructed. If so, follow the steps detailed below: Cut the heat pump’s power supply via the circuit breaker; Open up the panel by lightly pulling on the sides; Remove both black filters in front of you; Clean them out to remove the dust. You should clean the filters every 2 to 3 months to prevent such reoccurring problems with your unit. Such issues with your unit can also be resulting from the heat pump’s settings. Therefore, make sure that it’s programmed according to your needs and that the batteries in the remote control are still functional. How can I tell if my heat pump is low on Freon? Source: Canva Issues related to low levels of Freon (refrigerant) in a heat pump solely have one cause: a leak. Such problems are very serious, as such, having your heat pump repaired by a professional is a must. Their role will be to find the leak, fix it, or replace the defective part. Here are 5 telltale signs that your Freon levels are low. 1- Cooling your home is especially drawn-out The less Freon contained in a heat pump, the less cold air it will generate. As a result, you’re going to have a harder time cooling your dwelling. 2- Your electricity bill is going up Have you noticed a spike in your electricity bill? If your consumption habits haven’t changed, this may be a sign that your unit isn’t in good working order. Heat pumps consume a lot more energy when refrigerant levels in your system are low. 3- Your heat pump is whistling or bubbling Whistling or bubbling heat pumps have low refrigerant levels. 4- There’s frost on the ductwork This can be a red flag leading to more serious problems, which may result in the need to replace the entire unit. A lack of refrigerant in heat pumps can ice up the ductwork around the exterior unit. 5- The air from vents is lukewarm This means that the refrigerant level is much too low. HVAC Technician Repair Services If your heat pump’s cooling function is defective, and this problem isn’t a direct result of your remote control or electric panel, contact a technician. We've scoured the Internet to find the best heat pump repair technicians available, based on Google reviews and user ratings, and some definitely outshine the rest.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 30 Aug 2023
A concrete circular saw is an efficient and precise tool provided you’re using the right equipment. From the saw to the blade type, here’s how to choose your material to cut concrete like a pro. Why Use a Circular Saw to Cut Concrete? Source: Canva That’s easy because it’s lightweight and easy to handle. A circular saw can slice concrete slabs over a depth of 6.49 inches (165 mm). To do so, such a concrete saw must be fitted with a diamond blade, the sole mineral rated 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, which true to its name, characterizes the hardness of minerals. As such, it’s solid enough to cut concrete at great depths. However, there’s another type of blade, one made with a mineral rated 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale: corundum. Albeit not as hard as diamond, corundum is a hard aluminum oxide. Sold under the name of “abrasive disc,” it’s cheaper and less durable, and its cuts aren’t as precise nor as fast to carry out. To that, it can also be said that the cuts aren’t as deep, since they only hit depths of ¼ to ½ inch. How to Spot a Concrete Circular Saw Source: Canva A concrete circular saw blade is easily recognizable. Unlike a miter saw, which has hard-toothed edges, a concrete circular saw is either smooth or segmented. Entry-level blade models are 7 inches wide and cost a little under $8. A concrete circular saw is often paired with a water line to constantly cool down the blade during its use. If this isn’t the case, you can cool down the zone with the help of a garden hose. What Type of Saw Should Be Used to Cut Concrete? Source: Canva Wet Saw As we’ve already mentioned, concrete circular saws are often paired with a water line to cool down the blade, which means that there’s also a way to dry-cut concrete, as is the case with the power tool we’ll discuss next. The advantages of a wet saw hinge on the following: Expert cut Speed Dustless The device can be equipped with a water reservoir or directly supplied by a garden hose via a connection meant for that very purpose. Power Saw A corded concrete chainsaw is ideal when working in a closed-off environment. In fact, using said tool allows one to bypass diesel exhaust generated by a thermal circular saw. Typically, the dry concrete cutting method is used with this type of device. However, some manufacturers retail circular power saws that are also fitted with a water cooling system. The blade can measure up to 16 inches wide, with 3,200 W of power, much like thermal cutting tools. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Which Blade Is Best Used to Cut a Concrete Wall? Source: Canva Choosing the right blade isn’t as easy as it may seem considering there are differing options available. The blade can be: Continuous Segmented Continuous Blade A continuous saw blade ensures the best cut for fragile materials, such as flooring and roofing tiles. In fact, it prevents a chisel-like effect that could result in the material cracking. Segmented Disc On the other hand, the segmented disc is favoured when working with hard materials like concrete. The segmented blade prevents the disc’s rim from cracking. As such, to effectively slice concrete, a circular saw fitted with a segmented blade is best. Choosing the Right Size: 12, 16, or 14 Inches? As for the width of the blade, it depends on the depth to which the concrete must be cut: 12-inch wide blade: a 4-inch depth (100 mm) 14-inch wide blade: a 5-inch depth (120 mm) 16-inch wide blade: a 6-inch depth (152 mm) How to Cut a Concrete Slab with a Circular Saw Source: Canva Step 1: Measure the width of the slab The width of the slab is key to determining the size of the blade you’ll need to purchase. In any case, to cut concrete, you’ll need a segmented blade. Step 2: Choose a type of circular saw Your device can be: thermal or powered; with dry- or wet-cutting. The tool type very much depends on your needs. For indoor use, it’s best to opt for an electric circular saw to avoid inhaling diesel exhaust generated by the apparatus. If you’re planning on carrying out numerous fast and precise cuts, a circular saw with a wet cooling system is what you need. However, if your cuts can be done outside and aren’t as thorough, a dry-cutting method will do. Why, you ask? Because dry-cutting results in a lot more dust and the blade risks overheating faster. Therefore, this type of cut isn’t meant for indoor spaces or thorough work. Step 3: Mark cutting guidelines Using a ruler, string, or chalk, mark the concrete with your cutting guidelines to ensure the saw’s blade hits the intended spot. Step 4: Set cutting height While the blade’s diameter is either 12-, 14- or 16-inch wide, you can adjust the saw’s cutting height to your liking. To do so, adjust the knob or lever on your device. Step 5: Gear up To cut concrete, not only will you need a circular saw, but you’ll also need the following handy: Safety goggles Face shield Gloves Mask Step 6: Cut the concrete Manually operating a circular saw is pretty straightforward: place dominant hand on the power trigger; hold the front grip with other hand. Holding a circular saw in such a way only serves to hold the power tool firmly in place. Under no circumstances should you push down on the blade when cutting the concrete. The blade’s 3,500 or 4,200 spins/minute will do that. Step 7: Cool down the blade If your circular saw is a wet saw, it cools down while cutting. However, nothing’s stopping you from lifting the blade out of the concrete every 30 seconds to help cool it down. When dry-cutting concrete, the process of cooling down the blade is a must. Otherwise, you risk breaking the blade.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 09 Aug 2023
Concrete panels are durable, cost-effective, and viable options for both indoor and outdoor walls. Their list of attributes doesn’t end here: they're also easy to install, especially aesthetic-looking, thermal insulators, and soundproof. We’ll delve into why and how these panels should be installed. Characteristics of Lightweight Concrete Outdoor Wall Panels Source: Canva Concrete panels are considered lightweight when their density is between 90 to 115 lb/ft³, as opposed to regular concrete’s 140 to 150 lb/ft³. As such, they weigh roughly forty pounds (20 to 30 kilos) apiece and have: low thermal conductivity; high thermal resistance; reduced likelihood of shrinkage; increased ability to withstand rotting. Variations are made using different types of aggregates. With lightweight concrete, it can be: Slate Ash Schist Pumice Clay Perlite Introducing New Aggregates Over the last few years, materials from agricultural waste have made their way into the manufacturing process of lightweight concrete panels, OPS (oil palm shell) concrete being one of them. Furthermore, innovations aren’t curbed yet, as experiments are carried out to manufacture concrete panels sourced from the slag generated by gasification processes and fly ash issued from petrochemical incineration. These products, stemming from an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), are used to produce glass-ceramic, and with lightweight concrete, exhibit compressive strength exceeding the requirements established by the international standards organization ASTM International (formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials). PCSP Also available are PCSPs—precast concrete sandwich panels—which are rightfully named for their 3 layers (concrete - insulation - concrete), and have valuable characteristics: withstand compression load; lightweight; energy efficient; durable, safe, and comfortable. Specifically, it’s a mix of 3 mm expanded polystyrene beads and cement, to achieve a density equalling 9 kN/m³. Why is lightweight concrete cheaper than regular concrete? Simply because regular concrete, being heavier than its lightweight counterpart, requires rebar (structural reinforcements), like framing, steel beams, etc. As such, the total cost of a project will be higher using regular concrete as opposed to lightweight concrete. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! How to Install Fibre Cement Panels Source: Canva Fibre cement panels can just as well be installed inside as outside since they’re fit for roofing. They’re used as a thermal barrier coating, and reinforced with a fibreglass mesh to withstand UV rays. Here’s a 9-step guide for installing fibre cement indoor wall panels: Step 1: Gather materials Here’s everything you need to secure fibre cement wall panels: Low-expansion construction foam Caulking gun Electric drill Hammer Compressor with 16-gauge nailer 1 ¾ inch finishing nails Wood shims Laser level or 4-inch line level Tape measure Grinder or mechanical saw with a diamond blade Step 2: Inspect plywood Once installed, lightweight concrete is just as resilient as plywood. However, if the plywood isn’t properly installed, or isn’t sturdy enough, the lightweight concrete panels will mirror the former’s characteristics. Step 3: Unbox and store panels Upon delivery, your panels will be boxed in protective packaging. To remove the panels from their packaging, lay the panels sideways, vertically on their edge. If laid horizontally, they risk breaking. The same concept applies during transportation. Always transport concrete panels vertically rather than horizontally, to prevent breakage. Step 4: Mark the wall To install concrete panels, always start with the first row, meaning at the bottom of the wall. Make a mark to indicate the wall’s midpoint as well as to indicate the height of the first concrete panel. Based on the height of the concrete panel, you can then set your laser level or use your line level. Step 5: Prepare panels Once you’re certain of where the first concrete panel should be secured (centre fit at the bottom of the wall), you can go ahead and apply the low-expansion construction foam on the back of the panel. You can apply the product in a sinuous-like wave pattern, from top to bottom, over the panel’s entire back surface. Step 6: Wedge the panel Should you not want the panel to sit directly on the floor, especially if the latter isn’t level, you can wedge a wood shim beneath it. Otherwise, you can simply hold it in place for a few seconds until it adheres to the wall. You can then nail them in place using a nail gun. The concrete’s texture will conceal the nails. Step 7: Cut panels accordingly The last panel in each row will most likely need to be cut. To do so, you can use a grinder or mechanical saw fitted with a diamond blade. Step 8: Check level and thickness This is a crucial step. The first row must be completely level, otherwise, the subsequent rows will also be crooked. Once the panels have all been installed, you may notice a discrepancy between one panel to the next. Should this be the case, use a wood shim to adjust the panels accordingly. This will allow you to have a perfectly flat and levelled wall. You can also drive a screw into a panel in question and use it as an anchor point to then pull the concrete panel toward you to adjust it accordingly. Keep in mind that you only have about 5 to 10 minutes to make any necessary adjustments before the adhesive cures. Step 9: Caulk the edges Caulk the panels’ edges with an adhesive, while using a trimming tool to apply the silicone. You can remove any excess product using a putty knife. Lastly, sand the surface of every concrete panel with a fine-grit sandpaper. Doing so will effectively remove any and all fingerprints, as well as accumulated dirt resulting from the installation. Types of Panels Source: Canva Concrete panels have made their way into all construction-related fields: Architecture Interior use Décor Fireplace walls Flooring Architecture Lightweight panels are available in an array of colours and are more often than not the sought-after choice amongst architects. So much so that it resulted in the inception of a new trend: photo-engraved façades. This involves using patterned concrete to depict a grooved image. When it comes to pre-fabricated concrete, the image is moulded and positioned at the bottom of a mould. There are two other techniques: Graphic Concrete Béton picturalⓇ Both methods are distinct. The first method involves using a retarder to delay the concrete’s curing process in certain areas, thereby allowing aggregates to show through. This is achieved using a special membrane with a retarder. On the other hand, the second technique entails digitally printing an image onto a concrete slab. Therefore, concrete panels are the perfect canvas for a new, vector graphic-based architectural art. For Indoor Use Walls aren’t the sole surface to accommodate concrete panels. They’ve permeated every corner of the home: Floors Behind fireplaces Bathrooms etc. They’re just as used in single-family homes as in administrative and commercial buildings. Decorative Concrete Although lightweight concrete panels are designed to withstand loads, they’re, first and foremost, thought of as decorative pieces when used indoors in their ultra-lightweight versions, weighing roughly forty pounds (20 to 30 kilograms). Concrete panels are available in various shades of grey and are particularly valued for instilling modern-looking interior designs. They exude a sophisticated ambience that combines elegance and charm. For Fireplace Walls If you’re looking for fireplace wall cladding, fibre cement panels are perfect for that, given that they can be positioned around and behind fireplaces. Panels are retailed as 4-, 8-, or 10-feet high boards, with thicknesses ranging from ¼ to ½ inches, as provided by manufacturers. As Flooring Concrete panels can be glued onto subflooring, whether the latter is made of plywood or OSB. Concrete panels and subfloors are adhered together by mortar or using an adhesive. When proceeding with installation, avoid overlapping the panels’ joints with those of the subfloor.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 09 Aug 2023
Once considered rustic, perhaps even old-fashioned, ceiling beams have now become a sought-after, stylish design element. Embrace them; unearth their beauty, customize their style to your liking, and genuinely appreciate their presence. Or, draw inspiration from them, create something new, and adapt them to your different indoor settings. Exposed beams exude an undeniable charm, no matter the room they grace. Paired with high ceilings, they instill a sense of spaciousness and magnificence. Whether you’re harnessing existing structural elements or introducing decorative faux wood beams to revamp a particular décor, we’ll delve into how to make the most out of this striking architectural feature. An Abode with Exposed Ceiling Beams Source: Canva The framing (or beams) is the wood or metal—at times concrete—structural components used to support a building’s roof, as well as the insulation materials, ventilation system, etc. Structural framing for new constructions Oftentimes, when dealing with new construction, there’s the option of leaving the structural beams exposed. Doing so will result in a striking feature and significant space gain in a room that can be stretched high into the attic. Since it will inevitably influence numerous architectural parameters, it must be specified at the very beginning of the project. Restore exposed beams during a remodel If your attic encloses striking wooden beams, why not consider undertaking a remodelling project aimed at exposing them? On the other hand, if the framing is already exposed, there are ways to restore the beams, even if, at first glance, they appear to be pretty shabby. For one, they can be painted or capped with wood to revamp their look with an aesthetic, modern, and sophisticated twist. Naturally, one can choose to break through the attic to expose the beams within, thereby becoming making the beams the focal design aspect of the room sitting directly beneath, or redesign the space entirely. Whatever the case may be, there’s no doubt your house will benefit from this unique feature. Again, if you decide to expose structural elements, best let the contractor know ahead of time. The roof’s insulation must be renewed accordingly, and the beams and rafters may have to be restored as well. Replacing existing structural features can also mean gaining a significant amount of space, height-wise. Are you looking for a general contractor for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! What type of timber is best suited for beams? Source: Canva Choosing the type of timber, not unlike the transformation process, will largely depend on the selected architectural style, interior décor, and materials used to craft and coat the exposed beams. There are two types of structural framing styles: light-frame and heavy-frame construction. Typically, timber framing, or heavy-frame construction, is especially sought-after courtesy of its aesthetic aspect. On the other hand, light-frame construction will most often be made with finner, less fire-resistant wood, and ultimately, timber that has been tool-worked. While it’s exceptionally decorative, it isn’t crafted with solid wood, thereby won’t allow for the possibility of transforming the attic into a living space. An unfinished wood, timber framing In its natural state—or as close to it as possible—unfinished wood adds a unique appeal to any setting. From its veining to its exposed knotting, by way of different shades that really shouldn’t be concealed with paint, are both charming and appealing aspects. Roughly trimmed exposed wood beams have an undeniable rustic charm, while light wood will inspire a rather trendy, Scandinavian look. Unfinished wood framing isn’t limited to a traditional, rustic, or Scandinavian style since its warmth and coziness create a striking contrast at the heart of a contemporary setting. When preserving the look of untreated wood, homeowners can choose to stain, sand, or buff the wood’s surface to align its finish with the desired style. The aesthetic outcome is up for grabs—one can achieve an amalgamation of looks, all seamlessly merging conservative and modern elements. Mixed material framing or light-frame construction Exposed beams may be the result of a combination of different materials, thereby giving light to striking outcomes. Metal beams (steel, aluminum, etc.) showcase a more modern, loft-like, dwelling, which is also really appealing. Dare to Paint Exposed Beams Covering exposed beams with white paint can convey a certain lightness to the décor, thereby creating bright rooms, with meticulous and sophisticated details. This also brightens the rooms, adding a modern twist. Black-painted beams are chic and elegant, conveying an industrial-inspired, stylish and modern setting. If there’s sufficient ceiling height, one can even go as far as painting the ceiling black too. Otherwise, the simple contrast of black beams on a white ceiling is just as striking. Don’t limit yourself to black and white! Bluish-grey beams will garner all the attention in a rustic or older-model home with coastal-inspired décor. Grey beams will convey the unique appeal of cedar wood in a country-living-inspired house or the divine farmhouse look. Pro tip: If you have beams installed, opt for wood instead of polyurethane or polystyrene, which are both short-lived and flammable options. Space them out sufficiently to avoid overloading the room, while ensuring their size isn’t exaggerated in regards to the height of the ceiling. Areas to Favour for Peak Results Source: Canva Exposed beams and their numerous decorative possibilities are simply to die for. Their style and authenticity, much like the added ceiling height and the formerly lacklustre walls, are all part of the charm. Renovated, painted, or left untreated, exposed framing beams revamp any room, showcasing its uniqueness. On that account, it’s not all that surprising that exposed beams have crossed over into modern, traditional, Scandinavian, boho-chic, industrial, or country-living interior décors. Such an architectural feature can metamorphosis any room, from the living room and bedroom to a home office and dining area. Some bedroom-specific exposed beam ideas: White beams convey a homebody and coastal vibe, with daydreams at the forefront. A cute duvet cover, light veiling covering the windows, and refined furniture pieces…you can’t do it better than that! Untreated wood has an authenticity, a natural look that when paired with plants channels a refreshing look, one with a slightly exotic touch. To sharpen the rustic side of unfinished wood, one may choose to build a bed frame using wood pallets, while opting for wall-mounted bedside tables. For a Zen-inspired look, opt for polished wood beams, which will effortlessly reflect the light. For an industrial-style bedroom, split up the space using a partition with a black frame… It’s a beautiful way to blend a makeshift lounge area, walk-in closet, or home office. For a well-done, country-chic look, pair a wood-panelled ceiling with white beams. A living room exuding undeniable charm with exposed beams: There’s nothing like a bright, cozy, and welcoming living room to set a rustic and modern tone to a timeless décor. As such, use leather furniture and dark wood coffee tables, a few British-inspired decorative pieces that also have a subtle masculine touch. In a farmhouse-inspired living room with exposed beam work, favour neutral shades and noble materials. In a narrow room, opt for neutral and light colours to brighten the space and create a sense of spaciousness. As for the beams, select the same shades as the walls and ceilings, and limit the use of any other colour to a few decorative pieces. To showcase untreated beams in a spacious living room, paint the ceiling and walls white. And, rely on elegant materials to highlight your furniture. For a high-tech look, paint the beams light grey or beams with a metallic finish to set the tone. To create an industrial look, try to seamlessly balance metals, glass, and wood. And, try adding a bit of brick into the mix! Exposed Beam Insulation and Upkeep Source: Canva How can you insulate an exposed beam ceiling? A comfortable and healthy home is well insulated against drafts, heat, and noise pollution. Typically, homeowners will choose to insulate their ceilings from the inside due to its cost-effectiveness and ease. However, when insulation materials are added between and under the rafters, they may conceal, partially or entirely, the exposed beams. Therefore, the best option consists of insulating from the outside. Combining various insulation materials—rigid, batts, or sprayed—will maintain the necessary ventilation, while the structure benefits from high-performing insulation, thus limiting thermal bridges. The complexity of this aforementioned process calls for expert hands. How can you ensure the durability of exposed beams? Protecting a wooden structure calls for regular maintenance and upkeep while also ensuring the roof is leak-proof. It’s equally important to make sure insects and fungi aren’t permeating the structure, addressing these issues as necessary. Lastly, a well-functioning ventilation system should have priority, while excess moisture should be meticulously controlled. On the other hand, steel framing is resistant to pests and fungi, but is especially vulnerable to corrosion. Regular maintenance, as well as applying a coat of intumescent paint, which safeguards against heat in case of fires, is highly recommended. Lighting and Décor Ideas for Exposed Beams Source: Canva No matter which room in your house you’re decorating, focus on the structural framing to showcase said space in a unique way. The beams can be embellished with pendant lights or sconces. Another idea would be to hang incandescent light bulbs from the ceiling with a long electric cord wrapped around the beam. Lastly, string lights are just as appealing. For a more contemporary look, secure recessed lights on the beams. This type of lighting, when positioned on either side of the beams, results in a beautiful interplay between light and darkness. Affixed between the beams, the lighting will highlight the length of the beams, and visually enhance the size of the room. Another option would be the use the framing as the room’s main decorative feature, meaning using the wooden beams to their fullest. Hang a hammock, swing, or wispy veils that frame the canopy-like bed, for a cozy and romantic look. Use the beams to cleverly divide the space into distinct areas: lounge area, home office, storage, etc. Wall beams can double as shelving to store plush bathroom linens, small and exotic plants, or a collection of related coffee table books. Furthermore, to seamlessly blend in your furniture, there’s nothing better than merging with the framing. A tall storage unit or custom-made, wall-mounted bookcase will allow you to create a beautiful, focal furniture piece while also instilling a unique appeal to the room as a whole. Last but not least, climbing vines will benefit from the constant stream of daylight courtesy of the windows while gracefully stretching about the room, floor to ceiling.