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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.
Blueprints can spare you a considerable amount of trouble:
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.
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An architect will come in handy when:
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:
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.
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.
Planning a home extension is often done for one (or more) of the following reasons:
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:
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.
A number of factors come into play:
Then, note 3 types of fees:
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.
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.
RenoQuotes.com can help you get quotes for your home extension project. By submitting your project, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes) and get estimates from trusted professionals.
Last modified 2023-08-10
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SoumissionRenovation.ca • 30 Aug 2023
Why choose timber formwork at the height of steel formwork? Simply because timber has three undeniable advantages: it’s cheap, effective, and safe. If you’re not all too familiar with timber formwork, here’s everything you need to know about this material that guarantees well-built and durable structures. What’s timber beam formwork? Source: Canva Formwork is a structure used to support and shape freshly poured concrete. Its primary purpose is to ensure the weight of the concrete is evenly distributed through the formwork’s grid pattern to the foundation. What can you make with timber formwork? With timber formwork, you can make: Concrete beams Slabs Foundations What’s formwork made of? Depending on the work being done, timber formwork can be made of: Raw lumber boards Plywood Stringers Timber beams Strapping Rafters Structural bracing All these wooden components can be reused multiple times, and have the advantage of being built directly on-site. Formwork Characteristics Timber formwork has the following characteristics: Designed for disassembly Can be reused (5 to 10 times) Waterproof Durable Stable The formwork components are typically connected to one another with nails, which prevents the concrete from vibrating from the outside from the structure’s lack of stability. However, hybrid–timber (wood and steel) constructions can also be built. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Techniques Used to Build Timber Formwork Source: Canva The timber formwork building method hinges on three factors: Under-construction unit’s framework Structure’s location Materials and tools available Regardless of the circumstances, the formwork must be durable and watertight. There are three steps to building a timber formwork atop a standard structure (slab, foundation, wall, etc.). See below. Step 1. Choose boards As you’ll come to know later on regarding the current timber formwork standards, the boards used must be at least 1.5 inches (38 mm) thick. This factor ensures the formwork boards are sturdy while preventing warping (or deformation). Lengthwise, the boards used can measure up to 5 m (16 ft). Using plywood may be a better option compared to lumber since its greater dimensions and smooth surface limit the amount of finishing work required. Furthermore, plywood is strong enough to withstand the weight of concrete. Step 2. Outline area Before installing the boards, outline the perimeter of the to-be-built formwork with a string. Nail or screw the formwork boards together. For projects with a relatively low amount of pressure (concrete slab, for example), the boards can be reinforced with pegs at regular intervals. However, for more ambitious projects, like building walls, for example, adding structural bracing is a must. This will prevent the structure from warping or collapsing. Step 3. Prep for strike-off This might seem hasty, but you should prepare to strip the formwork prior to pouring the concrete. How so? Apply a release oil on the interior surfaces of your formwork. Now the structure is concrete-ready! For more technical concrete formwork, like those needed to build staircases or beams, it’s best to use precast concrete forms or permanent shuttering. The latter is also precast with concrete. Which wood species should you use for timber formwork? Source: Canva In Quebec, the three most used wood species to build formwork are: Norway spruce Fir Douglas fir They’re favoured by construction industry professionals because they’re cost-effective and have the following characteristics: Adequate load-bearing capacity Durability Decent mechanical and physical properties These factors make timber formwork a material that has the capacity to withstand tractive, compressive, and bending forces. It renders the worksite safe for labourers, preventing the formwork from collapsing from the weight of the concrete. How thick should formwork boards be? Source: Canva The thickness of the formwork boards depends on the structural analysis that was carried out for the construction project. This means that the required board thickness is entirely dependent on the lumber's concrete load-bearing capacity. However, to make it easier during the course of a standard project (house foundation, slab, etc.), you can follow the guidelines issued by the Government of Quebec, with specific regulations for: Lumber Plywood Nails Lumber Thickness Formwork lumber must be: at least 1.5 inches (38 mm) thick; S4S (faces were surfaced and edges ripped); dry or green dimensional lumber and; green for structural bracing. The National Lumber Grades Authority (NLGA) controls lumber standards. Whatever the species may be, all lumber is evaluated based on the same criteria and given a grade stamp. What matters is that the stamp corresponds to the specific characteristics indicated on the formwork blueprint. Stamps indicate: Grading agency Wood species Grade Dry or green lumber In cases where the chosen lumber has already been used, examine it to make sure it isn’t: Rotten Insect-infested Damaged by chemical products If you detect any of the above-mentioned, don’t build formwork with the affected lumber prior to it being inspected by a member of the NLGA or an NLGA-affiliated grading agency. Plywood Thickness It must comply with CSA 0121-M1978, which mandates: at least 7 plies; 0.66 inches (17 mm) in thickness and; issued from Douglas firs. What type of nails should you use? Believe it or not, nails also have their specifications since they must withstand crosswise strain. Their characteristics largely depend on: Surface Diameter Penetration depth Wood density or moisture For maximum hold, a nail has to be hammered into a dry and hard surface rather than a green and softwood board. Also, it must be hammered in at least halfway. All nail-related characteristics are detailed in Table 45 of the CSA standard CAN3-086-M84. How to Build Circular Formwork Source: Canva Typically, the timber boards used for circular formwork have to be bent. In all sincerity, flexible plywood can’t be used as is. Why, you ask? Because this specific type of plywood only has three plies, instead of the 7 required by the current standards established for formwork. The simplest solution is to go through a carpenter who can build the formwork with the required thickness in whatever shape you want. However, there’s another, easier way to proceed than with bent wood. This method consists of building traditional formwork, but the inside facing surfaces have the desired curvature made possible using polystyrene. Therefore, the concrete poured into the formwork will take on the desired shape. You can even build an arched-shaped formwork using this technique.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 30 Aug 2023
Cellular concrete was invented in Germany during the latter part of the 19th century. Albeit it isn’t ground-breaking technology, it’s still considered innovative as it has contributed to building extremely energy-efficient, modern-day single-detached homes. Come along as we delve further into detail regarding this material, with concrete-like qualities, that’s striving to find common ground on Quebec-based worksites. What is cellular concrete? Source: Canva Cellular concrete, which is also branded as aerated concrete, lightweight concrete, or foam concrete, is a type of concrete that isn’t formulated with aggregates but to which millions of air voids are added. Once hardened, the mixture takes on the shape of closed microcells to prevent capillary rises. Cellular concrete boasts numerous advantages, giving rise to its appeal, not only in terms of residential construction but also in jumpstarting large-scale projects. It’s suitable for both interior and exterior use to build walls, partitions, ceilings, low retaining walls, lintels, beams, etc. How is cellular concrete formulated? Cellular concrete is a meticulously formulated material that includes closed concrete microcells, set apart by thin walls preventing capillary rises. While the amount of each ingredient may vary, the composition remains the same. Sand (44-65%), lime (10-15%), and cement (3-20%) are mixed with water (41%) to make a paste that will expand as a result of the added aluminum paste or powder (0.6%). The voids created as a result of trapped air—hence the term cellular—significantly heighten the volume. After moulding and heating the paste at 180°C, it solidifies into blocks. These blocks consist of 80% trapped inert air, with the remaining 20% comprising solid matter. Who would’ve guessed that we’d be building structures made up of 80% air voids? Soundproofing Properties Cellular concrete is valued for the soundproofing properties in its making. Therefore, it can be used as an insulating base layer beneath a structural slab, relacing expanded polystyrene panels. Phonic insulation increases based on the mass. While using thinner cellular concrete blocks isn’t optimal, soundproofing insulation can be easily incorporated. How thick is cellular concrete? Cellular concrete comes in block, tile, or panel form, with widths ranging from 5 to 30 mm. However, what’s more surprising is its weight. The density of cellular concrete oscillates between 1,100 and 2,000 kg/m3 (that of standard concrete is roughly 2,300 kg/m3). For comparison’s sake, it’s four times lighter than water. If you were to throw a cellular concrete block into water…it would float! Manufacturing Process of Cellular Concrete Making cellular concrete is done according to the following four steps: Prepping, dosing, and mixing the previously mentioned materials. Preparing the moulds, then pouring the paste, letting it expand and harden. Cutting it with a steel wire Curing it, so inserting the material in an autoclave for 10 to 12 hours, at a temperature of 180 degrees Celcius. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! What are the pros and cons of cellular concrete? Cellular concrete has amazing characteristics, making it an exceptional material. PROS Source: Canva Excellent thermal insulator Cellular concrete, with its million little stable air voids, has impressive insulating capabilities. With it, indoor temperatures can be controlled for higher comfort levels and definite air conditioning and heating savings are achieved. From a global warming perspective, it will be especially efficient during summertime, mitigating sudden spikes in temperature. A wall made with 20 cm-thick cellular concrete blocks, with a 10 cm insulator, has a higher thermal performance than an equally thick, standard-issued masonry wall. While compelling, even this thermal efficiency isn’t enough when confronted with the very cold temperatures that Nordic countries experience. Lightweight Cellular concrete is surprisingly lightweight and weighs twice as less as other, similar materials, which reduces transportation costs and the duration of installation. Quick assembly Since it’s lightweight, it’s easy to work, cut, and assemble. According to experts, this would mean that it requires 30% less time to build a structure (compared to traditional masonry constructions). Cost-effective As above-mentioned, using cellular concrete means reducing construction costs. Reduces carbon footprint Cellular concrete is mainly composed of natural and recyclable materials, which makes it an overall eco-friendly product. Overall, the manufacturing process of cellular concrete solely requires small amounts of natural resources and fossil fuels, meaning it’s non-pollutant. And, 90% of the amount of residual waste can be reused. In a nutshell, its production requires little energy and the water can be reused. Durable Unlike other materials with limited service lives, cellular concrete is as durable as a rock; it doesn’t deteriorate over time. Great soundproofing Sound bounces off cellular concrete, and reverts back to where it originates. A small part of the sound will also be absorbed by the concrete, which means that, overall, noise pollution inside is kept to a minimum. Versatile Cellular concrete is easy to make and is retailed in various forms. Beyond blocks and panels, you can obtain custom-made shapes (arches, pyramids, angles, etc.). This makes unique constructions a possibility. Fireproof Cellular concrete is both non-flammable and non-combustible, which makes building fireproof structures possible. On the flammability rating scale, it’s A1-classified with a 1,200°C melting point. If exposed to intense heat, the material won’t explode or crack. Due to its low thermal conductivity, it’s not only ideal for building single-detached homes, but also for industrial, agricultural, and administrative buildings. Waterproof Since cellular concrete slows down water absorption, it can also regulate moisture levels inside the dwelling for greater comfort. Additionally, it limits thermal bridges since it doesn’t have any openings susceptible to air seepage. This contributes to better thermal insulation and also reduces energy costs. Rot-resistant Cellular concrete is a porous material, but unlike other materials, it’s airtight and doesn’t allow water vapour to seep through buildings. This minimizes the risks of being faced with a mould or fungi problem. Withstands compressive forces and reduces dead weight The more dense the material, the more resistant it’ll be. By using a material that’s as lightweight as cellular concrete to build the load-bearing structure of a building, the building’s height can be increased as well as the number of storeys. Buildings can also be built on smaller footings, with fewer pilings or smaller pile caps, requiring fewer rebar. This translates into lower construction costs and more space. Self-levelling Cellular concrete is lightweight and naturally self-levelling or self-consolidating. It can fill in even the smallest of cavities. CONS Source: Canva Fragile Cellular concrete is nonetheless fragile and, unfortunately crumbly, which makes its installation process delicate. To prevent degradation, material-specific anchors or sealant must be used. Cellular concrete is also more likely to crack than other materials. A health hazard? The dust created when cutting cellular concrete contains health-hazardous particles. It’s thus recommended to wear a mask to shield yourself. Furthermore, while the related studies are contradictory, cellular concrete may cause cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. Eco-friendly, but… Its production requires the use of non-renewable raw materials and its manufacturing process generates CO2 emissions. Limited coating options Cellular concrete can only be coated with a limited amount of products and material-specific paint. What type of exterior plaster can be used? To safeguard cellular concrete, since it’s a crumbly material that’s likely to crack, it does require a coat of exterior plaster (a plaster compound for rough surfaces like cellular concrete). Once topped in a plaster compound, cellular concrete can be coated with paint, tiles, etc. The surface must be completely dry prior to applying the paint to prevent any surface adherence issues or cracking. Opt for a moisture-resistant and weatherproof paint. How to Cut Cellular Concrete Blocks Source: Canva Given its composition, cellular concrete is easy to cut and doesn’t require any particular tools. A hand saw will work just fine, but remember to wear a mask to protect yourself from health-hazardous dust. Tools to Use Tungsten carbide-tipped hand saws can cut 7 to 15 cm thick tiles, or 20 to 50 cm thick blocks. An alligator saw—a handheld electric saw with a carbide blade—can cut tiles and blocks. A grinder with a 230 diamond blade can cut through, at most, 9 cm thick tiles. How should you go about it? To mark cellular concrete with a cut guideline Lay flat the block or tile. Measure the required length and mark the cellular concrete with a guideline. Extend the guideline over the entire surface of the tile or block using a large carpenter square. To position the material to cut on a support Position the support and item to be cut in alignment with where the intended cut will be. To cut Pile blocks or tiles atop each other to create a makeshift support. Place the item to be cut cantilever-like on the support, based on where the intended cut will be made. Start cutting at the opposite end, meaning the back side of the cellular concrete item. Using a saw, angle the blade downward 45 degrees, then cut through to the underside. Then, reduce the angle so that your cut is shallower yet longer, creating a raised guideline over the original marking. Once the tip of the saw reaches the front edge of the item, angle your blade downward 45 degrees to finish the cut. Can you build a house with this type of concrete in Canada? Source: Canva Cellular concrete is increasingly sought-after worldwide. However, the National Building Code of Canada renders its use a little more complex. It’s best to inquire prior to using it as intended. Right now, cellular concrete has a relatively low MPa compressive strength rendering it non-compliant with the minimum standards required for standard concrete in all things foundation, ground-level slabs, and structural elements with rebar. Also, note that an 8-inch thick (20 cm) cellular concrete wall isn’t especially energy-efficient in Canada since it only allows for an R-8 insulation value, while the minimum requirement is R-24. Despite that, cellular concrete can make some genuinely beautiful structures, here and elsewhere. You just have to figure out which ones.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 11 Oct 2023
Immerse yourself into a world of safety and comfort with indoor stair runners. These accessories convey a warm aesthetic, while also improving staircase safety. Since carpets and rugs are non-slip, they can prevent falls and protect your treads. Find out how to choose and install a stair runner that meets your needs and suits your interior décor. Why install an indoor stair runner? Source: Canva Installing a stair runner is beneficial in more ways than one. But, be careful. Some advantages are double-edged swords. Prior to choosing one material over another, certain aspects, beyond textures and colours, must be taken into consideration. Enhanced safety Rugs enhance staircase safety, especially when they’re non-slip. However, whether it be a non-slip runner or simply a high-end rug, they must be in good condition. Otherwise, it’s a definite hazard. In fact, in the United States, a study conducted in 66 hospitals that included 37,991 adults over the age of 65, concluded the following: 54% fell due to a rug 73% fell at home 35% fell in the bathroom 80% were women There were three main fall hazards: Where rug meets flooring Wet carpet Urgency Therefore, even non-slip stair runners can be a safety hazard, especially when the rug’s edges start curling, or is especially used. Noise reduction Noise is made all the more obvious by wooden treads, on which every step is heard. When you’re the proud owner of a furry, four-legged friend, especially puppers, the noise is harder to disguise since you can hear their furry paws and claws hitting every tread. Stairs are so loud that they’ve even come under investigation by the Building Research Establishment, a UK-based science centre, with the purpose of determining how they can be soundproofed. The ideal solution is to install a hallway or stair runner. Especially given the fact that installing a stair runner means you don’t have to replace your treads and risers, both of which aren’t thick enough to absorb sound. Tread protector There’s no doubt that stair runners protect treads from friction. As a result, the stairs remain in tip-top shape, without losing their shine. However, installing a stair runner isn’t without its drawbacks. As a matter of fact, the runner is secured to each stair tread using one of the following techniques: an adhesive; stair rods or; industrial staple gun. Therefore, after a few years, when you decide to remove your runner, your stairs will definitely need to be restored. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! What type of runner should you get? Source: Canva Pros and Cons of Fabric Stair Runners Fabric rugs are made with natural fibres. Therefore, they are: devoid of chemical products; VOC-free (volatile organic compounds) and; biodegradable. Fabric rugs are typically made of wool or cotton. Hence the flammability question, as all textiles must adhere to standard CAN/CGSB 4.2 No. 27.5, as established by the Canadian General Standards Board. The issue is that cotton is naturally a much more flammable material compared to nylon, polyester, or even polypropylene. Therefore, it must be treated accordingly. This is where the downsides start trickling in, as wool, like cotton, is: flammable; easily stained; rough (coarse texture). The downside remains that of the flame-resistant treatment since, as we previously mentioned in the upsides section, fabric rugs aren’t only biodegradable but also devoid of any chemical products. Instead of fireproofing your fabric rugs with health-hazardous chemical products, use carboxylic acid. This product, used for 20 years, is: formaldehyde-free; non-toxic; readily available; inexpensive. Therefore, a fabric stair runner has the added benefit of being eco-friendly, even though it’s not always aesthetically pleasing. Rubber Stair Runners: Durable and Low Maintenance Rubber is extremely resilient. Typically manufactured out of recycled tires, rubber stair covers are: non-slip; UV resistant; mould-proof; durable. The ease with which a rubber stair cover can be cleaned is partly the reason why it’s so appealing. However, a rubber stair runner is plagued by one major disadvantage: its chemical composition. Its manufacturing method—recycled tires—may potentially be carcinogenic. Sisal or Jute Runners: Aesthetic and Eco-Friendly Sisal is a robust 24-inch by 39-inch leaf originating from an Agave sisalana, a plant native to Mexico. Closely rivalled by nylon fibre, sisal is writing its comeback story in the shape of aesthetic and eco-friendly rug fibres. Along the same ecological fibre, jute rugs stand out as every last rug is: unique; pileless; biodegradable and eco-friendly; cost-effective; resistant. These natural fibre rugs are perfect for heavy foot traffic areas. How much does a stair runner roll cost? Natural fibre rug roll 35 in x 100 ft: $260 Synthetic rug 50 ft x 26 in: $230 Coconut fibre rug 36 in x 100 ft: $620 Neoprene rug 28 in x 100 ft: $370 Find the Perfect Runner for Your Indoor Stairs Source: Canva A rug perfectly suited to your interior décor Covering your treads and risers with an appealing, colourful, and pattern-imprinted rug can save you a renovation project or two! You can opt for a brown Herrington runner; the latter features one of the most used colours in interior décor. Sisal has the added bonus of sporting a beautiful white hue, which blends in perfectly with a classic, minimalist, and Zen style. A grey or black rug, preferably rubber, is the ideal feature to add to an industrial-inspired look. Colours, Patterns, and Textures Synthetic rugs made of nylon, polyester, or polypropylene fibres are available in a wide range of colours, shapes, and textures. Some companies even specialize in custom-made rug printing. If you don’t know which pattern to choose, note that there are: Persian; Oriental and; geometrical patterns. Persian and Oriental rugs are, first and foremost, symbolic. The crosses symbolize warding off evil spirits, the ear of wheat fertility or abundance, while the clouds are a sign of divine protection. Therefore, choosing a rug isn’t simply a matter of revamping your interior décor, but also giving an additional meaning to the space in question. Texture-wise, there are three different rug types: Plush Ribbed Textured A plush-textured rug is characterized by its long and soft pile. One small hitch: it’s hard to clean. A ribbed rug is known to be rough to the touch. It’s perfectly suited to high foot traffic areas. Despite the resilience and low maintenance factors, the colour range is quite limited. The textured rug is the winner in terms of the largest amount of colours, patterns, and materials. There are even waterproof versions of this rug. Mass-produced or custom-made rugs: What are the available options? It all depends on the size of your stair tread. A stair runner is designed to simply cover the middle section of your steps. Therefore, retailers sell runners that are sized according to a standard stair tread. In Quebec, the standard staircase measurements are as follows: Risers: 7 in - 7 ½ in Treads (depth of step minus nosing): 9 ¾ in - 10 ½ in Nosing: 1 ¼ in - 1 ¾ in Step width: 36 in minimum Hence, you can find runners suited to these dimensions in most stores. However, if your stairs aren’t in line with these standards, you will have to opt for a tailor-made rug. Note that a custom-made runner is much simpler to install compared to a standard-sized rug. To linearly measure the size of your custom-made stair runner, simply tally up the size of the tread, nosing, and riser, with the total number of steps. However, if you have a spiral or winding staircase, in such a case, to measure the length of the custom-made rug needed, use the following formula: Size of rounded step (widest bit) + riser + nosing Indoor Stair Runner Installation and Maintenance Guide Source: Canva Stair Runner Installation Guidelines Step 1. Prepare materials To install a stair runner in your home, you first need to measure your stairs. We’ve already provided you with the formula to calculate the length of the rug needed to cover your steps; however, we have yet to give you this little nugget of wisdom: plan for one or two additional steps worth of length. You’ll thank us later! A rug pad will protect your rug and flooring, prevent it from slipping, and provide additional cushioning for enhanced comfort. Lastly, with some glue and a spatula, you’ll be able to secure your runner to your steps. Step 2. Maintain a margin between the walls/guard rails As we previously mentioned, a stair runner doesn’t cover the entire tread. Leave a two- to four-inch gap on either side of the rug. Step 3. Define the runner’s path The runner’s path is where the rug will be installed. If your staircase doesn’t have any landings and is just straight up and down, you solely have a single path to establish. However, if your staircase is divided into one or more landings, you’ll then have more than one path to establish. To do so, get a pencil and a ruler and mark down where the runner will sit. Step 4. Tack strips Tack strips are strips onto which three or four small nails sit. The rug will then be secured onto it. Step 5. Install rug pad Installing a rug pad isn’t a necessity, but it may prolong the service life of your rug. It’s secured to the tack strips with staples. Step 6. Install stair runner Stair runners are always installed from top to bottom. The rug’s pile must be facing downward for a better result in terms of texture and colour. Once at the bottom landing, simply cut off the extra rug with a utility knife. How can you make a stair runner hold? Source: Canva A stair runner secured with tack strips won’t slip. However, a hallway runner or a living room rug can. Let us remember the 20,000 or so Americans over the age of 65 who fell because of a rug. For a number of them, they fell as a result of a rug slip. To prevent any rug-related accidents that may injure you or a family member, you can install the following beneath your rug: grip strips; rug pads; Velcro; double-sided tape. If none of the above-mentioned solutions suit your needs, consider installing something heavy atop your rug like a piece of furniture, coffee table, or some sort of pedestal. Effective Maintenance Tips for Rug Durability No matter what, a rug will wear and stain. To prolong its durability, it’s important to vacuum it on a regular basis. Nonetheless, what really poses a problem isn’t so much dust build-up, but stains. To effectively remove stains, first abide by these guidelines: Always clean a stain from the edges toward the centre (to prevent it from spreading). Always blot the stain with a rag soaked in a cleaning product. Test the product on a small, concealed patch first. Based on your rug’s composition, or if you think a chemical stain remover will simply make matters worse, you can use a white vinegar and dish soap mix. Apply the mixture to the stain and follow Steps 1 and 2. Indoor Stair Runner: Safety and Comfort Bundled into One Installing a stair runner is an astute way to prevent any risks of slips and falls. Furthermore, it makes for a more comfortable surface on which to tread, courtesy of its cozy and aesthetic appeal. In choosing your rug, you should consider its durability, maintenance routine, and how well it blends in with your interior décor. Therefore, opting for a stair runner means investing in the safety of your dwelling while also adding a dash of comfort and style to your stairs.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 11 Oct 2023
Let go of your inhibitions and get swept away by the sheer modernity and design of floating stairs. Marked by their minimalism, they seem to hover in mid-air, devoid of any apparent support, thereby creating an open space. Made of several different materials, such as wood or metal, floating stairs can blend in perfectly with your interior decoration or become a signature, stylish piece. Uncover the different options at your disposal. How to Build Floating or Suspended Stairs Source: Canva Floating stairs are a highly intricate project to execute. To establish a safe environment, standards must be upheld, and the load-bearing capacity of the staircase-adjacent wall must be analyzed. Aesthetically speaking, this type of open-concept staircase is simply stunning. Floating Stair Design Principles A floating staircase is a structure that must give off the impression of hovering, in mid-air, without any visible supports, whatsoever. To render such a concept possible, the anchors holding the steps are concealed differently: Under the steps In the wall Therefore, suspended stairs not only ensure an aesthetic component, but also open up the area in question, making it bright and airy. The stair stringer allows for this so-called zero-gravity look. The stringer is actually the structure onto which every step and riser will be secured. When it comes to suspended stairs, the stringer can be: Central (beneath the staircase) Wall-adjacent However, designing a floating staircase can also be done without a stringer. In such an instance, every step is cantilevered, meaning directly anchored to the load-bearing wall. At the other end of the tread, the side that isn’t wall-adjacent, the balusters on each step can be used as supports secured to the handrail, which is hung from the ceiling. Aesthetic Component Touching on the aesthetic aspect, neither balusters nor handrails are essential to modern staircases. As a matter of fact, sturdy load-bearing wall anchors are plenty to support the weight of the foot traffic this type of stairs will see. You can, without a doubt, integrate a handrail or guardrail into a suspended staircase design. Naturally, doing so will take away from its floating appearance, but the aforementioned safety features are especially warranted should you have small children or elderly family members residing in your home to prevent falls. Several different types of materials are used to build floating stairs: Wood Stone Glass Metal Composite materials The Cost of Floating Stairs Source: Canva Building a floating staircase requires the expert knowledge of a skilled professional. Skip the DIY route on this one as it could mean gambling with your safety and that of your family members, unless you have the required skill set to proceed. It’s rather tricky to put an exact price tag on a floating staircase building project since costs depend on: the company or skilled tradesperson; the complexity of the project and; materials chosen. To secure the best possible pricing, feel free to request quotes from different contractors, with different material options. Building Steps: Planning, Measuring, Prepping Source: Canva Step 1. Choose a floating stair model With or without stringers, that is the question. The epitome of minimalism comes in the shape of a stringer-free staircase. The steps are anchored directly into the adjacent load-bearing wall. Therefore, the treads must be extremely sturdy. A little piece of advice: steer clear of too-thin or too-wide steps. They will render the installation process much more complex and project costs soar. Step 2. Strengthen the load-bearing wall As you may have already gathered, if the floating staircase’s steps solely rest against the load-bearing wall, the latter must be strong enough to bear the weight of users. To make certain of it, cement blocks or concrete posts can be used the strengthen the wall. Therefore, conducting a feasibility study prior to undertaking any stage of the work is a must. Under extraordinary measures, suspended stairs may be installed on a partition. In such a case, the partition must absolutely be reinforced by a steel structure concealed by plaster. Step 3. Is the load-bearing wall straight? A perfectly vertical load-bearing wall results in a well-executed floating staircase project, one fitted with a cantilever stringer. In fact, if the load-bearing wall isn’t straight, the cantilever stringer can’t be pegged into it. Step 4. Secure the steps The steps can be secured using anchors or wall-mounted brackets. We’ll provide more in-depth information regarding the matter down below. Step 5. Conceal the cantilever stringer Should you decide to move forward with a mono stringer that’s anchored to the wall, you can also choose to conceal it. To do so, use BA 13 gypsum panels. These panels further emphasize the concept of hovering steps. How to Secure Floating Stairs Source: Canva Anchoring Methods Concealed anchors Concealed anchors are achieved using the following methods: brackets; mortar-set treads pegged directly into the wall; a tread stringer concealed by gypsum. The anchoring system depends on the stair manufacturer. Some are designed to be secured with rods or cables, while others are pegged into the wall, etc. Therefore, the anchoring method will depend on the load-bearing wall in question as well as the desired aesthetic. Wall-mounted anchors It can consist of a metal frame positioned beneath the tread or, depending on the materials used, a steel frame that’s secured to the wall using chemical anchors. Chemical anchors are a fastening method that replaces mechanical anchors with a resin. The Relevance of Stability Stability ensures safety. Just like any project of the sort, suspended stairs must have sufficient mechanical resilience to withstand up and down motions, but also additional loads being carried from one storey to another (most notably furniture). Hence, most manufacturers limit the size of their treads to 25 inches (90 cm) in length, while each step is at least 2 ½ inches thick (6 cm). In terms of safety, the Government of Quebec ensures that staircases are code-conforming, whether it be the size of the step or the height of the handrail, nothing is left to chance. Truth be told, in the province of Quebec, a handrail or guardrail isn’t only mandatory, but it also must always be on the same side. Height-wise, it must be at least 34 inches off the ground. Should this standard not be respected, your municipality may fine you $100. Tips for a Flawless Installation Conduct a feasibility study Verify that the load-bearing wall is suited to this type of structure Hire skilled professionals Should you not have any basic carpentry know-how, or generally speaking, in construction-related trades, don’t attempt to DIY your own suspended stairs. It’s a complex endeavour. Due to the apparent lack of structural support, which gives the desired zero-gravity effect, extensive technical knowledge and skills are required to build code-compliant suspended stairs. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Step-Specific Characteristics of Floating Stairs Source: Canva The Most Common Types of Steps Used Steel or wooden steps are most commonly used when building a floating staircase. However, the materials at your disposal are much more wide-ranging, since even ashlar is featured in this list. Let’s take a closer look at their perks, shall we? The Aesthetic and Functional Advantages of Stair Step Materials Wood Wood’s biggest perk is its aesthetic appeal. It’s not a matter of being more appealing compared to other materials, but it’s, in any case, the most customizable option. Wood can be finished in a myriad of ways, which means it suits any and all interior décors. Now comes its weight. Wood is more lightweight compared to most other materials. Therefore, it’s more than suitable to use to build a floating staircase. Lastly, wood is often preferred given its cost, since it’s grouped under the most cost-effective materials. Glass Glass has a unique advantage over other materials listed: it’s clear. This perk, especially in terms of suspended stairs, makes all the difference. In fact, glass is unmatched in terms of further conveying the perception of floating. And its perks don’t end here since glass can also be paired with other materials. Therefore, while the steps are made of glass, the handrail can be made of wood or steel. Glass is also less dust-prone than wood, and it can also be shaped to will, spiral-like too. Concrete Concrete is ideal for budget-friendly household projects. This material isn’t only affordable, but it’s also very sturdy. Much like glass and wood, it can take on many different shapes. Another significant advantage is that concrete doesn’t squeak. Note that a stair runner can’t be installed on suspended stairs, an important factor to consider to ensure a peaceful household. Steel Steel is: 1,200 different shades; 120-year service life (outdoors!) and; a 250 on the Brinell scale (tensile strength). For comparison’s sake, hardwood has a maximum tensile strength of 10 HB and copper scores a 35 HB, whereas glass is 550 HB. In other words, choosing steel means opting for a sturdy material that’s also suited to stylish interior décors. Handrails and Guardrails Source: Canva As we already mentioned, in Quebec, guardrails are a mandatory safety feature next to all staircases. Fortunately, a good number of guardrail designs align seamlessly with the aesthetic of suspended stairs. As for the anchors, it depends on whether you decide to move forward with a cantilever stringer (concealed in a load-bearing wall), a mono stringer (apparent), or adding beams to alleviate part of the load anchored by the wall. Striking the Right Balance: Guardrails for Safety and Aesthetic Purposes Falls happen every day; in Canada, it’s 1,800 daily emergency room visits. Amongst these, there are falls down the stairs, which are a result of: used or uneven stairs; poorly maintained stairs; an unconventional handrail height. To prevent falls or stair-related injuries, many different types of guardrails can be installed. Among these, one can account for rods and cables. These are perfect to give your home’s interior design a modern flair. Therefore, it’s perfect for floating stairs. Guardrail balusters fitted with cables are suited to all surfaces (wood, concrete, composite materials, etc.). If this system’s aesthetic component doesn’t suit your taste, you can opt for a handrail made of: Wood Steel Glass A glass handrail is especially appealing due to its subtlety. A beautiful, clear glass handrail perfectly suits suspended stairs. Floating Stair Anchor Options: Support Beams and Cables The type of structural support required to uphold your floating stairs will depend on the load-bearing wall’s materials. For example, if the suspended steps can be directly anchored to the wall in a concealed fashion, the wall must absolutely be reinforced with concrete. If not, the tread can be anchored by a steel plate that’s positioned inside the wall. Generally speaking, concealed anchors may be: brackets; mortar-set treads pegged directly into the wall; a tread stringer concealed by gypsum. When the structural support is positioned beneath the step, it’s fastened with chemical anchors. How to Build Concrete Floating Stairs Source: Canva Pros of Using Concrete Concrete accounts for at least 6 perks: Non-flammable Vibration-resistant Soundproof Heat-storing capabilities Easy to install Customizable, aesthetically speaking We’ll do a deeper dive on the last point, which concerns décor and is of utmost importance in a home. Building Steps Outline the intended location of the staircase on the floor Build the stringer(s) mould Add the steps Install structural support Pour concrete Remove framework Pointers for an Aesthetic and Durable Finish Concrete isn’t the dull and grey mass that you might be thinking about, it’s quite the opposite actually. Concrete suspended stairs can be: Tile-covered Coated in an epoxy resin Coloured Marbled Textured The plethora of finishes available makes it so that everyone can choose the option that best suits their interior décor, ensuring the concrete suspended stairs don’t clash with the surroundings. Indoor vs. Outdoor Floating Stairs Source: Canva There are two types of outdoor stairs: Standard stairs Backyard stairs Standard outdoor stairs allow one to travel from a building’s ground level to an upper storey, and vice versa. Backyard stairs are simply built according to the yard’s slope. Both can be floating stairs. Much like indoor floating stairs, outdoor suspended stairs must have a guardrail to prevent falls. The relevant standards vary according to your municipality, but will typically fall in between the following criteria: A mandatory handrail for stairs with more than three risers A guardrail that’s at least 35.4 in (90 cm) high Steps must be at least 34 in (86 cm) wide Treads must be between 9.5 - 14 in (23.5 - 35.5 cm) deep Outdoor suspended stairs intended for backyards can be done by a landscaper. Each and every step can be placed atop a concrete beam that’s either concealed by the step itself or by the surrounding landscape. Floating Stairs: Merging a Modern and Stylish Living Space Floating stairs represent a seamless merging between modernity and style, adding a stunning aesthetic to any and all indoor spaces. Its open and minimalist look makes for a striking visual feature, further making your stairs the central decorative element in your home. It perfectly blends into contemporary and minimalist living spaces, contributing the a trendsetting and sophisticated ambience. However, working with a team of qualified professionals is of utmost importance when it comes to the installation process to guarantee both structural strength and safety.
N/A • 27 Sep 2023
Setting up a workout space in your home is a great way to maintain your fitness and wellness goals. Yet, the benefits aren’t limited to physical fitness; physical exercise also helps develop self-control. There are several advantages to having a dedicated workout space at home: Time-saving (you don’t need to factor in travel time); Cost-effective (gym memberships aren’t free); Comfort; using your own equipment in the comfort of your home can be very appealing; Convenience; you can work out whenever you want, whether at midnight or during peak hours. Pro Tips for Setting Up a Home Workout Space Source: Canva We reached out to Samuel Oseas Escobar, a personal trainer and kinesiologist, for advice on properly setting up a home fitness corner. He’s the founder of Resilience physique and a bodybuilding medalist. Oseas Escobar strongly emphasizes that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to work out at home. Your body is your most important piece of equipment. “Not having the budget for it is just not an excuse,” he said. “There’s a plethora of functional exercises and worthwhile online resources that solely require your body weight.” As long as your body is healthy, you can work out. The possibilities for setting up a home gym are endless, so first, establish a budget. Budget-friendly home workouts? We got you! If you’re working with a limited budget but are still looking to buy some type of workout gear, Oseas Escobar suggests a few must-haves for a little over the hundred-dollar threshold. Surface Area Once you’ve established your budget, then consider the square footage needed. You’ll need to move comfortably, both lying down and standing up. If need be, move furniture aside to avoid bad falls and injuring yourself. “The area in which we work out has to be functional and can’t limit our movements,” the personal trainer explained. Starter Kit When asking, “Do I need rubber flooring?” Oseas Escobar simply said no. Not if you’re looking just to keep fit. According to him, typical gym rubber flooring ends up being rather expensive. Instead, he suggests buying a yoga mat and/or padded floor mats. Free weights To get into shape, the fitness expert suggested equipping yourself with 5- and 10-pound free weights, which retail for about $1.50 a pound. Working with free weights allows you to build muscle easily. It also can be used to correct muscular imbalance because, with the help of a dumbbell, you can strengthen a weaker bicep, for example. Free weights allow you to target a specific muscle or muscle group. Resistance exercise bands Resistance exercise bands are made from robust rubber, giving them a unique sort of resistance. When stretched, your body weight or free weights offer the same type of resistance throughout the movement, whereas exercise bands become increasingly resistant when stretched. With exercise bands, you can work out differently. You can work on your lower and upper body. You can also use it solely when warming up or stretching out at the end of your workout session. Swiss balls Swiss balls (exercise balls) allow you to work your stabilizer muscles (abdominal and lumbar). Unbeknownst to you, you’re strengthening your deep muscles and those around your spine. By strengthening your abdominal muscles in this way, as well as your deep muscles, you’re improving your athletic performance. The force transfer between different body parts becomes much easier, while the strength built with stabilizer muscles allows you to move more efficiently. Swiss balls aren’t too expensive—you can buy one for about $30. If you’ve been diagnosed with a musculoskeletal injury, stabilization exercises (dead bug or wall squats) will help with muscle strengthening and rehabilitation. Vibe The environment in which we exercise can also influence our motivation and determination. So why not get all the necessary elements to create the ideal workout space? Think about setting up your workout corner in a bright and luminous area. Ideally, your body can absorb a little vitamin D while exercising in a room with windows. You can also add a big mirror. It has a dual function: it’ll make the room look bigger and ensure that you maintain the proper posture, which is the goal. For example, exercising with free weights requires the proper technique and posture to prevent injuries. By looking at yourself in the mirror, you’ll have greater self-awareness and are more likely to correct your movements and posture. Moreover, seeing your body in motion and your muscles contracting during physical activity helps with personal motivation! Consider leaving a window open, even during winter, to ensure the space is properly aired. You can also improve air quality by adding a few plants. The most sought-after plants for air purifying purposes are peace lilies, common ivy, spider plants, devil’s ivy, and snake plants, just to name a few. If you’re not a fan of using headphones while working out, get yourself a little Bluetooth speaker to still listen to upbeat music. Are you looking for experts for your home renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! What if money is no object? Source: Canva As mentioned earlier, there are endless ways to set up a home fitness corner. But, just like we did with a more limited budget, you still have to establish some budgetary constraints. This time around, let’s say you have a budget of around $10,000 to set up and furnish your home gym. What should you be considering for a home workout space? Once again, Samuel Oseas Escobar came to the rescue and answered our questions. Cardio When thinking about getting into shape, he mentioned how important it is to consider one’s cardiovascular health. Starting out your exercise routine with 10 to 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise is a great way to jumpstart your workout. You don’t need to spend an hour working out intensely using the equipment below. Not only can simply doing a few minutes before and after your workout often suffice, but you can also—and it might be even preferable—turn to low-intensity exercises on a treadmill or stationary bike and maintain the physical effort over a longer period of time. Treadmill (must-have) The cost of a treadmill varies, but the expert we consulted highly recommends investing around $1,500 for a machine. Check out the Horizon 7.0 treadmill on The Fitness Factory website. The model is foldable with incline settings. Rowing machine The advantage of a rowing machine is that it allows you to warm up and/or do a full-body workout. This piece of equipment works out the bottom half of the body just as much as the upper half, as well as the midsection. Therefore, it’s a great way to start your workout. There are numerous different rowing machine models, like a waterrower. The latter simulates real-life water resistance. Squat rack A squat rack is another piece of equipment to consider if your budget allows it. This device has the added bonus of being extremely versatile. Squat racks are used to perform several different exercises paired with a straightforward weightlifting apparatus and bench. Think of squats, lunges, and bench presses. Using this equipment, you can work out all muscle groups. 45-pound Olympic bar An Olympic bar is indispensable to a squat rack. Those who are further along in their fitness journey, and are a little more experienced, can use this piece of equipment for muscular hypertrophy, stamina, and strength exercises. Bench A bench that can be fully inclined or declined during various routine workouts means you can slightly change the exercise and progress along your journey. Deadlift platform A deadlift platform is a piece of equipment that can very much turn people off exercise altogether, and it’s understandable. It’s very demanding, muscle-wise. Why put yourself through that? Because weightlifting is one of the very rare exercises that allows you to gain muscle strength efficiently and swiftly. Unlike many exercises that don’t necessarily target specific muscular zones, the benefit of adding deadlifts to your workout routine means training different muscular zones simultaneously. This creates tension from your quads to your forearms. Such a difficult motion puts significant stress on the body, which, in turn, must quickly adapt to this new physical strain. Few exercises yield quick progress in terms of strength and muscle mass. Flooring Source: Canva Having shock absorption flooring will make your workout sessions much more pleasant. Carefully consider the type of flooring or mats you’d like installed to protect your current flooring, body, and equipment adequately. The kinesiologist and trainer we consulted recommended rubber horse stall mats. According to him, they’re quite affordable and the best type of flooring available for home gyms. There’s also another range of foam floor mats that are budget-friendly too. Elliptical machine Not unlike a rowing machine, the elliptical allows for a full-body workout. It helps burn calories by exercising both the upper and lower parts of the body. Free weights and kettlebell set As for these, Oseas Escobar suggested getting 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-pound, up to 50-pound free weights. Kettlebell exercises are more intensive and dynamic. Such workouts can allow you to develop both your muscles and good cardiovascular health. Mats Even if you cover your workout space in a specific gym-appropriate flooring, you’ll still need to use floor mats during floor exercises. Opt for a quality yoga mat or a thick foam floor mat. Functional trainer (pulley system) This weightlifting apparatus is great because its resistance can be adjusted accordingly. It also allows you to work different muscle groups, like triceps, pectoral muscles, dorsal muscles, etc. It opens the door to countless possibilities. Sauna Is it a luxury or not? If you think you can afford it, why not go for it? Different indoor saunas retail for anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000 and can be plugged into a 120-220-V outlet. Time spent in a sauna post-workout helps blood flow. Doing so helps heal damaged muscles from your body's physical strain while exercising. A faster recovery period means you can resume your workout routine as you normally would. Muscle roller Speaking of recovery, the primary use of a muscle roller is to relax muscles. The foam roller decontracts muscles to reduce muscle tension or stress. This relaxing sensation is perfect for post-workout recovery. It can also be used before a workout, given that the roller stimulates blood flow, which prepares the muscles for physical strain. At-Home Workout Routine with a Personal Trainer and/or Kinesiologist Source: Canva A non-negotiable advantage of working in a gym is that you’re surrounded by health-conscious enthusiasts, people who are both motivated and determined. And there’s nothing more contagious than another person’s motivation! For at-home workouts, you have to be disciplined. It’s not always easy to get through it alone. That’s why a lot of personal trainers like Samuel Oseas Escobar offer personalized training programs tailored to your physical condition, your experience level, and your equipment. Therefore, a personalized training program and a remote follow-up can benefit you. It’s pretty straightforward: Being accountable to someone else equals more motivation. Depending on the number of follow-ups you have scheduled with a professional trainer, it can cost between $200 to $300 to get a custom workout routine tailored to your goals. Also, having a routine allows you to focus during your workouts, whether at the gym or home. It can also boost confidence, building your self-esteem, not only muscle tone.