Are you a contractor?

Join our network and attract real clients!

Are you looking for a contractor?

Submit our quick form and get quotes now!

Are you a contractor?

Join our network and attract real clients!

Are you looking for a contractor?

Submit our quick form and get quotes now!

Table of Contents

Optimize Your Construction Site: Cut Expenses Through Excavation Equipment Rentals

Optimize Your Construction Site: Cut Expenses Through Excavation Equipment Rentals

Interior renovationsAdvice for contractorsOptimize Your Construction Site: Cut Expenses Through Excavation Equipment Rentals

Renting excavation equipment is the best way to carry out construction work without having to purchase machinery. Especially considering that a rental service company will give you access to machinery you wouldn’t necessarily need on a regular basis, not to mention purchasing equipment is expensive. Here’s a deep dive into the matter to give you an idea of the costs involved in renting or purchasing heavy machinery. We’ll let you be the judge and jury of your potential savings.


Benefits of Renting Excavation Equipment and Machinery

excavation equipment rental

Source: Canva

1. No substantial investments

Establishing a construction company requires a significant financial investment if one is looking to purchase all the required materials and machinery.

When it comes to clearing, transporting, and excavating land and rubble, here’s a list of the basic excavation equipment needed:

  • Mini excavator: $10,500
  • Excavator: $240,000
  • Bulldozer: $800,000
  • Jumping jack: $4,000
  • Compaction plate: $2,600
  • Dump truck: $205,000 
  • Wheel loader: $245,000

The initial investment to purchase the above-mentioned equipment, which mainly features secondhand prices, amounts to $1,507,100 CAD.

Although it’s relatively hard to define the average revenue made by an excavation company, we were able to narrow it down courtesy of U.S. market numbers.

In fact, the excavation market value accounts for 81 billion US dollars, the market is divided amongst 49,584 companies, and the average revenue is $1,633,591. 

Therefore, the annual profit amounts to 10%, meaning $163,359, or $219,712 CAD. That being the case, it would take an excavation company roughly 7 years to pay off material and machinery investments. 

One hiccup: Over those 7 years, the machinery will have racked up quite a bit of maintenance expenses, as any and all excavation projects wear out the equipment and expose heavy machinery to potential damages.


2. No maintenance

For a dozer, a single tilt blade costs at least $2,700; the same goes for an excavator.

Albeit we’re simply stating the most obvious parts, heavy machinery also includes:

  • electrical systems;
  • motor;
  • hydraulic and brake systems;
  • air conditioning;
  • hydrostatic; 
  • etc. 

There are as many circuits as there are parts that may need to be repaired, or at the very least, maintained. 

Still, rental equipment may be broken or damaged too. However, as Éric Senécal, of Location d’Outils MS, explained, malfunctioning or damaged equipment is dealt with on a case-by-case basis; the client never has to pay for faulty or damaged equipment.

Even though it’s something to think about, assurance can cover some of the repair costs. 


3. No storage fees

When detailing a business plan, budgetary constraints are often overlooked, yet storage fees are especially important to consider in construction work. 

Heavy machinery, especially those needed to carry out excavation work, require a decent amount of space. To store said equipment, you have two choices:

  • lease or;
  • purchase a lot.

Should you lease a plot of land, note that the rent due amounts to 6% of its market value. Should you purchase the lot, you can pay between $2/sq.ft. (North Shore) and $25/sq.ft. (Montréal), excluding GST (HST), QST, and administrative fees.

Consequently, it can be difficult for a company to pay back such significant investments. As such, at the very beginning, it may be best to resort to excavation equipment rentals. 


Get 3 free quotes for your project!

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes!

Machinery You Can Rent

renting excavation equipment or machinery

Source: Canva


An excavator is the ideal tool to efficiently dig up dirt. The quality of the work done by such machinery far exceeds that of the result obtained with a backhoe, for example. 

However, the former isn’t a necessity on all construction sites. Hence the reason why renting excavation equipment is a worthwhile option compared to purchasing. 

Moreover, to be fully operational, the excavator must be fitted with the right accessories. The cost of the latter further inflates the bill.


Other Heavy Machinery

As mentioned in the first part of this article, to excavate, other machinery is required, like a mini excavator, compactor plate, and dumper truck. 

Such equipment is much less expensive than a dozer or excavator and, therefore doesn’t necessitate such a substantial down payment. 

However, before making a significant financial commitment, you first must establish your company within the construction industry. Doing so allows for the following:

  • establishing a reputation amongst clients;
  • highlighting areas of expertise;
  • assessing your needs.

You might never need a mini excavator but may need an excavator on a regular basis. However, on the flip side, the use of a dump truck would be rendered useless if a smaller machine could do the job just fine.


Equipment Rental Costs

renting excavation equipment and machinery

Source: Canva

Éric Senécal, of Location d’Outils MS, further stated that “the cost of renting [a mini excavator, Ed.], amounts to about $500/day,” and renting periods typically range from:

  • 1 day 
  • 7 days 
  • 28 days

However, he emphasized, “Rental costs are determined by several factors, such as size, transportation, diesel, insurance, initial purchase, and most importantly, the client’s specific requirements.”

Next up: type of machinery. As Éric Senécal mentioned, “There are several types of excavation equipment that can be rented, like a tracked excavator and wheel loader,” knowing that “the tracked excavator is the most commonly used excavation equipment.”

Therefore, to learn more about the exact rental costs, the best way to do so is to request a quote while detailing to the rental company exactly what you’ll need.


Here are other excavation-related articles that might be of interest:

Get new contracts for your construction or renovation company can help you get new contracts. We get new project proposals from clients seeking top-rated and trustworthy renovation professionals like yourself. To get started, simply fill in the form on our homepage (it only takes a few minutes) and receive information regarding potential clients by way of our services.

Dial 1-844 828-1588 to speak with one of our customer service representatives.

Last modified 2023-08-25

List of sources

Are you a contractor?

Join our network and receive real leads!

Looking for something else?

Table of contents

Get 3 free quotes for your project!

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes!

Are you a contractor?

Join our network and receive real leads!

Download the price guide for renovations

We’ll be emailing you the latest market price guide for renovations.

Did this article meet your expectations?

Related articles

The latest industry news, interviews, technologies, and resources.

6 min read 19 Jul 2023

Why Choose a Steel Garage Door?

When it comes to choosing a garage door, many homeowners naturally gravitate towards metallic options. Factory-painted steel garage doors are an appealing option for many reasons, including their low maintenance requirements and the diverse array of available colours and finishes. This type of garage door offers such a wide range of styles and designs that it becomes a stand-out choice, regardless of the architectural style of the home. In this article, we’ll open the door to all the essential factors regarding the matter, so as to leave anyone in the dark, so to speak. What are the benefits of steel garage doors? Source: Canva Steel garage doors may be more expensive than PVC doors, but they’re nonetheless more budget-friendly compared to aluminum doors while offering superior impact resistance. This is likely the reason for their popularity amongst homeowners. Steel garage doors are lightweight, durable, and low maintenance. Their high-temperature baked paint coating makes them resilient against harsh weather conditions and scratches. While steel garage doors are available in an extensive array of colours, they can also be custom-painted to perfectly match the siding of your home as well as the shade of your window frames. However, at this time, the fan favourite remains the faux wood steel door. Looks-wise, it very much resembles hardwood, yet doesn’t require the same level of care and maintenance. For the best thermal performance, choose two-layer garage doors, which typically have an R-value of 12. These doors are injected with polyurethane, making them both robust and well-insulated, thereby reducing the likelihood of dents. Moreover, only a few materials can claim to provide such exceptional protection against break-ins, as is the case with armoured or reinforced models. PRO TIP: For an impact-resistant door, look for 24 gauge steel, while thinner models are 28 gauge (the higher the number, the thinner the steel panel). Galvanized steel is also a worthwhile option. What are the different types of steel garage doors? Source: Canva Not unlike the majority of garage doors currently available on the market, steel doors are offered in a wide range of classic or trendy designs, to suit even the pickiest of homeowners. Beyond style, here’s what distinguishes the different types of garage doors available if you’re looking to purchase a steel model. Single-layer garage door Non-insulated garage doors have a single layer of 2-inch thick steel that provides the structure with a certain sturdiness. Insulation is a feature that’s typically offered by the manufacturer. This is done by adding a polystyrene insulation panel coated in a fireproof material. Double-layer garage door The double-layer steel garage door is between 1 ⅜ inches and 2 inches thick. Between these layers, there’s insulation, which typically is expanded polystyrene or polyurethane. Note that polyurethane-insulated doors offer twice the level of resistance compared to a polystyrene panel of the same thickness. Galvanized steel door Galvanized steel garage door panels are coated in a protective primer, shielding the panel from harsh weather conditions and also preventing it from corroding. While a galvanized steel garage door is more expensive than other models, it however doesn’t need to be repainted and basically is maintenance-free. Also, it almost always offers superior thermal insulation. It’s available in a vast selection of shades and sizes, an array of finishes, numerous models, and a range of pricing options. Some even come with a lifetime warranty! Are you looking for experts for your doors and windows projects? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Full-view garage door or with windows Much has changed since the time when garage doors merely featured tiny square-shaped windows in the upper part of the panel serving the sole purpose of letting light in. Nowadays, windows have merged into a decorative element that’s either clear or tinted, transparent, mirrored-like, acid-etched, frosted, sandblasted, translucent, with stained glass or decorative film. That’s without accounting for fully glazed garage doors. New finishes are the perfect balance between privacy and natural lighting, no compromise is needed. Full-view (glass) models are increasingly sought-after and aren’t limited to garages, they’re also used for verandas, gyms, and summer kitchens. Their modern, commercial look offers a unique look onto the outside world as it has never been seen before. Note that these doors aren’t insulated, and due to the extensive nature of their glazing, their thermal resistance value is nearing that of R-2. All things considered, think it over carefully before choosing the full-view garage door. Modern garage door Naturally, the full-view garage door stands out as one of the prime choices highlighting a contemporary style. It goes hand in hand with the trend’s inclination for maximizing open spaces with large sliding glass doors and floor-to-ceiling windows. Steel garage doors are available in an array of refined designs, with simple lines and neutral colours. Its elegance perfectly suits that of a modern aesthetic. Overhead steel garage door From a mechanical standpoint, the overhead garage door has a streamlined and efficient system that’s also cost-effective. The latter benefits from a straightforward installation and doesn’t require much repair. It has a one-piece panel that effortlessly slides into the two tracks located on either side of the panel as soon as the opening mechanism is triggered. Once fully opened, the panel rests parallel to the garage’s ceiling. For increased rigidity, consider steel panels that are at least 0.6 mm thick, with a textured surface and stamped panel design. For added comfort, and to reduce electricity bills, opt for an insulated model, while the galvanized steel will ensure its durability! Steel Garage Door Maintenance Source: Canva To ensure the opening mechanism functions properly, and to preserve the door panel’s original beauty, it’s recommended to clean the garage door at least twice a year. (If you live in coastal, urban, or industrial areas, you may need to clean it 3 to 4 a year.) To clean a garage door panel, use a gentle cleaner, like one used on a car, and steer clear of abrasive products and pressure-washing. Clean the tracks as well (these must be kept clean to ensure the proper functioning of the drums). Remember to lubricate the hinges, stud and clevis pulleys, and extension springs every year. At the same time, check the door’s bolts and screws and other hardware. If you use an automated garage door opener, try manually opening the door. If you have difficulty opening or closing it, it may be indicative of a problem. If so, it may be wise to consult with a professional. To learn all there’s to know about garage door maintenance, check out our article on the subject matter. How much does a steel garage door cost? The cost of a steel garage door depends on its quality, design, colour, finish, size, insulation, and features. In other words, prices may vary significantly from one model to the next. While you can purchase a garage door for $850, you should still plan for a budget of $3,000 to $5,000. You should also consider additional fees for installation, the cost of which will differ from one company to the next.

9 min read 28 Jun 2023

How to Choose an Eco-Friendly Fireplace

In many Canadian regions, fireplaces become the heart of the home for 3 out of the 4 seasons. The wood crackling in the hearth, the comforting smell of burning wood, and the cozy ambience of the room—whether we consciously acknowledge it or not—all contribute to a fireplace's undeniable charm. While environmental problems have led government and municipal authorities to issue legislation regarding the use of fireplaces, as citizens, we may also have to question our choices. Fortunately for us, there are eco-friendly options that rival—both in terms of beauty and comfort—traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Whether it’s electric, gas, propane gas, pellet, etc., the options aren’t lacking. Thus, when considering purchasing a more eco-friendly fireplace, it’s best to carefully weigh the various options available. After all, not everything can be taken at face value. Let’s delve, full fire, into a red-hot topic. Characteristics of an Eco-Friendly, Indoor Fireplace Source: Canva An eco-friendly fireplace isn’t too harmful to the environment. It boasts clean combustion and increased energy efficiency, effectively heating a dwelling to desired temperatures. In a nutshell, it’ll meet your needs and wants, without having a negative impact on the environment. Let’s put this out in the open right away: Finding a product that has zero environmental impact is especially challenging. Direct environmental damage results from a direct interaction between a product and the environment, for example, fireplace emissions. Indirect environmental damage isn’t a product-related hazard, although they may be linked. Therefore, when a fireplace is deemed eco-friendly, it, however, doesn’t exclude the fact that it can be the root cause of indirect environmental damage. That said, one can significantly reduce their ecological footprint by making smart choices. Over the last few years, Natural Resources Canada, invested in research with the purpose of mitigating pollution and improving appliance energy efficiency. The result: Most fireplaces manufactured after 1990 are both more energy efficient and eco-friendly than their predecessors. Are you looking for heating and air conditioning experts? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Eco-Friendly Benefits of Fireplaces Source: Canva While some fireplaces are considered more eco-friendly compared to others, note that even a wood-burning fireplace can show the planet some mercy. Here are the benefits associated with eco-friendly fireplaces. Ethanol fireplace An ethanol fireplace is supplied by a biofuel known as ethanol, which is mainly derived from corn and sugarcane. The main advantage of this type of fireplace is that it can be easily inserted into the opening of an existing wood-burning fireplace. Rather eco-friendly aside from the energy required to produce biofuel, it doesn’t emit any fumes. Its combustion is clean and practically odourless. From an aesthetic point of view, the latter creates a cozy atmosphere while still giving off a stylish and modern look. Retailed at varied costs (from $300 to $13,000), it’s the best option for those looking to benefit from the cozy vibe but not necessarily a portable heater. Electric fireplace An electric heater is both ecological and safe and doesn’t consume fuel. It doesn’t emit any harmful particles, therefore, it doesn’t require a chimney installation or an exhaust duct. Basically, the flame-like visual is the product of the subtle use of light on mirror-like surfaces. It runs without the need for an electrical outlet. You can set it up yourself, move it from one room to another at will, and use it in an apartment building in which wood-burning or gas fireplaces aren’t authorized. The energy produced doesn’t measure up to that of wood-burning or gas fireplaces but can suffice in terms of heating a 10 by 10 room. And, since it can run without emitting heat, one can benefit from its cozy setting 365 days a year! Not only is it ecological, but this type of fireplace is economical; six hours of use barely costs a dollar. However, its main downside is that, without a generator, it can't double as a portable heater during a power outage. Pellet stove A pellet stove is supplied by small pellets made from compressed sawdust, wood shavings, agricultural waste, and other organic materials. It’s very energy efficient, without so much as contributing to atmospheric pollution. Once the tank is full, it can run for 12 to 24 hours, thereby converting up to 80% of the fuel into heat. A house that’s under 1,500 square feet can thus be heated with the use of a single boiler. For a bigger home, we recommend a larger biomass boiler that’s connected to the water heater or radiators. Since pellet stoves cleanly burn renewable resources, it makes for an eco-friendly choice. In fact, the CO2 released into the atmosphere during the combustion process is equivalent to what’s absorbed by plants during their growth period, meaning the environmental balance is maintained. Gas fireplace A gas fireplace can be supplied with artificial firelogs for the purpose of mimicking real firewood. While it does burn fossil fuels, it releases fewer harmful emissions and still generates comfortable heat. However, it’s the cleanest fuel one can burn. Its rate of greenhouse gas or particle emissions remains one of the lowest. There are three options available, whether it’s gas or propane gas: A gas fireplace insert, which is designed to fit directly into the opening of an existing wood-burning fireplace; Zero-clearance gas fireplace, which can be installed on an indoor or outdoor wall; Standalone fireplace, which looks exactly fire a wood-burning fireplace, meaning it can be admired on all sides and is the most energy-efficient option. If the house in question is already fitted with a natural gas distribution system, the fireplace will be supplied using the same source as other appliances. Otherwise, the fireplace can be connected to a propane tank located outside, which will require occasional fillings. PRO TIP: Prior to purchasing, request to see the flames, as not all models have realistic, nice-looking flames. Wood-burning fireplace While not long ago, the wood-burning fireplace was presented as the worst option, the industry has come a long way, making eco-friendly innovations over the last few years. So much so that, nowadays, people are reconsidering it. New wood-burning fireplaces have an efficiency of over 70%, while their emissions are barely one-tenth of those emitted by traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Certain EPA-certified wood-burning stoves have a residue-free, clean combustion. Some maintain that the energy produced is neutral in terms of greenhouse gas emissions since the amount of fuel released while wood burns are equal to what’s released by a dead tree deteriorating in a forest. Lastly, due to the current restrictions imposed on the forest industry, more trees must be planted than cut down. Wood is a renewable source of energy. By buying locally, you’re thereby reducing the carbon footprint associated with material transportation. Ventless or Flueless Fireplaces Source: Canva A fireplace fire is always enjoyable; however, it may not necessarily be eco-friendly since, normally, a chimney is synonymous with emissions. Pollution and greenhouse gases produced during combustion can be harmful to the environment. As a result, one can conclude that ventless fireplaces have an eco-friendly advantage over those that require a chimney or vents, or at the very least, in terms of direct repercussions. Here are 4 types of ventless fireplaces: Propane or natural gas fireplace More and more homeowners are favouring this type of fireplace that can be installed practically everywhere since it doesn’t require a chimney. It only requires an exhaust duct or a vent used to exhaust the gas combustion outside. Electric fireplace The electric fireplace doesn’t require an exhaust system. It doesn’t burn fuel and doesn’t generate smoke. Ethanol fireplace This type of fireplace generates clean combustion. Albeit it doesn’t need an exhaust duct, it still releases a subtle odour. Some experts suggest planning ahead for outward ventilation. Gel fuel fireplace Although it isn’t really sought-after, the gel fuel fireplace is slowly breaking ground in Quebec. It’s a worthwhile option for those who have a chimneyless home. While some models are rather decently sized and have a mantel (like the real deal!), smaller-sized models can be easily positioned atop furniture. Its fuel is non-polluting—it’s a thickened isopropyl alcohol to which sea salt is added to obtain a pleasant fire-like crackling sound. While its gel-fueled logs are still hard to find in stores, it’s still a wise choice for those who live in an area where air quality restrictions are rather strict. Which fireplace is really the least pollutant? Source: Canva When purchasing an eco-friendly fireplace, one has to consider the direct environmental impacts, as well as indirect impacts. As the most eco-friendly solution is the least damaging to the environment as a whole, consider not only what the fireplace releases into the air, but also what it uses to run (where the fuel comes from, electricity supply) and what's required to manufacture the device. For example, an ethanol fireplace may seem like the best option because of its minimal direct impact, yet the pollution involved in its manufacturing process must also be taken into account. Given all these factors, an electric fireplace stands out as the most environmentally-friendly choice on the market. It produces zero toxic fumes or greenhouse gas emissions. It requires no fuel, and 100% of its energy is converted into heat. Moreover, while it can't heat the whole house, it releases a significant amount of heat and can cut your heating costs by 20 to 40%. In terms of the indirect environmental impact associated with an electric fireplace, hydroelectricity is the preferred ecological option in the province of Quebec. However, if you live in a province where electricity is coal-fired, such as Alberta, Saskatchewan, or in the Maritimes, you might want to rethink that option. Cost of ​​Eco-Friendly Outdoor Fireplace Logs Source: Canva While a lot of people benefit from outdoor fireplaces six months out of the year, true, hard-core fans never seem to take a break. Eco-friendly firewood is naturally a good alternative to real firewood logs. The former is 100% natural and made from hardwood sawdust and is devoid of chemical products and additives. They're high-density logs that burn longer, meaning you don't have to keep feeding the fire. Plus, they produce a pretty flame and release up to 30% more heat. Since they’re retailed in most stores, you can buy as you go and don’t need to stock up and have a dedicated storage area. One can purchase a 6-log bag for $4.39 only. A pallet (72 bags or 576 logs) costs roughly $475. Worth a try: The buchandel (a combination of the French words for log and candle) as it’s known in Quebec—literally taking an eco-friendly log and lighting its tip to create a candle-like effect. Its high-burning flame generates tremendous heat, and it's easy to light, smoke-free and burns for over an hour.

7 min read 16 Aug 2023

Get Quality and a Stylish Design with Glass Tile

Glass tiles aren’t only a great wall tiling choice for wet areas, but they’re also an ideal flooring. Nowadays, such tiles are solid, aesthetic, and eco-friendly, and are an increasingly significant part of our interior quarters. If you’re still on the fence about using glass, uncover the qualities that have made it so triumphant. The Benefits of Clear Glass Tile Source: Canva Glass tiles make for a very aesthetically pleasing wall treatment or flooring that can be used both indoors and outdoors. This type of tile is available in an array of colours and textures, meaning it can be adapted to a plethora of interior décors. On top of its wide range of colours and patterns, glass tile account for several other advantages: Increases luminosity Strength Various shapes Several finishes Low maintenance Eco-friendly 1. Increases luminosity It all depends on how light is reflected. Glass mosaics reflect the sun’s rays, which in turn brightens the area in question but also gives it a feeling of spaciousness. As such, a glass mosaic is ideal the play off the space available without having to knock down a wall. 2. Strength of glass tiles Since 2011, glass tiles have been in compliance with ANSI A137.2 standard. This standard mandates tests ensuring that the tile in question can withstand temperatures of 38°C (100°F), with the exception of interior wall tiles. Unlike ceramic tiles, glass mosaic tiles can’t withstand great temperature variations when installed outdoors. Therefore, such testing helps differentiate the various types of glass tiles to label where each specific type of glass tile can be installed. 3. Various shapes There are three basic types of glass tile: cast glass; low-temperature coated glass; fused glass. Each type has its respective characteristics. We’ll detail those of fused glass in the subsequent section devoted to finishing touches. Cast glass Cast glass is kiln-fired glass that’s poured into a mould. It can be moulded into any shape, size, or colour. Low-temperature coated glass Low-temperature coated glass is achieved by transferring a decorative coating on the back side of a clear glass sheet. From there, a wide variety of colours and patterns can be pulled off. 4. Several finishes When it comes to fused glass, a glass fusion technique is used to obtain the following finishes: smooth; textured; uniform; non-uniform. 5. Low maintenance Cleaning glass tiles is a rather straightforward process. All you need is: water; vinegar; and a soft rag. By mixing equal parts water and vinegar, you’ll be able to remove any build-up that may have settled on your glass tiles. 6. Eco-friendly courtesy of recycled glass Glass mosaic tiles are an eco-friendly material, provided they’re from recycled sources: company-issued waste; recycling centres; curbside recycling. ANSI A137.2 standard divides recycled glass tiles into 3 categories, based on their composition: Category 1: at least 25%; Category 2: at least 40%; Category 3: at least 60%. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected to top-rated contractors! Glass Mosaic: Its Multiple Uses Source: Canva Glass mosaic is a very sought-after tiling technique that consists of assembling pieces of glass together to design colourful and complex patterns. The durable and shiny finish achieved with glass tiles allows for a variety of uses: inside, both as flooring or as wall treatments; outside, as a pool liner or terrace surface. Glass Paste Glass paste, or “pâte de verre,” is most often used to make glass mosaics. It’s a cold-casting technique that consists of moulding glass sheets. A known technique since Ancient history and rediscovered at the end of the 1800s in France, this process gives glass mosaic a texture that’s similar to that of ceramic. The tiles are then glued together to create a mosaic that can withstand the following: scratches; shocks; heat. All that, treatment-free. Bathroom or Kitchen Wall Tiles Glass mosaics are perfect for wet areas: kitchen; wet room; bathroom. The reason why is that glass tiles are super easy to clean. Whether it be grease or soap residue, simply wiping the surface with a sponge will suffice in most cases. Glass Mosaic Flooring Glass tiles used as indoor flooring are typically fused glass tiles. They can be laid on every type of rigid infrastructure, such as: cured concrete slab; cement panel (0.5-inch thick) on a plywood subfloor; double-layer plywood; mortar bed on a plywood subfloor. Prior to installation, spread a crack insulation membrane over the surface to be tiled. Large glass tiles will then be laid atop this very membrane. To prevent air bubbles from forming in the tile mortar, use as little as possible. As such, avoid following the manufacturer's recommended mortar thickness. In fact, since the tiles are see-through, air bubbles forming beneath the tiles are clearly visible once installed. How to Cut Glass Mosaic Tiles Source: Canva For clean and precise cuts, it’s best to use a glass-specific diamond blade mounted on a wet saw. Naturally, not everyone can whip out a wet saw at a moment’s notice, and purchasing such a tool runs about $120 to $500. Luckily, there’s a more artisanal method that can be used, requiring a glass-cutting knife. This cutter-like tool isn’t equipped with a metal blade but a diamond-shaped tip. With this tool handy, follow along with the steps detailed below. Step 1: Mark the tile Lay your glass tile on a flat surface. Grab a second one to use as a makeshift ruler and place it where you want to make the cut. Run the glass-cutting knife’s diamond tip along the tile to mark it. To effectively mark the tile, avoid pushing down on the tool too hard, or not pushing down hard enough. Step 2: Snap the glass tile To snap the glass tile, you’ll need to use something to lift up one side of the tile where it was marked. It could be a piece of cloth or neoprene foam. The only thing left to do is to push down the glass tile’s edge to break it along the guideline. Once the cloth or neoprene is in place, simply push down on the edge to break up the tile. Step 3: Use running pliers However, if you only need to cut a small section of your tile, rather than cutting it in half, you risk having a hard time doing so using the cloth or neoprene method. To successfully cut a small section of a glass tile, you can use running pliers to snap off a small section of the tile. Some are used much like straightforward pliers, others like grip pliers, but both are easy to use. A Few Examples of Glass Tile Prices Source: Canva Given that glass tiles basically come in every shape and size, they can mimic pebbles, hexagons, or bricks. The cost of the following creations are as follows: Random shape and size mosaic: $11.50/sq.ft.; Hexagon mosaic: $16/sq.ft; Brick tiles: $13/sq.ft. To cover an entire wall with recycled tiles, budget about $38/sq.ft.

5 min read 09 Aug 2023

Translucent Concrete: When Innovation Meets Nature

Concrete is one of the most common construction materials on the planet. Up until the end of the 1900s, it was bestowed with numerous qualities, but none were that of luminosity… Well, consider it done! Since the dawn of the new millennium, this solid grey mass stuns with light-filled shadows. In fact, the arrival of translucent concrete, a robust and versatile material, marks the beginning of a new era. Once again, it revolutionizes the architecture and construction industries with its somewhat incredible light effects that are rather dazzling. And, let’s not forget that this type of concrete retains the valuable properties of standard concrete. It was first exclusively used when building cutting-edge hotel and tourism facilities, but little by little, it’s increasingly used across the industry. And despite its steep price tag, the residential sector sees grounds for innovation. Without further ado, let's shed some light on translucent concrete. The Definition of Translucent Concrete Source: Canva Translucent concrete—or light-transmitting concrete—was invented in 2001 by a Hungarian architect, and possesses optical fibre properties that aren’t readily visible to the naked eye. These fibres arranged perfectly parallel to one another, attract and transmit natural or artificial light across pre-fabricated concrete panels. This interplay of light and shadow is reminiscent of the shoji concept unique to traditional Japanese architecture. However, the translucent sheet of washi is replaced by the solidity of concrete. With the quick-evolving nature of technology, the latest process currently incorporates optical fibres that guide light emitted by an LED source, to then transmit it to the outer surface of a building. Software-activated and controlled, LEDs make for great light shows, from displaying static elements to conceiving colour schemes and animated images. As such, in broad daylight, building structures channel that of any standard concrete or stone façade. However, once night falls, and backlighting kicks in, the siding comes to life with a dazzling display. Concrete, which was once a simple mixture that included cement, water, and aggregates, bedazzled itself into a literal artistic gem, igniting the creative mind. What are the properties of translucent concrete? As of now, translucent concrete is being used in building the façades of exceptionally avant-garde buildings or as interior wall treatments for high-end constructions. With dynamic lighting breathing life into silhouettes, using translucent concrete in a shower for example may be an interesting way to benefit from this unique technology without so much as paying through the roof. (The price of translucent concrete can easily be 5 times that of standard concrete.) Transparent concrete allows light to filter through, making for brightly lit interiors. As such, there no longer is a need to worry about window placement or positioning or which direction a particular room is facing. What’s more, it allows natural light to stream in, while blocking UV rays. Based solely on aesthetics, it’s important to highlight that the incorporated optical fibres won’t result in any particular constraints. The material benefits from all the much sought-after properties of standard concrete—solid and durable. It’s definitely a technology that suits the masses. However, keep in mind that translucent concrete is an expensive construction material. Aside from the list above-mentioned regarding its uses, interior design architects often employ it in the making of stairs, guardrails, countertops, and other strictly decorative features. We’re ready to bet that the success of translucent concrete will drive major breakthroughs over the next few years, perhaps making it more accessible. Are you looking for a general contractor for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! How is translucent concrete made? Source: Canva Throughout the years, two processes have made translucent concrete attainable. The first method consists of changing the formula for concrete in terms of binders and aggregates. The material becomes translucent when glass pieces are added or resin is injected into the cementitious matrix, while still retaining a sufficient strength. The second technology features optical fibres embedded in the matrix allowing light to shine through. Using simple electrical systems, the light intensity can be controlled, much like the walls’ colour rendering. Composition and materials Translucent concrete is retailed as custom, pre-fabricated panels (of various shapes and sizes), or as concrete construction blocks. The polymer-based process can transmit up to 90% light, which results in as much as 20% translucency, while still retaining the material’s strength. Translucent concrete is often used without traditional rebar. In cases where reinforcement is necessary, plastic rebar can serve as a viable substitute to steel rebar, ensuring the distinctive properties of translucent concrete remain intact. When translucent concrete contains polymer, the binder (cement) is partially replaced by a transparent polymer. This technique ensures the translucency of the material from all angles. Translucent concrete is typically neutral in colour (white, light or dark grey), but its colour can be altered upon request. It also boasts a wide range of colours, courtesy of a set of LED bulbs. Benefits of Translucent Concrete In the making of translucent concrete, mixing in transparent compounds solely account for a mere percentage of its overall composition. As a result, it benefits from all the same properties as traditional concrete. Concrete is resilient and durable—it’s basically fire-, fungus-, and insect-proof, and is resistant to physical impacts. It’s also highly resistant to adverse weather conditions and temperature fluctuations. Lastly, it’s thermally inert and has a high porosity. Translucent concrete not only harnesses the above-mentioned properties but also introduces an unprecedented level of luminosity. It’s contemporary, unique, and distinctive—transforming structures and buildings through visually stunning light shows. In broad daylight, it brightens up rooms while effectively blocking UV rays. As such, natural light replaces artificial lighting, thus limiting energy consumption. Last but certainly not least, translucent concrete is recyclable.

9 min read 19 Jul 2023

How to Choose Glass Inserts for Your Front Door

When choosing a front door, one usually considers five essential factors: security, insulation, aesthetics, maintenance, and budget. However, there’s another factor that often takes precedence—lighting. And for that reason alone, more and more homeowners are opting for glass-panelled front doors. While you may think that a glass insert will hinder the other sought-after features you had in mind for your front door, think again. You simply need to know where to look and what to assess. Given the near-endless models of front doors available on the market, variety means opening the door to a world of possibilities. So, let’s shed some light on the subject. Lite Front Door Characteristics Source: Canva One thing’s for sure: a glass (or lite) front door doesn’t go unnoticed. Better yet, it rivals, at full force, the different models available on the market, like solid doors, even in terms of comfort and security. To help narrow down, and guide, your research, here are the main characteristics of exterior glass inserts: A lite or half-lite door Unlike a solid front door—whether wood, PVC, or aluminum—a lite door is made of, from top to bottom, a glass insert that sits between narrow lite door frames. Since it blends in seamlessly, it suits most architectural styles. This type of door can match the colour of the siding of the house or window frames. On the other hand, a half-lite front door strikes the perfect compromise between a solid and lite door. While these doors used to be made with a full panel on the bottom, and a glass insert on top, newer, more modern, models go above and beyond single-glazing, offering triple- or quadruple-glazing. Standard or tailor-made glass Currently, the market boasts a wide array of front door models, and that’s not to mention the companies that specialize in crafting exclusive, custom designs. According to Stéphane Dubé, of Portes et fenêtres Lamater, glass inserts are categorized into two groups: standard shapes and tailor-made designs (non-rectangular shapes). “Typically, door glass is produced by three prominent companies: Novatech, Verre Sélect Inc., and Vitre-Art. Pricing [for front door glass inserts, Ed.] ranges from $300 to $1,000. The more intricate the glass design, the more costly it’ll be.” Clear or acid-etched glass: All about privacy Above all else, the main advantage of glass is that it allows natural light to stream in. However, to maintain a sense of privacy indoors, it’s best to carefully consider your door glazing. An acid-etched finish means concealing yourself from the prying eyes of passers-by while still enjoying ample daylight. You can also opt for semi-translucent or translucent glass, which allows light to stream in, yet subtly blurs what lies beyond. This optical illusion is achieved through various techniques such as sandblasting, frosting, etching, or texturing the glass surface. And, by favouring textured patterns, manufacturers give light to elegant, beautifully designed glass inserts. Burglarproof glass: A must-have This type of glass withstands impacts, fire, and warping, thus securing the home, and offering homeowners peace of mind, at home and away. Anti-burglary glass is often said to be layered. Security glass is made with two or three layers of glass. Each layer of glass is separated by a clear film (polyvinyl butyral). It’s the same technology used for car windshields. Anti-burglary glass offers: Better protection against burglaries; Better thermal insulation (door glass inserts are a thermal bridge); Better soundproofing; Better resistance to fire and physical attacks. Are you looking for experts for your doors and windows project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Different Types of Glazing Source: Canva Right off the bat, one might think that triple glazing is better compared to double, but that’s not always the case. Before choosing, consider the different factors involved. Here’s everything to know about the different types of glazing: Double-glazed Double-glazing is achieved with two layers of glass, separated by a cavity filled with either air or gas inserts. Air, argon gas, or krypton (immobilized between two glass panes) are great insulation. Given that it’s more resilient than single-glazing, the latter can effectively insulate a home, thereby slowing down heat transfer and limiting heat loss. As such, cold air is retained throughout the summer much like warm air during winter, preventing issues like condensation. Additionally, the home isn’t affected by external noise pollution. Triple-glazed Triple glazing is the preferred option to optimize the energy efficiency of low-energy or passive homes. The detailed manufacturing process of triple-glazed windows provides excellent thermal performance, during both winter and summer. Windows are known culprits responsible for 10% to 15% of heat loss in households. With this in mind, one might assume that triple glazing, with air-, argon gas-, or krypton-filled cavities, is the way to go. However, this isn’t entirely true. While triple glazing is highly effective in cold, sun-sparse regions, it isn’t recommended for sunny regions. Decorative glazing Although decorative glazing only accounts for a select portion of a front door, it’s often the main appeal of modern entry doors. This type of glazing, whether featured as an insert or applied to the panel, is typically translucent, coloured, frosted, or acid-etched. It comes as a single piece or an amalgamation of geometric patterns or abstract shapes that seamlessly blend together, reminiscent of a mosaic or stained glass window. It showcases all the appeal of front doors. Whether modern or classic, it comes in a variety of textured backgrounds, granite-textured, bevelled glass pieces, and gray-toned glass, interspersed with nickel or patina cames… Custom-made designs Ornamented glazing is a bustling new trend that came about with the onset of undeniably talented manufacturers on the market. Their designs allow for tailoring front doors to showcase a unique and distinctive look. And, architects and designers are having a blast with it. There are countless combinations to be made: stainless steel or resin inlays, copper or aluminum plates, etc. How to Replace a Front Door Glass Insert Source: Canva More and more homeowners are going the DIY route when it comes to home renovation projects. So, here’s a guide to replacing your front door’s glass pane. First, here’s a list of tools you’ll need: Drill and bits Lever bar scraper Painter’s tape (strong enough to hold the frame but not too sticky as to not damage the paint on the door) Gloves Suction cups (optional—if proceeding without one, have help and work with a partner) Note that the service life of a door is roughly 20 years. If your door is bent, distorted, or warped, it’s probably best to replace it altogether, rather than just the glass. Few precautionary measures before starting: To prevent mismeasuring the size of the glass pane, measure all around the outside frame of the opening, from top to bottom, then left to right. When removing the existing pane, hold on to the screws. Since they’re not entirely threaded, they can be used to tighten the window seal without crushing it. Beware of the weight of the glass, it can easily weigh as much as 40-50 pounds. Even if the glass is resilient, the corners and edging are still fragile. Glass is sharp; so wear gloves and handle with care. Step-by-step instructions: Apply painter’s tape to the outside of the frame to temporarily secure the glass pane in place. Using the scraper, carefully remove the pane moulding to access the assembly screws. Unscrew each screw, starting at the top, and working your way down, but leave the middle screws to hold the glass. Remove the bottom screw first, then the top one, while preparing for the pane to shift in the frame. Gravity will help the glass insert detach itself. If needed, use the scraper to gently remove it. Remove the painter’s tape, take out the frame, and place the glass on a mat or piece of cardboard. Position to the new frame (always from the outside) while using some painter’s tape to hold it in place. Clean any dust and dirt inside the frame using a dry rag. Insert the new glass pane going in from the outside of the frame ensuring it’s oriented correctly since it isn’t interchangeable. (The manufacturer’s label on the glass will indicate this.) The clearance around the glass, and the door frame, is meant for the expansion joint. Reposition the frame and start tightening the assembly screws, starting with the middle one, then the top, and finally the bottom. Continue with the screws located in the corners, and then secure these last ones ensuring they compress the window seal properly. Reinstall the glass pane moulding to conceal the screws, starting with the corners and then pressing down toward the middle. No surprise here, but hiring a professional has its advantages. As mentioned by Stéphane Dubé from Portes et fenêtres Lamater, “Having your glass pane installed by a contractor ensures the work is done according to industry standards and warranties.” PRO TIPS, courtesy of Stéphane Dubé’s, from Portes et fenêtes Lamater If you decide to replace the glass insert on your door yourself, at least do it with a partner. It’ll minimize any risk of breaking the glass. First, remove the screw caps on the inside of the door, then unscrew the moulding to take out the old pane. Consider applying Adseal, a sealant, in the corners before reattaching the moulding to conceal the screws. Gently screw in the moulding to not overtighten. Cost-Effective Solutions Source: Canva Here are three cost-effective solutions: To save money, consider opting for a half-lite door rather than a full-lite one. In some cases, prices vary based on whether the pane is translucent or semi-translucent. Remodelling is also a worthwhile option. If your current front door is still in good condition, a glass insert is definitely worth considering. The variety of glass pane styles and sizes retail for one-third of the price of a new front door and can revamp just about any door. Albeit it’s not as energy efficient as double-glazing, improving single-glazing with a secondary pane can still offer added comfort and lessen outdoor noise pollution. What about energy efficiency? To reduce costs, choose high-quality double or triple glazing. You'll save energy and ensure a comfortable indoor temperature, year-round. Another option is to rely on current industry standards for front door glass inserts. These standards ensure ceiling temperatures during periods of intense heat, reducing the need for air conditioners and limiting energy consumption in new buildings. Note that triple-glazed panes offer the best thermal and sound insulation.

Looking for a contractor?

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes now!