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Home Renovation Blog

Should I Add a Second Storey Addition or Dig Out the Basement?

Most homeowners at some point, decide that they would like to have more room in their home. But say you love your current location and don’t want to move. To get the space you want, some renovations are in order. If the size of your property prevents you from building out, your options are to go up or down. So what do you do? Do you add another storey to your home or dig out your basement?

Unless you enjoy living in the dark, adding an additional storey to your home is usually the better of the two options. Of course, every situation is unique and a lot will depend on your personal preferences and what you intend to do with the extra space.

When does digging out the basement make more sense?

As noted, any living space created in the basement is going to have less light than a space created above ground. But then, maybe you want less light. Perhaps you have chosen to put in a home theatre, or a rec room for the guys to come over and enjoy a beverage and watch the game. In this case, adding more ceiling height so that you can better enjoy your basement could be a good option.

If you do choose to dig down rather than build up remember that it is no small project. Your house will need to be underpinned, and due to the amount of work involved, this option can be more expensive than building up.

When does adding a second storey make more sense?

Adding a second storey makes sense in other scenarios. For example, say you have a growing family and you want to add more bedrooms. Or perhaps you would like to add a guest room or home office. Building up rather than down is not only going to give you more light, but it will also provide a nicer environment overall.

Even with the best waterproofing, basements can still be damp at times, so they do not make for the best living spaces.  You will also run the added risk of basement floods from heavy storms, or snowmelt.  

Adding a second floor to your home can be a great way to get the extra space you want, but there are some things to consider before you do so. For starters, you will need to check the building code in your area to make sure that it is permissible. Secondly, you’ll need to make sure that the foundation is sound enough to handle the additional load. If it is not, it will have to be reinforced. Even if you do have to have the foundation reinforced, however, adding a second-floor addition is often less costly than building a ground level addition because your contractor won’t have to dig a new foundation.

As stated earlier, whether you decide to go up or down is going to depend on a number of factors, but in our view going up is most often the best choice. For more information about adding a second storey to your home or to get a free estimate, contact Artisan Contracting today.

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How Long Do Bathroom Renovations Take?

The most important question every homeowner should consider regarding a major renovation is whether the renovation will be a wise investment, what its ultimate cost is, and how long it will take to complete.

Bathroom renovations rank as the second most popular restoration for a very good reason. The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in the home in terms of usage and a great return on investment, but creating a beautiful bathroom into a place of elegance doesn’t just happen overnight.

Modern Bathroom Trends:

Today’s trends lean toward people remodeling the space into a spa-style room.The bathroom can be one of the most expensive rooms in the house to renovate because the costs depend largely on the design, products, types of additions and accessories you want to add.

Types of Contractors:

Before we get into how long the renovation will take, let’s consider the type of contractors available to do your renovation. There are basically two types, the first type will work one job at a time and once finished move on to their next project.

The second type will work on a number of projects at the same time. They shuffle their tradespeople around, allowing them to be constantly working by going from one job to another throughout the week.

Renovation Timetables:

Like all renovations, they take time to complete because they’re like a puzzle with all of the pieces coming together eventually to create a full picture. Here is a great list of typical timetables for a bathroom renovation illustrated in an article by Seacliff Constructions for

Bathroom Demolition

The first thing a builder has to determine is the existing space and materials that constructed the space. Some materials such as timber studs and sheeted walls are much quicker to work with than solid brick walls.
Type 1 Builder: 2-3 Days
Type 2 Builder: 4-5 Days

Plumbers & Electricians ‘Rough In’

Once there is a bare structure, the plumbers and electricians get involved. Their rough in will begin with plumbing points in the walls and floor. The wiring for the electrical work can commence.
Type 1 Builder: 1-2 Days
Type 2 Builder: 3-4 Days

Preparation for Tiling

Next comes the preparation of walls for tiles. Also, the installation of new windows, doors and wall niches can take place.
Type 1 Builder: 1 Day
Type 2 Builder: 1-2 Days


Now sheeting the walls and ceilings takes place.
Type 1 Builder: 2-3 Days
Type 2 Builder: 3-4 Days

Waterproofing Bathrooms

Once the sheets are installed, the room is waterproofed as required. Waterproofing takes at least 24 hours to completely dry and a 2-day process for 2-3 coats.
Type 1 Builder: 1-2 Days
Type 2 Builder: 2-3 Days

Tiling your Bathroom

The tiler lays out the tiles ensuring that the tiles are cut where they need to be balanced throughout the room.
Type 1 Builder: 5 Days
Type 2 Builder: 7 Days

Finishing Of Tiles

Now that the tiles are in place on the floor and walls, it’s time for them to be grouted and siliconed at the critical joints.
Type 1 Builder: 1-2 Days
Type 2 Builder: 3 Days

Trims & Painting

Once the windows and doors are installed, the painter arrives to paint them along with the ceiling.
Type 1 Builder: 1 Day
Type 2 Builder: 1-2 Days

Plumbing Fit Off

Now it’s time to install all of the fixtures and connect them up.
Type 1 Builder: 1 Day
Type 2 Builder: 1-2 Days

Electrical Fit Off

The electrician is now back to install the light fittings, switches and fans.
Type 1 Builder: 1 Day
Type 2 Builder: 1-2 Days’

Installing Bathroom Accessories

Down to the wire with accessories like the toilet paper holder, hand towel rail, robe hooks, etc. Type 1 Builder: 1 Day
Type 2 Builder: 1-2 Days

Total Approximate Timeframe:

Type 1 Builder: 3-4 Weeks
Type 2 Builder: 6-7 Weeks

These times are generalized, and are based on a complete makeover. Your time will vary of course depending on the complexity of your bathroom renovation.

At Artisan Contracting we engage in foresight before we get to the job site. This means that for any bathroom renovation, there will never be any surprises for the amount of time and cost.

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Preparing your Home for a Kitchen & Bath Renovation

As many homeowners have already discovered, breathing new life in a home with a renovation is the most desirous and rewarding project they can experience. It can increase the value of your house and make it more appealing for you and future buyers.

Kitchen Renovation Preperation

Since the kitchen is the heart of a home and most frequently used room in the house, a renovation will provide a modern, fresh and desirable look. An updated kitchen can make your house stand out with modern cabinetry, under cabinet lighting, backsplash tiling, upgraded countertops, modern faucets and new appliances.

Preparing for your Bathroom Renovation

Similarly, bathroom renovations are the second most important room in the home to renovate. Today’s trends lean toward people remodeling the space into a spa-style bathroom. The preference towards separate showers and tubs, double sinks, and even seating areas make this area a luxurious retreat.

Renovation Preparations

Preparing your home for one or either of these renovations is important. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task as long as you plan ahead and prepare the area before any renovation work begins.

While your physical labour may be minimal since you are using a professional renovation contractor, a different kind of work is involved, such as preparing yourself, preparing your home, and dealing with your contractor.

Here are a few tips to ensure your project runs safely and smoothly:

Devise a Renovation Plan

Be clear on what you plan on doing with the space before you make a start. Do your due diligence in researching the project because you might find that the work being done in one room will impact on those in another, particularly when plumbing and wiring are involved.

Having a clear vision and the right information prior to the renovation will ease the burden accompanied with the project. As an example, you might require to have rewiring completed before walls are plastered or drywall is put up.

Another example is carrying out major structural work. It’s best to check with a professional renovating company first, as there may be implications you are unaware of during the renovation. Remember too that a remodeling project is a perfect storm where many emotional factors come into play such as the cash outlay, the mess, and diminished privacy.

There may be some prep work involved such as clearing out rooms, which is a benefit to you while the project is going on. In the case of a bathroom renovation, plan ahead where and which alternate bathroom will be used during the renovation. You’ll discover all too soon that contractors hate it when clients change things around at night or on weekends when the workmen are not around, as this impedes the workflow, so plan ahead how you will keep the areas open and clear.

Financing the Project

There are several ways to finance a renovation project, but most homeowners simply get a short term loan from their bank. Lenders will help you fund your renovation project and offer the money in staged payments. If this is your preferred route, find out what those stages are and develop a plan when you will have each step of the renovation finished.

Salvaging Renovation Items

You may have an opportunity to recover some costs by salvaging items for resale such as unwanted fixtures and fittings. Whether it’s an old sink, toilet, basins, countertops, light fixtures or cabinets, there is money to be made if you’re so inclined. Yard sales or online garage sales are a great way to recoup some of those funds used for the new renovation.

Research your Contractors

At Artisan Contracting, we engage foresight before we get to the jobsite so we can work efficiently, and so that you are never surprised by the invoice. Contact us today for exceptional bathroom and kitchen renovations in the Burlington, Oakville, and Hamilton Ontario area.

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What makes a kitchen “high-end”?

Every home has a kitchen, and they’re all as unique as the people who live there. When designing our kitchens, it is very common to put a little of ourselves into the design, finishes, and fixtures but what distinguishes a high-end kitchen from a regular one? Where is that line drawn? If you’re wondering if your kitchen is on the high-end, here are seven elements that you can look for in your own space or maybe even upgrade if you want that high-end kitchen.

Kitchen Countertops

This is about the look almost as much as the material your counters are made of. Whether you choose quartz, granite, concrete or some other material, the look of the counter is what will make your kitchen look high-end. A good, solid material will add almost endless value to your kitchen. So when you’re renovating your kitchen, this is an area to invest in.

Kitchen Island

An island in your kitchen not only adds extra counter space, but it can also provide more space for entertaining guests. Islands are an area people tend to gather around, so this is a place you can put out food or treats for your guests. If the space allows for it, putting in an island will add high-end value to your kitchen.

Walk-in Pantry

Families eat a lot of food, and if you like to entertain or throw parties, then you need even more food storage. No one wants to store things in the basement, or have to lug things out of the spare bedroom - so what better way to store all that extra food than in a beautiful, custom pantry? You can add custom shelving and storage components that suit your family’s needs, and change them as you grow. A pantry – especially a walk-in one – has high-end written all over it.

Wine Cooler

Who doesn’t enjoy a great glass of wine after a long day, or having a couple of glasses with friends? Adding a wine cooler to your kitchen not only adds value but also makes it look classier. A wine cooler can be considered a luxury appliance, which makes your kitchen look better while providing you with a perfectly chilled glass of wine any night of the week.

Wine coolers often come with two sections so you can seperate red wine bottles from the white wine bottles.  They also give you the ability to have one section cooler than the other so you can have chilled white wines, and cellar temperature reds.  This investment is perfect if you wish to get into collecting and enjoying wine.

Wood Floors in Kitchens

Traditionally kitchens have seen tiles as the flooring used, but more and more kitchens have hardwood placed. This is typically the same flooring as what’s used in the living room, dining room and other areas of the main floor. Having the same flooring consistent throughout the main floor makes it look much more open and high-end.

Natural Kitchen Lighting

The more natural light you can add to your kitchen the higher-end it will be. Neon, or LED, lighting may look harsh and can make the space look unnatural and cold. Using all the windows you can – or even open up more spaces for natural light – will give your kitchen a very cozy, warm feeling.

Kitchen Appliances

This is maybe the best way to make your kitchen high-end. Stoves, fridges or dishwashers have a variety of finishes to choose from. Consider options like double ovens, six burner gas ranges and built-in fridges. Investing in top of the line appliances not only makes your kitchen look high-end but you’ll enjoy the better quality investment you’ve made for years to come.

High-end kitchens don’t have to look the exact same, but the components that make up these kitchens are very common. With a little effort and some design, you can make your kitchen high-end with your very own personal touches.

Serving the Burlington, Oakville, Waterdown & Hamilton area, Artisan Contracting offers kitchen and whole home renovaitons. Contact us today for a free consulation!

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