Are you the proud owner of a new home in which you plan to do remodeling work? Your needs have changed over the years and you consider a major redevelopment of your home by abolishing some walls? All these dreamed plans, as exciting as they are, have some essential construction steps to bring your project to a healthy conclusion, while limiting the expensive surprises that could compromise your project.

 

In which components?

Did you know that residences built before the 1980s are likely to contain asbestos in some of their material components? In fact, asbestos is a natural mineral fiber today recognized as a dangerous carcinogen attacking the respiratory tract that can lead to premature death (lung cancer). Lack of laboratory advances in the era before the 80s, by its thermal priorities, its fire resistance and its compatibility with the chemicals of the various mixtures to which it was added voluntarily, asbestos was formerly recognized as a high-performance element in the construction field. Mostly visible to the naked eye, this undesirable could slyly be found in your original plaster components such as: decorative moldings, original internal walls plasterboard slats and some finishing materials in tiles. Asbestos is also present in some types of roofing shingles, vermiculite insulation in attics, even at the plumbing level with the types of sealant or insulation put in place at the time.

 

Your contractor's role

amiante-maison.jpg

Thus, depending on the year of construction of your project, you may be constrained by worker health and safety standards, to perform an asbestos test. Entrusting your renovation project to a general construction contractor will significantly reduce your responsibilities and procedures to follow in the event of contamination of the home. Delegating the asbestos test to your general contractor, you will not only benefit from a better coordination of your work within the same team, but you will also avoid significant additional costs if the execution of the work would require greater asbestos removal due to lack of direction from you before the start of your project.

 

A protocol to follow

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As a first step, samples will be taken from the elements affected by the renovations. Then these samples will be analyzed in an independent laboratory in order to obtain a precise verdict. Investing in the analysis of different surfaces that may contain asbestos is essential because it could save you money on asbestos removal installations and procedures. Once the contaminated area is well identified and quantified, the specialists will carry out decontamination work meticulously equipped with the necessary equipment according to assessed risk levels: low, medium and high. Obviously, the higher the level of risk, the greater the installations and precautions. It would no longer be a simple standardized filter mask, but the establishment of temporary airtight lockers with or without shower and a negative air pressure machine. No matter what level of risk your project faces, your contractor and relevant experts will be able to inform you of the different options available to you in a timely manner.

 

Keep Calm

Be aware that asbestos is not a health hazard if it is not handled, cut or stirred, if it is well covered and your materials that can contain it remain in good condition. Now it's up to you to approach the expertise of your choice to materialize your dreams in your new living space.

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3 tips for a successful basement transformation

In real estate, the basement is often synonymous with unexploited potential. Forgotten in favor of kitchens and bathrooms, the basement quickly becomes a simple and humid storage place that holds our grandparents' antique furniture, our travel memories or our children when they are not wise (no one is judging you!). However, if done properly, transforming your basement can significantly increase the resale value of your property and become a useful and pleasant living space.

 

So, ready to give your basement a facelift and make it a centerpiece of your home? Before embarking on renovation work, several important factors must be taken into account.

 

 1. The health of the occupants

transformer sous-sol intergénérationnel

Before transforming a basement, a few basic checks must first be done. For example, is your basement habitable according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) standards?

 

CMHC uses 4 criteria to judge the habitable aspect of a space:

 

  1. Do you have to bend over to avoid a beam or duct?
  2. Are there any traces of moisture and mildew?
  3. Do the clothes or objects in storage have a musty smell?
  4. Are there cracks on the walls and floor?

 

In the basement, humidity is a big concern. To overcome this, the walls of your basement must provide a waterproof barrier and reduce the risk of mold. Do not hesitate to call on renovation professionals to find out more about the right approach.

 

2. Energy efficiency

transformer sous-sol bureau

Transforming your basement is also an opportunity to improve the insulation of your home to reduce your heating bill and reduce shivering in winter. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), there are several things to consider to ensure that your basement does not consume too much energy. Here are some suggestions:

 

  • Improve the insulation of walls and floors.
  • Provide an effective air barrier.
  • Insulate the cold and hot-water pipes.
  • Install energy-efficient lighting fixtures. Provide the lighting concept for work surfaces and optimize the natural light when available.
  • Install energy-efficient windows.

 

3. The resale value of your home

The average recovery rate of your basement transformation work will vary depending on the work: another reason to ask yourself the right questions before you start.

 

What are our current needs? What would be most valuable to potential buyers? All these choices should guide your thinking.

 

 As for the basement transformation project itself, there are many options available to you and here are some ideas:

 

A secondary apartment or "bachelor" apartment

 

Do you want to have a separate place to welcome your friends and (especially) your in-laws? Transforming your basement into a second home can increase the market value of your home while providing you with a higher level of privacy. 

A cellar or wine cellar

cellier sous-sol

As Epicure so aptly puts it: "Pleasure is the beginning and end of a happy life."  To please yourself, what could be better than to have a cellar built to store your good bottles of wine. However, be careful to insulate this space in order to respect the ideal temperature for storing the wine (10 to 14 degrees Celsius).

A Gym and/or SPA

Gym sous-sol

Discouraged from having to travel to run on the antique treadmill of your gym?  Maybe it's time to turn your basement into a state-of-the-art training room. Let's look at the big picture: why not have a sauna or hammam built at home? 

A Workspace

Do you often work from home and your home environment is not stimulating enough? Transform your basement into a soundproof home office that perfectly meets your needs for quiet and space.

A Home Theater

sous-sol cinéma maison

If you are not looking to create a quiet space, but rather a place of entertainment, a home theater can also be a very interesting option. With a home theater, enjoy moments of emotion and greater than life action while staying in the comfort of your home!

As Albert Dupontel so aptly put it: "The goal is not to make cinema, but to make your cinema".

 

The possibilities are unlimited! Would you like to transform your basement to create a pleasant, sanitary and multifunctional living space? Entrust your renovations to the professionals at Groupe SP Réno Urbaine and also benefit from valuable advice for your interior design. Contact us today.

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Home renovation tax credits and how to obtain them

Did you know that there are tax credits for your renovations? If you decide to renovate your home, you may be eligible for two types of tax credits. There’s the RÉNOVERT renovation tax credit. You may also qualify for a subsidy program called RÉNOCLIMAT, which is independent of home renovation tax credits.

Renovations might interest you for a number of reasons, including limited living space, a growing family, or even just due to your changing needs. Unfortunately, each renovation comes with its share of challenges, regardless of which room you are planning to do over. This can be enough to discourage most of us from undertaking renovations, yet there is a solution to lessen the financial impact these renovations can have on your budget: home renovation tax credits.

Learn more about everything there is to know about home renovation tax credits and how to get them.

Home renovation tax credits  

Home renovation tax credits are there to improve the energy efficiency of a building and reduce the planet’s energy bill. These renovation tax credits offer numerous advantages. For instance, as a client, you can benefit from:

  • A lower hydro bill
  • Renovations to match your tastes
  • A notable increase in comfort
  • Cumulative tax credits to lower your overall renovation costs

The RÉNOVERT renovation tax credit and RÉNO-CLIMAT subsidy program

RÉNOVERT

RÉNOVERT is a home renovation tax credit available until March 31, 2019. This credit offers 20 % after the first $2,500 up to a total of $10,000. Here is a list of renovation works recognized by the RÉNOVERT credit.

Works affecting a home’s envelope:

  • Insulation using GREENGUARD or ÉcoLogo-certified insulation materials
  • Attic insulation
  • Insulating a flat roof or a cathedral ceiling
  • External wall insulation
  • Insulation of a crawl space
  • Insulation of exposed floors
  • Foundation waterproofing
  • Air sealing (walls, doors, windows and skylights, if applicable)
  • Door and window replacement with ENERGY STAR models
  • Installing a green or white roof

Works affecting a home’s mechanical systems:

  • Replacement of any indoor wood burning appliance or system (old non-compliant fireplaces) with newer appliances that adhere to the standards of the Régie de l’habitation du Québec
  • Replacement of a boiler, heat pump or oil system
  • Installation or replacement of an air conditioning system with an ENERGY STAR-approved one
  • Replacement of a water heater with an ENERGY STAR one
  • Replacement of a ventilation system

Renovation works affecting water, soil, or other renewable energy sources

  • Installation of a rainwater recovery tank
  • Riparian area restoration
  • Construction, renovation, modification or reconstruction of a wastewater disposal, collection or treatment system
  • Remediation of oil-contaminated soil
  • Solar panel installation
  • Installation of a home wind turbine

RÉNO-CLIMAT

RÉNO-CLIMAT is available until March 31, 2021 and offers a maximum refund of 20%, depending on the energy efficiency improvement percentage. Here are the steps to obtain this subsidy program:

  1. Do a pre-renovation evaluation. The cost is approximately $150, and $100 of that will be refunded once the work has been completed on time. The evaluator performs tests and sends a report with pre-reno recommendations and scoring regarding the home’s current energy efficiency.
  2. Eligible works are insulation, doors and windows, and the replacement of any mechanical systems. Here’s an example of a maximum refund:
    Insulation and foundation: a maximum of $1,625
    Rim joist insulation: a maximum of $165
    Sealing: a maximum of $490
    Heat recovery ventilation: a maximum of $490 
    Heat pump: a maximum of $650
  3. Do a post-renovation evaluation. The evaluator must pass by again after the work has been done to retest and produce a different score, depending on the level of energy efficiency improvement. This step also allows you to see where improvements have been made.
  4. Get your reimbursement at tax time, reflective of the improvement percentage between your scores pre and post-renovation. A major advantage for older homes.

In conclusion, any renovation requires a lot of planning. This means time to perform the evaluations and thoroughly prepare your project. To complete renovations by the required deadline (6 months following the contract end date) we recommend that you not put off getting started. This way you can benefit from both the tax credits and the subsidy program and lower the costs of your renovation.

Your needs can change at any moment. Take time to think it over but remember that there are ways to reduce the financial impact of your renovations. To benefit from the home renovation tax credit, any renovations you do must significantly improve your building or home’s energy efficiency.  

Happy renovating!

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The smart home: a mix of function, technology and design

We have been hearing about the smart home for many years now. Technology enthusiasts have long talked about it as something possible in the more or less distant future. Well, it's no longer science fiction!

Today, the smart home is an integral part of the daily lives of many homeowners. Home automation is used for the plethora of features it can offer to a wide variety of customers.

Built-in, remotely controllable sound systems, smart TVs or projectors, adaptive lighting for welcoming guests or according to the time of day, motorized blinds, etc. Home automation systems are numerous and appeal to a growing number of people.

 

The smart home at the service of your imagination

Applications domotiques maison

 

At the beginning of its history, the term "smart home" was used to describe a home that could be controlled remotely and where some systems could be automated (the "automatic home", the "domo-tic" home). However, by the multiplication of applications, an important problem was presented to the consumer: he found himself with an infinite number of gadgets that did not communicate between themselves. The scenario quickly turned into chaos!

Today, with rapid progressing technology, the devices generally communicate with each other, in addition to being able to be controlled from a single interface. Your home becomes, in a way, the extension of your body, which you can manage with voice commands or with the pressure of a finger on your smart device.  

 

The staging of your smart home

Salon blanc éclairage domotique

 

In addition to the control you have on your smart home, home automation can pre-program different scenes and adjustments in advance. 

Do you regularly entertain friends at home with a culinary experience? Choose scene # 3 on your tablet. The room will automatically brighten, background music will start playing and the temperature will be adjusted to a comfortable 21 degrees Celsius. 

You don't like when the sun's rays shine too directly into your home? Program your motorized blinds to fit the time of day and let in only the ideal amount of light. 

In the mood for a little romance? Scene # 4 - candlelight dinner - will ignite your electric fireplace, dim the lights and play Debussy's fluid and controlled fingering from your built-in speakers.

 

The smart house for more aesthetics

Rénovation domotique Montréal

The home automation systems make it possible to remove many unsightly elements from inside your home. Multiple switches, miscellaneous cables for your sound and entertainment systems, and other items not required by your new remote control system are no longer necessary. 

One of the great advantages of home automation systems is that it allows you to perfectly combine function and design. The antagonism between practicality and design simply no longer exists. Your interior designer couldn't be happier!   

 

The smart home is scalable

Commande Vocale Domotique

 

Home automation gives you the ability to control the features associated with your home with a single command and ensures a certain comfort level. Your smart home is transformed first and foremost into a useful home. 

In addition to all the ease that home automation systems can bring you, these can have an impact on your lifestyle. They can help you, for example, both reduce your energy consumption and increase your sense of security. Here are some other examples of home automation applications:

Temperature 

Air conditioning and heating are the elements that weigh the most on energy consumption, and therefore on your electric bill.

The automation of these prevents repeated oversights. It's no longer up to you to adapt to your systems but up to them to adapt to you, taking into consideration your habits, the time of day, the time of year, etc.

Water consumption 

With a smart home, the water output, irrigation systems and your water heater are configured to maximize their efficiency at key moments or reduce their energy impact at other moments.   

Lighting 

Automated base presets, controlled by sensors or changing according to the time of day, your home's lighting can be managed to adapt to each room while decreasing its energy footprint.  

Motorized blinds or shutters 

Adaptive to the time of day or the weather or the season, your blinds and shutters help you keep the freshness or warmth of your home inside. In winter, your window coverings are programmed to let in more light, and as a corollary, more heat. At dusk, they close automatically to keep in the heat. Conversely, your blinds adjust in the summer to reduce solar glare.

A motorized blind system can be connected to the lighting system, so that they work together to provide you with the ideal brightness.

Your appliances 

Appliances are becoming smarter and are designed to integrate with smart homes. Home automation also provides the ability to control appliances or manage their activation and remote wake cycles.

It goes without saying that we are receiving more and more requests to integrate home automation systems in our kitchen renovation projects.

Home automation to watch over you 

Home automation opens the door to two types of security in the smart home: 

  1. Active security: which concerns reaction mechanisms in the face of an intrusion or a potential threat. 
  2. Passive security: which pertains to prevention and deterrence mechanisms  

No matter what kind of security system you want to implement, there are many tools at your disposal: 

  • Surveillance cameras: combined with a home automation system, they allow the homeowner to remotely observe and be alerted as soon as suspicious movements are detected in and around the house. 
  • Access management: it is possible to give different access codes to the people around you: your family members, employees (ex: cleaning lady, plumber), who will only be able to access your home depending on particular circumstances, such as the time of day or the day of the week. 
  • Alarms: whether silent or audible, connected to a smart home, their effectiveness is increased. You can define beforehand a "burglary" setting which will be triggered when an intrusion occurs.  

Voice command 

You can now manage your home with a simple tool - your voice! Whether using Google Home or Amazon's Alexa, it's now possible to skip your usual touch support and interact directly with your smart home vocally. The smart home experience becomes even more simplified and organic.  

When and how to adopt the smart home lifestyle?

Cuisine intelligente

 

You can choose to add home automation systems at any time to your home. The complexity of their integration will vary depending on what you want to implement.

It goes without saying that if you are in the process of renovating your home, it may be a good time to think about it. This not only avoids opening the walls of the house several times, but also makes sure your home automation systems are seamlessly integrated into the design of your spaces. An interior designer can easily evaluate your smart home needs and have a holistic approach to the renovation project. 

In a project as important as transforming your home into a smart home, it is important to work with a competent team that is sensitive to your needs. Home automation should not only be a collection of gadgets but an adapted system designed around the homeowners and their particular lifestyle.

To make the most of your smart home, you have to think about integrating the selected home automation systems into the space. Because it is high tech that can quickly become complex, it is essential to do business with a company that has the necessary knowledge and can provide long-term monitoring.   

Questions ?

Our team of experts is there to help you with any questions related to existing systems to make your home even smarter. Do not hesitate to contact us for a specific project or a complete house renovation!

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5 Reasons to Choose Our Montreal Interior Design Renovation Service

Are you looking for that one-in-a-million in interior design in Montreal? Groupe SP Réno Urbaine offers a turnkey premium interior design service to help you plan and execute your renovation project.

Our privileged support service will be there to guide you through all the steps of your project, from the first meeting until that finishing touch. In choosing Groupe SP Réno Urbaine, you will work together with a designer-contractor.

Wondering what the difference is between an interior designer and a designer-contractor?

A designer-contractor is a designer who is also a member of a team specialized in general contracting. Our designer-contractors are therefore not only qualified in interior design, but they also boast an understanding of the general reality of a renovation job site.

The following 5 reasons underline why you should choose our interior design service in Montreal for your renovation projects.  

  1. Planning Your Interior Design Project in Montreal

With a thorough understanding of all the challenges that could crop up in a renovation project, our designer-contractors are ready to handle most of the problems from the very first design step. The planning process, therefore, never loses sight of the subsequent phases, and the client can rest assured that all measures are taken from the beginning of the project to make sure that his/her requests and needs will be fulfilled.

In this sense, the design is a part of a turnkey service, and not an element that is kept separate from the work of the general contractor, so many problems that can arise during the project are completely avoided.

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  1. Respecting Your Budget

At Groupe SP Réno Urbaine, we make sure to always respect your global budget. Another difference between an interior designer and a designer-contractor is that a designer will tend to overlook the budgetary variations that can occur during the execution of the design by the general contractor. In other words, not necessarily having a comprehensive idea of all the project steps, the designer will always place emphasis on the design aspect, without making sure that his/her ideas are fully in sync with the contractor’s work.

However, since the work of a designer-contractor is part of an integrated approach, we avoid exceeding any costs, and the designer-contractor shoulders the entire project.

  1. Shorter Turnaround Times

When you work with a designer-contractor, you’ll experience shorter delays at every phase of the project. For a standard project, you could be investing a lot of time alongside a designer working on the concept, only to have to then get quotes from numerous contractors. This can compromise planning in terms of timelines.

When you hire a designer-contractor, on the other hand, the planning of the renovation itself is tied into the design process. This way you will have already determined work dates even before anything has begun.

Your designer-contractor makes choices for your interior design project in Montreal without losing sight of deadlines. The designer’s concept will, from the start, be aligned with all project target dates, so Groupe SP Réno Urbaine clients don’t have to endure three or four interviews with different potential designers and contractors; once the designer-contractor has been chosen, the entire project gets underway with a turnkey process.

Our designer-contractors work closely with the project manager, who is responsible for making sure that the project parameters are always being respected, making for greater fluidity between the conceptualization/design phase and the contractor’s actual execution of the project.

In this respect, a designer-contractor does not merely serve as the eye of the client, but also as the project’s caretaker, making him/her the client’s ally who can provide the latter with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that someone is there to protect his/her vision and needs.

 

  1. In Touch with Montreal’s Issues

 

Our interior design-specialized team is well aware of the challenges associated with the city of Montreal and knows how to manage them. For your interior design renovation project in Montreal, you can rest assured that our designer-contractors can spot any difficulties that may arise during the renovation process, such as:

  • Problems with exterior insulation;
  • Hard-to-change slatted floors;
  • Rubble foundation walls;
  • Adding, changing or moving plumbing columns;
  • Multiplying the number of load-bearing walls;

A designer who is not a contractor is not necessarily equipped to face all of these problems, whereby a designer-contractor is very well prepared to manage all these issues. If everything is not seriously thought out from the beginning, you can be almost certain to run into several issues along the way, which can hurt your final budget.

For more information on our interior design service in Montreal, don’t hesitate to contact Groupe SP Réno Urbaine today or inspire yourself by visiting our page showcasing some Montreal renovation achievements.

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Kitchen Appliance Buying Guide

Your kitchen renovation is soon underway and you cannot seem to make a decision regarding your new kitchen appliances? Don't panic ! It is perfectly normal to feel a little overwhelmed with the large variety of options, which can sometimes confuse the most discerning consumer.

Fridge with or without freezer, built-in or not? Gas range or induction cooktop? Standard dishwasher or dishwasher drawers? The choices are numerous.

To help you navigate through this sea of options, Groupe SP Réno Urbaine has created this small guide to buying kitchen appliances.

 Step 1 : Defining your budget

Budget électros cuisine

 

Beyond the practical aspect that kitchen appliances can bring, they are now an integral part of a kitchen design. These are not only useful everyday objects, but can also serve as design attractions, which will not fail to enhance or diminish the aesthetic quality of a kitchen renovation.  

This may explain why a growing number of people now plan their appliance choices ahead of time. By working with a qualified interior designer,  it will ensure that the choice of appliances are a good fit with the size of the room as well as the final concept. This is an advantage as it guarantees a certain consistency throughout the kitchen but also helps you stay on budget.

As you probably know, appliances can have a hefty price tag and are a significant part of a kitchen renovation budget. This amount, however, can vary greatly depending on the model, their brand, the technology available, etc; 

Try to give as much information as you can to your interior designer or kitchen appliance expert so they can guide you through the different options. It will be imperative for you to answer the following questions:

  • What are your cooking habits? 
  • Do you have a preference in terms of brand? 
  • What inspires you in terms of style? 
  • Are you looking for something very apparent? 
  • Or rather something discreet? 
  • What type of surface / space do you want to allocate to each of your appliances? 
  • Do you need a particular technology?

 

Step 2: The choice of kitchen appliances 

Once you have established your budget, comes the real step of selecting your kitchen appliances. This is the stage of scrupulous research!  

The fridge

Réfrigérateur Design Cuisine

The fridge is the central element of the kitchen. It is of course important in terms of food preservation but can also have a large impact on the aesthetic aspect of your kitchen.

A refrigerator is now offered according to 3 large families:

  1. The standard fridge: is visible and uses a significant amount of space in the kitchen. It is however quite simple to move or replace. 
  2. The counter-depth fridge: although it is generally very visible, it is made to be the same depth as the countertop or cabinets (doors excluded). 
  3. The built-in fridge: is, as the name suggests, it is built into the cabinetry and can have a stainless steel door or a custom made cabinet door for a seamless design. 

As the cabinetry and appliances need to be well adapted to each other, other elements may also be considered. In addition to the fridge itself, some people choose to add separate ice makers or additional refrigeration and/or freezer spaces into the cabinetry. A growing trend in the kitchen is to integrate the freezer area into a separate walk-in pantry area in order to free up cabinet space in the kitchen.

The range, oven or cooktop

Four rénovation cuisine

 

Range or cooktop and oven? As with the refrigerator, the range can be purchased in a more standard format, stand-alone or slide-in. You could also choose to buy the oven and cooktop separately in order to better meet your cooking needs.

For the cooktop: at the technical level, you will usually have to choose between a gas, electric or induction operation. Induction is now the most popular system because it is fast, safe and energy efficient.

For the oven: cooking called "natural convection" remains the most popular so far. "Rotating heat", however, is gaining a lot of popularity because it does not require preheating and allows more homogeneous cooking. Otherwise, here are new possibilities, rising stars who are gaining in popularity:

  • Steam oven: allows to quickly cook food using steam. The advantage of this method of cooking is that it maximizes the retention of nutrients until they are consumed.
  • Built-in vacuum cooking system also known as "sous-vide": high-end item that can cook food (vegetables, fruits, meat and fish) in a very precise way. With such a system, cooking is evenly distributed over the entire surface of the food, which makes it retain all its flavour.   

The dishwasher

Design Cuisine Lave-Vaisselle

Beyond the style a dishwasher can bring to a room, look for one that can adapt to your cleaning habits. Take the time to analyze the following:

  • The supply of preprogrammed systems with special cleaning cycles. If you have a set of dishes of a particular type and want to adapt the cleaning, it is possible to choose a mode that suits you.
  • Storage space: think about the arrangement of the different baskets and whether you want to opt for a model with drawers or not.
  • The number of jets present and their positioning.
  • The noise generated by your device. In general, a dishwasher will range between 42dB (not audible) and more than 55dB (considered noisy).
  • Its size: a standard dishwasher will be 24 inches wide. For smaller spaces, compact 18" models are also available on the market.
  • The consumption of water and electricity.   

Small appliances for the kitchen

Petits Électroménagers cellier cuisine

Also take into consideration your compact appliances, which may be less expensive than your big appliances, but which are bought in greater numbers. Mixers, slow cookers, hand mixers, food processors, etc; can also decorate your room by their aesthetics, but can also be bulky and take up alot of storage space.


Another popular trend is for integrated coffee makers or integrated cellars.

Final step: observation and planning

Planification Rénovation Cuisine

Depending on the choice of kitchen appliances you have made, all you will have to do is purchase and ensure the coordination between the appliance installers and the renovators. If you are working with a renovation company, it will not be up to you to worry about this aspect.

You must know that depending on the kitchen appliances you choose, the energy consumption may vary. Although most of them meet a certain standard, some devices consume more electricity than normal. In such a case, it will be necessary to ensure that the electrical capacity of your home is able to receive a higher demand. If this is not the case, it will then be necessary to rework the electrical system with your renovators and avoid any unpleasant surprises when the walls are closed.

Since most houses in Montreal have aging electrical systems, it would be very useful to analyse it before starting the work. You will also reduce the potential risk of fire.

In conclusion

Now all you have to do is enjoy your new kitchen appliances!

Although far from being exhaustive (it would be almost impossible to be), we hope that this little guide helped you work through the infinite possibilities!

In connection with kitchen renovations, do not hesitate to consult our article on standard measurements for kitchen planning.

If you have any additional questions, do not forget to contact the experts of Groupe SP Réno Urbaine, who will be happy to give you more information.
 

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Converting your duplex or triplex to a single-family home

Steps to converting a duplex or triplex into a single-family home

City life has many advantages. However, in order to appreciate city life fully, you must often compromise on the amount of space per dollar invested in your dream home. Looking for a 3 or 4 bedroom home? Not easy to find at an affordable price. A popular option is therefore to acquire a property by buying a duplex or traditional triplex. After a certain amount of time, owners usually get confortable with their payments, are overjoyed to see the value of the property increase and instead of moving, decide to gain more space by tearing down the walls and creating a single family dwelling.

This project can be achieved in several ways where your needs and the cost of the project will be decisive in the scope of renovation work you will undertake.

Below are the five steps to a successful duplex / triplex conversion.

1. Space planning 

Who occupies space? It is a family with young children or pre-retirees? For how long to you plan to live in your current home? Is resale envisionned in the short, medium or long term? Do you have a backyard?

Our designers will be able to help you estimate the number of rooms required, the size of the bathrooms, the redesign of the kitchen, as well as the layout possibilities and the cost of your project.

The exercise will allow us to produce preliminary plans. At this stage, costs are discussed in a preliminary manner to ensure budget monitoring. As a result, the final plans will be completed to obtain the quote from the general contractor and allow the municipality to issue your permit.

2. The structural engineer 

Let us go back to the preliminary plans. At this planning stage, you will have the option of removing walls or revising certain door and window openings.

Kitchen - dining room and open concept living room? A new oversized patio door? It is time to plan with the collaboration of a structural engineer.

He will evaluate the need to replace load-bearing walls with beams, columns and / or footings to compensate for their removal.

This work obviously has an impact on the cost of the project. It is essential to take this into account at the earliest stages of your planning.

The designer will work in collaboration with the structural engineer in the preparation of final plans that will suit your project.

3. The Renovation Permit 

The regulation of each municipality and burough will vary according to different parameters.

It will therefore be necessary to learn and understand the steps and deadlines for issuing the permit, the restrictions applicable to your building and the cost of the permit.

Be aware that the work plans and a quote from a certified contractor, along with your engineer's structural plans will always be required.

4. Stairs and access to your new home 

Converting a duplex / triplex into a single-family home necessarily means the joining of two or more units. In almost all cases, the staircase will need to be revised. Whether it be to create a open-concept space, change its location, or use it as a opportunity to make it the showcase of the project, your designer will have a multitude of options at various prices that will allow you to make the right decision.

Your designer will also be able to ensure that its design represents the new use of the staircase, now that the primary function has been changed.

5. The building's envelope 

Budget allowing, it is also the perfect time to revise the building's envelope and correct any deficiencies.

The work undertaken to convert your duplex / triplex into a single family will give you the opportunity to rebuild the roof, replace the doors and windows or install a French drain.

It should also be noted that our Montreal duplexes and triplexes were generally built before the 1960s and that their exterior walls are not insulated.

To insulate them, you will need to rebuild walls that will provide you with the space required to achieve this improvement.

We hope that this information will help you in the planning of your dream project and we look forward to guiding you through the process, as we have so many times before. 

 

The Group SP Reno Urbaine team

- Serving your Montreal home

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Our recommendations for a well planned basement renovation

Strategies when renovating a basement

Different elements come into play when renovating a basement.

Some aspects of the existing construction must be considered and sometimes prioritized in order to do it right and get a clear understanding of the job at hand.

Our goal is to help you determine the scope of the work needed according to your expectations.

In the best of cases, your basement would be relatively new and almost finished, meaning the concrete slab has been poured, the plumbing rough-ins planned and the electrical fully functional, thus basically only requiring minor division reconfigurations. However, this being rarely the case, here is an overview of certain problems regularly encountered during basement renovations.

Properly evaluating the current state of your basement

Before undergoing any type of renovation in your basement, it is of utmost importance to ensure that your foundation walls are in good condition.

If they are not, its repair and/or modification MUST be prioritized before investing any money in finishes since the soundness of your home depends on it. You must therefore not only make sure there are no holes, cracks or deformations in the concrete, but also make sure the foundation walls are well drained, waterproofed and well ventilated.

It may also be the proper time to consider insulating the foundation walls.

Before doing so, you must confirm which type of foundation you have as well as its construction date in order to choose the proper insulating method, as many different options are available. In any case, an expert should always be called in because the wrong choice could lead to costly foundation damages.

Once the foundation has been fully examined and repaired (as necessary), it will be important to determine if machinery or plumbing needs to be added or relocated.

In the majority of cases, these changes will require recalibration or excavation. For example, homes built before 1955, will probably need to have the main drain replaced as these used to be made of cast iron having a 60 year life expectancy.

Also, it is now highly advised to have a back-water valve installed in order to prevent any sewage water from coming back into the basement. This type of work usually requires some excavation work be done.

Sometimes, even the simplest of jobs can turn out more expensive than expected, like the addition of a basement bedroom.

The building code requires that the bedroom have a window with an opening of at least 15” x 15” to be used as an emergency exit if needed.

If such a window is not already in place, adding one will entail cutting into the foundation wall, adding the proper support and refinishing the exterior wall. It is however possible to work around this rule by instead creating a basement office where a hide-a-bed or murphy bed is installed if the purpose is only to create a guest bedroom.

Problematic situations

If your basement ceiling height is under 6’- 4”:

  1. the area is not considered liveable space unless the floor is dug out or

  2. the ceiling gypsum removed to reveal the floor beam structure above.

The latter being the least expensive solution, keep in mind you must still invest in some rough carpentry work, plumbing and electrical reorganisation, paint and a decent lighting system that will avoid creating shadows from the now apparent floor joists. Also, be aware that by doing so, your sound and thermal insulation will be greatly affected.

The other solution, which consists of digging out the basement floor to achieve a proper ceiling height can be executed in two ways.

  1. The first option consists of excavating and pouring new footings and foundations around the inside perimeter of the existing foundation whereas

  2. the second option requires that the house be supported while new footing and foundations are added beneath the existing foundations.

In any case, all posts, beams and supporting footings will need to be replaced. It goes without saying that a structural engineer will be required to supervise this type of work.

Lastly, any change made to the items found in the mechanical room such as the electrical panel and meter, the hot water tank, and the heating and ventilation systems may require changes be made to the floors above.

Before starting, it is best to consult a specialist since the consequences of these changes can have a major impact on the work to be done and must be planned for as early as possible.

Our team of professionals and designers are trained to guide you through this planning process and help you through the execution of your basement renovation.

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Les 10 conseils ''à faire'' ou ''ne pas faire'' lors de la rénovation de votre salle de bain.

La rénovation de la salle de bain offre un meilleur retour sur investissement, quand on compare tous les types de rénovations résidentielles.

Voici nos 10 conseils afin de vous rapprocher d’une création de valeur qui pourrait même être supérieure à votre investissement:

À faire : Laissez vos sanitaires aux mêmes endroits afin d’éviter les coûteux travaux de déplacement de plomberie.

Ne pas faire : Remplacer un bain par une douche dans la salle de bain principale.  Les acheteurs recherchent un bain dans leur maison.  Vous pourrez vous le permettre si vous avez plusieurs salles de bains.

À faire : Installez une vanité double si l’espace vous le permet.

Ne pas faire : Acheter une vanité sur mesure plutôt que pré-fabriquée. La vanité sur mesure coûtera au minimum 4 fois plus cher, pour la même qualité.

À faire : Si vous avez l’espace, privilégiez une vanité de 36’’ au lieu de 24’’, vous vous assurerez d’avoir plus d’espace de comptoir.

Ne pas faire : Installer un lavabo sur pied.  Les vanités maximisant le rangement bonifieront votre salle de bain.

À faire : Installer une porte escamotable afin de maximiser l’espace.

Ne pas faire : Mettre un plancher de bois franc dans votre salle de bain. L’eau pourrait l’endommager rapidement.

À faire : Investir dans une ventilation performante afin d’éviter des problèmes de moisissure. Ceci prolongera la durée de vie de votre investissement.

Ne pas faire : Investir dans un revêtement de pierre naturelle (marbre, granit, ardoise). Ces surfaces impliqueront des coûts de matériaux et de pose importants. De plus, elles nécessiteront un entretien régulier pour maintenir leur bon état.

Investir dans une salle de bain est une excellente façon d’augmenter la valeur de votre maison.

Qu’il s’agisse d’une salle de bain standard ou haut de gamme, planifiez bien votre projet avant d’entreprendre les travaux, vous éviterez les erreurs coûteuses d’un projet désorganisé.

 

L'Équipe de design du Groupe SP Réno Urbaine

Au service de votre maison montréalaise

 

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Our designers share their secrets for desinging your bathroom

Renovating your bathroom seems like a headache?

This can be one of the most challenging spaces to renovate. The bathroom contains so many elements and you do not know which standards and norms to respect and where to begin? In order to achieve a harmonious and practical space, it is important to respect certain industry standards concerning the dimensions, the clearances and the heights necessary when designing your bathroom. Our design team has prepared the following article that can serve as a standard measurement guide. This guide will help you in the design of your new bathroom. By respecting these standards, you will be sure to have the right proportions and a pleasing and practical space. The respect of these standards guarantees the success of the design and renovation of your new bathroom. So here are below hints and tips from our designers to help you plan and design this important room of your home!

General planning of a bathroom

At the planning phase, it is often easier to create the design by grouping the different components that are water dependant. Thus, in an 8 'x 5' bathroom (the standard size found in most homes in Montreal), we will regularly choose to place on the same wall the bath, toilet and vanity. The tall cabinet for linens as well as the towel bars are usually installed on the opposite wall. Always have a clearance of 30” minimum in front of the elements of the bathroom, to ensure that you can move around easily and without obstruction.

The vanity for the bathroom

Generally, the width of a vanity may vary anywhere between 24 ", 36", 48 " to 60". The depth is usually 21 ", which is the space required to accommodate a standard sink. The height of the vanities should not exceed 34", including the sink. You will need a clearance of 30 " in front of your vanity to avoid any conflict with another element. Thus, the total measurement is 51” when you add the depth of the vanity and the clearance distance. This 51” measurement must be taken into consideration when drawing your bathroom layout.

The pedestal sink in the bathroom

In a very small space, many customers will prefer the pedestal sink because it’s compact size. It rarely exceeds 24 "wide and maximizes the space that should be allocated to traffic. The standard height is 33" and its depth should not exceed 22 ". Generally, pedestal sinks have a depth of 18 ''. Unfortunately, it does not offer much countertop space or storage space - these are the main reasons why people do not choose this option.

The toilet for the bathroom

You must reserve at least a 30 " width space for the toilet, ideally 36" and keep a clearance of at least 30 "in front of the toilet. Keep in mind that it is not always possible to change the location of your toilet during your renovations. Your general contractor will be able to guide you to determine if you will be able to move it. The location of the drain and the direction of the joists in your house are the main constraints. It’s much less expensive to keep the fixtures in their original locations.

The bathtub for the bathroom

There are several sizes of bathtubs available on the market that will be suitable for your bathroom. The smaller sizes are 30 "x 60". This dimension is often the one chosen by our customers. This size is often ideal for our small urban bathrooms. Larger sizes are 42"x 72". There must be at least 30 "clearance in front of the bath to be able to access it when we are outside the bath. If your bath is built-in, the height of the podium should not exceed 22 ".

The shower for the bathroom

In order to have an ideal size, a shower should not be less than 42 "x 30". If your space is limited, opt for the bath-shower combo. There are some nice alternatives with glass panels that will give your new bathroom a modern look while being functional.

The linen cabinet of the bathroom

The tall cabinet where the linen is usually stored, is often 20 to 21 " deep, and varies between 12" and 36 "in width. Most prefab models are installed with the top at 84" height (the heights may differ).

The mirror for the bathroom

We suggest positioning the center of the mirror at 65 "so that it is at the height of your eyes. Generally, it will be positioned at 40 "or 42" from the floor. Always remember to leave enough clearance depending on the height of your faucet. If you’re planning for a mirror with a built-in pharmacy, you must plan its height according to the height of your faucet.

Electrical outlets in a bathroom

In a bathroom, outlets must be grounded (GFI). In addition, these switches and lights must not be accessible from the bath or shower. Hanging that beautiful pendant light above the bath is not an option. Recessed lights however are allowed. The outlet near the sink should be positioned 39 "from the floor.

We shared with you the industry standards and standards that our designers rely on to design your bathrooms. Do not hesitate to contact us for any questions, we will be happy to guide you in the design of your new bathroom. The proper planning of a renovation project guarantees its success!