When it comes to renovating your home, or building an entirely new one, it takes a village. When we say a village, we mean a lot of skilled workers with specialties in their crafts. Below, you'll find a breakdown of what a general contractor can do to make the process smooth and easy to manage.
Project management might be the single biggest differentiator that us general contractors offer. Why? If you're looking to renovate your kitchen, you're going to need someone to put down flooring, do trim work, install tiles/backsplash, build or install cabinetry, set stone, paint, and more! Imagine trying to put this all together yourself! With a general contractor, we take one of two approaches to managing this. For most renovation and building services, we have members of our team that specialize in that area. If we don't, for something less common or more niche (such as setting bricks around a new window), we will subcontract a brick worker to complete the work for you. We handle setting it up and finding someone to do it.
WE KNOW A GUY
We have a network of qualified and trusted partners that we trust to get the job done right if it is something we don't have a team member for. This takes the stress out of comparing and contrasting reviews and trying to find someone yourself. We make it easy by having partners in various trades that specialize in unique skills to do the best job possible.
WE'RE YOUR GO-TO CREW
When it comes to your vision, we want to make sure that we get it right. We'll work with you and plan with you to make those reno dreams come true. Our team can help share ideas, explain how different processes or approaches may look, and will also plan ahead so that each step of the project connects seamlessly. Along the way, our team is equipped to answer questions about next steps, processes, and more. We're able to help select the right materials for the job and ensure that the materials used all work together.
WE'RE A FULL-SERVICE COMPANY
When you renovate or build with a general contractor like J&S Construction, you're getting access to a whole team of professionals. This means that you can count on us for everything from building your fence to demoing walls, from framing your new addition and setting up tiling. This means that you'll have a consistent point of contact for your whole job. We offer a wide range of construction work that we're confident will not only meet your expectations, but exceed them.
Ready to get started? Contact us and we'll be happy to provide a free quote for your next project!
We've all see it at one point or another: a door that sticks when the seasons change, a drafty window or exterior door, and entry areas getting wet from boots and coats! Here are a few quick tips and tricks to help keep your home working as it should and keeping you comfortable all winter long!
TEST THE SEAL: EXTERIOR DOORS
An easy way to see if there's any gap in exterior doors is to use a flashlight. If you go on one side and have a family member on the other, you'll be able to quickly tell where any openings are that can lead to a draft. Point a flashlight at the bottom of all of your exterior doors; wherever light comes through is where there are gaps. Fixing these before it's freezing out not only saves you from chilly fingers, but also makes for easier caulking. These gaps can be caused by: old caulking which can be replaced, poor hinge installation (doors are heavy and hinges that are improperly installed can lead to unwanted gaps and drafts), or old/worn weatherproofing. These are easy fixes! A quick YouTube of any of these and a trip to a hardware store may be all you need. If you're not comfortable trying to fix it yourself or you're not sure which problem you have, call an expert! We're happy to reinstall doors, or install brand new ones. Upgrading your exterior doors can even be a great way to save money on heating and cooling expenses with eco-friendly options that better-retain your indoor temperatures.
KEEP YOUR WINDOWS TIGHT
Just like doors, windows can be pests when it comes to letting out your HVAC's hard work heating and cooling your home. With the right, updated windows, your home can remain draft free. Any window will feel cool to the touch when it's colder outside, but you should never feel a draft or breeze. If you do, check to see:
-If the window is slightly ajar
-If the window is locked
-When locked, does the window create a seal and fully close?
-Is the window stable and secure in its housing/frame?
If any of these seem off, that's when you might need to dig a little deeper and consult a professional. From installations of new windows, demolition of old ones, or adding a new window to an existing wall, our team at J&S can help.
REMEMBER THAT WINTER RENOS CAN SAVE YOU TIME AND MONEY
If you look to the real estate market, you'll see that people often buy and sell their homes more in the spring, summer, and fall than winter. This is for a variety of reasons, such as keeping kids in school or the ease of avoiding ice and snow while moving. People also like to renovate before they move in, or before they get settled, which is important knowledge for you to have. Why?
When you renovate in winter you can save money on materials simply by purchasing out-of-season! There are also often deals on overstock items and even outdoor furniture for those brave enough to buy in the winter.
On top of just material costs, many businesses are less busy in the winter months, which often results in savings. With fewer renovations happening during the winter, you also save time on these materials. Why? Let's use a custom egress window or a glass shower wall. For these items, a glazier needs to have custom glass cut and sized for your project. These orders are placed in a queue-type fashion, and produced in the order that they are received from contractors. If there are fewer custom windows being ordered, you're likely to get that window much faster than if you ordered in during the busy summer months. Think of it like hopping in the shortest line at the grocery store!
The short answer, is a resounding 'yes!'
Here at J&S, we built our name on renovations and new builds. The difference between our business and many other builders that you may come across, is that our custom-built homes are exactly that: custom. We help you design and build your dream home from idea to reality, using our trusted and competent team of industry professionals.
How Does it work?
We'll be honest: building a new home is a lot of work. From deciding what you want, where you want it to what everything should look like, there are a lot of steps. From idea to execution, our team takes every measure to ensure that you're satisfied with the process, as well as the new home construction itself. While there are small, niche steps that may be unique to each build, here's how the process works:
What SHOULD WE CONSIDER?
Every custom-built home is different, and that's the point. Each family has different needs and wants which should be considered when planning both the layout, materials, and style of your home. While the biggest thing to think about is function, here are some of the most interesting considerations that we suggest, which you may not have previously thought of:
We're here to help every step of the way! Check out our work to view our projects from customs to bathrooms, kitchens, renos, and beyond! When you're ready, let's chat about your custom build.
L-SHAPED KITCHENS WITH ISLANDS
That's right, the L-shape. When it comes to kitchens, this is one of our personal favourite layouts. Why? It's spacious, functional, and works with a variety of home types and layouts.
The L-shaped kitchen is typically exactly that, a kitchen with one shorter side (usually where the fridge is located), and a longer side of counters and cabinets running perpendicular to it. This is most often accompanied by a kitchen island to corner everything off. This means lots of cabinet and counter space! No more 'too many cooks in the kitchen' moments for you! The addition of an island also allows for additional storage underneath, more seating area with bartop stools, and a nice divider that doesn't make the room feel smaller.
The L-shape is common for open concept spaces, and works well for entertaining across different areas of the home. No more slaving away in the kitchen without sharing a martini with your guests!
The straight shot
Often called a column kitchen, and sometimes mistakenly called a U-shaped kitchen, a straight kitchen is typically seen in smaller spaces like condos and apartments. If you're in an older space like a heritage home or wartime home, a straight column may open up more counter space without leaving a major footprint. You'll usually fina counters running down each side with appliances on either.
If you're located in Niagara-on-the-Lake or St. Catharines, you very well may have more space. If that's the case, we'd suggest one of the other common kitchen styles, as straight kitchens can become a little crowded with a family.
Incredibly popular in NOTL, the U-shaped kitchen is hard to beat. As the name implies, the shape serves almost like a border to the room. The U is located surrounding an island, which is typically square or rectangular.
U-shaped kitchens aren't just functional, they're also attractive. The symmetry is aesthetically pleasing, and often allows for sliding patio doors that access outdoor space. (Did we mention that we can help you build your dream backyard?) Since this design also often is on the exterior of the home, your options for venting, water routing, and natural light are endless!
Just like the L-shaped kitchen, the U provides a ton of storage space, counter space, and cabinet space. In addition to all of this storage, we find it easy to get around in a spacious U-shaped kitchen, and often complete renovations with bar stools or tabletop chairs surrounding the island for an added eating and entertaining space in the home. If you're renovating your kitchen with storage, family, and parties in mind, the U-shape might just be the answer!
When people bring us into their homes, it's no surprise that they have a fair amount of questions associated with their projects. Here are some of the most commonly-asked questions when it comes to renovations and custom construction projects, big, or small, right here in Niagara.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
The exact amount of your renovation is entirely dependent on a variety of factors. These can include what types of finishing you want, such as tile or countertops, the space you're renovating, what's there now, and what you want to be there when we're finished. To determine a solid approximation of cost for your project, we like to do an onsite visit where we can measure the space, get a detailed idea of what you're looking to accomplish, understand your material preferences, and plan the logistics of your project.
WHAT SHOULD I CONSIDER WHEN REDOING MY BATHROOM?
When we do bathroom renovations, the main question that we're asked is if the bathroom should be renovated at all. If your space isn't serving you at its best, making it into something that will makes perfect sense! With that being said, it's important to consider a few major points that are unique to bathrooms:
DO YOU WORK ALONE?
This answer is different for every contractor. Here at J&S, we have a full service team of employees that are dedicated to your renovation's success. If we require the help of a third party (say, a crane operator, for example), we'll source only the best from our extensive network of trusted subcontractors to ensure that your job is completed above and beyond your standards.
ARE YOU INSURED? HOW CAN WE TRUST A NEW CONTRACTOR?
We sure are! We're insured with TruShield Insurance to ensure that we provide the best and most trusted service available. This means that we're not a liability, just an asset to your renovation's success.
If you're looking to others to help make your decision easier, we share our reviews online, and you can also find the most up-to-date ratings for our business on Google Maps!
CAN YOU SHOW US YOUR WORK?
At J&S, we're proud of our past and present construction projects. Everything from backyard builds, custom additions, and renovations is part of our history. You can find examples of our work, in a wide variety of categories, here. If you require more specific examples, feel free to reach out! We'd be happy to share any updated images that we have!
As soon as the sun starts to show up from behind the March clouds, you'll notice that FOR SALE signs start going up and cities liven up with the potential of a new real estate and renovation season. As you may well know, the warmer months are busy times for contractors and it's no surprise. Can you really call a home your favourite place if you haven't made it your own? Today, we tackle some of the ways that you can extend your dream living space outdoors!
Unique deck building & FENCE CONSTRUCTION
One of the ways that people in Niagara and surrounding areas love to spend their summers is on the back deck. Whether you're kicking your feet up with a beer, playing with the kids, or having a family BBQ, having a great deck to do it on adds to the experience. The J&S team is experienced in deck building, from the initial construction of your dream deck, making sure you get on/off safely with appropriate bracing and support, as well as making it work with your backyard's layout and home's connection.
Often, because people like their backyard havens to look uniform, a new deck means a new fence at the same time. Why? Putting new wood out into the world is a beautiful thing, but, over time, wood changes colour from exposure to the elements. When you're building a deck and want it to match your fence, it makes the most sense to complete these projects at the same time in order to have their wear match. We can help you from A-Z when it comes to fence construction. From using an auger to dig your fence post holes, to getting every last board lined up and spaced properly, the J&S team is equipped.
An incredibly exciting trend we've been seeing in recent years (especially in Niagara-on-the-Lake) is backyard kitchens. Instead of just putting a lone BBQ in the backyard and calling it a day, many residents are building enviable kitchens in their own backyards. What makes a backyard kitchen?
HOT TUBS AND POOLS
Yep, you heard that right! There's no place like home when it comes to kicking back and relaxing, and there's nothing like a pool or hot tub to help you do just that. From building your deck around your hot tub, to creating gazebos and coverings for sun shade and poolside dinners, we love helping our clients dream big outdoors. If you're looking to build your backyard around the water, or have a hot tub/pool installed, our contracting team can help your vision become reality.
Summer is on its way; call the J&S Construction Niagara team today for a free quote. We'd love to learn more about what your dream backyard looks like!
Are you considering a renovation to your kitchen? Being one of the most commonly-used rooms in your home is hard work, and sometimes years of delicious dinners, friends, family, and adventures begin to show through. Here are some key indicators that it's time to upgrade to a new and improved kitchen!
You Just Moved In
One of the most popular times to do a renovation is upon purchasing a new-to-you home. Whether it's because you don't like the cupboards, planned to purchase and renovate, or it turned out differently than you expected, an empty home is ideal for renovating. When the old owners move out and before you move in is a great time for a kitchen renovation for several reasons:
YOUR KITCHEN ISN'T EFFICIENT
Efficiency can come in a few different forms when we're talking about kitchens. If you're using older appliances, upgrading to newer more efficient units can save you money on your electric and water bills. Better yet, you have the option to save space, gain new features, and buy appliances that match your dream kitchen design.
When we talk about efficiency in the kitchen, you can save time chopping vegetables with the right technique and knives (that, we can't help with), or you can save time with an intelligently-designed kitchen. This means a layout that works for how your family uses the kitchen: from cooking to eating, preparation, and dishes. With a renovation, almost anything is possible (hey, after all, big or small, we do it all!) and we have a great deal of experience with custom kitchen islands, counters, layouts, and more.
You're planning to sell
Sometimes, the difference between selling your house at an impressive number and a flop can be a kitchen. Many people look to buy move-in ready homes and will overlook dated kitchen cabinets or older designs. If you're preparing to sell your house (be that this year, or within the next 5 years), consider renovating your kitchen. The expectation of high costs isn't always the case if you're working with the right contractor.
You can renovate and enjoy before selling to make the investment a little more fun, or renovate and list immediately to boast about the recent updates in your MLS listing. The benefit always seems to outweigh the cost!
Sometimes, it's just time to update. It can be as simple as installing new facing on your cabinets to as extensive as removing walls, islands, and creating a new layout entirely. If any part of your kitchen is showing age, discolouration, damage, these are warning signs that it might be time for some new eye candy.
Lastly, if you're just looking for a change or something new, that's okay too! Renovations can be exciting as we get to stretch our imaginations and enhance our space. I
TRIM LINES, or LACK THEREOF
When your contractor cuts your trim or moulding, it's important to know that they're doing the cleanest job possible. When looking at examples of work, look for clean lines, or better yet, look for lack of lines! When trim is finished properly, especially once painted or filled, you shouldn't be able to easily see cut lines on midsections or corners. Ensure that corners like those on window trims fit together without any gaps. Trust us, you'll be happy to see crisp window lines keeping your renovation looking fresh.
CLEAN WORK AREAS
Trust us, we're no strangers to how dusty work areas can get. While no worksite is ever going to look like a finished job or the way they look in a magazine, seeing how your contracting team works will give you a reasonable idea of the quality of work being completed. Do they sweep up after dusty jobs? Do they bring their own brooms, garbage bags, and other cleanup gear to get rid of debris? Is waste compiled in one central area to be transported to the dump at a later date? Keeping the work area isn't only important to avoid accidents and injuries, but also to show pride of workmanship. Make sure that you're working with a team (such as the crew here at J&S!) that will keep your property, new build, or renovation clean as work is completed.
FILLING THE GAPS
That's right. Nothing is worse than finding a hole in almost anything. With nail guns, drills and screws, and all sorts of equipment available to us when renovating homes, we really enjoy putting holes in things! If you've never demolished a wall, it really can be therapeutic!
Despite how fun it is to put things together or put holes in projects, how contractors cover them up is just as important as how they make them. Make sure that your contractor is filling nail holes in wood or trim, keeping drywall holes clean and flat with nice mudding jobs, and sealing all gaps with caulking or another appropriate material. You don't want to go to the bother of having a beautiful kitchen renovation completed, only to find that the corner edge of your sink wasn't sealed! Make sure you're working with professionals that take care of all the small details.
Here at J&S, whether your job is big or small, we do it all! Contact us today and we'd be happy to provide you with a quote to make your renovation or building dreams come true.
CABINETS AND KITCHEN CABINET INSTALLATION
When people consider renovating their kitchen, one of their biggest concerns is cabinetry. Custom cabinets can indeed be expensive, and there are some truly impressive options out there. With that being said, you don't need to spend an arm and a leg to get great-looking cabinets. Here's why:
That's right. Picking out a sink is the fun part, and then installing it is where we come in. From drop-in sinks to high-end cast iron solutions that provide the luxury of not having a lip to deal with, we can install them properly.
It's also important to consider how your chosen sink fits into your existing countertop, or how it will work with a new countertop if you're replacing more than just the sink. It's important to choose the right cut-outs with the help of a knowledgeable contractor, or to have a custom counter solution built out for you!
ISLANDS AND WALLS
Do you have more walls than you need, or too few? Whether you're looking to create a more open concept kitchen or create the edges that will make your kitchen stand apart on its own, we can help!
In addition to the framing, walls, and trim installation that you may need, our team is also experiencing in create custom kitchen islands that are perfectly suited for your style and space.
FULL KITCHEN RENOVATION DREAMS COME TRUE
Whatever your kitchen goals, we can help. Contact our team to arrange a free quote. Even if you're just looking to see if your big ideas can become a reality or if your space suits the equipment you're considering, let our team know. We're always happy to tear down some walls while building new relationships!
Just because it's the winter, it doesn't mean that your home renovation dreams can't come true. When you book a renovation in the winter, despite our crew being extra careful on the slippery driveways of Niagara, there are actually many perks to booking off-season!
We Work Faster
That's right. Summer can slow everyone down. While we always aim to be as efficient as possible, summer does mean that we require a little extra hydration and tire more quickly. We're human! For projects that involve a lot of heavy lifting, that elbow grease is best-used when it's a little colder, or when we've recently bought a new pack of water bottles.
In addition to the physical impacts of heat, there are also seasons to contracting and construction services. Many people prefer to buy/sell homes in the spring and summer, from April through to September before the kids go back to school. As you'd expect, these purchases often come with renovation dreams and changes to be made before move-in day. The summer is the busiest season, which means that booking in the winter naturally has a quicker turnaround time for your project. When you book in the winter, you'll more-than-likely have your project start sooner.
The hardest part about building or renovating in the winter is the ground. The ground can freeze and become increasingly hard to dig. Manual digging, such as that required for egress windows can be almost impossible. Foundation or open-space digging away from your home with machinery is easier, and still possible during most of the winter!
We usually see deck projects come through in the summer when people are starting to get back outdoors. While we have built decks and outdoor structures during the winter, we'd recommend doing it in the summer. This is because the wood will settle best in the temperatures that are more common in the summer, and we avoid digging into the ground when the temperatures fall.
The one thing that is best (and only possible) in the winter: snow removal. This is a service that is new to J&S this year, as we've added a plow to our toolkit! Contact us to book snow removal for 2019!
There isn't an indoor project that we can think of that we haven't worked on in the winter! The cooler season doesn't prohibit much when it comes to indoor renovations like bathroom and kitchen renovations, cabinets, wall demolitions, floor installations and almost anything else, the sky is the limit! Whether we're working on a new build or an existing home renovation, having the structure around us makes working in even the coldest climates, like here in Niagara, a breeze.
Here are some examples of interior projects:
If you're ready to get started on your renovation project this winter season, reach out! We're always happy to provide a free quote and stop by to see what you're working with!