When it comes to taking care of your home, it often can be the little things that make the largest difference. From maintaining stain or paint on the deck to controlling airflow for an allergy-free sleep, we're here to help with simple updates that will make you feel both productive and handy, without breaking the bank (or a leg)!
REPLACE YOUR FURNACE FILTERS
This is one of those things that people don't realize may be impacting the health of their family. We've encountered the filters installed backwards, people who have never changed them, or people who thought they were changing them regularly once a year. Most experts suggest changing the filters anywhere from every 60-90 days, or at a minimum, seasonally. You can find packs of 6 filters online, often for the cost of a few at most big box stores. There are also versions with enhanced filtering capabilities for individuals with allergies!
Swapping your furnace filter is easy: slide out the existing one, and replace with a fresh one. We like to write the date on the filter when we replace ours, and set a reminder for 60 days ahead in our calendars to ensure that we know we're staying on-schedule.
RE-STAIN OR PAINT YOUR DECK
No deck? We can help with that! Building decks and fences are some of our team's favourite springtime projects. Why? Nothing beats the smell of fresh lumber combined with the warm spring sun - before the heavy heat of Ontario summers!
If you already have a deck but it is showing the sun's impact from years passed, there's no better time to make it look fresh again! If you're on lockdown, places like Canadian Tire and Home Depot are doing curbside pickup for orders, so there's no excuse for not having paint or stain!
CLEAN THAT GARAGE
That's right, we said it. Cleaning your garage can look different for everyone. For some, the garage might be a home gym. For others, you might park your vehicles in there (yes, people still do that!), and to others, it might be storage or a unique combination of purposes. Whatever your garage is used for, we rarely encounter one that isn't in need of some type of tidying! You can add hand-made storage racks out of construction-grade lumber, buy plastic ones, or even hang bikes and equipment from the walls and roof to make more floor space!
WASH YOUR WINDOWS
Nobody wants to wash their windows in our tough Canadian winters. With the lake effect, Niagara can get pretty windy. It's not always safe and it's definitely not always fun. Once spring hits and the worst of the pollen debris is over; it's time for window washing! It can be like getting glasses when you didn't know that you needed them!
We suggest washing the inside of your windows first, followed by the outside. There are a variety of commercial and homemade cleaning product options - we'll leave the selection up to your preferences! Once you do the inside, hit the outside. That way, you'll be able to find any missed spots easier and address them.
When you're finished: nothing beats opening all the windows to let the fresh air recharge your home!
FIX WALL DINGS
That's right, it's easy but yet oh-so-hard! Grabbing the paint for that one little spot can be annoying, we get it. Take the time to fix any dings or scuffs that your walls may have received over the years. For tiny spots, a Q-Tip can be a great way to blend paint with that around it when a roller would be excessive. Outside of that, nothing can beat a roller for its ability to blend layers of paint together without making it look like a chop job!
Whatever your project, we'd love to hear about it! If some of your project ideas are out-of-this world, we can help make them a reality. Contact us for a free quote on any of your construction, renovation, or home maintenance projects!
Cabin fever, anyone? While we're all about improving the homes of our customers. Right now, construction on certain projects is on hold because of the current world health status. Whether that means that your home "edits" are on pause or you're just stuck at home because of work, we have some simple, beginner-friendly ideas that can help you bring some springtime brightness to your home.
NEW LIGHTSWITCH COVERS
This is one the the easiest and cheapest ways (aside from a fresh coat of paint!) to make your home feel like a fresh new reno. Whether yours are old and yellowed, cracked, or simply dated in colour, a set of new lightswitch covers throughout your home is a breath of fresh air. Most covers only require 1-4 simple screws to replace and can be found on Amazon so that you can keep your distance from hardware store patrons. Newer options can even integrate your Alexa or snap onto the wall instead of screw in.
Yes, a new coat of paint is an incredible way to completely change a room. Fresh paint is simple, obvious, and a way to add (or remove) personality from a home. With that being said, we know how much of a pain taping and painting can be, as well as how easy it is to run out of brushes and need to rush out. If you want to take the even easier route, our secret contractor tip is touch-ups! If you have small dots and nooks, the tip of a clean Q-Tip or cotton swab is a way to update that spot without making it look obvious! The texture of Q-Tips is so similar to a paint roller that the spot quickly vanishes without lines like you'd get using a brush!
PAINT YOUR TRIM
This one isn't for the faint of heart, but is one that non-professionals can certainly tackle! With a little patience, a little trim, and a bucket of paint, you can make your whole home look like it's from a different decade. White trim is still very current in modern design, and taking honey oak or brown trim and painting it white can entirely change the look of a home. We'd suggest asking a pro or looking up some tutorials online, as some folks like to paint the trim while it is on the wall and others remove it prior to painting. Be sure you're ready and remember which pieces go where by marking them on the backside and get cracking!
STOP THE SQUEAK
Check your home for squeaks and oil them up! This small annoyance being solved can be such an incredible relief. Think door hinges, fridge, dishwashers, door jambs and floorboards. Stair steps can be a next-level culprit, but if you're able, fixing this is a great way to avoid being blamed for the chocolate chip cookies being eaten as a midnight snack!
THAT NAGGING PROJECT
You know, that one? The one that you see almost daily but keep neglecting? The broken door on the garbage bin, the door that squeaks, or that piece of trim that needs a new nail in it? That project! Not the ambitious build-a-deck project (though, there's no time like the present!), but the simple projects that take 20 minutes to fix but you keep pushing off? Address them! Most of the population is now spending more time at home, and while we're not saying it has to be all productivity and no chicken wings, we think a mix of both would be great!
We're all in this together. When we come out on the other side and you need a contractor for the heavier work, we can help!
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.