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JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

INSULATION UPDATES RENOVATION TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2018 THE LATEST IN LUMBER

Columns Inside What’s Trending On The Jobsite Product Platform Tech Talk

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HOMES AND BUILDINGS STAND OUT AND INCREASE THEIR VALUE WITH THE ECONOMICALLY PRICED JUNIOR H-F STEEL ROOFING PANEL

A steel roofing panel from the same family as our prestigious Heritage Series

Hidden fastener steel roofing panel without the need for clips or seamer to install

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Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. is a Canadian member-owned, Lumber, Building Materials and Hardware buying group representing over 300 member locations across Canada.

Contractor Advantage Magazine is the exclusive publication of Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. featuring quality Castle vendor brands available at Castle Building Centres locations. Visit castle.ca to find a Castle location in your area.

Editorial Director Castle Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. Jennifer Mercieca Publisher - JAD Media Group Inc. Dan Alexander Managing Editor Teresa Christine Art Director Daniel Polsinelli Contributors Teresa Christine Lawrence Cummer Melissa Campeau

Advertising Inquiries Jennifer Mercieca Director of Communications Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. 905-564-3307 jmercieca@castle.ca

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 Volume 23 Issue 1

Material Contact Maryam Bashir Marketing Coordinator Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. 905-564-3307 mbashir@castle.ca Published and designed exclusively for Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. by JAD Media Group Inc.

About Contractor Advantage

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Contributors

Lawrence Cummer

Melissa Campeau

Lawrence (“Law”) Cummer has more than 20 years of experience writing for trade periodicals, businesses and communications agencies. He writes on topics ranging from contracting and construction, to general business, to information technology, personal finance and occupational safety, and has been a frequent contributor to Contractor Advantage since 2009.

Melissa Campeau is a Toronto-based journalist who regularly contributes to such publications as Yardstick, the OUR HOMES series of magazines, Mortgage Journal, Financial Post and National Post. She lives in Toronto with her husband, seven-year-old son and two-year-old puppy.

Jan Makela Jan Makela is an executive coach, highly-sought after speaker, and best-selling author of Cracking the Code to Success and Be the Manager People Won’t Leave. Jan has a long and successful history of working with companies to ensure quality hiring and training practices.

His specialty revolves around strength-based leadership development, with a particular focus on working with senior and mid-level executives, business owners, and professionals. For more information on Jan Makela, please visit www.StrengthBasedLeadership.net.

Elena Langdon Elena Langdon is a certified Portuguese-to-English translator and interpreter and an active member of the American Translators Association. The American Translators Association represents over 10,000 translators and interpreters across 91 countries. Along with advancing

the translation and interpreting professions, ATA promotes the education and development of language services providers and consumers alike. For more information on ATA or translation and interpreting professionals, please visit www.atanet.org.

Amber MacArthur Amber MacArthur started her career in San Francisco and Boston during the dot-com boom in the late 1990s. As a strategist for Razorfish agency and Director of Marketing for an e-procurement software company, she spent four years in the technology start-up trenches. MacArthur left the start-up world to join Microsoft to

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build one of the first female-focused lifestyle portals. In 2006, with her brother, she started her own agency called Konnekt. While building her own business brand as President of Konnekt, she has amassed more than 100,000 followers on Twitter, 450,000 fans on Facebook, 1.6M friends on Google+, and 10,000 followers on Instagram.

Contributors


What’s Inside?

7 News & Notes New Year, New Management

11 What's Trending Is Government Sucking the Life Out of Small Business?

15 On The Jobsite

Vancouver Convention Centre “LEEDS” the way

18

Insulation Updates

36

The Latest in Lumber

More than simply keeping a house warm: These days insulation helps move the needle toward Net Zero homes, dampen sound & keep moisture at bay.

29 Building Better Business When It Comes to Communication, More Is More

35 Supplier Spotlight

AFA Forest Products Inc.

41 Product Platform

Premium products from Castle Vendor Partners

Forest fires, skyrocketing plywood prices, the rise of OSB & impending tariffs; The lumber industry’s rollercoaster ride isn’t over, just yet.

45 Tech Talk

Top 3 Tech Trends to Grow Your Business in 2018

48

Renovation Trends to Watch in 2018 Everything but the kitchen & bath sink; no matter which renovation trends come & go, homeowners still consider these rooms vital on their remodeling lists.

On the Cover Photo courtesy of Roxul Inc.

Contents

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

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News & Notes

New Year, New Management Written by Jan Makela

Today, many employers say they’re having trouble retaining their younger employees—specifically Millennials. At 82 million strong, Millennials are the workforce of the future. Studies have shown they want to work where they can make a difference and contribute to something bigger than themselves.

News & Notes

It’s imperative to realize that the people in your organization —especially young people—are the fuel to your long-term success, and the one person who affects that outcome more than any other is the frontline manager. Fortunately, there are five defined pillars of success that managers can rely on to help them succeed in their aim to boost employee retention.

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Engage employees with a compelling vision of what is expected, & provide the mission to achieve that vision. Why? What’s in it for the employee to want to achieve for you? People respond when they are doing or contributing to something bigger than themselves. When national crises such as earthquakes or hurricanes occur, people are driven to volunteer not because they have to, but because they want to. Your vision and the culture you create are the reasons you exist. Tell your people that without them doing what they do you wouldn’t achieve the results that you desire. The way employees view a job and its role in their life is evolving. Employees don’t just come to work for a paycheck. They seek a purpose, the opportunity to do what they do best every day, and to lead a life they desire for their families and themselves.

Make decisions based on productivity. By keeping your eye on the goal and having your people similarly focused, everyone will understand why certain decisions are made and can buy in. If disagreements occur in discussions they are welcomed because they are focused on achieving a better outcome toward the end objective. When disagreements occur, be sure to ask what the ultimate goal is.

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Motivate every team member to take action. People are more likely to take action if they know what is expected of them. When expectations are clearly defined, employees are less likely to disappoint their manager or their peers. Employees will work together without your direction or approval when they all know what is expected and have bought into achieving the desired results. Most people are going to live up or down to their perception of the expectations of them. If your people don’t know what is expected, don’t be surprised by what you get.

Have the assertiveness to drive outcomes. Are you more concerned with the process or the outcome? Managers are in place to strive for positive outcomes. Employees may find ways to produce an outcome that the manager never thought of. Provide employees the freedom to experiment and try new ways of doing things. Keep progress results in front of the employees. If they do not see the progress they are making as a team, they will lose interest over time and productivity will wain. When your staff see that their work is making a difference they will continue to contribute. If you avoid providing appropriate feedback on your employees’ progress, you’ll

News & Notes


immediate notice a decline in the contributions of team members. Remember, feedback is the breakfast of champions —be generous with your thoughts and expectations.

Create a culture that you want. Culture impacts every aspect of how you get things done, from hiring and developing the talents of the employees to customer service. Define your desired culture and then take it from words to actions. If you don’t like the culture you currently have or the results that you are currently obtaining, you are the only person who can change it. Your actions have to mirror what you desire. Do you allow the negative behavior to go unchallenged? Realize negative behavior brings down all your good employees. Your employees are watching and if they see you doing nothing, your lack of action has sent a powerful message. You don’t care!

News & Notes

Employees are not going to care if the manager doesn’t care. When employees know that the manager truly cares about them as a people, they will walk through fire for the manager. When people believe the manager doesn’t care the employees will let the manager walk off a cliff. This caring gets to the heart of employee engagement. By creating a workplace where people want to come to work instead because they have to come to work managers will see positive changes. Most people don’t wake up in the morning and say, “I think I will do a bad job today.” Help them achieve the results necessary for the organization, but in a way that each and every employee’s contribution is recognized and appreciated.

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

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What's Trending Photo courtesy of Spectrum Brands

Is Government Sucking the Life Out of Small Business? Written by Ken Jenkins Castle President

In July, Finance Minister Bill Morneau introduced a draft legislation proposing to overhaul taxation for private companies, ostensibly to eliminate “unfair tax advantages” that Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPC) are perceived to have. The supposed goal may be tax fairness, but the proposed changes couldn’t be less so. Instead they unfairly target a group of the population taking all the risks, and claw back incentives that exist to incentify small business (and, in turn, jobs), that help owners succeed in the face of economic uncertainty.

Proposed Changes: Are they Counterproductive? 1. One change promises to crack down on “income sprinkling,” the shifting of a portion of income to family members through salary or dividends. Let’s set this straight: during economic

What's Trending

downturns, entire families bear the brunt of entrepreneurship, not just the entrepreneur. Why shouldn’t they also be part of the business’s success? As one small business owner recently told CBC News, “If, God forbid, I divorce my wife of 33 years tomorrow, the government would say that half this business belongs to her. She stayed home and raised our three children, she’s participated in the risk, the whole family did. So why shouldn’t she be paid?” 1 2. Another proposal takes aim at “passive investment” in the corporation. Money left in the business is taxed at a lower small business rate. This is not an unfair practice, rather it provides a much-needed safeguard to shield both the small business owner and employees during tough economic times. It ensures small business owners have a shelter in which to weather economic storms.

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3. A third reform would limit the ability to convert a corporation’s regular income into lower-taxed capital gains. While there may be instances in which this benefit is used beyond its original intent, lumping it into the so-called Fair Tax Plan does not address that, nor the need to maintain fair and even footing for entrepreneurs.

As well, passive investments and capital gains allowances are an integral part of many small business owners’ retirement strategies. It would be punitive to take that away mid-stream in their career, and foolish to take it away and de-incentivize entrepreneurs when starting their own business.

“The measures in the Fair Tax Plan do not just impact the 1%. In fact, the Fair Tax Plan undermines all Canadian small business owners, which, according to the Federal Government’s own statistics, comprised over 97% of Canadian businesses in 2015 and include restaurant owners, franchisees, real estate agents, plumbing contractors and a broad range of other small businesses” states a review prepared by Michael Goldberg of Minden Gross LLP.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of Canada. Nearly half of everyone working in the private sector is employed by a small business, and they contribute nearly one-third (30%) of the country’s GDP. In fact, 1.14 of the 1.17 million employer businesses in Canada are SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). Our political leaders need to identify the massive need for small – medium sized business in our country. It’s our entrepreneurs that drive the economy. We can’t afford to see that change. The Fair Tax Plan was initiated by bureaucrats who, more than likely, have never invested their own money or sweat equity into a small business. They have no idea what it’s like to get the next sale to pay rent, or employees, and to bear the significant risk associated with being an small business owner/operator. For what may be considered a rounding error in government revenue, an entire segment of the population has been unfairly characterized. And, if the proposals in the Fair Tax

What’s Wrong with this Thinking? These tax incentives are critical in supporting small business owners and entrepreneurs to build lives, invest in their families, in their communities, and in their retirement planning, while contributing to the economic fabric of the country. Small business owners don’t have guaranteed pension plans like many government employees. More often, an entrepreneur’s retirement fund is directly linked to the success (or failure) of their business.

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Here’s my Point…

What's Trending


Plan go through, many small businesses across the country will be forced to close shop, ultimately eating into any tax gains with increased unemployment. One thing is for certain, it doesn’t take into account the risks and realities faced by small business owners and can’t help but stifle entrepreneurship—an area in which Canada has excelled. Ironically, throughout the public consultation process that has just concluded relative to the proposed tax changes, we have not heard any commitment to rationalize the size of government. Are you angry yet? You should be! Ask yourself: would you rather see small business grow and prosper, or more

big government consuming more of your tax dollar? Had enough? Call or write your MP and share your anger. Tell them: instead of imposing increasingly difficult conditions on entrepreneurs and small business, maybe it’s time for government to truly understand what it takes to run a business. I know hundreds of independent entrepreneurs ready to teach the class!

References http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/tax-angry-business-loopholesmorneau-tax-consultations-income-sprinkling-passive-investmentincome-1.4242280

“INSIGHTS” Blog with Castle President Ken Jenkins Castle President Ken Jenkins has over twenty years in the Lumber, Building Materials and Hardware industry. His tenure has given him a unique perspective and he believes North American contractors, suppliers and independent dealers are the best in the industry. His goal is to use his passion for the industry to share his insights with budding entrepreneurs in trade and manufacturing to become more entrepreneurial in spirit, more independent and more successful. Insights will help to attract bright new minds to this industry and guest writers will occasionally contribute to this blog, bringing their own unique perspective. You don’t want to miss an issue of Insights! Subscribe to Insights online http://insights.castle.ca

What's Trending

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

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Colour

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Castlegard products can be found exclusively at your local Castle Building Centres location. For Castle locations go to castle.ca

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On The Jobsite Photo courtesy of Canada Green Building Council

Vancouver Convention Centre “LEEDS” the way Courtesy of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) www.cagbc.org

The Canada Green Building Council® (CaGBC) announced that the Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC) earned LEED® v4 Existing Building Platinum, becoming the first double LEED Platinum convention centre in the world, and the first v4 Platinum Existing Building project to certify in Canada.

On The Jobsite

Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of CaGBC commended the team at the Vancouver Convention Centre for once again proving their leadership in sustainability by earning Canada’s first LEED v4 Platinum Existing Building certification. “Through the LEED v4 Platinum certification, the VCC team is

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ensuring that this world-class venue continues to be operated and maintained at the highest level delivering environmental and health benefits for years to come. At the same time the VCC is setting an example for convention facilities around the world while showcasing Vancouver’s commitment to environmental excellence.” Mueller said. Consisting of two uniquely designed buildings totaling 466,500 sq. ft., the VCC is British Columbia’s flagship convention centre, hosting more than 500 events and welcoming hundreds of thousands of attendees each year, while generating significant economic activity for the province. Following its initial LEED for New Construction Platinum certification in 2010, the VCC sustainability team has been dedicated to continuing to improve operations. To meet the certification requirements for the rigorous LEED v4, the VCC team introduced new sustainability initiatives & enhanced existing programs including:

• Increasing the capacity of the blackwater treatment plant by 30 per cent which, when combined with water efficient fixtures, has reduced potable water use by 38 per cent annually

– the equivalent to approximately three quarters of an Olympic-size swimming pool or 1,815,962 liters. • Aiming to continually maintain and improve energy performance through an ongoing program of building system and energy use analysis, and implementation of upgrades. Recent upgrades include switching to more efficient LED lighting in the facility to improve overall efficiency. • Enhancing the organization-wide recycling program to increase the waste diversion rate from 50 to 75 per cent. • Developing a Post-Event Sustainability Report for interested clients, which carefully monitors and measures several sustainability-related indicators. The final Report higlights areas of achievement and opportunities for future growth. • Creating a Reclaim Room at the Convention Centre where material and goods left behind from events are housed until the Sustainability Coordinator sources local charity or community group where the items could be donated or meaningfully re-purposed.

Photos courtesy of Canada Green Building Council

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On The Jobsite


sico.ca

Wall to Wall Confidence is a trademark of PPG Group of Companies. Sico is a registered trademark of the PPG Group of Companies. Manor Hall and Sun Proof are registered trademarks of PPG Architectural Finishes, PPG Paints is a trademark of PPG Industries Ohio, CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 17 Inc. © 2016 PPG Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


INSULATION UPDATES

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Feature Story: Insulation Updates


More than simply keeping a house warm: These days insulation helps move the needle toward Net Zero homes, dampen sound & keep moisture at bay. Written by Melissa Campeau

Photo courtesy of Roxul Inc.

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If a home is meant to protect its occupants, then insulation is the armour to help make that happen. With new technologies, increasing code requirements and changing homeowner demands, that protection is evolving over time. Contractor Advantage talked to industry experts to uncover some of the biggest changes in the past few years.

homes as of 2030, builders are beginning to chart a path to that goal, right now. “This means that homes will use zero energy and in some instances will be giving back to the grid,” says Sampson. “So codes across the country have been adjusting to meet this target, requiring more and more energy efficiency.”

Energy Efficiency is Top Priority

To achieve better efficiency, builders are being asked to evolve how they insulate. “We’re seeing the advent of a lot of requirements for exterior sheathing and exterior insulation across Canada,” says Marlon Thompson, Marketing Product Manager, CertainTeed. Wood and steel studs conduct heat and cold and aren’t typically covered by insulation with internal insulating methods. Wherever there’s a break in insulation, these thermal bridges mean hot air

“Energy efficiency continues to be at the forefront of changes in the industry,” says David Kelly, National Accounts Manager with Dow. “More and more, builders are constructing highly energy efficient homes to provide additional comfort and energy savings to potential homebuyers,” says Christine Sampson, Marketing Leader with Owens Corning. She points out with Canada’s commitment to Net Zero

Exterior & Continuous Insulation

escapes in winter and cool air escapes in summer. Using insulation without a break—continuous insulation—helps negate that thermal bridge and increase a building’s efficiency. “Some codes promote the use of exterior continuous insulation on the wall,” says Tom Lee, National Sales Manager with Roxul. “So what you’re now seeing in residential applications is more insulation going to the outside of the wall than on the inside of the wall.” As codes increase over time, there’s a limit to how much insulation you can put on the inside of a building. “From a building science point of view, the logical thing is to put insulation on the outside of a building,” says Lee. Lee adds, “In our case, we have a product called ComfortBoard 80 which has an R-value of R4 per inch so when you add that to the outside of the wall on

Photos courtesy of Roxul Inc.

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Feature Story: Insulation Updates


The world is changing. And so are we.

Hello CURIOSITY

Hello ROCKWOOL You’ve always known us as ROXUL, the company behind high-quality stone wool insulation. But in a time when the potential energy savings of buildings has yet to be reached, how can we simply sit back? We can’t.

United under one global name, we can innovate, explore and develop new ways to do more for our customers and our planet. We are the leader in stone wool insulation. We are ROCKWOOL.

For more about what this change means for you, visit rockwool.com/hello

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Fiberglass Insulation Castlegard速 products meet the highest safety, performance and quality standards. Castlegard速 Insulation is Formaldehyde-free, offering a healthier and safer indoor air quality. Castlegard速 insulation is a cost effective home insulation solution for your home with proven safety and performance ratings. The EcoLogoTM ensures that your Castle insulation product is the environmentally friendly choice. Castlegard速 products can be found exclusively at your local Castle Building Centres location across Canada.

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Photos courtesy of Dow

the exterior of the structural sheeting, you’re improving the overall performance of the wall.” Rigid insulation (formed or extruded sheets of varying sizes, made from polystyrene or polyurethane) fits this type of job well. “Rigid insulation sales are strong with enhanced building codes now asking for continuous insulation,” agrees Kelly. It’s a trend he sees only growing. “I believe there will be a better acceptance of continuous insulation with rigid insulations in the residential market.”

Systems for Achieving Efficiency Provincial and regional requirments for builders are becoming more sophisticated in how they measure energy

Feature Story: Insulation Updates

efficiency. “Building codes are requiring effective R-values as opposed to nominal R-values, so there’s a growing recognition of the wall as a system rather than a prescriptive formula of measuring of what you need to put in a wall,” says Lee. Professionals are taking into account the combined effectiveness of many components of the wall including sheeting and membranes, and factoring in such things as thermal bridging. Insulation companies are responding to this changing need. “You’ll be seeing more and more ‘system sales’ where companies like Dow will sell not only the rigid insulation but the accessory products like tapes, flashings and air

sealing foams to make an air barrier system,” says Kelly. Making life easier for builders and going the extra mile to anticipate their needs is becoming everyday business for many manufacturers. “For example, in the future you can expect to see products that do more than one thing,” says Kelly, pointing to collaboration between Dow and BPCO to create a continuous insulation that also adds structural integrity to the wall. “This is the BPCO R-5 XP, a composite panel made from Dow Styrofoam brand extruded polystyrene, laminated on a wood fibre panel, and coated with asphalt for greater weather resistance,” says Kelly.

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Moisture Management Along with energy efficiency, there’s an increasing priority on using insulation to prevent moisture and mold. “That’s becoming a bigger trend, and it’s not just mold prevention driving it, but also energy efficiency,” says Thompson. “If you have a tighter house, you have an opportunity to have more air tightness and a reduced possibility of moisture which leads to mold.” Companies are responding with products to meet this need. Owens Corning, for example, recently introduced a complete building enclose system (called ComfortSHIELD) that provides moisture management, as well as heat and air management, for high-performance building envelopes.

CertainTeed has a product called Membrain—a continuous air barrier and vapour retarder. “It stays tight in the winter when the humidity is low to prevent moisture from entering, and then in the summer it expands and increases it’s permeability to let moisture escape, keeping the wall dry,” says Thompson. “That way you never have a build up of moisture so there’s no potential for mold there.”

Soundproofing Another trend in the past several years is a focus on soundproofing. “With people setting up home offices and creating media rooms, there’s a lot more interest in soundproofing,” says

Gino Allegro, Canadian Sales Manager with Johns Manville . “Acoustics are playing a more important role, and a lot of that is achieved with wall assembly, but insulation is certainly a big part.” Buyers paying top dollar for condominiums, too, mean they have higher expectations about soundproofing between floors. “We have a 2-lb polyurethane spray foam that’s used for rim joists and any areas that are tougher to insulate,” says Allegro. He adds, “It’s not just the walls where you have the SDC values, but also between the floors. Now you can have hardwood floors and you don’t have to hear someone walking in high heels if you’re on the floor below them.”

Photo courtesy of Owens Corning Photo courtesy of CertainTeed

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Feature Story: Insulation Updates


Recommended by Jim Caruk, Master Contractor, HGTV Host and Editor-in-Chief of Renovation Contractor Magazine

DO-IT-YOURSELF AND SAVE UP TO 20% ON HEATING & COOLING COSTS* The Owens Corning™ AttiCat® Expanding Blown-In Insulation System is a quick, easy, safe and reliable system to help you take control of your home’s comfort and energy usage. Quick & Easy: Complete in as little as 2 hours† Virtually No Settling: Keeps its energy saving R-value over time Virtually No Mess: Releases and expands inside machine for low dust

THE PINK PANTHER™ & © 1964-2017 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved. The colour PINK is a registered trademark of Owens Corning. © 2017 Owens Corning. All Rights Reserved. *Up to 20% heating and cooling savings based on Hot 2000, Version 8.7 run for a 2 storey 1972 type base house with 1149 sf per floor for an increase from R-8 to R-40 in the attic in Canadian climates. Savings vary depending on original amount of insulation in your home, climate, house size, air leaks, and personal energy use and living habits. †Blowing time, based on attic size 100m2/1000 ft2 at RSI 8.8/R-50.

1-800-GET-PINK® or visit owenscorning.ca CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

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Photos courtesy of CertainTeed

Rethinking Attics for Energy Efficiency Insulation designed to protect hard-toget-at spaces might help meet a growing need in the marketplace and with consumers, too. “There are more than 7 million under-insulated attics in Canada,” says Sampson. “With codes changing upward, this number continues to grow, so it’s a great business opportunity and it also helps make a difference for future generations.” Many companies have products ideally designed to serve this market. “We have a product called Spider which is blown into the cavity and fills every nook and cranny,” says Allegro. “The beauty of that product is that once you’ve sprayed into the cavity you use scrubbers just to even out the insulation and it makes a really flat finish.” Looking ahead, energy efficiency— in attics, and throughout the entirety of homes and offices—is likely to stay a top priority for builders and homeowners in the coming years. Helping them reach those goals, with insulation products and technologies evolving to enhance comfort and efficiency, is a move that’s not only good for the earth, it’s good for business, too.

Photos courtesy of Johns Manville

Feature Story: Insulation Updates

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

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DID YOU HEAR THAT?, NO? GOOD!

THE INTELLIGENT EVOLUTION OF THE SOUNDPROOFING PANEL.

I N N O VAT I V E & S U P E R I O R A C O U S T I C A L P R O P E R T I E S SUPERIOR ACOUSTICAL PERFORMANCE, UP TO STC 71, DEPENDING ON ASSEMBLY. CERTIFIED UL AND TESTED BY NRC. CCMC 14065-R. NATURAL LIGHTWEIGHT WOOD FIBRE PANEL, EASY TO CUT AND INSTALL. • SOUNDSMART DELIVERS MAXIMUM SOUND DEADENING THROUGH ITS SUPERIOR SOUND ABSORPTION QUALITIES. • SOUNDSMART IS STRENGTHENED BY AN INTEGRATED ALUMINUM MEMBRANE TO THE SURFACE. • SOUNDSMART IS AN ECOLOGICAL PRODUCT FREE OF VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUND (VOC), MADE IN CANADA FROM RECYCLABLE AND RECYCLED MATERIAL.

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Building Better Business Photo courtesy of Spectrum Brands

When It Comes to Communication, More Is More Written by Elena Langdon

In our world of information overload, less is often more. This old adage still applies in the world of communications — think website or marketing copy that is best short and sweet. Yet context and preparation is needed when human interaction is involved. The more time and energy you invest upfront, the more time, money, and headaches you’ll save down the line. Take the example of a Midwestern pharmaceutical company that contacted a local Spanish teacher to help with communication during a visit with South American physicians. All was going well until it came to the specific condition a new medication could treat: COLD, or chronic obstructive lung disease. The teacher, who hadn’t been briefed about the company’s specific focus, spent the day talking about the new “wonder drug” that could cure a common cold. The pulmonologists were not impressed and the company did not win any new business that day.

Building Better Business

In your line of business you might not need to communicate with foreigners, but you will most likely work with some sort of communication expert at some point. Below are some guidelines to better prepare for working with any outside expert who specializes in communication, including copywriters, marketing and brand consultants, designers, and trainers.

Know thy Contractors Before selecting an outside communications consultant, ask about expertise in your specific setting or field, not just years of experience. For example, if you hire a copywriter for a newsletter or website, look at her portfolio to see if she’s worked in your line of business before. Working directly with the contractor makes this easier, but if you are getting proposals through an agency, many will also provide information on the individual’s credentials and past work.

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Explain Your Audience

Get it in Writing

Clue the contractor in as to whom they’ll be working with. For example, if you’re looking for a consultant to deliver a workshop on employee engagement, let them know what your corporate structure looks like. Names and roles are especially helpful, as are division, unit, and project names. This will help make the workshop relevant and personalized, even though an outsider is presenting it.

Perhaps this is obvious, but make sure you draw up a contract when working with an external contractor. Some important sections to include are confidentiality, deliverables, and duration of work. Think about licenses, certification, and insurance, too, if there is any risk involved in the work being supplied.

State Your Purpose Your team and your counterparts across the table might know why you are discussing a contract, but an external expert brought in for the day won’t. What are everyone’s goals? Are the stakes high and the situation tense? Think of communication experts as extensions of your team and brief them accordingly. If they know your purpose(s), they can better understand you and transmit your message accurately.

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Provide Context Clear communication depends on contextual knowledge, so provide as much background information as possible. Let’s say you need an interpreter to help you sort out an HR problem with an employee who is more comfortable in another language. Inform the interpreter about any previous meetings, the main issues to be discussed, the type of work the employee does, and anything else you think is relevant.

Building Better Business


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Explain Specific Jargon & Acronyms

Make the Most of Their Time

Your internal jargon or acronyms might seem like second nature to you at this point, but they probably sound like alphabet soup to an outsider. A short list or glossary can be helpful so that time isn’t wasted trying to decipher “the BPO merger” or the “quarterly up-queue.” And be especially careful with polysemous words like in the pharmaceutical example above.

Whether it’s an hourly rate or a monthly quota of deliverables, you are paying for the contractor’s time. Think of ways to shorten meetings, including clear agenda items and committee work that does not involve the contractor. The more focused you are while the external consultant is on the clock, the better.

Consider Your Space

Always send any documentation that will be discussed a few days in advance. Agendas, contracts, previous meeting minutes, presentation slides—anything that provides context and terminology will greatly enhance communication and save time during the actual meeting or event.

If you will be working with someone who will need to speak to your employees or visitors, let them know what the physical space looks like. Will you be sitting, standing, or touring a facility? How many people need to hear the external contractor? Will you play a video or will participants join via Skype or speakerphone? Knowing this information will allow the external expert to better prepare for the situation or even suggest things you haven’t thought about. If working with foreign clients, for example, simultaneous interpreting equipment might be needed.

Building Better Business

Send Files Ahead of Time

This all might seem daunting, but following these guidelines is the best way to ensure you are fully prepared to work with an outside communication expert. Share your goals, purpose, audience, and insider knowledge in advance and you will save time and money in the long run. Generally speaking, if you follow the rule of “more is more,” then everyone will be on the same page and you will reap the rewards.

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Supplier Spotlight

AFA Forest Products Inc. In 1974, AFA Forest Products Inc. was founded by four colleagues and friends - Al Jack, Frank Ingoldsby, Al Young and Gord Pace. In its inception, with only one branch in Bolton, Ontario, the focus was on specializing in the distribution of construction plywood and lumber to the Ontario commodity market. Today, AFA, still a privately owned Canadian company, is truly coast to coast. There is a total of 13 branches stretching from Vancouver to Newfoundland, AFA is a leader in these markets. With a focus on allied products, AFA has maintained its position as one of the leaders in the distribution industry. Our allied product lines such as laminate and engineered flooring; faux stone siding; composite and pvc decking, and

Supplier Spotlight

roofing shingles prove that our company is ready for the changes the market has brought to the industry. AFA prides itself in keeping up with today's trends and staying at the forefront of the distribution industry. The AFA of today is a diversified, bilingual distribution company. We are proudly 100% Canadian owned and operated. Our employees are respected and well regarded in the Canadian renovation, retail and industrial industry. Our goal is to provide a service unmatched in the distribution industry and to lead the way with innovative products and marketing ideas for the future. www.afaforest.com

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THE LATEST IN LUMBER

Forest fires, skyrocketing plywood prices, the rise of OSB & impending tariffs; The lumber industry’s rollercoaster ride isn’t over, just yet. Written by Melissa Campeau

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Feature Story: Latest in Lumber


2017 was quite a year for the lumber industry in Canada. Headline-making forest fires in B.C., of course, were the biggest challenge. “We dealt with the fallout from fires this year, and to a certain extent last year,” says Mike Park, National Panel Buyer, AFA Forest Products Inc. As of early August, 840 wildfires had burned approximately 4,200 square kilometers of BC forests. The fires were unprecedented in terms of the damage they caused and the area impacted, and that’s meant serious repercussions for the lumber industry. “The forests today in B.C. look a lot different than they did 10 years ago,” says Park. “We saw a lot of restrictions on logging which became a challenge and this year we saw restrictions on production due to fire risks, as well.” He adds, “One major plywood mill had to shut down due to the risk of fire, along with many sawmills.” Because of the plywood mill shutdown and its impact on supply, plywood prices began to head north. In fact, says Park, “They reached all-time historical highs. It was really one for the ages and I don’t think we’ll see anything like it again.” Kelvin Johnston, Senior Buyer, Commodity Lumber and Panels, Castle Building Group Ltd. adds, “An order of plywood that might have sold for between $400 or $500 per MSF was suddenly selling for around $700 per MSF” Builders and contractors—who had estimated projects based on standard prices for materials—found themselves in a tough spot. “They had to be savvy and find a way to make money or at least find alternatives,” says Park. That search for a Plan B led to a bump in sales for OSB (Oriented Strand Board) products. “That’s one area that’s really been impacted by this, and I think the shift to OSB is going to stay with us, at least for the foreseeable future,” says Park. Certain enhanced OSB products suddenly became economical alternatives to plywood. “OSB flooring, in particular, gained popularity,” says Park. Enhanced

Feature Story: Latest in Lumber

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OSB f looring was now significantly cheaper than plywood in many markets, and offered features contractors found appealing. “For one thing, you don’t have to sand the joints,” says Park. “While other OSB products might swell when they get wet, enahnced OSB products don’t, so that was another big attraction.” Johnston saw significant interest in a performance panel OSB, as well. “It’s a premium product, with a lot more chips per panel, and more glue,” says Johnston. “It’s a heavier, better board, but it ended up being cheaper than plywood when the price of plywood went on its run.” He adds, “Now that some dealers and some contractors have tried it, I think some will end up sticking with it.” While enhanced OSB products aren’t new, many building professionals have, until now, resisted using them. “There’s a core of builders out there—whether

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they’re building three or four custom homes a year, or track homes—who have stuck with plywood ‘because that’s what my customer wants, or that’s what my father always used’ and wouldn’t even try the OSB products,” says Park. “They were as much as forced into the market to try it because the price spread was just too big to ignore.” He adds, “I really believe we’re going to see a shift in market share from plywood to OSB; this will move the needle.” In particular, says Park, the market will be looking at enhanced flooring with a much more open mind than they ever have in the past. “We’re seeing changing attitudes for other OSB products, too, including enhanced roofing products and insulated OSB panels, too,” says Park. Fire-rated OSB products, too, are growing in popularity, particularly in highdensity neigbourhoods where houses are built fairly close together. “There

are some jurisdictions that require a true fire block between homes,” says Park. “More so in Western Canada than in the East, but I could see down the road how it could be a requirement everywhere.” Despite builders’ increasingly open minds about OSB products, plywood will maintain a solid market share, predicts Park. “Plywood will always be the DIY’s first choice, along with traditional plywood markets. There’s a comfort level there. It’s not ever going to go away.” He adds, “There’s just going to be a shift in some areas toward OSB driven by economics and in some cases product enhancements.”

Tariff in 2018 As of January 1, 2018, most mills will be paying a combined tariff of just under 21% on all lumber exports to the United States. While that’s down from the 26.75%

Feature Story: Latest in Lumber


proposed earlier in the year, it’s still going to have a significant impact on business. For the rest of this calendar year, the expectation is that mills are going to ship everything they can to the U.S. to avoid the duties effective as of 2018. “In a way, that’s likely to create a temporary shortage of lumber in Canada,” says Johnston. “Which means our prices in Canada are going to go up over the next several weeks, but then come 2018, mills are going to start discounting to sell in Canada—I’d guess between 10 and 20%—because they’ d rather sell within the country than sell across the border with the 21% duty." “Chaos will likely reign through spring of 2018,”says Johnston. “But things

Feature Story: Latest in Lumber

should hopefully settle down and we’ll have more of a predictable year after March, when the mills come up with a plan about how they’re going to discount into Canada.” There’s still one other X-factor, though. “The idea of things settling down is assuming that the U.S. and Canada don’t sign a new softwood lumber agreement,” says Johnston. “That could put everything right back into chaos.”

Challenge: Keep Operations Running

plywood or lumber, is the availability of logs and the ability to run these mills,” says Park. “That’s the big challenge right now for all the major forestry industries: How do they keep their operations running with the amount of allowable cut that’s available to them?" “I don’t see the situation changing,” says Park. “Maybe 100 years from now it might be different, but who knows? I wouldn’t even want to speculate. It’s a challenging environment we’re in today, for so many reasons.”

With all the changes and pressures on the industry, business as usual is any thing but. “The long-term story for forestry products as a whole, whether

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Product Platform


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Photos courtesy of DeWalt

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The 20V MAX* Jobsite Fan is UL Listed and tested to IP54. With up to seven hours of runtime when used with a 4.0Ah battery (sold separately) at maximum speed, the fan can also run from an AC power source. The fan can be used to circulate air, cool down work areas, and help dry paint and other wet materials. The 20V MAX* Jobsite Fan delivers up to 500 CFM at maximum speed**. There are several convenient options for mounting the 20V MAX* Jobsite Fan. Depending on the jobsite, the fan can be hung from adjustable steel hanging hooks, or mounted by screw or tripod to fit the user’s needs. With a pivoting head and variable speed switch, users can easily adjust the fan to best suit their work area. For more information visit www.dewalt.com

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Product Platform


Photos courtesy of Kohltech Windows & Entrance Systems

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Start Painting Castlegard has everything you need to start painting including a premium line quality of paintware. Whether professional or DIY, Castlegard has the painting accessories you need to get the job done.

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Tech Talk

Top 3 Tech Trends to Grow Your Business in 2018 Written by Amber Mac

If there is one quote you should keep in mind when doing business in 2018, it’s this: “Change has never happened this fast before, and it will never be this slow again.” Media critic Graeme Wood wrote these famous words in reference to how social media and technology is changing the way we communicate, something he calls the change pace paradox. However, this quote also perfectly describes how artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, and other innovations are rapidly affecting the world around us. To fully appreciate our new reality, one needs only to look at the rising number of connected devices hitting our homes and businesses. As Gartner shares, by 2020 there will be 20B of these smart products on the market. Whether it’s a new car, refrigerator, doorbell, speaker, or television, it has an Internetenabled future. Consumers are quick to adapt to these new

Tech Talk

technologies, but businesses tend to lag behind when it comes to digital adoption. This trepidation can lead to demise of many successful companies, something we’ve seen historically with organizations that resist change. For example, this is how Forbes describes why camera company Kodak failed, “There are few corporate blunders as staggering as Kodak’s missed opportunities in digital photography, a technology that it invented. This strategic failure was the direct cause of Kodak’s decades-long decline as digital photography destroyed its film-based business model.” Today, entire industries are impacted by the new economy. Airbnb owns no property, but is the largest accommodations provider in the world. Uber owns no vehicles, but is the biggest taxi company in the world. To survive the change pace paradox in 2018, here are three technological trends that can help you stay relevant.

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1. Chatbots Drive Customer Service AI bots will power 85% of all customer service interaction and save companies $23B by 2020, according to Gartner. These chat bots are used widely on Facebook Messenger. Businesses create these messaging tools to automate customer service. Most companies can’t afford to have a human monitor their Facebook or website inquiries 24-7, so a chat bot does the heavy lifting. The majority of customer service requests are for basic info such as your store hours or store address, so it’s easy for machine learning software (early stage artificial intelligence) to do the job for you. Online educator Udemy has a course to teach business owners how to created a Facebook Messenger Chat Bot in under one hour (and it costs only $20 to register).

2. IoT Innovations Fuel Construction Industry The city of Toronto is getting North America’s largest smart neighbourhood, thanks to Google’s Sidewalk Labs. According to the Toronto Star, this 12-acre space on the city’s waterfront will feature “an urban district that is built around information technology and uses data – about traffic, noise, air quality and the performance of systems including trash bins and the electrical grid – to guide its operation.” While this is a largescale smart build, we’re seeing the impact of IoT products

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everywhere in the home. Whether it’s a NEST thermostat to monitor and save energy, a Ring doorbell to see on your smartphone who is at the front door, or a Wifi-enabled coffee maker in your fridge, the home is ground zero for connected devices.

3. Rich Content Dominates Digital Marketing With a dramatic rise in the number of mobile devices, coupled with super fast Internet access, marketers must quickly change their content strategies. Rich content implies that the end consumer can interact with what you’re delivering, whether they click to play or swipe up to connect. The days of textonly and photo-only posts are well behind us as we enter the video-first era. Here are three stats from Forbes that back up this reality: Video is projected to claim more than 80 percent of all web traffic by 2019, 60 percent of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it, and embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80 percent. If today’s businesses are slow to adopt these new tech trends, they will get left behind as more agile organizations take the lead to pursue a strategy of constant and relentless adaptation.

Tech Talk


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RENOVATION TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2018

Everything but the kitchen & bath sink; no matter which renovation trends come & go, homeowners still consider these rooms vital on their remodeling lists. Written by Lawrence Cummer

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Feature Story: Renovation Trends to Watch in 2018


By their nature trends come and go; however, in the renovation and remodeling industry there are a few business mainstays. For example, contractors can always expect kitchen and bathroom upgrades to remain popular for investment-focused homeowners. Kitchens and baths will remain “value areas” in 2018, notes Sam Lapidus, President and Founder of Keystone Ridge Developments and Chair of the Renovation and Custom Home Builder Council at the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) in the Greater Toronto Area. Homeowners are typically of two mindsets when it comes to renovating. Often the primary concern is property value, but increasingly important are aesthetics and functionality. Contractor Advantage spoke with renovators across the country and discussed some of the major design and building trends to keep an eye on this year.

1. Mid-Century Modern Interest in modern style design is on the rise, according to contractors across the country. A throwback to clean lines and flat-panel designs, this style, reminiscent of the 1950s and ’60s, isn’t entirely new. “It’s been out there in magazines and show floors for several years, but it’s becoming more mainstream,” says Stefanie Coleman-Dias, Co-owner of ColemanDias³ Construction Inc. in St. Thomas, Ont. “I’m having more people ask to move in that direction. It’s becoming more widespread.” Coleman-Dias says she’s seeing interest in modern design throughout the home, including bathrooms and kitchens, but also exteriors. The trend is not limited to Ontario. Ben Guittard, President and Owner of Benjamin Matthew Contracting Ltd. in Edmonton is also witnessing the growth in popularity of the mid-century aesthetic. “I see a lot of interest in blacks and whites, really clean lines, very minimalist

Photo courtesy of Moen

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design,” he notes. “A lot of functionality in the designs and not a lot of clutter. We’re also being asked to use a lot of materials that in the past may have been faux pas, like wood cabinetry with a gloss finish.” Open concept designs also continue to rise in popularity, as do grey colours. Custom-tiles are making a comeback too, says Guittard. “Aesthetics in general are playing a bigger role. It’s the readiness

of inspiration material. It’s at everyone’s fingertips with Pinterest and home shows. People are exposed to much more than they ever were before.”

2. Aging-in-place Upgrades As the population ages, and as homeowner interest in selling or downsizing declines, more attention is going towards accessibility options—even before they are needed. “Just like our housing stock,

most of us aren’t getting any younger. The average age of Canadians continues to climb,” says Jamie Adam, President of Pioneer Craftsmen Ltd. of Kitchener, Ont. “Governments are starting to recognize the benefits of people living in their homes longer rather than moving to assisted facilities. They’ll start to want to put money into this. This isn’t going away.” Coleman-Dias says discussions of accessibility upgrades begin early.

Photo courtesy of Armstrong Ceilings

Photo courtesy of Spectrum Brands

Photo courtesy of Metrie

Photo courtesy of Sherwin-Williams Photo courtesy of Canadian Gypsum Company Inc. 50

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Feature Story: Renovation Trends to Watch in 2018


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“We recently had one couple in their mid50s, but planning to stay in their home for another 10 to 15 years, others are in their 60s but all very active without need for accessibility features right now.” While aging-in-place features may conjure images of hospital environments, that’s no longer the case and they can be incorporated with attractive design. “You’re already doing an upgrade, so why not?” Coleman-Dias asks rhetorically. Adam notes that while homeowners are looking to add such features in first

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floor bedrooms, they are typically unwilling to give up any space in common areas like kitchen or dining rooms. “They want to create an adapted living area, somewhere on the main floor, but they definitely aren’t willing to compromise any existing living space.”

3. Space is at a Premium Alongside rising real estate costs, space is in high demand, especially in urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver. “Because of headaches like land transfer

taxes and real estate negotiations, people are deciding to renovate as opposed to buy,” Lapidus says. “So, they need to make space in their existing homes to work for the next decade.” That requires making better use of dead space. “How do you maximize space? Make room when you don’t have all the closets and space of a new home?” He points to tips like taking better advantage of attic space and use of builtin cabinetry. A good kitchen and bathroom manufacturer or cabinetry expert

Feature Story: Renovation Trends to Watch in 2018


can be a godsend to such projects, Lapidus recommends. Of course, additions are popular to gain square feet if the budget supports them. “The tiny house concept is interesting, but I can tell you now, no one is coming to us asking for us to make their home smaller. I get a lot of requests to make it larger, or for ‘granny suites,’” Coleman-Dias says. Multifamily and Rental Units

Multifamily units, basement apartments —whether for family or to help offset high mortgage costs—and other secondary apartments have been on the increase in recent years. That trend is expected to continue in 2018. Bob de Wit, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association has

seen a notable increase in multifamily living arrangements in his locale, even so far as to see an increase in “lock-up” condo suites being built. “This is a cool trend we’ve been seeing over the last couple years,” de Wit says. “Everybody is looking for space, and the new units are getting smaller. These are typically larger, older units and constructed with space efficiency in mind.” In regions where it’s allowed, garage or garden suites are increasing in popularity, Guittard adds. Indoor-Outdoor Living

As homeowners strive to do more with less, the push into backyard builds continues to grow. “The trend in outdoor living accelerated for us last year,” Adam says. “The three-hour trek up to the cabin

or cottage is becoming frustrating and people don’t want to waste all that time. So, they’re bringing the cottage home.” He says homeowners want everything they have in the cottage and more: fire pits; barbecue/kitchen station; multiple zones for eating, seating and more; fridges, so they don’t need to go in the house. “The amount spent on these projects can be huge, over $150,000,” Adam adds. “It can be more economical than a cottage, but it’s the time.” Varied tastes create exciting options for custom builds. “Just outside Toronto, we took a rear garage and converted it half into a storage shed, half into an outdoor dining room. It wasn’t a kitchen, it was an exterior retreat for dining,” Lapidus says.

Photo courtesy of OWL Distribution Inc.

Feature Story: Renovation Trends to Watch in 2018

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Photo courtesy of Alexandria Moulding

4. Healthy Homes With energy prices continuing to climb, it’s no surprise that energy efficiency upgrades are expected to gain greater interest this year. It’s not about costs, though, suggests de Wit. Today’s homeowners are looking to such upgrades for the comfort and health improvements they promise. “The thing I like to see now is the trend back to green building,” he says. “When standards like Passive House, NetZero and Built Green first came out they were promoted to save the planet and save

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money on energy. There wasn’t enough focus on the real benefit of these things, the qualitative difference in the health of the home.” He says he’s seeing a resurgence in green building and green renovations for “the right reasons,” and calls building healthier homes the “killer application” for green building. Coleman-Dias agrees. She adds that code changes coming down the pike, as well as upcoming real estate regulations in some regions, will place energy efficiency more front-and-centre in home decisions.

The challenge for homeowners is, of course, that energy efficiency isn’t as visible as an aesthetic upgrade. “It’s not the stuff you see, but it’s certainly the stuff you feel. Energy efficiency is like the heated seats in a car, you don’t know you want them until you experience them,” she adds. “Your home is more comfortable, the temperature is more even, the bills are lower, your house is quieter. It’s all those ways you don’t realize you’re uncomfortable until you experience something better.”

Feature Story: Renovation Trends to Watch in 2018


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CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018

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A Complete Home Protection System That Outperforms Expectations Your first upgrade should be comfort Insulating and air sealing new or existing homes is the easiest way to avoid the air leaks and moisture intrusion that can lead to structural issues such as mold and decay. Blanketing homes in a continuous layer of insulation and air sealing gaps and cracks around the home creates an air-tight, moisture resistant structure that provides long term: • Home comfort

• Durability

• Improved indoor air quality

GREAT STUFF PRO™ Gaps & Cracks*

• Lower monthly utility bills

STYROFOAM™ Brand CLADMATE™ CM20 Extruded Polystyrene Foam Insulation

GREAT STUFF PRO™ Window & Door* GREAT STUFF™ Window & Door*

GREAT STUFF™ Gaps & Cracks*

GREAT STUFF™ Pond & Stone*

FROTH-PAK™ Foam Sealant** GREAT STUFF PRO™ Pestblock* GREAT STUFF™ Pestblock* STYROFOAM™ Brand SM Extruded Polystyrene Foam Insulation

www.insulateyourhome.ca ®™ The DOW Diamond Logo is a trademark of The Dow Chemical Company © 2017 *Read all instructions and (Material) Safety Data Sheet ((M)SDS) carefully before use. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2018 CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE **For56 Professional use Only

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Contractor Advantage January / February  

Contractor Advantage January / February