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CA

January/February 2013

COMPLIMENTARY

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

CONTENTS

ALSO:

Green Material Repeat Business Lumber Trends

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CA N A DA’ S M AG A Z I N E F O R P R O F E S S I O N A L C O N T R AC T O R S

KITCHEN RENO

PLUS:

BUILDING ENVELOPE EVOLUTION EXTERIOR DOORS CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013

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Below Grade


CA

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CONTENTS

Features

A loyal following / 20

New customers are always welcome, but will you secure their repeat business?

Building kitchens that cook / 26 At many gatherings, at least a good handful of the guests end up in the kitchen. They are not there to cook but to socialize.

Opportunity knocks / 32 Contractors should pay close attention to exterior door safety, sustainability and style.

26 43

A cut above / 38 Builders are looking to engineered wood to literally and figuratively take wood to heights never before seen in Canada.

Inside

NEWS WATCH / 05 Construct Canada PRODUCT SHOWCASE / 07 New and improved products ECONOMICS 101 / 11 Marketing: get more with less BUSINESS STRATEGIES / 13 The power of groupthink SMART MONEY / 14 Subscontractor reporting DIGITAL MARKETING / 17 Learning to run LEARNING CURVE / 19 RSMeans’ 2013 pricing guide JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 Vol. 19 No. 1

Editorial Director Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. Jennifer Mercieca Managing Editor Paul Barker Art Director Mark Ryan

Castle Building Centres Group Ltd., with building supply outlets in every province, is Canada’s leading supplier of lumber and building materials to professional contractors, builders and renovators. Publications Mail Agreement #40006677 Return undeliverable Canadian Addresses to: 100 Milverton Drive, Suite 400 Mississauga, Ont. L5R 4H1

Contributors Nestor E. Arellano Lawrence Cummer Victoria Downing Stefan Dubowski Josh Kerbel Pam Lontos Paul Rhodes David Chilton Saggers John G. Smith

Greening of the products / 43 It is critical to understand the environmental impact of the materials you use.

Sealed tight / 46 Well constructed building envelopes can control temperature, moisture and sound better than ever.

Advertising Enquiries Vendors whose products are carried in Castle Building Centres stores have the opportunity to advertise in

Contractor Advantage

For more information or to reserve space in the next issue, contact: Jennifer Mercieca Director of Communications Phone: 905-564-3307 Fax: 905-564-6592 E-mail: jmercieca@castle.ca Published and designed exclusively for Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. by Business Information Group Material Contact: Jessica Jubb 416-510-5194 Copyright 2012 CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013

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Launches Mobile App Available Now

Apps for iPhone and Android App for Blackberry available in early 2013

The app features a store locator, detailed Castle location specific information, mapping and Request-a-Quote capabilities. The free mobile app is designed to provide quick and convenient access to Castle locations across Canada. Find the nearest store using the built-in geo-tracking system and have access to maps, driving directions and products in a user-friendly format. Searches can be performed using multiple search criteria and allows users to find the nearest Castle location(s) based upon your current location, or search by postal code, city and/or store name. Each Castle store link includes store contact info, departments and services, dealer weblinks, hours of operation, location maps and directions. A handy request a quote function for in-store products and services allows Castle customers to get product pricing and availability at a touch of the screen from participating stores. The app also includes touch email address or telephone number allowing instant message or connection to a specific store.

The iPhone® and Android™ app is available for download on www.castle.ca/app The iPhone® app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and is compatible with iPhone 4 and higher. The Android™ smartphone app requires Android 2.1 or later. Apple and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Android is a trademark of Google Inc.

For More Information Contact: Jennifer Mercieca Director of Communications Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. jmercieca@castle.ca 905-564-3307 ext 220


CA

NEWS WATCH

NRC energy expert urges contractors: hone up on R-2000, ERS, Energy Star BY PAUL BARKER

C

ontractors would be well advised to become innately familiar with important upgrades to three documents that relate to energy-efficient building practices. The three — EnerGuide Rating System, the R-2000 Standard and the Energy Star for New Homes Standard — were the focus of a presentation by Jeff Knapp at Construct Canada 2012 Conference held in Toronto in late November. The show itself drew 24,800 attendees, an increase over last year. Knapp, Housing Program Advisor with Natural Resources Canada’s (NRC) Office of Energy Efficiency, had this advice to contractors: Understand them clearly because competition is alive and well in this country. “For example, if you are not an R-2000 builder, people who want a higher quality house are not going to consider you,” he said in an interview. “They are going to know neighbours and family members who have Energy Star homes and are pleased with the comfort and reduced energy costs so why wouldn’t they want one? More awareness is out there in Consumer Land and it is going to continue to grow and grow.” Anyone wanting to know where national and provincial Building Codes are going in the near future, he added; need only to look at the content contained in all three documents. Knapp suggested that contractors “get on the bus and climb on board because this is the direction we are going in.” The Energy Star for New Homes (ESNH), according to NRC, promotes energy efficiency guidelines that enable new homes to be more energy efficient than those built to minimum provincial building codes: “Typical energy efficiency measures for these new homes include insulation upgrades, higher performance windows, better draft proofing, Energy Star qualified appliances, lower energy bills, improved comfort, lower impact on the environment and a higher resale value.” The standard was released last year. The R-2000 standard, which was created 30 years ago, is in the midst of an overhaul that like the EnerGuide Rating System (ERS), is scheduled to be released in 2014. Partners involved include home builders’ associations, provincial governments, product manufacturers and energy utilities. “More and more contractors are becoming R2000 builders because there is more and more market demand, said Knapp. Meanwhile, Tom Stephenson, a professor at George Brown College’s Coordinator Centre for Construction & Engineering

Tom Stephenson (left) and Jeff Knapp zeroed in on project management and energy at Construct Canada 2012.

Technologies, in his speaking session talked about the importance of project management software. Working on your business instead of in your business using project management techniques will improve productivity, reduce rework, reduce stress and improve overall quality, he said Stephenson outlined four aspects that any small to medium sized contracting or construction business needs to follow: Tools, People, Processes and Best Practices. “Best Practices come out of learning what you have done,” he said. “Everyone makes mistakes and the big thing is to learn from them. By Tools, I mean the methods you use for scheduling. Initially setting up a project management program takes a little time to learn, but once you set it up, it makes life a lot easier. “When you keep a well-documented schedule, the next time you are doing your estimating for the next project you can look back and see timelines. “What you are tying to do is develop a competitive advantage from other contractors in your area. Part of that competitive advantage is that you can compete on price and get the best sub-contractors who like working for you.” CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

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CA

NEWS WATCH

TORONTO’S CANARY DISTRICT, WEST DON LANDS TAKE SHAPE BY PAUL BARKER

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hugely ambitious construction project that will redefine Toronto’s downtown core is quickly becoming a reality. The Canary District and West Don Lands neighbourhood, according to Jason Lester, president of Dundee Kilmer Developments, it and the surrounding neighbourhood is a “sustainable mixed-use community encompassing condominiums, daycare centres, community centres, a new residence for students of George Brown College, a YMCA athletic centre, parks, public art, retail and a host of amenities.” The name is in tribute to the nearby Canary Restaurant located on the corner of Front Street East and Cherry Street, which served its last meal in 2007, but the building itself, which dates back to 1859, has been retained as has an old CNR building nearby. The area itself began life as a forest, became parkland in the 19th century, morphed into a residence at the start of the early 1900s and for most of the last century was used for industrial rail land. Dundee Kilmer Developments is a partnership between Dundee Realty Corp. and Kilmer Von Nostand formed for the purpose of developing the athlete’s village for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, which in itself is a massive undertaking. The village will house upwards of 10,000 athletes, coaches and officials from 41 countries and once the event ends, apartment blocks will be refurbished and it will be time for permanent residents to move in. “Unlike many athletes’ village projects, which are purposebuilt to house competitors during major athletic events and then converted to other uses following the games, this project is advancing the building of a community that was already planned and under development,” said Meg Davis, vice president of development with Waterfront Toronto. In August, the organization opened the first phase of an 18-acre parkland called OverPass Park, which as the name suggests runs under the Eastern Avenue and Richmond/Adelaide overpasses. “Underpass Park is an example of creative city building,” said John Campbell, Waterfront Toronto’s president and CEO. “By viewing the space under the overpasses as an opportunity, we turned a potential liability into a great neighbourhood asset.” The neighbourhood will be comprised of a number of different types of housing including 805 market condominiums, 28 townhomes. 12 loft units and 253 affordable housing units with a range of housing types including two-story maisonette and one and two-storey apartments. Other Canary District fast facts include: • The YMCA and George Brown College project are the furthest along in their construction and are on track for topping this spring • Cranes have been erected onsite in the first market building • Construction on the second market condo is also underway 6

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CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

• Canary District will include 40,000 sq. ft of retail space. • All residential buildings are being constructed to achieve LEED Gold certification. • Planning for the area’s redevelopment began in earnest in 2001 and included the City of Toronto, Waterfront Toronto, Infrastructure Toronto and local community groups


CA

PRODUCT SHOWCASE

Building Blocks

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Innovative Products for Today’s Renovators CAN-CELL LAUNCHES INNOVATIVE STORAGE LINE Can-Cell Industries Inc. has announced the Canadian availability of Organized Living products, a line of organization and storage solutions. Offering a complete range of components for closets, storage systems and home organization, Organized Living products are made from environmentallyfriendly materials. The product’s freedomRail systems offer contractors easy, customizable installation, while three-dimensional set-ups can be created to help understand and meet customer requirements using Strongware software. Organized Living products are available in a variety of colours, finishes, design configurations and décor styles. Further information is available at www.can-cell.com.

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MIROLIN ADDS STEAM SHOWER OPTION TO MADISON SHOWER LINE Mirolin Industries Corp. has announced the addition of a steam shower option to its line of Madison showers. The new steam shower packages include a 4’ or 5’ Madison Shower stall with a fully enclosed steam shower door, 4 kw steam generator with a digital control and a steam nozzle with a reservoir to add essential oils for aromatherapy. The steam showers open the pores of the skin, drawing out dirt and toxins. It also increases blood circulation and assists in clearing up sinuses and nasal passages. According to Mirolin, steam showers reduce stress, rejuvenate the skin, detoxify the body, increase metabolism and circulation and enhance the respiratory system. Further information is available at www.mirolin.com

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013

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CA

PRODUCT SHOWCASE

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CERTAINTEED SYMPHONY SHINGLES MIMIC SLATE Symphony Composite Slate Roofing from CertainTeed are roofing shingles formed with the texture and contours of real quarried slate, yet lighter, more durable and more affordable. The Symphony product line is ideal for replacement roofs of historic buildings such as homes and churches, and available in three blends: colonial gray, capitol blend and evergreen. The shingles feature UV fade-resistant surface technology for improved colour stability and lasting aesthetics. All colour blends are available in 12” or multiwidth bundles of 6”, 9” and 12” slates. Hip and ridge accessories are available for enhancing the slate-inspired appearance, as well as a 6” rake accessory that aids in installation. Installation requires no special tools and Symphony shingles can be installed by hand nailing or with a pneumatic nail gun. Unlike traditional slate, the product has excellent weathering qualities, withstands foot traffic, cold temperatures and resists curling.

The Symphony product line has earned Energy Star Qualified Product designation, has a 50-year limited, transferable warranty and is U.L. Class 1A fire resistant with an appropriate underlayment and is U.L. 2218 Class 4 impact resistant. Further information is available at www.certainteed.com

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OWENS CORNING UNVEILS ENERGYEFFICIENT AIR SEALING SYSTEM Owens Corning has unveiled a new air sealing system designed to offer contractors a high-performance, affordable solution for increasing energy efficiency and comfort in homes. The EnergyComplete whole home insulation and air sealing system was developed through a study of the complex air filtration and leakage characteristics that contribute to energy loss in a home. The system combines a flexible foam sealant with EcoTouch Insulation for improved thermal performance. It features Owens Corning’s Flexible Seal Technology, expanding foam that penetrates into joints and openings to prevent energy loss by air exchange, reduces the change of mold growth and creates a first line of defence against insects and pests. The EnergyComplete system uses an optimized formula to increase durability and gasket performance, and speciallydesigned high-yield nozzles that work with the sealant to allow contractors to seal critical, hard-to-reach joints. It has no hazardous off-gassing during application and curing, reducing work delays and improving job-site productivity. EnergyComplete contributes points to energy-efficient and green building programs. Further information is available at www.owenscorning.com. CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013

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CA

ECONOMICS 101

Get More For Less

Learn the four marketing tips that can help you sell your services better in order to improve your profits. BY PAM LONTOS

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s a business owner or leader, you always need to make sure you are perceived as the expert in your industry and that you are getting your marketing messages out in the right way. Still, with so much hype and conflicting advice these days about the best way to market your product, services, or company, how can any business owner know the best marketing path to take? Implement the following marketing tips today and watch your profits soar.

1. K  now what makes you unique Yes, your company sells certain products or services, and you probably have years of expertise in what your company offers, but if you are going to market and brand yourself as an expert, you have to know what makes you unique. Sit down and write out all the things that make you different, unique, special and one-of-a-kind. Chances are there are many experts, just like you, in your niche or industry. Why should someone buy from you or hire you over your competitors? What do you offer that no one else does? What are your credentials? For example:

• Did you grow a large business from nothing? • Did you turnaround a well-known organization? • Were you a leader or manager of a highprofile company? • Did you develop a system that consistently gets great results? • Have you personally used your system

to build a business, solve a major business or societal problem? Whatever you identify as your unique element, you need to promote that fact in all you do. Even if you have been in business for years, you need to do this exercise. There are always newcomers coming into your field, so you have to continually differentiate yourself as the best in order to stay on top.

2. Identify your markets No business can successfully market themselves to every sector of the population. Look at what makes you unique and choose one key demographic that makes sense for you to market to. For example, you may decide targeting Baby Boomers makes the most sense. Next, see if you can expand that market so you can have two distinct demographics to target; the first is a niche industry or sector and the second is broader. Look at what is a natural extension of your main demographic and target that additional segment. You will find that focusing on two key demographics will make your marketing efforts easier and more effective.

3. Promote the bottom line results you deliver When marketing their company, many business owners fall into the trap of constantly touting why their company, products, or services are so great. They say and write things like, “We’ve been around for 20 years,” “We sell the best solutions

Pam Lontos is president of Pam Lontos Consulting and specializes in the areas of sales, marketing and publicity. She is also the author of I See Your Name Everywhere: Leverage the Power of the Media to Grow your Fame, Wealth and Success. She can be reached at PamLontos@gmail.com.

in the industry,” and “We’ve won numerous awards.” In truth, no one cares about accolades like that. Instead of talking about how great you and your company are, talk about the results you will deliver to customers. Just as you analyze the bottom line results of any investment you make, your customers do the same thing — only they are looking at the bottom line results for them and their families. The only way to know what matters most to your customers is to ask them. Send a survey or personally ask your long-term clients what is important to them and what kind of results they get by using your products or services. Then, talk about those things in your marketing messages.

4. Do not forget direct mail Finally, let us not forget that direct mail pieces (sales letters and postcards) are still a great way to market your business. Key elements of your direct mail piece are a strong headline that stresses how you are going to help them (the benefit your products or services offer); testimonials from satisfied customers and a breakdown of the problems your target audience is facing and your solution for each one.

Market Smart Being a business owner is one of the most rewarding professions. In what other career can you share your expertise, control your professional future, meet lots of interesting people, and make a difference in the lives of others? To do all this well, though, you have to continually market your company, products, and services. By using the strategies outlined here, you will be better able to stand out from the competition and market your business to new levels of success.

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013

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CA

BUSINESS STRATEGIES

The Power Of Groupthink

Group thinking is not neat and tidy, but if done right it improves the decision-making process and ultimately frees up you the owner. BY VICTORIA DOWNING

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ave you ever played one of those will cause a revolt among their employees. educational survivor games? Even more prevalent is the idea that They typically have you ship- when there is a system needed, or a checklist, wrecked or plane-wrecked with a group or a list of core values, that the simplest, of individuals and what appears to be a quickest and most efficient way to get it random collection of salvageable items. done is for the owner to do it for everyone. You have to rank the usefulness of those How then do we sell to the staff what we have done? That is the hard items in helping the group survive. You do your own ranking first and then part. They do not “own” it. There is no you work in a small group to rank them “buy-in.” In fact there may well be reafter listening to all opinions. Then there sistance and argument. Yes, we saved is a whole lot of scoring and comparing. time on the front end but we are losing What you learn beyond a doubt is it in implementation and, in fact, we not only some survival tips, but also that may fail overall. If we look at the entire groupthink surpasses individual brain- process of devising a solution, applying it, power almost every time. About 80-90% of groups get a score higher than that of any Groupthink surpasses individual in their group, so if you were not already realizing just how powerful individual brainpower group thinking is, these games are a fun almost every time. About way to settle the issue. Why don’t we owners share more of 80-90% of groups get a score our company challenges with our staff? Why don’t we get everyone working on higher than that of any how we will achieve a 40% gross profit? individual in their group. Or how we will sell and produce $750,000 this year? Or how we can streamline the sales to production handoff? Or how we improving it, and making it a habit, then the might create an incentive for our staff? simplest, quickest and most efficient way is For some remodelers this openness by involving everyone from the start. Not only that, but the group is likely to just comes naturally, but for most it is very scary. For years they have been the come up with a better solution. Groupthink “Little Red Hen” doing everything for the is not neat and tidy. Democracy takes longer, company. Often their first hires are poor but the results are much better. ones while they learn how to be a more You learn some other important conaccomplished hirer. They hide their finan- cepts from these survival games. You learn cial reports being sure that their 3% net about consensus. How does a group of varyVictoria Downing is president of Remodelers Advantage Inc. and is a leading authority in the remodeling industry. She has authored and co-authored several industry books, including The Remodeler’s Marketing PowerPak. She can be reached at victoria@remodelersadvantage.com or by phone at 301 490-5620 ext. 105.

ing opinion get to a final decision after they have heard all the different ideas? It’s sort of like a jury. There is usually a prevailing decision and those who are less enthusiastic with it need to agree that they can live with it. These games teach the meaning of consensus in decision making. On those few occasions when an individual in a group scores higher than the group itself, it usually signals that whoever was the group leader did not get everyone’s input. We all recognize there are more vocal and less vocal folks. The best solution might lie with the latter, so the group leader needs to be able to pull out the best from everyone. These games also teach the importance of developing the right strategy before you start answering what you think is the question. Depending on whether the group decides its best survival strategy is sending the two hardiest members for help, or that all will stay together and wait to be discovered or that all members will hike to help, the rankings of the salvage items change drastically. If half the members are thinking one solution and the others are figuring another, we know we’ll have dissension because we have not decided our basic strategy yet. I haven’t even mentioned one of the biggest benefits of fully utilizing the brainpower of everyone in your company. It frees you up as owner. You are preparing your company for your four-week trip to Fiji. By the time you leave, you know they’ll be equipped to handle the toughest problems together, so start planning which bathing suit you are going to pack. Share the good, the bad and the ugly with your staff and stand back and prepare to be surprised by just how well they do.

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

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CA

SMART MONEY

Subcontractor Reporting Contractors must report all payments made to subcontractors for construction activities to the CRA or face penalties. BY PAUL RHODES

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o target the underground economy in the construction industry The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requests information related to payments made to subcontractors for goods and services in the course of construction activities. This requirement to provide information is Section 238 of the Income Tax Regulation (ITR). In this month’s column we will review the reporting requirements and some related technicalities of the Regulation. The Regulation requires an individual, partnership, trust or corporation whose business income in a reporting period is derived primarily from construction activities to submit an information return to the CRA. The information return is referred to as a T5018 and is used to report all payments made to subcontractors for goods and services in the course of the construction activities. The phrase “construction activities” is defined in the ITR, and includes activities related to the erection, excavation, installation, alteration, modification, repair, improvement, demolition, destruction, dismantling or removal of all or any part of a building, structure, surface or sub-surface construction or any similar property. Whether a taxpayer is involved in a construction activity depends on both the nature of the activity and the type of property on which the activity is performed. In response to a technical interpretation request, the CRA’s Income Tax Ruling Di-

rectorate confirmed that the taxpayer in question was not involved in a construction activity since the property (a landfill site) on which the activity was performed was not listed in the ITR definition of construction activities. According to the CRA, a person’s business income is considered primarily derived from a construction activity if more than 50% of its income is earned from those activities. The CRA has also confirmed that businesses that have significant construction activities performed for them or by them, but the activity is not their principal business, are not required to comply with Section 238 requirements.

Paul Rhodes is a partner at Soberman LLP. His professional experience includes providing assurance and advisory counsel to a number of clients in construction, manufacturing, real estate and internal audit engagements. Paul is a member of the Toronto Construction Association. 14

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CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

For example, a natural gas company performs significant construction activities to install pipelines, but since the company’s main source of business income is not from the construction activities, the reporting requirements under Section 238 of the ITR would not apply. The definition of entities required to comply with the Regulation requires that the income be “derived from” construction activities, in addition to meeting the 50% threshold. In testing whether an entity meets this requirement, the CRA applies the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the word “derived”. In the court case MNR v. Hollinger North Shore Exploration Co. Ltd. the court concluded that the word “derived” means more than “received” and should be interpreted as meaning “arising or accruing.” In a recent technical interpretation, the CRA applied the Court’s interpretation to


CA

SMART MONEY

consider whether a land developer has business income derived primarily from construction activities when the main source of business income was from the sale or rental of shopping plazas constructed by the developer. It is important to consider both the 50% rule and the extended definition provided by the Supreme Court when determining whether a business derives its business income primarily from construction activities. For the purposes of the Regulation, the CRA considers a subcontractor to be an “individual, partnership, trust or corporation” that provides construction services to a business. Sub-contractors include individuals or businesses that are registered for the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (“GST/HST”), and also non-GST/HST registrants that are below the $30,000 limit for GST/HST registration purposes.

The amount paid to a non-resident subcontractor is not required to be reported under Regulation 238 of the ITR; however, a T4A-NR (Statement of fees, Commissions or Other Amounts Paid to Non-residents for Services Rendered in Canada) must be prepared and filed by the entity. The information required on the slip includes the subcontractor’s name, address, SIN or business number as well as the total amount of gross payments made to the subcontractor during the period. It is the CRA’s administrative policy that payments made in a reporting period to a subcontractor for construction services totaling $500 or less are not required to be reported. A corporate taxpayer is also required to confirm on Line 295 of its income tax return what the company’s major business activities are and whether the company had any subcontractors during the tax year.

According to the current Regulation, the information return is reported on an annual basis; however, a payor can choose to report either on a calendar year or fiscal year basis. Once a reporting period is chosen it cannot be changed unless authorized by the Minister. The T5018 return is due six months after the end of the reporting period. It is the CRA’s policy that in the event of discontinuance of a business, the T5018 return must be filed within 30 days of the day the business ends. The CRA can impose a penalty for late filing T5018 returns. The penalty is based on the total number of slips due, to a maximum penalty of $7,500. This article has been prepared for general information. Specific professional advice should be obtained prior to the implementation of any gestion contained.

In the next issue of

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE • Tax & Accounting Tips • Building the Man Cave: Basement Renovations • Environmental Energy Options • Beyond Marble: Countertop Options • Exterior Paints & Stains • Insulation Trends 2013 CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013

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CA

DIGITAL MARKETING

Learning To Run Achieving excellence in online marketing shares a lot with learning to run. Set your goals and sprint to success. BY JOSH KERBEL

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have been a life-long runner and running has become practically second nature to me. Having picked it up at a very young age, I am long past the point of having to think about what I am doing. I just throw on my shoes and go. A few years ago, though, my wife decided that she wanted to start running with me. I gave her a few tips, but the fact is that (just like riding a bike) running is one of those things that you just have to get out and do. There really is no intellectual part of the process. As she started her first run, she sometimes ran too fast, then too slow, and she sometimes stopped dead (often to yell at me). It occurred to me how much her initial runs reminded me of how many small and mid-sized organizations approach online marketing. Try one thing. See what happens. Try something else. Take a breather. Check your progress toward your goal. Try to keep moving forward. As the days passed and her pace got more consistent and she moved from short jaunts around the block to long runs in to other parts of the city, and the similarity between running and online marketing became clearer to me.

Know where you are going One of the most confusing things to new runners is figuring out a route. The first time you go for a run, you need to figure out how far you are going to go. In other

keters, reaching your goal means paying attention to the metrics that have a direct impact on your campaign based on your goal; the challenge is picking the right metric. There is no right answer as to what those are, it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. It is hard to believe, but in this day and age of cheap tracking technology, many marketers still do not measure anything but instead rely on gut instinct, historical spending, or nothing at all.

Experiment

words, what do you want to accomplish? Many people over-estimate how far and how fast they can run and this leads to frustration. You need to think in increments. As a marketer, you need to know where you are going and to have milestones for your campaigns. Just like in running, where you must make sure the distance you want to cover matches your physical ability, achieving measurable success requires aligning your campaign with a visible and clearly stated goal.

Focus on measuring what matters Almost every runner keeps track of their performance and personal bests. For mar-

Josh Kerbel is Managing Director of Sales Funnel, a digital marketing agency that specializes in lead generation and prospect management systems. To get a copy of the free white paper, 8 Steps to Internet Marketing Success, please send an email to report.ca@thejoshkerbelproject.com.

Just like runners experiment with different shoes, pacing and routes, online marketers must experiment until they find the mechanism that starts moving them towards their goals. This process might seem a bit aimless and expensive at first, but by analyzing how changes impact your outcomes and using that knowledge to correct your course, you will eventually find the way that works for you. The marketplace is always shifting and in motion, constantly influenced by a huge range of factors even when it may seem still on the surface. Only by being flexible and attentive to the conditions as they are right now will you be able to get where you want to go. It never hurts to be prepared and take sensible precautions. Experienced runners know that dressing appropriately, stretching, and proper nutrition can make your life much easier. When it comes to launching a marketing campaign, you should strive to be just as prepared. Expect the unexpected, and reserve some of your budget to take advantage of new opportunities or to react to unexpected cost increases, response rates, and other forces.

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013

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CA

LEARNING CURVE

RSMeans’ 2013 Pricing Guide Released

Book’s logically oriented cost data covers steps needed to complete home improvement and remodeling projects.

CONTRACTOR’S PRICING GUIDE: RESIDENTIAL REPAIR & REMODELING 2013 RSMeans The recently released annual Contractor’s Pricing Guide: Residential Repair & Remodeling from RSMeans provides unit price costs for every aspect of the most common repair and remodeling projects. Designed specifically for home improvement and repair contractors, insurance restoration contractors and anyone who does small construction jobs for homeowners, the book’s cost data is logically organized from frame to finish, covering every step needed to complete each task, including demolition, installation, painting, cleaning and more. Material prices, compiled by RSMeans’ team of professional cost estimators, are based on national averages and can be easily localized to more than 900 regions in Canada

and the U.S. to provide accurate cost estimates for virtually every location in North America. Fully updated for 2013, this book saves contractors time by providing: • A straightforward estimating method, including mark-ups • Clear, easy-to-understand material descriptions and pricing, and, • Thousands of updated costs to serve as a source book for project costs, product selections, and alternate materials. The RSMeans’ Contractor’s Pricing Guide’s unit price section is divided into 23 sections representing the order of construction. Within each section, contractors will find a listing of components and applicable variations to help them with estimating. More information is available at www. RSMeans.com.

NINE MINUTES ON MONDAY McGraw-Hill Low performance and high turnover is not the result of lazy, apathetic workers, decreasing budgets or a bad economy. It is about leadership that does not engage employees. That is the crux of Nine Minutes on Monday from McGraw-Hill. In it, author and leadership guru James Robbins argues that employee engagement comes down to a constant dedication to meeting the needs that drive performance excellence. He suggests that in today’s high-paced business environment it is easy to become distracted from leadership responsibilities, but when those priorities are neglected your staff, business and, ultimately, you suffer. Nine Minutes on Monday presents the nine keys to raising productivity, boosting morale, and increasing employee engagement, whether in a small group or managing your entire business.

Highlights of the book include: • The “9 Minute” template for maintaining focus on your leadership priorities regardless of how busy you are • Three key questions that will help you “connect purpose to paycheck” for your staff • A four-step formula for addressing subpar performance and driving complacency from the workplace • A simple coaching model for fast-track staff development • Four reward/recognition tools that will leave your employees feeling valued and motivated • A simple activity that will forge deeper bonds of trust between you and your employees; and, • The three key ingredients to immediately increase the motivation level of any employee. Robbins simplifies how to excel at leadership by breaking it down into its essential components. Nine Minutes on Monday is a road map to igniting purpose, passion, and engagement in employees. CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

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Loyal FOLLOWING NEW CUSTOMERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME, BUT WILL YOU SECURE THEIR REPEAT BUSINESS? BY JOHN G. SMITH

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att Michel likes to relate a story about his wife when describing the fleeting nature of customer loyalty. Despite raving about her past experience with one appliance repair service, she still switched to a competitor because it let her book an appointment online. It is one of the reasons why the chief executive officer of the Service Roundtable, a supplier of business tools for HVAC, electrical and plumbing providers, says that contractors must be “easy to do business with” if they want to build a sense of loyalty among customers. Loyalty is tested every time a customer reaches out to a business, particularly if they are looking to solve an emergency, like a leak. “They want to talk to a human being, and they want someone to listen to them and be empathetic and reassure them,” Michel says, stressing why an answering service will always be better than voicemail. It is so important that he tells company owners and managers to call their own businesses on a regular basis, just to see how the phones are answered. “You need an incoming call script, and you need training, and mirrors by the phone to remind staff members to smile.” Extended hours can also help to secure more of the immediate repairs that often lead to larger projects. Michel 20

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knows of one contractor which committed to staying open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., every day of the week. When that shop receives a service call on a Friday evening, it is able to schedule a repair on the weekend, long before competitors respond to the original request. “Consumers are exceedingly demanding now. They know more. They have access to information more. Everything is fast and easy,” says Peter Voyer, associate professor of marketing at the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business. “These guys have to be fast to return calls and keep those lines of communication open.”

delivery window could simply have expanded to three weeks.” Michel takes it a step further, and suggests contractors should commit to delivering more than they promise. Carl Sewell, the author of Customers for Life, was always one of the most successful car dealers in the U.S. even though he tended to charge higher prices, Michel says. By adding a 2% margin to every repair estimate, service work tended to be cheaper than expected. A buffer was also included to cover the costs of smaller replacement parts like wiper

but it could generate the first service call if something goes wrong with the HVAC system. In fact, warranties could be applied to a number of repairs. “If the same thing goes wrong, chances are the technician repaired a symptom and not the root cause of the problem,” Michel says. Besides that, most contractors are already willing to go back and take care of any problem that does emerge. A warranty simply puts the policy in writing. Some of the repeat business can be secured by calling before a warranty expires, to remind customers to get repairs

Loyalty is tested every time a customer reaches out to a business, particularly if they are looking to solve an

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emergency, like a leak. Scheduling the appointment, of course, is only the beginning. He stresses the need to have a clear understanding of what a customer expects and what the contractor plans to deliver. That can be managed with tools like detailed contracts and signed change orders. “Sweat the details before the contract gets underway,” agrees Ken Hardy, professor emeritus – marketing, with Western University’s Richard Ivey School of Business. He learned this lesson first hand, during an early job with a window and door business that was always too optimistic when scheduling deliveries. He was the one who had to field telephone calls from irate customers when products failed to arrive. “We wasted a lot of time where realistic expectations would have helped,” Hardy recalls. “A traditional two-week

blades when working on larger jobs. “The customers received more than they expected and they were psychologically in debt to Sewell,” he says, explaining how that led to repeat business. Contractors could adopt a similar strategy, perhaps covering the costs for new smoke alarm batteries or a water-saving shower head, he says. A “Boy Scout” policy can encourage crews to perform good deeds such as carrying boxes down from an attic, lubricating a squeaking hinge, or tightening the loose handle on a door even though it has nothing to do with the service call. Another effective tool for building loyalty can come in the form of a warranty program. Those who promise a lifetime guarantee on a new thermostat are not really guaranteeing that much,

completed. “They cannot believe you are that conscientious,” Michel says. Even the appearance of a crew can help to enhance the customer loyalty. A well-groomed contractor wearing a uniform or company cap, arriving with a company ID and business card in hand, will go a long way, Michel adds. “A lot of people do not care, and that is fine, but you are trying to appeal to a lot of people who do care.” Those who slip booties over their shoes before entering a home are also sending a message that they respect a customer’s property, Voyer says. A contractor’s truck, complete with company markings and a recent wash, will make an impression of its own. Michel remembers referring to one plumber’s truck as the Exxon Valdez. “It was as

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big as an oil tanker and it left an oil slick everywhere it went.” A few finishing touches can help to ensure a contractor remains at the top of a homeowner’s mind when it comes to future work. These can come in the form of contact information on fridge magnets, valve tags, or stickers on a breaker panel. “All those things will keep people off the Yellow Pages or the Internet,” he says. The sense of loyalty also needs ongoing care. Repeat customers might begin to expect a discount or another benefit, Voyer adds. “Consumers demand quality,

came to the store. The better solution was to track the related information in a file, and simply inform customers about the pending rewards. Affinity programs can make another difference. Members of a defined group like a school, Legion, humane society, or church could earn $10 for their favourite cause every time they book a contractor’s service, Michel says. Online tools are also making it easier than ever to support such deals. A recent Ipsos Canadian Inter@ctive Reid Report found that 57% of those who redeem

sure and strengthen customer loyalty. While small business owners told the American Express Small Business Monitor that 74% of customers are repeat customers, a mere 40% of the businesses offer any form of loyalty program. Even though 98% of the survey group said that the best way to ensure repeat business was to exceed expectations, many also fail to actually use client feedback surveys. “With small business owners relying almost exclusively on the customer service experience to generate positive word of mouth, they risk falling behind com-

Another effective tool for building loyalty can come in the form of a

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warranty program.

and that quality is weighted against their expectations of the service.” There may even be opportunities to adopt formal loyalty programs. Existing customers, for example, might be offered discounts for pre-scheduled service calls. “It helps you fill out the valleys of your work day and you can schedule your staff so that they are working during times when otherwise you might have to send them home, and it also becomes a training path,” Michel says. “That becomes like a bond between you and the customer. You are out there every year. You are building the loyalty.” The most effective programs will always be easy to use. Voyer, for example, refers to a shoe retailer who once punched a loyalty card after every purchase. The problem was that customers had to remember to bring the card every time they

an online coupon will return with more business even if they do not have another coupon or gift certificate. “In the current economic climate, Canadians are wary of trying new things,” said Catherine Dawson, senior vice-president with Ipsos Reid in Vancouver. “Especially for small businesses and start-ups, this is a great way to increase exposure of their brand, bring in new clients, and ultimately help in building loyalty.” The incentives do not need to be limited to discounts alone. A customer may not be that excited about an upgraded furnace or roofing material, but they may be swayed by the promise of a premium electronic product like a Blu- Ray player that comes with it. Unfortunately, many small businesses seem to be overlooking chances to mea-

petitors who engage with their customers on a daily basis through social channels,” says Athena Varmazis, vice-president and general manager - small business services, American Express Canada. Fundamentally, any surveys should ask whether customers were satisfied with the job that was performed, and whether they would recommend the service provider to friends or neighbours, Hardy says. Those who have the chance to express their concerns are also less likely to trash the business with negative reviews. One kitchen installer never asked him what it would take to make him happy. The problems could have been solved inexpensively, with tasks like replacing the lazy Susan. Instead, he has offered his negative review to anyone who has listened.

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Building

kitchens

cook

that

The kitchen has become an entertainment hub, and a good source of business for contractors that know their way around appliance, lighting and design options. BY DAVID CHILTON SAGGERS

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t many gatherings, at least a good handful of the guests end up in the kitchen. They are not there to cook but to socialize. Of course, family and visitors have always gravitated towards the kitchen, but today this room once considered functional is the new entertainment centre. Given this popularity, it is small wonder that renovating the kitchen, particularly for those who do not have to watch a budget, space is at the top of the renovation list. Like a bathroom, a kitchen is indispensable, so careful planning before the renovation is crucial; a full renovation in the high end range can cost between $75,000 and $100,000 in Canada’s most expensive cities. That much? Yes, when tiles designed for a backsplash can cost more than $20 a sq. ft., marble for 26

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countertops can run to $80 a sq. ft. and granite can fetch as much as $150 a sq. ft. Similarly, a stainless steel sink can cost $600 and the faucets to go with it as much as $200. Given these and other costs, even for those with generous budgets, some serious planning is called for before a plumber, electrician or the householders themselves get to work. Planning a kitchen renovation is logical enough; it is simply a matter of deciding what is important and what is less so, and getting the parts to fit together in a certain space. The computer-savvy renovator, whether householder or contractor, can buy off-the-shelf kitchen design software, but a pad of graph paper is both cheap and easy to use for those who are not. Simply draw the renovation plan to scale, including the location of base cabinets, islands and appliances. Ah, yes, appliances. The choice can be overwhelming whether you are buying from a specialty supplier or a department store; however, one way to cope with such an array of fridges and stoves, dishwashers and microwaves, is to obtain the right item with your first purchase. Online research will help enormously, as will recommendations from family and friends and that plan for the kitchen. Returning a stove that does not fit or having to work around an awkwardly placed refrigerator would test the patience of a saint. The actual functions of those appliances have become evolved, too. Recent advances mean that kitchens can be as technologically up to date as any other room in the house. There are programmable ovens, for example, that “think” for the cook and make adjustments to time and temperature depending on the food that is being prepared; smart refrigerators that can defrost themselves; and, high tech dishwashers, washers and dryers that work with partial loads as sensors determine the efficiency of each load. Easily downloadable “apps” can do even more with a smart appliance. They can boost energy efficiency by lowering a refrigerator’s power consumption to take advantage of cheaper electricity prices, make more ice prior to a party, or even go on standby during a householder’s vacation. The smartest appliances are those just arriving on the scene: in the U.S. they communicate with the utility grid itself. Some GE kitchen appliances are equipped 28

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Design Talk

Smarter kitchen designs

Melissa Edwards trained as an interior designer, has been a 20/20 design specialist at CanSave in Barrie, Ont. for 11 years. She recently spoke with Contractor Advantage on the emerging trends she is seeing in the high-end kitchen market and why. CA: What are you seeing in the evolution of kitchen design, particularly in the higher end part of the market? ME: I think we are going to see more smart appliances that will do more things for you. I’ve seen computerized components in a refrigerator that you can control from your iPod, or via social media. CA: W  hat about kitchen design over a fiveyear time range? ME: I think right now people are experimenting with the two-tone kitchen. I see too that the trend is towards no uppers in the kitchen. Everything will be waist high and open concept. There are fridge drawers, so now it is possible to pull out a drawer for your refrigerator. CA: What may be driving this particular aspect of kitchen design? ME: T  he focus on the kitchen as an entertainment area is so large that I think people now want to be able to hide all of their components in the kitchen. We are also noticing profile panels to hide a dishwasher, or to hide a fridge. Those kinds of things are very popular. We have noticed in design here that the islands are getting much larger in the kitchen, so they are taking the place of tables and becoming more like an entertainment centre.

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CA: What about the materials that are being used these days? At one time everything was wood and then came man-made products. ME: W  e still see a lot of both. Cherry wood is losing its popularity and we are getting a lot more birch and oak, and because everyone wants a green kitchen, the bamboo materials are up and coming. Thermofoils are still quite popular, but now we are seeing more textured ther-

mofoil and more high gloss thermofoil, a bit more of a modern look. CA: N  ot so long ago kitchen colour tended to be on the darker side. ME: Right now the big trend is the lighter colours. White is still a classic; it goes with everything. We are seeing a lot of grey, and it’s being said for 2013 that taupe shades of grey are going to be popular. You can mix grey with a white for a nice cool look, but you can also do grey with a darker tone for a more glamorous look. CA: What are the perennial favourites in countertops and what are emerging as the newer materials? ME: We still see a lot of solid surfaces, lots of granite, lots of marble. Quartz is becoming quite popular because it is more renewable stone. We have seen some glass countertops, and glass for backsplashes. You can paint the back of the glass, and because of the increase in LED lighting, you can create a nice ambiance with the backlit glass. CA: What are the trends in lighting? ME: The reason for the LED’s popularity is that it’s not as hot as halogen, and they last longer than incandescent lighting, so more people are using LED as their task lighting. CA: Does the stainless steel sink remain the favourite? ME: Stainless steel is making a comeback, mainly because stainless steel is the most popular appliance choice. There are lots of new shapes, and stainless is not as expensive as clay or stone. CA: Stainless steel appliances are still the first choice? ME: They seem to be the norm. You can get the more expensive stainless appliances, but there are also more of the everyday appliances in the same types of finishes. This interview has been edited and condensed.

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with Brillion technology, which means plugging a GE Nucleus home energy manager into a wall socket that will communicate with all Brillion items in the house. This allows homeowners to get maintenance and service advisories, and to monitor their energy usage. Of course, any purchase of any appliance comes with a caveat: make sure it carries an Energy Star sticker. As important as the appliances are, cabinetry gives them a good run for their money when it comes to trends and innovation. Mike Piggot, national account manager at CanSave, in Barrie, Ont., says in the last couple of years colour and variety have been growing. “People are getting away from the traditional like the oaks and the natural maples; they are pretty much a thing of the past.” His colleague Jim Harvey, sales manager for Cabinetsmith at CanSave, agrees. He says the biggest trend right now is colour versus stain. “That is going to con-

tinue for probably the next five years,” says Harvey. “So whoever can service that clientele is going to do really, really well.” The other big trends are the prompt availability of product and full design service because everyone is in a hurry today, Harvey continues. “That’s the key going forward. People really aren’t willing to buy something here, buy another part of there, get another piece of it in another location.” Elsewhere, Harvey says new colours and new thermofoils are gaining popularity, stepping up from melamine to get a much truer wood grain look. “Mrs. Smith really wants to show off her kitchen,” he says. The ‘box’ in cabinetry is not going to change much, Harvey explains, but there are changes coming to the door. Wood will become a smaller part of the market, and thermofoil and solid colour or solid paint will continue to grow. “That’s definitely the trend that’s coming: painted doors,” says Piggot. “I think

you are going to see some wild colours like reds and oranges. People are getting more bold. Natural maple, natural oak, natural cherry have all gone. It’s all painted finishes.” Of course, all the wonderful appliances and all the great cabinetry in the world will not mean much if no one can see them clearly. That means lighting has to be chosen carefully. CanSave’s 20/20 designer Melissa Edwards, says LED lighting is very much on trend. It does not get as hot as halogen, she says, and lasts longer than incandescent lights. Recessed lighting in the kitchen’s ceiling supplies good coverage and at the same time contributes to a sense of openness. Still, whether your kitchen’s lights are recessed or open, they should be directed at all work areas, and under the counter lights are a boon. After all, for all the entertaining that goes on in today’s kitchens, it is still the busiest room in the house and good light means a more productive space.

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FEATURE

Opportunity

Knocks Contractors should pay close attention to exterior door safety, sustainability and style.

PHOTO: MADERO

BY NESTOR E. ARELLANO

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ast winter, Andrew Kelly, a sales and installation specialist with Global Windows and Doors, got a frantic call from a customer who said ice was forming on the hinges of a high-end entry door he bought that fall. “The homeowner had installed the door himself,” Kelly recalls. “Unfortunately, he forgot a crucial step of insulating the space between the wall and the door. As the temperature dipped, the cold outside air entered through the side of the door, mixed with the warm air in his house, and created ice on the hinges.” Kelly often relates the story to illustrate to both avid DIYers and professional contractors the importance of proper door installation. He also uses the anecdote to bring home the point that exterior doors should be treated differently from their counterparts inside the home, which occupy a relatively safe a stable environment. “Exterior doors need to be constructed of hardier stuff because they are meant to be a barrier against the elements, temperature extremes, intruders and look good doing it,” he says. “Contractors need to be familiar not only with product developments, but design trends as well.”

An open door to opportunity Many contractors can easily collect more than three to four times the cost of a simple door installation job by offering clients to design and

create doorways that add style and value to their homes, according to industry experts. “The front door can be the exterior focal point of a home’s style,” says Chris Sexsmith, Calgary-based branch manager of Madero Doors and Hardware. “By choosing the right combination of hardware, moulding and casing, contractors can help homeowners create a wide variety of looks to suit any taste.” Value-added services, such as the incorporation of so-called “smartsecurity” features like digital locks and networked security systems will further boost a contractor’s income opportunities. The ability to ride the green trend and offer environmentallyfriendly and energy-efficient solutions, is another selling point not to be ignored. To cover their bases, contractors should look closely at exterior door safety, sustainability and style.

A quick look inside exterior doors Exterior doors typically come in four different materials: steel, aluminium, fibreglass and wood. In many cases manufacturers produce hybrid units that contain a combination of these materials. For example, a unit’s inside frame may be made of woods, injected polyurethane foam inserts can be used as the core insulating material and the outside shell can be made of steel, aluminium or PVC. Insulation is critical for hollow shelled doors be-

Design Talk Door designs are swinging back towards the custom contemporary look, according to Chris Sexsmith, branch manager of Madero Doors and Hardware in Calgary. “A couple of years ago, the shaker and craftsman style were very popular for front doors,” says Sexsmith, who makes it a point to track design trends. “I think the

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next three to four years will show a shift towards more contemporary looks.” Still, even with the prevalence of clean lines, Sexsmith foresees continued attention to detail, with designers putting emphasis on distinctive hardware touches and accent pieces such as door knockers and handles.

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Nailing current door trends


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cause moisture and frost can form on the inside of un-insulated doors. Aluminium, steel and fibreglass doors have a typical insulation value of R-5 to R-6. In Canada, steel units remain the top selling exterior door in the market, according to Kelly. The rigidity, ease of maintenance, impressive insulation properties and low cost make them a favourite, especially in regions exposed to extreme cold temperatures. Steel units are also stronger than fibreglass or wood. They do not crack or warp, but may become dented or dinged. Prices start at about $150 per unit without hardware or glazing. Most premium steel doors have a 24-gauge skin and a steel frame. Many doors have a baked on polyester finish that requires periodic repainting, but more expensive models come with a vinyl coating that is more weather-resistant. Some models even have wood-fibre coating or laminated wood veneers. Fibreglass doors are finding increased use in most new home constructions. Although most fibreglass units are not as strong as steel doors, they are tough and stand up to harsh climates. These low-maintenance units come in styles that mimic wood-grain textures and can be stained to emulate oak, cherry, walnut and other woods. They are generally more expensive than steel doors with prices starting at $200 per unit to about $4,000. One disadvantage is that fibreglass doors can crack under strong impact. Aluminium doors also use an insulation core covered by a metal skin. These doors typically have a baked-on enamel finish to eliminate rust and the need for

In recent years door dimensions have also been changing, observes Carlo Ianni, director of sales and marketing for Tru Tech Doors. “I think the current trend of higher ceilings in most new condo units is translating itself to taller doors,” he says. For instance, the popularity of 9’ ceilings has bumped up the usual 6’8” door height to 8’. Larger appliances and greater awareness of accessibility issues are also leading many manufacturers to produce doors that are 36” to 42” wide

painting. There are dozens of styles to choose from with smooth or wood-grain finishes. Aluminium is a very light material and can be dented or scratched. Most models start at around $600. Versatility and natural beauty are the main selling points of wood doors, says Mike Snider, CEO of Madawaska Doors Inc., a Schomberg, Ont. company that specializes in custom-designed doors. Although now increasingly rare in mainstream constructions, wood doors are popular choices for traditional and many high-priced homes. New manufacturing techniques have made wood doors more resistant to warping due to temperature changes. There are

instead of the traditional 32” wide doors. Many custom home projects are also leaning towards glass-pane and sidepanel inserts to lend an air of uniqueness to the front door, Ianni says. “When using glass panels, be mindful of your door’s orientations,” he points out. “Ideally you would like a glass paned door where the sun is shining to let in more light. A south-facing or tree-shaded location could mean a cold door.” Contractors as well as DIY-inclined homeowners can jazz up an otherwise

hardwood varieties that are resistant to termites, and some manufacturers stain or apply polyurethane finish to wood doors to prevent the absorption of moisture and swelling. Expensive units are made of solid oak, cherry, walnut, mahogany, maple, fir, pine or other exotic varieties and start at around $600, with complete systems retailing for up to $6,000 and some custom designed units costing more than $10,000. A cheaper alternative is wood veneer units with injected insulation material at their core. These doors sell for around $300 to $600 and offer better insulation values than conventional units (around R-5 compared to R-2).

plain doorway by adding some simple touches that need not break the bank. “For example, hinges, door knobs and lock sets that come with various finishes and designs can evoke certain period styles,” Sexsmith says. Arches and decorative casings can be easily constructed and installed using pre-formed wood or synthetic materials to add visual impact to a doorway. Drama can also be achieved with minimal cost through the use of unconventional colours like deep blue and bright red or the use of strategic lighting.

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Snider says the appeal of real solid wood is unparalleled. “Cheap moulded and veneer doors may be beautiful but over time they will show their faults,” he says. Wood doors also lead the pack in eco-friendliness, according to Snider. “Wood doors sourced from lumber harvested through sustainable practices or from salvaged wood are probably the greenest doors in the market,” he says. “Unlike doors from other materials, wood units can be easily recycled or reduced without harm to the environment.”

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Energy efficiency and government rebates Many door styles today incorporate partial to full length glass inserts. Although they enhance a door’s style, glass panels can bump up the cost and lower its insulating properties. Solid glass panels are not energy efficient, since they are good conductors of cold air. A single-pane insert has an insulation value of R-1, while double pane models provide R-2. For better energy efficiency, manufacturers suggest dual-pane Low-E (low-emission) panels (R-3), dual-pane Low-E and Argon-filled panels (R-4) or triple-pane Low-E and Argon-filled panels (R-6). Contractors looking to offer environmentally friendly options can look for the Energy Star label. The Canadian government uses the Energy Star system to identify appliances, equipment, and building components as energy efficient. Choosing Energy Star certified doors, for instance can help homeowners reduce their home energy expenses by 7-12%. Contractors should be mindful to recommend exterior doors that match their climate zone. Canada is divided into four climate zones, with Zone A being the mildest and Zone D being the coldest. Contractors can further help familiarize their customers with government energy-efficiency rebates and grants available in their jurisdic-

tions. For example, Ontario and New Brunswick homeowners can receive a $40/unit rebate from the government when they replace existing doors with an Energy Star unit qualified for their zone, and residents of British Columbia get a $70 tax-free rebate for every unit replaced, Kelly says.

Locking in on security One of the primary functions of an exterior door is to protect the occupants and contents of a home, says Jeff Smuk, national commercial development manager for Stanley, Black and Decker Inc., the parent company of Weiser Locks. In the last four decades, he says, the typical homeowner has elevated his front door security stance to reflect current technological advances. “Back in the 1970s, many homes were secured by simple key and knob systems,” says Smuk. “Later, deadbolts became common, but today you have all sorts of security systems.” For instance, he says, Weiser offers what it calls Smart Key technology systems, which feature non-key combination door locks that enable homeowners to program and re-program the combination numbers. “A more advanced version of this system can be incorporated with third-party home automation security systems,” says Smuk. “This will enable homeowners to lock, open and reprogram locks using their mobile devices or Internet-connected computer.” One common security pitfall that contractors can remind clients of is concentrating exclusively on the front door, while leaving auxiliary entrances relatively unprotected. “Very often, I find that side doors and garage doors are left with the weakest locking devices,” says Smuk, who previously worked as a locksmith and even helped police enter buildings used for criminal activities. “It is almost like leaving the front door open.”

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CA

FEATURE

cutabove a

BY STEFAN DUBOWSKI

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lthough the economic recession that hindered people’s appetites for home improvement has (officially, at least) ended, contractors continue to operate in a competitive market. Perhaps more than ever, it pays to know about the latest materials and trends. In lumber, noteworthy new products include two wood-based offerings that stand as alternatives to traditional wood. A production trend in the forestry trade raises questions for professionals who rely on access to high-quality wood. 38

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Durable wood alternatives In the last decade or so, wood-plastic composites (WPCs) and modified wood have come to the fore as sturdy and environmentally-friendly choices. From the contractor’s perspective, these options have some pros and cons. WPCs consist of wood and plastic mixed together. This commingled building material is most often used for outdoor decks, as well as fences, landscaping timbers, siding, furniture and trim work.

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

WPC characteristics include: • Environmental friendliness: The plastic in WPCs can come from recycled material. WPCs can go on to be recycled when it is time to renovate. •M  oisture resistance: WPC planks do not absorb moisture the way traditional lumber does, so they do not expand and contract as much, and are resistant to rot. •C  olour options: WPC products come in a range of colours straight from the manufacturer, so contractors can put their paintbrushes away.

Introduced in the 1990’s, WPCs have become popular recently as homeowners and builders seek longer-lasting wood alternatives. Owl Distribution Inc. started offering WPC products from TimberTech last year. (See “The TimberTech line,” page 41 for more information.)

PHOTO: OWL DISTRIBUTION INC.

The lumber industry is always developing innovative products for contractors. At the same time, a “green” trend in the forestry trade may cause contractors some concern.


“We noticed a rise in demand for lowmaintenance decking, particularly for PVC and capped composite,” says Mike Schneider, Owl’s specialty products manager in Ottawa. “A homeowner will put down a gorgeous cedar deck, but it will only look that good for the first year if they are lucky. And they have to treat it and stain it and stay on top of it every couple of years. Ongoing maintenance leads to growing frustration.”

homeowners who might like to change the colours of their decks every so often. TimberTech does not recommend painting WPCs. The company does not guarantee that the newly applied hue will stay as vibrant as the baked-in colour will. Another potential problem: price. WPCs are more expensive than wood. Schneider says a product like ReliaBoard would cost twice as much as cedar, and Earthwood Evolutions, three times as much. If the homeowner really wants a natural look, he should pony up for the pricier version. Although basic WPCs are available in what manufacturers call “cedar,” the colour is far from realistic. “It certainly would not fool anybody,” Schneider says. “When you get into the higher-end capped composite product, you have a much better looking wood grain.” For the most part, he says, WPC’s positives outweigh its negatives. Yes, it is relatively expensive and it is difficult to paint, but it lasts longer and requires less maintenance than wood.

Modified wood heats up the market Modified wood is an option for projects that call for mold-resistant wood with a natural grain. Manufacturers apply chemical or heat treatments to transform regular wood into modified wood. According to a report from FPInnovations, a forestry research group, chemical treatments employ acetic anhydride (a substance also known as vinegar when diluted) to make the wood r-esistant to mold, mildew and rot. Thermal modification does the same thing, but this process, in which the wood is baked at 180 to 230 °C, is more common than chemical modification. It also gives the wood a rich, dark colour. Whereas WPC manufacturers tout their products’ superior durability and strength, modified wood producers avoid making similar claims. An article in Wood Business magazine notes that thermally modified wood breaks more easily than

New installation techniques Working with WPCs is slightly different than working with wood. For instance, particular fastening systems enable contractors to install completely smooth deck surfaces with no exposed screws. According to Schneider, a specialized pneumatic gun makes installing TimberTech products quick and easy. Once WPCs are installed, they stand the test of time. Colours resist fading. Warranties last as long as 25 years. Yet this durability introduces a challenge for CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

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regular wood. Thermally modified wood also changes colour over time. It produces a grey tinge that may or may not suit homeowners’ tastes. The article recommends using a UV protection product to maintain the original colour. WPCs and modified wood give contractors a wider range of building materials to work with. Meanwhile, contractors may well wonder how the bioenergy trend might impact their access to traditional wood products.

Burning question about bioenergy Bioenergy is renewable energy derived from biological sources such as trees and other plants. Pulp and paper mills use bioenergy. They collect material left over from sawmills (bark, shavings and sawdust) to power their systems. Over the last five years or so, bioenergy has also been touted as an environmentallyfriendly alternative to liquid and natural gas, to power cars and municipal electrical systems. If bioenergy booms, will the forestry industry focus on producing bioenergy material instead of lumber? If it did, what would that mean for people whose work relies on access to high-quality wood products? Paul Lansbergen, vice-president of regulations and partnerships at the Forest Products Association of Canada, spells it out: bioenergy is no threat to the lumber supply. “Making lumber is really what pays for taking the trees out of the forest,” he says, explaining that the forestry industry

would not trade out its lucrative lumber business any time soon. That said, the Canadian market for wood-based bioenergy might be opening up. Lansbergen points out that while most Canadian wood pellets are sent to Europe to power electricity plants, some power plants in Canada are starting to consider this fuel. “You may have heard that the Ontario government wants to reduce the use of coal,” he says. “They are switching one of the northern Ontario coal-fired plants to use wood pellets.” Asked about the environmental impact of bioenergy, Lansbergen says producers have systems to mitigate that.

“Modern sawmills have baffles that keep the smoke in the burning chamber longer, so you get a more complete burn and lower emissions. Pulp and paper mills use equipment at the end of the chimney specifically to capture the emissions, so particulates and other contaminants are much better controlled.” The bioenergy trend may not affect access to lumber. Still, contractors would be wise to learn about alternatives such as WPCs and modified wood. When clients say they want projects to be durable, costeffective and environmentally-friendly, savvy builders will point to these options as worthy of consideration.

The TimberTech line PHOTO: OWL DISTRIBUTION INC.

T

imberTech’s products do not have to be stained or sealed. They keep their colour for the long term and they come with a 25-year warranty for residential applications. ReliaBoard is TimberTech’s most affordable WPC. It is available in cedar and grey colours, spans 16” on centre, and comes in 12’, 16’ and 20’ lengths. Earthwood Evolutions features a natural hardwood style with authentic graining. The composite is encapsulated in a plastic shell, which makes it highly resistant to weather, wear and tear. (This sort of product is known as a “capped composite.”) Colours include Pacific rosewood, Pacific teak and walnut. The material spans 16” on centre. It is available in 12’, 16’ and 20’ lengths in grooved format, and 16’ and 20’ lengths in solid format.

Floorizon speaks to the trend that sees homeowners bringing indoor style to outdoor spaces. This tongue-and-grooved WPC is self-gapping and fastener-free, presenting a smooth, evenly spaced deck surface. Available in cedar, grey and redwood colours, it spans 24” on centre and comes in 12’, 16’ and 20’ lengths. TwinFinish is a two-sided composite deck plank designed for deck built-ins, such as benches and planters. Available in cedar, grey and redwood colours, it features a grained pattern on one side and a serrated surface on the other for a striking visual effect. It spans 20” on centre, and comes in 12’, 16’ and 20’ lengths (grooved), and 16’ and 20’ lengths (solid). FenceScape is designed for fence installations. No painting, staining or sealing required. With the colour baked in, the product contains UV-inhibiting pigments that resist fading. CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

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GREENING OF THE PRODUCTS

CA

FEATURE

For some, wood is the king of environmentally-friendly building. Still others look to the heating and energyperformance gains from cement and plastics. BY LAWRENCE CUMMER

I

t is critical to understand the environmental impact of the materials you use. As building codes place ever-higher demand for energy performance, material choice is playing a crucial role in building greener, more-sustainable structures. Unfortunately, there are no simple answers to be found in the quest for the greenest choice in materials. Instead, contractors and home designers today must incorporate into their decisions numerous factors from application and raw materials used to energy efficiency, carbon emissions, durability, waste and disposal. While “ecolabels” like Energy Star in North America or the Carbon Reduction Label in the U.K. help, they often look only at specific aspects of eco-friendliness, such as energy performance or greenhouse gas emissions. To meet increasingly strict environmental demands, many in the industry call for contractors, builders and architects to take a more holistic view.

PHOTO: ALAN KARCHMER

Looking beyond the labels Many environmental efforts related to materials have historically focused on reducing initial embodied energy, which is the non-renewable energy used in acquiring raw materials, processing, manufacturing, transportation and construction. Today; a “bigger picture view” that looks at overall lifecycle is needed, says Rick McGrath, director of codes and standards – engineered structures at the Cement Association of Canada (CAC): “What is becoming increasingly clear is that while many industry groups and environmental movements have been focused on initial embodied energy, it turns out that this is only a small portion of the energy used over the life of a building.” That portion, McGrath says, represents between about 5-6% of the overall energy used in commercial buildings or 3-6% of the energy used in the life of a residential building. McGrath illustrates the point with an example of extremes: “To minimize your initial embodied energy you could always erect a tent, but then you would be spending copious amounts of energy to heat it.” Adam Robertson, technical services specialist at the Canadian Wood Council, sees it slightly differently. He suggests energy-efficiency is becoming the norm and those in the construction industry are being confronted with pressure to push the envelope further, making initial embodied energy even more important. “In my mind what a lot of contractors, builders and designers were focused on before was the operational energy of a

building, which is very important because typically it is the largest area of consumption,” he says. “We are moving into an era of strict energy codes and net-zero buildings, though, and in this realm the selection of materials, and their embodied effects become more relevant to the overall impact.”

Lumber and Engineered Wood: Wood’s role in green building might not come as a surprise to many contractors. It is the only widely-used renewable building material, says Alex Wimbush, regional sales manager for engineered products at Taiga Building Products. “Engineered wood, in particular, also tends to target fast-growing smaller trees to avoid cutting large-diameter old growth.” Proponents point out that engineered wood further reduces its environmental impact by using the waste fibre as biomass to fuel mills, and by making better use of wood fibre in the final product. The design of engineered wood affords the same strength and support as traditional lumber, but often using only about half as much fibre. Robertson says the CWC and the lumber industry are currently conducting a great deal of work that is focused on the development of environmental product declarations (EPDs) around wood. These EPDs provide transparency around environmental impact of a product throughout its lifecycle, from raw materials sourcing to energy use and efficiency, and ultimately its disposal (or reuse). “It’s like a nutrition label for the environment, on it you CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

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will have all the CO2 emissions associated with the product,” Robertson says. “We are currently in the process of developing six EPDs for North American wood products: softwood lumber, LVL (Laminated veneer lumber), glulam, plywood, OSB (oriented strand board) and I-joist.” Wood has a long, intricate carbon story. Forests are carbon sinks, accumulating and storing carbon, and Robertson says managed and harvested forests act as huge carbon reservoirs. When trees are turned into lumber the carbon stored in the wood fibre becomes locked into product rather than released into the atmosphere, he says. Perhaps woods’ biggest environmental benefit, according to Robertson, is as a substitute for other materials with a heavy environmental impact. “Wood has a great embodied energy story,” he says. “Wood products have some of the lowest embodied energies… Typically lower than many of the other competing structural and building materials. If we are not using wood then you have to ask, what are we using instead?” Finally, wood utilization along the supply chain is close to 100%. For every tree that leaves the forest, Robertson says that less than 1% of that tree becomes waste. Chippings and shavings, for example, are used to heat mills. “Again, this is a substitution story. You are using a biomass fuel which is renewable, instead of natural gas.”

Cement and masonry: When it comes to reducing energy use over the life of a building, concrete, bricks and stone may have some advantages over wood, because the materials’ thermal mass can absorb, store and release heat back into a physical space. Thermal mass describes how the mass of the building resists temperature fluctuations; buildings with larger thermal mass can better maintain temperature inside by absorbing heat when the surrounding temperature is high and releasing it back when cool. “What we have found through lifecycle analysis studies is that concrete construction, because of its thermal mass, allows you to achieve greater energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions,” McGrath says. “Our studies have also indicated that the end of life and decommission of concrete represents less than 0.5% of the energy used in the project itself.” Because of this the CAC suggests that a concrete or masonry structure’s global warming potential can be up to 8% lower than a corresponding wood-frame structure over a 60-year period, before factoring in the impact of energy reducing technologies. The organization cites Manitoba Hydro Place, in downtown Winnipeg, as an example of how a building’s concrete thermal mass, when combined with smart energy technologies and elements of sustainable design, can cut energy use by up to 70%. Over the last 40 years the cement industry has reduced its CO2 signature by around 40%, McGrath says. “As with anything the earliest reductions were the easiest to achieve, so over the last 20 years we’ve reduced energy consumption in creating concrete by about 10%. That just shows how close we are to the point of diminishing returns.” Since approximately 60% of cement’s carbon emissions come from the calcination of the limestone in the manufacturing process, the industry has focused its attention in areas where it can make a difference: transitioning to alternative fuels in

their kilns, and mixing in industrial by-products like fly ash and slag to further reduce CO2 signature. In 2011, the CAC and its members introduced to Canada an innovative cement called Contempra to further reduce its environmental footprint. By altering the limestone-to-clinker ratio in the manufacturing process, Contempra decreases CO2 emissions by 10%, yet still produces concrete with the same strength and durability of regular Portland cement, according to the association.

Plastic and vinyl: Marion Axmith, director general of issues at the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) says there are environmental myths around plastic that her organization is working hard to dismiss: namely a perceived negative impact from plastic. “Plastic building and construction products contribute positively to sustainability,” Axmith says, pointing to countless examples, including housewrap, pipes, and insulation. In fact, there are few parts of a home untouched by plastic, from PVC siding and vinyl roofing membranes at its top to the use of XPS (extruded polystyrene foam) and EPS (expanded polystyrene) in Insulating Concrete Forms at its base. In many of the areas it touches, plastic helps to improve energy performance. “For example, if you take 35 litres of fuel to make enough housewrap for one 550 sq. m. house (1,800 sq ft.), you can save 1,250 litres of heating fuel per year, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,793 kg of CO2 per year,” Axmith says. Still, since many plastic products are behind walls and pipes, she describes them as the “best kept environmental secrets.” She adds that in Canada the use of plastic exterior foam insulation reduces greenhouse gas emissions by three million tonnes a year, or the equivalent annual CO2 output of 700,000 cars. Typically light-weight, plastic reduces energy cost related to transportation; its low maintenance can help reduce VOCs (volatile organic compounds); and, Axmith says, most plastics are recyclable. For example, after the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, large building and vehicle wrap graphics supplied by 3M Canada were reclaimed and approximately 200,000 sq. ft. of material was diverted from landfill to construction. Through the CPIA, 3M Canada teamed up with a flooring manufacturer who turned the colourful, sticky and irregularly-shaped graphics into key ingredient of high-recycled-content flooring. “I think the trend today is toward increased energy efficiency and plastic building products by their very nature can not only conserve natural resources, but do more with less through their full product lifecycle, which will save energy, reducing greenhouse gas emission,” says Axsmith. No one material is the be-all and end-all of green building. In fact, products like ICFs often use a mix of cement and polystyrenes. Where some contractors see their green efforts rooted in wood, others mix in concrete and masonry, and plastics form an important third option. Without simple answers, contractors need to do their homework and be cognizant of the environmental impact of their material choices. The way Robertson sees it “the materials aspect has not been as important in the past as other forms of energy-saving, but it’s becoming more and more important as we move into highperformance and more energy-efficient building designs.” CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

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CA

FEATURE

Well-constructed building envelopes can control temperature, moisture and sound better than ever. BY JOHN G. SMITH

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CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

PHOTO: RESISTO

Sealed Tight


CA

FEATURE

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

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Every envelope is only as valuable as its contents, and a “building envelope” is no exception. When combining carefully selected building products, the outer shell that includes everything from windows and doors to house wrap and a vapour barrier can create an effective divide between the living space and the outside world. As familiar as the individual products may sound, they also continue to evolve in a bid to better protect against air, moisture and even unwanted noise. “What I see as a major change in terms of the building envelope is the greater interest in the thermal efficiency or the energy efficiency of the building envelope as a whole,” says Gilles Landry, product line manager at Building Products of Canada. Recent changes to the National Energy Code of Canada, adopted in many provincial building codes, prove his point. These include the guidelines that say windows and doors cannot take up more than 40% of a wall in southern communities like Toronto and Vancouver, but they also allow trade-offs between different systems. Enhanced HVAC equipment, for example, can be used to offset the energy losses associated with larger “fenestrations” in the structure’s envelope. “Continuous insulation, eliminating thermal bridging, and R value are the driving forces to support energy efficiency,” adds Karen Johnson, category manager for Guardian Building products. While most regional building codes that govern building envelopes are based on their national counterparts, there are differences. “Everybody will have some

tweaks here and there, depending on the province,” Landry says. The changes have hardly been limited to the codes themselves. There is certainly a difference in the available building products. In many cases, sheets of traditional 15-lb. felt paper have been replaced by wraps of synthetic materials that can breathe and more effectively release moisture from the wall, says Bernie Gauthier, national sales manager for Resisto, offering just one example. “We have really improved as far as the air leakage,” he says. “Product evolution from ‘black paper’ to house wrap with drainage planes, commercial and stucco applications are now morphing to roll or spray applied systems,” Johnson adds. There are also differences in the qualities found within the individual building categories. Some inferior “15-lb.” papers have been known to lack the amount of asphalt needed to effectively block moisture. Selected house wraps even include microscopic pores instead of physical perforations, with its designers saying that the pores are better at repelling air and water. “Just going with the most well-known brand does not mean you are getting the best product,” Johnson says. “Perm-ratings, UV resistance ratings, compatibility with other products, and ease of use vary greatly.” While tight and continuous seals are important in any envelope, installers also need to consider how the products options can affect an existing flow of air through the structure. “We focus so much on being air tight, we forget that we need air flow,” Gauthier says, referring to challenges that can emerge with an air-starved HVAC system. “Especially with retrofits, if they want to improve

their house envelope, they need to ask themselves, ‘Where is the existing insulation? How air tight is the building? Are my windows energy efficient?’” Meanwhile, it can be challenging to convince some builders to promote upgraded material in a building envelope in the first place, especially when many customers are focusing more attention on visible enhancements like kitchens, floors or bathrooms. “To be honest, there is a lot of resistance to change at the builder level,” Landry agrees. “The building envelope, once the walls are closed, you do not see… At the consumer level there is value to it, but at the end of the day, price is still a major driving force.” Still, he says consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental benefits, and insulating factors are bound to become more important as heating bills continue to rise. “The biggest issue with new construction is always getting those tract builders to use products that are superior. They will not use ice and water shields on the roofs,” Gauthier says. “If you have a lot of air leakage there will be ice build ups, and eventually water will come in, which affects the house envelopes.” Indeed, as important as meeting the building codes will be, they are set as minimum standards. There is always room for improvement. An extra $2,500 invested into the envelope can make a big difference in energy efficiency and heating bills. It is the type of difference that can help one home builder to differentiate himself from the next. This leaves builders in the role of selling the features to consumers. Framers share in the job, too, Landry says. “If they start in-

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

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stalling a product that causes problems and they run into issues and difficulties, then they will have to turn around and ask for a higher price to install the product. That can cause a builder to look at the alternatives, the different solutions.” The benefits of superior products are hardly limited to the insulating value alone. Various enhancements can lead to Energy Star or LEED ratings, gaining related points for everything from recycled and recyclable content, such as the insulating panels made of wood fibres, to the location of a manufacturing facility. Homeowners along busy roadways may be particularly interested in the related noise controls. There is a direct link between an air tight envelope and a sound-resisting space. “The relation between thermal resistance and acoustic resistance is very similar,” Landry says. As far as the products and systems have evolved, though, they still required the skilled hands of a trained installer, especially at points where one layer connects to the next. “If it is not installed properly, it is not going to work,” Gauthier says, offering one

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example in the form of the continuous layer of tape needed to seal the openings around any windows. “Most of the leakage in the home will be around the windows and the sill of your floor plates and also, obviously, the attic.” “It is one of the biggest problems with the building envelope,” he says. Indeed, the seals in a building envelope’s layers can be just as important as the product itself. Some waterproofing membranes are tackier than others. Primers can also ensure a tighter grip between membranes and porous surfaces such as OSB or untreated wood. “If there is some dust or any type of debris on the house wrap or it has been sitting there for awhile, obviously you should be using a primer,” Gauthier says. “It gives it a better bond to the existing substrate.” One quick way to check if the primer is needed is to place a small piece of tape on the house wrap and try to pull it from the substrate. A properly applied house wrap should rip during the test. Granted, not all primers are created equal. A solvent-based formula could actually melt the PCV around a window, he warns.

CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE

Even the way pieces are aligned can make a difference in an envelope’s ultimate barriers. House wraps are generally installed up the wall, from the bottom of a structure, and overlap at every seam. Each product will have its own standards on the amount it overlaps. “Attention to sealing the envelope outlined by air barrier standards should be followed. Detailing around doors, windows and intrusions is equally important to overlap and seam,” Johnson says. “Plastic cap fasteners or 1” crown staples are ideal for installing house wrap. An exterior caulking sealant is prescribed for detailing.” Then it is a matter of finding the right combination of products for a specific job. An asphalt paper like Vaporex continues to be popular because it repels water better than an air barrier on its own, Landry says. “You will see a lot of people who will have polyethylene on the inside, installed for the vapour barrier. That also procures an air barrier, but then they also put an air barrier sheet on the outside of the wall. You have a double barrier to stop air leakage, which becomes very efficient.” Some products even combine multiple materials. Excel High Performance Sheathing, for example, includes a membrane that is actually laminated to the panel. An Enermax panel laminated with aluminum foil, on the inside of the wall, builds on the layers of fibreglass insulation behind it. “They’re all structural products,” Landry adds. They can be installed up to three storeys high without any additional braces, and even with studs spaced at 24” centres. The panels are also lighter than OSB and be cut with a knife. Interest in specific products can also vary from one region to the next. Reflective insulation and radiant barriers are particularly popular in Quebec, and offer an effective vapour barrier as well as enhanced insulation, Gauthier says. These products are most effective when attached to strapping like a series of 1x3s. “The more air space that you have, the better performance you get out of the product,” he says. Installers just need to be careful to bring properly-sized door jambs along with this product, since the added layer will increase the width of a wall assembly by ¾”. Any joints will need to be sealed with a reflective aluminum tape or duct tape. After all, every envelope needs to be sealed tight.


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thE pink panthEr™ & © 1964-2012 metro-goldwyn-mayer studios inc. all rights reserved. the colour pink is a registered trademark of owens corning. © 2012 owens corning. all rights reserved. †the insulation is manufactured with a blowing agent with 70% less global warming potential as compared to owens corning previous blowing agents. grEEngUarD children & schoolssm mark is a registered certification mark used under license through the grEEngUarD Environmental institute. owens corning pink™ insulation is grEEngUarD certified for indoor air quality, except bonded loosefill products. © 2012 owens corning. all rights reserved.

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created ecotouch™ PINK™ FIBergLas® Insulation with PureFiber™ technology. made with 99% natural** material and over 70%* recycled content, this breakthrough in insulation technology is easy to install and safe for homeowners. and now renovation projects can pay for themselves‡ because homeowners can save up to 28%^ on heating and cooling costs. so go green and use PINK™ in your next project.

SM

tHe PINK PaNtHer™ & © 1964-2012 metro-goldwyn-mayer studios Inc. all rights reserved. the colour PINK is a registered trademark of owens Corning. © 2012 owens Corning. all rights reserved. *70% recycled content is based on the average recycled glass content in all owens Corning fiberglass batts, rolls and unbonded loosefill insulation manufactured in Canada. sCs certified. **made with a minimum of 99% by weight natural materials consisting of minerals and plant-based compounds. ‡Insulating levels recommended should result in energy savings over time above the cost of the insulating cost, however, if you buy too much insulation, it can cost you more than you save on energy bills. ^Up to 28% 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 plus an increase from zero to r-20 in the basement walls 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. greeNgUard Children & schoolssm mark is a registered certification mark used under license through the greeNgUard environmental Institute. owens Corning PINK™ insulation is greeNgUard Certified for indoor air quality, except bonded loosefill products. this product has achieved greeNgUard Children & schools Certification and is verified to be formaldehyde free. © 2012 owens Corning. all rights reserved.

Contractor Advantage January / February 2013  

Kitchen Reno Issue

Contractor Advantage January / February 2013  

Kitchen Reno Issue