Contractor Advantage COMPLIMENTARY
C A N A D A’ S
PLUS: Safety Checklist Doors Inside Tools Engineered Wood Roofing
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Nothing sells a home faster than adding cost-effective, energy-efficient insulation and weatherization products. That’s what you get when you add Dow Building Solutions to your team. Our broad portfolio of energy-efficient sheathing, housewraps, spray foam insulation and accessories is backed by 65+ years of building science experience and industry knowledge. It’s building performance you can measure – in lower utility bills for homeowners, fewer call backs and increased referrals. Find out how Dow Building Solutions can help you reach your goal for long-lasting energy efficiency at www.insulateyourhome.ca or call 1-866-583-BLUE (2583).
The Hardest Working Team in the Building Industry ®
™ Trademark of The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or an affiliated company of Dow
™ © 2008, VANOC.
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July/August 2011 Vol. 17 No. 4
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
Editorial Director Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. Diane Jones Managing Editor Paul Barker Art Director Mark Ryan Contributors Nestor E. Arellano David Chilton Lawrence Cummer Victoria Downing Stefan Dubowski Genae Girard Josh Kerbel Paul Rhodes John G. Smith Advertising Enquiries Vendors whose products are carried in Castle Building Centres stores have the opportunity to advertise in
Features Beyond Safety / 22 Building a culture of health and safety can bring about rewards greater than just mitigating dangers and risks.
The Ins and Outs Of Doors / 29 Just as the correct installation of a door is critical, so too, given the ever rising cost of energy, is the door’s ability to reduce heat transfer.
A Power Tool Guide / 36 They may be called “inside tools,” but in reality most power tools designed for indoors find double duty outdoors.
Engineered Strong / 45 Canadian contractors will soon have access to a new engineered wood option that is robust enough to take the place of concrete and steel in certain applications.
Siding Fundamentals / 50 The right vinyl siding and a few installation techniques will deliver a dynamic look.
Raise the Roof / 56 This winter, major manufacturers began to apply lifetime warranties to all of their laminate product lines.
Contractor Advantage C A N A D A’ S
For more information or to reserve space in the next issue, contact: Diane Jones Advertising Manager, Phone: 905-564-3307 Fax: 905-564-6592 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Published and designed exclusively for Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. by Business Information Group Material Contact: Jessica Jubb 416-510-5194 Copyright 2011
Departments NEWS WATCH / 5
New contractor group formed
NEW PRODUCTS / 9
New and improved products
ONLINE MARKETING / 13
How small can win big
BUSINESS STRATEGIES / 14 SMART MONEY / 16 ECONOMICS 101 / 19 LEARNING CURVE / 21
Building a better budget
Low cost succession The Facebook HICCUP Dealing with power & codes
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Wanted: 320,000 Workers by 2019
Canada’s construction industry will need about 320,000 workers over the next eight years to meet demand for new construction and to replace retirements and mortalities. The finding, contained in a recently released national forecast of labour supply and demand from 2011-2019 by the Construction Sector Council (CSC), says Canada’s slowing population growth combined with its rising demand for large natural resource construction projects is challenging the industry to find the required number of skilled workers. However, officials say it is a challenge industry leaders are prepared for. “We are making an all-out effort to recruit from non-traditional labour sources such as youth, women, Aboriginal people, workers from other industries and foreign workers,” says George Gritziotis, executive director of the CSC. “We are working on government and industry programs that focus on recruitment, apprenticeship and training, certification, pan-Canadian stan-
dards and foreign credential recognition.” The forecast estimates that half of the industry’s total labour needs will be met with 163,000 first-time new entrants to the workforce, leaving a requirement of 157,000 workers, an average of about 15,000 workers per year over the 2011-2019 period. Demographic patterns are slowing growth by limiting the available workforce and restricting housing starts. At the same time, government and industry are planning large resource projects in response to domestic needs and international demands. Industry leaders are also looking to manage labour supply and demand, where possible, through interprovincial mobility. “A ripple effect will be created across all the provinces as major projects from Newfoundland and Labrador to British Columbia first draw in and then release large numbers of key trades,” says Gritziotis. “For example, one of the most likely opportunities to balance markets comes late in
the forecast, when the announced utility project in the Greater Toronto Area and major projects in Alberta will likely draw in workers as major projects end in other provinces. “ The forecast for most provinces includes declining employment in residential construction, with steady but limited growth in renovations and repairs. Each year, the CSC releases nine-year labour forecasts following consultations with industry leaders, including owners, contractors and labour groups, as well as governments and educational institutions. The national and regional scenariobased forecasts are released annually and are available online at www.csc-ca.org. Forecast data is also available at www. constructionforecasts.ca. They allow for instant access to residential and non-residential construction investment data, as well as details on the supply and demand for more than 30 skilled trades over the next nine years all broken down by province and region.
Canadian Housing Market Stabilizing, CMHC Finds Housing starts are forecast to stabilize at levels consistent with demographic fundamentals in 2011 and 2012, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) second quarter Housing Market Outlook, Canada Edition. Housing starts will be in the range of 166,600 to 192,200 units in 2011, with a point forecast of 179,500 units. In 2012, housing starts will be in the range of 163,200 to 207,500 units, with a point forecast of 185,300 units. “Modest economic growth, in conjunction with relatively low mortgage rates, will continue to support demand for new homes in 2011 and 2012, said Bob Dugan, chief economist for the CMHC. “Nonetheless, we are expecting new and existing housing markets to fall in line with demographic fundamentals, as changes to mortgage rules take hold.” Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 183,600 units in May, which is up from the 178,700 units the previous month. “Housing starts increased modestly in May due to an increase in multiple construction in most provinces and in rural starts,”
said Dugan. “The increase in multiples and rural starts was partly off-set by a decrease in single starts.” The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 0.8% to 161,000 units in May. Urban multiple starts were up by 4% in May to 100,000 units, while single urban starts decreased by 4.1% to 61,000 units. May’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 33.3% in British Columbia, by 13.5% in Quebec, by 11% in the Atlantic region, and by 10% in the Prairie region. Ontario posted a decrease of 22.9% over the same period. CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE
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DUST CONTROL™ Drywall Compound by CGC is the first and only joint compound to reduce airborne dust.
Dust Falls Straight to the Floor! Introducing DUST CONTROL™, a revolutionar y new dr ywall compound by CGC. DUST CONTROL™ is the first and only dr ywall compound engineered to significantly reduce airborne dust from sanding. It is ideal for those jobs where protection from dust infiltration is crucial such as homes, schools and office environments. With DUST CONTROL™ Dr ywall Compound, dust falls straight to the floor, making clean-up faster and easier than ever.
The CGC logo and DUST CONTROL are trademarks of CGC Inc.
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News Watch Holmes Opens Skills Canada Competition In Quebec City Skills/Compétences Canada officials, a not-for-profit organization that actively promotes careers in skilled trades and technologies, along with celebrity contractor Mike Holmes officially opened the Skills Canada National Competition, which took place in Quebec City June 1-4. On day one of the event, Mike Holmes was greeted at the carpentry contest An estimated 500 young Canadians competed in area by National Technical Committee member Herb Grootenboer. the event in which all gold medal winners advanced to WorldSkills London this October where 1,000 competitors from 50 countries will compete in 45 skill areas over four days of competition. “We have been successfully delivering programs at the National level to better educate youth on the many options available to them in the skilled trades and technology sectors”, said Shaun Thorson, Executive Director of Skills/Compétences Canada. “Over the past 17 years the Skills Canada National Competition has proven to be a cornerstone event that best serves our mission.” The competition is the only national, Olympic-style, multi-trade and technology event of its kind for young students and apprentices in the country. It brings together Canada’s best and brightest to compete in over Holmes is shown encouraging Dany Montembault, WorldSkills Team Canada 40 skilled trade and technology categories. member for Carpentry as he trains for the WorldSkills London 2011 Competition. The competition provides an opportunity for students to be tested against industry standards and against trades and technology careers among Canadian youth. It offers their peers from across the nation in their chosen discipline. Skills/Compétences Canada was founded in 1989 as a competitions for hundreds of thousands of young Canadians national, not-for-profit organization that works with employers, through regional, provincial/territorial, national and internaeducators, labour groups and governments to promote skilled tional events.
PHOTO: SKILLS COMPETENCES CANADA
AWW named 2011 Energy Star Manufacturer of the Year All Weather Windows (AWW) was recently named the 2011 ENERGY STAR Manufacturer of the Year. The award was presented by the Government of Canada at a gala event in Ottawa to recognize the work done by the company in producing and promoting energy-efficient products for the second year in a row. “Winning this award again is a significant achievement for our company,” said Aaron Latimer, the company’s vice president of marketing. “Being recognized for producing environmentally friendly products, validates our commitment to the Ca-
nadian consumers in making their homes and businesses more energy efficient and reducing their overall carbon footprint.” AWW recently also announced the acquisition of Allan’s Glass and Aluminum products, a manufacturer and installer of commercial glazing systems based in Winnipeg. The company said the acquisition supports AWW’s growth plan to expand its commercial operations across Canada. Allan’s Glass, which has approximately 30 employees including its founder John Borys and his son, Dean Borys. John and Dean will be staying on post-acquisition in
the capacities of General Manager and Operations Manager respectively. “We are delighted to be joining All Weather Windows. Allan’s Glass has been a family-owned business for 28 years, and we had to be confident that the team with whom we joined forces would allow us to continue to build upon our great brand and maintain our strong culture while realizing synergies and sharing innovative practices,” said John Borys. “Together we are ready to manufacture the efficient windows for tomorrow. It is a win-win transaction.”
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Building Blocks Innovative Products for Today’s Renovators
ELEVATE EXT MEETS MULTIPLE KITCHEN NEEDS The Elevate EXT from Pfister allows homeowners to customize the faucet height to their needs. A unique adjustable spout allows the faucet to lift to fill a tall pot, or shrink to be unobtrusive. Featuring adjustable height options, a 360º swivel rotation and pull-out sprayer for efficient rinsing, cleaning and filling, Elevate is designed to meet multiple kitchen needs. Adding an extra 3” in faucet height can be done one-handed, while the touch of an easy button reduces the faucet back down. The faucet can be mounted with deckplate for four-hole configuration or without deckplate for two-hole configuration. The Elevate EXT is available in a stainless steel finish.
SAFE LOCK MAKES A LASTING IMPRESSION The Safe Lock starter home lock packages from Weiser are designed to leave a lasting first impression, while providing quality, dependability and security. Available in a variety of finishes (including bright brass, satin nickel, satin chrome, Venetian bronze and satin antique) and styles (single cylinder handlesets, curved and straight levers, and colonial knobs and deadbolt), they provide the look and feel that plays an important part in the marketing of a new home. Safe Lock sets are adjustable to 2-3/8” or 2-3/4” backsets, designed for standard door thicknesses of 1-3/8” to 1-3/4”, ANSI/BHMA Standard Grade 3 certified and meet 4.13.9 ADA requirements.
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MC10081 KILZ CrewAd_ConAd_Layout 1 5/5/11 8:46 AM Page 1
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Unhappy customers translate into headaches you don’t need, and time you don’t have. Trust KILZ® primers to deliver reliable results every time. Whatever the challenge, there is a KILZ primer to handle it. Nasty water stains, tannin bleed-through, weathered siding, bold colors… not a problem. You don’t need callbacks. You need KILZ primers. ®
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SICO RELAUNCHES CASHMERE PAINT LINE A new formula from AkzoNobel for its Sico Cashmere paint line is being billed as the “crème de la crème” by the company. Developed using an improved formula that continues to contain thermoplastic beads, Sico’s Cashmere delivers a gloss-free, ultra-smooth, luxurious and more durable and washable finish than before. A combined paint and primer, Cashmere’s finish adds richness and depth to wall colour for a designer look, according to Sico. The acrylic latex interior paint is ideal for living and dining rooms, as well as bedrooms where a flat finish brings out the décor. It is virtually odourless, and has zeroVOC before tinting, which exceeds industry standards. Based on average test results, the company says a gallon of Cashmere is able to cover an area of 500 sq. ft. to 600 sq. ft. as opposed to the industry average of 375 sq. ft. per gallon, and since Cashmere is a primer as well it further saves money and time.
SAW CUTS WOOD, METAL, PVC, PLASTIC, ALUMINUM AND CERAMIC A new benchtop saw designed by Rockwell combines the characteristics of a portable jigsaw, bench-top scroll saw and bandsaw. The Rockwell BladeRunner is a hybrid saw that not only has variable-speed blade action, but a powerful 5 amp motor. A 17” x 15-3/4” stainless steel table top with a T-slot and a miter gauge/rip fence combination, allows operators to make crosscuts, angled and rip cuts. The saw’s expanded throat capacity allows users to guide longer work materials through the blade, while its control arm is adjustable for material thickness and flips up and out of the way for internal cuts. A sewing machine-style pressure foot serves as a work piece hold down for repetitive cut operations. Weighing less than 18 lbs., the Rockwell BladeRunner is designed for home workshops, garage-based shops and jobsites.
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TREX ADDS NEW “ROPE SWING” TO TRANSCEND COLLECTION Trex Co. has expanded its high-performance Trex Transcend decking collection with the addition of a new light taupe colour called Rope Swing. A shade of brown that adds a cool, relaxed atmosphere to home exteriors, Rope Swing is designed to complement both light and dark railing options. The product has superior durability, low-maintenance requirements and other eco-friendly qualities. Rope Swing joins six other Transcend decking colours, including: four “earthy classics” with deep wood grains, Tree House (a light brown), Vintage Lantern (deep-burnished bronze), Fire Pit (spicy red) and Gravel Path (pristine grey); and, two tropical colours with hardwood-like striations: Spiced Rum (warm, earthy umber) and Lava Rock (reddish-black hardwood.) All Trex Transcend railing options are engineered to retain their look for decades and to coordinate with each other. Rope Swing coloured Transcend decking contains 95% recycled content, contributing to LEED points of a residential or commercial structure.
DUSCHESNE REFLECTION INSULATION IS ECO-FRIENDLY Duschesne has announced a new line of insulation that the company says is the only eco-friendly reflective insulation on the market. DBE-ECO reflective insulation is available in two sizes: 48” x 125’ and 96” x 125’. The polyethylene film, the main component material, contains over 50% recycled materials. In addition to being environmentally friendly, DBE-ECO offers equivalent performance to standard products and can be used in attics, walls, water heaters, crawl spaces, as well as to replace other products of the same composition. DBE-ECO is part of Duchesne’s ECO-ID program, offering eco-friendly products to meet the demands of environmentally-responsible consumers.
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How Small Can Win Big Building a unique selling proposition and focusing on a niche can spell out success in Web marketing. BY JOSH KERBEL
In case you have missed it, it is getting harder and harder to be found on the Internet. Search engines such as Google are all about favouring the mega-brand Fortune 500-types over the little guy, make no mistake about it. On top of that, it is more and more common to find sites that consist of nothing but garbage content ranking on the front of the search engines. What can you and your $500,000-to $5,000,000 a year in revenue business do to be found online, when you clearly do not have the marketing budget of a billion dollar a year company? Change the rules. Stop fighting large competitors at their own game. Stop trying to sell to everyone and create a niche for yourself. “How do I create a niche?” you might ask. Before I tell you how, I want you to pull out a pen, a highlighter and a pad of paper. I want you to first highlight each of the following points: • Take a new look at your business. Are you competing with many other sites that offer pretty much the same thing? • How unique is your offering from your competition. What is that you say? It is not unique. Well make it unique; this article will show you how. Even if the substance of your offering is no different, you can differentiate its online form. • Now build your unique selling proposition. • Incorporate your unique selling proposition into your Website. The goal here is to create a unique sales proposition that you can build into your online marketing process.
Why you need a unique sales proposition:
A word of caution though:
You need a unique sales proposition (USP) because of the way people search for products and services on the Internet. Ten years ago, there was much less online competition, and marketers did not really understand how prospects use the Internet to search for products.
It is not enough to just come up with a unique angle, there must be a niche of people who want the unique aspect you deliver, and who are prepared to pay enough for it to make the effort worthwhile. Now, on the pad of paper, write down the answers to these questions in order to build your USP.
Stop fighting large competitors at their own game. Stop trying to sell to everyone and create a niche for yourself. (Please pull out your pen and circle the following paragraph.) Now we know that prospects either find what they want on their first search, or they keep rephrasing their search terms, getting more and more specific each time. It is in the second option where your opportunity is. Prospects are no longer looking for a “Vancouver Home Builder,” but for an “Environmentally Friendly Home Builder in Kitsilano.” Can you see how specific this is? While in substance, there is probably no difference between an “environmentally friendly general contractor in Richmond Hill” or an “environmentally friendly general contractor in Thornhill,” (two areas just outside of Toronto that are five minutes away from each other). From an online marketing perspective, these are two separate niches.
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 email@example.com.
1. Your key benefits. What are the benefits of your product? What is someone looking to gain by using your product? Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask, “How does this benefit me?” 2. What hurts your customers? 3. What problem does your product or service solve? Back up your benefits with specific proof. Do not write that you build environmentally friendly houses, but quantify the benefits of them. Tell people how much less your houses cost to heat than typically homes. Are your construction times faster than the competition? If so, quantify them? Be short and to the point. State your USP quickly. Use short phrases. People read the first line, and then the next only if the first line was worth reading. Remember, a lot of people do not read, but instead scan. Better still, if your USP can be illustrated with graphics, get it done up graphically. People respond better to visual information than text. Now that you have all this written down, you have the basis for building an online presence that will bring in prospects and customers in areas your larger competition has not even considered.
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Building a Better Budget Creating a budget forces a business owner to think through issues and develop a business plan that feels right.
I really feel that your budget is one of the most important tools that you have to help you and your company be successful. Basically, it is your plan for profitability. It is the road map that you will follow throughout the year with a planned destination of profit. Those business owners who work without a budget are really just drifting along, allowing the market place to dictate where they will end up. The very act of creating a budget makes you think through a variety of business issues until you develop a plan that feels right and delivers the desired results. It is really not that difficult to do. I like to start with overhead. Overhead includes things that you have to pay for whether or not you have a project in production, such as rent, professional fees, marketing and more. It should also include a salary for the owner. If you are not sure what your overhead is, start with last year’s. Look at the end of the year Profit and Loss Statement and use the same overhead categories. Create an overhead spreadsheet to help you as you work on this. Review each line item and determine whether the expense will stay the same, need to be increased for some reason, may be decreased, or if it will disappear. For example, you might have developed a new Website last year so your marketing budget was high. This year, the marketing budget can be decreased since you will not have the large expense of the Website. For the first run through, go ahead and create an overhead that will support all of
the things you want to do this year. If you would really like new software this year, go ahead and put it in. We will see later if you can afford it. See, it is easy to do this on paper, when removing the expense is as easy as hitting delete. It is much harder to remove an expense when the money is already spent. Go through line by line. I like to work with my team on their areas of responsibility. I work with my office manager on all of the admin stuff, and with my marketing person to create the budget for all of our lead generation and communication tactics. It is great and necessary to know your overhead but we are not really interested in building a company that produces enough profit to only cover overhead, are we? Indeed not. We want a company that covers overhead and produces a healthy profit. Let us then choose a dollar amount to add as profit. To determine how much to
Victoria 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 the above e-mail address or by phone at 301 490-5620 ext. 105.
add, use this rule of thumb: 10% of revenue. If you produced $1,000,000 last year, add $100,000 to the overhead to represent profit in this budgeting process. This net profit is in addition to your regular salary. Now you have a total dollar amount (overhead and net profit) that represents the gross profit dollars that your company must produce this year. In other words, your goal is to produce X gross profit dollars from the work you do to cover overhead and net and reach your financial goals. Let us now start playing. On the next page is a simple chart that we used to try various scenarios for size. (If you would like to receive this as an Excel Worksheet, simply email me at Victoria@RemodelersAdvantage.com and put Budget Development Tool in the subject line.) As I mentioned earlier, this is a fun, fast way to do a down and dirty budget; one that you can change, adapt and play with until you find exactly the best formula. You can see that there are several fields in the spreadsheet. Go ahead and put in the overhead number that you came up with as well as the net profit dollars that you would like to see.
PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES
BY VICTORIA DOWNING
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Now, put in the gross profit margin (%) that you target when you develop a sales price. Professional remodelers target gross profit margins of between 25 and 40%. What is yours? Divide the Total Gross Profit Dollars Needed by the Gross Profit ($450,000 by 25% in our example.) This calculation will show you how much volume you must produce in order to generate the dollars you need to cover overhead and generate a healthy net profit. If the above were a case study of a real company, here is how it might play out. This company, let us call them Successful Remodelers, have an overhead of $350,000. They want to earn a net profit of $100,000 and they target a 25% Gross Profit Margin. You will see that Successful Remodeling has to sell and produce $1,800,000 to reach their budget goals. If the owner has a few options and the number had him shout, “Yikes! That is too
much volume. There is no way we can sell and produce that much:” • Decrease the gross profit dollars needed by slashing overhead; • Decrease the gross profit dollars needed by reducing the net profit he will earn; or • Increase his gross profit margin and sell each job at a slightly higher price. Each choice has ramifications, some
good and some painful. Your job as the owner and leader of the company is to work your budget until you create a formula that feels right. Do this with the input of your employees for the best results. This is a start of the budgeting process. Next issue we will talk more about Gross Profit Margins as well as different ways you can find the right balance.
BUDGET DEVELOPMENT TOOL Other Admin Costs A. Projected Overhead $$
B. Net Profit you would like to earn
Total Gross Profit Dollars Needed for the coming year
Target Gross Profit %
Revenue that must be sold and Produced to generate enough GP $ to cover OH and Net
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Regal products are available in five colours, include pickets or glass options and many decorative accessories to choose from, and all with a 20 year warranty. Regal railing and fencing products meet or exceed National Building codes and are ICC commercially rated as well!
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For more information, contact Ernie Couillard at 303-681-3104 or speak with your Castle representative.
22/04/10 10:22 AM CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE
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Low Cost Succession A share freeze can be a useful tool in ownership transitions when future owners cannot afford to buy the business outright. BY PAUL RHODES
ue of the business on the freeze date. Since the value of the business is represented by the new shares that are taken back, new common shares that are issued represent only nominal value. The growth in value of the business after the freeze gives rise to an increase in value of the new common shares issued (commonly referred to as the growth shares). A share freeze has many characteristics that make it ideal for a share ownership tran-
The ownership transition that is contemplated may either be to family members or to individuals outside the family, such as non-family employees. Whichever is the case, it is possible that the next generation of owners do not have the financial resources available to purchase the business for its fair value. sition. In particular, the ability to issue new common shares for nominal consideration in a freeze that makes the technique ideal where the next generation of owner does not have the financial ability to purchase the company for its fair value. For an established business that value may be substantial. The method can also take into account other considerations. For example it may be
Paul Rhodes is a partner of Soberman LLP. His professional experience includes construction, manufacturing and real estate and internal audit engagements. Paul is a member of the Toronto Construction Association and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416 963 7217. 16
the case that the new owner needs a period of transition to be fully ready to take on such a leadership position in the company. Therefore it is desirable for you (the existing owner) to still be involved in the operation of the business and in decision making. This can be accomplished in the freeze by also taking back non-participating voting shares with more votes than the new common shares issued. While none of the increase in value after the freeze will be
attributed to these voting shares, they will allow you to retain control of the business until you are comfortable giving it up. The preferred shares taken back in the freeze can be redeemed over time, which will reduce the gain and tax liability that ultimately crystallizes on death and also provide a source of additional income. In making such a plan it is important for you to consider all of your circumstances; a freeze for the purposes described above is only part of any transition. This article has been prepared for general information. Specific professional advice should be obtained prior to the implementation of any suggestion contained in this article.
PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES
Any person in a leadership position, including an owner-manager, has to take on the responsibility of looking for the next generation leader. A plan for the transition of the ownership and management of the business should be in place to minimize the potential for disruption. The ownership transition that is contemplated may either be to family members or to individuals outside the family, such as non-family employees. Whichever is the case, it is possible that the next generation of owners do not have the financial resources available to purchase the business for its fair value. This article reviews the concept of a share freeze which may be a useful solution to accomplish the ownership transition goal in these circumstances. A freeze is typically used as an estate planning technique to freeze the value of an investment at a point in time, so the gain that crystallizes on death is frozen and future increases in value of the business accrue to the next generation. Therefore, the tax payable by the individual performing the freeze is limited to the increase in the businessâ€™ value up to the date of the freeze and any future increase in value is deferred (along with the tax payable) until the next generation sells the shares or on their death which gives rise to a deemed disposition. A basic share freeze involves the business owner transferring the common shares back to the company in exchange for a new class of shares, the value of which is frozen at an amount equal to the fair val-
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In the next issue of
Contractor Advantage • Solar Panels • Energy Windows • Wood Flooring • Insulation Innovations • Interior Paints Granite Ridge
Vicwest Residential Steel Roofing Vicwest supplies a wide range of residential steel roofing complete with coordinating trims, fasteners, closures, caulking, flashings and non-slip underlayment. Vicwest residential steel roofs are quickly becoming the choice among builders and homeowners. Vicwest is helping roofing contractors grow their business with proven steel systems, with larger coverage areas for quicker installation, warranties of up to lifetime, installation manuals and training also available. Ask your local Castle Building Supply Centre or visit us on the web.
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The Facebook HICCUP A few key attributes can help you succeed at marketing your business in the world of Internet social networks. BY GENAE GIRARD
Every company is trying to use Facebook in an attempt to move their business forward and stay connected to their customers in this fast paced world. Why are some companies more successful at this than others? Content is the key to staying in touch with your customers and keeping them informed; however, the content must be a rich mix of information, education, humour and fun. Use the HICCUP approach to make your Facebook page more successful:
Humour: Humour allows your audience to come away with a warm fuzzy feeling and a friendly attachment to your message. It does not have to be industry specific, although it can be. You can do viral searches on YouTube or sites that plug social media. Always watch a video all the way through before posting as you do not want it to include any profanity or other unmentionables. Remember video is king. Written blogs are being trumped by the clever, colourful and often fun video blogs.
Interactive questions: Do not be afraid to ask open-ended questions to your group. For example, a financial advisor would want to ask, “What is your biggest concern with the down economy?” The purpose here is to begin the conversation. People posting their answers will create a community buzz. Letting the responses unfold naturally also gives you a marketing advantage. In the example cited, the financial advisor can track the concerns and create future training or webinars around his or her consumer’s needs.
Content: If you do not provide a myriad of interesting topics, information and current trends, current customers, as well as future customers, simply go away. Clicking “Unlike” on Facebook is just as easy as clicking “Like.” Smart, clever and challenging content will keep your audience waiting for more. With most companies having a presence on Facebook, competition will become fierce and you have to stand out.
back to your own business. For example, an accountant should keep people aware of tax changes that are around the corner by posting them on Facebook; a medical office may want to post information on when a flu vaccine is available and what days and times you can sign up for the office visit. These are specific actions that endear your customers to your brand.
Mention specials, promotions, new products and services. You can get creative here and run a coupon or contest. Talk about new employees, business awards or articles written by your staff. Current events:
Promos and specials:
If you have not done so already, get plugged in to all online media and trade publications online. When something interesting pops up, pass it along for other people’s knowledge. If something political occurs that impacts your industry for example, pass it along. Never make a personal judgment about the event. Let your community unfold. Use Google Alerts in which you can program in key words to notify you of events and news feeds that pertain to your industry. Use a program like Hootsuite to consolidate and Tweet events out to all of your feeds and accounts at one time.
Mention specials, promotions, new products and services. You can get creative here and run a coupon or contest. Talk about new employees, business awards or articles written by your staff. You can drive traffic to your business and services by using this concept. The one caution is that you should not overuse Facebook to market to your customer base. They can grow tired of it and quickly choose “Unlike” on your page, causing you to lose a potential client. To be successful, all categories should be represented on your posts daily. If you personally do not have time, assign this process to an employee or virtual assistant. Give them these rules for your industry and explain the process. Generally creative, idea-generating minds are the best individuals suited for this task. If you follow this model for promoting your business on Facebook, customers will stick around to see what you post next. As the Facebook community grows, we will all have to fight for the attention of the consumer.
Utilizing Industry Facts: Keep your followers abreast of changes in your particular industry and relate them
Genae Girard is a speaker, author, entrepreneur and founder of www. BeyondtheBoobieTrap.com, an online social media tribe of over 20,200 breast cancer survivors and regularly speaks on the topics of women in leadership, building a tribe and social media. She can be reached at info@ BeyondtheBoobieTrap.com.
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© 2010 CertainTeed Corporation
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CT303 AR Schools Ad ER1.indd 1 CAJULYAUG2011_V2.indd 20
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Dealing With Power & Codes New book outlines how to handle heavyweights; Delmar releases a four part series on International Code Council revisions.
BOOK INFLUENCING POWERFUL PEOPLE
Dealing with powerful people can be intimidating, which is why McGraw-Hill has published a new book called Influencing Powerful People. Many influential people have achieved their great success through a combination of charm, confidence, intelligence, but also relentless drive that has also given them reputations for being intense, demanding, and temperamental, author Dirk Schlimm states. Influencing Powerful People provides readers with 12 rules for effectively influencing corporate executives, demanding clients, prominent industry figures, aggressive competitors and anyone else who wields power over others.
The author is an internationally renowned corporate director and coach. In the book, he reveals his secrets for dealing with heavyweight personalities, and readers can gain the support of, sell ideas to or simply earn the respect of the luminaries in their life. Influencing Powerful People provides 12 simple rules for engaging with those in command, including: • Adopting the “helper” paradigm • Countering ego with humility • Meeting power with influence • Doing what they cannot • Guarding independence The book asserts that individuals have more control than they realize, but must know how to use it. Influencing Powerful People aims to provide the insights needed to play for keeps in the big leagues.
BOOK SIGNIFICANT CHANGES Cengage Learning
To keep contractors informed of ongoing changes to the International Code Council’s 2012 I-Codes, Delmar, part of Cengage Learning, has announced the Significant Changes series. The four titles that make up the series (Significant Changes to the International Fire Code, Significant Changes to the International Building Code, Significant Changes to the International Residential Code and Significant Changes to the International Plumbing Code, International Mechanical Code, and International Fuel Gas Code) provide professionals with the information necessary to understand and easily identify all of the critical updates to the 2012 Building and Life Safety Codes. The series helps professionals navigate and understand key code changes between the 2009 codes and recently released 2012 codes using clear text, complete details and full-colour illustrations. Also, they make certain to point out key code changes through
Agency: Brickworks Communications Inc. 905-632-8772 Artist: Erinn McSherry x 113 Client: CT303 AR School Ad E R1 • PDF Publication: Castle Contractor 8.125” x 10.875” + bleed 4 colour, Dec.1, 2010
© 2010 CertainTeed Corporation
clear notations, such as marking deleted code language with a strike-through and underlining new code text. The ICC publishes its I-Code series every three years, setting the standard for building and life safety industries to help professionals remain compliant in areas of fire, performance for building and facilities, existing buildings, mechanical, plumbing, fuel gas, wild land-urban interface, private sewage, property maintenance, zoning and energy. Unlike previous code cycles, the 2012 I-Codes are being introduced a year early. For additional information on building and life safety, visit www.iccsafe.org. The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention, develops the International Codes, model building codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. The Code Council also develops standards related to building construction. Both books are currently available from www.amazon.ca and www.chapters.indigo.ca.
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Safety Smart safety practices offer contractors benefits beyond injury prevention and avoiding costly penalties.
ew contractors would argue about the necessity of maintaining a safe workplace, but building a culture of health and safety can bring about rewards greater than just mitigating dangers and risks. Trends toward rising fines for non-compliance to safety regulations and heightened government concerns around specific accidents are causing many contractors to take note, but experts add that a lot can be gained by playing it safe and working within and beyond requirements. Lately, government Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) enforcers have been intensifying inspections in regions around the country to target specific construction issues, according to Cheryl Edwards, partner and lead of the OHS & WSIB Practice Group at Heenan Blaikie LLP, a former Ontario Ministry of Labour OH&S prosecutor. A fine could be between $10,000 and $40,000 or more for a violation related to a current enforcement blitz. Of course, fines for accidents are on the rise as well. “I think we all have good intentions, but sometimes contractors can take things for granted,” says John Sammut, prevention core
services manager, central region, at the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association. “For instance, one often thinks that young workers will protect themselves properly, but how can they if they are not trained? We have all heard stories of young workers being injured due to improper training.” Contractors must move beyond good intention and put into practice good safety programs that identify the hazards related to their workplaces, and incorporate reporting, training, signage and processes for dealing with workers on-site, and other safety policies and procedures. It takes a “decent amount of work” to get started on the path to good occupational health and safety practices and procedures, according to Dhananjai Borwankar, technical specialist at the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS); however, it is a responsibility a contractor cannot afford to avoid. Typically a growing contractor will find health and safety concerns scaling alongside them, and while they recognize many hazards of their environments health and safety regulation, policy and procedures are often a completely new area in which to build expertise.
PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES
BY: LAWRENCE CUMMER
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Feature Safety steps:
The first step toward safety is a mental one, says David Frame, director of government relations and corporate strategy at the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA). “Recognize the importance of safety; recognize the impact on your bottom line, the impact it has on your workforce and their morale. You have to embrace the importance of safety in order to implement a safety culture in the workplace.” The proof of a strong safety culture is evident, he says, in the two-thirds reduction in rates and costs of accidents seen in members of OGCA’s safety group when compared with that of those of contractors in general as recorded by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) of Ontario. “That is huge,” he adds. “It demonstrates
associations, such as the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA) in Ontario, or the B.C. Construction Safety Alliance (BCCSA), can greatly help. These associations can be treasure troves of safety information, as well as the source of much-needed training on a number of safetyrelated topics. Go to their Websites, download free publications, and look into free training seminars offered. “See what fits in your workplace, and match the training to the hazards,” Sammut says. It does not need to cost a lot, but does demand time and commitment. Organizations with more than five employees require a written safety program, Sammut notes. And for many contractors that is the next step. It could make sense to hire an outside health and safety professional to consult on the program and safety manual, but
PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES
Contractors must move beyond good intention and put into practice good safety programs that identify the hazards related to their workplaces, and incorporate reporting, training, signage and processes for dealing with non-workers on-site, and other safety policies and procedures. the importance of being in a program that provides information about what to do, how to do it, and really make sure that you run a safe workplace.” Identifying workplace hazards is next, says Borwankar. Look at all the hazards that can be anticipated. For contractors, falls tend to be the main issue, accounting in some regions for about 50% of all critical injuries and fatalities. Soft-tissue damage accounts for 50% of lost-time injuries, which means workplaces must also make proper ergonomics part of their workplace safety policy. In B.C., exhaustion or over-exertion appears as a frequent source of injury, and one that might not be the first thing contractors working hard to get a job done are thinking about avoiding when working outdoors. The next step is to ensure appropriate supervisors and managers understand safety legislation. Here, turning to regional non-profit safety
remember that putting together a manual and paying lip service to it is not enough. “A key error for a small and growing contractor, is that they put together a bunch of paper that looks really nice; for example, a health and safety policy, and a whole series of safe work practices, which they have brought from an outside source and then they say ‘now we are done with safety,’” says Edwards. “Of course they need that paperwork, but they are better to go to an outside advisor and seek guidance for the frontline supervisors, who are on the site everyday and make sure that those supervisors have training in the pieces of paper that the business has put together and the specific detailed regulatory provisions.” Supervisors and owners must go beyond the workplace manuals and engage in the due diligence of proper site inspections, training, and
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DOING WHAT IS DUE If an incident occurs and a contractor finds themselves in court, Cheryl Edwards, partner at legal firm Heenan Blaikie LLP, says a number of key measures determine whether the contractor is living up to the court’s expectations of due diligence: Knowledge of legal obligations Complete up-to-date knowledge of relevant, applicable Occupational Health and Safety regulatory requirements, codes, standards and guidelines. Knowledge should be possessed by supervisors, and reflected in policies and procedures. Knowledge of hazards Contractors must commit ongoing assessment of the workplace for potential hazards, utilizing all reasonable available means. Audits should be performed by a competent company representative or external consultant on a regular basis. Heenan Blaikie recommends an approach of asking “what could foreseeably go wrong;” taking information available from joint-health and safety committee audits, near-misses, accident reports and Worker’s Compensation claim analysis to assess hazards. Assessment should be performed by a supervisor before a particular task is performed, depending on its complexity and risk. Ongoing action to correct hazards Take corrective measures to change or repair the workplace based on audits and assessments. Develop ongoing improvements to safe workplace procedures, policies and practices based on assessments.
PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES
Written health and safety policies and procedures Up-to-date, understandable written policies and procedures for all hazardous activities at the workplace are required. They must be updated as equipment, practices and regulatory requirements and standards evolve. They should be available to employees in a manual or posted if necessary. Orientation and training Training and knowledge is expected of supervisors or managers in occupational health legislation and regulations, applicable policies and procedures, and the requirements of a safe workplace. Supervisors are expected to be “competent.” Training of workers, and ongoing training as employees transfer or equipment and workplace change. Supervisors should follow-up to confirm training was understood and is applied. Retraining should take place as necessary or hazards, and reminder meetings to reinforce training expectations. Supervisory Monitoring Supervisory monitoring should appropriately match the fre-
quency of risk; for example, more monitoring for high-risk complex tasks or where there is a compliance problem in the workplace. In addition, compliance with policies and procedures should be monitored. Communication and coordination Contractors should engage in ongoing communication and coordination of tasks; communication of changes to equipment or work conditions. It is particularly crucial to identify and remind workers of risks, process issues when multiple parties are present or when workers are unfamiliar with the equipment or work conditions. Enforcement with discipline Policies, procedures and safe work practices should be enforced with discipline for non-compliance. Consistent, significant discipline is required for significant safety contraventions. Documentation Notes, records and documents are essential to support all of the above steps. These include: training records with agendas, materials, checklist and tests retained; sign-off on rules and procedures; written audits with assessments of hazards and recorded follow-up; written training plan and matrix; documentation of on-the-job training; documented communication, pre-job and safety meeting records with agendas and signoffs; checklists, notebooks or forms from supervisory monitoring; written records of discipline. Edwards notes that when adjudicating due diligence, courts take into consideration the degree of hazard involved in the workplace, nature of the workplace and the activity, and the frequency with which the worker performs the activity, as well as other relevant matters specific to the situation. CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE
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For contractors, falls tend to be the main issue, accounting in some regions for about 50% of all critical injuries and fatalities. Soft-tissue damage accounts for 50% of lost-time injuries, so workplaces must also make proper ergonomics part of their workplace safety policy. communications (see sidebar). In addition, Edwards stresses the importance of documentation. Documentation is the only actual proof of the efforts being made to ensure safety. Safety is a journey, and the moment a contractor feels they have their workplace safety under control is the time to review and improve it.
Benefits beyond safety: Smaller contractors can learn a lot from taking after their kin. Larger contractors tend to have strong OH&S practices built into their business.
“The misconception is that it takes time to be safe, but it actually saves time,” says Sammut. “For instance, we often see people cutting with a skill saw bent down, instead of taking a couple of saw horses and setting up a little table, which takes about five minutes. If you do, I can guarantee you cut more pieces of wood, your cuts are more accurate, and you are not going to have a sore back from bending down all day, all while you are being safe.” He adds the example carries through to improved concentration and accuracy from
using safe scaffolding and other practices. A history of safety can mean better business for contractors. Certainly, governments are more frequently reporting incidents publicly, which has a harmful effect on the contractor’s reputation when being investigated for potential jobs (or employment) but, in addition, contractors with excellent safety records can use them as a badge of good work when marketing themselves. Increasingly builders are looking for contractors who meet set safety standards. “It can be seen as a reason to hire someone,” says Borwankar. “If two contractors have similar experience and costs, but one can show the appropriate licenses, certifications, etc., and a health and safety policy, it shows not only that they are organized, but that they are proactive. That should translate to other tasks that they are given.”
The social impact of accidents, especially ones resulting in fatality is not brought up enough, says Sammut. It is important to remember accidents have widespread effect on families, victims and employers, as well as a demoralizing effect on workers. “For one, the family is devastated, but also the employer who hired that worker who must phone the family and say ‘oh by the way, there has been a problem in the workplace today and here is the situation.’ Who wants to have to make that call?” Sammut calls out the example of a small employer that he recently spoke with, who had a fatality while the employer’s son was working at the location. One year later, the young man is still emotionally affected by what he saw that day. “The impact of a fatality is devastating and it last forever.”
PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES
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PHOTO: MDL DOORS, JELDWEN
Often overlooked and undervalued the right door materials, finishes and fashions can bring energy efficiency and style to a home. BY DAVID CHILTON
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alk down any street at any time and the chances are it will be doors that grab your attention. Every house has a front door, a back door and most have side doors. They are functional; they let you in and out of your dwelling, deter burglars and stop the worst of the winter cold. That is enough for many homeowners. Of course, for the contractor that is barely scratching the surface of what is one of the most important, if often undervalued, parts of a house. Until 25 years ago or so virtually every exterior door was made of wood, whether hardwood or softwood, and painted or stained. Now steel is the champion. “Steel very quickly took over the door business,” says Brad West, director of sales for Eastern Canada at Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors. A steel door can cost as little as $120, although going for the lower-end product may be a case of being penny wise pound foolish. The cheaper door will cost more in maintenance down the road through rust and its limited ability to hold paint. The way to tell the better steel door from the poorer-quality product is its gauge size. The lower the number, i.e. 22-gauge,
the higher the quality, although mass market doors are usually sheathed in 24-gauge steel these days. They are available in paneled or flushed styles and their colour range is impressive. Steel doors, irrespective of gauge size, create good if not absolute security, but they can be dented quite easily and if exposed to constant sunlight can chip and bow. Metal doors need metal doorframes, too, but tend not to move against weather stripping, something wood doors will do as a matter of course. For fluctuating weather, no small consideration in Canada, weather resistant steel doors that are coated with vinyl are a good bet. The solid wood door, which West says has become more of a specialty item, is more expensive than steel and some other options. Adrienne Burgess, key accounts manager at MDL Doors Inc. in Brussels, Ont., says she has seen some trend towards solid pine, solid oak and other woods, but warns, “There is a huge difference between a wood door and a steel door.” As well as the additional cost, Burgess also points out its poor energy efficiency and its tendency to move: furthermore, when solid wood is exposed to rain, snow or bright sunlight it is prone to crack, dry out and peel. On
the upside, however, solid wood doors are among the easiest to install. With wood the former king of doors and steel the reigning monarch, a contractor may wonder if there is room for a prince or two as well. There is; in fact, a pair of newcomers likely to make its presence felt as the demand for more and better doors grows. The first and higher profile of the newer materials is fibreglass. Its insulation qualities are not so very different from those of a steel door, says Burgess. It is also worth noting that good quality fibreglass doors resist scratches, dents, warping, rust and general deterioration; however, they are on the expensive side, if for no other reason than purchasers have to buy the necessary hardware and accessories that come with them. Still, amortized over 15 or 20 years, even several hundred dollars for a fibreglass door does not seem exorbitant, especially if saved energy cost is added to the equation and, it should be said, the comfort factor of knowing a door is secure and up to the task of defying all that Canadian weather can throw at it. Less familiar than fiberglass is the rigid PVC (sometimes referred to as uPVC) door. It is still quite a new material for exterior doors, but it offers exceptional
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PHOTO: MDL DOORS
insulation, the main reason why it is used extensively for windows and siding and in other applications. Cheaper than either steel or fibreglass, uPVC is also more difficult to force open than solid wood. For all its attraction it should be noted, nevertheless, that the uPVC door requires its own door frame, which may deter the contractor conscious of time and expense. Once the door has been chosen, and what it is made of has become immaterial, the next most important factor is installation. That may seem obvious, but a poorly hung door will leak heat, will not close properly and may not provide the security desired. “Installing a door is an art,” says Burgess. “It is vital a contractor learn to install a door properly.” In fact, she adds, contractors would do well to directly ask door manufacturers about installing their products. West agrees, saying, “Installation is absolutely critical. It is worth having a contractor to do the door hanging.” Given the ubiquity of steel doors, it should be remembered that they cannot be cut down to fit, nor can fibreglass and some other materials. As a result a prehung door is required. Simplest to install
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News And Facts For The C LEED Canada for Homes: A Primer LEED Canada for Homes is a rating system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes. A green home uses less energy, water and natural resources; creates less waste; and is healthier and more comfortable for the occupants. The net cost of owning a LEED home is comparable to that of owning a conventional home. LEED Canada for Homes applies to single family homes and multi-family buildings up to three residential stories. Mixed use projects can apply. Existing homes may participate in LEED Canada for Homes if they undergo a gut and rehabilitation process that exposes the full thermal envelope, that is, if the full insulation on the exterior wall of the house will be exposed, either by removing the drywall on the inside or by removing the siding on the outside. For more modest renovation projects, the ReGreen Guidelines can help ensure it protects the health of occupants and the environment The guidelines are laid out by the project type (kitchen renovation, bathroom, major addition, etc.) and cover water use, indoor air quality, materials selection and more. LEED Canada for Homes, which was launched in 2009, certifies green homes using criteria in eight different categories: site selection; water efficiency; materials and resources; energy and atmosphere; indoor environmental quality; location and linkages; awareness and education; and innovation. All LEED certified homes must meet 19 mandatory measures and a minimum set of optional measures. The green measures are verified on-site by a third-party verification team using a protocol devel-
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e Contractor Professional oped by the CaGBC. LEED has four levels of certification: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum, with Platinum representing the highest level of achievement.
Why should I build a LEED home? LEED certification recognizes and celebrates leadership in high-quality green homebuilding, and allows you as a builder to clearly differentiate your work.
What is the difference between LEED Canada for Homes and other green home programs? There are a number of well respected local green home building programs in Canada, some of which focus on energy efficiency. Each of these programs is unique, with its own specifications and requirements. By reviewing the checklists for LEED and other local or regional programs, you can choose the Rating System that works best for your goals. LEED is a national third-party certification system for green homebuilding. It is designed to recognize leadership, and the program is rigorous and focused on measurable results. If you are new to green building, it may be best to start with other programs and work up to LEED. However, LEED Canada for Homes does feature a lot of support for builders, in-
cluding Reference Guides and instructorled workshops. Also, every project works with a local or regional provider.
What types of homes can use the LEED certification system? The LEED Canada for Homes certification system is designed for new single-family homes as well as low- and mid-rise multifamily buildings. Existing homes or buildings undergoing extensive renovations are
also eligible to participate in the program. Contact a LEED Canada for Homes Provider (www.cagbc.org/leed/homes) to determine if your project is suitable.
How can I participate in LEED Canada for Homes? First, check out www.cagbc.org/leed/homes to download the LEED Canada for Homes Rating System and Checklist. These documents are an easy way to familiarize yourself with the program, and you can decide if you want to take the next step and register a project.
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Cover are pre-hung doors in weather stripped frames that can be placed straight into the old doorjamb with insulation and the reinsertion of the old or newly bought trim to follow. As for the colour of an exterior door, most will want one that is green even if it is painted red. “It is not the colour of the door that brings energy efficiency, it depends on the formulation of the paint,” says Burgess. She sees a trend towards the use of water-based paint, but adds that oil-based cover is still popular. Just as the correct installation of a door is critical, so too, given the ever rising cost of energy, is the door’s ability to reduce heat transfer. The standard is Energy Star and its premise is a good one, says Burgess, although she points out it is not without its critics. Natural Resources Canada maintains a comprehensive Web site on Energy Star products. The agency divides the country into four zones, A, B, C and D, according to their climate.
The first three encompass most of the country. For zone A the department recommends a minimum energy rating of 21 for doors, a rating of 25 for zone B and a 29 rating for zone C. Following a complicated Natural Resources formula, they translate into an R-value of 3.2 for A, 3.6 for B and 4.0 for C. Of course, a solid wood door cannot have an insulating core, but the rest of the doors available do. In steel doors, for example, West says they have a thermal break made of polyurethane or polystyrene. For some a solid slab door is enough, although as Burgess says, “It is extremely rare to sell a door with no glass in it.” Multiple glass inserts in a door are usually referred to as “lights” and a door is described by how many of these lights they have. Lights can come in a variety of shapes, but rectangular is the most popular. The lights can be double- or triple-glazed or low-e (low emissivity) glass, which has been treated with a coating of silver that is invisible to the naked eye and provides greater energy efficiency. Low-e glass will also cut down harmful ultra violet rays by more than 75%. There are even blinds that fit inside the lights and move up and down according to pre-selected criteria, says West, noting the vast number of glass insert options available. 34
PHOTOS: MDL DOORS, JELD-WEN
Zone D Zone C Zone B Zone A
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Cover Beyond the decorative touches provided by ‘lights’ in a door, there is also what might be called “door fashion.” “It is limited only by your imagination,” says Burgess. “There are pilasters and pediments to jazz up jambs.” Kick plates, once very common, are fading away and mail slots have all but disappeared although knockers remain popular. Door numbers are essential, of course. Just as door fashions come and go, so too do the metals used to make them. Burgess says when she started in the business brass was top of the list but has been replaced by zinc. Door locks are something else again. They can be cylindrical or mortise locksets, but manufacturing quality is as vital as the finish. Forged components are better than cast and stamped plated steel components are easily forced open. A forged lock will also take a high quality finish because it has a smooth surface. For the truly adventurous there are even keypad entry systems. In fact about the only thing that is not available when it comes to doors are widely available government grants and rebates for energy efficiency, but that may change. Burgess says revamped codes next year will bring improvements to glass inserts and water resistance, among other things, and since it is not feasible to stock two kinds of doors she expects non low-e glass to fall by the wayside.
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PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES
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POWER TOOL GUIDE Today’s power tools are tough enough to do double duty indoors and outdoors.
hey may be called “inside tools,” but in reality most power tools designed for indoors find double duty outdoors. For practicality and cost saving reasons, contractors purchase tools that can be used both indoors and outdoors, says Joe Raneiri, purchasing liaison for the Carpenters Local 27 training centre in Woodbridge, Ont. “All the tools I use can be operated both indoors and outdoors,” says Raneiri who is a 20-year veteran in the industry. He does have one warning: “Whatever tool
BY NESTOR E. ARELLANO
you chose to operate, think safety first. “In the union environment, carpenters need to work under strict safety guidelines, but with unregulated workers, I have seen a lot of rules ignored because of cost cutting or plain ignorance,” he says.
Better safe than sorry: Statistics on work-related injuries collected by the International Labour Organization (ILO) indicate that the construction industry accounts for the second highest rate of workplace injuries in Canada. For instance, in 2007, for every 1,000 employ-
ees in the manufacturing industry, 32 were injured; those injured in the construction industry numbered 30 per 1,000 workers; and, those in the storage and communications industry were 24.4 per 1,000 workers. The most common power tool accidents, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, involved injuries to the fingers caused by various types of power saws. A large number of power tool injuries can also be traced to improper handling of power source systems and changing parts of the power tool while the equipment is still plugged in.
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PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES
How to “Many minor and major accidents, including those that result in death, can be avoided by using tools for their intended uses and heeding manufacturer recommendation regarding safety equipment to be used while operating a particular power tool,” Raneiri says. Avoid accidents and injuries when using power tools by following these tips: When using corded or battery-operated power tools, prevent electrocution by not operating the tools in wet conditions, the rain or near water. • Never use damaged power cords or extension cords, especially when operating power tool outdoors where they can be exposed to the elements. Use cords rated for the level of amperage or wattage of the tool that you are operating. • Do not use extension leads unless they are specifically intended for use outdoors. There could be a risk of electric shock at the point where the tool connects to the extension cord socket or outlet. • Use a residual current device (RCD) or isolating transformer. An RCD can protect you from fatal electric shock by cutting the current in event of an electrical problem. An isolating transformer helps prevent electric shock by isolating a powered device from the source of power. • When operating power tools in damp conditions, install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs). A GFCI for wall outlets, or GFCIs for the circuit breaker, detects any loss of electric current in a circuit. When a loss is detected, it turns the electricity off before severe injuries or electrocution can occur. • Carefully inspect power tools and equipment for missing and loose parts such as safety guards, screws and bits before operating them. If in doubt, do not use them. • Make sure power cords are out of the way of workers and traffic so that they do not trip anyone or are damaged by other equipment. Make sure power tools are turned off and disconnected from the socket when changing parts. • Wear proper protective gear such as work boots, visors and gloves. Do not wear sandals or wet clothes and footwear when operating corded power tools.
Proper care and maintenance:
Inside tool short list:
“Today’s power tools are tough enough to withstand harsh conditions of outdoor jobsites, but contractors can prolong the life of their investments by following some common sense care and maintenance practices,” says Ron Patching, brand channel manager for Robert Bosch Tools Corp. Top among his tips is to avoid getting your power tool wet. Apart from the dangers of electric shock, water can also cause a damaging short circuit. Should a corded or battery-powered tool fall into water or mud, be sure it has properly dried before operating it. Although power tools are designed to stand up to dust and dirt, make sure these do not clog the tool’s vents. Do not use toxic or flammable solutions when cleaning power tools. Contractors should also avoid resorting to “octopus” connections or using frayed or knotted cords. “These can cause short circuits that can damage your power tools or result in injury,” Patching says. Users should not tug at the cord to disconnect a power tool from the outlet, he says. “It might save time, but in the long run it causes wear on the cord and could result in electric shocks.”
Cordless power tools generally come in 12volt, 18-volt and 36-volt models. Lower voltage tools have less power and weigh less, while tools with higher voltage offer more torque, but are often bulkier and heavier. “We found that most contractors prefer the 18-volt tools because they offer the ideal torque to weight ratio,” says Bryan Bugeja, national sales manager at Stanley Black & Decker. He also says contractors should consider ergonomics when selecting power tools. The tool should feel right and secure when held in the manner with which it will be used. Buyers should also pay close attention to the size and weight of the tool, taking into consideration that they may be using the gadget for extended periods of time. “For impact or vibrating tools, padded grips and vibration and noise suppressors can lessen the stress on the user’s body and ears,” Bugeja says. Since each trade requires a different set of tools, and every contractor has his collection of favoured implements in his tool bag, it is difficult to come up with a complete list of indispensable power tools, Bugeja says, who instead suggests the following short list of frequently used power tools:
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PHOTOS: COURTESY OF BOSCH AND DEWALT
How to Combo kits – Contractors can start out with getting a combo kit such as Bosch’s Model CLPK 23-180. The kit which retails for about $289 comes with an 18-volt lithium ion battery powered drill with impact driver. A power drill and impact driver are also among the most basic tools in a contractor’s tool box. “You are always going to find some use in the jobsite for a drill and the impact driver is indispensable for the high-torque job of fastening large screws and bolts,” Bugeja says. A combo kit is versatile, because the battery packs are often interchangeable with those of other tools from the same manufacturer. “From this kit, you could build a complete tool box by buying other bare tools starting at around $150 each later down the road.” Reciprocating saws – For general cutting and ripping, a reciprocating saw is the ideal tool. Bugeja recommends the Black and Decker RS600K 8.5-amp reciprocating saw. The tool is capable of reaching up to 2,400 strokes per minute and can cut through wood, drywall, plaster, plastics, fibreglass and composites, as well as light- to heavy-gauge metals. Circular and mitre saws – Corded and non-corded circular saws can cut through a 2”x4” at more than twice the speed of a traditional handsaw. Although basically unchanged in principle since the 1950s, today’s
circular and power mitre saws are mounted on a hinged frame. This allows the tools to make more precise cuts on either straight or angled boards or lumber or mouldings. These saws are ideal for exterior or interior trim work on rafters or joists. Timber framing tools – Contractors are also likely to need timber framing tools such as a powered nailer and a chainsaw, says Patching. “Chainsaws are traditionally used for cutting down trees, but these days, I see a lot of people using them to cut through timber in order to open up for a new window or doorway when they need to get the job done fast.” After creating the initial opening, workers then use a circular or mitre saw to clean up the job. Powered nailers have a definite speed and accuracy advantage over the traditional hammer and nail. Pneumatic nailers, which are powered by a compressor, have the benefit of a steady supply of power. This reduces the need for users to stop and recharge the unit. Cordless flywheel nailers are now powerful enough to do handle finishing as well as brad nailing jobs, according to Patching. Cordless models also offer the advantage of portability. Specialty tools – For making precise cuts on boards or mouldings, Patching recommends Bosch’s 12” Dual Bevel Glide Mitre Saw. The tool takes up one foot less floor space than similarly powered mitre saws so it is ideal for deployment in confined spaces. It comes with easy-to-reach multiple bevel settings, an ambidextrous trigger and padded handgrip for comfortable use.
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jobs such as making sure that electrical outlets on a wall properly aligned. Indoor levels retail for about $150 to $350. Rotary laser levels are used for judging height and depth. This type of level is used for installing decks (height) or digging up a pool (depth). Rotary levels cost between $730 and $1,300.
Power to the people:
For all-purpose cutting jobs, from cutting through floorings to making flush cuts for cabinet work, Patching says the Bosch MX25 EC Multi X Oscillating tool is the ideal, time-saving multi-purpose cutting gadget. “It is small enough to reach into tiny spaces but has ample power to handle tough materials.”
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF BOSCH
On the level: In recent years, the market for laser levels have gone up by as much as 40%, says Patching. “Laser levels have risen in popularity in the last five years as more and more contractors become aware of their uses.” Modern levels employ a laser pointer system to help users determine if the line they are plotting is straight and level, says Patching. Levels fall under two categories: indoor laser levels; and outdoor rotary laser levels. Indoor levels are used to lay out a straight line across a surface. These levels are ideal for
For many smaller contractors that operate indoors, generators are not a necessity because they can generally rely on the power outlets of the buildings they are working on, Raneiri says. Still, generators become essential when contractors are working outdoors, away from the main power source, and when a crew is working on a new build without power connection or during blackouts. Contractors should consider a generator that can provide ample power for the size of their crew. The generator also has to be portable so that it can be easily moved around the jobsite. Raneiri also recommends that contractors choose a unit that has multiple outlet connections enabling more than one person to use it. Gas or diesel-powered generators are best used outdoors, where exhaust fumes are dissipated into the open air and do not cause any harm to workers. “Remember, whatever tool you choose to operate, always think safety first,” Raneiri says.
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PHOTO: ONTARIO WOODWORKS
A novel concept in composite wood brings lumber that can more closely match the strength of steel and concrete. BY STEFAN DUBOWSKI
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PHOTO: MANUFACTURER BOISE CASCADE LLC
omposite materials such as parallel strand lumber (PSL), laminated veneer lumber (LVL) and other engineered-wood products have proven to be strong, relatively easy to work with, and cost effective, this does not mean that engineered-wood product suppliers are resting on their laurels. Soon Canadian contractors will have access to a new engineered wood option that is robust enough to take the place of concrete and steel in certain applications. “It will revolutionize the theory of new wood and how it is used in much largerscale buildings,” says Steven Street, technical director of Ontario Wood WORKS and the Canadian Wood Council. Street was referring to cross-laminated timber (CLT). Developed in Switzerland in the 1990s, CLT is a multi-layer wood panel wherein the layers are arranged perpendicular to each other, affording increased strength and rigidity. CLT can be used for floors, walls and roofs, covering spans up to 40 feet, and it is starting to make its way into the Canadian market, Street says.
“It is about as close to wood as it will ever get to mirroring what structural pre-stressed concrete does.” CLT panels are installed as modular elements in large-scale construction projects. “It is just like a giant Lego set,” Street says, pointing out that a residential building in London, England (The Stadthaus) was built with CLT panels. At nine storeys, it is the tallest wood-construction structure in the world, according to architecture firm KLH UK, which designed the building. Canadian contractors, construction companies and property developers are interested in learning more about CLT, judging from the high turnout at a conference on CLT held by Wood WORKS, BC Wood, and FPInnovations in Vancouver this February. FPInnovations, the wood industry’s
market research organization, has developed a CLT handbook outlining manufacturing and structural specifications, and detailing how the product behaves in earthquakes and fire, as well as how it handles acoustics, vibrations, and other builddesign considerations. (You can order the handbook by visiting http://www.fpinnovations.ca/pdfs/CLT.pdf.) Meanwhile the APA, the engineered wood association, is developing CLT standards for North American applications, Street says. He explains that the European standards would not translate directly for Canada and the U.S. because each area produces different kinds of trees, and that calls for unique manufacturing specifications. It will not be long before Canadian wood-product makers begin producing CLT panels; companies such as Canadian Sustainable Timber (CST) Innovations, Nordic
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Engineered Wood, and Structurlam Products Ltd. are developing CLT products. “Nordic is probably going to be first into the market. I have already been up to see their operations and equipment,” Street says. Engineered wood and the environment: CLT comes along just as woodproduct manufacturers promote wood as a more environmentally-friendly alternative to concrete. In a study comparing the environmental impact of the two, FPInnovations found that engineered wood consumed less energy, less water, and contributed less to global warming and smog. In an opinion piece published in the National Post earlier this year, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore argued that wood harvesting promotes healthy forest management. Contrary to the idea that wood products deplete forests, Moore wrote that over the past 200 years, Europe’s forests have grown from covering just 10% of the continent to covering 30%, largely because wood is a hot commodity and it 48
pays to manage the resource properly. “The forests of Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa and Japan are all stable or growing in area due to the application of sustainable forestry management,” Moore wrote. Mark Thomas, national product manager, Boise engineered wood at CanwelBroadLeaf, says that engineered-wood products like CLT contribute to sustainable forest management. “CLTs allow us to use what we would traditionally call downfall lumber, wood that would not be used for graded dimensional lumber.” That means smaller trees can be harvested rather than wasted. “It is a phenomenal idea.” Wood skyscrapers: Alongside the new environmental arguments, the industry is also discovering new uses for engineered wood. In B.C., for instance, regulations now allow construction companies to build up to six storeys in wood. Prior to 2009, you could only use wood for buildings no more than four storeys.
Ontario Wood WORKS is driving a campaign to change the regulations in Ontario to match those of B.C. It could help make construction less costly, says CanwelBroadleaf’s Thomas. Although concrete is the primary method of building six storeys today, “the economics did not work as well for that size of building. Concrete works better than wood at more than five to six floors,” but at the five to six storey level, wood is less expensive. Thomas noted that Canadian municipalities are promoting infill development to reduce urban sprawl. For many towns and cities, that means having to build vertically with residential units above retail and office space in areas with existing services. The need for an economical way to put up midrise buildings and that paves the way for increased reliance on engineeredwood products, he says.
Taiga offers LSL: If Ontario follows in B.C.’s footsteps, and
PHOTO: TAIGA BUILDING PRODUCTS LTD.
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Engineered wood options Engineered wood has come a long way since the advent of plywood, particle board and OSB. Today contractors have a wider range of engineered wood options to consider. Glulam: Also known as glue-laminated timber, this product comprises layers of lumber adhered together with moisture-resistant glue. Glulam is one of the only engineered-wood products that can be produced in curved formations. Homasote: This product is used for sound control and thermal insulation in floors, walls, ceilings and roofs. It is considered lightweight and easy to work with. Laminated veneer lumber (LVL): LVL incorporates multiple layers of thin full veneers that are glued together in parallel.
sources say that is likely, engineered-wood products could be even more in demand. That prospect could be the reason that construction-material suppliers are expanding their engineered-wood offerings. Taiga Building Products Ltd., for instance, recently started carrying laminated strand lumber (LSL). It is a strong engineered-wood product consisting of low-grade logs, designed for structural members. The wood is processed into flaked strands which are dried, coated with resin, and pressed into billets up to 30 feet long. LSL is cut for headers, rimjoists, columns and studs. John Little, vice president of engineered products at Taiga, says LSL would not replace LVL or PSL. “It will be used alongside with them. It is a lighter product, it is less expensive, and it certainly fills a need in a house or a building.” Little explained that LVL, often made from southern yellow pine, is designed to meet a high 2.0E deflection standard,
making it the one of the strongest examples of engineered wood on the market. Not all applications call for such high rigidity. LSL, consisting of maple, red birch and aspen (in the case of the Louisiana Pacific Corp. made product that Taiga carries) attains 1.75E. “We feel that 1.75 will replace about 85% of the 2.0 used today,” Little says. There seems to be little doubt that engineered wood is stronger than traditional lumber, and that in certain cases it may well replace concrete and steel, particularly in six-storey buildings where engineered wood may be more economical, and also in projects where environmental concerns are an issue. Does that spell an end for concrete or steel? No. “Most commercial projects always need concrete and steel in the design,” Street says. “We are not taking away from areas they are traditionally in,” Thomas says. “We are adding to the mix.”
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF): This engineered-wood product is created by breaking wood down into fibres and combining them with wax and resin. The material is formed into panels under heat and pressure. MDF is denser than plywood, but like plywood it is used often in carpentry. Masonite: This is a type of hardboard that use to be found in everything from doors and roofs to walls and desktops, but after a high-profile lawsuit involving a Masonite manufacturer it is not as popular. In 1996 a group of homeowners sued International Paper after the Masonite they used as siding rotted. Masonite is still used for theatre-stage flooring, table-tennis surfaces, skateboard ramps and doors. Parallel strand lumber (PSL): Similar in construction to LVL, PSL veneer strands instead of veneer panels. It is used for beams, headers, and loadbearing columns. s
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SIDING Fundamentals The right vinyl siding and a few installation techniques will deliver a dynamic look.
BY JOHN G. SMITH
It begins with the gauge. Doug Rixmann, the marketing manager for Mitten Vinyl, immediately refers to the important measurement when describing the differences between one family of vinyl siding and the next. Commodity-level products tend to be around .040” thick, compared to mid-range offerings that approach .044”, he says. Premium designs can reach as high as .050”. Over time, the thicker vinyl will be better equipped to withstand the on-going force of the wind without deforming. His company’s .044” Century products, for example, can withstand gusts of 290 kmh. The Fortress line with a .046” gauge can handle winds up to 320 kmh. Of course, the potential threats are not limited to the wind, but the added protection against impacts will also help to protect the siding against the deforming force of a hail storm. The siding itself can even be insulated. Mitten’s Insulplank, for example, includes an insulated backing, with the added panel creating an R value of 2.0. As important as that may appear to the idea of enhancing energy savings, the real impact comes in the way it re-
duces sound. “It is a direct competitor against fibre cement or hardie board,” he says. At a quick glance, the panels themselves will look alike, but premium siding options tend to be the ones that come in a wider range of rich colours that become more popular with every passing year. “It is really all about dark colours. It is all about cosmetics. Everybody is trying to get their homes to stand out,” he says of the choices that today’s customers want. As important as the choice of materials will be, installation practices can play a big role in the project’s final look. The best techniques conform to the Vinyl Siding Institute’s installation guide, Rixmann says, adding that the installers themselves can be certified by the organization. It is the training that can help to avoid some common mistakes. One potential problem would emerge if an installer nails a panel too tightly to the wall, making it tough for the material to expand and contract when exposed to changing temperatures. “It will grow outward instead of being able to float on the wall, and you will get a washboard effect,” he explains. According to the Vinyl Siding
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Institute itself, the siding can expand and contract by as much as 1/2” along a 12’6” length. That makes it important to leave an appropriate gap between the pieces, choose the right fasteners, and add them in the right positions. The nails themselves should always be positioned in the centre of a nail slot, making it possible to move the strip back and forth a centimetre or two in each direction. “After you nail it, you should be able to easily move it,” he says, noting how the nailing hem should not be tight against the wall. According to the Vinyl Siding Institute, fasteners should be nailed at least 3/4” into the framing stud or furring, leaving about 1/32” between the fastener’s head and the siding panel itself. (That is about the thickness of a dime.) There should also be at least 1/4” of clearance at every opening or stop to allow everything to expand and contract, and that measurement should increase to at least 3/8” when contractors are working in temperatures below 5° C. When nail slots fail to line up with a surface that can actually accept a fastener, a nail hole slot punch can be used to extend the size of a slot and leave enough room for the fastener to be properly centred. The fasteners themselves should be made of aluminum or galvanized steel, or include some other form of corrosionresisting nails, staples or screws. The heads should have a diameter of at least 5/16”, while the shanks should be at least 1/8” wide. In general, the fasteners should also be 1-½” long, or 1-½” long when re-siding, and a total of 2-½” when trying to pierce siding and backer board. The nails used
for trim, meanwhile, should be somewhere between 1” and 1-½” long and made of aluminum or stainless steel. Contractors still have the option of using screws as well. In these cases, the best options are Number 8 fasteners with a truss or pan head, corrosion-resisting design, and a self-tapping sheet metal tip. Those who prefer staples should look for a 16-gauge option that is semi-flattened to offer an elliptical cross section. In these cases, the staples should be 1” long and about 1/32” wide above and below the nailing hem, still allowing the siding to move. Regardless of the fastener, it should penetrate at least 3/4” into the stud or furring. The only face nail or staple through the siding itself should be limited to the single nail needed to finish the installation at the top of a gable. The siding panels themselves can be cut with everything from a dedicated scoring tool to a circular saw or tin snips. The circular saw can be fitted with a fine-toothed plywood blade that is installed backwards and run at a slow speed. Those using tin snips, meanwhile, should be careful not to close the blades at the end of a stroke. When it comes to a utility knife or scoring
tool, the face of the vinyl should be scored with a medium amount or pressure, leaving the panel to be snapped in half. Of course, siding of any sort will only be as stable as the material below it. Before anyone thinks of applying a new layer, they should remove and replace any uneven siding, and take care not to use green lumber when creating an underlayment from scratch. Any remaining dips in the walls can be addressed with nothing more than a few furring strips. Gutters, downspouts and light fixtures will also need to be removed for the job to follow. The panels themselves should lock into place with relative ease, pushing up against the bottom of each piece until locked into the piece below. Care will be needed to ensure that pieces are not forced into place or stretched before the fasteners are applied. The actual addition of fasteners should begin at the centre of the panel and work out towards the ends, with each nail centred in its respective slots and spaced no more than 16” apart. Not surprisingly, the fasteners should also be driven straight and level to make sure nothing distorts or buckles. When it comes to vertical siding and corner posts, however, the first nail should
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go into the upper slot to hold everything in place, placing these fasteners every 12”. If a panel is damaged, slip a zip lock or unlocking tool under the bottom lock, above the one to be replaced, and unzip it from the damaged panel’s lock. Then gently bend out the upper panel, nail the new panel underneath, and use the tool to zip the upper panel over the lock on the new panel. Of course, measurements will be important every step of the way. These projects are effectively adding a series of stripes to a building, and any unwanted slopes will be fairly obvious once a job is completed. Chalk lines should be added so the bottom of the J-channel that will be installed like a starter strip and is ¼” below the lowest point on the wall. The centre of each sidewall, meanwhile, should be marked for installing two J channels placed back to back, leaving ¼” at the top and bottom. These will be the starter strips. The entire project should be centred on the wall, ensuring that the first and last pieces will be cut to the same width. Just make sure there will be enough depth in any accessory’s receiving channel. In fact, the finishing touches in the form of those accessories will play a key role in the final look.
“Gone are the days of the pastel or the plastic house, Rixmann says, referring to current trends that involve richer colours and create an added depth with accessories. “People are using contrasting colours for their accessory colours.” Rather than using standard outer posts, some installers are choosing models with a larger face and the enhanced architectural detail which can come with it. Of course, installers can enhance any project with the right finishing touches. Rather than using a standard outer corner post, some models offer a larger face.
The architectural appeal does not need to end there. “The big thing for the faux stone and some of the injection moulded pieces is they look exactly like stone, but they can be installed by the contractor who does the vinyl siding,” he adds, noting how the products come in the form of easily handled small panels. “The full installation cost of these products is less than some of your stone work, brick work, hardie board and fibre cement.” Think of them as the “side ways” that every installer should follow.
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ROOF Tips, techniques and warranty advice for every roofer. BY JOHN G. SMITH
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PHOTO: THINKSTOCK IMAGES
oofers have used warranties as an important sales tool for years. Regardless of what a customer may know about asphalt shingles, everyone can see the value in products that promise a longer life. Those who work with laminated shingles might face a new challenge in the negotiations across a homeowner’s kitchen table. This winter, major manufacturers began to apply lifetime warranties to all of their laminate product lines, notes Gilles Landry, Building Products of Canada’s product line manager for roofing. His company had offered 30-year and 40-year designs, and had just introduced a laminated shingle with a 50-year life. That differentiation now disappears. The shingles themselves did not actually change, and contain the same raw material and asphalt they always had, Landry adds, referring to the products that create multi-layered looks. The change in warranties simply reflects the long life this category of shingles always enjoyed. “Contractors will have to look at other upgrade options now such as design and colour,” notes Rob Davidson, IKO Industries’ director of sales for Eastern Canada. For that matter, they should also look for suppliers that have deep roots in Canada, and a long track record of customer service and financial stability, he says. Without that, contractors could be left “holding the bag” if problems emerge in the future. When it comes to discussing the warranties themselves, Landry notes that contractors should be careful to convey exactly what the coverage actually represents. “Right off the bat, a lifetime warranty sounds like a super big deal,” Landry says. “What it truly represents is not a big thing.” While the coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next, it represents a diminishing return for those who have the roofing material installed. BP Canada, for example, covers the cost of the shingles and the installation for 15 years. After that, the coverage shifts to the value of the shingles that depreciates over time. By Year 40, the warranty is covering 10% of the depreci-
ated value of the shingles, and could be worth as little as $100. “It is not a big amount of money,” Landry notes. Besides that, the warranties on any roofing materials are most meaningful in the earlier years of coverage. Problems with the quality of a shingle do not manifest themselves after 15 to 20 years. They emerge after the first five or seven years. Of course, that is not the only option in asphalt shingles. Economical three-tab designs are still popular for jobs where the slope
ranges from 4:12 to 6:12, Landry says. “There, the laminate shingle does not look good. It looks like a curled roof from Day 1.” There are regional differences as well. Three-tab shingles are still popular in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, but the interest is beginning to drop in Ontario, he says. “In B.C., there is probably no more than 10% of the market being done in three-tab shingles.” Roofers involved in new construction projects around the Greater Toronto Area, meanwhile, are making a switch of their own. Many had embraced lighter three-tab
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shingles that easily lay flat on a rooftop. New architectural designs are simply requiring a different look, particularly in projects that have steeper roof slopes, where builders are using the look of the roofline to enhance the appearance of model homes. Regardless of the choice, contractors should also consider the features and benefits such as the material’s coverage that could affect installation time, Davidson adds. “Coverage directly affects the amount
of labour required to install a roofing system. In any shingle application, labour is usually the largest cost component.” The laminate designs can certainly help to speed up a roofing project. While many contractors had been charging premiums when working on the projects because of the added cutting efforts, the latest versions cut as easily as a three-tab shingle, Landry says. “It is also a random installation so they do not have to worry about the vertical line.”
The chalk lines that mark that vertical strip are particularly important when installing three-tab shingles, to make sure that each piece is aligned along a horizontal and vertical axis. Of course, there are some steps that installers should follow when working with any sort of asphalt shingle. Contractors should take the care to use a common batch of shingles on any single side of the roof. Even though the colours themselves are closely matched, the granules could be pressed into place at different angles during the production process. “The only way you are going to see it is when they are installed on the roof, and at certain angles the light might be reflected differently,” Landry explains. The differences between products are not always skin deep, either. BP Canada, for example, has unveiled a weather-tight technology that includes a second band of sealant to help keep the newly installed
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shingles from blowing off a roof. The traditional bands that exist are actually a series of dots, if water gets under the shingle it can still drain away, but a second continuous band on the top of the new shingle now seals in the middle of each piece, right where the laminated section exists. The final result is guaranteed to hold in place at winds of up to 220 kmh, complete with the UL 2390, Class H rating to resist the force of a hurricane. The added strip should not be confused with the cellophane already used to keep shingles from sticking together in the bundles. “A lot of people think they need to take away the cellophane strip, and they try to scratch it to take it off,” Landry says. “It is a total waste of time and it is extremely difficult.” As important as the final seal may be, Canadian roofers also need to deal with colder temperatures that will keep any sealants from activating. Until the temperatures begin to rise, the shingles may be held in place using nothing but nails, leaving them prone to blow away. “If the shingles are installed in cold temperatures, we recommend the shingles should be end-sealed with a very small line of plastic cement or SPS-modified plastic cement,” Landry says, referring to the adhesive that comes in 800 ml tubes. A few small dots to press the shingle in place will hold everything tight until the warmer temperatures come. Granted, it is a rare step. He would be surprised if 5% of roofers added the extra 62
adhesive. For those contractors who skip the added work, it comes down to managing risk. If shingles blow off the roof in the winter, they might ask customers to wait until spring, and then replace the few shingles that blew away. Contractors simply need to be aware that the risk can be higher in some geographic areas than others. In a dusty environment, the debris which accumulates on top of the sealing strip could limit the final seal. Of course, a roofing job is not limited to shingles. Any underlayment will play an important role in the task as well. The lower layer may be a foreign concept to those involved in some new construction jobs, where the shingles are often installed directly on the deck, but that will not necessarily have an impact on the waterproof nature of the roof. “New houses have steeper slopes,” Landry explains. “The steeper the slope, the less important it is to have that underlayment.” A growing number of those who are installing an underlayment are turning to synthetic offerings that can weigh as little as 25 lb. per 10-square roll, which would cover 100 sq. ft. “Synthetics offer some extra up-front protection that standard felt underlayment may not,” Davidson says, referring to the way it can offer added support during jobs that can take several days to complete, or when poor weather is on the horizon. Landry simply stresses that roofers should be careful to consider exactly what the related warranties are covering.
An exposed underlayment may have a six-month warranty, but that only relates to UV rays. Regardless of the form that the underlayment takes, Davidson suggests that roofers also need to be careful of the surface they create. Roofing felt, for example can wrinkle or buckle when exposed to moisture or sun. The lumps that emerge can telegraph through to the surface of the shingle and affect the overall appearance of the finished roof. Before these underlayments are even rolled into place, contractors also need to be careful to establish a stable deck. An unstable surface such as board decks can lead to cupping or buckling, Davidson notes, recommending ½” plywood as his surface of choice. There will need to be adequate ventilation as well. “Premature lifting or curling may be caused from insufficient or lack of attic ventilation,” Davidson explains, referring to the need to seek guidance from technical bulletins posted by the Canadian Asphalt Shingle Manufacturers’ Association. Organic shingles are at a particular risk of curling if they are exposed to the extreme temperatures of a poorly ventilated roof. Above all, Davidson points to one leading source of information that should never be overlooked. Each bundle of shingles can require different installation techniques, he says, and the instructions are clearly marked on each bundle. These are the steps which can help to raise the quality of any roof.
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Siding Fundamentals Issue