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A safe workplace is no accident / 18

Contractors must build a culture of safety in the jobsite.

Picture perfect / 22 Consider colour, chemistry and applications when choosing the best paint for a job.

Open doors / 30





Interior doors can make a dramatic difference in any renovation project.

Floored by history / 36

Canada’s LEED mark is first rate

Get the facts on three ancient materials that meet modern flooring requirements.

PRODUCT SHOWCASE / 7 New and improved products

The 2,000-year-old product/ 40

BUSINESS STRATEGIES / 10 Forgiveness vs. permission

Moulding was first used by the Ancient Greeks, but age-old certainly does not mean old-fashioned.

ECONOMICS 101 / 12 The successful leader SMART MONEY / 14 The inadvertent employer LEARNING CURVE / 17 High-performance training

September/October 2015 Vol. 20 No. 5

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

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

Contributors Nestor E. Arellano Lauren Cole Lawrence Cummer Stefan Dubowski Walt Grassl Allison Newton David Chilton Saggers John G. Smith

A strong finish / 49 The number of options to keep basements warm, dry, safe and sound-proof continue to rise. Advertising Enquiries Vendors whose products are carried in Castle Building Centres stores have the opportunity to advertise in

Contractor Advantage

For more information or to reserve space in the next issue, contact: Jennifer Mercieca Director of Communications Phone: 905-564-3307 Fax: 905-564-5875 E-mail:

Published and designed exclusively for Castle Building Centres Group Ltd. by AnnexNewcom LP Material Contact: Cheryl Fisher 416-510-5194 Copyright 2012



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Formerly Boncor and Residential, we’re now called Royal® Building Solutions. Our new name has a lot built into it, like vinyl siding, aluminum, wood, stone, windows and doors and trim. But to truly solve problems, grow your business and build your reputation, you need a partner with the commitment, experience, knowledge, ideas and enthusiasm to put it all together. LET’S MAKE YOUR NEXT PROJECT HAPPEN. Visit to find the branch nearest you.

Building Solutions



Canada ranks top country for LEED Green building for second year in a row



he U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced that Canada ranks first on its second annual ranking of the Top 10 Countries for LEED, the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system. The Top 10 list highlights countries outside of the U.S. that are making significant strides in sustainable building design, construction and transformation, illustrating the ever-growing international demand for LEED green buildings. The announcement comes at a time of increased international focus on climate change mitigation in the lead up to the United Nation’s COP21 climate negotiations this December. “We are extremely proud to be named as the top country for LEED projects internationally again this year,” said Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the CaGBC. “By leading the global adoption of LEED, Canada’s building industry is demonstrating how business and sustainability can go hand in hand to reduce environmental impacts including carbon emissions. “Building owners and developers are increasingly making LEED an integral part of doing business spurring demand for innovative products, technologies and services, and, in the process, creating jobs and positive bottom lines.” Canada retains its spot as the top country for LEED for the second year in a row. The Canadian government names buildings as the fourth leading cause of

greenhouse gas emissions in the country, contributing 12% of the country’s overall emissions by sector. Emissions from the Canadian building sector have dropped in Canada since 2005 even as the population has risen and the national building stock has grown larger. According to the CaGBC, given Canada’s climate and its intense heating needs during its harsh winter, this decrease in energy usage demonstrates a strong commitment to transforming the national built environment in ways that promote a healthier, more sustainable future. “At a time when the world needs real leadership to solve the problems facing us all, Canadian business leaders, policymakers and consumers have turned to LEED to show the international community what we can do at the local level to promote real, substantive change,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “It is always encouraging to see highly developed nations such as Canada rally around the idea that increased sustainability does not need to come at the expense of a high standard of living, and that making this type of commitment actually enhances national well being.” The 10 countries that made the list for 2015 are geographically and culturally diverse, representing seven of the world’s 20 largest single-nation economies by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (China, Germany, Brazil, India, Canada, South Korea and Turkey), as well as six of the top 11 emitters of greenhouse gases (China, India, Germany, South Korea, Canada and Brazil).

Kate Campbell becomes CertainTeed brand ambassador

Celebrity carpenter Kate Campbell is partnering with CertainTeed Insulation in Canada to help educate homeowners and building professionals about the optimal thermal efficiency, acoustical performance and air qualities of CertainTeed Sustainable Insulation. As brand ambassador, Campbell will represent CertainTeed Insulation at consumer and trade shows across Canada and through interviews on TV and other media. She will join CertainTeed ambassador Damon Bennett in digital and print advertising campaigns. “Kate Campbell has earned respect in an industry dominated by men and is a major advocate for women working in the trades,” said Marlon Thompson, marketing product manager for CertainTeed Insulation Canada. Campbell is a well-known crew member on HGTV’s “Decked Out,” “Disaster Decks,” “Deck Wars” and “Custom Built.” She will also be a host of an upcoming HGTV show filming this summer that is slated to air in 2016. CertainTeed will also have a presence in other projects that Campbell has in the works, including a show chronicling her renovation and restoration of a 150-year-old heritage home being filmed for potential TV airing and, a platform that Campbell will use to inspire her followers and showcase her projects.



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Build bold.


She wrote the e-book on confidence.

Where are homeowners with a passion for personality finding fascination these days? In exteriors bathed in deep, beautiful hues. It’s a movement driven by a strong impulse to look up and see their very cool home in all its colourful glory. We have just the thing to match this trend: exteriors with character that come in a rich palette of dark colours. We’re very confident about that. Featuring Royal® Siding, Trim and Shutters

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Building Blocks

Innovative Products for Today’s Renovators



DeWalt’s new Tool Connect App allows users to pair Bluetooth-enabled batteries with compatible smartphones. The company’s recently launched line of premium 20V MAX* 2.0 Amp (DCB203BT) and 4.0 Amp (DCB204BT) lithium ion batteries have Bluetooth capability allowing them to be paired with iPhone and Android devices via the free Tool Connect App. This gives DeWalt users the ability to control their batteries remotely using the device. Bluetoothenabled batteries solve a number of jobsite problems, the company says. Contractors can see an inventory of paired units on the Tool Connect App home screen on their tablet or smart phone. This home screen allows users to remotely turn all compatible batteries on or off at once, monitor battery charge levels, view Bluetooth signal strength and pair additional batteries.


Users can select an individual battery to view its diagnostics and change settings by tabbing through four pages: Diagnostics, Actions, Info and Alerts. The Diagnostics screen indicates an individual battery’s state of charge, temperature and connection to Bluetooth. Visit for more information.


Ply Gem’s Entrée Vinyl Siding is designed with a number of features aimed at reducing stress on building and remodeling professionals. A rollover nail rail and .437 butt height improve overall stability, rigidity and wind load resistance, while 12’ panel lengths ease installation. The Entrée panel boasts a 4.5” Dutchlap profile in 0.40” nominal thickness giving professionals a durable, budget-friendly option, the company says.

The panels are available in the three most popular colours in the retail market: Frost, Satin Grey and Sandalwood, and colourmatched vinyl accessories, aluminum trim and blocks and vents are also available. Entrée is the latest addition to the Mitten by Ply Gem Vinyl Siding brand and part of The Designed Exterior by Ply Gem. The panels have a lifetime transferable warranty. Visit for more information.



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A new combo kit from Makita contains its Drywall Cut Out Tool (DCO180Z), 1/4” Cordless Drywall Screwdriver with Brushless Motor (DFS452Z), two 18V 4.0 Ah lithium batteries, a rapid charger and tool bag. Lightweight in design with high rpm for faster drywall cutting, the new drywall cut out tool has an anti-restart feature to prevent accidental start-up and a soft-start feature to eliminate start-up shock. A battery protection system offers over-discharge, temperature and current protection to improve performance and overall battery life. Its sliding lock-on switch makes it ideal for operation during periods of prolonged use, and it easily attaches to Makita’s cordless vacuum cleaner. The screwdriver with brushless motor operates at variable

speeds and is reversible. Push-drive technology minimizes power consumption under no load and reduces noise and vibration. The brushless DC motor has a high power-to-weight ratio and generates less heat buildup, making it better for prolonged use. Makita’s eXtreme Protection Technology (XPT) offers maximum protection against dust, debris and liquids, while a silent clutch offers smoother engagement of gearing. Both tools feature ergonomic soft rubber grips to absorb vibration and offer comfortable operation. Visit for more information.



Johns Manville’s JM Spider Plus blow-in insulation is a re-engineered blow-in system ideal for residential, commercial and manufactured buildings. The new insulation replaces JM Spider spray-in fibreglass insulation and uses a blowing wool machine and features “Interlocking Fibre Technology.” JM’s latest building science innovation, Interlocking Fibre technology, allows the insulation fibres to spring and lock into cavities with no adhesive or netting. JM Spider Plus achieves an R-value of 15 in a 2x4 cavity and an R-23 in 2x6 walls. Interlocking Fibre Technology expands into wall and overhead cavities, filling gaps and voids and creating a shield against elements to achieve Grade 1 installation. It installs and dries quickly for same-day drywall installation to save

time and money and creates minimal dust for an easy clean up on jobsites compared with other spray-in systems, the company says. Visit for more information.



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Asking For Forgiveness, Not Permission The key to successfully implementing this strategy is stressing the proper use of judgment and holding people accountable. BY WALT GRASSL


hen you hear the phrase “ask for forgiveness, not permission,” what do you think? Do you think, “I can do anything I want and if something goes wrong or if I get caught, I’ll just say I’m sorry?” Wrong. Actions have consequences. Often in business, if speed and agility are important and if many mistakes can be corrected, creating a culture of “asking for forgiveness, not permission” can empower a workforce. The key to successfully implementing this strategy is stressing the proper use of judgment and holding people accountable for their decisions. The following examples will show you how this change in mindset can improve performance at any level of a company.

On the front-lines James works in an engineering lab. One Thursday afternoon, a company expediter tried delivering a package to the lab. The lab supervisor who normally signs for packages was away at a meeting. Three of James’ fellow employees were unwilling to sign and debating if a supervisor’s signature was required. James walked over and after listening to the discussion for a few minutes said, “I’ll sign it”. He figured that it made no sense for the expediter to wait around for a half hour or more for the supervisor to return, nor did it make sense for the expediter to

“The key to successfully implementing this strategy is stressing the proper use of judgment and holding people accountable for their decisions.” take the package back and redeliver at a later time. Both of those options would be wasteful. He did not think he would be fired for signing for it and would discuss the situation with his supervisor later. When his supervisor Melissa returned, James told her what happened. Not only was he not fired, Melissa gave him kudos for exercising good judgment.

In customer service John works in a very large company. He received an outside call about a system that had been delivered to a customer 10 years ago. The customer was looking for a specific employee who had retired (John had inherited his phone number when he started at the company). John could have said, “Sorry, I cannot help you.” It was not his job to route calls. John instead tried to get as much information about the system from the customer and took the customer’s name and number. John then searched the company’s internal website to try to find someone associated with the system. He identi-

Walt Grassl is a speaker, author, and performer. He hosts the radio show, “Stand Up and Speak Up,” on the RockStar Worldwide network. Grassl has performed standup comedy at the Hollywood Improv and the Flamingo in Las Vegas and is studying improv at the Groundlings School in Hollywood. For more information visit 10




fied Dan as someone who might know something and called him. Dan said he was not the correct person but that another employee, Nancy, was. John called Nancy and she was extremely grateful. The customer was a big deal in her part of the company and she made sure John was recognized for his initiative.

In sales Melanie sold custom computer-based systems. She had a customer who wanted delivery of a system one month faster than the normal six month lead time. Melanie wanted to please the customer and make the sale. She knew that the software customization was the critical path to delivery. Rather than promise an unrealistic five month delivery, she offered the customer a five month hardware delivery with beta software. The final software delivery would be made at after seven months. That gave her team time to prepare the beta delivery and incorporate feedback from the customer’s use of the beta software. The customer was happy because they could begin to integrate the system in their business sooner. When she brought the out-of-the-box proposal back to her team, she was acknowledged for her creativity in making a sale without risking the reputation of the company for on-time deliveries.



In leadership

Frank and Dennis. Frank would do twothirds of the work and Dennis one-third. Frank and Dennis both jumped at the idea because they could focus on the work they wanted to do. The project was almost finished when William’s manager discovered this unconventional distribution of work. Since the project was under budget and ahead of schedule, William’s manager just shook his head and said, “Well done!” Acting before asking requires keen judgment. Every situation is different. Here are some questions to ask yourself before deciding not to ask for permission first: • Is what I am going to do illegal? • Is what I am going to do in specific violation of company policy? • Do I have enough information to make a reasonable decision? • If what I choose to do does not

William was assigned his first project leadership position, leading two others in the development of a test system. Traditionally, William was expected to manage the project and do 40% of the work, his mid-level engineer, Frank, was expected to do 40% and his junior engineer, Dennis, to do 20%. When his team met at the beginning of the project, communication with other organizations within the company was perceived to be the biggest obstacle to success. William’s two other team members dreaded the coordination effort and felt they could never get any work done if they were constantly chasing information. William proposed a different distribution of the work. He would manage and report the status of the project, as well as chase down all information for

work out, what is the worst possible outcome? • If what I choose to do does not work out, is there a reasonable plan to recover? • If what I choose to do does not work out, am I willing to accept responsibility for making the decision and not look to blame others for the unexpected outcome? The answers to these questions will help you decide whether or not to ask for permission. When you reward employees for their good judgment and teach them how to improve their judgment, you get improved morale as well as a faster, more agile workforce. The mistakes that may occur are teaching moments that contribute to the improvement, not failures to execute.

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The Successful Leader

How to thrive in Canada’s leading industry and to avoid the unexpected pitfalls plaguing the construction business. BY ALLISON NEWTON


he construction industry is one of Canada’s largest, representing over 6% of Canada’s gross domestic product; however, in this competitive environment, the rate of bankruptcy remains high. The key to avoiding this common pitfall is through effective management and leadership. This is especially true when it comes to the ways in which costs are managed, and how innovation is created.

Managing Costs: As in any business, there are two ways to improve the bottom line: increase revenue or lower costs. While it is ideal to increase revenues, reducing costs is usually more within the control of management and a faster method to realize benefits. The following examples of utilizing available grants, pooling resources, and increasing efficiency highlight ways for construction businesses to reduce costs.

Maximizing grants and available credits: Employees are the greatest asset a company can have, but can also be their biggest expense. Management should explore all grants and tax credits available in order to lower their payroll costs. The Canada Job Grant helps employers train new or existing employees. Further training promotes efficiency and can lower on-the-job related accidents, which can directly reduce costs for a construction

“A company can only operate so lean; once costs have been reduced, strong leadership must realize the need for constant innovation in order to achieve growth.” company. Businesses should also look into apprenticeship credits in order to offset the costs of highly skilled tradespeople. Knowing the benefits available to your business will provide additional cash flow that can be used in other needed areas of the business.

no longer have to wait until they can raise enough capital to make a large purchase. This will provide a competitive advantage, and frontrunners have jumped on this new initiative.

Sharing Economy – Use of shared resources:

Green initiatives are nothing new, and more and more companies are adjusting their daily business activities in order to be more energy efficient and to reduce their ecological footprint. The construction industry is better versed than most on the latest green initiatives, with clients seeking out energy efficient solar panels, water saving techniques, etc. While they are familiar with constructing these processes, changes are being made on the management side. Construction companies are going paperless. The use and efficiency of construction management software reduces the cost of paper products which were used constantly for drawings and blueprints. Management must make the educated decision about which software is best for their business and by doing so reduce the costs of paper

The single largest trend in today’s construction industry is the use of shared capital assets. The traditional business model had individual companies purchasing the heavy equipment needed for each project. This was costly and due to the limited useful life of some of these assets, resulted in high losses on disposition. By sharing resources and equipment with other construction companies, companies are moving toward a new model which greatly reduces these risks. Renting or leasing the equipment allows for greater flexibility in how long equipment may be used and enables the user to more readily take advantage of technological advances. If there is a better, more efficient process developed, companies will

Allison is a Staff Accountant in Crowe Soberman Audit & Advisory Group. She provides assurance and tax services to a wide range of clients including real estate and construction companies, not-forprofit organizations, automotive businesses, infor-





Going paperless – Construction Management Software:

mation technology firms and investment management corporations. Her specialties include financial statement preparation, risk assessment analysis and helping clients to succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace.


ECONOMICS 101 products and present themselves as ‘environmentally friendly,’ a trending claim in this day and age.

Innovation: A company can only operate so lean; once costs have been reduced, strong leadership must realize the need for constant innovation in order to achieve growth.

Business opportunities must be sought out:

Adequate research completed before expansion: The single most fatal flaw a business can make is to not complete adequate research and due diligence before entering into a new geographic market or business sector. Expansion is necessary in the growth of a business but without proper due diligence done to determine the different labour laws, material requirements and/or environmental compliance rules; penalties and costs can pile up and put an end to the expansion or in worst case scenarios put a company into bankruptcy. It is therefore crucial that research be conducted to ensure all the costs are known and compliance issues addressed before expansion.

Innovation is the successful exploitation of new ideas. In a time when businesses are constantly being forced to downsize, leadership must continuously change and adapt to remain competitive. Business leaders within the company must actively seek new opportunities for business growth. By constantly exploring new Entrepreneurial spirit initiatives the company’s project portfolio – pre-emptive change: will become diversified lowering the risk As the world moves towards a technologiof downfall if a project fails. cally dependent work environment, ideas

are the currency of the future. Never has this been more evident than in the reliance placed on human capital. Successful leadership empowers employees to always question how business can be done better. It is this entrepreneurial spirit that sparks pre-emptive change, allowing a business to grow and adapt before finding itself in a dire situation. This spirit starts from the top by having management display drive, innovation and ambition. Setting this example will encourage employees to follow suit. This elimination of complacency gives businesses a competitive advantage and allows change to be handled in a pro-active, efficient manner. Taking the time to investigate how your business can employ cost reduction strategies while at the same time increase innovative thinking will ensure the most common downfalls plaguing the construction industry can be avoided.



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The Inadvertent Employer Companies may be walking a fine line when the relationship between worker and employer are not clearly drawn. BY LAUREN COLE


here are numerous reasons why a company would elect to contract out work rather than hire employees. There is greater flexibility, overall lower costs than having employees on payroll and the benefit of working with individuals who have tailored skills that are specific to the job they have been hired to complete. Relationships are not set in stone and if there is a clash in personalities or work styles, another individual can be selected for the next job without hassle. These benefits provide a strong argument for hiring contractors in place of employees; however, companies may be walking a fine line when the relationship between worker and employer are not clearly drawn. Not establishing the proper parameters around a working relationship could deem a company to be an “employer” and, as a result, responsible for a variety of payrollrelated costs and filings. Employers are required to deduct and remit income taxes, along with both employee and employer portions of Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan premiums. Failure to remit these amounts to the Canadian Revenue Agency can result in interest and penalties charged and potentially having to pay for these amounts out of pocket. Before a company can conclude that an employment relationship does not exist, they must carefully evaluate how they structure contracted work.

“The CRA uses a two-step approach to evaluate the relationship between companies and their workers to determine whether they have been engaged as business or an employee.” Consider the following: Brian owns his own contracting company that has been in business for a number of years. He has no employees and is not set up as an employer for calculating and remitting payroll. He regularly contracts out work to individuals and over the past year has worked on a number of jobs with the same individual, Steve. Brian and Steve live close to one another, and often travel to job sites together. Steve has his own set of tools, but also makes use of Brian’s, which are often left at project sites. Steve does not have an incorporated business, but invoices Brian for the work he performs including sales tax, which he remits under a HST account number. He reports this income on his personal income tax return, which he offsets by deductions for work-related expenses. Brian, having multiple years of experience in the business, often suggests the

Lauren Cole is a manager in Crowe Soberman’s Audit & Advisory Group where she provides insightful advice to clients (business owners and entrepreneurs) on issues relating to accounting, finance and operations, helping them to succeed





best way for a job to be performed, and has a group of preferred labourers who Steve has subcontracted in the past under his recommendation. The working arrangement has gone on in a way that business is now booming and the two work together on nearly all jobs, some of which have been referred to Brian by Steve himself. Although contracts for each job were originally drawn up by the two men upon the beginning of their work together they are now too busy with their businesses to bother drafting an agreement for each project they complete. In this scenario, are the boundaries between the company and worker clearly set, or could an argument be made for Steve acting as Brian’s employee? Regardless of the fact that both Steve and Brian have been treating their relationship as one of business for both accounting and tax

in an increasingly competitive marketplace. She is experienced working with businesses in various industries, including construction and real estate. Her specialties include financial statement preparation, cash-flow analysis and cost and financial analysis.



purposes, further examination is required to determine if this is appropriate, given the number of factors in their working relationship that may indicate otherwise. The CRA uses a two-step approach to evaluate the relationship between companies and their workers to determine whether they have been engaged to perform services as a person in business on their own account or as an employee. The first step in evaluating the relationship


is to look at the intent of both parties. In the event that there has been a contract or agreement drawn up, this proves to be a strong indication of whether an employment or business relationship exists. In the above example, at one point there was clearly a contract for work drawn up between the two whereby Brian’s company was contracting out services from Steve; however, since the initial contract was signed, multiple projects had been

Explanation The extent to which the person en-

completed outside the scope of their first agreement and the facts of the working relationship now require a more in-depth evaluation. After intent has been examined, the CRA then looks at the actual circumstances of the work performed to determine if they refute or confirm the original contract agreement. Key factors used are summarized below:

Support for Employment Relationship

Support for Business Relationship

Worker must keep to a fixed time- Worker is able to choose how and

Control gaged to perform services has the line, work hours, and follow a spe- when a job is completed, with little ability to control how they perform cific set of instructions. their work and complete a task.

supervision and oversight.

Specific tools meeting criteria of employer are required or provided for use. Tools remain on-site for use, or must be signed out. Worker is not responsible for maintenance or insurance costs.

Worker is responsible for the purchase of their own equipment and maintenance. They are required to bring their own tools to job sites for use.

No one aside from the hired inWhether or not individual is free to dividual is permitted to complete Use of Subcontractors / subcontract work in order to com- the job, and they do not have the Assistants plete a job. ability to subcontract out work or assistance.

Worker is free to complete the job as they see fit and are able to contract out work to other individuals at their discretion.

Whether the worker is responsible Ownership and to provide their own tools to comUse of Tools plete the required job, or if they are made available to them for use.

The extent to which a worker has Worker will be paid upon comple- Worker must cover their own expens-

Degree of something to lose in completing tion of role and has a guaranteed es and may be financially liable for Financial Risk the job and whether or not they or fixed payment. There is minimal completing their obligations. Worker must incur costs on their own.

to no risk in taking on a position.

may also advertise their services.

Worker is not required to invest Individual has made significant in-

Responsibility for Whether or not a worker is respon- any personal funds in the business vestments in their business (tools or Investment and sible for an investment and how and does not actively run their workspace) and actively manages Management they handle their business own company


ooking back to the example of Brian and Steve, there are arguments to be made for both the existence of employment and business relationships. Given that the two men wish for their relationship to be that of business rather than employment, there are ways in which they can strengthen this arrangement. One easy way to clarify the terms of their work together would be to ensure that contracts or agreements are drawn up on a more regular basis, outlining the level of control and responsibility each of the two parties has in completing the job. This would clearly lay out the intent of both Brian and Steve and provide support for the level of autonomy that Steve has in performing his responsibilities.

their business and work.

In the absence of such agreements, if the two wish to continue to work together and want to ensure that they will not be viewed by the CRA as having an employment relationship, there is also the option of obtaining a ruling on their employment status. In any circumstance a payer, employer, self-employed individual, or employee may obtain a ruling from the CPP / EI Rulings Program. This ruling is an official decision provided by an authorized CRA representative that definitively concludes on the nature of the relationship. Taking the time to discuss the facets of any working arrangement will not only strengthen each party’s understanding of their roles and responsibilities, but also ensure that it holds up under examination by the CRA if the situation ever presents itself.



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High-Performance Training Two books guide you on how to lead, coach and mentor your top performing employees.

THE COACHING SOLUTION Secant Publishing The role of coaching is critical in developing and retaining top talent. In Secant Publishing’s The Coaching Solution: How to Drive Talent Development, Organizational Change and Business Results, author Renee Robertson presents the steps, and potential pitfalls, to designing, building and delivering an internal coaching practice. Based on her first-hand experience as a former Fortune 500 director of talent development, The Coaching Solution teaches readers how properly-executed internal coaching programs can retain and develop talent in the face of rapid change and unknowns. A guide for those interested in building high-performance employees and teams, the book identifies the most critical

keys to implementing a successful program from sponsorship and engagement, to selecting the right coaches for your organization and culture, to integrating the initiative to your overall talent strategy. In addition it provides: •The value of such a program for employee engagement, productivity and results, with excerpts from impact studies • Quotes, stories, checklists and tables that provide useful and clear information for all involved • How to integrate an internal coaching program with a company’s competency models, HR systems and overall business goals for success Robertson is the founder and CEO of Trilogy Development, a firm that specializes in talent development and an award-winning coach and speaker.

FIRST, FAST, FEARLESS: HOW TO LEAD LIKE A NAVY SEAL McGraw-Hill The best weapon in today’s business terrain is SEAL-style leadership, according to the author of First, Fast, Fearless: How To Lead Like A Navy SEAL from McGraw-Hill. In it, author “Iron Ed” Hiner, an experienced Navy SEAL trainer, explains how to succeed when competitors come at you from unexpected places with surprising force and in a constantly shifting marketplace. The book is designed to take the virtues SEALs are known for such as mental toughness, bias for action, decisiveness, creative thinking, adaptability and perseverance and apply them to business success. First, Fast, Fearless is a practical guide for the business leader who wants to learn to build and lead effective teams

in conditions of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity and constant change. It reveals how to: • Develop your personal leadership brand and make it your credo • Create mission-aligned teams that operate as true comrades • Establish and communicate crystal-clear goals • Enhance team innovation and problem solving under pressure • Combat the enemies of copious bureaucracy and inadequate resources • Rise to the call of leadership when it counts most Hiner is a 20-year career veteran Navy SEAL who commanded hundreds of strategic combat missions. He draws on this experience for his work as a coach and consultant in leadership, team building and personal conflict resolution. Both books are currently available from and



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FROM 2005 TO 2014, he newspapers and television routinely broadcast accounts of first responders such as police, firefighters and search and rescue team members that put their lives on the line in the course of their normal duties. However, it might come as a surprise to many people that workers in the construction industry are employed in what is considered the most dangerous industry in Canada. The latest figures from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) show that of the 2,988 deaths on the job in Canada recorded by the organization between 2008 and 2010, no less than 700 come from the construction industry. The industry accounted from 23.3% of workplace fatalities during the period covered by the report. This is followed by the manufacturing industry which accounted for 637 deaths and transportation and storage industry with 329 deaths.

Safety is the law With the rising body count and continuing incidence of workplace injuries, provincial governments are beefing up their workplace health and safety programs and cracking down on employers that fail to provide a safe work environment for their workers. Safety in the workplace is the responsibility of both workers and management but there is a greater onus on business owners and managers to provide employees with the proper equipment and environment to ensure that they are able to conduct their work as safely as possible, says Brett Mineer, government and media relations officer, WorkSafeBC. WorkSafeBC is the operating name of the Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia. Failure to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) under the Workers Compensation Act can result in the issuance of a warning letter, orders to comply or financial penalties. “We have the legislative authority to monitor compliance, investigate serious incidents and, in certain cases, levy fines or other sanctions against employers for safety infractions,” Mineer explains. Administrative penalties can be laid on workers, contractors, suppliers, prime contractors and employers, according to Leah Holiday, press secretary, of the Ministry of Innovation & Advance Education, Jobs, Skills, and Training & Labour for the province of Alberta. “The penalties can go up to $10,000 per violation, per day,” she says. “We can also ticket offices, which are on the spot penalties which range between $100 and $500.” Under provincial OHSR, companies can be fined up to $500,000 for a first offence and $1 million for a second offence, or a jail term of up to one year can be imposed. Penalties are affected by a number of factors such as past safety performance, frequency of orders and whether there appears to be an overall commitment to ensure proper health and safety systems. Administrative penalties and fines can also be appealed.


in B.C. from diseases related to exposures to asbestos Coming down the pike Contractors and business owners also need to brush up on the latest laws and regulations concerning workplace health and safety especially now that various provinces and industry bodies are moving to strengthen their programs. For example, in Nova Scotia, occupational health and safety officers recently conducted an inspection “blitz” of worksites that resulted in the issuance of 37 orders for fall protection and scaffolding, 16 compliance orders for issues such as failure to produce proper safety documentation on site, 61 warnings for things such as failure to produce a first aid kit in the worksite. WorkSafeBC prevention officers also began increasing inspections on residential demolition and renovation sites this July to ensure contractors are adhering to health and safety laws involving the identification and removal of asbestos. “Hundreds of houses are demolished and renovated every month in B.C. with an increase over the summer months,” Mineer says. “Many buildings constructed prior to the late 1980s contained construction materials with asbestos such as insulation, floor tiles, cement pipes, drywall, linoleum and spray applied fireproofing.” From 2005 to 2014, 581 workers died in B.C. from diseases related to exposures to asbestos, according to Mineer. Five B.C. municipalities: City of Coquitlam, City of Vancouver, District of Saanich, City of Nanaimo and City of Port Coquitlam are working with WorkSafeBC to require those seeking demolition permits to demonstrate due care by providing results of an adequate hazardous material survey before being issued a permit. Ontario has recently established an advisory group to help the government develop and implement a Construction Health and Safety Action Plan to bolster workplace injury and illness prevention for construction workers across the province. The government is currently working on a new mandatory Working at Heights Training Standards. The Ontario government also passed in November last year Bill 18, the Stronger Workplaces for Stronger Economy Act. The bill amended key pieces of labour and employment-related laws concerning the protection of “vulnerable” and “precarious” workers such as students and new workers. CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE


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Prior to Bill 18, a co-op student or any person undergoing unpaid training was not considered a worker under the OHSA The bill expands the definition of worker to include unpaid interns and students. Failure to provide necessary protection for such workers can lead to increased scrutiny by the Ministry of Labour, stop-work orders, fines and even imprisonment.

Safety is good business practice “Failure to provide a safe work environment and lack of adequate safety training takes a heavy toll not only among the ranks of construction workers but also on the entire economy as well,” says Tom Parkin, managing director of the Workers’ Health and Safety Centre (WHSC). The company was designated by the government of Ontario as the province’s health and safety training centre. Apart from the hardships suffered by workers and their families, workplace injuries and fatalities cost businesses and provinces billions of dollars in insurance payouts and medical and rehabilitation expenses. For instance, in Ontario the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) registered a total of 234,000 insurance claims and paid out $2,660 million in benefits payments in 2014. On average, workers lost 7.3 days of work following a workplace accident.

Courses and training Organizations such as WHSC and WorkSafeBC that work with provincial governments can provide contractors and tradespeople various types of industry-specific training and courses, certification programs, talks and education materials.

chief operating officer of eCompliance. “Learners can access the courses anytime, anywhere at their own leisure.” Online courses can also be cheaper than traditional classroom courses because users are not paying for just the material instead of an instructor’s time as well. LeBrun call’s his company’s model “the Netflix of online training” because users can browse and download a course just as they would a flick from the popular online movie streaming site. The company offers certificate courses in areas such as Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), fall safety protection, confined spaces awareness, arc flash and shock prevention, lockout-tagout and ground disturbance awareness. eCompliance also offers a tool that allows managers to track worker training progress, monitor a workplace’s compliance with safety requirements and record workplace hazard identification and remediation updates.

Building a safety culture A program typically comes with a start and end date. A culture, however, concerns a philosophy and way of life that encompasses the day-to-day activities of a group. In order for health and safety practices in the workplace to become truly effective, they need to be elevated from the realm of mere rules and regulations to one of an overall workplace culture. A very effective way of doing this is to create a joint health and safety committee (JHSC). Also called joint worksite health and safety committee, workplace safety and health committee or health and safety committee the JHSC consist of representatives from management and workers who meet regularly to deal with health and safety issues.

Some of the topics covered include:


• Basic hazards and safety awareness • Steep slope and roofing safety • Construction safety certificate courses • Construction high-risk strategies • Crane various equipment operation and certificate courses • Handling and storage of hazardous and flammable materials • Proper use of personal protective equipment • Working with high voltage Check out industry associations for more help. For example, the Canadian Home Builder’s Association – Calgary Region has partnered with the City of Calgary Occupational Health and Safety and the Alberta Construction Association to build a Residential Construction Site Safety Best Practice Guide for home builders and trade workers. Instruction materials and courses also come in various forms. For instance, instead of hard copy materials and classroom courses, companies like eCompliance Management Solutions, a health and safety management firm with offices in Calgary and Toronto, are specializing in software-based online courses that can be accessed by learners using their laptops, tablets or smartphones. “The advantage of this format is that learners don’t need to travel to classroom or wait for a course to get up to a certain number of students,” according Josh LeBrun, president and

T he committee’s job is to assist the employer in the following: • Identify workplace hazards • Evaluate the risk of accidents/incidents, injuries and illness • Participate in development and implementation of programs to protect the employees safety and health • Respond to employee complaints and suggestions concerning safety and health • Ensure the maintenance and monitoring of injury and work hazard records • Monitor and follow-up hazard reports and recommend action • Create and promote programs to improve employee training and education • Participate in all safety and health inquiries and investigations • Consult with professional and technical experts • Participate in resolving workplace refusals and work stoppages • Make recommendations to management for accident prevention and safety program activities • Monitor effectiveness of safety programs and procedures Establishing a JHSC is a legal requirement in Canada for workplaces with 20 or more workers at any one site. Each province has different rules regarding the size of the committee and its management-worker representation. It is a lot of work, however, “a safe workplace doesn’t just happen, it is the product of hard work,” says Parkin. CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE


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Picture Perfect FEATURE




aint comes in every conceivable colour of the rainbow, especially with the help of today’s colourmatching equipment. The inspiration can be drawn from anywhere. Want a nursery’s walls to mimic the fur on a stuffed animal, or the door of a man cave to match colours on a team jersey? Consider it done. Preferred colours will always be a matter of personal choice, although professional painters need to be aware of a few limits if they want to ensure customers remain happy. For example, it is always a good idea to remind customers that selected swatches will appear darker once spread across an entire wall. A deep colour, while eyecatching, can also make a space appear smaller. The same colour that appears dramatic in a well-lit space with high ceilings can make a basement rec room look like a cave. Sleeping areas usually call for a soothing colour, while a living space might demand a vibrant tone. Looking to increase appetite in a kitchen or dining room? Red can make a difference there. Trends also evolve over time. Sico, a paint brand from PPG, recently referred to the colours of gardens coming indoors. “Think deep pastel tones such as blue hydrangeas, dusty pink roses, saturated

orange and turquoise peonies, sunflowers, clay grey stones and reddish brown vines,” it reported. “The back-to-basics, return-to-nature trend firmly planted in home decor the last couple of years is now moving away from neutral tones toward more-colourful, while still soothing, elements of nature,” added Mylene Gevry, marketing manager. Typically, a preferred dominant colour should cover about two-thirds of a room, with accent colours used on specific walls, doors or trim. The good news is that predefined colour swatches are often reproduced in different families, ensuring that corresponding choices between walls, trim and doors will never look out of place. The artistic touch does not need to be limited to pre-selected colour choices alone. Sherwin-Williams recently unveiled dry erase coatings that can turn any wall or surface into a dry erase board. Drawing on a wall is not only possible, it is encouraged. Commercial projects can be supported with the Dry Erase Coating, while the Sketch Pad kits include the two parts that are mixed together and cover about 50 sf. Other paint options transform drywall into chalkboards. Choosing the appearance, however, is just the beginning.



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Muse and Touch Resist Technology are trademarks of PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc. Wall to Wall Confidence is a trademark and Sico is a registered trademark of the PPG Group of Companies. Š 2014 PPG Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

6150-63: Bikini Blue



The chemistry While customers focus much of their time on colours, the chemistry in each can is just as important. Latex paints are the dominant option these days, but alkyd or oil formulas still have a place when covering a surface like stucco. The latter paints are also a good option when looking to limit the “tannin bleed” which will otherwise allow unprimed knots to appear through multiple coats of paint. Pigment, reports Sherwin-Williams, provides the colour and hiding abilities, and lower-grade paints might include “extender” versions of this chemical compound. A larger volume of prime pigments offers better hiding capabilities and retains the desired colour. Titanium oxide, for example, is used to ensure a clean, crisp white. Holding everything together are the binders which help to secure the new coating to the wall, as well as resist issues like cracking, blistering and peeling. Latex paints include acrylic binders, while oils used alkyds or linseed oil. Liquids are simply the carrier used to transfer paint from a can to the wall, but some value-priced paints have a bigger share of the liquids in the can. Sure, everything will still fill 3.8 L, but this volume of cheaper paint can struggle to evenly cover 40 square metres. The benefits of premium paint are not limited to the colour and coverage alone. Choose the right paint and you can enjoy everything from a smoother flow on the wall to shorter drying times. Paints and primers have been combined to limit the number of required coats. Available additives might include something like a fungus-fighting mildewcide that can offer added protection in a moist area like a bathroom. Today’s coatings not only generate fewer odours, but can also help to reduce odours from cooking, pets and cigarettes when the project is done. Some of the latest advances in paints have enhanced the washability of lower sheens, too. Sherwin-Williams’ flat finish is as washable and durable as matte and glossier sheens, and can still help to hide minor drywall imperfections, said Karl Schmitt, the company’s senior vice-president of market research, colour and design. CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE


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Synonymous with ageless beauty, Manor Hall continues to be the trusted choice for even the most discerning homeowner. For more information, call 1-888-774-1010 Manor Hall is a registered trademark of PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc. The PPG Pittsburgh Paints and Drippy P Design are registered trademarks of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc. Š 2015 PPG Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Another way that manufacturers differentiate their products is through the production process. Quality systems such as ISO 14001 will measure environmental impact, adding to claims about sustainability, while ISO 9001 looks at general quality controls that govern everything from manufacturing lines to research and development. For a painter, the latter translates into consistent performance from one batch to the next. Coating options can certainly play a role in earning Leadership in. Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credits based on factors such as lowVolatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions, and only some will pass the Greenguard program’s small-chamber tests.

as the ways an area will be used, says Jennifer Burroughs, PPG’s senior product manager – interior finishes. “Understand the customer expectations.” “What do you know about what the customer expects?” she asks as an ex-

ample. A hallway that will be exposed to plenty of fingerprints, or young children who like to try their crayons on surfaces other than colouring books, will benefit from a scrubbable paint. Trying to spread a latex paint over

Choosing the right paint Project applications will ultimately dictate many choices. One of the first steps before choosing paint is to take the time to understand the substrate being covered, as well CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE


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a surface originally covered in an alkyd formula can present another challenge. “There is no true way to know,” Burroughs says of trying to determine the makeup of earlier layers. It is why she always recommends lightly sanding any surface and painting a test patch before coating an entire wall. Cleaners such as trisodium phosphate (TSP) can help to remove layers of grease and grime that will keep paint from adhering to the surface below, but she still stresses the value of the sandpaper to create a welcoming profile. The language used in marketing different paints can also be confusing. Keep in mind that a “stain-resisting” formula will help to keep stains from sticking to a painted surface, but a “stain-blocking” formula will keep existing stains from bleeding through the paint, she says. There are also limits to the claims of

“one-coat coverage”, particularly when contrasting colours are involved. There tends to be two schools of thought about how best to change colours, Burroughs says. One is to tint a primer with half the colour formula to be used on the fi-

nal coat. Another option is to use a grey primer. “Black or grey is the best-hiding colour you can find,” she explains. The added advantage of using a proper primer, meanwhile, is that it creates a good foundation for the final coat.


Tools of the job

Paint choices can even have a role in the tools that you use. Painters who rely on sprayers to quickly cover a wide wall or an uneven surface like stucco or brick will want a formula that spreads evenly and does not require thinning. The paint’s available technical data will reference things such as recommended tip sizes and pressures. In terms of rollers, Burroughs prefers a 3/8” nap, but those who expect challenges in hiding a colour underneath might instead opt for ½”, ensuring a thicker coat on the surface. In the latter case, though, premium paint will be important. A lower-quality product will tend to leave behind the texture of an orange peel. Then there is the matter of choosing brushes. China bristles might be fine for applying alkyd paints, but latex formulas will require a synthetic bristle. Split bristles also ensure a brush will hold more paint, requiring fewer trips back and forth to the can. A steady hand at any of the tools will make a difference, too. If a coat is too thick, the paint will run, drip, or at worse form a skin that can affect drying times. Keep in mind that most latex paints, while dry to the touch within an hour, should receive a second coat no sooner than four hours after first applied. Oil paints will require a little extra time, requiring eight hours to dry and 16 hours before a final coat. Those who follow tips like these, and understand the paint they are using, are more likely to enjoy picture perfect projects. CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE


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Open Doors Interior doors can make a dramatic difference in any renovation project. BY JOHN G. SMITH










he success of every renovation project is often defined by the finishing touches. Drywall gives each room its shape and structure, but customers often spend more time fussing over details like paint colours. Plumbing and electrical services will dictate how a room can be used, but homeowners will inevitably turn their attention to fixtures at the end of the line. Few finishing touches will make a larger impact than the doors that separate one room from the next. Typically measuring 6’8” high, or maybe 7’ in homes with higher ceilings, the features are difficult to ignore. The traffic flow through a house ensures that everyone inside will walk directly toward the hinged barriers at one time or another. There is nothing to hide. Brad Lowes, Canadian marketing manager for Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors, has spent more time considering the options than most people. He began working in a lumber yard when he was not yet a teenager, later became a sales rep, and is now working on the marketing side of the equation. He knows it is a different story for many of those who buy the products. “They may buy doors or windows once or twice in their life,” he says. That means they will likely require some added guidance from contractors when making related purchasing decisions. There are plenty of options beyond a traditional six-panel, hollow-core door, even if that is the most popular choice. Many of today’s buyers are steering away from wood-grained moulded panels in favour of smoother products, says Lowes. “They almost have a retro feel to them.” In particular, they offer the looks found in craftsman-style houses that were popular in the 1920s. Even the number of panels can vary. Jeld-Wen, for example, released a five-panel moulded door for that very reason. There are streamlined looks of stile and rail options, while those looking to mimic European architecture might opt for raised mouldings. In terms of colours, there is a good reason why such doors tend to come with a coat of primer rather than a finished coat. “People paint and finish to their taste,” he says. There are simply millions of variations from which to choose. Not everyone will opt for a so-called builder’s beige or bone white. Those hoping to make a real statement may be looking beyond a simple solid colour in favour of actual wood grains. Light can offer another artistic touch as it passes through the glass panels in a French door. There are other considerations when choosing a natural look rather than paint, however. Every wooden door should be lightly sanded before applying the desired stain. “Depending on how the veneers are laid, the way the wood is cut, you can have a closed grain on one portion of the door and open on the other,” Lowes says. If all the wood grains are not opened, the end result can CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE


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Styles that work for you. When you’re building, you want products that will perform well and look their best. That’s why JELD-WEN offers windows and doors that are designed to meet your highest expectations for beauty and function. Whether you’re looking for rich hardwoods, durable vinyl or custom finishing options, JELD-WEN’s award-winning products complement any building or renovation project. Put JELD-WEN window and door styles to work for you on your next project.

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lead to unwanted stripes. The situation is one of the most common sources of complaints about “defective” doors, although this is not the type of situation normally covered in a warranty. When painting, meanwhile, it can be a good idea to coat the entire door before installing, to ensure that all six sides are covered. If the bottom or top is not covered, a warranty can be voided. Remember that this finishing touch will help to prevent moisture-related issues which can cause doors to warp. The performance issues do not end there. The one “interior” door that requires a different choice will separate living space from an attached garage. That will require an exterior door. It is not the only spot where a more robust product may be required. A hollow door may be fine for a closet, or to separate rooms which see light traffic, but everyone will appreciate the silence that can be generated by a closed solid door. While they come at a higher price, the differential is seldom that substantial, Lowes says. “When you get upset and slam the door,” he jokes, “it will also slam!” There are even differences in the construction of hollow doors to consider, since some of the

insulating values are enhanced with materials in the cores. The features and benefits of individual doors are not limited to sound alone, either. Each can offer different fire ratings, depending on the choice of material and treatments. “Even if it is a highly rated door slab, people tend to forget about the door frame,” Lowes says of a related finishing touch, noting how it should be rated to last 20 minutes or more. Contractors will see another benefit to a solid design. Unlike the hollow-core doors with a narrow rail on the outer edge, a solid door can be cut at any point with ease. The structural integrity will remain intact. In contrast, those who trim too far into a hollow-core door can introduce the threat of warped materials in years to come. Anyone who wants to avoid the latter situation with a hollowcore door will want to carefully peel the outer skin off the rail, and reattach everything in place with a high-quality construction adhesive, he says. Then there are the preferences of installers to consider. Prehung doors, while clearly a preferred choice for do-it-yourselfers, can also offer an advantage when a contractor is working with crews who have limited carpentry experience. All the job requires is a utility CONTRACTOR ADVANTAGE


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“If you measure everything properly and cut everything properly, you should not have any issues,” he says. This is particularly true when working with a new door slab that requires boring to make way for the lock set or handle. If it is off just slightly, it will never close properly. The templates available with new locksets can be a valuable tool to ensure everything aligns. In the case of a bifold door, measure the width in three places and recording the smallest measure. Keep in mind that references to the doors will refer to the overall measure rather than the individual panels, allowing for the hardware and a required gap around the doors. Of course, there are times when a simple repair will do. Replacing a hinge, for example, is just a matter of properly measuring the existing models before buying a replacement. Changing them one at a time, there is no need to pull out the entire door, either. In many ways the hardware used for interior doors has been relatively unchanged for years. Traditional leaf hinges allow everything to swing. The biggest difference from one generation to the next will be the finishes. The important thing to consider here is how the finish fits within the broader décor. A client looking to reproduce a country-style setting will likely opt for a brass or cast-iron appearance; those who prefer a modern appearance will be more likely to opt for something like brushed nickel. In each case, style is a personal preference. What the customer wants, the customer gets. The same can be said for the casing. A traditional 356 profile might be fine for someone who opted for standard six-panel doors, but those who selected a stile and rail door or another streamlined option might prefer a flat casing. Just be willing to open the door to the many possibilities.


knife, tape measure, level, shims, and the hammer or nail gun to put it in place. Before heading too far into an installation, it is a good idea to measure the door as soon as it comes out of the package, to ensure that it is the right size. This is especially true when working on a project that involves several doors of different sizes. After pushing the door and its jamb into the opening, shim everything in place to level and plumb the door, leaving enough space for gaps around the door itself. There should be 1/8” on three sides, with 5/8” at the bottom. Then fasten the jamb into place with finishing nails, beginning at the hinge side and working around the door. Nails should also pass through every shim that was used. Finally, score and break the shims that hold everything nice and even. Once the casing is in place, the job is done. Still, there are those who would rather not have to manhandle a full assembly. The better option in that case will involve a knockdown door. A knockdown door arrives with the separated latch, head and hinge sides of a door jamb. If working with a knockdown door, place the door and surrounding pieces on the floor with the hinge side down, aligning the strike jamb with the hole in the door. The header is then secured to the door jamb, before a door stop is secured to the header and hinge-side jamb. From there it is a matter of inserting and securing the door just as if it was a pre-hung offering. The remaining door stop is attached to the strike-side jamb before scoring and breaking off any shims, and replacing the casing. When asked what the most common source of installation problems can be, Lowes repeats a mantra repeated by carpenters everywhere: measure twice and cut once.



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Floored by history Get the facts on three ancient materials that meet modern flooring requirements.








any homeowners look to the past for design inspiration. They relish the character of tall baseboards, darkgrained wood and coffered ceilings. For floors, they want material that is rich in history, yet modern in terms of warmth, comfort and environmental friendliness. Your customers can choose from a wide range of flooring options to meet such aesthetic and performance requirements, but clients may still have questions about certain products that tick the right boxes for charm and antiquity. Is bamboo really as durable and as good for the environment as manufacturers claim? How can you tell if reclaimed wood really is as old as the vendor says? Does cork’s soft and warm walking surface actually stand the test of time? Read on for answers, starting with information on what may be the most misunderstood historic flooring material.

Bamboozled by bamboo Bamboo flooring is a trendy product that came to market only in the 1990s, but of course, this grass has been used for construction for thousands of years, due to its abundance in China. Today, information on bamboo flooring conflicts: bamboo is environmentally friendly; bamboo is environmentally disastrous. Bamboo is dent resistant; bamboo dents easily. Worn bamboo can be restored; worn bamboo is beyond repair. The truth is, you can find strong and durable bamboo flooring developed in an environmentally-responsible manner, but you need to know what to look for.


Screening for green Bamboo is good for the environment in some ways, according to Dr. Jim Boyer, director of responsible materials at Dovetail Partners, an environment-focused research firm. In a recent report, he pointed out that bamboo grows back just a few years after harvest, so it is eminently renewable. Bamboo also needs no help from harsh chemical pesticides to flourish, which is more good news for Mother Earth. On the other hand, Boyer explained, some bamboo suppliers clear-cut forests to make room for their plantations. Clear-cutting increases soil erosion and decreases ecological diversity. As to pes-

ticides, although bamboo growers do not need them, some use such sprays to ensure strong yields. If you want to make sure the bamboo floors you install come from environmentally responsible suppliers, look for product that bears the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo. The FSC has two pertinent certificates for bamboo harvesters and suppliers: Forest Management and Chain of Custody. Forest Management is a voluntary certification program through which companies have their planning and practices evaluated against the FSC’s standards. Chain of Custody is similar, but for supply-chain companies such as distributors and vendors. If companies pass, they can label their products FSC certified.

Strong contender Another area of confusion has to do with bamboo’s durability. Some people say the material is hard and long lasting, while others claim the opposite. In fact, it depends on the type. There are three kinds of bamboo: horizontal, vertical and strand woven. Manufacturers make the horizontal sort by laying sections of the grass horizontally, so you can see the knuckles of the stalks. Vertical

bamboo, not surprisingly, is crafted from sections arranged vertically. Strand woven results from a high-heat and gluing process that turns bamboo fibres into sturdy boards. When people complain that bamboo is fragile, chances are they are not talking about strand woven. This type ranks super high on the Janka scale of hardness (see page 39 for information), ringing in at 2,000 to 3,000 pounds-force (lbf). Horizontal and vertical examples can rank lower, 1000 lbf and below. If you want durable bamboo, strand woven is your best bet. Most people opt for strand woven these days, says Jeff Morrison, general manager, national building products at FSC-certified bamboo supplier Goodfellow. “Homeowners like that it’s durable, and they like the look. It has a clean, contemporary style.”

The restoration problem Some critics say bamboo floors cannot be refinished. Not so. In a Washington Post article, Don Conner, technical director for the U.S. National Wood Flooring Association, pointed out that floors made with thick bamboo surfaces can be sanded and restored, and in fact, so can thin surface bamboo floors if you work carefully.



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NEW Build the Future


FEATURES • Better adhesive properties than competitive products • UV exposure up to 180 days • Self-sealing membrane ensuring continuous waterproofing • No fasteners required


Reclaimed wood: new life for old boards

permanently damaging the tree, and it grows back to a harvest-ready state of maturity every nine years or so. As a walking surface, cork is soft and comfortable. That pliability also means glasses and plates dropped on it are less likely to break, which might appeal to homeowners with young children. Some people say cork is so soft that heavy furniture can cause permanent dents over time. Steve Caldow disagrees. He is the product manager for cork and laminate at flooring provider Shnier. He recalls a situation in which cork proved to be extremely resilient. “We had an instance where an individual had a very heavy slate pool table Check Janka on a cork floor,” Caldow says. “When they hardness ratings to moved and took the table out, they were assess flooring durability concerned that the big divots in the floor needed to be fixed for the new The Janka hardness test assesses wood’s property owner. So they called a floorresistance to dents and wear. It measures the ing contractor. But by the time the force required to embed a steel ball a certain contractor showed up to do the redistance into a wood sample. The results are pair a couple days later, the divots expressed in pounds-force (lbf) in North America, had rebounded to 95% of the floor’s but in kilograms-force (kgf) and newtons (N) original shape.” elsewhere. According to the American Hard-

Lumber repurposed from old barns, factories and other remembered buildings satisfies the history itch that many homeowners seem to have. These wide planks have a weathered and varied appearance that is sure to spark curiosity and conversation among your customer’s guests. Many believe reclaimed wood is stronger than modern wood for numerous reasons: the trees felled to make it were hardened, old-growth specimens; it was harvested before pollution weakened the environment; it was exposed to and tested by the elements. Whatever the truth may be, reclaimed wood is considered strong both in terms of durability and marketability. This material is immensely popular. Unfortunately, that fact has paved the way for a certain kind of crook: the vendor who tries to peddle new wood as reclaimed. How do you know you are getting the real thing? Once again, the FSC can help. Under its Chain of Custody program, the organization has developed standards for sourcing reclaimed wood, including the purchase, verification and classification of the product. Ask the vendor if its product meets the FSC’s standards. If the answer is no, be skeptical.

Safety concerns Here is a question with no easy answer: Is reclaimed wood safe to install as flooring? Previous owners may have coated the

wood Information Centre, hickory is the hardest hardwood (1,820 lbf). Hard maple rates 1,450 lbf and cherry, 950 lbf.

boards with lead paint, or perhaps used sealants and other products that would by no means meet today’s standards for exposure to hazardous substances. “If you’re sourcing reclaimed wood on your own, test the lumber for toxins,” notes home renovation blog “Also, by learning about the wood’s past life, you may be able to gather information about any treatments it has undergone.”

Cork bounces back Builders have employed cork for floors since the 19th century. It lines the halls and rooms of numerous storied buildings such as the former Toronto Stock Exchange. Cork bark has been harvested for centuries from oak trees in Europe and Africa. It is naturally flexible, sound insulating and fire retardant, making it excellent for floors. It is environmentally friendly, since the bark can be removed without

A twist of the cork Cork manufacturers are finding new ways to take advantage of that inherent bounce-back ability. Floor maker Wicanders, for instance, recently introduced Hydrocork, a product that features a cork core that is highly resistant to swelling from moisture. Hydrocork is especially well suited to places where humidity could warp other flooring. Hydrocork is easy to install. “It uses our new PressFit compression system,” says Caldow, which distributes the product in Canada. “It essentially works like a cork stopper. When you press the boards together, the cork compresses and then expands to lock them in. You get a highquality lock very easily.” That cork floor providers are still discovering novel uses for this versatile material should come as no surprise. After all, like bamboo and reclaimed wood, it suits the market’s current state, driven by property owners who want floors that are resilient, sustainable and full of character. Impress your history-buff clients with myth-busting facts about these established products so you can help them choose the right flooring for their project.



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2000 year old project The

Moulding was first used by the Ancient Greeks, but age-old certainly does not mean old-fashioned. BY DAVID CHILTON SAGGERS










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Design Talk Erica Bergamin is a marketing specialist at Brenlo Custom Wood Mouldings in Toronto. Q. In the design business, ideas come and go. What about wood moulding? Is it on a rising trend now? A. It’s on a rising trend. People are using wood finishings now to change the look of a room just by adding some paneling or bigger baseboards without having to completely renovate the space. Q. Within this rising trend are some mouldings becoming more popular than others? Is there a trend towards custom work? A. It varies. I looked at the last few designers I dealt with and each one was doing something different. I would say that there isn’t a trend towards custom product because it is more expensive; it’s a lot more expensive. New knives have to be created to match an existing profile or designers will come up with their own profile. Cost is always based on how much linear footage is run so the more that gets run the cheaper it is. I would say our in-stock profiles are the most popular.



ood mouldings have been around for a couple of thousand years. Ancient Greeks used them first, accenting their buildings with these architectural decorations as a way to beautify them. The Romans followed the Greek precedent, and set a standard that was to endure down to the modern period. In fact, some of the moulding profiles in use today can be traced back two millennia; there is even a word, architrave, a blend of Greek and Latin, that is still used for the moulding that goes around a doorway or window. Of course, age-old does not mean old fashioned; far from it. According to many in the mouldings

and design industries, these decorations move with the times and at the moment they are gaining momentum yet again. Jan Rutgers, director, architect/designer marketing at Metrie Wood Moulding Design in Vancouver, says she is starting to see designers use mouldings to add texture to a space. “You are seeing wood mouldings going on walls and ceilings as a layering element. I am seeing in the contemporary vein of interior design a little bit of a trend of designers taking a wood moulding and staining it with a grey tone or a deep rich tone almost as an exclamation mark on the product.” While it is not recommended for rooms where there is moisture, MDF remains the number one material used for mouldings,

says Rutgers, although in the more expensive parts of the market the use of more exotic and stained woods is growing. However, reclaimed wood, whether from old warehouses and the like or timber sawn from logs recovered from the bottom of a lake, remains a niche product because of cost and availability. Rutgers surmises that the use of deeper, richer tones, in part, is the result of a move away from stark white minimalism and the use of flat stock MDF because as a style it is starting to look dated. Designers want more definition, says Rutgers, and a beautiful contemporary home with some simple stained wood mouldings can really provide some pop against neutral white backgrounds. Marianne Thompson, vicepresident of sales and marketing at Alexan-



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dria Mouldings in Waterloo, Ont., says the shift in mouldings from the traditional to the modern continues with their simple profiles and clean lines, but there is also trend towards a style called “buildup.” As an example, Thompson says, “somebody will apply a baseboard to the top of the wall and the ceiling and put a crown moulding in between it.” MDF remains the first choice of many for its lower cost and adaptability, but among the solid woods regional preferences are evident. Donna Gerrits, general manager of Royal Woodworking in Bradford, Ont., a division of Alexandria Mouldings, says in Western Canada and British Columbia in particular Western Hemlock is popular as is Douglas Fir and cedar. One province over, in Alberta, there is a fondness for maple and continuing east walnut, White Oak and Red Oak all have their fans, Gerrits adds. However, because of its cost, ease of use, either profiling or installing, and ready acceptance of paint, American Poplar, a hardwood, beats them all. A contractor’s or householder’s choice

of wood mouldings is based on a number of variables, although in each case the installation and finishing should be considered broadly similar. The first matter to consider is proportion. For homes with ceilings at 8’ baseboards 4” to 5” wide are recommended, with casings at 2-1/2” and crowns at 4-1/2”. For those dwellings with ceilings that reach 9’ or higher baseboards more than 5” wide are appropriate, with casings at 3-1/2” and crowns at least 5-1/5” wide. Rutgers, who, with the help of a trained trim installer, has just placed mixed grain fir mouldings in her own home, advises contractors to look at the size of the moulding they intend to use. “You want to make sure you are comfortable cutting the product. I went with (Metrie’s) Scene Three because the majority of the product I could cut with a standard mitre saw,” she says. “I brought the pro in to help me with those big architraves and the big 7-1/2” crown mouldings, but I was able to tackle the casings and the baseboards and the smaller crowns at my skill set.” Proportion is something Gerrits is also

Q. What woods are popular now? A. Right now I’ve been having the designers ask for in-stock profiles that are made of poplar. That just could be because of its price. You do not stain poplar you paint it white so a lot of people feel you go with your least expensive species because it’s going to be painted anyway. Well, not just painting it white but painting two-tone wainscoting, for example. Q. Is reclaimed wood growing in popularity? A. A great question. When I was at the IES (Illuminating Engineering Society) Conference this past January the booth beside us was all about reclaimed wood paneling for flooring, but also people are now putting it on walls as a feature. I don’t know where it’s coming from but I do know it’s becoming a popular item to have, although we do not deal with it at Brenlo.



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Q. If you had to look out on the wood moulding industry five years from now what do you think will continue to rise and what might fall away? A. I think contemporary and modern profiles and doors will continue to be popular. I think people like the idea of less is more, and ornate arches and built up entryways in that very traditional look will decline. You need a fairly big home to support that look as well, but with the modern looks you can have them in a bigger or a smaller condo. When you are installing big crown mouldings and big archways you need a 9’ or 10’ ceiling to support that look or otherwise the mouldings will become overwhelming. Q. Is there anything that is new with wainscoting? Is there anything that is new with a crown moulding? A. I see the profiles being used in the traditional manner, but I know casing has been used to make frames on a wall in do-it-yourself projects.


This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

careful to point out. “Today in homes ceiling heights have been raised from 8’ to sometimes 9’ and 10’, so ensuring the mouldings are proportionate to that larger space is important.” She also says choosing the right mouldings are crucial. The homeowner has to actually like them because for however long a householder might be in one place the chances are they are not going to be changed more than once or twice. With proportion and preference

sorted out, Gerrits then says the next items on the agenda are tools and skill level. With a mitre saw and a nailer and compressor available a lot of people can install their own mouldings, she continues, although she also cautions that without those proper tools matters become a lot more difficult particularly when it is a hardwood that is being installed. Thompson also makes a couple of good points. For today’s DIY enthusiast there is a good deal about wood mouldings

that can be researched online including installation tips and tricks at her own company’s website. Similarly, she continues, the cost of the tools necessary for homeowners to do the job themselves is also reasonable. With mitre cuts being one of the most difficult parts of installing mouldings, especially crowns, it was inevitable that “no mitre” products, including those in hardwood, would gain some traction. They offer corner pieces in various profiles to match the rest of the crown and can be installed easily. Another way to overcome the difficulty of mitre cuts is to use matching corner blocks, plinth blocks and rosettes because they eliminate the need for an angled cut that must be spot on. Ever greater ease of installation and more and better designs and finishes cannot guarantee that wood moulding will endure for another 2,000 years, but it seems a safe bet to say they will.



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hether the goal is to turn a basement into a rental apartment, recreation room or an entertainment centre, it remains one of the favourite rooms to renovate. In fact, when it comes to homeowner interest, in some regions basement renovations even beat out the much-coveted bathroom makeover. According to the interest in basement renovations accounted for the highest percentage of visitors to the contractor search site from Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Newfoundland and Labrador in 2014. While some of the recent high spending on basements in areas like Alberta has been due to the severe floods in recent years, there is little question that many Canadians are willing to sink funds into better basements. A few easy improvements can help to make sure homeowners love their post-renovation basements even more, industry experts says.

Dry, warm, comfortable floors “Even when it comes to laminate flooring, a lot of what is sold is going into existing homes and ending up in basement renovation projects.” Moisture, and the microbial invaders it feeds, is a chief concern in any basement, since they are one of the most common areas to find mold, which can be a health risk and costly to remediate.

Basements, of course, see the highest risk for flooding from spring thaw or sump pump problems. “A moisture-resistant product is always the best option if you are below grade,” notes Rick Churchill, Eastern Canada flooring manager for Taiga Building. Like Schneider, he points to vinyl floors for their water-proofing capabilities and


“We are seeing a lot of new flooring going into basements, whether it is laminate or lately a lot of vinyl flooring,” says Mike Schneider, specialty products manager for OWL Distribution Inc. “Vinyl is impervious to moisture and it is now very easy to lay down compared with the vinyl floors of the past. It is found in tile form that clicks together or in plank form to emulate wood.



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ease of installation. Vinyl can also feel softer underfoot, suggests Churchill, and warmer, especially when insulated. It is a big step away from the simplest solution of wall-to-wall carpeting or simpler older trend of leaving cold, exposed concrete. “One of the most important aspects of basement renovation is obviously warmth,” says Jeff Morrison, general manager of national building products for Goodfellow Inc. “Homeowners naturally want their basements to be warm and dry.” If clients are getting cold feet (literally or figuratively), contractors can now warm them up more easily and improve future comfort while increasing margins. For example, Morrison points to the Barricade insulated subfloor panels his company distributes in Canada. This 2’x2’ subfloor system is approved as a foundation for laminate, cork or engineered wood floating floors, wall-to-wall carpeting, sheet vinyl, vinyl tiles, ceramic tiles and solid hardwood floors. They are constructed of OSB (oriented strand board) panels and backed by insulation to give them an R-value of 3.2 which warms concrete floors by about 5°C. The insulated panels also dampen sound, and the closed cell XPS (extruded polystyrene) foam does not absorb water, so Morrison says there is no chance of mold growth. “It is what I would call the Cadillac of underlayment,” he says. For less of a true insulation, Morrison says contractors can offer some of the same benefits with lower-cost (and even less labourintensive) DMX 1-Step underlayment. This 27.5’ by 44” plastic roll has a dimple design to allow damp concrete to breathe so that moisture can evaporate, creating a mold barrier, while providing a cushion to reduce noise and an R-value of 2.24 for warmth. With a dimple height of only 5/16” homeowners will not lose much ceiling height either, he adds. Colour choice is playing a more important role in basement flooring choices too, Churchill says. While colour tastes differ from region to region they are generally becoming bolder, moving away from soft beiges and towards colour schemes that showcase the homeowner’s personality. He says other styles currently popular for basement flooring includes more rustic, hand-scraped wood appearances and wider planks. Advances in printing

Moisture, and the microbial invaders it feeds, is a chief concern in any basement, since they are one of the most common areas to find mold, which can be a health risk and costly to remediate. technology and in material strength (allowing them to become thinner) have created a vast array of patterns and three-dimensional embossments that emulate natural materials of wood and stone, Schneider says.

Convenient, stylish ceilings A lot of benefits can be gained by installing a drop ceiling in the basement, according to Naeem Malik, national sales manager for retail ceilings at Armstrong World Industries. With the popularity of LED downlights a drop ceiling costs the homeowner only about 2½” today, versus the past 5 or 6” in height loss. This is not an area many homeowners consider on their own, Malik says, “largely because it is a product that people will only purchase once or twice in their lifetimes.” Since basements house most of the homes plumbing and electrical, a drop ceiling affords homeowners access when the inevitable need to repair or change

those systems happens, but their benefits do not stop there. “One of the benefits is the acoustical value, or the sound absorption value,” says Malik. Armstrong’s acoustical ceiling tiles absorb roughly 50% of the noise that hits the surface versus gypsum that absorbs around 10%, he says. Resisting moisture and fighting mold also looms large overhead. Because of this, Malik notes that Armstrong’s mid-range and high-end ceilings are manufactured to withstand high humidity and many now feature mold and mildew resistance characteristics. “It lets them perform better, particularly in damp areas like basements that can be prone to those conditions,” he said. One new technology Malik says may be ideal for homeowners seeking a more livable basement is his company’s AirGuard Coating. Found on its Ultima Ceiling Panels, this coating removes VOCs (volatile organic compounds) such as formaldehyde from the environment.



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Applied to the back of the tiles, it converts the formaldehyde (and other aldehydes) into an inert, harmless substance that is trapped in the ceiling. Armstrong says the coating captures 90% of these VOCs in its first year of use and 50% over 10 years. Still, depending on the basement remodel, style may be the biggest factor for the homeowner. Fortunately, contractors do not need to choose between offering performance or aesthetics, Malik says. With current ceiling tile designs the holes, crevices, and fissures used to control sound have become smaller, better hiding them from view and allowing for more decorative options. “We are seeing a homeowner preference toward either a smooth finish with very small holes that give them a nice sandy texture, or for a more decorative type of product that present an older-style décor,” he says. He says, for example, Armstrong’s Metallaire decorative metal ceiling tiles, 54



which capture the look of antique tin tiles to give it a turn of the 20th century look, are growing in popularity. Alternatively, he points to embossed tiles that give a “classic English raised-panel” appearance. Morrison suggests mixing and matching ceiling products to designate areas and create a unique one-of-a-kind space. He says, for example, installing Metallaire above the bar area of an entertainment room can create a rich look and feel.

Code concerns It is no secret that energy codes continue to climb across the country and with them demand for insulation. When improving the thermal performance of the basement through insulated flooring, or ceiling or wall insulation, it is crucial to remember that walls and floors must breathe to avoid trapping moisture, notes Lucas Hamilton, manager of building science applications, CertainTeed Corp.



While some of the recent high spending on basements in areas like Alberta has been due to the severe floods in recent years, there is little question that many Canadians are willing to sink funds into better basements.

“The inside of the basement wall must be able to breathe water vapour, it cannot trap it,” Hamilton stresses. This is simple enough for basements that are completely below grade by using vapour-open (or air-permeable) insulation to let moisture flow through. Where challenges arise is in basements that are partially above and below grade. In areas designated climate zone 5 or above by the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which includes all of Canada, you will want a vapour retardant in the above-grade portion of the wall; however, the below grade portion still needs to breathe to allow evaporation. There is good news on this front. “Fortunately, there are smart vapour retardants on the market to solve this problem,” says Hamilton. “Below grade when the wall gets wet, that vapour retardant will open up and allow the air to breathe through and then snap shut again once the wall is dry. “The above-grade portions of the wall are going to do the same thing. In the summer time it is going to breathe in and in the winter time it is going to stop it from breathing out.” Because of this, he adds, contractors can for the first time use the same insulation throughout the wall, and be confident they will have proper performance and air exchange. Of course, during a basement remodel, the perfect time to look at such options is when the walls are opened up. Engineered wood for framing basement walls and ceilings present many benefits due to its strength and predicable performance, but Hamilton urges contractors to pay close attention to fire codes. All exposed material must be Class A fire rated. “It turns out that they often burn faster than traditional framing lumber during basement fires, and so first responders have been caught unaware by collapsing floors,” he says. This is easily rectified by covering the framing with a layer of gypsum board. With all these product and building science improvements, it has become easier and more affordable than ever for contractors to transform basements from the cold, damp caves of the past into happier and healthier finished dens to be enjoyed for years to come.


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Contractor Advantage September / October 2015  

Moulding Trends Issue

Contractor Advantage September / October 2015  

Moulding Trends Issue