SHOWROOM: 80 Bullock Drive, Unit #5. Markham

Replacing a Roof

Exterior Home Improvements and Renovations in Markham

March 6, 2015 / Author: Thomas Brown

The ideal time to install a roof is during mild, dry weather. Shingles are easier to work with and are less likely to be marked during application. The shingles are immediately watertight upon application. Although today’s heavier laminate shingles are naturally wind-resistant, the sealing strip that is activated by future hot weather will guard against wind damage. Depending upon the time of year, this may not occur until next season’s hot weather.

Vinyl Siding Cleaning

Exterior Home Improvements and Renovations in Markham

May 18, 2015 / Author: Steve Gibson

Like anything exposed to the elements, vinyl siding will get dirty. However, in most cases, a good rainfall or an ordinary garden hose will do wonders on normal, everyday dirt.

If the rain and a hose are not successful, use a soft bristled brush, such as a car washing brush, with a solution of water and vinegar, or any of the specified “siding cleaners” available at your local hardware store. Laundry bleach can be added to this solution to address mildew.

Scrubbing from the top down will help to reduce streaking.

New Entrance System in Markham: A Great Return on Investment

June 7, 2015 / Author: Steve Gibson

The selection of entrance door systems available in the marketplace can seem both daunting and endless. Choosing among steel, fibreglass or even wood is often a matter of personal taste, as today’s doors are all considerably more durable and energy-efficient than in the past. Regardless of your choice, there are few home improvements that offer a greater return on your initial investment. A quality front door system creates a high-end impression for the entire home and is not, generally speaking, a place to economize.

Cost-Effective Windows for Sound Reduction in Markham

Siding and Windows in Markham

June 8, 2015 / Author: Steve Gibson

We recently installed new vinyl windows for a customer in an older home backing onto Highway 7, who was constantly plagued with high-traffic noise. The original windows were inefficient single-pane sliders. We installed double-pane casements with argon gas and 4 mill / 3 mill glass. The argon gas dampens sound, acting as an insulator. The different thickness in 4 mill / 3 mill glass breaks up the sound waves, again reducing sound. The casement design, with two compression seals and one brush seal is the most efficient design to minimize air and sound infiltration. The installation was done brick to brick, allowing for a high-density foam insulation to be applied around the frame, again preventing air and sound from entering the house.

The installation resulted in a dramatic reduction in unwanted traffic noise and was achieved at a very reasonable cost to the homeowner. In future blogs we will discuss other sound reducing window installations, which although more expensive, offer further benefits, such as added security and performance. These include, foam filled frames, triple glass, laminated glass, Krypton gas and new from ‘Vinyl Built’, SSP (sound, security and performance) glass.

7 Steps for Choosing the Right Vinyl Window Installer

Exterior Home Improvements and Renovations in Markham

March 26, 2016 / Author: Edmunds Home Improvements

“Rick, we’ve got to do something about the windows,” Sandy implored her husband. “There’s condensation forming between the panes, so I’m pretty sure all of the seals are broken and not doing much to keep the cold out. And the wood on the inside is starting to rot.”

Sandy and Rick are sitting around the kitchen table, having the same discussion they’ve had nearly every night for the past month.

Rick let out a sigh. “I know. We should really get this taken care of before winter, and definitely before the baby comes. I’ll have a look online and try to figure out the best way to go about having new windows installed.”

After spending some time researching and comparing different types of windows and the companies that make them, Rick finds a great vinyl window manufacturer. Through their website he’s directed to a number of local dealers, all of which look the same to him. Faced with a new challenge, Rick and Sandy now have to determine who the best people are to install their windows.

How to Choose a Window Installer

Below are seven things that Rick and Sandy would have found helpful when searching for a good window installer. The first three have to do with finding a reputable company that you can trust to install your windows. The last four points detail the proper installation of a new window; your contractor should follow these general steps, if they know what they’re doing.

1. Find out how long the company has been in business.

The longer, the better. Often a bad installation can remain hidden for a period of years. Certain disreputable installers know this fact and take advantage of it by spending a couple of years cutting corners, doing poor work, and undercutting the honest contractors in a particular area before disappearing, never to be seen again. If a business has been around for less than three years, check their references thoroughly and make sure they follow the guidelines for installing windows that we’ve listed below.

Another sign of an established business is an office with a showroom. Not only does this make it easier for you to see your windows before having them installed, it’s also a good sign that the company is committed to sticking around for the long term.

2. Ask about the labour warranty.

This is the installer’s guarantee on their workmanship and is separate from the window manufacturer’s warranty on their product. When a company that has been around for a long time provides a longer warranty (i.e., five to 10 years) on their labour, this is a good sign that they do good work; if they didn’t, they would have to spend countless hours going back to fix previous jobs. To ensure that a company honours their warranty, check their references and their Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating.

3. A contractor should carry comprehensive liability and workers’ compensation insurance to protect you in the event of an accident.

This can be verified by asking to see the contractor’s certificates of insurance.

Contractors who are insured and who follow safety guidelines endure higher job overhead costs. These expenses are often the cause of price differences between contractors who are insured (and are following the law) and those that are not. Beware of going with a cheaper company that isn’t insured; if anyone suffers an injury on the job, you will likely be held liable.

4. After removing the old window, the new one should be positioned in the opening and shimmed so that it is plumb, level, and square.

Place a shim approximately every 16 inches on the sill and every 24 inches on the jambs. The window should be fastened through the jambs at the shim locations with round head, rust-protected screws. No fasteners should go through the sill because they could compromise drainage.

5. The space around the window must be covered on the outside with a vinyl brickmould (which is typically built into the window) or with aluminum flashing.

Caulk is then applied to where brickmould meets the adjacent siding or brick. Be sure to use quality exterior grade caulking and ensure that all gaps are sealed and protected from the elements.

6. Canadian building code requires that a drip cap be installed above the head of the window.

This is a very important flashing for effective shedding of rainwater. The back leg of a drip cap must extend at least 2 inches up and behind the building paper/exterior air barrier.

7. Apply two beads of polyurethane insulation foam about one inch in depth on all four sides of the window frame.

One bead goes along the outside edge of the window frame directly behind the brick mould; the other bead of foam goes near the inside edge of the window frame. If jamb extensions are not sealed to the frame, be sure that foam covers the joint between the jamb extension and the window frame on all four sides of the window.

Use this list as a guide when asking a window installer about their services. For an in-depth consultation and estimate, call Edmunds Home Improvements: 905-472-0276.

3 Things to Look for When Shopping for New Vinyl Windows

Windows increase your homes value and beauty

March 26, 2016 / Author: Edmunds Home Improvements

There are few things more annoying than finding yourself freezing in your own home, despite having the heat on full blast. As you may already know, the most likely cause of heat loss is your windows. Unfortunately, it’s often hard, if not impossible, to have old windows fixed. The solution? Have new windows installed!

But if you’ve ever looked at purchasing new windows, then you’re aware that it’s not that simple: there are many options, and choosing between them can be intimidating for someone who’s unfamiliar with the range of products offered by today’s window industry. The following list is designed to help you determine the quality of the windows you’re thinking of purchasing so that you can find the best product for your money.

Energy Efficiency: Energy Star and the Canadian Standards Association

Often the most important reason to have new windows installed, energy efficient windows can have a noticeable effect on your hydro bill and can improve the comfort of your home by keeping the cold out while letting the sun’s heat in.

Energy efficiency is measured in a number of ways but is most accurately summarized by Energy Star’s Energy Rating (ER). The ER of a window reflects the balance between solar gain, heat transfer, and air leakage. The ER of a window indicates slower heat transfer from hot to cold areas without a significant reduction in solar gain. The higher this number, the better.

Energy Star is an organization that offers certification to qualified products. Some of the key features of an Energy Star-qualified window include double- or triple-glazing (meaning double or triple pane windows) with a sealed and insulated glass unit containing inert gasses, such as argon, with a low-E coating; low-conductivity spacer bars; insulated frames; and multiple points of contact where the sash meets the frame, which ensures proper air-tightness.

Another agency that offers certification for windows is the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), which provides product testing and certification services within a wide range of industries. In order for a product to boast the CSA label it must be tested by independent, certified laboratories, as well as conform to Canadian legal standards.

When shopping for new vinyl windows, be sure to look for windows that are CSA-certified with an Energy Star label and that have an ER of at least 30.

Construction: Built to Last

Beyond the glass and energy efficiency discussed above, the construction of a window determines its functionality, aesthetics, and structural integrity.

The frame should be made of 100% Polyresin 3 PVC and should be designed in such a way that it draws moisture away from the window and towards the drains, preventing the formation of mould and reducing condensation. Vinyl frames should feature multiple chambers; the more chambers, the higher the structural integrity of the window. The frames should also include a fly maze, which is a sponge-like material that prevents insects from nesting in, or entering your home through, the window. An insulating foam can also be included in the frame, which, when combined with triple-glazed sealed units, can increase the ER of the window.

Moving beyond the frame, the window should seal at multiple points, known as weather seals. In order to ensure a completely sealed unit, a vinyl window should include at least three seals built directly into the frame of the window. This prevents air transfer in case one of the seals fails.

Warranty: Peace of Mind

One of the most important considerations when purchasing new vinyl windows is the warranty. A strong warranty not only means that you can rest assured that, if your new window breaks, it will be fixed, but also that the manufacturer has faith in the integrity and longevity of their product.

The most important thing to look for is the length of the warranty. Quality vinyl windows will come with a lifetime warranty for the vinyl frame, sash, hardware, and insulating glass. But beware: when a warranty is advertised as “lifetime,” it may mean your lifetime, or it may mean the lifetime of the product as determined by the manufacturer.

Lifetime warranties are also commonly prorated, so it’s important to read the fine print and talk to your sales rep about how warranty coverage works and how long your new window is actually covered for.

At Edmunds Home Improvements, we install Vinylbilt Windows. For over 30 years they’ve used bleeding-edge technology to construct windows that are Energy Star- and CSA-certified. All of their windows come with a transferrable, true lifetime warranty. Contact us today to schedule your free estimate.

New windows are wasted if they’re not installed right.

Counterfeit Shingles in Markham

Roofing, siding and more in markham

May 12, 2016 / Author: Edmunds Home Improvements

The Telltale Sign of Counterfeit Shingles that Every York Region Homeowner Needs to Be Aware Of

One of the best parts about having new shingles installed is the comfort afforded by the knowledge that you won’t have to worry about your roof leaking for at least another decade. Given this, it’s easy to imagine the horror experienced by Dan and Ricki as they realized their three-year-old shingles were curling and allowing water to leak into the attic. Dan called the roofers that installed the shingles, hoping that there was just some minor damage to be fixed, but all he got was a recording stating that the number was no longer in service.

Dan and Ricki’s story is typical of those who have had knockoff shingles manufactured overseas installed. The man who sold them their roof seemed honest and offered a great price. The shingles came packaged in a well-known manufacturer’s wrapper and even had the CSA mark of approval on the wrapper. However, the resemblance was only superficial; the shingles Dan and Ricki had installed were of a vastly inferior quality compared to the Canadian-made shingles they thought they had purchased.

Light Shingles: A Dead Giveaway

The biggest – and most obvious – problem with knockoff shingles is that they typically weigh much less than the Canadian-made shingles they purport to impersonate. Canadian shingles usually weigh between 70-80 lb., while the knockoffs come in at under 50 lb. This difference is significant, and reflects the disparity in the quality of the shingles. Counterfeit shingles manufactured overseas are usually lacking key components, such as asphalt and minerals, that allow Canadian shingles to withstand the elements. This is why roofs that were shingled with knockoffs are being replaced in less than 10 years, and often under five.

The weight difference can be hard to notice if you don’t know how heavy a quality bundle of shingles should feel when you pick it up. However, an experienced roofer who handles hundreds of bundles of shingles every week should be able to tell instantly whether or not the shingles are Canadian-made.

Other Signs to Look Out For

Weight difference aside, it can be challenging to distinguish authentic Canadian shingles from counterfeits. As mentioned above, the packaging often looks identical. Here are a few tips to ensure that you’re getting quality shingles manufactured in Canada:

A thinner shingle: As would be expected given the lighter shingle, imported knockoffs are noticeably thinner. When held up to an authentic shingle, you will likely be able to tell the difference.

Significantly cheaper quote: If the price that you’re quoted is less than half of what the more established competitors quoted, the reason could be that the shingles they are using. However, this is not always a sure sign. Sometimes the difference in quotes is due to one company paying their employees unfairly. Also, some companies will charge the same as their competitors while still using faulty knockoffs.

Call the manufacturer and/or distributor: When in doubt, ask the roofer where they buy their shingles from. If it’s a distributor, give them a call and confirm that your roofer buys the shingles they say they do from them. If you have concerns about the distributor, call the manufacturer and make sure that they sell their shingles to the distributor in question. It should be easy to verify where your shingles are coming from; if it isn’t, move on to a more reputable contractor.

History Repeats Itself

Many people find the idea that someone would create a knockoff of a heavy, relatively inexpensive product such as shingles, only to ship it overseas, bewildering. Unfortunately, this is not the first time something like this has happened. Defective Chinese drywall has been called “the biggest environmental crisis to hit North American homeowners and builders in decades.” The drywall, which has been shown to be both defective and toxic, is manufactured overseas and is sold in North America at about half the price of locally manufactured drywall. It’s too soon to say what the consequences of the rise of counterfeit shingles will be, but given the similarities to the Chinese drywall scam, it’s safe to say that these shingles should be avoided by any means necessary.

While initially affordable, having counterfeit shingles manufactured overseas installed will end up costing more in the long run. Always make sure that you’re getting Canadian-made, CSA-approved shingles when having a new roof installed. For more information and a free estimate and consultation, contact Edmunds Home Improvements.

Steel, Fibreglass, or Wood: Choose the Best Material for Your New Entrance Door System

June 9, 2016 / Author: Colin Gibson

From decorative glass with ornate steel to freshly stained wood that perfectly matches the colour of your bricks, a new entrance door system can be a beauty to behold. The benefits of added curb appeal extend beyond aesthetics: investing in a new door system has been shown to increase the value of your home by 4.2%. For a $2,500 door system installed in a house valued at $500,000, this works out to an ROI of $18,500.

But with colours, handle sets, and glass options to choose from, picking the right door for your home can be challenging. The best place to start is with the most important choice: material. Steel, fibreglass, and wood all have their benefits and drawbacks. Picking the one that is right for you is the first – and most important – step in choosing the entrance door system that is right for you.

Steel: A Plethora of Options and Security You Can Trust

The most popular by far, steel doors are a great choice for any home. They come in almost any colour you can think of and boast a dizzying array of glass insert options. A new steel door provides best-in-class security, allowing you to rest peacefully with the knowledge that your family is safe. When compared to fibreglass and wood, steel doors are the most economical, while retaining the same level of energy efficiency.

While a good steel door is relatively resistant to scratches and dents, they are more vulnerable to damage than fibreglass or wood doors. This can be particularly problematic for those with dogs who habitually scratch at the front door, or for families with children who may take a less-than-careful approach to hauling their hockey bags in and out of the house. However, the team at Edmunds has found that it takes quite a lot of force to damage our steel doors, making potential damage less of an issue that it is sometimes made out to be.

Choose a Fibreglass Door for Added Durability or an Authentic Woodgrain-Look

Fibreglass doors are another great choice for your new entranceway system. The “smooth” variety are almost indistinguishable from steel doors but have the added benefit of being dent- and scratch-proof. Fibreglass doors also come in a woodgrain finish that looks and feels very authentic. The woodgrain doors can be stained just like real wood, but typically cost 35% to 50% less, making them an attractive option for those who want the wood look, without the wood price tag.

A smooth, steel-like fibreglass door system costs roughly 5% more than an equivalent steel door, which is a small price to pay if you know that your front door will have to withstand scratches and dents. The woodgrain look costs between 25% to 35% more than a steel door, depending on the quality of the faux wood grain. While they are very good (come into our showroom and see for yourself!), for some people the look and feel of real wood just can’t be imitated.

When Only the Best Will Do, a Wood Door Is Your Go-To

The primary benefit of a wood door is authenticity. A wood door offers all of the features of steel and fibreglass with a high-end look that can’t be beat. From oak to mahogany, a wood front door immediately draws your eye and gives an impression of craftsmanship and taste.

The primary drawback of a wood door is cost: at twice the price of steel and at least 150% the cost of fibreglass, the price of a wood door is prohibitive to many. There’s also the time and financial cost of regular staining and finishing that’s required to keep your door from fading.

There are benefits to all of the front door systems listed. To learn more about the different options for front doors, contact Edmunds Home Improvements today.

Can I Repair My Broken Windows, or Do I Need to Replace Them?

Window upgrades and replacement

August 13, 2016 / Author: Colin Gibson

From water damage to astronomical heating bills, faulty windows can cause a variety of problems. Given that replacing a house full of windows can cost upwards of $10,000, repairing your existing windows is usually preferable to replacing them, when possible. The following guide will help you to identify the source of your problem and find the best – and most cost-effective – solution.

What to Do When Your Windows Leak

Leaking windows can cause drywall damage, rot, and mould, and therefore need to be addressed as soon as possible. There are three main causes and corresponding solutions for leaking windows:

Exterior window seal problems: These tend to occur when the caulking around either your window or exterior flashing has cracked or chipped away. This is the easiest problem for a contractor to fix, as all it usually takes is to remove and replace the old caulking.

Improperly installed or shifted windows: Windows are sloped so that any water that falls inside them or in the sill is carried away. Whether due to improper installation or a shifting of the window or house over time, windows can lose their ability to carry moisture away from the house. When caught early, this problem can usually be repaired.

Roof leaks: Often when water damage is seen around the window area, the real culprit is a leaking roof. Roof leaks have a number of causes, some of which we detail here. An experienced contractor will be able to isolate the cause of the leak and repair it accordingly.

Fix Your Leaks Before They Cause Rot!

One of the most obvious indications that you need new windows, rot is usually a sign that your windows have been leaking for some time. Rot is most commonly found on older windows.

Aside from the problems caused by leaks, as discussed above, that rot alludes to, it also causes another problem: mould.

Inevitably, rot leads to mould. According to Health Canada, the effects of mould can include eye, nose and throat irritation; coughing and phlegm build-up; wheezing and shortness of breath; symptoms of asthma; and allergic reactions.

Rotting and mouldy windows aren’t just a problem for old windows; some newer subdivisions build their homes with wood that hasn’t been aged properly, causing it to rot prematurely.

If the rot or mould is just on your windowsill, you might be able to replace part of the frame. If the rot extends under the sash, or includes the sash, you will likely have to replace the entire window. A good window installer will be able to advise you on your options and best course of action.

Poor Insulation: A Different Kind of Leak

Poorly insulated windows cause heat to leak out of your house in the winter, and cool air to leak out in the summer. This leads to an uncomfortable living environment and an expensive energy bill.

There are two main factors that contribute to poor insulation:

Loss of window seal: When the seal around your glass panes (called the “sealed unit”) breaks, the gas escapes and your window loses its ability to insulate. If you can see condensation or dirt inside your sealed unit, you know you have lost your seal. In newer windows, the sealed unit can usually be replaced without having to install a new window and is often covered under warranty. In older windows, especially those made of wood, the entire window may need to be replaced.

Very old windows: Windows that are very old may have been installed without sealed units and the gas that serves to insulate newer windows. If this is the case, the only option is to have new windows installed.

Having trouble figuring out if your windows are insulated properly? Aside from the above-mentioned condensation inside the sealed unit, if your window feels cold to the touch inside during the winter, it is not properly insulated, and you are spending more money to heat your house as a result.

Broken Handles, Cranks, and Locks

Last but not least, broken window hardware can be tolerated for only so long before a fix is required. Sometimes the parts can be replaced, and sometimes they can’t be. Follow these steps to find out how to fix your window’s handles, cranks, and locks:

Get in touch with the manufacturer: Your window may still be under warranty; in which case, the manufacturer will send a technician to fix it for you. Even if it’s not under warranty, they may still make the part, in which case you can pay to have a technician come and repair it for you.

Call a reputable window installer: If you can’t find the manufacturer, or if they can’t help you, a good installer may be able to find hardware that will work with your existing window. If they can’t find the right hardware, they will be able to give you an estimate on a new window.

From energy cost savings to the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your home is protected from water damage, there are many benefits to having new windows installed. For more information, contact Edmunds Home Improvements today.

Why You Can’t Neglect Your Soffit and Fascia

fascia and soffit experts in markham

September 18, 2016 / Author: Colin Gibson

Soffit and fascia are similar to eavestrough in that, although they can both add a unique aesthetic accent to your home, for the most part they go unnoticed. That is, until they cause you problems.

Your soffit and fascia play an important role in the health of your roof and attic. For starters, your soffit is a big part of what allows your attic to ventilate. Many think that having the right amount of roof vents is enough to ventilate an attic, but it’s not; if you don’t have perforated soffits every 4-5 feet, you won’t have enough air circulating through your attic. This can cause a number of problems:

Soffit protects your home’s rafters from the elements. Without it, they can grow mould and rot. Replacing rafter beams typically costs thousands more than replacing or fixing your soffits.

The same ventilation issues that can cause your rafters to develop mould can also affect your attic. Mould in your attic can go undetected for years. If not discovered and removed promptly (an expensive endeavor it in itself), mould can turn into rot, resulting in your roof sheathing needing to be replaced.

Proper soffit ventilation doesn’t just affect your attic; it affects the air circulation of your entire home. If your attic is sealed tight, it will retain heat, causing your utility bill to skyrocket in hotter months. The same poor ventilation will also cause moisture to build up in cooler months, leading to mould in your attic, which, as stated above, is expensive to remove and can eventually cause rot.

The good news is that you need never experience any of these issues. Follow these two rules when having new soffits installed:

Make sure that at least one out of every four soffit panels are vented. At Edmunds, we install one vented panel for every three panels to ensure maximum ventilation.

When choosing a material for your soffits, choose heavy gauge aluminum. It may cost a little more than lighter gauge aluminum, but it will be far more durable in the face of high winds or animals trying to build a home in your attic.

One of the secondary benefits of aluminum soffit is that it comes in a number of styles and any colour you can think of. When combined and coordinated with your eavestrough, window capping, and roof, new soffit and fascia can act as the perfect aesthetic complement to the rest of your home.

Don’t Forget About Your Fascia

Fascia is usually installed with soffits. Aluminum fascia stops water from rotting the wood boards that support your eavestrough. If these boards rot, your eavestrough may lose its slope and stop working, or fall off altogether. Rotten fascia boards also provide easy access to your attic for critters such as raccoons and squirrels.

For more information or to get a free estimate on soffit and fascia repair and replacement, call Edmunds at 905-472-0276 today.