Author: Mark Buckshon

How to have a smooth renovation

Well, okay. Truth be told, a renovation is going to be stressful. But there are things you can do to minimize the stress and even enjoy the journey. First, hire a professional renovator. Don’t even think about doing it yourself, because therein lies all kinds of stress – and big reasons for that stress, too. Know how long it’s going to take, and then add a bit of time. Your renovator will be able to give you an estimate. That’s because this is what the professionals do. It’s their life. They know this stuff. Do your homework. Be organized....

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Don’t waste money on amateurs

It can be scary, deciding to do a major renovation. Should you do some of it yourself? Should you get a handy neighbour, friend, or relative to do it for you? The hard truth of it is that there’s a good chance your renovation can actually cost more – much more – if you neglect to hire a professional renovator. A professional renovator knows the process inside out, starting from the permits you need (and often getting them for you). They understand the best materials for the job; they hire tradespeople they know and trust; they look after you...

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The foundation: Boring, maybe – but critical

You might not see it. You might not want to think about it. But you know it’s there. And if you don’t take care of it, you can find your home in a big bunch of trouble. The foundation of your home deteriorates over time just like everything else. It just takes longer to break down. Every 40 to 50 years, it needs to be dug up and waterproofed. It’s much more interesting to think about the “pretty” parts of a renovation: new floors, counters, bathrooms, windows. But a neglected foundation can lead to water infiltration, structural damage, buckling...

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OakWood profile: The story behind the success

Bruce Firestone recently interviewed OakWood founder John Liptak for Ottawa Business Journal, describing the business, its evolution and success in the local renovation market. He wrote: So imagine my surprise when I walked into OakWood founder John Liptak’s gigantic design centre in east-end Ottawa to learn that his $10-million building is Canada’s highest LEED-certified structure stuffed with more than 7,500 high-end products – everything from fantabulous kitchens and bathrooms to safe rooms hidden behind false walls. In addition to the in-house inventory, OakWood offers another 150,000 products via QR codes, which are everywhere. John runs the business with his wife, Debbie. His two daughters, Patricia Liptak-Satov and Angela Liptak, are also active in the organization. It is the largest home renovation company in Ottawa, doing 485 jobs last year ranging from in size from $20,000 to $6 million. You can read the complete interview...

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Building your wish list: Beginning your renovation planning

Renovating? Put on your thinking cap. It’s time to do some serious dreaming. Professional renovators say one of the first things to do, before you even get in touch with them, is to start planning. This means building a wish list. At first your list might be longer than it should be and perhaps even unrealistic in certain areas. But it’s a start. Once you have your “wants” recorded, you can start paring back (or adding) from there. But even before you start that list, take a good hard look at your lifestyle and your personal tastes. Do you...

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What is RenoMark™?

RenoMark™ renovators are held to the highest industry standards. They have to do the big things – carry $2 million liability insurance and enforce strict workplace safety – and the smaller things that give you comfort: pledge to call you back within two business days, for instance.

RenoMark™ renovators must pay a fee to be certified. They must also follow detailed guidelines. In addition to insurance, safety and courtesy, they must:
• Give you a detailed written contract for all jobs, big or small
• Provide a minimum two-year warranty on all work except minor repair
• Carry the proper licences and permits
• Keep their worksite organized and safe
• In the Ottawa area, be a member in good standing of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association (GOHBA) and abide by the GOHBA Code of Ethics.
• Stay current, through consistent and continuing education, in their professional knowledge of building codes, permit procedures and technical skills.