5 Tips for Building a Deck

A deck is an excellent addition to a home. It turns into a gathering place in the summer months when it’s warm out. The deck may be where you have your barbeque to cook while relaxing outside.

There are many usages for a deck that will benefit the whole family. If you’re looking at building one, there are a few things you’ll want to remember to help you out. We have five tips to help you build your deck.

Know Your Property Line

When building a deck, you want to ensure that it stays within your property line. Unless you have a fence that lines the perimeter of your yard, it’s hard to eyeball where the property line is. You wouldn’t want to spend all this time building a deck to find out you’ve gone into the neighbour’s yard.

You may need permits from your municipality before you begin. Ensure you have all the proper permits and documentation with you.

Don’t Pick Just Any Wood

The type of wood you use to build your deck is important. The wrong material for the environment you live in could cause you to have to do major repairs in a year or two. Pressure treated wood was a favourite for the longest time since it can withstand the outdoor elements. However, many are unsure about the chemicals used to pressure treat it. Although, over the last several years, pressure treated wood has become less toxic.

Cedar is the most common natural, untreated wood for decks. Staining it will help prolong the lifespan of the deck, along with protecting it from the UV rays of the sun and the elements of the seasons.

Add a Railing

Quite often when building a deck, most of the focus is on the deck itself and the stairs leading up to it. However, there is another aspect of the deck that should not be forgotten about. That is the railing.

The railing along a deck is there for added protection, as well as aesthetics. If you have small children around, those railings can prevent your child from falling off the deck.

Be Careful About Deck-to-Wall Connections

One of the most common spots for a deck building project to go bad is the deck-to-wall connections. You want to ensure that you go through all the proper steps so that there are no gaping holes. Decide if the deck will be a standalone one or if you’ll have it attached to the house.

Have a Plan Before You Begin

Building a deck with no plan in mind is not a great idea. You may find that halfway through the project, you don’t like the look of it or the placement. Then you’re left having to tear everything down to start over.

Plan out your deck before you begin. Have a drawing that shoes where you want to place the deck and what the structure will look like. Have the dimensions so you can refer to it as you go. Your plan should also include the materials used and what colour you want the deck to be.

How to Choose the Best Railing for Your Staircase

The staircase can be a feature piece in your home. It may be the first thing someone sees when they walk through the front door, or even if it’s tucked off to the side, the design makes the staircase stand out.

If you’re someone who takes pride in their staircase, then you know that choosing the railing to match your staircase is essential. You wouldn’t want to go through the time and effort of designing the perfect set of stairs, only to have it offset by the lack of planning with the railing.

There are many options available for the type of railing and colour options to match your stairs. You just need to decide which option looks best. When choosing a railing for your stairs, consider the following points to help.

The Style of the Stairs

First, what is the style of the stairs? If you have a modern floating staircase that has a very clean look, you wouldn’t want a traditional wooden railing to go with it. The same thing goes for the opposite. If the stairs were a beautiful natural wood, you wouldn’t necessarily want a bold colour for a railing or a glass option.

Match the railing, style and colour included, to the design of your staircase. Consider the atmosphere it builds and use that as a guideline.

Is It an Accent Piece?

Do you want the railing to blend in with the stairs, or would you rather it stand out and be a bold accent piece? You can go either way with it.

If you want the railing to be a statement piece, have the design or colour to stand out against what is there. If you the stairs are subtle, have a bright coloured railing. If you rather have everything flow together, paint the railing to match the colour of the stairs.

What’s the Purpose of the Railing?

Not all railings are installed with the same intent in mind. Some use the railing as a style feature for the staircase. Others use it for security purposes, especially if there is small children or elderly adults using the stairs. If that is the case, you’ll want a sturdy railing that is there for support.

If the railing is more for style, you can go for many options then. A glass railing can look quite good for a modern staircase. You could have something simple that doesn’t cover the stairs and is completely open.

Have fun when deciding on a railing for your staircase. With so many options available, you can really change up the design and atmosphere of the area around.

Remember, though, if safety is top priority, you do not want to compromise the integrity of the railing for a special design. Not all railings are sturdy enough compared to others. Make sure you know the primary purpose of the railing before choosing.

6 Things in Your Home that Need a Good Cleaning Post-Holidays

You spend so much time getting ready for the holidays, for them to go by so quickly. Then, you’re left with a big mess to tend to. There’s a good chance that you put of some of the cleanings that you don’t usually do just because you need a break.

Although it’s good to ease into it and not overwhelm yourself with cleaning, there are parts of your home that shouldn’t be missed. To help you out, here are six things in your home that you should clean after the holidays.

The Fridge

During the holidays, you’re buying groceries that you don’t normally buy on a regular basis. That is because you’re having a big feast for you and your entire family. There are bound to be items that get pushed to the back and forgotten about.

Spend some time cleaning out your fridge and giving it a good wipe down. Go through shelf by shelf and start taking things out. Check the expiry date. Anything that is way overdo should likely get thrown out or put in the compost. Wipe everything down before putting it all back together.


The railings tend to get forgotten about during your regular cleaning routine. However, they shouldn’t be. If they don’t get regularly wiped down, they become a place where germs gather and grow. Think of all the hands that were on the railings during the holidays. So, wipe them down with a mild cleaner or disinfectant wipes to kill any bacteria lingering around.


Now, furniture is likely something you thought about cleaning before all of your guests arrive, but have you thought about cleaning it afterwards? Furniture can hold on to many dirty particles and germs just from us sitting on them.

Take a day or two to clean all of the furniture in your home thoroughly. Vacuum them down first before coming through with cleaners that are safe for any material your furniture is made out of.

The Vacuum

Speaking of a vacuum, when’s the last time you’ve cleaned yours? Think of all the work you did with the vacuum before, during, and right after the holidays. It’s likely quite full of dirt and dust, even if you regularly empty the bag. Give your vacuum a good cleaning, so it continues to work like new.


The kitchen appliances, more specifically the stove, dishwasher and coffee maker, should get a good clean after the holidays. Those are some of the main appliances you use when guests are over. To keep everything working like new, spend a day giving them a much-needed clean.


Although you likely have a regular cleaning schedule for your bathrooms, we’re talking about a good deep clean after the holidays. If you have lots of guests over, your bathrooms will get used more than usual, especially if you have guests staying the night.

Spend some extra time wiping down areas of the bathroom that aren’t apart of your regular cleaning. Wash the shower curtain and restock the bathroom with any needed supplies.

How to Keep Your Home Safe

Safety is of top priority for households around the world. Whether it be from intruders, fires, slips, and other accidents, protecting your household from as many dangers as possible is essential.

Keeping your home safe doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, there are many small changes you can implement in your daily life that will help keep your home as safe as possible.

Take a look at these six tips that you can easily do to boost the safety of your home.

Install Dummy Cameras

If you can’t afford to install a real surveillance camera around the perimeter of your home, install fake ones. Sometimes, it’s seeing and knowing that there is surveillance at home is enough to deter criminals from attempting to enter your house.

Keep the Lights On

You don’t necessarily need to have every light on all day and every day. However, by having the front porch light on, or the entrance light, it helps deter intruders away from your home. Lights signal that someone is home, which is the opposite of what a burglar would want.

If you don’t want to have the lights on constantly, you can set up motion sensors. That way, if someone walks by (especially at night), the light would flick on, and the person would be visible.

Tidy Up the Front Entrance

A clean entrance not only helps keep intruders away, but it also helps prevent anyone from slipping and falling. Newspapers make it seem like you’re not home and away on vacation. Also, stepping on them could cause someone to slip.

Set Up Railings

Railings are a great way to stop anyone at any age from falling. Especially around a pool or staircases, railings are a sign that potential danger is nearby and to be careful.

Outdoor pools should have a railing, especially if you have small children around to stop them from getting too close to the water. Stairs should also have a railing, so people have something to hold on to while walking up and down the stairs.

Keep Batteries Around

Batteries become your best friend in the case of an emergency. If the power went out, you’d want flashlights so that you can see. You may have a portable radio that runs on batteries in the case of bad weather. Not only that, smoke detectors need regularly changing to ensure they are properly working.

In an emergency, you don’t know how long it will be until things are back to normal. That means you don’t know how long your safety equipment will last without power. Having the correct batteries on hand will prevent anyone from not having everything they need to stay safe.

Teach Your Family a Safety Plan

Having a safety plan is an excellent tool that the whole family should know. From knowing the escape routes during a fire to what to do if someone unknown comes to the door, your plan could be the difference between safety and danger.

Teach your children what to do if the doorbell rings while you’re not home, what to say if someone asks for their parents over the phone, and how to call for help in the case of an emergency.

Tips for Designing a Modern House

If you drive around town looking at houses, chances are you’ve seen quite a few modern style ones pop up. They stand out with their unique shape that is quite different than a traditional looking house. The inside is usually an open concept floor plan that is bright and full of windows.

If you like the look of a modern house, we have some tips to help you design one. Although these are general tips for designing, go with what you like the best.


Modern houses today are more minimalistic, meaning they have fewer items inside but of higher quality. The less is more look allows for the house to be more open, welcoming, and have a smoother transition between rooms.

Typically, houses would have many rooms that were closed off from one another. Now, though, modern houses have fewer walls to open up the place.


The colours are important for designing a modern home. Avoid pastel colours. Instead, go for more neutral colours and accent them with bold, bright colours. You can pick whatever colours you like really; you just want to make sure that they complement each other.

Here are a few examples of a modern colour pallet: lime green, cobalt blue, and white; cherry red, black, white, and silver; orange, cream, and brown.


A modern design utilizes as much light as possible to brighten up the home. They aren’t just any kind of lighting though. You’ll find unique lights like colour strip lights, recessed lighting, and spotlights.

A brighter room tends to be more welcoming than one poorly lit. That isn’t to say that a modern house doesn’t use dim lighting. Quite often, people install dimmers to their lights so that they can adjust the brightness throughout the day.


You’ll find that a modern home will have many features that they spotlight. One way of adding a modern touch to your home is by installing a metal staircase. They have that crisp, clean look that goes in line with a modern design.


A modern house has a clean, crisp look to it. When you tie in all the other aspects above, they come together to create that clean feeling (of course, while keeping the house actually clean). By keeping the layout, design, and decoration simple, it will help you achieve that clean look a modern house has.

On top of that, a modern home is free of clutter. They achieve this by maximizing their storage spaces and make sure every item has a home. You’ll find storage containers, cabinets, and shelving in almost every room in a modern home.

When designing your modern home, be creative and have lots of fun. There’s no right or wrong way of doing it. When in doubt, err on the side of keeping things simple and clutter-free.

Getting Your Yard Ready for a Fence Installation

Preparing your yard for a fence installation is necessary to ensure that the process goes smoothly and efficiently. You wouldn’t’ want to keep stepping around toys, plants, and have no idea where your property line is.

Doing a bit of extra work before you begin your fence installation will save you a lot of hassle during the process. Consider some of the following tips to help get your yard ready for a fence installation.

Mark the Property Line

It seems obvious, but something that many don’t think of is marking the property line. You don’t want to put up a fence just by guessing where you think the property line is. Guessing could put you in a situation with your neighbours and force you to have to redo the whole process again.

Make sure you know exactly where your property line is. If you’re unsure, get the blueprints of your property from your local government office. Gambling on where your property line won’t help you in the long run.

Speak With Your Neighbours

If you have neighbours, let them know you’re building a fence. What you choose to install will affect the shared property line. Being courteous and including them in the process will help keep a good relationship between the two of you. Plus, you may find that they want to replace their fence and will cover some of the costs for the shared portion.

During the installation process, make sure to keep all of your supplies and tools on your property. For starters, it’s been courteous to them and their property. Also, though, it’s ensuring that there is no confusion over who owns what.

Call Your Utility Operators

The last thing you need is to start digging and end up hitting a pipe or lines in the ground. Now you’re in a lot of trouble. Speak with your utility operators first so that they can point out any pipes and lines that you need to be careful about.

Keep the Yard Clean

Here is another obvious one that many sometimes forget – clean up your yard. Working around toys and other obstacles will only make the process more difficult and time-consuming. Basically, you want to have as clean of a slate as possible before starting.

Have a Checklist of Supplies and a Plan

You don’t want to start installing a fence and have no plan in mind. Going that route, there’s a good chance of messing up or finding out later that you don’t like what you’ve done. Plan out ahead of time what you want the fence to look like.

Also, have a checklist of all the supplies you need. For starters, this ensures that you have everything there and ready at your fingertips. It also allows you to keep track of all your tools so that when it’s time to end for the day, everything is accounted for.

Lay Out Stakes

Once you know your property line and have a plane, lay stakes to help you visualize where the fence will go. Run a string between the posts to measure the distance between them for the fence installation.

Decorate the Exterior of Your House With These Ideas

How much time have you spent decorating and designing the exterior of your home? Quite often we spend most of our time renovating and updating the inside of the home that we forget how important the exterior design is as well.

The curb appeal of your property is important if you want to improve the overall value come selling time. Don’t think that you need to go through a complete overhaul to update the outside of your house. There are many simple and small changes you can do that will help you create a yard that is the talk of the neighbourhood.

To help you decorate the exterior of your house, take a look at some of the ideas below.


Upgrade the Fence

If you have a fence around the property line, see if it needs updating. Over time, fences will wear down, lose their colour, and even start to fall apart. If your current fence is still in good shape, add a fresh coat of paint to it. You’ll quickly change the atmosphere of the property with a quick paint job.

Door and Window Canopies

If you want to add an elegant touch to the design of the exterior of the home, try installing canopies over doors and windows. We have many options available so that you can design a canopy that is unique to your home.

Canopies also serve a practical purpose, especially during the rainy months of the year. You’ll be able to stand underneath of them as you look for your keys to the door.

Use Planters

Does your yard have any colour to it? If not, you can easily add a pop of colour by growing flowers in planters. By going with planters, you can put plants almost anywhere you want. Have some by the door to your home, at the edge of the driveway, or anywhere else you think they will look nice.

You can even use the planter itself as a piece of art for the property. From simple, plain planters to elaborately designed ones, you may not even need big flowers in them.

Keep it Simple

When decorating the outside of the house, err on the side that less is more. Having too much going on will make the yard look cluttered, and it will draw the attention away from the house. You want the spotlight to be on the house, and everything around it to compliment the design of the home.

Pressure Wash the Exterior

Have you ever pressure washed a fence or deck? One run over with a pressure washer, and it can take a dull and old looking piece of wood and make it look brand new. You don’t realize how dirty the outside walls get until you go over them with a pressure washer. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to brighten up the outside of your home.

Paint the Door

It’s becoming more common to see a bold coloured door on a house. The door grabs the attention of those passing by. If you want to give the exterior of your home a bold and unique touch, paint the door a colour that suits your personality.

Keep Your Pool Area Safe for the Whole Family

What’s better than hanging out by the pool on a hot sunny day? Likely, not a whole lot. However, without proper supervision and set up, the pool can be dangerous for people of any age.

On average, roughly 120 Canadians die each year due to drowning during aquatic activities in swimming pools. Any age is susceptible to drowning, but young children how are unable to swim on their own are at very high risk.

You and the family want to be able to enjoy your pool safely without any worries. That is why having safety precautions set up before people use the pool will help decrease the risk of anyone drowning. Consider some of the following safety precautions to implement with your family pool.


Build a Fence or Railing

One of the best ways to prevent children from falling into the pool if you are not around is to install a fence around the perimeter of the pool. This barrier will help keep children away from the water when there is no supervision.

Having railings around the edge of the pool will help protect people even more. Also, having railings would be helpful to grab on to if someone accidentally fell into the pool.

Have a First Aid Kit and Rescue Equipment Nearby

Every pool should have a first aid kit and rescue equipment in the pool vicinity. Slips and falls can happen at any time and cause scrapes and cuts. Without proper care, those cuts could get infected and cause even more issues down the road.

Rescue equipment should be readily available in the case of an emergency. A life ring or rescue tube should be easy to grab and toss into the pool if someone fell in.

Keep Chemicals Safely Stored

Pool chemicals are toxic to humans and animals if they ingested them. Not even that, some chemicals are corrosive to the skin if the liquids came in contact with skin. That is why you should have your pool chemicals stored and locked away, and keep them out of reach of small children.

Have Pool Rules

Although the pool is meant to be a fun area, rules should still be in place to prevent accidents or worse. Go through with the whole family a list of rules that will keep everyone safe. Some basic pool rules include:

  • No running on the pool deck.
  • No diving in shallow water.
  • Always have adult supervision before entering the pool.
  • No rough-housing in the pool.
  • Do not unexpectantly push anyone into the pool.

Practice How to Swim

If people are going in the pool, they should have a basic understanding of how to swim. Even if the water in your pool is shallow, basic swimming skills can save a life. It is never too late or too early to start learning how to swim.


Keep your pool area safe so that the entire family can continue to enjoy it. Implement some of our guidelines to keep everyone safe if there is a pool around. Make sure the whole family knows the safety rules, as well as what to do and what not to do in the case of an emergency.


Make Your Front Yard the Talk of the Neighbourhood

No matter what time of year it is, you can have the best looking front yard in your whole neighbourhood. By utilizing different textures and colours, you can drastically change your yard to create a winter wonderland or a summer paradise.

As the cold winter starts to roll through, you’ll be getting your yard ready to withstand all the snow and freezing temperatures that are bound to happen. However, by being creative with bushes and shrubs, railings, and decorations, you’ll take your yard to a whole new level.

To help you make your front yard the talk of the neighbourhood this winter, consider using some of the following tips.


Install Railing

When snow blankets the ground, you have to be more creative with how you’ll create your yard. In summer, you have colourful plants and green grass at your disposal to help. But in winter, the snow can only do so much.

So, add railing around your yard. From simple to elaborate railings that go around the perimeter of the yard or up to the front door, you can add an elegant feel right away. Take a look at some of the railings we’ve built for residents in Toronto.

Plant Winter Shrubs and Trees

Many plants can withstand winter, and still produce berries on them even when it freezes. They help feed the birds that stick around for winter. Not only that, they can add some much-needed colour to contrast the white snow.

Look at your Hardscape

Lots of times when talking about decorating a yard, we look at the soft landscape called softscape. Those are anything living that you plant. However, we can easily forget about the hardscape, or things that are not living.

Hardscape would be the hard stuff you include in your yard, like bricks and stones. Winter is the perfect time to take a look at any additions to your hardscape to help balance everything out. It could be a sculpture, an arch over the entrance to your home, or a bench on the porch.

Tidy Up the Yard

Leaves, mud, branches, and other things that appear during the transition to fall can quickly make your lard look cluttered. Part of your curb appeal is having a clean and tidy lawn. So, before the snow comes, rake up the leaves and branches, and clean out everything that accumulated in the gutters.

Rely on Lighting

In the winter time, have fun with your exterior lighting. Having proper outdoor lighting is for your family’s safety, and to add a dramatic effect to your front yard.

Install lights in different areas of the yard. You can have small lights that line the pathway to the front door. There are post lamps that work great on decks and by the front door. Use string lights throughout the trees for a winter wonderland effect.


Don’t let your yard fall behind once the temperature drops. Even in the winter months, you can still have the best front yard in your neighbourhood. Incorporate some of our tips listed above to help you design your winter yard this season.

6 Tips for Decorating a Small Balcony

No matter the size of your balcony, there is always room for creativity and design. It may take a bit of manoeuvring around, but with the right plan in mind, you can transform your small balcony into your favourite hangout spot.

Having a balcony of any size is a huge perk for any living space. It allows you to bring your living room outdoors in the summer, and to enjoy the fresh air. Sit outside and watch the sunrise or sunset, all while still enjoying the comfort of your home.

Whether you are renting an apartment or own your home, there are many budget-friendly designs that you can do with your balcony. Take a look at some of our ideas to get your balcony hangout ready.


Start With the Railing

Although this will be more for homeowners rather than rents, changing the railing along the balcony can make a huge difference. You can go for a classic look that won’t take away from the rest of the design on the balcony, or you can go with an elaborate, custom-made railing that is the attraction piece in your design.

Browse through some of our recent railings to see how they can dramatically change the feel of your balcony.

Take Your Home Outdoors

You want your balcony to be an extension of your home. To achieve that look, keep the design scheme you have inside when planning out your balcony. Stay within the same colours and theme to keep your transition from inside to outside smooth.

Use Your Walls

One thing you’ll notice right away with a small balcony is the lack of space to place items. This will force you to be creative with your design.

Don’t forget about the wall space. The walls around your balcony are like a blank canvas. Hand plants and lights off of them, or other decorations that add to your theme.

Lay an Outdoor Rug

An easy way to change your balcony of any size is to lay down an outdoor rug. Balconies don’t always have the most beautiful flooring unless you can afford to upgrade it. Instead, take a look at different rugs available. You can start with the rug and use the colour scheme as inspiration for the rest of the balcony.

Add String Lights

You’ll want outdoor lights on your balcony if you hope to spend much time there at night. However, you don’t want to give up precious space for a lamp. Opt for string lights instead. You can hang them around the railings, the walls of the balcony, or even across for a unique feel if there’s room.

Utilize Multi-Purpose Furniture

One thing every balcony needs is a place to sit. But a couch and table can take up much space and leave you with little to no room left. Luckily, there is outdoor furniture that has two purposes – storage and seating.

When you’re decorating a small space, be creative with multi-purpose items. They can serve you in two different ways without taking up additional space. So, our outdoor couch could hold items under the cushion, and the table can turn into an additional chair by adding a cushion on top.


Have fun when decorating your balcony. From installing unique and custom built railings to draping string lights all around, every change will enhance the feel of your balcony. Make it the place everyone will want to hang out on when the sun comes out.