Tailored Living (Burnaby, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, BC)

Your Home, Tailored to the Way You Live


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Renovating Your Garage: When Do You Need a Permit?

old garageThis is a question that sometimes gets asked when extensive garage renovations are being undertaken. It’s a valid and pertinent question and one that, despite some of the differing nuances in language and minor specifications in the various municipalities that make up the Lower Mainland, has basically the same answer no matter where you live.

Because nicer weather is beginning to drive home owners out to their garages, be it for building and tinkering purposes or simply for hanging out, it’s the time of year that garage renovations pick up steam. Tailored Living does all kinds of different garage transformations, from Man Caves to workshops to basic all-purpose rooms for parking the car and storing tools and sporting gear. In the vast majority of garage renos that we are involved in here in the Greater Vancouver area, no building permits are required.

We strongly urge home owners to do their due diligence and check with their city office if they suspect that they may be doing renovations that require a permit. That being said, there are some general rules of thumb that you can apply when planning your garage reno (or any other home renovation for that matter). You will most likely need a building permit if:

* You plan to add onto an existing structure.

* You want to move any walls or partitions.

* You must move any lines such as plumbing, gas or electrical.

* You are making repairs or changes to the structure itself.

* You are adding, removing or moving doors or windows.

* You are changing the primary use of your garage space, i.e. converting your garage into a permanent living space (rather than a place to park and store household items).

You may also be required to get a trade permit along with a building permit. Trade permits are often required for alterations on or significant changes to electrical systems, gas systems, plumbing systems and sprinkler systems.

Another thing you need to be aware of when planning a garage renovation or other room or home renos is that, in order to undertake certain kinds of renovations, your municipality may require you to install entirely new systems or components you weren’t planning for. Sometimes these installations may even apply to other parts of the house that aren’t part of the space you are renovating. For example, one Greater Vancouver home owner wanted to make renovations to his family room area, including an addition. However, in order to comply with local code, the homeowner would have had to install a sprinkler system in his whole 1970’s-built home in order to comply. This requirement would have cost the home owner more than double what the basic renovation to the room would have cost and simply made the project unfeasible. Instead, he made significant changes to his plans and decided to forgo the addition in order to be able to get a cosmetic upgrade without having to install the sprinkler system.

In general, it can all be boiled down to a basic rule of thumb: if the changes that you are making to your garage are “cosmetic” and not structural, you will not be required to get any permits. If, however, you are adding to, upgrading, repairing or changing the basic structure or those crucial systems mentioned previously, this will likely require you to get a permit and, subsequently, an inspection to ensure that all new work is up to the current code in your municipality. As we already mentioned, most of the garage renovations that Tailored Living does in Greater Vancouver are considered “cosmetic” and do not require any permits. However, it’s always prudent to check with the municipal authority, just in case.

City of Vancouver building permit info.

Coquitlam building permit info.

Burnaby building permit info.

Surrey building permit info.

Maple Ridge building permit info.

Pitt Meadows building permit info.


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Help… This Crazy Winter Is Killing My Garage Floor!

background-1069924_960_720Who would have predicted that Greater Vancouver would have the kind of winter it did this year? Not that snow is an impossibility here, but the sheer volume we received from North and West Vancouver all the way into the Chilliwack area has been unexpected and out-of-the-ordinary, to say the least. All kinds of old snowfall records were dashed to pieces this year with all of the white stuff that has fallen since December of 2016 until now.

Since it’s now officially spring, our fingers are crossed that we’ll soon see some signs of spring emerging. However, more snow is not out of the question, and even if it doesn’t snow again, we’re in for a wet spring this year. That being said, your garage floor may be taking an extra-hard beating in 2017, so we thought it would be a good idea to revisit some of the excellent garage flooring options that Tailored Living offers, which are ideal for life on the Wet West Coast, and how they will protect your cement foundation from all of this moisture.

PremierOne® Floor Coatings: The PremierOne® formula is exclusive to Tailored Living. In other words, you won’t be able to find this product anywhere else. We can’t tell you about the top-secret ingredients in this amazing product, but we can tell you what they will do for your floor: create a continuous, non-porous surface, filling all of those microscopic holes in your concrete and sealing them tight. The process begins with one of our professional installers who will machine-prep the surface of your garage floor. This is a critical part of the installation process because it removes any contaminants (oil spots, stains, dirt, etc.) that might prevent the coating from bonding fully to the concrete.

TL-Before-After-BlogAfter machining, the coating is applied right away so that it is able to sink right into the pores in the concrete, forming a seal that will act as a total barrier between your floor and any stuff that might end up on it, including water, mud and anything else that might get dragged in on your tires. In fact, the exclusive epoxy resin forms a bond that is twice as thick as other floor coatings and which is resistant to spills of all types, like oil, paint and household chemicals. Simply wipe away spills with a soft, dry cloth. No water is typically needed to clean up. Any dry debris can be easily swept away with a soft broom, or, even better, a dust mop (to prevent scratches).

premierone-decorative-texture-steelhead-micro-titleOur PremierOne® Floor Coatings are available in a variety of colors and styles including solid colors (six different ones to choose from) and our most popular Decorative Textures. PremierOne® Decorative Texture coatings come in 18 standard chip color blends. You also have the option of blending colors to create your own custom, one-of-a-kind design floor. You can also choose between ¼ chips or 1/8 inch chips. This seemingly small difference in chip size can actually make a dramatic difference in the appearance,  giving you a garage floor with a truly custom look and feel.

premiertrax-blue-titlePremierTrax Tiles: These easy-installation, no-glue garage floor tiles are semi-permanent and removable. Each tile is made from and 8 percent rubber in a polypropylene mix, making them extremely durable yet also flexible. Not only that, but they are actually ergonomically healthier on feet and knees. Tiles feature an open-weave design which traps dirt and debris. Simply hose away to remove.

Tiles are designed to interlock with one another, so installation is literally as easy as building with Lego. Our professionals can usually install your entire floor in a matter of hours, and you can drive, work or play on your floor as soon as it’s finished. Our PremierTrax tiles come in 18 colors from earth tones to primary colors to bright and contemporary hues. One of the best things about this is that you can choose to create a floor that is one or two colors, or use several colors and create geometric patterns that are totally unique to your home and to whatever suits your garage space. Best of all, these tiles are so well-engineered that we are confident in backing them with a guarantee for as long as you own your home.

Of course, accidents do happen. In the event that a tile does become damaged (say by accidentally dropping a running saw onto the floor), all you have to do is swap out the damaged tile(s) for a brand new one and lock it in place. It is one of the most practical and cost-efficient flooring solutions on the planet, and you can use it in other places too, not just the garage. We have clients who have had PremierTrax installed on decks and patios (it’s totally weather-resistant), in playrooms, bedrooms, rec rooms and basements.

When it comes to water (which is why we are blogging on this topic in the first place), the channels in each tile serve to funnel moisture away from the garage floor’s surface, keeping it dry and safe. You don’t have to worry about skidding or puddles of water collecting on the floor.

Again, cleaning involves simply hosing down the floor periodically. How frequently you’ll need to do this depends on how heavily-used your garage is and what kinds of activities typically go on inside. Aiming for two to four times a year is probably sufficient for most home owners purposes.

Here at Tailored Living, Coquitlam, we truly hope that winter is over too. We’re ready for some spring. We’re also ready to help you solve your garage flooring problems. Spring is a great time to install a new floor, and you’ll be ready not only for the rest of this year’s rainy season,  but also next winter, too. We just hope it’s less white.


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Are Harmful VOC’s Lurking in Your House?

PART 2: GREAT, NOW WHAT?

skull-1426813_960_720VOC exposure on an individual level can be difficult to control, and fortunately, you probably don’t have to worry too much about getting sick from exposure if you don’t work with VOCs every day. However, if you feel like it’s important to do your small part in limiting the amount of VOCs that come into your home and get spread into the surrounding environment,

1) If possible, avoid using products containing VOCs. This is not always going to be possible, but there are more and more products coming into the market that are VOC-free. Opt for those whenever they are available.

2) Take the right precautions when using products containing VOCs. Proper ventilation is face-mask-98640_960_720number one on the list. For example, if you are painting your home’s interior, open the windows so that VOC fumes don’t accumulate indoors. Crack the bathroom window open if you’re painting your nails or removing nail polish. When using household cleaners, use the least amount that is needed to do the job effectively. Wear a mask while painting or working with other VOCs, particularly if you must be exposed for more than a few minutes.

3) Get to know the names of the types of VOC’s you are likely to run into when purchasing household products. Here’s partial list of some of the most common ones:

safety-44441_960_720

* Formaldehyde (yes, the same stuff they use to pickle biological specimens for preservation)

* Acetone

* Ethanol

* Carbon Disulfide

* Butanal

* Terpenes

* Toluene

* Dichlorobenzene

* Benzene

4) Opt for products with labels that say “No VOC’s” or “VOC-free.” If the label doesn’t say, check the list of ingredients to see if any of the above chemicals appear.

Why Does Tailored Living Care About VOC’s?

 

Copper-1000x750 premier one elements

PremierOne Elements flooring in “Copper”

Tailored Living is committed to doing its part for both the environment and for its customers. When it comes to VOC’s, we don’t want them in our products. Because VOC’s are commonly found in floor coatings (something Tailored Living works with frequently), we made sure they didn’t go into any of our exclusive, proprietary-blend garage floor coatings. Tailored Living’s PremierOne® Floor Coatings are VOC-free and create a permanent chemical bond with concrete floors. This super-strong bond means you won’t have to worry about your floor peeling. Not only that, but it will protect and preserve your concrete, which will increase its life span.

 

One of the best things about our PremierOne® Floor Coatings is that they’re not just aesthetically beautiful; they’re also practical. They won’t chip or fade, and they are ultra-stain resistant. In fact, the glossy finish repels stains and spills of all kinds, including the things you commonly keep in the garage, like gasoline, motor oil and cleaning fluids. Spills wipe up easily with a dry cloth, and the sealed barrier will not allow liquids of any kind (including water tracked in by tires) to penetrate to the concrete below.

At the end of the day, you get a garage floor that is protective and made to last for many years. Not only that, but you can feel confident about keeping harmful VOC’s out of your home and away from your family and even make a contribution to keeping the air clean and healthy.


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Five Garage Design and Remodeling Trends to Watch for in 2017

tl_garageflooring12-2_tIf you’re trying to finish your Christmas shopping and baking, don’t worry… there’s still time. However, we’re already looking forward to 2017 and what it will bring in terms of design trends. We’re especially excited about how far the humble garage has come in the New Millennium, which, now 17 years in, isn’t all that “new” anymore. We expect to see several trends in garage design and garage remodeling in the coming year, particularly these five:

1) More tech: Technology is everywhere, and you would be hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t using it in some way. Garage tech is gaining momentum and is poised to become commonplace in the next 20 years. For now, there are lots of ways homeowners can retrofit an existing garage with tech gadgets of all kinds. How about laser guided parking? For as little as $40, you can purchase a device that will guide a car’s driver into his parking spot in the garage and keep him from hitting the back wall. It’s just one of many tech gadgets currently available specifically for use in the garage.

2) More “smart:” Not only is the 2017 garage going to get techy-er, it’s also going to get light-bulb-1511911smarter. Many homeowners have already adopted smart technology into their homes, and they’re discovering that what works there also works in the garage. The newest garage doors are just one example, starting with getting rid of that pesky garage door opener. Smart garage doors can be controlled through your smartphone, and some can even be controlled remotely (like when your neighbor phones you on vacation in Mexico to tell you that you forgot to close your garage door). Smart light bulbs are also finding their way into garages. These LED bulbs turn on via motion detector and self-adjust depending on how much sunlight is available to augment their illumination during the day time. They cost approximately 4 to 10 times more than ordinary bulbs, but the energy savings will eventually offset the cost of the initial purchase.

3) More re-purposing: Upcycled is the new “new,” and re-purposing items and materials for the garage is becoming more and more popular. Re-purposing can be done in all kinds of ways in the garage: using cast-off wood from demolition projects to remodel, re-designing and finishing old and salvaged doors and other garage accessories, and even little things like using empty coffee cans for rope dispensers.

tailored_living_garage_746_edit_t4) More efficient storage/less buying: Homeowners are becoming much more aware of the problems associated with consumerism and, at the same time, growing increasingly intolerant of clutter in the garage. This, coupled with the fact that it costs money and/or time to dispose of anything here in Greater Vancouver, homeowners are simply buying less stuff that they’ll have to store or dispose of later. They’re also becoming more efficient when it comes to garage storage by taking advantage of all available wall, floor and ceiling space for creative storage of everything from tools to winter tires to seasonal decorations.

5) More multi-use: There has been a continuing trend over the last two decades to make tailored_living_garage_717_edit_tspaces as functional as possible by creating more multi-use spaces in the home. That philosophy has trickled over into the garage. The Man Cave – garage is one of the most popular garage upgrades and we anticipate more of these in 2017. Larger, rural properties with free-standing garages are adding guest quarters to their garages, either attic or loft-style, which still leaves room for vehicle parking, another trend that we predict will rise in 2017.

Ready to join the wave yourself and create a multi-use garage? Tailored Living has all the products and accessories you need, plus great advice and free in-home consultation to get you started.


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13 Tips for Preventing Garage Fires

mancave-8October is Fire Prevention Month, with the week of October 9 – 15 having been devoted specifically to fire prevention education and awareness. We think this is the perfect opportunity to talk about garage fire prevention. While most home owners are very conscious about keeping their homes fire-proofed and checking their smoke detectors regularly, they often overlook the garage when it comes to fire prevention measures.

According to the US Fire Administration, garage fires tend to spread farther and cause more injuries and dollar losses per fire than fires that start in all other areas of the home. Just look at these sobering statistics:

* According to 2007 statistics (the most recent year for which complete stats are available), approximately 3% of all home fires in BC originated in the garage.

* The total annual cost average of damages in garage fires in BC is $4,821,040.

* A significant number of garage fires are related to chemicals (i.e. gasoline, motor oil) that are ignited by sparks from vehicles or electrical equipment. Others are related to faulty wiring and exacerbated by flammable chemicals stored in the garage.Burn Baby Burn

* A majority of residential single-family homes with garages do not have smoke detectors in the garage.

* Although residential arson fires are rare, garages are frequently targeted in home arsons.

With all of its flammables and potential fuel sources, garages should be getting more attention when it comes to fire prevention. You can start with these easy tips:

1) Be mindful of potential sources of sparks. This includes your car’s engine and battery, power tools, power cords and outlets and any appliances that are plugged in (spare refrigerator, deep freeze). An accident or electrical short in any of these things have potential to start a fire. Try to keep them away from flammables.

2) Keep your garage door open if you’re working with power tools.

3) Check power cords and outlets regularly for wear, tears or exposed wiring. Keep power cords secured to the floor if possible and close to the walls.

4) Don’t block or cover up power outlets. Give them room to breathe.

5) Don’t overload outlets.

6) Unplug any tools or appliances that aren’t being used.

7) Keep highly flammable items away from potential sources of sparks.

8) Get rid of old car batteries, “empty” motor oil containers and propane bottles (they’re never truly empty) and other potential flammables that don’t need to be saved. (Almost all of these things can go to recycling in Greater Vancouver.)

9) Don’t smoke in your garage. Don’t leave butts in the garage.

10) Regularly go through items stored in the garage and get rid of things you don’t need. Everything in the garage is a potential fuel source. Even though some things ignite and burn faster than others, you should assume that anything you keep in the garage is a potential fuel source. If you don’t need it or don’t plan to use it again, get rid of it. (See recycling in Greater Vancouver, #7)

11) Always keep garage floors clear of debris. Don’t store items on the floor if possible. Hang them, put them on shelves or inside cupboards or work benches. You can even suspend items from the ceiling. Check out our garage accessories page for some practical, surprising and inexpensive ways to store items off of the garage floor.

12) Install a smoke detector in your garage. (It will not only save your garage; it might save your entire home.)Smoke Alarm

13) Ensure that the door from the garage to the house is fire-rated and well-sealed.

Tailored Living can not only design your custom dream garage, we can also make your space practical and efficient with storage solutions that fit your lifestyle, keep you organized and ensure that you have a proper place for everything in your garage.


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Seven Luxury Garage Accessories Dads Will Drool Over

man working with tools in garageFather’s Day season is always a great time of year to highlight the ultimate Man Cave: the garage. It doesn’t really matter what guys (dads and non-dads alike) like to do in the garage, whether its tinkering with engines, building stuff or just hanging out. There are all kinds of luxury garage accessories out there that dads can’t help but drool over. We’ve picked out seven of our favourites. What guy wouldn’t want one of these:

1) Automotive elevator: Only a two-car garage? “Two car” might be relative if you install an automotive elevator. This way, you can stack cars two-high, so a two-car garage might become a four-car garage. It’s a great way to store your classic car or the sports car that only comes out storage in the summer.

2) Automotive lift: Every guy who likes to work on cars can appreciate how much easier it would be to have one of these. You’ll be able to throw your hydraulic jack away.

bar-1329386 beer keg

Photo by Elizabeth Espichan

3) Bar: There’s no rule that the garage is only for cars. Or for that matter, that bars are only for basement rec rooms. Turn your garage into a neighbourhood hangout with a bar, counter and bar stools. Install a beer tap and get ready for the influx of new friends you’ll make. If you can’t afford to convert your whole garage because you still need someplace to park the car, how about a mini bar instead? Install a small cabinet to hold your favourite spirits and a mini fridge for beer and other cold drinks.

4) Gym: Even a small, single-car garage can be transformed into a gym with rack, bench and weights. If you are lucky enough to have an exceptionally-large garage, go crazy and put in a basketball or racquetball court for the ultimate home athletic centre.

black car in garage5) Flooring: This is a luxury that is much more affordable to indulge in than an elevator or bar. Tailored Living’s PremierOne floor coatings cover your existing concrete floor, protecting it from potential damage due to moisture and other elements. Plus, it looks amazing! It even makes a great garage gym floor. Even more affordable is Tailored Living’s PremierTrax interlocking floor tiles. These durable tiles are laid right over your existing floor. Installation can be completed in a matter of hours and there is no wait time to get back inside your garage (and maybe set up your weights and bench).

6) Entertainment/gaming centre. Call it a Man Cave if you like, but there’s nothing cave-ish about a garage that doubles as a place to hang out with the guys, complete with built in big screen TV, DVD player and gaming console. Throw in your favourite beat-up couch, popcorn and beer and you have a party just waiting to happen.

Stainless steel cabinets and drawers with work table by Tailored Living. Gridwall on wall allows for easy hanging and storage of tools and other items.

Stainless steel cabinets and drawers with work table by Tailored Living. Gridwall on wall allows for easy hanging and storage of tools and other items.

7) The ultimate workshop: Whether wood work, welding/metal work or automotive repair or restoration is your thing, your garage can be the ideal workshop. Build in work benches, tables or equipment. Add pegboard, slatwall or gridwall and you’ll have a place to hang tools and other things you need.

 

 

 

 

These are just a small handful of ideas. Even if a car elevator is out of the question, you can still get a great garage makeover at an affordable price. Tailored Living offers free in-home consultations and can work with you to create a customized garage space for whatever you like to do in the garage.

 


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Four Tips for Choosing a Garage Colour Palette

Traditional garage by Tailored Living

Your Garage, Your Way

Tailored Living/Premier Garage remodels or builds garages pretty much year-round, but summer is definitely our big garage season. Although summer is winding down, there’s still enough warm weather left that you can go confidently ahead with that garage reno you’ve been thinking about. (Even though the dry weather hasn’t been great for lower mainland foliage, it’s ideal for fixing up the garage and especially for curing floor coatings.)

Gone are the days of the utilitarian, blandly-designed garage. Today’s garages are taking a much more significant role in the home and in daily life and, as such, home owners are putting a lot more design thought and effort into the garage, making it more of an extension of the home (or their own personality) than an after-thought. Of course, one of the best parts of and one of the first considerations you’ll make when it comes to decorating the garage is choosing your colour palette.

If you have an innate sense of design then choosing colours might come very naturally to you. However, we know that the garage is generally the man’s domain (please don’t send us hate mail, ladies, this is just a generalization and we have tremendous respect for ladies who love to spend time in the garage) and that decorating and choosing colours tend to fall lower on the man’s list of skills than wielding a skill saw or rebuilding an engine or all the other things guys do in the garage. So we thought a few tips on choosing a garage colour palette might be useful. These are by no means rules, but they’re excellent suggestions and guidelines for the design-challenged, whether male or female:

* Go for darker, neutral and primary colours. This is not to say that a neon-orange paint job is a no-go in the garage. It’s just that the garage tends to be a more neutral space that’s not conducive to such colour experimentation. Plus, dark, neutral and primary tones will better camouflage the kind of abuse and damage that garages are often subjected to, like dropped tools, chemical spills and (gasp) the occasional and unintentional impact of car bumpers and doors with garage walls. Finally, you’ll have greater options for finding matching accessories like flooring, shelving and cabinetry if you stay away from wild, bright colours.

* Choose colours that “flow” from the interior of your home. It’s a good rule of thumb that if you want a cohesive design theme throughout your home, stay within the same colour family. This doesn’t mean that if your interior walls are Fawn Brown that you have to choose the same colour for your garage walls. Rather, choose a colour that appears in the same palette. For instance, if your interior walls are a “warm” shade, choose warm shades for the garage.

* Choose a main colour for walls and patterns with complementary colours for flooring and other details. If you like red, for instance, but not as a wall colour, go with a neutral grey for walls and then opt for a flooring pattern that includes a healthy dose of red and a little bit of grey or neutrals like black and white.

* Employ the 60/30/10 rule. Choose a main colour that will compose 60 percent of the overall décor in your garage (i.e. your walls). Choose a complementary color that will comprise another 30 percent of the space (i.e. flooring, or the majority of the flooring, doors, cabinets, etc.) and an accent colour for the last 10 percent (a hint of this colour running through your flooring or on shelving).

These are just a few of the ideas that the design experts at your Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley Tailored Living design experts have in their arsenal. We (Ron, Hashim, Terry, Ben, Mike & Laura) are full of ideas, thoughts and insights that can be tailored to fit your specific needs, budget and style, plus access to dozens of products, accessories and options to make it happen and make it personal.