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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10 Garage Maintenance Tasks You Should Tackle This Spring

lego-568039_960_720We feel like we are pretty safe in saying that spring has finally arrived in Greater Vancouver, even though it has been pretty wet so far. At least the snow is finished, and with cherry blossoms exploding everywhere and warmer weather even on cloudy days, it’s hard to be too bothered by the rain.

Of course, spring also means “spring cleaning.” It’s a tradition the origin of which is difficult to pinpoint. Nevertheless, it’s a smart thing to do when you own a home (no matter how big or small). Since we are experts in all things garage, and since this part of the house probably gets the least amount of attention, we thought it would be timely to draw attention to some spring cleaning maintenance tasks for the garage. By spending a little extra time at this time of year, you can save yourself hassle, grief and even more time the rest of the year.

1) Tidy up. Why do people spring clean the living areas of their home but neglect the garage? Spring is a great time to tackle the garage, too. Purge the space of items you don’t use or need anymore and take the time to organize everything else. Check out these spring garage cleaning tips from one of our previous posts: https://tailoredlivingvancouver.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/spring-cleaning-and-organizing-in-the-garage-is-easier-this-year/

2) Sweep and clean your entire garage floor. This is super important, because you probably dragged in all kinds of dirt, gravel and muck over the winter which isn’t good for your floors or for your vehicle’s tires.

3) Inspect your garage door. Are all of its parts in good working order or does anything need to be replaced? Give its moving parts (tracks, springs, hinges, rollers, etc.) a garagecleaning if needed by gently brushing away dirt and grease clumps with a soft-bristled brush and then lubricate them with a garage door lubricant.

4) Remove winter window coverings, if you have any.

5) Remove and replace worn weather stripping.

Optional and Periodic Garage Maintenance Tasks:

1) Patch holes and cracks in your garage floor.

2) Re-coat/re-seal your garage floor. The frequency with which you’ll need to do this depends on what your floor is made of and what kind of sealant (if any) is already on it. If it’s time for a new sealant, check out our exclusive PremierOne® Garage Floor Coatings. Depending on what type you choose, our coatings are guaranteed to last for a specific length of time, meaning you don’t have to reseal year after year.

painting-black-paint-roller3) Repair dents and nicks in drywall and repaint.

4) Have your garage door professionally inspected and make any repairs or parts replacements that are needed.

5) Conduct a full-out purging and re-organize your garage. Maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve tackled the clutter in your garage. Or, maybe you’ve been doing regular tidying up, but the accumulation of stuff has outpaced your ability to keep on top of being organized. Whatever your reasons, sometimes a garage interior reorganization is necessary in order to maintain your own sanity and keep clutter and accumulation under control.

If clutter is an ongoing problem in your garage, maybe it’s time for a complete garage storage overhaul. Tailored Living has hundreds of solutions and a plan that’s made just for you and the space that you have to work with. It doesn’t matter if your garage is small… Tailored Living can design solutions that perfectly fit the space you do have.

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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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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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That’s a Wrap: Your Customized Gift Wrap Storage Makes Gift-Giving Easier

giftTired of crushed and torn wrapping paper rolls? Have you forgotten where you stored all those rolls of gift wrap that you bought after Christmas last year for 75 percent off? Do you put off gift wrapping until Christmas Eve because gathering all your supplies together is so incredibly annoying and time-consuming? Want to win Christmas this year? A customized gift wrap center is the answer to all of those questions, solving all kinds of problems from keeping paper from getting crushed and wrinkled to having everything you need to wrap like a boss all in one place.


Gift-wrap center with slatwall backing for easy addition of accessories.

That place can be anywhere you want in your home. This particular gift wrap center was installed in a garage and was part of an overall garage upgrade. However, Tailored Living can design one to fit in any room or any space: bedroom, guest room, home office, basement, even inside a closet if you prefer.

The great thing about this particular design is that it’s not fixed as far as the hooks, rollers and other accessories go. Applying slatwall over the existing drywall provides a base for a myriad of storage and hanging accessories. They’re engineered to clip right onto a slat in seconds and the configuration possibilities are endless. Plus, if you need to, you can move them around or add more hooks and other accessories later as your needs change or grow. Afix everything you need right onto the slats: gift wrap rolls, scissors, tape, gift tags, pens and pencils, ribbon and more.

If you want to get even more use out of your customized gift wrap center, it can double as a crafting area. Tailored Living has all kinds of different accessories to accommodate your favorite crafting materials, from tiny beads and sequins to fabric and other larger items.

As we mentioned, you aren’t limited to the garage. Slatwall can be applied to just about


Gridwall with hanging accessories: great for any room in the home.

any surface, so if you’d rather wrap and craft indoors, we can accommodate. Gridwall is another alternative to slatwall. It works just as well and provides the same kind of flexibility and configuration possibilities for storing your tools and materials, including attachable hooks and other accessories. The only thing one of these customized gift wrap/crafting centers can’t do for you is wrap your gifts, but we think you’ll actually enjoy wrapping gifts again once you have the perfect spot to do it.

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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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Why Tailored Living Metal and Stainless Steel Garage Cabinets Are the Best of the Best

metal garage cabinets with carMetal garage cabinetry offers some excellent benefits, not the least of which is aesthetic value. They look amazingly contemporary and lend themselves to a variety of design styles and concepts. In addition to being exceptionally good-looking, metal and stainless steel garage cabinets offer more durability than traditional cabinet materials like engineered wood. If you’re planning to update your garage and you’re looking for lasting value, or you’re selling your home and want to get a leg up on other home sellers in your neighbourhood, steel is the way to go.

metal3 cabinet lockingOf course, there are lots of options out there in metal cabinetry, including over-the-counter cookie-cutter models. However, there is a reason why Tailored Living has chosen its industry-tough product as part of its garage cabinet lineup. Actually, there are several reasons why our product beats every other competitor’s product on the market:

* Fully-welded 18-gauge steel frames provide superior support for cabinets, accessories and contents.

* Double-walled steel doors provide a barrier between contents and the elements, like wet Lower Mainland weather. Locks come standard, so you can store valuable content inside and not worry about security.

* Optional under-cabinet LED lighting available with integrated valance so you get light wherever you need it, whether it’s for working on that hobby project or spotlighting your favourite sports memorabilia.

* Two different options for countertop/workbenches: bamboo or stainless steel. Either choice will last for years and stand up to wear and repeated use (even blows from tools).

* Convenient cut-outs in base cabinets for cables and electrical cords.

* Option of steel legs or casters for floor cabinets.

* A variety of cabinet choices designed for functionality: sporting equipment, tools or multi-use.

* High quality powder coat finish provides superior scratch and stain resistance plus easy clean up.

* Because Tailored Living installs its cabinets using its own, dedicated and trained contractors, it is able to offer a lifetime guarantee on all of its metal cabinets. You won’t find a guarantee like this from a big box chain store.

When you purchase cabinets (steel or otherwise) over-the-counter, more often than not it’s like trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. It might fit, sort of, but you’ll always know by the gaps and cabinet doors that open in the wrong direction that it wasn’t made for your particular space. Custom garage cabinets made for your exact dimensions ensure that you get the best possible use of the space that you have. No awkward gaps, no empty corners, just efficient and durable storage for your lifestyle.

metal10 tall cabinet

Wonder how stainless steel cabinets might transform your garage from utilitarian to actual living space? Request a free consultation, where you can see in three dimensions the possibilities.