Category Archives: basements

the algot install

20th February 2013

Alright guys, back down to that basement. Maybe now it makes a bit more sense as to why we are tackling our storage problem? We need to clear out our office/guest bedroom to make a nursery for baby sprout! So not only do we need to better organize what was already down in that storage space, but we need to add a lot to it, too!

So you saw how we planned and then cleared out and painted the space at the bottom of our basement stairs.

Next up was a big trip to IKEA to get all of the pieces of the Algot system we were going to need. This ended up turning into two trips. We brought our measurements with us, and then on that first trip checked out the system, understood how it worked, and tried to plan in the store (using those really little pencils they have!). Inevitably we got too few of some parts and too many of others. No biggie though, a second trip later (in mid-install) and we were fine.

I didn’t do a super great job of taking photos of the Algot install (whoops! got too caught up in getting ‘er done!), but it’s really pretty simple. First step is to drill in these long rails straight into the wall where you want to hang your shelves or drawers – best to get them into studs and to use heavy duty drywall anchors.

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Then you insert brackets along the rails, and click your shelves or drawers into them. There are a few different depths and lengths of shelves, so you can really customize for what works best in your space. We went with a mixture of long deep shelves on the back (turquoise) wall, and then shorter/narrower shelves and drawers on the side wall.

Ignore the stuff we stuck on the shelves as we were putting them up – it was half because I just wanted them off the floor to walk around, and half because we were testing to see how high we wanted the space between the shelves to be.

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You can see in the next photo that we left some room to the left of the shelves on the turquoise wall. This was partly because that bulkhead stuck out, making it tricky to get the shelves to fit into the whole space, and partly because I knew we were going to need a little nook for our brooms and vacuum.

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Here is that side wall during our install. We were testing out the heights of spray paints and small paint pots to ensure we got the height of those shelves right. Need to maximise that space, yo!

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When you first click in the brackets that the shelves or drawers slide into, you can see that they look pretty rough and unfinished (look at the higher bracket compared the one underneath in the photo below).

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Well of course IKEA thinks of everything, so they come with these great little caps that snap on and finish the whole look off.

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Too. much. paint.

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So there are the beginnings of the install. We need to move that wooden shelving unit out of the space (it’s off to live in our furnace room for storage for our tenant), and set up a new armoire in its place. Since we have our “formal wear” (as long as I got my suit and tie…) in our guest room closet, we need to move that somewhere. See, I told you we’re having to squeeze a lot in here? And then I really need to properly organize the space – bins, and labels, and order, oh my!

Have you guys used the Algot system before? Or any other IKEA storage units? They really are pretty great and making it simple, adjustable, and attractive. 

tackling the storage monster

28th January 2013

After we finished up phase 1 of our side entrance makeover (check out the before, painting, artwork, and lighting), and it was looking all pretty…

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…until we carried on down the stairs to tackle sore spot #2. The bottom of the stairs storage nook.

When you walk down the stairs to our basement, you come through a first door which takes you into a vestibule with the storage area and the laundry closet. Then you can carry through another door which takes you into the 1-bedroom apartment in our basement. So that’s like our tenant’s “front door”.

We always felt reeeeally badly that this storage area had gotten out of control. When we finished up our insane 7-week basement reno back in 2010, we just plunked some old shelving and drawer units down in that storage area and left is as-is. Ever since, it has just continued to accumulate more and more stuff and look more and more cray-cray. I’m embarrassed to even show you these pics.

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It’s a total mish mash of stuff in here. Stuff that we need to access fairly regularly, stuff that can’t go into our garage (like paint – it would freeze!), and just random junk. Our tenant also uses this spot for her shoes, recycling, and some other supplies.

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I did a bit of searching around to check out storage solutions, and am really digging the look of the IKEA Algot series. It’s a modular system with tons of different options (drawers, shelves, etc) and I like that it’s mounted directly onto the wall. No big bulky units sitting on the floor.

Here are a few pics in my inspiration folder (all three images from ikea.com)

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Before we can get to the fun part though, we need to actually clear out and sort our stuff. Is it weird that I’m excited to do that? Purge, purge, purge!

Are you guys tackling the organization/storage in your pad? Ever used the Algot system from IKEA? I’m not sure if it’s the new year, the cold winter weather, or what, but I seem to just be moving from one spot to the next in our house trying to organize everything – it all needs to have a dedicated home! 

house crashing: a cute n’ cozy pad

12th January 2012

The first major renovation we did to our house (and the biggest one we’ve done to date) was our basement. We took it down to the studs, put in a lot of sweat equity, and transformed it from ultra dingy to a cozy one-bedroom apartment. The ability to turn our house into a duplex was one of the main reasons why we bought our pad in the first place.

Just to refresh your memory, here are the before and afters of our basement when we were done with our reno…

To see how we did all that, you can check out the “big reveal” post here.

Now, we have the apartment rented out to a super sweet gal who has totally made the space her own. She has filled the apartment with cozy furniture, big art pieces, books, and natural textures, which has all come together so nicely. Let’s go on a little tour, shall we?

Here is the living room. She has done a really nice job making the space multi-purpose, with a great living room area, office/study area, and some smart storage solutions.

Isn’t this piece of artwork above the couch stunning? I love the vibrant red colours with the earthy browns in the rest of the space.

And here is the super fun kitchen. I loved this green colour when we painted it during the reno, and it has come to life even more with all of the artwork and accessories.

Now onto the bedroom, which is simple and serene.

So there is it – a bit of house crashing in our own house. Don’t you like what she’s done with the place? When you walk in, you can feel the warm and cozy vibe right away. You totally want to flip on the fireplace and hunker down with a cup of tea. Don’t you love that about a place?

Thanks Rebecca for letting us tour your place!

basement renovation: THE BIG REVEAL

21st November 2010

It’s taken a while to get here, but here we are — the final reveal of our big bad basement renovation! Let’s go back for a sec. You’ve seen how we’ve:

And all of that in 7 weeks (while both working full-time). Phew! Here is the final product, room by room:

LIVING ROOM

The living room went from dingy, cold and damp to bright, cozy and spacious.

THE KITCHEN

The kitchen is probably my favourite post-reno space. Partly because I adore the glowy-green vibe, and probably also because it feels like the biggest feat considering the pre-reno space.

THE BEDROOM

Creating the huge window and window well was what really made the transformation in the bedroom. You wouldn’t even know that we made the bedroom a bit smaller (we pushed the wall in a little to make the living room larger) — with that big window and good-sized closet, it feels spacious and has more than enough room for a big bed, dresser, and desk.

THE BATHROOM

I would have loved to do more of a gut-job to the bathroom and replaced the flooring and tub, but it just wasn’t in the cards this time around due to a tight budget and timeline. We did, however, give it a minor face-lift to bring it out of the 1980′s with a new sink, faucet and toilet, and some good old-fashioned paint.

THE LAUNDRY ROOM

We took the laundry from the old storage room (which became the kitchen) and moved it into a newly-built closet at the bottom of the stairs. This means it is in the shared part of the house so both upstairs and downstairs tenants can access it without bothering one another. I have grand plans later on to do something more fun to this space — maybe some graphic wallpaper or bright paint with some decals, but for now it is clean and functional.

THE STORAGE SPACE

This is the area at the bottom of the stairs which used to house a big ugly oil tank. After switching up to a high-efficiency natural gas furnace, we were able to get rid of the tank and make the space more useful. The original plan had been to build some more permanent shelving, but we just simply ran short on time. Once we’re back in the house, this project will be back on the to-do list.

THE FURNACE ROOM

When we created the kitchen area, we closed off the furnace and made a small but efficient furnace room. Sure it’s not the prettiest of rooms, but it’s a great space to store dirtier items — especially those that you can’t put out in the garage (like paint for example, which shouldn’t be out in the cold garage over the winter).

On the last night, after finishing up all the final details and moving all of our stuff out of the house (as we were leaving for our new adventure to England), we were a mixture of exhausted, thrilled, and slightly delirious. Here is the evidence (please keep in mind that it was about 1AM at this point):

So there you have it folks, a transformed basement. I would have loved to be able to actually decorate it — pick out furniture, artwork, accessories, etc. — but since it’s meant for a tenant, I did everything I could to hold back. Luckily, after only one week of posting ads and showing the space, we rented it out to a really lovely nurse who has made the space her own.

It was definitely one of the most satisfying projects that both Dan and I had ever worked on. Thanks to all the family, friends and neighbourly support along the way. A special HUGE thank you to my Daddio who not only kicked into high gear with some serious skilled labour, but who also gave us tons of guidance and definitely taught both Dan and I a thing or two (or ten?) about building.

And now, a sigh of relief… and the day-dreaming of the next renovation begins!

basement reno update #11: the odds ‘n ends

14th November 2010

So as you can imagine, there were lots of small projects during our basement renovation that I haven’t posted about to date. Here are a few worth mentioning:

Painting. As with any renovation or re-decorating project, a lot of painting happened. We had to prime all of the drywall (including ceilings -ick), and then put on two coats of colour. We choose white for the hallway, bathroom, closets and part of the kitchen (along with that green colour you saw in the kitchen post). For the living room and bedroom we choose a colour that was neutral and would be (hopefully) well-liked by a potential tenant. Even with some help (thank you Mum and Shannon!), the painting was a pretty daunting task. By the end of it all, after day-in and day-out of painting, I have to admit that I had lost my sanity a wee bit! Here’s a sneak peak of the living room and bedroom colour:

Doors & Trim. We added a total of 4 single doors and 1 set of closet doors to the basement. Most of these had to be fireproof in order to pass the legal code (you need to create a fire barrier between the upstairs and downstairs apartments). We also added baseboard trim and trim around the two new windows (we got a bit of help for this job as we were running seriously short on time). As you can imagine, this meant MORE painting. Each door was painted (either white or stained) and all trim was painted a durable white.

Mailboxes. We obviously had a mailbox to begin with (we love snail mail!), but now that we had a legal “secondary dwelling” (that’s real estate speak for a basement apartment) we needed to have a secondary mailbox as well. There wasn’t anywhere to put the second mailbox on the side entrance, so I thought two side-by-side at the front door would look quite smart. I bought new, glossy black tall boxes, drilled some holes into the brick for them, added a couple of “1” and “2” stickers, and she was all done.


Drilling. I think this part of the reno secretly made Dan pretty happy. We had to rent a big drill from the Home Depot to drill fairly sizeable holes (two of them) in the foundation. One was for the venting for our laundry machines, and the other was for our oven range hood.

Staircase. So the staircase had the same grubby old blue carpet as the rest of the basement. We tore it right up and found some stairs in not-so-bad condition, except for some old worn paint. All it took was a couple of coats of floor paint and they looked nice and fresh again (Yes, more painting…). We also put down some vinyl flooring on the landing – one of the “sticky” side down type of materials. We still have some leftover so if wear and tear gets the better of it after a few years, it will be easy to replace. Some quarter round (that brass edging stuff) around the perimeter to finish it all off. This was the last of my painting jobs, and let me tell you it was seriously happy days when I put down that paintbrush.

Electrical. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, a lot more of our budget went to electrical than we had anticipated. It turned out that we needed to basically re-wire our entire house, thanks to the old (and disintegrating!) wiring that had been in place. We knew that the electrical wasn’t great from our original home inspection, but we had no idea it was as bad as it was. Luckily, one of Dan’s work colleagues is also an electrician and was able to give us a really excellent hourly rate. Even so, the electrical budget went about 5 times over than what we had expected. Ouch. At least we won’t be living in a danger zone ready to erupt in flames, right?!

And there you have it, some more bits and pieces of the reno process. It wasn’t always fun, but the reward from accomplishing even some of these smaller projects was always great. Next up? The final reveal!

basement reno update #10: smitten with the kitchen

12th November 2010

The kitchen. So this was really one of the biggest changes to the layout of the basement. We decided to turn what had been a grotty laundry room/storage area into a kitchen, and move the laundry out into a shared area at the bottom of the basement stairs. This made the most sense as it left the large bedroom and living room area, put the laundry into a shared space, and turned dead space into usable space. Here’s what we were starting with:

You’ve already seen how we demo’d, insulated, framed, dry-walled, and laid the flooring, so I won’t get into any of those details again. We get to go straight into the fun designing stuff!

The area wasn’t going to be huge, so we had to be very practical and efficient when designing the new layout. We used the handy-dandy IKEA kitchen planner tool which you can use in-store or at home. You plug in the dimensions of your kitchen, get your room layout, and then drag and drop various IKEA pieces into your virtual room. We went through several different designs before settling on one. Because it is a small and narrow space, we needed to make sure there would be enough room to walk through comfortably, but also maximize every square inch. Luckily, we had been given the appliances (fridge and stove) and the double sink from some family members who had recently moved house. Hello, happy day! When choosing cabinetry, we found out that the shelf-style is far cheaper than drawer-style. We decided to put in one snazzy drawer unit and then did shelving in the rest. We also chose the most basic of the IKEA cabinet finishes. Sure it’s not fancy, but it’s white, clean-lined, and easy to maintain. If you’re on a budget, IKEA is really the place to go for a kitchen reno. Even the hardware for the cabinets was ridiculously cheap (a pack of 6 handles for less than $10).

Since we didn’t have any wiggle-room in the budget, we really couldn’t afford a backsplash of any kind. On one of my Benjamin Moore visits, I was browsing the returned paint section (where the cans were not quite properly mixed for the desired colour and are at least 50% off the original price) and found a great lime green colour. Since the plan was to do a pop of a bright colour in the kitchen to give it a bit of life, I immediately jumped on this great green deal. Even though saving $15-$20 on paint doesn’t seem huge, we were watching every single penny.. so this felt like quite a victory! We painted a few select walls in the kitchen as well as our DIY hood range (made out of MDF).

For the countertop, we looked at various laminate options (no granite or marble here, we were on a budget!). However, I just couldn’t find any laminate in the lower end price range that didn’t scream “I’m ugly!”. Okay, maybe I was being a bit picky, but I couldn’t help it.  Then on one of our dozen trips back to IKEA, I came across their wood countertops (the “Lagan” style, specifically) which even gave the cheap-o laminate we were looking at a run for its money. It was so inexpensive and I was totally digging it. When Dan said he really liked it too, we were sold.

Oh, and see that snazzy brass faucet? We snagged that at IKEA for a mere $30 (from over $150!!!). Sure it doesn’t really match the silver sink, but I couldn’t have cared less — what a deal!

To keep it looking airy and also to save on cost, we decided to go with just lower cabinets and put some open shelving instead of upper cabinets.

In the area where the electrical panel lives, it made sense to close it off and use the space as a pantry. We knew it wouldn’t be a particularly pretty area (even if we put a box over the panel), and we also figured that it is always nice to have some out of sight storage in the kitchen for things like brooms, buckets, and dry goods. A few pieces of pre-cut shelving from the Home Depot (super cheap!) and voila – a pantry!

We went from this:

…to this…

…to this (don’t worry – we got those wires out of the way afterwards)!

You can see here how the doors close the pantry off from the rest of the kitchen:

Oh, and want to know about the budget for the cabinets, countertops, faucet, paint, lighting, cabinet hardware and the rest of the little details?  Since we put it all together ourselves (except for some minor plumbing work), the total cost was a mere $1190. Pretty great, huh? A small cost for a huge transformation.

And now for all the official “after” pictures. We couldn’t have been happier the way this kitchen turned out. Looking at it now, I almost can’t believe what we started with. A part of me wanted to move down to the basement of the house once it was done!

basement reno update #8: bathroom presto-chango

20th October 2010

With all the major reno’s going on in the main part of the basement, the bathroom was pushed a bit to the wayside. It was super that there was an existing 4-piece bathroom, but the not-so-super part was that it was looking more than a little outdated. The combination of grotty old fixtures (lights, faucet, etc.), a beige-coloured toilet and sink, and a mottled blue/beige coloured bathtub surround was just looking a little too “dingy-basement-bathroom” for my liking. Since we were spending essentially our whole budget on the other, bigger parts of the basement, we just didn’t have the money to rip up the bathroom and start fresh. So, I put on my DIY and bargain-hunting cap and went to work. Here’s what I was working with:

There were a few things that had to stay:

1)      The flooring. Yes, I’d love to lay some nice tile in there, but it just wasn’t possible with our tight budget and timeline.

2)      The bathroom/shower surround. Again, it would be lovely and not all that expensive to replace the tub, but it just wasn’t in the cards this time around.

So with the floors and the tub staying, I got to work on the things that I could change:

First thing was the toilet. I really hated the beige colour – it just looked too 70’s for me. The City of Ottawa was having a water-efficiency rebate program, where if you bought one of the identified efficient toilets, you would get roughly 50% of the cost back. So with that, the new toilet was a mere $50. The small price tag plus a reduced water bill over time sold us on the new toilet pretty easily. We choose a bright white American Standard model. This little room was starting to look more fresh already!

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

Next up was the vanity. Although you can get really great deals on vanities (there seems to be one on for $99 every weekend at one of the local home stores), ours was actually a really solid, well-built piece. Plus, if we got a new one that wasn’t the exact same footprint, then we would need to worry about changing the flooring. So I got out the paint swatches and decided on a nice, earthy green colour. Off came the hardware, out came my paintbrush, and two coats later it was done! Such an easy spruce-up. Oh the wonders of a can of paint!

Since we had changed the toilet, I absolutely couldn’t leave the no-longer-matching beige sink. Dan, however, didn’t see the need to replace the vanity top right away. So, my well-honed persuasion skills were put to good use, and shortly thereafter he was on board! We chose a budget-friendly cultured marble top in a bright white to match the toilet.  I also grabbed a new faucet (ours was faulty and looking pretty grimy) – on sale, of course, for a mere $30.

Next up was a new mirror and light fixture. I considered looking around for a second-hand mirror that I could paint in the same colour as the vanity, but since things were so chaotic with the rest of the basement renovation, when I saw a smart-looking black mirror on sale for $19, I couldn’t resist. It was just too easy! The light fixture was also a sale isle find.

So here it is. The before-and-after. Even though I didn’t fully “dress” the bathroom with a new shower curtain, new towels, accessories etc. (this was for our soon-to-be tenant, after all!), it’s amazing what just a few little touches can make. The bathroom has gone from seen-better-days to fresh-and-light.

 

 

Here is the budget breakdown:

$50: toilet
$100: plumbing for toilet & new sink/faucet
$19: mirror
$30: faucet
$110: vanity top
$50: paint (for vanity and fresh coat of white for the walls)
$45: light fixture
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$404 grand total.. not bad!

basement reno update #7: floor fun

12th October 2010

Back with the latest installment of the basement renovation progress. Now that we had done the demolition, framing, insulating and drywalling, we were onto the far more exciting stuff. First up were the floors. Before we had even started our renovation, we had decided on laminate wood floors. We decided this for a few reasons:

1)      Wear and tear. Laminate is a really durable product. Because we are going to be renting out the space, we wanted to be sure that we were going to be putting down a floor that could take a little wear and tear, but still look great. We knew that carpet would stain easily, and it also tends to collect dust and keeps smells.

2)      The look. Laminate has come a long way since it first came out, and it now looks really great. I used to think all laminates looked cheap and artificial, but today’s stuff is actually quite lovely.

3)      Cost. The all-important factor throughout this renovation. We simply didn’t have the budget to do real hardwood. Laminate is a great budget-friendly alternative.

However, before we could lay any laminate down, we needed to build up a sub-floor. We were down to just the concrete, so laying laminate straight on top of that isn’t an option (it would be susceptible to moisture and wouldn’t feel great against your feet). There are quite a few sub-floor options out there. You can get products that are all-in-one and super easy to lay, but you pay for them. Since Dan is a pretty handy dude, and we were always trying to save a buck, we decided to use a combination of a few inexpensive products, which give the same result with a bit more work.

The first product was something that essentially looked like a big roll of black bubble-wrap (with extra-huge, non-poppable bubbles). This was to act as a moisture barrier. We bought two big rolls, layed it out and cut it to size.

On top of the moisture barrier went some sheets of OSB (“oriented strand board”, which is compressed strands of wood arranged in layers). The OSB was cut to the right size, placed on top of the black bubble wrap and then screwed down into the concrete underneath.

Screwing down the OSB sheets became a little more fun, since we had an industrial fan in the basement from the drywallers (to help the walls dry faster). The fan would rotate and just about blow each of us off our feet. So what did we do? What all good renovators would do: Take a break and take funny pictures infront of the fan. Man, were we ever howling. Oh, the little things that will brighten up a day of basement renovations!

Finally, to finish off the sub-floors, we had to put down a very thin layer of a white foam (came in a roll). This is really just to make the laminate feel softer and more squishy against your feet. No screwing down required — it was just a matter of laying it straight on top of the OSB.

Now, onto the piece de resistance. The laminate. We had originally chosen a middle of the road laminate from the Home Depot, which was about $1.50/square foot. This would have cost us just over $1000 to cover our 650 square feet. Then, on a non-flooring related trip to Rona, we came across some lovely laminate on sale. Usually the stuff on sale was the lowest end stuff (that we didn’t love the look of), but this laminate was something else. I fell in love instantly. The combination of wide-planks and the warm, golden colour did it for me. And the price tag? A mere $0.68/square foot (!!!). Our final bill: $550. Amazing right? We certainly thought so.

To lay it, it was a “floating” system where all of the pieces clicked in together. Going through doorways or into the small spaces like closets was a little tricky, but Dan (and our friend Andy – thanks buddy!) did a super job laying it down. It took about 3 days to get it finished. And my goodness, did it ever transform the space.

This was definitely one of the most satisfying projects of the reno. It’s amazing how much a great floor can transform the space. Stay tuned for the rest — we’ve got paint, the kitchen and the bathroom up next!

basement reno update #6: drywall

26th September 2010

This was the stage that we had been dreaming about for ages: Drywall. Romantic, huh? We had talked to several people about DIY drywalling, but decided that it was going to take too long and be too big of a job if we did it ourselves. Yes, we’d save a few bucks, but we’d also lose 2-3 weeks (we wouldn’t be nearly as fast as professionals), and therefore would lose on potential rent income. We hired a really nice guy from a nearby town (tip: folks in the country are way cheaper than in the city!) who had done some work on my parents’ place. He came to do an estimate of the space, ordered the drywall and came in (with his crew) on four separate days to do the job. Putting up drywall involves three basic stages: Mounting, taping/mudding and sanding.

Here is a reminder of what we were starting with:

Mounting: The large sheets of drywall were brought into our basement through the windows (easier than getting them down the stairs, since our windows at that point were just big holes in the concrete). They were then cut down to the right size for all of the walls and ceilings. The sheets are then screwed on, one by one, to the studs (remember all that framing we did?). Here are the after-mounting shots — isn’t it a total transformation?:

Taping & Mudding: This is the lengthiest stage, which involves covering up all the seams between the different pieces of drywall to ensure a smooth wall/ceiling surface. Our drywall guys did about three coats of mudding in total (letting them dry completely between coats).

Sanding: Good drywallers don’t have to sand much since they are so skilled at putting on just the right amount of mud. Our guys came in, did a couple hours of sanding, came out covered in white dust and a finished job. Check out these seamless walls (!!):

Boy did it ever look great. This totally transformed the space. It was actually looking like a real space, and those who weren’t able to see the potential before, started to understand where we were going with this. Now we were getting to the more fun jobs – painting, putting in the kitchen, and installing the floor. We were gettin’ close. Stay tuned to see how it all turns out!

basement reno update #5: it’s gettin’ hot in here

17th September 2010

During our first winter in the house, we noticed that the basement got fairly chilly, and so we realized early on that insulation was going to be a major part of our renovation. Now that the walls were taken down (see that post here) and then re-framed (you can read about that here), it was time to insulate those bad boys. Since we were eligible for quite a few government rebates for improving the efficiency of our home, we decided to do the grand-daddy of insulation options: blow-in insulation. It costs more, but man it really fills up every possible nook and cranny. It was also appealing that we didn’t have to do it ourselves (we were on a timeline here!). We hired a local insulation company, they came in one morning, sprayed it in, and bam – fini! It happens exactly how it sounds – they blow in the insulation with big spray machines and it expands and dries super quickly. Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what I mean.

What we were starting with:

After super-quick drying blow-in insulation:

The next part of our insulation process was to do the ceiling. The labour for this part was, unfortunately, all us. We decided to go with a product called Roxul which was pretty affordable and is a sound and fire barrier, in addition to insulating. This wasn’t such a pleasant job. The Roxul is full of little pieces of fiberglass, so you need to wear long pants, long sleeves, a mask, and gloves. We had to cut the pieces to fit exactly in our ceiling joists. Dan would measure, I would cut, pass the piece up to him, and he would shove it in. All in all, it only took one evening, but it wasn’t a pleasant job.

My super-strong man (it’s not as heavy as it looks — don’t tell him I told you!):

Me cutting the insulation (and getting grumpier by the minute..!):

Danny shoving it up into the ceiling:

Finished product:

Ooooh, ahhh… isn’t that beautiful? (just humour me!)

We also added some insulation to our water pipes (which means your energy system doesn’t have to work so hard to keep your hot water hot). You can get strips of this pipe insulation from your home hardware store for a mere $0.99. Check it out:

To improve our house’s energy efficiency once again, we also decided to lay some basic insulation (you know, that pink stuff from Home Depot?) in our attic. A friend of ours had come over to help out, so I was able to sit out on this job (hoorah – thanks richard!). At least with this job it was just a matter of laying the insulation pieces above what was already there. No cutting required. It was definitely hot up in the attic though. The two boys came out totally red in the face and dripping with sweat. Gracias amigos!

So there you have it. Insulation isn’t the most fun job, but it does make a world of difference to the energy efficiency of your home. Everybody wants a lower heating and air conditioning bill, right? And since we more than doubled our ‘R’ value (this is the measure of the efficiency of your home), we got a nice big rebate back from the government. A toasty home, on a budget!