Even organized clutter makes a room feel small and cramped. The best way to make a room feel larger is to remove the clutter. This includes excessive furniture and decorations. Remember that mementos and family heirlooms will not carry the same meaning for someone looking to buy your house. Remove as much as possible. It is not uncommon for professional stagers to remove as much as half of the furniture in a home when preparing it for sale.
Now that you have more space, reposition your furniture to make each room more user friendly. Consider the natural flow of traffic and adjust accordingly. By pulling your furniture away from the walls the rooms will feel even larger. Try different pieces in different rooms until your setup is feels open and inviting with some cozy touches.
This is the extra room in a house that doesn’t get used very often and eventually becomes the universal gathering place for junk and misfit possessions. Turn this room into an exciting new feature space. A sewing room, a reading room, a yoga studio… what can you make when you clear it out and bring in some of your other furniture?
The problem with lighting is that many of us get used to improper lighting. Even right now in your home there is probably an area with burnt out or mix-matched bulbs. Some rooms in older homes were built for floor lamps and supplemental lighting only. They are rarely ever properly lit. Great lighting will make your home feel warm and welcoming. Changing your lightbulbs to a higher wattage can help. Use supplemental lighting in rooms with only one or two fixtures.
A fresh coat of paint looks clean and new, but there are even more reasons to paint your home prior to listing it for sale. Style is subjective but can greatly influence the experience a prospective buyer has in your home. Whatever themes or personal style you incorporated into your home design, chances are that not everyone will love it as much as you do. Tone it down to something more neutral and let the prospects roll with their own vision. Space is also a key factor that we’ve already covered a few times. Using the same color on adjacent rooms helps tie them together into one big space.
There is a word that perfectly describes the patterns of art hung in most homes… “boring”. By hanging your paintings in a high line around each room you render them invisible. When you are staging your home for sale, get creative. Place art at different levels and try different groupings to avoid the negative stereotype.
Accessories on shelves and tables can add some customizable style to any space. Going overboard can bring you back into the clutter zone, but some delicate touches can make an impression. Home stagers use the “rule of three” as a general guideline. Group three accessories together, but not in a straight line – use all three dimensions. Don’t get too eclectic. Find a common element within each accessory grouping.
…or at least make it look comfortable. Make up the beds and add towels to your bathrooms. Use soft colours and textiles that make people want to stay and relax. Add pillows and blankets that would make you want to curl up with a book or take a nap. Buyers can now imagine themselves being comfortable in your home.
Kitchens are the heart of each home. As such, they undergo more scrutiny than any other room. Nobody likes an outdated kitchen with outdated appliances. When renovating your kitchen, keep in mind that not everyone has the same taste. A professional designer is a big help when you consider the impact your renovations will have on the resale value of your home.
Buyers are smart and will see through cheap fixes. Anything that looks DIY sends signals that there could be problems down the road. The last thing a new homeowner wants is to inherit some time-consuming project to sully the excitement of buying a new house. Work with a professional to complete any outstanding projects. Plan to have everything finished prior to listing your home.
When staging a home for sale, it is important to remember that the most important room is the first one that people will see. That is the outdoor room, or landscaping. The walk up to your house is the first impression buyers will have of your home. Make it easy, clean, and attractive. Revisit the above tips and apply them to the outdoor space. Remove clutter, arrange furniture, add lighting… and make it a positive experience.
This is one of the most popular options due to it’s durability and low cost. Vinyl can be manufactured in many colours and styles, giving you plenty of options to achieve your desired look. It is durable and lightweight, making it easy to work with. In some cases, it can even be installed over existing materials. The overlapping interlock system is waterproof when installed correctly. It is always installed over other waterproof membranes (such as tar paper or Tyvek), giving additional layers of protection. Once installed there is very little maintenance required. It can be cleaned with water.
This material has been declining in popularity for new homes since the 1970s, but it can still be seen throughout many of Calgary’s established neighborhoods. Like vinyl, it is extremely lightweight and easy to work with. It is also tough and difficult to penetrate. Aluminum siding is manufactured with a coloured enamel coating and can be seen in a few distinctive styles and textures. The durability of aluminum means it will often outlast the life of the house, and it can easily be recycled.
HardyPlank® is the leading brand of fibre-cement siding products which have only recently become popular throughout North America. By recently we mean within the last decade. It comes from a mix of cement, clay, sand, and wood dust. This innovative technology was developed to produce an extremely durable product – no chipping, no dents, no scratches. As a new product, growing in popularity, it is mostly seen in Calgary’s newest communities, but it is also popular for retrofit jobs on existing homes and buidings.
The Downside: Fibre-cement compositions are heavy and difficult to work with. Installation requires specialized tools and techniques. The material itself comes at a higher price-point, and the specialized labour can add to the cost.
Wood is the original siding material of the American frontier and it continues to hold a place for both function and aesthetic. It is biologically programmed to manage water and maintain its durability. It is easily customizable and can be worked by any contractor. Cedar is the most popular wood used for siding in Calgary. It can be expected to last the life of the home with proper maintenance and care. It brings a natural beauty and is considered a highly sustainable material.
Stucco is a cement-based material that is plastered onto a reinforced wire mesh fastened to the house. Mixtures and techniques have evolved over hundreds of years throughout Europe and Asia. It is one of the oldest materials, and still considered one of the best for water management. Traditional stucco is a sand and cement mixture that is applied in several coats. Modern stucco mixtures incorporate acrylic resins, allowing for additional colours and less coats. There are various methods used to texture the final layer to achieve different looks.
First of all, do not panic! If you have any water damage in your home, or questions about water damage, you can call us to speak with an expert. Water damage is one of the most common issues in Calgary buildings and homes. What makes it especially troublesome is that it can easily go unnoticed, leading to extended damage over time. Every property manager and homeowner should have systems in place to detect damage at the earliest stages. We want to make sure you know where to look and how to tell if you are having any water issues in your home.
A clear sign of leaky windows is pooling or staining on the window sill, but often times water penetration can go unnoticed. Check for rusty screws on your window hardware. Look for stains in and around the sill and frame. Check the drywall beneath the windows for soft spots or bubbling in the paint. Open up the window and check the assembly for chips and staining. Look for staining in the stucco around the exterior of your window. These are all typically signs that water might be penetrating the window and leaking into the wall beneath. Knowing the full extent of damage may require further investigation.
Once water penetration becomes an issue it is important to identify the extent of the issue as early as possible. A general contractor has additional moisture detection tools that can help you know what might be happening inside the wall, but the best way to know will be to remove a section of interior drywall or exterior sheathing to see exactly what is going on. A professional should be able to provide a minimally invasive solution. Make sure that any window installation quote includes restoring any damaged materials. Never install new windows without removing and replacing all damaged material.
The risk of a plumbing leak will change with the age of your home and the materials used. Calgary has hard water, meaning that it has a high mineral content. This accelerates the natural wear and tear on your pipes and plumbing components. Copper pipes will develop pin hole leaks over time with normal use. Valves and joints may also be affected. Check each plumbing fixture at the connection points for pooled water or staining. Feel for drops of water around your toilet and sink shut-off valves if you have any. Look under the sink for stains or soft spots. Check your washer-machine connections for any wetness, as well as refrigerators with water taps. Check the ceiling below each bathroom for watermarks.
If you do notice a problem, it is important to deal with it as soon as possible. Replace all faulty equipment and ensure there is no more leak. Remove any building materials that have been damaged beyond repair. It is a good idea to test your systems prior to making final repairs. A good general contractor will be able to help you know the extent of any damage and what items need to be replaced. Once the immediate leak is dealt with, get a fixed-price quote for the rest of the repairs.
Check the tile grout in your showers, especially in older homes. In some cases, the tile grout is the only water barrier between your shower and the susceptible building material. If your tile grout is cracked or falling out, water could be getting into the walls. Keep an eye on your roof. There are multiple scenarios in which a roof could potentially fail and leak water into your house. Make sure the roofing materials are intact and in good condition, especially during the rainy season. Look out for ice buildup in the winter. Look for stains on your ceiling, and if you are feeling brave, get up in your attic to look for damp spots in the insulation.
Water will instantly weaken the structure of building materials that are not designed to be water resistant. Any organic materials will begin to decompose, becoming weaker and weaker over time. This includes the wood framing that holds-up your house. The dark moist environment inside your walls becomes conducive for mold and bacterial growth which can have devastating effects on your health. For your own safety, and in consideration to the value of your home, do not procrastinate water issues.
Kitchen design in 2018 is all about contrast, texture, statement appliances, and the ongoing trend of adding color in the kitchen. We’re finding clients seeking more variety and opting for braver colour and style choices. The mix of striking solid colours and wood grains will continue to prove popular, as well as adding more interest in the form of tile and metallic finishes to create striking kitchens.
Here are our favourite kitchen trends in 2018.
Design Trends Presented By:
The BILD Calgary Region Awards recognize professionals in the local home building industry for their creativity and the quality of their work. Formerly known as the SAM Awards, these prestigious awards are highly coveted and sought after by any serious contractor in Calgary. It is an honour to be nominated and a true mark of excellence for the winners. We have been nominated for three awards this year for two of our major renovation projects. Our categories include: Best Home Renovation (with Addition); Best Kitchen Renovation - up to $89,999; and Best Kitchen Renovation - $90,000 and over. Both of the projects are amazing and would not have been possible without the clients who shared their dreams with us, the designers who helped provide vision, and the Fire Ant Team for turning it all into reality.
Every year the Houzz community nominates professionals for Best of Houzz. The Best of Houzz Customer Service award honours professionals that stand out with positive client reviews for projects completed the previous calendar year. In 2017 we had the opportunity to work with some amazing clients. We are deeply grateful for their reviews, but even more so for their trust and the relationships we have built. It is our honour to receive the Best of Houzz 2018 Service award! We owe it to fantastic clients and an incredible team.
With comments like “every single one of our neighbors went out of their way to tell us how courteous and pleasant all of Fire Ant employees and trades were” and “my dog misses all the belly scratches from all the guys” we know that it is the team that makes us look good. We have the best employees and subcontractors that anyone could ask for.
This whole home renovation wouldn't be complete without the beautiful white granite countertops supplied by Caesarstone. See the full story on Caesarstone's website.
Peace and serenity at home often varies with different stages of life. Sometimes it can be hard to come by. Everyone needs an occasional retreat from their busy day-to-day lives to focus on their own mental state and wellbeing. Creating an oasis within your own home makes rest and relaxation that much more accessible. It was this idea that sparked the popularity of master ensuite bathrooms. Here are some of our suggestions to turn your ensuite into a personal spa.
1. Connect with nature by using natural materials where possible. Natural wood with granite or slate countertops is a stunning combination. Consider a pebble stone shower base and alternative materials like bamboo and grass to finish and decorate the room.
2. Use neutral tones, especially with the walls and ceilings. Colour and texture are added with accessories. ‘Natural Linen’ and ‘White Dove’ by Benjamin Moore are popular for creating a serene, soothing space.
3. Soft fabrics bring an element of comfort. Create some privacy with some natural cotton or linen drapes. Make sure there is plenty of space for soft towels and face cloths.
4. Oversized showers with frameless glass help maintain a fresh-air atmosphere. Multiple shower heads and body-sprays create a waterfall experience as they massage your body. Rain heads give the feeling of warm soothing rain.
5. Steam showers combined with a shower bench create the ultimate spa experience. Sit quietly and mediate in the warmth of your private steam room.
6. Heated floors are growing in popularity. The warm surfaces are extremely comfortable and add to the spa experience.
7. Add your own private salon with a designated makeup area. A well-lit mirror and vanity can be integrated with a hair dryer, curling tongs, and storage for a straightener. Remember to include additional power outlets in your design!
A selection of our custom renevation projects from 2017.
When it comes to your windows, how much do you actually know? There are a variety of building materials used in window construction, and they each have their own features and benefits. Knowing what you have can help you properly maintain your windows and achieve their maximum useful lifespan. Knowing what is available will help you know what you want in your home when it is time to replace the windows.
Hybrid windows are a combination of aluminum and PVC, bringing you the best of both materials. The aluminum exterior provides additional strength and can be produced in virtually any colour. The interior comes in white or off-white and is low maintenance and easy to clean. Hybrid windows are also generally less expensive than traditional aluminum clad windows.
Both the PVC Windows and the Hybrid Windows are able to incorporate a wood jamb interior. The wood can be painted or stained to match your existing themes.
We will be at the Calgary Home + Garden show this year with our brand new Fire Ant Contracting Booth. The show promises a stellar lineup of speakers and celebrities with exhibitors from all over Calgary. Come see us for the latest in home renovations, including virtual tours of our recently completed projects.
Click the image to get $4 off admission to the show!!
We look forward to taking part in the Calgary Renovation Show this year from January 12th to the 14th at the BMO Centre. The show promises to bring together inovative products and hundreds of experts all under one roof. Come by our booth and pay us a visit. We have some some exciting new ways to show you what we've been up to and what you can do in your home!
Click the image to get $4 off admission to the show!!
The RenoMark checkmark is a badge of honour for home renovation contractors in Canada. It identifies renovation contractors who have agreed to a specific Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct. The benefit for homeowners is that they get to choose from contractors that are all committed to the same standard of excellence and customer service. But what exactly is different about Renomark contractors?
Window failure is a serious concern that leads to water penetration and wood rot. The longer it is left unchecked, the more damage it causes. Certain homes in Calgary have been built with windows that contain an inherent flaw. This flaw allows water to penetrate beneath sheething into the wooden framing components of your home.
If you suspect any problems with your windows or have questions then don't wait to get in touch! Our team will come by and provide a detailed report of your current window conditions and any required remediation.
Contractors are required by law to provide a one-year warranty on labour. The industry standard is two-years, which promotes better workmanship and longer-term relationships. A contractor should be able to provide you with warranty information with a written commitment that it will be honored.
A Certificate of Recognition is given to employers that meet the provincial standards for health and safety. To become COR certified an employer has to put a program in place and have it audited by a qualified specialist. The certification is maintained by repeat audits after the first year and then every three years. Health and safety has always been a major priority for Fire Ant Contracting. We are proud to carry the COR badge as of May, 2017.
Our health and safety management system considers every individual who steps foot on our jobsite. With our sign-in sheets we know who is coming and going and who is still on-site. We keep safety equipment including fire extinguishers on-site at all times and in multiple locations if necessary. Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) must be used by all employees and any persons visiting the jobsite. Signage is put in place to identify hazards and promote procedural safety measures.
We believe that jobsite safety is facilitated through education. Training and proper supervision within our own team reduces mistakes on every level. We also work with homeowners so that they know what will be happening in their home at all times and what will be expected of them while work is taking place. Another key factor is communication. We maintain open lines at all times for homeowners and building residents. If something appears unusual we want to know about it right away. Our team members are also trained to identify issues and proactively get the word out.
If you have any questions about health and safety during the renovation process please don’t hesitate to ask. In the end safety depends on cooperation on all sides. Our COR certification demonstrates our commitment.
Take a tour of a recent whole-home renovation in Wildwood, Calgary. This dated 1970s bungalow was transformed into a contemporary masterpiece. Make sure you stop by the kitchen, master-bathroom, and basement wetbar to see some stunning features!
Fire Ant Contracting Ltd is very proud to announce we are listed as an approved, participating contractor for the Energy Efficiency Alberta Home Improvement Rebates programme.
This great initiative was launched to encourage Alberta homeowners to make energy efficient home improvements with a CASH back incentive!
Windows - Upgrade to new, ENERGY STAR® triple pane, low-e, argon windows at valuable savings. Installed correctly, window upgrades increase home value, increase air-tightness, reduce energy loss, and reduce road noise. Upgrading to ENERGY STAR® triple pane, low-e, argon windows will provide greater energy savings as the area of the home covered by windows increases and based on the current windows you have in your home.
Insulation - Improve the insulation in your attic, on your above-grade walls and in the basement for a more comfortable and energy-efficient home. Investing in insulation upgrades will increase your family’s comfort, reduce your energy expenses, and increase your home’s value. Best of all there’s typically no maintenance: just energy savings and better comfort for decades.
Energy Efficiency Alberta’s rebates are available for insulation added to a home’s attic, main walls, basement or pony walls. Your rebate will be based on where the insulation is applied, how much insulation is added, and how many square feet receive the upgrade
Tankless Hot Water Heater- An ENERGY STAR®-approved tankless water heater gives your home the incredible advantage of never running out of hot water—and it’s the most cost-effective way to heat water to boot. Tankless hot water systems take up less space, waste less energy and may even provide hot water faster than conventional systems. Domestic hot water upgrades to ENERGY STAR® tankless systems present a tremendous energy-saving opportunity over older, storage tank systems, especially those equipped with standing pilot lights.
We are very pleased to share this new photo with you!
We recently completed this basement development in NW Calgary, it was an extra special project as it contained an existing built in safe which we incorporated into this beautiful basement development.
Cindy of Purple Turtle Design produced drawings for this lovely, open plan living area with ample storage (I have never seen that many built in cabinets in one basement!), a guest bedroom, full bathroom and safe room. An oversized custom sliding door was installed on custom wall tracks which slides along the length of the wall to cover the safe door. Dark stained maple was used throughout for two large built ins, the custom door, the stair railing and the bathroom vanity. A light, neutral wall colour was painted on all walls in the basement to provide a light, airy feel.
There is lots of room for this young family to play!
We work with the best crafts men and women in the Province!
We are lucky enough to work with some specialist craftsmen who sometimes invite us to try out the trade! Mark at Mystic Forge taught Ed some blacksmithing skills at his awesome workshop in rural Alberta.
Wow, what an experience!
Mark creates the most amazing custom pieces, from staircases and tables to railings and gates, all custom, all handmade.
Contact Fire Ant Contracting for a quote on incorporating a custom piece into your next renovation.
Visit the Mystic Forge Website for some inspiration!
Thank you so much Porcelanosa Calgary for hosting our NKBA Prairie Provinces Chapter industry event. These NKBA events are a great way to network amount industry professionals and learn about a subject of interest; as we were at Porcelanosa we had a seminar on the manufacturing of tile. We were shown fascinating videos taken from their tile factory in Spain, Europe. We also learnt more about the on-trend extra large format tiles which are currently being installed throughout the City.
Thank you NKBA - looking forward to the next event!
Sara was honoured to be invited to join the 100 Women Who Care founders Christy and Alison for the cheque presentation to The Calgary Counselling Centre. Wow $22,100 to this amazing centre where everyone can reach out for help, even if they don't have the financial means. We were taken on a tour of the beautiful down town facility and saw directly where our members donations will be used to expand essential services.
Ladies - Join us at the next 100 Women Who Care meeting on 22nd February 2017 at 7pm, Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club, Fire Ant will be providing delicious treats!
What a great team!
We are very proud of our group of guys and girls that make up the Fire Ant team.
We are a diverse team of talented people from a variety of back grounds, many of which who have been with us for many years. Lots of our return clients love seeing the same faces come back to complete further phases of their home renovations.
Our team is divided up between the office and various job sites in Calgary and the surrounding areas.
Thank you Team Fire Ant for the great job that you do!
Dedicated to our customers.
As proud members of the Calgary Construction Association we were invited to an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the construction site of the Rocky Ridge Recreation Facility. The contemporary structure is truly impressive!
The new facility is due to open in 2017 and will house 2 ink rinks, 2 swimming pools, a library, gyms and a theatre.
We are excited to visit again when it opens next year.
Thank you to CCI for organising this informative tour.
We had a very successful few days at the 2016 Calgary Home and Design Show at the BMO Centre.
Here are a few photos from the great weekend meeting new clients, chatting with trade partners and talking renovations!
Thank you to our wonderful booth sponsors for making our show so successful.
We featured a contemporary custom walnut and painted kitchen with quartz countertops and a striking stainless steel backsplash.
Visit our new website! www.fireantrestoration.com
We are very excited to launch our new website dedicated to our Restoration Division.
Our Restoration Division is proud to offer a variety of renovation, maintenance and emergency response services.
Ed and Sara were honoured to be invited to a tour, BBQ lunch (with ice cream!) and meet the kids at beautiful Camp Kindle.
We love Camp Kindle! Fire Ant Contracting have been lucky enough to visit Camp Kindle on many occasions; Ed and Sara were filmed as part of their television advertisement a few years ago and Fire Ant renovated the beautiful music hall.
The highlight of this particular visit was to meet the amazing kids who are directly affected by childhood cancer and their very enthusiastic camp counsellors!
Camp Kindle is avilable to rent for corporate functions, team building, school groups, weddings etc.
Visit their website Camp Kindle
Fire Ant Contracting is very proud to offer a fantastic 24-7 Emergency Response Service.
Fire Ant provides an efficient, reliable, professional service that will put your mind at ease in any emergency.
Fire Ant responds to floods, sewer back ups, mould remediation, asbestos abatement, wind damage, structural concerns, break in damage and any emergency maintenance.
Fire Ant is fully trained in water remediation, asbestos abatement & mould remediation. Our renovation division can take of any repairs or re-builds as necessary.
We provide professional Xactimate invoicing and quoting so fully supported by insurance companies.
Visit us at booth #326 at the Calgary Home and Design Show!
We will have a beautful custom, contmporary walnut kitchen on display and our renovation and designer experts to discuss your project with.
Calgary Home and Design Show
Thursday 22nd September 2016 - Sunday 25th September 2016
BMO Centre Calgary
1st August 1953 – 17th June 2016
It is with great sadness that we announce the news of the passing of our colleague and friend Jack Davies. Jack died peacefully in his sleep on Friday 17th June 2016. On behalf of us here at Fire Ant we have passed on our heartfelt condolences to his family especially his children and wife of over 40 years, Anne....
Jack will be deeply missed here; leaving behind fond memories of working together as an integral part of the Fire Ant team. Jack worked at the Calgary Herald for 39 years and joined the Fire Ant team in February 2014. Jack always had a smile on his face and was highly regarded by everyone he had the opportunity to meet. Jack was a great role model; he was loyal, hardworking, reliable as well as being very skillful.
This is truly a great loss to our company and to the community as a whole.
The Fire Ant Team
100 Women Who Care Calgary
Fire Ant Contracting is very proud to be a long standing sponsor of the 100 Women Who Care Calgary Chapter.
A fantastic group of women meet 4 times a year for just one HOUR, each member donates $100 to a nominated charity and that charity gets a lovely cheque for over $10,000!! Since the Calgary group started we have raised over $200,000 for local charities. We always welcome new members, contact Sara if you have any questions or would like to join her at the next meeting.
See their Website for more information.
We're very happy to present to you our brand new Fire Ant Contracting Magazine!
Click on the front cover image to take a look.
If you are interested in getting a printed version, contact us today.
What a fun adventure!
We took our hardworking Fire Ant team to beautiful Golden in British Columbia as a post Christmas celebration. It was a great opportunity to relax and enjoy each other's company without the usual distractions. We went snow mobiling, skiing, snow boarding and shared delicious home cooked food.
Fire Ant Contracting were very proud to be Gold Level sponsor for the 'Building Stronger Relationships' 2015 Alberta Condominium and Real Estate Conference. Fire Ant were promoting our condominium services division.
Fire Ant offers a multitude of condominium specific services such as:
Please feel free to contact us to discuss your specific condominium needs.
Fire Ant Contracting are very proud to share our latest whole home renovation with an addition, a home for a beautiful family in Calgary's NW community of Varsity. We transformed this dated family home into a contemporary living space with luxury finishes. We vastly increased the square footage of this home by extending the garage to the front of the property and adding two bedrooms above. Beautiful walnut is featured throughout, stunning against the white tones on the walls and countertops.
Thank you for trusting Fire Ant Contracting with your beautiful home transformation!