Contracting Academy

All about Roofing and Home Contracting

Should you Build a Custom Home or Buy a Production Home

Purchasing a new home is a major financial and life decision. Your new house will likely be the biggest purchase you make in your life and it is something you’ll have to live with for many years to come. It’s very important that you get the house you want at a price you can afford.

Custom Home Builders versus Production Homes

What is a Production Home?

Production homes are built by large developers who buy large areas of land to divide into individual lots. There are generally a handful of different layouts you can choose from with options for choosing finishes, colours, appliances, etc.  You have some choice in the options you choose, but it is not a completely open field like with a custom home. Most homes built now in Calgary are production homes and they come in all types including,  single-family, condominiums and town houses. Production homes are generally cheaper than custom homes because of the standardized construction and typically lower quality materials, hardware and appliances used.

Benefits of Production Homes

The primary benefits of purchasing a production home are the cost savings. They will almost always be cheaper than a similar size custom home. It’s also nice to be able to visit model showrooms to get an accurate feel of the layout of your own home.

Drawbacks of Production Homes

The negatives are that you limited layout options. You can change colours and some materials, but you won’t be able to move rooms around or rearrange the kitchen.

What is a Custom Home?

In Calgary, Custom Home Builders typically build unique houses on inner-city lots or acreages that you own. They generally only build a small number of custom homes per year so you’ll get much more personalized service  and attention to detail. Purchasing a custom home means you get exactly what you want on everything. You choose the layout, finishes, materials, appliances, roofing materials, colours, everything. That means you can get the exact home to match your lifestyle. Custom homes tend offer many luxuries in terms of high-end appliances, large windows with expansive views, exotic materials, larger doors and entrances, higher ceilings, and more. If you have the budget, almost anything can be built.

Pros of Custom Homes

A custom home means you can have exactly what you want in every detail of your home. The only limitation is your budget. Another key benefit is that you have more flexibility where your home is built. You can choose a great inner-city community or can opt for larger acreages outside the city. With most custom home builders, you’ll have higher quality construction with builders and contractors that take pride in doing good work. It’s not a production factory where labour is meant to be minimized. Great custom home builders are craftsman that care about doing a good job.

Cons of Building a Custom Home

Custom homes will typically cost you more money. The more expensive features you choose, the more expensive your home will be. Also, they can take longer to build than production houses, simply because of all the options and details that you’ll have to choose. Deciding what you want in your home can be one of the most time consuming parts of the custom home building process.  Custom houses that are a little too wild may also be hard to sell in the future, so if you want to maximize your resale price, you’ll need to build a layout that other families will also appreciate.

Which New Home is Better?

Whether or not you build a custom or production home is up to you and your budget. Are you looking for a unique layout and special features like an enlarged garage, wine cellar, music room, etc.? Then custom homes might be more appropriate particular if you have the budget. If your budget is more limited and you are willing to make sacrifices in options, a production home can be great value with a good resale value.

Continue Reading

Guide to Choosing a New Roof

People on the hunt for a new roof have plenty of options. Some of the common types of roofing materials include wood, composite, asphalt, shingles, concrete, slate and clay tiles. There are also many things to consider when it comes to choosing a new roof. These include material weight, product cost, installation requirements and of course, you also should not forget style.

Choosing a New Roof


If you want to install your new roof the right way then you must be familiar with the terms being used by roofing experts. When it comes to measurement, they usually do not use the unit square feet. Instead, they use squares. One square is equal to 100 square feet in area which is equivalent to a square that measures 10 by 10 foot. The roof of a two story house typical measures 1,500 square feet or less. So in roofing terms, that is around fifteen squares.

Things to consider

The price of the materials is one of the primary concerns of those who are planning to install a new roof especially those with a tight budget. You don’t want to run out of funds in the middle of installing a new roof in your house. But you should not forget other considerations as well. If you are simply replacing the existing roof in your house, then you should consider the condition of your existing roof. Not only that, you should also check the condition of the supporting structure. Before installing a new roof, you need to check if the supporting structure also needs to be replaced or not.Another thing to consider is the shape of the roof. A roof with few or no breaks are generally easier to replace than those that are interrupted by structures such as vent pipes, chimneys, dormers, etc. The more complicated the work the more expensive the project will be.

Different materials

What follows are the most common roofing materials used and their characteristics:

  • Asphalt Shingle. The most commonly used roofing material because of its relatively low price. The price of asphalt shingle start at round $50 per square. It is also very easy to install. There are basically two types of asphalt shingle: the standard single-thickness variety and the thicker laminated variant.
  • Metal. Metal roofs are durable but they can also be quite expensive. If you want to have a metal roof, be ready to spend around $250 per square. Steel, aluminum, copper, lead, copper-and-asphalt are all examples of metal roofs.
  • Wood. For centuries, humans have been using wood as their main roofing material. There are some areas though that forbid homeowners to use wood for their roof. So better check first before you choose this material.
  • Tile and Cement. You can usually see tile and cement roofing in Mission and Spanish Colonial type house. This type of roofing is very durable but also very expensive. It can also be very heavy so a sturdy support structure is required.
  • Slate. If you are looking for a durable roofing material then you should go for slate. Not all slate is the same though so you need to choose wisely. Slate prices usually start at $800 per square.

Check out what Mike Holmes thinks is the Best Roofing Material.


The roof is a very important part of any house This is why you need to choose your roof wisely. While it is not advisable to spend an arm and a leg, it is also not a good idea to scrimp on your roof.

Continue Reading
Continue Reading

Benefits of Metal Roofing

Investing in a metal roofing system is an excellent way to give your building the durable, long lasting protection it needs. A metal roof can give your building an aesthetic, energy efficient covering that will last for decades and stand against the most extreme weather conditions. Here are some of the many benefits of a metal roof.

Benefits of Metal Roofing
Fire Resistant

Because metal does not burn, it is naturally fire resistant.

Long Service Life

You want your roof to last as long as possible. Asphalt roofs require repair or replacement about every 10 to 20 years. The alternative copper or iron based roofing system can last literally hundreds of years, making it the last roof you will ever install on your home or business.

Metal roofs come with a 30 to 50 years manufacturer warranty. To this we add our own installation warranty to give you even more value for your dollar.

An added advantage of metal roofing is it is low weight. This takes significant stress off of your entire building support structure. This is particularly important during the winter when large snowfall amounts can pile up on your roof and damage the entire structure, in some cases causing a complete collapse.

Shrinking and cracking are two of the biggest problems with non-metal roofing. Copper, iron, and steel roofs naturally resist both of these problems.

Energy Efficient

Cement, wood shingle, or asphalt roofs can cost you hundreds of dollars in lost energy. The alternative copper, aluminum, or steel coated roofs are made from natural materials, making them far more energy efficient. These metal coated roofs will keep the heat in during the colder winter months while reflecting the sun’s rays during the hot summer months.

Weather Resistant

The interlocking panel construction and flashing offered on some types of metal roofing makes them extremely wind resistant.

When a high polymer finish is applied, it adds to the weather resistance quality of the roof.

Low Maintenance and High Aesthetic Value

Copper and iron roofs have a long history of being low maintenance.

A finishing touch of high polymer coating offers the opportunity to bring color onto your roof.

You can walk on a metal roof without fear of damaging the roof. Non-metal roofs often crack or get damaged when walking on them.

You can choose the colour or colours of your roof and create a unique appearance that is not possible with non-metal roofs. You can be both modern and practical with metal roofing, matching it to the exterior design of the building.

How low maintenance is metal roofing? Simply rinsing it with water is all you need to do to keep it looking great for many years.

Environmental Friendly

The materials of metal roofing are 100 percent recyclable. The roof itself is made of 95 percent recyclable material. It is the best of both worlds.

Metal roofs are so environmentally friendly, even their manufacture and transportation leaves a very small environmental footprint. There is almost zero out-gassing.

Because of the materials used, metal roofing can be installed at any time of the year, in any weather condition.

Installation is Important

To get the most from your metal roof, be sure to have it installed by professionals with experience. Even the best roofing material will not last if it is not correctly installed. Water and weather damaged can penetrate under roofing materials and damage the underlying structure of your home. Do your research when choosing a roofing company.

Thanks to‘s Calgary Metal Roofing Page for the Inspiration.

Continue Reading

Choosing the Right Type of Insulation to Stop Heat Loss

Insulation may be utilized both to stop heat loss and heat gain in the surrounding. Most electrical appliances use insulation technology like Heaters, freezers and Fridges. Insulation must be set up within the regions between heated and non heated space. That is why there are many types of insulation.

Among the primary applications of insulation is house insulation. An insulated home is more energy efficient, needs less care and is more comfortable because the temperature stays uniform over weather changes. Insulation at home aids in saving energy and reducing utility bills. Insulation at home not only aids in keeping the house heat in winter and cool in summer but it supplies a great thermal resistance and also prevents damage from leaking water. Insulation is quite helpful to maintain the temperature of the home independent from outside temperature.

Insulation at home aids in saving energy and reducing utility bills. Insulation is quite helpful to maintain the temperature of the home independent from outside temperature.

There are lots of kinds of house insulation available. All the multiple kinds of insulation have their advantages and disadvantages. They’re largely differentiated on the basis of the material used for the insulation. They may be divided into reflective, stiff board, foam, free fill, batts and blankets and blown in insulating material etc.

Foam insulation is done by pouring the liquid foam from the container. Foam insulation is a little more pricey than blanket and batt insulation. Foam insulation is suitable to set up while building the house instead of going into already built structures. It’s not normally suggested for loft insulation, because the foam insulation used to be air tight.

Spray Foam insulation is a little more pricey than Fiber glass insulation. This kind of insulation can decrease repair and utility bills as your own home is naturally warmer and free from bugs because of the insulation. Spray form insulating material continues longer than other kinds.

It isn’t that expensive but are able to offer help in cost economy and high energy.

Loft insulation is crucial in almost any house to possess comfortable room temperature. A house must have an attic with a room temperature close to the outside temperature.

Continue Reading