Homeowners

bathroom countertop

Choosing the Countertop That Is Right For You

With so many popular countertops to choose from for your kitchen or bathroom, weighing the pros and cons of each is recommended if you want to find the one that is right for your home in Saskatoon. Before you make your final decision, consider your preferences for aesthetics and function. Choose the best material for your space – and your budget!

 

Granite

It remains the top choice of most homeowners.  Traditional granite countertops offer a high-end look that adds to your kitchen’s value while providing a durable prep surface. Because granite is a natural material, variation in the stone’s pattern is common and, for most people, adds to its appeal but can make matching up slabs tricky. In Saskatoon, the cost of granite and quartz are comparable but natural granite requires a bit more care than manufactured quartz to keep its good looks — wipe up all stains quickly, especially oils, wine, acids and soda, and follow a regular sealing routine — typically once a year. Granite has a timeless appeal. It’s not only beautiful but it’s eco-friendly and durable. Granite resists heat very well and is not susceptible to scratches. It’s one of the number choices of designer kitchens and immediately adds value to any home.

On the downside, it’s one of the more expensive countertop material options. It’s also vulnerable to cracks and chips and because of its porous material it requires sealing every year.

If you’re looking for a granite countertop for your kitchen, check out Michelangelo Marble & Granite Co. in Saskatoon. They have a long history of outstanding quality and amazing customer service and they are a Kijenga Certified Pro!

granite countertop

 

Quartz 

If you want maintenance free, a quartz is a great option! It’s not that you don’t have to care for it but engineered quartz countertops are stain, acid, scratch, heat and impact resistant and, thanks to their non-porous surface, don’t need to be sealed like natural stone countertops. They are available in a wide range of colors and patterns to fit your space. Quartz typically ranks close in popularity to the perennial top choice of granite.

quartz countertop

 

Tile

Tile countertops are a great choice if you want an inexpensive material that’s easy to maintain. It’s simple to coordinate with or mix and match with different design styles. Best of all, if you’re handy, a tile kitchen countertop is a do-it-yourself project that you can tackle in a long weekend. You’ll find tiles in a variety of materials such as porcelain, glass or ceramic. They also come in an extensive range of colors and sizes, allowing you to design a truly unique countertop for your kitchen or bathroom. The problem with tile is that it does require some maintenance and care. Tiles can get easily scratched and tile grout gets dirty and stained, particularly if it’s white.

tile countertop kitchen

 

Concrete

Do you have a specific shape in mind for your countertop? Concrete can be poured into any mold and your countertop can take any shape you want. Concrete countertops are highly customizable — you can choose any stain color and texture. Concrete mixes well with many different materials, such as glass, tile and marble to create a one-of-a-kind look. Aside from its eye-pleasing appearance, it is energy efficient — when the temperature in your home rises, concrete captures the heat and releases it when the temperature cools down. Concrete is becoming more and more popular inside your home. The biggest question homeowners ask themselves is “who is going to do this for me in Saskatoon?” Well, luckily for you, Old North Concreteworks specializes in concrete furniture and countertops and they’re based right here in Saskatoon. If you’re considering concrete in your home, give these guys a call or post your project today and we will hook you up!

concrete countertop

 

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is the countertop of choice for an industrial style kitchen. It’s incredibly easy to clean with soap and water and tough on high temperatures. The most appealing characteristic of this material is its ability to inhibit bacterial buildup, making it the most hygienic countertop available. Unfortunately, stainless steel is susceptible to dents and scratches. And because of its material, handprints and smudges can be easily seen, requiring it to be constantly wiped down.

stainless steel countertop

 

Hardwood

Hardwood countertops give off a natural vibe to any kitchen, making it warm and welcoming. It’s an excellent way to bring in an earthy element into your home. You’ll have a lot of wood types to choose from such as maple, oak, birch, and cherry; to name a few. Many homeowners like the hardwood option for being so reasonably priced.

For a warm, cottage kitchen look, opt for butcher-block-style wood countertops. Both decorative and functional, this hardworking surface is ideal for food prep — properly sealed, wood countertops are sanitary even for chopping meat. Unlike other budget-friendly options, like laminate, wood is highly heat-resistant so you don’t have to worry about putting hot pots and pans on the surface.

Hardwood countertops will require some care as they will stain. They’re also susceptible to scratches and dents. Expect to have to refinish your wood countertops after 10-20 years.

hardwood-countertop-kitchen

 

Marble Countertops

With timeless appeal, this stone gives any kitchen a decidedly high-end look and, although the cost is comparable to some granites, marble is porous so staining can be a problem. Regular sealing and special care with anything acidic to prevent etching will keep the creamy surface looking its best.

marble countertop

 

Laminate

Laminate is easily one of the least expensive options for a countertop. It’s very easy to install and you can even install it over an existing laminate countertop. By far the most budget-friendly option, laminate countertops are enjoing a resurgence in popularity thanks to new patterns that resemble natural stone, wood or even quartz at a fraction of the cost. Retro, mid-century looks like the ubiquitous boomerang and bright, saturated colors are other trendy choices to consider.

The downside is that it damages easily. Your hot pans can melt the top layer and it is susceptible to scratches. It also doesn’t add much to the resale value of the house. However, if you’re on a tight budget, laminate is the way to go.

laminate kitchen countertop

attract-best-contractors

Find The Best Contractors in Saskatoon with a Detailed Project Description

Do you want the best home professionals in Saskatoon submitting bids for your project? When planning a major renovation project whether it’s revamping your kitchen or remodeling your bathroom, you will want to consult with multiple contractors. The general rule of thumb is to get 2-4 quotes for your project to ensure you’re well educated on the process, the price, the schedule and what it’s all going to look like when it’s all said and done. To ensure you get multiple bids from the best contractors that match the work you want completed in your home, you will have to make sure you write a detailed description of your project. Make it a priority. Do your homework as the more prepared you are, the better for everyone. Know what you want and provide as much detail as possible.

Now before you go any further, determine the type of contractor you’re looking for. Are you wanting to hire a general contractor that manages their own trades or are you wanting to project manage the job yourself and hire out each individual trade required? A lot of people would like to take on the project themselves but for those bigger jobs, hire a general contractor and do it right the first time. If you consider yourself a DIY homeowner, maybe you can get away with hiring out the electrician and plumber while taking care of the flooring and the vanity or cabinetry. Figure out what is best for you and plan around that.

Once you’re sure that the right pro will be receiving your request, it’s time to write the project description that you can then enter into the details when posting your job for free to the Kijenga matchmaking service. If you want to spark the interest of the best contractors to then respond to you to discuss your project, remember that the more detail you provide, the more likely they are to understand what you need and determine if it’s a good project for them to potentially take on. As much as contractors try to sell themselves to get projects, as a homeowner, you have to make sure your project is attractive. The more you look like a qualified homeowner, the better chance you have of getting multiple opportunities to connect with the best of the best home professionals.

Here is a guideline to follow.

Properly introduce yourself

When you provide your name and contact info in the online submission form, make sure it’s accurate. The contractor will automatically relate to you as a real person who is making a legitimate request.

Inform the professional about your goals

Accurately explain to the professional what your desired end result is with your project. Provide them with photos and drawings of what you hope the project will look like. There are a number of great resources both online and offline to help you build out what you’re looking to do in your home. Don’t be afraid to attach photos of that drawing you did on your own either. Yeah you may not be the best artist but everything helps! By preparing the contractor with a description and images of your expected outcome, they can more accurately tell you how much and how long it will take to achieve.

Provide as much detail as possible

This is where your honesty pays off. Be upfront with the contractor about the state of the space they are remodeling or renovating. Don’t say you need a couple quick fixes when in reality, you need the entire room gutted and built out again. Include everything in your description that you know the contractor should be aware of when looking at your project.

Know your budget range

For homeowners, it’s the scariest question in the world. What’s your budget? Don’t look at it as this big daunting question. With Kijenga, you’re dealing with professionals who know their stuff and aren’t in this to screw you over. Be honest and give your contractors a price in which you want to use as a benchmark for your project. It’s vital to the success of your job. Give it some serious thought and have a range and a ceiling you can share openly with these contractors. Don’t say your budget it $50k when it’s actually $30k and make sure you manage your expectations. Materials and labour aren’t cheap and the higher end you go, the more it’s going to cost. With renovations, you never know what’s behind those walls so make sure you give yourself some cushion as you will likely spend more than you think.

State your availability

Let the professionals know what your timeline is for this project of yours. Just because you are inquiring about quotes now doesn’t mean that you expect the project to get started on right away. One of the reasons you may be asking for a quote is because you need time to save up or you may need to take out a loan. On the other hand, if you need to get started right away, make sure your description shows that. If you have to meet a deadline, please ensure that’s included. Lastly, manage your expectations. Things don’t happen overnight. Big renovation projects take time and the contractor you want to hire may not be able to start for a few weeks. Not only that but that tile you want is coming from Italy and it’s going to take 12 weeks to get in. There are a lot of times when material is the hold up on a lot of projects.

In closing, it’s crucial not to be vague in your description. Provide measurements, a realistic timeline, your contact details, and best times to reach you. At Kijenga, we connect you with reputable home pros in Saskatoon. All you need to do is provide us with the details of your project, and we will match you with certified and verified home professionals in your area. It’s free and it’s super easy. Give it a go and post your project today!

Pet damage to your home - dog on couch

Tips on How to Repair Pet Damage in Our Homes

We Saskatchewanians sure love our pets. But really, who doesn’t? They’re cute, cuddly, and they make our lives happier and ultimately more whole. However, pets can do some real damage to any home. From the time you first brought Benji the dog home, he has probably left his mark everywhere in the form of scratches, stains, gouges, and tears.

Whether you’re now moving out of your apartment, selling your house, or you’re simply wanting to address all the pet damage, we’ve got tips for you for the areas of your home that your pet likely uses most often.

 

The Floors

The state of your floors is probably the biggest proof that you have a pet. Depending on the type of flooring you have, you may have scratches due to untrimmed claws and urine stains from the early days before they were housebroken.

If you have hardwood floors, scratches made on the surface level can be easily covered up with a stain-filled marker. If you have deeper scratches and gouged-out wood, you’ll need to use wood filler, sand it down, and re-stain the floor. If you’re looking for one of the best hardwood refinishers in Saskatoon, check out FineLine Developments – a Kijenga Certified Pro!

For urine stains, you’ll need to sand the area if you want to get rid of the discoloration and the stench. Once you’ve sanded the area, thoroughly clean it with wood bleach before you refinish it. Unfortunately, dark urine stains that have gone deep into the wood may require to consult a carpenter who may recommend that you change the boards completely.

 

The Furniture

Dogs can make a chew toy out of just about anything. And cats can turn your favorite chair into a scratch post. Wood furniture is a little easier to repair; all you need is to sand down the bite marks or scratches. If they’re deep, use wood filler, sand it down, and apply a layer of stain that matches.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do with cat-scratched upholstery on a sofa except being creative about covering it up with doilies, fabric patchwork, or a slipcover.

 

The Walls

Pets are such frisky critters. As they run around the house, they leave marks everywhere. Yes, even the walls. And depending on whether you have a cat or dog, this could mean urine stains, scratches, and you may or not be surprised to hear that some dogs have been known to chew on the walls. Mmmm drywall! Yummy.

If the damage has been done to the drywall, you’ll need to go over the damage to get rid of any debris. You can repair the drywall yourself or leave it up the professionals that know what they’re doing. Check out the Kijenga Marketplace for great handyman services in Saskatoon.

 

The Lawn

The nitrogen content in your pet’s waste has probably caused significant damage to your lawn particularly if you haven’t been watering it regularly. If you haven’t been doing this, there’s still hope for you to rejuvenate your lawn.

Your pet probably relieves themselves in the same spot, causing patches in the grass in that specific area. Rake the patchy areas to remove the dead grass. Apply a layer of extra-fine ground limestone on the area and water it to help the limestone absorb the soil’s nitrogen content. After a week, cover the patches with topsoil and sprinkle grass seeds. Before you know it, healthy grass will start to grow again.

No matter the damage that our pets cause on our homes, we still love them. And fortunately for us, there are plenty of home professionals in Saskatoon that we can turn to for the animal damage that is too challenging for us to tackle ourselves. Check out the Kijenga Marketplace to find carpenters, flooring professionals, landscapers, and all-around handymen for other home repairs.

plumbing pipes

Guide to Keeping Your Plumbing Project on Schedule

Over time, the pipes in your house will gradually corrode, rust, and decay. Your plumbing will eventually get leaks and could potentially cause a flood of water or worse, raw sewage that will cause thousands of dollars in damage to your beautiful home.

There are small plumbing fixes that can be completed in a day or two. However, complex plumbing projects like removing lead or polybutylene pipes or replacing deteriorating pipes will require planning and the skills of a licensed plumber. If your looking for a great plumber in Saskatoon, look no further than Marz Plumbing and you can check out her great offers on the Kijenga Marketplace.

Only a licensed plumber has completed the required government tests and regularly undergoes re-certification testing. This ensures you that they’re competent enough to tackle any plumbing issue and are updated on the building codes in your area. And only a licensed Saskatoon plumber can apply for any of the building permits that your project requires.

Here are the factors that you need to keep in mind to ensure that your plumbing project goes smoothly.

 

Budget

The costs of your plumbing project will depend on what needs repair, renovation, and replacement. Many plumbers will charge an hourly labor rate. Inviting a plumber for an in-home estimate is the best way for you to get the most accurate quote and gauge if your budget is appropriate for your plumbing schedule.

The costs of your plumbing project can range significantly depending on the type of project. Small projects like repairing a toilet, replacing a sink or other bathroom fixtures are jobs that will only cost a few hundred dollars and may be finished in a day.

 

Materials

Fixtures may impact your timeline as they need to be purchased and so do their correlating piping. Communicate with your plumbing contractor regarding any materials that need purchasing so that you can ensure you stay on schedule.

 

Scheduling

You might be considering scheduling your plumbing project around the holidays because it means you have more time to oversee the renovation. However, everyone else may have the same thought, and while your plumber may be able to squeeze you into their busy holiday schedule, the job may be rushed.

And while you cannot predict when you will have a plumbing disaster, it is also best to put off any plumbing projects that can wait until after the coldest time of the year. During the Winter, Saskatoon plumbers are likely getting plenty of calls about frozen pipes.

 

Permits

A plumbing permit is required whenever a plumbing system is being constructed, changed, renewed or repaired. The City of Saskatoon states that “plumbing installations are governed by the Saskatchewan Plumbing Regulations, as adopted and enforced by the Building Standards Plumbing Inspectors.”

To obtain a permit, only a licensed plumbing contractor registered with the City of Saskatoon can submit a Plumbing Permit Application to Building Standards. Inspections are then carried out, with a final inspection required before the new system can be put into service.

 

Project Timeline

Plan your timeline in advance if you want to ensure that your project stays on track. You and your plumber need to agree on your expectations for completion. The timeline should be included in the contract you both have signed.

The timeline should include any work that needs to be done first like unclogging sinks and toilets or other plumbing jobs that are minor.

Keeping your plumbing project on schedule is ideal, but there are all sorts of mishaps that may occur that could throw it off course. Be prepared and keep a level head. If you follow this guide, you will be in a better position to see that your plumbing project is completed on time.

If you’re planning a project, hire a certified professional. Get matched to verified contractors at Kijenga.com  and browse for great offers on our marketplace at shop.kijenga.com 

home-ownership-blog

The Actual Costs of Home Ownership

When it comes to the roof over your head, everyone is different. You might have a growing family who needs more space or you may be someone living in a basement suite and hate the fact that you can hear your neighbour work out at 6am on Saturday mornings. Whatever your reason for considering home ownership, it is understandable that owning your own home is the ultimate goal for many of us in Canada.

However, if you’re a first-time homebuyer in Saskatoon, you may not be fully aware of the real costs of acquiring a home. Home ownership is not only a huge responsibility but the costs involved when accumulated can be considerable. Owning a home is not cheap especially given our current economy in Saskatchewan.

Before you start making arrangements towards moving out of that apartment you have been renting, it is crucial to have a good understanding of all the costs involved in purchasing a home.

Down Payment and Mortgage

Unless you can afford to pay the total amount of the home you are interested in upfront, you’ll need to understand the breakdown of your down payment and how that affects your mortgage.

In Saskatchewan, you will need proof of income, verifiable down payment, and a good credit rating to determine if you qualify for a mortgage. The City of Saskatoon will screen your income and provide you with home ownership training. How much you can afford to pay as a down payment will determine what your monthly payments are.

Insurance and Taxes

Another cost you need to be prepared for is insurance as lenders will require you to have home insurance that covers things like flood or fire before you can loan money. While it is typically outlined on the home listing, property tax is another cost to be ready for as a new homeowner.

Utilities and Operational Costs

Owning a home means you’ll need to pay the costs of basic utilities like water, heat and electricity that you may not have needed to pay for when you were renting. Oftentimes, these basic services can be included in your rent.

Other utilities you may be paying as a homeowner are cable, internet and garbage fees. You have to remember that a larger home means your gas and electricity bills will be much higher as you’ll probably have more electronics and appliances and you’re heating and cooling a bigger space.

Winter in Saskatoon generally lasts from early November to mid-March and you have to expect to pay more for electricity due to the added heating costs.

Appliances

Unless the home you’re purchasing is fully-equipped with all the basic appliances, you’ll have to buy a refrigerator, washer and dryer, microwave and maybe even a water heater. New appliances can be expensive so keep this in mind as well.

Furniture and Decorations

While furniture shopping and decorating is fun, prices will add up. Your larger home will have more rooms that you’ll need to fill with the right furniture. A new couch that is the right size for your now bigger living room can be surprisingly expensive.

Maintenance

While there are a lot of home maintenance and cleaning tasks that you can do yourself, you’ll still have to invest in tools and supplies.

Unlike with renting an apartment, you’ll be responsible for fixing your toilet’s broken flush, changing the air filter in your furnace, or repairing broken locks. Some of these tasks you can certainly tackle yourself, but for others, you’ll need to seek the help of a home professional. Luckily for you, we have the online marketplace where you can find a contractor or home professionals offering these services in Saskatoon, Warman and Martensville.

You probably don’t realize that keeping your home clean will cost as much as it will because you’re doing most of the work. However, consider the added costs of cleaning supplies and equipment.

And for the areas that need serious attention, you’ll need to hire a home professional for services like carpet cleaning, exterior cleaning of gutters and sidings. Browse deals today! 

Landscaping

Part of desiring to have your own home probably means dreaming of a big lawn and backyard. To manage the landscaping yourself, you’ll need to purchase equipment like a lawnmower, shovels, clippers, and other equipment. Even the simplest yards will need some maintenance.

And if you want flowers, plants, a pathway, and a fountain, a landscaping professional could design what is best for your lawn space. And for a fee, they could maintain it regularly.

Upgrades and Improvements

Whether you are purchasing a starter home or buying a home, you plan to live in forever, making improvements and upgrades are inevitable. Even if you intend to sell the home someday, you’ll need to keep it well-maintained if you expect to sell for more and faster.

Improvements such as a swimming pool or an outdoor kitchen can significantly increase the value of your home. And upgrading the kitchen with the state-of-the-art appliances and granite countertops can dramatically give your kitchen that touch of luxury.

Buying your own home can be exciting and still something you want to do despite the reality of what it really costs. What is important is that you are acutely aware that there are things to pay for well beyond the down payment and mortgage.