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Top 3 Renovation Myths

Planning a home renovation project soon? Make sure you take a look at these 3 renovation myths before you do anything!

 

Myth: Buying my own materials will save me money

Sure, sometimes items you find on your own cost less, but getting materials through your contractor may end up saving you money in the end. One of the reasons is product defects. If you find a defect in a product you purchased after it’s been installed, you will be charged for the contractor to come and remove the defective product and install the replacement product. Contractors who purchase the materials themselves will come and replace it at no charge.

Contractors get preferred pricing with their suppliers – this can mean cost savings for you. It’s important to keep in mind that there may be a difference in quality of materials from what you find compared to a contractor’s supplier.

Consider your contractor an expert. A tiler, for example, is going to know which tile would work best for your needs and will know if the product is defective or not. If you want to ensure your work is done right and has warranty, consider having your contractor supply the major materials for your project!

 

Myth: I don’t need a permit for my minor renovation

Permits in Saskatoon are required when building, renovating or demolishing a residential/commercial building. They are also required for certain plumbing jobs. Did you know a permit is required when the plumbing system in your home is being changed or if you are installing solar panels? Before you commence your renovation work, even if it is minor, check to see if it requires a permit first.

Building permit reviews and inspections ensure the building and structure meet necessary safety requirements. They are administered under the regulations contained in the Building Bylaw, Swimming Pool Bylaw, Uniform Building and Accessibility Standards Act and the National Building Code of Canada.

You will have to pay a fee for the permit. A building inspector will come and check the project at different stages of completion to ensure that it is built according to the plans submitted to the city, built to code and that it is safe – giving you peace of mind!

Sometimes contractors will get the permit for you but be sure to see a copy of the approved permit before work commences. The registered property owner is responsible for completed or partially completed work on their building.

To find out more about building permits from the City of Saskatoon, click here.

 

Myth: I don’t need a designer

For some renovations people think they don’t need a professional designer. However, having a professional draw up your plans will ensure that the aesthetical considerations for your renovation blend nicely with the structural requirements. In other words, you can ensure your ideas for the renovation are captured while still maintaining safety for you and your family.

Designers and architects can take your vision for the space and transform it to something contractors will clearly be able to understand. Having the drawings completed will make it easier and faster for your contractor to get the job completed.

When you’re ready to start looking for a contractor for your home renovation, post your project on Kijenga and we will connect you to certified contractors that have a strong reputation in Saskatoon. Kijenga contractors are certified with a valid business license, WCB insurance, liability insurance, GST number and a minimum of 4 recommendations from homeowners like you!

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Creative Paint Ideas For Your Home in Saskatoon

A fresh coat or two of paint in the house can sure modernize the feel of your home. Next time you are getting your home repainted, consider boosting that feeling by adding a colour bomb or two! Here is a list of four ways you can use paint to revolutionize your home and we have the certified pros in Saskatoon to make it happen. 

Embellish the backsplash.
Can’t afford to put in a backsplash? Then just use paint! Try using a different (bright) colour rather than the neutral colour on the walls to make the kitchen pop. It’s simple but can really brighten up your room.

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Another idea is to paint the current tile to give it a more modern feel.

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Paint Your Ceiling
Often ignored, things are looking up in the world of ceilings. Sorry people but your stipple/popcorn ceiling is a thing of the past. The trend is now smooth like butter. So remove the stipple and re-paint. You can take this even further by adding decorative trim or a metallic paint to the ceiling.

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Consider a statement wall
Whether in a bedroom or living room, a statement wall can transform a room. A statement wall can be one wall which has a different, bolder colour or a wall with an artsy feel to it. Professional painters can use different techniques to create these looks.
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Unexpected Paint
White walls. Boring. When repainting your home you can add some flare with the simple addition of bright coloured paint colours in unexpected places. Areas such as door frame & door, archways, exposed beams or even baseboards that are painted with an accent colour can help make the room feel inviting, but not overpowering. See the below pictures for more examples:

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When you’re ready to refresh your home and add some pop, post your painting job on Kijenga. We will hook you up with free quotes from certified painting contractors in Saskatoon and area. 

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Choosing The Perfect Countertop For Your Kitchen

There are so many options for choosing a countertop. Not only do you select based on appearance but you should also consider your lifestyle as well. What can you afford, are you able to diligently care for the countertop, do you have littles that spill frequently? Different materials have different pros and cons and we are here to help clarify some items for you:

 

Butcher Block

Butcher Block countertops are formed from wood to create a beautiful natural countertop.

Pros:

  • Handles cutting well and does a good job of hiding scratches
  • Varnished butcher block stain resistant
  • Oil-finished wood heat resistant

Cons:

  • Stains hard to remove in oil-finished wood
  • Require periodic sealing, may require regular oiling

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Concrete

Concrete countertops are one of the newest types of countertop. Homeowners can choose various stamping and staining techniques to personalize their kitchen. A certified pro through Kijenga, Dan and Jacob at Old North Concreteworks here in Saskatoon are the experts when it comes to custom concrete countertops for your home. Post your project and we will introduce you. 

Pros:

  • Custom formed
  • Durable and hard

Cons:

  • Chips & scratches easily
  • Can form hairline cracks
  • Requires regular sealing:
    • Topical sealers protect stains but not heat
    • Penetrating sealers can not protect against stains but can heat

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Granite

Granite is natural stone. It is ground and polished to take on a smooth surface. Because granite is natural each piece is unique. For an amazing selection in Saskatoon, visit Michelangelo Marble & Granite. 

Pros:

  • Heat, cutting and scratching doesn’t harm granite
  • Natural stone for those looking for eco friendly option

Cons:

  • Corners and edges can chip
  • Requires periodic resealing
  • Poor sealing can lead to staining and harboring of bacteria

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Quartz

Quartz is an engineered product. The majority of the composition is natural quartz with binder and color being added to create the countertop. Quartz comes in a variety of colour options for countertops.

Pros:

  • Scratch & stain resistant
  • Durable
  • Doesn’t require sealing

Cons:

  • Not as resistant to heat as some other options
  • Direct sunlight over extended period of time will cause fading
  • Among the most expensive options

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Laminate

Laminate contains particle board core with layers of plastic laminate on top. Laminate has the most extensive selection of colours and patterns.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Large selection
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Scratches easily
  • Not as heat resistant as other options
  • Abrasives ruin appearance

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Marble

A classic, elegant option for a countertop. Marble is natural and each piece is one-of-a-kind.

Pros:

  • Stains removed easily if marble is sealed
  • Nicks and scratches can be polished out
  • Very heat resistant

Cons:

  • Scratches and chips more easily than other countertops
  • Requires periodic resealing,otherwise may stain easily
  • Sensitive to acidic material
  • Expensive

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In the end, you choose what options is best suited to your family. If you’re ready to move forward with your kitchen renovation, post your project for free at Kijenga and we will match you with certified and reputable contractors in Saskatoon! 

 

Sources:

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/07/pros-cons-costs-10-countertop-materials/index.htm

https://countertopguides.com/materials.html

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Contractor Lingo 101 – Communicating With Your Contractor

If you’re not up to speed on the lingo, you’re missing half the conversation. You may know this from talking and texting with your teenage children these days.  When you are getting quotes or having work done in your house you want to ensure you know what your contractor is talking about. Here are a few key words which are good to know:

Mud – Not referring to what pigs or 2 year olds enjoy playing in. Mud is any type of plaster, spackle, stucco, concrete or semi-liquid mixture. It is used to coat foundations, ceilings, walls or other related surfaces.

Stud – Sorry ladies, this isn’t what you think. Stud’s are fundamental in framing a building. They are vertical framing members that, can be made of metal or wood, are usually spaced between 16 or 24 inches and are used to assemble walls.

Change Order – Boring but important! Change orders are signed document that authorizes the contractor to make a change or addition to the work detailed in the original contract. Any changes in cost should be reflected on the change order.

Fascia – Am I the only one who gets soffit and fascia confused all the time? Fascia is the exposed horizontal band you see at the edge of your roof. It plays a functional role in that it protects the home’s underlying structure. It also plays a part in enhancing your curb appeal

Soffit – The soffit of your house is the underside of an arch, balcony or overhanging eaves. Soffits provide ventilation to the roof and also protect rafters from outdoor elements.

Jamb – Does not go in a sandwich. Jamb refers to the moulding around the frame of a window. “Side Jambs” are vertical while “Head Jambs” are horizontal.

Toenailing – Sounds painful! Toenailing is when you connect two framing pieces together by nailing at an angle.

Retrofit – Not Richard Simmons workout video from the 80’s. Retrofitting is installing new parts to a pre-existing fixture in order to give it an upgrade.

There you have it. A few words to throw out when you talk to someone handy.

Have a home renovation project you need completed in Saskatoon and area? Post your project to Kijenga.com today and get free quotes from certified pros we background check for you. Now that’s my jamb!

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4 Things To Consider Before Hiring A Pro to Build Your Deck

Everyone in Saskatoon knows that our summer’s are precious…and limited. We eagerly anticipate every spring when the snow starts to melt, the first pelican is spotted at the weir and the indistinguishable smell of cow manure hits you as you drive by the University of Saskatchewan. That’s when you know spring has officially arrived in Saskatoon!

Although not all of us are ‘that guy’ who wears shorts and sandals when the temperature hits a balmy 5 degrees – we all know we have to take advantage of the weather while we have it. This includes enjoying your backyard deck. When meticulously built with design input from certified professionals, your deck provides an outdoor living and dining space perfect for entertaining on weekends or relaxing after a long day at the office.

Before you hire a Kijenga certified contractor for your deck project, here are 4 things you should consider:

Use
You need to decide what the purpose for your deck is. Is it to have a table and chairs to enjoy an outdoor meal, to have a place to relax and socialize, or both? Along with determining what the general use for your deck is, you will need to determine some other factors including: BBQ location, pool/hot tub location (if applicable), container garden locations and if you require shade.

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Size and Placement
To determine size, you will want to take into consideration your backyard as a whole and how the deck fits into the big picture. The size of your yard can dictate placement and location of the deck. When you determine the use for your deck and consider how much space you will need for the furniture you will require, you will have a better idea of how big of a deck you will need.
If you are fortunate enough to be able to have input into the placement of the deck, you will want to consider the following:

  • Accessibility to house
  • View
  • Location of sun/shade
  • Privacy
  • Wind
  • Rain/Snow

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Design

People tend to think of decks as rectangular, however with the consultation of a certified professional you can get creative with the design to best utilize yard space and appeal of your outdoor living space. Kijenga certified professionals can help in the design process, but it is always good to have some ideas in place before meeting with them.
Considerations for designs are:

  • Levels: Do you want multiple deck levels?
  • Privacy: Do you require privacy screens from nosy neighbours?
  • Shade: Are you interested in a pergola or retractable awning?
  • Lighting: Do you want deck lights or stair lights installed?
  • Gas/Power: Do you require a gas line to your BBQ installed? Do you want outdoor speakers installed?

Of course there are other important factors to consider when designing a deck such as getting permits, following City of Saskatoon guidelines and ensuring the deck is structurally sound. But that stuff isn’t the fun part so let the pro’s take care of that!

Material

There are a variety of options for what materials to use. For decking you can consider pressure treated wood, composite, PVC decking or vinyl decking. Railings are another material to consider: wood, composite, aluminum, glass, there are a variety of options. All vary in maintenance, life and cost. Your best bet is to have a conversation with a professional about what is best suited to your needs.

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If you’re ready to enjoy your summer and outdoor space like never before, relax and let someone else do the work – invest in a deck built by a Kijenga certified contractor! Post your project for free at Kijenga.com and we will connect you with our certified contractors.

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Building Women Up – Empowering Women In Their Homes

Join us for a fun, interactive event for women at the amazing new Greystone Co-op Home Centre.

Co-op partnered up with Kijenga.com and Saskatoon’s finest women in trades where they’ll demonstrate everything you need to know about your home.

We will cover it all from the plumbing to the electrical and everything in between. Our experts will also provide you with tips and tricks when it comes to interior design, painting and carpentry.

It’s an evening where you are given the opportunity to build your skills and empower yourself under your own roof.

You and your lady friends will be able to enjoy fine wines and cheeses selected by Co-op’s sommelier team.

We have a few surprises in store for all those attending so grab your friends and enjoy an entertaining night out!

Special thanks to our organizers and presenters for making this event happen.

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K9 Cribs Dog House Building Fundraiser

Kijenga is thrilled to partner up with the Saskatoon SPCA for the first ever K9 Cribs Dog House Building Fundraiser!

We have teamed up with reputable contractors in the City of Saskatoon to build custom dog houses for our furry friends!

These one-of-a-kind dog houses are being displayed Lawson Heights Mall from March 5th to 21st and Gardenscape Backyard Living Expo from March 23rd to 25th. The online auction is live from 9am on March 5th to 9pm on March 25th.

Visitors to the display areas will get to vote for their favourite dog house. The contractor whose dog house receives the most votes will win the “People’s Choice Award” which included a $1000 tool package courtesy of Construction Fasteners in Saskatoon.

The highest bid on each dog house will be awarded the opportunity to purchase the house at the price they have bid. All funds raised from the sale of the houses will benefit the Saskatoon SPCA.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Promoting and Supporting Women in Trade

It can be pretty intimidating for a woman to enter the trades because of the underrepresentation of females in industries like construction, carpentry, plumbing and electrical.

In 2011, census data revealed the rates of women in trades were increasing with 1432 female electricians, 931 female motor mechanics, 676 female carpenters, and 638 female plumbers across Australia.

And according to the Chicago Tribune, the U.S. Department of Labor in 2014 reported that women represented 4% of the U.S. workforce in natural resources, maintenance, and construction. And in the U.K., it was reported that almost 6% of trade workers that included builders, plumbers, and plasterers are women.

However, in Canada, while women account for nearly half of the workforce, they continue to be under-represented in skilled trades.

There’s no doubt that women in trades are on the rise all over the world. However, despite the growing numbers and impressive reviews of their capabilities and performance, hurdles still exist that keep women in trade from achieving equality, respect, and acceptance.

Women in trades experience three main barriers when trying to acquire training and employment in skilled trade occupations:

  1. Discrimination

In Canada, much like other countries, skilled trades are traditionally defined as male occupations. It’s no secret that the majority of cultures and societies separate based on gender and the reality is that gender stereotypes and inequality dominate society.

In the U.S., it was reported that women’s underrepresentation in high-paying industries is one main reason that women earn 78 cents for every dollar a man earns, on average.

  1. Lack of Educational Promotion

Lindsay Amundsen, a workforce development coordinator at Canada’s Building Trades Union, runs a national women-in-construction program that supports and mentors women in the skilled construction trades. When asked why more women don’t pursue to participate apprenticeship programs, she cites that there is a lack of awareness:

“Students are not taught in school — especially young girls — that a career in the trades is an option for them.”

And with gender stereotypes still posing a threat to work equality, most trade schools and programs tend to advertise and gravitate towards recruiting men.

  1. Inability of Workplaces to Implement Change

The reality is, despite the implementation of the Canada Labour Program, many employers refuse to change their attitudes and simply will not hire women.

To enforce change, organizations like WiN Canada and Skills Compétences Canada have taken steps to address these issues. However, many women in trade know that while policies and regulations are the steps in the right direction, the change needs to happen on a cultural level.

Women in trade are committed to changing the face of the industry. In the U.K., the surge in what has been dubbed as “white-van women” or women in trade is because employers are seeking tradespeople who are not only reliable but have excellent customer skills – both of which women have.

It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world catches up as women continue to close the gender gap and change the social perception that these jobs are too physical and too dirty for women.

In Canada, government and workers unions have taken the steps towards closing the gender gap by requiring employers to accommodate from the four designated groups in Canada – Women, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities, and visible minorities.

However, the hope is that someday, there will no longer be a need for regulations and that employers and society will naturally employ and promote women in trades based on their skills and expertise alone.

Natasha Martynes, Red Seal Journeyperson Plumber and holder of the Blue Seal for business in trades, founded her company MARZ Plumbing in 2014 and caters to the Saskatoon area. They specialize in plumbing repairs, repairing and installing hot water heaters, drain cleaning, gas fitting, and renovations.

Knowing all too well the struggles that women in trade often face in the industry, Natasha and her company are not only dedicated to the highest level of customer service but also have a commitment to promote women in trades and encourage the youth to become involved.

Natasha and her team support local organizations and initiatives in Saskatoon such as YWCA’s Trade Journey and the High School Carpentry Apprenticeship Program (HCAP). The Trade Journey program is a pre-trades program that prepares women for success in their trade of choice whereas the HCAP program provides an opportunity for students to experience a hands-on approach to learning. Students will spend a semester working with a carpenter/teacher to build a RTM house.

To learn more about Natasha and her business, check out the website for Marz Plumbing and get in touch with her if you have any questions about starting your own business.

You can also check out the deals Marz Plumbing is currently selling on the Kijenga marketplace. Shop Now!

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The Importance of Hiring a Licensed Contractor

A bid from an unlicensed contractor in Saskatoon will probably be much lower than one you’ll get from a licensed contractor. They’ll promise to do the same work (and oftentimes for less money) and while it may be tempting to take it, know that there are risks to hiring a contractor that is not licensed in Saskatchewan. If you’re finding your contractor on buy and sell websites, make sure you do your due diligence and in comparing quotes, make sure you comparing apples to apples. There is nothing more frustrating for a reputable contractor than to find out that you chose a fly-by-night contractor because they came in lower and when looking at their estimate, it didn’t include x, y and z.

What does it mean when a contractor has a license?

The Contractor Is Backed By the Province

In Saskatchewan, licensed contractors are required to have insurance which provides the homeowner with some financial recourse if problems arise.

Most provinces have a dispute resolution program and only by using a licensed contractor will you be allowed to take advantage of it. Provincial funds will be available to you to help you resolve disputes and compensate property owners.

All contractor members of Kijenga are required to carry a valid license. If you encounter any problems with a licensed contractor or a tradesman, the provincial licensing board will be your ally in resolving any disputes.

The Contractor Has Insurance and/or Bonding

As required by the city or town, the contractor must hold the minimum insurance and/or bonding to obtain a contracting license. The contractor is required to demonstrate proof of insurance whether you live in Saskatoon, Warman, Martensville, or rural Saskatchewan.

The Contractor Can Apply For Permits

A licensed contractor can apply for a building permit on behalf of the homeowner with written consent. Before a contractor can obtain a building permit, they must prove to their municipality that they are licensed and insured.

The Contractor Is Competent

The Ministry of Government Relations certifies Gas-Fitters and Electricians while the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission (SATCC) regulates all other trades in the province.

Before working in the field, compulsory trades require tradespeople to have their Certification of Qualification. Basic competency is tested during the licensing process as a way to screen out the dishonest contractors. A qualified contractor should have a valid license.

Will a license always be required?

Because each city, municipality and province has a different set of requirements, ensure you know what they are specifically for where your home is located. Most provinces will require contractors to be licensed and/or bonded while some may not. Because licensing requirements change, check with both your provincial and municipal office to verify if there have any updates or if additional licences or permits are required.

For homeowners in Saskatchewan, remember that contractors are required by law to have a direct seller’s licence before soliciting you for work. Ask to see their licence and request for the contractor’s full business name and address. You can confirm if the licence is valid by searching for them on FCAA411. If they work for a company, check their registration status.

If you’re looking for a licensed and certified contractor, post your project for free and we will match you up with reputable and certified contractors we have already verified for you. Get a few quotes, compare the home professionals and make a hire! It’s that easy. If you’re looking to find some sweet deals, you have to check out our online marketplace. There is something for everyone.

Happy Hiring!