We (at Ruppert Contracting) have been working with clients on their mostly residential projects for the past 16 years. Since my background is European and I am familiar with the typical European home construction, knowing the North-American stick frame systems I wanted to find something better. This is what led me to the ICF (Insulated Concrete Form) products. I was excited to learn that ICF is a better alternative to the traditional stick frame exterior walls, possibly even better than the wall systems that are being commonly used in Europe.
To understand where my excitement came from, let me tell you a bit more about the ICF system:
The Insulated Concrete Form is specially produced EPS/expanded polystyrene foam that look like a giant LEGO block and its two sides are connected with plastic webs. When it comes to assembling the exterior walls on site, the blocks are placed on top of each other by very easy physical labour and reinforcing bars are inserted onto the plastic webs. These bars will later become part of the reinforced concrete. Once the perimeter walls blocks are up and properly supported (so they are plumb), as well as window and door opening are created, workers place concrete into them. This is the most critical point of the ICF construction, as the concrete placement has to be done properly (a knowledgeable person shall monitor the right amount of material flowing into all necessary cavities).
As soon as the concrete is poured the mass of the new wall can be noticed if you are to touch it or lean against it - while the EPS foam will reflect your body heat, even the fresh concrete behind it will provide a very sturdy feel.
What you are gaining with ICF is the following:
- a great deal of thermo mass due to the density of the concrete(this will retain the heat it receives through heating and keep reflecting it once the heating source is turned off)
- a very quiet home - the ICF wall structure is very sound proof
- basically an earth quake-proof structure (like the high-rise buildings, an ICF building's structure is made out of reinforced concrete; therefore, their resistance against earth quakes or vehicle impacts is greater than even the resistance of the European homes that are constructed mostly with ceramic building block and can crack under stress)
- fireproof - the structure will not get compromised in case of fire
- water resistant - even if leaks or floods would happen, they would not compromise the structural integrity of the home. After drying and perhaps some cosmetics, the building can be used again.
- draft free and well insulated environment - I already mentioned the thermo mass, that will help retaining the inside temperature. However, thanks to the ICF walls' great thermal insulation, the heating or cooling costs are significantly lower, too. Since there is a continuous insulation, there will be now thermo-bridging, hence no drafts and cold spots.
I could go on and on about the advantage of this product, because I am a big fan of it as I am of all the better building materials. This being said, I would like to make it clear, that we do not produce and/or sell ICF blocks, we are only the end users - people who build them into their client's homes.
However, this relentless search for the better solutions helps us maintain a high standard when it comes to any parts of the home construction. We have a similar approach to a home renovation, basement finish or an interior remodelling. This is how we like it, this is what is normal for us. We do not expect our clients to see it in any other way either.
To learn more about our services and get your next project started please call or contact me here.
Zoltan Ruppert | RUPPERT contracting ltd.
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A few years ago, I moved into a brand new house here in Whitby. One of the reasons for the move was to find a good neighbourhood where there were plenty of children. We struck the motherlode. Between my house, my neighbours to the left, and the 2 houses behind us, there were 11 children.
While we never actually spoke about it, no one put up a fence. We simply cut the grass to where we thought our lot ended plus one more foot. It was like a park back there. Children's games crossed over from our yard to the next without impediment. To the kids, the entire area was their back yard. Touch football, whiffle ball, snow forts and snow men all shared the communal yard.Even the adults took advantage of the open space. We had block barbeques and fireworks. One year, somehow I was put in charge of lighting the fireworks and I still have nightmares of the "incident". All my neighbours were lined up on their lawn chairs, all comfortably wrapped in blankets and sweaters. The children were huddled on the ground in anticipation. I had a wheelbarrow full of dirt to stick the fireworks in before lighting. Well, it seems some of the bigger fireworks are quite powerful and one fell over and aimed itself toward the crowd. In a matter of seconds, the rockets were raining on them at about the 6 foot level, the crowd was diving for cover and there were screams of terror as the fireballs went over their heads. Fortunately, no one actually got hit but it was the talk of every gathering after that and I was never asked to light the fireworks again.
All good things must come to an end. One of the neighbours decided to get a pool; another a dog. Fences were now a must. A fence builder was called, prices obtained and we all shared in the cost of the fences that defined our lots. It was simple.However, it is not always like that. Some people can't agree on what day it is let alone what kind of fence to put up, who should do it, and what it should cost. It is a delicate subject that requires negotiation and sometimes, compromise. I get calls about this every few months. While there is legislation in Ontario that can require a homeowner to contribute to the cost of a party fence, it is limited to the least expensive fence which is likely a 3 foot high chain link. This is not the fence of choice these days as most people want privacy as well as property definition. The municipality will appoint a "fence-viewer" to determine where the fence should go if asked.
The best advice I can give you is talk to your neighbour and keep talking until something is agreeable to you both. The courts and lawyers are available but are expensive and often result in a permanent falling out with the neighbour, no matter what the outcome. If worst comes to worst, simply build your fence entirely on your property and never mention it again. Your stress level will go down and you will live longer.Brian McMurter is a life-long Durham resident who practices real estate and wills & estate law in Whitby. His website is www.mcmurter.com .
|Posted in: Latest News|
You probably have heard that there are changes to the mortgage rules that take effect January 1, 2018. Though, you might be confused on how these changes impact you. The most noticeable impact will be when you want to refinance your mortgage.
Starting January 1, 2018, when you decide that you want to refinance your mortgage you will have to qualify at a much higher interest rate. This higher qualifying rate, referred to as a stress test, is the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada (currently 4.99%) OR the lender contractual mortgage rate plus 2.0%.
Let's look at an example and compare refinancing now versa refinancing after January 1, 2018:
Bob and Mary have a $450,000 mortgage which they want to refinance and pay off some high-interest credit card debt of $45,000. Their house is worth $850,000, and their household income is $90,000.
In this example, after January 1, 2018, Bob and Mary will only qualify for a $420,000 mortgage amount. They will not be able to pay off their high-interest credit card debt by refinancing. They have a lot of equity in their home, but cannot access it through traditional lending. They will need to look for alternative means to access the equity.
It is essential for Bob and Mary to take advantage of this refinancing window now such that they can pay off their credit card debt and secure a new mortgage.
Are you thinking about refinancing your mortgage? Get your questions answered and start a conversation with Sean today.
Sean Stewart, Mortgage Agent
|Posted in: Latest News|
Bloomtools Durham and the DNA members are excited to launch the brand new website of the Durham Networking Association.The Durham Networking Association (DNA) was founded in 2007 as an alternative to the high pressure networking groups that want head tables, attendance reports with regular referral slips and mandatory weekly meeting rules.
The focus of the group is about business and community. We each represent a specific business category and meet twice per month, over lunch. No pressure for weekly referrals, filling guest quotas or paying fines. The group is about getting to know each other, doing business and referrals naturally follows. We are proud to say that many of the original Members are still Members today. Durham Networking is owned by its Members and we are not for profit. The Executive is formed to handle the business of DNA in the community.We're all about relationships, long term. If your business is looking to join a group like this please contact us and come out to one of our events.
Bloomtools Durham has been a member of the Durham Networking Association since November 2016. We are very excited about launching this new website and being able to promote the DNA and its members online.
The website, www.durhamnetworkingassociation.ca , features:
1. Member Directory where you can learn about each one of the members;2. Member Profiles with each members information in detail;
3. Custom Contact Forms where you can contact each member individually for their services;4. Information on our Networking events; and
5. Become a Member section highlighting all the open member categories.
To learn more about the Durham Networking Association or to come out to one of our events contact us today!
Web and Marketing Consultant
|Posted in: Latest News|