As featured in Holmes on Homes Magazine
A Kelowna, B.C., renovation ends with a brand new outlook.
Text by Marissa Stapley–Ponikowski
SEP 11, 2010 13:02 EDT
The Corbin family—Ann, Serge, and their son, Antoine, 18—moved from Quebec to Saskatchewan in 2005 in pursuit of their son’s hockey aspirations. When Antoine was drafted to the Kelowna Rockets, a junior team in the Western Hockey League (WHL), in 2007, the family relocated one more time, ready to settle in a place that truly felt like home.
The Corbins knew the two–storey, two–bedroom detached home in Kelowna’s Manhattan Point neighbourhood, nestled on the shores of Lake Okanagan, needed work—it was sectioned into tenant units, and had very little curb appeal—but they decided to buy it in the hope that they could shape it into the home of their dreams.
The family had a vision for their new home, and part of that vision included new windows and doors that would brighten the interior and offer a better view of the lake.
The Corbins set out to find a contractor who could turn their vision into a reality, and were introduced to David Scott of DJS Contracting at a local hardware store. He came highly recommended by the staff in the store, who knew him from the installations he had done for their clients.
Scott also proved himself knowledgeable when he met with the couple that evening. “That same night, David quoted us our window installation price,” says Ann. “When we saw how involved he was, we knew he was a good person to do business with.” [They got lucky. Holmes magazine recommends talking to and researching several contractors.]
Before any work was done, all plans were submitted to the City of Kelowna for approval. Building, plumbing, electrical and HVAC permits were required for the project. A structural engineer from the City of Kelowna monitored the project. Scott also brought in a licensed electrician.
The Corbin family chose double–glazed, low–E casement and single–hung windows, says Scott, who recommended Jeld–Wen windows and doors for the family. “They’re high–quality, last long, and provide excellent value,” says Scott. “They’re energy–efficient, keep out sound better than other windows, and are sturdy. When you work with them, you can feel the quality.” The windows are also virtually maintenance–free because they’re made of extruded vinyl that resists fading, chipping and peeling, and never needs to be painted.
Door to Happiness
The Corbins wanted a low–maintenance front entry door that was wide enough for Antoine to pass through with his hockey equipment without damaging it. They chose a custom handmade wood door painted with a commercial–grade resin system, which resists chalking and fading, and a maintenance–free aluminum–clad door frame. At $10,000, their front door was a splurge, but the Corbins saw it as an investment in the look of their home. “Our front door is the jewellery of the home,” says Ann.
Wall to Wall
The project didn’t just include windows and doors, but also encompassed an entire renovation of both floors, and work on the garage.
The tenant suite was on the main level, and upstairs there were two bedrooms, a dining room and a kitchen, so the Corbins lived upstairs during the downstairs demolition process. “Even when the renovations started we didn’t move out,” says Ann. “It was challenging, but we made it work.”
“We started last November, and worked into the winter months,” says Scott. “There was always the issue of keeping the family warm. We pretty much changed the size and location of every window in the house.”
The back wall of the Corbin home faces the lake, and required so many windows to be replaced and moved that it had to be removed completely. “They wanted more light, more window and more glass, plus eight–foot doors, to take advantage of the backyard view. So we had no choice but to take the entire wall out and rebuild the whole back wall over both floors,” says Scott.
This meant that Scott’s team had to brace the floors all the way into the crawl space to keep all the floors steady so that the structure would not be compromised. Scott and his team built a temporary support wall out of two–by–sixes, about four feet from the original wall, spanning both floors. “With the temporary wall in place, and everything braced back at three or four feet, we could take the windows and doors out, pull out headers and remove the entire wall safely,” says Scott. When the wall was rebuilt, his team took out the temporary wall.
“We had to support the entire floor system for the second floor of the house,” says Scott. “We took careful measuments of the existing ceiling heights and used a construction laser so that when we put the new wall back together, the floor joists and wall would be in the exact same spot. It was a challenge, but we met it.”
The new wall was built and double cripples were added under each side of each header. LVL– (laminated veneer lumber) engineered beams were used instead of two–by–tens. Scott felt this would add more strength at a minor cost difference, giving the homeowners peace of mind that the structure was not only sufficient, but stronger than it had to be. The existing concrete footings and foundation of the house were determined to be adequate and didn’t need to be reinforced.
Six–by–six posts were used to support the weight of the new decks and the low–slope roof. “The architect called for two–by–eight joists for the floor of the decks,” says Scott. “But to make sure there would never be an issue, we used two–by–ten joists at 16 inches on centre instead. We also increased the size of the footings from two–by–two feet to four–by–four feet, just to make sure the decks stay where they’re supposed to.”
The front–door installation also required a portion of the wall to be removed, because the new door was much taller and larger than the old one. “The same process applied,” says Scott. “We built a temporary wall just to hold the second floor joists and side walls in place while the front wall was being worked on.”
Although this project ran smoothly for Scott, other window and door projects have been complicated by existing walls that had been improperly built.
“Sometimes the walls haven’t been built to code, or may be unsafe, or you may find mould or water damage, and walls have to be taken out,” says Scott. “You don’t always know what you’re getting into when you open up a wall, but the last thing I want is to have to tell the homeowner that we have to increase the price because something is wrong inside the walls. It’s important to be proactive by looking for potential problems before work begins and make sure the homeowners are on the same page.”
Once Scott and his team have removed windows, they inspect the openings to make sure there is no damage and that framing, insulation and sheathing are in good shape, and replace materials or rebuild as needed. “We also cover the opening in Tyvek building wrap and use Tuck Tape on all joints to protect the wall from the elements,” he says.
“We also installed metal drip–cap flashing over all the windows,” adds Scott. Flashing is important because when properly installed, it ensures that rainwater runs off the window and not in behind it, which causes mould and moisture damage. “In addition, all the windows have exterior caulking for extra protection against water and air penetration,” says Scott.
Once the railings are built for the lower and upper decks, the Corbins can enjoy their dream home and its view as they follow their son’s NHL dream. “We are very, very happy,” says Ann. “The view of the lake and mountains is amazing. We wanted a lot of sun in our house, and that’s what we got.”