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Alu-Rex T-Rex Continuous Hanger Gutters

Alu-Rex Eaves

Everyone knows that eaves are essential to any home’s exterior, but many people don’t really understand their purpose, or why they’re so important! It’s key to know what role your eaves and eaves trough systems play, because they could be the difference between a rainy day and true disaster!

Put simply, eaves protect your home from water damage. When rain falls on your roof, it’s your eaves that safely funnel the water away from the home. Without them, that rainwater would pool on your roof or around your foundation and seep into your home. Depending on where the water seeps in, you may not even notice a problem until wood rots and mould forms. Needless to say, your eaves play an important role in saving a lot of money on maintenance; especially with the wild weather we experience in Ontario! That’s why it’s important to make sure your eaves are made of the right materials, installed properly, and well-maintained.

So what are the signs that your eaves troughs needs changing? If you see water collecting in areas of your gutters, it’s a strong indication that your eaves aren’t flowing properly, which could mean seepage. A lot of rust collecting on the gutter edges or near the bolts is also a bad sign. Not only does this mean the water isn’t flowing out properly, but it could mean that enough rain, wind or snow could pull them right off the side of your home! Even worse, you could see water flowing in the wrong direction if your troughs can’t handle the volume! If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to make a change before things take a turn for the wetter.

We didn’t mean to scare you; water damage can be a very scary subject for any home owner, especially if you don’t know what to do to prevent it! We always recommend Alu-Rex Pro Series gutters. These eaves troughs are truly top-of-the-line technology. Alu-Rex gutters are covered with a fine mesh, which keeps leaves and debris from collecting! That means no more scooping out gunk and leaves, or risking of an overflow due to blockage. Alu-Rex makes their eaves out of high-grade aluminum for maximum strength and durability. Combine all of that with quality installation work, and you’ve got visually-appealing, maintenance-free eaves to enjoy all year!

Eaves trough maintenance is important, but we understand it’s no one’s favourite activity. So if you want to have strong eaves that need very little maintenance, just call in the Home Team! We handle quality eavestroughing installations regularly, which is why we guarantee our work 100 percent. Make things easy on yourself, and give us a call before any problems arise. When the rains start falling hard, or the snow is melting off your roof, you won’t have to give your eaves a second thought. That kind of peace of mind is always worthwhile!

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Longboard Siding

Longboard® Aluminum Siding and Soffit

The siding and soffit of your home play an integral role in protecting it from the elements and improving the look and beauty of your home. Siding comes in a variety of styles and substrates such as solid wood, wood composite, vinyl, fibre cement, and aluminum. In this blog, we’re going to talk about the benefits and advantages of using aluminum siding and soffits, specifically Longboard® Cladding.

If it’s time to replace or re-do the siding of your home or business, and you’re looking for the richness of natural wood without the burden of regular maintenance, then take a look at Longboard® Cladding. Longboard® is manufactured with architectural grade, anodized aluminum that has a high performance powder coat finish; making it one of most durable exterior siding products on the market.  Homeowners, builders and commercial contractors are now using Longboard® on a wide variety of projects. The great thing about Longboard is it can be used as a siding application, a soffit system, or a privacy fence.  Besides being durable and maintenance free, another advantage of Longboard® Cladding is the lengths the siding planks come in. You can cover an entire wall, up to 24 feet in length, without having any joins or transition trims. Plus, you can have the natural looking beauty of over 20 wood grain species and more than 60 solid colour options. It not only looks amazing, is durable and maintenance free, but Longboard® Cladding will help in safeguarding your house from rodents and pests. All and all if you’re looking for an everlasting, maintenance free wood siding product Longboard®  is the only choice on the market. To better understand the beauty and quality of Longboard® Cladding, visit one of our village-style showrooms and inspect the siding close-up. Touch it, see it installed and let one of our Home Team experts help you make the choice of siding that is best for your needs.

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Hunter Douglas Blinds and Shutters

Shutters and Blinds: Dressing Your Windows

Window dressing is a tricky thing to get right. Before you begin it’s wise to seek professional advice. If you’re planning to make an investment in dressing or re-dressing your windows, it’s worth spending some time with someone who does this sort of thing on a regular basis.

Windows come in all different shapes, sizes and finishes so it’s important to pick a window dressing style and design to suit both your window and your decor. The right window treatments can also contribute to reducing energy costs and help significantly improve insulation in your house. As much as 25% of your home’s heating or cooling energy can be lost through the windows, which is why it is important to make sure they are energy efficient. While all window treatments will offer insulation, some types are more effective than others. Here’s a brief walk through some of the most up-to-date options:

Shutter Style and Sophistication

Considered one of the largest investments in window treatments, shutters can be customized to your needs and taste, thus be the most desirable option for some homeowners.  Shutter slats can be adjusted to let in the amount of light you want, or made of solid panels that will offer ultimate privacy. Shutters are constructed so that they can be either open or closed. Shutters can also be painted in many different colors that will make them either a stand-out décor accent or blend them perfectly in to your room décor. These are very durable window treatments, and very easy to clean and maintain.

Shades of Today

The two most popular styles of shades are cellular shades and roller shades.  Cellular shades are hard window treatments with a honeycomb design to keep the heat in, cold out and are considered to be the best aid in saving on heating and cooling expenses. Cellular shades work amazingly. They are constructed so that you can move the top down and bottom up, offering a high level of privacy while giving light a way in. With their rise in popularity, cellular shades are now offered in a large variety of colours, designs and finishes.

Roller shades can be a good choice for those bathrooms where the windows are situated behind the tub. They are easy to install and easy to manipulate. Perforated roller shades will allow enough light in while offering privacy at the same time. Perforated roller shades are popular choices for living rooms, dining rooms, and sunrooms as they protect furnishings and artwork while illuminating your living space.

Blinds: Darkness or Diffused Light

Blinds come in many different shapes and styles. Wider slats and vanes are most popular today. Natural wood blinds are very appealing to the eye. They are offered in different shades of natural wood, which is perfect for complementing interior window trim or furniture. You can also find blinds made of more sustainable materials like bamboo.

If you chose blinds for your windows, consider the level of privacy they offer and how much light you want in your room. Not all blinds will completely block out light. In your bedroom, for example, room darkening may be more important but in the kitchen you may only want to decrease the sun’s heat yet enjoy more natural light.

Today’s window coverings offer the perfect match for every treatment need, from casement to double hung, bay and bow windows and there are even coverings made specifically for door sidelights and patio and garden doors.

So get started on the right foot – get some advice from a professional to make sure the treatments you want to add will blend in smoothly and flawlessly into your home’s decor, fit your windows and doors correctly and have the desired aesthetic effect.

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10 “Beauty” Thoughts on Sunrooms

Whether you’ve created your own backyard oasis of beauty or you simply want to better enjoy the spectacular beauty of your natural surroundings, finding a way to comfortably enjoy the outdoors, no matter what the weather is doing, only makes perfect sense. One of the best ways to bring nature into daily focus is to add a sunroom to your home. Here are 10 “Beauty” reasons why a sunroom has added value and appeal:

  • Sunrooms allow you to enjoy the serenity, energy, and beauty of nature 365 days a year no matter what climate you live in.
  • Sunrooms bring in a pleasing outdoor living space, all year round, while keeping the icy blasts, pouring rain, blistering heat and bugs, outside.
  • Sunrooms fill your home with natural light, which enhances the physical and emotional well-being of people. Through long, grey winters, four-season sunrooms can effectively offset several symptoms of SAD. Increasing our exposure to light during the colder months can help stabilize our moods and increase energy.
  • Sunrooms act as a veil between the outdoors and indoors, making them perfect hosts to all sorts of greenery and foliage. The natural sunlight filtering through the windows coupled with access to your home’s heating and air conditioning creates optimal growing conditions for most plants year-round.
  • Sunroom additions draw a crowd: folks are naturally drawn to the open, airiness and light of a sunroom whether it’s to read, drink morning coffee, chat with friends, or even star gaze at night. Sunrooms often replace the kitchen, as the most popular space in the house.
  • Sunrooms make the best home-offices. A desk, chair, and a Wi-Fi connection and you’re telecommuting in a truly motivational space. Imagine how much more productive your work day could be, surrounded by the beauty and richness of nature. More awe and wonder and way less stress.
  • Sunrooms can easily become a relaxing spa retreat. Many folks add hot or cool water massage tubs to their four-season rooms. Often you’ll find sauna rooms and massage chairs. These rooms offer excellent ambience for meditation and yoga and have even been described as the “spiritual centre” of the home.
  • Sunrooms with glass-encased ceilings provide an endless source of entertainment with an extraordinary view of the starry night sky. Budding astronomer or sleep-over party, a star filled sky time beats screen-time hands down and offers a chance for the family to reconnect.
  • Sunrooms can be installed for you, or customized and purchased in a kit for the experienced DIYer. So, whether you choose to have it installed by the pros or make it a summer project, your renovation experience will give you lots to think about.
  • Sunrooms are much more energy efficient now. Using ENERGY STAR qualified windows, retractable external awnings, tinting the glass, connecting to your home’s HVAC system, adding a ceiling fan, and ensuring all covered areas of the room are well insulated, you truly can control heat and cold in your new room.

Whatever your reason, adding a sunroom to your home will not only increase your living space, it will also increase the appeal and value of your home.

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ShadeFX Awning

Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Frying: Awning Up!

Does the hot sun keep you from enjoying your favourite summer spot around the house? Are you tired of drying the patio furniture on your deck after a passing shower?  The solution maybe to install a retractable awning.

Retractable awnings are basically a metal framework covered with shade fabric. The framework can be installed directly on the side of your house, inside of a sunroom, and some of the new free-standing retractable awning systems work very well inside existing pergola structures. Some models have diagonal support arms, others have hidden “lateral” arms and more modern styles offer vertical and horizontal tracking systems. You can open and retract the awning either manually with a hand crank, with a motorized system or choose an automated system that opens and closes when stimulated by wind, rain or sun.

Retractable awnings can provide instant shade when you want it or quickly roll away when you don’t need them. You don’t have to take them apart or remove them in the winter months; just cover them and wait until spring. Many models offer vertical screens that you can attach to the extended awning to block the sun when it’s low in the sky, while others have insect screening you can attach to keep out unwanted pests.

More elaborate retractable awnings offer wind sensors that automatically retract your awnings so strong winds do not damage the awning framework. And nearly all motorized retractable awning manufacturers now offer remote controls so extending and retracting your awning is a one click process.

Simple, outdoor retractable awnings can be installed on any type of siding. The brackets must be mounted to framing members to support the weight of the awning. You’ll need to make certain you have the appropriate clearance between your deck or patio and the eave, gutter or overhang (usually a minimum of about 7 ft.).  And be sure to consider the clearance you’ll need from light fixtures and electrical outlets. More elaborate indoor and free-standing awnings systems are best installed by your contractor. In fact, we don’t recommend installation as a do-it-yourself project, as the awnings are too heavy to set in place by yourself and correct installation is critical for hassle-free usage.

Awnings can be custom made to match any indoor or outdoor decor. If you can imagine a colour or pattern, it can be created in an awning. Popular choices are primary colours with contrasting stripes (think 1970s beach umbrella). More modern looks are offered in subtle earth tones and, most recently, sheer materials are being used to diffuse the sun’s harsh rays while allowing the light in.

When you open up to retractable awnings in your living space, you’ll find yourself spending more time enjoying the outdoors and less time worrying about the weather.

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TimberTech Decking

Natural or Man-Made: That is The Deck Question

Spring time fires-up our desire to “get outside” and for most folks in this neck of the woods, that means hitting the deck. If you’re planning to build a new deck or re-do the deck you have, you’ve likely asked the question: which is best – composite or wood? Well, since all decks are built on a structure of treated lumber, all you really need to consider is what you’ll use for the deck surface and railings. Natural or man-made?


Pressure-treated lumber is pine that has been chemically conditioned to resist the elements and fungus. It is the most commonly used decking material for homes as it is the cheapest option. Some homeowners prefer woods, like redwood and cedar, that don’t have to be treated with chemicals. Tropical hardwoods are also being used for decking, like Ipe, Brazilian cherry, tigerwood and cumaru. These chemical-free woods provide better durability and natural resistance to rotting but can cost twice to three times as much as pressure treated lumber. The majority of decks built today are surfaced in wood. The main reason people choose wood is for the initial cost savings.

Things to consider: Wood decks require more maintenance.  To keep your wood deck in good repair it will need to be stained or weather-sealed every two years. About 6 years in you’ll need to replace some boards, strip and sand it then re-stain or weather-coat it again. Even if you have completed all of this maintenance you’ll likely need to replace your wood decking and railings around year 11-12. Since wood is natural, no matter how you treat it, it has the natural tendency to decompose. So factor that into your decision as well. Is the investment and labour worth about 12 years of enjoyment?


The most popular man-made deck surfacing materials are composites, but wood/plastic blends, aluminum and synthetics mixed with mineral compounds are also becoming popular. These decking products come from manufacturers such as TimberTech, Fiberon, Lumberock and our own Van Dolder’s Aluminum decking.  The main reasons people choose man-made deck material are: low maintenance requirements, wide variety of colours and surface coatings, splinter-free safety for bare foot summer enjoyment, and ability to withstand even the harshest climates without warping or cracking.

Things to consider: Most homebuilding companies will recommend man-made decking material. The upfront cost is much higher than pressure-treated lumber surfacing and about the same as the cost of rare tropical hardwoods. Man-Made decking and railings look great for many years (20 + years), they increase the resale value of your home and require little to no maintenance. Most man-made decking is waterproof and extreme weather changes have little impact on it. It’s the best choice for busy families who have little time for maintenance and is as easy to clean as the floors in your home.

Natural or Man-made? You need to decide for yourself what fits best for your home and situation. The best way to do that is to talk with a knowledgeable deck building professional that can ask you the right questions and help you make the best decision.  Just be honest with yourself from the start about whether you’re going to do the maintenance yourself.

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Gentek Siding

Choosing Your Siding: What’s Right for You?

Selecting your siding is one of the most important reno or new building decision you’ll make. What goes on the outside of your house defends your home against the elements and it’s a very important part of the wall assembly. It’s also the first thing that people see from the curb, so it’s vital to your home’s overall aesthetics.

Siding is offered in a wide variety of options that include vinyl, fibre cement, cellular PVC, manufactured stone veneer, aluminum, stainless steel, composites and more. But how can you know which one is right for your house, climate, sun and wind exposure? Here’s a short description on the top 4 siding products used in this neck of the woods.


Vinyl siding blends cost-efficiency with looks, ease of installation, and durability. For the 20th straight year, according to the most recent US and Canadian Home Building Census Reports, “Vinyl siding was the predominant exterior wall material. 60 percent of new homes built were either full clad or used vinyl siding on a portion of the home.”

Builders love vinyl siding because it’s affordable and offers a variety of options and accessories. Subcontractors like it because it’s easy to install. Homeowners choose it because it’s affordable, requires little maintenance, and seemingly lasts forever. Vinyl siding now comes in bolder colours, more profiles, and with UV protection for increased durability. It’s even available as an insulated product for added energy efficiency, and some manufacturers offer products that mimic cedar shakes and board-and-batten siding. Accents and decorative trim enhancements are some of the biggest trends.

Fibre Cement

Fibre cement siding can be designed to mimic brick and other exterior masonry products or it can have the appearance of wood. It cuts, nails and goes on the home just like wood clapboard yet it is fire and insect-proof, it’s strong and will not twist, warp or rot. In addition, it is much easier to maintain than wood siding. You can also get it pre-painted so that it is finished when it goes up. In areas where the summer is very hot, fibre cement siding both reflects and diffuses heat, keeping your home cooler.

Wood Composite

Wood composite siding is made from wood fillers, glue and other fillers. Moulded into clapboard form and, like cement siding, wood composite siding is textured like real wood and can be painted. This siding needs to be installed by installers who understand the product and have been trained to sealed the ends, or moisture may produce swelling at the joints. It also requires proper surface maintenance. Otherwise it is very cost-effective, easy to use, and comes in a variety of colours.


The grand-father of siding, aluminum has been around a lot longer than vinyl as an exterior product. It is prone to denting which is why it is mainly used on the second story rather than down low where it is vulnerable. It offers a greater variety of colours, holds its colour and finish longer than vinyl, and is not as sensitive to heat and cold. It can also be painted, making your job easier if you decide to change the colour of your home. Aluminum siding should be installed by a siding contractor but a skilled layman can do it.

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Van Dolder's Installation Day

6 Tips For An Awesome Installation Day

Congratulations! You have just booked Van Dolder’s Customer Exteriors Home Team to make your home even more beautiful and energy efficient. Whether you chose replacement windows or doors to reduce high energy bills, increase your home’s value, or improve the curb appeal, your decision has just gained you all three benefits.  So, have you thought about the day the Home Team comes to install? You’ll likely feel better about the whole process if you take some time to prepare. Here are 6 tips to help you feel at ease and help your Home Team Installers be as efficient as possible.

Tip # 1: Clear the Way

Since the first step of the replacement process is “removing what’s old”, it is best that you move everything you are able to move on your own, away from the work area. If the items are too large for you to move on your own, your Home Team installer is always happy to lend a hand. Inside, move furniture away from window and door openings so your Home Team installers have some room to move around. Items outside your home should be cleared out of the way as well. Lighting and irrigation drip lines, lawn furniture, BBQs and any other movable equipment should be disconnected and removed from the work area.

Tip # 2: Take it Down

In addition to moving furniture, you should remove all window treatments. This means that you will need to take down your blinds, shutters, sheers and curtains. Talk to your Home Team Installer, but typically you will need to remove the treatments only. The hardware can often stay where it is. You will also need to remove wall art, decorations and items such as bird feeders near the work area inside and outside. Your installers will be moving around and might accidentally knock something down. Also, removal and installation can jostle your walls, knocking items loose. It’s best to take a little time before the Home Team arrives to remove these objects and store them somewhere safe.

Tip # 3: Cover it Up

Replacing windows and doors is only a momentary mess and exposure time is kept to a bare minimum, but it’s always wise to take the time to cover up what matters.  Your Home Team installers will put down drop cloths, keep their work area neat and tidy, and clean up when they leave. However, you can ensure that special items near the work site stay clean by covering furniture or areas nearest to the work site. Talk to your Home Team installer before taking this step, they have great ideas.

Tip # 4: Open it Up

If you will not be home on your installation day, be sure to make arrangements with your Home Team installer so they can gain access to your home in your absence.

Tip # 5: Peaceful Pets

New faces, smells and loud sounds can be stressful to some family pets while others are so ultra-friendly they are often excited to join in the fun. It’s safest for your Home Team installers and your feathered or four legged friends, to find your pets a quiet place to hang out, away from the activity, during your installation time. If they are to be on-leash outside, please ensure they are far enough away from the installation site that they are not affected by the flying debris from screws, nails or glass from window replacement.

Tip # 6: Toss it, Recycle or Re-Use

What to do with your old windows or doors: you can arrange to have them removed, picked up by Not-For-Profit agencies, drop them off at The Re-Store, have your Home Team installers take them away, or simply re-use them. Today’s hottest trend is to make garden decorations and small greenhouses from old windows and doors. You’ll find great ideas via Google or on Pintrest.

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Energy Saving Windows & Doors

New Windows & Doors Equals Energy Saving

Giving your home a new look and feel, by replacing the windows and doors with Energy Efficient models, is pretty much the smartest investment you can make. Yes, it increases your homes’ curb appeal and resale value but more importantly, it can increase your quality of life. Today’s Energy Star rated replacement windows and doors offer better security, improved control of home-cooling, and such a substantial decrease in heat-loss that installing new windows and doors can dramatically change home heating costs.

What is the Energy Star mark all about?

Energy Star is an international standard for energy efficient products.

ENERGY STAR is the trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency that was established to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy, and to make it easy to identify and purchase energy-efficient home products that offer savings on energy bills.

How Windows and Doors make the mark?

Windows and doors are a major source of heat loss in Canadian homes. Installing new windows and doors that qualify for the ENERGY STAR mark will reduce your energy consumption and save you money. ENERGY STAR products have been independently tested and certified to be among the most energy-efficient on the market.

What else will ENERGY STAR rated windows and doors do for you:

  • increase your comfort by reducing drafts
  • cut down noise levels from outside the home
  • control condensation and allow your windows to stay warmer
  • alleviate premature deterioration and maintenance costs
  • allow fewer ultraviolet rays to pass through glazed areas
  • better protect your valuables from sun damage
  • decrease home cooling costs in the summer months
  • make the planet a healthier place for the next generation

How much money can you expect to save?

By minimizing air leakage and improving thermal performance, Energy efficient windows can reduce heat loss through windows by up to 50 per cent and reduce your energy bills. Here’s an example provided by the Siding and Window Dealers Association of Canada:

 “On average it costs Canadian homeowners approximately $1200.00 per year to heat a home. Of that, industry standards indicate that about 25 per cent or $300.00 is due to heat loss through windows, if the windows are standard double paned units. By replacing drafty, old windows with energy efficient windows like Energy Star Approved units, a homeowner can save almost 60 per cent of their energy costs, or $180.00 a year.”

Your home energy costs may be higher or lower, but the percentages of savings still remain valid and substantial over the life of your home. Keep in mind that there are many other ways to add to your home’s energy efficiency and make your home more comfortable. Ask a Van Dolder’s Home Team member about more ways to save.

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