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Sherry Donovan's Blog!


Is it worth it to Renovate?

When it comes to renovating your home there are a number of questions homeowners ask themselves before they begin. A few of these include whether or not it is actually worth it to renovate. Another question that is frequently asked is whether or not all of the disruptions the renovation will create are actually worth it for the family. The question that crosses many people’s minds is whether or not it is worth it to do the renovations themselves, or to hire a professional renovator.

All very valid questions in the decision making process and can mean a great deal toward the difference between a positive renovation experience or one in which you would rather forget about.

The whole idea of whether or not it is worth it to renovate should be looked at in depth by the homeowners in terms of the work that is needed. What renovations are you considering? Will you be staying in your home for many years? Does your home meet the size requirements for your family? Are you satisfied with the location of your home, the neighbourhood you live in, the amenities that are around your home, the schools, etc.? How is your health and those living in the home – and if this is a concern, can the home be adapted to meet any changing health requirements? If you are satisfied with your home and feel that it meets your family’s needs, but that it just needs some changes, renovating may be the best option instead of selling the existing home relocating to a new home.

If the decision is that renovations are the best answer, the next step is to understand and prepare for what the renovations will mean to your lifestyle while they are taking place. Without a doubt, when it comes to renovations, the whole goal is to make changes and with that comes some form of disruption. It is important for homeowners to prepare for this and make sure there is a good understanding of what this will mean for the family. Every renovation is different, but you want to make sure guidelines are set before the renovation begins to ensure people working in your home have a clear understanding about smoking areas, use of bathroom facilities, daily cleanup, etc. As I mentioned, renovations do cause disruptions in your day-to-day lives while they are taking place, but being prepared is key.

When it comes to whether or not you should hire a professional or do the work yourself you need to consider the scope of the project. If the renovation includes just minor repairs you can probably do this without much difficulty. If the renovation is of a larger scale you will want to hire a professional. Remember, professionals have the experience to make sure the renovation is done correctly and they will have liability insurance and workers’ compensation coverage to ensure everyone is protected. You will also want to consider the amount of time it will take you to complete the renovation versus the length of time it will take a professional who has the expertise and proper equipment. And remember - get it in writing.

For more information on your renovation planning, visit the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association’s website at


Summer Renovation Tips 

Although our July has been a great one, there has been a smattering of rain here and there, and it is always good to take the time while the weather is nice to do some house maintenance.

“Taking the time to do house maintenance on a regular basis can save you a time and money in the long run,” says Paul Pettipas, chief executive officer of the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association (NSHBA). “It may seem tedious at the time, but in the end, you’ll be glad you took the time to do the small repairs and maintenance work.”

Some suggested maintenance tips include:

Check your eavestroughs. This should be done several times during the year as well. If you let debris and leaves fill up the eavestroughs, there is a potential for leaks and water damage.

Check your attic for signs of water. If there are signs of water damage in the attic, it is important to find the source and have it fixed immediately. The longer the leak is left, the larger the potential is for interior damage to occur which can result in mould.

Check the humidity levels in the home. This is especially important with wet weather. You do not want to turn off your heat recovery ventilator (HRV – also known as an air exchanger). If you have an older home that does not have an HRV you will want to invest in an energy efficient dehumidifier. This will reduce moisture levels in your home, which can be a challenge in wet and humid weather.

Check for water that pools outside of the home. If there is substantial water pooling around the foundation of your home you should consider additional drainage to draw the water away from the home. Reducing the potential for water to enter your home is a much better option than trying to remove it once it makes its way insider your foundation.

These are just a few simple inexpensive tips you can do to protect your home and help sustain it through all of the seasons for years to come. For more information on home renovations or new home construction visit the NSHBA website at or phone 450-5554.


Indoor Air Quality for your Home

Indoor air quality may not be something you have given much thought about, however, for those living with asthma, breathing challenges or sensitivities, this is something that is thought about every day. When it comes to your home, where you spend a great portion of every day, you want to make sure the quality of the air you are breathing is healthy and not harming your health.

If you are building or renovating your home, this is an area you want to give some consideration to during the decision making process. There are a number of factors that contribute to poor indoor air quality within a home, one main factor being moisture, which can lead to mould growth which can be extremely harmful to your health. The kitchen and bathroom areas of a home are susceptible to mould growth if they are not properly ventilated. The installation of proper exhaust fans can help to eliminate mould growth in these areas of the home.

If your home has a heat recovery ventilator - HRV (also referred to as an air exchanger) system already installed, you want to make sure it is in proper working condition and well maintained throughout the year. This includes having the filters cleaned regularly. If you do not have an HRV, having one installed can increase the quality of the home’s indoor air quality by removing the stale air from the home and replacing it with fresh, pre-heated air and by reducing a home’s moisture and dampness.

Another factor to consider in regards to the indoor air quality of a home is the products you choose for your home, such as flooring, paint, cabinets, etc. You want to ask for products that have minimal or no off-gassing to reduce the potential for noxious gases to be emitted in your home. When it comes to building or renovating there are a number of healthy choices you can make to create a healthier indoor environment for everyone living in your home.

If you are planning to build or renovate visit the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association’s website at for more information.

Friday, July 23, 2010 Homes Etc.
The Chronicle Herald
Sherry Donovan, NSHBA


Top reasons to renovate this summer 

Summer is always the top renovation season for homeowners – once the weather turns nice it makes it a lot easier to get work done to fix up your home. But whether you are renovating now or in the months to come, you still want to make sure you plan ahead.

 A few items to consider in your decision making process include:

 Energy Efficiency Rebates – for homeowners who have an energy evaluation done on their home and complete a series of energy efficient upgrades, they can qualify for energy efficiency rebates from the provincial government and Nova Scotia Power Inc. A list of recognized upgrades is available through Conserve Nova Scotia (

 Seal up your air leaks – Energy costs continue to rise and summer is the perfect time to get the air leaks sealed up in time for the colder months ahead. Seal up the cracks in your windows, doors and ceiling to prevent your warm air from escaping.

 Schedule vacation time while your renovation is underway – If major renovations are on your agenda during the summer you may want to consider using this time to relocate to allow the renovator to complete the work without having to work around household schedules. If you are moving off site during the renovation, it is very important to check with your insurance provider to ensure you have the adequate insurance coverage while you are away from your home while it is under construction.

 Remember, if renovations are in your future, make sure you get a contract in writing, check the renovator’s references and ask for proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensation coverage.



Last Weekend of R-2000 Showcase of Homes Tour

This is the last weekend of the 22nd annual R-2000 Showcase of Homes and with 15 houses on display, this is an excellent opportunity to learn about R-2000 construction and the program’s benefits. If you are thinking about building a new home now or in the future, this is an excellent time to see why R-2000 is becoming an increasingly popular choice for Nova Scotians.

“R-2000 homes offer you exceptional value, energy efficiency and are built using advanced building practices,” says Paul Pettipas, chief executive officer of the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association and regional manager for the R-2000 and EnerGuide for New Houses programs in Nova Scotia. “When you choose an R-2000 home, it is not just about what you can see in the actual construction, it is also about what is behind the walls – how everything works together to provide your family with a home that will meet your lifestyle needs.”

 There are many benefits of R-2000 in terms of energy efficiency and environmental awareness, but in addition to that, homeowners also have the opportunity to receive specific rebates for building an R-2000 home if it meets certain criteria. For example, R-2000 homes that reach an EnerGuide Rating of 83 receive a $1000 rebate from the Province of Nova Scotia. In addition to this, Nova Scotia Power Inc. also has a variety of rebates of varying levels for R-2000 homes and those registered in the EnerGuide for New Houses program.

 For a list of the R-2000 homes on display this weekend Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, visit the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association’s new website at and click on the R-2000 Showcase icon. You will find a list of the homes, directions and information about each participating house.

 Partners for this year’s R-2000 Showcase of Homes include Atlantic Home Warranty, Conserve Nova Scotia, R-2000, Bell Aliant, Nova Scotia Power Inc., Scotian Homes and The Chronicle Herald.