Below is a list of the most common General, Home & Cottage Renovation and Log & Wood Siding Restoration questions that our customers ask. As other common questions surface we will add them too.
Q: Where do we start?
A: If you have never been involved in a renovation or restoration process it can be a bit intimidating to know where to start.
The Initial Contact:
This is probably the most important step as it allows us to begin a dialogue that helps us understand each other. You will start to get a sense of who we are and how we would approach your project. It allows us to understand your vision and what you are trying to accomplish. From here we then set up a time to meet.
The Project Brief:
We have established that we may be the right fit for you and your project so we meet you at your home to get to know each other better and to get a clear visual understanding of your needs, wants and wishes. We take a detailed project brief noting measurements preferred finish materials that you would like and generally talk through the project to ensure that we can provide you with an accurate quote.
For larger projects like additions or a complete home remodel we would put together a design agreement that clearly outlines the costs for a complete set of construction plans. It will include what we will do and how we will help you get to that final design decision.
With final construction plans in hand or for projects like kitchen and bathroom renovations or log and wood siding restorations we put together a complete quote outlining exactly what we will do and what is included. Our quotes have been regarded as the most thorough in the industry by our customers. There will be no surprises.
By this point we should have developed a level of trust and comfort with each other so we both know it is the right fit and is now just a matter of agreeing to the scope of the project and the associated investment that goes with it. You will have enough in hand to make an informed decision. The decision to engage Spotlight Home and Lifestyle comes with a peace of mind that you have made the right decision for your home and family.
The Project Plan:
For most projects, depending on size and complexity, we will develop a week-to-week or even a day-to-day project plan so that you know what to expect. This can be especially helpful to know for example when you may be without a kitchen and need to fire up the BBQ ore even go out for the evening.
With everything in place we simply execute the plan. We provide daily updates which may be a simple conversation at the end of the day or an extensive email with photographs. This has proven helpful for our customers who are out of town or country during the project.
The Change Order:
As with any project there are times where things may change. These generally fall into two categories, a) you change your mind or want to add something or b) during the tear-out or demolition we find something unexpected behind walls or in other hidden areas that requires attention.
In each case we understand your change or we present the best solution to the issue and create a detailed change order with the associated cost difference, up or down, and present it to you for signature so that you always know the bottom line. Again, there should never be any financial surprises at the end of the project.
Once we have completed and cleaned up the project site, again depending on the size and complexity of the project, we create a detailed checklist and walk through the project with you to ensure every detail meets or exceeds your expectations. Once completed we present the final invoice and your project is complete!
Q: Are you insured?
A: Absolutely. Any legitimate contractor will carry a minimum of $2 million in general liability insurance and WSIB insurance on each employee to ensure that you are protected as the home owner. Additionally, any legitimate contractor will only work with sub trades (electricians, plumbers etc.) who carry the same insurances. It is NOT enough that only your contractor be insured.
Q: Do you guarantee your work?
A: Absolutely. We guarantee our workmanship for two full years from the completion date.
Home & Cottage Renovation Questions
Q: How much does it cost to renovate a bathroom, kitchen etc.?
A: This is a very common question and not one that anyone can answer directly without knowing the scope of your particular project. Gone are the days where every project can be estimated based on a price per square foot. With the myriad of material and finish choices in the marketplace not to mention the very innovative and creative designs that customers are coming up with the range is limitless.
The best approach is to meet with us to talk through the project and discuss a realistic budget based on the scope of work to be completed. This allows us to build a quote that ideally matches your vision with your budget.
Q: Where can I go to find…
A: Finding what you want and making material decisions can be a very daunting task. Check out our Useful Links page for links to a host of manufacturers and suppliers. This page will allow you to do some shopping in the comfort of your own home and can help to narrow down the choices to a select few.
Q: How do we stick to our budget?
A: The million dollar, (not literally), question.
At the onset and indeed during the process it can be very easy to get caught up in the excitement of that dream kitchen or oasis bathroom. What we recommend you do even before calling a contractor is to create two lists – a “need to have” and a “nice to have” list. When it is time to make tough decisions it is much easier to go to the “nice to have” list and be comfortable in crossing things off as it helps take the emotionality out of the equation.
Log & Wood Siding Restoration Questions
Q: Do you also stain newly constructed homes?
A: Absolutely. We are certified applicators of interior and exterior water borne stains and finishes. We provide finishing services through your builder or you can work directly with us. Depending on the length of exposure of the new logs or wood siding during the building process they may begin to turn gray and show signs of aging. Using our glass blasting process we can restore them to their original beauty before staining. This can be done more cost effectively if we can do the interior and exterior once the roof is on but the windows, doors and interior finishes have not been installed.
Q: Can you re-coat our existing stain?
A: The short answer is yes. The proper answer is “it depends”. Many older stains were an oil based, film forming stain that simply sat on top of the wood and coated it. Over the decades wood science and more enlightened environmental concerns have proven that these are not the best long term solution to maintaining beautiful wood structure. These stains do not allow the wood to breath and therefore, trap moisture in the wood. Very soon these stains will not exist.
The best solution to long term wood care, beauty and maintenance is to completely remove the existing stain and apply a high quality, water borne wood preservative. These stains are environmentally friendly, allow the wood to breath and stay healthy while significantly reducing the maintenance costs of keeping your home beautiful.
Q: What is the best way to remove the existing finish?
A: The absolute best way to remove a finish from a log or wood structure is through a blasting process using crushed glass particles. Similar to sand blasting, the crushed glass is very fine and will remove the existing stain while raising the grain. This allows the new stain to properly penetrate, preserve and beautify the wood.
Pressure washing should NOT be used as it compresses the wood, introduces significant amounts of moisture to the wood and does not leave the wood in an ideal state to receive stain.
Q: Is the glass blasting process environmentally friendly?
A: Yes. The glass that we use is silica-free and 100% environmentally friendly. Silica is the substance that can cause Silicosis, a very dangerous lung disease which is why it is not used in this process.
Q: Can other blasting material be used?
A: Other materials can be used however crushed glass has proven itself as the best media to ensure a quality finish with minimal impact, short or long term, to the wood itself. As an inorganic material it does not attract insects or moisture to the wood.
Q: When you are done how do we maintain the finish?
A: Easily, and we can do that for you. With the water borne stains a simple cleaning with a garden hose and a new top coat and your investment will stay beautiful for decades.
Q: How often would we need to maintain our home?
A: A good practice is to give the home a light cleaning every summer to remove the dusts and pollens that inevitably rest on the wood. As far as re-coating a good rule of thumb is every 3-6 years. This depends on several factors like sun exposure, weather exposure, dampness etc. We can guide you in this process.
Q: Can you do our decks and docks as well?
A: Absolutely. Our process works on any kind of wood surface so we can do decks, docks, logs, siding, stairs and even furniture if required.