Custom home builder Toronto - Tarion Certified

What is a Tarion Home Warranty?

New homebuyers like to be assured that their purchase has been well-built and the construction of the home meets all of the local bylaws and standards. When it comes to home-construction regulations, one of Canada’s most-respected private businesses is the Tarion Warranty Corporation. This company makes sure that homeowners’ rights are protected in accordance with the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act.

Novacon Construction Inc. is proud to be a Tarion certified builder in Ontario and offer a Tarion warranty with each custom home we build.

Home Builder Licensing

One of Tarion’s top jobs is licensing all new condominium and home builders in the province of Ontario. The company makes sure that builders have the proper financial stability, technical experience, and customer-service know-how and capacity to perform their job. The corporation recommends all consumers do a little research before buying a new home and helps out by providing them with the Ontario Builder Directory, which is accessible to the public. This directory has a wealth of information regarding home builders, including whether or not they’re legally licensed. The directory also has information on how many homes the builders have constructed, if their license has ever been revoked or refused and if there have been any warranty claims against them. 

Tarion Warranty Coverage

Tarion also protects homebuyers by providing them with mandatory warranty coverage. This includes valuable things such as deposit protection and a guarantee against any financial losses and delayed closing for contract homes. There are one, two, and seven-year warranties available once you’ve taken possession of a new home. The one-year warranty offers protection against violations of the Ontario Building Code as well as against defective workmanship and materials. The warranty also protects against unauthorized substitutions and states that the home has to be habitable. With the two-year warranty, Tarion makes sure the home is protected against defective electrical, heating, and plumbing installation as well as water penetration, and defective window, door, caulking, and exterior-cladding materials. The warranty protects against the province’s building-code health and safety violations as well. With the seven-year warranty, the home is covered from major structural defects and shared common element areas of condominiums are protected, such as elevators and recreation areas.


Tarion’s Online Resources

Tarion helps new homebuyers and builders manage their warranty by providing them with helpful online resources. The online warranty system is known as MyHome and it will notify consumers about warranty deadlines via automatic emails. The MyHome service has proven to be a hit with homebuyers as close to 75,000 of them used it in 2013. In addition, Tarion has an online resource system known as BuilderLink, which enables builders to manage inspections and enroll homes.

Tarion Customer Satisfaction

All homeowners can evaluate their builders via Tarion’s yearly Customer Satisfaction Survey. The company will send out a survey to all new Ontario home buyers within 12 months of taking possession of their home. This will allow customers to grade their builders. The best-rated builders are then eligible for the Tarion Award of Excellence. This survey has shown that customer satisfaction has been on the rise over the past few years. One of the reasons for this is due to the link Tarion helps forge between the homeowner and the builder. The results of the survey are given to all builders and Tarion helps to analyze them and provides service training and advice to builders with low ratings. Since lower-ranked builders won’t receive as many recommendations, this survey is seen as extremely important to them.


According to Tarion, the number of claims against home builders has been falling recently since most issues are now being resolved between the builder and homebuyer, which is something the company encourages. If a homeowner asks Tarion to inspect a house and the company finds the warranty hasn’t been honoured it could lead to chargeable conciliations against the builder if the issue hasn’t been resolved within the applicable time frame. If a builder receives a chargeable conciliation it will be applied to their permanent record and will show up on the Ontario Builder Directory. In addition, builders are charged $1,000 if an inspection reveals that one item under warranty hasn’t been adhered to. Another consumer-protection program provided by Tarion is to help fight against illegal homebuilding. This includes builders who don’t enroll their jobs under the warranty or aren’t licensed by Tarion. The company has been working with politicians to amend the law, making it harder for homebuilders to avoid supplying homebuyers with a warranty. Ontario vendors and builders can be fined up to $100,000 if they don’t enroll or register new homes which are required by law.

We Would Love To Hear From You

Building a custom home is probably the biggest single investment you will ever make. The first and smartest thing to do is to find a registered Tarion Builder like Novacon Construction. A registered Tarion Builder understands the legalities involved in building a custom home in Ontario and can explain your rights and warranty coverage when you build a custom home.

You can learn more about Tarion warranties here.

Contact Novacon today to learn more about building a custom home and the many benefits of using a registered Tarion Builder for your new home build.


Renovation Project Gallery Thornhill - Novacon Construction

How to Find a High End Custom Home Builder

When constructing a high-end custom home, the selection of the right builder for your project should be viewed as an essential part of the process. No matter what type of home you’re planning on it’s very important that you deal with a skilled and reputable building company which has a reputation for quality work. 


Do Your Research

One of the best ways to compile a list of local builders is to perform an internet search. You can look at Google Reviews, as well as other review sources such as Homestars, Yelp and Houzz to see what past customers have to say about each home builder.  In addition, you may be able to get some references from local real estate agents, family members, friends, colleagues and co-workers etc. 

Once you have a list you can visit the builders’ websites to get an idea of the type of work they do and their portfolio of past projects. . Look for reviews and testimonials and gather as much information as possible. It may seem like a lot of work when trying to narrow things down, especially if you have a long list of potential builders. But remember, you’re entrusting them with the construction of your home, which could very well be the biggest investment you’ll make in your lifetime. 

Be sure the homebuilder is in good standing with whatever industry associations that govern the industry in their area.

Renovation Project Gallery Thornhill - Novacon Construction (10)

Ask Lots of Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask potential builders any questions you may have and you should also ask for references and to see some of their previous work such as a portfolio. If they fail to provide any of these you may want to skip down to the next person or company on the list. 

If references are provided it’s a good idea to drive by homes the builder has constructed in the past and speak with the homeowners if possible. This will give you an inside view on what it’s like to work with the builder and if any problems arose during the construction of their homes.

Many homeowners take this recommendation with a grain of salt as they realize builders aren’t going to give the names of dissatisfied customers as references. Therefore, if you’re able to find out which local homes the company has erected you may get a more accurate picture of the builder by speaking with the homeowners. 

Most people will be glad to share their experiences with you and inform you what they did and didn’t like about the builder. One of the key questions to ask a homeowner is if they would work with the builder again. 

When looking over a home, be sure to examine the construction quality of items such as trim work, painting, cabinetry and flooring etc as well as anything else you can think of. Again, don’t be shy when it comes to asking tough questions and taking notes.

Some of the questions you may want to ask should regard things such as warranties, cost, timeline, how long have they been in business and how many homes do they build a year. You can also ask about their design and building process as well as if they anticipate any challenges during the construction and how they would deal with them. 

Simple questions will typically lead to further questions and conversations which may reveal important information about the builder and their methods. It will also give you a good idea about their communication skills. 

Once you decide on a builder for your home be sure to read the contract thoroughly and have a lawyer go through it before signing anything. Don’t add your signature if you’re not clear about anything or are having second thoughts. A good custom home builder will be open and transparent, explaining everything in plain language.

Building a new custom home doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process and it usually isn’t as long as you’re working with a dependable and professional builder. Your home building experience can certainly be a positive one if you’re working hand in hand with a trustworthy and skilled builder with a strong reputation.


About Novacon Construction

Novacon Construction is a custom home builder based in Toronto. We have a reputation for high quality workmanship and stellar communications with clients. We serve the entire GTA and offer free consultations. Contact us today to learn more.

Modern Ranch Renovation and Addition Toronto

Why Ranch Style Homes Are Perfect For Room Additions

In general, classic ranch style homes are well known for their spaciousness and typically large lots. However, following the Second World War these types of homes were often erected on smaller lots of land and the homes themselves were reduced in size. This has led to many homeowners deciding to add additional living space to these homes over the past several years. The good news is that ranch style homes are considered to be ideally suited for room additions and/or remodeling projects.

There are thousands of older ranch style homes here in Toronto and it is probably the most popular style of home to renovate as they are usually located in older parts of Toronto that have become desirable places to live.


Ranch Homes Are Easy To Expand

Instead of building or buying a new home, you may want to remodel or construct an addition to your existing home by taking out non load-bearing walls to create a more open floor plan. Ranch style homes are also well regarded for their solid construction and additional living space can be created by building upwards or outwards.

The building up option is often referred to as a pop-top addition and can be achieved by constructing another story on the home. You could also decide to build outwards instead by expanding the side or back of the home on the same story. 

You can almost double the square footage of the home by adding a story without altering its footprint. Homeowners are able to come up with their own designs for additional living areas such as bathroom, bedroom, family room and kitchen etc. The exterior of the home will also be significantly transformed with an additional story. 

On the other hand, building outward is generally referred to as a bump out. This method of adding living space is typically about 25 percent less expensive than building upwards and usually involves building an L or U-shaped addition to the home or enclosing an existing carport. However, to consider a build out or bump out, the lot your home sits on will need to be large enough. Also, you need to realize that you’ll likely be losing some of your yard space with this option.

A home can usually be bumped out in any direction as long as there’s enough room on the lot and if you aren’t interested in constructing additional rooms you may simply decide to add a back or front porch or a sun-room. In-law suites are also popular these days as they can often be constructed over an existing garage. 

ranchs tyle home in Toronto - Home Renovations

Consider a Basement Remodel

If you own a ranch style home and don’t believe you require an additional story or a build out you may be able to create more space if your home has an existing basement. Remodeling the basement is usually another feasible option for ranch style homeowners as the space can be transformed into additional bedrooms and bathrooms etc. for additional square footage, 

These options are popular for ranch style homes since they’re typically more flexible than two-story and split-level homes. Homes that sit on smaller lots are ideal for adding vertical space with a second story or by adding dormers and finishing the attic. Natural and essential light can be brought in with dormers and height can be added to an attic’s pitched ceilings.


Understanding Your Local Zoning Laws

When trying to decide how to increase the size of your ranch style home you’ll of course need to consider the cost but if you’re thinking about dormer additions or a second story you’ll need to know if the new weight load can be safely supported by the home’s existing foundation. You’ll also need to check on the local building codes, rules and regulations to make sure your remodeling project is completely legal. 

A ranch style addition can also combine horizontal and vertical renovations to suit your custom needs and existing space. Careful planning will guarantee the changes made will result in a wonderfully cohesive home once everything has been completed. 


About Novacon Construction

Novacon Construction is a Toronto based home addition contractor specializing in home additions in the GTA. Check out our stellar customer reviews online and contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Renovation Project Gallery Thornhill - Novacon Construction

All Contractors Are Not Created Equal – Key Differences Between a Good Contractor and a Great Contractor

Like everything else in life, home owners and buyers will soon come to realize there are good contractors out there to choose from and there are some great ones as well. With that being the case, there’s no need to settle for a good one when a great one is available. There are certain situations and aspects that can help you differentiate between the two. 


How do you find a great contractor in Toronto?

When hiring any type of  contractor you should always ask for referrals, check out their credentials, professional designations and references, make sure they’re properly licensed and insured, interview potential candidates, check to see if they have an established presence in the community and try to find out if they have a trustworthy reputation with their peers and clients and are members of any trade organizations etc.

It’s also important to know if the contractor and employees are properly trained and if subcontractors will be used to perform any part or all of the project. And if so, what quality control criteria exists between the contractor and subcontractors.

Great contractors are well organized, always plan things out meticulously and document them for their customers. Great contractors will use an online client portal/CRM for their project communication so the homeowner knows exactly how the project is progressing at all times. All aspects of a job should be thoroughly covered, placed in writing and presented to the client well before any contracts are signed and work begins. 

A great contractor will be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to their projects as they will concentrate on preventing problems rather than trying to fix them. They have the knack of answering important questions before they’re asked and have the foresight to deal with potential complaints before they’re made. These contractors discuss all of the issues that are important to their clients and to themselves. In a nutshell, proactive communication is well planned, flexible, and delivers on its objectives.


Great Contractors Are Proactive & Experienced

Good contractors may tend to be reactive in nature instead which means they react to a specific situation. This is typically something that is unexpected or something they didn’t foresee happening and wasn’t planned on. This type of communication and work habit basically takes place after the fact when something has already taken place. The result can sometimes be defensive and disjointed as it has taken them by surprise.

Great contractors are ready and well prepared for all types of scenarios and are prepared to nip any potential problems in the bud before they have a chance to grow. 

It’s also important to know if the contractor is specialized in your type of project since not all contractors can efficiently handle large scale jobs. You definitely don’t want to hire a company which will be in over its head when it comes to properly performing the work.  

Some contractors are basically jacks of all trades which means they can handle all types of projects well but don’t excel in one certain area. Depending on the nature and complexity of the project, you may want to hire a contractor who specializes in a specific skill. For example, if you’re having a problem with your vehicle’s transmission you need to ask yourself if you should have it checked out by an auto shop which specializes in transmissions or take it to a general mechanic. You need to ask yourself the same type of question when choosing a contractor for your project. 

When interviewing potential contractors, another key question to ask is if they provide dedicated project management and site supervision. To have the job go smoothly and to provide you with peace of mind, it’s important that the contractor has somebody on site at all times to properly supervise the entire project from start to finish. This way, if anything unforeseen happens it can be handled immediately, which will ultimately save you time and money. 

Nobody wants to see their finished project turn out differently than what they imagined but ultimately, the homeowner is responsible for the quality of materials chosen for the job. A great contractor should present you with several options to choose from such as a selection of high-end, mid-range and lower-end materials and let you know the pros and cons of each of them. 

One of the major keys of being a great contractor is to always communicate clearly and to prove you’re trustworthy and reliable by doing what you say. If you make a promise be sure to keep it. These contractors do their utmost to satisfy their clients and that can often be enough to separate them from good contractors. 


About Novacon Construction

Novacon Constructions is a contracting company in Toronto specializing in custom home additions and major renovations. WE are one of the most highly rated contractors in the GTA and are known for the quality of our work as well as our great communications with our clients.  Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation.

custom home builders in Toronto

How to Obtain an ACCURATE Quote for a Custom Home

When planning a new custom home it’s imperative that you receive an accurate quote from the contractor or design-build company. It’s important that the quote is thorough and doesn’t leave anything out of it. Nobody wants to be shocked with additional expenses when having a home built because specific details weren’t included in the quote.

On too many occasions, some contractors may be leaving certain aspects out of their quotes when it comes to large renovations or the complex construction of custom homes. When this occurs, home buyers are disappointed when the end result is nowhere near what they had intended their homes to look like. This is especially common in areas where the majority of houses available are either considered to be semi-custom or production built.

With these types of homes, you have limited options when it comes to the design and construction plans. If you do have the option of altering the plans it usually means you have to fork over more cash which means you’re now going to go over your budget. If changes are allowed it usually results in the builder simply giving the home buyer an estimate on the costs. When this happens, you may not know the true price of the home until the construction has been completed.


The Importance Of Working With a Good Contractor

A good contractor needs to fully understand exactly what the client wants to include in the home before  giving an estimate and signing a contract. A rough estimate doesn’t really do the buyer much good since it can change drastically before the building is completed. This is why it’s so important that the customer and contractor are on the same page and fully understand each other.

The buyer expects to get what they pay for when it comes to a custom home and that all of their construction choices and options are met. They want the design they have approved with no exceptions unless they have agreed to them. For example, if the client chooses a specific colour, sheen and grade of paint that’s what they expect to be used.

The contractor also needs to spend time on measuring and documenting each aspect of the project. Every single shingle, stud, stick of rebar and surface area etc. should be fully and accurately planned out.


Getting an Accurate Quote

At Novacon Custom Builders & Renovators we take pride in creating accurate, fully-vetted quotes on all of our building projects as we provide qualified, accurate budgets. We will work hand-in-hand with you to let you know exactly what the quote does and doesn’t cover. This includes the specific type and amount of materials to be used as well as a written guarantee which states all of the home’s dimensions have been considered. All labour and vendors’ work is also included in the estimate

The simplest method to receive an accurate custom-home quote is to break the process down into two stages which are the baseline price and fixed price. 

This baseline price doesn’t include every wish and desire of the buyer as that comes later. This estimate basically includes a common set of options and finishes etc. The purpose of the baseline price is to discover the general price range for the home. At this point you can decide if it’s within your budget before choosing to make any revisions to the home’s basic plan. If you decide to, you can then get together with the designer and contractor to personalize the home with custom or unique features. 

If you’re using a contractor’s in-house designer, which is the case with a design build contractor,  they should understand what your budget is and help you select finishes and options to remain within that budget. When using a third-party designer, they may concentrate more on the home’s look and feel rather than your financial budget since they aren’t associated with the builder. Once you’ve made selections on the specifics of the home the contractor will be able to generate a quote after pricing out the materials and labour etc. 

Also, site decisions must be made on the land the home is being built on such as verifying property lines, orienting or locating the structure, the house pad construction, utility access, tree removal and coordinating driveways etc. Survey work may need to be carried out to make sure there are no surprises when settling on a price.

When giving the contractor a detailed list of specifications for the home it will then affect the baseline price as it will either decrease or increase. This list of specifications is also needed to come up with an accurate financial appraisal of the home. 


About Novacon Construction

Novacon Construction is a design build contractor in Toronto that specializes in custom home building and large scale renovations. We are one of the top rates contractors in the GTA and pride ourselves on quality work, great communications and transparent pricing. At Novacon, we are more than pleased to share our strong referral base with our clients as we establish strong relationships with each customer and are more than willing to go the extra mile to make them happy.  If you are interested in a custom home build in Toronto, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

split-level home designs Toronto

How Do You Modernize a Split Level House?

If you’re planning on modernizing your split level house you’ll be glad to know that just about any split level  home can be renovated to make it more modern, open and functional. In addition, you may be able to continue living there while the work is being carried out due to the structure’s multiple levels.

Toronto has thousands of aging split level homes in the city and it’s become very popular to take one of these dated designs and add a modern spin to them. You’d be surprised just how beautiful you can make an older split level home.


Types of Renovations For Split Level Homes

Some of the most common renovation ideas for split level homes include removing non-weight-bearing ground floor interior walls to create an open floor plan between living room, dining room and kitchen. In addition, you can build an island between the dining area and kitchen to create additional gathering and work space. To slightly separate the kitchen from the living area you could also retain a half-wall with built-in display or storage, a railing or glass barrier.

Some homeowners like to install cathedral ceilings to the ground floor, build a guest bedroom, sunroom or master suite at either end of the home and optimize the natural light by adding windows to the sides of the home or skylights to dining and living rooms. Carpeting and flooring could be replaced with wood flooring and a cozy fireplace may be added to the living room. Also, windows can be replaced with larger ones or new windows added to blank sides of the home. Skylights and solar tubes are other options if you’d like to brighten up the inside from above.

split level home redesigns - Toronto

Exterior Renovations For Split Level Homes

Other popular modernizing ideas for a split level home include converting the garage into an expanded family room or bedroom and then build a new garage at the back of the property. You can also update older garage doors with more modern options. 

Home exteriors can also be updated with modern-looking surfaces such as a new paint job or new sidings such as cedar clapboard, stucco, or natural stone. You may decide to add details such as trellises, shutters, corner boards, trim or a pergola or shutters. The wide horizontal siding could be swapped in favour of vertical siding, architectural panels or narrow lap siding. 

You could also vary the pattern, material texture or color of the materials to create visual interest.

The roofing may be updated with contemporary material and you could always create additional space for gatherings with a deck or four-season porch at the rear of the home. Trim can be installed under the soffit, which is the roof overhang on the home. When trim is added and painted a color which contrasts with the siding it creates a bold highlighting effect.

Split Level Home Additions Toronto

Interior Renovations For Split Level Homes

When it comes to the interior of the home, the trim and molding could be painted a light color for a modern feel. You may even want to remove some of the trim around doorways and retro wood paneling can be painted. 

Some homeowners reconfigure their HVAC system so the home has a separate thermostat in different areas while others install an in-house audio system which can entertain each room. At the same time, you may want to increase the security and safety by installing a smart security system as well as additional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout.

Split Level Home Renovations Toronto Contractors

Hiring The Right Contractor For Your Split Level Home

You’ll need an experienced renovation contractor to modernize your split level home and one who understands exactly what you’re looking for before getting underway.  With a creative mind and a little hard work the most dated split-level homes can be transformed into attractive, highly functional and modern living spaces. There are numerous modernizing options for a split level home but be sure to contact a professional designer/contractor to make sure your ideas are feasible for your existing home.   

Novacon Construction is a design build renovation contractor in Toronto. We specialize in modernizing older split level homes and have a stellar reputation when it comes to our craftmanship and customer service. If you are located in the GTA and are interested in renovating your split level home you can contact us today for a free consultation.

new bathroom toronto

Three Major Home Addition Mistakes To Avoid 

The right  home addition will provide more living space to your dwelling and can end up being a profitable move down the road if you ever sell the home as it typically adds value to it. It’s basically a no-lose situation as you’ll enjoy the added space and quality of life and will generally recoup your costs at a later date.

However, you need to be aware that it’s certainly not a foolproof remodeling venture as costly mistakes can be made along the way if you’re not careful.  

Below are three major mistakes that you should try to avoid while planning a home addition.


Keep the existing aesthetic in mind

When adding on to a home or specific room the end result should be seamless. This means you shouldn’t really be able to spot where the addition begins and the original structure comes to an end. Therefore you need a comprehensive plan and make sure your selection of materials doesn’t result in something that’s obtrusive to your eyes. 

It’s important to design the addition with the structure’s current aesthetic being adhered to. If not, the home addition may be noticeable for all the wrong reasons and it won’t add much value to the home. Also, the home addition needs to blend in well with the existing landscape. A good design build contractor can visit the property to get an overall feel for the existing style of the home and the landscape and try to retain it.


Don’t underestimate the costs

Before jumping feet first into your remodeling project it’s important to establish a financial budget and try to stick with it. It’s true that a home addition will typically upgrade the value of your home, but you need to realize you’ll need to lay out some cash to get it done. To put it bluntly, a home addition can cost a considerable amount of money. However, you can consider this to be an investment in most cases. This doesn’t mean you should search for the least-expensive materials and contractor though as you don’t want the quality to suffer. Be sure to carefully budget the project from the beginning and haven’t overlooked any aspect of it. If you decide to add a story or room to your home, it’s not something you can easily back out of so it’s imperative that all details have been carefully taken care of.

Don’t be tempted into cutting corners or deviating from your plans along the way to try and cut costs as you may not be happy with the end results. A few alterations to the original plan and design could be inevitable though during the building process but be aware that change orders will add to your costs and typically extend the timeline for construction. You may want to add an extra 15 to 20 percent of your original budget to cover any unforeseen events during the renovation. An experienced contractor can provide realistic estimates since they are aware of hidden costs you may not have considered.


Be sure to find an experienced contractor

Regardless of the size of your renovation or remodeling projects, it’s important to find and work with an experienced contractor who’s fully equipped and able to handle the job. The contractor you hire will determine the success or failure of the project. It’s important to spend a good amount of time researching and selecting the right contractor for your project. Ask friends for referrals and also search Google to read customer reviews for contractors in your area.

You’ll also need to obtain the right permits for your location and comply with the municipality’s zoning regulations. The contractor needs to know exactly what’s required and how to plan, carry out and oversee the work. It’s a good idea to meet with a few potential contractors for quotes and don’t be afraid to ask questions and for references and a portfolio of previous jobs. It’s not really a good idea to go with a contractor who has never dealt with a home addition before as remodeling a home is quite different than constructing an addition.   Also consider going with a design build contractor as they bring all of the processes and people involved in the project together and manage them all for you in a streamlined process.


About Novacon Construction

Novacon Construction is a design build contractor located in Toronto.  We specialize in custom home building as well as large home addition and renovation projects. We are one of the highest rated contractors in Toronto and have a reputation for delivering exceptional workmanship along with award winning customer service.  Contact us today for a free consultation.

Master Bathroom Suite Toronto

10 Great Features for Your Custom-Built Home

One of the most attractive undertakings of designing and building your own custom home is being able to forgo the standard finishes and features and create a truly unique living space. This enables you to install the features you know will deliver the exact type of convenience and comfort you’re looking for.

Below is a list of 10 features that will make your home standout when building a custom home. 


Dedicated Laundry Room

Most new home owners probably won’t place their laundry room high on the list. However, building a dedicated laundry room on the main or upper level of the dwelling can certainly make your domestic life and chores a lot easier, especially with kids.  Instead of hauling your laundry down and up the stairs every time you do it, why not make things more convenient by placing a specific laundry room on the home’s main or upper floor next to the bedrooms? This space could be used for washing, hanging, drying and ironing your clothes. You may even want to outfit it with some music or a television while you’re working. 

Laundry room design Toronto

Large Mudroom

A large,  functional mudroom can be a lifesaver during a cold and wet Toronto winter. With a mudroom located close to your door or garage you’ll be able to keep your entrance clean as this is the perfect place to leave your muddy, wet shoes, coats, clothing, backpacks, sporting equipment and umbrellas etc. This can be a well-organized area with cubbies, lockers, cupboards, drawers or a closet for specific items. It’s also an excellent spot to dry off and clean your pets before they enter the home and a place to hang leashes. 

mudroom design Toronto

Walk-In Pantry

A walk-in pantry is a great way to complement your custom kitchen as it adds  the right amount of comfort and convenience. In addition, it should help you keep the kitchen clutter-free as you’ll have plenty of room to store food and other items without having to use your regular cabinets. A walk-in pantry allows you to keep many things at eye level and is ideal for larger appliances such as blenders, mixers and bread-makers etc. 

walk in pantry Toronto

Finished Basement

A finished basement can be used for a variety of things such as a wet-bar, games room, in-house theatre, music room, family entertainment room, office or even a bedroom etc. A dedicated basement can be decorated however you choose and since it’s downstairs it shouldn’t be too much of a problem if things get a little loud down there while enjoying the custom space.  

finished basement Toronto

Outdoor Kitchen

Toronto may be cold but we do enjoy several months of good weather each year. You’ll be able to enjoy the warmer temperatures and Mother Nature if you decide to install an outdoor kitchen. It’s becoming quite popular to create an outdoor kitchen and dining area with a refrigerator, built-in grill, sink, counter space and table etc. This enables you to cook, dine and clean up in the great outdoors whenever the weather cooperates. 

outdoor ktchens Toronto

Heated Floors

Speaking of the weather, why not ensure you’re comfortable and warm all year round by installing heated floors in your bathroom. This is guaranteed to create a nice cozy feeling each and every time you step out of the shower. Your feet will definitely appreciate the warmth of the floor compared to a stone cold one. 

Install radiant flooring Toronto

In-Law Suite

If you have relatives or friends living with you or they visit quite often, then a in-law suite may be the ideal way to provide privacy for everybody. In fact, the area could even be used by your grown children. An in-law suite creates an independent living area and plenty of privacy and can be outfitted with whatever you choose. For example, it could house its own kitchen, bathroom, dining and living areas etc. You may even install a separate entrance if you choose. 

in law suites Toronto

Two Master Suites 

Another way to host visiting friends and family is to customize your home with two master suites. Each suite can feature its own private bathroom, creating privacy for all involved. The suites don’t have to be the same in size and style, which enables you to get creative when designing them.  

master bedroom suites Toronto


Let’s get back to talking about the good weather and taking advantage of it by adding a sunroom. This will let you enjoy the warm days and evenings by sitting in a three or four-season sunroom outdoors. This is a room that allows abundant natural light in it and is easy to access the outdoors from. A three-season room is ideal for the spring, summer and fall while a four-season option is also fine for the winter. A four-season sunroom can be cooled and heated like the rest of the home and can easily be equipped with furniture and entertainment options.

sunroom design Toroto

Custom Deck/Patio

If you’d rather spend your time directly in the sun and under the stars then you may want to design and build a custom deck/patio to lounge on. You can decide on the size and outfit it the way you choose. Most people place barbecues, hammocks and lounge chairs on their decks and patios but the choice of how to enjoy it is totally up to you.  

custom patio Toronto

About Novacon Construction

Novacon Construction is a Toronto based home renovation company. We specialize in custom built homes and large scale renovations with a focus on detail and great customer service. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

design build contractor in Toronto

When Should You Work With a Design-Build Contractor?

Many contractors are quite happy to work with somebody else’s plans and designs as they simply want to concentrate on the building aspect of a project. This means you typically need to hire somebody to come up with the design plans and then find somebody else to carry them out. This is known as the design-bid-build method of construction. 

Working with two separate entities can sometimes lead to problems though, especially if the design and construction teams are not really on the same page or share the same ideas and work attitude. 

This is where design-build contractors can be a better option since the same company will oversee the entire project from start to finish. They’ll handle all of the designing and planning and follow up by doing the construction. They typically know how long the job will take and what the cost will be and know that the plans can easily be adhered to since they were part of the planning process from the beginning. Design-build is becoming a very popular option for homeowners in Toronto.


Costs When Working With a Design-Build Contractor

A design-build contractor may sometimes cost more upfront but you will typically save money in the long run as a result of less revisions due to design & construction conflicts as well as a faster and more streamlined process. Design-build contractors are skilled and trained in the art of design with most of them having certified architects as part of their team.

With the somewhat traditional home-owner-architect-contractor system, the architect will design a home and then monitor its construction to be sure the contractor is properly following the design without cutting any corners. However, the builder may not always agree with every aspect of the design and claim some of them are impractical or too costly. In this case, the builder may suggest altering the original design. Any disagreements need to be worked out during the bidding stage to guarantee the work will be carried out according to the plans and design. 

When hiring a design-build contractor it’s a good idea to ask the same types of questions you would to separate designers and contractors. You may find you’re impressed with their design ideas but not the construction side of things or vice versa. 

Be sure to check out their project portfolio and if possible, take a firsthand look at some of their work. Of course, you can also ask for recommendations and references and speak with their former clients. When doing so, don’t be afraid to ask about both the design and building phase separately.


Design-Build Pros

  • Simplified process as the same company takes care of all aspects of the project
  • One-stop shopping for both the design and construction
  • Potential savings when compared to hiring a separate architect/designer and builder
  • No disputes or disagreements between designers and contractors over the design
  • Less chance for increased costs and/or change orders during construction
  • Practical approach since the designer knows the construction costs of the plans
  • One team working together towards the same goal 
  • Clearer communication 


Design-Build Cons

  • Complete trust needed for a design-build contractor since they’re responsible for the entire project
  • Economical and practical designs may lack creativity and innovation
  • No competitive bidding could result in inflated costs
  • Corners could possibly be cut due to lack of overseeing by third party


If you decide to go the design-build route on your next home renovation project or custom home build, you still need to follow the same hiring guidelines as you would with any contractor.  Be sure to check their reviews and reputation online, check out their past project galleries and don’t be afraid to ask for references as well as other documentation to be sure they are the right fit.

Novacon Construction is a Toronto based design-build contractor specializing in high end renovation projects and custom home builds.  Contact us today to schedule a free consultation for your next project.

Ranch Home Kitchen and Home Renovation Toronto

How Much Does It Cost to Put a Second Story Addition on a Ranch House?

Many families simply outgrow their homes and find the need for additional living space. However, most people don’t want to leave their beloved dwellings and are faced with a bit of a conundrum – do I move to a larger home or add an addition to my existing home?

If you’d like a bigger home but don’t want to move then the best solution could be to add a second story to your existing ranch style house.

Cost Of a Second Story Addition On a Ranch Home

The cost of adding a story to a ranch house will depend on the size and your specific needs but it will increase the value of your home when all is said and done. You also need to factor in your location, the quality of materials used and the hours of labour needed. In general though, the cost is typically anywhere from $250 to $300+ per square-foot. This may increase if you plan on adding another bathroom to the upper level while building it.

You’ll be able to save some time & money if you can hire a Design-Build contractor that is licensed and fully-insured. These “all in one” companies can take care of all the requirements such as permits, architectural, structural engineering, plumbing, electrical and carpentry etc.

Building Up Our Out

If you decide to build out rather than build upward you’d need to extend the perimeter of the home outward which means a new foundation needs to be poured. In addition, you’d lose some of your existing property and yard space and you may need to get zoning permission for the project.  Here in Toronto, lot sizes tend to be small and the popular option is to usually go up rather than you when possible.

Building a second story on a ranch house is typically less expensive even if you do need to build a staircase. You may also need to have the home’s existing foundation strengthened to support the additional weight is a second story addition.

The more rooms you add in your upper story will also affect the overall price. Of course, more rooms means more walls, doors and possibly windows etc. And as previously mentioned, if you plan on adding a bathroom this could add a considerable amount to your final bill.

Since an additional story to a ranch house adds a significant amount of weight to the home, an engineer is required to come up with a set of detailed plans and this could cost $10,000 or more. This isn’t much though considering the average cost of an additional story on a 2,000 square-foot home can cost anywhere from $500,000 to $700,000+.

The existing roof needs to be demolished and the plumbing, heating and air conditioning need to be altered during the project as well. In many cases, you may also need to relocate while the construction is taking place as your home may not be livable.

Find a Quality Home Addition Contractor

Since adding a second story to a ranch house is a complicated task you’ll need to find a home addition contractor who’s experienced in this type of work. Structural walls need to be knocked out and the new story needs to be tied into existing mechanical systems.

When searching for a suitable, skilled contractor be sure the firm has certifications in construction and remodeling. You should verify that the company is licensed and insured and ask for references and a portfolio of their prior work. It’s important to ask if they use subcontractors and if they do, how do they screen and select them. You also need to find out how long the project will take and have all estimates etc. put in writing. It’s also a good idea to agree on a payment schedule before the work begins.

No matter how well you’ve planned and organized things, you may find that everything doesn’t always go according to plan. Ask about the builder’s change-order policy in case you change your mind about specific details during the project.


About Novacon Construction

Novacon Construction is an award winning  Design-Build contracting company based in Toronto. We specialize in large scale home additions and custom homes and manage all details of the construction process,  from the conceptual design phase, pre-construction planning/interior design, right through to the hands-on construction of the project. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.