Keep Cozy in the Winters: Explore these Popular RTM Fireplace Options

There is no doubt about it that the prairies have some of the harshest winters out there. But there is a silver lining, and that is keeping cozy by the fire in the bitter cold months in the comfort of your own home.

There is no shortage of different options to customize a fireplace with lots of options available for aesthetic and function. Three popular options for B&B Homes clients are traditional wood burning, gas and electric fireplaces.

RTM fireplace

Wood burning fireplaces are a traditional option that have been heating homes naturally for decades. This tried and true style of fireplace requires a little more upkeep than more modern gas and electric options and is not as efficient at producing heat. But if the scent and ambiance of the burning logs is what you are after, the additional maintenance can be considered a labour of love when maintaining your wood supply and cleaning your chimney seasonally.

RTM gas fireplace

Gas fireplaces are a stylish, modern option that provide flexible heat and aesthetic options by efficiently burning natural gas or propane instead of wood. There are a number of options for gas logs that create the ambiance of your flame. Gas fireplaces are also enclosed, providing safety from embers without requiring any chimney maintenance. Gas fireplaces also provide an alternate heat source for the home.

RTM electric fireplace

Electric fireplaces allow you to have the visual of a fire without having to produce any actual heat allowing for use all year round to create a relaxing ambiance at your leisure. Most electric models B&B sources do give you the option for both flame and heat or just the flame. An environmentally conscious option, electric fireplaces do not use any gas or produce any emissions.

Do you want to warm up by your own brand new fireplace next winter? Are you ready to start planning your own custom RTM dream home with B&B’s Dream It, Build It, Move It process? Contact Suzanne directly at suzanne@bbhomes.ca to get started.

Onsite Planning for an RTM Project Part 4: Landscaping

We have reach the final part of this RTM onsite project series. We hope you have a good understanding of some of the items that will come up in a project so you can be prepared and educated.

Part 4 of this series focuses on some landscaping considerations that may or may not apply for your location, they are:

  • Eavestrough
  • Road access/driveway
  • Window wells
  • Deck
  • Parging exterior of exposed basement walls
  • Fencing (if needed)

If you missed part 1, 2 or 3 of this series, you can still read them on the B&B Homes blog.

RTM Home

Final grade

This is a very important step of your landscaping. You need to make sure the ground is sloped away from your home. You need to plan for heavy downpours in the summer and snow runoff in the spring. If you get your foundation work done with B&B Homes we will help you prepare this.

Roadway Access

When planning for a new roadway, access, or when upgrading your existing, make sure you plan ahead and prepare for moving day requirements. Make sure there will be enough room for your home to safely come off the main road and into your yard. Ask us for specific information, we can help you plan for this.

Eavestrough

B&B does not install eavestrough on our homes. This is because there is a chance it will get damaged during the move. It is a good idea to have eavestrough installed as soon as you can once your home is on your foundation. This way any runoff from your roof will be directed away from your basement and prevent damages to your new investment.

Window Wells

If your basement windows will be below final grade, you will need to install window wells as well. Make sure that the local codes are followed when determining the specifics. This is very important as your basement windows serve as a fire escape and have some requirements.

Decks

There are many different finishes you can have when planning for your decks. One thing to make sure is that your deck is sitting on a solid foundation such as screw piles or concrete piles. This will help insure your deck will last for many years to come.

Parging

After your final grade is complete, window wells installed (if needed), and the decks is built, you will need to cover the exposed portion of the  foundation to protect it from the weather. Acrylic parging is one method you can use. This is a stucco like product that gets applied and comes in many different colours. Other options include siding or stone. This is usually one of the final finishing touches you’ll do to the outside of your home.

Fencing

If you live in a town or small hamlet, you may want to budget for a privacy fence for around your property. There are many different materials you can use ranging from maintenance free to materials that you will need to stain or paint every year. Maintenance free materials will cost more but if the cost is figured out over time, you may save money, time and hassle in the future. Make this decision carefully!

Window wells

RTM

Eavestrough

RTM

B&B Homes does onsite decks as part of our comprehensive RTM packages

If you have any questions about foundations or any other aspect of the RTM process or would like to get started planning your own 2019 RTM project, contact us here.

 

Onsite Planning for an RTM Project Part 2: Hookups

Planning an RTM project does not have to be stressful or overwhelming if you educate yourself on the different parts of the process. At B&B, we try to get as much information into the hands of RTM researchers and planners to help them make empowered decisions regarding their projects while evaluating all of the different stages.

A major part of the process that is often overlooked in budgeting and preliminary research is the onsite hookups. Though B&B Homes offers this service as part of our full offering, you may want to explore some local options or perhaps know someone that works in the trades that can assist you with part II of the onsite preparation you may want to explore.

If you missed part I of this series on foundations, you can read it here on the B&B Homes blog.

Items to consider when gathering quotes for your Heating, Plumbing, & HVAC onsite hookups

  • Furnace type (Eg: high efficiency)
  • Garage heating
  • Water heater type (Tank or tankless)
  • Central air conditioning
  • Dryer venting
  • Fireplace hook up
  • Basement in-floor heating
  • Plumbing rough ins for future basement development
  • Water hook up
  • Water system (Reverse Osmosis and water softener)
  • Septic system
  • Exterior water faucets
  • Garage floor drains

Some Other Items to Consider When Gathering Quotes for Electrical

  • Service amperage
  • Extent of rough in wiring that will be done (Interior walls framed? Is the basement also included?)
  • Electrician needs to know the type of furnace and hot water heater i.e. natural gas, propane, or electric
  • Will there be an air conditioner to hook up?
  • Cost for permits
  • Trenching the wire from the main power box into your mechanical room
  • Wiring of your perimeter walls must be complete prior to drywall being hung

At B&B, we design your basement layout at the same time as your main floor layout so when the electrician wires the walls, the plugs and switches are in the exact spots for future development.

If you have any questions about hookups or any other aspect of the RTM process, contact us here.

 

Onsite Planning for an RTM Project Part 1: Foundation Preparation.

Planning an RTM project can be a little daunting if you are not familiar with the different parts of the process. We decided to develop this short series to walk you through the different onsite stages that occur. Being armed with the knowledge of the process allows you to make informed decisions with your planning and puts you in the driver seat. Below is some information on the process that will allow you to compare quotes from different contractors with accuracy.

Part 1: Foundations covers the different stages from what to compare in an estimate, things to consider when deciding what route to go and what the process looks like once you start excavating.

Items that should be included in your foundation quote:

  • Excavation and backfill
  • Basement walls
  • Crushed rock for weeping tile and floor
  • Weeping tile and installation
  • Basement floor
  • Waterproofing for exterior of foundation walls
  • Beam and the required teleposts
  • Stairs
  • Windows

Foundation construction begins with excavating.

The construction of walls, beams, teleposts and waterproofing are completed next.

Weeping tile is installed next before the backfill.

The basement floor is typically poured after the home has been set on the foundation.

Be sure that the windows and stairs are included in your preliminary quote when reviewing foundation estimates.

Some Other Items to Consider That May Come Up:

What if I have shifting soil on my land?

What is the soil like where the home will be placed? Do you need to be concerned about shifting soil? If so, screw piles or concrete piles may need to be added to keep the foundation from moving over time. In some cases, a study of the soil needs to be done in order to determine what type of foundation is needed, this is called a Geotech study.

What will happen with the dirt that is removed from the basement?

Some of it will be used for backfill. The rest can be used in your landscape otherwise you may have to pay to have it removed. In some cases, the dirt that is removed is not suitable for backfill material. Other dirt or fill must then be hauled in and used in this scenario if it comes up.

Backfill is generally left to settle on its own. If you are wanting to pour sidewalks etc up against the house in the same year, you will have to address compacting the backfill somehow. Although this isn’t recommend as it puts extra pressure on your foundation walls.

We have a high water table on our land, can we still have a basement?

Yes, but it will determine the depth of your basement.

ICF, wood, or concrete foundation?

B&B Homes builds 9 ft ICF foundations as a standard but also will do crawl space, concrete and wood foundations as well.

If you have any questions about the RTM process, want to book a site visit to tour some of our current projects or wish to start the process of drafting your own custom design plan, contact us here.

Which Is Better: Fir Plywood vs. OSB Flooring?

wood RTM
Fir Plywood

B&B Homes has been making custom RTM homes for over 10 years, we are building our 94th house as we speak! We have worked with a variety of different materials and processes and continued to innovate until we found what works the best for our customers while maintaining our own high standards to quality craftsmanship. When it comes to sub flooring, at B&B Homes we prefer using Fir Plywood over OSB. Though we realize that we may be becoming the minority by sticking with this material, it is still our number one choice for our customers, here’s why:

 

Fir Plywood Holds Up Stronger to Moisture

Fir Plywood is manufactured with the grain still intact which gives plywood strength. Fir Plywood is also lighter and holds up stronger against moisture. This product is the distinct winner and the preferred choice under ceramic tiles because of its stiffness and resistance to the elements. Plywood also works better with adhesives. If on the other hand, OSB is exposed to a significant amount of water or even moisture, it can expand by up to 15% on the edges. This swelling can weaken your tiles or other materials that you want to have longevity in your home.

 

Fir Plywood Has More Longevity for the Home

Though OSB can help you save on short term costs, Fir Plywood is more durable over time. At B&B Homes we strongly feel that this is a corner that should not be cut, when building a home that is meant to last a lifetime. As a sub floor, OSB tends to make a poor base and sags between joists and can have tendencies to chip in some cases. OSB also has a higher risk of floor squeaks due to the many layers it’s comprised of and only has an average life expectancy of 20 years.Most of our clients pass their homes down in their families and need a home that will stand the test of time!

 

Putting a Strong Structure in Place

Fir Plywood has been known for providing great structural strength for buildings and homes for decades and is tried and true. Though B&B Homes will continue to experiment with different materials new to market, we also plan to stick with what we know works and want to help our customers make the best decisions possible for their big investment.

 

For more information on planning a custom RTM project or to book a site visit, contact us.

 

 

Considerations When Designing a Kitchen Island

The kitchen island is one of the fun parts to plan when designing your own custom RTM home. When visioning your layout, you need to be conscious that there is enough traffic space so you can be comfortable doing multiple tasks at a time in the kitchen, making the space functional. Let’s review some ideas you can make your own when designing a kitchen island when planning a custom RTM home project.

Double sink in the island area while allowing for enough space from the range to move around the space for the busy multi-taskers.

You may prefer prairie views when doing this dishes and opt for family meals on an easy to clean and maintain quartz countertop.

No wasted space if you plan for storage in advance.

Create an ambiance based on your personal style and preferences to prepare daily meals. A rustic look can be achieved with custom cabinetry and lighting fixtures to compliment.

Plan your own custom RTM dream home with B&B’s Dream It, Build It, Move It process. Contact Suzanne directly at suzanne@bbhomes.ca to get started.

Framing the B&B Homes Way

When planning to build a custom RTM home, building methodology matters. We have built almost 90 homes and have discovered the B&B Homes formula for success when framing an RTM home to last a lifetime. Below are some of the steps that we take to frame the “B&B Homes way”. Feel free to reach out and ask any questions you have about the process.

All B&B floors are constructed using a double 1 ¾” LVL (laminated veneer lumber) on the both the front and the back of the floor system. They are glued and nailed together forming a strong 3 ½” perimeter for the floor system. LVL’s are a high-strength engineered wood product. One of the main advantages is that it can be manufactured, to almost any length, avoiding joints which lead to weak spots. LVL’s are comparable in strength to solid timber, concrete, and steel. This helps minimize floor movement during loading and unloading of the home, as well as during the move. In adding this wood product to our methodology, we have found our floor systems to be sturdier and more durable.

framing RTM

In any spot where we will be installing bath hardware (eg. hand towel holder, toilet paper holder, & bath towel rod), we install backing in the wall during the framing stage. This requires planning ahead on our part, but is well worth it! Who likes to have a loose hand towel holder, or worse yet, have one that continually falls off the wall?

We use high quality acrylic bath and shower fixtures. They all come as one piece units and get installed during the framing stage. They also come with a protective film to eliminate any damage to the finish during the build. The major benefits of using these one piece units, is that you will never have a problem with moisture getting behind the tub or shower, that could create mould in your wall.

For more information on B&B Home’s RTM process, visit here.

Making the Most of Your Space: Planning for Storage Through Design

Get the most out of your space through smart design for storage and function. Custom cabinets and shelving units not only help you stay organized, but they will also help you get the most out of your storage capacities that are available within the square footage of your brand new RTM home.

B&B Homes works with a number of suppliers that can help you plan and customize this important consideration for your home that makes smart sense over the long run.

Storage through design

Mudrooms are a trend and popular feature of most of B&B Home’s latest projects. Lockers help everyone stay organized each season while having a little personal space to store your stuff.

mudroom RTM storage

Take into account all of the different areas of a home that you can organize with shelving, cabinets, and storage combined with what you already know about your lifestyle and make special accommodations for it when planning with our on-site designer Katia. She will help you navigate this part of your design plan while keeping your budget considerations in mind.

wine fridge RTM

custom cabinets RTM

planning for storage

For more information on planning a custom RTM project or to book a site visit, contact Suzanne directly at suzanne@bbhomes.ca or via phone at 306-856-0073. Want to view current projects? Book a site visit here.

Selecting Finishes and Appliances for an RTM Home.

The idea of building a custom home may seem overwhelming, but really it is just a series of steps and decisions to be made along the way of a well thought-out plan, with some support and coaching along the way. At B&B Homes, we do everything we can to make sure the process is fun, stress free and exciting! Selecting finishes and appliances for your RTM with the help of a designer removes the stress and hassle out of the process of planning a custom home.

Below is what happens next after you decide to work with B&B Homes and you move into the selection process with our onsite designer .

Figure Out if There Are Any Upgrades or Features That Are “Must Have”

For the selection process, B&B Homes has many wonderful options available to our clients, but we do not limit them to the selections in our show room. With the help of our designer Katia, B&B Homes arranges meetings with our suppliers and works to find the exact item that fits your vision, and will get pricing to assist in the decision making process. Whether it is a floating ceiling in your master bedroom or any other unique feature, we love creative ideas and trying out new things at B&B, and do the research to make them happen.

When B&B Homes quotes a project, everything is based on our standard specifications found here.  We work to stay on time and on budget unless you tell us otherwise. We want to be proud of each home we build and maintain our high standards for each project.

Selecting finishes and appliances for an RTM home.

B&B Home’s standard finishes are already great quality due to our dedication to producing high quality RTM homes to last a lifetime. There are still many options, colors and features to choose from in our base offerings.

Working With an Onsite Designer to Guide Your Tastes and Preferences

Once you have decided to start your RTM journey and the paperwork is complete, B&B schedules your first selections meeting. Discussions around flooring, paint, cabinetry, countertops, all the way to door styles and plumbing fixtures, are covered off in this half day meeting.

All of these selections are made at once to ensure that everything will work and flow together while meeting your family’s unique styles and preferences.

selecting finishes and appliances for an RTM Home.
Shopping for Appliances for an RTM

Shopping for appliances is not fun! That is why our clients often get us to make their appliances selections and present options that will fit the budget and dimensions of their new homes.  B&B Homes has a preferred vendor that provides us with discounted rates, making the whole process even easier for our clients.

Having a Fully Finished Home Delivered on RTM Moving Day

We often find, that people are surprised to find out that we complete the ENTIRE RTM home before moving it. This includes cabinets, mirrors, fireplace and surround. One of the best parts of an RTM build  is how little you have to do yourself, before coming home one day to a fully finished home.

For more information on the RTM process or to have someone call you to discuss your family’s future home needs, please email info@bbhomes.ca and someone will reach out to you shortly.

 

The On-site Building Stages of an RTM Home

Learning how the whole RTM process works from start to finish can feel somewhat overwhelming at times if you are new to it. We have put together an educational ebook based on our top blogs and newsletters to help you get the knowledge you need to make informed choices about your own RTM project.

Download your copy of the RTM Project Roadmap on our website here.

B&B Homes manages each build project in a simple to use program called co-construct. By logging into our co-construct site, you can monitor the progress of each stage of your build and make recorded decisions and conversations all in one place! Details on estimates, change orders and on-going progress photos from our designer happen inside co construct as well.

Then, there are a few final steps to wrap up the RTM building process shortly before your new custom home is delivered. They include:

Preparing the Foundation

Coordinating the final preparations for the foundation needs to happen no less than 21 days before the house is moved. The concrete needs to be poured for an ICF foundation three weeks before the home is moved so that it has enough time for it to cure. B&B Homes offers foundation and basement services for a full suite offering, however you are welcome to source this component locally as well. Coordinating this step with your RTM builder is critical before the big move day.
basement process rtm

Pouring the Basement

Once the house is set on the foundation, then the basement floor gets poured. We do not pour the floors before the house arrives because the movers put their equipment in the basement and lift the house from underneath, which could result in cracking the concrete floor if it is done too soon. With the house on the foundation, the garage foundation gets poured. There are some instances where this can already be in place. If the garage moves with the house for example, it obviously needs to be done the same time as the house foundation. Sometimes the layout of the site, trees, or buildings make for tight spots in the yard (and the movers need that extra space) or they will need to load the house onto the foundation from the garage side.  Once that is all complete the basement floor can be poured and the basement steps installed.

 

basement RTM 3

If You Plan on Having a Garage or a Deck, Pour the Concrete Now Too

It’s a good idea if you’re building your deck right away or a garage in the near future, to pour concrete piles for either scenarios at the same time as pouring the floor to avoid extra charges. The garage and deck can be built as soon as their foundations are ready to be built on. Which in some cases can be as soon as the day after pouring the concrete.

basement

Plan and Set the Schedule in Advance

When homeowners schedule the onsite work on their own, they may struggle to know when to book the trades in. They are not familiar with who has to come before who, and what work needs to be completed at what stages. If booked incorrectly, the project can easily be set back by weeks if the local trades are busy during this time. The team at B&B Homes is used to scheduling these types of projects and are known for keeping things running smoothly and leading home owners on this journey. That is the benefit of working with an RTM builder that can do foundations, basements and garages making the whole project from start to finish seamless and guided.

B&B Homes prides itself on building homes to last families a lifetime by offering quality quality craftsmanship you can trust.