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Lisa Coates
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President/Project manager of Level Ten Landworks
President/Project manager of Level Ten Landworks

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New Windows for a New Year

The Addition of new windows is a home improvement you should not go without!

Cooler nights, bitter winds, the rain and snow is here. So how are your current windows holding up?
At Level Ten we know that one of the largest money savers for home owners is a good, solid window. And while older-style windows can add a lot of character to your home, they aren't always the most efficient. Or safe.

If you're not certain that it's time to replace your windows, here are a few things to consider:

Windows are in poor condition - Beyond efficiency concerns, windows in poor condition can contribute to water leaks, humidity problems in the home and even pest infestations. Cracked windowpanes, non-operational windows and rotting frames, sashes or sills on wood windows are all good reasons to consider replacement.

Windows have single-pane glass or temperature-conductive frames and sashes - Many window and construction experts agree that homes with cheap, poorly-performing windows can almost always benefit from window replacement.

Windows pose safety problems - Windows that don't open or shut completely or that are weak or loose because of improper maintenance or damage are good candidates for replacement. And if your home has upper-floor rooms with windows that don't open, consider replacing them with operable windows and placing an easy-to-use fire ladder in the room so the windows can serve as exits in case of emergency.

So if you've noticed any of these issues with your windows, it may be time to renovate! And if that's the case, get in touch with us at Level Ten Landworks. Our great team totally know windows!

You can reach us at info@leveltenlandworks.ca. Call today to get an estimate on your window replacement.
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Keep That Draft Out!

5 Ways To Draft-Proof Your Home!

No one wants to sit in a chilly kitchen in the winter. And you certainly don't want to sit in a cold bathroom with a draft blowing through that old bathroom window!
What can you do about it?
There are many quick and easy tips to reduce drafts in your home. For your convenience, I've listed off the 5 most effective ways to reduce drafts in your home or apartment.


1. Use Weatherstripping
Weatherstrips are an inexpensive way to help seal drafty doors and windows. Simple to install and often quite effective for sealing up drafts in old window frames.

2. Install New Sweeps
When is the last time you replaced your door sweeps? Replacing old door sweeps with new ones can make a world of a difference. Say good bye to under-door drafts with a fresh door sweep.
To ensure a good fit, close the door, measure the length of the door, and cut the size you need. There are a few different kinds of sweeps (like heavy duty, drip-cap and brush) – asking an expert which one is right for you will help ensure you get the best bang for your buck.

3. Apply Window Film
It may not be the most attractive but window film can work great! But only when properly applied. It looks like saran wrap and when put in place and heated with a hair-dryer, shrinks and seals drafty windows. My pro tip: recruit a friend to help hang on larger windows, it’s much easier that way!

4. Use A Door Snake
If you have a drafty window or door, these little snakes are a must-have in your home. Placed at the bottom of the door or window, these weighted fabric tubes help block out the unwanted chill.

5. Re-Caulk Your Windows & Doors
As time passes, the caulking on windows degrades and may wear or peel away. Get out there and make your rounds on outside of your home. Simply re-caulk old spots to help seal out drafts. Not handy with the caulking gun – call a pro!

If you've tried these options and you find your home is still too drafty, then it's time to call in the professionals. It will cost a bit up front, but you'll save in the long run – plus, you'll be warm!

You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-446-4193 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca
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It's time we had a talk about fireplace safety...

If you've got a home with a fireplace, you probably know that there are certain risks to having a fire in your living room. But those risks can be minimized with proper care and maintenance.
Even if you consider yourself a good fireplace user, it's always a good idea to refresh your memory. Especially this time of year, as we begin to feel the cold bite of winter and we begin to light up those fireplaces for the first time this season.

So here are 9 tips from Houselogic.com that cover all the bases when it comes to fireplace safety:

1. Only Burn Dry, Cured Wood
That is, logs that have been split, stacked, and dried for eight to 12 months. Cover your log pile on top, but leave the sides open for air flow.

Hardwoods such as hickory, white oak, beech, sugar maple, and white ash burn longest, though dry firewood is more important than the species. Less dense woods like spruce or white pine burn well if sufficiently dry, but you’ll need to add more wood to your fire more often, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

2. Burn Firewood and Only Firewood!
Crates, lumber, construction scraps, painted wood, or other treated wood releases chemicals into your home, compromising air quality. Log starters are fine for getting your wood fireplace going, but they burn very hot; generally only use one at a time.

3. Close the Damper When Not Using Your Wood Fireplace
This will prevent warm indoor air — and the dollars you’re spending to heat it — from rushing up the chimney.

4. Keep Bi-fold Glass Doors Open When Burning a Fire
This will allow heat to get into the room. On a factory-built, prefab wood fireplace with a circulating fan, keep doors closed to prevent unnecessary heat loss.

5. Have a Chimney Cap Installed
It will prevent objects, rain, and snow from falling into your chimney, and reduce downdrafts. Caps have side vents so smoke escapes. A chimney sweep usually provides and can install a stainless steel cap, which is better than a galvanized metal one because it won’t rust. Caps cost $50 to $200.

6. Replace a Poorly Sealing Damper to Prevent Heat Loss.
A top-mounted damper that also functions as a rain cap provides a tighter closure than a traditional damper for your wood fireplace.

7. Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Smoke Detectors
Place them near your wood fireplace as well as in bedroom areas.

8. Get Your Chimney Cleaned Twice a Year*
If you burn more than three cords of wood annually, this is a must-do. A cord is 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 8 feet long, or the amount that would fill two full-size pickup trucks.

9. To Burn a Fire Safely, Build It Slowly, Adding More Wood as It Heats
Keep the damper of your wood fireplace completely open to increase draw in the early stages. Burn the fire hot, at least occasionally—with the damper all the way open to help prevent smoke from lingering in the fireplace and creosote from developing.

And that's it. Not too much to handle, right? Follow those tips and have a warm, safe winter season. Make sure to enjoy those moments, before you know it, it will be summer again. ( We wish!)

You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-446-4193 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca
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Hanging Your Christmas Lights: Step by Step

Here’s how to get started:

First - Find your electrical outlet.
Ideally, use a switch-controlled outlet, or plug the lights into an automatic timer. Do not use an indoor timer outdoors. And make sure to only use extension cords meant for the exterior.

Then – Ask yourself, how many strings do you need?
This depends on how much of your home you're covering with lights. Get out the measuring tape, and do the math.
Before you plug them in, visually inspect the light strings, looking for broken or missing bulbs and worn or defective wiring. If you discover faulty wires, replace the string entirely as this could present a fire hazard.

Now - Set up a ladder.
If your home’s eaves are low, you may be able to use a stepladder; otherwise, plan to use an extension ladder. Place it firmly on flat ground and, extending it well above the eaves, lean it against the eaves at an angle that will be comfortable and safe to climb—neither too steep nor too flat.

Next - Hang the lights along the eaves.
The goal is to hang lights as easily and safely as possible without marring your home’s trim or walls. For attaching lights along gutters or the roof, use plastic clips made for the job

And Then - Attach the lights to the trim.
For attaching lights to window trim and similar vertical surfaces, use rope light clips or adhesive or nail-on plastic string light clips, readily available online or at home improvement centres. Space them about 12 inches apart or as recommended. Do not use staples or nails to hang light strings—they can pierce or wear away the protective insulation, creating an electrical hazard.

That should do it! Once you've finished putting up those lights, head inside, turn them on and enjoy! And have yourself a Merry Christmas!

You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-446-4193 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca
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What To Do With Navy Blue

In the world of interior design trends, Navy Blue is having its moment. The dark, but not black, shade is getting a lot of buzz. Interior designers are talking about it in terms of being a colour trend for this Fall/Winter season. And why not! It is a versatile colour that can be used both as a neutral or as an accent. But where will it look best?

While a lot of dark colours can seem gloomy, Navy Blue is a reliable colour that can spice up a space and ad some appealing atmosphere.

Reminiscent of the ocean, Navy Blue can be a very relaxing colour. Imagine a Navy Blue accent wall in large bathroom meant for taking baths. Or a cozy study filled with wooden bookcases and plush seats, the Navy Blue walls giving the room a classic feel.

If you're not sure how to make Navy Blue work in your home, start small. Try some accessories, like curtains and throw pillows. As an anchoring shade, Navy Blue can be a wonderful compliment to other warmer tones. Pair it with a sharp white for a dramatic effect. Or if you're feeling brave, try some navy-on-navy!

Whether it's the mouldings in the hallway, the exterior door, or the guest bedroom walls, Navy Blue is a versatile colour that can work for you in so many different ways.

You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-446-4193 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca
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Your Autumn Maintenance Checklist

With the cooler weather setting in, it's important that you ensure your home is ready for the winter.

It doesn't take much to get your home prepared and with this list of 5 items, you can be sure that you won't be left in the cold.

1 Clean Those Gutters – You will save yourself a lot of hassle if you get to those gutters now before all those bits of damp debris become filthy leaf and twig ice chunks.

2 Check Your Roof and Siding – Look for any sign of water damage or drafts. Physically check your roof and the siding with an eye open for missing shingles or rips in the siding.

3 Clean That Fireplace – When is the last time you had a fire in that thing? You don't want to smoke yourself out the house the first time you spark up the fireplace for the season.

4 Check The Caulking On Those Windows – Your home loses the majority of its heat from drafty windows, so make sure to give them the attention they need before it gets below zero.

5 Clean and Cover Your Patio Furniture – I know, you don't want to admit that it will soon be too cold to sit out on the back deck sipping an ice cold beer. But you can't turn back the calendar. What you can do is ensure your deck looks great for next year by giving it a good clean now, and protect those deck chairs!

There you have it, 5 items for your autumn maintenance checklist. And be sure to be safe, especially when it comes to your roof and gutters. Don't forget, if you need assistance, you can reach out to your local handyperson.

You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-446-4193 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca
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Level Ten's Guide To Hardwood Flooring

I've been writing a lot about hardwood, It's something many home owners are interested in. But with this blog post, I'd like to take a step back and look at the types and styles of hardwood flooring.
All types of hardwood floors have unmatched natural beauty and go with almost any decor — modern, traditional, country, you name it. Hardwood flooring goes in any room, although kitchens and basements warrant special considerations. But for now, I'm just going to talk about the basics.

Here we go:

Unfinished or Finished?
Unfinished hardwood flooring is a good option if you want a custom stain applied before the final finish, or if you want to match the colour of existing flooring. After hardwood flooring installation and staining, the flooring is given several coats of protective finish. If you’re thinking of adding hardwood flooring in your kitchen, unfinished flooring is a good choice because the finish will penetrate and seal the seams between boards, helping to prevent water from seeping between boards, so, splash away!

Pre-finished hardwood flooring comes from the factory already sanded and sealed, which means it looks nice and is easy to work with. There are no odours and VOCs from finishing on-site, and the floor is ready to walk on immediately after install.

Solid or Engineered?
Solid hardwood flooring is all wood and comes 5/8 to 3/4 inches thick. Because it’s solid wood, it can be sanded and refinished many times. However, it’s is affected by changes in humidity. Certainly not recommended for below-grade basements, that's for sure!

Engineered hardwood flooring is a veneer of real wood glued to several layers of wood underneath, like plywood but prettier. What you get from engineered wood is excellent stability over time and makes it a good choice for any area of your home, including those seasonally temperamental below-grade basements.

What Tree Is Best For A Floor?
The best hardwood floors are made with wood species that are readily available and — you guessed it — very hard.
Oak flooring, maple flooring and cherry flooring are all good choices. Other species include bamboo (which is actually a grass), walnut, ash and mahogany. You’ll pay a premium price for more exotic species, such as teak, jarrah and mesquite. Check to make sure the hardwood flooring you choose comes from sustainably harvested forests.
Another option is reclaimed hardwood flooring, which you can find at salvage yards. It likely has some signs of wear and age, but you’ll pay about half what it would cost for comparable new flooring.

I hope this guide helps you better understand the options when it comes to hardwood flooring.

*You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-446-4193 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca*
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The Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors. Many love them, and for good reason. They look great, they add value to the home. Hardwood floors are one of the amenities that home buyers often look for when buying a house. However, if your home didn't come with them, the purchase and installation of hardwood flooring can be costly and its care and maintenance can be challenging.

If you are debating whether to install hardwood flooring in your home, first investigate the pros and cons.

Pros of Hardwood Flooring

Long Lasting
Hardwood floors are very durable. 100 year old homes can still have the original flooring if they have been cared for properly. They just need sweeping or vacuuming and an occasional cleaning with a wood floor cleaner.

Value
Buyers will pay top dollar for homes with hardwood floors. In addition, homes with hardwood floors tend to sell faster than homes with wall-to-wall carpeting.

So Many Styles
Hardwood is available in many types of woods, such as oak, cherry and walnut, and can be sanded and stained to suit the home owner’s taste. It works with all styles of decorating, from traditional to modern.

Cons of Hardwood Flooring

Needs Refinishing Occasionally
In addition to installation, scuffed and scratched floors will need to be refinished. Hardwood floors in high traffic areas, especially when there are kids or animals, will be prone to showing damage.

Cost
Real wood floors can be a costly option. Materials can run from $3 per square foot for unfinished oak planks at a big-box retail store, to more than $12 a square foot for more exotic types of wood. The flooring must be installed over sub-flooring and installation is a bigger job than most homeowners can handle.

What's That Noise?!
Hardwood flooring can be noisy when walking across it, and can be a nuisance to your downstairs neighbors if you live in an apartment complex. Adding a rug can dampen the sound and it is also a good idea for families with children or adults who are prone to falls, since it acts as a cushion.

Those are some of the pros and cons of hardwood flooring. Since the materials and installation can be costly, it's best if you let the pros handle this project. Remember, always use an insured and certified contractor!

*You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-446-4193 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca*
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Is Your Ceiling Making A Statement?

Statement ceilings. They're a growing trend this year in home refurbishing. But what exactly are they? Simply put, it's a ceiling that looks different. A ceiling that has been altered in some way to make it stand-out, whether it's the way it's been painted, or decorated, or textured.

So what are some common types of statement ceilings? I'm glad you asked! I've broken down four styles of statement ceilings and I'll tell you a bit about each.

Painted
The painted ceiling could be anything from a bold, solid colour – like a bright red or a dark blue – to stripes, patterns, or a mural.
Often we don't draw attention to our ceilings but with bold paint jobs, it's hard not to notice.

Textured
Remember the stucco ceilings of the '70s? Well, thanks to statement ceilings, the trend is back and in full swing! But not just stucco. There's so many more ways to give that ceiling some texture. Plaster moldings, and various designs can enhance the view when looking up. Depending on your tastes, this is something with almost as many options as paint colours.

Natural
Want the natural look when it comes to your ceiling? Think wood. Exposed beams, hardwood, or planks. Being able to see the construction material when you look up is adding to the statement. Some natural-styled statement ceilings replicate the feel of a barn or and boat-house by using lots of different wood. What you do with that wood is up to you.

Accessorized
Bling for your ceiling! Accessories can really make the most of a generally drab ceiling. Chandeliers, mobiles, mirrored tiles, and all sorts of other accessories are just begging to be suspended from your ceiling!

Those are just a few of the types of statement ceiling that have been trending this year. If you have the desire to spice up the life of your ceiling, then you should get in touch with your local contractor. You want to be careful when restructuring any part of your home, especially your ceiling.

*You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-446-4193 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca*
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TRENDING THIS FALL
Inspiration for Home Renovations

Summer is beginning to wind down and you're ready to start that fall renovation. You know you need to do some major changes to the interior. But what direction are you going to take? What look are you hoping for?

Maybe you just know you need a change. And all you need now is some inspiration. Then look no further. I've gathered some of the most poplar trends in interior decorating and renovating. That way you are able to have a starting point, something to get you thinking about how you want your home to look this autumn.

Interior Paint Colours
According to HGTV, dark colours are in this fall. Especially dark green. HGTV says “Combined with rich natural wood and leather and accented with brass and cream, the cozy color is a perfect fit for fall and winter. “

And if dark colours aren't your thing, you may be pleased to know that blush pink is in. At least according to CountryLiving.com who claim that “Blush is back and better than ever.”

Textures
Are you the type of person the loves velvet? If so,, you'll be happy to know that several stylists are talking up the virtues of velvet. Soothing and luxurious, able to add an extra layer of cozy in the upcoming autumn months.

And to offset the velvet, how about some woven textures. Wicker and basket weaves can add a nice bit of ruff natural feeling to off-set the plushness of the velvet.

Flooring
How about earthenware? Do you like terra cotta? Because terra cotta tiles are this fall's must-have for flooring. But if that's not your style, have you considered dark grey hardwood? Grey tones and darker colours are a big hit this fall.

Those are just some of the directions you could take when renovating this fall. As always, you want to strongly consider your options. See what fits within your budget, do your research. If you need the advice of a professional, then reach out and ask one. Making the right choice isn't always easy and it can help to have an informed opinion.

You can reach Lisa Coates of Level Ten Landworks by calling 902-446-4193 or send an email to info@leveltenlandworks.ca
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