kitchen design

Answering Common Questions about Custom Home Builders

A custom home is designed to satisfy all your needs. If you choose to build a custom home, your home will be as unique as you are. Custom home builders build houses according to a client’s specific requirements. A home is custom-made for a particular homeowner and in the particular lot that it’s built on. Your custom home is designed to satisfy all your needs. If you choose to create a custom home, your home will be as unique as you are.

Today, we will answer some of the most common questions people have. Here’s what you need to know:

What Makes Custom Homes, Custom?

Custom homes are built from scratch using the owner’s ideas, plans and desires. You work one-on-one with the architect who designs each room in the house. The architect gives you the concept for each room, and you approve the plans before moving forward to the next step. You can change any part of the plan if you feel it needs to be changed.

You can decide what type of roof you want, what type of windows you want and what kind of flooring you want. You can design a custom home to meet all your needs.

What Is the Difference between Custom Homes and a Custom Home Builders?

A custom home builder builds a custom home. You, the client, are responsible for the design of the house. The architect will help you with the design. A custom home is built from start to finish. The design is built on a set of plans that you approve.

Are Custom Homes Expensive?

A custom home is more expensive than a stock home. Custom homes are built from scratch using your plans. You can add extra rooms or storage space if you want. You can choose to change the type of flooring, add extra cabinets or change the kitchen’s layout. You can include more than one bathroom if you want to. You can design your home to include a fireplace or an extra bedroom if you want to.

What Are the Most Popular Features of a Custom Home?

The most popular features of a custom home include:

1. Flooring

Most people choose to have hardwood floors because it is easy to maintain. You can get your home professionally cleaned, or you can do it yourself.

2. Windows

You can choose the type of windows you want to include in your home. You can choose to have double-paned windows or triple-paned windows. These windows control the amount of sunlight that shines in your home. Aluminum windows are a popular choice for custom homes.

3. Plumbing

You will choose the type of plumbing you want in your home. Your home can include copper pipes or PVC pipes. You can choose to purchase top-of-the-line fixtures if you want.

4. Kitchen

You can choose any kitchen that you want. You can pick a traditional kitchen or a modern kitchen. You can choose to include extra storage cabinets or a breakfast counter.

The Bottom Line

Custom homes are as unique as their owners. You can design a home to meet all your needs. A custom home is more expensive than a stock home. You will be working with an architect who will help you design your home. You should be prepared to pay more for the extra features you want to include in your home. You will be able to ensure that your home meets your needs and your wants.

If you are looking for the best custom home builders, we can help you. Sierra Gate Homes offer custom home building in Ottawa. With more then 25 years of experience in residential construction, Sierra Gate Homes has the expertise to guide you through every step in the process of building your custom home, adding an addition or renovating an existing property.  Contact us today to learn more!

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5 Things to Look for in Ottawa Home Renovation Quotes


There are a slew of different things that you have to consider when getting your home renovated. For example, construction drawings, city permits, and electrical inspections should be included in any renovation budget. This process can add both time and costs to your project, but with a basic understanding of the top five renovation costs, you will be able to better plan for and understand contractor estimates for your next project. To help you out, here are five things to look for when looking at home renovation quotes in Ottawa.

Renovation Construction Drawings

Any major home renovation job should start with a clear idea of what to do, especially when making structural changes to a building. A contractor should be able to help you visualize the renovation and identify any risks that may occur during the project. The role of a good contractor is to help you understand all your options and develop a plan to complete the renovation in the best way possible.   

Project Management and Labour Costs

When you hire a contractor for your renovations, you’ll have to pay for the cost of the project management associated with coordinating a wide range of tradespeople. This includes the time to manage individual contractors for more extensive renovations. The cost of the project management should always be included in your renovation project budget. It’s always important to read reviews of individual contractors to make sure your renovation will be done in a timely and effective manner. There is nothing worse than starting off a renovation, then spending days or weeks in limbo waiting for your contractor to start working again.

Rough Construction Materials

When renovating, many homeowners consider construction materials to be an insignificant cost. This is not the case, however. In fact, these construction materials can quickly add up and are often overlooked by homeowners. These materials include nails, caulking, plywood, cement and plaster.

Demolition and Recycling

A major part of any home improvement job is demolition. This step involves tearing out old materials and removing them from the house. Depending on what needs to be removed, you might have to pay rent on a dumpster and pay for materials to recycle. Examples could be ripping up flooring, removing siding, or gutting a wet basement.

Clean-up and Renovation Warranty

Once a renovation is complete, you want to ensure it looks great and lasts for many years. This means all furniture and structures that were moved during the renovation are back in place and a final walkthrough has been performed with the contractor. You should also ask your contractor about the renovation warranty. What if you discover leaks or cracks in flooring or in newly installed lighting fixtures that stop working? Will the repairs for these items be covered under warranty?


We hope this article proves to be useful when it comes to helping you navigate your home renovations. As you can see, there are a multitude of different things that you have to consider when looking at quotes. Be sure to keep everything that you’ve learned here in mind so that you can make the most informed decisions possible.

If you’re looking for the best custom home builders that can help you with your renovations, then you’ve come to the right place. With more than 25 years of experience in residential construction, Sierra Gate Homes has the expertise to guide you through every step in the process of building your custom home, adding an addition, or renovating an existing property. For more information on what we can do for you, visit our website today!

Completion of our Newest Build in Westboro!

Sierra Gate Homes is proud to announce completion of our latest Westboro project!  This 3,200 square foot contemporary modern home at 231 Daniel Avenue boasts a bright, open-concept design, modern finishings, a fully finished basement and a double garage.  Situated in a quiet neighbourhood of mature trees, this home is just minutes from the bustle of Westboro. To see pictures of the finished project, please click here.

We are now working on our next project.  Like our build at 231 Daniel Avenue, this next home will incorporate a range of green construction practices that optimise energy efficiency and exceed building code requirements.  Stay tuned for updates!

Looking for Construction Professionals? Make Sure You Do Your Homework

Kijiji Kitchen FinalFinding the right professional for your home construction or renovation project is critical.  Hiring the wrong firm can cost you time and money, and lead to endless frustrations.  It is important to do your homework!  Here are some key steps to consider:

  1.  Talk to people you know and trust.  Think about family members, friends, neighbours and co-workers who have recently done a construction or renovation project.  Ask them if they were satisfied with the company they used.  If possible, go and look at the work that was done so that you can judge the quality for yourself.
  2. Go online.  You will find client ratings and reviews on reputable sites that allow you to search for construction professionals – sites like and  In reading the reviews for a particular company, you want to ensure that most or all of them are positive.  Also, once you have a couple of firms in mind, you can search their name together with words like “scam,” “rip-off” and “complaint.”
  3. Get estimates.  It is critical to get written estimates from a number of different firms.  The estimates must be provided to you at no charge.  They should be based on a visit to your home.  And when it comes time to assess the different estimates you receive, do not automatically choose the lowest bidder.  If one estimate is lower than the rest, try to find out why.  When discussing estimates with a firm, make sure you don’t reveal the competition’s pricing.
  4. Ask questions.  There are several questions you need to ask before hiring a construction or renovation firm.  Here are just a few examples.  How many projects like mine have you completed within the last year?  Will my project require a permit?  Could I please have a list of references whom I can contact?  What types of insurance do you carry?  Will you be using sub-contractors for my project?



Finding Top-rated Construction and Renovation Professionals

A new year and a new honour for Sierra Gate Homes!

231 Daniel - Front
Our latest project at 231 Daniel Avenue in Westboro. Photos of the completed home will soon be on Houzz!

We have been rated at the highest level for client satisfaction on Houzz (  Because we are part of the Houzz community (, our clients review us on the site.  And their excellent reviews have earned us a Best of Houzz 2016 award!
Houzz brings homeowners and home professionals – from architects to general contractors to landscapers – together!  It is a tremendous resource if you are searching for top-rated professionals.  Or perhaps you’re just looking for inspiring new ideas for your home.  You can search and browse photos and products, and collect the photos you love in your own personalised ideabooks!





Buying a Fixer-Upper: Are We Opening a Can of Worms?

turkel3On the face of it, buying a fixer-upper seems like a terrific idea!  Perhaps you’re first-time homebuyers.  You’ve found a rundown house in the perfect neighbourhood.  The price is right.  How can you possibly pass up on the opportunity?  While buying a fixer-upper can work to your advantage, it can also become your worst nightmare.  Here are some questions couples should ask themselves before signing on the dotted line:

  1. Is the house just in need of some cosmetic work or is there structural damage?
  2. Do we have the time to invest?  Are we prepared to devote our evenings and weekends to this project?
  3. Are we going to live in the house while it’s being renovated?  If not, do we have somewhere else to live?
  4. Will we have enough money to complete the renovation work that needs to be done?
  5. Will the stress of buying a new home, and then spending a lot of time and money on the renovations be too much for our relationship?
  6. Do we have realistic expectations about this project?  This may not turn out to be the quick and dramatic transformation that we’re used to seeing on reality television.

Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of buying a fixer-upper at this link:

Pros and Cons of Buying a Fixer-Upper

Buying a Lot for Your Custom Build? Beware of These Pitfalls!

turkel4You’ve decided to build a custom home for your family. One of your first steps will be to find the perfect lot! This can be a tricky process and there are many factors to consider. Here are some key questions to bear in mind as you begin your search:

  1. Location. Do I like this location? What about its proximity to schools, shopping and other amenities? Do I want to be this close to or this far away from my nearest neighbour? Does this land flood in the spring?
  2. Costs. How much will this lot cost me (over and above the purchase price)? For example, do I need title insurance (see link below)? Does the lot need to be surveyed? What are the taxes associated with this lot?
  3. Zoning Restrictions. What are the zoning restrictions associated with this lot?
  4. Utility Access. Is this lot serviced with hydro, gas and water? If not, what are our options? How much will it cost to bring hydro to our new home, drill a well and install a septic system? Will we heat our home with hydro, natural gas (if available), propane, oil or wood? How much will each of these heating options cost?
  5. Road Access. In the case of rural lots, are the roads plowed in the winter? Do we mind that the roads are gravel rather than paved?

Stunning Moderns Designed by Leading Architects

Altius2740_entrySierra Gate Homes is proud to be Eastern Ontario’s independent distributor for Lindal Cedar Homes, the first and largest manufacturer of cedar custom homes in the world.  The Lindal Architects Collaborative is an initiative that brings together some of North America’s most renowned architects, including Toronto’s Altius Architecture, Inc.  Together, they are creating a varied and extensive selection of modern green designs.  Visit our Lindal Architects Collaborative gallery to view some of these stunning creations!