home paint job

4 Things to Consider When Planning a Home Renovation


It isn’t easy to complete a home renovation, but modern challenges make it harder. While the new normal can be off-putting, it doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your dream home. Even in the present market, major renovations are possible with the right approach. 

To help you build a successful renovation, you should know about common trends and find a qualified contractor. You should also manage your finances and plan carefully.

1. A Scarcity in Materials and Labor

Contrary to popular belief, there’s a shortage of materials and labour. Unlike in previous years, the majority of equipment and workers are busy. This is especially true for painters, plumbers, electricians, and other workers.

As for materials, many products are in short supply. These include lumber, drywall, cabinets, and other materials. Even if you have the money to buy these items, they won’t be ready for sale.

Because of this, it’s essential to plan your home renovation carefully. These days, it’s hard to build a home or get the supplies you need quickly.

2. In-Demand Contractors

In addition to materials and labour, contractors are in high demand. This is because there’s a shortage of qualified workers. At the same time, there’s a growing shortage of workers in general.

As a result, it’s important to find a qualified contractor. Otherwise, the work will not be done correctly, and problems will develop.

To find a qualified contractor, you should look for a company that has a strong reputation. As you look for a contractor, you can also ask any friends, family members, or colleagues for recommendations.

3. Post-Pandemic Renovation Trends

After the pandemic, which has greatly affected the housing market, homeowners have taken a different approach to renovating their homes. To help you plan your renovation, it’s essential to understand the trends developing in this market.

While you may want to complete a full renovation, you may have to settle for a partial renovation. For example, you may want to build a new basement, add a new bathroom or enlarge a room.

Due to the lack of materials and labour, you may have to change your plans. Instead of installing a full bathroom, you might want to replace the tub.

4. Extended Completion Timelines

One of the most common problems contractors face is an extended completion timeline. Because of the shortage in materials, contractors have to go months without receiving payment.

Even if they receive the materials, they have a new set of problems. For example, they may have to make their way through the available substandard materials. These products are often poorly made and can harm the final product.

Another problem is with scheduling. When you plan your renovation, you should also plan for other projects. Because of the shortage in materials, you may have to wait longer for resources.


The present market can be challenging, but it doesn’t mean you can’t complete a home renovation. If you can find a qualified contractor, you should be able to succeed. If you have the budget and have a firm goal in mind, you should be able to turn your house into a dream home.

Sierra Gate Homes are custom home builders in Ottawa. With more than 25 years of experience in residential construction, we have the expertise to guide you through every step in the process of building your custom home, adding an addition or renovating an existing property. We work with an extensive network of quality, reliable trades, suppliers, home builders and designers. We stand behind the work we do. This means you can expect courteous and professional ongoing service. If you need custom builders in Ottawa, we’ve got you covered! Get in touch with us and begin your home project!

home with pool

5 Practical Tips for Choosing a Custom Home Builder

If you are considering building a home for your family, then you might consider choosing a custom home builder company that can help turn that dream into a reality. 

It is not an easy decision as you will have to pick the company that can perfectly meet your needs. It can also take a lot of time and money to build the home that you’d want. So to help you in choosing the best custom home builder, here are five practical tips.

Start with a List of Interested Custom Home Builder Companies

The first thing that you need to do is to find a list of custom home builder companies that you are interested in. You can be given a list of recommended custom home builders or you can also take the time to search for them online. You can find advertisements and discounts that these home builders offer if you pay attention to their website.

It is easier to gather a list if you decide on the location of your future home. Having a specific area in mind, you can then conduct a search by looking in local directories until you find the best company that fits you.

Ask for Recommendations from Friends and Family

If you already have a list of custom home builders that interest you, the next thing that you must do is to ask for recommendations from friends and family. They can give you useful information about their past experience and also the quality of work that they have received. And if you are lucky enough, you can also ask them if they have pictures and videos of their homes. You can also check if they have a website that they can share with you.

Make a Homework and Compare Pricing

It is a good idea to do some homework and compare the pricing of different custom home builders. You will have to check their previous works and pictures of their homes. If you have friends that can do their recommendations for you, you can also ask for their prices.

You can also check the prices of their products and services to find which is worth it according to your budget. After doing your homework, you can then compare the prices and determine which custom home builder will be the best for you.

Check If They Are Accredited and Have Their Licenses

It is important to check if the custom home builder company that you will choose is accredited and licensed. This is to ensure that they are allowed to do the kind of work that they are offering to you. You can easily check their accreditations by checking their website.

Pick the Company That Has a Good Reputation and Experience

It is also important to choose a company that has years of experience and a good reputation. You can check pictures and videos of their previous works. 


Building a dream home might be something that you have wanted to do for years and now that you have finally decided on doing it, you have to make sure that you are dealing with a reputable company that will help you achieve your dream.

Sierra Gate Homes is a reputable custom home builder in Ottawa. We have been in the residential construction industry for 25 years. Let us help you build the home of your dreams. Contact us today to get started!

house exterior

Find Out If You Should Build a Home DIY or with a Contractor

Do you constantly worry about making the wrong choice regarding home construction? Do you want a house that truly reflects your personality and your style? You can avoid those regrets.

We’ve outlined the differences between production and custom builders so that you can make an informed decision about your project. These guidelines below will help you choose the builder that matches your needs.

Form and Function

You’ll have access to their library of plans to choose from with production builders. However, you can usually make only limited changes because they have very fixed systems for building homes in bulk. You may select programs from their catalogue that are slightly different from what your neighbours have if you can afford the price.

Otherwise, try to make changes as you like with custom builders. Instead, they will not work from a predetermined set of plans and design one suited to your lifestyle when visiting their showroom. They will prove that finding the right house doesn’t take months or years.

Output, Not Speed

Contractors promoting a new build in sixteen weeks is a strong selling point, and it can be tempting for a new homeowner. But what are you sacrificing by moving into your new home so quickly? 

When you have a significant renovation, your custom home build or renovation is not something you want to rush. Quality building processes take time, and a quick build usually compromises somewhere. There will probably be no shortcuts taken on the builder’s bottom line. 

Professional custom builders will have robust processes, worker training programs, and control checks to ensure everything is done right without compromising quality. This will mean your build time is longer than what a production home builder is quoting, but you will be able to sleep well knowing that your renovation project was built right the first time, with no shortcuts taken.

Quality, Not Quantity

Quality defects signify that your site supervisor has not adequately managed your build. Defects caused by a lack of attention to detail can be costly in the long run. A production home builder supervisor may have to manage over 30 projects at once, contributing to the high occurrence of these defects.

If processes or steps are unclear to you or you want something different from what’s listed in the selections, ask your builder to explain it or change it to reflect exactly what you need.

The Add-Ons

The insulation, electrical, plumbing, heating, and cooling sections are critical in your contract. Make sure you read your warranty carefully because this is where you can be tripped up. Your selections and finishes listed may reference a standard inclusion list with little to no room to move. If you don’t have it specified in your contract, you could install a cheap like-for-like item. 

These utilities are not a concern with expert custom builders, as they allow you to choose precisely what you want in your home and have it specified in the contract to ensure you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for! Thus, since they’re starting from scratch, you should not be limited by choices in the specification list in your contract.

If their steps or processes are unclear or you want something different from what’s listed in the selections, ask your builder to explain it or change it to reflect exactly what you need.


Whether with contractors or custom builders, you should work with professionals. They’re not just building a backyard shed for you. It’s your home, one that should last decades with growing family members and new tenants in the future. Heed these words, and you’ll have a solid home!

Construct your new house with Sierra Gate Homes! We’re custom builders from Ottawa with experience in residential construction, whether adding a new area or renovating an existing one. Get quoted by us today! 

custom home

The Important Things to Expect When Building a Custom Home

While most people are comfortable buying or renting a home that is already pre-made, there are some who choose to have a custom one. There is nothing wrong with that, as everyone has the freedom to customize their own property according to their liking.

That said, the process isn’t easy, and there are a lot of things that people must look out for or expect when building a custom home. Below are just a few examples.

1. There Will Be Some Changes

No matter how detailed or accurate a drawing is, it will still have to be 3D, which means some changes and adjustments will have to be made once the building is underway.

You have to remember that these are custom homes, which means that no two homes will be exactly alike. Even if the plans have been perfectly laid out and detailed, some things will change.

And since these are custom homes, it is suggested that you hire a reputable home builder who has been in the industry for a long time and knows how to navigate the sometimes confusing streets of custom home building.

2. It Takes a Lot of Money

Custom homes aren’t cheap, and they aren’t easy to build. It takes a lot of money and effort to build them, so it is best to plan ahead and prepare as much as possible. And that means you should have a lot of money on hand.

It is also recommended that you have a lot of patience, as it takes a lot of time to build a custom home. You have to have the willpower to see it through.

3. It’s Not Just About You

One thing that people tend to forget about when building a new home is that it isn’t just about them. It’s not just about what they want and how they want it.

These are custom homes, which means that they must be built according to the homeowner’s specifications. This means that it will be impossible to build it according to your liking if you’re building a custom home.

You cannot impose your ideas and preferences on a custom home. In order for it to be complete, all the specifications must be met. And they must be met without fail, or else it’s all just a waste of time and money.

4. It Doesn’t Happen Overnight

People are tempted to think that it will be done in a day or two since they’re having a custom home built.

While it is possible to have a design built up quickly, especially if you’re hiring a professional home builder, you still have to keep in mind that building a custom home can take months or even years. You can’t rush the process so that you can be in your new home faster.

As mentioned, these homes aren’t cheap, so it is best to be patient and let the home builder do their job correctly.

5. It’s Not Easy to Build

You might also think that building a custom home is a walk in the park. That’s far from the truth.

When you build a custom home, you’re building a home that was built specifically for you, which means that you cannot have any generic materials used. You have to think about every single detail and every single measurement.

This is important because a lot is going to be built as you put it together. You have to think about what’s going to come after and where you’re going to put everything.


When it comes to building a custom home, always remember that it is a process that involves a lot of hard work and dedication. It isn’t something that can be done overnight.

The most important thing is to hire a reputable home builder who has been in the industry long enough to know how to build a new home properly.

If you are looking for the best custom home builders in Ottawa, look no further than our experience and skills here at Sierra Gate Homes. With more than 25 years of experience in residential construction, we have the expertise to guide you through every step in the process of building your custom home. Call us today and let us discuss about your dream home designs.

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!

empty home

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 houzz.com and trustedpros.ca.  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?



Renovating Affordable Housing in Ottawa

P1060747Sierra Gate Homes is proud to work with Daybreak Housing on some of its residential improvement projects.  Daybreak is a non-profit organisation run by a small professional team with the support of dedicated volunteers.  Since 1982, Daybreak has been a place to call home for men and women who not only have difficulty finding affordable housing, but also struggle with issues such as mental health, addiction, abusive situations and limited life skills.

How to Choose a Custom Home Builder

Kijiji Kitchen FinalChoosing to build your own home involves of lot of planning and thought.  You can’t just jump in and get started!  One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is whom you should hire to build your home.  It is smart to do your research!
Of course, referrals are your best route.  You want to hire a custom home builder with whom friends or family members have had a good experience.  So talk to people, and find out about their success stories and horror stories.  Of course, people also share their experiences online so internet research is critical.

Once you have chosen a couple of builders, the next step is to set up a face-to-face meeting with them.  In essence, you’re interviewing potential candidates for this very important job.  It is vital that you trust and feel comfortable with your builder.  After all, this is your future home!  So ask whatever questions you need to ask.  The following three are key:

  1. Have you built homes similar to home we would like to build?
  2. Could we tour a home that you are currently building?
  3. Do you have pictures of homes that you have recently built?  Could we take a look at these homes?

The process of finding a custom home builder takes time.  Doing your research and asking lots of questions can save you a tremendous amount of money, time and heartache.

Sierra Gate Homes is a custom home builder offering both design-build and construction project management options.  Call or e-mail us anytime to find out how we can help you make your dream home a reality!  Contact us now!