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My Store: Hickey's TIMBER MART (Conception Bay South)
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My Store: Hickey's TIMBER MART (Conception Bay South)
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In this issue:

There’s already an office in your house — it’s just waiting for drywall

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Dreaming of having your own home office, tucked away from the chaos of the rest of the house?

You might think no such spot exists, but a bit of drywall could be all it takes to turn a dusty, unused space into a functional home office.

Now that so many Canadians are working from home permanently, we’re loving the unique ways they’re transforming unfinished attics, basements, garages and storage rooms — giving their entire homes rooms that weren’t there before.

Inspired to brush away the dust bunnies and drywall a brand-new room of your own? We’ve asked our friends at CGC to provide a few tips to get you started …

Pick the right panels: Drywall panels might look the same to you, but there are many different types and you’ll want to choose what’s best for your particular space. If you’re creating a new home office in your basement, for example, the room will benefit from sheetrock designed to withstand mold and mildew.

Organize the materials you’ll need: Once you’ve purchased your panels, you’ll need supplies to cut them, install them, tape them, mud them, and sand them.

Fasten your panels to the studs and tape the seams: This is where the magic happens, making your plain studded walls suddenly feel more like a real, finished room. Joint tape seals the cracks between panels.

Compound, sand, repeat: Time to get your hands dirty! Spread thin coats of joint compound over the tape and screw heads, let it dry, and sand it smooth. Sometimes this takes a couple of passes to get a nice, even finish.

Prime and paint: Grab a roller and turn your drywall masterpiece into “real walls” with primer and paint. You won’t believe the difference when you step back and remember when this space was nothing more than a grungy dust-collector.

Once the paint dries, you can move in your furniture, maybe hang a few pictures on the wall, and settle into your new home office. It’s amazing how drywall can suddenly turn even the smallest nook into a real room — suddenly making your house feel even larger than before.

Unfinished basements and attics had better watch out! We predict you’ll get the drywall bug and want to keep creating more new rooms now that you know how satisfying it feels.

Excited to turn an unfinished space into the home office of your dreams? Yes, you’ve got this! Pop into your local TIMBER MART and we’ll be glad to get you started.

Garage Greatness: Siding tips for your new home office

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Over the years, our garages have proven their worth as spaces to tinker with tools, keep vehicles and bikes protected from the elements, and store the many boxes of clutter we can’t bear to give up.

But what if your garage could be turned into … a peaceful, productive home office?

Now that more Canadians are working from home full-time, they’re hunting for ways to turn an existing spot into a dedicated workspace. Whether you’re converting an existing detached garage or building a new one from scratch, we can’t think of a more perfect structure to complement work-from-home life. You get the convenience of working on your own property, but the balance of having your office be tucked away in its own separate building – talk about a win/win.

Of course, a garage only works as an office if it’s comfortable, so it needs to be properly sided so you’re protected from the elements.

We partnered with our friends at James Hardie to chat about the decision-making process when it comes to siding a garage, and here’s what to expect if this is a project you plan to take on …

Choose a type of siding

While there are spots in the world where you can toss up any old structure and have it stand up to the weather, it’s a bit of a different story here in Canada. We need buildings that are properly sided in order to stand up to the fierce sun, wind, snow, rain, and hail that comes our way.

While wood siding can expand, buckle, crack and mold, and vinyl siding installations often lead to water leaks, James Hardie products are made from durable fiber cement – designed to look great and stay tough for years.

Choose a style of siding

HardiePlank® Lap Siding is their most popular style, but HardieShingle® Siding gives you the timeless look of cedar shingles with the strength of a product that resists rotting, curling, and splitting, and HardiePanel® Vertical Siding has a board-and-batten feel to it.

But don’t think you need to choose something that’s similar to the siding on your home. A detached garage can rock its own unique look, and it’s fun to mix and match styles.

Choose a colour for your siding

This is where it really gets fun! Sure, you can try to colour-match your existing siding to one of the James Hardie colours – there are plenty to choose from – but it might be more visually appealing to choose something different.

What if you tried a white house with a deep green detached garage (try “Mountain Sage”), or a blue house with a striking charcoal (“Iron Gray”) or rich red (“Countrylane Red”) detached garage? The possibilities are endless!

Siding a detached garage can be a lot more fun than siding your entire home because the stakes are lower … and so is the price!

You can have fun choosing a texture and colour that you wouldn’t necessarily choose for your entire home because a detached garage is a building all on its own – free to add a touch of brightness or whimsy to your newly converted home office.

Ready to chat? We’re here for you! Stop by your local TIMBER MART to learn more about siding a garage.

Converting a shed into a comfortable backyard office

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Not every home includes space for a dedicated home office, and more Canadians are finding themselves trying to work from home in a less-than-ideal set-up.

Setting up your laptop on the kitchen table is fine for a week or two, but a long-term home office needs to be a space where you can concentrate in peace – not be interrupted by other members of your household trotting in for snacks.

That’s why we’re loving that so many homeowners are creating creative and turning backyard sheds into truly spectacular home offices.

Now, size isn’t the issue – most sheds are about the same size as small bedrooms or dens commonly used as home office nooks. The kicker is that in order for a shed to be suitable for spending an eight-hour shift, it needs to be properly insulated for a few important reasons:

Shed insulation helps maintain a comfortable thermal temperature. No one wants to wear a winter jacket while typing an email in their home office, or feel like they’re melting while they try to focus on a report. Comfort is key!

Shed insulation muffles outside noises. You might not think your backyard is very noisy until you’re trying to take a conference call while a truck is roaring past your property, or your neighbour is yakking loudly while they’re out on their deck. A home office should be nice and quiet.

Shed insulation helps with fire protection. This is obviously very important because you want your new home office to be a safe workspace.

While an uninsulated shed sounds like an uncomfortably damp and cold (or hot) place to spend time, a properly finished and insulated shed can feel just as comfortable as hanging out inside your home.

(Pssst – it’s also a great selling feature, if you ever plan on listing. People love buildings that can be used as bonus rooms.)

We asked our friends at ROCKWOOL to share a few tips for helping Canadian homeowners properly insulate their backyard shed so they could turn it into a home office, and here’s what they suggested …

  • Check your shed’s roof to make sure it’s not damaged before you begin installing any insulation. Sealant is great for filling any holes and preventing rain and cold air from seeping inside, and you definitely don’t want any moisture build-up out there (it can cause dampness and rotting).
  • If you’ll be heating your shed, local regulations may require you to use a vapour barrier under your insulation – so be sure to check!
  • Use a knife or cutting saw to cut your insulation boards so they’re easy fit into any space in your shed
  • When you’re insulating the roof of your shed, remember that you can squeeze slabs between the roof joists for a snug fit, ensuring all gaps are covered

Now, when you tell someone you’re converting your backyard shed into a new home office, they might assume you’re just setting up a desk next to your lawnmower and sticking a filing cabinet in the corner with the garden rakes.

But once they see how you’ve turned that small but hard-working structure into a cozy, comfortable workspace, they’re going to be begging for your help in converting their own shed.

Inspired to turn your backyard shed into a cozy home office? We want to help! Stop by your local TIMBER MART to chat about your next steps.