Home Design: Installing Your Master Suite

Home Design: Installing Your Master Suite

Summary

– What is a master suite?

– Why create a master suite?

– How to install a master suite at home?

– How much does it cost to install a master suite?

Your house has several bedrooms and a bathroom, but you would like to create a world of your own by having a true master suite dedicated to bedding, clothing storage and equipped with a separate bathroom. In this post, you will discover the characteristics of the master suite and the solutions that exist to create it in your home.

What is a master suite?

A master suite is an area reserved for parents and isolated from the children’s world. It generally includes a bedroom and its dedicated bathroom or shower room, a dressing room and sometimes an office. It is often proposed for constructing a new house but must be specifically designed during a renovation.

Its layout and decoration must be thought of in a global way to keep harmony between the different spaces when the doors are opened.

The area dedicated to the bedroom must be at least 9 m² to be considered as such, but it is agreed that in the case of a master suite, a surface of at least 12 m² and even 14 m² facilitates both the installation of a large bed and the access to the different areas.

The different configurations

 

Most often, the master suite has the following configuration: 

The bedroom, the dressing room and the bathroom are in a row. The last 2 rooms are only accessible from the bedroom and never by a door giving onto a corridor.

It can also happen that the dressing room and the bathroom give directly to the bedroom by 2 separate doors, without any enfilade system.

A final solution consists of a large room of at least 20 m², with a bathroom and dressing room created behind a low wall serving as a bed head. The result is a master suite with open spaces, a style adapted to contemporary constructions, and a design decoration.

Why create a master suite?

Creating a master suite is a way to add value to your home, especially if it has several bedrooms intended for a family. It also saves time in the morning when the whole family is getting ready. Besides, it allows you to safeguard a couple’s privacy, letting them sleep and get ready away from the children.

How to install a master suite at home?

If you didn’t plan for this room when you built your house, installing a master suite can be problematic. Let’s consider a home with convertible attic space, for instance. It may be worthwhile to study the possibility of creating the master suite in that space, as you will be able to position the different areas according to what is below and thus recover, for example, the plumbing system of a first-floor bathroom without significant work.

The bedroom area

The bedroom will be treated classically, with the decoration and bed type that you will have chosen. The furnishing could be made of a headboard, and 2 bedside tables, the presence of a dressing room integrated into the master suite allowing to do without imposing furniture like a wardrobe or a chest of drawers.

The bathroom part

To limit costs as much as possible, it is necessary to install the bathroom near a room such as the main bathroom or the kitchen to benefit from the water supply and drainage without having to do too much work. In most cases, it is not feasible to run the plumbing system through every room in the house to supply a new bathroom.

Suppose you want to install a toilet in addition to a bathtub or shower pan and basins. In that case, a macerator may be the most economical way to do so. However, it is not essential if you have a separate toilet in another part of the house.

It is necessary to provide a ventilation system in the bathroom of the master suite so that the moisture produced during its use does not deteriorate the coverings (mould and sanitary problems). Also, too much humidity is likely to cause unpleasant odours, as well as physical discomfort. Therefore, it is essential to provide efficient controlled mechanical ventilation (CMV) to avoid inconveniences.

Good to know: The shower room’s surface doesn’t need to be extensive; you can create a comfortable one in 2 m².

The dressing area

It should be as large as possible to allow you to store your future clothing purchases. A minimum surface of 4 m² seems to be a prerequisite to installing a dressing room worthy of the name. Suppose the installation of a dedicated room is impossible and your room is large enough. In that case, you can opt for a well-equipped wardrobe that will compensate for the absence of a specific room.

How much does it cost to install a master suite?

The price varies according to the work to be done. It is a simple adaptation of an existing volume easy to connect to the central plumbing or a complete creation with significant work. In any case, if you have this work done by a professional, a detailed estimate is essential.

The cost will depend on the quality of the materials used in the bathroom, the fittings made in the dressing room, and the complexity of the work. Calling on professionals and an interior designer will allow you to find the ideal solutions according to your house’s configuration.


How to Prevent Soil Compaction on Your Plot (Part 2)

This post is a continuation of Part 1 on How to Prevent Soil Compaction on Your Plot. Lately, we have gone through 

– Context of compaction

– Compaction events

– Sources of compaction

We will now cover:

– Preventing compaction to avoid possible disorders 

Prevention of compactions to avoid possible disorders

Soil investigation (geotechnics) and foundations are closely linked and are the essential basis for preventing compaction. Soil investigation and the study of the building’s structure make it possible to assess the pressures exerted.

Adaptation of the foundations

In a building, the foundations ensure the transfer of forces: vertical compression, the building’s weight, overloads, and they respond to the reaction forces of the ground (its bearing capacity).

The type and dimensions of the foundations are thus determined. They imply knowledge of the soil’s nature: a soil study (geotechnical) is therefore strongly recommended. Ignorance of the soil’s geotechnical properties can lead to the construction of foundations that are not deep enough or built on unstable fill or heterogeneous soils of different bearing capacity.

Foundations take various forms depending on the geotechnical study: superficial when the hard ground is close to the surface, deep when the resistant layer of foundation is at a significant depth, special to meet particular criteria such as in marshes.

Good to know:  Earthquake-resistant building regulations must also be complied with depending on the construction region.

Points to watch out for

The depth of the hard ground for the foundations should be determined in the following ways:

    • the cleanliness of the excavation bottoms should be checked to ensure that the footings are poured adequately on the hard ground (clean soil and fill falling to the bottom), 
    • the pouring of the foundations should be postponed in the event of heavy rain (stagnation of water at the bottom of the excavation).

It is also necessary to highlight a soil’s heterogeneities requiring specific adaptations (such as constructing a foundation in wells and long lines to pass an area of unstable embankments).

Good to know: when you build on a subdivision, a soil study linked to the development permit for this subdivision is available and can provide you with information.

Expansion and Compaction Joints

As soon as the masonry walls reach large surfaces, it is necessary to intersect them with joints that respond to:

    • the expansion or shrinkage of the materials, 
    • the difference in load brought by the construction on the foundations,  
    • the presence of heterogeneous ground and therefore different foundations, 
    • the antiseismic protection (antiseismic rules).

The spacing between the joints is determined according to several criteria.

The first is the building’s location: in dry regions on shores, the joints must be provided with every 20 metres, whereas in wet temperate areas, it is every 35 metres in the case of load-bearing masonry.

Then comes the building’s general design, the nature of the masonry materials, the masonry function (load-bearing or not), and the joint’s role.

Good to know: the joint must be regular over the entire height (without contact points) and at most 2 cm wide. On the facade, it must be protected against infiltration by a watertight bead and a joint cover. On the inside wall, the joint can be made with a flexible product with good fire resistance.

 That’s it. All you needed to know about soil compaction. Thank you for staying posted on our new blog posts. Hope the posts from Part 1 till here would be of any help to you. Remember to leave your comments below and share these posts in your network.


How to Prevent Soil Compaction on Your Plot

How to Prevent Soil Compaction on Your Plot (Part 1)

Summary:

– Context of compaction

– Compaction events

– Sources of compaction

– Preventing compaction to avoid possible disorders 

Compaction is the deformation of the ground under the action of the weight of the structures it supports. Buildings behave differently depending on their structure and foundations. This is known as “uniform compaction” and “differential compaction.”

Context of compaction

A building rests on the ground and transmits a set of loads to it. The foundations play a role in the excellent distribution of these load constraints. These foundations are adapted both to the nature of the soil and to the structure of the building.

In general, under the building loads’ action, the ground’s compaction remains uniform and of small amplitude: the construction, endowed with good rigidity, does not suffer any damage.

When the compaction is heterogeneous (differential), with differences in level between different foundation points, disorders may occur. For a very rigid structure, the failure of one support results in the transfer to neighbouring supports: no damage is suffered as long as the compaction remains low amplitude.

For a flexible structure that adapts to the foundations’ movements, disorders may appear at the level of the elements of the finishing work: uncoupling joints must be provided to prevent them.

Compaction can, therefore, be allowed as long as the building structure or its components can absorb it. There are orders of magnitude of the permissible compactions given by specialists in soil mechanics or residential developers. They recommend values for different construction elements for total or differential compaction:

– 5 mm to 1 cm for the differential compaction of a large brick wall;

– 3 to 6 mm for a conventional residential building between two points 10 metres apart;

– 5 to 10 cm for the total compaction of a beam and differential compaction of 2.5 to 4 cm;

– 2 to 5 cm for the full compaction of a masonry wall;

– 8 to 30 cm for the total compaction of an invert.

Compaction disorders: manifestations of compaction

Disorders related to uncontrolled differential compactions are manifested in the form of cracks:

– at 45° from the angle of an opening or a lintel for a fragile structure;

– by blocks at the joints for rigid structures such as concrete walls;

– in stairs for structures made of small masonry elements such as block walls;

– diagonally (shear cracks) for differential compaction of a gable to the rest of the building;

– horizontal in the case of differential compaction of the gable by tension or swelling;

– stepped by compaction or swelling at the corner or centre of the building;

– in paving connected to the foundations.

An outcropping of prefabricated facade panels can also manifest compaction disorders.

Note: Compaction disorders also occur on ancillary structures: at the level of networks such as sewage or rainwater drains cut off at the compaction level, at the level of the utility holes of these networks, which subside due to compaction and cause fractures in the pipes, and at the level of peripheral structures, such as a terrace or barrier around the construction causing subsidence and cracks.

What are the different sources of compaction?

The sources of compaction can be of different kinds:

– a variable bedding level for the same building, such as a house with only a partial basement;

– a heterogeneous type of subgrade: one side on agile soil and another side on limestone or presence of hard spots (rocks) and soft spots (compressible such as uncompacted fill);

– variation in the moisture content of the bedrock, such as clayey soil that shrinks in times of drought and swells when the rains return;

– Unusual water infiltration and accumulation due to weathering or drilling of a pipe;

– the proximity of roots, the presence of an underground source, the topographical configuration (unevenness, steep slope);

– unstable soil consisting of fill, such as a former rubble deposit, the filling of a former underpass or quarry;

– the presence underground of natural voids and mining subsidence;

– work in the surrounding area, such as excavation for the foundations of a new building adjoining or located nearby;

– vibrations caused by nearby work (such as pile driving) or the passage of heavy machinery in the vicinity;

– the weight of new construction loads on adjacent land;

– the deterioration of concrete or steel embedded in concrete due to the aggressiveness of the environment;

Design and execution errors due to an under-evaluation of the efforts or not considering the soil study: this case is encountered, especially in deep foundations. Therefore, finding the right design is essential, and for your information, this is where the professionals at Unique Custom Homes can help you out.

This post will now continue in part 2 in our next publication by next week. Stay posted, and remember to leave your comments below. Your opinion and experience count in helping our readers.


5 Most Essential Renovation Tips in 2020

Summary

1. Refresh a room
2. Renovating a room
3. Renovating a home
4. Renovation: some general advice
5. Price of a renovation


A renovation consists of working on an existing property to bring it up to the standards of comfort and aesthetics sought by the buyer. Many different renovations are possible from the same premises. When it affects the main structure, the costs involved must be carefully considered. There are different types of renovations, which are more or less heavy.

1. Refreshing a room

It’s the cheapest renovation. Sometimes it can be enough.

Make an informed choice

You may wish to change the wall and floor coverings in a room to give it a facelift. Changing a wallpaper, a carpet can really bring pleasure to a room that used to be a bit out of breath. In this case, you will simply have to choose the flooring that suits your budget and your desires.

The implementation

First, find the colours that match the function of the room. Then see how you can coordinate the new colours with the colours of the parts you may be leaving in place.

If this is to your liking and you do the work yourself, choose flexible floors that are easy to lay and in widths that avoid cutting out as much as possible.

If you have irregularities on the walls, opt for a matt covering, which will provide better coverage.

2. Renovating a room


It is a real renovation that can affect different parts of the building.

Make an informed choice
Tearing down a partition, enlarging a window are works that restore habitability to a volume that is perhaps no longer adapted to current tastes or to the function of this place. Masonry, electricity and decoration are to be expected.

Don’t underestimate the different items, each one will contribute to your final feeling of comfort.

The implementation

You can let your imagination run wild, within your budget.

Take the opportunity to think of equipment that would make your life more enjoyable. A second shower area will avoid morning traffic jams. Creating a master suite will give you more privacy. Opening a partition to create a library or TV area will clear the living room and give you more living space.

If you’re planning partitioning or masonry work, think about the connections you’ll need to make. A partition comes down easily, but do you have enough space to add the same tiles as the existing one where the partition was?

Renovating a room needs to be thought through in detail. The budget is never neutral and the comfort level must be in line with your investment.

3. Renovating a home

It’s a heavy and long operation. It’s impossible to get started without taking a few precautions.

Make an informed choice

The house is no longer adapted to the growing family, you have bought an old house for which you had a crush but its layout is far from your lifestyle. Big works in perspective. Depending on the rooms, different trades will intervene.

If you have to live in the house during this time, be sure that your choice is compatible with the inconveniences caused by your decision. Dust, noise, private space invaded by workers will be your daily lot.

Implementation

A complete renovation project is heavy, you must be prepared for it. A complete renovation must be managed like new construction, although it is different, as far as the overall organisation is concerned.

First of all, go to the town hall to find out about the necessary authorisations, especially if you are changing the external appearance of the house.

Then, either you go through an architect or a project manager, or you coordinate the work yourself.

Before making up your mind, ask for an initial estimate of the cost of the work. Use the quotes you receive to make a more accurate estimate. Talk to competent and recognized professionals. Don’t think that a renovation is easier than new construction. It often requires more know-how and experience to find the right solutions, which are not standard.

Once the work has begun, follow your construction site closely. Take delivery of the work and do not sign if the work does not correspond to the estimate.

4. Renovation: some general advice

090701-N-9689V-004 APIA, Samoa (July 1, 2009) Seabees assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1 and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 renovate a building at Apia National Hospital during a Pacific Partnership 2009 engineering civic action project. Apia National Hospital is the primary medical facility for the residents of Upolu Island, Samoa. The Seabees will spend 10 days renovating the hospitalÕs waiting area, conducting roof repairs, and applying non-skid surface to slippery walkways. Pacific Partnership is a humanitarian and civil assistance mission in the Pacific Fleet area of responsibility. This year Pacific Partnership will travel to Oceania, including Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga. The Military Sealift Command dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4) serves as the enabling platform for Pacific Partnership. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Valcarcel/Released)

These tips will be useful to you whatever your project.

Doing with the existing

First of all, you know the old saying, “you can’t make something new out of something old”. Renovation must be considered with the best possible respect for the existing distribution of rooms and load-bearing walls. If you want to redo everything to make it “as good as new”, you will expose yourself to work costs that may be prohibitive.

If the building is to be completely renovated, the cost of the work may be equal to or even higher than the price of equivalent new construction.

Expect the unexpected

When renovating, you must also be aware that what you are going to renovate… is not what you want to renovate. You are always going to come across things that you didn’t plan for when you renovate: cables or pipes coming from the old layout that you will have to divert, wall reinforcement that you will have to leave in place, siding that you want to remove and that was in fact hiding an unsightly structure and that will now show through, etc.

Always remember that a renovation is not new construction. Starting from the existing requires adapting to reality.

Also, be aware of the disturbances in the neighbourhood caused by your building site. Stop by to see your neighbours, explain your project to them quickly and tell them the schedule for your project. You do not know their reactions, it is better to reassure them.

Respect the regulations

The Construction and Housing Code, like the Urban Planning Code, is constantly evolving.

Tip: check with your local town hall and Unique Custom Homes to find out about the rules relating to the renovation of existing buildings.

For example, acoustic insulation has become compulsory in areas that are particularly exposed to noise during major renovation work. According to the Building and Housing Code, this is the case in particular when such work includes:

– the replacement or creation of glass walls or doors to the exterior of main rooms in residential buildings;

– the repair of a roof opening directly onto the main rooms of residential buildings;

– or relating to the thermal insulation of opaque walls opening to the outside.

Evaluate the bill

First, put it all down on paper. Make a global plan and small plans piece by piece. Surface area, desired equipment, colours should be included.

List all the estimates, add up all the costs. Look also at the purchase price of the property plus the amount of work to be done, which should give a potential selling price that is within the market price range. No one knows what the future is made of.

Think insulation and renewable energy sources, you can kill two birds with one stone and reduce your energy bill. Also think about the various tax credits and other tax reductions.

If you haven’t bought yet, compare with new home prices, you might be surprised by the high cost of some renovation projects.

Get organised if you live on site

Try to draw up a schedule according to your daily needs, in order to see if the comfort that will be generated by the renovation justifies all the inconveniences to which you will be subjected.

If you only have one shower, for example, wait until you have all the necessary equipment at your disposal before starting work on it. The new shower will then be available quickly. Otherwise, the work can take a long time. And put your (and your family’s) nerves to the test.

5. Price of a renovation

This price depends of course on the complexity of the renovation, the size of the building, its accessibility and your choice of materials and decoration. For 1 m² of floor space, count, made by a professional:

– from $50 to $150 before tax for a refreshment;

– from $200 to $400 excluding taxes for a light renovation;

– from $500 to $1,000 excluding taxes for a heavy renovation. Even more for a total rehabilitation of the building.

Note: the price above is simply indicative and may not reflect the actual price. Talk with your contractor and remember to share your experience in the comment section below.


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