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The residential building construction market could see an uptick in years to come as more Canadians are choosing to renovate their homes than to move to new housing.

A Scotiabank construction report last fall forecasted that Canadians could spend as much as $53B in fixing up their old homes as they did in purchasing new houses in 2015.

HGTV effect

The cost of new homes may be a factor in deciding to renovate instead upgrading to new. Then again, HGTV Canada, launched in late 1997, may have had inspired many DIY kitchen and bathroom renos.

Regardless of the reasons, Canadians are renovating their older homes and this trend presents its own set of challenges.

Older houses

A lot of housing stock in Canada was built prior to 1981, according to data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Older homes means smaller footprints and smaller roofs.

According to CMHC, the average size of a Canadian house in 1945 was just over 800 square feet; in 1975 it was 1,075 square feet; and, by 2000 it was 2,266 square feet.

Limited access

One challenge presented by the smaller roof is access issues. Using full-sized tools in tight spaces can be awkward and maybe even dangerous to workers.

However, there are tools specifically designed for these types of jobs. Take for example Garant's short-handle roofer's spade.

The Garant Pro Series short handle spade is a lightweight, industrial grade spade that features a 21-inch long ash wood handle, reaching just past the elbow. There's a one-piece head consisting of a five-inch notched-tempered steel blade. A curve in the socket allows an easy slide of the clapboard or shingles in front of the spade.

The short handle gives roofers room to move in spaces with limited access such as roof window wells. A short handle is a lot easier to manoeuvre when there’s a small amount of surface to remove such as the gabled dormer windows.

Besides access issues, older roofs can mean deteriorating conditions. Pest infestations, interior water damage, and compromised (less effective) insulation, these are just some of the challenges facing roofers when looking at aging roofs.

Renovations outperform

Altus Group, a real estate research company, reported in 2015 that it expects the spending on renovations to continue to grow by three per cent annually in 2015 and 2016, which would leave renovation outperforming the general economy.

Necessary repair work accounts for about 1 in 4 dollars spent on renovation work while alterations and/or improvements 3 out of 4.

For homeowners, it can make a lot of economic sense to renovate instead of moving. Roofing contractors should see this trend as a profitable one.

Learn more about the Garant short-handle roofer's spade, in English and French, at www.garant.com

 

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