Recent Posts

Warming Your Sunroom With Radiant Heat

Posted on Sep 16, 2016

Radiant ​heating​ has been around for a long time, it works like the sun. Solar rays heat the ground, objects and people. A radiant heater in your home warms the floor, furniture and people. The stored heat is released evenly back into the room. Far infrared radiant heating in your sunroom has many beneficial properties: efficiency, quiet, no moving parts, no dust blown around by fans and reduced humidity. Far infrared heating is used in many therapeutic medical devices and as a basement heater it is claimed to reduce or eliminate mold. Of particular relevance for sunrooms is that the unique properties of far infrared heat can reduce or eliminate condensation. ​​N​ot All Radiant Heaters Are The Same ​The type of infrared heater is important, far infrared heaters heat objects, not the air. They produce invisible light and do not get very hot (typically a max. temperature of 100 C). ​On the other hand, “near​ infrared​”​ heaters use a heat source​ that is​ hot enough to ​cause a fire​ ​(you can see the heat source glowing​ red)​, ​they heat the air, they can cause skin and eye damage, and​ they​ lack the unique benefits of true ​”​far infrared​”​ heating. When many of us think about radiant heat, we think about those portable heaters you can buy at the hardware store or stadium heaters with glowing red coils and protective metal grid. ​​F​ar Infrared Radiant Heaters ​But what if you could have a radiant heater that was safe, had no glowing metal coils, could be mounted flush to the wall or ceiling at only 1″ thick, and ​be ​more efficient? Welcome to far infrared heating panels​!​ The panels are available in 120V and 240V. They can be hardwired to a ​suitable​ thermostat, but use a qualified electrician. For convenience you can order a thermostat that plugs right into your wall. This thermostat has a built-in receptacle, so all you need to do is plug in your 120V far infrared heating panel.​​ ​ The panels used in sunrooms are typically 24″ x 48″​ and 42″ x 42″. To determine how many panels you need use the general rule of dividing the square footage of the sunroom by the wattage of the panel and multiply by 10. Lets take the example of a 12×12 sunroom using the 24″ x 48″ heating panel which is​ rated at​ 750 watts: 144sf / 750watts X 10 = 1.92 Therefore 2 panels are required. When warming a room in your home, the data shows that wall mounted panels have slightly reduced ​efficiency​ compared to ceiling mount. When used in a sunroom the effect would be even worse since a wall ​mounted ​panel would be most likely pointed at a glass wall which can not store the heat. So the best placement in a sunroom would be the ceiling. This will give maximum heating to the floor and furniture so they can release heat back into the sunroom. Obviously we can’t count on the glass walls in...

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What Is Good Railing Design?

Posted on Mar 17, 2015

What Is Good Railing Design? Aluminum Railing has been around for decades. Some manufacturers specialize in commercial and high rise projects, others like Craft-Bilt specialize in the residential market. A Little Craft-Bilt Railing History Craft-Bilt first started business in April of 1992, when it purchased the assets of a company called Wrisco. For at least two decades prior to 1992, Wrisco had been manufacturing an “ornamental” aluminum railing, which Craft-Bilt continued to offer. The hand rail was a light weight shape only 1½” wide. The posts used 1½” square tube. It was manufactured with a 30″ height. Every now and then we would get a call from a customer asking if we could make the railing 36″ or 42″ high. Apparently they were trying to meet building code requirements. This old type of railing was made and sold by many companies, you could even buy it at your local Beaver Lumber. Remember that name? I realized back then that ornamental railing had a very limited application, and was actually being used in places where it shouldn’t. Ornamental railing should not be installed when the deck is over two feet off the ground, that’s when the building code kicks in. How We Designed Craft-Bilt Railing We approached our engineers in the early 90’s to assist in a design that would meet the loads of the building code. We had an idea of the aesthetic shape and the way the system would go together, the engineers helped with the overall size and thickness of the handrails and posts to complete the design. Building Code for Railing Building codes refer to railing as a “guard”. When your deck is over 2′ (600mm) off the ground a 36″ (900mm) high guard is required, when it is over 6′ (1800mm) off the ground the guard has to be 42″ (1070mm) high. Recent changes to the OBC (Ontario Building Code) call for the guard to be 60″ (1500mm) high when a balcony is over 33′ (10m) off the ground! Our business is mainly targeted at the residential market, which is covered by Part 9 of the building code. Part 9 covers typical residential construction up to three floors high. Back in the 90’s, Part 9 of the OBC had certain requirements for height, picket spacing etc., but the load capacity was referred to Part 4. Part 4 has the requirements for bigger buildings, i.e. over three floors, commercial buildings, etc. In the “old days”, we would get calls from contractors outside Ontario asking if our railing was compliant for over three floors. I had no idea what they were talking about. As far as I knew our railing was good for any number of floors, whether it was Part 4 or Part 9 construction, since we had tested it to the loads in Part 4. I eventually learned that Part 9 in the other provincial building codes (B.C., Alberta etc.) did NOT specify any loads. That explained why the residential railing coming into Ontario from...

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Super Options For Your Sunroom Project

Posted on Jul 25, 2014

Craft-Bilt in the news! Below is our latest article in eieihome.com, and soon it will appear in a special insert section in the Toronto Sun. Super Options For Your Sunroom Project When it comes to extending the living space of a home, many families look to the outdoors to create additional inviting space.  Here are some ways for you and your family to enjoy the outdoors and stay protected from the sun and nature’s elements…    ...

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How To Spruce Up Your Patio & Deck

Posted on May 23, 2014

Craft-Bilt in the news! Below our latest article in eieihome.com, and soon it will appear in a special insert section in the Toronto Sun. Taking It Outside: How To Spruce Up Your Patio & Deck It’s been a long cold winter for most Canadians, but now it’s time to take a look at your patio and see if you’re ready to do some backyard entertaining this summer. eieihome.com spoke to Bart Bremmers of Craft-Bilt to find out what you need to do to get your backyard ready for that summer party… Please follow the link below to read the full...

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Retractable Shade Options for Your Home or Patio

Posted on Apr 16, 2014

When we think about fabric shade products, what typically comes to mind are retractable patio and window awnings. Patio awnings have large folding arms that keep the fabric tight as it rolls in and out over your deck. Window Awnings come in many styles: traditional fixed awnings with side curtains, roll out awnings with hinged arms and curved awnings (also known as basket, ribbed, rounded or quarter ball awnings) But these old favourites for controlling sun and weather are facing competition from new designs like retractable canopies, horizontal shades, tension canopies and solar shades. A retractable canopy can be ordered three ways: free standing, attached to your house (wall mount), or installed underneath your existing pergola. Attaching a canopy to your pergola is a great idea, after all, you invested all that time and money to build it but you can’t use it when it’s raining or too hot. Under pergola canopies add that elegant finishing touch to your pergola project. Horizontal shades are a convenient way to have privacy for a deck and provide a wind break. Of course, there is only so much wind you should expose such a product to, so be sure to retract it into its spring loaded aluminum case before it gets too windy. The best way to stop heat or glare is before it gets into the house, that’s why exterior Solar shades are the right choice. They control the hot sun and UV rays from entering your windows. If you use interior blinds to control the sun it’s too late, you’ve let the heat in your home! Solar shade options include motorization with remote control and “zippered” sides. The zipper option involves a special hem on the sides of the fabric that resembles a zipper. The zipper rides inside an aluminum track which provides the ultimate in privacy and control of the light entering your home. In addition, there are many durable outdoor fabrics to choose from that allow varying amounts of light to filter into your home. Yet another option of the solar shade technology is the ability to use tough insect screening combined with the zipper option… now you’ve got yourself a screened in porch that keeps out the bugs. Add motorization and remote control for the ultimate motorized screen room! It’s also a great way to screen in a garage so you can turn it into an entertainment area. Tension Shade Structures are fairly new to North America, but have been in Europe for a few years. The fabric is held tight by means of a hidden tensioning system, there are no folding arms as you would find in a conventional retractable awning. The fabric retracts into the attractive aluminum cassette against the wall. The shades are motorized and operated by a convenient remote control. Tension canopies are great for covering your patio, an outdoor restaurant canopy or covering a solarium. Because they incorporate a post and beam they can withstand more wind than a retractable awning. By...

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Exterior Shades For Your House

Posted on Mar 13, 2014

If your shades are inside the house… you’re losing the energy battle! And solar radiation accounts for approximately 20% of the load on an air conditioner! We are excited to tell you about one of our recent innovations, energy saving exterior shades specially designed for your windows, porch or sunroom. These handsome shades will dramatically reduce cooling costs for your home, as well as provide privacy and shade. Why are exterior shades better than interior window treatments? Because they are installed on the OUTSIDE your windows, they block the heat of the sun before it gets into your windows and your home. When you have interior shades, it’s too late! The heat has already entered you home. The following graphs show how much exterior shades can reduce heat gain on east, south and west facing glass. Which wall of your house gets the most sun in the summer? Covering the glass on just that one side will save you on air conditioning costs… and make your house that much more comfortable without any AC! Betterliving Exterior Solar Shades are the best defense against the heat. Because they absorb the solar radiation before it passes through the glass, they keep the interior much cooler. Exterior shades are widely used in Europe because most homes and commercial buildings do not have air conditioning. Now, with energy costs rising and a growing awareness about energy conservation, exterior shades are becoming more prevalent in North America.   Solar shades are available in a wide variety of fabrics, with light filtering options from 30% up to 100%. Betterliving Exterior Solar Shades use extruded aluminum tracks that are colour matched to the compact cassette. Several colours are available as well as custom colours. They are mounted on the outside, so you can keep them closed over your open windows and doors, and avoid the annoying rattling and blowing of interior blinds or curtains. When you don’t need them for shade or privacy, they roll up into a sleek cassette, out of sight. By Bart...

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