Leslieville fallen home


leslieville fallen home

Leslieville fallen home


What happen to this Leslieville Fallen Home?


 You might have heard about the Leslieville fallen home on the news or read about it in the paper(Star Article Link) We thought that, given this happened right in our own backyard so to speak, it presented a perfect opportunity to explain to everyone what really happened here and how this could very well happen again. We are actually surprised it doesn’t happen more often given the way most new homes and additions are framed or left once framing has been completed.

With this Leslieville fallen home, it all came down to lack of proper framing techniques and how the materials were not designed to withstand those high wind forces on their own. At the end of the day, this was completely avoidable if a little more care had been taken with the framing of the building itself. 

We will walk you through a site photo and list off the various areas that failed due to improper workmanship. Each item is numbered so you can fully understand what we are referring to. 


Leslieville Fallen Home Explained


leslieville fallen home

Framing Failure leads to fallen home

5 Key Factors

As you can see we have highlighted 5 key factors that contributed to the home falling down. They are by no means the only factors but I do believe they were the main ones. Now we must keep in mind that I am not putting these in any particular order and of course none of these would be a factor at all without the high winds of that night.


           1.  Pieces of OSB ply used around windows and doors. I see this everywhere and it is a very bad practice indeed. An opening for a window or a door is a hole in your wall. The more holes or the bigger the holes are, the weaker the wall becomes. As you can clearly see there is nothing really left of the ground floor rear exterior wall once you take out the openings. What was left was clad with thin strips going perpendicular to each other. That type of application provides zero shear resistance and was probably the single largest contributing factor to this building falling over. Without shear resistance built into the framing on large openings, any building can topple. I can’t speak to the mindset of the contractor involved but this was careless and should never of happened. OSB and ply are cheap in comparison to what has to be paid for now. Ask for engineers to design shear walls if you have large openings at the rear of your building. Make sure external ply is one solid piece that has the window and door openings cut out of it.  It is not worth the risk at all.


            2.  Again a mistake with the installation of the exterior ply. Not only should you use full pieces around windows and doors but you should also overlap ply between floors.  Good practice is min 12″ but we like to go around 16″ where we can. Joints should also always be staggered and small pieces should be avoided as much as possible. Your exterior ply is the skin that holds you building together and if it weak so is the rest of the structure underneath it.


            3. Improper window framing and or nailing.  As you can see at the bottom of this window, things have fully separated but at the top they have just shifted. If this window was framed properly and nailed together it should not have separated like that. Also there are no cross bracing pieces anywhere around that opening or on the first floor for that matter. It is good practice to always cross brace large openings until you can get some windows in them. If cross bracing had been installed, it would have probably stopped all this from ever happening .


             4.  This one leads into number 5 and is another major mess up. No overlap onto ground floor framing. Again no ply even installed this time and as you can see the same goes with the Densshield Gold installed down the side of the building. There was literally nothing to stop this building from falling over or tying it to the ground floor or foundation properly.


             5. The wind force acting on what seems to be a relatively decent installation of the Densshield Gold down the side of the building. In normal situations this would have been ok but with the weakened rear wall structure, this was the final nail in the coffin. Once the force of the wind hit hard against the solid surface of the side of the building, the force proved too much for the framed building to withstand. A framed home is a fragile box until everything is completed and this was a great example of why the entire box has to built with attention and care.


Woodmsith Construction hopes this article has been helpful in clearing up what went wrong in Leslieville. There seems way too much poor construction going on in our community. We want to make sure our community is better informed so this doesn’t happen in the future.  Your home is the biggest investment you will ever make and we need to make sure that investment is safe. If you ever have any questions or concerns about how a construction project is being done in your area. Or if you are looking for a quality construction company that won’t take short cuts with your home.

Please don’t hesitate to give us a call anytime @ 416 937-5874



Toronto Home Renovation 2017

Houzz 1k Shares Badge


Another year is upon us and here at Woodsmith Construction, we are wasting no time in hitting the ground running.We thought we would first share a huge milestone achieved with our Houzz profile. We have broken through the Houzz 1k shares threshold. This is a great achievement and further a nod to the amazing quality of our finished projects. We look to continue this trend with even more great photo’s to share with everyone in the coming year. Thank you again for your continued support and  we look forward to our most exciting year yet.


As always we want to make sure we deliver the best in customer service. So this year we are adding to our cloud client care system. Clients will be able to track projects from any device and get up to date account information at anytime. Our new shared site logs feature will let our clients look in and see what is happening onsite each day. Our cloud budget will now also provide more features to better track project expenses. All of this on top of our already great customer service staff, makes for a home renovation experience that will not disappoint. 


Thank you to everyone for your continued support of Woodsmith Construction, in it’s efforts to make home renovations and enjoyable and rewarding process. We continue to work hard to be the very best in all aspects of what we do and look to pass those benefits onto our great customers.


Happy 2017 From Woodsmith Construction !!!!


Houzz 1k shares

Over 1000 Woodsmith Project Pictures Shared

Loft Basement Logan Ave

Project : Logan Loft Basement Renovation


Goal: Take what was once just your average 6ft 5″ semi detached basement.  Try to create an industrial loft feel in a basement. With all the features we love in lofts, such as high ceilings, exposed brick and exposed wood joists

Progress Pics

loft  basement

Logan loft basement


This basement project has not been without it’s challenges. But we have soldiered through and the result is starting to show something truly special. These progress pictures give a you hint to the incredible space. That has been created and speak to how remarkable this basement will be once completed.


The Start

As I mentioned earlier, we Started out with a normal 6ft 5″ basement. We then proceeded to underpin the entire home close the 3ft in depth. As you can see from the pictures, the house itself is not very wide. The added depth with the underpinning has given some much needed volume to the space. As a rule high ceilings will make any space feel bigger than it really is. Once we had excavated and poured all the new underpins our loft basement really started to take shape. 

The Challenges

The first challenge was to find a way to have some exposed floor joists as a ceiling treatment, without it looking like a mess of wires and plumbing. We ended up settling on the rear portion of the home as there were the least amount of things in the way and the joists themselves were in the best condition. The result as the pictures show, brought us that much closer to a basement loft.

Our next find/ challenge was the exposed brick. Although it looks great now, it was not part of the original plan. Once we had removed all of the old cladding there was this brick that had been covered in multiple coats of paint. We hoped there would be something nice under that paint and we weren’t disappointed. After many man hours of stripping and scraping we revealed probably on of the best features of our basement loft. Beautiful yellow brick, the years of paint now stripped away give it a white washed look that you could not get any other way.  

The Finish

This basement loft brings a smile to my face every time I go in and I can’t wait to show you some final pictures once we are fully complete. Also wait until I shown you the rear urban garden oasis we created with a garage that also has more storage then you could ever need. Until next time, thanks for keeping up with whats going on at Woodsmith Construction.



Home Renovation Budgeting

Much to do about Home Renovation Budgeting


home renovation budgeting

With each new client’s home visit at Woodsmith Construction. We seem to come across, time and time again a real lack understanding on what good home renovation budgeting is. Most people obviously understand intellectually what a budget is and how important it is to the proper planning of any renovation. The real problem lies in the details, as they always seem to do. Now one would think that we would all be sensible and prudent with our numbers. Making sure we add for variables and to keep good buffers on trade costs. The reality of how people seem to do with their home renovation budgeting is very different. Everyone always has a list of wants with any home renovation project, as they should.  The problem starts when the wants outweigh what is realistically affordable to them .

The root of this problem lies in the fact that most contractors don’t want to be the bearers of bad news. So when people should be told that they simply can’t afford to have whatever it is. Instead the budget gets adjusted to make it look like they can. This is usually by having much needed buffer removed or to take trade or material costs down to unrealistic levels. Now because the client has no idea of what is or isn’t realistic. This adjustments may not even be realized at the beginning of a project but it can most assuredly have very detrimental consequences down the line. Improper buffers and unrealistic costing are the two most deadly sins for any budget and it can end up costing you big money when it comes to your home renovation budget.

Improper Buffers


Buffers should be your best friend when it comes to your budget but unfortunately people tend to take a way too optimistic view of things could cost. Planning a budget is no time to be overly optimistic.It is always better to have allowed more and spent less then the other way round. Now granted this can result in a higher perceived cost to begin with but to plan for with out buffers, will guarantee a higher actual cost at the end. We have found that through the process of any renovation a good budget should have a +or- margin of around 10%. Now this margin can give you a bit of wiggle room if it goes in your direction but it won’t kill you if it doesn’t. The only way you can ever achieve that kind of accuracy with a home renovation budget is to factor in proper buffers


Unrealistic Costing


This is by far the biggest drag on any budget. As mentioned before people want what they want and don’t like to be told they can’t have it or can’t afford it. Budgets can be very misleading when unrealistic costs are factored in. As I write this we deal with on average a 10-15% increase in either material or trade costs on each new project we start. Which means if we just took our previous costs and tried to apply them forward we would consistently be wrong. Proper costing comes from knowing the environment you are trying to build in. Is it a busy market with lots of building going on or is it a slower market. Each of those conditions will change costing dramatically. Also are costs being drawn from local trades or out of town trades because that can push the numbers in the wrong direction also. Always make sure your contractor can defends his numbers and if does say you can’t afford something, thank him for being honest. Better to plan accountability from the beginning then to over promise and under deliver in the end.


Home Renovation HST Rebate

What to do with home renovation HST rebate


Home Renovation HST Rebate

HST is apart of all of our lives, we deal with it on virtually every purchase we make. When it comes to your home renovation. The HST does not have to be the elephant in the room. With proper invoicing techniques from your contractor and a whole lot of forms to fill out. You can get a large chunk of that HST you paid during your home renovation, back. To get an HST rebate on your home renovation you must meet certain requirements. Mainly you have to meet their definition of a “Substantial Renovation”. Please click on link provided to get more information as to what the really means. Once you meet those requirements the next step is two fold. Firstly you have to have detailed invoicing that can substantiate what was done in your home renovation . Secondly you must fill out the required forms, which can be done by a third party for a fee. We will cover both of these requirements in this article.



A home renovation HST rebate has to be able to prove that a “Substantial Renovation” took place. In short more than 90% of your home must have been renovated and you have to be able to show that with the appropriate bills. At Woodsmith Construction we always provide detailed invoicing just for that reason. We make sure that every stage of construction has been clearly defined in our invoices and the stage of work completed has been shown also. That way when you go to the CRA, all the required information is there ready for them to review. It is as simple as point and click with our breakdown invoices. We package your project up in dated folders throughout the course of any project. They are stored on our cloud based server, which makes them available to you anytime anywhere to send off to whomever you like. It is this level of detail, the CRA is looking for and with it, you are going to get the best rebate possible.


HST Forms

Attached to this article is a link to the HST forms available for you to download when required. Please make sure to read them carefully and fill them out as per their requirements. Many customers have opted to do this on their own or with their accountants and all have had some form of success in getting a rebate back. Remember as long as you are the end user of the product ie your home. You qualify for a home renovation HST rebate.  You will not qualify for any rebate if you are planning on selling the home before living in it. Please make you read all of the requirements shown in the link provided. 


Hopefully this can help you get a little of your money back from your home renovation project

Construction Work Summary

HST Home Renovation Rebate Form



Home Design Plan


home design planA Home Design Plan That Works


Whether your are planning a small home renovation or a completely new home. You always need a good home design plan. Sometimes the process can be so exciting that you want to jump right in and get down to the design itself. The results from taking this approach are usually less than desired. A good home design can only be achieved with a good home design plan.  There are three key areas that you should pay close attention to during this planning phase. If you check these boxes off, I can assure you. Your home design will be the very best it can be.


Wish List

The first one probably has already been done by virtually every person looking to redesign their home. Usually living in it for years has brought many of your homes limitations to attention. This usually creates a desire to change them that is always strong. This doesn’t just have to focus on the big ticket items. Always make sure your wish list is as detailed as possible. Make sure to include specialty electrical requirements and  maybe heating and air conditioning ones also. We have gone to many client meetings, where we ask how does your heating in the existing home. The response is always it doesn’t work so well and we had not thought about including that into the scope of work for the project. Your home design plan needs a great wishlist and your wish list should include everything you can think of that you might want on your home. Even the parts of the home that might not be even getting renovated


Inspiration Photos

This is probably the best tool clients have at their disposal now. The internet is over following with great home interior and exterior shots. Make sure you take the time to find as many examples as you can of what you like. This will serve as invaluable information to us or anyone for that matter, when designing your home. Having a clear idea of what your likes are, allows our designers to create a design that will blow you away. Without a good idea of likes or dislikes the process will have to take on more of a discovery phase and that can usually become a bit more tedious. Clarifying from the beginning to your designer, what style and potential form you would like to see your home take. Will alwasy serve to speed up the process and also save costs on your design fees.



The final and most important part of any home design plan is to know your limit and stick to it. With all of our design and build projects we make sure to design within an budget. This is something that has been a big compliant with clients that have hired designers first. Always keep in mind a home design is just a drawing and if your designer is not involved with the actual construction of the projects. It will be next to impossible to hold them accountable to a number they told you things could be done for. We always design to a budget and then build to that same budget. A good designer should be able to give you  as much of what you want, for what you can afford. The key is to give to the best bang for your renovation dollar in that design at the same time.



Upper Beaches Home Renovations

Upper Beaches Home Renovations Tips


Upper Beaches Home Renovations

Upper Beaches home renovation project

Living in the Upper Beaches is to be part of one the most rapidly changing neighborhoods in Toronto. The amount of store front development on Kingston road alone, would make anyone’s head spin. This segment of Toronto is not without its home renovation challenges but as we all know, neither is any other section of our city. However Upper Beaches home renovations need to have a few more considerations, than say a Lawrence Park home renovation.


The Upper Beaches area is all uphill so to speak comprising a few main artery streets such as Kingston road and Gerrard. Which provide your East and West travel but most of the homes are located on the North-South residential streets. All of which have a serious slop to them, which comes from being on the leading edge of the actual Beaches area of Toronto. What was once the lake is now your street. With these large changes in grade , Upper Beaches home renovations have to make sure they address two key areas. The first being drainage and the second being shoring.




Without proper drainage, living on a hill can pose some serious risks to your home. First thing to always do when looking at a renovation to your home, is to have a look at the lay of the land so to speak on your property and see if you are high or lower than both neighbours or just one. In either case whatever comes from above you during a rain storm or with snow melts, needs to have a safe place to drain away. A lot of clients want to spend money on the inside of their home and forget about the outside drainage. With an Upper Beaches home renovations you must make sure that your home is protected from water infiltration that can come at you quickly from uphill.




Now although most of the property’ s are located on a hill. Most people don’t want a tremendous side slope to their back or front yards. Most of these home have had limited shoring done over the years and most of that has started to rot away. Always make sure to address the shoring requirements for your property and the best way to figure out if you have any would be to see if your land matches the same pitches as your road. Every Upper Beaches home renovations we have ever dealt with has had some sort of shoring issues.  The beauty of dealing with land shoring is that it can provide a great opportunity to deal with drainage as well. If you don’t deal with your shoring issues, you can almost guarantee that some of your neighbours land will find its way onto yours.



Riverdale Home Renovations

Riverdale Home renovations

Riverdale home renovations are a special part of what Woodsmith Construction does. Being located in the Leslieville area ourselves. A lot of our work is in the Riverdale area of Toronto. The homes in this area are beautiful and were built with a lot of care. The years however, have not been kind. With the wear and tear of 100 plus years of use, comes the need to make sure that the home renovation you are planning, keeps your Riverdale home lasting another 100 years.


With that in mind, we at Woodsmith Construction have prepared a bit of a check list for you to think about on your next Riverdale home renovation

Riverdale Home Renovations Check list

  1.  Always plan to removal as much interior cladding as possible. ie wall plaster, wood lathe etc

The reason behind this is that you need to see what is behind your walls in order to make sure what you are about to put in front of them will stand the test of time. Many Riverdale home renovations try to skate over this point and repair crumbling plaster work or drywall over it. This will only serve as a band aid solution because what you don’t know or cant’t see in any home renovation, can and will hurt you.

        2.  If you have brick take care

With many of the the Riverdale homes brick has been used in either the front or the entire home. Now although the brick might be a little worse for wear. It is still worth the money to restore back to its former glory. Riverdale home renovations must always try to preserve as much of the historic characteristics as possible.  This does not mean that the home can’t have modern finishes but a brick Facade is in keeping with the neighbourhood and will give great return on investment

      3.  Your bones are not standard

Many people forget with their Riverdale homes that 100 years ago we didn’t have quiet the same standards with milling lumber. Rough sawn lumber is the staple for most homes in the area and with rough sawn lumber comes a new set of challenges. Mostly that they are not dimensional standard, which in short mean they are not the same sizes. So you must factor in that when you renovate your Riverdale home, you will have to straighten every wall or floor in order to have them accept any drywall or new sub floor. If you don’t do this, there is a good chance that your walls and floors will have a few humps in them.


Logan Home Renovation

Woodsmith Construction Project Journal: Logan Home Renovation



logan home renovation

Master Ensuite Bathroom from our Logan home renovation

Our Logan home renovation project has finally come to an end. What started off as simple third floor interior alterations. Became a whole home face lift from top to bottom. As challenging as every Toronto home seems to be, the reward was the smile the owner gets everyday she uses her new master suite. Maybe from this recap of what we did you might be able to grab a few ideas for your next renovation project


Third Floor Work

Our Logan home renovation as mentioned started with the existing third floor. We gutted the entire floor and ended up rebuilding all of it brand new.  Third floors are tricky because in almost every case, clients want to save the rest of the home that lies underneath. Now that can go south pretty quickly, once your roof is off and the weather takes a turn for the worst. Always make sure that in budget planning you allow for the potential for some damage to carry through the rest of your home. Making your third floor a master suite, seems to be the best use of space, if you have enough of it. This option has successfully created many an oasis, too which happy parents can escape the day and have a nice quiet hot bath or watch some TV.  A separate master suite can give you that sense of calm and collected, when the rest of the life might not. Sometimes with a growing family in the rest of the home, you need somewhere to go that can take you away. I have not had one customer every complain about having their own walk in closet or bathroom in their bedroom area.


Party Wall

This Logan home renovation had a party wall as the home itself was a semi detached one. When we had started the wall was not in the plans to deal with but as things moved along and parts of the wall needed to be opened up. The client decided that hearing the neighbours conversations was something that she no longer wished to deal with. Mainly because that also meant the neighbour could hear everything her and her family spoke about also.  So off went the party wall cladding and on went the sound batts and sound proof board. The change was incredible as it always seems to be with this part of any semi detached renovation. I always recommend sound proofing where eever possible. You will be amazed at the piece of mind a bit of piece and quiet can bring.