blog

30 Apr Bauer Street | new project

After completing work at the Gottingen street project with Steevo, Jonathan is continuing the recent trend of restoration of early 19th century homes. You never know what you will find in some of these period homes. We were lucky enough to find an old coin dating back to 1861 lodged beneath the old floor boards (pics below). Pretty cool to find a coin that predates the inception of our great country. There were approximately 1.8 million of these one cent coins minted back in 1861. A wonderful little keepsake for the new owners of this property to remind them of their homes history. MRB Contracting have embarked on work at this home that will include: Patching and refinishing the existing softwood flooring, Expansion and installation of new kitchen, Update main floor powder room, Addition of 2nd floor bathroom, Renovation of 3rd floor bathroom and installation of some new replicated mouldings.     ...

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29 Apr MRB Contracting’s new website

  Change is the heartbeat of growth. And as you can see we’re not averse to change. We’re pleased to announce our new website. In some ways it seems ironic for a builder like MRB Contracting to show our work via the virtual world of the Internet. For what we’re good at is building real tangible and useful dwellings. And yet, these days, without a web presence it’s as if you didn’t exist. So we like to take the high road with a mobile friendly website showcasing our projects, testimonials, services and client process. Take a look and let us know what you think. And don’t forget to Like us on Facebook....

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27 Apr Chestnut Street | new renovation

This new project on Chestnut Street has been keeping Scottie busy. Home owners planned this update and renovation to incorporate modern comforts and family functionality. The existing kitchen and bathroom (the result of two previous renovations) were completely removed allowing Scottie to start from scratch. He added spray foam insulation before beginning the installation of infloor heating. Concurrent work on the insufficient garage space has also been progressing. Excavation of the old floor now, will result in more head room for a future finished basement. This will require upgrade of the foot and curb for support before the finished concrete slab is poured. ...

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05 Apr Purcells Cove Rd | Mille Feuille Roofing

These April showers will hopefully bring flowers and plenty more days allowing progress like this! Corey and the team at our Purcells build started out this clear blue sky day with one thing on their minds……ROOF. So you will remember the first step in weatherproofing and sealing this build was applying the v-force vapour barrier. Thus providing us with a ‘weathertight’ construction site. The next step was to apply Densdeck prime cover board. This fantastic modern roofing product boasts the benefits of being highly fire and thermal resistant, water resistant, and adds structural strength to the entire roofing system. Densdeck board is applied in accordance with local build codes (determined on a wind uplift calculation) with a minimum of 12 fasteners per board. Fasteners are carefully marked out and screwed in. At this stage, it is integral that the team move promptly on to the final membrane. No more boards shall be installed than can be covered with membrane and completed before the end of each day’s work or before the onset of inclement weather. Last but not least comes EPDM. This rubber membrane, specifically designed for low sloping roofing and therefore ideal for this Omar Gandhi design, is also perfect for use with green...

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27 Mar Gottingen St | the finish line

Steevo and the team working on our Gottingen St project have the finish line set firmly in their sights. In keeping our focus on blending the old with the new as we did inside, they pay special attention to detail while moving up the front face of this gorgeous old home. New corbels are installed, with crown moulding, bead moulding and a bump moulding to follow. A stunning example of the craftsmanship of our building forefathers is showcased in the ‘monster’ of a board 24″ wide x 12′ long that Phil is scraping in the photo below. It was an easy decision to ‘relove’ this board rather than replace! With scaffolding still in place it’s difficult to get photos of the grandeur that this renovation will be, so stay tuned for our final reveal.   ...

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19 Mar The ‘Snow’ Must Go On!

Who could believe there could be this much snow? There sounds to be a general consensus that Halifax has not seen anything like this since White Juan. In fact, rumour has it, there is more snow than White Juan. A whopping 1/4 of our annual snowfall landed in Halifax yesterday! Thankfully, before the snow, Smitty and the team at Marlborough had windows in and the added bonus of insulation complete. In areas where the walls are not deep enough for batt insulation, spray foam was used. (The blue in the photos) Propane lines have been run that will provide our homeowner with many benefits of this fossil fuel. -Propane is environmentally friendly (Clean burning renewable resource) -Cost effective (less expensive to operate than electrical), and this one installation will fuel the boiler, heat pump, kitchen range and fireplace. With plumbing and electrical all roughed in, the MRB team will move outside for some snow removal, and to patch up the shingles surrounding the new windows, freeing up the inside for the drywallers to begin.   ...

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10 Mar So long February ;)

‘Storm day Wednesdays’ of winter 2014 had us thinking it couldn’t be worse. But Old Man Winterhad other ideas, and showed us (and a few others) how very wrong we were! The long range weather forecast according to The Old Farmers Almanac – useful with a pleasant degree of humour “…..2014/15 winter temperatures will be above normal, …..snowfall will be below normal…..” Ooooops Even Environment Canada ‘promised Nova Scotian’s this winter wouldn’t be anything like the last’. Suggesting we might liken this year to ‘a tropical heat wave in comparison.‘ I don’t think so. So here’s some freezing February facts: -Average Halifax snowfall is 16″ or 41cm, this year we had 51″ or 130cm -Average temperature High 0 and Low -8 degrees Celsius, this year High -5.4 and Low -11 degrees celcius. Brrrrr -There were only 4 days with a high that reached above 0 -HRM 311 received more than 10,000 calls regarding snow and ice removal (350+per day) -The price of gas went up 8.0c /litre So HELLO March, the beginning of daylight savings, the return of our feathered friends, a new season, and Scruffs 40th birthday! You are all very welcome:)   ...

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03 Mar Purcells Cove Rd | roof tight

Not all construction schedules align with ideal building conditions.  Clever products allow us to soldier on through even the harshest of East Coast winters. The application of  V-force Vapor Barrier Membrane is a fast easy and ‘temporary’step to becoming roof tight. This self adhering puncture resistant membrane is an excellent solution for quickly weather proofing a new construction and thereby allowing work to continue inside. Prior to this application the team ensure the roof is clear of ice and use blow torches to dry any excess moisture. A priming product is rolled on to the dry plywood prior to rolling out the self adhering V- Force. The boys still manage a big smile through their chattering teeth;)  ...

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26 Feb Gottingen St | handy hints!

Ever wondered how to store your caulking and paint while working outside in winter? Thanks Steevo for sharing your handy hint, tried and true from the 80’s. Drag out your cooler, and hook up a 60 watt globe to a thermostat! Voila. Ready to use on even the coldest winter day! Some gorgeous reveal pictures of the interior at Gottingen. Fantastic kitchen fit out. Vintage classic meets modern contemporary. Colour, pattern and texture design elements all meet to provide our owners with a warm inviting and relaxed ‘hub’ in their beautiful Victorian home. The team have also commenced work outdoors, making use of the warm cooler! Integral design elements of the era such as the decorative corbels have been custom made and are being fitted. Attention to detail is key. ...

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20 Feb Roofing | Ice Dams

With this seemingly never ending snowfall, and temperatures consistently sub zero, the term ‘Ice Dam‘ is commonly heard. What is an ‘Ice Dam’? An Ice Dam occurs when snow is melted by a warm roof, creating water running between the snow and the warm roof surface, then freezing and turning to ice when it gets past the exterior wall and hits a cold unheated roof edge or gutter. As the bottom of the snow pack continues to melt, water continues to flow down the roof surface until it hits the ice, thereby creating a larger and larger ice dam. The problem – Ice dams may result in leaks through the roofing material, possibly resulting in damaged ceilings, walls, roof structure and insulation, damage or injury when the ice dam falls off or from attempts to remove ice dams. Prevention – In new construction, ice dams are easily prevented through building designs with adequate insulation and roof ventilation. As with window installation, MRB  follow strict procedure and use specialty product when it comes to putting on a roof. We’ll see this in more detail as Corey commences the roofing process at Purcells Cove Rd. Cure – as with any ailment, prevention is the best cure. However, if...

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17 Feb Marlborough Ave | progress

This first ‘Heritage Day’ long weekend, in honour of Viola Desmond, is one that we won’t forget. Not sure how many of us are feeling well rested and rejuvenated after all that shovelling?! #snow Work is progressing with Smitty and the team at Marlborough Avenue.  A renovation like this requires precise coordination and organisation of many sub trades that are involved. Plumbers are removing old cast iron waste lines to be replaced with PVC, as well as roughing in new. Electricians are in and out.  With no drywall it is the opportune time for new electrical to be replaced and new updated wires installed. The modern heating system and HRV (heat recovery ventilator) ducts are being run, and we welcomed the delivery of the windows which we will begin installing next week.      ...

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13 Feb Inhouse Design | Wish List

With the click of a button we add an item to a WISH LIST. And with another click, we make a purchase. Online stores make it oh so easy to make spontaneous purchases, turning our WISH LIST into reality. When it comes to building your home, your wish list is paramount. It is not fast fashion. These purchases and decisions need to fit you and your lifestyle for years to come. Not to mention these purchases will usually come with a significant investment! Our inhouse design team have put together a guide to help you make the ideal WISH LIST. 1.Challenges We enjoy challenges and are good problem solvers, but… we like to know from the onset what they are so we can plan and design your build appropriately. 2. Budget An idea of your budget will help us design an appropriate size build. We can point out what is possible within your budget and make suggestions for different solutions. 3. Size- how much space do you need A two bedroom home, with 2 ½ baths and open plan kitchen living dining, with about 1,200sqft? 4. Function For example if you want an open concept plan kitchen dining, or want to move all bedrooms upstairs, or add a mud room...

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11 Feb Purcells Cove Rd | Windows to the sky

Corey and the team on our 'Stereovision' build are on task following MRB procedures installing windows. As with any window installation, the prevention of wind and water penetration is of utmost importance. Keeping in mind this builds amazing location and it's exposure to the elements the team adhere meticulously to our step by step procedure to ensure success. The windows in this design command our craftsmanship as they highlight and frame the amazing vistas of Purcells Cove and the stunning ocean beyond. "A beacon high atop a hillside".   ...

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04 Feb Gottingen St | interior trim

Steevo and the team at Gottingen have been thankful for work indoors. This past week has been a big push on getting the interior trims completed. We called on our friends at East Coast Specialty Hardwoods to custom match the trims to the homes original. We sent them samples of what we needed and they shaped them out of poplar wood, which paints very well. Window casings were reproduced with two pieces. One wide trim and the second a backband. Each door has plinth blocks to set the casings on, and the baseboard is a three piece assembley with base, cap , and shoe. We also got the behemoth stone bathtub in place. The corbels that frame the arch in this were hand made by Forbes Restoration. They were made to replicate the two old plaster ones that unfortunately we were unable to save. ...

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29 Jan Green Roof | did you know?

We briefly looked at installation of a Green Roof in August 2014 at our Clifton St home. As preparations for the installation of a green roof begin at our Purcells Cove build here's some interesting facts you perhaps didn't already know. A green roof or living roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. - Green Roofs are not new! Green Roofs have been around in Scandinavia for centuries, and a superb reconstruction of Norse living can be seen at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. - Environmentally smart; reduce heating and cooling costs, reduce storm water runoff, filter pollutants and carbon dioxide out of the air, the list goes on. - The green roof acts as a shield to protect the roof membrane from the elements and therefore extends the roof lifespan by at least 200% - Green roofs can provide living space for not only plants but also local animals too! Pretty Bird. Pictures of what will be green roof at Purcells Cove ...

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23 Jan Purcells Cove Rd | Wrapping it up

Wrap, Strap, and Insulate! With Jack Frost nipping at their noses, Corey and the team are working hard as nails, bound and determined to seal up the house. Protecting themselves from the elements sure helps to keep the build progress rapidly:) A protective membrane 'Firestone V-force' adheres to the roof to provide temporary weather protection, allowing work to continue below. Permanent stages of spray foam insulation have commenced under the buildings eaves. This expanding foam application will provide thermal insulation and minimise air infiltration. The team have also begun the important step to wrap the building in WrapShield as they install windows. We are well on the way to having things at Purcells Cove weathertight and secure! ...

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21 Jan The Company We Keep

Pick up a copy, it's FREE! The winter 2015 issue of HALIFAX Local Connections is hot off the press and features our friend Omar Gandhi on the cover. It's awesome to once again see Omar and his work in the spotlight. The article, page 22, commends Omar on his vision and passion for design and dreams that are specific to our East Coast. Our current Purcells Cove Road project is an Omar vision. Local Connections follows up 'The Architects' story with a worthwhile read on urban planning and future development in Halifax. It's exciting and energising to be a part of an industry with such vision and vigor for development and growth. ...

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16 Jan Marlborough Ave | new project

A new year and a new project for Smitty and his team. This south end Halifax property will be undergoing a complete makeover. Large steel beams have been installed in place of the load bearing walls that the team has removed. Spreading the weight of the 2nd storey through the steel beams will allow open concept living plans on the main floor. Also on the agenda is to complete an unfinished basement, a gorgeous modern kitchen, and three new custom bathrooms. With replacement of many existing windows, our homeowners will hardly recognize the original house.          ...

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13 Jan Northend neighbourhood| Sneak peak

Did you read the exciting news from the Chronicle-Herald last week? Our North End neighbourhood will soon be boasting it's very own Crossfit gym! MRB teammate Phil is hard at work fitting out the super cool 6500 ft space near Robie and North Sts. Already sporting the trademark 'Crossfit garage doors' this former bus garage with 8m ceilings is getting an MRB makeover in preparedness for its grand reveal. Phil has constructed two 16 foot reinforced walls, and a third 12 foot high wall. Each clad with beautiful milled barn board. Both vertical and horizontal installation has been used adding instant character and interest to the space. We'll get some more pics up when the renovation is complete. In the meantime, stay up to date with the business launch at CrossFit Ironstone ...

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08 Jan Gottingen St | progress

  According to the Huffington Post, this is the craziest rental home EVER! .  MRB foreman Corey (the guy on the left in the photo) worked on the Pole House renovation before he set sail from Australia bound for Nova Scotia:) Back to business to bring you up to date with Steevo at our Gottingen St Reno. The team went about hanging drywall prior to Christmas, thus allowing work to continue throughout the holidays. Bob the taper was kept busy taping! And this week painting has commenced. We were able to use some of the old heating duct work to supply fresh air to the old part of the house. This was less invasive than tearing walls apart and running new lines. Next we grind the floor transitions and the wood flooring begins Friday. Hoping to start the tile in the bathroom soon too. ...

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