Custom and pre-packaged? You can have both!

I think everyone at some point in life has dreamed about building their own home or cottage. For a lot of people that reality seems too big or expensive to pursue.  Prefabricated homes are a great option with many benefits including time and money. Understand that these homes are not flimsy like doublewide mobile homes; they are well constructed, sturdy structures with luxury features modified to suit your personal taste.

We sat down with Kelly Gibson from Laclu Homes and Cottages to discuss how they do it. "Our company's focus is centered around custom designed, 1000 to 2500sq. foot open concept, simple stick framed buildings. We add lots of glass and bold wood trim, coupled with screen rooms, clerestory windows, interior wood ceilings, custom interior wood doors and cabinets. [We pair them] with the right colour choices for the customer. You’re left with an affordable, functional, eye catching building.”

Most of the exterior framing packages include pre-engineered floor, walls and roofs that are delivered directly to site. These packages exceed building codes plus being carpenter friendly, they provide the customer with labour savings and waste reduction, said Gibson. All windows and exterior doors are provided in the framing package. Unique to Laclu is their in-house millwork shop where they produce interior doors and custom cabinets that compliment their home and cottage packages.

One productive on-site meeting typically yields enough information to produce a 3D computer floor plan, plus computer camera images of the interior and exterior of the building. Seeing what the finished building is going to look like gives the client a sense of comfort early on in the process. “Design services and contract management is provided with our home and cottages packages. We can incorporate client suggestions or offer our own. Upfront decision making goes hand in hand with accurate costing.”

Contact Kelly Gibson, to learn more.

Last time we caught up with Jake Garrow, owner of Custom Drilling, was the middle of winter and we ventured down the lake on an ice road in Sioux Narrows to take shots of a completed dock with three boat slips for this season’s edition of the Guide. Today we hit the water to get the tour of two of his current projects on beautiful Lake of the Woods.

First up we headed to St. Helena Island to see the progress on a double boat slip dock and 400 square foot attached seating area. Last season, Jake and his crew built a dock on the south side of the two-acre Island. The addition on the north side adds a beautiful experience right on the water to enjoy an abundance of lake activities and a great option to escape the heat on a hot sunny day. The finished project will have plenty of room for entertaining guests and soaking up sunsets.

Next stop on our list, Birch Island. The Island is approximately 10 acres in size and is shared by 7 different cottage owners. Jake has been working for the last seven years on a number of different projects with one of the Birch Island families. These clients have a big vision and he enjoys helping them bring it to life.

We docked the boat on the shore of a 100-foot long beach that he landscaped with rocks they found on the Island. We set out on foot to view the property. Over the years, his crews have also landscaped trails and pathways, secured sailboat anchors, drilled steel piles with steel beams for twin bunkies, built a dock complete with sauna and wood fired hot tub, renovated various existing structures and will continue on completing a 1600 square foot boathouse.  “We can do anything. We have pretty much done it all on this island and we will for sure do it all by the time the project is done.”  This season, his crew will be also be relocating the solar power system to make room for the second boathouse that has been planned.

When we asked Jake if he was as busy as he was last winter, he laughed and said “Yes. Actually, we don’t work weekends in the summer, so my crew has some time off to enjoy it as well.”

Custom Drilling can be contacted at 807-466-3613 or see their ad at

​​Spotlight articles on building construction and valuable information from our Contractors and Tradespeople of the region        (807) 468-3277    225 Main St. North   Kenora ON   P9N3C9

We sat down with gas and refrigeration specialist, Tyler Pirozek, to understand the importance of hiring a company who is licensed and fully insured. The answer is simple, he tells us. Proper training and coverage is key to safety.

“They [an installer] may do something wrong or wouldn’t know something’s dangerous their whole career. If something goes wrong and they are not properly insured, who is liable?” Licensed technicians have not only taken the proper training in their trade, they have access to updated literature and code regulations that is not available to non-certified techs.

Many have heard the term HVAC, but what does it really mean? It stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning – basically your home and cottage central nervous system. It’s underneath all of the design features in a living space and it’s the most essential part of making life comfortable. Heating, cooling, fresh air, cooking and hot water are all controlled under this one service. Whether it’s propane, natural gas or refrigerant, it’s important to have it done right to ensure a safe and comfortable living environment.

Pirozek takes these systems quite seriously and says comfort is their number one goal.  They take on projects that are residential, commercial or on the water.

Ty’s HVAC: 807-464-1124 or email

Catching up with Custom Drilling

Is your cottage gas safe?

Why Switch to Metal Roofing and Cladding?

Jeremy Schwartz, from Last Time Roofing, says the benefits of making the move to a long lasting, beautiful, tough and sensible solution to traditional roofing and siding materials are obvious. “Metal roofing can be guaranteed for up to 40 years.  So forget about having to re-roof for a very long time.”

Let’s look at the average statistics…

The average home owner with a typical asphalt roof will replace their roof on average every 10 to 20 years.  Sometimes sooner, depending on the pitch of the roof, shingle color and climate that the roof is exposed to.

When asphalt roofs are installed on your home or business, they begin to deteriorate and lose value. With a wide variety of durable panel profiles, your new roof or wall cladding maintains its value and in most cases helps to improve the value of your property.

If you’re worried about the stability of your structure you can rest assured metal roofing is the right choice. Metal roofing is one of the strongest, lightweight materials available on the market. It weighs less than half the weight of asphalt shingles and can support greater snow loads, protecting your family and your home in any season.

Virtually Maintenance Free

Unlike traditional roofing products, with metal you don’t have to worry about costly repairs after a rain storm, heavy snowfall or hail. Metal roofing and wall cladding has superior debris, water and snow shedding ability compared to traditional materials.  It’s strength will also show after a strong windstorm. Because of the way metal roofing and wall cladding is installed, it has been seen to withstand winds over 200 km/h!

Fire Resistant

Metal roofing is non-combustible. Formed from Hi-Tensile metal, it will not burn.

Wind Resistant

When properly installed, it’s able to withstand some of the harshest winds our Canadian weather has to offer. It has been seen to withstand winds over 200 km/h.

Energy Efficient

Metal roofing and wall cladding acts as a radiant barrier. It helps to reduce the heat load on your building saving money on cooling costs.

Save the Environment! Help to Reduce Landfill

Experts estimate that it can take up to 300 years for asphalt shingles to decompose in a landfill. It’s estimated that over 1 billion pounds of asphalt shingles are dumped into landfills every year.  Metal roofing and cladding helps to reduce landfills in two ways:

It can be installed over top of your existing roof.
It is able to be 100% recycled at the end of its life.

Last Time Roofing (807) 407-0034 or