I recently returned from a trip to Canada where I made time to visit some DIY stores, similar to our B&Q for comparison of products. They have a store called Rona which is a Canadian company and Home Depot, a USA company now opening branches in Canada. I found the product offerings so different, I wanted to post so others can share my enthusiasm. Its a long post so please be patient.
The first thing I noticed was 90% of their screws used a Robertson head. I thought Phillips was the most recognized screw.
When visiting some friends, I saw this round socket all over the house near plug sockets. Well it turns out it was part of a central vacuum system. The Vacuum cleaner is located in the garage and you only have to attach hoses into these wall sockets and the vacuum cleaner switches on. Home depot sell a full kit excluding ducting. The third pic is a skirting mounted dust pan for sweeping rubbish and having it sucked up by the vacuum. Pretty neat stuff.
Laminated kitchen worktops are much better than ours. They have a profiled edges and built in back splash.
Everywhere you go they have lush green grass. Whether its for driveways, gardens or community spaces. Well that's because everyone installs sprinkler systems as standard. Some were always on display and some popup when needed. They are off the shelf items in both super stores.
When you talk about suspended ceilings, normally office environments come to mind. Not in Canada. They had a full aisle with all fixings and ceiling tiles for office and residential ceilings. I never seen anything like this in the UK stores, unless its roofing specialists, and still its only for offices.
I noticed their plastic coated steel bath tubs only because I couldn't see how they connected all the plumbing like drains and taps to it. Their tub and side panel are all one piece. Does look nice when fitted though and very strong
I've always been interested in their Heating systems. They don't use radiators, rather ducting systems where the heat is blown through vents in the floors or ceilings. The good thing with these systems is you can just as easily send air con, fresh air or ionized air through the same ducting. The downside is you see bulkheads all over the place where large rectangular ducking is hidden.
Canada must have an insect epidemic as all the houses I visited had screens on the doors, windows and sliding patios doors. Three types are available to buy in the stores. A complete screened door which is fitted infront of your main front door. Annoying as you always have to open 2 doors to enter or leave. A rectractable screen fitted to one side. Not bad as when its not needed just leave it retracted. Sliding doors, are built with an extra glide where sliding screen resides, so can be left open when not needed. Suppose in some areas they can be referred to as storm screens for flying debris.
They have a big market on rubber coated metal wire shelving. I gave a friend a hand installing some, and was a piece of piss. Basically all houses are dry lined so the fixings have a special pegs and nails to place any where on plasterboard. Yep nails, we had to hammer them in. Shelves were used in wardrobes, kitchens storage, walk in closets.
A few more interesting objects below.
1. a ratcheting wrench with multiple socket heads all in one, no chance to loose sockets.
2. a plastic lid that goes on top of paint tins for pouring paint or used to drip off paint brushes. It keeps the tin top clean which we all know gets messy.
3. electric garage door openers. Kits ready to buy with motors, in-car controls, internal switches and external keypad switch. So no actual key needed.
4. THey have a big market or fixed shower heads. I personally prefer hand held shower heads, it makes it easier to clean the shower.
5. This funky device is a hinge pin door stop. I only know what it is because I saw it installed in someones house and asked.
In know for sure when I'll be designing me dream house, I'm going Canada for inspiration.
Thanks for reading
Last edited by Iwant1; 07-09-2012 at 02:57 PM.
I used plenty of square-drive screws... didn't know they were called Robertson head... when doing projects for my kids downunder last Xmas and what a pleasure they are to use... as they just don't slip... Mind you, it's important to set the clutch correctly or the screws easily pull right through!
I like Canada. Still feeling gutted about not getting there this year, but looking forward to heading there next year for an extended period, if everything goes to plan.
I've only ever been on the west coast, but all the places I've stayed in have had electric heaters, and I suspect the screens are more to do with keeping the native 4 legged wildlife out, rather than the winged pests!
I'm glad to see he's using safe working practice and wearing hand protection!
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