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How to Find a Good Contractor

We can’t always rely on our own skills to get the job done, that’s why so many homeowners are in need of a good contractor to see those home improvement projects through. Not everybody is well-rounded enough to be able to tackle difficult repair or maintenance projects, nor does everybody know a contractor or have one in their immediate circle of family and friends. Then there’s the issue of how exactly to find a good and reliable contractor in the first place, especially if you’ve never dealt with one before.

Making the wrong choice can leave you wishing you had just done the job yourself, can do more damage than good, or can leave you feeling burned and taken to the cleaners. Thankfully, with some persistence and the right know-how, finding a good contractor is easier than you think.

 

Ask people you trust

The first thing you should do in your quest to find a reliable contractor is to turn to the people you trust the most. Ask your family members, friends and neighbours who they recommend, and what kind of experiences they’ve had with local contractors. If they’re willing to make recommendations or warn against certain contractors, you can trust that they’ve already done the research and you can use this to expedite your search. Referrals are one of the best ways to track down high quality contractors, especially since the people giving those referrals can confirm that they’re already had positive experiences.

It’s also a good idea to ask business owners or professionals in your life for referrals. Trusted business owners or your accountant, lawyer, realtor, banker, plumber, electrician, or any other professionals you’ve dealt with can make excellent referrals, especially if they deal with contractors on a regular basis.

 

Do your own research

With information constantly at your fingertips, there’s just no reason not to do your own research. In addition to getting referrals from people you trust, it’s important to use the information available to you to your advantage. Look at online reviews on social media for a general idea of what people have experienced, but remember that you shouldn’t stop here because it won’t give you the full picture.

Once you’ve checked out the online reviews posted publicly, check to see if the contractor or business is listed with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If they are, it means they’ve either paid for the BBB listing, or there have been complaints lodged against them. If no complaints show up on the BBB listing, keep in mind that it may have been removed after the contractor or business took steps to remedy or compensate the complainant. On the BBB’s website, you’ll be able to check for reviews to get an even better idea of what the general public thinks of the contractor or business.

After this, head on over to the official Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) website and type in the name of the business or contractor in question. This will pull up any official court cases against that person or business, and give you a good idea of their history and reputation. If nothing comes up, then you might be in luck.

 

Finding good contractors in Muskoka

With these tips, finding a good contractor in Muskoka is easy. When you’re in need of a high quality contractor in the Muskoka region, it’s always a good idea to book in advance of the summer season whenever possible. This is the busiest time of year for contractors, and their bookings often start filling up by late April. If you miss the summer season, don’t fret – you can always book for fall before the snow arrives.

For a great local place to ask for contractor referrals, check with your local lake association. Lake associations deal with a wide variety of businesses and contractors, giving them a good idea who is reliable and who should be avoided. Whenever possible, handle cosmetic jobs and simple repairs yourself, as it’s often a better option than hiring a contractor if you live in the country – save time and money by saving contractors for the big repairs or projects you don’t have the skills to take on.

For projects involving door and window installation, repair, or maintenance, choose Muskoka Window & Door Centre. For years, our team has been the first choice for Muskoka cottage and homeowners looking for the best service and the highest quality window and door products available. We maintain relationships with a wide variety of reliable Muskoka contractors and builders, working alongside the very best the region has to offer to make your dreams come true. To find out more about everything the team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre can do for you, get in touch with us today.

What are the best window coverings for my cottage?

Muskoka cottage season is here! People from all around the region have opened up their cottages and are ready to start enjoying a summer full of relaxation and adventure. While you’re spending time at the cottage, you might find that your cottage window coverings just aren’t doing the trick anymore. After all, most of what we keep at the cottage has been long-discarded from our homes, or are old window treatments that require updating. If your window treatments were ordered from the Sears catalogue, it may be time to replace them. This summer is the perfect time to update them in favour of something more suitable for the cottage.

 

Best types of window coverings for cottages

Ideally, you’re looking for low-maintenance window treatments that won’t be a burden to deal with. The last thing you want to be on vacation is frustration, nor do you want to find yourself cleaning for hours on end, so try to choose something that won’t rapidly collect dust – especially during the off season. For this reason, conventional blinds might be out of the question for your cottage windows because there are two things they do well: block out sun and collect dust. 

Conventional blinds can become very dusty and dirty, especially if you’re planning on leaving your windows open all summer long and enjoying the breeze. Instead, look for something practical like roller shades, woven Roman shades, light linen curtains, or shutters. These are low-maintenance window coverings that’ll keep your cottage breezy and private, and keep pests and the elements at bay.

 

Our favourite cottage window coverings

When it comes to cottage window coverings, we think it’s best to strike a perfect balance between practical and easy-to-maintain and aesthetically pleasing. Many cottages have a purposeful rustic aesthetic, which is very easy to complement with the right window treatments. Some of our favourites coverings include:

  • Roller shades: These are perfect for adding to any rustic cottage style, offering highly practical function that is easy to clean and maintain, and lightweight enough to still let in a nice cool breeze. Roller shades come in a variety of styles and colours, operate smoothly, and offer complete privacy for those looking to get in a few extra hours of sleep or enjoy some late nights on the couch. Roller shades are also perfect for screened porches, letting you easily control how much light is coming into the porch and offering a nice privacy buffer.
  • Roman shades: Roman shades are a classic window treatment style, offering an elegant, clean look and simple function, letting you easily lower and raise the shades with the use of a cord. Roman shades come in many different styles, including fabric and woven styles. These window coverings are a DIY favourite for their simplicity, giving you the chance to put some of that old fabric to good use.
  • Shutters: Another low-maintenance choice for window coverings that are perfect for the cottage, window shutters are a great way to enjoy the light breeze and the sounds of your surroundings while greatly increasing privacy and making your cottage more comfortable in general.
  • Plaid curtains: What’s more rustic than plaid? Curtains are an effective way to keep the sun out of your cottage and increase privacy while still enjoying the gorgeous sounds of Muskoka.
  • Linen curtains: Adding a much softer touch to your cottage, linen curtains are a great way to add that extra aesthetic touch to any room. While they won’t do much in the way of keeping out the sun or improving your privacy, there’s something irresistibly beautiful and light about linen curtains.
  • Solar shades: A perfect choice for outdoor areas like porches, solar shades go a long way in blocking out harmful rays from the sun and keeping you cooler on a gorgeous day. Solar shades act as insulators, keeping you and your cottage more comfortable by keeping the sun out on hot, sunny days. Solar shades are available in various different styles, some of which are designed to let in more sun than others – choosing a high openness percentage will increase the transparency of the shades, whereas a low openness will let in less light through the shades.
  • Executive roll screens: Roll screens are a convenient way to keep any porch or patio cool, comfortable, and private. They can be conveniently rolled away when not in use, or even combined with a mesh and vinyl screen to give you the most out of your view while keeping you cooler and keeping out pests. Roll screens like those made by Phantom can fit just about any size window opening, making them the perfect choice for Muskoka cottage owners looking to enhance sun protection and privacy, and get more out of their time on the porch.

 

Window coverings go a long way in setting the tone and style of your cottage. They can also play a major role in how much you’re able to enjoy your time indoors and on the porch, keeping out harmful UV rays, cooling down your cottage, and letting the light summer breeze while keeping pests and inclement weather outside where they belong. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out this great gallery of cottage window treatments.

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the number one provider of doors and windows in Muskoka. Our experienced team is ready to work with home and cottage owners, builders and architects to create the project of your dreams and enhance your view of the Muskoka region. Our showroom is home to the highest quality window and door products, including the Phantom Executive Screen, built to help Muskoka cottage owners enhance their experience and get more out of their surroundings.

 

For more information on the door and window installation services offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, reach out to us today.

Why You Should Move to Muskoka

The pandemic has changed so much about the way we live our lives. While much of the past year has been so difficult for all of us, a few positive things have come out of it. Perhaps the most significant change is that people who once felt shackled to their desks have now gained the ability to work from home. Not just that, but they now have the ability to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and head for greener pastures. The work from home revolution has seen many people leave the city in search for something more. Many of those people have landed right here in Muskoka, the place we like to think of as perfect.

There’s so much to love about this beautiful region. Not only is it close to the big city, but it contains so many naturally incredible sights and sounds, more events and get-togethers than you could imagine, and the chance to finally slow down and appreciate the little moments in life. There are many reasons why you should move to Muskoka if you have the opportunity, but these are a few of our favourites.

 

More affordable than the city

One of the biggest reasons why people are looking to get away from the big city and seek out smaller towns is affordability. Muskoka is perfect for young adults looking to get away from high-priced apartments, with plenty of well-priced starter homes available. There’s a misperception that Muskoka real estate is expensive, but when you start looking at homes that aren’t on lakes, the price point drops significantly. 

When you move to Muskoka, you can finally have a chance to enjoy things like big backyards and convenient drives to amenities, rather than towering skyscrapers, tiny patios, and seemingly endless commutes. Lower property taxes are another reason to consider Muskoka, making it somewhere worth living all year round rather than just a great summer destination.

 

One of the most beautiful places in Canada

In terms of natural beauty, Muskoka has it all. From its gorgeous clean lakes and flowing rivers to the region’s many jaw-dropping forests, Muskoka will continue to take your breath away year after year. Each season presents beautiful new scenes, too. Have we mentioned fishing? You can start your engines at any one of the public launches at any lake in Muskoka and fish the day away. World-class trout, muskie, bass – you name a freshwater fish, it’s waiting for you to catch it in any one of our lakes or rivers. Just make sure you get your license like a good Canadian. 

There’s nothing quite like seeing the leaves change in the fall season, or witnessing the entire terrain transform as it’s covered in snow. When the snow finally melts and winter turns to spring and summer, the flowing rivers, green trees, and other sights and sounds offered by the region will leave you hungry for adventure. 

 

Endless opportunities for outdoor recreation

Outdoor adventures can be enjoyed by just about anybody, and it’s one of the things Muskoka is most famous for. Muskoka is famous for the nearly endless amount of outdoor activities available to residents, no matter what season or temperature it is. 

From spring to fall you can enjoy the hundreds of hiking and mountain bike trails found across the region, rent a boat and take it to the lake for a beautiful day on the water, dive in for a quick swim, head out with your friends on a canoe, kayaks, or paddleboards, hang out on the beach and take in the scenery, relax by the dock, or discover the terrain on an ATV. When it comes to getting outdoors and enjoying the region’s unrivalled beauty, your imagination is the only thing holding you back from an unforgettable experience.

 

Never a dull moment from winter to summer

Not only is Muskoka famous for its beautiful scenery and endless outdoor adventures, but also for its rich culture and for the sheer amount of activities happening all year long. Whether you’re into grabbing a beer at one of the region’s booming craft breweries, experiencing some of the finest dining in Ontario, going for a shopping trip in one of our historic downtown areas, or seeking to grow your knowledge at a local museum, there’s something for everybody in Muskoka.

We like to think of the region as offering nearly everything the big city does, but without the big city anxiety. All year long, rain or shine, you’ll be able to catch a live music performance or a theatrical production, check out the many offerings created by our local artisans, take part in the region’s rich arts community, or shop for things like records, books, and specialty items at our local businesses.

Whether there’s snow on the ground or beautiful blue summer skies, there’s always something to do in Muskoka, no matter what your interests are or what kind of adventures you’re looking for. It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth, offering something special to just about everybody out there. Once you make the move to Muskoka, you’ll be wondering what on earth took you so long to get here.

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the Muskoka region’s premier supplier and installer of high quality windows and doors. Our team has decades of experience in helping home and cottage owners get the very most out of their property. To talk to a member of our team about an upcoming door or window installation project, get in touch with us today.