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Check with Local Bylaws Before Doing Muskoka Renovations

Any project at home is exciting, whether you’re building a new deck, installing a new fence, or even just doing some tree removal, there’s nothing as exciting as making your property perfect. This excitement makes it very easy for homeowners to overlook some of the necessary steps that inevitably come with the job, including checking local bylaws and filing the proper paperwork.

Skipping these steps is never a good idea, and can put a major damper on your home improvement projects, incurring significant fines and even forcing you to reverse much of the work you’ve done. In order to avoid these penalties, it’s important that you check with local bylaws before commencing any work on your Muskoka home or property.


A recent cautionary tale: Township of Muskoka Lakes building bylaws

Muskoka home and cottage owners can learn from a recent news story which saw a number of property owners and contractors in Muskoka Lakes charged after failing to check with local bylaws before removing trees and altering landscapes. As a result, a number of Stop Work Orders were issued to the parties, and they could even face charges of up to $320,000. For context, the Tree Preservation Bylaw in Muskoka Lakes clearly states that:

  • (a) No person shall injure or destroy a tree within 15 metres (50 feet) of a navigable waterway for those lands designated as Waterfront in the Township Official Plan and within 7.5 metres (25 feet) of a navigable waterway for those lands designated Urban Centre or Community in the Township Official Plan;
  • (b) No person shall injure or destroy a tree within an area zoned Environmental Protection (EP1) in the Township’s Comprehensive Zoning By-law;
  • (c) No person shall injure or destroy a tree in an area zoned as a Scenic Corridor or Scenic Area in the Township’s Comprehensive Zoning By-law within a distance of 100 feet from the front lot line
  • (d) No person shall injure or destroy a tree on land where a permit is required to do so, unless such permit has been obtained in advance


Had the homeowners and contractors simply checked with the Muskoka Lakes bylaws before starting work, they would have noticed the Tree Preservation Bylaw and could have planned accordingly for the landscape alterations. 

Muskoka Lakes Mayor Phil Harding stated that the problem of failing to comply with township bylaws has become all too common, and that homeowners across the township can face serious fines for failing to check and comply with them. He added that the 2021 budget has accounted for increased bylaw enforcement. It’s clear that these homeowners are being made an example of in the hopes that other property owners will think twice before kicking off a project without the proper permission.


Better to ask for permission than forgiveness – not the other way around 

It’s never a good idea to waste your own time and money. While it might seem like the quicker, more convenient option, the “do it now, ask for forgiveness later” mentality can cost you a great deal of time, money and effort. 

The amount of effort it takes to look up local bylaws and fill in the appropriate paperwork to obtain the appropriate permits is minimal. You don’t want to start a home improvement project only to have a Stop Work Order issued, a fine levied, and then having to tear down all your hard work.

Be aware that Muskoka bylaws exist for a reason, and all home and cottage owners in the Muskoka region are expected to follow them. Before you get too excited about that upcoming deck or dock construction, hot tub installation, private road work, or any other project, be aware of these bylaws and building permit requirements. You should also be ready to answer to bylaw officers and other authorities who may make an appearance during your build. 


Don’t become a cautionary tale 

Spare yourself from becoming another cautionary tale and do the work ahead of time – it’s never the most fun part of a project, but you’ll be thanking yourself for being proactive and ensuring that everything is okay to proceed before launching any work on your property. Whether you’re building, renovating or altering your property, there may be bylaws which dictate what you can and can’t do, and it’s expected that you comply with them regardless of their popularity.

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the premier provider of high quality windows and doors and reliable installation services in the Muskoka region. Our experienced team has worked with home and cottage owners, builders, and contractors from all around the region. We use our expertise and industry knowledge to improve the aesthetic appeal and energy efficiency of hundreds of properties. To find out more about the high quality products and door and window installation services offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, reach out to us today.

Fibrex – A Revolutionary Material to Replace Vinyl

For many years, vinyl has been the gold standard in the window and door industry, offering low-maintenance but high quality products that homeowners have come to rely on for holding up to the elements and keeping the weather outside where it belongs. While vinyl is still a popular choice, Andersen Windows & Doors recently introduced a composite material that builds on the strengths of vinyl, but offers a much stronger, higher performing alternative in the form of Fibrex.

Fibrex material is a truly revolutionary material that could soon unseat vinyl as the material of choice for door and window manufacturers. If you’re in the market for an upcoming window replacement, consider the following before you decide on which material to choose.


What is Fibrex material?

Andersen’s Fibrex material is a revolutionary alternative to vinyl, offering twice the strength as traditional vinyl materials, with the ability to withstand extreme temperatures without the risk of fading, peeling, flaking or blistering. Simply put, Fibrex material is stronger and more durable than any pure vinyl product on the market, making it the perfect material for the strongest, most efficient windows.

Fibrex is made from a perfect mixture of wood fiber (40% by weight) largely reclaimed from Andersen manufacturing, and thermoplastic polymer (60% by weight), some of which is also reclaimed from manufacturing processes. The result is a material with unparalleled strength and durability, allowing Fibrex material to retain its stability and rigidity no matter what the weather is or what climate it’s installed in.

The strength of Fibrex doesn’t mean that aesthetic beauty is sacrificed, either. In fact, because of the sheer strength of Fibrex materials, window frames become narrower, allowing for more surface area for glass so you can enjoy a more seamless view of your surroundings. Fibrex is available in a wide variety of great colour choices, with many dark exterior palettes not available in other windows.


Why is Fibrex superior to vinyl?

Aside from being stronger and more durable in general, Fibrex’s unique blend of wood fiber and thermoplastic polymer allow it to block thermal transfer far more efficiently than aluminum, reducing your heating and cooling bills and keeping the weather outdoors where it belongs. Fibrex materials have no wood preservative treatments and no painting is required, meaning it reduces VOC emissions.

Fibrex is up to twice as strong as vinyl materials, ensuring that all weathertight seals on your windows stay weathertight as intended, holding up to all climates. Its superior strength means that it’s resistant to flaking, peeling, pitting, corroding, rotting, decaying and fungal growth, letting you enjoy your windows for many years to come. Andersen’s Fibrex material windows go through a unique fabrication process to blend materials with colour, offering a long-lasting beauty you can rely on to enhance the beauty of your property.


Still a place for vinyl windows

If you’re dead set on choosing vinyl windows for your upcoming window replacement project, there are still manufacturers delivering the highest possible quality vinyl windows. Euro-Vinyl Windows and Doors are one of the industry’s leading names in high quality vinyl windows, offering home and cottage owners a maintenance-free solution with the ability to dampen sound, maximize comfort during the winter and summer seasons, and hold up to even the most severe weather. Vinyl windows still play a crucial role in the door and window replacement industry, offering homeowners an affordable alternative that will continue to perform to the highest standards for decades to come.

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the Muskoka Region’s source for all things Andersen Fibrex material windows and Euro-Vinyl high quality vinyl windows. Our showroom is home to the industry’s most trusted names, and our team of window installation professionals are ready to take on projects of any size or scope. To find out more about how Muskoka Window & Door Centre can transform your home or cottage with Fibrex material windows or high quality vinyl windows, get in touch with us today.

General Muskoka Bylaws & Regulations You Need to Know for Your Muskoka Property

Muskoka Lakes, and other districts in Muskoka, have several property bylaws that ensure homes are kept to a minimum standard. While we have already covered renovation-specific bylaws, these are further things you need to know. 

These bylaws help keep our neighbourhoods and lakes clean and safe. You should be familiar with them and understand your responsibilities as a Muskoka resident to avoid any violations. Some of the most common standards for all properties in the region of Muskoka are listed below. 


Waste & garbage disposal

Depending on where you are, waste is either covered under the District Municipality of Muskoka or your local town bylaws or regulations. Here are all of the waste collection rules for the District Municipality of Muskoka. 

All garbage, refuse, and ashes are required to be placed in the suitable container and made available for removal. Each dwelling unit will be provided with a sufficient number of suitable receptacles to contain these disposals that may accumulate on the property, but be sure your receptacles are maintained in a clean and odour free condition at all times. 


Roof standards and snow/ice removal

Bylaws for roofs may be dependent on your specific municipality. Below is an example of a property standards bylaw from Muskoka Lakes. 

A roof including the fascia, soffits, cornice, and flashings is required to be maintained in a watertight condition. Under the Muskoka bylaws, you must promptly remove any excessive amounts of ice or snow from the roofs to prevent the leakage of water into your property. 


Safe passage and signs

Similar to the bylaws in any city, exterior driveways, steps and walkways must be maintained to afford safe passage under normal use and weather conditions. In addition to this, signs must also be mounted in a safe manner to prevent any hazard to persons or property. 


Fire alarms and detectors

The owner of any Ontario property is required by the Ontario Fire Code (Fire Protection and Prevention Act) to have a fire alarm or fire detection system. These systems should be maintained in good working order.  


Yards and vacant property

Backyards and any vacant property must be kept clear of all objects or conditions that might cause a safety hazard. Your property should be kept clean, cleared up and free of all garbage, waste material, refuse or other debris.


Windows and doors

Windows, doors, skylights and basement or cellar hatchways, must be maintained in good repair, be weathertight and reasonably draught-free, to prevent heat loss and infiltration by the elements. 

Maintenance for your windows and doors includes painting, replacing damaged doors, frames and other components, window frames, sashes and casings, replacement of non-serviceable hardware and reglazing where necessary. The screening of your windows and doors should also be maintained in good repair. 

Old and failing windows and damaged doors are problems that should be addressed as soon as possible in order to comply with the Muskoka property bylaws. Unfortunately, many cottages come with windows and doors much older than 20 years. If you’re planning on repairing or installing new ones, it is highly recommended they be handled professionally. 

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the Muskoka region’s preferred supplier of high quality window and door products. Our expert team is ready to take on door and window installation projects of any size, from small to large. For a free estimate, get in touch with us today and book an appointment. 

How to Remove Water Spots from Windows

If you live or play in Muskoka, you know how frustrating it is to achieve a stain-free window, as 

hard water stains can easily build up over time. A normal cleaning process involving water, detergent, a rug, or squeegee is simply not enough in removing hard water spots. Instead, you’ll likely need to use one or more of the following methods to maximize your views this summer season. Here are some of the best ways to rub water marks off your windows: 


Using a vinegar solution

Vinegar solutions are an easy and effective way to remove any hard water spots from your windows. First, you need to fill a squirt bottle with half water and half plain white distilled vinegar and spray it onto the glass to fully saturate any stubborn hard water stains. Then, soak a rag in the vinegar solution and lightly scrub your window. Once you are done, remove the solution from your window with a paper towel or squeegee and follow it up with a wipe with glass cleaner to prevent additional stains and residue. 


Using other natural products

In case you need a substitute for vinegar, there are other natural alternatives you can use as a cleaning solution. Fresh lemon juice has the same acidic properties as vinegar, and can be equally effective for removing water spots from your windows. As odd as it may sound, you can even use toothpaste to get your windows squeaky clean and streak-free. Following the same process, apply either ingredient to your windows and lightly scrub them away with a rag soaked in water, using traditional glass cleaner afterwards to remove residue. 


Using abrasive cleaners

Abrasive cleaners such as baking soda are powerful cleaning agents you can use to remove stubborn, tough stains from your windows. First, wet the surface of the glass so that the water and the cleaner can form a sort of cleaning paste – this prevents scratches. Next, spread the paste onto the window and vigorously scrub the glass with a rag. Then, rinse the cleaner away with water and dry your clean windows – following up with glass cleaner if necessary – to prevent additional residue. Your window glass will almost look invisible when you’re done.

Water spots on your windows are difficult to remove, and do require special techniques to clean. If your windows are run-down even after a good scrub, then it may be time to replace them. Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the Muskoka region’s preferred supplier of high quality window products. Our expert team is ready to take on new window installation projects of any size or scope. For more information on our products and services, get in touch with us today and book your free estimate.