Get Your Cottage Heating System Ready for Fall

Whether you use your cottage year-round or just as a refuge during the beautiful summer months, it’s always a good idea to do an inspection of your heating source when you aren’t using it. That way, if any maintenance is required it can be taken care of before the crisp fall temperatures descend. 

Here are a few simple tips for getting your heat source ready to warm your cottage once the weather gets cooler. 

Maintaining Your Wood Stove
It is always best to burn only seasoned wood in your stove for more heat and less creosote buildup. Debris and residue from creosote can be dangerous and cause chimney fires. You can fight buildup by adding creosote sweeping logs to your stove, but it’s always best to do a complete inspection once a year.

Look for indications that you may have had a chimney fire such as: “Puffy” or “honey combed” creosote, any warping of the metal damper and chimney pipe, cracked or damaged flue tiles, damage to the exterior roof, or a damaged, discolored chimney cap. 

Tap on the flue and listen for the sound of debris falling. If you hear any, you will need to have the flue cleaned before lighting another fire.

It’s recommended to hire a professional to clean your chimney once per year but if you prefer to do the work yourself, you can use the rod and brush system to clean the chimney from the bottom up. This method is safer than cleaning from the top down but you should lay out drop cloths to help contain any falling dust and creosote. Remember to wear safety glasses and a mask for protection.

What to do With Propane Furnaces and Stoves
If your propane tank is located outside, start by inspecting your tank for leaks. If you hear hissing from the gas line, notice a “rotten egg” sulphur smell, or see dead plants around the tank, call a professional immediately. Since all propane heaters and appliances need to vent outside, check all exterior vents to make sure they are clean and free of debris like leaves, overgrowth and fallen branches.

Before the temperature starts to fall, check your tank level. Filling your tank during the summer months can be more cost-effective since fuel prices tend to be less expensive at this time of year. Consider making your tank easier to find in the winter snow by marking it with a tall flag or marker.

Turn on your heaters to ensure they are running properly, especially if they haven’t been used in a while. Check the battery in your carbon monoxide detector and change it if necessary. 

Caring for Your Central Heating System
Whether you heat with oil or natural gas it’s always a good idea to inspect your furnace and have the air filters replaced annually. Dirty, clogged filters can reduce the efficiency of forced-air heating systems and cause failure over time.

Consider adding a dehumidifier if your furnace is located in a crawlspace, so that any potential must or mould doesn’t travel through the cottage when you turn it on. If this isn’t an option, because of lack of space or time, you can do a simple “burn-in” to clear your ducts by turning on the furnace at the lowest heat setting and opening all of your windows. 

If you still have any concerns about dust or mould in your ducts, consider having them professionally cleaned. Or if you prefer, you can always do it yourself with the help of a shop-vac and a few simple tools.

Finally check that all of the windows and doors are properly caulked and that any weather stripping that is cracked or missing is replaced. This will help the warmth in and the cold weather out. Old windows are one of the biggest culprits for significant heat loss. If you will be using your cottage more during the winter, consider replacing them with higher-efficiency windows that will save you money long-term and keep you nice and toasty. 

If it’s time to replace your cottage windows or doors Muskoka Window and Door Centre has experts in to help you keep your cottage or home warm all winter long. Contact us today! 

Property Management Company for Renting Out Your Cottage: A Wise Decision?

Cottages provide the ultimate getaway all year long – whether you’re looking to enjoy a summer on the water or a cozy winter in the countryside, cottages offer everybody a little something. If you’re a cottage owner, you may have already considered renting out your cottage when you’re away for extended periods of time. Not only can renting out your cottage put a little extra cash in your pocket, but it’s also a great way to ensure that it’s looked after year round rather than just sitting there unenjoyed. If handled properly, you’ll be able to use your rental property to provide a beautiful getaway for you and your family, and for supplementary income during the off season.

While renting out the cottage has a great many benefits, it can also come with a lot of work. From regular maintenance to meeting and communicating with potential renters, it can be very time consuming – especially if you live a considerable distance from your cottage. This is why many cottage owners seek out the services of a property management company to take care of these things for them.

What is property management and why would I want it?
Your rental cottage is an investment, and needs to be handled effectively in order to continue providing you with supplemental income. Property managers are third-party companies hired by property owners to oversee the day-to-day operations of the property. This means that property management companies handle a wide variety of responsibilities, including ensuring that it’s rented out, screening potential renters, marketing the property, handling maintenance and repairs, and communicating with renters to solve issues when they may arise.

Property management companies can be a saving grace for cottage owners who wish to rent out their property when it’s not in use, but live too far away from the cottage to realistically be able to check in with renters and handle maintenance issues. This is especially convenient in emergency situations where essential utilities have failed or the property requires immediate repair due to a severe storm or other major event.

It’s also worth noting that during the COVID-19 pandemic, this saves you unnecessary travel and puts cleaning and sanitizing your cottage between guests in the hands of professionals who are best equipped to perform this service. 

Not only are property managers incredibly useful if you’re not in close proximity to your cottage, but they also save you a great deal of time. Whether it’s screening renters, communicating with them, or conducting maintenance and inspection visits, it’s going to significantly eat into your limited free time. Rather than handle it yourself and take time out of your days off or whenever you have a free minute, you’ll have a designated property manager who can respond to issues instantly.

Finding a property management company that suits your needs
Finding a suitable property management company to look after your cottage can be difficult, especially if you’ve never dealt with a proper manager before. The first thing you should do is reach out to friends and family members who have rented out their property – they may have recommendations for property managers you can use. Local realtors can also be a good source for reliable property management references, and may even offer these services themselves. 

Once you’ve tracked down local property management companies, you’ll need to do your due diligence by researching each recommendation you’ve received. Read online reviews to get a feel of what other cottage owners have experienced and what the company specializes in. You’ll want to ensure that the company you choose is experienced in marketing and screening so that you can be sure that your cottage is consistently rented, and that they choose reliable tenants. If possible during the pandemic, you’ll want to meet them in person to make sure they are someone you will want your tenants to have contact with if needed.  

You’ll also want to make sure that your rental is priced properly to include property management services so that you aren’t losing money on the deal. In many cases, this will mean raising your rates, but with current restrictions on international travel causing increased demand this is something many cottage owners are doing anyway. 

Why wouldn’t you hire a property management company?
 The only reasons not to hire a property management company are the additional costs and the potential that you do not have a reliable property manager in your area. While we’ve addressed additional costs with the fact that a raise in rates is completely acceptable in the current climate, having no property manager may be preferable to having an unreliable one. As the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and international travel becomes available, there is a long-term potential that a property management company’s services may become too expensive if rental rates start to drop — but most keep their fees reasonable so that cottage owners can continue to hire them. 

The decision is yours to make – remember not to rush into a decision, and to always trust your gut. With any luck, you’ll find a reliable local property management company to ensure that your cottage is consistently rented out and taken care of during the off season.

The Muskoka Window & Door Centre showroom features a wide range of energy efficient windows and doors that can help you make a statement with your cottage, increasing energy efficiency and keeping your property more comfortable all year long. To speak with one of our window installation experts, contact Muskoka Window & Door Centre today.

Summer 2020 in Muskoka: Activities for Everyone

As Ontario moves into Phase 3 of its reopening plan, favourite summertime events are once again beginning to pop up all around the Muskoka region. Most of the traditional summer happenings have been modified to be socially distanced and sanitized, letting you and your family enjoy live music, art, and much more – all while staying safe and avoiding the risk of COVID-19. From drive-in concerts to outdoor activities, there’s no shortage of things to do around the Muskoka region.

Before you get out, remember to check the COVID-19 protocols of each venue and location, as each will have their own rules and preferences. Bring your mask, hand sanitizer, and remember to have fun!

If you and the family are looking for fun activities to mark what’s sure to be a memorable summer, be sure to check out some of these great Muskoka events:

July 18th & 19th – Scott Barnim in the Garden
Where: Oxtongue Craft Cabin & Gallery in Dwight, ON
When: Saturday, July 18th (10:00 AM to 5:00 PM) & Sunday, July 19th (11:00 AM to 4:00 PM)
Cost: Free

The best way to enjoy the summer is to get out and enjoy the beautiful things all around you. On July 18th and 19th, the Oxtongue Craft Cabin and Gallery is celebrating the work of renowned ceramist Scott Barnim, who will be showing off his gorgeous pottery live and in person. Scott’s whimsical and brilliantly coloured work has been a staple of the gallery for decades, and can be found in many collections all around the world. This is an excellent opportunity to meet a celebrated artist and take a look at some of Muskoka’s finest art. Before you go, make sure to read Oxtongue Craft Cabin & Gallery’s COVID protocols.

For more information, visit their website.

July 24th – Everything Anne of Green Gables Day
Where: Bala Museum in Bala, ON
When: Friday, July 24th at 1:30 PM
Cost: $5.99 per person or $19.99 per family

Canadian author L.M. Montgomery, famous for writing Anne of Green Gables, came to Bala in 1922. Every year, the people of Bala gather at the Bala Museum to re-enact her arrival in the Muskoka region, holding a full afternoon of family fun, including egg-on-a-spoon races, 3-legged races, sack races, costume prizes, and so much more. The fun kicks off at the Bala Museum at 1:30 – make sure to bring your best costumes. The cost of admission includes a full tour of the Bala Museum.

More information about Everything Anne of Green Gables Day is available at their website.

August 1st – Surviving Cabin Fever – A Pop Up Art Show
Where: Morgan House B&B in Huntsville, ON
When: Saturday, August 1st from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

The world found out quickly about the realities of cabin fever, taking up various hobbies and interests to keep it at bay. On August 1st, the Huntsville Art Society presents a pop up art show at the Morgan House B&B where you can safely enjoy the work that has kept Muskoka’s artists occupied (and sane) during these trying times. A mask is required for attendance, and social distancing rules will be strictly observed.

For more information about the pop up art show, visit the Huntsville Art Society’s website.

August 7th & 8th – Celebrate Gravenhurst Street Festival & Sidewalk Sale
Where: Gravenhurst, ON
When: Friday, August 7th & Saturday, August 8th
Cost: Free

Celebrate all things Gravenhurst in the historic downtown area, where you’ll be able to enjoy two full days of local shopping opportunities, live entertainment, and family fun. The Street Festival gives you an excellent opportunity to explore Historic Downtown Gravenhurst and take in everything that the area has to offer.

For more information on the event, visit the Historic Downtown Gravenhurst website.

August 9th to August 18th – Windermere Village Arts and Heritage Festival
Where: Windermere, ON
When: Sunday, August 9th to Sunday, August 16th
Cost: Free

The second annual Windermere Village Festival of the Arts is held throughout the village of Windermere, allowing you to enjoy a full week of family fun events. This year’s event features local artists and authors, the Heritage Walk, Flavours of Muskoka Chautauqua, Dinner Theatre, live music, and so much more. Due to COVID-19, the event may be transitioned to take place digitally or may be postponed depending on the recommendations of the health minister.

For more details on the Festival and to find out when and where it will be taking place, visit Muskoka Chautauqua’s website.

August 22nd – A Tribute to the Tragically Hip
Where: Huntsville Fairgrounds in Huntsville, ON
When: Saturday, August 22nd at 7:00 PM
Cost: $40 per vehicle (1 driver & 1 passenger), $15 for each additional passenger

A tribute to Canada’s most beloved band arrives in Huntsville on August 22nd. This unique drive-in experience will play all the hits from Courage and Bobcaygeon to Little Bones and Wheat Kings. The band is led by local musician Sean Cotton and rounded out by some of Muskoka’s most talented local players. The show will be presented in classic drive-in form, with concert goers parking at the event and tuning in through your radio. Tickets are available by advance purchase, and COVID protocols will be strictly followed.

Find out more about A Tribute to the Tragically Hip, visit the Huntsville Festival of the Arts website.

August 30th – Customer Appreciation BBQ and Mini Golf Tournament
Where: Northern Escapades Mini Putt in Bracebridge, ON
When: Sunday, August 30th from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Cost: $5 per tournament player

Northern Escapades Mini Putt in Bracebridge will be holding a mini golf tournament on Sunday, August 30th. This is the perfect way to enjoy the end of the summer season, featuring a free BBQ from 12:00 to 4:00, prizes, family fun, and a full tournament. Get in on the tournament for just $5 and show off your mini golf skills!

Find out more about the event, visit the Northern Escapades Mini Putt website or Facebook page.

How to Keep AC in the Cottage and Beat the Heat

The early days of summer have been marked by prolonged heat waves around much of Ontario, leaving Muskoka cottage owners to find ways to beat the heat inside and outside. With plenty more hot weather on the way, it’s a good idea for cottage owners to consider ways to cool down their cottage – it makes sleeping easier, and increases your comfort on days when going outside isn’t an option due to rain blended with sky-high temperatures. Air conditioning is a no-brainer when it comes to cooling down during a heatwave.

Cottage owners without central air
Central air has become a necessity for many Canadians looking to stay comfortable all summer long, but many cottage owners don’t have the luxury of having central air – especially in older cottages. Thankfully, there are plenty of effective and affordable options if you don’t have central air. There’s a good chance that you already have a traditional window-shaker style air conditioner in your bedroom or living area, which is the perfect start for cooling down your cottage during a heat wave. When installing a room air conditioner, ensure that you have cushioning and gaskets in place so that you do not damage your window frames. Most units of this style come with the necessary accessories to do this.

If room air conditioners aren’t an option, or if you’re looking for something a little more pleasing to the eye, you should consider a portable AC unit. Portable air conditioners are easy to move from room-to-room, making it the perfect option for cooling down your home office during the day, living area in the evening, and bedroom at night. In addition to AC, you can keep things cool using ceiling fans, which should be run counterclockwise during the summer months to push cool air down. If you’re really looking to cool things down, combining an air conditioner with a ceiling fan running counterclockwise will ensure that the cool air generated by the AC is constantly pushed back down in a column, keeping you comfortable in even the hottest weather.

Keeping cool air inside and circulating it around your cottage
Now that there’s cool air making its way inside your cottage, it’s critical that you be able to keep it inside. Not only will your energy bills be lower, but you’ll be far more comfortable all day long. The best way to keep AC in the cottage is to close all the windows, blinds, and curtains to keep out the sun, and close doors to unused rooms to prevent cool air from getting into them – after all, if you’re not using it, it doesn’t need to be cooled. While cooling your cottage, try to avoid using heat-generating appliances, which means no laundry, no stove, and no oven.

After taking these proactive measures, you can work on circulating cool air around the cottage – you can do this easily by ensuring that doors to unused rooms are shut, and fans are placed strategically to circulate cool air from your air conditioned room(s) into living and working areas for maximum coverage.

The important role played by windows
If you find that you just can’t seem to keep your cottage cool on hot days, the culprit could very well be those old, leaky windows you’ve been meaning to replace. Old windows are often the cause of major energy loss in your home (up to 30%), meaning that the cool air being generated by your AC and fans is being let out of your cottage by your windows.

The only way to prevent this is to replace your windows with energy-efficient windows with low-E films. Energy-efficient windows have been shown to reduce energy loss by 30-50%, keeping the cool air in your cottage during the summer, and the warm air inside during the winter months. In addition to replacing your windows, you can do things like check your existing windows for air leaks, and install weatherstripping, storm windows, and exterior shading. The experienced team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre can help you beat the heat this summer. Our showroom features a wide range of energy efficient windows and doors that are perfect for keeping the cool air inside your cottage where it belongs. To get started on your window replacement, contact Muskoka Window & Door Centre today.

Enjoy a Socially Distant Summer on Muskoka’s Beautiful Trails

If you’re a Muskoka cottage owner, chances are good that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered your summer plans. While the province continues to reopen for business, large gatherings at concerts, festivals, midways, and other local celebrations still appear to be quite far away, meaning that you’ll have to get creative when it comes to enjoying your downtime this summer. Thankfully, the Muskoka region is home to dozens of trails that offer gorgeous sights and sounds, giving you and your family a perfect way to connect with nature while staying safe and socially distant. Here are just a few of Muskoka’s beautiful trails we feel are worth discovering this summer.

Don’t forget to pack smart
Before you leave for your outdoor adventure, remember to pack all the essentials. This will include plenty of water, trail food, sunscreen, bug spray, and masks. With so many summertime favourites not taking place until after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, you’ll undoubtedly meet many people along the trail. We recommend wearing a thin disposal mask, as it’ll make hiking easier than a heavier cloth mask would.

You should also wear appropriate clothing that will protect you from the hot sun and unwanted pests like mosquitos, blackflies, and ticks – long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats, and long pants will keep you comfortable and protected all day long. If you’re planning on heading out alone, be sure to let somebody know where you’re going and when you’re expected to return.

Catch the sunset at Huckleberry Rock
Huckleberry Rock is one of Muskoka’s enduring scenic lookouts, serving as a local hotspot for over 100 years, featuring billion year old rock and an easy-to-navigate trail that lets you enjoy the sights and sounds of Muskoka Lakes Township. The Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail is a 2.5 km loop and is considered to be of moderate difficulty. The trail begins at Milford Bay Road, with free on-site parking. White markers on trees and rocks will lead you to your destination – if you get tired, there are benches along the way that are great for taking a quick break or having a quick bite to eat. When you arrive at the lookout, you’ll be able to take in the sunset in all its glory.

Find the Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail map here.

Take in one of Muskoka’s wildest waterfalls on the Wilson’s Falls Trail
The Wilson’s Falls Trail is located in Bracebridge, offering a challenging hike in the forest beside the Muskoka River. Along the way, you’ll be able to take in a gorgeous view of Wilson’s Falls, considered to be the wildest and most impressive waterfall in the Muskoka region. The trail is approximately 3.6 km and is considered to be difficult, featuring steep hills and challenging terrain that can be challenging for inexperienced hikers. The trailhead is located at Macaulay Public School, with additional access points along the trail and a picnic area perfect for enjoying lunch with the family.

Find the Wilson’s Falls Trail map here.

The Oxtongue Rapids offers a challenging but highly rewarding experience
The Oxtongue Rapids Hiking Trail is located near Dwight, following the fast moving Oxtongue Rapids and featuring breathtaking views of the Muskoka region. The Oxtongue Trail is 3.7 km long and is considered to be difficult due to the many rocky slopes and the trail’s proximity to the rapids – parents bringing their small children along should make sure that kids are by their side at all times. The trailhead can be found past the monument on Oxtongue Rapids Park Road. Along the way, you’ll be able to take in a beautiful forest, where you might catch a glance at birds and wildlife. For hikers looking to make an afternoon out of the journey, a picnic area is available.

Find the Oxtongue Rapids Hiking Trail map here.

The multi-purpose Hunters Bay Trail is perfect for cyclists, runners, and hikers
If you’re looking for more than just a great spot to hike, the Hunters Bay Trail in Huntsville offers amazing opportunities for cycling and running. The trail is 4.6 km and is considered to be of moderate difficulty. The trailhead can be found at the Centre Street bridge, proceeding along the river, under the railway, and onto Hunters Bay’s south side. This gorgeous trail features plenty of places to stop for a break or a bite to eat, offering a unique view of Huntsville’s surroundings.

Find out more about the Hunters Bay Trail here.

Stay safe and socially distant this summer by exploring the area’s many hiking trails and spending time outdoors. The Muskoka region offers endless opportunities for cottagers and locals to get in touch with their surroundings, taking in unbeatable views, catching rare glimpses of wildlife, and creating beautiful memories with family and friends along the way.

Considerations for Moving to Your Cottage

Your cottage doesn’t just have to be a summer treat for you and your family – with the right equipment and maintenance, your Muskoka property can become your permanent residence. With businesses around the world exploring the benefits of remote work arrangements, moving to the cottage full time can become a reality for current urban dwellers. The cottage lifestyle can be amazing year round, but moving from the city to your cottage without taking the proper steps can be problematic.

Make sure your cottage is properly winterized

Muskoka winters can be unpredictable – brutal winds, heavy snowfall and frigid temperatures all make it important to be prepared. If your cottage isn’t properly winterized, you’re in for a rude awakening if you expect to last the winter. Many “four season” cottages are poorly winterized, and as a result are much better suited to short stays during the winter months rather than the entire season.

In order to last comfortably throughout the winter season, you’re going to want to ensure that your insulation is up to snuff, the furnace is working properly and has been maintained, and your windows are in good working order. If your old windows are letting in cold air, it’s going to put extra strain on your furnace and make your stay far more uncomfortable than it should be. Upgrading to triple glazed windows is a surefire way to reduce energy loss, keeping the cold air outside where it belongs.

Get serious about septic maintenance

If you’re considering an extended (or permanent) stay at the cottage, you’ll need to make sure your septic system is performing as intended, and that it’ll be able to handle the strain of year-round use. When you use your septic in winter, it effectively becomes a holding tank since the anaerobic bacteria don’t do their job breaking down waste in sub-zero temperatures. You’ll need to be sure that it will be able to handle the extra volume without backing up into your home. If your septic system is sized for light use, or if it is more than 20 years old, you’ll probably need to upgrade it before even considering staying at the cottage.

Consider winter road access and the accessibility of health centres

One of the most difficult things about staying at your cottage for the winter is that your road access may become compromised, especially if your cottage is located on a private road. If you’re part of a lake or road association, we recommend reaching out to inquire about snowplow fees – you will have to pay your association extra to keep the road maintained throughout the winter.

Even with your roads maintained, the location of your cottage will be extremely important if you have health issues – depending on your proximity to local hospitals, it could take responders longer to get you to a hospital than it would at your urban home. If you have serious health concerns and aren’t located near a hospital, you may want to reconsider a move to the cottage.

Your internet connection may need a serious upgrade

If you’re planning on working from the cottage, you’ll need to make sure that your internet connection is strong and reliable. We’re talking about more than hotspotting from your phone – if you want to continue emailing, video conferencing, and collaborating with colleagues, you’ll need something more powerful. Check with local providers to see what your options are – often, satellite internet is the only thing available to cottagers. If this is the case, you can probably rule out high definition video streaming and gaming, at least until Ontario’s long-promised rural broadband internet projects are underway.

With the right amount of preparation and forethought, a move to the cottage can be very successful, letting you and your family take in the beautiful sights and sounds of the Muskoka region all year long. If you’re planning on moving to the cottage full time, remember to check that your systems are functional and well-suited to four season use, make upgrades wherever they’re needed, and lay out plans for road access and emergencies. With everything taken care of, you’ll be able to survive the harsh Muskoka winters and enjoy a cozy stay at the cottage. For information about the high performance window and door products offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, contact us today.

Renovations to Make Before You Sell Your Cottage

Selling your cottage can go a long way towards funding your retirement, especially if you find yourself using it less and don’t want the bother of using it as a short-term rental property. Before you make the decision to sell, you’ll first want to make sure that you can get as much as possible out of the sale. Many renovations and improvements can significantly boost the property value of your Muskoka cottage.

The summer season is the ideal time to get a head start on renovations that boost the value of your property. From increasing energy efficiency and replacing the roof to ensuring that your cottage’s septic, electrical, and heating systems are up to par, here are a few important renovations to make before you sell your cottage.

Capital gains tax considerations

Before you go ahead with renovations that will boost your property’s value, you’ll first want to consider the capital gains tax implications involved with selling your cottage. Capital gains tax will apply to the sale of your cottage unless you’re able to use a principal residence exemption. If you’ve been using your cottage as your principal residence for a time, you’ll only have to pay capital gains tax for the appreciated value of the years when your cottage wasn’t the principal residence. If you aren’t using the cottage as your principal residence, you’ll be forced to pay capital gains tax for the appreciated value and any improvements you’ve made.

For example, if you purchased your cottage in 1980 for $100,000, but are looking to sell it for $400,000, you’ll be forced to pay capital gains tax on the difference between the purchase and selling price – in this case, $300,000. Before you proceed with renovations, add together the cost of capital gains and the improvements you plan on making to ensure that you’ll make enough from the sale to justify the renovations. This will allow you to make a more informed decision about your property, ensuring that you get the most out of the sale.

You’ll also want to save any receipts from the renovations you do, as they can be used to offset the amount of your capital gains. As the linked article from MoneySense states, only upgrades count as capital expenses; not anything that would restore something in the home to its original condition. For a full list of what is a current (non-claimable) or capital (claimable) expense consult the CRA’s website.

Increasing energy efficiency in your cottage

Energy efficiency is here to stay. Nobody wants old drafty windows and doors – not only do they cost more on your hydro bill, but they can have a massive effect on your overall comfort. Replacing those old doors and windows with high-performance ones will ensure that energy loss is greatly reduced, adding value to your property, ensuring that the future owners will be comfortable year-round, and updating the overall look and feel of your cottage. To maximize energy efficiency and comfort, consider replacing old windows with triple-glazed windows – especially if you will be selling your property as one that will be used year-round. Solid doors with a good seal, as well as new, non-wheezy screen doors are a good idea too.

Replace your old roof

If your roof is coming up on its useful lifespan, it’s time to start seriously thinking about replacing it. Replacing the roof of your cottage will increase its property value, giving potential buyers much less to worry about when making a purchase decision. The roof may simply need new shingles, or might require more significant repairs. In order to find out for certain, we recommend consulting a roofing company who will be able to give you concrete answers. Not only will a new roof mean less maintenance for potential buyers, but it’ll also increase its curb appeal – nobody likes pulling up to a property only to be met with peeling shingles in dire need of replacement.

Update the kitchen and bathrooms

Most experts recommend updating your kitchen and bathroom(s) before selling your property. These upgrades will increase property value, and refresh the interior of your cottage. In your kitchen, look at replacing things like countertops, cupboards and drawers, and upgrading old appliances to new energy efficient models to save on energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint. If you get mice, it may be worth having an exterminator in to plug any entrances they have before your renovations start to stave off any damage they may cause to your new kitchen.

In your bathroom, it’s recommended that you paint the walls, install new faucets and hardware, and potentially upgrade the shower and/or toilet for maximum effect. Adding premium touches like heated floors and a luxurious tub or shower can also go a very long way in upping the value of your property.

Make sure the plumbing and electrical is functional and up to code

Nobody wants to buy a cottage if they’re constantly going to be wrestling with the septic system and wiring. Before you decide to sell your property, it’s a good idea to ensure that everything is up to code. These things will inevitably come up during a home inspection and quickly change even the most eager buyer’s mind.

If your septic system isn’t working as well as it once did, now’s the time to upgrade it to ensure that the future owners won’t have to deal with a bad septic system every spring. Hiring an electrician to upgrade the wiring and ensure that everything is up to code is also a good idea, especially for older properties.

With the right amount of care and attention, you can easily turn your cottage into a four-season property, greatly increasing the property value and making it a highly attractive purchase for prospective buyers. Without renovating your cottage, you risk losing out on potential buyers, and even worse, you’ll be leaving thousands of dollars on the table.

Pick up around the lakefront

One of the main reasons people buy a cottage in Muskoka is so they can play in the water. If your lakefront is even rugged by Muskoka standards, trim back shrubs and make it look a bit neater. Now is the time to get rid of those plants that are growing through the slats in the stairs leading down to the water, and maybe slapping a new stain or neutral paint on that same stairway. As far as landscaping the rest of your property goes, it isn’t as important as your lakefront but you’ll want to make sure that any visible lawn is weed-free and mowed when your potential buyers come to visit.

Unsure? Have a home inspection done

If you aren’t sure which renovations will generate the most value for you, it’s worth paying for a visit from a home inspector. They’ll be able to give you a prioritized list of what you need to fix up before you sell. They’re used to conducting home inspections for buyers, so they know exactly what they’re looking for and can give you great recommendations that are customized for your property. Having a Realtor look at it is a good idea too, but a home inspector will be able to give you a more in-depth assessment.

To find out more about the energy efficient window and door products offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, contact us today.

How to Keep Black Flies and Other Insects Out of Your Muskoka Cottage

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for Muskoka cottage owners. While we’re all enjoying the beautiful weather and soaking up the sun, our little insect friends have a similar idea. While you want to get outside and enjoy the sights and sounds, they want to get inside and enjoy the free food, water, and shelter your cottage provides. Bugs are attracted to your home for the same basic reasons you are – they’re also naturally drawn to body heat, skin odour, and carbon dioxide, all of which can be found in and around your cottage throughout the summer season.

From black flies to mosquitos, Muskoka is full of unpleasant bugs that nobody in their right mind wants in the house. These uninvited house guests can very quickly overstay their welcome, keeping you up at night, annoying you while you’re trying to relax, getting in on meals without a formal invitation, and eliciting terrified reactions from the more squeamish of us. This summer, say goodbye to pests once and for all – here’s how to keep insects out of your cottage.

Take a look at your windows and make sure your doors are properly sealed
Your cottage’s windows are the biggest problem area when it comes to insects making their way inside. The first thing you should do if you’ve noticed an excess of mosquitos or black flies inside your cottage is check your windows. If your screens are damaged, you’ll need to repair or replace them to keep insects out – especially if you want to keep enjoying that lovely summer breeze. While you’re looking for damage to your window screens, keep an eye out for any loose weather stripping, as this can provide a point of entry for opportunistic pests.

Look for cracks and other damage to your exterior window frames, as this can also provide an entryway for your unwanted guests. If you notice minor damage to your window frames, seal it as best as you can until you can call a window repair professional. If the damage is more widespread, we recommend getting in touch with a professional as soon as possible to minimize the entry of pests, and to mitigate further damage to your windows.

Your entrance and exterior doors can also provide an easy entryway for insects, especially if they haven’t been properly sealed. If you spot any cracks or unsealed gaps in your entryway, you can guarantee that bugs are making their way into your home. To protect your cottage from insects, install weatherstripping or use a door seal kit around your door frame, and apply caulk to seal any joints where gaps may be present. Installing a sweep under your door is also a great way to deny entry to pests, covering up the gap between the bottom of the door and the threshold of your home.

Make sure your cottage is clean and dry
While this might seem like a given, it’s important to stress the fact that insects are making their way into your home for a reason – in the summer months, that reason is food and water. Keeping a clean home is a great way to combat the entry of bugs – sweep your kitchen daily, vacuum at least once a week, take out the trash when it’s full, and wipe up crumbs immediately. It’s also a good idea to avoid stacks of paper, cardboard boxes, bags, and other convenient bug homes – these provide bugs with a comfortable home, away from the light and out of your sight.

In addition to cleaning, you should ensure that your home is as dry as possible to eliminate the entry of insects. Fix any leaks that may exist in your plumbing, dry dishes as soon as possible,  and use a dehumidifier in your basement or attic if they contain excessive moisture.

Turn off the lights to discourage moths and spiders
Let’s talk about moths. You’re just about to drift off into a peaceful sleep after a day on the lake, and then you hear those wings beating. Nobody wants to go to sleep with a moth potentially chewing on the sheets or landing on your nose, so you have to go around and round up or kill the moths before you can relax. The best way to prevent this is to eliminate the lights they are attracted to.

A porch light is the biggest culprit in attracting moths. So how do you see your way inside at night? Flashlights can also attract them, but not as much as a bright porch light, so it’s a good quick fix. You can also look at installing a fake-out light a few metres away from your door that gives you enough light to see to get inside, but keeps the moths away from your door.

Light attracts many insects and not just moths, which makes the areas around lights spider heaven. If you don’t want your windows to get covered in cobwebs, turn off your lights at night completely if possible.

Our earlier advice about removing dust and dirt will reduce one of the other things that moths like about your home, and apparently they hate cedar, so spraying your entryway with some cedar-scented oil and lining your cupboards with cedar can help keep them away from your house and your linens.

Maintain and tidy your yard
Bugs that make their way inside your cottage have generally come from in and around your yard. Cleaning up debris near your home is a great way to reduce the number of pests that enter. Insects are attracted to stacks of firewood, standing water, weeds and plant debris, compost bins, and other yard waste. By tidying up and moving these things away from the foundation and walls of your cottage, you’ll be able to effectively reduce the amount of unwanted guests inside your home.

To learn more about how the high performance window and door products offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre can protect your home from insects and pests, contact us today.

What Are the Benefits of Joining a Lake Association?

If you’re a Muskoka cottage owner, chances are good that you’re part of or looking to join a lake association. Muskoka lake associations come in different shapes and sizes, with just about every lake in the region having a formal or informal association for its residents. The role played by lake associations are critical to promoting environmental stewardship, limiting land disputes, and other key issues, though their importance often goes misunderstood by cottagers and those living in rural areas. If you’re considering the benefits of joining a local lake association, consider the following.

Promoting cleaner, healthier lakes
One of the most important roles played by these associations is protecting our bodies of water and promoting cleaner and healthier lakes. Without them looking out for the health of Muskoka’s lakes, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy our lakes to the extent we currently do each and every season. Lakes are carefully monitored for quality and tested for phosphorus levels to ensure that lake water is kept safe for use by members. To promote healthier bodies of water, local associations work to raise awareness about the importance of maintaining your septic system, what chemicals and fertilizers shouldn’t be used, and how members can go about keeping their lake healthy and thriving for years to come.

Limiting road disputes
Private roads around lakes can present many complications for those who live on and use them regularly. In many cases, home and cottage owners situated on private roads own the road in front of their house, with property owners using and sharing the road in a tacit or explicit agreement to enjoy right-of-way. In these situations, homeowners are generally responsible for snow and debris removal and general maintenance on their portion of the road, though it’s all too often complicated by uncooperative or absent cottagers. In these situations, lake associations work with property owners to formalize agreements about road use, maintenance, snow removal for full-time residents, and other important issues so that everybody can continue to enjoy free use of the road.

Responsible land use
Muskoka’s lake associations have worked for years to ensure that the region’s lakes can continue to be enjoyed for generations to come. A major part of that is ensuring that land use and development respects the land and its lakes, achieves modern environmental standards, and meets the unique needs and wants of the people of the Muskoka region. By working to protect the environment and fight for forward-thinking land use and development, lake associations ensure that cottagers can continue enjoying the region well into the future.

Fighting for cottagers on local issues
Making your voice heard on the local issues that matter most to you can play a major part in shaping local policy. Lake associations amplify your voice by fighting for you on local issues that affect lake roads and waterways, resources, land use and development, best practices, and much more. Protecting and fighting for these things is critical to the continued enjoyment of Muskoka’s many lakes.

Over the years, Muskoka lake associations have fought to protect cottage owners from the effects of toxic chemicals, worked to reduce boating hazards, created risk-management programs, and brought volunteer groups together with the intention of promoting environmental stewardship.

Putting the emphasis on fun
Lake associations don’t just exist to protect waterways and fight for you, but also to ensure that you and your family can do exactly what you came to do – have fun. Many of Muskoka’s lake associations hold annual celebrations and events for their members, including boating and sailing regattas, boat shows, bonspiels, and other family friendly events that everybody can enjoy.

If you’re interested in learning more about or joining one of Muskoka’s many lake associations, you can find many of them on the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA) website, asking your neighbours, or by contacting your local municipal office.

To find out more about the high performance window and door products offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, contact us today.

COVID-19 Update: Muskoka Window & Door Centre Open, Showroom Temporarily Closed

We are Temporarily Closed. Email Us for Estimates or Questions.

On Tuesday, March 17th, the Ontario government declared a state of emergency in the wake of COVID-19’s spread throughout the province. The Premier ordered that all recreational centres, schools, public libraries, daycare facilities, theatres, restaurants, and bars be closed to the public immediately, effective until at least Tuesday, March 31st. While we are not one of these facilities, we want to continue to keep our staff and our clients safe and healthy.

Following the government’s unprecedented announcement, Muskoka Window & Door Centre has made the decision to remain open, but close our showroom and service departments to the public until further notice. While our facilities will remain closed until the risk minimizes, our team continues to operate behind closed doors and remotely where possible.

We’re dedicated to seeing all projects to the end with the same quality we always have, and will continue to take on new projects. When working on window and door installations in and around your home or business, our team will take care to follow proper hygiene and social distancing protocols. Our team will continue to work in the safest manner possible until the threat of COVID-19 dissipates, or until otherwise instructed by the provincial and/or federal government.

The health and safety of our customers and employees is our primary concern. We feel that closing our showroom to the public is the most effective way to flatten the curve and minimize the threat of COVID-19 to the people of Muskoka while still keeping our business open to serve our clients.

If you have any questions or concerns about what this means for you, contact the team at Muskoka Window & Door today, or give us a call toll free at 1-800-461-5495.

izmir escort
php shell
denizli escort bayan düzce escort bayan bolvadin escort denizli escort banaz escort escort ısparta escort çankırı afyon escort bayan escort balıkesir escort bolu
istanbul escort ilanlari istanbul escort istanbul escort bayanlarla sevgili tadinda etkilesimler. istanbul escort bayanlar istanbul escort istanbul escort hizmeti icin ideal web sitesi.