We’re Hiring! Carpenters, Installers, and more… Join our Team

Protect Your Cottage From Water Damage From Spring Thaw

Can you feel it? Spring is almost here, meaning we’re in the final stretch of the long and snowy winter season. People around the country can finally start their annual spring cleaning rituals, flowers will (eventually) start to bloom, migratory birds will soon return, and homeowners everywhere will begin to tear out their hair out of the many frustrations that come with the spring thaw. Quickly melting snow can cause major problems for home and cottage owners everywhere, bringing with it flooding and property damage that can be mostly avoided by taking the proper proactive precautions. Here’s what you can do to protect your home or cottage from water damage this spring.

Be proactive with snow removal
The most effective step you can take to avoid water damage to your home or cottage is to get proactive with snow removal. Some homes become flooded when the rapidly melting snow finds its way into your property. The best way to avoid this common problem is to simply ensure that there is less snow around your property’s foundation. Grab a shovel and head outside to clear away any of the snow sitting against and near your home’s foundation, which will allow the melting snow to drain further away from the foundation and minimize the risk of excess water finding its way into your property.

It’s also a good idea to clear snow away from your window wells for the same reasons, as these wells provide easy entry for snowmelt. While you’re outside clearing snow away, check to see that your home’s downspouts are clear and still connected, as they sometimes become dislodged during the winter season. Ideally, downspouts should extend at least two metres away from your home, and a path for the water to drain away from your home should be maintained until the snow melts away and obstructions are cleared.

Check your windows for signs of damage
The winter season can cause many problems for your home’s windows and doors, so it’s always a good idea to inspect these areas of your home’s interior and exterior to ensure that they’re in good working order. An exceptionally harsh winter season or two can do a number on your windows, especially the weather stripping as the cold weather can cause them to lose their flexibility and ultimately create opportunities for air leaks and water seepage. Windows can also be damaged by ice buildup and falling ice. Check out your windows and seals for signs of potential damage and have them addressed immediately by a window professional. If your window issues are resolved before next winter, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that your home will stay warm and dry for the foreseeable future.

Make sure your roof and eavestrough are in good working order
The roof can be another source of water damage during the spring thaw, so it’s always a good idea to make sure that it’s free of damage and functioning as it’s meant to. Ice dams can form on the edge of your roof, typically caused by heat leaks in your attic. If you notice that ice damming is taking place, it’s a good idea to hire an inspector to check your attic for leaks and repair it to ensure that warm air isn’t escaping through the attic.

While you’re at it, make sure that your eavestroughs are free of damage so they can continue redirecting snow melt from your roof away from your home. A clogged or damaged eavestrough can cause a buildup of water which may cause damage to your roof or leak into your home. That’s why it’s important to clean your eavestroughs every fall to clear it of debris. If you’re sick of cleaning them out, screen guards can be installed to stop debris from making its way into your eavestroughs.

If your windows or doors have been damaged from the spring thaw or you’re looking to get a headstart on spring home maintenance, you can count on Muskoka Window & Door Centre to guide you through your new window and door repair or replacement. Our experienced team can help you find the perfect doors or windows to keep your cottage comfortable and energy efficient all year round. To request a quote for your upcoming project, get in touch with Muskoka Window & Door Centre today.

How to Fix a Broken Window Latch on a Crank-Operated Window

Things breaking or falling apart at the worst time is unfortunately a fact of life. Even while the province is shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the winter weather continues to rage on, you’ll find that things have a way of breaking, malfunctioning, and generally doing whatever it takes to push you to your boiling point. Fortunately, DIY repairs are quite simple and effective thanks to the wonders of the internet, especially in the short term.

Whether a latch or lock on your window has just broken or if you’ve been meaning to find the time to fix a long-broken piece of window hardware, fret not – it’s usually not as difficult as it seems, and you probably won’t have to think about a window replacement for some time. Here’s how you can quickly and effectively fix a broken window latch or lock.

The trick is to actually get your window to open
Fixing a broken or non-functioning window latch is much easier than you might think – all it takes is a replacement latch keeper (preferably purchased from the manufacturer of the window in question), a putty knife (or similar tool), screwdriver, hammer, and a healthy dose of patience. The biggest challenge you’ll likely face is getting the window open, since the latch isn’t doing its job. In order to open the window, you’ll need to:

  1. Crank the window open as you normally would, despite it not functioning as it usually would – this step is intended to relieve mechanical pressure to make opening the window easier.
  2. Slide your putty knife between the window frame and gasket from above the window latch, gradually working your way down – if your latch functions by moving up, slide the knife below the latch.
  3. Use a hammer to very gently tap the putty knife in a downward direction, while of course manually maneuvering around obstructions as you go.
  4. Once you’ve reached as far as you can go, tap the putty knife with your hammer with slightly more pressure to allow it to disengage the latch studs.
  5. If done right, your window should open slightly and allow you to manually crank it open – open it as far as you can in order to access the mechanism.

Replacing a broken latch
Once your window has been carefully opened you should have direct access to the latch mechanism, allowing you to easily remove and replace the broken latch. In order to replace the latch, simply:

  1. Remove the screws holding the old latch to the window frame – dispose of the old broken latch.
  2. Install the new latch.
  3. If desired, use silicone lubricant on the mechanism to improve its performance and ensure its longevity.
  4. Test the new window latch to ensure smooth operation by cranking your window closed and operating the latch – if you’ve done everything correctly, the window should close as it did before and operate easily.

Voila! Your window should be functioning as good as new, saving you money and probably only testing your patience slightly (if all went according to plan). Since the latch on your window is a vital part of its anatomy, this is a repair that should be tackled as soon as possible so you can enjoy the coming spring and summer with your window open wide, or at least enjoy the option of being able to open it on demand.

Let’s face it – unfortunately, not everything can be fixed with a DIY solution. There will always be instances where homeowners are unsure of how to go about fixing a broken window or door. Sometimes it’s even difficult to determine if the problem can be “fixed” in the first place. If you’ve come up against a problem you just can’t seem to fix, Muskoka Window & Door Centre is here for you.

Our team of window and door experts has tackled just about every issue a window or door can present – from broken hardware to damaged door and window units, there’s nothing we can’t solve. If you just can’t seem to figure it out, call on our window installation and repair professionals to solve the problem. Find out more about how the team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre can repair and replace your doors and windows by getting in touch with us for a quote today.

Do I Need Screen Doors On My Cottage?

We’re all familiar with screens doors and the pain they can be. The creak of the hinges, the torn screens, and the way they always seem to close on you before you can get in the door. But if you have a good, well-fitted door, an additional storm door is completely unnecessary. In fact, most newer homes and cottages don’t have screen doors at all. One door gets the job done itself, no classic screen door needed, regardless of the desired style.

Smooth Fibreglass
Low maintenance and well-insulated is why this is a popular choice for both homeowners and contractors. Durable to withstand dents, it’s a great choice for high traffic areas that see constant use. Engineered wood edges and a reinforced lock block will provide years of consistent protection from the elements, guaranteed.

Wood Grain Fibreglass
Wood Grain Fibreglass doors give the appearance of traditional wood with the durability of fibreglass, combining the elegant detail of a wooden door with the weather-resistant and low-maintenance qualities of fibreglass. Plus, both the door and the glass insert are available in various styles.

Aluminum Clad Wood
Similar to Wood Grain Fibreglass, these doors offer a perfect combination of traditional style and modern durability to withstand Muskoka winters and summers. The aluminum provides an extra layer of protection for doors which may be facing the lake (think boathouse porch). Choose from a variety of colours, glass options, and brick mould and trim options for the perfect look to match your existing design.

Residential Commercial Aluminum
Energy-efficient and designed with wear and tear in mind. Residential Commercial Aluminum doors are built for high-traffic areas but with architectural detail due to a larger glass area than typical doors. Available in various glass finishes with flexibility of design.

Solid Wood
A traditional, solid wood door offers a homely and classic look. Solid woods doors offer even more variety than fibreglass doors, with a nearly endless choice of wood species and designs to pick from. Choose simplicity or elegance with natural colours, grains, and textures for solid wood doors. With a laminated core and a veneer exterior, the risk of warping or splitting due to weather is reduced.

Bigfoot Premium Doors
If you are looking to combine contemporary elegance with commercial-grade security, premium doors are a perfect choice. With a 3-point safety lock, two large hooks, and three powerful hinges, premium doors provide your cottage with the best security available. The special construction, creating an exceptionally firm and thick door, rounds out the comfort premium doors provide from the inside. 

On the outside, special LED illumination gives a warm, modern feel whether a guest is arriving or you are returning home. With a wide range of choices in styles, colours, surface treatments, glass and its treatment, handles, knockers, and locks, Bigfoot’s premium doors aren’t just the perfect door–they are the perfect door for your Muskoka cottage.  

No Need for That Wheezy Screen Door No matter your style of cottage or the type of door you desire, a screen door is a thing of the past that’s only good for nostalgia and one of the finest songs in Canadian history. There’s no more need to try and rush inside to avoid a squeaky screen door swinging shut or patching up holes with duct tape. With new cottage doors, one is enough, giving you the quality, durability, security, and design that’s right for you.

How the Winter Weather Impacts Your Windows and Doors in Muskoka

The Muskoka winter is just about here. Even without it officially being winter, you can see that many areas have already experienced large amounts of snowfall and the weather has quickly become frigid. While you’re staying warm and dry inside your home, you might be wondering how the winter weather affects your windows and doors. The answer is probably a little more complicated than you might expect, and will be reliant on a number of factors including age, material, and the weather outside.

Condensation may form on windows
One of the most common problems experienced during the winter months is condensation building up on your windows. The formation of condensation generally occurs after there’s a significant change in temperature on either side of your windows – warm air is unable to escape through your windows and eventually loses its ability to hold water vapor, causing excess vapor to pool onto your windows.

Condensation isn’t always as bad of a problem as it seems, but can quickly become an annoyance for homeowners. You can reduce the amount of condensation on windows by using a dehumidifier, or using other methods to decrease the amount of humidity in your home. If excess condensation is building up on your windows, it’s likely that you have a leak in your windows and may require further inspection.

Materials can shrink and warp
Certain materials just don’t agree with the extreme weather experienced by many parts of the country. This is especially true of wooden doors and windows, which can be heavily affected by the temperature and humidity, causing it to shrink, warp, and bow. The best way to combat this is by regularly treating wood with sealer or paint, or to use aluminum and vinyl alternatives, which don’t experience such significant effects in extreme weather conditions.

Ice buildup can take place
During the winter months, ice can build up in gaps around your windows and doors, and can even cause your locks to seize up in extreme cases. Ice buildup can make it difficult to open and close your doors and windows, and can make it much more difficult to get into your own home. To avoid the buildup of ice around doors and windows, it’s recommended that you regularly maintain your weather stripping and ensure that it’s in good working order before the winter months arrive.

If your lock is seizing up due to the weather, you can use de-icing spray to thaw and release frozen locks, making it easier to escape the cold and preventing future problems. The presence of ice can also make it easier for hardware to fail, making it necessary that you clear your windows and doors of any buildup before operating your doors and windows.

You’ll really start to notice drafts
The most significant way that the winter weather can affect your doors and windows is by causing drafts and leaks in your home. While you might not notice the presence of drafts in your windows or doors during the summer months, you’ll definitely be feeling it when the weather dips below thirty degrees. 

Drafts are typically caused by old or poorly fitted windows, and can be a serious issue during the frigid winter months, forcing you to turn up the heat and spend more on your heating bills. While drafts and leaks can be temporarily alleviated with things like weather stripping, it’s typically a sign that you need new windows.

Preparing for the winter weather
Most Canadians are expecting this winter to be a particularly cold one, so it’s probably a good idea that you start preparing for the winter weather before it’s too late. That means finally getting around to sealing any gaps around your doors and windows to minimize drafts and leaks, insulating your windows to stop the warm air from leaking outside, and tightening loose hinges and hardware to keep everything operating as intended.

If your windows are showing their age or have problems that simple maintenance just won’t solve, you might want to schedule a consultation with a professional window and door installer. A professional will inspect your doors and windows and lay out their recommendations, giving you an excellent opportunity to replace your windows and doors with energy efficient units that can keep your home warm all winter long, reduce utility bills, and ensure your comfort even in the most extreme conditions.

Muskoka Window & Door is the premier provider of energy efficient doors and windows in the Muskoka region. Our experienced team of window and door installation experts will meet with you to determine your needs and get to work on improving your home so you and your family can stay warm this winter season. To get started on your window or door replacement, contact the team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre today.

How to Clean Your Windows Before Winter – and in the Middle of Winter

The days of warm weather are behind us and soon, the snow will arrive. Before the cold weather arrives, get out and clean your windows. That way, you can avoid staring out at cobwebs all winter long and, more importantly, avoid working in the cold! If cleaning outside windows is still on your to-do list before winter, here are some suggestions. 

Start with the screens
Getting the easiest job out of the way is a great way to start. Cleaning dusty window screens doesn’t need to be challenging. Plus, it can be done inside or out. Popping the screen out and hosing it down outside is a simple, quick way to remove grime and dust. If it isn’t an option to take it outside, you can clean it in place, too. Just soak a microfibre cloth in a mix of water and vinegar and gently wipe down the screen.

Take care of the windows
With the screens done, it’s time to move onto the windows. The same mixture of one-part water and one-part vinegar used for screens can be used on your windows. Just soak a standard mop, preferably with a microfibre head, in your mixture and scrub away. Once the dirt and dust are gone, apply a streak-free window cleaner. Once it’s all dry, it’ll look brand new. You’ll be thrilled with the added natural sunlight beaming through after the job is done. 

Cleaning in winter
Sometimes, jobs and time get away from us. If winter arrives and you haven’t gotten to your windows yet, that’s OK. Even if you gave them a clean in the fall, the dirt left from melting snow may force you to clean them again. It’s still a job that can be done, and is worth doing, amid the cold and snow. You may just have to switch up your tactics. 

Prepare the right way
There are a couple of things to consider before choosing to clean windows in the winter. Not only is the day itself important, but the time of day too. Look ahead in the forecast and find a day with calm conditions. Working outside with blowing wind isn’t ideal in any season and certainly not in winter. Then, figure out when in the day the windows that need to be cleaned are in the shade. Cleaning in the shade will prevent annoying streaks. 

Sorting out the timing of your cleaning is a crucial part of the preparation process. But preparing the windows is absolutely vital. Give your windows a quick inspection and clean out any dirt that has worked its way into the window track or grooves of the windows. Then, prep your solution. Hot water on cold windows is never a good idea since it will freeze more quickly. One-part slightly warm water to one part of vinegar is the perfect winter window cleaning mix. 

Adding a splash of windshield wiper fluid to your solution can stop it from freezing if you are working in very cold temperatures. 

And now, to the cleaning! 
With your windows and solution prepped, you’re all set to clean! Following the same process, while being mindful of water temperatures, is perfect. Just soak a microfibre cloth (instead of a mop) and scrub in circular motions, avoiding streaks. A streak-free cleaner, applied afterward, will have your windows looking good as new.  If your windows are a bit run-down even after a good scrub, Muskoka Window and Door Centre has the solution. We even replace windows in the middle of the winter. Get in touch with us today for an estimate.

How do replacement windows improve my cottage’s value?

If you are preparing your cottage or home for sale and looking to increase property value, there are a wide range of things you can do. Among the most simple, with a great benefit, is replacing the windows of your home. As one of the most prominent features of your home, both from afar and up close, new windows will draw in potential buyers and have them encouraged by the apparent upkeep. Replacing windows, without a doubt, helps to improve your property value.  

Increase your curb and lake appeal
The increase in property value is the biggest benefit of replacing windows on your home. However, there is also an undeniable boost to the aesthetic, which can’t be understated. From a real estate perspective, old windows can be off putting because of the potential replacement cost once the home is purchased. 

Darren Robinson, a realtor in Barrie, Ontario, calls blemishes that come with old windows potential bargaining chips for buyers. What could be thought of as just splintered paint around the window or chipped glass is also a reason, from the buyer’s perspective, for a lower price. As Robinson puts it, there are renovations that will sparkle and shine but won’t give you a good return on your dollar. Something like a window replacement, however, will add to the value of your home while giving it a refreshed look. 

Save in the short and long-term 
Even the aesthetic changes lead back to the most important reason to have replacement windows: saving money and improving your property value is the greatest end result of new windows. To replace your old windows with new, more energy-efficient ones, will help to lower your home’s cooling and heating costs. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates added costs of air leaks in windows to be 10-20 percent per bill.

According to Remodeling Magazine, replacing your existing windows with more energy-efficient ones will not only attract future buyers but give you a 75-80 percent return on your investment. In 2020, HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Survey found that figure to be even higher at 80 percent.

The National Bank of Canada echoes that return on investment figure in its list of best renovations to increase your property value, adding that “municipalities and the government often offer financial assistance and tax credits to lower a part of the initial costs.” Not only will you see short-term gains in the form of lowered heating and cooling costs and a high return on investment, but potential breaks in the medium- and long-term with financial assistance and tax credits. 

Bottom line
If you are considering selling your home, taking steps to increase property value is a normal process. Replacing old windows with new ones is a relatively simple and massively beneficial step to take. In the short-term, you will see the gains of lowered monthly costs. In the long-term, those savings add up, aiding a sizable return on investment. The improved look of your home will help to draw potential buyers in and should see the investment you made pay off even further. It’s that simple: replace your windows, enjoy the subsequent savings, and watch your property value increase.

Should I Do My Muskoka Cottage Renovation Myself or Hire a Contractor?

Before seeking out a professional contractor, it’s important to ask the question: can I do this job myself? Some jobs are best left to professionals, such as window and door installation or replacement. However, there are others you may be able to easily manage on your own – even if you don’t consider yourself all that handy. If you are a new cottage owner, it may be hard to tell the difference between the two. 
 
What jobs are best left to contractors?
If there is a job you need to have done, it’s important to plan ahead – even if you won’t be the one doing it. With a shortage of contractors in the area during peak season, getting the job lined up in advance is crucial. For example, if you have a job you want done in the late spring or summer, reach out for an estimate during the winter – March at the latest. That way, you don’t need to worry about nobody being available when you need them. 
 
Whether it’s upgrading an electrical panel or rewiring an appliance, don’t try to do most electrical jobs yourself. While you may be fine with wiring a light switch or a ceiling fan, any larger-scale electrical job should be avoided by a homeowner. For the most part, if electricity is involved, don’t take the risk and hire a professional. Similarly, routine maintenance of major items, such as septic tanks, furnaces, or water systems, can be handled on your own. If they require replacing, a contractor is best suited to handle it. 
 
If the job requires building permits or an inspection, let a local contractor take care of it. Even if the task itself doesn’t seem too large, a contractor based in Muskoka will know just what a local inspector and/or municipality is looking for. By leaving those tasks to the pros, every step will be easier and much more stress-free. 
 
Most window and door replacement or installation work, too, is best left to professionals. Simple tasks, such as replacing a pane of glass or putting in a new screen door can be done on your own. However, anytime the job requires cutting into a wall or similarly large changes, you should be hiring someone to do it who has done it before – preferably for many years. 
 
The rest you can usually do yourself 
While there are certainly jobs you should avoid taking up on your own, there are plenty more you can do yourself! Though it depends just how adept you are, almost anything else besides the jobs we’ve listed above can be handled on your own if you have the time and the inclination. 
 
However, before undergoing any job yourself, be sure to research local noise bylaws. A noise complaint or worse, a fine, will be unavoidable if you are starting up engines, hammers, or chainsaws before or after the local bylaws allow. On a quiet lake, the noise is going to travel, and your neighbors won’t appreciate being woken up to the sound of construction work on a daily basis. There are many unwritten rules in cottage country too – one of which is that most people try to get major construction work out of the way in spring or fall so everyone on the lake can enjoy a peaceful summer. Of course if you have a job that needs to get done, it has to get done, but look up the noise bylaws and give your neighbours a heads up. 
 
Remember to be careful not to take on too much. You are at the cottage to relax and enjoy yourself. Save time to get that rest and relaxation you deserve!

Winter Proofing Your Doors to Keep the Cold Air Outside

After a chilly end to the summer season, it’s fair to say that we might be in for a long and cold winter in Muskoka. It’s a good idea to winter proof your house to minimize energy loss and keep it as comfortable as possible during the cold season. Older doors can be a significant cause of energy loss in your home. Proactively winter proofing your doors is recommended to ensure that you stop wasting energy and can stay warmer all winter long. Best of all, weather proofing is easier than you think and shouldn’t take you more than an afternoon to do. 

Identify air leaks before winter proofing
The first step is to actually identify air leaks and other potential problems areas on or around your door. You can do this numerous ways, including using a lit incense stick around the edges of your door to see where the smoke is most affected and blown in or sucked out. You can also flash a powerful flashlight around the doorframe – if the light leaks to the outside, these areas will need to be addressed. Using these simple methods can help you determine just how much work you have to do to winter proof your door. If the results are less than thrilling, it’s time to get started on the winter proofing process.

Weatherstripping will take care of air leaks
After you’ve detected air leaks around your doors, the first solution you look to should be weatherstripping, the easiest and most cost-effective way to seal drafts around your door frame. Weatherstripping can be purchased at local home improvement and hardware stores and easily installed by any homeowner – all you have to do is remove old weather stripping, clean the area around your door jamb, cut the weatherstripping to the desired length, and fix it to the door jamb. There are several different types of weatherstripping that can be used on your door, including wrapped foam and vinyl. Each type will have its own unique benefits, with foam being more durable and vinyl having a smaller profile.

New door sweeps keep drafts out
The bottom of your door is one of the biggest spots for energy loss, and replacing an old and worn out sweep can make a major difference. The purpose of a door sweep is to seal the gap in the bottom of your door, which often isn’t flush with your door jamb or floor. In addition to keeping out the cold, they can drastically reduce the amount of insects, moisture, and dust that makes its way into your home during the summer. Door sweeps are easy to install and can be matched to the style of your door. Once you’ve measured the width of your door and decided on a door sweep that matches its style and material, all you have to do is mark and drill pilot holes into your door, match the door sweep to the holes, and fix it to the door with screws.

Other fixes to weatherproof your doors
Some fixes will take a little more effort, but can still be effective. Installing a storm door on the exterior of your door can add an extra layer of insulation, significantly lessening draft and air leaks, though this fix is more costly than other options. You can also repair damage to wooden door frames with wood filler or replace the frame entirely, especially if they’ve become warped or have deteriorated over the years. This will help to minimize energy loss and will regulate the temperature inside your home.

Unfortunately, some problems just can’t be fixed. Older doors can only be made so energy efficient, and energy loss will always be a reality. If you’re dealing with old doors, your best bet may be to replace them outright. Installing new doors will greatly increase your home’s energy efficiency, keeping the cold air outside where it belongs and keeping the interior of your home more comfortable all year long.

Muskoka Window and Door Centre is the Muskoka region’s premier provider of high performance door and window products. Our experienced team can help you find the perfect door to make your home look as good as new and eliminate those annoying air leaks once and for all. To get started on your door installation project, get in touch with Muskoka Window and Door Centre today.

How to Deep Clean Your Cottage Windows

Part of the appeal of cottage living is enjoying bright, sunny days and beautiful lake views, no matter the season. However, you may not be making the most of the natural light inside of your cottage if you haven’t cleaned your windows in some time. 

If your windows are covered with dirt, dust, cobwebs, or water spots, cleaning your cottage windows is well worth the time especially if you are planning to use your cottage in the winter. Use these easy-to-follow tips to ensure that you get spotless panes of glass that will let the sunshine in all year long.

Choose a dry, cloudy day for outside washing if possible
Choose to start with either the interior or exterior of your windows. If you choose to start cleaning inside, work through one room at a time. This way if any streaks remain when the job is done, you will be able to determine if they are on the inside or outside of the windows.

If you are cleaning the outside of your windows, choose a dry, cloudy day so that your cleaning solution won’t dry on the windows before you have time to wipe it off. If it does, that will lead to streaking. If washing on a cloudy day is not possible, start on the shady side of the cottage and work your way around.

Depending on the style of  your windows, screens may be located on the inside or outside of your window frames. Remove them if possible, wash them with hot, soapy water and a soft brush, then rinse and let them dry thoroughly before putting them back into place. If it isn’t possible to remove your screens, scrub them with a sponge with hot, soapy water. 

Remove dust and dirt from the window and frame
Remove any dust and dirt from the window and frame with a dry cloth, broom or vacuum. This will prevent dirt from turning to mud when the cleaner is applied, and cuts down on the amount of rubbing you will need to do. You can also choose to rinse your exterior windows with a hose if you are sure they are properly sealed so that no water gets inside.

Don’t skimp when applying your cleaning product, especially if it’s been a while since the last time the windows were cleaned.  Whether you choose to use a commercial product or a simple solution of one part vinegar to two parts water in a spray bottle, a liberal application of cleaner helps dissolve the dirt so that it can be completely wiped away and ensures that your windows are streak-free when dry.  Wipe horizontally then vertically to ensure no spots are missed.

Use a microfiber cloth to dry your windows in a z-shaped pattern
Dry your windows using a Z-shaped pattern. Most people use newspaper or paper towels to dry their panes, but professional window cleaners recommend using microfiber cloths instead. They leave windows sparkling clean and lint-free. Since they are washable and reusable, they are an eco-friendly and cost-effective choice. 

If your windows are still showing dirt or streaks after drying, spray and dry again since very dirty windows typically require multiple rounds of spraying and drying to clean away any residue. Sometimes windows will be marked with mineral deposits, especially in areas that have hard water. If this is the case, a commercial cleaning product that removes calcium, lime, and rust stains may be your best choice. Just ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s directions when using, and wear the necessary recommended protective equipment.

Clean your large windows with professional tools
Large picture windows may benefit from the use of professional tools: a strip applicator, a squeegee, a bucket of warm, soapy water, a damp chamois, and microfiber cloths.

Use the strip applicator to apply the soapy water to the entire window then starting at the top left, pull the squeegee over the pane in a reverse-S pattern cleaning away any suds. Be sure to wipe the squeegee’s blade with a lint-free cloth at the end of every stroke. Finally, remove any water remaining on the glass with the chamois and dry the windowsill with a cloth.

Cleaning your windows now means you won’t have to worry about doing it when it gets too cold. It can also tick off a box on your “To Do List” when you reopen your cottage in the spring, leaving you more time to relax on opening weekend.

If thinking about cleaning your cottage windows has made you realize that it may be time to replace them, Muskoka Window and Door Centre has the experts available to ensure that your cottage is outfitted with the latest energy-efficient replacements. Contact us today to book an appointment. 

Thinking About Winterizing Your Cottage For the First Time?

This year, like many cottagers, you may be thinking about remaining at your cottage longer than usual, perhaps even spending the winter there. A more rural environment can feel safer than the city during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If that’s the case, you may need to ensure that your cottage is ready to weather the colder temperatures and snow, especially if you’ve never spent anything more than a week there in the winter there before.

Winterization can happen in a matter of degrees, and turning your cottage into a year-round retreat can be a big investment if you go in for full winterization. If you aren’t planning on spending every winter there you may just want to make smaller improvements to ensure you remain warm and comfortable.  

Take the practical steps you can, especially if you aren’t planning to stay at the cottage every winter. If you feel like you might want a winter getaway every year, or you are considering retiring to your cottage, then a larger renovation may be in order. 

Staying warm with the proper insulation

Some older cottages may lack insulation or the right insulation, especially if they’ve never been used in the winter.  Depending on your plans and budget, reinsulating your cottage walls may require tearing down your drywall to the studs and installing proper insulation.  To truly winterize a cottage, you may also need to install a vapour barrier to prevent moisture and mould build-up.

Another place where a cottage can benefit from added insulation is in the crawlspace. Adding spray foam insulation to outside walls here will save heat loss through the floor, keeping your feet warm and toasty and preventing heat loss. If you are currently losing lots of air in the crawl space, insulating and sealing it off properly will also increase the efficiency of your home’s heating system.

The average home loses up to 30% of its heating and cooling energy through air leaks around windows and doors. You will need to ensure all of your windows and window frames are properly sealed and caulked to prevent drafts and heat-loss. You should replace any cracked or missing weather-stripping and re-caulk where needed.

Depending on the type and age of your windows, you may need to consider installing new energy-efficient, double-pane windows. This also applies to your doors and door frames. Installing new year-round alternatives will definitely keep you cozier and save you money in the long run.

Think about your plumbing and heating systems

Plumbing is the one thing that must be winterized if you are planning on using your water at all during the winter. Insulating all of your pipes and plumbing lines and adding heat tape or a heat trace system will keep them from freezing and bursting once the cold weather hits. 

Installation of a heat trace system varies depending on the type of pipes you have and the manufacturer of the system, so it’s a good idea to talk to the supplier to understand the correct process. Alternatively, having your system professionally installed usually offers the security of a warranty which can be reassuring. You may also want to consider having your septic system pumped (especially if it has been a while) to ensure that it can take you through until spring.

Preparing and maintaining your heating system is also a consideration. If you heat with oil or propane, filling your tank now may be more cost-effective since fuel costs tend to be lower during the summer and early fall months. If you heat with a wood stove, ordering enough seasoned wood now will ensure that you’re ready when the temperatures drop. 

Some other factors to consider

It’s a good idea to confirm with your insurance company that you are covered by all-season homeowners insurance and make changes if necessary.

You should also check in with your road or lake association. You may have to pay extra for snow plowing or you may need to find a contractor to take care of it if they don’t cover it.

If you’ve had problems with cell coverage at your cottage, consider getting a cell phone booster to enable working from home. While reduced cell coverage at a cottage can be caused by the increased numbers of cottagers using a cell tower’s signal, this is only part of the story and a cell phone booster will ensure uninterrupted service. You may also need to upgrade your Internet service to a better package if you want to work from home, do home schooling or stream movies.

There are a lot of considerations when thinking about winterizing your cottage but the investment may well be worth it. It will let you take advantage of your seasonal property all year and enjoy those snowy days in front of the fire, safely and warmly.If it’s time to replace your cottage windows or doors Muskoka Window and Door Centre has the experts available to help you keep your cottage warm and comfortable all winter. Contact us today!