Your getaway time is precious. And while your cottage is your perfect summer retreat, it might be nice to enjoy the cooler seasons in your favourite haven. Here are six tips for converting your cottage to four-season living – so you can enjoy it all year long.
Canada is well known for its cold winters – so if you decide to use your cottage over the colder months, how you plan to heat it should be top of mind. You’ll need to install an appropriate heat source, but it can be challenging since your needs may vary by location and the structure of your cottage. It’s best to seek the advice of a local professional who will know what type of system will best suit your cottage.
Properly insulating your cottage is a fundamental steppingstone to the creation of your all-season escape, because cutting corners could make your cottage more difficult to heat and lead to mould and rot issues down the road. A well-insulated cottage will benefit you year-round by keeping your space cooler in the summer and conserving warmth during winter. While installing the insulation, it’s important to look for any openings or cracks that may let rodents and other pests inside.
Your electrical and plumbing systems may need to be upgraded since winter can put a strain on them. You may want to consult a professional electrician or plumber with experience winterizing local cottages. They’ll know best what conditions your utilities will be operating under during the harsh winter months.
Winter can pose some challenges for your doors and windows – especially if they’re older. Most cottages will require energy efficient double-pane windows and doors that can be sealed tight against the winter weather. If this isn’t in your budget, try boosting your cottage’s energy efficiency by filling all visible holes and cracks with caulking and applying weather stripping around the door frames.
If you plan to use your cottage year-round, you’ll spend more on gas since you’ll be making the drive more often. You’ll also have new utility bills, you may have to pay for snow removal services to ensure your cottage is accessible, and you may wish to purchase new winter gadgets like a snowmobile or snow blower. Plus, the new renos may impact your insurance rates and property tax bill – so it’s important to keep these additional costs in mind.
If you’re planning on winterizing your cottage, don’t forget to consult your insurance provider so they can make sure you have the right coverage for year-round protection.